30 December 2008
From her husband Robin:
A memorial will be planned within the next couple of weeks but please
join us at our home tonight (Tuesday Dec. 30) for an informal
gathering of friends and family. Please bring your musical
We are gathering from 1pm today well into the night.
I am gutted to hear of your passing. Such a cliche, but I was just emailing with you...how can it be that you are gone?
Only 52, but what a life. My prayers are with your family, Robin & Charlie. I hope you are in a wonderful & happy place with EJ - peace, my friend.
Your mom thinks it was the acupressure that moved things along so quickly - I think it was the joy and laughter.
Welcome to the world, little man!
29 December 2008
28 December 2008
ahh - so much better to wait and spend more money on the organic-fancy-make nearly from scratch-buy all your own decorations kit that took my dad hours do do, mostly without kids because it was complicated & tedious.
and like the cheap & easy one, it took only seconds to nearly destroy. My youngest actually took a bite out of the roof.
if I'm not feeling too lazy, pictures to come.
...off to the movies!
27 December 2008
this little gem was in my inbox. It's followed by the resulting emails. Note the important study on children & guns at the bottom:
Shooting in Butte!
These two deserved what they got...you go girl!!!!
Two illegal aliens, Ralphel Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably
believed they would easily overpower home-alone 11 year old Patricia
Harrington after her father had left their two-story home.
It seems the two crooks never learned two things: they were in Montana and
Patricia had been a clay shooting champion since she was nine.
Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front
door of the house. She quickly ran to her father's room and grabbed his 12
gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.
Resindez was the first to get up to the second floor only to be the first
to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11-year-old's crouch
aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.
When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the left
shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death before
medical help could arrive.
It was found out later that Resindez was armed with a stolen 45 caliber
handgun he took from another home invasion robbery. The victim during that
robbery, 50-year-old David Burien, was not so lucky. He died from stab
wounds to the chest.
Ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC
news........an 11 year old girl, properly trained, defended her home, and
herself......against two murderous, illegal immigrants......and she wins,
she is still alive.
*Now that is Gun Control !*
*Thought for the day:*.........**Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented
immigrant' is like calling a drug dealer an 'unlicensed pharmacist'.***
Glad the little girl is OK, but please take me off the list for screeds against undocumented aliens/pro-firearms...I believe that having a loaded/unsecured shotgun that can be grabbed by a child is dangerous & most likely illegal and is certainly foolish 99.99% of the time (and the statistics on who usually ends up harmed by guns in the home agree with me)
someone from the distribution list replied only to me:
You know there is a little delete button on my computer that I push to get rid of unwanted emails...It is also people like you who get people killed because you don't think we have the right to educate OUR kids in the proper use and handling of fire arms! I was raised in a home where all my Dad's guns (rifles and pistols) were loaded, and if you handled a gun, you opened the bolt and it was only after you checked to see if there was a round in the chamber. All three of us kids knew from an early age that You don't play with guns. They are for protection and hunting...NOT TOYS! You don't point a gun at anything you aren't going to shoot, and shoot to kill! There were never any incidents at our home and in the homes of our friends and neighbors. If people turned their kids loose on the streets without proper driving instruction there would be alot more deaths on the already deadly hiways and streets. The answer is education not illeaglization and more laws to restrict our rights as American Citizens! Next time, doulamomma, don't stick your foot in your mouth,,,just push the delete button and spare us all from your ignorant blatherings and research would be a benifit to you also. The incident in Question DID indeed happen and My cousin was living in Butte at the time. Get a life!
Here's my reply to her:
First off, you could have used that "little delete button" yourself instead of spewing your hatred toward me. My email was intended to contribute to the dialog, as it were, started by the original sender.
I, too, was raised in a home with guns, though they were locked & unloaded - and I am a good shot and respect guns. But I do not live in wilderness or hunt, so I feel guns have no place in my home - a home frequented by many children and visitors who would not have the benefit of training, even if my family was trained. Were there ever an accident involving minors at a home with unsecured guns, the owners of that home would be held legally (and morally) responsible. I applaud proper training with firearms and may have my dad train my sons at some point in spite of the fact that we do not own guns. But I also know that many people do not follow through with training even when they own them. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children will indeed pick up, aim and otherwise do exactly what they were instructed not to do when they find a gun.
In spite of asking to be left off the distribution list for emails of this sort, it was there for me in my inbox. Usually I delete - this time I did not, as is my right.
You wrote, "The incident in Question DID indeed happen and My cousin was living in Butte at the time." I never questioned the authenticity of the event - a closer reading of what I wrote would tell you this. Just because you disagree with something does not mean the ideas are "ignorant blatherings". So to you I say in return, use spellcheck, read up on gun statistics put out by unbiased organizations & get your own life. And now I will use my delete button & get rid your your ridiculous email.
26 December 2008
America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.
Some healthcare trivia: In the United States, what is the No. 1 reason people are admitted to the hospital? Not diabetes, not heart attack, not stroke. The answer is something that isn't even a disease: childbirth.
Not only is childbirth the most common reason for a hospital stay -- more than 4 million American women give birth each year -- it costs the country far more than any other health condition. Six of the 15 most frequent hospital procedures billed to private insurers and Medicaid are maternity-related. The nation's maternity bill totaled $86 billion in 2006, nearly half of which was picked up by taxpayers.
But cost hasn't translated into quality. We spend more than double per capita on childbirth than other industrialized countries, yet our rates of pre-term birth, newborn death and maternal death rank us dismally in comparison. Last month, the March of Dimes gave the country a "D" on its prematurity report card; California got a "C," but 18 other states and the District of Columbia, where 15.9% of babies are born too early, failed entirely.
The U.S. ranks 41st among industrialized nations in maternal mortality. And there are unconscionable racial disparities: African American mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers.
In short, we are overspending and under-serving women and families. If the United States is serious about health reform, we need to begin, well, at the beginning.
The problem is not access to care; it is the care itself. As a new joint report by the Milbank Memorial Fund, the Reforming States Group and Childbirth Connection makes clear, American maternity wards are not following evidence-based best practices. They are inducing and speeding up far too many labors and reaching too quickly for the scalpel: Nearly one-third of births are now by caesarean section, more than twice what the World Health Organization has documented is a safe rate. In fact, the report found that the most common billable maternity procedures -- continuous electronic fetal monitoring, for instance -- have no clear benefit when used routinely.
The most cost-effective, health-promoting maternity care for normal, healthy women is midwife led and out of hospital. Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on the type and complexity of the birth. The average birth-center fee is only $1,600 because high-tech medical intervention is rarely applied and stays are shorter. This model of care is not just cheaper; decades of medical research show that it's better. Mother and baby are more likely to have a normal, vaginal birth; less likely to experience trauma, such as a bad vaginal tear or a surgical delivery; and more likely to breast feed. In other words, less is actually more.
The Obama administration could save the country billions by overhauling the American way of birth.
Consider Washington, where a state review of licensed midwives (just 100 in practice) found that they saved the state an estimated $2.7 million over two years. One reason for the savings is that midwives prevent costly caesarean surgeries: 11.9% of midwifery patients in Wash- ington ended up with C-sections, compared with 24% of low-risk women in traditional obstetric care.
Currently, just 1% of women nationwide get midwife-led care outside a hospital setting. Imagine the savings if that number jumped to 10% or even 30%. Imagine if hospitals started promoting best practices: giving women one-on-one, continuous support, promoting movement and water immersion for pain relief, and reducing the use of labor stimulants and labor induction. The C-section rate would plummet, as would related infections, hemorrhages, neonatal intensive care admissions and deaths. And the country could save some serious cash. The joint Milbank report conservatively estimates savings of $2.5 billion a year if the caesarean rate were brought down to 15%.
To be frank, the U.S. maternity care system needs to be turned upside down. Midwives should be caring for the majority of pregnant women, and physicians should continue to handle high-risk cases, complications and emergencies. This is the division of labor, so to speak, that you find in the countries that spend less but get more.
In those countries, a persistent public health concern is a midwife shortage. In the U.S., we don't have similar regard for midwives or their model of care. Hospitals frequently shut down nurse-midwifery practices because they don't bring in enough revenue. And although certified nurse midwives are eligible providers under federal Medicaid law and mandated for reimbursement, certified professional midwives -- who are trained in out-of-hospital birth care -- are not. In several state legislatures, they are fighting simply to be licensed, legal healthcare providers. (Californians are lucky -- certified professional midwives are licensed, and Medi-Cal covers out-of-hospital birth.)
Barack Obama could be, among so many other firsts, the first birth-friendly president. How about a Midwife Corps to recruit and train the thousands of new midwives we'll need? How about federal funding to create hundreds of new birth centers? How about an ad campaign to educate women about optimal birth?
America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.
Jennifer Block is the author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care."
25 December 2008
24 December 2008
‘TWAS THE BREASTFEEDER’S NIGHTTIME
By Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com
‘Twas a holiday eve and the babe was asleep,
Swaddled tight in his crib he made not a peep.
My boobs were depleted from feeding all day.
“Please don’t wake. Sleep all night,” to the babe I did pray.
But his lips, how they moved, as he lay in his bed.
Visions of milky breasts danced in his head.
Dad in his boxers and I in my sweats,
Could we get some shuteye? Go ahead, place your bets.
The moon on the breast of my t-shirt did glow,
Gave a luster to leaking spots set to grow.
My nursing pads were soaked, they fell out of place.
My bra had unsnapped. How I missed sexy lace.
For months I’d been feeding our babe everywhere.
Coffee shop, park bench, museum, movie chair.
All my modesty gone, nothing shy anymore.
If the kiddo was crying, I knew how to score.
And now with the holidays, things often got dire.
While out buying gifts, I sometimes drew ire.
I breastfed in clothing stores. Changing rooms rock.
I breastfed in bookstores. To the stacks I did flock.
When from the babe’s room there arose such a clatter.
We sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.
Away to his room we flew with a flash,
Threw open the door, in the dark I did crash.
What a klutz I can be, ‘twas those bags made me fall.
Sacks for our trip, all arranged in the hall.
We were going to Grandma’s, a five hour drive.
Holiday time—Will I make it alive?
One big huge duffle held all the babe’s stuff.
Diapers, wipes, onesies. Did I bring enough?
Now don’t forget burp cloths, crib sheets and toys.
Books and Bjorn, we’ll exhibit such poise.
On breast pump, on bottles, on stroller and boppy.
On car seat, on cradle, on blanket and binky.
Fill the back of the car, fill the trunk with our haul.
And we’ll drive away, drive away, drive away all.
Now don’t forget stopping to feed long the way.
Gas stations, McDonalds and rest stops, oy vey.
Of course there’ll be lots of those diapers to do.
Get out the Purell, you’ll be covered in poo.
When we finally arrive, now what will await?
Lots of food and embraces, it’ll be really great.
No, no one will not fight. I will not shed a tear.
Ok, a white lie— but rejoice in who’s here.
And what about wine or a champagne or two?
Will it make my milk bad? Old wives tale or true?
And will anyone say, “Can he now take a bottle?”
“How long will you breastfeed?” How these questions can throttle.
Now back to that “clatter,” the babe and that noise.
We had rushed right on in, leaping over the toys.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
Our babe still asleep, oh how sweet, oh how dear.
His cheeks, how they glistened, his hair soft and furry.
And I smiled when I saw him, despite all my worry.
How delicious, his belly, moving in and then out.
How precious, his lips in a sweet little pout.
He had not woken up! He did not need to eat.
He had had quite enough, his day quite complete.
And so back to our bed we did quietly crawl.
Happy Holidays to one, happy sleeping to all.
© 2006, Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com
oh - happy day before Christmas, if you celebrate it.
Somehow, I've left all the gift wrapping until today. When all my children are home. Bad plan.
And anyone waiting for our holiday card - think of it as more of a New Year greeting...
23 December 2008
But now my bumper, which has pretty much been a (minimalist) canvas for my political/social self (though there was that one school magnet, but it fell off pretty quickly) is now making room for this "all mom, all the time" notification to the world.
I know I should just shut up & be grateful, but I also shouldn't have held on to my New York Magazine subscription for years after moving (29 minutes - see? - I can't even say "half hour"!) out of the city, telling myself, "but it's just a few miles!".
I can see the future already - next a lacrosse sticker & soon, no room for my "Be About Peace" magnet...ah, the sacrifices. ;-)
22 December 2008
21 December 2008
20 December 2008
19 December 2008
It's the first snow day of the season & I love it! I canceled plans & stayed off the roads. The kids are home from school & I've been making hot coco as they come & go from outside. I've shoveled & salted. I spent this afternoon with my neighbors, lingering over coffee & making plans for a glass of wine later. No one is really due (not that that means anything), so I'm probably going to get to stay snug as a bug. Lasagna supplies are en route when my husband shuffles up the hill from the train. Think I might read some while the kids watch a movie. Ahhhh.
(the picture above was taken in Quebec last year - alas, no babbling brook at my house!)
18 December 2008
Around this time of year there are many traditions big and small...things we do every year that bring us joy.
Today was a day for many of those little things for me. Although I don't work in a typical office, I like to think of the yearly breakfast or lunch with my dear friend as our version of the office party (only fun!) with our in-the-trenches mom colleague. We may only meet at the diner or a local lunch place (today was Indian), but what's fun is that we exchange all the little items we have bought or made throughout the year for each other. The best is that we really know the other's taste and have taken note of little things commented on over time...you know - like we might want our husbands to do but we realistically do for each other instead!
After that, I ran all my pre-Christmas errands in town - visiting my favorite merchants and buying little stocking stuffers and admiring ornaments. I know it's sort of the calm before the storm of grocery shopping and cooking and airport runs to pick up relatives...some nice friend time and alone time to enjoy & reflect.
There is something so comforting about the yearly rituals.
17 December 2008
Being in the moment with myself, focusing OUTWARD, helps me with conscious gratitude. It takes different things, though... sometimes playing with my daughter does it; other times it's writing, listening to music, watching a movie, walking down a city street, being under the tattoo needle, making a good human connection. I guess, for me, it's all about connecting with the best of everything out there to show me how amazing + wonderful this life (and I) can be! And then everything else just slides away... for a time, at least. :)
Sadly, I don't know how to post a link to the right spot - you could just listen to the whole show, because it's fab - the first segment is hilarious. But if you just want the one that inspired this post, go to segment 3 at about minute 8:12
16 December 2008
Parent bloggers wanted
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [?]
Date: 2008-12-15, 8:38AM PST
• Engaging writers who will blog candidly about parenting, with a specific, unique focus. For example: green living, time-efficiency tips, parenting hacks, personal finance, shopping, family entertainment, stepfamilies, raising a child with autism or other special needs, homeschooling, etc. Stand out from the crowd!
• Original photos to accompany your posts.
• Parents who are already blogging regularly are a must.
• An expert take on your subject. Professionally published writing is helpful, but not required.
• 5 blog posts per week, about 200-400 words per post.
Please email your resume and a link to your blog.
- Compensation: $125/week
- Telecommuting is ok.
- This is a part-time job.
- Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
- Please, no phone calls about this job!
- Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
15 December 2008
...This baby has made me such a better person. I just love my life so much more, and everyone around me gets sucked into that lovefest. I love everyone more!
A prospective study of nearly 3,000 women having their first babies showed a strong association between certain characteristics present upon admission and the diagnosis of dystocia (or failure to progress) in labor, with resultant cesareans. These characteristics are: a tense cervix that is dilated less than 4 cm with a thick lower segment and a fetal head that is high with poor head-to-cervix contact. Epidural analgesia also had the strongest association with dystocia among the risk indicators assessed.
14 December 2008
Some beginning of life examples: a baby is born premature and in the NICU, having blood transfusions and tubes everywhere. A slow but hopeful road, yet overwhelming to the parents, who never imagined they would be home for weeks without their baby. Yet...even if they had gone home all together, full term, they would still be overwhelmed, as every new parent inevitably is, at least at some point. Same with having a second baby - only then do you realize how easy you had it, comparatively, when you only had the one. And I imagine many of us don't think much of our health/mortality unless we feel like something could be wrong.
Why is it that we are rarely able to count our lucky stars unless something really unlucky gets our attention? I guess because we are just responding to whatever challenges face us, no matter how big or petty. . It's like you can't know, really know it in a life-changing way, until you see it from a new vantage point? But how to jump to & stay in that place of knowing and appreciating...that's the challenge.
So how do you not sweat the small stuff? How do you maintain gratitude and awareness of your blessings?
13 December 2008
Imagine my surprise when watching the season finale of this Showtime series and seeing a doula! In a minor plot line, the protagonist, Hank, may have gotten an acquaintance pregnant (the show is called Californication - it's very adult stuff) and thus is called to the home birth. The birthing woman is living with her boyfriend, a new age swami guy author, and they are having a waterbirth. She's sitting (very high up - I assume for purposes of being seen well on camera, becasue her position in the water was doing nothing to help her labor!) and is cursing, screaming for drugs and bemoaning changes to her, er, "anatomy"...
The doula says, in a dreamy voice, something like, "Let it go - it's about transcendence" and the birthing woman screams at her somthing like "FU, YOU F'ING DOULA!".
BUT - she has a healthy (dark-skinned, not Hank's) baby boy seconds later. No clue where the midwife was - maybe the swami guy is a doctor? But the reason I see this as more positive than negative is that homebirth on TV & film usually results in "emergency" transport, some sort of chastising for the "crazy" & "selfish", misguided plan and then salvation via cesarean (case in point - The L word - another Showtime show I love about a group of lesbian friends, written by women...that homebirth ended in a c-section...and pissed me off - they really had a chance to say something positive & they went the scary music route instead.) So I can live with someone in transition yelling at her doula...I'm just happy she had a doula and that the non-water-waterbirth happened without the plot requiring near-tragedy.
And you know what they say about press - bad or good, it's people talking.
PS: I love how TV/movies always use some three month old baby covered in red jello and try to pass it off as a newborn! No wonder women are frightened - they think they will be giving birth to a 15 pound baby!
12 December 2008
What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?That's the question that the film Orgasmic Birth asks. Although OB has been bumped from tonight's 20/20 lineup in favor of coverage of the IL Governor mess (and is slated to run instead on Friday, 1/2/09 at 10p Eastern Time), The New York Times blog, Motherload ran a great piece on the film...the comments, while certainly not all positive, mean that people are talking. Please lend your voice to the conversation, if you are so moved.
Here's the NYT piece, but be sure to check the comments - some are right on, some are funny & some are just sad...
First thing next month (Friday January 2) will be the primetime debut of a film that has been making the “under the radar” rounds of women and film festivals since May. ABC’s 20/20 will air the documentary “Orgasmic Birth”, by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a childbirth educator and a doula, which asks the question: What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?
Some women will see this film as a declaration of emancipation from the medicalization of childbirth. Others will see it as yet one more way to raise expectations and make new mothers feel inadequate if they do not experience the “ideal” birth.
The message of the film is “that women can journey through labor and birth in all different ways. And there are a lot more options out there, to make this a positive and pleasurable experience,” Pascali-Bonaro tells ABC. “I hope women watching and men watching don’t feel that what we’re saying is every woman should have an orgasmic birth.”
But the title certainly catches attention, referring to what Pascali-Bonaro calls “the best kept secret” of child birth – that some women report having an orgasm as the baby exits the birth canal.
Tamra Larter experienced that while Pascali-Bonaro’s cameras were rolling. She and her husband, Simon, opted to have their second child in their suburban New Jersey home, and through most of the hours of labor the couple was kissing and caressing.
“The phyical touch and nurturing was just really comforting to me,” Larter told ABC. Of the orgasmic birth that resulted she said: “It was happening, and I could hardly breathe, and it was like, ‘oh, that feels good.’ That’s all I could say really.”
Christine Northrup, an OB-GYN and author of “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” explains in the film that orgasms during labor are the results of chemistry and anatomy: “When the baby’s coming down the birth canal, remember, it’s going through the exact same positions as something going in, the penis going into the vagina, to cause an orgasm. And labor itself is associated with a huge hormonal change in the body, way more prolactin, way more oxytocin, way more beta-endorphins — these are the molecules of ecstasy.”
And on that note I open up the comments for your thoughts …
11 December 2008
Check out the great update of The Business of Being Born's website about Abby Epsein & Ricki Lake's visit to The Farm in TN to meet with Ina May Gaskin & The Farm midwives. Lots of great pictures and insights.
I recently visited this little guy, growing stronger every day after being born at 32 weeks. Doesn't he look like he's raising his fist in victory?
Keep up the good work, mister! Many blessings to you momma and daddy - hope they get the Christmas gift they are wishing for - to bring you home in time for the holidays!
10 December 2008
Please help us share our news...
Orgasmic Birth will be a featured segment on ABC-TV's "20/20" this Friday December 12, at 10 PM Eastern Time
Visit the ABC website to read more about Orgasmic Birth and share your comments on the film. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6120045&page=1
Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, Orgasmic Birth brings the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth. Witness the passion as birth is revealed as an integral part of woman's sexuality and a neglected human right. With commentary by Christiane Northrup, MD, and midwives Ina May Gaskin, Elizabeth Davis and other experts in the field . . . and stunning moments of women in the ecstatic release of childbirth.
09 December 2008
Last week my 4yo told me about how he was going to get a new toy at the birthday party he was going to soon. He remembered that the party place has once of those glass cases with the robot grabber arm where you pay money for a chance to try to get a prize. I told him good luck & he said thanks. He was all excited and I told him that he might not win, that it was just a chance, but he was confident.
He came home from the party with a HUGE stuffed bear. He did it.
The momma who most recently gave birth had commented several times during our talks that she would love it if her baby was born "in the caul". Traditional wisdom is that babies born in the veil of the amniotic sac will be especially powerful and intuitive. I told her about the birth where I had taken a picture of such a baby, but that it wasn't super common (just checked - about 1/1000). Still, she brought it up a few more times.
Her baby was born in the caul. Her midwife called her a "Dalai Lama baby".
Intention is powerful. Maybe I should stop trying to rain on everyone's parade!
08 December 2008
In days gone by, I imagine that's what the town midwife or doctor felt like...being trusted to be a part of such peak rites of passage with members of my community. I was thinking about that yesterday as I set out for a day of one prenatal and two postpartum visits...being able to take time to explore with people the special place of having just given birth or being about to...holding a baby that is hours or days old.
I'm very lucky and I know it!
07 December 2008
06 December 2008
Wowee - what an entrance!
Your momma was amazing, blowing out enough imaginary birthday candles for a lifetime, trying not to push while still helping with directions. Your daddy was calm and proud as could be.
You are so loved already...welcome to this crazy world!
05 December 2008
I just finished uploading some birth photos for a client (password protected) and must say, I love them. Because I am not a trained photographer (but am told I have a good eye, blush), I think I am not constrained by function so much. I know that I prefer images with no flash (and think the baby, once born, prefers it too!) since I can lighten them later if needed. I know that if I hold my breath & steady myself, they will usually be clear & that even the blurry ones can be beautiful. If using my own camera (a digital SLR), I know I can adjust settings for very low light, even candlelight or capture fast movement.
What I really enjoy doing is, I suppose, a documentary style - capturing the little details as well as the big moments. To me, the filling out of forms, the cup of ice chips, the Yahtzee game left in mid-play, the bumper stickers on the midwife's car... are all part of the story. And I love to get the cutting of the cord and all the firsts, to try to capture the vibe, the tears, the joy.
04 December 2008
Anyway, this particular GNO was at the home of someone I had been wanting to get to know better for a long time. I felt like I knew her already, virtually through her hilarious & wise posts on our local mothers' & town message boards. And we had met a few times & chatted about birth. But I hoped for the opportunity to get to know her better & told her so. So when her invitation arrived, I eagerly accepted.
Our hostess was specific that carrot sticks were not welcomed - you had to come with either alcohol or a sugary treat. One person did bring sparkling pomegranate juice, but the antioxidants were overlooked due to the sugar content. The hostess made the most fab chocolate pecan pie and showed me around her warm & gracious home.
Immediately conversation turned to politics and how in the US it's considered by most to be impolite to discuss. And you know what? We went on to talk in-depth about religion, race relations, and education - we even talked PTA! whew.
I love that every rule was broken...what we ate and drank, what we talked about & how late we stayed out. It was fun & nourishing - I love connecting with other passionate, smart, funny women, many of whom I had never met, some I'd wanted to get to know better and one I knew pretty well (as I had attended her birth). What a great night - thanks to all who were a part of it - most especially, our hostess.
03 December 2008
a brief article in Fit Pregnancy (Oct/Nov 2008) that states: "Labor pain evidently comes mainly from the cervix, not the uterus, a Swedish researcher says. In non-pregnant women, the uterus contains pain-sensitive fibers, but for reasons unknown, those fibers disappear almost completely during pregnancy. Experts' best guess is that this is an evolutionary adaptation; if the nerve fibers remained, birth would be too painful—as would pregnancy. The findings could lead to more effective labor pain treatment."—From S.R. Karolinska Institute
02 December 2008
...As professionals, we may not be fully connected to our lives. Distance may become a daily habit. In reality, most physicians lead far more meaningful lives than they realize. Proust said, "The voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new vistas, but in having new eyes." Finding meaning will require us to see the familiar in new ways.
Harry, an emergency physician, tells a story about a woman who was brought into his emergency department about to give birth. As soon as he examined her, he realized that unless her obstetrician was already on his way, he was going to get to deliver this baby himself. He had barely finished his examination when the head crowned, and with nurses on either side of him holding the mother's legs on their shoulders, Harry delivered a little girl.
She was breathing spontaneously, and he felt a familiar sense of satisfaction at his own competence. He laid her along his left forearm with the back of her head in his left hand and began to suction her nose and mouth. Suddenly the infant opened her eyes and looked directly at him. In that instant, Harry realized that he was the first human being this baby girl had ever seen. Deeply moved, he felt his heart go out to her in welcome from all people everywhere, and for a moment he had tears in his eyes.
All this surprised him. Harry has delivered many babies and has always enjoyed the excitement of making rapid decisions and testing his skills. But he had never before let himself experience the meaning of what he was doing or let himself know what he was serving with his expertise. He feels changed by this moment. In that flash of recognition, he felt years of cynicism and fatigue fall away and remembered why he had chosen this work in the first place. As he put it, "It all suddenly seemed worth it."
Meaning is a human need. It strengthens us, not by numbing our pain or distracting us from our problems, or even by comforting us. It heals us by reminding us of our integrity, who we are, and what we stand for...
01 December 2008
The other day was the National Day Of Listening. In celebration of this, a public radio program, Speaking Of Faith, had a great show on Listening Generously, with a terrific guest: Rachel Naomi Remen. She is a physician who now teaches other doctors the importance of listening. She spoke about how the rigors of medical school and the path to becoming a physician can actually harm one's sense of humanity and compassion & thus physicians have a very high rate of depression and often times are not as helpful as they could be because they are seeking to distance themselves in hopes of self-protection & objectivity. She basically talks about the importance of bearing witness, holding the space. Doulaing!
I found her words so enlightening and was feeling such compassion for the doctors I have sometimes really resented or by whom I and my clients are occasionally frustrated. They have given up so much to be physicians and it hurts them and it hurts us, their patients.
Do yourself a favor and listen to what she has to say...it's amazingly good stuff.
30 November 2008
You're more likely to have your first baby at around 41 weeks (and a day, to be precise). But almost everyone thinks they will be early. Obviously some of them will be, and about 5% will be right on time and many are "late". But the whole idea of estimated due dates gets shortened to DUE DATE...but it's an estimate. I'm pretty sure our moms were not stressed about their EDD in the same way that current birthing moms are. But then inductions didn't loom so large even 10 years ago.
One thing I've noticed (perhaps I've said this before?) is that women who had some concerns over pre-term labor pr were put on bed rest or similar usually see their "due date" come and go. I think our minds and our connections to our babies are powerful - we tell them, "don't come baby" and they listen! So if you are waiting on your baby, have a talk with them.
Also, what was your cycle like when you got pregnant? If it was longer, eg. 33 days, then your date might be off - that dial-a-baby is based on 28 days, getting pregnant on day 14. Same deal for shorter cycles - maybe you're a little more pregnant than your date indicates and you'll be "early".
Either way, no one has been pregnant for ever - your baby will come.
29 November 2008
And I found free, legal street parking - ah, the karmic rewards...
oh - AND I went to Jamba Juice, making it a great little jaunt.
But man, I was so saddened to hear that there were incidents yesterday where at least one person lost his life over shopping. A man in my husband's hometown of Valley Stream, NY on Long Island was trampled by eager crowds rushing to get in to a Wal-Mart at 5am. A pregnant woman was also injured, but she and her baby are OK. During all this, Wal-Mart did not close - they continued to let people in to shop while a lifeless body lay waiting to be picked up. People rushed around the body in order to shop for deals. Wow...what the hell?
Thinking about this has made me decide to go out of my way to not get caught up in holiday craziness - I will not stress or be unkind over a parking spot or a slow shopper or a hard-to-find item. I will also not shop at Wal-Mart, but that's nothing new. I'm opting out and I hope you also will opt out of at least some of the stress associated with this time of year.
28 November 2008
A story in today's NJ Star Ledger talks about the films, Orgasmic Birth and The Business of Being Born, the play, Birth, midwives, the Anna Verwaal seminar we had recently and more...
27 November 2008
26 November 2008
What's the first thing you think when you see this picture? Me? I think, don't lay on your back - use gravity to push! Once again, my singular focus surprises even me.
In spite of the 95% chance that my client would not give birth on her due date (today), it looks like she might!
Since her call that she is in labor, I have been crazily cooking what I can ahead & making lists obsessively in case my husband or friend has to step in and cook the turkey and stuffing (am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time!). Pie is now made, cranberry sauce is made, stuffing is made & ready to be cooked, table is partially set...whew! Now I just wait for "the" call.
I love how quiet it is, email-wise...I love that everyone is either traveling or busily preparing for tomorrow...oh yeah, and laboring!
Now please don't assume I am making any kind of statement about vaginal versus cesarean birth by posting these items together. That would, perhaps, have been clever (eek - almost wrote "cleaver" - how Freudian!) of me, but I just think these are groovy!
Awhile back I saw the frog on etsy & fell in love - I was an enthusiastic biology student and loved dissection. Don't be disturbed - I just thought it was amazing - I loved & still love TV shows about forensics. Interesting that our old rescue dog, Quincy (RIP) was named, by his prior owner, after a TV forensic pathologist - really - the original owner had been a medical examiner.
Anyway, here it is, available from Crafty Hedgehog.
So imagine my amazement when I checked in on The Human Pacifier and saw this incredible knitted birthing mom, available on etsy by CozyColeman...
25 November 2008
Was just reading about the BRAIN method of asking questions in labor at Crunchy Mom...she wrote:
if she wants to ask her doctor about the procedures discussed by using the B.R.A.I.N. acronym. That empowers her to ask about the benefits, risks, and alternatives to any procedure. Then we talk about what her intuition is telling her and ask if the intervention has to be done now. Then she has the power to make an informed consent.I hadn't used the acronym before when suggesting these questions, but I will now!
24 November 2008
Dear baby William,
Yesterday I was watching the sun rise and singing "Here Comes The Sun" (and thinking also "here come the son"!) as I drove back into the city to be with your folks in labor.
This morning it was the first song I heard & thought of you and your new family... I'm so happy that you are such a big boy, relatively speaking. I know you are loved already, and in many different time zones!
PS: these are The Beatles - just some of the excellent music available to you in this big world. Welcome!
23 November 2008
22 November 2008
The most lovely birth story...I learned of it here.
At some point in the past, I read that there's a native American group who believes that labor is so the woman's spirit can journey across the sky to bring her baby's soul to earth. I wasn't really too sure about that, until this labor. The night before had been the full moon, and it was with some shock that I realized that there I was, in my birth tub, watching the moon cross the sky, exactly as I had been for the miscarriage all those months before. And it seemed to take no time at all. The ocean would rock, the boat would rock, then the tub would rock. I was being cradled in a virtual sea, meditating on a brilliant full moon, pulling it all into a rhythm with the surges in my body.
(author's photo of moonrise)
21 November 2008
Women's choices for how and where they want to give birth have been
consistently eroding these last few years. Whether these directives are
coming from medical associations, risk management teams, or malpractice
insurance providers, their impact is affecting the health of mothers and
babies in a negative way. The women's health activist organization,
Our Bodies, Our Selves, together with maternity care professionals, advocates,and consumer groups have
issued a joint statement, Choices in Childbirth A Statement by Physicians,
Midwives and Women's Health Advocates who Support Safe Choices in
Childbirth, calling for health reforms in maternity care. If you agree with
their proposal, add your name to the statement.
20 November 2008
As expected, Dr. Nancy Schneiderman uses language repeatedly of "doctor" or "OB" & not of midwife. I found her very closed to the idea of doulas - and not a single word about statistical benefits of doulas, the many studies that show their value. Notice how she says some are very well trained - having been L&D nurses or midwives (or credentialed through DONA, as so many of us are) - but then warned that some less-well trained will create a hostile environment by giving information contrary to what the hospital staff says...that strikes me as ironic...be medically trained in order to give non-medical support!
I think so much of the tension comes from a place of defensiveness - the idea that you need your doctor's permission in order to gather the support you desire (or that you have a doctor & not a midwife!). No consideration of the idea that if you want a doula and your care provider does not then perhaps you are not well matched and should choose a different care provider. But it just doesn't have to be that way...I just do not have this tension with care providers - but I work hard to help build consensus...I doula doctors and nurses when needed!
But yes, we all know there are overzealous doulas who step over the line and are being advocates for Birth with a capital B rather than this particular birth and family - point well taken and something for doulas to be clear about.
Kind of sad that Dr. Schneiderman considers a birthing family feeling informed, cared for, physically & emotionally comfortable and having built a relationship with an integral member of her birth team as a "luxury"...
Should you wish to give Dr. Schneiderman/The Today Show feedback but do not wish to dig through the site, you can try here.
Something to think about for those who work in birth (or even for those who don't!) from Midwifery Today:
Personally, it took a lot of time on the path of martyrdom for me to really get clear about how that self-sacrifice thing does not serve anyone. I have done many births in my career for free because I "felt sorry" for the couple. This is a kind of arrogance about others that usually ends in disaster. Now it seems particularly ridiculous that I did a lot of this free work when I was a struggling single parent with two little kids who I could barely feed. What was I thinking? I would burn out my friends with unreasonable requests for babysitting, let my pantry get bare, be exhausted and cranky with my children and still not collect money from the clients because they were "so poor." Learning to see others as whole, complete, capable adults took a long time.
When we charge a fair fee for service, as other workers do, we leave the relationship with the client whole and complete. I remember doing a birth for a couple for a ridiculously low fee because I was told "He is a seasonal worker and they really want to have a birth in their own home." About three months after the birth, the family phoned to tell me they were going on a trip to Disneyland. I was very resentful and did not want them to have a nice holiday when I had gone into debt to be at their birth. Lesson learned. Now I'm thrilled when my clients tell me they are buying nice things because they owe me nothing.
Even if people have a tough time with finances, there are still things they can sell if they want the service you offer. There are enough pop bottles on the street to generate the money for a doula. There are grandparents who would love to pay for a doula service for the new grandchild. There is a way to pay $50 per month for a year if one really wants a doula.
I love this quote from Dr. Kloosterman of Holland, who is an obstetrician and a great friend to the natural birth movement:
"All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to give care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiarity." (Editor's Note: The principle of subsidiarity is that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization that can be done as well [or better] by a smaller and simpler organization.)
It's important to note that Dr. Kloosterman doesn't say "give care for free or for a ridiculously low return." "Make use of this group" does not mean "make this group into martyrs." I have seen so many good women come and go from the birth movement who do not have a balance between what they give and what they receive. It simply doesn't work to be dishonest about our own needs and the needs of our families when we go to births.— Gloria Lemay
Excerpted from "Midwifery Tip from Gloria Lemay," The Birthkit, Issue 36
19 November 2008
This is the same kid who, in spite of never having gone to church and growing up in a non-observant family, is sometimes visited by God, he says, when he (not He) doesn't want to go to sleep by himself or has a bad dream.
from Midwifery Today...wow...yet another reason to try to avoid a cesarean:
A study to determine whether breech presentation at term is more common among women with at least one prior cesarean delivery showed a rate two times that for women who had had vaginal births. The study records of 84,688 women showed the relative risk of a breech presentation at term for women with a history of cesarean was 2.18, with no difference related to the number of cesareans. While a total of 2.46% of all women in the study had breech babies at term, 14.91% of those who had had a cesarean had a breech. The researchers took into account other factors, including gestational age, maternal age, parity, birth weight and oligohydramnios.
— Am J Obstet Gynecol, 13 Feb 2008 (10.1016/j.ajog.2007.11.009)
18 November 2008
The interesting part (to me) was that what overwhelmingly came out of the whole thing was not that people don't like the product anymore or want to just come out as pro-sling, but rather that companies need "CMOMs" - ie., more mothers in high places in companies to give a mom perspective. Good point.
17 November 2008
So you have probably heard by now about the really dumb Motrin ad. REALLY dumb.
It seems that they have taken the web ad down (not really dumb), so here's the text of it:
Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.
I mean, in theory it’s a great idea.
There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch.
And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.
Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.
They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.
But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?
I sure do!
These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?!
I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.
Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.
And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.
Lots of bloggers have said lots of wise stuff - why recreate the wheel...check here & here & here for a sample...I couldn't agree more.
Maybe we just need to teach people how to wear their babies properly & also to keep searching if they have a sling/pouch/whatever that isn't quite right for them...you don't have to give up on all slings if one doesn't work - sell it on Ebay/trade it with someone/take it to a consignment shop & get a different type. Attend a baby wearing workshop to try different types. Don't assume that you and your mate will be able to use the same one - maybe you will but maybe not. And if you get the occasional ache or pain, have someone who knows babywearing check you out & make suggestions. Also look at how you sit when you nurse or anything else habitual. And if you still experience pain, try Arnica instead (homeopathic) - it's kinder to your body!
16 November 2008
15 November 2008
Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people premission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson
The assumption of powerlessness that I so often see in birthing women makes me sad. It makes me crazy and angry too. I feel like I want to grab women by their collectively shrugging shoulders and look them in the eye and say, "this is not OK...you have a choice here; get angry and do something!" Sometimes I do do this, but in a gentle way. Sometimes it is arguably not my place and so I remain quietly supportive, perhaps tacitly being part of the problem.
I just heard from a colleague who is disturbed by her client's email which says,
The last three pregnant women I've known of have birthed their babies (all c-sections) 2-4 weeks early. It's making me think it may be the sameWhy is this getting me at such a deep place? Is it the happy face at the end? The seeming flipness that is perhaps real nonchalance or maybe masks deep fear? I don't know, but it troubles me deeply. It makes me want to weep.
for us. We'll see. :)
So instead of staying in a dark place, I will offer again some information from The March Of Dimes on the medical creation of premature babies and the induction epidemic. There is a petition to sign. A small way to say "stop this ride - I want to get off".
Today is the national protest against California's Proposition 8. I was inspired by fellow blogger Sarah at Cooler Than The Cat to use this space today to remind people to do what they can. She links to this powerful essay from the NY Times about how this disgraceful vote impacts real people.
So do something: join a rally, write a letter, lend a hand, say a prayer...
14 November 2008
Birth centers need to be opening, not closing, so take a second and read this & then lend your voice!
13 November 2008
Check out the almost entirely positive story on home birth in today's New York Times, accompanied by a lovely slideshow online (including the above photos). The article notes a growing home birth surge taking place:
...in 2006 home births accounted for only one-half of 1 percent of the city’s 125,506 reported births. But local midwives say they have been swamped with calls and requests in recent months, in some cases increasing their workload from two, three or four deliveries a month to as many as 10.Of course, I would have loved if the reporter hadn't used loaded words like "grueling ordeal" and "traumatic" and lots of other fear-based language when the families involved seemed not to experience their births like that at all (note to the reporter: check your own preconceptions at the door & just observe/report, please). I wish the cover picture were a more joyful one - it's possible to mistakenly conclude that everyone in the picture is worried. I wish it hit harder on cesarean rates (and the fact that some hospitals hover around or above 50% instead of the already-deplorable national average of 33%) - and by the way, a cesarean is far more than a "procedure", it's major abdominal surgery. I wish the last part, about the AMA's stance, were not entitled "Playing It Safe". But overall, aside from the incongruity of the reporter's editorializing as compared to the facts and stories reported, it's good...
Blessings to all the families who shared their births for this article and to all those who read it and consider their options. When people see the beauty and simplicity that birth can be, especially at home, it is hard to go back to that place of fear and judgment. I hope that is true for many who read the NY Times piece.
The TODAY Show on NBC plans to feature information about doulas this Thursday, November 13, 2008.
As was previously announced, the segment was scheduled for November 6th but it got bumped. We hope it will not be bumped again!
A birth attended by a DONA certified doula will be discussed, as will the benefits of doulas. Also covered will be a hospital that has had trouble with doulas in the past. We all look forward to seeing information about doulas on a major TV show!
12 November 2008
According to Mama Knows Breast as quoting the New York Post, actress Rebecca Romaijn is preparing to nurse her twins due in January. Her Ugly Betty co-stars threw her a baby shower and actress Vanessa Williams gave lessons on the double football hold.
Another well-known, happy nursing momma is Salma Hayak. In a Huffington Post story (covering The Times story) she talked about nursing her 14 month old daughter, and though she found nursing hard at first, now:
"I'm like an alcoholic," she shrugs. "It's like, I don't care if I cry, I don't care if I'm fat, I'm just gonna do it for one more week, one more month, and then, when I see how much good it is doing her, I can't stop. (It's) a very powerful thing you know."