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!!

I heart our President

President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

19 May 2009

local hero

so today was the Oprah show & it was pretty heartwarming...lots of ideas for anyone to do something nice for the neighbors in need

song for the day

just because it feels so happy & it's finally sunny today!

18 May 2009

watch Oprah Tu 5/19!

A while back I mentioned that a local neighbor of mine was collecting needed items for her sister to share with fellow Galveston hurricane survivors...well, that experience made this neighbor, Mary Marzano, think about collecting & recycling linens from hotel chains (apparently they "retire" stuff after a short time) for those in need. The project has become hugely successful, recently landing her in People Magazine's "Heroes" feature and now the Oprah appearance tomorrow!
Way to go Mary - recycling & helping make the world better!

birth in the news

In yesterday's LA Times:


Childbirth: Can the U.S. improve?


It is a big reason childbirth often is held up in healthcare reform debates as an example of how the intensive and expensive U.S. brand of medicine has failed to deliver better results and may, in fact, be doing more harm than good.

"We're going in the wrong direction," said Dr. Roger A. Rosenblatt, a University of Washington professor of family medicine who has written about what he calls the "perinatal paradox," in which more intervention, such as cesareans, is linked with declining outcomes, such as neonatal intensive care admissions. Maternity care, he said, "is a microcosm of the entire medical enterprise."

and in this week's Time Magazine:

Doctors Versus Midwives: The Birth Wars Rage On


It's this fact that has always been responsible for the fault line between obstetricians — who are trained to view birth as a medical procedure — and midwives, who see it as that but as something less clinical too. And if a new study conducted by two researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) is any indication, peace is not likely to be brokered between the two camps any time soon.

For a society as technologically far along as the U.S., we do a surprisingly poor job of looking after our tiniest members. About 99% of all births in the U.S. take place in hospitals, yet we rank 29th in the world in infant mortality — below Hungary and tied with Slovakia and Poland — with 6.71 deaths per 1,000 live births. That compares to a rate of about 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in Far Eastern and Scandinavian countries such as Singapore, Japan, Norway and Sweden.

17 May 2009

crazy, just crazy

Yesterday I was nearly cut off by a big SUV who was aggressively trying to pull into very heavy traffic at a notoriously dangerous little stretch of busy road...they ended up behind me. I glanced in the mirror & then did a double take...it looked like two sets of hand on the wheel, one adult & one child. But I was sure I must be seeing things, right?! The windows were lightly tinted, but it it really looked like a child on the driver's lap.
The SUV pulled onto the interstate behind me, so I moved over but slowed down enough to let them catch up beside me - sure enough, a baby less than two was sitting on the driver's lap, "helping" steer. My heart sank & then raced. I called 911 (hand's free) and reported it, something I've never done before.
Who in the world would do something like that? So stunningly nuts and sad.

16 May 2009

Welcome Gamble Grady!

A big welcome to this world for a big, beautiful boy born this morning. Named for his maternal great grandma's maiden name, he's 9lb 4oz, 22" long, a 15" head, a hint of a cleft chin like his dad & some awesome baby cheeks! You picked a great family to be born into, Gamble...enjoy!

15 May 2009

safe sippy cups

If you are concerned about BPA (Bisphenol-A), a harmful plastics additive used in many baby & kid products, then here's an easy way to tell congress to pass the "Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009" from Mom's Rising

Here's some language from the message to Congress that explains the concern over BPA:

BPA was first synthesized as an estrogen replacement therapy in the 1930s but was discarded in favor of other therapies. In the 1940s, chemists discovered they could use BPA to make plastic. Now BPA can be found in baby bottles, water bottles and food storage containers. It is also used the lining of metal food cans, including infant formula cans.

BPA is of particular concern to moms because even minuscule amounts – parts per billion or parts per trillion – have been shown to cross the placenta and disrupt normal prenatal development. Early life exposure to BPA has been linked to a host of developmental problems, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, early onset puberty, abnormal brain development , hyperactivity, and the genetic defect that causes Down’s syndrome. 
The CDC found BPA in 93% of all Americans and the scientific literature points to food as being the major route of exposure.

14 May 2009

Do You Doula?

Enjoy this nice little 7 minute film about doulas & the families who loved having a doula present at their births!

13 May 2009


OK - I am not a fan of football (or baseball or most other team sports - just not my thing), but as one friend said, I might have to become one now that NY Giants football player Eli Manning and his wife, Abby, have donated the money for a birthing center at St. Vincents Hospital in NYC! Such great news for the city's birthing women and babies!
Manning said,

"We wanted to make it a special place to bring new life into the world," the 28-year-old Super Bowl hero told the Daily News.

"For Abby and I, it's about being part of that, to make sure all the parents have a comfortable experience."

10 May 2009

YeeHaw! Happy Mother's Day!

I spent my Mother's Day with friends (and about 6,500 other folks), running our first race ever - check out my lucky race number - 7777! I should head to Vegas! Four miles through Central Park (NYC) on the most perfect spring day. The best part was that I got to sprint across the finish line, hand in hand with my dear friend Carrie! I think my friends would agree that we felt strong, alive and so much better prepared for our upcoming triathlon in September (and pleasantly surprised by our race times!). In fact, we can't wait to do more races...next year we want to try a half-marathon...but more short races before the Tri.
There are so many wonderful posts on birth and motherhood out there right now, including the awesome "ad" for Mother Of The Year that's gone viral...so I thought I'd simply post about the birth of the new women my friends and I are becoming...the birth of athletes...it's hard work, but fun too and feels really satisfying. Happy Mother's Day to all!

02 May 2009

free wheelin'

I picked up my shiny new bike (a birthday gift from my husband) yesterday & took my first ride today...12.5 miles around a 3 mile loop (took a little less than an hour) in the reservation, a nature preserve by my house. I had a good workout but I was also getting the feel for the bike computer, cadence, starting to learn about shifting gears. There was one near miss when an off-leash dog came running toward me but I didn't crash or fall over, remembering to clip out (remove my cycling shoes from special pedals) before stopping...and it was fun!
One of the guys at the bike shop spent a long time making sure that the adjustments were just right and teaching me some basics - super helpful since I basically have not ridden a non-stationary bike since I was in middle school!
As I told someone just now... strange comparison, but it felt a little like what I enjoy about skiing...playing with balance & technique, seeing the scenery go by, a little fear/adrenaline, testing myself to see if I can NOT slow down out of panic and instead embrace the speed and the bumps, and joy...I liked it!

01 May 2009

Your Best Birth

The new book by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein, of The Business of Being Born (which can now be rented for 24 hours online), is available as of today and Ricki & Abby appeared on The Today Show to discuss it.

Ricki also told her birth stories & how she came to be doing the fabulous work she is doing (with Abby Epstein) in the birth world on the Today Show website...well worth the read!

seek shelter

from tomorrow's rain under the Red Tent being erected in NYC tomorrow, Saturday, 5/2 from 11a-6p...details HERE for the Healing the Womb Women's Celebration: "The Wild WOMBing Day"

*above photo from a BOLD event