Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Birth Story

My birth story although it is my second birth it is a rebirth to motherhood and a very different experience from my first which was a hospital birth. It begins on Jan 10 about 10 pm.  I had small contractions I was so excited I couldn’t get much sleep but knew that I needed to so I rested a bit. 

Jan 11, I woke up early and at 7am began losing my mucus plug.  YEAH my baby is almost here! I called my doula Maria Teresa and texted a few sisters from Ticicalli Yahualli. Slowly my contractions became more frequent and I began freaking out because I didn’t have much food and my partner Alex was at work.  I called him frantically saying, he needed to get all I needed so I wouldn’t be worried during the birth.  He came as fast as he could.  He and our friend Reyna left to buy all that was on my list while my older daughter Echeri and I stayed home waiting.....and waiting. They were taking too long and I began to worry.

I thought; “What if they got in a car accident?  or "What if they are in jail?"  (don’t ask) "No they are ok they will be here soon," and "Don’t worry”  But I worried and my contractions that were once flowing forward just stopped.

Jan 12, I organized my room and tried to take my mind off the fact that my contractions had stopped.  My daughter and I went for a walk to visit Reyna.  We had a pleasant day outdoors a typical warm winter day in Southern Cali.  The sun kissed my belly and the cool wind caressed it. My partner came home early I took a long bath and watched the full moon.

Friday the 13th 12am my contractions resumed after they had stopped a full day.  I couldn’t sleep again but took good naps yesterday so I wasn’t tired.  Everyone was sleeping and it was cold.  I watched my partner and Echeri  cuddling each other, I couldn’t wait for the morning sun and to finally meet my new baby. 

3am my water began to trickle down.  I wrote words of affirmation in my womb journal:
“This crazy child of mine will probably be born today defying the world bad luck my ass Friday the 13th is good luck lucky 13.  I trust my body, my baby and the universe”
As soon as my partner woke up I told him, “Please get rid of Echeri I’m in labor and she’s too much right now”  He took her to Reyna’s house, we wanted Echeri to see the birth of her sibling but she is very sensitive so we could not have her with me the whole time.  My doula and Ticicalli Yahualli sister Maria Teresa arrived early and began making me food and teas... Yummy laboring moms need nourishment for energy! My partner and I stayed in our dark warm room we had candles and copal burning and music playing.  We danced, massaged, prayed, and talked to my new seed; and I sang a few rancheras... Pedro Infante is a must at my birth.

More helped arrived Panquetzani and Itzix came and gave us new energy more food and encouraging words.  I was really happy to be in such calm and positive energy.  Two amazing sisters so different but incredible in their own way.  Maria calm and quiet just her smile, touch or when she danced with me, gave me strength.  Panquetzani reminded Alex my partner to give me water, massage me and love me.  She also gave me words of encouragement at times when I felt it was too much and her soft voice singing rancheras made me I wasn’t alone in this battle I was with my sisters and all my relations they gave me strength. I thought this time would be easier and sooner but it felt like it took forever having one day stalled.  It wasn’t easier! The pain was different but it still hurt...My sacred ceremony, my battle, my sacrifice...It’s what I give to my children to give them life. The pain is ok, I could take it and I am not alone.. 

My partner kept suggesting I sleep poor thing he was tired but I kept saying I couldn’t...until someone else suggested it of course.  My sisters put me on my side and encouraged me to try to sleep between contractions.  I did and a few minutes after I felt a thump in my vagina, I got up quick and ran to the foot of the bed.  I felt the contractions hug my baby hug every piece of  feet , was both amazing and overwhelming.  I was freaking out and started to panic I had never felt this before my womb hugging my semilla’s womb guiding me telling me where the baby was what my baby was! I kept yelling “The baby’s coming! The baby’s coming!”  In that moment of panic Panquetzani said “It’s ok your body will know what to do.” I closed my eyes and I felt the baby swim down and slipped into her father’s hands...then I guess she slipped out because I heard a cry and dad was panicking that he dropped the that’s the last time I trust him to catch a baby....but no harm done baby was fine. She was tiny but looked exactly like her big sis mini version.
Then we all sang lullabies and songs to welcome you into the world. We called Reyna and Sammy to bring Echeri.  She came when her sister was still attached, she was overwhelmed and started to cry but then when I birthed the placenta she was painting with the blood laughing enjoying her new sister and the loving company around us.We had a Birthday party with art, music, food and sisterhood.

 Happy Birthday my little warrior Meztli Xeni Kali sleep tight with the full moon shining on you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What should really be on your baby registry?  

As a new mother it may be overwhelming to go to stores and view the recommend items to select for your baby registry, I know it was for me.  If you speak to the employees of these stores that help you set up the registry they make you believe you need almost everything in there.  How can you survive without a wipey warmer? If you ask friends and family members (especially those without children) some might say you need everything, babies drain your money, and you should buy all the cute stuff in the store. Your mother  might say you should put blankets, onesies, pj's, and diapers.  Ok yeah shes on the right track...

So what do you really need on your baby registry? When asking this question to approximately 40 mothers and fathers coming from various economic backgrounds, this is what the majority of them said:
Items that to put on your registry:
  • Disposible diapers (if you are going the disposible way)
  • Disposible wipes (fragrance- free)
  • Convertible car seat that may be used for infants and toddlers
  • Breast pump (handheld) even if you are a stay at home mom you may need in case of an emergency or sore nipples.  electric if you are unable to be with your baby because of work and/or school.  
  • Bottles (BPA free)
  Items that you can get used:
  • Cloth diapers (can also be used as burp cloths and for infant potty training) 
  • Cloth diaper covers the one size fits all 
  • Wash cloths (you may use them to clean spit ups and use as wipey
  • Small potty for the toddler years and if you go the infant potty training route
  • Stroller that folds easily and is not too bulky especially if you don't drive. ( Chicco is an affordable recommended brand.) 
  • Swaddle blankets 
  • Vibrating chair or the baby swing
  • Baby wearing item such as rebozo, wrap, sling, backpack carrier, etc. ( i.e., Ergo, Maya and Moby)                                                                                                                             
  • Clothes:  onesies, socks, shirts, pants these are better to buy used since babies outgrow them in a month or two until they get to 12 months. Gowns are essential the first few months because you may easily change their diapers without bothering them much
  • Play pen or baby seat so they may be entertained with a few toys while you do something but try not to overuse them 
  • Foodmill you can make your food anywhere you go
  • Boppy or any other type of breastfeeding pillows ( or you can use firm pillows)
Items you should not put on your registry:
  • Crib especially if you are breastfeeding because it is a drag to get up and feed your child
  • Bathrobe although super cute you don't really use it when you have to change the baby fast
  • Shoes yes they are adorable but babies do not have any use for them, maybe a few for special occasions otherwise they are a waste
  • Wipe warmer
  • Infant car seat  you use it for such little time and they are pricey
  • Diaper changing table another thing that sounds cool and is probably better than folding your spine but for some reason most people said they hardly used and just put dirty clothes on top of it
  • Walker it has been proven it does not really help children walk and might even negatively affect their development

You may add some other minor stuff but these are the essential items that were most talked about. As you can see you do not really need all that much stuff.  My childbirth education teacher Julie Freitas said "Don't stress too much on having all that baby stuff all babies really need is a few clothes, the food is in you and they can sleep in a clothing drawer they don't mind". These words were on my mind while doing the registry for my second baby  All babies want is to drink your milk not have a dirty diaper and to be held and loved everything else is not too important to them.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maternidad La Luz Report Back

My Journey to Maternidad La Luz 2012

Tuesday July 24th, 2012
  1.  I initiated my raw cleanse and juicing fast.
  2. I received a Facebook message urging me to call Maternidad la Luz due to possible closing down of school.
  3. I headed over to The Community Birth Center to hear Kathryn Hall- Trujillo from Birthing Project USA.
On this day I felt an earthquake shake my reality, and force me to be present with the energy waves that Mama Earth has been sending me. This day represents an initiation that led me to purging out physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional toxins. Thus, helping me to create space for new beginnings, abundance, self-love, and freedom. I was determined to cleanse for as long as I needed to in order to further my healing process. Days went on, some were good, some weren't, and sometimes I felt a little crazy. In one week I had the opportunity to meet with 3 wise womyn healers, who all told me to " follow your heart," and, " if you don't follow your heart you are going to get sick," and  just let go," and " you can do it."

So this is exactly what it did, I followed my heart! In less than a week, I called the school, messaged my friend, bought my bus ticket, spoke my truth, listened to my sisters, and headed to El Paso Texas to visit Maternidad La Luz. This is how I celebrated the Full Moon in August.

In my heart I felt that  by freeing myself, letting go, and surrendering to this process, I was able to make a decision that will forever change my world. For a long time I had contemplated the idea of becoming a midwife, but felt comfortable with doula-ing, providing womb wellness support, and sharing sacred space with sisters. My heart, my dreams, my visions, my ancestors,  my community, all kept reminding me of my need to be a midwife.

So, on the greyhound I sat with grandma Moon, and I confronted my ego, fears, and any negative emotions that kept me walking around the idea of actually pursuing midwifery. It's almost silly to say this, but I have actually been afraid of the very same power that I carry, my birth right, and my calling as a healer. I had to let it go, and this is how this trip became possible. Looking out at the window and seeing grandma Moon by my side, providing illumination was comforting. That night I swear I saw two Moon's right next to each other.

After a 15 hour bus ride on the greyhound  (on a budget), I arrived to El Paso. My friend, indigenous midwife, mother, and healer Sandra Iturbe came to pick me up with her warm and loving yolotzin. We spent the day relaxing sharing our journeys as indigenous womyn of color( WOC) pursing midwifery, El Paso, Ticicalli, community organizing, and ceremony. We shared about the cultural and racial disparities in  birth working community (and in the world) the isolation, the lack of opportunities for people in our community, and for ourselves, and the luxury that now it takes to practice the ways of our ancestors.I was blessed to get the 411 on Maternidad la Luz, and was excited to begin my 24 hour shift the next day.

Thursday morning I arrived to Maternidad la Luz, at 7:30 am. What I felt was surreal! My visualizations that I had about walking into the birth center where coming true, and I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. When I first came in I saw a mother and her daughter waiting patiently for the clinic to open. It triggered a feeling of gratitude that I have for the courage it took for my mother to birth me. I was so happy that I sent a text message to community in L.A. letting them know of my  sudden arrival.
My shift started with coming together in a circle with the students, the midwives, and staff. I was honored to introduce myself and represent Ticicalli, my community in L.A., and my ancestors. Everyone had such loving and welcoming energy. Within 30 minutes of my shift starting, a laboring mama rushed into the birth center as her journey was transitioning into birthing her baby. She had intended to have a water birth, but didn't make it on time to get to the birth tub. In just 10 minutes upon her arrival,  she birthed her baby boy, and I got to witness light coming into this world. I was filled with joy, and could not help to tear up, birth always makes me feel emotional. As soon as we left the room, the birth team dispersed and went about their day. Before I even finished processing, I found myself shadowing a student midwife in post-partum appointments, pre-natal appointments, helping to translate (spanish is a plus), and getting to know the culture at Maternidad La Luz. 

My mind played tricks on me as I kept thinking about my shift being 24 hours, and how this is what I would be getting myself into if I come to this school. I kept thinking about whether or not I was going to have enough food, and if I would get cranky at some point because of lack of sleep. Soon the clinic closed, and we continued to work by cleaning, filing, and finishing up any last minute work. Everyone was thrilled because it was a slow day, and prayed that they for once would get sleep. Maternidad La Luz is usually a fast paced birth center. Sometimes several women go into labor
at once,and fill up the small house like birth center.

The night went on and I had a hard time sleeping. All the spaces upstairs where taken, and I ended up staying in the purple room. Throughout the night 2 laboring womyn came into the birth center. One  in active labor,  had to transfer to the hospital because the baby was premature, and the other mama was only 2cm. In the purple room I was able to get rest, while I enjoyed my last hours at Maternidad La luz.

The Sun guided a new day, a new beginning, centered, I felt blessed in receiving clarity about my path as a midwife. How much more did I need? Well being here at Maternidad La Luz made it real to me that this is the place that I need to be. It also was a reality check that my socio-economic status is a major factor as to why I haven't enrolled into a midwifery program sooner. I left the school filled with tears, was full of anger, and sadness as I was reminded of my history.

On my way back home, sitting with the moon, I cried thinking about how in the world will I come up with $13,500. Money that I need to cover the costs of tuition, living expenses, books,  and food. You see Maternidad la Luz is a private school that doesn't offer any kind of financial aid, or loan program. Most midwifery programs don't provide any financial aid making it almost impossible for woc to pursue this "profession."However they do provide a WOC scholarship once a year.$13,500 is of course is what I'll need if I get the WOC scholarship which covers most of the tuition. A much larger number if I don't, but not including in this post. My sister and member of Ticicalli Yahualli Panquetzani called me, and was able to calm me down. I listened to her words, as she said " everything will fall into place,"  and " money will come around." We then started to strategize and was filled with hope. Achieving the impossible can be somewhat discouraging, a challenge that I am willing to take on.

I sit here and begin the application process to enter in the Spring quarter of March 2013. Money should never be a reason to make anyone cry, or discourage anyone from taking action. Although it's been my community's reality for many generations, I choose to transmute this energy and do whatever it takes to earn this money ( in a moral way). I will save money, take extra jobs, fund-raise, and most importantly pray that abundance comes my way, and in the lives of my community. This work is dedicated to my unborn children, seven generations backward, and seven generations forward.

I now birth myself as a community midwife.
In Xalapa 2011 where I surrendered to my path as a midwife.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Baby Led Weaning

Yesterday, I went to WIC office to pick up food vouchers and was hoping to talk to someone about the breastfeeding weaning process. My goal was to breastfeed my daughter for a year. She is about to be 15 months old and I am starting to feel it is time to get informed on the process. I am usually attended by a woman and they are really great at answering my questions about my daughter's nutrition. This time I was seen by a male. He seemed to be a bit uncomfortable with answering my question about child-led weaning breastfeeding. He stumbled and began to say that I would need to put my foot down about it.

Maybe my facial expression was obviously telling him I was not convinced so he asked a front desk attendant about it. She began to tell me she is going through the same thing with her baby and was advised not to co-sleep with her child anymore. I thanked her for sharing. It became clear I would need to keep searching for more resources.

My intuition tells me that this process is not just about Tzintia's nutrition. The process is an emotional one. Our attachment ritual does not have to end but will need to transform into something that still mutually provides the affection and bonding that nursing does. I'm not sure exactly how to go about the process but I know I will need to be gentle, creative and take it one day at a time.

The breastfeeding experience can be difficult but it is such a rewarding experience. The weaning process also requires for me to let go of seeing my tzintia as my baby. I feel as though it's the begining of letting go as a parent. Something that we must do little by little to let them grow into their blessings and choose their paths little baby steps at a time. I look forward to learning about breastfeeding education and being a peer counselor because there seems to be a need for these kinds of resources and education

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meet Sarita

Sara Martin is a mother, artist, writer and jewelry artisan. She became inspired by her daughters birth to be a postive healing force for wombyn in the pregnancy journey, birth and postpartum. Sara believes in the power of autonomous self-healing through art, writing and working with medicine allies such as crystals, animal totems, dreams and herbs. Sara enjoys creating self-healing workbooks and tools and is currently devising a zine series about journeys into sacred wombynhood. Sara is studying to become a certified child birth educator as well as birth and postpartum doula. Sara aspires to be a community midwife and herbalist as her grandmother practiced in Jalisco, Mexico. 

Get to know Sarita on her blog:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Benefits of Natural Childbirth

No bodily harm, or unnecessary interventions during birth
*Shorter labor with less need for interventions (internal fetal monitor, continuous monitoring, IV, catheter, etc.,)

Feeling your body's reflexes during natural childbirth results in more effective and faster pushing. Studies show that getting an epidural prolongs pushing time.

The epidural slows down labor, which means you are more likely to be given a pitocin drip (uterine stimulant) to speed up contractions. These contractions are so strong and close together that you have little time to recover between them, allowing less oxygen to reach the fetus. This could damage your baby’s brain cells and possibly lead to neurological problems.

Epidurals increase the chance of fever, which increases the likelihood antibiotics will be prescribed.

*Lower Cesarean rate

* Baby can latch on better and more quickly for breastfeeding moms

Research shows babies are more alert and more quickly engage in pre-breastfeeding behaviors (sucking, rooting, massaging mother's breasts) and nurse longer within the first 90 minutes.

*When your baby arrives undrugged she is much more active, alert, coordinated and reactive to her environment. Drugged babies can hardly move.

*Quicker, easier recovery for mother and baby. Less tearing of the perineum. No risk of prolonged pain from botched epidural or Cesarean wound.

Usually, your appetite is normal and you eat right away.

* Mother is in control of her body and can use instinct to birth the baby. Labor pains instruct the mother to seek ideal positions for relieving pain and facilitate rotation and descent of the baby’s head.

Unmedicated women may move freely, use the bathroom and shower, walk, and change positions throughout labor.

According to the Cochrane Review, studies show that getting medication makes changing positions difficult even after birth.

*Better for your baby 

Endorphins secreted during natural childbirth have been found in the placenta and umbilical cord. This may help the baby’s transition from the womb and make the birth experience more comfortable for your baby.

*No risk of long-term negative developmental or behavioral effects on the baby.
No risk of long term effects of drugs on the baby’s development or behavior such as ADHD or autism, or other learning disabilities.

*No risk of permanently damaging your child’s brain with toxic drugs.

*Less chance of damage to baby’s brain due to drugs or misused forceps or vacuum

*Less chance of bodily harm to baby from vacuum extraction

*Baby is less fussy.
Natural birth facilitates bonding

*Shorter hospital stay

*You can bond more easily with your baby  

 *It is safe.

*You are practicing a sacred rite of passage, you will feel empowered and strong!

*You will be able to hold your baby immediately after birth.

*It’s more affordable!

Birth is a sacred ceremony, a trance that brings life into the tangible world. 
Compiled by Ticicalli Yahualli  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meet Martha

Martha Escudero is a mother, Indigenista, Certified Mental Health Rehabilitation worker, and a LDIRs in health graduate. She is DONA trained as a birth doula, and is attaining her certificate as a Childbirth Educator.  With her BA in Gender, Ethnicity and Multicultural Studies, she has volunteered in food justice, mental health, women’s reproductive health, and youth, and prisoner advocacy work.  She believes birth is normal and natural, and enjoys helping women find the mind-womb connection, to help them achieve their ideal birth.

Update: Martha is not accepting births, as she just free birthed her beautiful baby girl last month. Birth story will be posted soon!