Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Augsburger Family Update

Today is Brad Augsburger's birthday, and he is receiving the sweetest gift of his thirty-five years: watching his wife move out of the ICU and into a regular recovery room. That is expected to happen later today. Colleen has been waking up slowly, eating and drinking tiny bits at a time and being up for half-hour stretches. This is great news. We could so easily be coping with a different outcome.

Last night, I had the uncanny experience of learning the story of Katy Hayes, a Texas mother of three who is fighting the same rare Streptococcal A bacterial infection that Colleen is overcoming (this woman's baby was born just 5 days before Kaya). As Colleen was giving birth to Kaya, Katy was in surgery for the removal of several septic organs. She remains unconscious, is still on a ventilator, and is undergoing dialysis. Just yesterday, her husband Al had to make the heartbreaking decision to allow her doctors to amputate her hands and feet, because the bacteria was attacking the tissue in her extremeties. Without amputation, her team of doctors warned that the bacteria would spread fatally.

I cannot underscore enough the importance of routine postpartum visitation and care. I am very grateful for the close observation of Colleen's midwives, family members and postpartum care team. Her warning signs were noticed immediately, and she was admitted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in time to avoid a very bad outcome. I am also extremely grateful to the team of physicians and nurses that has worked around the clock to literally save Colleen's life. This is an example of collaborative care between midwives and doctors, and for that, on so many levels, I am grateful.

Baby Kaya, his siblings, and his daddy have been sustained by the most incredible community here in Sarasota, one that I attribute greatly to the two birthing centers here, their midwives, and their family of families. Mothers have pumped their milk to ensure Kaya's healthy beginning on this earth. The Augsburgers and their care team have been fed every night from a different family, and their food train is booked through mid-March. They have received donations of fresh produce, baby items and food delivery from local businesses. Brad would like to extend deep gratitude to those that have donated money while he is unable to work. He does not expect to be able to work again until April, so donations are still being graciously accepted so this family of five can reunite, heal, and care for each other, worry-free.

This next phase of recovery will be a long one, but a joyous one. More info on a benefit coming soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Very Special Family

Colleen and Brad Augsburger welcomed their third baby, Kaya Soul, into the world on February 16th. Kaya was welcomed by big sister Ivy Magnolia and big brother Rylan Sky to create a new family of five. Since Kaya's birth, Colleen has been admitted to the ICU at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

A rare but dangerous bacterial infection, unrelated to but exacerbated by the event of birth, began causing organ damage and severe dehydration. Colleen had three surgical procedures at once on February 20th and remains on a ventilator. Though she is still in critical condition, her team of doctors expects recovery.
She is currently sedated and stable after a strong antibiotic blood treatment.

Her family is strong and supported, but their daddy will be unable to work as a painter while he cares for them and for his recovering wife. Please consider helping this very special family, as they have done so much to make our community a better place.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BIRTH STORY: Express Delivery!

(by Louise McKenzie, about the birth of Jim Xander Berkeley, born 02.03.10)

I woke up feeling rejuvenated and very positive. My mind was clear and I felt ready to blast out some work! And so I did, Jimmy (my hubby) and I working side by side! Before I knew it four hours had gone by, and we knew it was time for everyone to eat. However, so energized was I that I re-took the photos for the children’s project and told Jim to re-do my exercise photos.

I had had some pinchy contractions but I didn't really think about them too much! When we had finished, I went to change out of my exercise clothes feeling rather tired, odd and hungry I lay down on our bed and fell asleep.

Not thirty minutes had gone by when I was rudely awoken from my sleep with one very intense contraction! A second later I felt very wet! I yelped out to Jim who came running. There I was in a puddle! It was around 4:20p.m. I got cleaned up and then got back on the bed. In between contractions of about 3-4 minutes I hurriedly ate!

By 4:43 p.m. we called Harmony, our midwife. The contractions were strong and regular but I was completely lucid and in control, so I told Harmony that I would call when I needed her.

Throughout the nine months of this pregnancy I had worked towards trying to get to a point via a very intensive exercise program that would mean a more pain-controlled, speedy labor. Now, in the throws of labor, I was wondering whether in fact I was much closer to the birth than I realized due to the success of this strategy. The contractions were progressing towards the more painful level, but I chose not use that word verbally or in my mindset.

I focused on a circular movement of my head and upper body that was almost trance-like. I talked quietly to the baby and focused on how fantastic it was that I was going to finally meet him. I refused to let fear of any possible pain get the better of me. I went back to concentrating on the breath control technique I had used during those crazy exercise sessions! I imagined fresh blood being pumped into my womb, and that no lactic acid would build up.

So successful was this that by 6:00 p.m I went to step off the bed to use the bathroom when a huge wave of a contraction washed over me I had the urge to push, and so there was a scramble for the phone to call Harmony!

I was clambering in my head whether I was going to keep it together, or if the fear of pain was going to get the better over me. I held onto the night stand and I begun to sing! Yes, sing! The feeling was so insanely intense, so I just kept focusing on singing the baby out.

Before I knew Jim was telling me that his little head was out. They had this moment where they were just looking at each other! I remembered not to force anything, and waited for the next contraction. With those two pushes he was out! Jim had to catch him!I asked if the baby was okay and leapt up from the floor onto the bed. Jim was telling the children to fetch him towels! The baby was perfect and very calm. We were overjoyed. It just seemed too easy! All the children gathered around us; it was magical.Minutes later there was a knock on the door and Harmony arrived. It was like a mini-party! We all were so happy. The music was still playing and the younger children were dancing. Harmony sat with the children to show them the placenta, which they all had great fun prodding and poking! Everything was serene and calm. Just as a birth should be.

This was our baby number six, and our fifth homebirth. (We had tried a homebirth with our first but after three days and three nights we had ended up in hospital.) Our children have all been present at the births and it has not only made them more enlightened, but has given them a special bond. There has never been any jealousy as a new little member has arrived, they have only thanked us as parents for the precious gift of another sibling.All of our children, including our thirteen year old and five year old boys, find no shame in expressing their own desire to have children in the future. They understand what a privilege the gift of life is.

Perhaps if more children were included in the process our society would also benefit?

The fact that we have midwives is such a blessing, and the fact that we have choice should never be taken for granted. They have enabled us as a family such wonderful experiences and memories.

I hope that anyone who reads my story will find some inspiration to try it for themselves… We just look forward to doing it all over again!