31 December 2009

profound, beautiful and sad

I heard an amazing story on NPR, "Capturing The Brief Life And Death Of An Infant", from the Obituary Project: Lives Of The Unnoticed.
December 30, 2009 Joanna Blum and Ashley Hutcheson talk about their extraordinary meeting to record the life and passing of Baruch Levi Blum. On Dec. 1, Blum gave birth to Baruch Levi. He weighed 2 pounds, 11 ounces. He lived about 10 minutes. Hutcheson, a photographer, was there to document his birth.

This is obviously sad, and I hesitated to post it but am doing so because I think it's also important to honor passages and there is much to be learned. I have been in that photographer's place and it is powerful and difficult, but ultimately so wonderful for the family to have something of their baby's time on earth.

If you are pregnant, especially, please do think about weather it makes sense for you to listen. You'll know in your gut if it's ok for you.

13 December 2009

postpartum depression in dads

When I meet with expectant parents prenatally or teach a childbirth class, we discuss impacts on marriage, general adjustments and also postpartum depression for the person giving birth. But I will now raise the issue for dads/partners regardless of gender as well. OK - it's not really the same - for postpartum women the depression is generally biochemical, and it was pointed out to me that a new name should be given so as not to take away focus on PPD in birthing women. However, I do think it's helpful for people to know that depression, no matter the cause, can happen for either partner (and has also been noted in adoptive parents) upon such a huge life event. I suggest to everyone, but especially those with a tendency toward depression (or sensitivity to hormones), to have a plan in place in case it becomes an issue. Most people going through even minor depression, combined with sleep deprivation etc., find it overwhelming to have to start from scratch if they need to find a support group or therapist.

from the New York Times:

Postpartum Depression Strikes Fathers, Too

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: December 7, 2009

The pregnancy was easy, the delivery a breeze. This was the couple’s first baby, and they were thrilled. But within two months, the bliss of new parenthood was shattered by postpartum depression.

A sad, familiar story. But this one had a twist: The patient who came to me for treatment was not the mother but her husband.

A few weeks after the baby arrived, he had become uncharacteristically anxious, sad and withdrawn. He had trouble sleeping, even though his wife was the one up at night breast-feeding their new son. What scared her enough to bring him to my office was that he had become suicidal.

Up to 80 percent of women experience minor sadness — the so-called baby blues — after giving birth, and about 10 percent plummet into severe postpartum depression. But it turns out that men can also have postpartum depression, and its effects can be every bit as disruptive — not just on the father but on mother and child.

We don’t know the exact prevalence of male postpartum depression; studies have used different methods and diagnostic criteria. Dr. Paul G. Ramchandani, a psychiatrist at the University of Oxford in England who did a study based on 26,000 parents, reported in The Lancet in 2005 that 4 percent of fathers had clinically significant depressive symptoms within eight weeks of the birth of their children. But one thing is clear: It isn’t something most people, including physicians, have ever heard of.

At first, my patient insisted that everything was just fine. He and his wife had been trying to conceive for more than a year. He was ecstatic at the prospect of fatherhood, and he did not acknowledge feeling depressed or suicidal.

Suspicious of his rosy appraisal, I pushed a little.

It turned out that he had just taken a new high-pressure job in finance six months before the birth of his son. Though he was reluctant to admit it, he clearly had more than a little concern about his family’s financial future.

And he was anxious about his marriage and his new life. “We go out a lot with friends to dinner and theater,” he said wistfully, as I recall. “Now I guess that’s all going to end.”

He had spent the nine months of pregnancy in a state of excitement about being a father without really registering what a life-transforming event it was going to be.

Unlike women, men are not generally brought up to express their emotions or ask for help. This can be especially problematic for new fathers, since the prospect of parenthood carries all kinds of insecurities: What kind of father will I be? Can I support my family? Is this the end of my freedom?

And there is probably more to male postpartum depression than just social or psychological stress; like motherhood, fatherhood has its own biology, and it may actually change the brain.

A 2006 study on marmoset monkeys, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, reported that new fathers experienced a rapid increase in receptors for the hormone vasopressin in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Along with other hormones, vasopressin is involved in parental behavior in animals, and it is known that the same brain area in humans is activated when parents are shown pictures of their children.

There is also some evidence that testosterone levels tend to drop in men during their partner’s pregnancy, perhaps to make expectant fathers less aggressive and more likely to bond with their newborns. Given the known association between depression and low testosterone in middle-aged men, it is possible that this might also put some men at risk of postpartum depression.

By far the strongest predictor of paternal postpartum depression is having a depressed partner. In one study, fathers whose partners were also depressed were at nearly two and a half times the normal risk for depression. That was a critical finding, for clinicians tend to assume that men can easily step up to the plate and help fill in for a depressed mother. In fact, they too may be stressed and vulnerable to depression.

And there is the child to think about. Research has clearly shown that maternal postpartum depression can impair the emotional and cognitive development of infants. A father could well buffer the infant from some of the adverse effects of maternal depression — but that is a tall order if he too is depressed.

Dr. Ramchandani, who also followed children for three and a half years after birth, reported that they were affected differently depending on which parent was depressed. Maternal postpartum depression was associated with adverse emotional and behavioral effects in children regardless of sex; depression in fathers was linked only with behavioral problems in boys. (The study did not report on possible effects when both parents were depressed.)

As for my patient, he recovered within two months with the help of psychotherapy and an antidepressant. Afterward, he summed up the situation in just 10 words: “And I thought only women get this kind of thing.”

All too many doctors think so too.

Richard A. Friedman is a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

03 December 2009

"BABIES" - a new documentary

Check out the trailer for this new documentary, estimated due date 4/16/10 (in theaters) - looks wonderful...I dare you not to laugh or get misty!

trusting what you read, thinking before you write

a friend (hi Laura) sent me a link to an entry in this social media blog, containing the following quote:

In a Nielsen survey, it was pointed out that 70% of people surveyed believed opinions they read about something online. It was the second highest level of trust people gave (trusting their known friends came first). So, just by writing something down online, 3/4 of the population will believe what is written. If you’re evil, this is awesome. If you’re a good person, this requires a little bit of thought.

Good to consider for blog writers and blog readers...

01 December 2009

local breastfeeding class - NJ


Sat. Dec 5th - 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

- The Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Starting Off on the Right Path After Delivery
- What to Expect from a Newborn
- Latch & Positioning
- Milk Supply and How Milk is Made
- How to tell if Baby is Getting Enough
- Support from Partner
- Skin-to-Skin and Bonding

Instructor: Danit Wehle, RN, IBCLC
Registered Nurse
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
For private consultations. Please call 973-866-0039

Contact: Kelli DeFlora,RYT, LMT, CD
To register for class, Please call 973-655-9655
Or register online at www.motherbirthyoga.com

Location: Montclair, NJ

26 November 2009

Welcome baby Phoenix!

A Thanksgiving baby, born on his due date! Gorgeous, healthy and now surrounded by family who are thankful, indeed. Welcome to this world, on this special day, Phoenix!

25 November 2009

snippet of motherhood

My 5yo said, "what up?" when I called his name today...he's one cool cat.

23 November 2009

tell the FDA to 86 BPA!

Here's a portion of an email from MomsRising with a link to the petition against BPA:

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing BPA, and they will release their recommendations next week. The more of us working together right now to finally rid food containers of toxic BPA, the better.

That's why we're partnering with CREDO Action on this last-minute push to keep our food safe. There's nothing quite as good as doubling down to increase the odds of getting toxics out of our food containers.

It's time for action. Join us in signing CREDO Action's petition to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging a ban of BPA in all food packaging!


Did you know that Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been implicated in everything from miscarriages to cancer to sexual dysfunction? And it can be found in your food containers! BPA is in a broad range of food packaging including baby bottles, water bottles, almost all soda can liners and many other types of packaging.

Make no mistake, BPA gets into our food: Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group have both studied the issue and found BPA in many of the canned products they tested, including infant formula, vegetables, soda and soup. And we are what we eat. BPA is present in detectable levels in over 90% of Americans' bodies.

Hundreds of studies have confirmed the dangers of even low-level doses of BPA. The risks are severe enough that the prestigious Endocrine Society released a special statement last summer explicitly warning that low-level exposure to BPA can adversely affect female and male reproduction, thyroid function, and metabolism, and could even increase obesity. 1

There is already overwhelming evidence that BPA is dangerous to our health. It has no place in our food, or our children's food, even at the lowest levels. It's time for the FDA to put people's safety above corporate profits. When the FDA releases its BPA review on November 30, the agency should call for an immediate ban on the use of BPA in any and all food packaging, including baby bottles and can linings, and should further require companies to fully test and disclose the nature of all chemical ingredients used in food packaging and linings.

Let the FDA know it's not OK for bottles or food packaging to contain dangerous chemicals. Tell FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that enough is enough, join us in signing CREDO Action's petition, which they'll deliver to the FDA.

19 November 2009

snippet of motherhood

My 12 yo thinks he should be permitted to drink coffee in the morning...and not decaf, "because that would be pointless". I was at least 14 before I joined the Coffee Achiever's Club*.

And who would be making this coffee anyway? Oh, and he requests soy milk and more agave. So now my kitchen is a coffee bar?
(OK - actually it kind of is, but not for kids!) Will he next be specifying how many degrees at which he would like his no-foam latte?

I told him just to go to bed earlier.
His reply? "How about Red Bull then?"

* an advertising campaign in the '80's - but we had a "chapter" at my high school - I considered myself president

17 November 2009

breech should not automatically equal cesarean, according to Canadian study

Delivery guidelines

C-section not best option for breech birth

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada will launch program to teach physicians breech vaginal delivery...

Physicians should no longer automatically opt to perform a cesarean section in the case of a breech birth, according to new guidelines by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.

Released yesterday, the guidelines are a response to new evidence that shows many women are safely able to vaginally deliver babies who enter the birth canal with the buttocks or feet first.

read entire story here

13 November 2009

maternal mortality in the US and abroad

from BBC news:

click here to see a video interview - one story of loss, right here in NJ

Maternal mortality across the world

The US spends more money on mothers' health than any other nation in the world, yet women in America are more likely to die during childbirth than they are in most other developed countries, according to the OECD and WHO. The BBC's Laura Trevelyan has been trying to find out why.

Four million American women give birth every year, and about 500 die during childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications.

In the richest nation in the world, giving birth is more risky than you would think.

"No American woman should die from childbirth in 2009, we can definitely do a lot better," says Dr Michael Lu, Associate Professor of Obstetrics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

In New Jersey, Jim Scythes is bringing up his two-year-old daughter Isabella on his own.

His wife, Valerie, died from blood clots shortly after giving birth to Isabella by Caesarean section.

Jim still cannot believe that Valerie died after giving birth, here in America.

"When Isabella walked for the first time, I sat on the floor and cried, because Valerie should have been there. I believe this could have been prevented and now my daughter will never know her mother."

One woman dies every minute during childbirth, yet almost all of these deaths are preventable.

In 2001, the UN set itself the goal of slashing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015, but it is nowhere near meeting that target.

Health ministers from around the world are meeting in Ethiopia to work out how to make up for lost ground.

The BBC is publishing a series of reports to mark the occasion.

So why are women in America more likely to die during childbirth than they are in most other developed nations?

The answers are complex. A healthcare system which leaves what Dr Lu estimates are 17 million women of child-bearing age without health insurance could be one factor.

Obesity, poverty and the high rate of C-sections in America all play a part.

Dr Lu says about half of American women are entering pregnancy overweight. "Obesity is a major risk factor for pregnancy-related complications.

"First we need to improve the health of women before they get pregnant, and second we need to improve the quality of maternal care in America."

Shocking story

The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is the US government agency that collects national statistics on the numbers of women dying during childbirth.

Dr Bill Callaghan of the CDC says the latest maternal mortality data suggests one in four to one in five women who die have heart disease, or diseased blood vessels.

To the extent that we don't explain racial disparity in pregnancy-related mortality, we're going to have difficulty making headway into it
Dr Bill Callaghan
Centers for Disease Control

Could that be due to women being overweight? I asked. "It could be," replies Dr Callaghan, "the obesity epidemic has not spared women of reproductive age."

Dr Bill McCool, at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing, points out that America is far above the World Health Organization's goal of a 15% C-section rate.

"Surgery of any kind has risk," he says, and a C-section is, "still the riskiest way to have a baby.

"In the US, almost one third of women have that procedure for delivery of their baby."

The statistics on maternal mortality in America tell a shocking story when it comes to African-American women.

They are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than white American women.

Dr Bill McCool says that even wealthy black American women have a higher rate of mortality during childbirth than wealthy white women.

"People have looked at this from different angles.

Maternal mortality around the world

"We know that African-American women tend to have higher blood pressure than the rest of the population, so is there a link there?"

JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of the Maternity Care Coalition, which works with low income women to help them stay healthy during their pregnancies, says: "We do know that there is extraordinary stress involved in racism and in being poor. "

"And we know that sometimes this creates hypertension.

"Hypertension, obesity and diabetes are all linked, so we have to make sure women start their pregnancies healthy."

Dr Bill Callaghan, of the CDC, finds that not knowing why African-American women are at greater risk when giving birth has given him and his colleagues' sleepless nights.

"We can say that some of this may be due to socio-economic disparities.

"But it does not explain all of it.

"And to the extent that we don't explain racial disparity in pregnancy-related mortality, we're going to have difficulty making headway into it."

As doctors and US officials try to work out why American women are dying in childbirth, and what can be done to prevent it, Jim Scythes is still mourning his wife Valerie, who was all too briefly a mother.

26 October 2009

cookies for contractions?

I was sent this from another doula...hmmm. They sound yummy at the very least!

Labor Cookies

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
8 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. molasses
1/4 c. egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and spices and set
aside. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the molasses to the creamed
butter, then add the egg whites until combined. Add the dry ingredients
slowly. Once incorporated, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto
baking tray. Bake 8-10 minutes.
Once cool eat as many as you can possibly
stomach, lay down for a nap and wait for labor to begin!

19 October 2009

finding peace

Today I received a comment from someone full of sadness & regret about her own three cesarean births in regards to a prior post from last January on VBA3C (vaginal birth after 3 cesareans) -

Here was my response:

Dear Anonymous,
I wish your story was uncommon, but it is not, as I'm sure you know.
I don't want to be dismissive (at all), but I do hope you can look back on your births (- yes, I said births... you had unwanted c-sections but you also gave birth to wanted babies -) and can find the victories too. The questions you asked, the thought of what you would prefer even if no one was able to help you make that happen...
I really encourage every woman who feels any sort of trauma or sadness from her births to find someone to listen and help you frame your stories to find the power. Pam England from Birthing From Within & author/doula Penny Simkin are two names to consider for potential phone consults. And the fine folks at ICAN & VBAC.com...
I wish you peace. Please feel free to be in touch if more info is needed.



Today my oldest is twelve...hard to believe. Last night we talked about his birth story, just like last year, except he seemed to be humoring me a bit this time. Guess he's growing up.
This morning he informed me that 12 is not really that old, but that since he's so mature, he's actually much older...ah youth!

07 October 2009

another snippet of motherhood

Overheard, 5yo saying to 8yo:

"Cereal Killer? Why would anyone want to kill cereal - that's just crazy."

I love that kid!

26 September 2009

maternal mortality

One mother dies every minute of every day in relation to childbirth - and it doesn't have to be this way. Check out the great piece in Huffington Post with a few stunning statistics like these"

Each year, more than a half million women lose their lives from complications arising before, during, or after childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in the developing world, and almost all of them are preventable.


The child of a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5, and when girls finish quality secondary and higher education, 84% of them will give birth with skilled medical help, more than twice the rate of mothers with no formal education.

CIMS (kickass) response to The Today Show

Sept. 22, 2009

Dear Producers of The Today Show,

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and the undersigned
organizations are disappointed with The Today Show's misrepresentation of
midwives and home birth that aired on Sept. 11, in a segment titled "The
Perils of Midwifery," later changed to "The Perils of Home Birth." This
biased and sensational segment inaccurately implied that hospitals are the
safest place to give birth even for low-risk women and mischaracterized
women who choose a home birth with a midwife as "hedonistic," going so far
as to suggest that these women are putting their birth experiences above the
safety of their babies. Neither could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, The Today Show did not do its homework on the evidence
regarding the safety of home birth and midwifery care. The segment featured
an obstetrician who presented only the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists' (ACOG) position in opposition to home birth, but it did not
make any attempt to present the different viewpoints held by the many
organizations that are committed to improving the quality of maternity care
in the US. We are deeply saddened that the show did not take the opportunity
to note that both CIMS and The National Perinatal Association respect the
rights of women to choose home births and midwifery care, and that the
respected Cochrane Collaboration recommends midwifery care because it
results in excellent outcomes.

There is no evidence to support the ACOG position that hospital birth for
low-risk women is safer than giving birth with midwives at home. What the
research does show is that the routine use of medical interventions in
childbirth without medical necessity can cause more harm than good, while
also inflating the cost of childbirth. However, the current health system
design offers little incentive for physicians and hospitals to improve
access to maternity care practices that have been proven to maximize
maternal and infant health.

"Birth is safest when midwives and doctors work together respectfully,
communicate well, and when a transfer from home to hospital is needed, it is
appropriately handled," says Ruth Wilf, CNM, PhD, a member of the CIMS
Leadership Team.

That is why the national health services of countries such as Britain,
Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands support home birth. In those countries,
midwives are respected and integrated into the maternity care system. They
work collaboratively with physicians in or out of the hospital, and they are
not the target of modern day witch hunts. These countries have better
outcomes for mothers and babies than the US.

Childbirth is the leading reason for admission to US hospitals, and
hospitalization is the most costly health care component. Combined hospital
charges for birthing women and newborns ($75,187,000,000 in 2004) far exceed
charges for any other condition. In 2004, fully 27% of hospital charges to
Medicaid and 16% of charges to private insurance were for birthing women and
newborns, the most expensive conditions for both payers. The burden on
public budgets, taxpayers and employers is considerable.

As US birth outcomes continue to worsen, it should come as no surprise to
The Today Show that childbearing women are seeking alternatives to standard
maternity care. After all, American women and babies are paying the highest
price of all-their health-for these unnecessary interventions, which include
increasing rates of elective inductions of labor and cesarean sections
without medical indication.

To the detriment of childbearing families, the segment "The Perils of
Midwifery" totally disregarded the evidence. Although the reporters
acknowledged that research shows home birth for low-risk women is safe, that
message was overshadowed by many negative messages, leaving viewers with a
biased perception of midwifery care and home birth. CIMS makes these points
not to promote the interests of any particular profession, but rather to
raise a strong voice in support of maternity care practices that promote the
health and well-being of mothers and babies.

One of the ten Institute of Medicine recommendations for improving health
care is to provide consumers with evidence-based information in order to
help them make informed decisions. The Institute recommends that decisions
be made by consumers, not solely by health care providers. The Institute
maintains that transparency and true choice are essential to improving
health care. We remain hopeful that the medical community will soon
recognize the rights of childbearing women when it comes to their choices in
childbirth and will respect and support these choices in the interest of the
best possible continuity and coordination of care for all.

We urge The Today Show to provide childbearing women with fair and accurate
coverage of this important issue by giving equal time to midwives, public
health professionals, researchers of evidence- based maternity care, and
especially to parents who have made choices about different models of care
and places of birth.

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
Academy of Certified Birth Educators
Alaska Birth Network
Alaska Family Health and Birth Center
American Association of Birth Centers
American College of Community Midwives
American College of Nurse-Midwives
Bay Area Birth Information
Birth Network of Santa Cruz County
Birth Works International
Birthing From Within, LLC
BirthNetwork National
BirthNetwork of Idaho Falls
BirthNetwork of NW Arkansas
Choices in Childbirth
Citizens for Midwifery
DONA International
Doulas Association of Southern California
Evansville BirthNetwork
Harmony Birth & Family
Idaho Midwifery Council
Idahoans for Midwives
InJoy Birth and Parenting Education
International Childbirth Education Association
International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization
Lamaze International
Madison Birth Center
Midwives Alliance of North America
Motherbaby International Film Festival
Nashville BirthNetwork
National Association of Certified Professional Midwives
North American Registry of Midwives
Oklahoma BirthNetwork
Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.
Reading Birth & Women's Center
Rochester Area Birth Network
Sage Femme
The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation
Triangle Birth Network
Truckee Meadows BirthNetwork

About Us
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of
individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and
wellbeing of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a
wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and
substantially reduce costs. The CIMS Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative
is an evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family- friendly model of care
which focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost
screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.

1. The Perils of Home Births,
2. Birth Can Safely Take Place at Home and in Birthing Centers,
3. Offers All Birthing Mothers Unrestricted Access to Birth Companions,
Labor Support, Professional Midwifery Care,
4. ACOG Place of Birth Policies Limit Women's Choices Without Justification
and Contrary to the Evidence,
5. Ratifiers and Endorsers of The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative,
6. Choice of Birth Setting,
7. Position Statement on Midwifery,
8. Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing women,
9. Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is And What It Can Achieve,
10. Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices,
11. Millennium Development Goals Indicators, United Nations,
12. National Vital Statistics System, Birth Data,
13. Induction By Request,
14. Cesarean Birth By Request,
15. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,
16. The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative,

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102
Raleigh, NC 27607

Tel: 919-863-9482
Fax: 919-787-4916


25 September 2009

Hey NBC!

Let NBC know that the viewing public deserves accurate information on birthing options...sign the petition by Choices In Childbirth

(check out background on what all the fuss is about & watch the video here)

24 September 2009

my baby with his baby

August, 2009. He used to carry a frog around in the sling. He didn't want to send this picture into school when a picture was needed...sigh
The camo shirt is a bit ironic, I suppose!

ladies & babies

23 September 2009

another snippet of motherhood

A breakfast conversation:

8yo son: "Mom, can we start going to church? I like those God crackers I tasted that one time"

Me: "Well, they are called Communion Wafers and not all churches have them. Is that the only reason you want to go to church? Because we can go, but not just for crackers."

Son: "Hmm...I don't know - I'm just curious. Of course, we would need different clothes..."

19 September 2009

snippet of motherhood

Today my five year old said, "Mom, pretend I control you"...pretend?

16 September 2009

Welcome baby Ruby!

Good things come to those who wait - and wait we did!
Born this afternoon, at almost 42 weeks, 7 lbs 12 oz and a beautiful girly girl!

Ruby - thank you for choosing today and allowing me to be at your birth!

Your momma's hard work and preparation paid off - she was so incredibly relaxed and worked so hard but made it look easy as she sang you into the world. Both your folks were filled with fun and laughter...what a gift to be born into so much joy! Even your doggy sister seemed excited today and I know she, too, will give you many kisses.

Enjoy this big, amazing world Ruby!

PS: This evening I happened to see the other Ruby I know...I was at her birth too and now she's in first grade (!) - she thought it was neat that you were born today!

15 September 2009

Welcome baby Lachlan!

Wow - so you decided to be a Jersey boy instead of an NYC kid...no rush hour trip to the city for your momma in transition after a short labor!

7 pounds and 19 inches of cute! What a blessing to have your grandma there with your awesome parents, who were both so upbeat while waiting for you. Your strong momma actually sang beautifully through her contractions while your daddy and I danced with her, sometimes all three (well, make that four, including you) of us together. And she had a peaceful smile on her face in between contractions, all while conversing in German with one of the doctors!...such a touching and inspiring thing to see.

Enjoy this big world, Lachlan...and have fun climbing all the trees in the orchard your folks have planted for you!

14 September 2009

Have you hugged...

your massage therapist today? I have!
Today, as a post-triathlon (more on that later) treat, I booked a massage with my friend Sue Rexford. Sue did the tri also - in fact, she was the one who suggested I do it (as well as a boatload of other women), so it seemed appropriate to spend part of today with her.

I have seen her for massage a few times along the way during training and I really think it helped me avoid injuries and I know she helped me run the 10k in June. Not sure, but I think she has some special training in sports massage, as well as prenatal/postpartum and good old everyone.

Today I went to her brand new space and had the most sublime time. The new digs are sunny, calm & relaxing (no worries - the scented eye pillow made it instantly dark). Sue just knows where things hurt and finds the spots I didn't even know were bothering me. My pregnant & postpartum clients have also had this experience with her - a wonderful intuition about the body entrusted into her amazing hands.

So if you're local & this entry has sparked an interest in looking Sue up, you can get in touch with her at her new studio,
Bodhi Tree
75 South Orange Avenue
suite 211
South Orange, NJ

12 September 2009

Presumption or positive thinking?

I just learned that next year's Danskin Triathlon is one year from today & we can sign up before the race. Will I want to do this again in 364 days?
What if you had to commit to having a next kid at the start of labor with the current one?? Wacky.

11 September 2009

born again: September 11th

I just learned that a friend of mine decided to start her family eight years ago today; she now has three beautiful kids. I know another who found out on that same date that she was expecting her first child; she also now has three.

Though I had two already and would go on to have a third, the new life that began gestating in me that day was the life I currently lead: being a doula.

I was an attorney and had a pretty cushy job. Everyone said so. I was home-officed most of the time, worked with nice people, was good at what I did and was well compensated for it. And I was bored. Uninspired. And it made the rest of my life poorer as a result.

Although I did not have an epiphany on September 11, 2001, the feelings of needing to make life count, really count, did reawaken that day. Emboldened by my ability to pay off school loans as a result of my grandmother's passing on August 31 of that year, I was able (with my husband's full support) to leave law behind. Things clicked into place quickly and easily and by the end of that year I was on my path.

I am sorry for those lost, including co-workers and members of my community. Like many, I can easily be brought to tears remembering every detail of that beautiful, horrible day. And yet I am grateful for all the life that grew out of it.

10 September 2009

race ready

The triathlon is only three days away. I am ready. Physically & emotionally...not unlike being ready for labor...so let's get it on! That's my theme song - I just decided!

BUT...oh my goodness, these babies that have not been born yet, or might want to be born early...they are on my mind. Of course I have backup, but I want to be at these births. I know it's not about me and I just have to trust that it will happen as it's supposed to...

I was telling someone that I'd really just like to go into a sleep pod and wake up when it's time to leave. No responsibilities. No pile of school forms not yet sent back to the PTA etc. No laundry that needs to be put away. Just sleep, the ultimate "tapering" (not working out much for the days leading up to a race)...oh well.

Wish me luck - I'll report back!

Welcome babies!!

OK - bad slacker doula...I'm behind in announcing some adorable new world members!

Welcome baby Ishan...your amazing momma did most of her labor without realizing it, finding the right people to help and being super open but not in labor yet. But once things started it was fast & furious and you were ready...and what a strapping guy you are, born to a rock star momma! Enjoy, my baby friend!

Welcome baby Christopher. And what better way to spend Labor Day than at a labor! The doctor predicted 6am the next morning but I thought you would come quickly once we got going and Labor Day was your birthday after all! You are born to parents very committed to doing all it takes to do what they know is right for them and you and that's a great thing...your momma was amazing and your daddy was watching over you both every second. Enjoy this world, Christopher!

27 August 2009

welcome, Sarina Gita!

What a pleasure to hear your momma say that your birth, a triumphant VBAC, was the proudest moment of her life! And deservedly so, given that she had to fight hard for support for this birth and then pushed for three hours after a very long early, then very fast natural labor until your 10lb 2oz, 22.5" body emerged...a joyous day! Your dad supported your mom through those long, frustrating early hours and some intense contractions before I got there...he found just the right way to hold your mom's feet so that she felt safe and secure.
Never doubt how powerful you or your momma are...Welcome to this world, little one!

21 August 2009


if I start to feel nervous about the triathlon I'm doing, I'll think of this (fyi - get a tissue handy)

20 August 2009

and the Darwin award goes to...

the young hipster teen girl riding her skateboard down the slight hill into town, headed for a blind intersection, without a helmet (but with an oh-so-cool ski cap in August), iPod earbuds hanging around her neck, wearing a backpack and *talking on a cell phone*. The cell phone was the kicker for me. How did I get such a good look? I slowed way down in case she hit a bump & fell into my path - she was sort of in the middle of the road.
It occurred to me too late that perhaps I should have pulled over and said, "I know I'm not your mom but I bet your parents would be horrified to see you doing such a dumb, dangerous thing"...I wouldn't mind someone saying that to my kid if he were doing this. I'm sure it wouldn't have been happily received & I know not every parent would want someone to say that to their child.
At least she wasn't texting, I guess.

But I can also recall my own Darwin-worthy days of eating breakfast, adjusting the radio and applying mascara all while driving to high school...I'm sure if cell phones existed I would have been talking on one too...

I wonder how to reach kids and let them know how serious this stuff is...how it's called an accident because you don't plan for it to happen (even if it's foreseeable).

too many interests, too little time

It's been so busy that something's had to give & it's been this blog...I think I'll be able to post more regularly after the triathlon on September 13...coming up soon and still in training! To be continued!...

welcome, Adele!

Though your labor started on your due date of August 18, you decided to be born at 2:19am on August 20 - a long haul for your folks! But once you decided to get serious, you didn't keep us waiting long. How is it that you made every piece of machinery in the place go wacky? I bet you are going to be a powerful woman.
Your momma was so beautifully focused, strong and present and your dad cried tears of joy when he saw you emerge and got to discover and tell us all that you were a girl. How cool that you are rockin' some lovely eyebrows - not all babies are so lucky!
Welcome to this world, Adele - it was an honor to be there, in such a warm environment of trust and peace, when you joined us here.

31 July 2009

If men had uteruses

There is an excellent NY Times op-ed piece by always-impressive Nicholas Kristof called "Crises in the Operating Room" about the utter lack of focus by world powers on birth resources in developing countries. While our fight here is against too much and unnecessary intervention, in other countries life-saving intervention can be hard to come by for those in poverty...the single birth story in the op-ed is chilling.

Here's the meat of the piece:
If men had uteruses, “paternity wards” would get resources, ambulances would transport pregnant men to hospitals free of charge, deliveries would be free, and the Group of 8 industrialized nations would make paternal mortality a top priority. One of the most lethal forms of sex discrimination is this systematic inattention to reproductive health care, from family planning to childbirth — so long as those who die are impoverished, voiceless women.Thankfully, there is the dawn of a global movement against maternal mortality. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, are trying to work with the United States and other countries to hold a landmark global health session at the U.N. focusing, in part, on maternal health. If that comes to pass, on Sept. 23, it will be a milestone. My dream is that Barack and Michelle Obama will leap forward and adopt this cause — and transform the prospects for so many young women like Shazia.

Also check out a follow up piece, in which Kristof says,
"Interestingly, in the U.S., maternal mortality remained very, very high even as the United States enjoyed economic development and improved overall health in the 19th century."

Seriously, read all his stories on birth - I hope those in power start listening.

30 July 2009

"over here, Mr. President"

Check out Pushed author Jennifer Block's wonderful new piece, "Where's The Birth Plan",on birth as it relates to health care reform, or rather how it seems to be getting short shrift in the reform debate. Where's the outrage? Where's the common sense?

There are so many working models (at least where birth practices are concerned) from which to learn if we really want to reform...cheaper+better outcomes - isn't that what we should be after? No need to reinvent the wheel or keep limping along with this flat tire of a system we currently have.

Here's a quote to whet your appetite,
In other words, our for-profit system not only rewards the overuse of intervention even if it leads to more sick babies; in some cases, it depends on it.

So, if this system is broken, and this system is wasting public funds, and this system is harming women and babies, why isn't fixing it part of the national conversation on health reform?

23 July 2009

no gender stereotypes here

My 5yo has a play date over - a little girl from camp who is the sister of middle son's friend. They are so sweet together and seem to be holding hands a lot... Anyway, I just served a snack since the middle kids have a swim meet & we will all eat late; toasted cheese sandwiches and watermelon, in case you're wondering. I put the food on a pink plate & a blue plate...just happened to be what I took out but I assumed she would go for pink and he would want blue. I was wrong. I kind of like that they didn't notice or care.

Doula care: Midwifery Today interviews Penny Simpkin

20 July 2009


This morning my 8yo was teasing my 5yo about having a girlfriend - something the 5yo denies is true (and protested a bit too much, so he probably does have one!).

I said it was OK either way & nothing to make fun about. I asked my 8yo is he had one (and considered not using the term girlfriend but rather "someone special" - don't want to put him in any boxes - but I said girlfriend). His reply:
No...not yet. I'm not ready. A lot of people want them, but I'm waiting. Maybe when I get a cell phone. Or maybe on my 9th birthday.

17 July 2009

"and that's the way it is"

Another touchstone in American life has passed...rest in peace, Walter Cronkite.
My family frequently watched and discussed the news as we ate dinner and so I (felt like I) had dinner with Walter Cronkite often!
My Cronkite story: I was backpacking in Greece, getting ready to go back to London, where I was living (as a student) at the time. There were ferry hijackings & stuff happening so there was major security at the airport in Athens. Soldiers with machine guns and such. I guess jetways were a risk so they transported us to the tarmac on a shuttle bus. I was feeling a bit nervous until I realized that I was standing next to Mr. Cronkite. I looked at him with recognition and he smiled, nodded & said hi - and I felt completely safe...his voice was so calming. And somehow I felt if he was there it must be OK. I will forever remember him fondly.

03 July 2009

c-sections before 39 weeks - how you can help

Laura Shanley, of Bornfree/unassisted birth movement is looking to bring attention to the creation of premature babies via unnecessary early cesareans and she would like women to help...read on:
I am looking for women nationwide who can participate in media interviews to
promote a new educational campaign from The March of Dimes and United
Healthcare aimed at informing women and physicians about the risks
associated with C-sections before 39 weeks of gestation. I am looking for:
1. Women who are currently pregnant and feel strongly about carrying the
baby the full term (more than 39 weeks) and not having a C-section, unless
the procedure is medically indicated; 2. Women who have previously had a
C-section before 39 weeks gestation and felt the procedure was unnecessary
or had the baby end up in the NICU.

Please contact me at laurashanley@comcast.net
<mailto:laurashanley@comcast.net> and I will connect you with my son, Will
Shanley, who is the west coast director of public relations for United
Healthcare. Will is reaching out to print journalists across the nation and
encouraging them to write news stories about the new March of Dimes campaign
and the risks associated with early C-section.

Thanks in advance for your help in telling this important story!

Much love,

Laura Shanley
Bornfree! The Unassisted Childbirth Page

29 June 2009


This morning my youngest said he had to go to the bathroom on the way to his first day of camp. If he had been my first or only, I'm pretty sure I would have stopped someplace. But since he's my third, I instead said, "ok - tell your camp counselor when we get there sweetie". Tough times growing up the youngest, I guess!

oh - and it didn't even occur to me to take pictures...oh well - I can always capture day TWO of camp!

24 June 2009

watch politicians discuss breastfeeding

A piece on Huffington Post showed a Senate committee on Tuesday discussing breastfeeding and legislation that would make it easier for working moms...a bit awkward, but the committee did the right thing and voted in favor...
...allowing mothers more freedom to breastfeed longer after giving birth has obvious health benefits for the children. While Congress debates how to balance health care reform and costs, Merkley's amendment also could have economic ripples. According to the press release from the Oregon Democrat's office comes this statistic: "A recent study by the United Breastfeeding Committee found that if half of the babies in the U.S. were exclusively breastfed for six months, we would realize potential savings of up to $14 billion a year in health care costs for childhood illnesses."
Yowza...$14 billion a year in savings!

when he grows up

Recently my youngest, five, told me (and then told my husband a few days later) that when he grows up he wants to "be a dad and make art". Totally makes sense because he will sit for hours and draw, color or paint. One of my other kids overheard and told him he couldn't just be an artist because then he wouldn't make any money. Wow - such complexities from these kids of mine...

My youngest asked me if that was true and if you had to make money. I told him that some artists do make money, that he should try to find a way to do what he loved and still make some money because he might feel sad if he worked only to make money, but since at least some money is necessary, he could always make art, whether that was his paying job or not.

Hey - maybe he could become an attorney and then decide that being an art-making doula suits him more!

20 June 2009

welcome Lola Rosemarie!

My oh my - you were worth the wait - 10lb 5oz! Your momma discovered her voice and sang powerfully throughout her labor with you...
Wish you had been here in time to see the most incredible crescent moon and then the spectacular sky at sunrise...a beautiful day to be born.
I hope your beginner's luck at nursing continues - most impressive!
Welcome, little "peach"!

17 June 2009

Gardasil followup

Not sure of the date of this clip - but it seems like this is an ongoing news story...note that they say this vaccine is safer than most by about 50%...not very comforting in light of the clip.

a nicer mom

Backhanded complement? Hmm...
Last week I overheard my middle son tell my youngest,
"We're lucky we don't have a nicer mom, otherwise our house would get so messy...luckily mom complains all the time for us to put our shoes away and stuff"
Gulp. I DO constantly, err "remind", sometimes LOUDLY, to "take your shoes off why are your backpacks in the middle of the floor turn off the lights feed your hamster close the door turn it down don't eat in there PLEASE flush the toilet wash your hands do your homework take off your muddy socks..." and on and on, over and over. I get so sick of hearing myself nag. I try to assign jobs but no one really seems to take it seriously or keep up consistently, including me...I'm pretty lame at following routines, frankly, and so I totally get that I'm part of the problem (and then there's my husband...oooh boy)

And I get resentful. Ugly thoughts about ungratefulness. Though I try not to use that word because I was often called it as a kid and found it hurtful. But I still think it. Does anyone notice or care that I'm constantly picking up and doing all the things that parents who are mostly at home do? Does anyone appreciate it? Appreciate me? Maybe if I bang around childishly when unloading the dishwasher again, someone will notice and say thanks! Ha. Such a cliche...

So here's my question:
How do you manifest kinder feelings about the mundane tasks around the house? How do you get your families to do what needs to be done without so much haranguing? I have hopes of turning this frown upside down and figuring out a way to get everyone involved so I'm less grumpy and they are better prepared for life. What's working for you?
SOS - please send a lifeline so my kids don't have to give backhanded complements...'cause I prefer them straight up!

15 June 2009

can't imagine

"A supporter of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi holds a piece of paper that reads "We write Mousavi, they read Ahmadinejad" " -Reuters

over the last few days I have been listening to reports on the election in Iran. Wow. Can you imagine the fury people are feeling at having the sense that their election may have been tampered with/stolen and then discover that texting, cell phone and internet access had been blocked? Rallies have been banned, but people are gathering anyway, in spite of riot police and retaliation.
I keep trying to put myself in their place - what I would have felt like if our election last November had gone differently and then we were denied the ability to connect and express ourselves about it. It is younger, more moderate people who will now feel disenfranchised. Truly horrid.

The good news:
Source: www.npr.org
State television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordering an investigation into allegations of election fraud, marking a stunning turnaround and offering hope to opposition forces protesting the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

13 June 2009

out of the mouth of babes

Today on the way home from a rock climbing birthday party, my three year old neighbor girl, my daughter for the day, was telling my five year old son what a good job he had done climbing (it's true - I think he's actually part monkey - he's such a natural climber). She also told me how "awesome high" I went when I climbed the wall (in cowboy boots - not really the recommended footwear!). So I told her she had also done very well too and she said, "I know, Miss Kim - I already told myself how proud I am of me - you have to tell yourself that!"
I swear - I live next door to Shirley Temple! How cute is that? And true...

birth in the sea

If female nudity or breastfeeding bothers you, don't watch (but I'm thinking if you are here in the first place, you are probably ok with it, right?)...

Though the film is not in english, you can follow and witness an amazing birth. Go to the site of the embedded video is sized wrong.
My understanding is that the birthing woman, Irina Kolosova's, is Russian (her earlier birth also appeared in the film 'Birth as we know it') and came to Israel to deliver in the sea since, at the time, it was too cold to deliver in the Black Sea where her 2 older sons were born. She came with her midwife and family and had this wonderful birth.

11 June 2009

Naegele's Rule shouldn't be - discuss...

OK - I was trying to channel the "Coffee Tawk" lady there with the title, in case you didn't get that.
Most of humanity accepts the notion that we gestate for 40 weeks...but is that really true? Not necessarily.
Check out this article, The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't when You Think

Here's just a smidge:
...There is one glaring flaw in Naegele's rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic - from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we've been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks...

Newer research gives a better estimate:
...To easily calculate this EDD formula, a nullipara would take the LMP, subtract 3 months, then add 15 days. Multiparas start with LMP, subtract 3 months and add 10 days...

And of course there are variations in cycle length & inaccuracies of ultrasound, both of which are discussed. Good stuff & nice to have some facts for clients to discuss with their care providers when needed.

09 June 2009

thinking doula's guide to a fun day

I'm off to a soul-feeding day of birth talk with a small gathering of sister doulas and midwives with author Henci Goer at the home of Debra Pascali-Bonaro. So glad that the babies seem to be waiting it out so that I can go!

08 June 2009

10K pictures

Our "team"
showing off our medals
in all our sweaty glory
before the race - isn't she a hoot?

07 June 2009

10K race report

We did it - 6.2 miles! Pictures to follow tomorrow...but here's a link to the race day video
The first mile was not fun just because it takes time to get into it I guess, and maybe nerves too. Plus we were in the sun running up Central Park West from Columbus Circle (about 61st). Once into the park (around 90th Street) it was less sunny with the trees, but hilly - I thought the whole course was kind of hilly, actually. Miles 2, 3, 4, & 5 were great. My pace is a bit faster than my friend's, so I walked at many points so we could stay together. We took in the sights and I remembered to feel lucky that we live so close to this amazing, beautiful city that I have loved for so long. My friend started to loose steam at maybe mile 4 and I reminded her to eat the special electrolyte jelly beans we had...she pepped back up & finished a few seconds ahead of me. Our other friend finished about 5 minutes before us...and the winner about 51 minutes before her!
The last mile plus, especially the last half mile or so was rough! I think I drank too quickly at the final water station and got a side stitch. I tried the deep exhale (what you are supposed to do), but I felt winded and it pretty much sucked. But there were runners who had finished and were wearing their medals (we all got one!) cheering us on, telling us that the finish line was so close. I was pretty spent when I stepped on that mat. My time was what I thought it would be, with a slightly slower pace than the Mother's Day race but not much considering the extra distance, hills and hotter temperatures. I really can't imagine doing a half marathon, which is something we are talking about for next year...at least I can't imagine it today.
But right now I'm showered, full from the celebratory lunch and good company, sipping a cool drink & relaxing...and it feels pretty good.

06 June 2009

wish me luck

Tomorrow is a 6 mile/"mini" 10K race in Central Park...the original women only race! Check out the cool history here!

05 June 2009

it goes without saying, but...

here's an example from nature that good parents don't have to be bio or straight. Read the sweet story HERE:
A German zoo says a pair of gay male penguins are raising a chick from an egg abandoned by its parents...
... the male birds, named Z and Vielpunkt, are one of three same-sex pairs among the zoo's 20 Humboldt penguins that have attempted to mate...
...The zoo said in a statement on its Web site Thursday that "sex and coupling in our world don't always have something to do with reproduction."

04 June 2009

help a girl out

Friend of a friend - one entertaining minute of your life to help someone out!
Vote here. Don't forget to confirm YES to the email you will be sent directly after voting:

ya got me trippin'

Today my "baby" graduates from Preschool...yesterday was his last real day. How did that happen? Seems like he just started and he has been going to the same cozy place with the same cozy teachers for 3 years. I wasn't planning on having him do anything at 2.5, but a spot was there and it was a way to get our feet in the door at a program that is very small (through the community center) and sought-after. So he began three years ago for about four hours a week in two mornings. The next year was a bit more, maybe seven or eight hours over three days. This year has been every afternoon for three hours and the progress he has made is incredible. At the start of the year his drawing were still "scribble scrabble" and now they are actual people with so much detail, and he can spend hours doing art. He is starting to read a little and I think he's really ready for Kindergarten. But it seems like I was just pregnant with him!
I'm excited by the independence for both of us, but a little weepy too.

03 June 2009

Welcome baby Lewis!

A content and lovely 9lb 4oz, and a nursing champ so far. You kept us waiting but now you are here, healthy & strong, and can have fun with your big brother Winston, and your lovely mom & dad!! Welcome to this world, mister.

02 June 2009

Catwoman meets The Incredibles!

Got measured for and ordered my rental wetsuit for the open water swim part of the triathlon. This was something I was dredding but needed to just get done. I was ready to feel sort of humiliated (envisioning them not having one in my size or something I guess), but it turned out to be no big deal.
Wow...getting it on and off (& on and off, because I tried on two) was quite a workout in and of itself. It was sort of hot and stuffy where I was dressing and so I started to feel the tiniest bit panicky for a spit second. I have worn wetsuits a lot in the past for scuba diving but these are really different - more like surfers wear, I would guess...the zipper is in the back & they are very rubbery looking & stiffer...I felt a little superhero-like...the guy helping me said they are called "Catwoman" style. Meow!

01 June 2009


Tonight after hearing it on a TV commercial, my eight year old said, "Eye Of The Tiger is such a classic song".

murder for a cause?

Regardless of one's views of abortion,the murder of Dr. Tiller, in church no less, is so so sad. A controversial figure for being one of perhaps three physicians in the US willing to provide very late term abortions, he was also a human being.
Family members, including 4 children and 10 grandchildren, issued a statement through Dr. Tiller’s lawyer, which read in part: “George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere.”
This is not the way...people who are pro-choice are NOT pro-abortion. I'm sure this doctor did his job with a heavy heart and now his heart no longer beats because he offered what the law allows in thankfully very rare occasions.

30 May 2009

another dragon slayed

After spin class this morning I still felt like riding and yet needed to go to a kid baseball game in the neighboring town. I have thus far avoided riding my bike on regular streets (I encounter the occasional car in the park where I ride, but it's not a proper street) because the thought sort of panicked me, quite frankly! But I want to get comfortable rode biking...so today I gathered my courage & rode the few miles to the game. I realized half way there that I did not know the traffic hand signals (I do now!) and was not carrying any ID (just my cell phone)...dumb move, just in case, so lesson learned. Anyway, I'm feeling a bit proud to have mostly overcome my fear and figured out a route that's not too downhill or uphill, is pretty and is fairly safe...and so fast (& green!)! I also realized how much cars are not really thinking about people on bikes...I always try to give space/deference to riders and pedestrians, but will even more so now. I also made sure to give the "thanks" wave for positive reinforcement to cars who were nice & let me go/gave me space...

29 May 2009

Laboring under an Illusion

The film by this name, subtitled "Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing" looks amazing - check out the film trailer. I'm always telling people that contrary to birth they have seen on TV, most likely their labor will not start with their water breaking & their kid born within 23 minutes, minus commercial breaks. And they will probably not curse like a sailor if they don't usually.

Anyway - it looks fantastic!

Here's the blurb:

Anthropologist Vicki Elson explores media-generated myths about childbirth. As a childbirth educator for 25 years, she observes daily how our culture affects our birth experiences. In this film, she contrasts fiction with reality. The result is hilarious, engaging, and enlightening.

"To understand what it's really like to have a baby, we have to debunk the silly and scary images served up by the profit-driven media. In reality, birth is hard work, sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, but always miraculous and unforgettable."

28 May 2009

interesting dream

I had a dream this morning that I gave birth, quite effortlessly. The contractions were not really painful and didn't last long. I was at home and a midwife was there, but I caught my own baby, a girl I think. In fact, things went so easily that the midwife left almost immediately. The birth had not hurt, so I don't think I tore, but in my dream I went to my friend's (she used to be a midwife in non-dream life) and asked if she would come check me out...I had gloves for her.
I'm sure there are all sorts of abandonment implications, certainly not stemming from my real-life birth experiences. But also a real DIY, I-can-do-anything kind of feeling. Maybe it was all the tremendous gardening and yard work I did on my own this past weekend since the guy I hired to do it never showed? It's certainly not because I'm wanting or having more babies...my three are quite enough for me!

premature cord clamping

It seems to me that we (well, not me & maybe not you, but the big "we") are so focused on making sure our children are independent right from the start that "we" are encouraged not to hold them too much, not to sleep with them, to get them off to school as soon as we can and so forth. Perhaps this is related to why typical hospital birth involves the almost immediate clamping and cutting of the cord, even when no emergent medical care is needed for the newborn. When hospitals agree to "delayed" clamping and cutting, this often means about two to three minutes. Playing into this, perhaps, is the marketing pressure to bank cord blood, which necessitates the almost immediate clamping in order to make sure that there is enough cord blood (which represents a portion of the baby's total blood volume now being taken) to bank. Contrast that with the average home birth or less-interventive birth atmosphere, where the cord may not be cut for quite a long time.
Though perhaps a little strongly stated, here is an article from Mercola.com about the dangers of common cord practice in hospital birth, asking whether this practice is causing potential brain dammage in babies. Interesting to think about the mechanics as nature intended:
Newborn lungs exist in a "compacted state" suitable for the womb. When the infant is born, the placenta and cord pulse for up to 20 minutes, delivering a burst of blood volume to the infant's system. This blood burst is just what is needed for the lungs of the newborn to expand.

27 May 2009

fair is fair

Equal protection under the law...I got to marry who I wanted - why shouldn't everyone?

If you like the sticker, you can get one here

22 May 2009

Midwifery Modernization Act

This was passed on to me by the midwife who attended my home birth:

Here a link to a petition to remove the requirement for a written practice agreement between a licensed midwife and a physician in New York State.

As many of you know this has been a requirement that is extremely restrictive for both midwives and women who want access to their care.

Urge the NY State Legislature to Support the Midwifery Modernization Act Petition : [ powered by iPe
Source: www.ipetitions.com
Petition Urge the NY State Legislature to Support the Midwifery Modernization Act As midwifery consumers and supporters, we urge the NY State Legislature to support the Midwifery Modernization Act.

21 May 2009

simple pleasures

Tonight I saw the first firefly of the season...they make me happy

Mothers Act

Let your Congress people know (next vote is in the Senate, I believe) if you think access to mental health support is important for women experiencing depression (or psychosis) during pregnancy or after birth...it EASY - just click on the link below

Sign the petition in support of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act!

written by Susan Dowd-Stone

Last year the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance based in Chicago IL, created a fantastic online petition in support of the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. The online petition generated over 24,000 signatures – in record time – to send an urgent message to Congress in support of the legislation. Thanks to the consistent efforts of Gloria Pope, Advocacy, Public Policy and Training Director for DBSA, the online petition has been reintroduced as of March 9, 2009 again in partnership with Postpartum Support International.

By clicking on this link (or copying and pasting it in to your browser) http://capwiz.com/ndmda/issues/alert/?alertid=12832296 , you will be taken to an advocacy alert page on the DBSA website where you can scroll down, enter your zip code and generate letters of support for The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act to your Congressman, Senators and committee chairs. It could not be any easier!

While U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Bobby L. Rush have lent their power and tireless advocacy to the creation of protective postpartum depression legislation for years, our support and constituent advocacy will add the force of the people’s will to their upcoming efforts. When well coordinated, the internet offers a constituent megaphone not previously available. Fifteen seconds of your time could forever change a nation’s view of these disorders!

The petition can track results from states and even constituencies within the state based on zip code, so will give us great information on where we need to target continuing advocacy efforts. By consolidating the petition on one website, our results are more reliable as truly representative of individual supporters.

With the legislation expected to go for a full house vote within the month before proceeding to the senate, this is a great time to go on the record in support of this critical legislation. Please visit the website and add your signature or individualize your letter today!! Then forward this link to everyone you know – colleagues, friends, family members and community organizations, so our legislators continue to understand the enormous bipartisan support that exists for this bill! We cannot wait any longer for this life-saving legislation to pass! Help make it happen THIS YEAR!!