Monday, June 27, 2011

VBAC in Arizona

Do you know that Arizona is one of only 4 states that prohibit Licensed Midwives from attending women who have a history of a cesarean birth? In Yavapai County there also are no hospitals that "allow" Vaginal Birth After Cesarean ( VBAC) This leaves women who have that history with 2 choices- neither of which are acceptable to many, many women, or to me. They can choose to submit to an unnecessary surgery, or they can birth their babies at home without the help of a trained attendant.
Think about it ! Is there any other situation in which a large group of people would be subjected to forced surgery , against their will, due to politics? We wouldn't stand for that. So why, during the time that should be such a positive life changing experience, do we accept this?
Many studies show that VBAC is safe. Many studies show that what is unsafe with VBAC is chemical induction - which happens in hospitals.
There are many who choose to have unattended homebirths. That is their right. But many of us just aren't there. I'm a midwife. I like to think that I have something to contribute to a birth, such as overseeing the normalcy of the process and the safety of Baby and Mom. Also, because of my experience I can just make the process a little easier sometimes .
..I like to imagine what would happen if the women who want VBACs in the hospital, would just show up in labor and refuse to sign the form consenting to cesarean delivery.
And if the families who choose to birth at home unattended because they feel that's the best choice they can make under these circumstances were to come forward and confront the state - along with the moms who submit to a repeat c-section because they feel that's their only choice.
We can do that, people. Now is the time.
Mail your letters to :
Will Humble
Director, Arizona Department of Health Services
150 N. 18th Ave
Phoenix AZ 85007
You can cc Thomas Salow, his Legal Advisor.
Everyone please write! Whether you have had a cesarean delivery or not, let your voice count. Even as a tax payer- unnecessary cesareans cost you! Thanks!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Introduction

Hello, all!

My name is Nicole, and I'm grateful to be part of this experience and have the opportunity to write for parents and birth workers in central Arizona. I'd like to take a few minutes to introduce myself to you all!

I moved here to Prescott Valley two years ago, but my journey into birth work started 3 years before that. I was 19 and woke up one morning after a vivid dream of giving birth on my living room floor. I was raised in a family where everyone gave birth in hospitals. I didn't even know that home birth was an option or that midwives existed any more, but I got out of bed and started researching that day.

I came into contact with a local midwife and started an apprenticeship with her. The depth of her wisdom and knowledge and the way she treated her clients was magical to me. But I was very young and had yet to start a family, so she kept me at arm's length, and I didn't gain any birth experience. Turns out, she was wise in doing that as well, since less than a year after I started my apprenticeship I became pregnant myself and put midwifery on the back burner. I recognize that being a midwife is a very intense calling, and I didn't feel I could be the kind of mother I wanted to be and also the kind of midwife I wanted to be while my children were small.

Even though I wanted a home birth more than anything, for a variety of reasons my daughter was born in a hospital. Her birth was difficult for me, and I had a lot of healing to do, emotionally and physically from it, but our story spurred me on and taught me a lot about supporting women in the child bearing year, in hospital and out.

I soon found that I couldn't stay away from birth work for long. I kept catching myself researching, I was always looking for another book on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or parenting. I still was unwilling to be on call all the time, but I wanted to be involved in the process, so I became a certified childbirth educator through Childbirth International.

A year later I lost a baby to ectopic pregnancy. And as tragic as it was for our family, I learned a lot from that too, about supporting loss and about compassion and the balance of life and death. In the end I am grateful for that experience as well.

When my husband's job brought us to Arizona I immediately began making connections in the birthing community, and lucky thing, too, because not long after moving here we conceived our son. I knew that having my baby at home was absolutely imperative for me, and so that's what we did. Paula supported our family as we brought our son into the world, and our birth workin' paths have continued to cross ever since, and I was flattered and thrilled when she invited me to blog with her!

And that's my journey into birth work, and how I got here today. Five years of studying, two very different birthing experiences, a loss, a move and an undying passion for helping mothers have the best experiences they can.

I look forward to writing for you guys!


~Nicole Hanson

Friday, June 10, 2011

My story

When I was having my first baby, at the age of 19, I read voraciously. I was consumed with my desire to do everything right for my baby. I had read about homebirth and midwifery, and I thought that was what I wanted. But after researching every avenue available to me (I even asked my doctor, LOL) I resigned myself to the fact that it was not an option for me in Prescott AZ in 1974. As was typical for me at the time, I just went with the flow and did what I could to have the best birth possible and focused on the positives. I had a naturall birth, which was pretty rare around here at that time. The doctor was new and she was supportive. She even allowed my husband to stay in the delivery room, although she was reprimanded for that. I had a nice labor-- 5 hours from start to finish, and the most beautifull baby ever born. I was very receptive to those love hormones, and I was sure that my child was the Christ child in female form. Nevermind the barbaric set up and procedures in the hospital at that time. I was proud of the way in which I had birthed my baby, and thrilled with my baby. My life was good.

During my second pregnancy, I became acquainted with neighbors who had all unassisted homebirths. I was asked to come babysit when their teenaged daughter gave birth, but instead I was the only one in the room with her, supporting her as she birthed her own baby.

That was such an amazing and powerful experience. She had such a long difficult labor, but she never questioned her own ability. When the baby was born, she called down to her mom to bring the placenta pail and a tub of warm water for the baby's first bath. She got up and sat on the pail and delivered her own placenta, then bathed and dressed her newborn little girl. She was evey bit as in love with her baby as I had been with mine. But no one was hovering over her as if she might harm her baby, make horrible parenting decisions, or interfere with her bond or breastfeeding.

I knew that I not only wanted births like that for my own children, I knew that I wanted that type of experience to be available to all moms in our community. The only difference was that I wanted assurance that everything was healthy and normal. I, too, have faith in God, but I believe that God has given us wisdom, that when used appropriately, provides for safety and
an empowering experience.

Up until the time that I went into labor with my son, my husband and were still undecided on what we would do. There was no midwife available, and we had talked about doing it ouselves. But we were at my parents' home in a snow storm and couldn't get home. We were unprepared. We went to the hospital and I gave birth 45 minutes after my first contraction. I have to say that at that time, this was new to us and we just weren't quite ready for a homebirth.

This time I had a different doctor. I don't like birth horror stories, so I'll pass on this opportunity to tell mine. Suffice it to say that on january first of 1977 I gave birth to another perfect child. A rolly-poly baby boy with thick black hair. I was in bliss.

A had not released any plans to mke better birthing an option. Within weeks, doors began to open for me that reaffirmed that midwifery would be my calling. I met a midwife and began assisting her. I met other students from near-by towns and we began studying together. A midwifery school opened in Tucson and with the help of my parents and husband, I enrolled. I got licensed. I've been attending homebirths since 1977, in one capacity or another :)

I have had 2 wonderful homebirths since then, and now, 10 grandchildren, most of them born at home.

My family has always been my life's blood. I'm passionate about family. But midwifery is my life's blood as well. I love feeling a part of the female experience. We are a sisterhood; at any time a woman is laboring, there are other women in other parts of our planet bringing in new life. That's a powerful and amazing connection. And we are also connected to the generations of women who have birthed before us.

I love being able to see a couple becoming a family. I love working with women and their partners during that process. Seeing a small family becoming a bigger family.

More than anything, I love seeing a woman connecting to her power, using her own intuition and wisdom, and her vulnerability, to birth her own baby. One woman said to me that when she got up the day after she gave birth, she stood in front of the mirror and looked into her own eyes. She was amazed to see a different woman than the one who had looked back at her the day before. I believe that every woman is changed for the better by becoming a mother.

Many women are so moved and changed by their own birth stories that they feel drawn to serve others by doing birth work. I love my work and am so blessed to do it. But if you take on this life, know - it's a life, not a career. And it seems at times that it can be a path with a bit of blood, sweat, and tears mingled with the joy and awe.

I am humbled by the women I serve, and full of gratitude for the families that invite me to share in their lives.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Well, welcome to my blog!  This is a new experience for me and a little bit intimidating, but I intend to have fun with this.  What will we talk about? Hmmm,.....Everything, especially but not always, pregnancy, birth and midwifery related.  Sometimes a little political, sometimes educational. Probably a lot of rambling, too. You'll just have to find out what goes on in the mind of this midwife.. And of course, I will welcome all of the input I can get. See you soon!

More information on me and my work.