Twin Cities Hospital Birth Costs

MN Hospital Birth Costs

(Update 11/13/15 12:39PM) Please note that these numbers do NOT include charges for baby.

A long time ago, during the Pawlenty Administration, the Minnesota Hospital Administration was required to provide information about hospital costs online to allow consumers to compare prices. Lucky for us, this includes obstetric charges. There are some limitations to this information– it doesn’t give us the information on what a specific individual’s costs will be when you take into account deductibles, plan allowances, and co-pays. I also decided to use the 2014 Average Total Cost rather than the Average Daily Cost or the Median Cost in this table. There’s a million ways to slice this information, but I’m a busy mom and this is what I did.

I sorted the information by health system rather than just alphabetical. There are some big surprises– since the Park Nicollet/ HealthPartners merger, Methodist Hospital and Regions are owned by the same company, but the differences in costs are HUGE. You can find more of the information on the Minnesota Hospital Price Check website, but they only allow you to compare 3 hospitals for one kind of charge at a a time. So yeah, the work to get this was tedious. It was also really tricky to get the data from the spreadsheet to this blog.

Minneapolis Hospital ChargesI hope you find this interesting and helpful. Have questions or observations? Post them below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Real Mom Confessions: Body Image Edition

Real Mom Confessions

It’s now the end of summer vacation for the kids, and I’m happy to say we all made it through in one piece. Coordinating care for the kids wasn’t too bad; I had lots of help from my husband and mother-in-law.  I’m now trying to get back into the swing of things around the office, figure out my schedule, and cook up lots of other wonderful things here at BabyLove Headquarters.

As I type this, I’m wearing a pair of jeans for the first time in…10 months? A year? It’s not just that jeans aren’t very comfortable, but I didn’t have a pair that fit me until last week. Why? Well, for the myriad of usual reasons, my weight has inched ever-upward since last fall. I had to face reality when I was at my last check with my doctor for my anxiety meds and saw the number on the scale.

I’m not sharing this just to bitch or complain, but I have had a lot of thoughts about this issue as I struggled with my own response to my weight gain. Weight and health are such a complicated issue, and I’m not a doctor or even weight loss expert (obviously!), but maybe some of what I’ve come up with will resonate with you, too.

First, yes, my weight gain jumped up a little after my first pregnancy; it didn’t help that the resident I was seeing during my pregnancy didn’t blink once as I gained 89 pounds during my first pregnancy. By the time I was pregnant with #2, I was lucky to have a great midwife who WOULD speak up if I started to gain too much weight as my pregnancy went along. I think I gained something like 34 pounds before I gave birth to my son. By the time I was going back to work, I had mostly lost all of the pregnancy weight; the milk I was pumping while I was gone was 75% fat. However, once we quit breastfeeding, my weight started the slow, irritating creep upwards, up to where I am today.

With a pre-teen daughter who is just starting to understand body changes and body image, I don’t want her to buy into the seduction of thinness and body shame. I’m trying very hard to dress and act and speak in a very body-positive way. I don’t want her to see me “dieting”. I absolutely, under no circumstances, want her to label entire groups of food as “bad”.  I think it’s OK to talk about “sometimes” and “almost never” foods, but beyond that–it’s important to me to have kids who have a positive relationship with food. To that end, I try not to telegraph my own complicated relationship with food. When I eat a salad or lots of veggies, I try to emphasize how my body feels better when it gets fresh fruits and veggies. Instead of it being something I have to do, it’s something I enjoy doing. So that means a rigorous, strict diet plan is totally out.

I’m aware that I could be trying to get more exercise, but that has it’s own challenges: namely, time and money. We did the whole gym membership thing for a year; we had no time to use it and it cost us an annoyingly significant chunk of money. I have other excuses, too: child care, my asthma, my wrist injury…all of them add up to me not formally “exercising”. I am trying to be more active throughout the day and count the steps with my phone, and I do notice some things have started to get easier. I’m going to try to keep up the extra movement as the Fall rolls on.

Beyond that, I’m trying to practice self-acceptance. My blood pressure is far better than it was a year ago. I’m making some better choices. My mental health is DEFINITELY better than it was a year ago.

My old pants may not fit. I may not look as svelte in pictures as I used to. This is my mommy body. This is the container that carries me. I’ll try to like myself a little better, take each day and each choice as it comes, and maybe, just maybe…you can find the courage to do the same. Comparing my body to yours and trying to make a value judgement about either one of us is just plain silly, right? Right.

Now, pass the veggie tray and box of chocolates. Ahem.

With love,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Will the new Evenflo car seat prevent heatstroke deaths?

car seat heatstroke

Last week, Evenflo and Wal-Mart announced that they had partnered up to create the ADVANCED SensorSafe™ Embrace™ DLX infant-only car seat. The seat has special technology in the chest clip that goes to a wireless receiver to alert the driver when a child is being left behind in a car. I’m not going to get into how the technology works or if it’s reliable. There are a few things I want to delve in on, though, when it comes to the issue of kids dying of heatstroke in cars and if this is going to be a good solution to reducing deaths.

So far for 2015 (as of this writing), we have seen 11 children die of heatstroke after being left in a car in the US. There were 44 and 31 deaths in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In the Upper Midwest, we do have fewer heatstroke deaths than in the South or the West, but it does still happen. Since 2003, 3 children have died of heatstroke in a car in Minnesota; 8 kids have died in Wisconsin during the same time frame.

According to information collected in Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles by Jan Null, CCM of the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, most of these deaths (for the years 1998 through 2014) occur under 3 main circumstances:

  • 53% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (336 Children)

  • 29% – child playing in unattended vehicle (186)

  • 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult  (111)

This new car seat technology is really only designed to address the first and third scenarios. It’s critically important to teach your kids to never, ever, EVER play in cars and make sure that a car is locked when it’s parked. Kind of like you need to teach your kids to not play with lighters or matches. Remember the gut-wrenching case in Wisconsin 2 years ago with the toddler who was hiding in a car truck and died? Cars are not toys.

Back to the car seat in question, I have a few issues with someone buying this seat.

First of all, this is an infant only seat, with a maximum weight of 20 35 pounds and a maximum height of 30 inches. The average baby is 30 inches by around the age of a year, but some babies outgrow an infant-only car seat before they are this old. Currently, the technology isn’t offered on a convertible car seat. Less than one-third of heatstroke deaths were in babies less than a year old. 22% of the deaths were in kids ages 1-2 years old, and 13% were in ages 2-3 years old. This is a solution for a very limited time period, and ONLY if your car is model year 2008 or newer.

Second, this piece of technology increases the cost of the seat from $90 to $150. That’s a $60 clip! While that’s not to say that saving lives isn’t important, is this cost increase worth it when it’s only useful for a very limited length of time?

Third, will this lull parents into a false sense of security?

Ideally, technology like this will become standard in all car seats. My cynical guess is that it’ll take 10 years or more before something like this is universally adopted, if ever. In the meantime, there are some common sense tips out there, but probably the best one is this:

Get in the habit of putting your phone, either in your purse or diaper bag on the floor whenever you put your child in the car seat. Do it every time, without fail. Not only will it serve as a reminder to always check your back seat, but it also removes the cell phone as a distraction while you’re driving. Really, the cell phone is a danger in of itself that should be removed from the process of driving, baby or not. As my neighbor Anna says, “Phone down, eyes up.”

What tips do you have to keep your kids safe in cars in hot weather? Share below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Cesarean rates in US

The CDC has crunched the numbers, and the preliminary data for Cesarean rates in 2014 were published last week. There was a good amount of good news; as ACOG put forth their recommendations for the safe prevention of primary cesarean in March 2014, cesarean rates did, in fact, go down. Many thanks as always to Jill from cesareanrates.com for this info. (And if, like me, you’re forever grateful to all the work she’s done in the arena of maternity care advocacy, you can thank her with a monetary contribution. Ahem.)

In 2013, Cesarean rates for the US were 32.7% for total cesareans, and 26.8% for low-risk pregnancies; in 2014, the US preliminary total cesarean rate was 32.2% and 26% for low-risk births. Minnesota does better than the US average. in 2013, Minnesota’s total cesarean rate was 26.9% and 21.3% for the low-risk cesarean rate. Those numbers were 26.5% and 21.1% in 2014. So, yes, progress! YAY!

I’d like to think that increased transparency is helping move these numbers in the right direction. In fact, a study done at the University of Minnesota that was published this month showed that public reporting improves outcomes. And while I love, love, love the push from organizations and nonprofits to pull together information on outcomes and costs, it’s critical for providers to get asked about outcomes by the parents who are coming to them for care, and then parents need to be able to make a thoughtful, deliberate decision based off of that information that’s in the best interest of both mom and baby.

If you’re curious about who has the highest and lowest cesarean rates….well, check it out:

Highest 2014 total cesarean rates

1) Louisiana – 38.4%

2) Mississippi- 37.7%

3) New Jersey- 37.4%

4) Florida- 37.2%

5) Alabama- 35.4%

Lowest 2014 total cesarean rates

1) Utah- 22.3%

2 ) Alaska- 23.7%

3) New Mexico- 23.8%

4) Idaho- 24.2%

5) Hawaii- 24.6%

I’d love to add some information to this about costs, etc. I’ll see how the week goes; maybe I can pull some more into this information.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Real Mom Confessions: June 17th

Real Mom Confessions

I’m getting this week’s post done in the morning done in the afternoon because, my word do I have a lot to confess. I also think it’s important, as a woman who runs one of my own businesses, co-owns another, and is one of two directors for a non-profit to show that my work life balance isn’t perfect, I don’t always have the easy answers, and I screw up. So here ya go, everyone.

  • I taught all day Saturday, had one day off, and have class every night this week until Friday. My kids are very, very, very upset with me, and understandably so. I usually am home at least two weeknights at the very minimum, but this week kind of turned into a mess schedule-wise as I transition away from a few classes and add in a few new ones into the rotation. There have been a lot of tears every night as I leave, something I haven’t had to deal with since they were tiny. I kind of feel bad, but I also know that in the scheme of things that they do get a lot of time with me normally.
  • I put the kids into an all-week, all-day vacation Bible School for the week. I know they are having WAY more fun than they would have being at home, but I also feel kind of like I am pawning them off on other people so I can work.  They have school next week, too. So while part of me is like, yay, I have things figured out for childcare, we don’t like to have the kids in too many activities at once and I’m worried we’ve crossed that line.
  • My son had a full-blown panic attack about getting into a car without a booster seat. Being a Child Passenger Safety Technician totally backfired on me for once.
  • I bought groceries for dinner this week, but I totally screwed up not realizing I wouldn’t be home to cook dinner all. darn. week. Don’t ask what my sweet husband has to make for dinner tonight or tomorrow.
  • I gave my daughter hew own fish and her own aquarium over the weekend. The fish died last night. I was late to a meeting last night because she called me all in tears and I had to pull off of the road to console her. I’m getting the water checked today and maybe getting her another fish if I get the go ahead.
  • I finally got my mom’s birthday present ordered yesterday. Her birthday was Monday. I texted her on her birthday, but did not call her. At all. Still.

I’m keeping my head above water, mostly. But can I ask one thing? If you’re reading this, can you please make sure you’re paying attention while you’re driving? My daughter heard me say some really not good things on Sunday after having MULTIPLE drivers start to switch lanes without looking and almost hit us.

Put down the phone. It can wait.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Business Basics Part One: Smart Starts

how to start birth business

I’ve written before about the realities of owning a business that not everyone knows about. I also spend a lot of time reading articles on running a business, talking with others about running a business, and loads and loads of time actually running the business. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting something new from scratch is that they only hear a dead baseball player’s voice in their heads telling them, “If you build it, they will come.”

Gosh I hope people get that reference. Anyway.

You can be talented, passionate, skilled, etc….but there are things you need to do to get the little tiny sparks of inspiration and courage that got you excited to start your business to catch fire. I’m going to try to write a number of posts to help explain a little bit of what’s in my head and what I’ve learned (usually the hard way) to hopefully help others. Consider it a dose of reality wrapped in a candy coating of love. First up? Smart beginnings.

  • Have a office– either a real physical space or a space at home that’s only for work. If you went from being employed by another business to being self-employed, you may not have the discipline to stay accountable to yourself. Going to an office helps your brain switch from “hanging out” mode to working mode so you can actually focus on the tasks at hand. Having an actual office helps you seem more legitimate to others, too. Just don’t make the mistake of getting a luxury space before you have the income to justify it.
  • Don’t spend your precious time doing easy stuff like trying to build Facebook. The reality? Social media isn’t the amazing free marketing tool that it was 5 years ago. Sure, having a presence there builds engagement, but you have more important things to do, and it’s too easy to get sucked in to reading through your own Facebook or Twitter feed.
  • Spend time figuring out not just what you’re trying to sell, be it a service or a product, but what you’re going to tell people when they ask why they need whatever you’re trying to do or sell. Also helpful? Figure out how to set yourself apart, or, if you want a tongue-in-cheek, singable way to put it: You’ve gotta get a gimmick if you want to get ahead. (The video is mostly safe for work until the 3:00 mark.) I’ve never seen a single episode of Mad Men, but I have to imagine that’s Marketing 101.
  • Don’t know what to do? Learn! Get yourself a good mentor. Check in with some of the amazing resources out there from places like Entrepreneur or Inc. magazine. When I’m feeling a tiny bit stuck, those places can be awesome sources of insight and inspiration.  (Which reminds me: I need to schedule time with my mentor.)
  • Get yourself a good banker. I’ve been lucky to have come across a really good one. The smaller banks who focus on small (like, small, not just “capital less than $5 million” small) businesses can again help you learn how to be smart with money and give you access to capital tools to help you get of the ground. Meet with your banker quarterly.

My main point? If you’re going to be successful, you have to do the work. You. Don’t expect someone else to come along and do all of the heavy lifting for you. Be disciplined, be creative, and be deliberate. And find someone to be accountable to, be it a mentor, another business pal that you can trust, or a banker. I hope this was helpful. I’ll write more later this week, but if there are things you’d like me to touch on, comment below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Breastfeeding Help…And Why You Can’t Get Any

Minnesota Breastfeeding Help

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I need to get this off of my chest. I’ve written a little bit previously about some of the issues moms face in getting competent breastfeeding help, but after having this conversation with many providers recently, I think it’s time to have a little bit of a discussion about the state of lactation support in Minnesota.

So, first of all, the advice that ONLY IBCLCs are qualified to help moms with lactation issues is ludicrous. When we’re talking about something that about 90% of moms start doing right after giving birth, there’s no need for stupid turf wars. There are a number of breastfeeding trainings and certifications, some with more rigorous standards than others, but just as Minnesota doesn’t mandate one specific type of training or certification for midwives who want to attend homebirths, a rational breastfeeding supporter would acknowledge that there are a few different ways that professionals can gain the information that they need to help moms figure out how to make breastfeeding work. Even the CDC, when they issue their annual breastfeeding report card, reports not only how many IBCLCs there are in a state, but also how many CLCs there are.

Second, it’s time to acknowledge that hospitals don’t have enough inpatient resources to help every mom get breastfeeding well established before being discharged. Although I don’t have any hard evidence to prove this, but anecdotally I’ve heard from families who gave birth in Baby-Friendly hospitals got absolutely no one-on-one support, perhaps because the dedicated lactation staff was either reduced or eliminated completely. Sometimes administrators think that by paying for 20 hours of trainings for all of the nursing staff, they need to recoup that money by getting rid of the experts. Or something. Whatever it is, the access to help is not improving.

Third, once moms get discharged, finding outpatient help can be nearly impossible. One health system makes everyone in their system go to one clinic in St. Paul, which may or may not have more than one IBCLC on staff. Visits from a public health nurse can help, but visits are not universally done, and not all nurses have the time to properly assist moms with breastfeeding. Many outpatient clinics report waiting lists of up to a week. And while there are LCs in private practice, most of them require moms to pay out of pocket upwards of $200 per visit, despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers cover breastfeeding help at 100%. Now, there are some barriers to becoming an in-network provider, but those hurdles can be overcome. The larger issue is getting providers to understand reality versus the whispered lies and half-truths about insurance reimbursement they’ve heard in the past.

My point? Fixing our broken breastfeeding system in Minnesota is going to require that the IBCLC turf war goes away. It’s going to require that hospitals hire more lactation staff. Private practice lactation specialists need to to think outside the box (rather than only trying to build one box) to make sure families don’t have to pay out of pocket for services they shouldn’t be asked to pay for. After all, for every mother that gives up on breastfeeding sooner than desired, I’ll show you a mom who had little or no competent support. That’s just not fair to moms or babies. They deserve better.

Two things we’re doing at BabyLove to address these issues: First, Mama Cafe, free breastfeeding support on Tuesday mornings, has been around since day 1. Second, you can get one-on-one breastfeeding help in our office or in your home, with some insurances accepted, and more being added. It’s my way of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Refresh Wednesday: Adult Tongue Tie Revision

Hands down, the most viewed post I’ve ever written was 5 Changes After My Frenectomy. I also wrote an update after my 2nd revision. So, for this Refresh Wednesday, I am going to pull the two pieces together, along with a couple of previously unpublished pictures.

One thing I really want to emphasize is that I am hearing more and more from older medical professionals about how babies were treated for tongue ties within moments of being born. This was standard practice, people. Routine, unquestioned, and normal. 

Anyway. Check out the full story of my tongue tie release:

“5 Changes After My Frenectomy” Originally published November 25th, 2014

Well, last week I got really brave and took the plunge: I finally was able to find a dentist who was willing to take me on as a test case to have my tongue tie released. I’ve read only the tiniest of handful of accounts from adults who had revisions, so I wanted to share with you some things that I’ve noticed one week out. PLEASE NOTE: Since I was a test case, it turned out that I had a lot to release, so we know I need more revision. 30-something-year-old tongues turn out to be a little bit more apt to bleed. It was done bleeding within 5 minutes, but I’ll be going back for more revision once this heals.

First, a bit of background: I’ve been told I was a very colicky baby for the first 4 months of my life. My mother swears it only got better when I got put on some antibiotics, but I was also having weight-gain issues. I wasn’t really gaining weight at all. I looked like a tiny, translucent bird in all of my pictures. But God bless my mother, she didn’t give up on breastfeeding. She did the best she could.

I have a wire that has been holding my front two teeth together since I got my braces off as a teenager. At some point, I did otherwise break my lip tie, but the tissue between the front teeth is thick enough that there would be a gap there if left unwired. I haven’t gone back to look at pictures from childhood to see if I can detect a lip tie. And, as we often say, almost always is there a tongue tie when there is a lip tie. And my tongue (especially now that I’m 30-something) had a VERY thick frenulum.

Just one aside: I’ve been a little stunned to see the turn that the conversation has taken in recent months on the issue of tongue ties. Specifically, there have been some very vitriolic conversations online by lactation professionals that have taken on tones of blaming parents for MAKING tongue ties an issue. I’ve seen the phrase “parents want the easy fix” pop up over and over again. I’ve read as IBCLCs INSIST that the parents just didn’t try hard enough to work with a lactation consultant on positioning and latch. Unfortunately, some of these IBCLCs have built up a wide audience, and their views can be their views, but what I keep pointing out (and it keeps falling on deaf ears), is that parents don’t get to the tongue tie conclusion easily. Some may, if they are lucky enough to give birth in a hospital with an educated pediatrician who routinely revises tongue ties. Beyond that, by the time I see families join my group, they are at a point of crisis. Real, real crisis. Telling moms they need to “try harder” and see ANOTHER lactation consultant (when often they’ve seen 2-3, or when there literally isn’t one for miles and miles around) is mean at best and unethical at worst (if a care provider can’t provide appropriate care, they are under an ethical obligation to refer to a provider who can.) I was VERY tempted to screen shot some of the very negative posts that I was reading last week and every time they ranted about tongue ties, I would replace the mentions with the phrase “Artificial Baby Milk”; the results would be interesting. (As in: “Parents who are too lazy to work with a lactation consultant look at tongue ties Artificial Baby Milk as the easy fix.” See what I did there?)

Anyway.

Here are the 5 things I’ve noticed in the last 7 days after my release:

1) The tension headaches are largely gone- If you’ve seen my video on how everything in the head is connected, you’d know that the muscles around the skull can hold a lot of tension as a result of having a tongue tightly tethered to the bottom of the mouth. I did go in for some body work with my favorite chiro right after the revision to help release the tension, and it has largely stayed away (well, until yesterday, when I had a train wreck of a day, but I’m already feeling better.)

2) I don’t carry my tension in my shoulders day in and day out- I’ve had so many massages, so many adjustments through the years, and I’ve never had any luck eliminating the tension in my shoulders for more than an hour or two. Well, now I feel like I can. Muscle memory is strong, so I have to be very conscious of my shoulders, but it’s easy to get them to relax when I try.

3) My jaw doesn’t click- OK, so this did take a couple of adjustments to get addressed, but as of now, my jaw is, for the first time ever, click-free and EVEN. I have to imagine I had this same jaw issue when I was born–and I’m pretty sure, even with the perfect latch, my jaw movement would have made it difficult to transfer milk.

4) My tongue sits on the roof of my mouth- Again, I’m still retraining myself to do this, but I can actually keep my tongue where it belongs, whereas before my tongue rested on the back of my teeth and pushed outward on them, essentially ruining the thousands of dollars paid to correct my overbite.

5) My Eustachian tubes moved- Seriously. I felt them move upward over the weekend. Not only that, but I felt them clear out, like they could drain finally. Like EVERYTHING else, it wasn’t until things had changed that I could notice how much of an impact this all made on my body.

Other adults have reported changes in their gaits, posture, and even improved thyroid function.  Time will tell if I see some of those improvements, too. It would have been nice to have this fixed as a baby, but….we all do the best we can with what we have at the time.

tongue tie release result

“Adult Tongue Tie Release Redux” Originally published December 10th, 2014.

So, today I went back for a check in and follow up on my tongue tie revision. I’ve found it really interesting to go through this entire experience. It’s brought me worlds of understanding about what babies and kids are probably going through. I’ve also noticed additional physical changes since my last post. I’ve also had some thoughts about tongue ties that aren’t proven, but I think connect some dots about things we already knew about.

First of all, this is what my tongue looked like this morning:

photo of tongue tie

Notice something that we didn’t see before? There are three attachments that you didn’t see before. As my tongue healed, they became more and more noticeable. Also, starting at the end of last week (2 1/2 weeks after the initial revision), I started to feel the tension that I had before, but on the right side of my body. It’s also interesting to note that the attachment on the right side of my tongue was the least prominent of the 3. I had severe scalp pain on Sunday. too.

There are a few things I’ve observed that I really want parents AND providers to know about:

  • First of all, these additional attachments came forward on their own as my body resettled and all of my bones and muscles shifted post-revision. So if you see attachments after a revision is healed, do not assume the professional who did the revision didn’t do a complete job. Furthermore, professionals who do revisions SHOULD do additional revisions at no extra fee, or figure out a way to make such an arrangement work.
  • There was some tissue that did almost look like it reattached, but that tissue did not affect the function of my tongue.
  • As the new attachments came forward, especially the center attachment, stretching my tongue became painful. It was very clear that this was tissue that had never been stretched like that before.
  • Post-revision body work is essential. I’ve been going in for adjustments to my head and shoulders (knees and toes) right after the revisions and then even a couple of times in between the revisions. Don’t skip this!
  • The pain afterwards has been manageable. Eating hasn’t been too bad. However, if your baby was revised and you’re breastfeeding, keep your baby skin to skin a lot that first day and nurse a lot. Breastfeeding reduces pain.
  • In addition to the stretches, rinsing with salt water and applying coconut oil to the underside of my tongue has been really helpful in the healing process.

I’ll follow up in a couple of days with additional thoughts that I have as things heal from this last revision. In the meantime, I leave you with this thought:

Tongue ties have been revised for hundreds if not thousands of years. There is already some really interesting research that’s starting to point towards the short term and long term impact of revision (or not revising).  However…there are some assumptions that are being made that really need to stop. No, Cranial Sacral Therapy isn’t the only way to do bodywork prior to and after revision, just like not assuming ENTs or any other discipline know how to properly assess what we see. Also, I like being able to measure things just as much as the next person, but I’d strongly caution anyone who wants to ONLY revise according to very rigid standards. There can be a lot of different ways these ties can exist. As I keep saying over and over, providers need to listen to parents and be willing to learn from them and each other. I’ve learned SO MUCH just by talking to parents, kids, and other adults, and some of my biggest revelations have come from consulting with other specialties. I encourage others to do the same.

New Pictures!

final tongue tie

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Am I biased? You bet.

BiasedBiased

Recently, although I’ve heard it before, the charge was leveled at me that I am biased in my classes. I was called, “Pro-breastfeeding, anti-drugs.” I spoke with a few other Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators, and it seems that this charge is something that we’ve all heard. So, I think it’s time that I out myself for all of my biases.

First of all, I teach what’s best practice, what’s evidence-based, and what’s biologically normal. Now, keep in mind that it takes, on average, 17 years from the time something is deemed best practice (ie. safest) in maternity care before it used on a regular basis. 17 years. When new practice bulletins come out from ACOG, when the American College of Nurse Midwives issue statements, when the AAP put out new guidelines, guess what? That’s what I’m teaching. If I only taught what was being done by doctors and midwives– well, I have major ethical concerns with that. In an environment of “shared responsibility,” there’s a moral imperative to give families the information that they need to know if they are getting safe and competent care.

As for the “pro-breastfeeding” charge; I’m always interested to know why someone’s motivated to make that charge. Yes, I am a Certified Lactation Counselor. So? In classes, I teach the American Academy of Pediatric’s guidelines on infant feeding and mention what the World Health Organization’s stance is on the issue. Maybe the issue is that my classes meet the standards as set forth in the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Again…so? We have 6 hospitals in the Twin Cities that are certified as meeting the Baby-Friendly requirements, all of the Healtheast system, one HealthPartners hospital, HCMC, and the U of M hospital, I hardly think I hold a renegade position. If those hospitals want to maintain Baby-Friendly status, they need to make sure their childbirth education classes have the same content as mine do. With almost 90% of moms initiating breastfeeding, I’ll stand with and support them. This is not about condemning one feeding choice, it’s about helping moms reach the goals they have for themselves.

What else?

I believe that it’s important to teach an understanding of the processes that are the biological norm.

I believe in maternity care transparency.

I believe that moms need to be responsible for finding competent care. They need to learn what that looks like and how to find it.

I believe that infant car seats are usually a waste of money and, since they are more often recalled and used incorrectly, can quickly become not as safe as convertible car seats. I also hate that parents aren’t taking their babies out and more than half of kids now have flat heads by age 1.

I believe in teaching about healthy choices and safe choices.

I believe in judging a hospital and birth center by their outcomes, not their wallpaper.

Are these things really that bad? Is it wrong to make sure parents aren’t being lied to? Is it wrong to be critical of those “educators” who are giving parents unsafe information because it’s the cultural norm? Is it wrong to help parents seek out safe care? Is it bad that I advocate for the right of a mother to be listened to? I hope not.

Every day, I hear birth stories and breastfeeding stories from moms who didn’t get the education or support that they needed and either they ended up with poor outcomes or their babies did. And you know what? I’m going to stay the course, because moms, babies, and families deserve it.

-Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Screw the So-Called “Mommy Wars”

Mommy Wars Suck

A couple of weeks ago, a woman was in my office, and she asked me if there is one word to describe what is at the heart of everything I do at BabyLove, what would that be? After thinking for a moment I knew what my answer would be: love. Love and compassion. You see, I didn’t start my career only teaching classes to families on an independent basis. I started my career as a doula and a childbirth educator by working with moms of all ages, careers, backgrounds, socio-economic classes, and from so many countries I eventually lost count.

I think what is missing from a lot of childbirth educators’ experiences is the background of teaching such a diverse range of moms, dads, and other family members. You see, while it’s assumed that these families have so much that is different in their day to day lives,  they actually have more in common than you would expect. I think every family has it’s share of fears. Every mother is secretly worried about some parts of labor and birth. Parenting seems overwhelming to all of us.

We forget that we are best served by respecting and honoring this transformative journey of pregnancy and childbirth by approaching each mother each, each person with love and compassion. It long ago struck me that I have the power to be the positive voice in a pregnancy. Sometimes all moms hear are negative things: about how birth will be terrible, that parenting is a chore, and tales of bad behavior by preschoolers and teenagers.

The truth? The truth is, we all have days when we struggle. We all have days when we feel like we are not going to even be able to make it to bedtime. There are days we all feel so isolated, so alone, so out of touch from our friends, our family, and our community that it can be absolutely terrifying. But, in the end, if we all approach each other with love and compassion as we navigate then joys and challenges of parenthood, then I promise we will get through this together.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.