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This is a word I learned in Anthropology. Of course, the word is common in everyday language, but an informant to an anthropologist out on location studying the culture means a person in the culture already that can translate the values, mores, language, and nuances of that culture to the anthropologist so they are better able to "see" the society on its own terms and in context.

I believe I am an informant in that context and the context that most of us understand already. Instead of translating to an anthropologist, I inform/teach to those who don't know, but want to know about the medical, hospital, obstetric, midwifery nuances. I don't know why it's important for me to embrace this term, but as the meaning unfolded in class, I kept thinking, "that's me!"

I wonder if I am going to do this (what I'm about to say) with every single paper I write and every class I take:

I am writing a paper about abstinence-only education and how I do not believe it works. Of course, I have to show proof on both sides, blah blah, but the gist is, to me, that those that foist abstinene-only teaching have a minute part of the overall picture for many teens. Immersed in a life of drugs, sexual abuse, poverty, and absent parents, many teens couldn't fathom the concept beyond what dribbles from teacher's mouths because the law, in THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE UNITED STATES mandates abstinence-ONLY education with no mention of birth control at all.

Okay, that wasn't my point. Sorry.

My point is that as I am reading the different sources, I get to Planned Parenthood and I want to quit midwifery right now and go work at Planned Parenthood. Is that remotely feasible? Of course not! Will I do it? Of course not. So, then I get to thinking, maybe I'll volunteer. And I look around my daily and weekly time and slump my shoulders knowing there is no time to volunteer for anything.

Do other people just get all fired up and want to go march or volunteer, too?

Don't you hate going to meetings where you despise someone else that's there and you have to pretend to be at least civil so people don't ask, "what is up with you two?" Today, I hate that most of all.

My temporary crown fell out again. Sheesh. I'm going to go get the Fixodent someone recommended and see if that works better than the glue the dentist has.

I'm going to see the Psych today and she has access to computer results so I'm going to see if the cortisol challenge test results are in.

I spent yesterday downtown in a hot coffeehouse (it's about 20,000 degrees outside) waiting for a woman who thought she might be in labor. She still isn't sure if it will be a home, hotel, or hospital birth, so I am there, prepared, with supplies, and ready to go. Her husband is the unsure one and she is letting her midwives (CNMs, several of them) decide if her husband is wigging out and she needs to transfer or not. She is a CNM herself and none of these CNMs has experience in homebirth, so this is an interesting place where I, a lowly LM, has more experience in something than they do. At least experience in where the towels and drawn up pit is, right? laugh

Her labor petered out, but she's 3/50%/-2 and losing copious mucous. My family knows that as "gloppy mucous."

Out to dinner, me on the phone: Is she gloppy, mom?
To each other in amusing tones: Do you have gloppies? Well, I have to wipe three or four times when I go to the bathroom, is that gloppy?

Me smirking.

I met several new women at a meeting and three came up to me saying it was finally great to meet me. I smiled and didn't have a clue who they were until two told me we'd been corresponding and they told me their email addresses. How's that for amusing? The other said, "I'm not pregnant yet, but you're my midwife when I am." I hugged her and was so flattered!

It's interesting, being able to share obstetric history. How I have been in birth since epidurals weren't even an option for women in labor (and no one cried out during contractions, "oh, please invent something that will numb me from nipples to knees!"), how I was shaved myself and saw quite a few women shaved and enema'd early in my doula years, how women used to share labor rooms, separated by a curtain, and how women used to go from labor room to delivery room to the recovery room to a postpartum room, not-infrequently shared by 4 other women (and each of those moves required hoisting oneself onto a gurney and back off again!).
I've seen amnioscopes - used to peek into unbroken bags of water to see if there was meconium or not - go out of style as ROM was seen as the only way to know if mec was present or not.

I've watched forceps go in and out of style twice now. Same with vacuums.

I've gone from seeing 99% of women get an episiotomy to seeing one every 2-3 years now.

I've gone from seeing women have cesareans because they need one to women scheduling their surgery at their first prenatal visit. (The military hospital in Frankfurt had a 15% cesarean rate... my own clients there had a 2%.)

I've watched drapes come and go - and suppose they are here to stay now with Universal Precautions.

I've watched as birth plans were first introduced to now a backlash against them.

I've watched the Bradley Method be unheard of in hospitals to despised by doctors and hospitals.

I've watched the number of required vaccinations for kids rise threefold in 22 years.

I've watched the concept of a doula be born (I didn't even have a name for what I did the first few years - calling myself a Birth Assistant or Labor Assistant) and now be so common, the word is in the dictionary!

I've watched breastfeeding rates skyrocket and then plummet and LLL give birth to Lactation Consultants (LC) as "medical" helpers of breastfeeding in hospitals - schooled and paid. The term "Lactivist" was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire recently.

I've got to go edit some of my articles for folks that want to distribute them to their classes (my Irrelevance of Time and Shoulder Dystocia pieces). I am honored they want to share them. Is there money in selling articles? snort I'll have to look into that.

Midwifery consult this morning and then back to finish my abstinence essay, then the Psych.

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (2)

OK, I see you have written the article I was asking for-I think.
I there a link to it here? Is there somewhere I can find it?

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Peterson

Here's a great pile of info about shoulder dystocias.


August 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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