31 December 2008

out with the old

in with the new. Happy new year - peace and blessings for a wondrous, happy & healthy 2009.

30 December 2008

more informtion on Christine Maggiore's passing

from her friend, journalist Celia Farber:What Really Killed Christine Maggiore

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.

RIP, Christine Maggiore

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.

Trust Birth

An opportunity to attend the Trust Birth Conference 2008, virtually, by buying/downloading mp3s of the offerings...

welcome baby Jackson!

Born at 11:11pm last night - that's gotta be lucky, right? What fun your mom and dad and I had, waiting for you to arrive - so many laughs, good stories and great music (your dad might have a future as a DJ!).
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

making plans

Ha! School holiday, sitter on vacation, husband tied up with moving his office...and I'm off to a birth. Wowee! Thank goodness for friends!

28 December 2008

a roof over your gingerbread head

why didn't I buy the pre-baked/just assemble gingerbread house when I had the chance?

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


so apparently the shooting story is a myth anyway! go Laurie & Snopes!

alienation & guns

There I go again, alienating (ha - punny - read on) relatives & their friends...petty? Perhaps...but
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'.***

I replied:
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

Midwives Deliver

check out this great op-ed piece by Jennifer Block (author of Pushed) published in the LA Times yesterday (the bolding is by me)
Midwives Deliver
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

RIP, Eartha Kitt

TV's Catwoman - I always thought she was kinda cool

Merry Christmas Baby

wishing everyone peace & joy today, whether it's a holiday to you or not xoxo

24 December 2008

'Twas the...

From Mama Knows Breast...enjoy!

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


ha! It's been brought to my attention that my HONOR student needs to help me proofread, as I'd written "honer"; spellcheck didn't catch it & neither did I. Thanks Mik D Fish!

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

Happy Festivus

(old Seinfeld reference)...make way for the "Airing of Grievances" & "Feats of Strength".

it's official

My conversion to suburban mom is complete. I am about to put a bumper sticker on my minivan that says, "My Child Is An Honor Student At...". Don't get me wrong - I'm proud & pleased. But it just seems like the last nail in the coffin of any urban coolness I once had. One might say that the three kids were enough. Or the fact that I'm on my second minivan. Or that cool bi-level cupcake carrier I sought out & ordered for taking in cupcakes for class-mom duties.
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

Happy Hanukkah! dreideldreideldreidel

That Baron Cohen family must have had interesting family dinners! Check out more on Erran Baron Cohen's "Songs In The Key of Hanukkah" in this NPR interview

21 December 2008

Happy winter solstice!

I celebrated this first day of winter by taking my oldest to ski...we drove through some horrible weather but were rewarded with nearly a foot of fresh powder...and on the way back we saw a shooting star!

20 December 2008

wanna feel happy?

one month from today is 1.20.09!

world peace

one hug at a time...I saw this posted elsewhere - love it! Enjoy Badly Drawn Boy's "Year of the Rat"

19 December 2008

snow day

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

little traditions

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

noting the little things

Here's another comment, this one from fellow-blogger, Sarah, on how she manifests gratitude - it resonates with me - I think this is how I go about it as well...
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. :)

how to find your lost cow

My dear friend Carrie sent me a link to a 2 minute slice of joy from This American Life - one of my all-time favorite sources of entertainment on the planet. Listen and smile.
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

get paid to blog!

I don't think it's right for me - I don't really have a niche, but maybe some of you?? Come on - $125 smackeroos a week! Come on - parents of adopted kids, two under two, home schooling/austerity folks, stay at home dads...they would be nuts not to hire you! click here

Parent bloggers wanted

Reply to: job-958667524@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-12-15, 8:38AM PST

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• Original photos to accompany your posts.
• Parents who are already blogging regularly are a must.
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• 5 blog posts per week, about 200-400 words per post.

Please email your resume and a link to your blog.

  • Compensation: $125/week
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PostingID: 958667524

15 December 2008

gratitude - a joyful example!

Here's part of a comment I just received from reader and fellow-blogger, Hannah, on the the Conscious Gratitude post (you can see her whole comment & others there)...it's about the happiest thing ever!
I think I'll post other comments like this, should I get any (hint hint), as a sort of a feel-good advent calendar!
...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!

"failure to progress" linked to epidurals

from DONA's eNewsletter...a link to a study that concludes the following, as summarized by DONA, with emphasis by me:
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

conscious gratitude

I wish there were a(n easy) way, beyond the momentary/fleeting thoughts for most of us, to live in appreciation and understanding (deeply, beyond the intellectual acknowledgment) of what matters, what's serious and also how lucky we are. I say I get it/appreciate, but it's hard to really feel it continuously & I get caught up in the petty annoyances.
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


(spoiler alert)
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

Orgasmic Birth in NYT

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

Business of Being Born + The Farm

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.

prince valiant!

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

Orgasmic Birth on 20/20

A note from Orgasmic Birth - be sure to check out the link to the article on ABC's site!:
Dear Friends,
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.

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

ties that bind

Today I was meeting with clients and they said that it seems like they keep finding connections to me - meeting people who have taken a class with me or have had me attend their birth. How wonderful - I love being so connected to the wide circle that is my life.
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

first snow

only a tiny bit of flurries, but exciting!

06 December 2008

Welcome baby L

Born in the caul...
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

birth photos

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


That's Girls' Night Out, in case you are wondering. And I went to one last night (& am going to a few tonight - don't worry - my husband got some friend time too this week). I must confess a small white lie - I was feeling like it might not go over well to go out two nights in a row, so I may have mentioned something about the PTA...

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

labor pain cervical rather than uterine?

Anyone hear of this? Someone posted this in Midwifery Today:
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

homebirth/Dr. Phil

Not sure if this is different than what went around before, but I just received this & thought I'd pass it along: Dr. Phil is having a program on home birth. Click here to get on the show.

02 December 2008


more from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, in an essay entitled, Recapturing The Soul of Medicine:
...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

listening generously

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.