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What’s A Good Laboring Playlist?

by Dawn on February 27, 2009
category: Labor and Delivery,Pop culture

I have several friends who are about to give birth, and they’re starting to prepare a playlist or mix cd for their laboring time.  When I had my first child, I took about four mix cd’s with me, because I wasn’t sure what mood I’d be in throughout the process.  I don’t remember any of them except for a worship music mix and a favorite Counting Crows mix.  Turns out I only listened to one of them once, ’cause the t.v. was on most of the time (or I had a stream of visitors).   Plus, my laboring experience was somewhat different; when I was in the operating room, I vaguely remember hearing peaceful music playing quietly. 

It’s funny; as I’m writing this post, I’m listening to my latest mp3 download, The Hives’ “Tick Tick Boom“, which is all kinds of cool.  I heard it playing during the action-movies montage during the Academy Awards, and my viewing buddies and I were all about finding out what song that was.  My friend busted out his iPhone and used that “retrieve the song” application.  Fun times!  Anyway, here are some lyrics:

You know I’ve done it before and I can do it some more/I got my eye on the score

I’m gonna cut to the core/I’m gonna cut to the core

It’s too late/it’s too soon

Or is it?/Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, BOOM!!

I guess it could be a good laboring tune, if you’re the type who plans to dress your baby in mini-Vans and rock-band onesies.  You know who you are.  :)

Here’s an article about relaxing music during labor, which contains further links to finding just the right music for your experience.  I’m pretty sure none of them mention The Hives.

What music aided you through your laboring experience(s)?  Do you go classical, movie-soundtrack, make-you-happy music, or comfort bands?  The more specific, the better! (p.s.  For the unitiated, that’s a picture of a “mix tape“, above.  ;) )

Why I Chose a Birth Center For My Delivery

by Amanda on February 25, 2009
category: Finances,Labor and Delivery

birthcenter1.jpg I sometimes feel like my huge belly is not advertising, “There is a baby inside here.” Instead my belly says “Please comment on what you think the status of my baby is and ask me lots of questions!” One of the questions I often get asked is, “Where are you delivering?” I explain that I am having my baby at a Birth Center and I like to watch their faces as they receive the news. I even avoided telling my own mother for months, because I feared her negative reaction. When I finally told her she reacted exactly as I expected. So let me explain why I chose a Birth Center instead of going to an OB/GYN and delivering at the hospital.

I had never even considered a birth center until I read Amelia’s article, “Are Birth Centers Safe?” here at The Mom Crowd.  I feel very fortunate to have had a textbook delivery with my first with no medicine in the hospital, so I felt like I could consider another option when I got pregnant with my second.


The main consideration about where I delivered mostly depended on the cost. When my husband decided to start his own business we opted to buy Health Insurance without any Maternity coverage. It is cheaper for us to have a lower monthly payment and pay for any maternity costs in cash.

We called my OB/GYN and the hospital where I delivered to get their costs. My OB/GYN would be $2300 for 14 prenatal visits, plus $218 for a sonogram and $142 for each Non-Stress Test. The total cost of going to see my OBGYN would be around $2660.  I don’t have the exact numbers for the hospital, but when we called a normal delivery with no epidural or c-section would be around $5,000 in hospital costs. Going through the same care that I had with my daughter without insurance would be around $7,660.

We then called the new Birth Center in San Antonio and found out that they offer a cash discount. $3500 would cover all my visits and my delivery. This only includes up to 6 hours of care after delivery. Any additional hours will be $20 each to cover the cost of the staff. I have to pay extra for any  tests and my sonogram. At the Birth Center they only require 1 sonogram and even that one is optional. For less than $4,000 we feel like we are getting a great deal!

There was also a question of if I had Gestational Diabetes again. My OB/GYN would make me go to a Specialist that would cost about $250 a visit and I would have to go about 10 times. The Birth Center would not make me go to a Specialist if I could control my gestational diabetes with my diet as I did last time. Thankfully I barely passed my diabetes test this pregnancy!

Freedom, Comfort, and Options

birthcenter2.jpg My husband and I took a tour of the center, before we signed up. Everything was clean and we got a “good vibe” from the office. It is really peaceful there, almost like a spa. We especially like how I don’t have to have an IV when I am delivering if I don’t need one. I can move about and eat and drink, as I need.  Also, I like that can choose to birth in a bed, use a birthing stool, use a birthing ball, or get in the huge Jacuzzi tub.

The main benefit for us is that my husband wants to catch our second child. He felt like he didn’t really have a part in my first delivery other than rubbing my back and holding my leg. Also, two friends want to be at my delivery and I feel like the center is perfectly okay with extra folks in the room.

Benefits I Have Found Since I Started Going

The three midwives are incredibly nice and not intimidating at all. I have never felt like any question is stupid one. I can ask about my file any time. They also give me feedback on my pee tests. With my OB I always peed in the cup, but never knew why.

I also like that they are pretty flexible with appointment times and I can change my appointment time if I need to. I feel like they know me personally and really care about my health. I never feel like they are rushing me out the room when I have an appointment. I have never had health care providers be this kind and excited for me.

The Few Negatives of my Birth Center

As I mentioned before the mother only stays at the center for about 6 hours after delivery, so there is no overnight nursery care to catch up on your sleep. Also, my Pediatrician is not familiar with the new birth center and the extensive care that newborns receive at a birth center, so she not very encouraging of my decision. I will also have to take a special trip about 48-hours after delivery to have my baby examined at my Pediatrician’s office.

Amelia mentions in her article about what happens if something goes wrong and you need to be rushed to the hospital. Like her birth center, mine is located in the heart of our medical center. They said that most of the time they move a mother is because they have been in labor for a very long time and just want the baby out. It was a very small percentage of women who actually do get rushed to a hospital.


My husband and I considered every angle that we could come up with. In the end we are excited about our decision. My husband likes to call it “the hippie center” even though they have no tie-dyed clothes or incense. In fact, the center is very nicely decorated. He wants to order a pizza while we are there, just because we can! We will see how it goes. I will be sure to write up another post and let you know how the delivery goes!

Postpartum Doulas: A Great Gift

by Amelia on January 15, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Labor and Delivery

doula.jpg Postpartum doula services have been around for several years now.  When I hear of women talk about doulas they usually refer to birth doulas and not postpartum doulas.  I know that most of our readers are moms—some of you pregnant with your first child, others with your second, third (or more!), or have friends who are pregnant.  I thought that I would highlight some of the benefits of a postpartum doula for any of you who are interested in hiring one for yourself, a friend, or a family member.

For any readers who are not familiar with a birth doula (Greek for “a woman who serves”), a doula is hired by a mother and father to provide additional labor support to the mother.  The doula’s job is not to take away from the father’s role during the birth, but is there to offer suggestions for coping with contractions and to help the parents follow their birth plan.  A birth doula also provides emotional support and helps parents make informed decisions during the birth.

A postpartum doula helps with newborn care, breastfeeding, meal preparation, some light housework, help siblings, and general education of caring for newborns. One of the couples (and now friends) from my birth classes had a difficult birth and decided to hire a postpartum doula to help with the transition of becoming a mother and being at home with the baby.  The mother and father have their own business so the dad wasn’t able to take a huge amount of time off to help her recover from the birth and take care of her and the baby.  Their extended family situation is unique (and not necessarily helpful) and they felt like they would benefit from the services of a postpartum doula.

The doula service they hired required a minimum of 15 hours and the hours of service are flexible.  My friend has found it to be such a blessing.  It has been great for my friend to not have to worry about making lunches or doing some simple tidying around the house.  In my birth class we cover newborn care in the last class.  I pass out a worksheet that covers how much time it takes to take care of a baby (and yourself). Parents are usually surprised that taking care of a baby takes so much time away from those daily tasks of laundry and meal making.  Hiring a postpartum doula can take some of that extra stress away from the new parents.

As she was telling me her birth story and talking about her postpartum doula, I thought that hiring a postpartum doula for a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th time mom would be a blessing.  Most mammas get a baby shower when they are pregnant with their first baby.  And many mammas have friends and family who arrange for meals to be brought to the house after a baby arrives.  I thought that in addition to bringing meals that a group of friends could pool some money together and hire a postpartum doula for a friend.  1st time or 4th time mammas would benefit from such a great gift!

Postpartum doulas are often flexible in their schedules and can come a few times a week, a few hours daily or however a family wants to work it. Doulas are professionals who have received several hours of training and are trained to be supportive to a family’s parenting style.  If you are planning on hiring a doula for your postpartum care, you can interview or meet them before choosing them.  To find a postpartum doula in your area you can go to the DONA website and look up more information on doulas.

So, what do you think?  Have you had a postpartum doula? Know anyone who has?  What was your experience?

- photo courtesy of genevieve_southern

The Disappointing ‘20/20’ spin on ‘Extreme Parenthood’

by Amanda on January 4, 2009
category: In the news,Labor and Delivery

2020.jpg You didn’t miss anything if you didn’t watch the 20/20 special on Extreme Parenthood on Friday night. The show covered the ‘Orgasmic Birth’ documentary, women with baby dolls as babies, extended breastfeeding, surrogate mothers, and finally the ‘Business of Being Born’ documentary. All the segments came from a “What are they thinking?” and judgmental perspective meant to provoke fear. But really, can you expect any more than that from John Stossel?

I soon began following 20/20’s judgmental hinting and wondered about some of the women presented. Like the women caring for dolls as their own babies, but I have to admit I fast forwarded through that segment. I also had an issue who the lady who used her own eggs and inseminated herself in her apartment for her surrogate babies.  I sought to understand why women extend breastfeeding up to 6 years.  The show was shocked and appalled to find women still nursing 2 ½ year olds, but used that as a springboard to other families who are nursing longer.

I found myself agreeing with the women in the two brief segments about birthing. I liked how both of them explained that they don’t want to replace medicine or go back to the olden days, but just want to give women more options when it comes to labor and delivery.

An “Orgasmic Birth” or home delivery isn’t for everyone. However, I think my husband is up for the orgasmic birth experience. He was watching the show with me and said, “Dude, we’re making out during delivery. Hells yeah!”  I am not sure I would really feel comfortable doing that with people watching, no matter how much they told me to “lose my inhibitions” while they lit tea lights around the room and playing some dirty Janet Jackson music.

I found myself relating to the woman in the hot tub when she talked about making her own breathing pattern or Lamaze to relax. I recently told my friend, Kim, about how I made it through birth with no medicine with my breathing patterns. With each contraction I made 10-12 low “O” sounds to get me through them. As I was re-enacting the sound when we started cracking up laughing realizing how sexual they sound when you aren’t in a delivery room.

One of our authors, Amelia, has written about Oxytocin here on The Mom Crowd. She wrote,

“Oxytocin is responsible for producing contractions in the uterus which in turn dilates and thins the cervix so the baby can pass through.  Your body also releases oxytocin when your baby is nursing and when you have an orgasm.”

So it doesn’t surprise me that some women would feel an orgasmic release during labor.

Overall, the show didn’t give you any real useful information. It felt more like entertainment. I just hope people don’t come away from the show linking the crazy baby doll moms with moms who choose to opt to deliver differently. The “hard hitting” journalism of 20/20 was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe Veronica Corningstone from ‘Anchorman’ would have done better job reporting.

  • The Crunchy Domestic Goddess also found the show a disappointment. Check out her anticipation of the show here and her re-cap here.

What did you think of the show? What do you think of this new “Orgasmic Birth” phenomenon?

What You May Not Know About Oxytocin

by Amelia on October 23, 2008
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Labor and Delivery,Pregnancy

Oxytocin is one of three major hormones (endorphins and adrenaline are the other two) that your body produces when you are in labor.  Oxytocin is responsible for producing contractions in the uterus which in turn dilates and thins the cervix so the baby can pass through.  Your body also releases oxytocin when your baby is nursing and when you have an orgasm.  Our bodies also releases it when we fall in love or when we develop close relationships with friends.  That is why it is knows as the “love hormone”. black-and-white-belly.JPG When a mother labors and her body produces oxytocin, it prepares her to bond with her child since the hormone is related to our emotions.When you receive artificial oxytocin, known as pitocin,  during labor it causes stronger contractions that are closer together. It also bypasses the blood-brain barrier and does not contribute to the release of natural oxytocin the body produces.  It takes away from the benefits of natural oxytocin and hinders the emotional benefits.  So you get much more pain without any love.Because of the intensity of the contractions the use of artificial oxytocin in labor for induction or augmentation usually leads to an epidural.  Some hospitals and healthcare practitioners will use the epidural as an opprtunity to increase the levels of pitocin being released so the labor will be faster.  Unfortunately, the use of pitocin for labor induction is overused and some laboring mothers are not aware of the risks of the drug.  Risks include: high use of pitocin can stress the baby which in turn leads to a cesarean birth, can tire out the uterus and lead to a hemmorhage, a much more painful labor, longer labors, restricted movement due to more monitors/machines being hooked up to the body (including internal fetal monitor which increases the risk of infection) and the list goes on. There are a few medical conditions where the benefits outweigh the risks of induction; severe high blood pressure (known as pre-eclampsia), kidney disease, proven post dates with danger to the baby, and severe blood incompatibility between the mother and the baby.If you are pregnant or planning on having another baby, I thought that this information might be helpful to you.  Induction for inductions sake (no medical reason) allows for a missed opportunity for you to experience all the wonder-love feelings that natural oxytocin produces.  And who would turn down a little extra love?So, tell me what youthink! I want to hear your responses!

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