Midwives… have you ever experienced that moment in labor with a client where you know it’s a fork in the road? What do you do and say? What… if that client is also your daughter?.
And this week’s interview is special indeed. We’re speaking with Tori Justesen and her mama and midwife Stacey Bufkin all about what it was like to hold both a mother and daughter and midwife/client relationship.
This interview is phenomenal, and Stacey and Tori bring up aspects of birth that are going to be so valuable, so make sure you’re hanging onto every word— don’t worry, it’s impossible not to.
Reviewer of the Week
Stacey has been working in the birth world for 2 decades now. She is a licensed midwife in Alabama, and she has been very involved in the political aspect of midwifery on a state level for many years. She has fought for the decriminalization and licensure of midwifery in that state.
Tori, Stacey’s daughter became pregnant with her first child/Stacey’s first grandchild in 2019, due April 2020.
She knew she would have a homebirth, and she knew exactly who would be on her birth team.
She became pregnant easily, telling her mother of the pregnancy by dumping a pile of supplements on her mother’s bed and asking “which of these should I stop taking? I’m pregnant.”
Tori’s chiropractor helped her both with adjustments and supplementation, which she attributes to her easy pregnancy.
She and her husband did the Bradley Method
She exercised throughout pregnancy, and went in healthy and low risk.
In April of 2020, of course Covid fear had set in, and the implication on birth and the hospital setting was massive.
Stacey and Torie decided together that she would take on a few additional clients. Stacey made out a list of the types of clients she would be willing to take: She wanted to make sure her clients weren’t merely running away from the hospital, but who were running towards homebirth.
Stacey also has a lung condition, which concerned Torie and her son.
Tori says, “Well, I was a typical first time mom, so I did way too much trying to get my baby to come.”
At 41.6, Tori realized her water had broken, and she noticed that there was some meconium (baby’s first poop). This threw her off a bit for a moment.
90% of her labor was in the shower or tub.
Tori was experiencing back labor, so her mother did an exam to see if there was a positional issue, or if this is just how Tori was going to labor. It turned out to be both position and sensation. Stacey helped Tori’s baby renavigate and reposition through 6 hours of positions, one of which being Walcher’s (very intense)
When Stacey was ready to have her midwife support person come, both of the women she had on call for her were at other births. Stacey thought to call her friend Luicelli, who she and Tori both refer to as Mother Teresa. She came to their aid, and she was the perfect person. They consider this divine intervention.
Tori realizes now that when she was at the brink of “I can’t do this,” it was much because she was still trying to hold onto the reins of control in her labor instead of surrendering.
Luicelli took Stacey out of the room and asked her, “What needs to happen now?” Stacey knew Tori was at a fork in the road, and she knew exactly what she needed to go say to her— she just didn’t want to be the one to say it (though she knew she had to be).
Stacey went to her and said, “I don’t care what you do— but this about you owning your birth and stepping into your power. You are not a victim of your labor or birth, this is what you were given. And your decisions moving forward need to come from a place of power.”
Soon after, Tori gave birth to her baby. She loved pushing and feeling the progress. The funniest part of her labor was after the head was born, Tori said to Stacey, “pull him out!” Stacey replied, “I can’t do that for you!”
Stacey was very intentional with caring for Tori postpartum. Her parents made certain to make all of the meals, had champagne brunches and herbal baths every evening. Gatekeeping was highly important, too. They always had fresh sheets, room spray, snacks, laundry etc. Her mom gifted her with an IBCLC and placenta encapsulation.
Stacey shares how deeply important it is for families to care for mothers postpartum.
WOAH. I’m blown away with all that I gained from this interview. I believe it’s one I’ll need to go over several times to really glean all of those golden bits of useful advice. As we head into the episode roundup, I want to pull out the three that I found to be deeply invaluable.
- You are not a victim of your birth. Now, as Stacey and Tori alluded, this may not ALWAYS be the best way to speak to someone in labor- relationship and an understanding of what is needed is key. But assuming we are NOT currently in labor as we listen to this, I want you to really begin to contemplate this concept. Listen, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. When it comes to preparation, we can do it all. We can check every single box, prepare 100%, and the wildness of birth can take us to a situation we did not expect at all. There are no guarantees in birth and there’s no way to will a specific outcome. Of course I believe preparation is massively important, but we can only control so much. But… our perspective? Our outlook? Our FRAME through which we view our birth and situation? That’s really up to you, friend. And hard as it may be, choosing step into empowerment about your birth, beforehand if possible, but it’s never too late to reframe after… it can make all of the difference.
- I love the discussion that came up regarding transition and the flip that switched for Tori. I’ll say it again, I believe that that switch is never turned off, and it’s what propels us so strongly into motherhood. It’s so fascinating, this exact conversation was brought up inside of the Happy Homebirth Podcast Community just the other day. If you aren’t in there, you’re missing out on some incredible conversation!
- And finally… POST. PARTUM. You know, I think this episode, whether the whole thing or even just the end on postpartum, would be great to share with friends and family who may be around to help you postpartum. Mamas, we need help postpartum. We need support. We need a community. Because of the medical industrial complex and the way it’s pulled mamas and babies apart for generations now, we can’t expect our parents to know how important postpartum is. Many of our own mothers didn’t receive the care that they needed postpartum— it’s foreign. So sharing this information could be a great way to open up conversation about how you could receive help in the days and weeks following birth. Taking time to heal is a gift so much deeper than anything else on the baby register.
Okay, my friends. That’s all I’ve got for you for now. I’ll see you back here next week.