22 December 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell

Yay! It's officially no longer the policy of our military...
now to tackle that other "Don't Ask Don't Tell" - eating & drinking in labor at a hospital

13 December 2010

Is my baby getting enough milk? (1 of 4)

Snippet of motherhood: do the right thing

Today my 6yo asked to speak with me in private. He was very serious.
With tears in his eyes, he started to talk.

Apparently a little toy animal from a vacation bible school (he attended a few days this summer) "fell into his pocket"and he's been sweating it ever since...he was afraid he would be in trouble for this "accident" and is sure that the teacher has probably thought of nothing else since. He wanted me to return the toy but didn't want to go himself.

I told him that he was doing the right thing talking to me & should have done so sooner (he admitted he felt better) but that he wouldn't have such a bad feeling if it was truly an accident and that to really do the right thing & feel even better, he needed to tell me how the toy got into his pocket. He clung to his story for a bit but then he confessed. And I told him that likely that teacher would not even be there when we go, but nevertheless, he needs to be the one to say what happened and that he will certainly be in the right place for people appreciating someone being moved to do what is right, even if they did something wrong to begin with. So now I have to figure out when the church is open so we can make amends.

Good times.

make a difference

The biggest thing you can do today is a small act of kindness
-Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ

Mayor Booker was on the radio and told a story about how he became a complete shut-in while studying for the bar exam...his landlord, a man who did not know him well, noticed he wasn't going out and started checking on him. The landlord brought him food and did his laundry because he could and knew it would help. A small act of kindness that will always be remembered.

What can you do today to help someone, just because?

(artist of drawing unknown)

12 December 2010

first holidays without my mom

To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

10 December 2010

who needs a full moon!

I slept fitfully Wednesday night as I had a feeling I would get called to a birth and sure enough, Thursday just before 5am I got a call that a client was in labor...she had the baby Thursday evening - a lovely VBAC after only a few pushes and a beautiful baby boy was born!
A little time to reconnect with family, do dinner/homework/bath time and then off to the city I went for another birth, a sweet and calm baby girl, Abbie, born this (Friday) morning about 5:30am after just a few pushes. The drive home was bad though - DUI of fatigue!
Made it home just in time to wake up kids, but thankfully my husband jumped in and I got a brief nap before starting my day. All hail to the eye shade mask.

Friday night and I'm going to crash...more babies on the horizon!

Welcome to the world, little ones!

25 November 2010


Today I am thankful to be with my family...for the past several years I have been at births for at least part of Thanksgiving & while that's wonderful in its own way, it's nice not to have a split focus. I'm hosting a large family gathering, about 15 or so. Although we are sad that my mom is not with us, it's been nice, I think, for my dad to be involved in helping prepare the meal and talking about Thanksgivings in the past. Although I'm not exactly sticking to it, I'm so glad I have my mom's stuffing recipe...it was a made-up amalgamation and would have been lost forever.
I am also thankful that I am healthy and strong and was able to sneak out for a really great, tough early morning spin class before the craziness ensues...I got the very last bike!
I am thankful for our friends next door and the puppy playdate we had with them, so that our bulldog puppy, Lula, is content and quiet as I cook.
I am thankful that we have plenty of food to share. And while I'm at it, I'm thankful that I can turn a handle and fresh water comes out, that I turn a dial and heat comes on, that all I have to do with all the trash that comes from a giant meal is put it in a bag and someone comes and takes it away rather than me having to haul it someplace.
And I am thankful for the hands of my children, who peeled and cut sweet potatoes and made place cards and decorated.
And if the weather holds, I will gather with friends and family around the fire pit tonight and give thanks that fall is here and winter is not far behind.

21 November 2010

restore your faith in humanity

if you ever doubted the kindness of strangers and the power of motherhood,
read this touching story of how one mom, overcoming the loss of her own baby, helped save another mother's child by donating breast milk

Becoming a skiing family...ah, winter!

I did not grow up skiing but took it up as an adult. My oldest started skiing at age 4, my middle son at age 3 and my youngest at age 2. Because my oldest two ski (and now snowboard) faster than I do, I have had to up my game to keep up...I even do tiny jumps sometimes, since I have to be in terrain parks with them anyway.

Skiing is a great (but expensive) family sport. We are lucky in that there are local ski clubs for the kids starting as young as third grade & we live withing an hour of decent (for the East Coast) skiing. If you are taking up this sport more seriously, I thought I'd pass along what's needed/helpful (this was my email reply to a friend asking for info):

We (grown-ups) have our own boots - that's the toughest part to fit and requires no maintenance. Oldest just got his own snowboard/bindings/boots/carrying bag with room to grow, so hopefully that will hold him for while (except boots), though there will be maintenance. We have poles too, but frankly never use ours, as they come with the skis. We lease for the season - it is about $110/kid & $135 or so per adult, plus a hefty deposit...but where we rent, if you leave the deposit on file it grows so you are essentially getting a person free the next year. It's cheaper than renting for a week at a ski resort and makes day trips more appealing b/c you are not spending time renting gear each time. This year we will get a pack of discounted day passes.
We have a roof-top ski holder but it's no longer big enough with all of us + snowboard...so we will be moving to a Thule roof top box...we borrowed one last year & it was awesome...requires roof cross bars.

We also have our own helmets (& goggles, obviously). It pays to buy extra ski mittens for kids when you see them on sale and maybe an extra pair of goggles. It pays to wear proper ski socks - I prefer Smart Wool brand. It's best not to have the kind of girlie ski pants that fit inside the boot, lest you get something called "boot bite" - painful!

For the kids, I often actually buy their ski pants at Target, though I have sometimes found them on sale at various sports places...REI can be great, but shop early. For snowboarding gear, skate shops. Shop in-store & buy online once you know your sizes.
If night skiing, you may need clear goggles (for helmets) in addition to darker ones for day...
More on goggles: Ask for suggestions on what are most versatile - the light changes dramatically throughout the day and ones that are great for sun can make it hard to see when the light is flatter at the end of the day. There are goggles for people who wear glasses. Never wipe the inside of your goggles when they are foggy or wet...scratches will result.

Everyone will need:
  • long underwear (at least 2 pair...there is a brand of microfleece - Hot Chilies? very comfy/warm)
  • other top layer...only a tshirt of not too cold but something warmer if super cold
  • socks (wool is best)
  • (maybe sock liners & glove liners, though I don't personally wear them)
  • pants or bibs (snowboard pants often benefit from a belt)
  • jacket (I prefer jackets with vents in case you get hot)...if you will spring ski too, maybe under layer + over layer rather than one jacket
  • neck gator & or baklava (gator attached to head cover for under helmet - kids might like - I hate)
  • helmet
  • goggles
  • gloves or mittens - I prefer mittens, the more flexible the better - mine are Scott
  • shoes/boots that are grippy to wear to/from (though unnecessary for snowboarders, most likely)
  • boots
  • a big duffle for family gear
  • maybe a day bag to leave at lodge
  • If kids will be in lessons, consider taking your own roll of blue painter tape & sharpie & labeling stuff the night before, as this can be a bottleneck
  • I carry a tube of arnica pellets in my pocket in case of injury or achy knees
  • walkie-talkies & instructions to kids on not abusing them...no one wants to hear them playing around on the radio. pick a less-busy channel & have instructions about leaving them on. Get rechargeable.
other helpful info:
  • Drink water before/during/after...expect to have a horrible headache for one day if at high altitude - drinking water helps - drinking alcohol hurts
  • Kids can sleep in long underwear
  • put socks on first, then long underwear
  • have a plan on what to do if separated or lost
  • make sure the seam of long underwear is not hitting a tight part of boot
  • have a grab & go breakfast maybe
  • consider having granola bar or something in pocket in case starving/melting down kid & long lines...try to eat lunch off peak or not at main base lodge
  • packs of tissues & lip balm too
  • wear sunscreen on your face
  • either take off for awhile or leave your goggles on in gondola - less likely to fog
  • let your boots dry completely then wipe down. Don't leave them in the car overnight - cold plastic is no fun...sit them by a heater. Store them buckled off-season.
  • everyone will dump their gear all over when they walk in the door...either make them come back & pick it up or do it yourself without complaint...it will happen, so don't get upset.
  • establish a firm "carry your own" policy and learn how to properly/safely carry skis so you don't blind someone
  • teach your kids the rules of the mountain - not unlike driving rules
  • get your gear ready to go the night before...recharge radios.
  • Mornings can be hell getting out the door but then it's all worth it.
  • Pee before you get your gear on! ;-)

15 November 2010

vaginal breech twins birth - excellent birth story

Check out this wonderful birth story from the blog "Living A Truly Blessed Life" ...awesome!

clearly not in America...:
the registrar appeared (the infamous Hassan!) and the midwife sounding panicked told him I had been 9cm with a lip but was now pushing and the babies were breech, she asked him what to do, “hands off and just watch” replied Hassan.

The registrar then called for a c-section, apparently twin 2 wasn’t coming down. Clearly my precious boy had his own ideas, within seconds of the midwife leaving the room to organise the c-section the urge to push hit again. “Go for it” the registrar said, so I did.

Note to this mom...I have an Oliver of my own & Sebastian is the middle name of my youngest!

Rock on momma (and Hassan & care providers like him)!

a sneaker-clad step toward growing up

Yesterday my youngest, 6 years old, got new sneakers. His first lace-up sneakers, at his insistence. He recently learned how to tie shoes - we even bought a cute book with instructions, pictures and practice laces. He's so proud of himself and I'm proud too...but, well, a bit wistful. Maybe because this is right on the heels (no pun intended!) of cleaning out little kid clothes and saying goodbye to all those tiny, tiny underwear. It's not that I love Velcro sneakers so much, though I imagine they have certainly had a positive impact on maternal sanity...and of course I celebrate this step toward independence, but every little move toward growing up means that soon he will be needing me less and less - a bittersweet thought.
And to tell the truth, I also groan a bit internally, knowing that this will mean lots of knots to untie and extra time waiting to get out the door when we are running late.

I hope I will exhale and allow him time to get it right.

10 November 2010

snippet of motherhood: terminology

My youngest said for Thanksgiving this year, he would like to wear his "Indian clothes" (he has them for Diwali celebrations) instead of being a pilgrim...after figuring out what he meant, I explained the difference between being "Indian" and "Native American"...love that kid!

08 November 2010

meaningful words from a midwife

From The Abundant Life's blog, How I Got Into Midwifery,
...We serve, we serve, we serve, we serve. We love, we help, we massage, we do what she needs, we listen, we advise, we rejoice with her, we grieve with her, we hold her accountable, we search around if there's something she needs, we buy her vitamins if she can't afford them, we stay up late researching for her. A midwife pours her life out for others...

Labor & Delivery Workshop, 11/20/10 Shakti Yoga, Maplewood

Labor & Delivery Workshop
with Kim Collins & Ires Wilbanks

When: Saturday, November 20, 2-5pm, Shakti

Cost: $75 per couple ~ please preregister.
Register: call 973-763-2288 or pay online

Questions: email Kim Collins

Giving birth is one of the most powerful and transformative events in a woman's life.

This intensive workshop is the perfect introduction to give you and your partner a glimpse into some of the many tools with which to approach birth physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Facilitated by Kim Collins, certified doula and childbirth educator, and Ires Wilbanks, certified teacher for yoga for labor and delivery, we will lead you through positions, breath work, comfort measures and vocalizations that will allow you to open your pelvis and experience a more efficient birth.

Learn how movement, touch and vocalization act as natural painkillers. Get insight into what to expect in a typical hospital birth and some of the ways you might avoid unnecessary interventions. A guided deep relaxation and visualization will also be included.

05 November 2010

you know you're tired when...

you look longingly at your client's hospital bed and think, "wow - that would be a nice little vacation"...
Clearly I needed a nap...or perhaps an IV streaming coffee into my veins...'cause I know that's not where I really want to be. I guess the concept of being required to rest and be in bed without feeling guilty, with a remote and a button to push for "service" is what's appealing.
Maybe I should see if I have some miles to use for a mini hotel vaca...but then I'd just have to confront my new paranoia about bed bugs, so I probably wouldn't do much relaxing. sigh.

sharing breastmilk...network of milk banks forming

passing info along on Eats On Feets:
I am writing because there is a new network of moms forming right now, using facebook as the platform. Eats on Feets is a global milk sharing network designed to connect moms who have excess milk with moms who need donor milk. No other services/advice/fees...just mama to mama networking. I think midwives, doulas and LCs are going to be the backbone of the group since they are in constant contact with the lactating :o)

I am the admin of the New York chapter. The link to our page is:

Would you pass this along to your contacts? Everyone can “like” the page, and milk share needs/offers can be posted there.

It has only been about a week since we’re getting it off the ground, and we have chapters in almost every state and 10+ countries!

Thank you!

help "The Birth House"

a note via Facebook from author Ami McKay...link out to vote for her book (link then scroll down):
Hello from my little house by the Bay!

On this rainy, blustery November day, I thought I'd send you a long overdue note. Settled in the nook off my kitchen (once the birthing room in this old house) I've got a cup of hot tea, and my trusty(but sook of a yellow Lab.,Ponyo by my side. Life is good.

I'm writing for a couple of reasons, but more than anything I wanted to take a minute to say "thank-you" - for your messages, your comments, your stories, your readership, your patience, and above all, your kindness.

I can't tell you how many times a slow, challenging day of writing, (or life) has been made better by your words. Writing The Virgin Cure has been an amazing journey, but it hasn't always been easy. Although the idea for the novel came long ago, (it's a story I always wanted to write for my mother,) bringing it to the page has felt frightening and freeing all at once.

This writing life constantly suprises me - bringing me to truths I'd found easier to ignore, showing me parts of myself I never knew existed.

I know that getting this tale to you has taken longer than expected and I'm sorry for that. (Creativity and publishing dates are both slippery little buggers ;-) I hope you'll stick with me and stay tuned for the duration...I promise there will be much more to share, soon.

In the meantime, I want you to know how grateful I am to all of you for passing The Birth House to friends and family, hand to hand. I never imagined that so many people would take my words to heart!

For those of you who don't know, The Birth House recently made CBC Radio's "Canada Reads" top 40 essential novels of the decade list. What an honour!

They are currently holding an online vote for the top 10, and readers (wherever you might live) can cast your vote for The Birth House at the Canada Reads website,


The deadline for voting is midnight ET - Sunday, Nov. 7.

Thanks to all who have already voted and have been spreading the word via FaceBook, blogs and Twitter!!!

I hope you're having a glorious autumn (it's my favourite time of year) and that you're cozied up with many good books and cups of tea!

With gratitude and best wishes,

04 November 2010

Welcome, baby Ezra

The boy who decided his own birth date, in spite of all sorts of people trying to impose other ideas!

Born at 6:44 pm on 11/3/10, 8lb 9oz, with a full head of auburn hair.

Welcome, beautiful boy. You have such fun and wonderful parents and the most kind, handsome and smart big brother!

25 October 2010

Welcome baby Sophia!

Born this evening at 6:04pm and weighing 8lb 8oz. Sophia, you were really ready and eager to be born today. Your momma worked so hard - I think your dad was in awe of her strength - I know I was. All your grandparents and many others waited nearby all day for word of your birth - you are beautiful and obviously so loved. Happy Birth Day!

23 October 2010

in memory of Cindy Collins, my mom

Here is the obituary I wrote for my mom:
Toni “Cindy” Collins was born in OH April 13, 1944 but was a California girl, having been raised in Carmel and lived in LA.
She was a fortunate woman, as she shared one of the greatest love stories ever told…she and Denny celebrated their 45th anniversary this year, three more years than the number of days they knew each other before getting married, having hit the love-at-first-sight jackpot in Jackpot, NV when their respective bands were playing in town.
Though she was already a top-ten recording and touring artist when they met, they made music together in Nashville and on the road, traveling the world and having adventures. Wherever they were was home as long as they were together. But if it was Hawaii, all the better!
Just as they decided on the night they met, they had a daughter named Kimberley. Kim and husband Len live in NJ with their three sons, Leo, Oliver and Eli. Family also meant Denny’s brother Gordy of TN, sister Donna, mom Elinor, aunt Rachel and cousin Dwayne of MT and niece Tonya of AK, and former brother-in-law and spiritual adviser Denny Roe of AZ, as well as Len’s family in NY, PA & CT. Cindy was preceded in death by her mom Bette and beloved Grandpa John.
Cindy made friends easily and if you were not friends it’s just because you hadn’t met yet. Some friends were life-long and were so very cherished. Wherever she worked, she adopted everyone as family. She was known for being upbeat, candid and a staunch advocate. When she found an interest, she threw herself into it: from being the only non-skydiver ever to become a judge at the national and world level (and never once cheated in Denny’s favor when he was competing) or playing and watching tennis (most recently at the US Open in NY) to quietly reviewing Denny’s crosswords or napping – she was a world class napper and relaxer, while also being an inexhaustible worker and entrepreneur.
Even after being diagnosed with cancer in late May of this year, she remained positive. She was a fighter and believed she would win. Although she died, we believe she really did win because of how she lived and who she was. Even when she was no longer able to have conversation, she was still able to say “I love you” and did so repeatedly in her final days. That was our gift.
Cindy died peacefully at home on October 21, 2010, listening to music, surrounded by family.
Her life was celebrated yesterday in TN at a gathering of family and friends. And because performers know the show must go on, we will be hitting the road for one more tour and hope to celebrate with those who loved Cindy in MT and the NY area.

06 October 2010

a different sort of transition

I am packing my birth bag. I am bringing the usual things...my massage tools, essential oils, my rebozo shawl, warm socks, snacks, a fan, the things I use to make myself comfortable when sleeping in a hospital chair and soothing music.

But I am not going to a birth...I am going to say goodbye to my mother and help her have as peaceful and joy-filled a death as possible. It will hopefully be at home, just as many wonderful births are. And like at a birth, I hope to be of support to my dad, her husband and partner of forty-five years, as he and I bear witness to her passing.

I will bring with me the flowers of Hawaii, their favorite place on earth, to wish her on her way.

Wish me strength and grace, that I may be of service and open to whatever needs to happen.

05 October 2010

take time to stop and smell the...children?

someone told me recently a "funny" story about an exceptionally bright young child at the table with his mom and others...she was talking/working & he couldn't get her attention, so he texted her his need to visit the bathroom. wake up call. I can be as distracted as the next when trying to blow through work...but wow. I pledge to facebook less and admire the faces of my children more.

the source of this cute kid picture

04 October 2010

Telling it like it is

Oh my god - so very funny...if you want to know what home birth is like...at least C. Clifford's experience, read the comic strip - fabulous!

Homebirth Safety: Jennifer Block helps make sense of faulty study findings

Check out Jennifer Block's (awesome author of Pushed) new post, Home Births Under Fire Amid Outcry Over Wax Paper, in The Daily Beast

“Wax Paper” is what home birth supporters have taken to calling a metaanalysis that appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A research method that has come under criticism in the past, a metaanalysis pools together data from several studies, and this one comes to a hotly contested conclusion: that babies are three times more likely to die if born at home, said the study, whose lead author is Joseph Wax, M.D....

...Several researchers and providers are lambasting the study as not only “deeply flawed” but “politically motivated,” the result of “intense medical lobbying.” (See: MOMS legislation introduced to the House last month.) Two independent experts who looked at the study for Time found it “weak and methodologically flawed.” The main criticism of the metaanalysis is its inclusion of old, discredited data that did not distinguish between planned, attended home births and accidentals on the kitchen floor or back seat, which have worse outcomes to be sure. And while the study was presented as being based on “hundreds of thousands of births,” its banner finding, that home birth is “associated with a tripling of the neonatal mortality rate,” is based on just 9,811 home births. And most of those deaths come from said poor data

There is a great recap of studies and ACOG's bias in saying that home birthers are being self-indulgent and unsafe - do check out the whole article. One birthing mom sums it up,
“Women are not merely participants in this process, we are the process. All women want to have healthy babies.”

(I don't know who took the image of the hearts...but it's made from wax paper...the kind of wax paper that's useful! ;-)

30 September 2010

DoulaMomma childbirth classes

a new series starting:

DATES: Sundays, October 10, 17 & 24 (depending on class size, an additional date may be added)

TIME: 3:30-6 thereafter

WHERE: Maplewood, NJ

check my website/email for registration form & more information

welcome baby Gabe!

Gabriel Mark, born 9/29/10, 7lb8oz and a full head of hair. Wow - did you make your folks and grandparents work for it, little guy! You are born to parents who are strong and funny and so very filled with love...you have SO many people who are thrilled that you are here, healthy and handsome!

Welcome to the world...I'm giving you a nickname: Baby Gabe-y!!


20 September 2010

who needs vaginal exams? check the purple line!

According to an abstract of a small study, maybe vaginal exams will become less common as a means of assessing dilation:
Vaginal examination (VE) and assessment of the cervix is currently considered to be the gold standard for assessment of labour progress. It is however inherently imprecise with studies indicating an overall accuracy for determining the diameter of the cervix at between 48-56%. Furthermore, VE's can be unpleasant, intrusive and embarrassing for women, and are associated with the risk of introducing infection. In light of increasing concern world wide about the use of routine interventions in labour it may be time to consider alternative, less intrusive means of assessing progress in labour. The presence of a purple line during labour, seen to rise from the anal margin and extend between the buttocks as labour progresses has been reported. The study described in this paper aimed to assess in what percentage of women in labour a purple line was present, clear and measurable and to determine if any relationship existed between the length of the purple line and cervical dilatation and/or station of the fetal head.

Here is another thought: let's use our ears to listen to the sounds the woman is making, watch how she is acting and see how she looks overall. It doesn't always work, but I bet it's accurate more than 48-56% of the time!

26 August 2010

whip 'em out

staying connected

check out this amazing explanation (Midwife Thinking's Blog: The placenta - essential resuscitation equipment) of why it's so important not to cut the cord prematurely...nice to have our instincts/what we knew already so very nicely explained with good science.

Such a pity that premature cord clamping will likely increase rather than decrease as more and more people do cord blood banking, which, imho, is ignoring substantiated science and creating a problem now in deference to more theoretical science and insurance against a problem that may never occur.

18 August 2010

welcome baby Emma Cate!

Wednesday, 8/18/10, 7lb 13oz
What a marathon, but your momma did it, with your help...thanks for finally turning! Your dad was right there, calm and funny and attentive every minute, helping your mom move through her fears and make today an joyous one.
Happy birthday Emma!

16 August 2010

snippet of motherhood

School is still weeks away...yet today we had this exchange:

My 6yo:
Mom, on the first day of first grade, don't say, "I love you Sweetiepie - have a great first day - I'm so proud of you!" when I'm walking toward my school, OK? Just say, "I love you" in the car and I'll say it back. Or maybe you can say just, "I love you" when I'm walking away.

(gulp) OK. Wait - so I can say "I love you" when you're outside, just not the other stuff, right?


Got it. (sigh)


01 August 2010

Welcome, baby Anamika!

Anamika Sydney (middle name for the city in which her folks became engaged - love that!)
5lb3oz of petit but lovely baby, born this morning, Sunday, August 1st.
Mika - your parents worked so hard all day and all night and are thrilled you are here...and what a treat to meet your grandparents and hear stories of family births and namings!

Welcome to the world!

30 July 2010

take that, lame study on home birth dangers!

Home birth has been in the media a lot lately due to a recent study saying that although home birth is safe for low-risk moms, babies born at home had a 3x greater mortality rate. But how did they get that number? The American College of Nurse-Midwives' (ACNM response is great at picking apart the findings...bottom-line, it was a poorly done compilation.

In part, ACNM president, Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN, says the study is flawed because,
They included studies that did not distinguish between planned and unplanned home births. For example, if you had planned a hospital birth, but your labor progressed so quickly that you gave birth before you even made it to the hospital, then you wouldn’t have had a skilled attendant or necessary resources present.

In contrast, a planned home birth means that the woman and her health care provider have determined she is healthy, at low risk for complications, and has the necessary resources in place for a safe birth. By combining the two types of home births, the findings are limited.

Second, a meta-analysis is a way of combining the results of many studies. But in this case, there seems to be no clear reason as to which studies they included versus those they excluded. In fact, they actually did not include the best and by far largest study that's been done—which did not find a higher neonatal mortality rate.

13 July 2010

Welcome Lilianna Sarah

Born Monday, 7/12/10 at 11:06pm, 7lbs even and 19' long.

You heard about the scheduled induction and decided to head out on your own - and when you did, man did you fly...so much so that I had to help the doctor catch you! Your momma was a rock star and your daddy rock solid ...enjoy the pictures of her examining you herself, complete with stethoscope and him cutting the cord - priceless. You are blessed with a wonderful family: auntie, uncles, grandparents and big dog brother, Whiskey Bob, who helped doula you throughout labor.

Welcome to the world, Lilianna!

06 July 2010

sling it good!

be sure to watch until the end!

04 July 2010

Happy Internal Activist Day

Happy Independence Day!

I went to yoga this morning and the talk at the start of class was about freedom and what that means. It so perfectly meshed with the choices we make around birth and life. Apologies for the ramble that is to come...I'm choosing (ha!) not to edit very much because that is my right! ;-)

I think we mostly think of that "Yahoo! I'm free!! School's out for summer!!" kind of feeling when we think about freedom. Other times we feel a lack of freedom and might say, "I'd love to, but my hands are tied". These can both be valid, but you never really have one without the other...with freedom comes responsibility. If we are free to choose, then we acknowledge that we are in charge at least of the things we are choosing. We always have freedoms if we choose to see them and take them on, even if those freedoms are small. Like in yoga, creating alignment in life, birth, death - it's a choice.

Many times we create the construct for ourselves that we have no choice because to do otherwise means that we have to take action. If someone is 39 weeks pregnant and knows deep down that she is not on the same page as her care provider, she might say she has no option but to hope for the best. Not true (unless she allows it to be). She might not have every choice - not all other providers will want to take her on, or maybe her insurance limits her choices, she could go into labor before switching. BUT, she does have a choice whether to continue in the relationship that is not working for her without entertaining her other options. She can try on other care providers for size...in fact, she might learn that the care provider she wanted to leave now may feel like the best choice after all...and then she CHOOSES to stay with an open heart, rather then stay because she feels she has no other option. That's powerful.

But I get it...feeling like someone else is in charge and calling the shots is appealing on a certain level. My mom is very ill and part of me just wants to sit back and let others tell us what to do...what is the best course of action, what will be easiest. I do get it on a deep level. And yet, I hope that I will find the courage to proceed with awareness, even if it is frightening or overwhelming. I know I have options, freedoms...and that they come with a price.

Ultimately, freedom is a good thing. So even if your only bit of freedom (it feels like) is to take three deep and relaxing breaths right at this moment, choose to do so, knowing that you are doing what you can. My yoga teacher would call this "internal activism" (I think! - I may be totally misinterpreting...) .
Happy Independence Day.
Happy Internal Activist Day too.

01 July 2010

seeking doula in Portland, ME

This is for a friend of a client...due around 8/18...

25 June 2010


I always loved feeling my babies kick and wiggle when I was pregnant.
I often tell women in labor, as a reminder to check in with their babies, to pay attention...before long, that baby will be on the outside and those delicious internal movements once felt will be only a memory.

15 June 2010

Welcome Ross Edward III

Born 6/15/10 (Flag Day +1) at 7:39pm, weighing 7lbs 3oz
Named for your proud papa & grandpa.
Worth the very long wait...12 years, 41 weeks and about 25 hours.
You looked right into your momma's eyes as she sang to you. You are so very wanted and loved already by your wonderful parents and fur sibling.
It was an honor to be there when you finally joined us.
By the way, I've never met a baby who calmly flirts moments after birth!
Happy birth day!

14 June 2010

Welcome, Juliette!

I never cease to be awed by the strength of women, including your mom, Juliette! You were born at 6:30 this morning, a wonderful all-natural VBAC, cheered on by your ever-calm dad. A relatively quick and very intense labor followed by some long hours of pushing, but out you came, delicate and beautiful, 7lb 15oz. Congratulations to your parents and your big brother, J.

Happy birthday!

03 June 2010

welcome Hunter Michael!

Born yesterday, 6/2/10, with a head of curly hair and weighing a lovely, if surprising, 9lbs 13oz!

After weeks of contractions, yesterday was the day and you, handsome boy, were born into a family so very full of love, partnership, kindness and strength - it was such a pleasure to witness your parents over the last months and then the final hours leading up to your birth!

29 April 2010

SOS: Save Home Birth in NY!

(DoulaMomma says:
Passing this along - even if it doesn't impact you personally, please consider making your voice heard as someone who cares about preserving options for all birthing women - if it can happen in NY, it can happen in your state too...pass this info along on your blogs, Facebook etc. too please)

Save Home Birth in New York

We need your help!
At midnight tomorrow, April 30th, the majority of New York City's home birth midwives will no longer be able to practice legally. Unless immediate action is taken by the Governor and the NYS Department of Health the women that these midwives serve will be denied access to a home birth with their chosen provider and these providers will no longer be able to practice legally in NYS.

YOU MUST ACT NOWto save the home birth option for New York Women:
  • 311
  • Wendy Saunders, Executive Deputy Commissioner for the NY State Department of Health, appointed by Governor Paterson. 518-474-8390
  • Larry Mokhiber, he Secretary of the Board of Midwifery(518-474-3817, extension 130)
And say....

With the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital, half of the licensed, highly trained home birth midwives serving NYC have lost their Written Practice Agreement (WPA). St Vincent's was the only Hospital in the city supportive of a woman's right to choose a home birth and willing to sign a WPA. In the weeks since it's announced closure, these midwives have reached out to hospitals and obstetricians all across the city looking for support, with no success. Please help us to save the homebirth option in New York.
People can also email the Governor at http://www.state.ny.us/governor/contact/GovernorContactForm.php.

We are in our final hours! Please forward this email and help us flood 311 and the Governor's office with calls supporting home birth.

And while you're at it, please sign our petitionsupporting the Midwifery Modernization Act which will remove the WPA from the midwifery law effectively removing this barrier to accessing midwifery care.

See NYSALM's fact sheet about what the Midwifery Modernization Act Means for You.

27 April 2010

Snippet of Motherhood

Two from my oldest (12.5 going on 25)...gotta write this stuff down or I'll never remember:

this morning I asked him if he wanted eggs - he needed a good breakfast before a big test...his reply?
"How will eating chicken fetuses impact my test performance, Mamacita?"

and over the weekend I heard him and his friend talking while eating breakfast and watching TV:
my kid: "Oh yeah - that's my show, son!"
friend: "what is this?"
my kid: "Twelve Angry Men, yo!"
friend: "good stuff, excellent entertainment"

22 April 2010

sometimes, not knowing is better

I watch The Biggest Loser & really like Jillian, one of the trainers. But I have to say that it's probably easier to like a public figure if you don't know much about them. Take this quote for instance,
"I'm going to adopt. I can't handle doing that to my body,"

I suppose if that's the way she feels, it's for the best that she doesn't get pregnant. And I think it's great that she feels drawn to create her family through adoption.

BUT it makes me feel uncomfortable that someone who is in the public eye for inspiring women to be strong and feel good about their bodies is putting this idea out there. I understand she had a weight issue as a teen, but so did a lot of us (sometimes way beyond our teen years!) and yet we put it aside. So what do you think - am I being too tough?

16 April 2010

so bad/so good

I'm going through a breakup. With Diet Coke. We can still be friends & see each other sometimes, maybe out in public, but no more living together.

We've been together for a LONG time, sometimes in a really unhealthy way, spending way too much time together and to the exclusion of healthier beverage choices. Diet Coke, for me, is like that bad-boy boyfriend. The one who is super hot but just not good for you. You know in your head you should move on, but that tingle in the back of your throat, that satisfying sound when you pop open a can (I always tap it with my nails first, don't know why) - it's hard to give up. And European Coca-Cola Lite - amazing (must be the accent!). Being from the south, where we like our drinks cold, DC is the way I've often started my day - I know, I know - try not to think less of me.

I was set up today by my new friend Heather with Zevia (made with stevia)...solid marriage material I suppose, though a bit like Tab (with whom I had only a brief fling)...but I don't know if it will be the same. Gotta try to preserve the brain cells I have left though, so it looks like it's me a Steve, I mean Zevia. Or maybe I'll just drink more coffee.

15 April 2010

snippet of motherhood

Spring is in the air & so are allergies - our pediatrician has suggested Claritin, though we don't generally use it. Today my youngest, who JUST turned six, said
I think I need some of that "kids' clarinet", Mom - I'm really sneezing a lot

04 April 2010

spring fever

Today was glorious weather and so I did the big garden clean up...cutting back the old & dead, raking out the leftover leaves from fall, stacking up all the branches and rounding up all stray soccer balls. Had to step around the muddy areas after snow melt from back-to-back blizzards & the wettest March ever or something. It's love/hate - kind of drudge work that is strangely satisfying. I'm a homebody.

But a homebody who loves to travel & dream of the unknown, the road not taken. I know a couple of people moving to California and I'm finding myself a bit envious - seems like an adventure to start fresh - like a pioneer heading west - but truly I don't want to move. I like being here.

24 March 2010

a perfect storm - two babies born

It NEVER happens - except when it does. It seems like it's about every 3 or 4 years or so that two clients are in labor at once...I'm pretty sure it takes years off my life when I go through this. Luckily, my amazing friend & colleague, Gayle, had my back (and my client's, literally!)

Two Babies, in Two States, in One Day!
(and not even one missed night of sleep - go figure!)

Early this morning I headed into NYC and by the afternoon, I got to witness the birth of Eliza May...a beauty, 6lb 3oz and "sunny side up"! This was extra special because I was at the birth of her big brother just 16 months ago...and the proud papa is a friend from high school. Congrats to L & W, blessings on your healthy babies - here's to two under two!

and then I raced back to NJ at the start of rush hour (fortunately the traffic gods were with me!) and joined my lovely clients at an already-in-progress labor...so we were then parents, two doulas, a midwife and a nurse. But wow - this daddy did such a super job that it was a pleasure to watch...not to mention the momma, who was amazing too! Welcome, Eliot Cooper, 6lb 8oz & amazingly handsome, who charged into the world with an arm leading the way!

Congrats to all the grandparents who were there to welcome their new grandbabies at both these births!

15 March 2010

welcome Liana!

A March surprise since we weren't expecting you until April...but everyone is so happy you are here & perfect at 6lbs. Your momma made it look easy even though she worked so hard and your dad was calm and cool. By the way, thanks for listening to your momma and not coming at night - everyone was well rested and there was no rushing home from work in the city for you dad!
Have fun with your big sister - she's so ready to finally meet you (once she's finished with her "adventure")!
Welcome to this world, baby Liana!

08 March 2010

way cool stuff

I get so jazzed when I pick up something new! Via Facebook I came across this post on how to check cervical dilation without an internal exam. Some of the information I knew already, but a few suggestions were new to me...like this:
...Think about the shape of the uterus. Before labor, the muscle of the uterus is thick evenly around all sides, above, below, behind. As the cervix starts thinning and dilating, all that muscle has to go somewhere – it bunches up at that top. The top of the uterus thickens dramatically the more the cervix opens. During a contraction, at the beginning of labor, check how many fingers you can fit between the fundus (top of your bump) and the bra line – you will be able to fit 5 fingers. As the top of the fundus rises higher during labor, you will fit fewer and fewer fingers. When you can fit 3 fingers, I usually tell mothers they can think about going into hospital as they will find they are around 5cm dilated. At 1 finger, you are fully dilated. (Awesome, huh!)...

check out the whole post/list HERE

I'll for sure be trying this out and encouraging my ladies to give it a go also.

07 March 2010

high-touch birth

Lessons at Indian Hospital About Births

...In Tuba City last year, 32 percent of women with prior Caesareans had vaginal births. Its overall Caesarean rate has been low — 13.5 percent, less than half the national rate of 31.8 percent in 2007 (the latest year with figures available). This is despite the fact that more women here have diabetes and high blood pressure, which usually result in higher Caesarean rates...

How do they do it? Check out the entire NY Times article here.

I read this makes-you-shake-your-head-because-it-can-be-so-simple article after coming home from a birth at a hospital five minutes from my home where MANY doctors (whole practices) don't take call on weekends. Period. So there is a very good chance the doctor you stayed at this hospital for will not even be there, won't even know you're in labor. When you get there, get ready to sit in an office not unlike that of a car dealership, where copies will be made of your driver's license and insurance card before you can go to triage. Where you stay in bed if your water is broken. Use a bedpan, 'cause you're not getting out of bed to pee. Be ready to have "concerned" conversations over the birth ball you brought. A hospital where the Friedman Curve is king. Where there isn't even a pantry room because nothing but ice chips is permitted, so why would you need a fridge or microwave or electric tea kettle. Where one can feel truly lucky if not among the 49.3% of birthing women who have a cesarean at this hospital.

There are hospitals within spitting distance where the level of care is as good (better, in my opinion) but people don't have to put up with this way of doing birth. Yet many people still flock to this institution. I don't know why and will continue to offer information on alternatives and then meet them where ever they are, trusting that they know what feels best for them. But in my heart, I'll likely wish we were someplace else...maybe Tuba City.

OK - rant over.

Welcome, baby Madeline!

What a smart girl - you figured out how to turn (from posterior) completely in order to be born after only a very short time of pushing by your amazing mom.
6lb 4oz and 18" long...you're a petite girl, like your mommy & like you kitty sister, Katie. Katie was a fantastic cat doula, so protective and intuitive, by the way!
Congrats to you and your lovely mom & dad...happy birthday, little one.

03 March 2010

Snippet of Motherhood

Today my 12 year old came home from school saying that his math teacher was discussing math rays, which led to discussion of space, life in alternate universes & various religions...he said, "he blew my mind - it's BLOWN - in a good way!"

01 March 2010

Glorious VBAC...welcome Riley!

Every birth is special (and I have been remiss with a few announcements lately...) but some are just awe-inspiring & majestic!
Today I had the pleasure of bearing witness to the all natural VBAC of a healthy baby girl, Riley. She weighed 11lb 15oz (!) and was 22.5" long.

Riley, your momma worked so hard to have the best possible chance at this VBAC (including crossing state lines to have you in NJ)...I am so humbled to meet and serve women this strong and tenacious, supported by partners like your daddy every step of the way. Many blessings for a life filled with everything good - happy birth day!

10 February 2010

Gimme Shelter

Help needed for pregnant & birthing women in Haiti, c/o midwife Robin Lim's organization, bumi sehat haiti. Something tangible we can do to help!
Please share...

Dear All: We are holding a tent drive for
our pregnant and birthing Mothers who are
living in rubble and need a dry shelter.
In order to make the ship that is leaving
New Orleans we need these tents shipped to
the to locations below within the next week.
We are looking for tents of all sizes that
are water proof and have a rain shield
protection. In addition, if possible include
a tarp to go with these tents for additional
rain protection. We will shrink wrap and put
these tents on a palate to get to Jacmel
via boat.

Locations to ship tents:

West Coast:Penny Tyrrell
c/o Bumi Sehat Haiti-Tent Drive 93 North Polk
Eugene, OR 97402

East Coast: Andre Gillis
c/o Bumi Sheat Haiti-Tent Drive
417 North Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Midwest people please mail to the East Coast.
Please share this information with as many
people as you know and provide them the
shipping information.
Thank you for your support. This drive
will continue well beyond the week time
frame so continue to send tents as they
become available.

Thank you, Heather Maurer
Director of LogisticsBumi Sehat Haiti

09 February 2010

Doulas go to Washington

Are you a doula & free on March 11th? If so, what about a road trip?

HealthConnect One and members of its National Community-based Doula Network are heading to Washington, DC to advocate for continued funding for community-based doula programs in the FY11 federal budget.

There will be a National Doula Network reception at the DC Birth Center on Wednesday evening March 10th, and Doula Lobby Day activities on Capitol Hill, Thursday March 11th.

"HealthConnect One has reserved a block of rooms for overnight stay on Wednesday March 10th at the DoubleTree Washington, 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Please call the hotel directly to make a reservation at 1-800-492-5195. When you call to book your room, please state that you are part of the HealthConnect One Network meeting, in order to take advantage of our $175/night room rate (including breakfast). The deadline for the room block rate is February 15th. You will need to provide a valid credit card number upon booking.

We will begin the Lobby Day activities by attending Senator Richard J. Durbin's constituent coffee on Thursday morning (8:30am-9:30am). We encourage you to schedule visits with your congressional delegation from 10am-noon. HealthConnect One will then host a lunch de-brief session from 1pm-4pm at the DoubleTree Washington following our morning visits on Capitol Hill.

Please let us know by Thursday, February 11, 2010 if you are able to attend!

We can assist you with making appointments with your U.S. Senators' and Representative's offices to request a visit (with your elected official or their health legislative assistant). Further information on Doula Funding talking points will also be provided when you register.

We hope that you will be able to join us for these Lobby Day activities, and that your organization can support your travel expenses. HealthConnect One has a small budget to support travel costs, so if you would like to join us, but your organization is unable to cover travel costs, please contact Mac Grambauer at mac@lmcalpine.com.

For those of you who cannot come with us to Washington, we suggest that you call your elected officials in Washington on March 10 and 11, and ask for their support to continue the funding for community-based doula programs in the FY11 budget.

snippet of motherhood

We got stood up for the last big snowstorm - only a mere dusting. There has not been a snow day all year - just the one delayed opening. So this morning I asked my middle son, age 9, if he was planning to wear his pajamas inside out and backwards tonight to help increase the chances of a snow day. His reply:

"Nope - it doesn't work. It's not magic - either it snows or it doesn't."

Jaded much? Where's that sense of childhood wonder??

03 February 2010

Birth Trauma

There are women who experience all the things shown in this montage and do not feel trauma - bless you!...but there are many who do carry this trauma with them into motherhood. Many times women are told just to be grateful that they have a healthy baby, end of story. But if your joy is tempered with anger or sadness, please find someone to tell. Process your feelings so that you can move beyond them. Just like labor, these feelings might be intense or messy or not what you expected, but there you are and the only way beyond is through. Be gentle with yourself, go at your own pace, knowing that there are people who care and can help. Solace For Mothers is one such resource.

snippet of motherhood

car conversation with oldest this morning, a delayed school opening because of snow:

me: I wish school started two hours late every day

kid: me too. You should talk to B about it.

me: who is "B"

kid: um, our president?!

me: so you guys are on a first letter basis, then?

kid: yup.

(lest you think it's all chill conversation...in background is youngest kid saying - "yeah - maybe then you wouldn't freak out every morning" and me saying to him, "well, maybe, but only if you put your shoes & coat on when I ask, don't forget you backpack again & stop fighting about who took someone's socks...")

30 January 2010

We gotta fight for our right to...

Passing along this message - I'll be calling - will you?

What do you think would happen in every woman in the United States who has any type of maternity coverage called their health care insurer to tell them:



What if these insurers were SIMPLY BLASTED with phone calls, faxes, emails, and other contacts? What do you think their response would be?
I don't know -- if we kept it up for about 1 week -- we might actually demonstrate to these huge companies that what women need is important and they need to listen to us! AND it might make Congress sit up & take notice.
And it wouldn't hurt to call your employer's HR department -- remember THEY are the purchasers of these policies -- and be sure that Licensed Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, and birth outside hospital is covered in ALL STATES.
Don't wait for Congress to MAYBE do this -- DO IT NOW!
"Who ya gonna call?!" -- Always ask for a Case Manager over OB services! NEVER speak to the first person who answer the phone! They are trained to say, "No, that's not covered," or "I don't know."
THEN get the name & direct phone number of the person with whom you spoke.
Let's get it together Ladies -- and DEMONSTRATE OUR BUYING POWER!

"Comparison Shopping has never been more important!'

Joyce Moxley Thomas, MHA, CPM/LM, HCHICertified Professional Midwife/LM239Certified Hypnobabies InstructorCertified Perinatal Massage Therapist
Executive DirectorAmazing Babies Midwifery Education13768 Roswell Ave. #209Chino, CA 91710909-591-2924www.Amazing-Babies.com
AquaNatal Birth Center13768 Roswell Ave. #209Chino, CA 91710909-591-2924www.AquaNatalBirthCenter.com

28 January 2010

winter in NJ

a haiku for today:

whiteout for breakfast
sunshine and blue skies for lunch
what will dinner bring?

follow up: eating & drinking in labor

Today I received a comment from a reader questioning a statement I'd made in an earlier post on new information regarding the ban on eating and drinking in labor. I thought the comment posed a great question worthy of follow up, so thanks Molly.

In my post, I said:
Many hospitals have been advising all laboring women to not eat or drink during labor in case they need emergency surgery with general anesthesia. But isn't that kind of like advising everyone to skip breakfast in case they get hit by a bus?

Molly's comment:
Are the chances of having an emergency C-section really comparable to getting hit by a bus? I've definitely heard of more C-sections than I have bus accidents in the past...
My reply:
Sure, Molly - the chances of having a labor culminate in a cesarean are, possibly, higher than having a random accident (edited to add: I'm guessing here - a less lazy/busy person might add some statistics - chime in if ya got 'em!). However, I think it's VERY important to differentiate between unplanned cesareans and true emergency cesareans. Many woman will call their unplanned cesareans "emergency" when in fact they were actually unplanned and while there was perhaps not an easy-breezy pace, there was likely time for regional anesthesia. I have, luckily, been a part of only one true emergency cesarean in about 400 births.
As I said, the chances of needing energy for labor is 100%...and not having sufficient energy can actually lead to unnecessary cesareans if the laboring woman is unable to carry on or her labor stalls and augmentation of that labor leads to fetal distress. Avoidable cesareans (major abdominal surgeries) pose risks to moms and babies. So the extremely small risk posed by eating in labor is, in my opinion, worth it.
Coincidentally, an OB from a respected hospital in Boston recently quoted in the NY Times used a very similar example and line of reasoning to my bus idea, so I'm comfortable with my statement. I'll post this in a blog entry & try to find the NY Times article too. Thanks for your important question.


And that NY Times article can be found here if you would like to read the whole thing - there is a good discussion of what all the fuss is about, concern-wise - it is serious, and it's very, very rare. The quote I mentioned:

“My own view of this has always been that you could say one shouldn’t eat or drink anything before getting into a car on the same basis, because you could be in an automobile accident and you might require general anesthesia,” said Dr. Marcie Richardson, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston, who was not connected to the new study.

26 January 2010

got milk?

Urgent Call for Human Milk Donations for Haiti Infants

Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants, mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers’ Milk Bank.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to the U.S. Navy Ship “Comfort” stationed outside Haiti. “Comfort” is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake.

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to the “Comfort.” Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board the “Comfort” to coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLL are responding to requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent need exists for additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to Haiti infants has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.

Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers’ Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available at the HMBANA website at www.hmbana.org.

Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for both Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature infants in the U.S. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants.

Financial donations are also strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue serving infants in need.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency.

Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to provide support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 or hmbana.org. Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at 202-367-1132 (usbreastfeeding.org), ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 (www.ilca.org or www.uslca.org), or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 (llli.org).

25 January 2010

Hike for Haiti

We had fun starting our day yesterday with this beautiful hike, enjoying the nature and people of our community...while raising some bucks for people who so need it.

23 January 2010


I just came from a wonderful yoga mini-retreat - just two and a half hours, but very thought provoking (and hard work!), part of a bigger weekend workshop. And all I had to do was go a few blocks from my house and join in. It was an Anusara workshop organized by South Mountain Yoga & facilitated by Ross Rayburn. And it's happening again tomorrow afternoon - there is still some room if you're local & interested! (Maybe you can score a new Ganesh tshirt too)

The thought behind the day was the trinity (he used a fancier word, which I've already forgotten)...he used, in part, the backdrop of Sachindananda, which is part of the Anusara invocation (above).
Sachidananda is a combination of three words:
Sat = existence, truth, real.
Chit = consciousness
Ananda = bliss.
He suggested that in yoga we must first surrender, then reign it in and consider the boundaries before we can once again and more fully surrender. We spent time in each posture playing with the idea that you can't really fly or surrender or get to the bliss with out finding the tension and working with it, fine-tuning it, moving beyond it to a place you wouldn't have gotten to without first acknowledging it. So often we just go to the fullest expression of something, because we can, out of habit or because it's easier than really engaging...like in Uttanasana (standing forward bend) if we make touching the floor the main goal, and flop down there without making sure that our shoulders are engaged, pulling back even as we reach forward.

Like many things, this got me thinking about, what else?, birth. How many times have I told someone in labor to "just surrender" - JUST! Maybe I need to be mindful of the negotiation that must take place between the tension & surrender, allowing a woman to be contained by her body, feeling safe, before surrendering a little and then contained again, and then a deeper surrender. Like when a baby is being born and he turtles back and forth until ready to emerge under the pubic bone and out. Like when it's kinder to a mother's body if she can stay in the place of tension as she stretches, even as she wants to maybe blast out that baby, but allows herself to negotiate the passage, tempering the holding with releasing.

Balance requires choice and mindfulness, but then we get to melt more fully.

22 January 2010

blog for choice day

Unlike me, some people are not falling down on the job today - check out Radical Doula's post, "How About We Call It Blog For Justice Day?"

21 January 2010

hmm - it's as if they are using their brains!

Many hospitals have been advising all laboring women to not eat or drink during labor in case they need emergency surgery with general anesthesia. But isn't that kind of like advising everyone to skip breakfast in case they get hit by a bus? There's a 100% chance that women will need energy for labor...

Well, finally a well-respected organization is calling BS on this (read the full article here) for low risk women:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - There is no reason why pregnant women at low risk for complications during delivery should be denied fluids and food during labor, a new Cochrane research review concludes.

..."Women should be free to eat and drink in labor, or not, as they wish," the authors of the review wrote in the Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research....

...Standard hospital policy for many decades has been to allow only tiny sips of water or ice chips for pregnant women in labor if they were thirsty. Why? It was feared, and some studies in the 1940s showed, that if a woman needed to undergo general anesthesia for a cesarean delivery, she might inhale regurgitated liquids or food particles that could lead to pneumonia and other lung damage.

But anesthesia practices have changed and improved since the 1940s, with more use of regional anesthesia and safer general anesthesia...

...And recently, attitudes on food and drink during labor have begun to relax. Last September, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a "Committee Opinion" advising doctors that women with a normal, uncomplicated labor may drink modest amounts of clear liquids such as water, fruit juice without pulp, carbonated beverages, clear tea, black coffee, and sports drinks. They fell short of saying food was okay, however, advising that women should avoid fluids with solid particles, such as soup...

...Singata and colleagues systematically reviewed five studies involving more than 3100 pregnant that looked at the evidence for restricting food and drink in women who were considered unlikely to need anesthesia. One study looked at complete restriction versus giving women the freedom to eat and drink at will; two studies looked at water only versus giving women specific fluids and foods and two studies looked at water only versus giving women carbohydrate drinks.

The evidence showed no benefits or harms of restricting foods and fluids during labor in women at low risk of needing anesthesia.

...Singata and colleagues acknowledge that many women may not feel like eating or drinking during labor. However, research has shown that some women find the food and drink restriction unpleasant. Poor nutritional balance may be also associated with longer and more painful labors. Drinking clear liquids in limited quantities has been found to bring comfort to women in labor and does not increase labor complications.

a year later

last year I was riding high, coming back from DC...this year feeling less hopeful after the news from MA...
But tomorrow I will gather with others from the birth community to raise money for Haiti and keep fighting the good fight!

18 January 2010

no more milk

I know it's kind of crazy, but I have not been able to bring myself to throw away the last bag of frozen breast milk...it's WAY expired (since I pumped it in 2005!) but has just been a happy little memento that I would notice every so often when I opened the freezer. Kind of weird, I know. Anyway, today I'm tossing it with a slightly heavy heart...I did, however, get to have a great discussion about breastfeeding with my youngest, since it's really his milk I'm getting rid of.

(Assuming your milk is a bit more current, here are guidelines for storage)

15 January 2010

snippet of motherhood

My middle son spent his birthday at a special indoor water park (at a special overnight rate)...and he took the day off from school. He told me about the opportunity to go with our beloved caregiver's family...he said he was off for MLK day and I explained that it was celebrated Monday...but he made a great argument:

"My birthday is Martin Luther King Jr's birthday and so I think I should celebrate his birthday, and mine, on the actual day"

So I said yes - sometimes it's nice not to say no.

Happy birthday

to my middle one...NINE - wow! And to Martin Luther King, Jr...

Happy birthday sweetie - thinking of you as you were nine years ago!

Hope you had fun on your big day!

14 January 2010

snippet of motherhood

The scene: This morning on the way to school, Oasis' "Wonderwall" is playing on the iPod thingie in the car & I hit replay

My five year old says, "MOM - can you please change the music?! This song is SO irritating!"

Wow - everbody's a critic.

05 January 2010

groundhog day

I often wonder at my ability to fool myself. As I sit here now, about to go to bed, I am sure that I will wake up extra early to tidy up the kitchen etc. before waking the kids...yet I know that there is an equal chance that I will instead hit the snooze many times, be running late & bellowing for us to huuuuurrrrrry!!!

Tonight my middle son, clearly a realist, requested that his oatmeal be prepared and waiting before I wake him so that he can eat right away and without being rushed...

note to self: get it together, lady!

01 January 2010

harder, better, faster, stronger

We just returned from our family ski trip. My oldest, 12, is a great skier and now snowboarder - he started at 4. My middle son, nearly 9 and not yet crossed over to the board side, is now flying over high ramps and sliding rails - he started at 3. My youngest, 5.5, made the biggest strides and graduated from the Magic Carpet up a baby hill to the rope tow to the lifts and even did some intermediate terrain - he started at 2 but took last year off. They all have a need for speed...I think they have that thrill-seeking gene.

I started as an adult in my late twenties. I didn't have the benefit of childhood fearlessness. I always skied very conservatively (read SLOWLY)! I thought I was in decent shape but until this year with the triathlon training and major slimming down, I was not. I used to sweat and huff and puff and felt sore and achy; I assumed this was just part of skiing and still loved it. But this year was amazing...I was truly a better skier and it all seemed effortless. I could ski more aggressively, mostly keep up with my oldest two kids, have much better form and I was never sore. My feet used to cramp from squeezing so much, out of stress and fear I think...no longer.

But the biggest revelation came on the last day, when I was once again waiting for my dad (whom we introduced to skiing the year after we started) and my husband to catch up.

I was waiting for them!

For all the years we have been skiing, they always waited for me, stopped for me, asked me if I wanted a rest. Amazing the difference a year makes. When my dad caught up, I thanked him for his patience all these years. It was a bit bittersweet, like a passing of the torch, but I'm cutting the guy some slack - he did have open-heart surgery eight months ago, so I may have to up my game next year if I want to beat him down the mountain.

So on this first day of a new year, a new decade, I will appreciate that today is truly the first day of the rest of my life. It feels good.

Happy new year!