In a Nutshell..... Why do I do this?

Last Friday, I rode with the midwife I assist to do our home visit with one of our clients. We typically make a home visit before the birth so we can familiarize ourselves with the route - makes it so much easier than driving cold turkey in the dark- and we get the sense of the layout of the home in terms of the birth. This was a repeat client but she had moved since her last birth. It took a bit of doing to get there and it was a lovely rural type setting. The weather was warm and the sky was clear and blue. She greeted us with her toddler. We chatted and toured her cozy home. Then we did the prenatal appointment- belly check, fetal heart tone check, urine check, blood pressure check- etc. Her little one showed us some of his toys. I admired some of her homemade toys and she showed me how to do the blanket stitch in order to finish the edge of her handmade doll. We lingered a bit and I remembered her last birth. I'm very much looking forward to attending this birth. We hugged goodbye and waved as we slowly drove out of the driveway. I looked out the window as they stood there watching us leave. For me- the next time I see her she will be in the midst of labor, as I'm typically not called until labor is advanced. The midwife precedes me and calls me to assist when she needs me which is usually later in labor. The mama looked so beautiful with her round belly and her precious little one was standing there by her side. It was as it should be. I felt almost moved to tears and I thought " We have the best job in the world!"Every woman deserves this type of prenatal care. We get to know the family. We listen with respect and true interest. The midwife builds a relationship with the mama and the family. When labor begins we attend as invited caregivers. We will be the supporters of the process. The birth will be attended with care and attention. The family unit is respected and supported. The baby will be gently and lovingly welcomed into the arms of his/her mama and in his/her own home. I love home birth. Love it love it love it.Post partum care is equally wonderful. They don't have to go anywhere. We leave them settled in in their own bed. Personal attention. Family support. Breastfeeding support. In addition to the personal visits there is the continual availability for phone consultations. Midwifery does not leave mothers and babies in the lurch. I'm so proud to have a share in this model of care. I wish this type of care for all families.So, there it is..... I love this work. It never grows old. As is the case with this family we build a history with our clients. What a privilege. If only more women availed themselves of this dignifying and respectful model of care. As a nurse part of my role is education. I feel the need to make this model known as an option. I'm using this blog as one way to accomplish that goal.
Posted by Helen at 9:43 PM 0 comments

Friday, July 11, 2008

Does it really matter?

Well,there was a topic on the Attachment Parenting group I belong to and because I'm lazy I'm copying and pasting my comment here. It was in response to the article on autism actually, where there was info about babies' experiences shaping them and the importance of touch. Well, I guess I could've saved myself some effort and summed it up in one word..... DUH!!! But really we do things to babies such as circumcise them for cosmetic reasons etc thinking it doesn't matter because after all....They won't remember. We let them "cry it out " because after all.....They won't remember. Bottles get propped while babies feed alone because..... They won't remember.
They sleep alone because not only will they not remember if they slept with mama or not but they "need" to sleep alone so they might as well get used to it. Let's not hold the baby too much because they might like it. The thinking appears to be that babies are sentimentally cute but let's not be inconvenienced by them and it really doesn't matter what is done to babies because after all....They won't remember! In fact if there is something to be done let's hurry and do it while the children are still babies because.....They won't remember. The prevailing mindset seems to be - make sure baby is fed, clothed and cuddled and that's good enough. It just doesn't matter what else is or isn't done because.....They won't remember.
I must disagree and say that it does matter and even though babies can't consciously recall their experiences they are affected by them and they do remember. Just watching them learn, seeing how they recognize music and voices they heard in the womb etc is simple obvious evidence. so, what do we want them to learn? Love, trust, security, kindess, compassion? How do we acheive that?
What does it say about a society that thinks it doesn't matter if things are done or not done because the person involved will have no memory of it? If we have an invalid relative or one with Alzheimer's or dementia should we operate without anesthesia? Should we withhold food if they're hungry because it's not the "Scheduled" time to eat? If they cry for attention or are lonely can we ignore them because whether or not we are responsive to their needs they are just not going to remember? Babies are conscious beings deserving of respect and consideration. They want to be held, carried, talked to, fed when hungry and they want to feel loved and safe. So, here's my little response to the article about the importance of touch.

I just want to say as an instructor of infant massage that touch is so very
important and massage can be so beneficial. It enhances attachment and
bonding and supports body systems- including the nervous system. It's a simple
and beautiful method of affecting baby on many levels in a very positive way.
Science so frequently spends a long time to admit the obvious.
AP is instinctive and we know that babies' experiences shape them. The
thinking that nothing really matters because the baby won't remember what
happened to them is faulty reasoning and gives permission to withhold or carry out
things we'd never do to someone who could speak up for themselves in ways other
than crying. Advocating for babies and modeling responsive and conscious
parenting is essential.
Yes, touch improves baby's development and breastfeeding and cosleeping and
carrying and responding all do the same. This is something that mamas know.
It's evidence based and mama and baby tested.

So, there it is. What do you think?

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