4.11.2006

Beautiful Day!

It's a Tuesday and the weather is beautiful - sunny and 70 degrees! Unfortunately I have to go into the Re/Max office today to get some work done... yuck. Oh well - Dax and Elizabeth are playing croquet at the park tonight and I think we're going to join them. The dogs will have a blast playing together! :) Hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine!
xo,
Megan

4.05.2006

Spelling Errors

Sorry about all of the spelling mistakes. I type really fast and don't really review my blogs before I publish them... if you see a ton of stupid mistakes, it's not because I don't know how to spell... it's probably because I didn't check it over thoroughly enough. :)

April Update

It's been FOREVER since I last blogged... not having a home computer really makes it hard to keep up! I just got a job recently working for two real estate agents (Sandy Steppenbaker & Nan-Marie Graham for RE/MAX - if you need a real estate agent - let me know!). I'm a part-time assistant and so far it's been great. They're both really nice ladies and I can do most of my work from Tim's computer at the church office in my own time. It's a great job for someone like me who wants the flexibility of being able to leave for a birth if need be. I'm continuing my apprenticeship with Kim French which is going really well. It's very laid back as she is busy with all of her children and has a low birth volume. We've been to a handful of births and prenatals together, but mostly we just hang out a lot. I attend her Home Birth Option of Cleveland meetings every month at the Brooklyn library and she comes to my Birth Study Group as well. We just got back from a Midwifery Today conference in Philadelphia which was an absolute blast!!! All of the natural birth community "greats" were there - Ina May Gaskin (founder of 'The Farm' and auther of 'Spiritual Midwifery' and 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth'), Marsden Wagner (Perinatoligist, former Director of Women's and Children's Health for the World Health Organization and auther of 'The Birth Machine'), Jane Tritten (midwife and founder of 'Midwifery Today'), Michel Odent (famous French Obstetrician), Elizabeth Davis (midwife and author of 'Heart and Hands')... the list goes on. It was wonderful to be with about 300 other women in the same field who are all so passionate and excited about helping women. My favorite part of the conference was meeting and learning from Naoli Vinaver - a traditional Mexican midwife who lives in Veracruz, Mexico. She is the one from the birth video titled, 'Birth Day' and she just wrote a children's book about home birth that is gorgeous! She was a phenomenal inspiration to me. I would put her in the top 5 most lovely people I've ever met in my entire life... her compassion, humility and confidence were astounding. If anyone ever gets to hear her speak... I would definitely take the opportunity. She talks a lot about life experiences, relationships, cultivating your inner self and many other things besides midwifery... or I should say, very much within midwifery. Anyway... it was a great joy to attend and learn from the many classes offered and I was thrilled to share the experience with my very own, Kim French - a 'great' in her own right - as all pioneering midwives are - especially in illegal areas like ours.

By now everyone pretty much figured out or heard that I decided last minute to not go to the Philippines. Shocking! Without going into extensive detail, I just didn't feel ready to take the trip and I feel very confident and happy with my choice to not go. I still have my ticket and have to use it before January 31st, so I'll be going to Asia somewhere at some point over the course of the next year and I'm looking forward to it and hoping Tim will come with me... we'll see (I'm working on him). :)

Another significant event in my life right now is that I've recently decided to go back to school this summer and finish my Associate of Arts degree at Tri-C. I have four classes left which I hope to complete over the summer semester and then start classes at Cleveland State in the fall to finish my Bachelor's degree in English with an emphasis on either Creative Writing or Literature. This has always been a big goal of mine. In fact, I've wanted to get my degree in something 'writing and reading' related since I was a little girl. I remember my dad putting a banner over my bed when I was 8 or 10 years old that said, "Megan Witt... The Photojournalist". :) My passionate interest and pursuit of all things birth related has eclipsed my other passions in the past 3 years which are literature and writing. I lead a Metro Church Life Group "Book Club" and as a group we've been exploring some of the great novels and memoires of our time and it's been such a joy. I've been stimulated by the experience of again beginning to explore literature and it has set me on the road of being drawn back to the desire to finish my degree. A few other things have happened recently that have also peaked my interest to finish... so I'm hopefully heading in that direction. It was never something I forgot about... it was sort of just set on the shelf for a variety of reasons (mostly financial). I have always said, "someday when I finish my degree...". Like I said, it's always been a goal of mine to complete it, but I travelled down a few different paths over the past 3 years that distracted me (in a good way) and I explored the idea of perhaps getting my degree in midwifery or something health related or even women's studies. The problem with the midwifery degree is that there are no midwifery schools in Ohio and midwifery is by and in large a very unrecognized profession, so I struggles with, "Do I take classes through a distance education program?" and "Maybe I should get my degree and CSU in something related to midwifery", etc. - I feel like I've come full circle and decided that a person can have two passions (in my case - midwifery and english) and perhaps be all the richer for it. (not 'richer' financially - 'richer' emotionally, etc.). :) I've very excited about this and will continue my apprenticeship as long as is mutually desired while I work part-time to pay for school. This decision will most likely prolong my path to becoming a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife), but I've decided that may be a not-so-bad thing. Midwifery grows in you over time as you pick up experience and read and study... I don't feel in any particular rush. It's something I can continue to be a part of even after I have children - I can do a birth here and there and study on my own to take the exams even with a baby in tow. Going to school and getting your degree is a little bit harder to do with kids, because it requires you to leave and go to classes and study for tests and make deadlines... it's definitely something I'd rather have completed before having a baby (or at least almost completed before having a baby). We'll see... one thing I'm learning in life is to take everthing one step at a time. I'm a planner and I like to know what's coming and have things 'set up' in life. This isn't so bad, but I change my mind a lot and then get stressed because I messed up my own plans! It's better to 'go with the flow'. I like to look at my life as a journey that I'm on... the path is winding and I never quite know for sure what's around the corner.

As far as birth updates go... the birth I blogged about where the baby kept switching positions and the mom was over 42 weeks pregnant - she did eventually have her baby. :) She had a boy (they already had two girls) and it was a lovely, uneventful waterbirth in her dining room. The baby was born head down. Lindsay (the cesarean birth I wrote about) is healing slowly. She attended the International Cesarean Awareness Network meeting with me a few weeks ago and shared her story and she thinks she'll be coming back again. She wants a home birth next time and I feel that she's doing really well coming to terms with her experience and processing it. She looks great, she's a great mom and her baby boy is beautiful and nursing happily! I was at another lovely homebirth two weeks ago in Wadsworth for a couple having their first baby. She was in labor for 36 hours and completely dilated for 6 before she actually gave birth! It was gorgeous and glorious and triumphant! It was long and hard, but she's so happy she stayed home and hand a completely natural birth that really empowered her as a woman and as a new mom. She had a baby girl they named, Annika.

Well... that's it for now. Hope all is well with everyone. I'd love to hear your comments, as always.

Love, Peace & Joy,
Meg

2.19.2006

New Orleans/Philippines Prep.

Megan's Page
Well, Tim's in New Orleans this week with a team of 12 guys helping to rebuild an inner city church that was devastated by the hurricane. The left yesterday morning and drove staight through (20 hours) and just arrived this morning. They'll start driving back home on Friday. We'll have part of Sat. and Sun - Tues. together before I leave Tues. evening. I'll be gone for three weeks and then I'll come home and have to leave again in 3 days for a midwifery conference in Philadelphia that Kim and I are driving to! It's a crazy month coming up! Please pray for us during all of this upcoming missions/adventures that we would be healthy and safe in all of our travelling and that the Lord would do a work in both of our hearts that will truly change us closer into His likeness. Our client with the transverse baby still hasn't gone into labor - She's 42 weeks plus 1 day at this point and at the last prenatal visit (last Tues.) the baby was breech. We'll have another visit with her this Tues. if she doesn't have the baby before then... if it's not going to turn head-down, then I hope it stays breech rather than transverse (obviously), because we'll still catch a breech at home. Anyway, if you think about praying for her too, that would be great!
Love to All,
xoxo,
Meg

2.10.2006

Birth, Birth and more Birth!

Megan's Page
Lindsay's birth was the traumatic one I mentioned in my last blog... she took castor oil to induce labor at about 5pm and started contracting regularly (3 minutes apart) around 9pm. She called me at midnight and I was at her house in Cuyahoga Falls (40 minutes away) by just after 1am. She was 41 weeks and was definitely in labor when I arrived. Lindsay had taken my birth class, wanted me as her doula at her planned hospital birth (albiet at a low-risk, community hospital) and did not want any interventions or drugs. She was anti-circumcision if they had a boy (they didn't know what they were having - by choice) and anti-vaccine (at least for now). Of course I thought it would be a beautiful and uneventful birth for a young, healthy, first-time mom with absolutely no pregnancy complications (she did gain a lot of weight though - 57 lbs. - but she was always eating healthy and looking beautiful). When I arrived I felt that it might be a quick birth... her contractions were 2 minutes apart and very intense. She could not talk to me during them and when we walked donwstairs, she had to stop midway to have a contraction! She had back pain almost immediately, had the chills, felt sick and also said she felt anal pressure. What would YOU think if you were her doula?! She had been having labor like this for over 4 hours already and it wasn't letting up - it seemed to be getting more intense. Well... I now know that this sometimes happens with castor oil inductions. Man, I HATE that stuff. Apparently labor can start of incredibley tumultuous and intense immediately when you induce yourself with castor oil. If I had know that, then I would have encouraged her to stay home longer. However, I didn't at the time... So, I told her it was up to her, but that if she was having a homebirth, then I would probably call the midwife to at least let her know what was up... I guess I deducted that meant that maybe we should head over to the hospital (which was literally at the end of her street) to get checked in triage. We packed into their SUV and drove over. Our reception was a little odd... and there was no triage... at least not that we visited. She was checked into a room and monitored immediately and then her cervix was checked by a resident (who had clearly just woken up from a nap!). He told her she was 1 cm. dilated!!! Insane! Lindsay, of course, wanted to go home at this point, but they got a "bad stip" from the monitor (baby's heartrate got down into the 120's a few times over a 15 minute period) which I attributed to the fact that we moved her around a lot and the monitor simply slipped! I knew the baby wasn't in any danger... give me a break - 119, 120??? They freaked out at this and wanted to put an internal monitor in. Lindsay refused. They came in with an i.v. pole and hooked her up to fluids to "perk the baby up". Lindsay started crying. She wanted to go home. After an hour or more, the resident came in to check her again (the plan was to leave if she was still 1 cm. after hanging out for almost 2 hours for them to monitor the baby). She was still at 1cm!!! Lindsay really wanted to leave now and her mom said to the nurse, "So, we're homeward bound?". The nurse briskly walked up to Lindsay, strapped two admittance bracelets onto her wrist and glancing back at Jan (Lindsay's mom), said, "No one's going anywhere". Jan inquired further and the nurse just brushed her off with some comment about the danger the baby could be in and there was no way they would let her leave after that "bad strip". Lindsay was soooo upset! There were a few times that Jan would encourage Lindsay to do what the Dr. says or the nurse or whatever and I (of course) had a hard time with that, but I didn't want to be the extremist whacko in the group making Lindsay nervous as I contradicted her mother or medical staff. Lindsay was VERY educated and knew what was happening most of the time and sometimes she would prolong various interventions... sometimes she wouldn't. I tried to inform her along the way about each thing that took place and advise her as I could, but I didn't want to overstep my "doula boundaries" by telling her what she should or shouldn't do. After all, it was HER birth and she and Scot needed to make their choices. How could I say, "Lindsay, your baby isn't really in danger. Don't listen to them. Let's go home." If the staff are all in a tizzy and telling her the opposite... what if the baby WAS in danger... who am I? Secretly, I didn't really want to go back home, because I'm not sure how I felt about all of the hard labor she was having and how quickly she would give birth and when we would have to transfer, etc. If she had planned a homebirth and I could call the midwife, that would be a different story altogether... but i was really uncomfortable with the whole "staying home as long as possible" thing. I don't know why. I guess I'm realizing how inexperienced I am with being a doula in a hospital setting. I don't really know how they do things! I hate it. Lindsay's birth was only my 6th hospital birth. At some point I sort of resigned myself to their system and feel like I failed. I let her down. I wish I would have unhooked her and carried her home... It's not that I started trusting them at some point. I never did. I actually just felt incredibly overwhelmed and confused and angry. It was like watching a car wreck. I responded by shutting down. I never shut down in my support towards Lindsay or my assistance as her doula (although I did leave for a 45 minute nap at some point because I had a splitting migaine). I did, however, shut down "the fight". Even now, I'm not sure if I could have done more... if maybe a better, more experienced doula could have "saved her" from a c-section. I've decided I can't think this way, because it is what it is... Anyhow... to make a terribly long story a little bit shorter... after the i.v. was in and the nurse had made it clear that we weren't going anywhere (especially with that "bad strip"), we settled in for the long haul. Lindsay had been having contractions since 9pm, we arrived at the hospital around 2am and she had her c-section by 5pm the next day. 18 and a half hours of labor (approx.) and almost an hour and a half of "panting through pushing" because she had a strong urge to push, but apparently had an anterior cervical lip and was only 8 cm. dilated. They didn't want her to give in to the urge for fear that her cervix would tear. What a trooper Lindsay was! She didn't take anything for the pain until late morning after having labored all night with so many interventions... they eventually broke her water (and found meconium), inserted an intrauterine catheter, an internal fetal monitor and then gave her pitocin. She labored with pitocin quite a while before getting a shot of Nubain (pain meds.). It wore off after an hour and the nurse told her another dose probably wouldn't have the same effect as the first, so she didn't get another one. We had a few run-ins with a couple of the nurses and one of the residents where they were trying to push meds. on her when she had specifically asked them not to bring it up again... the one resident made us so mad that we decided to write complaints to his boss. He argued with us as to WHY Lindsay would want to go withouth pain meds. - he said, "I've never heard of a guy bragging about knee surgery without pain medication. I think you're crazy!" At another point, he told us (in the hallway - away from Lindsay) that he couldn't understand and that he figures a "little Nubain" isn't going to mean that she hasn't "gone natural"... After all, he said, "There are different degrees of natual. Some women in other countries might have there babies in the backyard! Some women have cesareans with hypnosis!" WHATEVER... he was nuts. Lindsay got her epidural just before her c-section as a last ditch resort to see if it would relax her enough to help her dilate further... Her epidural had hardly kicked in when the doctor told her he just wanted to go ahead with the cesarean because he was "worried about the baby" and her cervix was swelling, not dilating further like it should. Lindsay's parents stepped in and backed the doctor - telling her she should do as he said. At that point, I knew the inevetable was going to occur, so I encouraged her to relax and trust the o.b. that she had chosen to put her faith in throughout her pregnancy. I tried to help calm her down by encouraging her that it would be over quickly. I left after she went into surgery - I didn't think I'd be able to hang out during and after. They wouldn't let anyone but her husband in and I was EXHAUSTED and had a migraine. I needed to go home and sleep. The good thing is that she had SO much support. I went back to visit her the next day and then again a couple of days later after she had gone home to take food. She seems to be adjusting slowly. She made a comment to me about how she would "need lots of healing"... of course that goes without saying. I struggled a lot with her birth, because I truly believe in the compassionate use of drugs and the epidural and I wonder if she had gotten it sooner, if she would have relaxed and dilated fully to give birth vaginally. With so many interventions, it's no longer a natural birth - how can you possibly cope while lying in bed without being aloud to get up (even to pee!) and no drugs! She held out so long and was so awesome. I feel proud of her strength and also the mixed emotions of anger at how she was treated and what "could have been" had she been at home in her own bed, tub, etc. without any distractions or interventions. She never would have had an i.v., we never would have freaked out at a 15 min. period of SLIGHT heart decels, we never would have broken her water or not let her go to the bathroom... if she had gotten all the way to feeling the urge to push and there had been an anterior cervical lip, we would have held it back through pushes or iced it until the swelling went down and then let her go with what her body was telling her. In the VERY worst case scenario, we could have transported her in the end if need be and then at least she would have had a lovely and uninterrupted labor that ended in what we would KNOW was a necessary cesarean. But... that's all of the "what if's" that you deal with when things don't go your way, I suppose. I told Lindsay just before her surgery that we all place too much emphasis on the "experience"... I truly believe that the experience is everything... that how you give birth and what takes place during your labor affects you profoundly as a woman. However, I also know that sometimes women have c-sections (whether they be necessary or not) and at that point those women need to hear that they did all they could and it's goig to be ok. Their experience will not define them. Will it be easy? NO. Will they need to work through healing? YES. But they can do it and they will survive and they have not failed. Out of the whole experience, Scot and Lindsay gained a beautiful baby boy with blonde hair! They named him Regan Scot (Regan like the President). The whole focus, at this point, needs to be on the outcome and the prize... and what a great prize he is! :)

A day or two after Lindsay's birth, Jenny Lutz (a friend of ours) gave birth to her first baby - also a boy. They named him Samuel Wallace and he is soooo darling! He has lots of auburn, silky hair. :) I was not at their birth as a doula - we just visited the day after he was born. Her birth experience sounds fairly uneventful for a hospital birth.

Several days after all of this (maybe even over a week?)... I got called to labor sit for a woman in my area who was planning a homebirth (third baby, first homebirth). She was actually Frieda Miller's client, but Frieda was out of town and Joan was backing her... however, Joan lives an hour and a half away and didn't want to drive all the way up until I evaluated the situation. So I drove over and hung out... it seemed like real labor and was pretty intense. Contractions were 2 minutes apart after about an hour of being there. I got there around 9 or 9:30. It was hard for me to decide whether I thought Joan should come up or not... what if she labored all night? I'd feel bad having Joan drive all that way. She handled her contractions really well, so it was difficult to tell how hard they were. I finally suggested Kim coming since she's so much closer and then I called Angie to come and be with me until Kim got there. At this point I KNEW she was going to have the baby soon and I figured Joan might not make it in enough time. In fact, I wasn't even sure Kim would make it, that's why I wanted Angie there. I felt more comfortable catching the baby with someone else present. It was around 11:30 or midnight when I called Kim to come and she arrived around 12:40. The baby was born at 12:56 or so. It was a lovely and fairly uneventful birth apart from a pretty severe tear along where her previous episiotomy had been and more bleeding than we're typically used to seeing. All was well though and it was a pretty healing birth for me to attend after the diffiulty of Lindsay's birth. I was with her from around 9-12 by myself and almost caught the baby (I froze last minute and had Kim take over). The whole experience restored my faith in the simplicity and normalcy of birth, but it was interesting that I froze. Kim would have let me catch the baby... I think I wasn't ready after Lindsay's. I was still a little shocked and a bit nervous or scared. I needed Kim to catch. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled I was able to be a part of the birth and witness something so beautiful, so natural... so... non-traumatic.

That concludes my birth week. Kim and I have a woman at 41 and a half weeks with a baby in a transverse lie. We're waiting to see if the baby turns and we're waiting for her to go into labor... I'll update after her birth.

Love To All,
Megan
(2 weeks until the Philippines!) :)

2.05.2006

Trip Getting Closer!

Megan's Page
Well... I'm officially terrible at keeping up with my blog! I don't have a computer at home, so I just don't have that many opportunities... anyway... my trip is coming up in about three weeks. We purchased our tickets last week and they came in the mail the other day - I had a really negative birth experience a couple of days ago and it had me wondering if I even wanted to go to the Philippines anymore. I was ready to call it quits with this whole birth thing. However, I was reminded that my negative experience was in the hospital and the births I'll be attending are in a free standing birth center run by lay midwives. I'm very excited and only a little bit nervous about the flight at this point. I know it will be long and tiring, but I'm taking my portable dvd player and some dvd's to keep me occupied. I'm also going to try to convince Tim to let me borrow his iPod nano... I doubt that will go over well, but maybe he'll give in if I make him understand the importance of havng it to keep me busy. :) Lindsay had her baby by cesarean section on Thursday evening. She had a boy and they named him Regan Scot. He was just over 7 lbs. and 18 inches long - a little guy (very cute!) with blonde hair and Brock and Jenny Lutz just had their baby boy last night as well. He was just over 6 lbs. (I think) and they named him Samuel Wallace. Apparently he has red hair like Brock! We haven't seen him yet - we're going to try to visit them today after church.
Anyhow - that's enought info. for now.
Love and Hugs.
Meg

1.17.2006

PHILIPPINES!

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Well, as it stands right now I'm going to the Philippines for three weeks in March with Barb Herzberger (my friend, Angie's mother-in-law who is also a midwifery student). This has all happended rather quickly! A few months ago when I sent in my registration for Midwifery Today's Philadelphia conference I also became a subscriber to get the conference discount. They sent me my first issue shortly after and the question of the quarter was, "What are you doing to help international midwifery?". This girl, Hilary Overton, wrote in about her ministry in Cebu City - it was very moving. She is 24 years old and a CPM. She and her husband started a clinic called "Glory Reborn Organization" in 2002 where they offer free prenatal care and birth services. They also have Bible studies with the women and many have gotten saved through their ministry. It has grown and they now have about 50-60 births a month. She employs 10 Philippino midwives and it seems like they're doing a really great work. I felt instantly connected to Hilary after reading the article and prayer for her and e-mailed her to let her know I was encouraged and inspired by her letter. We began a correspondence and then she invited me to come to her clinic with a team in March. I asked whether I could use the trip to get some primary birth experience for my NARM certification and she said she would be happy to help... so I talked to Tim about going and he said he felt like I should. The same day all of this happened, more than half the money I would need for the trip was given to me from three different sources (one being my husband - as he had just gotten back from a ministry trip and decided we should use part of his honorarium). I felt like it would be a great opportunity, but I was scared of the flight, so I rethought my decision for a couple of days and yesterday decided to go ahead with booking a flight and starting the rest of the preparations. About three or four days ago Barb called me and said that she's heard I was going to the Philippines and she wanted to come, so she was just waiting on my to make my decision... I'm very excited and looking forward to great things! Please keep me in your prayers over the next six weeks as I get ready.

1.07.2006

Too late!

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Here I am at 1:36am writing in my new blog... I don't have a home computer, so I have to use Tim's at the church or my parents' when I'm at there house (which I am right now). My Mom and I stayed up watching Alias dvd's. She's trying to get through the first season to catch up with the rest of the family who have already started season two. :) Tim and Dad are still at Morningstar Ministries, but they both come home tomorrow morning. Mom and I are going to Jenny Lutz's baby shower together tomorrow and then I'm hosting Lindsay Sine's Blessingway at my house in the evening. Both events should be fun. I actually have Jessica's Blessingway coming up in a few weeks as well... I'll be good at throwing those after hers... it will be my third one in six months! Nothing new is going on this week. I've just been hanging out while Tim's been away... running errands (oil change, chiropractor, getting ready for the Blessingway, cleaning my house, reading my book for this month's Book Club, etc.)... I also managed to watch the entire first AND final season of The Newlyweds (I have pathetic addictions - what can I say?). I can't believe Nick and Jessica are getting divorced! April Okeefe and I were dissecting the whole situation on the phone yesterday... if you want a run-down of our conclusions, feel free to ask... :) Well... it's late and tomorrow will be busy. I hope all is well with everyone. Goodnight!