Friday, August 26, 2011


I am super excited to announce that I'll be coming to the BOLD (Birth on Labor Day) 5th Anniversary event in New York City! Playwright Karen Brody extended a VIP invitation and I couldn't refuse the chance to see her play Birth.

If you've already seen Birth, you'll want to watch it again. Karen rewrote the script and added a birth-- and it's a VBAC!

The 5th Anniversary event will also honor 5 people or organizations who have used the arts to educate pregnant moms about childbirth, including: Debra Pascali-Bonaro for Orgasmic Birth, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein for The Business of Being Born, Christy Turlington for No Woman, No Cry, Kirsti Kreutzer for Where's My Midwife?, and the White Ribbon Alliance for Play Your Part and Avec Nous. We will also be honoring Ina May Gaskin.

If you live in the area, you can attend the performance with me at the brand-new Museum of Motherhood. If you can't make it to NYC, you can still watch the performance online! It will be webcast live on Labor Day and rebroadcast several times throughout September (Sept 17 & 24 every 5 hours: midnight, 5am, 10am, 3pm, 8pm ET). Click here to register for the 5th anniversary webcast.

I'm also really excited for this weekend, because Eric is coming out with me (and Inga, of course). We will have the entire weekend together without the two older children. We recently had our 13th anniversary and this will be the perfect opportunity to celebrate. I even went shopping and bought a fancy dress :)
Read more ...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twins to Singleton: New Ethical Dilemmas

Yesterday I read a fascinating--and somewhat disturbing--New York Times Magazine article about twin-to-singleton pregnancy reductions. Formerly only used to reduce triplets, quadruplets, and above, pregnancy reductions are increasingly sought to reduce twins to a single fetus. A few excerpts from The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy:
For all its successes, reproductive medicine has produced a paradox: in creating life where none seemed possible, doctors often generate more fetuses than they intend. In the mid-1980s, they devised an escape hatch to deal with these megapregnancies, terminating all but two or three fetuses to lower the risks to women and the babies they took home. But what began as an intervention for extreme medical circumstances has quietly become an option for women carrying twins. With that, pregnancy reduction shifted from a medical decision to an ethical dilemma. As science allows us to intervene more than ever at the beginning and the end of life, it outruns our ability to reach a new moral equilibrium. We still have to work out just how far we’re willing to go to construct the lives we want....

The ability of women to control their fertility has created all kinds of welcome choices. “But the dark lining of that otherwise very silver cloud is that you make the choice of when to get pregnant, and so you feel really responsible for its consequences, like do you have enough money to do it well, and are you going to be able to provide your child with everything you think you ought to provide?” says Josephine Johnston, a bioethicist at the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., who focuses on assisted reproduction. “In an environment where you can have so many choices, you own the outcome in a way that you wouldn’t have, had the choices not existed. If reduction didn’t exist, women wouldn’t worry that by not reducing, they’re at fault for making life more difficult for their existing kids. In an odd way, having more choices actually places a much greater burden on women, because we become the creators of our circumstance, whereas, before, we were the recipients of them. I’m not saying we should have less choices; I’m saying choices are not always as liberating and empowering as we hope they will be.” (emphasis mine)
Read the rest here. It's definitely worth your time.
Read more ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Twitter phenom Feminist Hulk recently spoke with Ms. magazine about giving birth. Turns out she's a PhD student from the University of Iowa, where I did my degree! I've been away long enough that we've never met in person, although there's a 99% chance that I know her midwives. I miss those long afternoons at Iowa Midwives' Association meetings...
Congratulations on your baby! Did your Feminist Hulk superpowers come in handy during the 44 hours of labor that led to the birth of your child?
Hulk is all about productive discomfort–the notion that growth requires us to step outside of the familiar spaces where we feel safe. My pain during childbirth had less to do with the relative strength of any given contraction but with the attitude I brought to coping with that. When I felt vulnerable or passive, I tried to hide from the contractions, which only made it harder. My midwives and my mom really helped me dig in, get active and aggressively pursue the contractions. I would dance to bring on contractions, then get in position and say, “Okay, this is gonna fucking suck, and I’m gonna make it suck even more, because then there will be one less contraction between me and my child.” I created new comfort zones.

Why did you decide to have a home birth? What were some of the challenges you faced in making that happen?
While I value the ways that obstetrical science has made birth safer for women with high-risk pregnancies, mine was a low-risk pregnancy and I was compelled by the many studies that show the midwifery model of care is as safe as hospital birth, often with fewer interventions and post-birth complications. Unfortunately, though Certified Nurse-Midwives legally practice in all 50 states, I gave birth in one of the handful of states which still does not license Certified Professional Midwives. I am active in attempts to push midwifery licensure through our state legislature. I still chose home birth, though, and am so lucky to have labored in an environment that made me feel relaxed and safe, with a birth team that gave me tons of love and support. And for anyone who asks, “What if something goes wrong?” all I have to say is, “Something did go wrong.” I suffered a postpartum hemorrhage and lost about a quart of blood. My birth team responded with speed and skill to stop the bleeding (and they would have transferred me to a hospital without hesitation if they encountered a complication that required additional resources). I owe them my life, and I have nothing but faith in the quality of their care.

How did your pregnancy affect your views on reproductive rights?
I’m a single mama by choice. I spent two years planning before I began the insemination process. Not long after I became pregnant, state and federal law saw an unprecedented parade of anti-choice and anti-reproductive health legislative proposals. I was sick with anger when I heard the horrible and unfounded assumptions being made about women who consider abortion. I felt so blessed to have chosen my pregnancy, and I wouldn’t ever want someone to be forced to bring a child into the world who wasn’t chosen. My love for the life growing inside me made me even more committed to protecting the legal right to choice.
Read the rest here
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thanks Babble!

Read about it here.

Read more ...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday School blues

Zari got kicked out of Sunday School today.

I love saying that. And it's true. So here's the back story: we go to a 3-hour block of meetings on Sundays. The first hour is the main worship service, called "Sacrament Meeting." The second and third hours are various Sunday school classes; children go to "Primary" classes. 

Anyway, Zari had been really restless and difficult all during Sacrament Meeting. She went off to Primary, and I played hooky from Sunday School and sat in the lobby with Inga. (Sometimes I just need a break after shepherding all three kids during the worship service.) About ten minutes later, I heard loud moans coming down the hallway. Zari was being carried--rather ungracefully, since she's quite tall--by one of the teachers. Apparently she had been acting out repeatedly. Finally they gave her a choice: settle down or leave. It's obvious what her choice was!

She wasn't happy about being kicked out. For about fifteen minutes, she moaned and cried: "I want to go to Primary! I want to go to Primary!" I laid her on the couch, covered her with a blanket, and waited until she began to quiet down. Then I told her she could go back if she was ready to calm herself down and be helpful in class. We took a few deep breaths together. She wiped her tears off and put on a cheerful face. She was ready. We walked down the hall holding hands, and she went right to her teacher's lap for some extra hugs and snuggles. All was well again.

I'm glad that she was kicked out. She deserved it! Now she knows that certain behaviors are not appropriate and that her teachers won't take any nonsense. 

Sometimes, your kids just need to cry. Sometimes, they need to be kicked out of class, even if it's just Sunday School.
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poison ivy remedies

I love my new house, but I have a love-hate relationship with the yard. When we closed a few months ago, the property looked like a jungle. Vines were growing all over the house and carriage house. Half of the back yard was a tangle of shrubs and volunteer trees. Worst of all, poison ivy was EVERYWHERE: under bushes, growing up trees, even creeping all over the lawn.

This was bad news, since I am extremely sensitive to poison ivy. Once I get it, it spreads all over my body. I've had to go on oral steroids just about every time I've been exposed. I use Tecnu Outdoor Skin Cleanser after I've been doing yardwork in infested areas.The main ingredient is deodorized mineral spirits. That makes sense; mineral spirits is a solvent used for thinning paint and dry cleaning. You could probably wash with low-odor mineral spirits from the painting aisle; you'd just smell like paint thinner for a while!

(My aunt swears by rubbing undiluted bleach on the rash as soon as it appears. Any other remedies you've heard of?)

The problem is, I don't always know where the poison ivy is--or was. Even dead leaves, stems, and roots can release the oil (urushiol) that creates the itchy rash. I've gotten into poison ivy in the most unlikely places. What I needed is something that will keep me from reacting to it in the first place.

The last time I saw my family doctor for a steroid prescription (three months ago), he mentioned that there used to be an injection for poison ivy. You would get a few shots at the beginning of the growing season. It contained small amounts of urushiol and would decrease your body's sensitivity to the oil. Unfortunately, it is no longer manufactured.

About two months ago, a friend of mine called and said she'd seen a poison ivy tincture at a compounding pharmacy in Peoria, IL. I talked to a pharmacist, who explained how and why it worked. Taken orally once a week in a glass of water, the tincture contained small amounts of urushiol and would decrease your body's reaction to poison ivy. A large portion of their customers are landscapers; they report that their reaction to poison ivy either disappears or is greatly reduced when they are using the tincture. I ordered a bottle of Preckshot Professional Poison Ivy Preventer right away (around $30 with shipping).

I've been taking the tincture (15 drops in a glass of water, weekly) for about five weeks. I wasn't about to rub poison ivy on myself to test it out, but a few days ago I got into it by accident. I saw and felt the familiar rash appearing the next day.

Would the tincture really work?

This time, the rash only spread to a few places, and only in small bumps. I had a huge smear of poison ivy inside my arm, and it never even blistered. In the past, the rash has continued to blister and spread for at least 1-2 weeks past the initial exposure. This time, the rash peaked about 2-3 days after exposure and then started to fade. I stayed comfortable using two OTC anti-itch creams and never had to go on steroids.

I'm still careful to wash with Tecnu after possible exposure, but I am much less afraid of my yard now that I am taking the poison ivy tincture. This product definitely gets a thumbs-up.
Read more ...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New job

It's been a whirlwind past few weeks. I applied to teach a section of freshman composition, got accepted, and have been in new faculty orientation this week. Eric has been super helpful: taking the kids every morning while I'm in meetings and bringing Inga every few hours to nurse. I'm really excited to teach again. The position is just one course, so it should be doable as long as I cut back on other things.

Like blogging, for one. I simply cannot keep up my usual pace of posting daily. I've decided to post twice weekly (more often if time permits).

Classes start in two weeks. I'm browsing through piles of textbooks and working on my syllabus. I'm going to use Peggy Vincent's memoir Baby Catcher for the a segment of the class--I've used it before in freshman writing/rhetoric courses, with great success. I'll be teaching MWF at 8 am. The plan is to wake up at 7 am, nurse Inga, go to class, exercise at the college athletic facility, and return home by 10 am. I'll have some office hours on campus and some at home during naptime.

Can't wait to be Professor Freeze in a few weeks!
Read more ...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Looking for VBAMC stories and provider

A friend of mine (actually, the friend who helped introduce me to my husband!) just wrote to me with a request. She had a vaginal birth, and then two cesareans, and is thinking of having a fourth. So far, she hasn't had much luck finding a provider willing to do a VBA2C. She lives in San Antonio, TX.

Please share your VBAMC stories and, if you know someone in the area willing to attend a VBA2C, get in touch with me!

Here's what she wrote:
Are you familiar with any birth stories of women who have done a VBA2C? I'm dreaming of another baby, and I keep thinking how awesome it would be to do a water birth. Am I crazy? My first delivery was a vaginal birth - went great, no problems (I did have an epidural which was fantastic). My 2nd I was induced on my due date (doctor's idea and I was uninformed) and it ended up as an emergency c-section due to fetal distress. My 3rd was going to be a VBAC but I never went into labor so it was a repeat c-section at 41w6d. My doctor didn't think it was wise to wait any longer, and I was ok with that.

I need to say that both of my surgical births were wonderful experiences. The recoveries were very easy (easier than the vaginal birth for sure), and I'm not necessarily opposed to a 3rd c-section. I just want to explore options and prepare for the future.

Can you send me some articles to read or any advice or links to birth stories?

Thanks for any help you can offer.
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

5 months old!

So many changes start once your baby reaches 3 months. In the last two months, Inga started laughing (first laugh at 3 1/2 months when I was playing "patty-cake" with her feet), discovered her hands and feet, learned how to grasp objects and play with toys, settled into a predictable routine, and became mobile even though she hasn't yet crawled.

This girl is strong! She has a solid core and way better abs than I do. (Which isn't saying much after 3 children...) She's rolling and belly-scooting around in her crib and on our bed. I actually bought crib bumpers at a thrift store today because she was rolling over forcefully into the crib rails and then crying because it hurt. She loves to stand and will do so for long stretches of time, often just holding on to one of my fingers.

I won't say Inga is a "good baby," but she is remarkably chill and easy-going. Honestly, I can't imagine an easier third baby. She rarely fusses and is almost always content. She takes short naps in the morning and early evening and a long nap after lunch. She goes to bed around 8-9 pm and wakes up usually twice to nurse before she's up around 8 am for the morning. Not bad at all! She definitely likes to snooze and sleep in in the mornings, like her sister and unlike her brother.

I think Inga looks remarkably like Zari. Except Inga is definitely chubbier around the chin and neck! Sometimes I look at Zari's baby pictures and honestly almost think it's Inga. Here are some when Zari was around 5 months old:
Here is Inga at 5 months:
Now for some comparison pictures...Dio around 5 months. He definitely has the "Dio" stamp to him even back then.

Inga as a newborn and at 4 & 5 months:
1 week old
4 months old
5 months old
2 weeks old
4 months old
5 months old
And for those of you wondering what Inga's middle name is...
Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...