Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Heb je een fiets?

I arrived safely in Amsterdam and spent a few hours walking all around the city. I'm staying in de Pijp near Sarphatipark, and I walked all around the center of town and back. My biggest impression: bikes everywhere! I mean, everywhere and anywhere. For every car, you see 50-100 bikes going by. You'll see mothers with two children perched on their bikes, one in front and one in back in these ingenious little bike seats. You'll see people pushing around cargo bikes, bikes that fold in half, bikes with tiny windshields and rainflaps for the baby seats. I love it. I'd fit right in here with my awesome women's Trek bike that has an orange milk crate strapped on back. It just needs 2 baby seats attached to it and then I would look like a true Dutch woman.

It would have been fun to have Inga with me today as I wandered around town, but it will be much easier tomorrow at the conference without a toddler to run after. It's werid--I haven't had any time truly to myself for 5 1/2 years. I occasionally go on walks by myself in the evenings, but I don't think I've ever had a day where I haven't been around one or more of my children. And before that, I was married for 8 years. Today, I have nothing I have to do, no one to watch after, no one to talk to. It's been so long that I don't quite know what to do with myself!

Pictures coming once I get back to France. Pretty much all my pictures are of bikes.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Upcoming conferences

I leave tomorrow morning for the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference in The Hague. I decided not to bring Inga. I'm nervous--more for myself than for her!--but feel it will be best to go alone. She has made huge changes from a baby to a toddler recently; she's more independent, more active, more strong-willed, more assertive of what she wants to do. I love to see her develop, but these news skills make it hard for conference-attending!

Don't forget to register for the webinar. Stand and Deliver winners receive close to 60% off the normal webinar price, and you can watch it live or any time in the following 30 days. Click here for more details.

I also wanted to alert you to the 3rd International Breech Conference taking place this November in Washington, D.C. There's a fantastic lineup of speakers from all over the world. Some highlights include Robin Lim (winner of CNN's 2011 Hero of the Year award), Dr. Frank Louwen of Germany (who has done hundreds of vaginal breech births in his Frankfurt clinic), and Jane Evans of England.

If you want to improve your breech skills and learn more about the newest research in vaginal breech birth, register now. The early-bird pricing is good through May 31, so act now. At only $75 for consumers, this is a fantastic price for an amazing conference. I'll be going and hope to see you there!

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Itsy bitsy France

My sister & her family spent 10 days with us in France. Good thing, otherwise we wouldn't have any pictures! I'm not great about taking out the camera, especially when I've been to a place several times before. Here are some miniaturized pictures of what we've been up to:

The beach at sunset

Typical Nicois buildings
A view of Nice from the chateau (where we visit every morning & enjoy the playground)

Kids playing on the giant spider web at the chateau

Our little neighborhood
Walking along the Promenade des Anglais
near the Musee Massena

on a stroll through the Musee Massena, where we picked & ate some nefles


more beach...
teeny tiny people!

A street in Cap Ferrat
the beach right next to our apartment
dining out at night

the second story (called the first story in France) is our apartment
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Ending the Birth Wars

I am excited to be part of The Gift of Giving Life Virtual Book Tour! Please welcome Sheridan Ripley, who has written a guest post about moving beyond birthing wars. 

Sheridan is one of the book's co-authors. She is also a Hypnobabies childbirth educator, a birth doula, and a blogger at Enjoy Birth

Sheridan has had a "traumatic" but necessary cesarean, a "normal" medicated VBAC, and a "magical" drug-free VBAC. Read more about her three births here

War and Birth

It has been fascinating being a part of the online birthing world for the last four years. It is fascinating and sad that there seems to be a type of birthing war going on between women:

Natural vs Medicated. 
Vaginal vs Cesarean. 
Home vs Hospital vs Unassisted. 

And what is the main weapon in this war?


That is the crux of most of the Birth War type of posts. FEAR!!! Don’t birth unassisted; your baby will die. Don’t birth in a hospital; you will be treated horribly. Don’t try unmedicated; it is the worst thing you will ever experience. All sides have fear to spread.

I have never really participated in any of the conflict, maybe because I have had 3 different types of births and all were valid in their own right. But I really think I avoid it because I avoid contention.

Contention of any kind - whether it is between countries or between birth choices - is going to create conflict and fear, which will drive away the spirit. How can I be a good educator, doula, mother or friend if I don’t have the spirit of love?

I get that fear sells and gets high readership stats. But does it help mothers on their journey?

I get that fear creates drama, which some people like. But does it help mothers on their journey?

Fear does not allow the spirit to guide. Fear does not allow people to feel their intuition, which is one of our most powerful gifts as mothers. So we need to stop using fear to try and motivate others. It will not help create positive change.

Ending the War

In order for the war to end we have to trust that each family has the power and right to know what is the best choice for them. We need to accept that a mother’s intuition can guide her. That spirituality can be a part of the journey to motherhood.

Does this mean we stop educating women? Maybe we should just stop blogging about birth altogether? NO, we just should educate with love and information instead of fear.

Sharing unbiased, supportive information can help reduce fear, which could allow a mom to open her eyes and spirit to other ideas. What might this look like? Ask her questions, see if she actually even wants more information. If she does want more information then share some balanced sites or books she could turn to. But in the end it is her responsibility to gather information, make a decision and receive confirmation it is correct.

It isn’t for us to decide or judge! It is for us to love and support. It is for us to respect that birth is part of a spiritual journey, that each mom must take herself, guided by her intuition.

In our book The Gift of Giving Life; we support all moms and all birthing types. There are birth stories of elective cesareans, unassisted births, medicated and un-medicated births. But in all of the stories there is a thread of inspiration guiding these moms. The book also includes essays to help mothers rediscover the spirituality of pregnancy and birth.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for our newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.

For Rixa’s readers I have a coupon code for 10% off a copy of The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and after you add the book to your cart use this coupon code: GWFWXR3F. The code is good until Father’s Day (June 17) 2012.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Let's diagnose the doctor!

I have a mysterious ailment that's driving me crazy. On Tuesday morning, I woke up with an itchy rash all over my arms. On Wednesday, it was itchier and starting to spread to my face. On Thursday, my ears were swollen and the rash was all over my face and neck. On Friday my face started to swell. It's even worse today, with the rash covering my arms, neck (front and back), and face.

By Thursday I was so miserable that I went to a pharmacy. In France, you can often get fairly strong drugs OTC, so a pharmacy is the first logical stop. The pharmacist took one look at me and sent me to the doctor down the street. She was kind enough to squeeze me in without an appointment--and for the standard fee of 23 Euros (French citizens get this fee reimbursed).

She said it definitely looks like an allergic reaction of some kind. But the cause had us scratching our heads--me literally! I have no known allergies at all. Some possibilities we discussed:

Sun allergy? Maybe, but the rash appeared after several days of rainy weather; we went swimming Saturday afternoon and then didn't see the sun again until late on Tuesday after my rash had already appeared.

Food allergy? I couldn't think of anything I ate that was unusual or new, and I've never been allergic to anything ever. Of course, food allergies can appear out of the blue.

Other chemical/agent? I did try one perfume on Monday afternoon on one of my hands, but the pattern of the rash doesn't point to perfume as a culprit. Basically my rash is everywhere the sun hits, if I were wearing pants and a short-sleeved shirt. I also wondered if I were reacting to something the sheets were washed in, since I put a new set of sheets on over the weekend. This might explain the rash's location, since I wear long pants and a short-sleeved shirt to bed.

The doctor prescribed an antihistamine (5 mg desloratadine daily for 2 weeks). So far my rash has continued to get worse even with the medication. I bought a hydrocortisol cream yesterday and have been applying it in the evenings. Not sure if it helps. 

This brings me back to the first hypothesis of a sun allergy, with the laundry detergent being a second runner-up. The pattern of the rash is strikingly correlated to where my shirtlines fall. But it would have to be a photoallergic eruption--a delayed reaction caused by a combination of a drug/medication and sun exposure--not a polymorphus light eruption because PMLEs occur almost instantly after sun exposure.

Remember, I hadn't seen the sun for about 2 1/2 days when my rash broke out. I wonder if it might be the sunscreen I used on Saturday afternoon. My sister brought a bottle to the beach, and I think I used hers instead of mine. I also have a small sample-sized bottle that I used at some point last week when I forgot my larger bottle. That would make sense why my rash is where it is, and why it didn't show up for a few days after the sun exposure.

I also changed the sheets on our bed and washed the new ones in different detergent--one I've been using on my own clothes that doesn't seem to bother me.

Tomorrow I am going to do an experiment to test my photoallergy hypothesis: draw 3 large circles on my lower legs and apply each of the 3 different kinds of sunscreen in our apartment, then sit in the sun for 15-20 minutes. If, in a day or two, I develop a rash, I'll have solved this mystery illness.

In the meantime I feel like a clown with my bright red face and swollen ears. An itchy, miserable clown.

So, what do you think? Any other unexplored possibilities? 
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Headed for The Hague!

I'm so excited to announce that I am definitely going to the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference at The Hague next week. I found an inexpensive direct flight and a lovely midwife in Amsterdam to host me for the 2 nights I'll be there.

So, my big dilemma is: bring Inga or leave her with Eric and the kids? 

I'll be gone 3 days and 2 nights. She's still nursing fairly often (3-4 times during the day, and once in the early morning around 6 am), so I'll probably have to hand express a few times to keep from bursting. I'm not worried that she'll refuse to nurse when I come back, but I have never left her overnight before. I just don't know how she'd handle my absence. (To be honest, I don't know how *I* would handle her absence!!!) Maybe she'd be just fine, maybe not. She is almost 15 months and eats quite a bit at meals already. I'm pretty sure she'd take milk from a sippy cup in lieu of the good stuff!

Reasons to bring her with me:
  • She's fun to have around and travels well
  • I'd love to have her at the conference--she's super cute & friendly and would be a great way to  meet people!
  • I'd really miss her if I left without her. I wonder if I'd fret too much about being away from her.

Reasons to leave her with Eric and the kids:
  • I'd get more out of the conference if I left her behind. She is really well-behaved and fairly chill, but she's still a wiggly, energetic toddler--making it hard to listen to conference presentations.

What do you think?

ps--don't forget to take advantage of the Stand and Deliver discount for the webinar! You can watch it live or any time in the month following the conference. Click here for details.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If worrying about safety is the new American religion, then the French are atheists

Where in the world do children wear helmets to ride their bikes on the sidewalk, but adults driving 70 mph on a motorcycle have bare heads?

If you guessed the United States, 10 points for you! Americans are obsessed with safety. They attempt to protect people from the minutest chance of harm, but then they do things that are incredibly stupid and dangerous--like insist on their "right" not to wear a motorcycle helmet. Children going on a school trip to the zoo often have to produce signed legal waivers before they can participate. American parenting magazines anticipate the remotest possibility of harm that could befall your child.

For example, last summer I browsed through an article advising parents to always turn their childrens' sleepers inside-out before washing, because your child's hair could collect in the foot area and get tangled up around a toe and cut off circulation and cause the toe to need amputation. This came complete with a parent's first-hand account of this happening and how they had to rush their child to the emergency room to remove the strangulating strand of hair.

Last week, when I was bringing the 3 kids to France on my own, I had two very bizarre and frustrating encounters with the American obsession over safety.

Anecdote #1: I was in the airport waiting for our first flight to depart. I had a 20-hour journey ahead of me, with 2 airport connections and 3 flights before we arrived. So my primary goal was to get the kids' energy out before we got on the plane. We were in a quiet, mostly empty part of the airport, so I let the kids go back and forth on the moving sidewalks until we boarded. At the next airport, we did the same thing until a security guard came over. "Ma'am, I don't want your children going on the moving sidewalks. They're very dangerous and your children could get their fingers pinched or cut off."

"But I'm about to get on a trans-Atlantic flight with 3 little kids. They need to get their energy out before they're cooped up on the plane."

"I'm sorry, but it's just too dangerous and I don't want to be the one having to call the ambulance if your child gets a finger torn off. Then you'll miss the flight and you'll have to stay overnight in the hospital and no one will be happy. We even had an old lady die in an escalator not too long ago when she fell and her collar got tangled in mechanism. One slip and it's too late. Now, it's your choice to let them play on the moving walkways, but I don't want to be the one calling 911."

After he totally spoiled our fun, we had to find some other form of amusement. We watched airplanes out a big window, slid down a small ramp at the bottom of the windowpanes, and shared toys with a family from (my guess) somewhere in eastern Europe.

Anecdote #2: About halfway through the trans-Atlantic flight, I finally got all three kids asleep. Inga was in a bassinet that clipped into the bulkhead in front of us. Zari and Dio were sleeping on the floor by my feet, curled up with their little red airplane blankets. A flight attended came over and angrily told me that I could not let my children sleep on the floor. "You have to get them off the floor right now! It's too dangerous!"

"But if I move them, they will wake up and start screaming, and then everyone will be miserable."

"I'm sorry, but they cannot be on the floor. If we hit a patch of turbulence, they could fly up and break their necks and die."

So I hauled two no-longer-sleeping children off the floor and buckled them into their seats.

Then as soon as I landed in France, I was reminded how differently they think about safety. On our first day, we were invited to someone's house for lunch. (Incredible food, by the way, though fairly quotidian by French standards.) Our hosts live high up in the hills above Nice, and there's no way to get there via public transportation. So they said, "We'll drive you! Hop in the car." They took me and Inga first and then came back for Eric and the other two children. No car seats, mind you. I buckled Inga in with a lap belt, praying that we didn't get in an accident.

On the way home, they wanted to avoid shuttling us in shifts, so they piled all of us into a tiny car and off we went down the hairpin turns. Eric sat shotgun and I was in the back with all 3 kids. We had to double some of them up in the seatbelts because this was a small 5-passenger car with 6 people in it. What struck me was the total nonchalance from all the French people around me at driving an overcrowded car, full of kids, with no car seats.

At one point during our lunchtime conversation, the topic of wearing helmets came up. I told them how in the States, all the kids wear bike helmets but none of the motorcyclists do. This is pretty much the polar opposite of France. Here in France, you don't wear a bike helmet unless you're an adult and a serious cyclist. But everyone wears a full helmet when they ride a motorcycle.

I just finished reading Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. I highlighted the following passage (about how French women don't usually avoid certain foods during pregnancy, such as soft cheeses or raw meat): "The point in France isn't that anything goes. It's that women should be calm and sensible. Unlike me, the French mothers I meet distinguish between the things that are almost definitely damaging and those that are dangerous only if they're contaminated."

Give me the French approach to danger any day, where people take precautions for things that are actually dangerous (like crazy motorcyclists who often go 160+ kilometers per hour while weaving in and out of traffic) rather than fretting about minute possibilities of harm (like eating unpasteurized sheep's cheese topped with a slice of raw cured ham).
Because you can never be too safe...

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Are You Mom Enough?: Link Roundup

Lisa Belkin at Huffington Post: No. I am not mom enough.
I am not Mom enough to take the bait. To accept TIME's deliberate provocation and either get mad at this woman for what I think I know about her from this photo, or to feel inferior, or superior, or defensive, or guilty -- or anything at all, if it means I am comparing myself to other mothers.

Annie Urban (from PhD in Parenting) at Care2: Are you MOM ENOUGH? Yes, you probably are.
TIME magazine says that “this demanding brand of child rearing [attachment parenting] has ignited a philosophical battle that rages within the parenting community.” Yes, there are certainly raging philosophical and often judgmental battles, but inflammatory headlines and divisive articles provide plenty of ammunition to keep the battle going.

Eric Michael Johnson of Discover Magainze Blog: Behind the TIME cover: Most human societies don't get our breastfeeding hang-up.
My son will be 3 years old next month and is still breastfeeding. In other words, he is a typical primate. However, when I tell most people about this the reactions I receive run the gamut from mild confusion to serious discomfort.

Chris de Serres at (Wo)Men Speak Out on Breastfeeding in Public:
When my wife began breastfeeding I faced my hard reality.  The boob was not for my sexual pleasure.  It was to feed our hungry daughter.  Over and over my wife would ‘whip it out’ for the purposes of motherhood.  At times I caught myself resenting this scourging of the sexuality of this thing.  This milk-producing breast.  This non-sexual breast.  The sexual breast was all I ever knew.

My evolution as a man was healthy.  I learned respect for mothers.  For all the other roles of women.  My own internal dissonance helped me understand the difficulty women have being accepted as anything else than a funnel for sex.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary at Opposing Views on Defending Jamie Lynne Grumet, the breastfeeding mom on TIME.
I think TIME did Jamie a disservice by photographing her in an unnatural position in a calculatedly provocative pose in order to sell magazines. The woman on the cover -- while as stunningly beautiful as the real Jamie -- doesn't reflect the inclusive, intelligent, wise-beyond-her-years, loving, nurturing, non-judgmental woman I know, a woman who would never have authored the headline "Are You Mom Enough?"

Heather at It's All About the Hat on her reaction to the TIME article (and with lots more links!):
In all, I thought the related article was nice and that the cover was some 'sell magazines' propaganda. And that's pretty much my whole opinion on it.

Margaret's opinion was, "A big kid nursing!"

Isaac's opinion was, "Breast!" (that's our name for nursing).

Laurie A. Couture says Forget TIME, are you human enough for nature's intent?
Attachment Parenting’s principles are being butchered, sensationalized and sliced into empty, candy-coated scraps. Mainstream media serves to pamper and coddle the politically correct, obedient masses in attempts to make money. The controversies they create do not really stimulate any intelligent discourse, but simply trigger predictable, scripted tantrums from ideologically, politically and religiously motivated sub-masses.

The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog examines Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding.
One of my favorite facts about breastmilk is that it increases in immune protection when babies are six months old.  Why?  Perhaps because the mother's body knows that the baby is starting solid foods and that this provides a route for pathogens to enter the baby's system.  And when your breasts sense that feeding frequency is declining, they increase the immune protection in the milk.  Nice system, huh?

Jodine's World reports that Facebook has now agreed to allows breastfeeding pictures of "children" not just "infants" or "babies." And it hasn't removed the TIME pictures.

Jason Good 365: From Breasts to Boobs and Back Again.
I was breastfed as a baby. Honestly, I feel squirmy even typing “breast.”  Twelve years after I stopped nursing, breasts became boobs, and then in high school they became tits (and a plethora of other names), and now, as a husband and father, they’re back to breasts. I’ve come full circle. I see them as a means of nourishing children, and as sexual objects. I’m not sure how I feel about that. The fact that I sexualize the one piece of female anatomy from which I once fed, makes me feel grotesquely simple.  I think that feeling is at the heart of why people are uncomfortable with the recent image on the cover of Time Magazine
Spors in the Desert: A few thoughts on motherhood.

Mama Birth: Sexy Breastfeeding

The Mommy Psychologist: Have you seen enough of Jamie Grumet yet?

Rediscovering the Kitchen: Breastfeeding is Selfish? Part 1

Any other links on this topic? Post them in the comments section and I'll add them to the main post. 
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Are You Mom Enough?" Magazine Makeovers

The original Time "Are You Mom Enough?" cover:

Here's one that I created:

From my wonderful readers:
by Liz

by Christine
by Amber

From other websites:
From Corissa's FB wall photos
From nickmom
From Despair, Inc.
from Oly Pittman's FB page

These Maria Lactans are begging for Photoshop makeovers (thanks to The Feminist Breeder for the first picture!)

Please send me yours and I'll post them here! Photoshop template here.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Make your own TIME Magazine cover!

It's time to make your own "Are You Mom Enough?"covers. I did some Photoshop magic and turned everything into layers. You can insert your own pictures and edit all of the cover text. Let's see what Stand and Deliver readers can come up with!

Click on the image to download.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's (just like) a breast!

I received an unsolicited promotional email today from XXXX bottle company* explaining how their "innovative nipple design" will make babies think they're feeding from a human breast and thus relieve any mother's worries that her baby will confuse breast and bottle (or rather, prefer bottle over breast).
In a spectacular turn of logic, XXXX bottle company explained that it is the perfect solution for attachment parents who wish to preserve a strong emotional bond with their babies. This is what the company wrote to me:
A breast was the talk of the web yesterday because it made the cover of Time Magazine. The story highlights Dr. Bill Sears, a 70 year old proponent of “attachment parenting.” The cover photo, however, is of Jaime Lynn Grumet, a 26 year old mother and blogger in Los Angeles who posts photos of herself breastfeeding her 4 year old son.

Attachment parenting is the theory based on the notion that the strong emotional bond forged during early childhood has lifelong benefits. This cover has hit a nerve with consumers nationwide and features how some mothers have a hard time “letting go” as their children get older.

For mothers that feel this way, XXXX is the answer. XXXX is the modern bottle that is breast like in appearance, so that when new mothers introduce this bottle to their infants, babies are less likely to have a problem transitioning between breast and bottle
First off, XXXX company's understanding of attachment parenting is seriously skewed. Attachment parenting isn't simply about not being able to "let go" of children transitioning out of babyhood.

Whatever a mother's parenting style, I don't think that the bottle's "natural feeling and latching experience" will alleviate fears about nipple confusion! Just because the "soft silicon nipple is textured and colored to resemble skin" doesn't make it anything like nursing from a real human breast. You're still missing the mother's scent, warmth, and body sounds. You're missing the ebb and flow of milk as the mother's breast responds to the baby's hunger. And of course you're missing the changing composition of breastmilk as it begins thin, sweet, and watery and ends rich and creamy.

The nipple's design is supposedly "based on the psychological dynamics of feeding." Huh?

I just don't think babies are so easily fooled.
* No free advertising for this company! 
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Leaving town

I leave for France in about 12 hours. Eric is already over there with one of his university classes, so lucky me gets to bring all three kids over by myself.

I've prepared myself well this year. After Zari and Dio picked out backpacks at a thrift store, I loaded them full of snacks, toys, activities, and an extra change of clothes. I'll be carrying a small backpack, an umbrella stroller, and an Ergo. And Inga too!

This past week of solo parenting has been really hard on me. I put in a huge garden, probably 700 square feet. On top of packing and getting the house ready to leave for a month, I had final research papers to grade (I still haven't finished--guess what I'll be doing on the plane?). I haven't been sleeping well, either.

Last time I brought kids over to France on my own, Dio was 12 months and Zari was 3 1/2. I couldn't go anywhere without both of them coming along. Not even to the bathroom during the flight! Try bringing a baby and a toddler into an airplane bathroom and doing your business while trying to keep them from, say, touching the floor and then licking their fingers. This time, I am going to use the airplane bathrooms all by myself. Zari will be in charge of the other two.

I have to bring the kids home by myself, too. Eric couldn't get on the same flight. I am going to pretend that the next 36 hours aren't really happening. Maybe I could use some birth hypnosis techniques...Actually I don't mind flying that much. It's our road trip to southern Alberta this summer that I truly dread. Three 12-hour days in the car both ways. Kill me now.

We'll be in Nice the whole time, except for my brief trip to the Netherlands at the end of May. If you live in the Alpes-Maritimes, get in touch! Are there any parenting/breastfeeding groups in the area? Interesting town festivals?
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Monday, May 07, 2012

Human Rights in Childbirth Conference: Register Now and Save!

My summer travel plans are about to get a lot more interesting...I have been invited to attend the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference in The Hague on May 31-June 1.

I'll be in France during that time, so I might actually be able to hop over (meaning I get on a train, then an airplane, then another airplane, then a train, and finally a bus) to the conference. If I were in Paris, it would be an easy 3-hour train ride. Unfortunately I will be in Nice, so it's not exactly easy to get from there to the northern coast of the Netherlands. But I am trying my best!

(And here's another tidbit you probably never knew about me: I studied Afrikaans in college. One of those highly practical languages *cough*. I could actually use it in the Netherlands, since Afrikaans is a simplified form of Dutch. Of course I've forgotten most of it since I started learning French...)

If you're a blog reader, you can attend this conference LIVE or AT YOUR OWN PACE without having to leave your own home. The conference organizer has offered a special discount for Stand and Deliver readers! You will save close to 60% off the normal webinar fee. More details below:

Human Rights in Childbirth Conference 

Healthcare in childbirth is of great importance to society. This conference takes a unique, consumer perspective. It will focus on the legal and human rights issues arising at the intersection of childbirth and healthcare. The conference is being organized and hosted by affected groups, a legal research institute, and an international law program at The Hague University. Therefore, it creates a unique opportunity for a wide spectrum of stakeholders to share perspectives on the issues relating to birthing women and their families. Doctors, midwives, lawyers, and parents agree on the general principle of client-centered care in childbirth. The conference will be a platform to explore the practical aspects of human rights in 21st century healthcare systems, and how those systems can both maximize safety and respect the dignity of the women they support.

For more information on the conference and for an overview of our esteemed panelist please visit our website:

About the Human Rights in Childbirth Webinar: 

This webinar provides a unique opportunity for professionals and parents around the world to be a part of the global discussion on human rights in childbirth. The Human Rights in Childbirth Conference will be LIVE streamed by a professional team, so you can watch live and join the discussion via twitter.

If you are unable to join live, you will be able to watch the conference panels at your leisure for 30 days following the conference, join the ongoing discussion via the Facebook page, and connect with the regional and international networks of professionals capable of protecting women’s fundamental right to authority and support in childbirth. We want the conference to be accessible for your community, and we have negotiated a special price for you to join this important event!

Regular Price: €175 including the pre-conference publication. 

Special Price for the Stand and Deliver community: €75, pre-conference publication not included.

How to get this special price: 

1. Go to the Registration Form: Registration Page

2. Fill in the registration form and select the webinar (you will see the regular prices but don’t worry you will get your discount!), in the field “How did you learn about the conference? *” fill in "Stand and Deliver Discount" 

3. Do not pay by clicking on the PAY PAL directly (then you will pay the regular price). You will receive a confirmation email from our office with the discounted price and you can pay either via PAY PAL or via a bank transfer. The details for this will be provided in the email confirmation (this is created by a human, it is not an automatic mail, so won't be sent directly).

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Saturday, May 05, 2012


The word of the day is twins. I always thought it would be great to have twins for my next pregnancy. We're on the fence about wanting 4 or 5 children, and twins would be a great compromise. One pregnancy but two babies. Might as well go out with a bang, right?

Anyway here are some great vaginal twin birth stories:

from Living a Truly Blessed Life
Any other good twin stories out there? Please share!
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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Inga is 14 months!

Inga is at such a fun age. She's super mobile--walking, running, climbing--and is learning how to join in her siblings' games.

She's recently taken to sign language. Favorite signs include nurse, eat, potty, more, bird, dog, and cat. I've seen her do a few others but only with some prompting, such as ball and airplane. Her favorite new word (and she only can say about 2 total!) is dada (papa). This cracks me up because we don't say dad or daddy; it's always papa. Still, she announces emphatically that Eric is dada!

She doesn't say a lot of words, but she is very expressive with her vocalizations and body language. I love how she comes up to me and asks to nurse, saying "ah ah" and patting her lips with her fingers (our made-up sign for nursing). How can I resist?

Inga is the most agile of any of our children at this same age, more physically adventuresome and able. She's already had some nasty tumbles trying to walk forwards down the stairs. Her body is really thinning out, getting leaner and less baby-like. Her hair has developed a little curl.

We're in a really good place with sleeping right now. But a month ago, it was not so great. Her nighttime wakings had gone down to 1-2 times per night, then crept back up to 2, then up to 3. I can handle getting up 3 times a night for a newborn. But for a 12 or 13-month-old? I don't think so. I decided that I wasn't going to nurse her before 3 am. We took turns comforting her when she woke up, but that only made things worse. After a few nights of a lot of crying, she fell into a really lovely routine. Now she wakes up only once to nurse around 5 or 6 am. Score! She's also started eating more substantially in the past month or two. Probably explains why my period came back a few weeks ago.

For a while she had almost entirely stopped peeing on a potty. I worried that she'd forgotten how. It's so hard to get her to sit still for long enough. But my new trick is standing her in the sink with a little water running on her feet. It works instantly almost every time. She definitely knows what potty means now, and will usually sign "pee" when she's going. She giggles when she sees her pee coming out.

So, other news...I turned 34 a few weeks ago.

Eric and the kids made the cake. 

They helped blow the candles out. 

Inga approved.
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Look what came in the mail...

The book project that I've been involved with! If you preordered a copy of The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth, yours should arrive soon. It's definitely worth every penny. Buy yours here. More info about the book here.

Some blurbs:
“The diverse and profound perspectives of childbearing women are detailed in this remarkable book, The Gift of Giving Life. . . . As you read this book and reflect on its contents, you will never view giving birth as you did before.” ~Lynn Clark Callister, PhD, RN, FAAN (foreword, The Gift of Giving Life)

“A fascinating book. In it we hear the voices of over two dozen women. Taken together, they provide evidence of the creativity and determination of contemporary women in The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. They raise important questions about gender, generativity, and imitation of Christ.”  ~Anna Harrison, National Endowment for the Humanities Winner, Professor of History of Christianity, Loyola Marymount University

“This is a beautifully and sensitively written book that speaks to the divine nature of conceiving and bearing children. The authors have insightfully imparted the beauty and joy, and the faith and trust, that is inherent in becoming a mother.” ~ Carole Thorpe, Hypnobabies VP and Director of Marketing & PR

 “The Gift of Giving Life is more than a book about babies. It’s a celebration of love, hope, and the surprises that come with creating families.” ~Tamara Duricka Johnson, Author of 31 Dates in 31 Days

“The Gift of Giving Life is a collection of tender personal journeys in birthing and nurturing new life that provide moments of profound meaning to this common yet mystifying experience unique to women.” ~Bonnie Baliff-Spanvill, Former Director of The Women’s Research Institute, Brigham Young University
Inga turned 14 months today, but it's past my bedtime...more coming tomorrow. 

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