And Thats How You Have A Vaginal Breech Delivery in Houston To hear Angela tell it, her baby called me to him as her doula, crafting the perfect birth team. And later he called the perfect doctor to him, because if the stars and moon had not lined up just so, this birth would of had a way different ending. Angela is a gifted meditation teacher, and she co~teaches with her horse Takoda, so we hit it off well and I was pumped to be her doula. Her husband Tracey wasn’t quite as sold in the beginning on me as the best doula fit, but in the end it took all key players and I was super glad that i had landed this doula gig. Thank you Tracey for taking a chance with me. On Thursday morning during an ENOURMOUS storm like we get in Houston, I started getting texts that A’s water was leaking, mild contractions. She was 39 weeks, first baby, and I seriously was like we have at least another two weeks, just go back to sleep, its the storm and just probably vaginal goodge in over drive. Two hours later I get a phone call from her hubs, and he’s like, “Uh no Rowan, this is strong.” So we strategize a plan cause by now we are gonna need an ark to get to the medical center, and they are an hour away, but this papa is a TEXAS STUD and he assures me that he can get her to the hospital in his Texas sized truck. So I’m all like, well, could you come pick me up? Because I’m pretty sure the Metro Rail does not have submarine capacity and my Honda Element is pretty low, and Rock Steady says, “sure, see ya.” They swing by and get me, and Angela is working hard in the front seat of the truck, and I am NOT DIGGING AT ALL the way her belly looks, but when I try to crawl over into the front seat of the big truck she says,” DONT TOUCH ME ROWAN!!!” which from this lady was some strong words. So I sat back nicely into my chair. Hubs drops Mama A and I at the front door of the hospital in the med center, and these crazy town valets are all like “SIT DOWN!” and keep telling us we need a wheel chair, and then again a transport aide accosts us and tell us we NEED a wheel chair, that she has to SIT DOWN, to which I pretty much tell them to step off, I have it handled. Contractions are coming every two minutes or so, and she is doing so well, and also telling me she’s ready for this to be over. Oh, and that she doesn’t want to sit down. I snag her a wheel chair, sling all our stuff in it, the wheel chair stabilizes her walking, and gives her something to hold onto during contractions (I locked the wheels), and she reiterates that for serious she does not want to sit down. We run into PJ the Placenta Picker Upper in the lobby, and I let her know we’ll be needing her soon. A couple of detours later we end up in triage, hubs catches up with us, and right before she gets checked, I suggest she grab a pee. I go in with her to the bathroom, and she’s getting sweaty and red faced and frankly I’m concerned because this woman has been so smooth and quiet and surreal in her calmness, and now she’s getting a little erratic. When she sits her undies reveal a black tarry mess, baby poop, so I grab the midwife and reassure Angela that we need to let the midwife see this. The midwife gets her onto the bed, and I can tell by the check that 1) something’s up and 2) that baby is real LOOOOOOOW. Midwife calls for an ultrasound, and a quickie reveals that baby is breech, and that the midwife had in fact felt a bum. Hospital policy is all breech births are surgical births, so we are quickly running down the hallway to the elevator for the next floor, the surgical floor. I’m running after grabbing all the bags including the midwifes (yes, I accidentally stole her purse) and whispering in Tracey’s ear that the only slim chance in hell we have for a vaginal birth is if an experienced doctor is the back up and will allow it. No such luck, newer totally awesome doctor is the doc on call. Staring down the gun of a C Section. We get in the surgical prep suite, and y’all its a tiny tiny room and there are like 5-8 people in there, and now mama is saying, “Its burning!!!’ and the midwife is encouraging her not to push and keeping her hand close by, and that’s when the midwife says, “I think we are going to probably have a general anesthesia, it’s to late for an epidural.” Y’all, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look into the eyes of this beautiful, effervescent woman after the fact and tell her that if she had just pushed her baby out in that OR prep room that she could of avoided a general anesthesia surgical birth. So I’m all shaking, standing next to her, and I put my lips to her ear and say, “You still have choices. If you don’t want a surgical birth, push.” And there is pretty much no part of me that didn’t think that bad ass midwife couldn’t deliver this baby. And I’m right here, happy to assist. The midwife, by the way, didn’t like me saying this at all. And said, “What are you telling her Rowan?” to which I replied, “That she has choices, but she’s gotta own them.” So now Angela is saying, “My baby’s ok? Why are we doing this? Why am i getting a c-section?!!!!” and the nurse starts yell-telling her that she has an unproven pelvis, that the baby’s head could get entrapped, and is over talking everyone else. I get it, it’s an excitable moment. So now Angela is yelling, “I don’t want a c-section, I can do it, I can do it, my baby’s ok, I can do it,” and then the sea of people parts and a kind faced older doctor who immediately brings a sense of peace and calm to the room walks in. And by older I mean more my age as opposed to my adult children. The doc looks at mama for a long moment, and then the midwife, who says, “Small baby, right here, roomy pelvis,” and stands back and looks. And looks. “I can do it, I can do it!” More looking. And then after a small eternity doc says, “I’ll deliver vaginally if you only listen to me,” and Angela looks at her husband, says, “What do you think?” to which Rock Steady replies, “I think you should push our baby out.” Lets just think about this for a minute. It is totally hitting the fan, and everyone is either telling you that your baby’s head is gonna get stuck in your wife’s vag or something else might go really wrong, and he says, “Push our baby out.” He was educated, he’d read the books, gone to class, but mostly, he believed in his wife. He believed in his wife. That was stronger than all the circus going on around them. #RockSteady So now it’s really crazy town in there, because we need to get her off the surgery transport bed and onto a different bed, one that breaks down for delivery. She gets moved over, Rock Steady on one side, me hand holding and leg holding on the other side, and midwife and Miagi doctor coach her to push against closed mouth, pressed lips. Out of her vagina comes a blue scrotum, and all I can think of is that OF COURSE this man has a baby that’s born balls first. Sheesh. Then we have a little tush, and Papa says to Mama, “Boo, I see him, I see our baby!” with a little hitch in his voice and it was so sweet. Next a torso and then some legs that are STICK STRAIGHT and kinda kicking/goose stepping, and when only the head remains and the anxiety is through the roof and it is WALL TO WALL people, like really think a Black Friday rush at the electronics store, Angela says, “I’m tired, I can’t push anymore!” Panic at the disco. Seriously, the energy of the room was like flames from a Nasa rocket at blast off. Anxiety to the max. I think to myself, no way sister, one more push and she’s gonna have a baby in her arms, so I encourage her to have one more strong push, push hard with a closed mouth, and pop, out comes the baby! A little cheer goes out, but its kinda subdued, so somewhere between a golf clap and a tennis cheer, because everyone who wasn’t busy in all of Houston is now in this room, and we are all AMAZED at this woman and her husband, and the doctor and midwife. Baby and mama and papa are cooing and loving up, and he’s on her chest and pinking up, and I can see where his little foot has been up by his ear, his legs jutting out like little sticks. At one point the doctor tells me to put her leg down, which I had completely forgotten I was even holding, and starts to address the placenta. I look over at the midwife, and mouth one word,” Fuuuuuuuck,” because as she says “The stars and moon aligned, and we got a magical birth,” and I don’t even know who Dawn is, but I want to kiss her on the mouth. Why? Because the doctor, the one doc of a small pool who even has breech delivery privileges at this hospital, who somehow happened to be on another floor, was called by Dawn, and told what was going on. THANK YOU! She maybe doesn’t want a kiss from a queer doula, but I officially from now until the end of time super heart her. #LOVEFOREVAH The best description I have for the doc comes from Rock Steady, who said, “That doc, he was just as cool as the other side of the pillow.” You got that right. Thank you Tracey, Angela and baby Garner for inviting me to the party. I’m a better person for being there. #gratitude. Wanna know more about Rowan’s doula services? http://doulamatch.net/profile/12605/rowan-twosisters
Well, that was scary as shit.
My #WCW Karen Waldrond was caught in the waters, like super close to my house. Sorry I couldn’t come to the rescue, Karen, I was all busy being caught in the East End. And seriously, the only reason I had made it that far was because I had just seen Mad Max, so that and my latent EMS driving skills had me slinging my dog bus all over the road. Thank you Furiosa! AAAAND, Here is pretty much the funniest flooding post I may have ever seen from a former student now friend. #GAWD
and the workshop schedule is banging right along. Need to learn about Labor Whispering? No probs. https://laborwhispering.eventbrite.com Need to learn how to give a prenatal massage that doesn’t suck? No problem. Getting your shiz together and making decisions on the super easy? no prob. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-desire-map-workshop-tickets-15424125976 We got this. Lets all keep breathing.
I met somebody this past weekend while I was in NYC. Behold Maria, as in MariaWander.com. Like, she’s a closet designer for some fancy store that I can’t remember because the star factor overwhelmed me and I silently began to weep with envy when she casually mentioned it. Weep. She was all busy spinning fiber into lace weight yarn and I, embarrassingly enough, had brought my knitting some yarn, a pattern and 4 double pointed, size 5 knitting needles so I could try, yet again, to make some Baby Boobie Beanies for one-on-one labor whispering session prezzies. It’s bad, right? So I’m all dragging my stuff out, and trying to chew through the yarn with my teeth when Maria hands me some scissors, obviously pumped that a fellow fiber artist is at the table. I try to tell her gently, “Sorry Maria, I suck,” to which she says, “You get better at knitting by knitting.” Oh, right then, so it’s ok to suck, it’s just not ok to give up. Keep trying, to improve the effort in both art, business and, of course, in birth. I could actually add parenting in here, well, most anything, really. In labor it means that each contraction is a new opportunity to turn a challenge into healing, whatever that looks like for you. In postpartum, it may mean knowing you will figure out what your bebe’ is communicating, what do do about it, and knowing that this intense period will pass, oh yes it will. My Rowan practical application of Don’t Give Up, Just Keep Knitting in this moment looks like assessing where my Labor Whispering; Mapbook for Mamas project will go from here. I’m super clear on what I did right, on who loves me and has my back. I’m also clear on who thought this was worthy of investing in, and a special thank you to my loves who were ready to bust out a check book and write big checks with zeros behind them so that I could make the goal. Big love to all of you, my heart breaks open. With Love. What I don’t like about my Labor Whispering; Mapbook for Mamas campaign is: 1) how I come across in the video, 2) my hair, and 3) the stale energy. And that’s no fault of the director, because this would have been hideous and I could never have even stepped into the ring without her help and assistance. But it’s true, I don’t dig it. At All. This has totally slowed my roll, and I wonder if I recognized this as it was going down, or if I’m only seeing it in retrospect. So, I’m reviewing my birth story for Labor Whispering; MapBook For Mamas. Examining the painful parts, rejoicing in what went well. And loving all the folks who helped from start to finish, the clappers, the cheerers and the project doulas who walked the journey with me. And really, the love I feel? I am the lucky one. So, I love you tremendously, and let’s see where we will go with this next. XOXOXOX, Rowan
Scarry Scarry night, mix your colors blue and grey, was part of an awesome song named Vincent by Don McLean, check it out:
Stars are cool, scars, not so much.* Especially if they are there after surgery, restricting your range of motion, keeping your body sore and tender, perhaps reinforcing a sense of failure. Good News! You can work them out, some of it is as simple as using a kid’s toy. And in our mission to teach folks how to heal themselves our first tutorial is for dudes who have had breast tissue removed, specifically for dudes having a transgender experience. Not you? Thats cool, pass it along to someone who is. Recovering from a surgical birth? Same info applies, it’s just a switch of the location of the real estate. Heres a quick tutorial on healing your scars. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgf55IwMqoU XO to the max, Rowan and posse P.S.: Sometimes scars are hot, like have you met my friend Bethany?
Albus Dumbledore has a bunch going on until, well, you know. But, before that, he used a neato thing called a pensieve.
Me and Albus, we tight, and we the same in that we have a bunch going on in the noodle at all times. ALL times. All TIMES. Feeling me on this one? And with all the crap that rolls around in my head, I can say what has helped me keep this head together is my journal.
I started when I was 15 years old, and a photographer that came and spoke to my El Paso High School English class said she always carried two things in her bag besides the normal pursy type stuff. Camera, and Journal. Duly noted. So, since I’ve been 15, I’ve been writing, glueing, markering and documenting whats in my head. Almost daily some years, only in times of complete fucking crisis in others. I’d say today it’s almost every other day. And today my perfect journal looks like this on the outside.
The quote says “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” -anon Any other somewhat daily writers out there? How often are ya writing? tell me whats up in the comments. XO, Rowan
Shadowlands Intense times, that’s what’s been going on over here. I’ve been navigating the darker parts of my soul, looking for gold in the dark roots of my soul that I’m not always friends with. Feeling scared, anxious, upset, and moody as a mofo. And I wanna say right here how much I thank my partner, my seeester, my family and the friends who love me like they are family. Cause we are. Thank you for your support during this intense time.
I don’t know if it’s a response to the changing times (2012!!) or if I just decided to really excavate my dark corners, looking for healing and ways to support others on the journey, but challenge is what I have. And I grace and compassion hasn’t always been by my side while I walk this path. Last Wednesday was a total fail in this regard. The areas I’m working on most strongly are financial literacy and health (agh, money shame and releasing myself from the crappy belief that healers aren’t prosperous, um hello, not true.) Another area of focus is always coming at an issue with an open heart and no hidden agenda. (Thank you to marriage for helping me look at this with an unblinking eye.) My friend Merilee (artist , future Punk Rock Hoop Instructor and famous person) says that she asks herself in times of conflict that if she was coming from a place of peace and love, what would her response be?
Thats so good let’s hear that again; Merilee says that she asks herself in times of conflict that if she was coming from a place of peace and love, what would her response be? This mantra is a compass, guiding back to where ease and open hearts rule. A place I want to be. And if you wanted to take it up a notch, my teacher Danielle used this space to advocate for a peaceful conflict resolution. I aspire. So leave me a comment, tell me what you are working on, the deep parts of you. Be brave and name them. I got ya. We got ya. All in this together. xo, Rowan
Hey Loves~ I just returned from the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, and you know what kept me calm? Hooping and a bindi on my heart.
For me, when I have on a bindi, (found on Amazon, of course!) on my heart, then I have this beautiful marker on a tender point. It serves as a reminder to listen with my heart, give the benefit of the doubt, and to not take things so personally. If you need one when you come in, tell me and I’ll get you fixed right up. Other exciting news is someone I greatly admire has joined up to Team Urban Curandera to help with some of the technical back end. Hellooooooo Alejandra!
Bindi on heart! Love for the win, Xo Rowan
18 Tricks & Tips to get Preggers (Besides the obvious! Can’t help you with that.) 25 years of notes from my grandmothers’, senior midwives and my own client successes, at your service to get a bun in your oven. Years, people, years of having an ear out for the quirky stuff, the old wives tales, the “hmmmm, that worked?” for folks struggling with fertility.
Prelude to Fertility, My Grandmothers’ Wisdom – $5
- Hands Off ~ Let’s take a look at common sense items like nutrition, and not so common ideas like what kind of knickers to sport to promote fertility.
- Hands On ~ I’ll teach you places on your body to massage, reflex, and push that promote a healthy, fertile belly.
- Body Influencing ~ Ways you probably never ever thought of to get your body primed and juicy. (My grandmothers, yowza, they are all about the doozies, the old school tried and true. Things we forget with our more modern medical world.)
You know what I want for you? A better relationship with your body, and lots of ways to promote a healthy, happy belly, including a daily belly mini massage routine! Best case scenario, you get a baby bump. Worst case scenario, you have learned a bunch about your body, your partner, and can be comforted that you’ve tried darn near everything that was crunchy and non medical. I’m voting for the bump.
My FaceBook post a couple of weeks ago.
“y’all, my grandmother died last night. The one who taught me through actions and words so many things, one of the biggest that it is totally possible to earn a living as a local wise woman/alternative health practitioner. If you have felt her love through me, could you give me a thumbs up, a hell yeah or hands in the air? She was awesome like that. Like me. Like You.”
I got a 133 likes, and over 50 comments. Wowzers. I’m thinking about all the things she taught me, either healing specific, “Those thongs, I don’t like them! How are you supposed to be free with that all up in there?” or about life, “Let your husband be the head of the household, so what?! Let him! You be the neck, what is he without the neck? Nothing.” And as I’ve been writing on Labor Whispering, MapBook for mamas, I kept FEELING her here with me, so strong, looking over my shoulder, “say more about that, no take that out” and then just had this over whelming sense of, “How can you teach them to get the baby out, its not even in there yet.” To which I say to the grandmother in my head, “UM, maybe they don’t need a lesbian to tell them how to get pregnant.” Her reply? “YA, well maybe some do.” So what I know is that the only way to guarantee you will get preganant is to be underage in the back seat of a car with someone you haven’t known all that long in a parking lot after a rock concert. That’s pretty much a done deal. So I shoved the Labor Whispering Mapbook for Mamas onto a back burner, got looped up on allergy meds, went on a writing marathon, and finished the entire first draft of a redo of some notes I had from a past workshop. I shot it over to a friend for editing. 3300 words, 9 pages, Prelude to Fertility, My GrandMothers’ Wisdom. Boom. Next step? Story boarding for the PDF.
And the friend I shot it over to for editing? Yeah, she already shot it back, in less than 24 hours, she’s good like that. Alejandra Ortega, mucho smoocho to ya. So I’ll work it over some more, apply my fancy PDF class knowledge from Jewels Branch Creative, and get it out ASAP. And I think my work is focused on folks who want some natural support for fertility, maybe they are not getting pregnant as fast as they hoped, wanting to try some natural options before heading into the fertility specialists. Perfecto. Here are 15 plus tips that you may not have ever heard of that will help you get that bun in your oven. xo, Rowan * Bless Me, Ultima came out this week on film. I had the great fortune to have Ms. Gwendolyn Green as my high school English teacher in the ’80’s. She had us read the book as an assignment, and then invited Rudolfo Anaya to speak to our English classes. It was awesome, and he said that as he kept writing his book, he HEARD Ultima say from over his shoulder, “You’ll never be successful with this book until you put me in there.” Grandmothers, sheesh, they think they know everything.