30 April 2009

Welcome baby Grace!

Amazing - just amazing. Things went FAST once you decided today was the day...your momma was so focused and powerful, roaring but never panicking, starting to push a little by the time we got to the hospital. You came out all wrapped in your cord, but strong, peaceful and beautifully delicate with a head full of hair. I think your energy is well-matched to your calm & patient parents!

Welcome to this world, baby Grace.

25 April 2009

I am WOMBan, hear me roar

Just passing this along for those who, like me, are in the NYC area:

Healing the Womb Women's Celebration: "The Wild WOMBing Day"
creating and cultivating safety & healing in our bodies and in our lives
Be Wild Woman
Other - Ceremony
Saturday, May 2, 2009
11:00am - 6:00pm
Nurture New York
1123 Broadway, Suite 1205
New York, NY
View Map
Be Wild Woman of the Kakini Health is proud to present in collaboration with
Nurture New York
The Healing the Womb Women¹s Celebration
³The Wild WOMBing Day²

Wild:(wld)adj. growing, or living in a natural state; not domesticated,

Womb: wm)v.to create and cultivate, safety and healing both inside your body
and in your life.

May 2nd 11-6pm @ Nurture New York
Open to joy along your healing pathÅ 
A FREE day of awareness, community and celebration for women.

The levels of violence directed toward the womb are shocking! Incidents of
sexual violence, domestic violence, and genital mutilation are widespread
across the globe. Add to this other womb injuries, such as fibroids, cancer,
infertility and hysterectomies, and it becomes evident that women are in
need of safety and healing! On May 2nd Be Wild Woman is helping to break the
cycle of violence and spread the cycle of healing across New York City with
a Free Healing the Womb Wild Wombing Day for women. Healer Kiana Love,
Founder of Be Wild Woman and Kakini Health, says ³It is time for women to
create their own safety and cultivate healing in their bodies and in their
communities. ³Wombing² is crucial to women¹s health and happiness. ³

Join Be Wild Woman as we provide space, tools, and resources for women to
learn how to create and cultivate safety and healing in their bodies and
lives. Have Fun!

Join us and connect to a community and network of healing support.
Experience nurturing and joyful connections. Learn about Be Wild Woman¹
supportive healing circles, workshops, and one on one care. Learn how Be
Wild Woman is bringing the Healing the Womb Project to women in need. Learn
how you can get involved.
Activities include:
Health fair, yoga, art, performances, talks, dancing, ceremonies, drumming,
face painting, music, healing womb stories, & poetry.

Healing the Womb Ritual and Ceremony
by founder Kiana Love
Heart & Womb Dance by Diana Ferrante.
Wombing Stories Video

clips from Be Wild Woman¹s, Healing the Womb study & documentary
Presenters & Activities include:

Body Talk to Heal Your Womb
by Karen Atkins Founder of Nurture New York

Defender Stories
by self defense expert and women¹s legal advocate Diana Adams

5Rhythms Wave Dance with Kierra Foster Ba

Belly Dance by Teeni Dakini

RawFusion Womb Nourishment by Simone Turner

Womb Art Nook & Decor by Salma Shalmy and Laura Sheedy

Womb Words Cove by Janie Angelica & Noelle V. Dor

Be Wild Woman Costume Wardrobe
grown up dress up and portrait station

Womb Sanctuary. ³red tent² healing space to honor our wombs & cycles

Raffle: help raise $ for healing the womb project & scholarship fund to
bring healing the womb to women in need

To attend please RSVP to Kiana: info@bewildwoman.com or 917.453.3663

for more info or to get involved ( volunteers needed!) go to

contact: Kiana Love info@bewildwoman.com

tel 917 453-3663

24 April 2009

best. commercial. ever.

I'd seen this around a little while back (at the always awesome Birth Activist - check out the great commentary comparing US mattress ads to European!) & meant to post it earlier...
Can you imagine a US company showing an actual birth to sell a mattress? Love it!

22 April 2009

get up, stand up

stand up for you labor...(perhaps while listening to Bob Marley! ;-)
Being upright is common sense, but still not how most people having a typical, medically-managed birth, labor...

Check out this NY Times article

Having a Baby: Activity May Decrease Length of Labor

Published: April 20, 2009

Lying down during the first stage of labor may slow the process, a new review of studies has found, but if the expectant mother sits, stands or walks around she may safely bring matters to a quicker conclusion.

The analysis, published April 14 in The Cochrane Collaboration, combined data from 21 studies with a total of 3,706 women. The analysis, published April 14 in The Cochrane Collaboration, combined data from 21 studies with a total of 3,706 women.

Women who lay down — lying flat, in a semireclined position or on their sides — were no more likely than those who sat upright or stood to have unexpected needs like a Caesarean section. And there was no discernible difference between the groups in maternal satisfaction or the amount of fetal distress.

But over all, those who sat up, stood or walked spent an average of one hour less in the first stage of labor (strong, regular contractions with 3 to 10 centimeters’ dilation of the cervix) than those who did not, and they were slightly less likely to require epidural anesthesia.

Annemarie Lawrence, the lead author and a midwife at the Townsville Hospital in Queensland, Australia, suggested that gravity helps. “The baby’s head pushing down on the cervix improves the regularity and intensity of contractions,” she said. “Women should be allowed to move around freely. What this study shows is that lying down isn’t safer in the first stage of labor.”

21 April 2009


little actions, big payoffs

Often we do things a certain way because, well, that's the way we do them. We have good reasons and don't really question whether there is a better way. But maybe we should...

An example: after a baby is born in a hospital (where most babies in the US are born), the baby might be put on its mom's chest for a minute, though usually on a blanket. That blanket is used to dry off & stimulate babies. That makes sense, though I know plenty of midwives who feel we overdo the stimulating via drying.
But soon after, usually while the birth of the placenta is being medically managed (which is what usually happens in a hospital birth & may be wise - read more here***), the baby is taken to a corner of the room & looked over & then wrapped up and given a hat before being handed back to the mom. A baby burrito...cute, but should we be doing this?

Randomized studies detailed in The Cochrane Library say no...you can read the whole abstract, or this plain language summary (the bolding of the conclusion is mine):

Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants
Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby at birth reduces crying, improves mother-baby interaction, keeps the baby warmer, and helps women breastfeed successfully.

In many cultures, babies are generally cradled naked on their mother's bare chest at birth. Historically, this was necessary for the baby's survival. In recent times, in some societies as more babies are born in hospital, babies are separated or dressed before being given to their mothers. It has been suggested that in industrialized societies, hospital routines may significantly disrupt early mother-infant interactions and have harmful effects. The review was done to see if there was any impact of early skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her newborn baby on infant health, behavior and breastfeeding. The review included 30 studies involving 1925 mothers and their babies. It showed that babies interacted more with their mothers, stayed warmer, and cried less. Babies were more likely to be breastfed, and to breastfeed for longer, if they had early skin-to-skin contact. Babies were also, possibly, more likely to have a good early relationship with their mothers, but this was difficult to measure.
If you are pregnant or if you work with birthing women and new babies, think about this and really consider making skin-to-skin happen if at all possible. Certainly any skin-to-skin, at any time in the early days or weeks is important...but we do not get these first moments and hours back.

***regarding the medically managed third stage, I wish the study/ies had looked at whether it contributed to issues with retained membranes, need for D&Cs, related complications and extended lochia (bleeding for the weeks following birth)

20 April 2009

growing & changing

I think I just saw my preschooler read something! His teacher let him sort & file another class's art work, so he had to read/match the names on their work & their cubbies.

My middle son, 8 & a string bean, has just eaten 2 non-sugary drink yogurts, a peanut butter sandwich, a hot dog & some milk. Whew!

My oldest got up before school to practice grinding (riding a skateboard on an elevated metal rail).

Lots going on with these kids...

autism & bereavement

It was studied & no link was found:

A study published in the April 9th edition of the journal Pediatrics examines whether prenatal stress exposure after maternal bereavement is associated with an increased risk of autism later in life. According to the study authors, prenatal stress has been linked to several adverse neurobehavioral outcomes. A nationwide population-based cohort study of 1,492,709 children was conducted in Denmark from 1978 to 2003. 37,275 children were born to women who lost a close relative either during pregnancy or up to one year before pregnancy. These children were considered the “exposed group” and were compared to the remaining group of children (the “unexposed group”). All children were followed up from birth until their death, migration, onset of autism, or the end of 2006. The study authors found that there was no association between maternal bereavement during the prenatal period and an increased risk of autism. To access the study online, go to http://pediatrics.aappublicati

19 April 2009

in awe of birthing women

who are willing to surprise themselves...
I had the honor of attending a birth today for some first-time parents. The mom had sort of picked today as the day she wanted her baby to be born and it worked out! Her original birth plan from the start was to get an epidural. And yet she labored so beautifully, really focused, that she opted not to take medication. When we got to the hospital she was 9cm (but with plenty of time) and she was happy to just keep laboring peacefully. She waited until her body really told her it was time to push and she had the good fortune to have picked a wonderful care provider, my favorite OB, who was totally supportive of this.
She pushed for only a little while until her 9lb 4oz son, beautiful and strong, was born. His name will be announced in eight days at his bris.
We were joined by an OB resident who had been a doula herself for a couple of years and actually trained with the same woman who trained and mentored me...so lovely to see a future OB who has really seen all stages of birth.
I was so touched to see my client's mother stand back respectfully, eyes filled with tears and head on her husband's shoulder, as we readied to leave for the hospital. She, too, had had a natural labor and her daughter, my client, had been nearly 10 lbs. Later, I had the joy of seeing all four grandparents waiting together in the lounge area. They had measured out in Post-It notes 21+ inches (and drawn a little baby) to show themselves about how long their new grandchild was. Sweet!

Welcome baby boy! Your momma is so strong - she worked so hard but made it look easy! Your daddy was a wonderful support and cried tears of joy today for you.

18 April 2009

yay, me!

(those are not my legs!)

OK, can I just say that I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself? 'Cause I am.

Two months ago when I signed up for the triathlon we had to order the special Tri shirts (the tight-fitting, moisture-wicking, biking type shirts)...my friends & I decided to order them in smaller sizes than we needed on registration day, for extra incentive to work hard.
I ordered at least one size, probably two sizes, smaller. It's been on my mind, making me a little nervous, frankly.

It arrived today...and it fits!
I'm a little vaklempt...
The race is in just under five months and I'm feeling great.
'cause, as the race tag line says,


17 April 2009

you make me feel

like a natural...cesarean?!...LINK to The MotherHood Blog today...

home as safe as hospital

That's what another study, the largest ever, found about birth. It compares apples to apples, low risk to low risk. It parses the concerns & aspirations of a shift in maternity care in the UK, where the government has pledged to give all women the option of a home birth by the end of this year.
Here's the BBC link where you can also listen to the story. Notice that it says "UK obstetricians welcomed the study..." - one would hope that US OBs welcome it too.

Home births 'as safe as hospital'

The largest study of its kind has found that for low-risk women, giving birth at home is as safe as doing so in hospital with a midwife.

Research from the Netherlands - which has a high rate of home births - found no difference in death rates of either mothers or babies in 530,000 births.

Home births have long been debated amid concerns about their safety.

UK obstetricians welcomed the study - published in the journal BJOG - but said it may not apply universally.

The number of mothers giving birth at home in the UK has been rising since it dipped to a low in 1988. Of all births in England and Wales in 2006, 2.7% took place at home, the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.

The research was carried out in the Netherlands after figures showed the country had one of the highest rates in Europe of babies dying during or just after birth.

It was suggested that home births could be a factor, as Dutch women are able and encouraged to choose this option. One third do so.

But a comparison of "low-risk" women who planned to give birth at home with those who planned to give birth in hospital with a midwife found no difference in death or serious illness among either baby or mother.

"We found that for low-risk mothers at the start of their labour it is just as safe to deliver at home with a midwife as it is in hospital with a midwife," said Professor Simone Buitendijk of the TNO Institute for Applied Scientific Research.

"These results should strengthen policies that encourage low-risk women at the onset of labour to choose their own place of birth."

Hospital transfer

Low-risk women in the study were those who had no known complications - such as a baby in breech or one with a congenital abnormality, or a previous caesarean section.

Nearly a third of women who planned and started their labours at home ended up being transferred as complications arose - including for instance an abnormal fetal heart rate, or if the mother required more effective pain relief in the form of an epidural.

The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births
Louise Silverton
Royal College of Midwives

But even when she needed to be transferred to the care of a doctor in a hospital, the risk to her or her baby was no higher than if she had started out her labour under the care of a midwife in hospital.

The researchers noted the importance of both highly-trained midwives who knew when to refer a home birth to hospital as well as rapid transportation.

While stressing the study was the most comprehensive yet into the safety of home births, they also acknowledged some caveats.

The group who chose to give birth in hospital rather than at home were more likely to be first-time mothers or of an ethnic minority background - the risk of complications is higher in both these groups.

The study did not compare the relative safety of home births against low-risk women who opted for doctor rather than midwife-led care. This is to be the subject of a future investigation.

Home option

But Professor Buitendijk said the study did have relevance for other countries like the UK with a highly developed health infrastructure and well-trained midwives.

Women need to be counselled on the unexpected emergencies which can arise during labour and can only be managed in a maternity hospital

In the UK, the government has pledged to give all women the option of a home birth by the end of this year. At present just 2.7% of births in England and Wales take place at home, but there are considerable regional variations.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said, the study was "a major step forward in showing that home is as safe as hospital, for low risk women giving birth when support services are in place.

"However, to begin providing more home births there has to be a seismic shift in the way maternity services are organised. The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births, because we are still in a culture where the vast majority of births are in hospital.

"There also has to be a major increase in the number of midwives because they are the people who will be in the homes delivering the babies."

Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "This makes a significant contribution to the growing body of reassuring evidence that suggests offering women a choice of place of birth is entirely appropriate."

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said it supported home births "in cases of low-risk pregnancies provided the appropriate infrastructures and resources are present to support such a system.

But it added: "Women need to be counselled on the unexpected emergencies - such as cord prolapse, fetal heart rate abnormalities, undiagnosed breech, prolonged labour and postpartum haemorrhage - which can arise during labour and can only be managed in a maternity hospital.

"Such emergencies would always require the transfer of women by ambulance to the hospital as extra medical support is only present in hospital settings and would not be available to them when they deliver at home."

The Department of Health said that giving more mothers-to-be the opportunity to choose to give birth at home was one of its priority targets for 2009/10.

A spokesman said: "All Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) have set out plans for implementing Maternity Matters to provide high-quality, safe maternity care for women and their babies."

16 April 2009

talk back

my most recent post garnered this comment:
Regarding the quote: "Some cite pressure from parents"; I've now heard this notion from doctors defending both inductions and planned c-sections too many times.

I am so sick of hearing the equivalent of "she asked for it" from these doctors!!

It's the most irresponsible, buck-passing, bullshit I've ever heard!

There's a big, big, difference between listening to and emotionally supporting your patients when they are talking about the very real emotional and logistical hardships of the impending entry of a brand-new person into this world, and caving into 'demands' that you KNOW, from your evidence-based, medically "superior" position, are not in the best interests of either the mom or baby.

I mean, are these people feeding their own kids candy and ice cream for dinner, just because "they asked for it"?

Enough with blaming the victim!

to which I respond:
I absolutely agree about blaming the victim...we're too fat, too posh to push and too spoiled to wait...they are just giving us what we want...BS...what about when I want a referral to a chiropractor? They aren't exactly thrilled to placate me then. But then they don't get to clear the decks at a time that works for them and get paid more either.
How about counseling women to live with the swollen fingers and achy back in exchange for a healthier baby with a bigger brain? I don't know anyone who would choose their own comfort over that unless there was a compelling medical reason (such as actual pre-eclampsia)
It's insulting and just another glaring example of the complete lack of informed consent in most cases...

37 is NOT the new 40

Call me crazy, but there is probably some sort of reason nature made gestation about 40 weeks, yet it's common practice for a scheduled cesarean (or an induction) to be done at around 37 weeks in spite of many studies that show this is NOT evidence based or best practice. Here's another reason to say no unless your or you baby's life is at risk by staying pregnant longer:

In the newest issue of the APPPH Newsletter (Association for Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health) on birth psychology, a study shows:

Bigger is Better
A baby’s brain at 35 weeks
weighs only two-thirds what it
will weigh at 39 weeks

New research shows that the last weeks of pregnancy are more important than once thought for brain, lung and liver
development, and there may be lasting consequences for babies born at 34 to 36 weeks, now called “late preterm.” Experts
also warn that a fetus’s estimated age may be off by as much as two weeks either way, meaning that a baby thought to be
36 weeks along might be only 34. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologycalculated that for each
week a baby stayed in the womb between 32 and 39 weeks, there is a 23% decrease in problems such as respiratory
distress, jaundice, seizures, temperature instability and brain hemorrhages. A study of nearly 15,000 children in the Journal
of Pediatrics found that those born between 32 and 36 weeks had lower reading
and math scores in first grade than babies who went to full term. The American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics
and the March of Dimes are now urging obstetricians not to deliver babies before
39 weeks unless there is a medical reason to do so. But it isn’t always easy to tell
which elective early deliveries are done for medical reasons, such as fetal distress
or pre-eclampsia, and which aren’t. “Obstetricians know the rules and they are
very creative about some of their indications—like ‘impending pre-eclampsia,’”
says Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes. Why do doctors
agree to deliver a baby early when there’s no medical reason? Some cite pressure
from parents. “‘I’m tired of being pregnant. My fingers are swollen. My mother-
in-law is coming’—we hear that all the time,” says Laura E. Riley, medical
director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital. There’s also a
perception that delivering early by c-section is safer for the baby, even though it
means major surgery for the mom. . “The idea is that somehow, if you’re in
complete control of the delivery, then only good things will happen. But that’s
categorically wrong. The baby and the uterus know best,” says F. Sessions Cole,
director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He explains that a complex series of events occurs in late
pregnancy to prepare the baby to survive outside the womb: The fetus acquires fat needed to maintain body temperature;
the liver matures enough to eliminate bilirubin from the body; and the lungs get ready to exchange oxygen as soon as the
umbilical cord is clamped. Disrupting any of those steps can result in brain damage and other problems. In addition, the
squeezing of the uterus during labor stimulates the baby and the placenta to make steroid hormones that help this last phase
of lung maturation—and that’s missed if the mother never goes into labor.

15 April 2009


cool: French Elle's April 2009 issue features famous beauties without makeup or any retouching. Good article...worth checking out.
Now if only a major publication would show a few celebs who are not in a size zero bikini the week after giving birth!

The State Of Birth In America

maybe it should be called the SORRY ASS state of birth...
a week of coverage from The MotherHood blog (the magazine is set to return to print in Fall,2009) on birth in the US...

Our series begins today with
You're So Brave (I Bet You Think This Birth is About You)

Helena Holgersson-Shorter

Then tune in this week for these articles:

Corporate Undermining: Setting Up Mothers to Fail by Maria Parlapiano

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural...Cesarean? by Kim Collins

Medicate, Subjugate, Dominate, Operate by Gayle Lemke

14 April 2009

Hathor's comic birth

Once Hathor The Cow Goddess (creator of the awesome comic, books and more) and now aka Mama-Is welcomed a new baby - check out her birth story comic! She also posted non-comic pictures of the real babe.
Congratulations, Heather/Hathor/Mama!

13 April 2009

cool shot

who is the statue of at the end of the hall? Lincoln?

and Bo is his name

The First Puppy, Bo, arrived today...congrats to the whole family!

12 April 2009


I was cleaning out kid clothes & just found a tshirt my son made a few years back; at the time, he and his friend had a band called "Alien Candy":
War Is Wrong...
unless it's a

spooky Easter

and the tale of the slacker mom...
I know we have Easter baskets but I couldn't find them last night...so out of desperation, I used the Halloween trick-or-treat bags...points for creativity??

11 April 2009

rest in peace

Tonight a powerful woman, Jyoti Chrystal, died. At least her body did, while supported by loved ones and hospice care for the illness she met with grace. She was the owner of Star Seed yoga in NJ, as well as a shaman, healer, wise woman, and teacher. Though I only knew her a little, having been to some of her shamanic journeys, she was a friend and mentor to some of my dear ones and I know they will be grieving her powerfully.

Many babies have been conceived after the Full Moon Fire Ceremonies that she and her partner Jason led. Her passing is a loss to our community. Blessings to her family, yogic and otherwise.

Rest in peace, Jyoti.

10 April 2009

"natural" cesareans

Food for thought during Cesarean Awareness Month. Love this & hate this...what do you think?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ tol/life_ and_style/ health/article60

From The Times
April 4, 2009

The new "natural" Caesarean
With more babies being born by Caesarean section, a new movement is
campaigning to make the event a more "natural" experience

Charlotte Edwardes

The lights of the operating theatre are dimmed and there is a mood of calm
among the hospital staff. A midwife softly narrates a continuing procedure
to a patient who is squeezing her husband's hand. The surgeon gives the nod:
it's time. The drape across the patient's abdomen is lowered and her head is
raised. Her eyes widen as she and her husband watch their baby, tiny and
pink with a mop of black hair, being gently delivered from her. There is a
moment of collective awe before the newborn's cry fills the air. "It's a
boy!" his mother gasps, before enveloping him in a warm hug.
This mother has just had a "natural Caesarean", a revolutionary technique
that attempts to turn one of the world's most common operations into an
experience closer to vaginal birth. The idea was conceived by Professor
Nicholas Fisk, formerly a consultant obstetrician at Queen Charlotte's
Hospital in London, in response to the rising numbers of Caesareans in the
UK. Caesarean deliveries account for 24 per cent of all births. More than
half are emergency C-sections rather than planned, and maternal age is a
factor; according to the National Sentinel Caesarean Section Audit, mothers
under the age of 20 have a C-section rate of just 13 per cent, compared with
33 per cent for mothers aged between 40 and 50.
There's no doubt that a Caesarean is major surgery. It is also the joyous
moment of arrival for parents and this is what Professor Fisk, and two
colleagues - Dr Felicity Plaat, consultant anaesthetist, and Jenny Smith, a
senior midwife and author (see panel) - set out to emphasise.
"It struck me that all the effort was going into changing normal childbirth
but that Caesarean section was still steeped in old surgical rituals," says
Fisk. "In some cases I was horrified; the baby would be dragged out like a
tumour and passed to several medical staff before the mother. It was ripe
for reform."
His team concentrated on three areas. First, parental involvement: this
meant dropping the drape that "divorced" the mother from her abdomen, to
allow her to see her baby's head emerge; the baby itself blocks the mother's
view of the operation.
The second point was physiological: Fisk showed that when a Caesarean is
performed slowly the baby is able to "autoresuscitate" - start breathing
unaided - while still attached to the placenta, as in normal birth. The baby
is "half-delivered" and a combination of the naturally contracting uterus
and the baby's vigorous wriggles allow the lungs to expel fluid in a similar
way to a vaginal birth. This reduces the risk of the baby needing help to
breathe; a common occurrence after a Caesarean.
Finally, Fisk wanted to see newborns handed immediately to their mother for
skin-to-skin bonding. "There are now official standards for skin-to-skin
bonding in childbirth, but these are almost never met with Caesareans," he
says. One obstruction is that the monitoring equipment needed for patients
in surgery is routinely attached to the mother's chest. "In a natural
Caesarean we attach the ECG wires to the back of the chest so that the baby
can be placed on the mother after birth," Plaat says. The anaesthetic dose
is lowered so that there is no "heaviness in the arms" to prevent holding
the baby, and a clip that measures oxygen in the blood is attached to the
Plaat knows from experience how important it is for a mother to be given her
child as quickly as possible: "My son was passed around, measured, weighed,
dressed and even had his hair washed before being given to me. A crucial
player, therefore, is the midwife . She has to be enthusiastic and involved.
It's not just 'dumping baby on mum' and writing up notes; it's making sure
that the baby is safe, is not going to slip off, and is warm. We put towels
over the baby and even bubble-wrap - the kind you buy in big rolls in
Smith, whose book Your Baby, Your Body, Your Birth advocates a softer
general approach to birth, adds: "And while keeping both mother and baby
safe, we focus on the fact that this is a birth. We bring in the elements of
normal birth: the mother can see her baby's sex at the same time as the
operating team. The father can perform a second 'cutting of the cord' and
the midwife can show him where to clamp it. It is entirely different from
the experience parents have had before."
While plans to audit the effects of the natural Caesarean on mother and baby
are in the pipeline, women who have heard of the technique want it now. The
procedure is unsuitable for babies who are in the breech position, or when
the baby or mother, or both, are in danger, or for premature babies whose
lungs are not mature. But Ruwan Wimalasundera, consultant obstetrician at
Queen Charlotte's, says that 90 per cent of his patients ask for the natural
Caesarean and more than 100 have been performed in the past 18 months.
"Parents love it," he says. "The benefits are obvious: mothers bond with
their baby earlier."
Those who have had a natural Caesarean could not be more effusive. Camilla
Fisher had one last summer, after an emergency Caesarean two years before.
"It was the most relaxing environment: calm and reassuring," she recalls.
"The staff and my husband were all in green surgical gowns, but it didn't
feel like an operation. When you've had a natural Caesarean you wonder why
it was ever different. I've never felt that I was deprived of a 'natural

Discuss your views on birth styles at timesonline. co.uk/alphamummy

How to have a 'natural' C-section
Jenny Smith, a leading midwife and author of Your Body, Your Baby, Your
Birth (Rodale UK, £14.99), gives these tips:
Ask if the surgical team will play music and if your partner can take
Ask for an epidural dose that won't make your arms "heavy".
Ask for the screen to be dropped so that you can see your baby being
You can ask to call the sex of your baby yourself.
Ask the midwife to pass your baby directly to you so that you can enjoy
skin-to- skin bonding immediately.
Ask that the father may perform the second "cutting of the cord" while the
baby is in your arms.

09 April 2009

RIP, Dan Miller

Sometimes grief can be surprising. That happened to me today when I saw that Dan Miller died. I didn't "know" him, though I met him once at a swimming pool while I played with his daughter.

I hadn't thought anything about him in probably 20 years. He was the local news anchor we watched in my home when I was growing up in Nashville. I guess maybe it's comforting for things from our growing up years to stay the same and be there in case we want to go back & visit. My connection to him was small - his voice was just on in the background a lot. But these little things seep in and become part of us.

He was only 67. Rest in peace.

why is this night...

why is this night different from all other nights? Because our president will host and attend a Passover seder at the White House. There have been seders there before, but no sitting president has ever attended.

From Politico:
A year ago, Barack Obama and a dozen of his campaign staff gathered in the basement of the Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pa., for an impromptu Seder to mark the start of Passover.

After proclaiming the traditional “Next year in Jerusalem” refrain at the end of the meal, the future president, who was still in a heated battle for the Democratic nomination, raised his glass and added, “Next year in the White House."

08 April 2009

new scooter, daddy's shirt


Yesterday my youngest, my baby, turned five. It sounds so old - so much older than four. He was so excited that he woke up way early and spent the entire day telling everyone he saw, strangers included!

He had already had his party so he just celebrated with a snack to share at preschool and then we went out to dinner at a Japanese hibachi place the kids love (we call it "the place where they cook in front of you" and it's usually where they want to go on birthdays)...every time the music and lights would indicate that it was someone's birthday (they come & sing), he would get all excited and then concerned that they might forget him. But eventually it was his turn & he loved it!

The night before, we had him sleep with us (pretty common, actually) and I told him his birth story again - how he was born in water at home and seemed to swim up to the surface and how we were the very first people ever to touch him. I told him about how his biggest brother, then six, cut the cord and how he had crawled up my belly and started to nurse all on his own.

Five years ago I was snuggled in bed with this baby boy of mine, resting gratefully, knowing we had been blessed and trusting that I could stay in bed with my baby for days and days while others cared for the household. Third time's a charm.

FIVE - wow!

spring please!

It was just snowing here a few minutes ago...I love winter but I'm ready for spring! I've heard these are called "S'meeps"! Not sure who took the picture but I think it is so happy & spring-y!

06 April 2009


sleep? I don't need no stinkin' sleep...oh how wrong I was!
But that was my feeling yesterday when I came home from being at a birth for about 26 hours (and having had a shortened night's sleep Friday night because of waking up to go to the laboring family)...it was beautiful & sunny and I always have adrenaline after being at a birth. Since my family was all asleep, I ran in and changed and went to the gym for a 90 minute endurance ride spin class. Then off to a birthday party at the zoo.
Well, by yesterday afternoon I was a headachy, grouchy mess. A nap helped and then I went to bed at normal time & slept ridiculously late (thankfully my husband helped get the older kids up and out). Still dragging but mostly back to normal.

welcome Megumiko Eileen!

Born yesterday in NYC at 6am just seconds before the sun was starting to rise on a gorgeous spring day. Beautiful & healthy, 8lb 14oz with a full head of hair.
Your parents were so amazingly well informed and worked hard and lovingly together during your 27 hour labor.

I will forever remember how you would rub against my hand like a friendly kitten every time I placed it on your momma's belly - SO cool!

Welcome to this world, Megumiko

02 April 2009

April is

Cesareans can save lives & I'm glad they are available. But they can also cost lives; a cesarean is major abdominal surgery and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. According to Childbirth Connection.org,
Recent studies reaffirm earlier World Health Organization recommendations about optimal cesarean section rates. The best outcomes for mothers and babies appear to occur with cesarean section rates of 5% to 10%. Rates above 15% seem to do more harm than good (Althabe and Belizan 2006).
2007 data shows that it is nationally 31.8%. My state, NJ is the highest in the nation at nearly 40%! Women who have this surgery are four times more likely to die than women who give birth vaginally.

There is much that can be done to lessen chances of giving birth by cesarean unnecessarily. Educate yourself. Do all that you can to prevent primary cesareans and support VBAC in your community. Check out ICAN for information.

01 April 2009

April Fools

Today is my wedding anniversary - fourteen years!
But work is so busy for my husband that we will have to put off celebrating until the weekend.

I woke up my kids by telling them it had snowed & school was canceled - APRIL FOOLS'!

I spent the day looking for fruit thanks to my oldest...he hid a giant platter of citrus fruits under my pillow. I needed some of them for a recipe I was making...had to go get others eventually.
My youngest didn't quite get the meaning of the day, but shouted "April Fools' Day" sort of randomly.

Once they got home from school they reported a broken TV (joke), a failed test (joke) and on and on. Then my oldest said that I still hadn't found one of his pranks...seems he had taken a bunch of stuff from the freezer and put it in the washer as a hiding place. For an hour. He's been in his room since.

Enough - I'm ready to move on to April 2nd, thank you very much.

PS: I woke up in the night because there was another lemon & lime by my feet!