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That Dark Place (Thoughts from Yom Kippur)

This is infinitely depressing. I wrote this during the night after a day of reflection in Temple. Instead of uplifting, I found the redemptive discussions, prayers, and requests painful as I reflected on my imperfection and solitude in this world.

When I had RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), I wrote a lot about what it felt like. The pain was excruciating and I didn't walk for 3 years... then took another 2 to re-learn to walk without crutches, a walker, or a cane.

I'd fallen at work at the back-up doctor's office when I was assisting midwives at a birth center in Orlando; tripped over a scale, ironically enought (I weighed 300 pounds at the time). During surgery to repair the extensive damage, I bled inside the joints and that caused the RSD. A description that is not mine can be found here:




During the time I didn't walk, during the height of the pain, I described it like this:

When air would go across my leg, it felt like razor blades... scraping across my skin. When I had physical therapy, I would vomit from the pain the therapist would "inflict" in the name of de-sensitization (the sand blowing machine was the WORST... tiny million pin pricks per minute as warm sand was blown around my lower leg). I couldn't walk, but I did swim and while that was excruciating, too, I needed to do something and I could leave my body in the water, for a while at least. The Y was very gracious about my disability and set up cones so no one would share my lane while I swam; most had to share lanes when it got crowded... everyone there knew me, though, so I got my own lane.

One time, while swimming laps, a kid of about 5 accidently crossed over the lane rope and when I was not looking, he kicked my leg, probably not very hard, but it was so overwhelmingly painful to me that I passed out. The lifeguard had to come in after me.

I couldn't wear dresses that hung down past my knees... pants because they touched my ankle... shoes that had anything like an ankle (even tennis shoes!) because it just hurt so, so much.

I share this because as sensitive as my ankle and lower right leg were from 1995-1998 (and, when I am tired or ill, even still today), that is how raw my heart and spirit feel right now.

As the days of autumn begin, I find myself, as the leaves in other parts of our country, falling.

* I feel the pain of the women who have been hurt in birth. My knees buckle sometimes under the weight of information I know about women in birth... the women who have been touched without permission, lied to, abused, mutilated, raped... in the normalcy of Western-style birth. I hear story after story, words after words, images after images that make me want to gouge my eyes out like the women who witnessed their children's torturous deaths in wars. These are my children being slaughtered, these women in birth. I cannot scream loudly enough. I cannot write fast enough. I cannot say enough. I feel insignificant. I make no change whatsoever. Why do I have to feel so much if I can't do anything to change it?

* The pain of the women who have been lied to and then lied to again to make them believe the coercions.

Two recent examples:

The woman who was stripped without her permission... the nurse on the phone laughed and told her that stripping was normal at 38 weeks... no big deal. At the doc appointment the next week, the doctor back-pedaled and said that she never strips at 38 weeks and never without permission. The woman didn't even ask where the hell the blood and mucous came from if she didn't have her hand all in her "tight and closed" cervix. The mom came back to the doula and said, "I feel SO much better now knowing she didn't strip me! You were wrong... she didn't do anything at all!"

The next example... a woman with a velamentous insertion of her umbilical cord with an anterior placenta that had a very vigorous doppler exam that caused dripping bright red blood into the toilet later that night. I sent her to the hospital (I am not her doula) and they didn't even do a sonogram. They sent her home after doing a urine test and other things and found nothing... baby had some funky heart patterns, but nothing to cause any worries (they said). Days later, I get a call that, oh, she just had a UTI... now is on antibiotics. I couldn't even call her for fear I would scream in the phone that UTIs don't cause bright red dripping blood.

* The pain of the ulcers in my nose and the ones on my vulva that won't heal.

* The pain of not having hair... the sweeping moments of humiliation that I have no hair.

* The pain of standing at the Torah as those who had been hospitalized in the last year were asked to come to the front.

* The pain of how tired I am and how I must find ways to let go because I have several babies coming up this fall... I have to get my shit together before mid-October!

* The pain of the fear of my death and how I can see her out of the corner of my eye most nights and how I hate to sleep and hate to wake because she is always there.


If You're Gonna Teach the Man to Be a Midwife...


rant on

Why in the world would someone wanting a UC expect their husband/partner/man/woman to learn "all there is to know" about complications during birth?!?

Isn't the fact that most of us learn for THREE YEARS plus AND attend dozens and dozens of births and read dozens of volumes of books, midwifery, medical, laboratory, Anatomy & Phyisiology, emotional, spiritual, etc... doesn't any of that offer a CLUE that learning "all there is to know" during a few months of YOUR OWN pregnancy isn't gonna cut it?

Why, when the PARTNER, who is also birthing this baby, why would the PARTNER be expected to observe clinical and emotional roadblocks or stumbling blocks and not be permitted to EXPERIENCE the birth in a place of comfort and peace and with the possibility hanging over his/her head that, if something goes wrong, I didn't see the signs and it is MY FAULT for not seeing it?

I get the part about UCers wanting to be alone. I get that they want to be 100% responsible for their own care (the child's care, be damned, however, since the child sits inside unable to holler if there is an issue occuring). I get that some women have been SO hurt and abused by "caregivers" that they don't want anyone near them.

But, to expect the person you love enough to marry or live with to do something SO out of the range of the ordinary... most of these women wouldn't let their loved one change the oil in the car, yet have no qualms about their taking over the life and safety of their child. I just do NOT understand.

An Analogy:

My partner can tell a person how to change the carburator on the car... from Step 1 to Step finished... about 80 steps or so. Can you take the manual and go out and do it yourself? With or without the tutoring sessions? Sure! Might you fuck it up and need to re-do it? Lose parts? Lose your way? Sure! Might you get it right the first time? Sure! But, wouldn't it have been a LOT easier to have someone there to show you the way even as you did the whole thing yourself?

Isn't that the whole meaning behind an apprenticeship of any sort? From construction to mechanics to architecture to teaching? We might be CAPABLE, but do we HAVE to do it alone? Whose ego does it serve to INSIST on doing it alone?

So, you fuck up your car by doing it yourself, you go to a mechanic and get it fixed, or, at worst, you get a new car.

You fuck up the life of your child. You are fucked yourself.

Why do people do that?

I know extremists that could take my arguments and make them arguments for scheduled cesareans. I am not meaning that AT ALL. I am not even advocating hospital births. I am not advocating dis-empowered births. I am advocating REALITY. Who doesn't live in this world enough to know that there are children who need MAJOR help in labor and birth? That women need MAJOR help in labor and birth?

I suggest a day of volunteering at the Special Olympics. Or the March of Dimes.

Head-in-the-Sand Birthing. That is what a UC is.

Go ahead, crucify me.

rant still on, but without a keyboard


My Letter to Whole Foods:

I am pretty darn sure the person who orders books has not read some of the books on your shelves at the Whole Foods in Hillcrest in San Diego, California.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting is one of the worst books in the history of women in birth. As a midwife who works her butt off to offer choices, inform, and support women and families during their birthing seasons, What to Expect is the epitome of How To Be a Lemming in Birth books. Natural birth is not only barely a sentence in the book, but having a baby without drugs, an epidural, or a doctor is tantamount to martyrdom and child abuse as far as the author is concerned.

I'd like to suggest alternative books for your shelves and pray that you will remove this horrible and disrespectful book from our beloved Whole Foods!

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (Gaskin)
Spiritual Midwifery (Gaskin)
Birthing From Within (Pam England)
Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Henci Goer)
Having a Baby, Naturally (Peggy O'Mara)
A Good Birth, A Safe Birth (Korte and Scaer)
Continuum Concept (Liedloff)
anything by Dr. William Sears

Thanks for listening and I know that thousands of women will thank you for being more aware of what goes into your customer's minds and into their psyches. We deserve to be believed that birth is a beautiful and wondrous experience, not one to be dreaded or made fun of as What to Expect does. We want the Joy that resides in the seed of potential that is the perfection of our bodies!


Quantum Physics: Is Anything Really Real?

Oh, yeah... saw What The Bleep Do You Know last night (http://whatthebleep.com/). There is so much!

* Why do I manifest illness over and over in my life?
* What is the "addiction" I have with pain and suffering?
* How can I undo the synapsis of the pain and suffering addiction?
* How do I begin?

* Does visualization work really?
* How do I make affirmations deeper and darker than a smudge on the negative panorama of my life?
* Why am I sick if I don't have negative self-talk?

* Should I throw away my meds for the cocci?
* Do I have enough belief in my own abilities to self-heal?
* Isn't just asking that question, the answer?

* If we create our own realities (or unrealities, as the case may be), how come babies are able to do it, too?
* Is there a place in life where we don't begin and end and are forever creating our realities (or unrealities?)
* Are we really the God we pray to?

* Is what I say about women birthing God, the truth?
* Do we birth (and re-birth) ourselves every micro-second of every moment of our lives?
* Can I start over? Begin? Fast forward?


Whole What?

So, I go to Whole Foods to get some stuff for a business BBQ I am going to tonight (Sat) and I am feeling like, "Can I just set up a booth here and we can make appointments to come and have midwifery prenatal care so they can have their babies at home and I can walk the aisles with the women and tell them how great they are and how wonderful they are eating, etc?" and then I get to the book section.

What to Expect is sitting on their shelf. Glaring at me.

What the FUCK is What to Expect doing at Whole Foods?!? Do they not know how STUPID how sheep-ish how HORRIBLE that book is with regards to people's choices and women's health and emotional/spiritual well-being?

And next to the YOGA books. sigh

I suggest we all write them and tell them to GET THAT BOOK OFF THEIR SHELVES!


My letter is in the airspace as we speak.


Random Thoughts About Why

a post I wrote:

Why are there so many prenatal tests?

Most women in the world do not get health care unless they are pregnant. Healthcare has decided that if women only come in when they are pregnant, then they will do all the testing possible during that childbearing year. It doesn't matter if the woman is monogamous. It doesn't matter if she doesn't show any clinical indication for a vaginal exam. It doesn't matter that she is well-read and knows what she does and does not want in her care. She will be treated as one of the pack of women who are herded through... test after test assumed to be taken/given... no questions asked. Volume does not allow for individuality. Individuality requires time and healthcare as it is offered to most of the women of the world does not offer time.

Why would a newborn get treatment normally reserved for sexually transmitted diseases?

Erythromycin in the eyes and HepB shots are two major red flags of the assumption of women's whore-dom in our medical community. It doesn't matter if you were tested and shown to have no STD's (the term now is sexually transmitted infections - STI's)... that you are a single woman... that you are monogamous. None of that matters. It is assumed you are lying or have been cheated on (lied to) by your partner.

Again, if the only care a woman/baby gets is in the hospital during birth, as many tests and treatments as possible are going to be shoved onto the dyad. Individuality does not exist. Mass thoughts/beliefs are in motion; not logic.

But, if I have a cesarean, why would my baby still get erythromycin in his/her eyes since the only way to get chlamydia and gonorrhea into their eyes is via the vagina?

Because individual thoughts would undoubtedly mean some babies are left out and it is easier to blanket them all with the eye ointment than to have to mark on charts who was delivered by which method. How time consuming! Remember, there is no time.

Why would my child be offered so many vaccinations when I was vaccinated against so few things?

Because the pharmaceutical companies make BILLIONS of dollars on vaccinations (please don't call them immunizations because they absolutely do not immunize). Doctors are given bonuses for every vaccination they give a child. They are courted, wined, dined, cruised, flown to Europe, given lavish gifts and TONS of money by pharmaceutical companies simply for giving formula and shots to our children.

If they know that mercury makes the kids sick, why do they continue using vaccinations that have thimerasol or mercury?

Because there are years of vaccinations on shelves that have to be used up. The mercury in them is what extends their shelf life many years. So, the pharmaceutical companies are not lying when they say they aren't making vaccinations with thimerasol or mercury any more, but they don't say that they have barely tapped into the stock on the shelves that do have those contaminants.

Why does my care provider (midwife/OB/nurse/doula/friend) scare me with stories because I don't want all the testing they want to do?

To cover their asses in court. They are taught that unless they tell you every nasty thing that can go wrong, they aren't covered in court. Does that mean they will also tell you all the positives about NOT testing? Absolutely not. No one has been sued for having a positive outcome to an AFP/GTT/GBS/etc. screen or test. Doctors and hospitals have been sued for not writing down that they expressly "informed" their patient about the risks of refusing the test. Also, because it is part of human nature to make someone do something we did ourselves... or make them feel guilty if they don't. If we accept that someone we care about or who has hired us might not choose the same thing we have, then someone must be wrong, right?

Why do women tell me such horror stories about the pain of birth?

Birth stories have, in this culture, been the feminine equivalent of a man's war stories... getting bigger, more painful, more dramatic with each re-telling. When women in my life are questioning birth options/locations, I often tell them that if they got 12 women together... 6 who'd started out at home (and most had birthed at home) and 6 who'd started out in the hospital, they would hear 2 distinct differences in birth stories.

The home group invariably shares the pain, the exhaustion, the fears that the hospital group also expresses. But, the home group also speaks of elation, pride, joy, and the power of accomplishment. The hospital group goes on to describe ever-increasing pain, numbness, disrespect, immobility, helplessness, and despair that would shock the home birth group... even those that transfered into the hospital after their homebirth attempt. Which story do YOU want to tell?

Again, women want others to validate their own choices of elective cesareans, of epidurals early in labor, of choosing an expensiveOB... so they belittle the woman who chooses to be (in her eyes) a martyr, an animal, less-evolved woman who might as well squat in the backyard and eat her placenta. If she can't feel right in her own choices, make the other woman feel like shit about hers and then the top dog wins, right? (We know it doesn't work that way, but that haughty woman does not.)

Why would I be told anytime in the pregnancy that I might have to have a cesarean?

So you aren't disappointed if it happens.

If you have it in your mind already that your baby is too big, your pelvis too small, your hormones too old, your body too skinny, your body too fat, your psyche too fucked up, your uterus is tilted, your baby is posterior, your baby is breech, you have twins, you have to have continuous electronic monitoring, you have to be induced, this might be the only baby your body will ever be able to carry, you are too short, you are too poor, you are too rich, you have diabetes, you have epilepsy, you have a hangnail, you don't eat right, you don't drink enough water, you didn't go to childbirth class, you didn't practice your breathing, you didn't do perineal massage, you didn't do yoga, you didn't Believe hard enough, your karma is in control, and any of the other gazillion and one excuses that are shoved down women's throats and into their minds... if you already think you are defective, then having a cesarean just proves it.

And the OB isn't blamed. You are.

Why do some women trust and most don't?

Because we know. We see. We witness. We experience. We love.



* The midwife I am assisting's lady is still hanging out there. The client wants that baby today so the midwife is gonna go see what she can do for her this morning (strip her) and maybe today we'll have the baby. Last labor was 4 hours... should be nice.

* A woman in the community, for long and convoluted reasons, scared the crap out of me yesterday and I was so tired I had very little coping skills to deal with my fear. I took it and wrapped it in a warm, wet blanket... and made it moosh down into a tiny cube like a boullion cube... and took that and put it in boiling water and made broth and let it all evaporate into the Universe to be assimilated and made into Love and Power that wouldn't scare me anymore.

I so do not want to go to jail.

This will be the smallest of the times that I am scared with regards to midwifery and it was a test of how strong I really feel about my beliefs that women are the ones that get to make their choices, not law or man.

I talked to my partner briefly, then a trusted former client, who helped me lots and lots. I felt much safer after talking to her.

Jail sucks.

* I still haven't dealt with the midwife who was dis-invited from the birth that I replaced. Annoying.


Wha's Happenin'

(a variation from Mighty Wind)

* The weirdest interview in the Universe of interviews on Monday. That guy that wanted to come see me on Friday that I told he couldn't because I was going to Temple, drove from many hours away (he thought it would be three; it was six) to come and see me. The interview was intense and the guy was desperate. I told him as much, too. He had to be out of his apartment by Friday and had to have a contract and had to make money. I told him his desperation was rather odd and uncomfortable. So, I asked my standard question that actually is pretty normal in the holistic healthcare setting: What is your passion? And his answer was: Money.

When people don't get the question, and too many don't, I ask in different ways: If money were no object, what would you do? How will you make your mark on the world? When you are gone, how do you want to be remembered?

So, I asked this guy: I hear you about money, but if money were no object, what would you do?

After waiting about 10 seconds, he said: Die

I blurted out: wow, that's sad!

It was just weird. He pressed me for information, for marketing ideas, for a contract (again). I sent he and his girlfriend out for food so I could talk to my partner who said she would interview them if I wanted because we need a chiropractor bad, but I didn't trust my judgement totally; she's really good at reading weird people, though, and had great questions like: Why do you have to leave so fast? What about your clients now? Why don't you have more than 30 days of an income after working your whole life?

They came back from dinner and I told them my partner could meet them on Friday at noon and he tried to "bargain" with me about meeting her sooner. I just gawked at him and told him, for the third time, she was a cop and worked 2p-2:30a and that Friday noon was the earliest she had. He said: Well, I guess I have no choice then, do I? I replied: You always have a choice.

During parts of the interview, I kept thinking that I would probably never see him again and maybe he needed to hear some of my observations. I know that I said: It will be good for you to find some humility when he talked about doing anything for money that was legal, but that he wouldn't stand on the corner handing out fliers or twirling those cardboard signs. I told him he must not be very hungry then.

In my talking with others that night, many of the women brought up great points:

Desperate people do desperate things
He might do things to people/clients that don't need to be done
He would sell things to the clients they didn't need
He might steal

And, after chat and then talking to my partner again, I decided he wasn't gonna come work for me after all, no matter how much I need a chiropractor.

So I called him tonight and told him I didn't think we weren't able to offer what he needed and he snottily told me he already knew that. I laughed and said it was great we were on the same page and that I wished him luck and I hoped he would let me know how his job search goes. He said he would "try." And we hung up. whew Glad that's over with.

I have one hour to sleep before getting up... back later.


Ventura Highway

... and other songs that remind me of my youth.

At a business meeting on Friday, my daughter sat inbetween the pregnant woman and I and she and I (the pregnant mom) couldn't shut up. My daughter was eating her eggs and hash browns and this woman and I were talking about her mucous plug and wiping several times and was there blood or just snotty looking stuff. I laughed and nudged my daughter after a few minutes and said, "having fun?" and she laughed and said how far she has come since coming to work with me 6 weeks ago. She used to get nauseous talking about vaginas... now she could practically see one on the table as she was eating and just keep chomping. Considering she was the one I traumatized most as a child (about birth), I am glad we could begin again and she be fine about it all now.

I took an 8 year old daughter (same one as above) to a birth at with a migrant woman... a really nice birth (the woman met her at prenatals and invited her)... and I didn't know it for a LONG time, but then and there, she decided NO KIDS. I felt so guilty for so long... that I had scared the grandchildren from my daughter.

Gradually, she has said she would adopt, but now, after this summer, she is more open. And, of course, we have let her boyfriend know, in no uncertain terms, that their baby is nursing forever, that the baby is co-sleeping (he was explosive about that and we all laughed and just let him know reality and my daughter said, 'it's my baby, too!' I beamed with pride!)... She has asked about everything from vaccinations to circumcision this summer. I am so glad that, as an adult, I can calmly speak to her. It will be the hugest lesson in my world if she chooses to do things differently than what I chose to do, but I am promising now to be gentle. It was better speaking to her not on a 9-month time crunch. Still time to brainwash.

I'm ready for a nap and it isn't even 6am!


Are You the Person to Whom I Am Speaking?

A woman and I have been yacking on the phone and she has been helping me feel better about my bald head and rebirth stuff. This morning, I had to call her to apologize for not sending the something I was supposed to and that I had a prenatal I needed to do, but if she needed me, I was there to speakerphone with with the group. It was early and I introduced myself as "The Bald Bitch" and launched into my explanation because I was kinda rushing to get out the door for the prenatal (with a Jamba Juice stop). After I took a breath, the woman on the other end of the line said, "Do you know who you are talking to?" and, thinking it was someone who just happened to pick up the phone at my friend's house, said, "Who is it?" Then the woman told me her name and it is a CLIENT of mine! A client! Client! CLIENT! A fantastically funny and loving client, but I was sooooooo embarrassed, I thought I was going to die laughing. My daughter, watching it unfold from not on the phone, could barely breathe as she realized who it was I was talking to. Of course, it was the client I was meeting in an hour to discuss her newly desired HBAC! major red face

I was razzed at the prenatal and she said she would probably just have to call me the Bald Bitch from now on. Oh my gosh.

The prenatal went well... I love yacking. (isn't that shocking?) We did no hands-on since she had just had a prenatal with the CNM at one of the friendlier hospitals. We talked about what she wants out of a birth, who does what, what is a go and what isn't... stuff like that. I will detail more after her birth (with her permission), but for now, know that it is going beautifully!


What if Dying...

... really is rebirthing?

A friend asked why I felt like I was going to die and I just said that it was something deep inside... besides the medication side effects, besides the overwhelming fatigue, besides the diagnosis... and she said that it might bear considering that I might actually be dying in a part of me only to be reborn again in some other part.


In all my knowledge of rebirthing and recreating my Self (for heaven's sake, I have a tattoo on my breast that says: I am a woman giving birth to myself!), this thought had not even occurred to me. Apparently, some things are too close to see.

She did say, too, that if I am dying and I know it as my Truth, that that process needs to be honored, too. I agreed.

But, I have a lighter heart today as I think of the impending death I feel, the incredible urgency to write and tell my stories, the sadness at losing this life before I have tasted every morsel, the pain at all the years I missed by being fat and depressed and angry... and I embrace those feelings... and am loving them... so that I might free them from my Self and my Psyche.

I want to live. I need to live! I have so much to do!

Thanks, friend... you might have saved my sanity.


Blogging Normally

I am in a race to write everything down. Why is it that my mind is clear with writing, yet words slur and bounce around my mind and mouth before drooling out? What is up with that?

A woman today came in that I have been talking to. She wants to rent the space at the office for a class. She told me a story that brought me to tears and reverberated in my head for hours.
Apparently, as a teen, she got pregnant (as a virgin) and, being from a very small mid-western town, her mom took her to another town counties away to see if she was really pregnant, which she already knew she was. This doctor took her into his office alone and told her that he had to make her have an orgasm before he could tell if she was pregnant or not. He proceeded to molest her with his hand and, because of her innocence, she had NO idea this was not normal. It wasn't until YEARS afterwards that she heard of a doctor doing this and when others were shocked, she realized this was not, in fact, normal at all. Her mother, of course, was horrified when she learned what had happened. I cannot imagine either soul's pain.

When we were chatting tonight, we were talking about a former client as she was sharing that she might want to be a midwife now. She had thought of it before, but her previous midwife was so aggressive and she had no other experience with midwives, that she thought that that midwife's behavior was who and what a midwife is and was. She said tonight that after her baby's birth with me, she realized that not all midwives were the same at all and that she could see herself as my kind of midwife. I was more flattered and honored than words can share!

I spoke about how important it is to let people know... our toddlers... our neighbors... know there are other ways of being. It is so much like when those of us who grew up in shit homes... abused, alcoholic, neglected, whatever... and that is normal to us. Until we are out of the arena and see others' lives, we just don't even think anyone lives any different. Why doesn't the abused child speak out? Because she thinks every girl gets fucked at night! Why doesn't the laboring mom tell the midwife to get her hands off her vagina? Because she thinks that is the way it is supposed to be. NO ONE SAID IT COULD OR SHOULD BE DIFFERENT!

A woman I am talking with about birthrape issues speaks about her mom witnessing the birth and not saying anything and, months into her postpartum work, she asks her mom why she didn't do anything to stop the midwife from hurting her. The mom's answer: Because I thought that was normal... it is what happened to me at my births, too.

It is imperative to create a new normal. Speaking up, voicing the reality, smashing the illusion of truth is crucial to our Spirit's continuity.

It is much of why I write.


I Shaved My Head

I was finally proactive in the hair loss arena and had Sarah shave my hair off last night after an exhausting day (15 hours) at the Homo Fest. My hair isn't 1/8 inch long. It looks weird, but I don't think I look boyish or anything. I will get pics today and put them up tomorrow.

I am sad this is even an issue.

I'm tired of feeling so poorly.

*visualizing health and wholeness and LIFE!* (all together now... health, wholeness, and LIFE!)


My Life as a Whirling Dervish

Stream of consciousness here... (do I have any?)

* Started seeing people about 10:05 and the flow didn't stop until 4:45pm when I did a vaginal exam on a kinda not client, but acquaintance of a friend who doesn't believe the docs, but won't hire a midwife. She is trying for a VBAC and they want to induce next Thursday and she wanted me to help kick start her. I didn't because her cervix was high and that baby higher. She said it was the most gentle exam she ever had. whew Nice to know I still know what a cervix feels like after all this time. (Not that it is crucial or anything. laughing!!!)

* I still haven't cancelled my nasty 6 hour Full-Body CT scan for the morning. I haven't had a second to do it. They are gonna croak loudly when I don't show.

* One of my VBAC doula clients is moving to a big ol' house and after a LOT of introspection has decided to go ahead with an HBAC with me. I am ecstatic!! She is due in Nov. I am thrilled. She's a nurse and so is her family... that will be fun, too. smile

* The client mentioned above reads my blog, too. waving I have wondered if my sharing my blog with clients and such is a good idea since I am really pretty darned honest here. I don't want to hold back and don't want their eyes to cause me to censor myself, but I also know that most people rarely hear/see this nasty part of another human that is their caregiver or even friend. These thoughts and feelings are usually reserved for the loving ties of marriage or blood relatives. laughing maniacally

* I have more ulcers on my tongue and nose again and my hair is just falling out in clumps. I am so disturbed, but don't have time to consider it except in the shower where my hair sheds into my hands and my tears fall down into the part of the drain my hair doesn't clog. My leg hair has stopped growing in most parts. I eagerly anticipate my pit hair's demise.

* I am so tired and so so so tired. I am scared that all this work and stress is going to just make me relapse and I cannot have that; don't have time! (And you clients reading this, you are my joy and my light! You are the zero stress in this world for me... it is working so much and so hard with nary a moment's preparation for this in my existance. Who the HELL decided to buy this business?!?) When I am asked when I am opening a birth center it is all I can do to not throw up and become hysterical laughing all at the same time.

* I am eating so many carbs, I am so glad I am on Diflucan so I don't scratch my woo woo to shreds. Ulcers, yeasties... ulcers, yeasties... actually dunno which is worse.

tears falling

Gonna go watch Jeopardy. Is Ken still winning?


Why Do We Need Doulas Anyway?

I am in this place of trying to figure out what a doula really does. The hoopla around the country about doulas getting certified or licensed by this or that organization has prompted my continued thinking that women can and should be in a place of Power themselves during birth. If women felt power-full, then would we even need doulas?

I proposed this to a few of the women in my mom's group yesterday and got great responses.

One woman had a preemie and his birth was very traumatic and included the loss of this baby's sibling (another third of the triplets she was originally carrying). She said that when things went crazy, she was frightened and her partner was equally unable to be the translator during the craziness. Even something as simple as putting on the cd she wanted to hear... wanted the baby to hear... as he was being born... was forgotten in the distress. A doula, she said, would have remedied that. And she is right. She said that even if she has a planned cesarean next time, she will have a doula to help keep the flow kinder and their family's thoughts clearer at a time that can be overload.

I know that I lose a lot of processing in overload. I use the word "overwhelmed" a lot lately. I utilize those around me that know and love me to play the Fill-In-The-Blank game I play too much. I lose nouns and really worry about how I project myself in the company of clients and business associates. "Can you hand me that... uh... you know, that thing that holds paper together?" "Paper clip?" "Yeah! That's it!" groan

Is that same sort of overload what happens to women in labor? Do we foster it with the mechanization of birth? Do we make birth so complicated we need a series of classes that we have to pass just to get to the birth itself? Do we make birth this way at all or is it the OBs and midwives (usually CNMs) that insist on medicalizing birth so that they are held aloft as the Fixers, the Healers, the Saviors? How can we unravel this silly string (absurd string!) and find some balance in that the doula doesn't become a necessity, but a luxury in-case-of?

What is my role in the brainwashing that women need a doula, a midwife, an OB? Is it brainwashing? Or experience? Creative fantasy? Or reality?

I am in correspondence with someone on a UC list who is having to listen to women who are so radical about UC they believe it is more important for a mother and baby to die than to seek help in pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum. She is distressed and cannot begin to counter their intense volume of the What Can Happens in labor. I asked if she thought my laying out a What Can Happen blogspot would be good... one for homebirth and another for hospital birth. She thought that would be good!

I will work on that later.


What DO Women In Labor Think?

There is this belief that women in labor, especially once they are in kicking labor, are unable to make decisions for themselves... that they cannot remember to pee or drink or change positions. The belief unfolds even further in that women seem to hire a midwife so that she is able to guide the energy of the labor and birth when (not if) the woman goes into that place of Other-Worldly-ness. Birthing From Within fosters this belief... a book I love! Whole paradigms foster this belief. Birth plans foster it. Doulas foster it. Dads as Coaches foster it.

Is this paradigm reality?

(Paradigm: a set of deeply held beliefs; usually someone else's)

Women who UC know when to pee and move and shift and wiggle and touch and poop and get into and out of the water. Women who UC in other cultures (they call it "birthing") know how to do these things, too. I acknowledge that our culture doesn't see birth in its normalcy like other cultures might (tribal or migration cultures), but can our bodies be so inherently disassociated that we don't even feel when we have to pee anymore? If the woman was so disassociated when not in labor that she didn't know she had to pee, I might buy that she might not know when in labor, but that isn't whom we are speaking of. We are talking about women in their right minds and bodies... merely in labor... a process made to perfection (most of the time).

Is it my job as a midwife to be the Energy Shifter? Is it my job to say to a woman who has remained in bed for 5 hours (or 20 minutes) that it is time to get up and move so her labor will pick up? Is it my responsibility to offer her sips of water between contractions? Will a woman who is dehydrated not know she is and find herself, eventually, dangerously dehydrated? Where does that belief originate? If I can see a baby is posterior (or hear it with fetal heart tones), is it my job to offer ideas to turn the baby? When does that responsibility move to me and away from mom? Is she offering her Power to me so that I can assist with my knowledge and experience? How do I hold her Power in honor and love without her feeling like she failed? If I see the bladder full, do I assume she can't feel it and ask her to pee? How do I traverse that woman's journey with her without leading her by a leash? Is asking enough? Should I even ask at all?

This is today's concern. How can I discover what a woman can and cannot say in labor if most women are brainwashed/convinced in childbirth classes, by doulas, by midwives, and by OBs that they don't know what they feel? Whom do I ask?

With my clients I have now that are pregnant, do I begin with, "When you are in labor, I will let (probably a sucky word, but after trying different ones, I came back to "let") you guide the Energy... you tell me when you have to pee or drink... you tell me what you need from me." (I can hear some clients now! "What am I paying you for?! Aren't you my caregiver? Why would I be the one to know when I need to pee... isn't that what I hired you for?") How in the world do I come off as someone who is encouraging the retention of Power as opposed to someone who wants to slack on the job I was hired to do? When does the discussion begin for a client? At the first meeting? The interview? Do I take clients that only want to retain their Power? Or do I take clients that want the gamut of "care" and then gradually release the Power they gave me back to them (or not take it in the first place).

I work to offer choices, of course, but that is different than the Here and Now of labor and birth where the midwife is assumed to take control of the Energy... it was what I was trained to do!

A discussion on a doula list right now is about doulas not buckling under to the hospital protocols... not signing them... so they (doulas) can stay autonomous and represent the laboring mom in her time of need. What happened that we believe women cannot speak in labor? When did that happen? I have heard women in labor be very, very expressive of their needs. Why do we think that it is an oddity that they would speak up sometimes and not others? What is it that we who work with laboring and birthing women think we have to be the translators for the client... translating medicalese... translating their own body's signals (or lack thereof)? Why can't we share the information prenatally... offer an OB dictionary so they understand the language being spoken around them in labor... role playing telling the caregiver to "SPEAK TO ME since I am the one in labor here!" Why is there information we don't share? Why do we concentrate on the biomechanics of labor and birth instead of the path to remembering our Power and capabilities in times of stress? Wouldn't that benefit humanity much more than how big 10 centimeters is?

I often say that, in my doula role, I am a walking childbirth class... a sort of cheat sheet should something be forgotten or misplaced during the stress of labor. I would like to see myself like that as a midwife, too. Just an augment... a place to turn when confusion is the emotion of the moment... but, ultimately, returning the Power to the laboring mom/baby/couple/family... as they get their balance again. Similar to when I helped that hands-off client when she was saying she was scared at the end of her labor. I could have gone in and touched and "helped," but, instead, I believed in her... and let her know she could do it... that it was okay, that fear... that she could hold it and birth her child. And she did just that and she soared with that experience!

And so did I.


Developing a Topic

This from another list where the UC discussion is unfolding:

The topic is my seeing another viewpoint... that my saying that UC isn't safe is no different than a doctor saying he advocates homebirth, but... he has seen some dangerous things and just can't really suggest women do it. The woman wants me to see that perhaps I am not the best person to bring up UC even though I have had one.

There is absolutely no difficulty in my hearing your thoughts... at all. Things you have said are nothing new, of course, but bear repeating... and I am hear to listen. I know that the discussion we are having will help me formulate a fantastic workshop on As Midwifery As It Is vs. Midwifery As It Could Be. UC as a choice... especially as a feeling of forced choice... is imperative to what a midwife can do to wake-up and Be the caregiver a woman wants and needs her to be. Too many women are manipulated or coerced in birth and I acknowlege that and want to bop some midwives on the head to wake them up! I can't do it across the world personally, but I can sure try with my words in writing and speaking. You and others here and elsewhere (including the women in my past doula/midwife-life) are all spirits that help guide me to what I feel my true calling is... reminder of our perfection.

What I have to offer in that reminder, however, is that I am deeply rooted in the belief of technology in its place. My clients tell me that they know if they transport, they damn well needed to be in the hospital. I beam when I look at where I am as a midwife right now. Not that there isn't always room for growth, but I am reveling in my evolution today.

The woman prompts that the only essentials in birth are the woman and the baby and that anything... people, meds, things, etc. are "technology."

I often encounter the "Birth Is Natural and If We Left It Alone, It Would Be Perfect" discussion. This is often followed closely by "Our Bodies Instinctively Know What To Do." I agree in theory, BUT, these bodies aren't what they were 500 or 500 thousand years ago. The grand majority of these bodies in North America do not live like our bodies were made to live. I often use Dances With Wolves or my new analogy, Girl With The Pearl Earring, as examples of what our bodies were meant to do: walk to the river for water, make our dishes, plant our food, weed the garden, harvest miles from our home, cook everything from scratch, migrate twice a year across the continent, starve in winter, feast in summer, walk, Walk, WALK miles and miles a day. Sacagawea, at 14 years old with her newborn, walked with the Lewis & Clark Expedition an average of 16 miles a day!

Instead, most of us in this culture sit... at the computer, in front of the tv (in a recliner), in SUVs (in a too-reclined position)... walking to the end of the driveway for the paper is a complaining chore! Pregnant women especially get so little exercise it scares me. (I was one of them, please know that. I was over 300 pounds with each kidlet.) Our diets are dramatically different than our bodies were made to digest... fast food, processed food... even organic foods suffer from pollution, soil depletion, etc. We inhale toxins, eat toxins, sit on toxins that our ancestors couldn't have imagined in their worst nightmares! Evolution just doesn't happen that fast that we would have different birthing instincts from a foremother 1000 years ago.

I rarely saw posterior babies 20 years ago. Now, whole books are written on the subject and it is a common topic of discussion amongst pregnant women. If we cleaned animal skins on our hands and knees, gardened, picked veggies, etc. posterior babies wouldn't be nearly as common. But, we don't, so we have to simulate it with pillows and exaggerated sitting positions to try and avoid posterior babies.

Sometimes extra is horrible. I agree. Sometimes extra is fantastic! And yes, the indiscriminate use of technology SUCKS. The judicious use, however, can and does save lives. Seeing everyone as a potential tragedy is just as wrong as believing that every birth when left alone will go off without a hitch. Babies and mamas died without midwives way back-a-when. Midwives were only called when needed, but it was usually too late for one or the other of the birthing couple. It is how midwives began attending births during the labor, so they could catch a potential issue before someone died. Does it mean midwives have to be all in the space with hands in and on the mom? That is where my own walk is taking me and I shout a resounding NO! (There are, of course, the legal issues I haven't even touched on and that is a whole 'nother topic of Midwifery With the Law Hanging Over Your Head.)

The poster mentions mothers and babies that would have been alive or healthier had they been at home or left alone at home.

Oh, absolutely!!! Absolutely. From birthrape to infection to death... I have seen and heard all that you say. I do not discount that at all. You are absolutely right and that what you shared in that paragraph MUST be said in this hypothetical workshop I am writing... absolutely. You are more right than you know. I despise that the norm in birth is the hospital. I get sick to my stomach thinking of all those normal women lying like gutted fish in the infection and impersonal clanking, stinking hospital. I am totally on your page there.

Whew. Lots to say about this. I should write a book. laughing You all are great to listen. Thanks lots.

I actually would like to impart that UC as a forced non-option could be remedied by a midwife who was hands-off and who allowed things to unfold normally and be there only if needed or asked. The law, of course, is another matter altogether! Is this coming together as a topic for speaking or am I muddying the water considerably?


Random Emails and Posts (of mine)

A high school friend emailed that she looked around my website and was amazed at my work and that I was one of a few that made a difference in the world from our high school. She runs an ABC affiliate's camera department... handing out assignments, etc. and I make a comment about that near the end of my comments to her.

It's funny... I just don't even know how I fell into midwifery, in love with migrant women, in love with service to other human beings.

For so much of my life, despite compassion, I was so self-centered and selfish, I just don't even know where the push to midwifery service occurred! I am often asked how I got into it and I have no clear answer. Circumstances put me in birthing women's lives, yet it took until a move and a second child before Life's mallet hit hard enough on my head that, oh! you want me to be a midwife?!

In my childhood, I could never in a thousand million years, have imagined a life assisting women in finding their path through the rite of passage called birth. I still shake my head in amazement (and confusion!).

But, that was the long way around to thanking you for the very kind compliment about my calling. It is a miracle being asked into women's/family's lives during a year of change and transition and joy and a walking through fear; I am so blessed.

You tell the story in a different way... through pictures. I speak through words (written and spoken). Your storytelling isn't any less valid. And I depend on your medium a LOT... wish I had more access to it because the standard press is so immune to the real ways of birth, we are on a mountain climb to show that what you see on tv (even un-reality birth shows) is not how birth can or should... or even is... when the women are loved and cherished and respected to birth in their Power.

Thank you.



When one has a gastric bypass, the worst thing in the world that can happen is an ulcer in the pouch. The pouch is the size of an egg, so any hole in there can be devastating. More surgery, blood transfusions, incredible limitations to food intake are all a part of the difficulties of ulcers after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). So, when I began throwing up blood, you can imagine my concern.

During PSI (an entry all on its own) on Sunday, I threw up twice and there was blood, but I had tomatoes on the sandwich and thought that might be it... kinda noted it, but pushed it aside. However, during the herpes check at the doc's yesterday and I felt so horrible (faint, weak) and after the NP left and I vomited blood again... I became more alarmed. My daughter helped me find a bathroom so I could diarrhea and vomit at the same time (I thought I was going to faint) and I was just terrified about the blood. I called the doctor before I even left the hospital. I ran through the multitude of meds I was on, trying to see if any were NSAID in origin or had that inclination to pierce a pouch... nothing that I could think of.

The doc didn't call back in a timely enough manner, so I called back and they put me right through. He told me to get to the ER now. Asked what my pulse was... 110. Go NOW. Take an ambulance if I am alone. I told him I wasn't, that my daughter could take me. He said go NOW. I called my partner who raced home, threw her armor off, a shirt on, and we were out the door toot sweet.

During the waiting time for the doc to call back, I collected, in 2 separate Gladware thingies, my vomit with blood and my diarrhea to check for occult blood. My daughter was disgusted and made aluminum foil covers for them so she didn't have to see the specimens. I laughed while I nearly fainted covering the plastic.

I get to the ER... they whisk me in... ask a hundred questions... and then my partner and I were in a cubicle thingie and I am gowned nekkid and gurney-ized. The kind nurse comes in, tries to poke me for blood work and an IV and misses. I tell her no more pokes until she tests the samples for blood. She thought that was a great idea.

During the time apart, when my partner and I weren't fighting over PSI concepts or silent because I was done fighting, she went through my diet for the day. I ate au gratin potatoes at 6am... that was it! I felt horrible... zero desire to eat all day. She asked, "no candy, no crackers, nothing else?" and my face dropped. I'd had TWO Skittles at the doc's office... but I couldn't remember what color they were! We started laughing about the absurdity of my vomiting Skittle-color, not blood... that the day before had probably, in fact, been tomatoes. She played the What-If game about why I had a fever, why was I faint, why blah blah blah and I told her I was NOT being scoped if I didn't have blood in that vomit she was checking.

When the nurse came in, we told her about the Skittle episode and she laughed her head off... went to the other nurses and they laughed their heads off... we were all giggling so much; the comic relief was welcome.

The nurse came back awhile later... no blood. No pokes. I wanna go. She said I would have to sign AMA if I didn't wait for the doc, but she would send him in right away so we could go. I was soooooooo embarrassed, but couldn't stop giggling. My daughter tried to give me granola when I felt faint! I chose the stupid Skittles.

The doc came in, asked his requisite questions, laughed and sent us on our way.

All I had was Skittle-itis... didn't even need a Skittle-ectomy or anything.


Cynical or Reality-Based?

So, the motto/mantra is To Think Is To Create. And for a LONG LONG time, I heard this from my partner and believed its reality and truth. And then, when I stepped out of my depression and my house and my sheltered (sorta) life, I began watching as women of privilege worked very very hard to create their Perfect Births. Hypnobirthing classes, childbirth classes, reading all the "right" books, hiring a doula, a midwife, planning their elaborate home waterbirths... and then they had horrendous labors, transports, ending up, 2 in particular, not only with cesareans, but with cesareans with general anesthesia! What is up with that? Or the UC women we know who work so hard to birth their wondrous babes only to have them die. Or our hospital mums... and their amazing work to create the birth they need and want on their path... and they are given birthrape instead. What of that?

What of children who are molested? Folks who are raped? If all thoughts manifest into reality, who the fuck is thinking up these thoughts at 6 months (or 6 years or 16 years) old?

Is this cynical? Or real? I can't wait to explore it more the next 3 days, 'cuz if no one else brings it up, I sure am.

Now, I will agree that there are no accidents in the choreography of our lives (my words, finding more poetry than they used). The rapes and incest and neglect and watching a drugged mom and all that I lived through have helped make me who I am. Crappy childhood and early adulthood, sure, but I wouldn't have gotten into therapy and found new ways to mother (not only my Self, but my children, too!), new ways to cope (besides killing my Self), new ways to handle difficulties in relationships, etc. Does it mean I am glad I had those things happen? Hell, no! Does it mean I Own the experience? Absolutely. By taking them and making them mine, I take the shitheads' power from them and become stronger as they get weaker. (My incestuous step-grandfather killed himself about 4 years ago... thank the Goddess! Ding dong, the Witch is dead!)