ranting values

Katrina Hollon, St.Petersburg, Florida

4 hours of hospital care costs more than a year of midwifery care

Offering these insights as fodder for thought, grist for the mill…for anyone wondering about the cost of midwifery care and also for midwives that are afraid to increase their rate or that undervalue their own care.

So, I am on call 24/7.  When someone needs me, I stop whatever I am doing and rush to the side of whomever calls.  When a baby is on the way, it’s not only the lights of one little home that glow in the wee hours of the night, houses scattered across St. Pete begin to light up as I start making calls…there’s a formidable little tribe on call for each new life.  First my sweet, ever loyal assistant and student midwife, next my own two children get the news that a baby is on the way, then the entourage of friends that agree to keep them at any hour, and my dear sister midwives that act as back-up and consultant.  Finally, there’s  the barrage of calls to rearrange any plans that were made for the next 48-72 hours.

Throughout the year of care that homebirth midwives provide, we customize care plans well beyond what is standard in the medical community, we drive to the family’s home and spend (literally) 10 times the amount of time of any other care provider.  We love getting to know our clients personally and we spend countless hours thinking about each family and their personal circumstances.  We root for them, we cater to them, we make certain they feel comfortable calling for the smallest question.  We make approximately 20 trips to each home and we will make as many more as are needed to ensure that all is well and comfortable.  Stating that each family’s well being and emotional comfort are the most important to us, isn’t just a tag line.  We do not clock out….homebirth midwives are truly dedicated through and through, heart and soul, to every family we serve.

We are in a constant state of political activism, standing up for the rights of families to birth as they choose.  We are continuously questioned and criticized by the medical community at large and must repeatedly engage governing bodies that threaten our right to practice and women’s rights to birth freely.

I charge $6,000 for this commitment, of which maybe 50% reaches me.  For a lovely, but mild comparison…I’ve included a receipt for four hours of hospital care in which a kidney stone was assessed…4 hours of care…4 hours…and charged more than my year.

I LOVE WHAT I DO, it’s my highest honor to be a midwife and a mother.  Daily I spontaneously spill out with laughter, “I am so lucky!!! I have THE best life!”    It’s a worthy commitment, a valuable endeavor, a noble way to spend life and thoughts.

internal activist

birth

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

How do we make change?

The real lasting kind of change that brings a cultural shift that shows up as a pattern or what reporters call a trend…but a trend that stays.  I’ve thought and thought about this…I’ve found one way, which has nothing to do with holding up signs, or arguing, or even reporting my findings to the journals.  Nothing to do with stating the facts…closed up people cant hear the facts.  These methods can be useful and validating and are actually proof that change is occurring, so they can help build momentum, and they help people feel that the change they would like to make is worthy and supported, but I think that the change is made on the inside. 

I don’t do very well at small talk or holding conversations anywhere near the surface, although I’ve made an effort over the years to become better at it, since it puts many people at ease.  Midwifery is perfect for me, since I get to bypass all the superficial mess and get straight to the real stuff.  Those tiny little spaces that we generally keep tucked away and closed.  Those tender shaky little spaces where vulnerability resides… where change is born.

Intimate connections that validate the tiniest inclination of truth and vision can nurture it exponentially, endlessly.   Once we are opened up to the realization that we matter…the tiniest places, the covered up places in us really matter, and understand that the smallest things we feel are really the big things… When we realize there is safety and love waiting, people change themselves.  We change our beliefs about ourselves, and our thoughts and our patterns, our behaviors, our choices, eventually public policies and a collective cultural shift.  I see myself as an internal activist, tangling with those spaces between words, allowing change to unfold as it will, within the most intimate settings of our lives.

I’ve come to view art as the purest expression of those tiny spaces within us, and the creating of art and interacting with art as a dance we do with our souls.  Art as the very fundamental basis for creating change. Change comes from the artists willing to share those tiny spaces of themselves.  We are all artists.

CALL FOR ARTISTS

Holistic Maternity along with Village Birth Circle are planning their second annual art show, on January 11, 2014.  This is an open call for art in any medium focused on the moment of birth, specifically home and water birth.  The intention of this exhibition is to raise awareness of the safety, normalcy, and increasing number of families choosing home birth.  We are looking for provocative pieces that engage the audience in the intense emotional and transformational experience that surrounds natural home birth.  Pieces depicting orgasmic birth or the controversial political climate of homebirth are ideal for this show.  Personal journal pages, placenta prints, videos, pictures, drawings, paintings, sculptures, poetry all welcome.  Any photographs must be in a home/or out-of-hospital setting.

 SUBMISSION

 Please direct inquiries by email only to Justbirthart2014@gmail.com.  Include an image or description or concept drawing of the planned piece along with your statement describing the inspiration for the piece and/ or a short artist bio and estimated price.  Submission deadline is DECEMBER 11, 2013. Once accepted for the show , please do not promote the piece on facebook or other social media, as we want to keep the show fresh.

local mamas can find me at www.myholisticmaternity.com

Have you turned the corner?

Kim birthing Evie

So here it is, July 15th again. Eleven years ago, laboring at home for the previous 24 hours, I was under instruction by my midwife to call her when I “turned the corner.” “What does that mean?” I kept asking myself, and “how will I know?” I kept laboring in all different positions, walking, swaying, hands and knees…things were getting more and more intense, I was scared. Into the night the contractions just got stronger, and I kept asking my partner if it was time, and telling him to call the midwife, he kept hesitating and asking me if I had “turned the corner.” He was worried about disturbing her in the middle of the night. After several more hours of this repeated conversation and contractions growing more and more intense, I yelled at him, “I’VE TURNED THE FUCKING CORNER, NOW CALL THE FUCKING MIDWIFE!”

As a midwife, I have never asked anyone if they have “turned a corner,” but at least I know what it means now.

Confidence in your actions and words, certainty,  not asking for anyone else’s opinion but relying solely on your own intuition,  ceasing to question yourself,  no fear in using your voice, speaking with boldness and authority, others sense your clarity and immediately trust and follow your lead.

Turn the corner.

Local mama’s can find me at http://www.myholisticmaternity.com

midwife running

My run 2013

ready for my run

I have been running the same path at the most beautiful nature preserve in St.Petersburg, FL  for years.  As I approach families walking with their children, the little ones turn away from their parents and start running with me in complete joy and out right laughter.  I always find this quite amusing and enjoy the little show they create.  Almost as frequently, adults  meandering through the park ask me for directions as I am whizzing past.  I always oblige, but since I do not stop as I am shouting out the way for them,  they begin to follow me too, and questioning my direction.  Once I had 3 families jogging behind me to the trail’s exit!

What’s become more and more apparent to me, is that when we move with confidence in the direction of what we know is true, without wavering  in the face of others opinions, doubts, or chatter; is that we create a positive force of motion that others instinctively follow which adds to the momentum of the movement we are creating.  So one person, standing in clarity, creates the pathway for this force which turns into quite a chain reaction and affects real, tangible, measurable change.

This is in gratitude for all the  families confidently choosing a homebirth and standing patiently in the midst of negative reactions from family, friends, and acquaintances, unwavering in their knowledge of what is best for them and their baby.  Thank you for standing in that place with me, for providing the momentum to affect a shift in the cultural norm of birth.

~thank you to all that stand with me, strengthening our cause

 

bloody show

mucus plug

bloody show

For all you UK folks, I’m not cursing a sitcom here.  I’m talking about the classic sign of impending labor.  Let’s just get this all cleared up. Towards the end of pregnancy the cervix becomes ripe (as we say in the biz) meaning it becomes very soft.  It takes on the consistency of butter that has been left to sit on the table all day.  It also begins to shorten, (effacement) and open (dilation).   As these changes occur, the mucous plug situated at the os (opening of the cervix) that protects your baby from infection entering the uterus during pregnancy often falls out.  It can look exactly as you may expect, a glob of mucous tinged with blood, or you may just see some pinkish spotting.  When this occurs toward the very end of pregnancy, it is no cause for alarm and can be taken as a sign that all is well and labor is near.  Its a rather welcomed sight for mom’s who are ready to meet their babies.  On the other hand, some moms do not see this sign at all and the mucous plug releases sometime during labor.  So there you have it…all you ever wanted to know about the bloody show, except how it got that name.

I do like the idea of cursing a sitcom that way, but never can remember to do it.

art of birthing

So someone asked me why I wanted to put together an art show representing natural birth…”why art” he said, “rather than any other means”  The answer to that flowed from me so easily, but I keep thinking about it and keep adding to it.

see me

see me

When a family learns they are expecting, there is this excitement, this indescribable feeling of anticipation, the deepest knowing that ones whole life and way of being in the world is shifting.  Its exhilarating, its sacred, its scary, and its deeply personal.

Its soul-stirring.

This shift evokes the most primal and ethereal connection to the most pure part of ourselves.  Natural, unmedicated birth at home nurtures all of it.  The connection to self, the desperate longings and the deepest stuffed away fears and insecurities.  Homebirth midwives bring out every feeling, emotion, fleeting thought, and pause on it…encouraging families to look at themselves, connect, grow and stay right there with everything that arises.  Birth brings one of the most intensely expressive moments in our lives.  Art gives us a way to connect to these moments, to communicate in a more primal way… to tap into the raw presence of human emotion exposed,  the essence of vulnerability that brings the palpable intensity of the moment.

So often, the rich, juicy, indescribably intense moments of birth are pushed aside, not honored, washed away.  After all, there’s no way to document that in the charts right? Its invisible.  Its the biggest thing in the room, but its invisible to most.  Art reaches across worlds and puts all that richness, the biggest part of birth, the soul-element, right there in front of us so we can see it.

~Art makes it visible

local families join us tomorrow for the TRUST BIRTH art exhibit https://www.facebook.com/events/314465728669165/

opening

enric huguet

Artisit Enric Huguet

During labor and birth, the mama is flooded with a potent cocktail of hormones that create the ecstasy and deep opening characteristic of natural childbirth.  Throughout pregnancy, our bodies develop more and more receptors for these hormones to act upon and so… once the baby releases the hormone to pour this cocktail for mama there is a dramatic response.

A deep opening.

Our bones aren’t definite and fixed, they are held together with ligaments that pay attention to the chemical messages that hormones are sending.  They open and move and respond beautifully to birth.   Just as a baby’s head is perfectly sutured, so is a mothers pelvis that has known the nuances of her baby since conception.

I recently had a conversation with a mama who was told her pelvis was not adequate.  Not adequate!?  Mama’s, if anyone ever tells you your pelvis is not “adequate”  insist on an uninterrupted trial of labor because your baby will determine adequacy, or better yet, just find a midwife.

You are not a forgone cesarean.