Friday, August 22, 2014

What we did on a Friday

A fun, full day...

While Eric wrote in the morning, I got the kids dressed and ready, hung out my daily load of laundry and took down yesterday's, vacuumed, and washed dishes.

Yesterday I bought a Bosch kitchen machine (blender/food processor/mixer/citrus juicer), a waffle/panini/croque monsieur iron, and a steam cooker on Leboncoin. So we had to try them out! For breakfast we made waffles.

We bought scooters for the 3 oldest kids, so now they are terrorizing the streets and sidewalks of Nice. We make quite the procession with 3 scooters, 1 stroller, 4 blonde, blue-eyed children, and of course one mama keeping them all in line.

Our first stop this morning was the post office to mail our visa paperwork to the local immigration office. We walked past the fruit & vegetable marché at the Cours Saléya, then bought groceries at Marché U. It's a discount store-brand grocery store similar to Aldi, Dia, Lidl, and Ed. We also bought a baguette from one of our favorite bakeries. I let Ivy hold it, and she had gnawed off the top by time we got home.

Lunch was croque monsieurs (grilled cheese sandwiches, basically) and ripe pears and mini ice cream bars.

I put Ivy down for a nap and took the tram to the north end of Nice to buy a miter saw via Leboncoin. I enjoyed the time by myself. I listened to podcasts and enjoyed walking without having to keep an eye on little ones.

When I got back, I started sautéeing lardons (similar to bacon, only less fatty), leeks, and onions. Dinner was salad, quiche lorraine, quiche aux poireaux, and tarte aux prunes. Eric took Zari and Dio fishing for most of the evening, so Inga and Ivy ate dinner with me.

The three of us ended the evening by going to a playground on the Promenade du Paillon, a large green space created in the last 2 years and only about 2 minutes' walk from our house. Ivy is crazy; she will climb up things that even Dio would hesitate to try, and I have to be ready to catch her when she falls.

(These pictures at the Promenade du Paillon, also called the coulé verte, are from a week or two ago)

When Eric and crew got home from fishing (no luck, but lots of nibbles), Dio refused to touch anything I'd made. This is a regular occurrence at dinner time, and it doesn't really matter what it is. He just wants to refuse. He finally relented after he'd been put to bed, because our rule was he had to eat some dinner if he wanted to go fishing tomorrow morning. Life would be so much easier if he'd just eat dinner right away! But no, he has to complain and moan about it. Then eventually he'll eat it. And often he'll say, at the end of the process, "oh, I actually like this!"
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Breastfeeding history moment: Mormon artist CCA Christensen

Around the turn of the 20th century, Danish artist C.C.A. Christensen painted scenes of early Mormon history and Book of Mormon events. I highlighted another of his breastfeeding scenes in this post about the Mormon handcart pioneers.

This painting, Father Lehi Blesses His Children, shows a mother nursing her baby. She is in the center of the gathering, her shirt opened and her breast bared.

Here's a closeup:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Conversation at a playground

We're mostly settled into our new apartment and new life here, so Eric started his normal writing/work schedule this week. He writes in the mornings and sometimes into the early afternoon hours while I take the kids out. Then from mid-afternoon on, it's family time.

This morning I took the three youngest to the playground at the top of the big hill overlooking vieux Nice and the port. We call it "the chateau" since there are ruins of an old fortress/castle on the top. Zari opted to stay home and read a book; she's still recovering from a stomach bug that has been making its way around our family.

I was sitting next to an Algerian woman--Muslim, I presume, from her headscarf and long robe--when Ivy got upset about something. I tried all my tricks, but nothing worked to stop the tantrum. The woman asked if I had a pacifier or a bottle to offer Ivy. I said no to both. Then she asked, "elle prend le sein?" When I said yes, she smiled broadly and waxed eloquent about the beauty and benefits of breastfeeding.

I got Ivy calmed down--nursing finally did the trick--and we started chatting.

She teaches French in Algiers at the secondary level. She comes to Nice every summer to watch her two grandchildren until school & daycare start up again in the fall. To her regret, her two grandchildren weren't breastfed very long since her daughter-in-law works full-time. We talked about nursing my four children, about being a mother, about family size, about difficult sleep with little ones, about balancing work and family.

I love these encounters...and it made me grateful that I've been able to mother my children (mostly) full-time, that I've been able to nurse all my children until they were ready to be done, and to keep an academic/professional life without feeling stretched too thin.
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finding furniture in France

We are having way too much fun finding furniture here in Nice!

I am addicted to Leboncoin (French equivalent of Craigslist)....We've also been visiting local consignment (dépôt-vente) & antique shops. There's a big dépôt-vente called Open Troc on the fringes of town that's supposed to be really good. We'll probably take a trip up there next week.

Prices vary wildly here. You can pay top dollar for antiques, but you can also find others for next to nothing. I've found the best deals on Leboncoin.

Our main criteria are that our furnishings are:
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • well-made
  • old/antique when possible
  • most importantly, inexpensive
Here's what we've found so far.

I don't even know what you'd call this? We use it for putting on shoes. It's from a church and has carvings of a dove, a sun, a person holding the 10 commandments (complete with tiny carved Hebrew lettering) and another person holding a book with Latin writing. It's random and awesome. Price: 80 Euros at the Marché aux Puces (literally "flea market," but more like antique/consignment shops) near the port.

Little Moroccan side table. Some of the veneer work is missing on the top. Price: 20 Euros at the Marché aux Puces.

Leather sofa sleeper couch & chair. The sofa bed is really comfortable. I love the sleek, 1930s-era look. It's simple without being too modern. I'm not a fan of the hyper-modern look so popular in Europe. Price: 200 Euros.

The bookcase below dates from around the late 19th/early 20th century, judging on the crackling in the shellac. The previous owner put some gold wax on the doors. We broke one of the windows carrying it up the stairs. Better glass than wood! The whole thing was solid wood: no plywood, no veneers, and obviously no particleboard. Price: 140 Euros.

The large wool rug was free. We hired a mover to help us transport the items and carry them up the stairs. He gave us this rug that he'd been using for moving furniture. It was really dirty, but that's why we have vacuums! The wool is super dense and closely woven, and it cleaned up nicely.

Pair of antique Chinese cabinets. One has lots of drawers and cubbyholes, the other just has 2 doors. Price: 150 Euros at the Marché aux Puces.

The wood steamer trunk was thrown in for free from the person who sold us the elephant armoire (below) and bookcase.

The little silk rug was thrown in for free from the antique dealer at the Marché aux Puces, since it has a 6" long rip on one side.

Breton armoire. I love it. It's so over-the-top with carving on every possible surface. It has a faded red fabric on the inside, original from the looks of it, that I might replace some day. We use it as a pantry in our kitchen/dining room. Price: 200 Euros.

Copper cook pots from a dépôt-vente. Utilitarian and decorative at the same time! Price: 23 Euros for the 3.

In the back bedroom, an Indonesian elephant armoire made of pallisandre (rosewood). This is a newer piece of furniture, but built as well as the antiques. It's solid wood front, side, and back and was a challenge to get up the stairs. Price: 180 Euros.

We're still looking for an armoire for our bedroom and a dining table & chairs. Down the road we'll replace the existing beds, since the frames are falling apart and the mattresses aren't very comfortable. I'd also like to find better light fixtures; fortunately there's no shortage of amazing antique chandeliers.

This makes we want to change professions and become an antique dealer!
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Our first week in France

An epic move overseas begs for an epic beginning. In our case, this meant our flight getting delayed...and delayed...and finally rescheduled for the next day. When we finally found this out, we were already at the airport with our mountain of luggage. We couldn't exactly go home--our new family was already moved in, plus we had no way to get anywhere--so we stayed in an airport hotel. Our journey took over 48 hours total from door to door.

Our four children were in remarkably good spirits considering the two long days and nights of travel and the jet lag. Their favorite part was the free hot chocolate at the Frankfurt airport during one of many long layovers. Oh, and Zari thought that having meals served on the overseas flight was awesome. She kept reminding me to wake her up so she wouldn't miss the breakfast at the end of the flight.

We left our house at 4 pm on Friday and arrived at our apartment close to 10 pm on Sunday...keep in mind I had never seen it in person. Initial impressions: dingy, lots of things to freshen up or fix, but more and more I'm loving how it fits our family and the possibilities it has.

On one of our very first shopping trips, we bought a hammer drill, basic tool set, measuring tape, and a large set of drill bits. I've already used them all several times.

When we arrived, our apartment had 2 beds, 1 futon mattress on the floors, 2 plates, 3 bowls, and  folding dining table & chairs. Oh, and a few miscellaneous kitchen items such as snail forks & picks, 2 corkscrews, and a brioche pan. I've fallen in love with Leboncoin--the French equivalent of Craigslist. We've been running all over Nice buying furniture, bedding, and household linens. We're having so much fun looking for furniture. We'll find things here for practically nothing that would be crazy expensive in North America.

Our kids are in heaven here--ocean, parks, playgrounds, trams, buses, always something to see or do or explore. Dio learned how to swim on his own right before we left for France, so he is thrilled to practice his new skills. He and Zari both have good snorkeling sets and have already gone with Eric several times. Inga is fearless with her arm floats, and Ivy loves her new baby float. Now our whole family can be in the water together.

We currently have Eric's brother and his family visiting, so there are 10 of us sharing 2 plates and 3 bowls. Fun times. Thankfully they don't mind "camping out" in our apartment.

Off to was a busy day today visiting the aquarium & old town in Monaco, plus swimming in the afternoon and lots of errands in the evening.

Bonne nuit!
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Saturday, August 02, 2014

We're off!

We only got as far as the airport yesterday. Storms across the eastern seaboard caused massive delays/cancellations. Our flights got rebooked for the next day, so we had to find a hotel at the airport. Today will be (another) long day traveling.

Oh...and until the day we left, we still didn't know if we'd have a place to stay once we arrived. The French bank has been moving at a glacial pace, and our original closing date of July 2nd kept getting pushed back and back....the notaire (real estate attorney) told us a few days ago that we might not be able to close until August 8th.  Eric pushed back and played every sympathy card possible (4 young children, nowhere to stay, etc.). Yesterday morning the good news arrived: we have an apartment!

We've also never had so much luggage before. Usually we have 2 checked bags and 2 carryons for our whole family. I have no idea how we are going to transport everything from the airport to our apartment. We live on a pedestrian-only street in a mainly pedestrian-only area of town....

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

3 days until D-day

Our big departure for France happens in less than 72 hours!

We got back from a 2-week trip to California (Eric's family reunion and a visit to my sister) late Friday night. I feel paralyzed with how much we have to get done in the next 3 days.

Here's a sampling of what we've done since we came home from California:
  • Installed 3 storm windows that were being repaired
  • Scraped and repainted the brick moulding that holds the 4 French doors in our living room
  • Finished painting and trimming the French doors--we'll get them put back up tomorrow
  • Repaired a heavily rotted/damaged 6-pane window with Abatron WoodEpox. I need to sand it down tomorrow and then install the new glass and glazing. 
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Pulled endless weeds and took out lots of poison ivy. (Stink eye at our neighbor, who has an enormous poison ivy vine--more like sizable tree--growing up their sugar maple. I offered to take care of it for them, but they said no. So we get hundreds of poison ivy seedlings in our yard and gardens every year.)
  • Cleaned out and washed our fridge and freezer
  • Started washing our kitchen cupboards inside and out
  • Repainted 3 radiators in the kitchen and dining room
  • Painted the dining room window
  • Packed the kids' clothes (most of them, at least)
  • Packed my own clothes...still have shoes and accessories/toiletries left to pack
  • Mended several items of clothing since I won't have a sewing machine in France...unless of course I buy one secondhand :)
I also have 2 tenants to move out on Thursday and 3 new ones to move in before we leave.

I have so many things to take care of that I haven't been able to sleep well at night...maybe 4 hours a night. Then I lie in bed thinking of all the things I need to do.

I can't wait until we pull out of our driveway and head to the airport.

I'm starting to fall asleep at the computer. Bonne nuit!
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Nous sommes les freebirthers by Stéphanie St-Amant

I'm up at 3 am with either food poisoning or a stomach bug...nothing better to do than hop online and distract myself.

At Eric's family reunion 2 years ago, I remember the exact same thing happening...mysterious gastro-intestinal malady, middle-of-the-night websurfing, puke bowl next to me on the couch. And unbeknownst to me, I was also pregnant!

I don't think that's the case this time around, unless my Mirena IUD has failed me. This can happen, although it's rare. A friend of mine and mother of 8 has gotten pregnant once on birth control and TWICE on IUDs! Both times the IUD came out with the baby.


I came across a fantastic article by Stéphanie St-Amant: Nous sommes les freebirthers. Enfanter sans peur et sans reproche ("We are the freebirthers: Giving birth without fear and without reproach" published in Recherches féministes 27.1, 2014, p. 69-96). The link leads to a free PDF and requires a free registration to

It's been over five years since I finished my dissertation on unassisted birth in North America. I've been immersed in birthing and raising small children, teaching at a small liberal arts college, remodeling homes, and managing rental apartments. It's fun to remember what I used to think and write about night and day.

Ivy's crying...must go...hope I don't puke on her :)
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Family reunions x 2

Wow, it's been so long that I'm not even sure where to begin. Right after we finished painting the exterior of our house, we traveled to Minnesota & Wisconsin for a family reunion. Lots of fun at the lake, no phone/internet for much of the time, and cousins/grandparents/aunts/uncles galore.

May 2014

While I was visiting family, Eric traveled to France to teach a creative nonfiction with the Paris Writers' Workshop. He hopped down to Nice afterwards to enroll the kids in school, set up utilities, and take care of other paperwork in preparation for purchasing the apartment. We were supposed to close while Eric was in France, but the mortgage company was so backlogged that we  rescheduled for the end of July.

During these 2 weeks away, Ivy decided to stop sleeping and to become a barnacle. She clung to me all day long and had to be carried around nonstop. And at night she went from waking up 1-2 times to 4-6-8+ times. Nothing except nursing would settle her down. She's also started this new thing of crying so hard that she pukes within a few minutes, sometimes even less than a minute. She gets so worked up if I don't tend to her immediately. Normally I'd let her fuss, but all my kids were in the same room with me. Some nights we had multiple chain reactions of one child setting off all the others. No fun.

Plus with this puking thing, letting Ivy fuss simply isn't an option right now. I am so mystified by babies' sleep habits. She's also had a runny nose and intermittent low fevers. I am crossing my fingers that all of these pieces form a puzzle that equals "teething." I *think* I can feel all 4 molars starting to come through.

We got home last weekend and had to turn around almost immediately to the French consulate to apply for 1-year visas. We had a three-hours drive to the nearest consulate; we counted ourselves lucky, because some people live 15-18+ hours away). We arrived, only to find out that the appointment we had booked way in advance was only for Eric. Even though we are all applying together, we were supposed to book six separate appointments. I searched all over the consulate website and didn't find anything about that rule...until I looked again found some fine print on the "terms and conditions" page of the online booking system. Not exactly easy to find!

I had to stay outside with the kids while Eric spent several hours waiting in line, asking for an exception, waiting in line again, asking again. The next available appointments were a week out, when we would be gone to another family reunion in California. We would have to cancel our entire trip, forego our airline tickets, and make another trip to the consulate.

The third time at the counter, Eric almost unconsciously switched over to speaking French. He explained our time constraints and travel plans and asked again if we could all submit our applications. The visa officer--who'd been yelled at by a very disgruntled man in front of Eric--finally said, "okay, fine, I'll take your applications. Go get your family." Woohoo! The whole time the visa officer was swearing and muttering (in French of course). We were super polite and thanked him profusely at the end. He replied, "I didn't even get my break." (J'ai pas eu ma pause.) Translation: "you're welcome, I guess."

We've been home just a few days, and we are leaving almost immediately for California. While we're gone, our work crew is going to finish renovating our master bathroom. Just in time for us to leave the country!

Our house is turned upside-down as we are filling storage boxes and deciding which things to bring with us to France. At least we only have to clean out our closets and bathrooms. Everything else stays--kitchen dishes/appliances, furnishings, pictures, etc. We found an amazing family to rent our house that was looking for a fully furnished home. Win-win.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Exterior painting photos: before & after

Eric is finishing the last large attic gable on our 1900 Arts & Crafts home. It's been a multi-year project, starting when we bought the house 3 years ago on foreclosure. It was covered with vines, the roof was losing shingles, and the soffits were rotted out.

Once we had the roof & soffits rebuilt, we had to choose four paint colors and then repaint all the woodwork. The house is mostly brick (1st story) & cement-over-brick (2nd story), but there is still a huge amount of woodwork between the windows, soffits, porch ceiling, and 3rd story gables.

It's finally coming together, thanks especially to our friend who lent us his Condor manlift. (Why not womanlift? personlift?) Eric is the delegated scraper/painter, and he gives the lift two thumbs up. It took him 5 days to do the side gable (working some half days) and 3 1/2 days to do the front gable. He started on the back side today, so we should be done next week.

Before the lift arrived, Eric had finished painting the porch & 2nd story soffits with just an extension ladder. He was tired of hauling ladders around--and hauling himself and paint/tools/hoses/etc up and down. 

I've been busy getting our rental properties fixed up (a 3-plex and a 5-plex), taking a few former tenants to court for thousands of dollars of back rent & damages, and repairing the four exterior French doors on our house. All four doors were rotted out on the bottoms.

Thanks to products from the wood restoration company Abatron (LiquidWood + WoodEpox), I was able to completely restore the doors. 5 of the windows were broken, so I've been smashing them with a hammer (fun!) and reglazing almost all of the 40 windows.

We need a vacation from being on "vacation"!
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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

We have a place to live!

Amidst heaps of stress and uncertainty, we received good news: we have a place to live in France!

Eric found an apartment in old Nice when he was visiting in early March (thanks to a fluke $300 plane ticket). We put an offer on it, but until a few weeks ago we didn't know if the second owner was going to sign the purchase agreement. But it's official now! We're finalizing details regarding the mortgage and closing date.

Things we like about the apartment:
  • High ceilings (12-14 feet?)
  • Kitchen/dining/living room are all open to each other
  • Kitchen is small--no big surprise--but nicely done
  • Great location on a pedestrian street in old Nice. 
  • No nightclubs or restaurants nearby = no evening/night noise
  • 3 minute walk to the ocean and, of course, in the middle of everything else :)
  • 2nd to top floor, so the apartment does get some sun and adequate light. If you're on the bottom floors on a narrow street, your apartment will be quite dark
  • Could use a total repainting and, over the year that we're in France, new flooring in some of the rooms. Also the bathroom is functional but blah...perhaps we'll change that?
  • Great location & size for a vacation rental when we come back home

It was renovated about 5-6 years ago. These pictures were taken right after the work was done.

kitchen & dining room, with view of living room
living room
living & dining room
bedroom #1 with shower and sink
bedroom #2

It's on the 4th floor (which is called the 3rd floor in France) on a narrow pedestrian street. Although it's listed at 700 sq ft (65 sq m) and 2 bedrooms, there is an additional 3rd bedroom and storage area in the attic. Because the ceilings are less than 5 feet tall, the attic isn't officially counted. It's the light gray area on the floor plan.

The apartment will need some cosmetic looked like this when Eric visited it:


You can look out our bedroom window, across the staircase, and into the other bedroom window.

Stairs going up to the attic...more like a ladder really:

See the original beamed ceilings and the exposed rock wall?

Zari, Dio, and Inga will all sleep up here. Ivy will be in bedroom #2 unless we have guests. Then she will come in our bedroom.

View from the apartment. Notice the clotheslines outside the window? I will be using those every day!

Our neighborhood has lots of art galleries. There's a butcher & grocery store right out our front door.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

What we're doing today

Zari, Dio, and Inga are drawing pictures in the library. Right now they're talking about "balloon fish" (puffer fish?).

I'm putting our finances together in preparation for being overseas.

Ivy is sitting on the couch next to me eating a Granny Smith apple. Now she just spit out her apple pieces because nursing is way better than apples.

And Eric is doing the most fun thing: house painting. Our friend lent us his lift so we can paint the 3rd story gables.

Upon hearing the diesel engine start up, Inga ran outside, came back, and said: "We heared the thunder outside and we heared the thunder when we was in the library, when we drawed things."

What are you doing today?
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Birth options in/near Rennes, France?

A blog reader is expecting her third baby in October and will be moving to Rennes, France.  She prefers an out-of-hospital birth and wants to know if that option even exists. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! This might include:
  • recommended midwives/doctors
  • birth centers (if they exist in that part of France) or good hospitals (public or private)
  • traveling midwives who could come to her?



I am an American moving to Rennes, France in August and having a baby in October. I am wanting to know my options for natural birth at birth centers and how to find them and midwives. Can you direct me to a website or contact? I've been disheartened by what I've read online.

We live in Fairbanks, Alaska and have an AWESOME birthcenter and midwives. I had my first child in the hospital and it was terrible -- every unnecessary intervention possible. Then at the birth center, they just helped me along naturally and our baby came out just fine. I'm worried that if I have this baby in the hospital, I won't trust the workers or myself and will end up saying "ok, well if you think we need to do that, then go ahead."

I'm just getting worried that after having been converted to natural out-of-hospital birth, I may have to be forced to go the hospital intervention route again. You are the first person who has responded to my concern about my options. Is it possible for you to ask your readers about options in Rennes? I'm kind of feeling desperate here.
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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Zari talks about cyberbullying

A conversation between me and Zari on the way home from school yesterday...

Mama, what is uploading?

Uploading is when you transfer information from your computer to the internet.

Oh. We talked about uploading and cyberbullying in school today. Do you know what that means?

Cyberbullying is when someone is mean to someone else on their computer.

Yeah, our teacher told a story about two girls who were best friends, and then they got mad at each other and they shared their passwords and they said mean things about each other. That's not right.

Did you know that sometimes adults are cyberbullies?


Yes. Did you know that there is a doctor who says mean things about me online?

Really? And she's an adult? And a doctor?


That's not good.

She says mean things about me because she doesn't think anyone should have their babies at home. She says that mamas who have their babies at home do not love them and do not care about them.

But that's silly. You love your children!

I know.

What did you say to the doctor?

I told her she was a bully and that how she was acting wasn't right.

I'm glad that you spoke up. I think you should call the police to stop her.

No, it's the law that people can say anything they like, even if it's mean. I just choose not to pay attention to mean things that people say about me.

When I am a mama I want to have my babies at home.

Well, that will be your decision. Some women decide to have their babies at home, some decide to have them in a hospital.

Yeah, like when there's something wrong with you or the baby, then you go to a hospital.

Or sometimes women just want to be in a hospital. And that's okay.

Yes, whatever they choose is right.

I would never say mean things about a mama who wants to have her baby in a hospital. I would never say she's wrong or she doesn't care about her baby or that she's a bad mama.

Yes. If a mama had her baby in a hospital, I would say "That's great! That can be a good choice!"

Yes. I liked having my babies at home because I could have my family around me, and I could do whatever I wanted to, and nobody was bossing me around. And did you know that some mamas have their babies in a birth center?

What's a birth center?

It's a special place where you go just to have a baby, but it's not in a hospital.

Oh, that's nice.
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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Best Practice Guidelines: Transfer From Planned Home Birth To Hospital

I am excited to announce that the Collaboration Task Force of the Home Birth Consensus Summit drafted best practice guidelines for transferring from home or birth centers to hospital. The guidelines are free and open source, meaning you can adapt part or all to your local setting.

Having clear guidelines for both the transferring midwife/physician and for the receiving hospital staff will facilitate a respectful, seamless transfer of care. This is especially important when the mother/baby pair has transferred for an urgent or emergency situation.

The Collaboration Task Force explains how they created the guidelines:

To create the Best Practice Transfer Guidelines, the Collaboration Task Force researched existing standards for universal intrapartum transport, transfer, consultation, and collaboration guidelines for all professionals who are involved when a woman or baby is transferred to a hospital from a planned home birth, as well as the evidence on practices that lead to improved interprofessional coordination. The result is a set of guidelines designed to serve as a blueprint for all of the providers involved in a transfer, including the midwife transferring care and the receiving hospital.

The Best Practice Transfer Guidelines are open source and providers are welcome to use or adapt any part of the document as desired.

The Collaboration Task Force is accepting endorsements of the guidelines from organizations, institutions, health care providers, and other stakeholders. We are pleased to advise that the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) are early endorsers.

We are asking you to show your support of respectful, collaborative care for women and families who experience transfer from a planned home birth or birth center by endorsing the guidelines and encouraging the leadership of any maternity care organization that you are affiliated with to do so also.

To obtain the guidelines and provide your endorsement, please click visit
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dio is 5, Ivy is 13 months, and I am trying to survive

If you asked me, I wouldn't say that having 4 children is much more work than having 3...except my blogging frequency has decreased dramatically from when I had just 1, 2, or 3 children. I've been in survival mode this semester. Exercise? What's that? Sleep? Never enough. Polar vortex that had this Minnesotan quaking in her Sorel snow boots? I've finally come out of hibernation this month. 

So Dio turned five. Five! He requested another Angry Birds cake, like last year's (at the end of the post).

Ivy turned 13 months. She has another tooth (#6), a few more words and signs, and is still completely crazy about dogs, cats, and birds. Especially dogs. She's started babbling in what sounds like sentences, usually ending with "dog" or "doggie."

Eating farm-fresh eggs...look at the color of those yolks!

There's something terribly adorable about matching shirts...

During Eric's house-hunting and Sabbatical research trip to France in early March, he found an apartment in old Nice.  Fantastic location, good price, lots of potential, and small (officially 700 sq ft but with an extra attic bedroom not counted in the square footage) but still enough room for our family and for guests. Our offer was accepted quickly, and we thought everything was good to go...but the second owner STILL hasn't signed the purchase agreement. It's been almost 2 months. 

We're starting to get really stressed because we can't apply for visas or enroll our children in school until we have housing finalized. And, if we don't get a signature soon, we won't have time to get a mortgage (it's a very long process in France, usually about 3 months). So yeah, we have plane tickets for August 1st but possibly nowhere to live.

So let's ignore our possible homelessness in France and admire my children! 

Ivy pointing out a dog (it might have been a squirrel or a matter, she still calls it a dog)

Inga being...Inga

Dio flying a kite


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