27 February 2012

ICAN meetings, Essex Cty NJ

ICAN of Greater Essex County Meeting dates
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Held @ Seton Hall University, South Orange
Arts & Science Building, Room 208A, 6:30 pm

This is shaping up to be an exciting year for ICAN of Greater Essex County!
We will be hosting our first meeting of 2012 on Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:30 p.m. Trish DeTura*, RN, CNM, MS will presenting on Mayan Abdominal Massage and about how it can help moms recovering from birth, particularly our moms who have had c-sections! Not to be missed!
We will be celebrating our first anniversary this March.
Elaine Diegmann, ND, CNM, Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at UMDNJ will be presenting in April. She will speak about the work happening at Newark Beth Israel to reduce their c-section rate and to move from Worst to First! Trish DeTura will also give an encore presentation for those who could not make the February 28th meeting. So excited to see the transformation in our community! If you plan to attend any of the meetings, please RSVP either by email or on our Facebook page, under events. Looking forward to seeing you at the next meeting!

* Trish is amazing - you owe it to yourself to get in to see her!

we all need to hear this: Mr. Rogers' farewell

"I like you just the way you are"

24 February 2012

a lovely, UPbeat look at Down's

Do yourself a favor and check out Ups and Down's Syndrome with sabrina bean photography. I bet it will change you in some way...I found this very touching, for I was once the doula in a very similar situation and that baby is surpassing all expectations now, just like this little girl...happy birthday to her.
The poem from their doula, which could apply to anyone's birth story:

“When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

21 February 2012

what people think...Homebirth

lots of these floating around, I have to say, I'm enjoying them - this one is fun! (click on the picture to make it big enough to read)

18 February 2012

snippet of motherhood: makes my heart melt 2

Every ski mountain seems to have a tree covered in undergarments that have been flung from the lift. Today when we were skiing, this is what I heard:

middle kid, age 11: "there's the bikini tree!"

youngest kid, age 7: "those aren't bikinis, they are bras"

middle: "same thing"

youngest: "actually, they are not the same thing"

I don't know why this struck me as funny, but it did

A nice moment later in the day: the youngest one (on skis) towed his snowboarding brother over a flat part so they could both get to the fun part faster. I heart them.

16 February 2012

15 February 2012

birth stories sought for a book...

Just passing this along...I know nothing about the editor/author collecting these stories. I'm assuming that although "husband" language is used, any partner is welcome to submit his or her story...

Have you ever thought about writing and sharing your birth story? Birth stories from all women, including minority and/or immigrant women, and the voice of midwives and doulas are wanted for a book about birth stories from the perspective of the midwife, doula, and mother. If fathers want to write about the birth experience as a result of supporting and witnessing their wife's birth, they are welcome as well. All birth stories will be accepted regardless of the outcome. For example, still born birth stories. Share your birth story and email it to me.

For more info, contact
yao.doula@gmail.com. You may send your story in English or Spanish. The first draft is due by March 31st, 2012. Please help spread the word. Thank you!

14 February 2012

Optimal fetal positioning

Can't hurt & might very well help your baby be in the best position (anterior vs. posterior/"back labor") for an easier labor and a lower chance of c-section ...check out this important topic on ICAN's blog or go to the wonderful source, Spinning Babies - I have studied with Gail Tully, of Spinning Babies & it's amazing information

2 second take-away: think of your belly as a hammock and spend time each day belly-forward to encourage your baby to settle it's back into your belly hammock

cesarean rates: NJ, NY & the nation

Do you know the cesarean rate of the hospital in which you intend to birth? Here are the stats for NJ and for NY. And if you click on the state link at the right side of the hospital break out stats, there is a bar chart covering 20 years of stats and a list of which hospitals support VBAC - very helpful information.

NJ folks, NJ's cesarean rate is among the highest in the nation - looks like we lost the dubious distinction of being number one to LA last year; NY is not far behind.

While it's great news that there was a measurable decline in cesareans from 2009 to 2010 (according to most recent stats available and thought to be because fewer teens, who are at high risk for cesarean, are giving birth), it's still way too high. Childbirth Connection (a wonderful resource, if you don't already know it) notes that,
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)

Time magazine photo

11 February 2012

my cooking inspiration - free style

When I was in high school, one of my dear friends was from Belgium and I spent a lot of time at her home. I'm pretty sure my friend just wished her parents were more American and I know I wished mine were the least bit European.

They were stylish (I still have a scarf brought back to me from an annual "boring" Belgique trip) and, although their home was not particularly fancy, their creature comforts were all new to me...I grew up with 50/50 poly blend sheets & Dial soap while they had fluffy duvets with smooth cotton covers and exotic-seeming personal care products. Needless to say, I have had duvets with high thread counts since I started buying my own bedding (so much easier to make the bed) and believe that the items we use and touch every day should make us happy: I have a thing for nice soaps, lotions and potions...and kitchen tools!

It was at this home that I first had Nutella and "real" butter outside of a restaurant bread basket; we were a margarine household. I once saw her mom making mayonnaise with an immersion blender and it was a revelation - I didn't even know this was something one could make and had no idea what the implement she used was...my home strictly featured Miracle Whip from the jar. So many good things were had for the first time there - Olive Oil, boiled eggs served in egg cups, amazing cafe au lait. My mom was a very good cook but she also relied heavily on Hamburger Helper-esq food for weeknight meals.

I recall her mom throwing together (according to her) one meal in particular: lean pork chops sauteed in a bit of Dijon mustard with capers and herbs, because that's what was in the fridge. It was at least 25 years ago and I still remember a light bulb going off and thinking, "this is the way I will cook someday".

And you know what? I do. Of course I have many cookbooks and look to them for inspiration, even following recipes often. But I'm mostly an improvisational cook, sometimes employing my own immersion blender! The recipe calls for hazelnuts? Why not try walnuts or pine nuts? It's about about layering and deepening flavor profiles, even if the recipe doesn't suggest something or I don't have a particular ingredient. What's the worst that could happen? Just maybe it will be even better. It's part of what makes cooking fun for me. It's actually how I approach most things in life, I think - perhaps because I'm often too lazy to read the instructions! I sometimes wonder if my kids would prefer the Hamburger Helper, hold the capers - maybe the pendulum swings with each generation...

Very often when I'm cooking, I think of my high school friend's home and the debt of gratitude I owe to her family - their influence has made my life more comfortable and the food I prepare more inventive. Thank you, famille Goffaux!

09 February 2012

my old 'hood: sh*t Park Slope parents say

I guess things haven't changed that much - especially regarding the Coop! Love that they worked in THE HAT story! ;-)

VBAC discussion with Dr. Stuart Fischbein

Listen to internet radio with ProgressiveParenting on Blog Talk Radio

This was broadcast earlier in the week on Progressive Parenting on Blog Talk Radio. I found the host's introduction tedious (sorry), so don't give up...Dr. Fischbein is worth the wait - lots of great, crystal clear information for those seeking a VBAC.
And for those who have not yet given birth, remember that avoiding the primary cesarean is the best plan of all.
Read more about Dr. Fischbein

I am blessed to regularly work with several care providers who value and actively support VBAC for my clients...the good ones are out there and finding true support rather than mere tolerance is key. If your gut is not agreeing with your ears, go with your gut.

For more information on VBAC, check out ICAN & VBAC.com

snippet of motherhood: field notes from the trenches

Begin standoff - refuse to pick up oldest kid's clothes off the floor of bathroom; remind him to pick them up, as they are his. How long will it take to elicit action? Who will blink first?

Subject will kick them further away, but not actually pick them up...for 2 showers/2 days thus far...must stay strong & get tougher. Pull to have clean bathroom floor is overtaking.

Note/possible upside:
Perhaps this is an excuse to go shopping for "laying down the law & not raising a slob" outfit/accessories.

07 February 2012

new obsession - the hats of Downton Abbey

Are you like me and can't get enough of all things Downton Abbey, but especially the millinery? We are in good company - see what "I Should Have Been A Blogger" has to show & tell on the topic...fun!
I was born in the wrong era - I long for these hats..I love the clothes too, though they are all wrong for me.

06 February 2012


Check out Homebirth Ryan Gosling - you will for sure get a laugh


wish i could credit the photo - would if I could

Today I drove past a home up the hill from me that looks to be undergoing renovation and it made me remember dropping someone off there years ago. She was a quite old woman who tapped on my window while I was in the train station pick up traffic. She asked me if I might run her up the (formidable and just under 1 mile) hill, as she was not feeling up to the walk - she called me "dear". I thought it was cool of her to just ask for what she needed - it was an "it takes a village" moment that I enjoyed.
I hope it's her renovating her home and if it's not, I hope all is well with her, even if that means she's passed on.

03 February 2012

wham bam, thank you ma'am

Does the Susan G. Komen organization's reversal of their new (now old) grant funding criteria that would make Planned Parenthood ineligible for future grants really change anything? I'm not so sure - time will tell, I guess. I'm going to be paying attention and I bet a lot of other people will too - it will take them eating a bit more of that old humble pie in order to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.

According to an article on today's Huffington Post:
To be clear, Komen's apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It's a promise to "continue to fund existing grants" to the organization -- which it was already planning on doing -- and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.

The upside: Planned Parenthood received a lot of donations to be used for healthcare and perhaps people, and voters, had a wake-up call about transparency in the organizations we support and the corporate and political alliances that might be influencing their missions.

02 February 2012

going there...

Irony, thy name is the US Postal Service ...looking through mail from the last couple of days, I found a postcard for Susan G. Komen/Race For The Cure organization reminding me of all the races I could join in and support...um, no.

Instead, I will support Planned Parenthood - the place that provided me with well-woman care, including breast exams, pap smears and birth control when I was a student and before I had a job that included insurance...ya know, the 97% part of what they do.

I support my friends who are very involved and give their time and energy to local races/events/fundraising for SGK. But I can't support the organization until they reconsider this decision...the organization should not be making healthcare political, but now that they have, so am I. I stand with Planned Parenthood.

my new motto

yes, that small mindedness does make your ass look big

thanks, Phil!

Punxsutawney Phil...Keith Srakocic/AP

I love you, man...Viva winter!