Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's take a closer look at IUDs.

Before I had my son, IUDs were just an unknown form of birth control in one of my sorority's songs from college.  Yes, we had a song about birth control, drinking, and boys.  Would you expect any less?  But after my son's birth in 2009, I went through a dark period.  I was medicated for postpartum depression and was treated by both a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.  When it was time for me to go back on birth control, I decided to talk to my doctor about all of my options.  I had tried a few different brands of the pill and even the patch before but I was looking for something that wouldn't make my already hormonally imbalanced body even worse. My doctor recommended ParaGuard.  Like all responsible physicians, my doctor gave me all the positive and negative sides of using ParaGuard.  And then like most patients, I made a decision, had the IUD inserted, and then obsessed about checking the strings, making sure it didn't pierce through my uterine wall or fall out, and that it wasn't poking my husband when we had sex.  I know, it's in my uterus and can't poke him but I was paranoid.

Anyway, now that I've had my IUD for over a year, I am starting to wonder why I didn't get one sooner.  I don't have to remember whether or not I took my pill, changed my patch on the right day, or pray to God that I don't get pregnant when I did forget.  I've also started to lose the weight I gained during my depressed period.  I gained weight when I went on the pill 13 years ago and I'm hoping that some of that will come off as well.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe IUDs could be the answer to our teen pregnancy epidemic.  Yes, they are expensive to have inserted but I'm sure there is some anti teen pregnancy group or government agency who is willing to raise funding for helping to pay for it.  It would definitely be an answer to the "too lazy or too irresponsible to remember my pill" excuse that some teens give.

For a recent article by NPR on IUDs click here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hospital Release of Your Placenta

If you are birthing at a hospital, you will find that the rules and regulations regarding the release of a healthy placenta will vary from one institution to another.  Some hospitals will release it immediately without a fuss and some have protocols about keeping placentas in pathology for anywhere from 5 to 15 days.  They do this in case the baby or mother gets sick at which point they would go back and autopsy the placenta to look for the source of infection or abnormalities.  However, the argument can be made that if the mother and baby are well enough to go home, then it should be fine to send the placenta home as well.   The following are some suggestions for navigating the system in general as well as some information on individual hospital policies.

Who and How to Ask

~ Talk to your care providers about your wishes before hand and write them in your birth plan.  Make it clear that you would like it to be released to you immediately.  If the hospital's policy is to keep it for longer than 2 or 3 days, make it clear that you want it to be frozen immediately and returned to you after the holding time is up.  You do not need to tell them what exactly you want your placenta for: "Personal Beliefs" should, legally, be reason enough and if you do chose to tell them, their personal beliefs should not stand in the way of your rights to your own organ. 

~ Frequently the doctors do not know what the hospital policy really is regarding placental release so you will need to clear everything with your nurse or the head nurse since they are the ones held responsible for where the placenta goes.  Sometimes though, your care provider may be willing and able to just sign off on your chart that you can have it released to you.

~ Make it very clear that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD IT BE TREATED WITH THE HARMFUL CHEMICAL FORMALIN OR FORMALDEHYDE!  If your placenta will be stored in the pathology department, then ask your nurse to clearly write your wishes on the outside of the placenta container so that there is no mix up.

~ When filling out your admission or pre-admission paperwork, pay attention to anything regarding "products of conception," "care of the afterbirth," or "products of birth."  By signing this, you are basically signing over your placenta to the hospital.  Instead, you may write "I do not consent" on that part of your paperwork.

~ The hospital may be more comfortable releasing your placenta if you have a "Release of Liability" waiver.  You can find one online or if you plan on using my services I can send one to you.

~ If your current hospital is not willing to release your placenta to you, you can think about switching to a different hospital with more open release policies or use a homebirth or birth center midwife instead.  Feel free to contact me for referrals.

~ As a latter resort, you might consider the threat of going to the media or to court or.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beautiful Cervix Project

 This is a photographic look at the cervix and how it changes during a menstrual cycle.  A doula and student midwife took photos of her cervix every day for an entire cycle to show the changes in the cervix and cervical fluid.  WARNING: These are actual photos of her cervix so if you are squeamish or easily offended, you might want to think twice before clicking on the link.

Beautiful Cervix Project Website

Meet Jennifer Hendrickson

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog.  I am a wife and mother living in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  My life's journey changed direction in 2009, after the birth of my son turned out to be not what I had expected.  After a long and eye opening challenge, I was inspired by my own doula to help other women in having the very best birth experience possible.

I provide labor doula and placenta remedies services to Southeastern Pennsylvania as well as Central/Southern New Jersey.  I look forward to working with you and meeting your new addition to your family.