Saturday, August 30, 2008

Birth Center in Virginia available to lease or own

I'm passing this along on behalf of Julie Martin, CPM, LM. She is relocating across the country and needs to sell or lease her birth center and midwifery practice. Feel free to repost.


Could my challenging circumstance be another's wonderful opportunity?

I opened the Natural Birth Center in October of 2007. It is one of only two birth centers in Virginia, and is operated currently by licensed CPMs. It is located in Buena Vista, near Southern Virginia University. Myself and my midwifery partner, as Rockbridge Midwifery Care, have been practicing from there, making great progress both responding to and generating a good deal of interest in the region around birth center and home birth.

Due to my husband working in California, I made the enormously difficult decision to leave the practice and reunite my family there. My midwifery partner, Emily Friar, CPM, LM., plans to continue as Rockbridge Midwifery Care and scale back to a homebirth-only practice with an office elsewhere. This leaves open the question as to what to do with the beloved Natural Birth Center building/home.

Ideally, the Natural Birth Center could be leased (at a negotiable rate) to a midwife, as is, set up and functional. This makes it an opportunity to begin your own birth center practice with much lower start-up costs, in an established location. See the tour at, or contact me for photos. It looks even nicer currently. There is the possibility of a birth cottage or two being eventually added--replacing the rear sheds--a privacy fence and an outdoor play area for visiting children.

For a focused, energetic midwife this would be great opportunity to share your love of the benefits of midwifery care. I am willing to freely answer questions during the development of an incoming practice.

Virginia requires that one be a Certified Professional Midwife to become a licensed midwife, and a license is required to practice midwifery. Malpractice insurance is not required for CPMs. One challenge is that LMs in VA are prohibited from possessing, prescribing or administering medications. One adaptation has been asking clients to personally obtain a prescription for tablets to self-administer in the event of postpartum hemorrhage. Work is being done to rectify the medication situation at a state level. Certified Nurse Midwives may practice with collaboration, rather than supervision, in Virginia, with or without malpractice insurance.

There are currently no laws or regulations in Virginia around birth centers, although they are being discussed. The city of Buena Vista has been helpful and welcoming. Within a 7 minute drive is a level one hospital with OB. The surrounding region homebirth midwives stay quite busy. The main local insurer has been reimbursing for CPM care, and CPMs may choose to become Medicaid providers in Virginia. Virginia's midwifery community has been supportive and welcoming.

Buena Vista is within a one-hour radius of Lexington, Roanoke, Staunton, Lynchburg, Waynesboro, Fishersville and Harrisonburg, and numerous universities and colleges. Buena Vista would be a good city in which to start a midwifery school, with excellent midwives within reasonable distance who could serve as faculty.

Buena Vista city public schools are well regarded, and housing is reasonably inexpensive. My rural 4 bedroom home (possibly furnished) on 2.3 acres, 5 minutes from the birth center, might also be for lease if there is an interest.

If you are interested in the Natural Birth Center opportunity, please contact Julie Martin at or 540-319-0933.

Thank you for reading this notice. Your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

Julie Martin, CPM, LM
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long-term effects of Pitocin

Thanks to a doula from Portland, I learned of a recent study about the long-term effects of Pitocin use at birth. Below is an excerpt from her findings. To read the summary in full, including more information on her study design, click on the study title below:

The Relationship between Artificial Oxytocin (Pitocin) Use at Birth for Labor Induction or Augmentation and the Psychosocial Functioning of Three-year-olds

The focus of my dissertation research study was, as you can see by the above title, an exploration of whether there is any relationship between the use of Pitocin (artificial oxytocin) to start or speed up labor, and the way children born with its use function individually and in their relationships when they are three years old...

The following is a summary of the findings that were statistically significant.

1. Receiving Pitocin resulted in more negative recollections of labor and delivery, suggesting that mothers who received it had a more challenging experience than those who didn’t. However, there was a similar finding for the use of epidural anesthesia and for pain medication, both of which tend either to precede or follow the use of Pitocin.

2. Mothers who received Pitocin spent less time with their babies in the first hour after delivery, and were less likely to feed their babies exclusively at the breast in the first six months. In other words, babies who were born without Pitocin were more likely to be fed exclusively at the breast in the first six months than those born with Pitocin

3. Two factors distinguished children born with Pitocin from those born without Pitocin.

The first was called “Assertiveness”, which describes a socially appropriate way that babies and children communicate their need for help and comfort when they are feeling uncomfortable or unsafe. Typically, crying, using facial expressions and physical gestures, and later, verbalizing their thoughts and feelings, elicits helpful responses from parents, who try to identify and meet the need the baby or child is expressing. However, babies born with Pitocin, whose mothers reported having had a more challenging time during labor and delivery, appear to have a higher need to be assertive because they seem to experience more discomfort, but are apparently less effective in asserting their needs and getting them met when they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

The second factor was called “Need to Control Environment” and this summarizes what seems to be a higher level of discomfort or insecurity, particularly in response to “outside-in” influences (e.g., reacting to food with digestive problems or being picky eaters; problems coping with other people’s timing and structure, refusing help from others) and increased or exaggerated efforts to control their environment, resulting in behaviors that may be more challenging to their mothers/family. There appears to be some continuity of effects between infancy and age three: for example, children who were described as picky eaters, or as having digestive problems at three, were likely to have been colicky, fussy babies. Interestingly, the hormone oxytocin is very involved in the digestive process: it plays a role in the production of digestive enzymes and as we enjoy our meal, in a positive feedback loop, we produce more oxytocin.

It may be that a process described as “hormonal imprinting,” identified in a considerable number of animal studies since the 1970s, is the mechanism that accounts for these differences between children exposed to Pitocin and those who were not. Using Pitocin to initiate labor may “flood” the available oxytocin receptors in mother and baby, apparently affecting children’s internal comfort levels and how they interact with others, although how this takes place in the babies has not yet been studied. Since both mother and baby receive Pitocin during labor and delivery, it is as yet unclear to what degree each contributes to challenges in their mutual relationship.

Claire L. Winstone, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute July 2008
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Hospital recommendations in San Diego

Navelgazing Midwife recently added this comment to an an older post, A Hospital Birth With Dr. Wonderful. Some had asked where the birth took place, and I thought I'd repost NGM's response here so no one misses it.

The hospital was Scripps Encinitas...the absolutely most receptive hospital in San Diego to natural birthing styles.

The birth center in UCSD Hospital in Hillcrest is delightfully staffed with only CNMs and I have attended great births there, too. However, when the births are in L&D, they become much more technical, but have still been more lovely than many births around the city...that's, of course, if the midwives are "directing" the birth and not the OBs or Residents. Then, all bets are off.

To contact me, see my site at - email me anytime!

(And I've moved my blog to a site that isn't censoring
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Photos needed

I am passing along this request for photos from Sharon Said.

Let's share how beautiful birthing can be! If you have digital photos you're willing to share, I'm speaking at the International Childbirth Education Association annual conference about HypnoBirthing in October. I'd like to run a powerpoint presentation showing beautiful, empowered women laboring, birthing, and bonding with their newborns. Please forward your photos to Sharon Said at Let's show hospital-based childbirth educators how awe-inspiring birthing can truly be (so many of them have never even seen a natural birth)!

Sharon Said
Founder, ProActive Parenting
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Settling in

We put the finishing touch on the outside of our house: a Canadian flag.
So far no one has egged our house. Zari loves watermelon...
...and beets.
In this picture, she was rubbing the beets all over her body while saying "wash."
I found this ugly but cheap baby swing for $3 at a garage sale. We hung it up on a very high tree branch in our back yard. It's so much better than playground swings, since it has such a huge radius. Zari especially loves underdogs.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My dad, the mountain man

My dad is awesome. He grew up on a farm in Idaho and has a more pragmatic approach to animals than the average person. I have memories of watching him shoot rabbits with a bow and arrow from our bedroom window. We occasionally ate roadkill. Not the gross flattened rotting stuff, but fresh, clean-killed deer. The best venison I ever had was from a 9-month old roadkilled fawn.

So last week he had an escapade with a roadkilled wolf. Here is his story:
Today at 7:30 am I had a wonderful find. At noon it was quickly taken away. The only things remaining are the memories of an eventful morning. No one can take those away. I even failed to take any photographs, which I could have easily done.

While driving on I-90 this morning about 30 minutes from home, I spotted a road kill as the car in front of me swerved to the right to avoid running into it. I made the same maneuver to avoid hitting it. As I drive past I observed the coloration of a very dark coyote, but it was much too big for a coyote. I took the first exit possible to return for a better look. As quickly as I returned, I dragged the carcass out of the right lane of traffic. As I grabbed its hind leg, I knew it was a wolf. The paws are much too big for a coyote. A young female weighing about 55 pounds. Its neck was broken, only one tear in the pelt, and still warm. I loaded the dead wolf into the back of the truck and drove on to the Austin chapel. After arriving in Austin, I skinned the wolf, put the hide in the refrigerator (in a plastic bag), and put the fat-free carcass out on the grass past the back parking lot.

By late morning I called my brother Steve to share the joy of my find. As our conversation closed, Steve asked me if I had contacted the State Department of Natural Resources. The implication of the question was it may be illegal to possess body parts of an endangered species animal. After I finished my sandwich at lunch time, I found a statewide toll-free phone number for the DNR. Within 20 minutes after making the phone call, I was visited by a Game Warden. He asked a few necessary questions and seized the carcass and pelt and left me only with a copy of the seizure tag.
I'm still not sure what my dad was planning on doing with the wolf pelt, although I strongly suspect he was going to tan it. It would have made a great wallhanging!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I did a word count on my dissertation manuscript today, and it's in the neighborhood of 92,000. That's a lot of words.

Okay, enough procrastinating...
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Windows in space and time

On the topic of losing a child is this amazing, heart-wrenching essay by Robbie Davis-Floyd called Windows in Space and Time: A Personal Perspective on Birth and Death. I cried my eyes out. Thanks to Lisa for sending me the link.

The essay begins:
My daughter was born through a window in my uterus, and she died through the windshield of her car. I don’t know what to make of this beginning that became an ending. There are easy parallels: cesarean birth is a rapid transition in which you are suddenly taken from one reality to another. Certainly Peyton’s death was like that. But she worked to get born, just as I worked to birth her, for 26 hours before the cesarean was performed. In the end we were both rescued from our mutual travail--I by the epidural and the c-section, she by the doctor’s hands pulling her through. Am I then to assume that it was God’s hands pulling her through that windshield, tossing and tumbling her body 50 feet down the highway, breaking most of her bones and smashing her internal organs beyond repair?

I don’t know how many parallels we can make between birth and death, and I am not going to make any facile ones here. It has been two and a half years since I was invited to write this article, and I have been unable to face it until this moment--1 a.m.--as I rise from my unrestful rest to put fingers to computer keys. Do you want me to tell you there is some sense in this? I can’t find any. Do you want me to say that almost three years after her death, I have integrated the experience in the same way I finally accepted and integrated the psychological pain of my cesarean? I am sorry to disappoint. I am not an enlightened sage who can say that death and life are all one, that it was in the beginning, so it now and ever shall be, that death is the final stage of growth, that ultimately, everything is OK. Somewhere deep in the core of my being I know that the this is the ultimate truth--everything is OK just as it is--and yet my mother’s heart cries out for the presence of my daughter, to touch and hold her in the flesh, to revel in her as I did on that day, two weeks after her birth, when I looked down at her in her bassinet just as she opened her eyes, and was rewarded with her first smile, so brilliant and radiant, illuminating the room with utter delight.

Twenty years and 361 days later, after diapers and walking, blissful breastfeeding, chauffering her to gymnastics and dance lessons, and sharing her joys and sorrows late at night while she poured out her heart to me from behind the shower curtain, I stood by her body in the hospital room, surrounded it with my arms, and poured out my own heart to her corpse. She had been dead for 22 hours, but my mother’s heart could not believe that I could not call her back until I tried. I talked, I screamed, I sobbed, I begged her to live and breathe again. I told her I could not live without her. I touched every part of her body and begged the skin to twitch, the head to turn, the legs to move--anything to show me that this wasn’t reality, that this inert but gorgeous body lying in front of me was not really lifeless, that those stunning dancer’s legs were never going to plié again, that those graceful hands would never again arc, that those lips would not move to kiss mine or to smile, that her voice would never again say, “Mommy.”

Read the rest of the essay here.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mothers who have lost children to death

At church yesterday during Relief Society, we discussed bereavement, mourning, and death. We discussed how we find comfort when our loved ones die. We also talked about how our knowledge of what happens before and after this life affects how we treat the passages of birth and death. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to women who have lost children.

Our perspective on death comes from our understanding that we existed before this life, that we came here to gain physical bodies and the necessary experiences that come with mortality, that death is just a passage into another phase of our existence, and that we will all gain resurrected physical bodies in the next life. Physical death, then, is not an end. It is a temporary separation, painful but not hopeless. What happens, though, to babies or children who die before they have fully matured? Will parents ever have the opportunity to raise the children they have lost?

We turned to the words of Joseph Smith, who we recognize as a prophet. He and his wife Emma were no stranger to death. They had eleven children: nine of their own, and adopted twins. They lost their first three babies (one singleton, one set of twins) soon after birth. They then adopted twins, one of whom died of measles at eleven months old. They lost another son at 14 months, and yet another the day he was born.

These are some remarks he made about mothers who have lost children (taken from this week's lesson Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death):

At the funeral of two-year-old Marian Lyon:
We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting....A question may be asked—"Will mothers have their children in eternity?" Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid....Children…must rise just as they died; we can there hail our lovely infants with the same glory—the same loveliness in the celestial glory.

President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth President of the Church, reported:
Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: "You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit"...and that it would be a far greater joy than she could possibly have in mortality, because she would be free from the sorrow and fear and disabilities of mortal life, and she would know more than she could know in this life.

Joseph Smith spoke to Mary Isabella Horne and Leonora Cannon Taylor, who each lost a young child in death. Mary recalled:
He told us that we should receive those children in the morning of the resurrection just as we laid them down, in purity and innocence, and we should nourish and care for them as their mothers. He said that children would be raised in the resurrection just as they were laid down.
Our society fears death as the worst thing that can happen. It is The End, but with no happy ending. For us, though, there are worse things than death, as this comment from Joseph Smith illustrates:
More painful to me are the thoughts of annihilation than death. If I have no expectation of seeing my father, mother, brothers, sisters and friends again, my heart would burst in a moment, and I should go down to my grave. The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy.

Our discussion was very lively and raised a lot of good questions and ideas. How does this knowledge affect the way we treat our passages into and out of life? How we treat those with physical disabilities? How does it influences our mourning process? It's still just as hard to lose a loved one, even if we know we will see them again. We talked about what happens with miscarriages and stillbirths (short answer: we don't know exactly but I imagine it's the same as for babies who die after they are born). One woman who'd had a miscarriage joked, "If that's the case, when I die and am resurrected, I'll be pregnant!"

I hadn't thought about that!
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Doulas make a difference

I became a doula with DONA in 2003, a year after I started my PhD program. During my graduate student years, I attended both hospital and home births. I stopped attending births when Zari was born, except for a friend's birth when Zari was 5 weeks old. I brought Zari along in a sling, and the hospital staff were more than gracious to both of us.

I have my reservations about doulas--not about doulas themselves, but about how they may unintentionally support the status quo in our maternity care system. Jennifer Block's Pushed touched on this. There is a much longer discussion of the impact of doula work in Barbara Katz Rothman's Laboring On. Do read Rothman's book; it's well worth the time.

But despite these reservations, I think doulas are a fantastic resource, especially for women planning to birth in a hospital. Early studies of doulas found that their presence decreased the need for pain medication and medical intervention, increased rates of breastfeeding, less postpartum depression, and more positive birth experiences. These studies, though, mostly involved lower-class single women without a husband or partner present during labor. This left questions about a doula's effectiveness for middle-class married/partnered women. A recent RCT (randomized controlled trial) of 420 couples answered this question. The results are phenomenal, although not particularly surprising for those of us involved in doula work.

The findings: having a doula significantly lowered cesarean rates, from 25.0% to 13.4% overall. This decrease was especially marked in induced labors: 12.5% in the doula group vs 58.8% in the control group. (Yikes! 58.8%!?) Epidural rates were also lower (64.7% vs 76.0%), although the difference was not as striking as the reduction in the cesarean rate.

Below is the abstract:

A randomized controlled trial of continuous labor support for middle-class couples: effect on cesarean delivery rates.

SK McGrath and JH Kennell. Birth, June 1, 2008; 35(2): 92-7.
Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.

BACKGROUND: Previous randomized controlled studies in several different settings demonstrated the positive effects of continuous labor support by an experienced woman (doula) for low-income women laboring without the support of family members. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to examine the perinatal effects of doula support for nulliparous middle-income women accompanied by a male partner during labor and delivery.

METHODS: Nulliparous women in the third trimester of an uncomplicated pregnancy were enrolled at childbirth education classes in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1988 through 1992. Of the 686 prenatal women recruited, 420 met enrollment criteria and completed the intervention. For the 224 women randomly assigned to the experimental group, a doula arrived shortly after hospital admission and remained throughout labor and delivery. Doula support included close physical proximity, touch, and eye contact with the laboring woman, and teaching, reassurance, and encouragement of the woman and her male partner.

RESULTS: The doula group had a significantly lower cesarean delivery rate than the control group (13.4% vs 25.0%, p = 0.002), and fewer women in the doula group received epidural analgesia (64.7% vs 76.0%, p = 0.008). Among women with induced labor, those supported by a doula had a lower rate of cesarean delivery than those in the control group (12.5% vs 58.8%, p = 0.007). On questionnaires the day after delivery, 100 percent of couples with doula support rated their experience with the doula positively.

CONCLUSIONS: For middle-class women laboring with the support of their male partner, the continuous presence of a doula during labor significantly decreased the likelihood of cesarean delivery and reduced the need for epidural analgesia. Women and their male partners were unequivocal in their positive opinions about laboring with the support of a doula.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

The dance of breech

In Jennifer Block's Pushed, she discusses the disappearing art of vaginal breech birth, and the small groups of physicians and midwives going to extraordinary lengths to learn those skills--often halfway around the world--and bring them home to the communities they serve. This excerpt describes the characteristic movements women often make when birthing breeches (if, of course, they aren't restricted in their movement or positions.)

Jane Evans is about to catch a breech baby. The woman she's attending is on all fours, and the baby's buttocks are emerging: one cheek, then the crease demarking two; then one chubby leg plops down, then the other. The baby--a girl--is now dangling from her mother. "Most women left to their own devices will get on hands and knees," Evans explains, clicking to bring up the next slide. "The baby needs to turn its pelvis, which is really hard to do if mum is on her back." We next see her gloved hands gently bringing one of the baby's elbows down, then the other. "Remember, you're assisting progress--you're not pulling," she says. More of the baby hands gree--she's jerking her knees up in midair. Evans explains the mechanics at work; the head needs to be flexed chin-to-chest to be born safely. There are maneuvers an attendant can use to facilitate this; one is to reach up with a finger, find the baby's mouth, and draw the chin down. But here, the baby is doing it herself. "What happens when you lift your knees?" Evans asks rhetorically, as members of the audience bob their hands. "You drop your chin to chest." She clicks to the next slide. The mother has now sunk to chest and knees, butt to ceiling, with arms extended as if supplicating before royalty. "When the baby hits the G-spot, mother drops to the floor and goes Muslim," says Evans. Laughter in the audience. She grabs a skeletal pelvis and fetus doll off the podium, modeling how on supplication, the mother's pelvis pivots around the baby's head like a visor, setting it free. "And look," she says, moving to the next slide. "The baby practically slides out."

Evans is a British midwife who has been in practice for 30 years...We are in a low-lit auditorium at the Women's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, and she is teaching vaginal breech 101. Not to the doctors at the hospital, though. Like nearly all obstetricians in North America, they no longer attend vaginal breech birth, instead performing a cesarean section. Evan's audience is mainly midwives from the United States and Canada who have come for a 2-day conference on the subject. Evans has flown in from England; Maggie Banks, midwife and author of Breech Birth Woman-Wise, has come from New Zealand; physicians from Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, and across Canada have come to present research. Evans is introduced by Philip Hall, MD, the Manitoba perinatologist and professor of maternal-fetal medicine, who bemoans the current standard of automatic cesarean. "Can't we offer something better to women? Can we do anything to turn the tide?" he asks.

So aren't you just about dying to see this in action? All this talk of babies flexing their legs, of mothers supplicating earthward...but it's hard to imagine without ever having seen it. Guess what? There's a great photoessay from Evan's midwifery group The London Birth Practice showing a footling breech with Evans herself in attendance. We see the mom going from hands and knees to butt-in-air to release the baby's head. The baby flexes its arms and legs, just as Evans had described. You can read the mom's birth story here.

Anne Frye's Holistic Midwifery Vol II: Care During Labor and Birth explains the process of vaginal breech in meticulous detail on pages 933-971. She includes several illustrations of the dance of breech. Below is one set of illustrations, drawn from photos of the birth.

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The Birth Survey is here!

An announcement from the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services:

The Birth Survey is Now Available!

For years, consumers have enthusiastically shared online reviews of movies, restaurants, products and services, but readily available information about maternity care providers and birth settings was nearly unattainable-no longer. As part of the Transparency in Maternity Care Project, CIMS developed The Birth Survey as an online resource for sharing consumer reviews of doctors, midwives, hospitals, and birth centers, learning about the choices and birth experiences of others, and viewing data on hospital and birth center standard practices and intervention rates. The Birth Survey is now accessible online nationwide in the United States.

Help spread the word about The Birth Survey!

Send e-mails to your contacts encouraging them to take the survey, or learn about the project, through our "Invite a Friend" email tool. Invite your friends with a personalized message!

Post web banners and buttons to The Birth Survey on your personal or organizational websites, or link to in your email signature and on your website.

Distribute postcards inviting women to take The Birth Survey. Download the cards or order preprinted cards.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 years

Ten years ago Eric and I were married in Cardston, Alberta. We first met as running partners thanks to a mutual friend. I never imagined I'd marry young; I was 20, he was 24. Or that I would have a dog and a truck (both gone now), renovate old houses (very enjoyable), or enjoy being a mother so much (and I am so wanting another one right now!).

Cardston Temple with Old Chief Mountain in the background.

I suppose we ought to have done something big and expensive, but our celebration today was very low-key. We ate at our town's fanciest restaurant: the only restaurant with tablecloths and cloth napkins. The food was quite disappointing. When you live in France every summer, it's hard to come back to iceberg lettuce and overcooked fish and flavorless bread. Now Eric is trying to get Zari to sleep. I already nursed her on both sides, pottied her on her request, and she still wouldn't go down. So it's his turn now!
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Catch up time

I have a list of things to talk about, or links to share, and it keeps piling up. So today I am playing catch-up:

1) First, a new blog I just came across: Rural Doctoring. She's a family practice physician in rural California. I especially like reading her birth stories. She's sympathetic to home birth and has recently included a lot of home birth transfer stories. For example, read A Red Carpet Birth and Seizure At Home. It reminds me of FPMama's blog, which I miss terribly.

2) I've heard great things about the PBS documentary Birth of a Surgeon. It's about a new training program to reduce maternal mortality in Mozambique--teaching midwives how to perform emergency surgical procedures including cesarean sections. I haven't had time to watch it yet, but I am sure it will prove fascinating.

3) Linda Hessel explains her understanding of intimacy in birth. While I didn't experience my own birth as sexual in itself (as some women have), I do agree that giving birth lies on the sexual spectrum of experience. I found that I was very vulnerable to feeling self-conscious, to the point that I needed to be alone in the room with no one watching. Anyway, this short essay explains one of the motivations for choosing an unassisted birth.

4) ABC News article Trying To Take Back Childbirth.

5) Time Magazine article Giving Birth At Home.

6) A press release from Dr. Mike Hargadon, a Congressional candidate from Maryland, about why he supports a woman's right to choose home birth.

7) Ilithia Inspired writes about Cross Nursing Support. Cross-nursing can be invaluable for a woman facing breastfeeding challenges.

8) Birth Activist writes about her conversation with a BirthTrack representative. Very interesting.

9) New research urges expectant moms to be patient and exercise caution with near-term inductions.

10) This correspondence about VBAC between a woman and Ralph W. Hale, Executive VP of ACOG, shows a blatant distortion of the evidence about the safety and risks of VBAC. If you scroll down, you will see her original letter and Hale's response, followed by (near the top) her response. Among other distortions of the evidence, Hale claimed that: "Although 98% of women can potentially have a successful VBAC, in two percent of cases the result can be a rupture of the old scar. If this happens, then death of the baby is almost certain and death of the mother is probable. Even if the mother does not die, virtually 100% will lose their child bearing ability." She refutes these wildly inaccurate claims. If the VP of ACOG is spreading these falsehoods, no wonder it is so hard for women to find caregivers and hospitals willing to "allow" VBACs!

Now for some random save-the-earth stuff:

11) How to make a rain barrel.

12) Hen and Harvest, a new online magazine full of information about "sustainability, good cheer, and better food."
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To give the breast is to give life

Dar la teta es dar vida.
To give the breast is to give life.

I love this video, a public information broadcast from Puerto Rico. It shows the beautiful interplay of breastfeeding between mother and baby. There are all ages of children breastfeeding, from milk-drunk newborns to wiggly giggly toddlers. We see babies kneading their mothers' chests and stroking their faces. The mothers rock and sway, nuzzle and smell, and squeeze delicious baby bottoms. They hold babies in slings and on laps. They nurse lying down and standing up.

Oh, and the nipple twiddling. That is one thing I can't stand. I don't mind the kneading and the patting and the stroking and the mole-picking. But I have to draw the line at nipple twiddling. I don't enjoy being tuned like a radio dial.
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Monday, August 04, 2008

The Cowgoddess takes on BirthTrack

Oooh, I am so flattered that Hathor the Cow Goddess liked my post about the BirthTrack! She also made a comic about the contraption.

Other news: we're back from France and are busy unpacking and settling into our new house. Part of me likes unpacking--hey, it's Christmas all over again!--but part of me gets disgusted with how much stuff we have. Even the necessary stuff is still too much. When you live out of one suitcase for 7 weeks, it's a shock to come back to a house full of things. Every so often we go through our books and our clothes and pare away things we no longer use, but they keep multiplying. Especially the books. It's the curse of having two academics in one household. My recent purchases include Bearing Meaning: The Language of Birth, Birthing The Easy Way, If These Boobs Could Talk, and A Midwife's Story. And two fantastic Mexican cookbooks: Mexico One Plate At a Time and Mexican Everyday. Our little town has a large Mexican population, lots of Mexican restaurants, and a Mexican grocery only 3 blocks from our house! So I've decided to learn more about Mexican cooking. I went to a dinner party at Chou's place, and most of the food came from One Plate At a Time. It was amazing. (Chou, we will miss you! Best of luck with your PhD program in NYC!)

I have 3 months to finish my dissertation if I want to graduate in December. I've written all of the chapters and have done a second round of revisions on some of them. I hope I can do it this semester! I'm tired of paying over $800 per semester to register for a required zero-credit class.
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