30 November 2008

statistically speaking

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

money where my mouth is

So I went into the city to run some errands. Horrible traffic at the Holland Tunnel. More than the typical crowds of tourists walking slowly in SoHo, plus a few texting-while-walking folks...but I remembered my promise. I let people cut me in the traffic line, I did not lose my temper with the frustrating sales clerk who also remained calm & nice, I said please & thank you like they were going out of style and tried to imagine what it must be like to be a visitor to NYC for the first time. And you know what? It was great - so stress-free and almost entirely helpful, kind people along the way.
And I found free, legal street parking - ah, the karmic rewards...
oh - AND I went to Jamba Juice, making it a great little jaunt.

let's stop & think

Like many people, I went out yesterday and did a little "Black Friday" shopping...I think this may have been my first time, but it just happened to work out - my husband was home, we had a babysitter lined up, so we went and got a couple of good deals. Normally I try to avoid shopping when it's crazy. I try to do much of it on-line, as I don't really enjoy it and certainly don't like the crowds. And like many, I'm buying a bit less this year.
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.

27 November 2008

Wecome baby Hudson!

A Thanksgiving blessing! 6lb 8 oz & 20.25", born a little after 4am.
Welcome baby!

26 November 2008

against the odds

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!

just cool

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

use your BRAIN

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!

waterworks, redux

Not sure why I find it so touching, but I do...an elementary school on Long Island has just changed it's name to the Barack Obama Elementary School. Read about it here - lots of other places honoring president-elect Obama with a name change too.

24 November 2008

William Bradbury, part 2

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

William Bradbury!

Though only 32 weeks+2 days, he is 4 lb 5.6oz & 17 inches! This healthy baby boy was born this evening after a long, slow labor...his parents are in love with each other and him! Be proud of yourselves, L & W - you worked hard and your boy is beautiful...I'm so very happy for you!

22 November 2008

luna et mare

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

joint statement for maternity reform

Sent to me - check it out...
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

Boarder Stories

Every human has rights...compelling.

The film maker is someone who went to my small highschool.

doula video from Today

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.

seeing others as whole, complete, capable adults

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

Today show - reminder

It looks like the Today show segment on doulas will happen tomorrow! ...try 8:06 am, as that's when the health segment usually is.
Here is the companion article that was just posted.

birth center saved!

For now, at least. Check it out: birth activists save birth center!
In a four-sentence statement...officials noted that the intense grass-roots campaign to save the North Shore Birth Center had "not gone unnoticed."

people let tell ya 'bout my best friend

My four year old seems to have an imaginary friend relationship with our president-elect! He must have had a dream, but feels certain that he & Obama hung out together at the park . A playdate with Sasha & Malia was promised (yes - he knows their names and is quite smitten) and Obama was very attentive - held his hand, pushed him on the swing, helped him up to the slide. They talked puppies had a great time...sweet, huh?

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.

prior cesarean linked to breech presentation

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


Wishing that I could do my part to help out Iceland and thus the world economy by going to the geothermal Blue Lagoon...ahhh - doesn't that look appealing?


Could it be that the doula story will actually appear Thursday? Maybe...try tuning in tomorrow at 8:06ish am tomorrow & see...

Motrin tweet

Wow - so the Motrin thing is big enough news that public radio station WNYC's Brian Lehrer had on NY Times columnist Virgina Heffernan on today to talk about the offending ad and the way that new technology (in this case, Twitter) is changing the way consumers and companies interact. Within hours of the ad, moms united, sent thousands of messages to the company and the ad was pulled. Apparently the company was likely marketing to an Urban Baby-type crowd (judged by Virginia Heffernan to be a bit more cynical, less "sincere" mothers who would respond well to the ad) but misjudged how other moms would take it. Here's a compilation of twitter tweets...

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

and here it is!

Thanks Angela! I guess Motrin is feeling something, but I'm not sure it's our pain!

just stupid

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

belly rub

I spoke to a nice momma tonight - a friend of my lovely client...she (the friend) is 6 days past her due date and will soon be ineligible to birth at the birth center. One of the tips I gave her: a nice, gentle way to encourage some labor is to rub some castor oil with clary sage oil on your belly and into induction points around your ankles.

15 November 2008

powerful beyond measure

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

assumption of powerlessness

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 same
for us. We'll see. :)
Why 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.

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".

we are one

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 center needs YOU!

Women need choices...not just hospital or home...we need birth centers too. Although a birth center far away won't help you or I, it will help our birthing sisters.
Birth centers need to be opening, not closing, so take a second and read this & then lend your voice!

13 November 2008

Baby, You're Home

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.

TODAY today!

an announcement from DONA:
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

baby moving


I can quit anytime I want...

OK - not to be all about Hollywood folk, but I do think that since our culture is pretty focused on celebrities, it helps to get the word out when they are being positive role models.

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."

11 November 2008

You're so vain

When composing this post in my head, during spin class, it was kind of a rant. But I'm over it.

Anyway, I was on my bike, riding, just before the start of class (having adjusted the seat in two ways, the handlebars & put on my own seat pad). A class member came in and said I was on the bike she had signed up for (you put your name on a class map on your way in - there were two open in our row & indeed I had grabbed the wrong one). I said, "oh, sorry", thinking she might just take the (identical) bike right next to me or one of the other 7 open bikes. I was wrong. She said, "Hope you don't mind..." and waited for me to dismount & then spend more time (as the class was starting) adjusting the next bike while she did the same. She was absolutely within her rights to do so, but it struck me as kind of petty and lame. (Just as it's sort of petty & lame of me to expect that she might just shove over when I'm the one who made the mistake - but you see that's not stopping me from writing this - does my own pettiness know no end?!)

But you know what, she did need that bike. It was the right one for her, because it was closer to the wall - the wall of mirrors. She spent the entire class looking at herself, adjusting her hair a few times & checking out her (perfect, petite, lovely) self.
Kind of amusing. OK - I know - I already admitted to being petty!

*I will say that I once did ask someone to move in this same circumstance but only because the bike I had signed up for had shoes clips & straps (for sneakers) & the person on said bike was wearing sneakers & could be accommodated on the other bike while I could not, since it had no shoe clips. Does that even make sense?

follow up: Kidman

My friend Jill called all excited to hear that doulas had been mentioned on Oprah...I agree - to have a celebrity say that she had a birth where she was surrounded by women, including her doula & pause to make sure Oprah knew what it was...well, that's good stuff.

See for yourself in this clip from Huffington Post. The part I'm talking about starts at minute 2:33 of the clip. Check it out!

10 November 2008

Nicole Kidman

...just told Oprah that she had a doula! The 41 year old calls her first birth experience "extraordinary" and "easy". Nice to hear...and she uses a sling too....way to go!

In an interview, she said,
"There's something very primal about giving
birth. It puts you in a state of being very raw."

Giving birth (to baby Sunday Rose) was easy, by the way.

...the star...has yet to hire a
daytime nanny. "I'd heard horror stories of 40 hours of labor, and I was
sure that would be me, but I had a very easy labor"

fear factor

When women are told they are carrying a BIG BABY, it can be a complete mind, um, trip. It's rare that a woman will actually hear (if she is even told) that estimates by ultrasound late in pregnancy are not particularly accurate and can be off significantly (around 1-3 pounds in either direction - I've been at plenty of "big baby" births where the kid comes out at 6 lbs)...her mind is stuck on the image of the Charlie Brown-headed toddler and how it can possibly pass through her pelvis.
Now of course there are sometimes babies who are actually really big and have problems being born, but I think we need to remember that this is rare & that nature wants birth to work - it needs birth to work. And it usually does work out just fine if allowed to happen without unnecessary intervention. Ah - but there's the issue - it's usually not our inadequate pelvises or our gigantor babies...it's more likely how we treat women in pregnancy and labor. Whether we make them feel afraid and intimidated and do all sorts of things so they can't move their bodies and work with labor to birth their babies, whatever the size.
This post was inspired by Corin at The Human Pacifier and her post on bigbaby.org.uk
She quotes from the website:
The female pelvis is PERFECTLY designed for birth.....no matter the size of the baby.....it is designed to open up to make more space for the baby.....and a baby's head is PERFECTLY designed to gently mould, to make it smaller, so that it passes through the female pelvis with ease. Babies know how to get into a good position for birth, tucking their head tightly so that the smallest part presents first...

But when a women reduces her pelvic capacity, by being immobile on a bed, perhaps due to an induction - for a "big baby" or an epidural, because of the pain caused by the induction, or the fear caused by the constant "big baby" conversations everything gets a lot harder, words like "cephalopelvic disproportion" (CPD) - where the baby's head is too big to pass through the pelvis, get used - needlessly.

If a woman enters labour free from fear and anxiety oxytocin (the hormone of labour) will be free to flow, her uterus will contract efficiently, endorphins (natural morphine like pain relievers released during labour) will flood her body, adrenaline will be kept to a minimum ensuring that her uterus is well oxygenated and making her as comfortable as possible.

She will move instinctively into positions which freely open her pelvis, such as a squatting position (where the pelvis is said to have up to 30% more capacity) or perhaps on all fours - both superb positions for birthing a big baby.

The size of a baby in a normal, physiological birth - where anxiety and "big baby" talk is not present - is largely irrelevant, it doesn't make it more painful and it doesn't make it harder!"

And Corin says,
This last part makes so much perfect sense to me and I've thought this exact same thing many times in the past; that a large part of our supposed "inability" to birth "big babies" stems from the fear that is instilled in us very early on. This is a big reason why I feel like ultrasounds should be kept to a bare minimum. It seems like we're often set up on the path to failure the minute our ob senses that the baby may be over what is considered "normal". And the topic of "normal" size babies is one all of it's own; it's amazing how many natural birth videos I've seen and stories I've read in which mama gives birth at home naturally to a baby over ten pounds. So, is it really all that "abnormal" after all?
So it's less about the actual size of the baby & more about the mind, um, trip (in the woman and in her care provider) that the thought of a big baby causes.

Maybe all woman who have had a big baby without problems should go around and tell those stories! While we're at it, let's make pregnancy and birth a fear+intimidation free zone.

09 November 2008

in business

Today my 11 yo son & his friend are earning money by raking leaves for neighbors. They are learning how to negotiate, stand behind their work and will hopefully value their sweated-for, hard-earned cash while discovering that work is made lighter by sharing the experience with a friend.

Since he feels ready for this, guess who will be doing the snow shoveling this winter?!

birth trauma's impact on breastfeeding

A recent study backs up what we already knew...traumatic birth can impact breastfeeding...read whole release at the link or some portions below:

STORRS, CT — Up to a third of all new mothers report suffering through a traumatic child birth.

For some – believed to be up to 9 percent – the birth is such a traumatic event that they experience posttraumatic stress disorder, the same debilitating disorder that scars the lives of combat veterans and victims of rape and other violent crimes.

...Her results showed that the impact of birth trauma can lead new mothers down two strikingly different paths with regard to breastfeeding.

For some, the trauma propels them into persevering in breastfeeding to prove their “success” as a mother and perhaps to make up to their infant for the difficult birth.

...Yet for others, birth trauma sets in motion a chain of events – intrusive flashbacks, detachment from their child, and physical pain – that can curtail their attempts to breastfeed.

...Beck concludes that intensive one-on-one support for traumatized mothers may be necessary to help them establish breastfeeding. Sensitivity and awareness by medical professionals of the traumatized mother’s needs may also be helpful.

During the postpartum period, it is suggested that healthcare providers be attentive to the symptoms that may indicate a new mother is traumatized, such as being withdrawn, having a dazed look, or suffering temporary amnesia.

Beck’s latest research study: “Impact of Birth Trauma on Breastfeeding – A Tale of Two Pathways,” which appears in the July/August 2008 issue of Nursing Research, was co-authored by Sue Watson, chairperson of the Trauma and Birth Stress charitable trust.

08 November 2008

it's your America

That's what the incoming administration's change.gov website says. Our ideas are welcomed. I went here and gave my input about the need to make birth practices a part of health care reform. I wrote about the need to lower costs and improve outcomes by promoting midwifery care, doulas and other high touch/low tech solutions while working for transparency and evidence based practices in birth.

This is what I care about - how about you? I say we flood that website with our .02 about how to better this country going forward. Maybe I'm being overly idealistic by bothering to post - but they are asking, so I'm responding. America just amazed itself with this historic election, so let's keep believing that the good stuff is possible & put our cynicism aside.

It's your America.

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today"
- President-Elect Barack Obama

smart as you ever were

from birthactivist:

Here is the link to an article entitled "Pregnancy does not cloud the brain, says Australian study". Many people, including pregnant women themselves, feel that pregnancy clouds their judgment. Perhaps this study will put that myth to rest.

Some notable quotes from the article:

A study by the Australian National University's centre for mental health research found that there is no evidence to suggest that impending motherhood affects a woman's cognitive ability.

"It really leaves the question open as to why (pregnant) women think they have poor memories when the best evidence we have is that they don't.

The professor said research on rodents had found that mother rats had an improved capacity to do more than one task, navigated mazes more efficiently and suffered less anxiety and fear.

"There's enormous changes in the rat brain during pregnancy so you might actually expect that women perform better during pregnancy than when they're not pregnant," Christensen said.

07 November 2008

like a hot potato

Or perhaps a liberal potato is more like it...one of the people who follows (make that followed) this blog dropped me today. Because I don't have a very thick skin, I wanted to know who and was able to tell by comparing my laptop to my desktop. Man - what took her so long? - I don't blame her! The only other blogs she follows are on self-proclaimed conservative issues. I wonder which post pushed her over the edge? Sorry, GM - I welcome your readership - but I understand...come back any time!
"Can't we all just get along" - Rodney King

"I just want to be loved - is that so wrong?"
- Harvey Fierstein (maybe)

4000 words

if one picture is worth a thousand words, then here are 4000...
from Daily Kos

letting it soak in

Letting it soak in for just a little longer...these are memories from election day, including my 11 year old son taking on the job of calling to get out the vote with surprising zeal - I couldn't get him out of there. I let him push the button to enter my votes.
The ribbon I'm wearing is my official poll challenger designation - it was a fun way to be part of things & great to see friends and neighbors on such a big day. Also fun to drink a good bottle of champagne with friends as we watched the returns & speeches. And my little area of intention (my shrine to democracy in action, along with my shrine to handbag addiction reflected in the mirror!) in my closet...stickers for some of the events I attended or volunteering I did (& the label from the champagne bottle - I'm such a nerd!).

06 November 2008


My 7yo was talking to his friend on the phone yesterday, making plans for a play date two-square championship. Here's what I heard from my son's side of the conversation:

"Hey - (bla bla - couldn't hear) is cool right?"

"Well - I wasn't surprised - I just knew he would win"

I love that two second graders talked about the election results!

no go

Hmm - did anyone else tune in to the Today show for the doula/birth story only to see a health story about giving growth hormones to short-statured kids? I hate it when that happens...oh well - I'll post the new date if I hear about it.

05 November 2008

doulas on TODAY show

The Today Show on NBC will feature doulas/DONA International
8:06 am EST Thursday,November 6th

Change your schedule, set your alarm and program your TiVo to record a segment about birth doulas that will be aired on NBC's Today Show on Thursday, November 6, 2008 early in the 8:00 am EST hour.

A mother who recently gave birth with the assistance of a DONA certified birth doula will be interviewed. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News Chief Medical Editor, will present this segment. An expanded companion article about doulas and DONA International will be available on the Today Show web site. The article should be available on Thursday, but it might be necessary to type "doula" in the search engine if it is not the top news that day.
This segment will air barring breaking news that takes precedence.

happy tears

We have a new president! After some celebrating and champagne, a quiet moment brings tears of joy, of relief, of hope...

04 November 2008

yes we can!

please vote.

welcome, Maya Eve

Born at about 1:10am, 7 lb 13oz.
I can't help but think your birthday is an auspicious one. I know the world just changed for you because you were born...I hope it's about to change for everyone else on this historic day. I bet you will go on to do great things in your life - yes you can!

03 November 2008

no excuses

A client just called to say she's in labor...when we spoke earlier I said, "oh no - did you all vote yet?" ( I knew it was also quite important to them). They had not, but went right to their county clerk & got their votes in just under the wire.
Here's to a quick & easy birth! It's not her first baby, so I fully expect to be able to vote in the morning.
So if, for some reason, you are having a hard time motivating to get to the polls tomorrow, just think about a lady in labor who still managed to vote - it's that important!

non-swing state voters...

The Top 5 Reasons To Vote In New Jersey
Or: Why It Still Means A Thing Even If It Ain't Got That Swing
  1. Big margin = big mandate. The popular vote doesn't put anyone in the White House, but it affects what presidents can do when they get there. Want Obama to be able to actually do the stuff he's been talking about? Pass universal health care? End the war? Then we need a landslide.

  2. The other things on the ballot matter! For example: Congress. Without more support in the House and Senate, Obama will have a hard time getting progressive laws passed. Plus, there are other important local races and ballot questions in some places.

  3. If you don't vote, everyone can find out. Voting records are public. (Not who you voted for, just whether you voted.) Pretty soon, finding out whether you voted could be as easy as Googling you.

  4. Help make history. You could cast one of the votes that elect the first African-American president. If we win, we'll tell our grandchildren about this election, and they'll tell their grandchildren. Do you really want to have to explain to your great-great-grandchildren that you were just too busy to vote in the most important election in your lifetime?

  5. People died so you'd have the right to vote. Self-government—voting to choose our own leaders—is the original American dream. We are heir to a centuries-long struggle for freedom: the American revolution, and the battles to extend the franchise to those without property, to women, to people of color, and to young people. This year, many will still be denied their right to vote. For those of us who have that right, it's precious. If we waste it, we dishonor those who fought for it and those who fight still.

    Live your values. Love your country. Vote.
From MoveOn.org Click here for where to vote & what to bring.

on the verge

These words are often followed by "of a nervous breakdown"...and while that seems somewhat appropriate too, we are also on the verge of having the opportunity to make history with our vote tomorrow. No more countdown in days...we are now into hours. Hours!

voter tips

I saw this posted from a seasoned poll worker:

-May I suggest that you read all of the ballot questions via your paper sample ballots that you got in the mail BEFORE you get to the polls including the municipal and state questions.

-It might also be helpful if you bring the sample paper ballots to the polls to hand to people in the line ahead of you who may not have read them. (I'm going to bring the three that our house got for that reason as I have done in the past). -I have seen some folks spend quite a bit of time in the booth later saying that they trying to understand the long questions (including those folks who had "forgot their reading glasses").

3. LEARN FIRST WHAT DISTRICT YOU LIVE IN (not just what poll location).
If you don't know what district you live in you would be well advised to find out beforehand via a neighbor, as some folks encounter unneeded frustration as to which district table to go to.

4. IF YOU ARE A NEWLY REGISTERED VOTER, -BRING ID THAT HAS YOUR ADDRESS ON IT. (or at least a piece of first class mail with your name and address).
If they don't find your name in the book, you can fill out a "Provisional Ballot".

5. It is really best to NOT WEAR ANY CAMPAIGN STUFF or you could be looking for a potential hassle from poll workers.

6. TIME OF DAY: And finally, If you have a time choice, -in my experience, -mid-morning and mid-afternoon are the "lightest" times.

Be a part of history! -It's going to be an exciting day!

8. If you are in line when the poll closes they have to allow you to vote.

If you have any questions about your registration you can visit the County Commissioner of Registration website at: www.NJElections.org or call toll free at 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837) Polls are open from 6:00 am until 8:00 pm.

02 November 2008

crunch time

I feel like it's finals week or something...that's how jacked up about the election I am. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on much of anything else, though I did try to distract myself with some Tivo time today. I mean, I found myself being annoyed that I had to take a day (ok, part of a day) to focus on Halloween - how sick is that? The upside (but also the downside) is that there is plenty of leftover candy to nervously snack on as I make calls to local voters to remind the of polling times/locations & swing state voters to remind them to get out and vote. Maybe I should offer them some candy? If they are at all like me, they are doing the exact opposite of what you are supposed to do when stressed - get plenty of rest & eat well (though I am exercising, since I'm practically vibrating anyway). I'm all diet coke & "fun size" candy bars (I know - ironic, right?) and middle of the night Huffington Post, Bob Cesca and Fivethrityeight. I'm wishing I could head back to PA, but I have people due. I will try to be content with being an official poll watcher on Tuesday.
I'm more than a little worried about myself. If things go my way and Obama is elected, I'm hoping I'll be so elated that I won't feel a let down at the drop in adreneline and election focus frenzy. And if things don't go my way, oooh boy. Perhaps I should put fresh sheets on the bed, since I'm sure I would have to climb in and pull the covers over my head in order to ride out some depression. I'm a wreck.
But I'm not alone, I know. Still - I'd love to hear from some kindred souls. What are you doing to get by? How are you coping?
And for anyone who isn't an Obama supporter (huh?) yet isn't all that psyched about McCain/Palin but is leaning that way out of habit or something, I'd like to offer my name as a write in. Just trying to be helpful - patriotic duty & all that.

01 November 2008

breastfeeding & immunity

Facts about breastfeeding never cease to amaze me...check this new study out, particularly the bolded (by me) paragraph at the bottom:

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity To Babies
ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2008) —

A BYU-Harvard-Stanford research team has identified a molecule that is key to mothers’ ability to pass along immunity to intestinal infections to their babies through breast milk.

The study highlights an amazing change that takes place in a mother’s body when she begins producing breast milk. For years before her pregnancy, cells that produce antibodies against intestinal infections travel around her circulatory system as if it were a highway and regularly take an “off-ramp” to her intestine. There they stand ready to defend against infections such as cholera or rotavirus. But once she begins lactating, some of these same antibody-producing cells suddenly begin taking a different “off-ramp,” so to speak, that leads to the mammary glands. That way, when her baby nurses, the antibodies go straight to his intestine and offer protection while he builds up his own immunity.

This is why previous studies have shown that formula-fed infants have twice the incidence of diarrheal illness as breast-fed infants.

Until now, scientists did not know how the mother’s body signaled the antibody-producing cells to take the different off-ramp. The new study identifies the molecule that gives them the green light....
continue reading here