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Saturday
Oct232004

Estrellas

Stars

My precip-ing lady still hasn't had her baby. I did a home visit this morning and she wants the baby OUT. I did a vag exam and she is a tad more open, but I wouldn't strip her. The great news is the head is so much harder than last week... that made me happy.

She is incredibly emotional and called me yesterday telling me how she was making her kids cry and that she hated her husband, but couldn't remember why. She does this before each child, so we are probably close(r). I spent some time talking with her about her needs and they are for solitude more than anything since she is living with in-laws and they party every night (Mariachi Band and all, last night). We strategized about how to find some peace and even offered to have her come to my clean and quiet house or do home visits with me... whatever she needed, we could find a way.

Her fundal height is low and getting lower. It concerns me, but after discussing her history, it seems this isn't uncommon. Her kids are tiny even now and she isn't having eating issues or vomiting or anything and there feels like there is plenty of fluid (that baby bounces around easily), so I am just mildly concerned. I spoke with the CNM backing up for my regular LM since she is off seeing fall colors in the northeast and I think I want the client to come in Monday for someone else's evaluation and to consider an ultrasound. Mom said she would be fine with an ultrasound, too, so we'll see what happens. Maybe there won't be a baby inside to ultrasound by Monday.

I got into the circumcision discussion with a Jewish lesbian couple I met initially 18 months ago or so when one was pregnant and they were interviewing doulas. They didn't choose me. So, now they are at our Temple (actually, we are in theirs) and are much more kind and I love their baby. One of the women was a Rabbinic student and I mentioned my heated discussion with the Rabbi and she had the same arguments he did, especially about it being THE covenent of the Jews and how it is so sacred, blah blah blah. I asked her what women do to show God that they are Jewish and she said women don't have to do anything, that in times past, they needed to be protected and that circumcision would show who would really protect them. I blinked looking at her, disbelieving what I was hearing. I said to her, "you know, we are not even welcome in an Orthodox Shul," and she continued with how Orthodoxy is relatively new and that women can demand sex, not the man... how women don't have to do this or that, but the man does... and she totally missed the "Honey, Jews hate dykes" that I was trying to say.

I was exhausted and my partner tried to pick up where I left off, but I realize just how ingrained, culturally and religiously, these folks are and how I would never change anything with them. And the funny thing is, I don't think they need to change the religion to totally banning it (although that would be nice), but to acknowledge the holiness and purity and PERFECTION of God's children and allowing the parents - and the child - a choice in whether they have body modifications or not. I mean, if you believe that some rules should have been tossed out as others brought in, why isn't this one of those out-dated rules? I see it as archaic.

It's how my grandparents and great-grandparents looked when they talked stupid crap about blacks and Jews. They SO believed it and looked SO convincing. I could see the polished speeches in their eyes.

I considered, after the talk with the Rabbi, not going back. I was that angry and hurt that he couldn't understand what I was saying. Sarah said at least there was discussion at all and I told her there was zero discussion... it was his thoughts and opinions and my thoughts and opinions; there was no considering the other's side (I admit that, even for me). And then I reminded myself, again, of his humanity and his brainwashing and that just because he was wrong on this issue didn't mean he wasn't a good teacher on other issues I agreed with. So I sucked it up and went last night and held my head up high as I looked at him. I'm glad I did. I certainly don't want a man to get in the way of me and my relationship with my God (and the definition is open for interpretation, btw... it isn't some man sitting in the clouds) or my own inner work towards a deeper spirituality. It is easier for me, though, I acknowledge that, since it isn't me with a new baby boy wanting inside the Temple and not being welcomed. It would be a different story if we had a son we were wanting to raise as a Jew.

I created a title in my head: Rabble Rousing With the Rabbi

I think it's catchy.

Estrillas = stretch marks (I always got them confused with stars when working in migrant locations)

Wednesday
Oct202004

Circumcision and the Rabbi

I finally had 2 seconds to speak with the Rabbi last night after our first adult education class and I was less than pleased about the outcome. In fact, I cried the moment he turned away and continued all the way home.

My consolation comments to myself: He's just a man. And he's wrong.

The situation: Clients who are Jewish or who want to be Jewish, yet won't circumcise their boys on ethical reasons and how they cannot find Temples to join or even feel welcomed at. (dangling preposisition, I know) So, this new Rabbi, so progressive! so wonderful about how so many laws are outdated and should have been tossed out long ago! I thought, for sure, he would be on my side on this issue. I was more sadly mistaken than I could have imagined.

His arguments: It is the most important covenant with God along with Shabbat in the home. It doesn't hurt the baby. There are no dangers in it. Moms don't have to watch. It's worse in the thinking about it than in the doing it. Babies cry when their blankets are removed... the same as crying with circumcision. The babies that continue crying are rare and probably have colic or something. It isn't the same as female circumcision. Why would someone let the child make the decision since parents sometimes have to make the decisions like not touching a hot stove?

My retorts: Just because a culture accepts something doesn't mean it is morally correct... as in the case of female circumcision. If moms don't want to watch, why make the baby go through it themselves? Babies cry much more with circumcision than with jostling of blankets. Babies that keep crying hurt; they are not colicky. Body modification is a whole 'nother animal than a hot stove. Babies penises have been cut off by the process... and there is infection.

I couldn't believe how sad I was talking about this with him. I had to shove my tears back (why?) during the whole talk.

When I spoke about penises falling off he made comments about not finding butchers to do the ceremony and then proceeded to tell me about a mohel here in San Diego that was so bad the Rabbis gathered together and ordered him to stop or they were taking him to court. I was so stunned I couldn't eek out the WHAT ABOUT THOSE POOR BABIES HE MUTILATED BEFORE YOU TOLD HIM TO STOP?!?! And he spoke about butchers more than once. I look forward to speaking up in the future about it; I doubt this is the last we will speak about the issue.

I told him my partner and I would not circumcise a boy if we had another... that one of our son's was circumcised and one was not.

He said he would be glad to speak with those that hadn't circumcised their boys... telling them how horrible it is to be raised Jewish only to be ready for their marriage in the Temple and to not be allowed because they really truly were not Jewish by having an intact penis. I told him that none of these people I know have anything to say to him.

I told him we would have to agree to disagree. He said he hoped this issue wouldn't remove us from the membership.

And it is then that I reminded myself of his humanity and his fallability and that my reality is just as valid (if not more so) than his on this issue. That I, too, am a Rabbi in my life.

It just makes me so very sad.

wiping tears still

And this on my first son's 22nd birthday. How I wish I had never had him cut. I learned so much from him.

Saturday
Oct162004

Not Everyone Invited Will Be Coming Back From Lunch

I'm on a Lion King kick right now (the Broadway edition)... I can't sing it enough.

* I have talked about vaginas more this week than in ages! And done more vag(inal) exams than in the last year.

I have a woman who precip'd last time (had her baby damn fast) and is 36 weeks + and is way dilating and effaced and we are going to have a baby next weekend. There are major dilemmas at play. Balancing prompting the baby to come along with her history of precip-ing and hemorrhaging, she is extremely afraid to deliver alone. She was laughing and talking last time with tiny crampies... stood up... and the baby was there. Silent labors can be scary and the subsequent hemorrhages are worse. If the uterus doesn't have to stand at attention to get the baby out, it isn't as attentive at keeping the uterus tight after the baby comes.

We are going to put in a heparin (actually, saline) lock, have pit and meth in a small bag of fluids, and then strip her and see what happens. She was stripped twice last time and still she nearly delivered alone.

I asked my partner (who has assisted me before) if she would at least go and be with her (parnter is a cop) and she said she would... until one of the 4 midwives around the county we have at the ready for her. I was so touched she would do that! Surprised, too. She said she would call the fire department, too, because she won't just let her bleed, but I told her to just let them take care of her until we got there. I reminded her of this client's intense modesty, too, and she understands. I asked the client if she minded and she said, "No!!" that she would be a friendly face and I had to remind her that she looks imposing in her uniform with her vest on... she is huge! and she said she would remember that.

I am hoping that, with all this preparation, we have a 4 hour labor when everyone can get there and the birth be gentle and wonderful and no bleeding at all.

We want to do the IV pit and meth because it takes effect immediately as opposed to IM pit which can take 3-5 minutes to kick in. Just in case.

The mom wanted us to strip her this week. She was very convincing, but that head was a tad softer than I would have liked (she swears she is 37+ weeks), so we bargained for another week.

* Another client, a VBAC, continues having some pretty darn good contractions. She needs to stop it. She isn't due until Thanksgiving.

* Another client is screwing her head off with her man in South America and emailed to tell me she is having the most fun and sex of her life. Her vagina, too, is seeing some action! Her man lives down there and can't get up here... they are trying, but if he can't, they are working on getting a webcam set up so he can at least "be" at the birth in a cyber sort of way.

* I helped a doula client with nursing yesterday. The baby was clicking his jaw and was gnawing on mom... I am hoping that positioning will tend to it. He feels like he has a short palate, too, which will be better with age. He was also way small and yellow at 2 weeks postpartum. I weighed him and he was 2 ounces heavier than 3 days earlier (still 10 ounces from his birth weight, though); if he'd been the same, I would have sent her to the ped. The baby was some awake at one time, but kinda tired. The yellow this late is a tad disconcerting, too. She said he was better, then he was worse again with the nursing probs. I hope I helped. She goes to the ped on Monday for a weight and bili check.

She had me wear gloves to touch her baby. She whispered that others don't hold him right. She won't let anyone else drive the baby but her husband. She knows she is neurotic (her word) and I casually mentioned that it should go away, especially with another child someday. That no one wanted to break the kid's neck or crash the car with him in it. When she talked about supplementing with organic formula, I suggested another nursing mom (my co-teacher that she knows) and she was horrified. Inside, I wondered how she could justify a foreign animal's milk that she has zero knowledge of (or even if one can bet 100% on it being organic) vs. a mother she knows and likes loads and doesn't drink or do drugs. I would take my friend's milk over formula without batting an eye.

* So, we had dinner the other night with a friend and I was the odd woman out. All the others were major athletes from pro golfers to active surfers (who, for all I know, just sit on their boards in the water). Partner and I were the only parents in the small group, so I made sure to bring up placentas in the freezer and vaginas. Doubt I'll be invited back. I probably embarrassed my partner, but she was kind enough not to say anything. She didn't embarrass me even though she had some fine, fine wine we brought (Jarvis cab). I wasn't bored or anything, but it was just weird not having anything in common with a group of lesbians. Oh, except for liking vaginas... we do have that in common.

* Hired another doula.

* Met a midwife from New Zealand who is moving to our area in about a year. I am going to help her get her license to practice. There is a mechanism for foreign-trained midwives, we just have to figure out what that is. Liked the midwife LOTS and told her whenever she wanted to commiserate about homesickness, I was her gal.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday
Oct092004

Nobody Ill Can Scream Like That

(one of my favorite lines ever in a book/movie)

Secret Garden

2am on Saturday morning.

It feels like forever since I have last written! I miss it. I dream about blogging, but so haven't had the time. My clients are having a harder time than we would have expected at this time.

* I missed a doula client's birth because Baby 3 took my phone and pager and put them in the office (here at home) and closed the door. I was sick and went to bed and forgot them on my purse. He told his mom he moved them because they "kept going off." I wanted to explode. Everyone else finds it amusing. I was infuriated and feel he should pay me back for some of the money the client is sure to ask for back.

* That same client had a velamentous insertion of an umbilical cord, an anterior placenta, a breech baby with a nuchal cord x2. They went from wanting a homebirth to "let's see how a scheduled cesarean can be made better." I spent loads of hours on the phone and in the office with them (they were also in our childbirth class) and then about an hour before she went to bed the night before scheduling her cesarean with her doctor. Her water broke and that is when they called and called me and went to the hospital and had surgery 20 minutes later. A beautiful boy! I have no idea about the cord yet, though. I'll need to see the Op Report. Dad got to cut the cord, though, which was great! And her sister was also in the OR with dad; very unusual. I am SO disturbed I missed it. I offered to do the PKU for them free-of-charge, but they didn't take me up on that. No mention from them of wanting money back yet.

* Another client is just barely 36 weeks and is 3cm dilated with head engaged and ready to GO. She had a 30 min labor last time with hemorrhage (the only IV I have ever gotten; got it when it was important!) and there are 4 midwives on alert for her... we hope at least one gets to her. She is about 12 min from my house, but about an hour from the office. The other closest midwife (my Licensed Midwife with this birth) lives about 25 min away, but is leaving on vacation on the 14th for 2 weeks. The CNM is backing me up (overseeing), but it would be better if it were the LM, simply for familiarity's sake. The CNM, however, delights in IVs and we want to have a Hep Lock in this mama the second she feels contractions going... and a pit and meth in a 250 ml bag of fluid just in case something goes on.

An aside about pitocin: It takes 3-5 minutes for intra-muscular (IM) pitocin to kick in/take effect in a body. It takes effect immediately when done intra-venously (IV); hence, the IV being ready.

We hope that if we have everything ready, we won't have to use a thing.

* Another mama, due mid-November hadn't felt her baby move for far too long. I had her drink a couple of cups of coffee and some ice water (when babes won't/don't move and makes mom nervous, we have them drink their favorite caffeine... either soda, juice, or coffee... works very well), but the baby still didn't perk up. She lives an hour away (at 85mph with no traffic... I know for a fact), so I sent her to the local hospital (if she'd have been closer, I would have gone there to check; next time, I will drive there anyway... probably best to find out if there is a fetal demise at home than have the experience you are about to read). I called her midwife at the local teaching hospital and she said it was the right thing to do, that if she were closer, she could have come down here, but if the baby was dying, sooner than later was good.

She got to the hospital about the time I was in 25 minutes away and dad called to tell me the baby sounded good and I wept with relief after hanging up.

I got there and mom tells me she told them she was having an HBAC and they were having cows over it. She also told them her midwife was coming up. (!) She was nervous, for sure, but I attempted a save later... dunno if it worked.

The baby's heart rate was a perky 150-170 (120-160 is normal), which was not unusual considering the coffee intake. She was reactive and doing well, but also having some mild contractions. When I was still driving, they said they might want to keep her overnight, but when I talked to the CNM down at the other hospital, she said we could come down there if overnight was necessary (and to deliver the baby if it was gone). When I got there, the dad said they talked about the AMA (against medical advice) thing and how insurance wouldn't pay for the visit if that were they did that. I didn't have time to explain it would have been a transfer of care, not AMA, but it became irrelevant.

The nurse made comments every time she came in the room about the risks of a homebirth and a homebirth after cesarean... acting as if my client chose to HBAC on a gambling bet or something. She is a nurse, for crying out loud! And well-read. And she and her husband have discussed all the pros and cons for years before this pregnancy. The discharge papers said it all: Patient educated (EDUCATED?!?) on risks of home birth and vaginal birth after cesarean. Gee, if y'all hadn't said anything, we never would have known!

Besides the odd comments in general (why wouldn't you want to deliver in the hospital naturally?), two stand out:

Nurse - You know, we had one of our nurses try for a homebirth after her cesarean and, well, it just was a disaster. *tsk tsk-ing* And her baby... *trailing off for effect* (None of us three picked up the trail, either... we let it lie.)

Doctor - Now, you know the risks, right? I mean, the baby could die. You're okay with your baby dying? *looking right at dad* You're perfectly fine with your baby dying at home?

Dad - Uh, no, I am not okay with the baby dying, but I do know the risks. (YESSSSSSSSSS!!! Can't get much more graceful than that, can ya?)

sigh

When the nurse was in the room, I mentioned calling the other hospital and asking the midwife for her records, but they were still at the office since she was so early. The nurse looked at me oddly and then the client and said something about delivering with midwives in the hospital... we didn't pursue that either. But, at one point, I did say I was her doula. That sucked. I don't even remember the context.

I didn't feel especially scared, but it was a taste of what I will feel/get in a transport situation and needed to feel/experience that to remind myself I am not within the law and to make sure my fear doesn't push me to the ground.

* I know, in many ways, my pregnant/birthing women are keeping me alive and mostly well.

* The 2 new midwives do not want to work with one of the older midwives. Originally, it was going to be a job sharing situation, but neither is comfortable with her style. That midwife is doing major power crap at the office as she feels more and more threatened. A midwifery chart takes about an hour to put together and she needed 2 papers in one and didn't want to wait for the receptionist to get them from the file, so she tore apart a chart for them and threw the rest of the out-of-order chart into the re-file box. I was sooooo mad. I will email and speak about it when I see her next. She also keeps telling the new midwives that they will get all the clients now and she won't have any. I told the one midwife who felt badly about that that the issue was the midwife's ego and to not let that affect her at all! The midwife has clients jump ship with subsequent pregnancies because of her "style" and attitude. Her skills are fine, if not great; her attitude sucks.

* The 2 new midwives and I went through my birth kit and talked about why things went where and how I'd labeled everything and why. We played with gauze to show how each of us packs (or doesn't pack) for suturing. I shared my strengths and weaknesses so they would know and not be surprised at a birth.

Strengths: shoulder dystocias, calmness in emergencies, neonatal resuscitation (I practice all the time), labor support

Weaknesses: IVs, suturing (2 things I have rarely, thank god, had the opportunity to experience)

They shared their strengths which included IVs and suturing. smile

I let go of the worry about suturing, however, when I heard an older midwife say: if you put two pieces of a vaginal cells together in a room, they will find each other. I figure suturing them together will help that process even more.

* Besides the fevers and stuff, my heart is lighter. I love birth and this life. I am tired, but happy. I want more... time, money, and leisure... but, who doesn't?

"Nobody ill can scream like that."

That's how I feel with my writing.

Sunday
Sep262004

Naming That Dark Place

menstruation

Saturday
Sep252004

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:

http://www.rsds.org/2/what_is_rsd_crps/index.html

and

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/health_and_medical/pubs/rsds_fact_sheet.htm#symptoms

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.

Tuesday
Sep212004

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

... HIRE 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

Sunday
Sep192004

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!

Sunday
Sep192004

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?

Saturday
Sep182004

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!

customer.questions@wholefoods.com

My letter is in the airspace as we speak.

Tuesday
Aug312004

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.

Thursday
Aug262004

kdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkd

* 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.

Wednesday
Aug252004

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.

Tuesday
Aug102004

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!

Saturday
Aug072004

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!

Friday
Aug062004

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.

Epiphany!

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.

Tuesday
Aug032004

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.

Sunday
Aug012004

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!)

Thursday
Jul292004

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?

Wednesday
Jul282004

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.