Laurie Sachs Photography 305-5493
"Congratulations! I heard you're having a baby. What hospital are you going to use?"
When I first told family and friends that I was considering a homebirth under the guidance of a midwife and a labor doula, the general reaction was... shock. But not because they thought I wasn't up for a natural birth. "I didn't know you could even do that," said my sister.
Well, of course you can. And many women, in fact, are. The British Journal of Medicine even found that birth with a midwife was safer for both mom and baby (when pregnancies were uncomplicated), when compared to hospital birth. When you birth at home you're able to move around as you see fit. Surrounded by the people and things that bring you the most comfort, you can relax, eat, drink and labor on your own terms and in your own time, informed by your body's and baby's schedule.
Free to try a variety of positions, a mother who births at home usually feels more in control of the process, giving her the confidence to guide her baby into the world without the assistance of an epidural in her spine or medication in an IV. Portable birthing tubs set up easily, but aren't required. When the baby is out and the hard work is done, mom is able to rest in her own bed. There are no beeping monitors, hospital "roommates," florescent lights or nurse-shift changes to distract her from recovery and bonding. To the thousands of women who give birth at home each year in the US, homebirth is often considered, "birth as it was meant to, and should, be."
But homebirths aren't the only alternative to giving birth in a hospital. Last year marked the opening of the Santa Clarita Birth & Women's Health Center. SCV's only freestanding birth center boasts beautiful birthing rooms with hotel-like accommodations. Each contains comfortable beds and bedding, plenty of room for guests (your children are welcome to witness the birth of their sibling) and luxurious birthing tubs (ask Publisher Jeanna Crawford about her joyful, dramatically-pain-reducing experience in a birthing tub... I'm surprised we ever got her out!).
You can also have a more-natural birth at many hospitals. Local hospitals, like Henry Mayo, have worked hard to ensure that the families who choose a hospital birth are provided with options that increase comfort, encourage bonding and lead to breastfeeding success. If you feel most comfortable birthing in a medical setting, many labor doulas will accompany you to the hospital of your choice. There they can coach and assist you while you are under the care of your physician, providing massage, positions and guidance as you labor.
The Santa Clarita community is lucky to have a number of birthing professionals who are treasured for their incredible skill, gentle hands and loving hearts.
Yvonne Novak, CD, CLE of Doula with Love
Yvonne Novak, CD, CLE
Yvonne Novak, CD, CLE has worked as a birth doula for over 20 years, but it's not just two decades of experience that she brings to each labor. "I bring two extra hands and a loving heart," says Yvonne. She also totes essential oils, which she uses in what has been described by her mothers as a "heavenly massage" that reduces pain and brings a welcome calm to her mommies in labor. In addition to serving women in the capacity of doula, Novak provides eight-week group and private classes focusing on natural birthing, breastfeeding, postpartum and newborn care. (Call for the next start date.) Says Yvonne, "I bring every mothering instinct I have ever known to a stranger's birth and translate it into skills that will give her the best possible memory of her baby's arrival into this world." 433-0237 or 254-2069
Laura DeSesa, CLD of Mother's Wellness Doula Service
Laura DeSesa, CLD has been working as a labor doula for over five years and has worked over 150 births (and has never missed one!). Her philosophy of "empowerment through education and support" make her an essential resource for expectant moms. Says DeSesa, "Women have fought for choices, and what's right for one woman is not right for all women. I support mothers no matter how they choose to give birth." She encourages moms to meet with her when they are between three and six months along in their pregnancy. "I visit them in their homes, in the environment where they are most comfortable." A mother of three, Laura provides more than support during labor (at home, in the hospital or at a birthing center). She also visits after the birth to assist with breastfeeding and provide guidance to new families. 323-251-9700 www.motherswellnessdoula.com
Renee Sicignano, LM, CPM of Renee the Midwife at Santa Clarita Birth & Women's Health Center
Renee Sicignano, LM, CPM
Renee Sicignano, LM, CPM is a California Licensed and Certified Professional Midwife. She has been assisting mothers have their babies since 1999. In 2002, Renee became the lactation consultant for the City of Los Angeles. She has won several national and local awards for her corporate lactation program and has logged over 5,000 hours as a lactation consultant. She opened the Santa Clarita Birth & Women's Health Center, located at 25050 Peachland Avenue, Suite #170, in Newhall last year. Renee's skill and dedication have made her the first choice SCV mothers who desire the comfort, security and care that birthing at home, or at a designated center brings. "I support women from conception through weaning," says Renee. The Santa Clarita Birth & Women's Health Center offers classes and seminars on childbirth, breastfeeding and more. 254-3000