Saturday, March 28, 2020

French quarantine day 9

10,752 steps

We ran into several friends today during our daily walk. Our kids were able to "play" together with their friends for a few minutes. They rode scooters or ran around in circles, while we chatted with the parents, all of us keeping several meters apart from each other. It's so bizarre to keep our distance, especially here in France where the traditional way to greet is with an air kiss on either cheek.

Both Dio and Eric managed to hurt themselves doing box jumps during our walk. You'll see Dio banging his leg at the end of the video.

Zari has been thinking about selling her hair to help pay for university. Even if she kept enough for a ponytail, she could cut off at least 25"!

Read more ...

Friday, March 27, 2020

French quarantine day 8

11,449 steps

I seem to be on a sine wave, where one day I'm feeling confident and on the alternate day I feel worried--about the future, about getting sick, about all of the worst-case-scenarios I can imagine. And I'm evidently a champion at coming up with disaster scenarios, based on all of the nightmares I have of my children dying horrible deaths.

Every day that goes by without symptoms is one less day to worry that we picked up the coronavirus on our way over to France. We're still SO thankful that we left the States when we did. You know...disaster of epic proportions...too little too late...woefully de-skilled administration...words fail me.

In theory the quarantine is supposed to end this weekend, but I suspect it will continue another several weeks at least.

We did some school in the morning. Other highlights from today include

  • an indoor "snowball" fight
  • making artisan bread, quiche Lorraine, and tiramisu
  • getting keys to the empty apartment below us. It's the former offices of the Young French Communist Party and has been empty for the past 15-20 years. We got their blessing to start cleaning it is going to be a challenge with decades of dust coating everything. Perfect! What else do we have to do?

Read more ...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

French quarantine day 7

4,417 steps

I took a day off and didn't make the kids do any school. Instead, they spent all day building and then playing with a marble race track (Ivy's other birthday present).

I finished preparing our taxes and sent them off to our tax person! (If you need a recommendation, email me. She's amazing. She does taxes for people all over the US and is a fraction of the price of commercial tax prep places.)

Now I have to do the Breech Without Borders taxes.

Maybe I'll do make a quarantine tiramisu tomorrow...I have all the ingredients in my cupboard.

I need some good book recommendations, especially if they are on Kindle Unlimited or Hoopla. Bonus for escapist know, the kind of reading you might do when you're on vacation and just wanting to enjoy life and pass the time.
Read more ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

French quarantine day 6

7,827 steps

Happy 7th birthday Ivy! This is our first--and hopefully last--birthday during lockdown. Ivy "played" with her group of school friends in the morning via WhatsApp and had a virtual birthday party in the evening.

Ivy helped me frost the cake (chocolate wedding cake with buttercream icing). We didn't do anything too elaborate this year. That seems to be a trend. No wrapping paper? Make it out of coloring pages! No food coloring? Decorate with plain white frosting!

Eric read Ivy's birth story, a tradition we do with the kids every year. At the bottom of the birth story are links to the birth video & pictures for you brave souls out there. Nothing gory or scary, just a plain-old-wonderful home birth :)

One of Ivy's presents was a scooter; we took the kids out for a spin in the afternoon.

What else? I made quarantine bread as most of the bakeries are closed. Plus I really like my bread. Give it a try: it's almost impossible to mess up!

The evening closed with a somber note. At 19h30, every church in Nice rang their bells to honor the victims of the coronavirus. You'll hear it on the end of Ivy's birthday video.

Read more ...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

French quarantine day 5

4,175 steps

I instituted a "no school after lunch" rule for everyone except Zari. So much better!

Ivy's birthday is tomorrow, so we baked a cake and will make the frosting in the morning. We're inviting her friends to a virtual party so they can sing along and watch her blow out candles.

I've had some sleepless nights due to worrying about getting sick...not helpful, I know, but it's hard to shut the thoughts down. "What if we both get sick and need to be hospitalized at the same time? Who will take care of our kids?"

This afternoon the kids were playing with Eric's phone and giggling...and these time lapse movies were the result. They've also made all sorts of origami creatures and played several games of solitaire.

On our daily walk, Zari took a microscope and held it up to the phone's camera, resulting in these beautiful shots of tiny foliage and lichen.

The creepy book/hand photo was one of Zari's art assignments.

Did you know that Post-It notes could be so much fun?

Read more ...

Monday, March 23, 2020

French quarantine day 4

10,337 steps

This was our first day of school-at-home and I am not a fan. I don't mind having the kids underfoot all day, but I do NOT like having to take on 4 additional full-time teaching jobs that I did not sign up for (or train for). Someone always needed help, so I was going from one child to another nonstop. Zari has done about 10 hours of work. I finally had to send her to bed and force her to stop. Dio's teacher sends at least 6-8 emails every day with different instructions and assignments.

It's too much!

If the kids can't do it themselves, they shouldn't be given the assignments.

Okay, enough complaining.

It was cold and gray but we still went out for a walk around the chateau hill (within the 500m radius). Inga had so much energy that we did a 2nd circuit with just her.

My goal for tomorrow: get all the school work done before lunch. I don't want to play teacher/boss/nag all day.

Read more ...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

French quarantine day 3

7,924 steps

I dragged myself out of bed at 9:30 this morning. We did crafts and activities in the morning (origami, Legos, and random objects made out of paper). After lunch we went on a family walk and marveled at the empty, silent streets. I don't anticipate anything like this happening again in my lifetime. Even at 3 am, the streets of Nice are never deserted like this.

We had a 15-minute "home church" this evening, with the bread served in a crème brûlée ramekin and the wine (aka sparkling water because that's what we had) served in shot glasses. Vive la France!

We made noise again at 8 pm. I'm thinking of breaking out my violin one of these evenings...maybe something lively like a fiddling tune.

Despite the empty streets, we have run into three of our best friends in the last 2 days. (Don't worry, we kept far away from each other!). Living in Old Nice is village life at its best: you head out your door--even during a lockdown--and inevitably run into people you know.

Zari and Ivy started their school homework. It's a major job keeping track of 4 kids' assignments. So many worksheets to print, scan, and submit. I have resigned myself to not being able to work much, if at all, on my own projects.

Speaking of work: my immediate goal is to create an online breech course. David and I want to re-record all of our lectures with good quality equipment and produce professional quality films. We're also thinking of creating a series of shorter seminars where we watch & discuss new birth videos and offer regular live conference calls as an opportunity for discussion and Q&A.

I'm hoping to offer some sort of deep discount given that almost everyone will be affected by COVID-19 this year. Taking a virtual course will also come with a discount towards a future in-person breech workshop (effectively giving you 2 workshops for close to the price of 1!)

So, for your enjoyment, pictures and movies from today. The drawings are Zari's, all for a school assignment.

Read more ...

French quarantine day 2

Saturday, March 21
6,635 steps (normally 15-20,000)

We all slept most of the morning! The last time I slept that long was about 20 years ago during my first trip to France. I was the first one awake at 10:40 am. We ate breakfast/lunch and played with Legos. We finally managed to get everyone dressed and out the door for a quick run.

Prepared with our "l'attestations de déplacement dérogatoire" and photocopies of our IDs and visas, we set off. I mapped a 2 km radius around our apartment--the maximum distance permitted by the French health minister. We didn't even get close to hitting the limit but still got in a good run of about 4 km as our path wasn't direct.

On our way home we got stopped by a group of police on bicycles, who told us that we were "trop éloignée." They also said that the maximum distance was 1 km, which is NOT what the health minister said. I told them that, and they replied, "Non, c'est 1 kilomètre maximum." At that point, we were within just 500 meters of the apartment! I informed them of that as well. (Maybe I shouldn't have--but I was staying within the rules!) As we had all our papers they couldn't do much other than send us on our way.

I ran into a friend of ours and her two kids at the end of our run. We chatted quickly while trying to maintain a proper distance. Her twin boys (Ivy's age) were fascinated with my Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

The rest of the day was Legos, origami, homemade marble jumps, and drawing. I baked a batch of artisan bread since our local bakeries have been closed (not sure if it's because of the quarantine or just when we've happened to walk by.) We also managed to do some "bricolage" and fix a broken window handle. There was a broken part in the middle, which we removed. It's not perfect but it will do until we can order a new part.

Zari started her homework and drew a picture of our dog Zeke who died when she was just 1 year old. He looks a little grumpy in his portrait but he was sheer joy in real life.

Eric got groceries at Lidl (like Aldi) and said he's never seen the store so empty. When he came home, I washed everything that was in plastic, glass, or metal packaging. I figured it's probably better to rinse things off just in case.

I'm also disinfecting tables, counter tops, doorknobs, light switches, and shoes on a regular basis. I use either rubbing alcohol or Simple Green d PRO 3 PLUS (recommended by friends of mine who work in labs and use it to disinfect). Yes, I brought a small bottle of concentrate over with me from the US! I have enough to make at least 10 gallons.

At 8 pm, we joined in with #OnApplaudit, where we clap and make noise in support of health care workers (and also for fun, I suppose!).

Read more ...

French quarantine day 1

Friday, March 20

We stumbled into our apartment this morning, jet-lagged and feeling like we had entered an alternate universe. The streets were silent and nearly empty. Just the occasional person walking their dog or buying groceries.

Our kids kept falling asleep all over the house--on the floor, leaning against the heater, on the couch. We finally woke everyone up and decided to organize all the Legos by color and function.

I've been feeling the stress in my body for about a week now. It usually manifests as pressure in my chest, like mild heartburn and, rarely, as brief panic attacks. Two years ago, when I started having panic attacks and had no idea what they were, I kept thinking I was having heart attacks. Fortunately I know what it is this time, but I still have to deal with intrusive thoughts. "What if I die of a heart attack? Is that twinge I'm feeling the onset of one? Should I go in and see someone?" Repeat ad infinitum...

Deciding whether to head back home to France or to stay in the US was difficult. We were looking at two situations, both of which carried (and continue to carry) risk.

A: Do we accept some elevated risk now (from the airline travel to France) in exchange for lower risk once we arrive? All of France is under strict lockdown, enforced by heightened policy and military presence.

B: Or do we stay in the US and delay the risk by a maximum of 6 weeks? We'd still have the risk of flying, just delayed by a matter of weeks. (Our temporary visa papers expire in early May, so we would have to return before then). The longer we stay in the US, the more likely we would be exposed to the virus, especially given the relative lack of controls on people's movement and behavior.

I counsel people all the time about balancing risk. With breech birth, you can choose to eliminate some risk in the short-term by doing a CS, but then you have to accept elevated short-term risk for yourself and elevated long-term risk for yourself and any future pregnancies. I was complaining to David Hayes, my co-instructor, about how this is REALLY HARD. There isn't a clear answer that is "safe."

He reminded me: "As a very wise woman I know says: 'You can defer a little risk, but you're only washing it down stream. You're going to have to swim in it somewhere.' "

When we left yesterday, most people were going about their normal lives. Sure, schools and eat-in restaurants had been closed in our state. But people were otherwise operating as normal: congregating in groups, sitting close together at restaurants. And I am terrified on the possibility of gun violence if the situation in the US becomes dire.

When I was in the Las Vegas airport, one man loudly complained about the governor of Illinois, who had just shut down all restaurants and bars in the state. "Those Democrats will do anything to take over our state! In my little town of 3,000 people, you can't even *get* a big crowd together. This is ridiculous!"

Said by an older, overweight man who is in a high-risk group if--or rather, when--he contracts the virus.
Read more ...

Monday, February 24, 2020

Louisville Breech Workshop

Only a few days left until the Louisville Breech Workshop! To register:

Free public lecture from 7-9 pm on Friday, Feb 28 at Launch Louisville. CEUs are provided at no charge (ACNM, MEAC, DONA, ICEA).

Then a 2-day vaginal breech workshop on Sat & Sun, also at Launch Louisville.

Come learn breech with us!

Read more ...

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Brooklyn Breech Workshop

Breech Without Borders is returning to New York City this fall! We will be teaching a 2-day breech workshop Oct 24-25 at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. I will also be giving a grand rounds lecture at Stony Brook University Hospital, tentatively scheduled for Oct 21 (more details coming).

To register for the workshop:
Facebook Event page:

We have an option where you can pay a 50% deposit now and pay the other half on or before the workshop. This will allow you to lock in early bird pricing.

Read more ...

Monday, January 27, 2020

Taos Breech & CPR Workshop

Breech Without Borders is thrilled to announce a special event coming to Taos, NM on September 25-27! To register or for more information, visit

We are hosting a 3-day breech & CPR workshop, featuring David Hayes, MD, Larry Leeman, MD, and Rixa Freeze, PhD. Drs. Hayes and Freeze will be covering the usual content of their 2-day workshop.

On day 3, Dr. Leeman will be lecturing on ECV and hospital-based management of planned and unplanned breech. He will also be leading simulation stations during our hands-on sessions. Dr. Leeman is the sole physician in New Mexico attending planned hospital breech births. What an amazing opportunity to learn from both Dr. Hayes and Dr. Leeman!

Participants will also be able to choose between AHA CPR Certification or additional hands-on simulation training.

We are working with Dr. Leeman to offer AAFP CMEs, in addition to the CEUs already approved for ACNM, MEAC, DONA, & ICEA.

Please invite your MD and midwife colleagues to attend. Space is limited, so register early to reserve your spot. (September is also high season in Taos, so we advise reserving accommodations early as well.)

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

To remember the Louwen maneuver (shoulder grip rotation)...just follow the rainbow!

If you attend upright breech births, you may have used the Louwen maneuver (shoulder grip rotation). It can be tricky to remember which way to rotate first and how far around. So I came up with this illustration.

Remember: the baby follows the rainbow across the sacrum, then comes back to mama

(It's the same process in mirror image for a LST breech)

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Manhattan Breech Workshop

After months of waiting (and a last-minute venue change), we are thrilled to announce the Manhattan Breech Workshop! It takes place at NY Open Center (near the Empire State Building) on Oct 26-27. To register:

Read more ...

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

RCOG and SOGC estimates of term breech mortality

With the recent release of the 2019 SOCG breech guidelines, I created this updated graphic. It illustrates the likelihood of perinatal/neonatal mortality after vaginal breech versus planned cesarean section.
Using the RCOG's numbers, the *additional* risk of a vaginal breech birth, compared to a vaginal head-down birth, is 1/1000.

Here's another way of looking at it:
Baseline risk of mortality after pCS @ 39 weeks: 1/2000
Additional risk from last weeks of pregnancy & labor: 1/2000
Additional risk of a vaginal breech birth: 1/1000
Ps, if you liked this post, would you please consider donating to Reteach Breech? Thanks to a matching grant, all donations will be doubled AND all perks are half-price! Donations are tax-deductible in the US.
Read more ...

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Support Reteach Breech and double your donations & perks!

Exciting news--thanks to a generous matching grant, all donations to the Reteach Breech campaign will be matched AND all perks will be doubled.

For example, if you donate $25, you'll get access to the breech workshop videos (normally $50) AND your donation will be doubled to $50!

Other amazing perks you can get...

  • T-shirt for $30 (normally $60)
  • Onesie for $38 (normally $75)
  • Athletic t-shirt or flowy tank top for $50 (normally $100)
  • Linocut for $50 (normally $100)
  • Klean Kanteen insulated thermos for $75 (normally $150)
  • Maternity t-shirt + baby onesie for $100 (normally $200)
  • ALL THE THINGS for $200 (normally $400)

Donations will be doubled and perks will be half-price, up to $5,000 or until the end of the fundraiser, whichever comes first.

Donate today before this amazing offer runs out!

Read more ...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Prince Edward Island Breech Workshop

Register now for the Prince Edward Island Breech Workshop Sep 28-29. This is the only Canadian workshop offered in 2019. To register:

Thanks to a generous donation from the Coalition for Breech Birth, we are offering two scholarships to the workshop for Canadian providers: one for a physician/resident/medical student and one for a midwife/midwifery student. Any Canadian provider may apply; preference given to providers serving the Maritime provinces & Newfoundland.

To apply: Send an application letter to Please state your province, qualifications, and how you plan to use the knowledge gained in the workshop in your community.

Deadline: August 14

Read more ...

Monday, July 29, 2019

Prince Edward Island Breech Workshop Scholarships

The Coalition for Breech Birth has generously donated funds to sponsor 2 scholarships to the Prince Edward Island Breech Workshop! Any Canadian provider may apply; preference given to providers in the Maritimes & Newfoundland.

1 scholarship is for physicians/residents/medical students
1 scholarship is for midwives/midwifery students

To apply: Send an application letter to Please state your province, qualifications, and how you plan to use the knowledge gained in the workshop in your community.

Deadline: August 14

Read more ...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Please donate to "Reteach Breech"

My years of breech research and advocacy have finally come to fruition! Please donate generously to Breech Without Borders' fundraising campaign so we can reteach breech. We are raising funds to purchase two obstetrical simulators for our breech training workshops.

If you have ever benefited from reading my blog, following my children's births, watching my educational breech videos, or sharing my breech infographics, please donate today.

If you care about women's autonomy in childbirth, please donate.

If you care about reducing the cesarean rate, please donate.

And of course, please share widely!

I want to create a world where every provider has vaginal breech skills and where every woman can choose how her breech baby is born.

Read more ...

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Madison Breech Conference: Envisioning Autonomy, Biodiversity, and Sustainability

Save the date for the Madison Breech Conference on Nov 9-10! The conference focuses on 3 main themes: autonomy, biodiversity, and sustainability in breech birth.

We'll be discussing barriers to providing breech birth, as well as solutions for providers and administrators. We'll be listening to providers share their struggles and triumphs in supporting breech birth in their various settings: from rural to urban, from family medicine to midwifery to maternal fetal medicine, from supportive hospitals to hostile hospitals. We'll learn about breech birth from a human rights attorney and from a journalist who writes about women's experiences of pregnancy and birth. And of course we'll be teaching breech birth, with hands-on simulation training and an emphasis on physiological breech birth.

This is a conference you don't want to miss! Stay tuned for updates.

Read more ...

Friday, July 05, 2019

Auckland, NZ Breech Workshop

Breech Without Borders is bringing four breech workshops to New Zealand in November and December. The first takes place in Auckland on Nov 25-26. It will be held at the Kawai Purapura Retreat Centre, just north of Auckland.

Click here to register.

The workshop costs $450 NZD ($350 for students) and includes 15 hours of instruction and hands-on practice. We have applied for continuing education credits through the Midwifery Council.

For more information about the workshops and instructors, please visit

Read more ...

Monday, June 10, 2019

Western Pennsylvania Breech Workshop

Breech Without Borders is offering a breech workshop in western PA on Sep 21-22. The workshop is ideal for birth attendants in W/central PA, E/central Ohio, western New York, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland.

The workshop includes 15 hours of instruction and hands-on training. To register:

Optional NRP certification on Sep 20.

For more information about the workshop:

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftessness Photography
Read more ...

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Detroit Breech Workshop

Breech Without Borders is offering a breech workshop in Detroit on Nov 2-3. The workshop includes 15 hours of instruction and hands-on training. To register:

For more information about the workshop:

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftessness Photography
Read more ...

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Central Indiana Breech Workshop

If you live in Indiana, western Ohio, eastern Illinois, or northern Kentucky, please consider attending the Central Indiana Breech Workshop! It is located in the Indianapolis metro area and offers 15 hours of instruction and hands-on training.

To register:

For more information about the workshop:

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftesness Photography
Read more ...

Friday, June 07, 2019

Dallas Breech Workshop

Come to the Dallas Breech Workshop on Oct 9-10 at the Addison Conference Centre. We are approaching our registration cap, so act quickly to reserve your spot. To register:

To learn more about the workshop:

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftesness Photography
Read more ...

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Memphis Breech Workshop

Registration is now open for the Memphis Breech Workshop on Oct 4-5. Take advantage of early bird prices through June 30. Registration includes lunch and snacks both days.

To register:

Accommodations are available at the Mayberry Hill Homestead ($50/night per bed). Please contact to reserve.

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftesness Photography
Read more ...

Monday, June 03, 2019

Prince Edward Island breech workshop

Are you a birth worker in PEI, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia? Come to the PEI Breech Workshop on Sep 28-29. Registration is now open.

Read more ...

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Dover Breech Workshop

Breech Without Borders is bringing several workshops to North America and New Zealand in 2019! Our first workshop takes place in Dover, NH on August 17-18.

Ideal for midwives, physicians, and other birth workers in New England and southern Ontario.

This 2-day workshop provides 15 CEU contact hours (MEAC & ACNM). You'll receive both theoretical instruction and hands-on training with obstetrical mannequins. Space is limited and early bird pricing ends June 30. Wentworth-Douglass employees receive a 25% discount. 

To register:

To learn more about the workshops, please visit

Breech photo credit: Karyn Loftesness Photography
Read more ...

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Breech love

Let's send some unconditional love to all those little breechlings with stressed mamas who have few or no options for a vaginal birth.

Let's demand that every hospital offering maternity care also offer 24/7 access to vaginal breech birth...because a mandatory cesarean violates basic human rights, legal rulings that uphold the right to refuse surgery, and medical ethics.

Let's teach midwives and physicians, in or out of hospital, how to do a vaginal breech. Standing or sitting. Kneeling or supine. Water or land.

(Linocut made by me...breech is always on my mind)

Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...