Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and 9 months for Ivy!

A cold, snowy day in Minnesota made a lovely Christmas.

Ivy turned 9 months old today. Her biggest milestone this month is eating solid foods. She began with little tastes a few weeks ago, and now she's an enthusiastic eater. We do solid foods the lazy way and feed babies little bits of whatever we're eating. No mushing or pureeing, no nasty flavorless prepared baby foods. It's easy and exposes young children to a large range of flavors right away.

Here's a peek at what she ate today:

Breakfast: homemade waffles, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, blackberries, grapes
Lunch: vegetable chowder, homemade bread, clementine, lebkuchen (German spice cookie)
Dinner: bell pepper, cracker, pomegranate seeds (I popped them inside her mouth to get the juice out), homemade macaroni & cheese, roast beef, sparkly grape juice (because it's Christmas!), more fresh fruit

She loves having cousins and grandparents around. She's super mobile and cruises the furniture very quickly. We don't have smartphones or tablets at home, so she's enthralled with all the electronic devices her relatives have. Touchscreen technology is amazing and so intuitive. Maybe some day we will get a tablet or a fancy phone...maybe...

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Looking for people who attend outdoor births

I've been corresponding with a documentary producer who would like to feature outdoor births. They're looking for people with some experience attending or facilitating birth outdoors--midwives, doctors, birth centers, etc. More information below:


I work in project development Matador, a television production company in Los Angeles whose founders have produced series such as NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Discovery’s Storm Chasers and Dual Survival. We are primarily focused on creating documentaries and unscripted television series for a wide variety of cable channels and media outlets, and have funded series and projects with A&E, Discovery Channel, Lifetime, CNN, and NBC, amongst other networks.

We're currently developing a documentary series with a female-skewing cable channel about DIY birth practices- most notably, outdoor births in unique locations. We're currently looking for experts in this field to potentially consult on the project, or help offer guidance on production. Be it midwives, physicians, doctors, birthing centers, etc, anyone who has some experience with outdoor births, we would love to speak with them. We're still formatting the arc of the documentary series, but the basic idea is to follow the journey of one mother/father team as the prepare to have a child in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Wanting to get away from the confines and experience of giving birth in a hospital, we would document their experience of taking on this process themselves, and eventually having the child outdoors. Documenting this in a "fly on the wall" approach, we would be very hands off, and attempt to simply follow and respectfully document these expecting parents as they take on this incredible journey in unique settings that much of America hasn't experienced before.

In order to take this project to the next level, we need to identify some experts in this field and speak with them about how to go about this. If there is ANYONE who has experience with this practice, and would be willing to chat briefly, I would LOVE the opportunity to connect. My contact information is below.

Happy Holidays!

Sam Brown | Director, Development| Matador


1041 N. Formosa Ave., Writers Bldg. Suite 11

West Hollywood, CA | 90046 | 818-261-5689 OR 323-850-3100 |
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Recovering from varicose vein surgery

My right leg 5 days post-op:

This leg had EVLT on the top half (see the line of bruises going towards the groin) and ambulatory phlebectomy on the bottom half.

My left leg doesn't look as bad. I had some sclerotherapy behind the knee, which is much less traumatic than pulling out the veins with a hook or zapping them with a laser.

I've learned that ibuprofen is my friend. I've been more tired than usual and have to avoid jarring/jumping/vigorous walking.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Post-surgery fun

I'm recovering from having my varicose veins removed yesterday. I had EVLT and ambulatory phlebectomy one one leg and sclerotherapy on the other. My legs are wrapped in layers of bandages. I have to wear them for 3 days and then I can finally take a shower. So excited for that shower tomorrow night!!! I also am curious to see the battle scars...

Anyway, I found a few things of interest:

Home Birth Dads Calendar

A fun article in the Huffington Post explains the origins of the Home Birth Dads 2014 calendar, produced by clients of InnerBirth.

New version of Home Birth: An annotated guide to the literature

This bibliography, authored by Saraswathi Vedam and colleagues, is offered as a resource for clinicians, researchers, educators and policy makers, who must, within their own context for work, assess the quality of the available evidence on planned home birth. This may be for the purpose of clinical decision making or policy development in response to the international debate on safety, access, ethics, autonomy, or resource allocation with respect to birth place.

This is an open source document.

The bibliography is updated annually and the most recent version (as well as the document saved in booklet format for printing) can always be found at the following website:
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mama Midwife: book review and giveaway!

Author and illustrator Christy Tyner has written a new children's book, Mama Midwife: A Birth Adventure. It's about about life when mom is a midwife. Christy's partner Michelle is a homebirth midwife, and their two children ages 4 and 5 are used to birth talk.

Why write a children's book about when mom is a midwife? Christy explains:

Growing up with positive messages about birth will hopefully reduce the fear created by the flawed model I grew up with. I was exposed to birth the same way most people are - through movies and television, where unfortunately most birth scenes are excruciating emergencies in a hospital that requires intervention. By contrast, my kids hear stories firsthand about whole families that participate in birth, where siblings are woken up in the middle of the night to come witness the birth of their baby brother or sister. They hear stories about the mom reaching down with her own hands to guide her baby out, about birth by candlelight in a warm birth tub, about babies that are placed immediately on the mother’s chest, and about dads and partners that provide amazing support, catch the baby and stay by the mother's side. And of course a perfect birth isn't always the case, but we talk about the transfers, too. I think they have a more realistic sense of the spectrum of birth experiences that are possible. Every time a baby is born, Michelle texts me a picture of the baby with his family. I show the kids, and we all celebrate. Their association with birth is joy.

Mama Midwife is populated with charming, whimsical animal characters. Miso the Mouse has a midwife mother. Miso watches and learns and plays midwife. She even gets to come along with her mom one special night. Here's a sample page from the book:

Zari was really excited to help me with this book review. In this short movie, she reads the first few pages and then gives her thoughts about the book. (Isn't it amazing that this grown-up girl was once a tiny baby...and now she's reading? sniff...)

To learn more about Christy Tyner, the book's origins, and Christy and Michelle's birth stories, visit the "About the Author" page.

Mama Midwife is available in both hardcover and paperback in English, Spanish, and Finnish. Click here for a complete list of distributors (US, Canada, UK, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy).

Now for the fun part...a giveaway!

To enter, visit and read more about author/illustrator Christy Tyner. Then come back here and leave a comment.

Open to U.S. residents. Giveaway ends at 5pm EST on Saturday, December 14. 
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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Jim Gaffigan on home birth and life with 4 kids

This had me laughing out loud:

"We had all our babies at home, just to make you uncomfortable."

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Blessing Ivy

My mom visited us this October. Right before she left, we remembered that we still hadn't blessed Ivy, who was 6 months old at the time. We called the bishop of our local LDS (Mormon) congregation to let him know we wanted to bless Ivy at home and to see if anyone else needed to be present. He checked and said: "the manual says that 'normally' another priesthood holder is present, which I interpret to mean that it isn't required. Go ahead and do it."

So we gathered in our living room. I held her in my arms while my husband blessed her. One of the advantages of doing a baby blessing at home: you can do what you want and don't have to ask permission! Little Ivy was super wiggly. As soon as the blessing started, she tried to escape and see what was going on.

Luckily, I had a secret weapon: The Boob. Out it came. She latched on and nursed through the whole blessing. She popped off a few times to check out the action, but mama's milk was just too good to pass up.

(Yet another benefit of doing it at home. I have no problems nursing in church, but I imagine some people in the audience might have passed out had I "Whipped It Out" in front of them all during the blessing).

After everyone was in bed, Eric and I were talking about the blessing. At one point, he blessed Ivy to find joy in the body that her Heavenly Father had given her. He told me that as he was saying this, he felt an overwhelming impression that her body was also a gift from her Heavenly Mother. But, for some reason, he hesitated in saying it. He wasn't sure why--maybe because my mom was there? (To be fair to my mom, I don't think it would have fazed her.)

He had a definite impression that Ivy possessed a powerful intellect and intelligence, something he doesn't remember the same way with our other children.

When he gives our children baby blessings, he gets glimpses into the people that they are, something he otherwise doesn't have through his day-to-day interactions with our children.

I'm glad that we can do baby blessings at home. I've done two at home (Zari and Ivy), one at church (Dio), and one at a relative's house after my sister's wedding (Inga), when all my extended family were gathered together. I definitely like non-church blessings the best.

It was really lovely nursing Ivy while my husband blessed her. I was pouring all my love and heart into her through my breasts while he poured his love onto her through his hands.


Now a brief explanation of how Mormons do baby blessings.

At church, the father or other male friend/relative gives the blessing, surrounded by any other males invited to participate. It looks like this:

Or like this:

In some congregations, women are allowed to hold their babies during the blessing. In others, they are forbidden from doing so. It depends on how the local leadership interprets church policy manuals. Many of us wish women could have a more active role in baby blessings. Maybe some day they will look like this:

This is why I do them at home.
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