In Partnership!

As midwives, we do a lot. We work hard, caring for our clients, holding all their stories, their hopes, their fears, their families, and their medical health and well-being in our hands and minds. Constantly! We also run a business and that’s a whole other can to hold, contain, and work hard on. Well, as you’ve seen on social media and in our newly redone website, Portland Natural Birth now has two awesome midwives to provide all your amazing care and hold all that we hold, but we get to do it as two midwives instead of one now! And you bet we are excited about this!

Many of you have already helped me welcome Jaime into the practice and many of you will lovingly recall her as she attended your birth as a student midwife. I’m so excited to be working as midwifery partners now with Jaime. She brings great energy, education, skill and intuition as a midwife… things we hold in high regards around here!

Once we made the partnership official we realized we should get new pictures taken. We were also busy sprucing up the website to add Jamie’s bio and flare to our midwifery practice.

So, I talked with a favorite photographer of mine and Jaime and I got to do a fun photo shoot with the amazing Jen Berryman. We chose one of my go-to in town hiking spots, Powell Butte. And the day did not disappoint! Mount Hood was shining her beautiful brilliance and the grasses were glowing. Obviously, we love the outdoors, so that was a no-brainer to have our pictures taken outside. Jen was able to capture our smiles as well as the face of Mount Hood- which I just love showing off!

So, as we go forward with two dedicated midwives, with many years of experience between the two of us, you can expect the same relationship based care, completely individualized for your families plus knowing now two of us have your back! We’ll continue providing full continuity of care. What exactly does this mean? It means Jaime and I are both committed to attending most, if not all, of our clients’ prenatal appointments and being at the birth with continued postpartum visits and care. Occasionally (we are human after all!), we will have pre-planned time off and if this falls during your appointments or birthing time, we have your covered! You will always have at least one of us attending your appointments and birth, plus our great student, Kyra (more to come about her later!). With a smaller client load per month, and few off- call times, it’s rare that one of us misses a birth, but we always want to make sure our clients are well taken care of and this was an important reason for becoming a midwifery partnership. We’ll bring on another community midwife to act as an assistant midwife if one of us is gone, but you will still have your support system that you’ve come to know and trust over your pregnancy. We know this makes a big difference for birthing families!

Please reach out if you have any questions or just want to say hi to us! If you’re a past client, we love getting pictures of Portland Natural Birth babies growing up, so email us with any of those pictures! And if you are currently pregnant and interested in meeting us, send us an email or fill out the consultation form and we’ll get right back to you!

Condoms in my birth bag?!

I’ve been asked many times what’s the weirdest thing in my homebirth bag… Well, I’d have to say condoms now!  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m now carrying latex-free condoms.  Yes, they work well for preventing pregnancies and STIs, so why would a midwife, delivering babies, be carrying them?

Well, I recently attended a great workshop put on by the Oregon Midwifery Council who brought in a local OB-GYN from the area.  I had been hearing about this interesting method for controlling postpartum hemorrhage but hadn’t yet been taught how to use it (or even seen it used).

In Oregon, as a Licensed Midwife, I carry specific medications in case of a postpartum hemorrhage (when the birthing person heavily bleeds after the birth).  I sometimes start with certain anti-hemorrhagic herbs such as Shepherd’s Purse, Angelica, or cinnamon.  It really depends on the situation and how the birthing person is handling the bleeding.  Sometimes the herbs work wonderfully well and we can all focus back on the normal immediate postpartum (you know, cooing over the cute baby, helping mama nurse, doing a full newborn exam on the baby, cleaning up our supplies…).  But sometimes, we need more help.  Occasionally I’ll go right for the pharmaceutical medication if that’s what indicated instead of herbs and other times, I’ll try the herbs first and then use the meds.  I carry Pitocin, Methergine, and Misoprostol- all have their specific indications for use.  All but rarely, these medications stop the bleeding and we can, again focus on the more-normal parts of the immediate postpartum and replenish the mama as needed (an IV can really help in this situation and then iron building supplements soon after).

So what happens in those rare cases that all our herbs and medications don’t work and bleeding continues?  This is an instance where, as midwives, we go into emergency mode, place our hands on the mama in specific positions (it’s called bimanual compression) to limit anymore bleeding and transport to a hospital immediately for more tools.

But wait, here come the condoms!  So, a devise had first been described in 1951 as a balloon tamponade and then in 1999 a more specific uterine balloon tamponade came in to play.  The FDA approved this devise, called the Bakri balloon in 2006. It’s basically a balloon that you inflate in the uterus to put pressure from the inside to stop uterine bleeding.  Great, right?!  Well, it gets better… that devise is very expensive BUT you can use a condom and some supplies from our own homebirth kits to make a homemade uterine tamponade! And, according to studies it works just as well as the expensive Bakri balloon.  With the insertion of this devise, it gives us time and breathing room to get to a hospital safely for further help without the birthing person losing more blood.  It’s also amazing to have for rural home births or in other countries where hospitals are far away and transporting to the hospital with someone bleeding could be a very scary situation.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of bleeding as a midwife, but I’m excited to have learned a new method for those more intense bleeding situations.  It’s cheap and easy to make and now I get to say I carry not only cool instruments, lots of gauze, some herbs and meds, but also condoms now!   Honestly, I’d be OK with not having the need for this devise but I’m ready if we do need it!

Here’s to continually learning, updating our midwifery practices and condoms for the win!