Important information for every woman, whether you have given birth by cesarean or vaginally, whether you have had no children of many. Hysterectomy is the most common non-obstetrical procedure for women in our country. Approximately 600,000 are performed each year in the U.S. 1 in 9 women will have one. It’s time for us to focus on our pelvic floor health.

August ICAN of Knoxville Meeting — Pelvic Floor Health

Please join us to hear our guest speaker, Autumn Synowiez, OT, speak to us about our pelvic floor health. Whether you are planning to get pregnant, are pregnant, or have birthed your babies in the past — we can all benefit from good pelvic floor health. Those with diastasis recti, perineal repairs, and cesareans will especially benefit from this information.

Meetings are FREE, however we gratefully accept donations for our local 501c Non Profit Chapter. (suggested donation $1-$3)

Partners and children are welcome for most of our meetings. We respectfully ask that if your child is needing a quiet moment that you step out if needed.


New Birth Resource Center in Knoxville

I am pleased to tell you about the new Knoxville Birth Resource Center. I have teamed up with Holly Stewart who owns East TN Placenta Medicine and Holly Stewart Photography. Together we have a vision to bring pregnancy and birth resources to the women of East Tennessee. We are blessed in this area to have so many resources and we want to make sure people know they are here by a collaborative effort with this center.

As a doula and childbirth educator of 14 years, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of meeting spaces in Knoxville. Birth professionals are for the most part vying for the same few spots at public libraries or paying exorbitant fees at restaurant meeting spaces. Four years ago when I opened the local Knoxville Chapter  of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) I became more frustrated. My co-leader and I would search for a place to hold meetings and get the word out via various advertising and networks only to show up at the place we had scheduled and find they didn’t have us on their calendar. As an all volunteer non profit this was discouraging. We never knew if we would show up at the meeting place and find out we could not hold our meeting at all. For about a year we had a fantastic place at a local chiropractic office and our meetings were growing because the chiropractors believed in our mission and ensured we always had a place to meet. Unfortunately for us, they moved out of state. We miss and appreciate them! The last year has been particularly disappointing as we have had many miscommunications with a local library branch and I suspect this has had an impact on our meeting attendance. Who wants to take time to go to a meeting that might not happen? ICAN of Knoxville is currently scheduled to meet at the Homberg ChickFilA for the rest of the 2014 year. We haven’t had a meeting there yet but I now know that if it doesn’t work out we can move the meetings to the Birth Resource Center at 428 E. Scott Ave, Suite 100, Knoxville TN 37917.

Additionally there are other non profits that I would like to work with or help spread the word about and having the center will make it possible to spread the word for all of these groups without detracting from anyone’s mission and message. It will be an informational source.

As for my own personal business of being a doula and childbirth educator I look forward to having a central location to schedule consultations, prenatals, and classes. In a recent week I met various clients and potential clients in 7 different restaurants and cafes. This is not the best use of my time and resources. It is working but it can be improved. A local curiosities shop has been wonderful about allowing me to schedule classes at their store for a modest fee. I fully appreciate them and plan on still utilizing their space occasionally as it is on the west side of town which may be more convenient for a few customers. The owner and I have some visions of our own for community events we can offer. One of the most exciting things I can offer is more childbirth classes. It has been several years since I had a suitable place to offer my Comfort Measures Class, Prep for VBAC Class, 6 Week Prepared Childbirth Series and more.

Holly has been offering placenta encapsulation services to the community for several years now and a Knoxville physical office will only help further the convenience of using her fabulous services. She recently has gotten back into photography and is most interested in maternity, birth, and newborn photography.

We look forward to watching this Center grow. We are thrilled to be in an office of mostly women business owners who offer chiropractic, cranio sacral therapy, Reiki, counseling, addiction recovery and more. It is a truly healing place. A special thanks to Natalie Kurylo, D.C. of Heliotropic Healing who told us of the office space opening. We hope that all in the community will help support it in some way so that the many and varied Knoxville resources will only grow. There is some trepidation with any new endeavor however my life and business experience has taught me that whatever you put out in the community will return to you. Please help us grow!








Denied VBAC

A friend told me a story today that has had me thinking ever since I heard it. Her friend was choosing a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) for her second birth. She had arranged with her OB/GYN to attempt a VBAC when labor began. She went into labor and after some time (I do not have all of the details) headed to the hospital in the middle of the night. Her doctor was not on call. The doctor on call refused to allow her to continue laboring, refused to attend a VBAC, refused to stay on the hospital floor in the middle of the night, refused medical liability, etc.

Off they went to surgery. For absolutely no medical reason.

This story makes me sad and angry and disappointed. I don’t want to point blame here at all; instead I want to offer encouragement and some possible options to avoid this type of situation. It would be very easy to start pointing fingers and put all of the blame on the OB/GYN, who may have never had any experience with VBAC, or who had multiple other obstetrical patients taking up their time. I don’t know, nor do I feel the need to defend him or her.

So what other suggestions or options can we come up with for this? Well, a lot of them would be preemptive, such as having a provider who will attend your birth no matter what, supports VBAC, has only a few back-up doctors/midwives that you have met and who also fully support VBAC.  For whatever reasons, though, this didn’t happen and the plan changed due to a provider not being available.

As for arriving at the hospital with some laboring to still happen, a few suggestions immediately came to mind:

1.  Ask for a second opinion. See if there was another doctor working at the hospital who you could transfer your care to.
2. Refuse another surgery. Outright refuse to sign the papers. Hopefully the on call doctor would transfer your care — perhaps to someone more sympathetic and VBAC friendly. Be aware there could be consequences to this but legally no one can force you to have a cesarean without a court order.
3. Leave that hospital. Go to another hospital and see if a more VBAC friendly doctor is on call at the time. Go in through an emergency room and speak to whoever you need to speak to — head of OB/GYN department, on call doctors, etc.

I know some of these will sound extreme to many, particularly if the thought of birthing in a hospital seemed the safest route. It may not sound pleasant while in labor to run around and find a provider who will support you the way you want, need, and deserve. Please know I am not dispensing medical advice or advocating one particular course of action or finding fault with personal choices. Obviously the preferable choice would have been for everything to line up, ducks in a row, planets aligned, for this mother to labor the way she chose — with an OB/GYN provider, in a hospital. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Too many women are finding similar “switch and bait” actions when they are going for a VBAC — a provider who changes tune in the last trimester, a  provider on vacation who doesn’t have backup who provides similar care, a list of things that must happen exactly so in order for a “trial of labor” to happen for a woman wanting a VBAC.

Because of this, I do strongly encourage you to ask hard questions from your provider. Who will provide backup? Is your provider planning any vacations around your guess date? Can you meet the backup and ask the same questions? What other providers could you transfer to late in pregnancy or even last minute? What are the required protocols for a trial of labor for a VBAC? How does your hospital offer a second opinion or second provider in case the on call doctor cannot or will not support you in your birthing choices? If you have a midwife and are planning a home birth, ask where care would be transferred to in the event of further required intervention? Will she be able to go with you and help you navigate a change of birth plan?

Other suggestions: Hire a doula. Have a birth plan that is discussed, approved by, and signed off on by your provider. Know your rights.

This is not an exhaustive list, as this post was typed rather hurriedly. Any other suggestions?

ICAN can help you find VBAC friendly providers as well as scores of information to shape your idea of birth, including questions to ask providers.



All Rights Reserved 2011, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula


ICAN of Knoxville, a Look Back and Looking Forward

While organizing my files for ICAN of Knoxville, our local chapter of International Cesarean Awareness Network (www.ican-online.org), I find myself feeling exceedingly grateful for the support shown by attendees, speakers, volunteers, other local doulas and birth workers, etc.

Here are some of the great topics that have been covered in our monthly meetings:

Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy and Improved Birth Outcome. Speaker: Franya Peterson, D.C.

Informed Consent.

Emotional Recovery after a Cesarean. Speaker: Rev. Angie Collins of Awakened Light Healing.

Tips for Physical Recovery after Cesarean.

General Support Meetings.

Birth Story Night (one of our biggest turnouts). Speakers: YOU, the attendees, with each of your stories to share.

Movie Night: Pregnant in America.

Exercise in Pregnancy. Speaker: Becky Fox

Breastfeeding after Cesarean: Speaker, Sherri Hedberg, ICBLC and RN.

Cloth Diapering and Baby-Wearing (our biggest turnout). Speakers: Mary Rodio, of Knoxville Holistic Moms Network, and Robin Alley, student midwife and baby carrier creator/educator.

We’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of emotional sharing, along with knowledge, and what I hope is a safe place for support. If you haven’t joined us yet, please come to one of our meetings. They are held each month on the first Wednesday of the month, at Earth Fare in Turkey Creek, from 6-7 p.m. Ok, we rarely get out at 7 because of socializing, but we do try to keep the topics to one hour. The meetings are free, however, we do accept donations on behalf of our 501c non-profit organization and welcome local individual, business, and professional subscribers.

Some of our upcoming topics planned are:

Homebirth in the Hospital
The Truth About Epidurals
Unexpected Outcomes
Craniosacral for Newborns and Infants

Is there a topic you would like to hear about? Please let us know at icanknoxville@yahoo.com, or leave a comment below. Do you have a topic you would like to share? Please let us know that, too. Are you available to volunteer, either on a one time basis or ongoing? Make some copies for events? Post a flyer at work or in your business? Donate a service or product to fundraisers?  We’d love to see you personally involved.

Our ICAN of Knoxville fundraiser will be this Saturday. The title is: Pampering and Wellness Day. Please see the Facebook event for all the details! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=132652926808967  . We would love to see you there!

Thank you!



Avoiding Traumatic Birth

We’re hearing a lot about traumatic birth lately. It’s always been around, but more women kept quiet about it or maybe didn’t realize there was any other way to give birth. With the explosion of the internet and social networking, women are discovering they had unnecessary, potentially or actually harmful, and often traumatic interventions and events on one of the most important days of their life — birthing their child.

Know your options!

Did you know that in the Knoxville, TN, area you have genuine options to help avoid a traumatic birth? Some are:

  • Natural Childbirth Classes (not hospital sponsored ones, but true learning experiences, such as Bradley or Hypnobirthing)
  • Doulas. Antepartum, birth, and postpartum doulas are available — and our numbers are increasing to give you options
  • Home Birth Midwifery
  • Free-standing Birth Centers
  • ICAN of Knoxville (International Cesarean Awareness Network) local meetings for support, education, and information
  • Knoxville Birth Network meetings, a division of Birth Network), also for information and support
  • Chiropractors and massage therapists (along with other professionals) trained to optimize pregnancy and birth

These are a few of the options available to help you avoid a traumatic birth in the first place, or recover and heal from a previous one or ones.

The question is: Are you taking advantage of these resources?

Every week, I get numerous emails or phone calls from women who say, “If I’d known inducing for non-medical reasons would have led to a cesarean section”, or “I thought about taking a class but didn’t find the time”, or “I thought about using a doula but we didn’t”, or “My doctor said I couldn’t VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), so I just scheduled another surgery” or “My doctor said my pelvis was too small/baby too big/ why even try labor”… and on and on.

The emails make me sad for many reasons. They make me sad a woman didn’t get the birth experience she wanted and deserved, but they also make me sad that the useful and wonderful resources available are not being utilized. This is not to say it is a woman’s fault if she is suffering from birth trauma–not all births will go the way we desire them even after making the most concerted efforts. However, if you’re on the fence about seriously exploring your options, your chances of ending up unhappy with your birth experience are going to be far greater.

Interview some midwives, interview some doulas, take childbirth classes. In the U.S., women regrettably educate themselves more about buying a car, or a purse, or finding a good daycare than they educate themselves about the birth of their baby. Interview different OB/GYN’s and hospitals, even. Don’t take your neighbor’s or sister-in-law’s recommendation just because they “liked” their OB/GYN or because he or she was “nice”. Ask questions. What is their cesarean rate? What is nursery and newborn policy? I cannot list here all the interview questions to ask different birth professionals, so research what you desire and make sure your birth team is in line with your desires.

If you have not yet seen some eye-opening films, take the time to do so. The Business of Being Born, Gentle Birth Choices, Pregnant in America are all good starting points. Have your significant other read, “The Birth Partner” by Penny Simkin, a book I advise all of my clients to read. Look into different information about doulas, which can easily be found on well-known and reputable sites such as DONA, CAPPA, and The American Pregnancy Association. Attend one of the often free meetings held by birth organizations.

We’re here to help you have the best birth experience possible.. please take advantage of what’s offered and make the time, make the investment so you don’t later send an email saying, “if only…”. Perhaps there will still be something you didn’t like or that was traumatic during your birth experience, but you will have the satisfaction and empowerment of knowing your options and having done your research. No one can tell you what is the best scenario for you, your baby, and your family. Invest in knowledge.



All Rights Reserved, 2011, Kimberly Sebeck, CLD, CCCE, Knoxville Doula


Upcoming News!

There are lots of great events coming up for your pregnant mamas and families!

February 23rd, 2011, I have been asked to be part of an expert panel for Parenting Daily Times.. more details to follow as I receive them.

ICAN of Knoxville’s March meeting is going to be a fun and enjoyable night of sharing at Birth Story Night. Come prepared to hear a wide variety of birth stories, and feel free to share your own. We want to hear your experience.. whether it be an unmedicated birth, a hospital birth, home birth, surgical, epidural..and anything else you care to share. The atmosphere will be one of positivity and no need to worry about criticism. Date: March 2, 2011 at Earth Fare, Turkey Creek location, beginning at 6 pm, lasting usually one hour. Cost is free, however, donations are accepted on behalf of the 501c non-profit. www.ican-online.org

Knoxville Birth Network has graciously invited me to speak about VBAC and Avoiding C-Section on Tuesday, March 8th from 7pm to 8:30 pm at the Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St., Maryville, TN. Cost is free. I have a special treat of having received brochures ordered from the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development on vaginal birth after cesarean. Come with any questions you may have.

In April, ICAN of Knoxville will be hearing about different childbirth education options in Knoxville. Special speakers Danielle Hartley, who teaches Bradley Method prepared childbirth classes, as well as Marva Solt, who teaches Hypnobirthing will give us a brief overview of the methods and classes they teach. Date: April 6, 2011 at Earth Fare, Turkey Creek location, 6-7 pm. Cost is free, however, donations are accepted on behalf of the 501c non-profit.

ICAN of Knoxville is looking for volunteers. It is an all volunteer organization and volunteering covers many areas, from bringing snacks or making a few copies to taking on a larger task of being treasurer or secretary, helping to maintain a lending library, fund-raising and more. Ask me how you can help! One appeal we have currently is to expand our lending library, so if you have books, DVD’s, or other material pertaining to pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum and would like to donate, we would love to have a donation and be happy to give you a receipt for tax deductions.

Duck, Duck, Goose’s large consignment event will be held April 14-18, 2011 and I will be there at a booth! I hope to see you there!

As always, please let me know if you are in need of any childbirth classes or doula consultations.

All Rights Reserved2011, Kimberly Sebeck, CLD, CCCE, Knoxville Doula


VBAC Study Participants Needed

Hello ICAN friends,

This message was recently posted on the Your Best Birth website, run by
Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. See below and participate if you can/are
willing to.

Greetings Friends, Family, & VBACtivists!

We are writing to request your assistance with a project. We are conducting
a survey around Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC). THE SURVEY IS ATTACHED.
We need to hear the voices of women who have attempted VBAC regardless of
the outcome. The information gathered will be used to assist women who are
attempting VBAC to be successful in their efforts. There is often much fear
and apprehension surrounding VBAC and many hospitals do not even allow
attempts. The AMA (American Medical Association) and ACOG (American College
of Obstetrics and Gynecologists) go back and forth on their recommendations,
currently they are pro-VBAC, but still hospitals may not wish to “take the

Makini and I are deeply invested in this study. We are both women who have
had VBACs. I have had to Home (Vaginal) Birth after Cesarean (HBVAC or HBAC)
and my dear colleague has had one Home Birth after Multiple Cesareans
(HBAMC), which is an even greater feat.

We ask that you please send this survey far and wide so that we can cast a
broad net. The survey is ongoing, but we need to have a large number back in
the next 5-7 days. People can email their responses to Makini at
makiniduewa@ gmail.com

We really appreciate this. If you are yourself a VBAC mama who is willing to
complete the confidential form and mail it back, we would also love to speak
with you by phone. Sincere thanks, in advance for taking the time to read
this and immediately send it to some people in your address book who may be
connected in this way. Please don’t forget the attachment.

Much love and appreciation,
Michlene and Makini