Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ill let one little one leak out...

I dont usually discuss names, after the first pregnancy, you realize pretty quickly that people will laugh and scoff at your choices, leaving you feeling super shocked and embarrassed--then you name your kid the name anyways and they love it, maybe because it is "too late" or maybe because discussing the name of someones belly-lump is completely weird and too abstract for manners to always apply or who knows what. anyhow by the second baby you learn to hang your head in faux-modesty and mumble some shit about how you dont really have any names picked yet...even though you have written Roberto Andrew Henderson, Andrew Roberto Henderson, Bradley Buxton Henderson and the like on every scrap on paper you can get your swollen hands on since you peed on the stick, and the books in your bathroom are "cool Baby Names", "10, 000 unique names for baby", "Creative baby names for the 21st century" and you have favorited 15 web searches with Baby Names by Country of hang your head and look at your hands and say, "oh, we arent sure yet..."

But im comin out with one that has nabbed me.

I need someone to talk me out of Anakin. Like as a middle name, even. I am not even a big star wars fan, seriously. I dont even like StarWars, it is boring to me. But what a flippin darling name. I love the name Annika and I love all the "N" ending sounding names, so man o man.

Maybe as a middle name?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Week 15: How am I feeling? Ask me in 15 minutes.

I am listless.
I am energetic.
I am huge and fat.
I dont look pregnant.
I look 7 months pregnant. Well at least my butt does.
I feel sick.
I feel beaming with health.
I feel dizzy and confused.
I feel strong and decisive.
I am starving.
I have no appetite.
I feel patient and loving.
I am pissed off almost constantly.
I feel ecstatic.
I feel depressed.
I cant sleep.
I am so tired.
I look like a manbearpig.
I look super cute lately.
I cant stop thinking about being pregnant.
I dont feel pregnant.
I am thirsty.
All drinks sound gross to me.
My clothes are all too small.
My new maternity clothes are kinda too big (but way better!!)
I want to enjoy this whole "lovely 2nd Trimester" thing becasue I never have had this before.
I want something to happen and am having trouble just enjoying the calm.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shwoo shwoo shwoo shwoo..the best sound on Earth

So, I am really pregnant-- We heard the heartbeat Tuesday night on the doppler, ("dangerous" waves be damned! I begged for that thing and it the sound I heard made my face crack in half from smiling) 140 bpms, hip hip hooray! theres a person in my belly! W E I R D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It never ceases to seem rediculous until the babies are rocking and rolling and kicking madly. Then it still seems ridiculous but much more believable. Is it just me?

So, yes, Tuesday night my dear midwife came over for our prenatal 3 hour hang out/cookie chowing laughing and story swapping fest. It was great. She brought me a pregnancy journal, something I never did or had before, and she took my blood pressure ,(nice and low) pulse, measured my fundus (right on track or a little above, my typical pattern with the other babies) and then as she was saying we could try to get some heartones with the fetoscope I was like bust out the doppler please! And so we got to hear the Shwoo Shwoo Shwoo Shwoo--does anyone ever get tired or blase hearing that sound? Chills upon chills upon pride.

I told her I am quite sure I am anemic and I am awaiting results from my blood work I am getting through my family doctor. I wanted a work-up of labs and we both agreed it would be good to see where Im at, especially since my hemoglobin was 4.8 after I had Charlie and I never got back in to see the doctor to "follow up" (whoops 25 months later). But I am feeling anemic and have the symptoms, too. I am going to start a pill form of Floradix+Iron, which sounds much better than the liquid greens which I might hork back up ;)

What else can I tell you all? I dont know. I am feeling bushed and weary and wary from all of the stuff that has been going on on my midwife's blog, and feel like I dont really want to talk about birth per se today. I never meant to get so polarized about UC and such because there is no way to please everyone and to not insult people and I dont have the energy for it right now. I dont know if it is the presumed anemia or the long hours at work, but I feel like I am barely "here" mentally and just cant seem to pump out the sharp and clear words that I think I used to.

Soon I hope.

I also might get a bottle of Motherwort in the house. I have been unstable to put it nicely. I am dreading Christmas because I am going to cry for everything both happy and stressful and I feel pretty certain that there are going to be alot of visits with alot of people who will be putting me and my family under the extra-strength microscope (not only homeschoolers, but Good Lordie, pregnant again!) at a time when I can barely picture just getting us all dressed and into the car, let alone being some beacon or representation of the perfectly adjusted whatever family. Caseys gonna be sassy, Mickeys gonna be eye-rolly and sighing, Gretas gonna be edgey and snappish, Charlies gonna want to nurse, and I feel like everyone is gonna take one look at my sweaty, acne encrusted whitish grey face and think "those poor freaks I feel so sorry for them/they suck/theyre horrible" and there isnt anything I can do about it and it is paralyzing me with amotivational syndrome, a.k.a. laying on the couch with quilts and cocoa and TiVo'ed Rudolph and Frosty and Grinch all day and night. I hope Im wrong, but no matter what, I am too tired to do anything about it! Paranoia. Its the pits. You never know if its real or not.

I would like to end on a different note so I will just say that I really do believe that a true little dear baby is inside of me now and really, who could ever be sad about anything knowing that?

Love you all,


Friday, December 14, 2007

fade to section

Why can't women who have a cohesive and determined plan to "just give birth" be able to achieve that ?

What are all the women who truly, truly can't afford a $2000-$4000 midwife really supposed to do?

What are the women who really, truly cannot find a midwife supposed to do?

It is impossible to just go to the hospital and say "I am in heavy labor, please let me push this child out on your turf. Do not touch me. I will not lay on the little bed. I refuse the velcros, pins, inserts and cuffs. UNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGH Wahh wahh wahh cool its a girl!"

Why is it legal for giving birth in safety and dignity to be illegal?

What are these women suppossed to do?

What happens to the sweet, well intentioned Doulas when they try to wrestle the doctor sand nurses away from the laboring mom? Is that their job?

Such a battle. It sickens me. there are pregnant women right now, in their homes, at their jobs, who have absolutely no ides what in the hell they are gonna do, where they are gonna go, who is their enemy, who will hurt them, who will protect them, which way is up, and their family and friends and spouse and lover all think she is crazy for wanting a good birth and so all she has, if she is lucky, are web searches about "birth stories" and "birth photos" and "find a midwife" and thats about it.

Scared, angry, resentful, hopeless, they read and they read and they cry and they cry. And the baby grows bigger and the time grows shorter and the energy runs lower and the hope gets fainter and the giving up looks easier and the fire grows dimmer and the baby grows bigger and bigger and bigger.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

13 weeks

Well, I am 13 weeks today, the beginning of the 2nd trimester! Woohoo! I have run out of my vitamins and can feel it. I am going to buy some tonight on the way to work. I feel really spacey and tired and junky--is the best way to describe it. I feel like I need vegetable stew but had gummi bears instead, if that makes any sense. I take Rainbow Lite One a Day and would never take anything else. they are made out of food and they are magic.

I want to feel the baby move and I know that wont happen for a little while yet. I am getting anxious for my first prenatal this upcoming week and to MAYBE hear a heartbeat!

I have a little wishlist of maternity clothes I want for Christmas and am looking forward to not looking like such an idiot in my regular clothes and to having some nice long shirts and maybe a few little jumpery dresses. I have a few things in my "cart" on Old Navy dot com that I hope look as cool as they do in the picture :)

I wish I had some big deep thought to share but today I am just a cold sleepy hungry girl who doesn't want to go to work tonight, whose clothes do not fit, and who doesn't know quite what sounds good. I guess hours in a jacuzzi, unlimited middle eastern food, and a week to myself to doze and read and float around in the hot water. That and some vitamins and the interesting posts might return ;)


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Such insanity! The things I have seen on YouTube...shootings, sex acts, nasty skits, far right-wing politicians talking...but no nursing babies.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Guess which celebrity is pregnant again now? Sheesh, these breeders!

ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it is true folks, I am preg-er-iffic and feeling really relatively good! I have been DYING to blog about this but couldn't until I told everyone, and now I have and so there you have it!

Ok, some stats:

I am "due" in mid to late June, so I am picturing maybe July?

I am feeling awesome, (for me). For most women, I am sure this is normal amount of morning sickness, but for me, this is like the most unbelievable thing ever. I have not barfed one time! Man, have I come close-- and I could puke at any time. I could right now! but I just don't.

I eat all day. 'Round the clock. I pack in the protein like you wouldn't even believe, and it is working. I eat and I eat and I eat and if I don't, then there is about a 2 minute window in which to get me some food that sounds good or else....panic, tears, sweats, dizziness, inconsolable weeping and despair, gagging goose noises, and eventually, puking. But I just do not let it happen. I eat in the night, too--sometimes my husband brings it to me and sometimes I have it right by my bedside.

I was pregnant on my big trip to Rixa's and yes it was hard.

I have been really tired but the past 2 weeks that has let up, alot. Its like this just unbelievable miracle--something I just never pictured could happen to me, you know? After 4 pregnancies ALL with trips to the hospital for IV fluids and Phenergan suppositories (sexy, right) and little xeroxes about "Hyperemesis Gravidarum" for the ole' scrapbooks, I just felt quite sure that I was a Puker. And I am. But now I have it under control, somehow.

So what else can I tell you? It has been V E R Y hard being a bartender until midnight. I do not get enough sleep. I do not want to be there that late. I do not like some of the things I have to do at work. has also kind of saved my life. You see, I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 10 1/2 years. I have had a few jobs here and there, and I provided daycare in my home for 3 years, but I have not had a real steady job like this in a long time, and it is cool! I have to get it together when I do not want to. I have to have a real outfit and makeup and a smile--and that is AWESOME. It has scraped me off of the couch, out of my pajamas, and gotten some lipstick and blush across this grey, grey face 3 night a week, for weeks now, and it is GOOD for me.

Do I wish it only went until 10 pm and not midnight? Of course. Do I wish I could see my husband more? Of course. But it only goes until late March and by then I will probably be slowing down alot more and need to be at home.

Its funny, because when I found out I was expecting, the ONLY thing I was worried about was "Oh no! My new job! no no no no no!" Because, you see, my ONLY experience of first trimester ever, ever was me falling asleep in my dinner plate, and non stop vomiting or standing in the bathroom with tears running down my face, waiting to vomit. So obviously I assumed this would be the same deal and how could I tend the bar when I was in the bathroom sleeping or whatnot? I was SO worried. But I just brought in all sorts of granola and cheese and sandwiches and my friend brings me all these scrumptious hot meals when he is there, and I sip on Vernors and lemon water and....I don't throw up! I smile and talk and go home and jump in bed, usually with my work clothes still on.

I never find out what I am having, as far as a boy or a girl, so I wont this time, either. I would like a girl, but cannot even picture having one, so we will leave it at an assumed boy again :)

I am assisting/apprenticing with my old Midwife, as I told you all earlier, and I told her I was pregnant a few weeks ago and she was thrilled and wonderful. She knows what I have been through postpartum in my past and is 100% on board with that not happening again. We are going to have my first prenatal this week sometime. She comes to your house for prenatals, birth, postpartum and everything-- isn't that the most wonderful thing you have ever heard of? I am so honored proud and feel so right about working with her forever.

What else can I tell you? I don't know. I am excited! I am getting quite fatter, and am totally ok with the fact that it is most likely all Maternal Fat Stores from my 24-7 chowing. When I lay on my back you can tell where the actual baby bump is, and that is really cool. (When I stand up I look like maybe I love beer and pizza a little too much, and I have put away many many pants, shirts, and skirts for 2009.)

Its all exciting, even the annoying stuff-- and mostly I am just so glad that I finally told everyone that I needed to tell so I can BLOG with total freedom now.



Thursday, December 6, 2007

Anniversary of new blogs

It was a little less than a year ago that I started this and my other three blogs. Here are my first entries in January 2007.

You see, I had a little blog that was supposed to be about my homeschooling adventures. I wrote funny little blurbs in it about the places we went and posted pictures from our days. But I had more to my life than just homeschooling of course, and so I would slip in little things about wanting to color my hair pink, my feelings about marriage, equality in homemaking, extended and tandem breastfeeding, and most radically, my thoughts on birth, most specifically, how bad hospital birth can be and how urgent of a problem the state of maternity care in this country truly was.

These posts were not being super well received, and I was feeling alot of silent frustration in my life. My handful of friends already knew I had a baby at home, and kinda knew that my c-sections hurt me. My handful of family, well, they have some strong opinions about the things I believe in, and there was a strong urging to write about the trips to the library and perhaps lay off the other stuff.

Trouble was, the "other stuff" was the stuff that I desperately needed and wanted to explore. My husband had heard it all, and was 100% on board with me. But I needed so much more. I needed to preach on, and on, (and on) and discuss and vent and work through and I got the idea to make another blog that was just about birth stuff. But then, where could I write about my guitar and my hair and where would I write about being a fulltime homemaker and where do I put recipes or bitch about the price of groceries, etc? Thus the 4 blogs were born.
Homeschool Is Love
Breast and Belly
Hearth and Home
Everything Joy

This was a fun thing that I did for months without too many hits beyond my friends, but I didn't care. I knew someday I would get some kind of good break and once I figured out that all the comments I was leaving all over the blogosphere had a lit-up-linky thing to me and my blogs, the comments came in, slowly. Erratically. But then, SageFemme not only wrote on my blog but did a whole post about something I wrote, and BAM! I was getting comments, steady, everytime I wrote! I told myself I wouldn't change a thing, but I did catch notice of the very wonderful "ABC check" button, which helped this manic Mama to realize just how many typos can come when you are a hyper passionate writer-girl with a toddler on your lap. Embarrassing. Whatever.

Now the blogs are everything to me. Each person that writes just humbles me and blows me away and drives me on to write more.

This October, I started 2 new jobs which have me gone from 5:30 pm to 12:30 am Monday Wednesday and Friday nights, and all day Saturday. Wow. When do I write now? It has been hard to find the time. For example, it is 12:30 pm right now and the kids are watching TV, we haven't had lunch, I am not dressed...I know it is all "ok" but it is not my number one ideal way to run things.

I have lots and lots and lots more to say as always and I hope that my slowing down does not lose me any readers. Thanks to everyone for participating, I never ever wanted my blog to be a one-sided soapbox type of deal, so for me, the posts that get the (unbelievable) 20+ comments are always the best ones, to see all these different people sounding off of each other and adding and discussing is really what I care most about.

Thank you for being a big part of 2007 being a life changing time for me. i love you all so much.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Isn't this adorable?

Underqualified, underconfident, or just tired today

So today I was wondering (and wrote an email to my midwife whom I will be apprenticing under) if maybe getting a certified Lactation Consultant degree would be something useful or valuable to my future clients. I found this online and have to admit I was surprised at how extensive this is. I remember the CLC's in the hospitals being not very useful, and certainly none of them seemed like they were nursing moms, if that makes any sense. Sure, they prattled on about perfect latch, but they were completely stumped and defensive and even accusatory when Charlie wouldn't nurse at all for his first 3 days. It took my own dear family doctor, who came in totally as a surprise to teach me about cup-feeding and spent several hours with me trying to figure out what exactly Charlie's deal was.

So I don't know. Do any of you have any advice? Is this just another field where good old wise-woman stuff has been medicalized and quantified and "Scientified" where perhaps just years of experience and reading excellent books would serve just as well if not better?

I guess maybe I am feeling sort of shy and "unqualified" to come into anyone's home as a midwife's assistant and being introduced as "This is my partner, Joy. She is nobody and has no qualifications." OF COURSE this would never really be how it went down, but still......For the first time in a long time, I feel like I wish I had some fancy Initials after my name besides an eleven year old bachelors degree.

I am really really tired this morning. Charlie was playing "I'm 3 months old" last night and I got in from the bartending gig at 12:45 am. Maybe all I am really doing here is shamelessly hoping someone will write me something corny about my M.O.M. degree and I will be forever grateful!

Gonna go make some hot tea....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Breech babies

So, what do you all think and know and want to discuss about breech babies? I personally haven't experienced this, but I found out after the film and big discussion with the Mamas on my trip that this is fast becoming a dying art form, no longer even being taught in Medical School, and is in danger of becoming totally obsolete besides among grassroots mouth-to-mouth midwives and UC Mamas and of course, self educating online which has risks in many people's eyes.

I was taught through all that I read that breech presentation was a normal variation of birth. Ina May Gaskin wrote my first midwifery text, Spiritual Midwifery, and this book is still my bible as far as so, so many things. There are easier and more tricky breech presentations, depending on which part of the baby is presenting first (feet, butt, etc) but it does occur, and so what are women to do if this is now (yet another) CSECTION red-alert trigger?

My own Mom was born breech, (vaginal) and I remember this being something I was familiar with from a very early age, the idea of non-head first babies!

Here's one little thing I was looking at today, but of course there is tons out there. I am open to discussion from all sides of the issue, as always!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

awesome news

I am beginning apprenticeship with my old midwife! I will be starting as her assistant and plan to keep it at that level for some time. I am not in any hurry and neither is she. I will go from assistant to apprentice and someday be a midwife. We have been out to dinner 2 times recently as well as in contact via email and phone. I couldn't be more excited, this is the very right thing for me and for everyone who ever told me "you should be a midwife" or anything like that, well, here I go!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Best breastfeeding help resource Ive seen in a while

fantastic breastfeeding resource. I read and read and read it today-- so much stuff I didnt know, even after being a nursing Mama since June '97! I know several moms who could have saved a nursing relationship if they had this information.

Dr. Jack Newman is the GURU and there is tons out there by him, including books.

Friday, November 23, 2007

BBBB: part one: the journey there.

Last Friday, I left for my trip to meet my birth-blog pals, and to attend a viewing of Ricki Lake's documentary, the Business of Being Born. I had almost 400 miles to go, and my husband couldn't even get off work-- so my mother in law was going to come sit with the children in the early afternoon until our friend got there at 430 to spell her off (she had an early evening commitment) until Daddy got home at 6pm.

All 6 of us went to the rental car place on Daddy's lunch hour to go get my "economy car", and so to say I was surprised to see my sweet orange race car would be a grave understatement! This had to be a mistake-- wasn't I gonna get some tiny plastic-lookin thing with no trim and no radio? What was this? Only a 2008 Dodge Caliber---in sparkly flame orange! I was worried it wouldn't do well on gas but it really really did. Over 35 miles to the gallon. this thing was SO fast, and so responsive-- when you turned the steering wheel a tiny speck, it jarred over to the side. The brakes and gas pedals were insanely sensitive and, well, it was no '96 minivan, lemme tell ya! I felt like I was in a video game, down low in my growly sexy racecar with the THUMPIN Cd stereo system. Holy mackerel, I felt like I was hearing these bands for the first time...more on that in a sec.

So, With the car dropped off at the house, and then Daddy returning to work, we waited and waited for Grandma--my mental calculations of the trip taking 7 to 8 hours stressing me out more and more as the time ticked on....1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, finally Steve called her at 2:30 and she was just sitting at home! It turns out that she had no plans to show up at all, and that she thought the whole trip was "weird" and that something didn't "Add up". I was near to despondent tears, thinking how hard it was going to be to LEAVE for this trip so late in the day, all the running around and time-juggling we did to get this to happen....but she is from a generation (?) that is very suspicious of "the Internet" and had expressed concerns to Steve during the week about this whole trip being a scam, etc. I guess I should have spoken to her directly. Next time, for sure. I had no idea the extent of her disapproval or concern until she decided to no-show. So she came over at 3:30, well past Charlie's naptime, which was the plan, her to come when he was sleeping, because he is so afraid of her and he screams the entire time he sees her, being in the middle of a very extreme "stranger anxiety" phase, also well past when I needed to leave, almost at the time when our friend was coming to babysit anyways. I basically nodded my head at her "bye!" and took off in my racecar. I was so excited about my trip that I really didn't want to think about this uncharacteristic "statement" she was trying to make by attempting to sabotage my entire vacation. Fears of big time traffic jams etc were all now a real possibility but oh well. I had my glasses on which I need to see at night driving and I grabbed a big armload of CD's from the garage (we listen to MP3's and Records exclusively now, but this car had a CD player) and I was off!

Google maps oftentimes gives some funky-ish ways to get to basic places, but I was curious about this new way they suggested to get to the Ann Arbor area, so I tried it. It was SO fast and direct! Listening to Monster by R.E.M., and hearing every single sound in the music, trying not to go over 80mph, I was to Ann Arbor in a wink. Tres Cool. Then I was on good old interstate, heading towards the side of my state. Nevermind by Nirvana was blowing my head off, and once I figured out the strange cruise control, I felt better about being able to go 79 MPH, the speed I decided would get me "not pulled over" in a 70 zone. It was so cool to be the girl in the left lane, a lane I usually HATE and never use, and having people getting out of MY way!!! This car was just so---nice and safe and strong that I didn't feel that feeling of fear and trepidation and "being in the way of the fast and important people on the road" that I always have in my own cars, I guess. It was really really cool and I was finding myself wondering how much these Dodge Calibers cost, heh heh...ridiculous fantasies about "no food or muddy shoes in mommy's car" danced around in my adrenaline enraged head along with the absolutely pummeling sounds of Lithium, Polly, and In Bloom. Man, my little Kurt can sing. Sigh.

So, I was really making great time, and soon it was Welcome To The Next State--- YIPPEE!!! I stopped at a rest stop and was amused to see my car when I walked out. Where was this love of Dodge Calibers coming from? I tell ya. I pressed the "boop! boop!" alarm a couple of times, just to seem cool to random old people. (I have never had a car alarm before, dont really want one, but its still funny to me to have a beeping and booping car) I was off again, getting verrry excited to see a unnamed big city that i adore--- was I going to get to drive right through my favorite city in this galaxy??? Would I be able to resist the temptation to just stay there forever, somehow establishing a new life with approximately 80 dollars on me? Pant pant pant I was getting so overly excited about this all, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be this weird sweaty freak when I met my friends. Of course I was wearing deodorant, but I did not put on my usual patchouli, because as bizarre to me as this is, I know that some people REALLY hate patchouli, and my friend Kelley is newly pregnant, and I didn't want to smell sick to them. "Joy from Breast and Belly smelled like a dirty old hippie"-- you know? But the lack of perfume and the racecar rock n roll road trip and the overactive heater in an '08 vehicle, and the onions on my subway sub that I was dropping all over myself and my beautiful new car...well I probably did smell! Oh well.

Big City was drawing near, but the lovely view (and inevitable traffic!) was not meant to be. My route took me a different way, and I was disappointed and yet relieved. The night sky was black, but I looked that way and there was a glow...someday I will go to you, Big City, and it will be awesome. I motored on, making really, really good time.

The rest of the trip was smaller highways, and I had gone through all the CD's, and was trying to find a radio station. there wasn't much and for the first time, i was starting to feel sleepy and tired of driving. I was SOOOOO glad that I didn't have "just radio" or I never, ever would have made it. I put on the Root Down EP by the Beastie Boys and it really wasn't working. I was getting t-i-r-e-d. But the Google map was completely wonderful, really specific and helpful directions with small details that never ad me ever wondering if I was going the right way-- I appreciated that so much.

And then, I was there! My legs felt like rubber bands as I walked up the driveway and was greeted with cheerful hugs and exclamations of "lemmee see that green hair!!!" from the very friends whose blogs have meant so much to me, whose faces have only been tiny little squares on a computer screen, here they were, and here I was, and it was superb.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

BBBB: part two: First night.

After being shown to my room in the gorgeous old home, I was treated to Squash and Quinoa with cheese (?) on top, and a salad, and then creme brulee! Incredible! I met Judit and Jen and their dear babies, along with Rixa and her dear baby, and my ever faithful and supportive Kelley, who, like me, left her little ones home with Daddy. Her and I shared a room, and the mamas with babies to nurse all night got their own rooms. We watched the Psalm and Zoya unassisted birth of twins video, which I had seen on TV a couple of years ago--and talked about -- big shock-- birth! We all got along really well right off the bat, not a surprise, but still great. We finally went to bed and planned on getting up whenever it would suit us best to have a home viewing of The Business of Being Born by 9am. I got washed up and into my bed with the fluffy comforter and actually had a good sleep, despite the sustained adrenaline of the drive and the new friends, etc. It was quiet, and the stars were beautiful outside my window. It had been pitch dark for the majority of my traveling, and so I wondered what this town would look like in the daylight. and that's the last thing I remember until it was light out, and I rolled over and saw my friend Kelley open her eye and say "Good Mornin!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BBBB: part three: Saturday Morning and the Movie

We woke up and, in true girls-dorm fashion, started talking talking talking! the other women started coming into our room with their sweet babies and we all chitty chitty chatted until we realized 2 things-- it was time to go watch the movie, and we were hungry!!!! We went downstairs and had lots of cereal, and Rixa's awesome bread. She must have made 6 loaves, we kept chowing it all weekend! this is the recipe and I am planning on trying it this weekend. We had it with butter, we had it with jam, we had it with peanut butter, and we made it into sandwiches. Insanely good. Then we all gathered around the TV and sat down to our private pre-screening of the very film which in a way, brought us all here. It was a good thing that I watched it there, first because I was really really choked up almost as soon as it started, and there was more than one part where I was crying quite hard. The subject matter, the reality, the imagery, and just--a really well made film can do that, especially with the use of music and juxtaposition of viewpoints, I was glad I didn't have any makeup on yet.

We laughed, we yelled at the screen, we got to do and say stuff we wouldn't and didn't do at a public screening. "What an ASSSSShole!" "Nice attitude, freak!" "Oooh I love this!" "This part kind of sucks." "What did he just say???" "Oh my God, that's me! That's totally me!" "I was her. I was totally her."

It was nice to be around other people who are "vocal" during movies. I am like this when I watch stuff with my husband but I never know if others hate that. We laughed and talked and commented up a storm, and, when it was over, felt nice and ready to go present this to what we hoped would be a crowd! Time to go get dressed and help Rixa with handouts and flyers and time for Kelley to iron the baby slings that were going to be offered as an incentive as part of a higher "ticket price/donation", time to put all the birth books she owned into bags, and time to eat some yummy maple-beans for lunch, and time to get ourselves over to the college to set up for the movie!

I brought some crayons, coloring books, sticker books, and Woodkins dressup doll-toy for the children in the audience of what we assumed would be made up of Moms and their little ones.

We got over to the college, and set up the toys in the back row of the auditorium. Rixa set up the table with a nice tablecloth and her books and slings, and we had a ticket table with tickets and some homebirth information as well as some statistics about the Mother-Friendly birth initiative and a few other things. And then, they came---Moms with babies in slings and pouches, women with their friends, women with their own mothers, very young women, and a few young guys. The tickets were going and going, and the pile of cash and checks was growing. Too cool. As I told each person who brought a young child about the toys and crayons, they looked SO grateful and relieved, and it made me sad for how marginalized and ostracized mothers with young children truly are in America, and how the smallest niceties have made me feel like crying tears of relief when I have been out with my own little ones. Restaurants that brought little crackers for the baby right away... gentlemen who have pushed out my grocery cart when I was holding a screaming baby in one arm, and a toddler's hand with my other one...clean changing tables that were actually fastened securely to the wall instead of loose and flabby and filthy...rocking chairs in helps alot to feel like you are welcome and wanted and supported in your noble and normal endeavor of living with children and not keeping them in "centers" from dawn til dusk---despite all the inconveniences of making your way in a world made for the single adult traveler.

Once everyone was seated, Rixa stepped forward and gave an introduction to the film, and then we were rolling again. the beginning is almost the best part, with perfect use of an intense Radiohead song, I got chills again, but did not cry. Yet. I sat next to Kelley, and we whispered throughout the movie. Even though we just saw it barely 4 hours earlier, it was SO different on the big screen, in the dark auditorium, and just thinking about what all the audience was thinking overwhelmed me with a grave and urgent sense of activism, importance, meaning, progress, revolution. I wish I had better words for what this was like, showing this to these people, looking at them gasping, laughing, nodding their heads, clapping their hands over their mouths, wiping away tears, letting tears pour all over their faces and not wiping away any of them. Listening. Captive. Alert. Together. I felt like this had to be my new life, being a birth activist, maybe traveling the country, maybe not, but I know this was only the first time, and I was very excited for the March 2008 release onto DVD when I would have my own viewing party at my house, and plans to invite more than just our inner circle of friends started brewing around in my mind.

Kelley and I cried tears of victory and joy when the beautiful homebirths came to fruition, and laughed alot during the funny parts. We nibbled on the secret Twizzlers that I brought in from my road trip, which made it feel more like a movie theater, for sure.

The absolute BEST part of the film viewing was this one part where (sorry for the spoiler) Marsden Wagner, who has been very proper and serious and professional and authorittavive and informative throughout the film, breaks "character" so to speak, and says that what birthing women need to do is to ultimately just "Get the HELL out of the hospital"-- AND THE AUDIENCE STARTED CLAPPING AND CHEERING!!!!

Oh, you just can't get that at home, and it was just so, so awesome. I was crying again, hugest grin possible cracking my face in two, chills upon my chills. Clapping and laughing and cheering. It was just the ultimate. I was so happy.

The movie ends in a sort of frustrating way, and again, I don't want to create a spoiler here, but I had a better feel for why they ended it this way once I saw it twice. The audience applauded again at the end, and then Rixa came back up to the front of the room and invited us houseguests to join her. Nervous!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BBBB: part four: Being "on the Panel" and having folks back to the house

After the movie, Rixa, Kelley, Jen, Judit and I all went to the front of the auditorium and sat upon the edge of the stage. We had 2 microphones, and gave brief introductions of ourselves. I said that my name was Joy, and that I have had 3 hospital births, two of them by Cesarean, and one Homebirth VBAC, and that the experiences didn't even compare, with the homebirth being one of the most amazing and transformative experiences of my life, and the other births being difficult, lonely and damaging times to my body and spirit, with long term negative repercussions for my entire family. My waver-y voice got a bit steadier as I saw heads nodding along in agreement, understanding, sympathy, empathy. Wow. No-one was rolling their eyes at me, no one was getting ready to tell me at least I had a healthy baby. No one thought it was "good" that I had suffered needlessly. I moved from noticing nodding heads to noticing eyes-- eyes of mothers, some of them so so young and hopeful, looking at me, on a stage, like I was somebody. Somebody who might know something, might have something for them, somebody who might be able to finally help them-- but what? What did they want, what could they get, what did they need from me? Did I have it for them, or did I belong in the audience rather than on the stage? Didn't we all belong together?

The audience started in with questions immediately, which was great. It would be impossible for me to go over everything that came up, but I will tell you that the first and foremost issue for these people, these inspired and hopeful people who had just watched a movie whose theme was overwhelmingly "Have your baby at home", was HOW DO I FIND A HOMEBIRTH MIDWIFE IN THIS STATE?

Yikes. Not having studied up on the political climate of homebirth in their state, I felt panicked and unprepared for this, yet somehow wholly responsible for helping them. One mom who looked SO young, and SO intense, said she had had 2 sections and was expecting her 3rd baby, and didn't know what to do. How could I just sit up on some stage and carry on about my awesome homebirth? What could this movie do for her but infuriate and frustrate and hurt her, with the birth scenes and all? Could she come home with me in my orange racecar, and meet my midwife? I took the microphone. I told her that it can be difficult to find a midwife, because the ones that are practicing often have more than enough clients as it is, and they might be hesitant to "Advertise", due to fear of prosecution or simply being as busy as they can be already. She looked annoyed and disappointed.

I offered to the entire audience that there are websites:, , , and just to Google the words "Find A Midwife" and start making the phone calls. you might not get someone right away, but you might get connected, get other phone numbers, leads, ideas. I saw alot of people looking at me like that wasn't enough, and I felt very impotent and lame.

How did I find my own midwife? Through a ridiculously improbable chance conversation at a birthday party with one of her former clients. So I know. Its hard---and it isn't nearly as difficult here in Michigan as it appeared to be in their state-- goodness gracious, I just had no idea. Being an hour away from crunchy Ann Arbor, anyone could find a midwife, doula, massage therapist, herbalist, naturopath, hypnotist, you name it in the way of natural healer and health care provider. I assumed it would be the same most places and I was wrong.

As the audience began sharing stories more than asking us questions, the vibe of the room was one big birth talk, which was great. There were alot of the same difficult stories, tales of the unnecessary episiotomies and the pain and disruption that this procedure had caused these young mothers, tales of breech babies and the overwhelming consensus by obstetricians as well as nurse-midwives and some lay midwives to not "let" these babies be born vaginally, despite it being a normal variation of birth, but the big topic which Rixa lead us into and which we stayed upon for the remainder of the meeting, was VBAC.

VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, and until verrry recently, as in the last 4 or 5 years, it was strongly encouraged by the hospital world. But boy o boy, hot topic numero uno, especially in the state in which this meeting took place, VBAC was being BANNED in hospital after hospital. Banned. As in "we are not allowed to let your baby come out of your vagina in this building, Ma'am."


Leaving aside all of my personal experiences and opinions for a moment, and trying very hard not to over-simplify, here goes:

When a woman has a cesarean birth, there is more than just an incision. there are layers of tissue being cut, the skin of the abdomen, the fat layers, the muscle layers, and the uterus itself. When they take out the baby, they then sew up the uterus, the muscles, I don't know about the fat, but then the skin of the abdomen. They suture you up just like any other surgery. Open heart surgery, leg surgery, plastic surgery, foot surgery, dental surgery. They suture you up and your body heals. You have every right to expect this to be a normal surgery, and for the job they did to "Hold".

As in all surgeries, the post-operative pain and healing rates will vary greatly from person to person. Please bear with me as I try to stay within my own knowledge levels not as a doctor but definitely as someone who is very well versed in this subject matter through years of study and interview and research and reading and having undergone the procedure twice myself. If you can rest and eat healthy foods and be taken care of post-operatively, you will most likely not suffer any infections or debilitating pain. I had both infection and long term pain, phantom numbness, itching, swelling, oozing, tearing sensations, lasting for years, fading with time, but I know plenty of women who did not go through this.

So. Lets say you have had a c-section and you are now pregnant again. Your uterus has a scar on it, yes. But like I mentioned before, we do not expect our other surgeries to be so shoddily performed as to rip open, fly apart, or "not hold up", so what gives with the whole VBAC controversy? There is a fear of Uterine Rupture.

What is Uterine Rutpure, and what is the deal with VBAC moms and Uterine Rupture?

Uterine Rupture is when the uterus ruptures during labor. It can happen to moms with their first baby. It can happen to moms with no previous cesareans. It is very rare, but very serious. now here is the catch, ripe with irony, as are so many of today's obstetrical protocols:

The MAJOR, major attributing factor in cases of Uterine Rupture, both in VBAC moms and unscarred uteri, is the use of induction drugs. Pitocin and Cytotec. The very drugs that in some states, over NINETY PERCENT of women are being subjected to during labor in the hospitals.

When you start talking about "90 percent", you are talking about a vast, vast majority, correct? when you start talking about "90 percent", you start seeing "Birth" as a women hooked up to induction drugs as a matter of course. When you introduce these drugs into a woman's body, the cavalcade of other interventions increases exponentially. Because these drugs make the uterus contract very, VERY strongly. And there is no way of telling exactly how one woman's body will react to these drugs versus another woman's body, so so many things can get really out of control when you use these drugs. Super hard contractions. Super long contractions. Decels in heartrate, drops in blood pressure, raising of blood pressure. Extreme pain. Fetal distress. But the one that we need to be most concerned with to stay on topic here are the Super Hard Contractions. Contractions so hard that they can cause a uterus, especially one that has a scar on it, to rupture.

So. What do we have. We have a nation of women who are getting nearly all of their births augmented with oxytocic drugs, leading to higher and higher rates of primary cesareans. then we have "statistics" coming out that VBAC mothers have a higher rate of uterine rupture than vaginal birthing women, and so, boom! Lets simply ban VBACS. We cut ya once and now you are a section-lady for life. We dont trust you to birth and you shouldn't trust our sutures to hold up. You're gonna BREAK and DIE. Lovely.

Wow. So what about some initiatives into reducing primary c-section rates? What about some sound advice as to how to keep the VBAC moms away from the Pitocin (total ban on all induction/augmentation for VBAC moms) banning the deadly Cytotec (more on Cytotec) (still more on Cytotec) (a good study of why Cytotec is way bad for VBAC moms) altogether, and getting some real statistics into the hands of the allmighty ACOG?

What has changed since 2001 that has sent all these hospitals scrambling to simply ban VBAC rather than persue these other channels of prevention and fact? Did that many women really rupture? What is the real increased risk of rupture for ALL women, and what role does Pitocin and Cytotec play? what about the role of restricting movement of hospital birthing women, of restricting their access to quiet or privacy or nourishment or positional changes? What about the role of the other common birth interventions such as AROM (breaking your water with a amnio-hook) lying on your back, forced purple-pushing (holding your breath while they scream 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 at you, despite your own bodily urges to push or rest....what roles do these practices play in putting the uterus in danger of rupturing? Does anyone care? Don't the hospitals get about $19,000 for a straight-forward cesarean, versus about $4000 for a vaginal delivery? And to ban VBAC in a climate where primary cesarean is on the rise in nearly every state guarantee more repeat clients at that $19,000 level?

Hmmm. Sick yet? Angry yet? Feeling defeated, or inspired? Or both? Marsden Wagner was more right on than anything else is saying that birthing women need to first and foremost get the hell out of the hospital, huh?

Its alot, this whole VBAC thing right now. And that's where we stayed with our audience that afternoon. Managed birth after managed birth "ending up in" a primary c-section, and now the women feel that they can't find a midwife for their homebirths they so desperately need and want, and they don't even have a chance to VBAC in their own hospitals. Where is the hope? What can seeing this movie mean for these people? For their friends? For their daughters and daughters-in-law, their granddaughters, their sisters?

Many women go to a midwife for their first VBAC. They didn't know about homebirth, or they were "Afraid" of the idea of it, and now they have a scar and now they wanna know. I did this, I had a VBAC at home, an HBAC they call it in the abbreviation-world. But guess what else I was the most disappointed to find out that day? Some midwives are joining the band wagon now, especially the nurse-midwives, the ones who work in the hospitals, the fancy birth centers, but even more sadly, some of the lay midwives. Because of politics. Fear of lawsuit. THIS IS NOT evidence-based care, people, not even close.

Where else we went with this as a group discussion was a united urgency in helping mothers to avoid that first section much more aggressively, with "stay the hell out of the hospital" as the first and most obvious call to action for primips (1st time mothers).

We needed to get out of the auditorium, so Rixa invited any and everyone to come back to her house. I was skeptical, but they came! Just from memory, I would say that a dozen or more women took up the offer to continue the discussion at her home, a very high turn out, judging just from my own past experience in attempting to have a political event at the house, a dozen is a HUGE turnout. Very very inspiring. We got to chat much more intimately outside of the auditorium setting, of course, and I made a few personal contacts with a few very wonderful people-- a doctor, a doula, and the young mom who had the episiotomy and went on to have a homebirth with her second child. We exchanged emails and blog names, and it was just so important, so validating, so real, to have these flesh and blood people who felt the way I felt and who were fighting for things that I was fighting for,and who were asking me questions, all sorts of questions about my state, my own stories, wanting advice, wanting input. It was amazing. I will never forget the feeling in that room that evening, ever.

BBBB: part five: Saturday night and my journey back home

After all the people had left, Kelley treated us all to an absolutely heart stopping rendition of some gorgeous piece on the piano-- concert level talent, I am sorry to say that I do not know the name of the piece, but we were speechless, she was so good.

Then we all worked on dinner prep-- Kelley and I made a curious but highly nutritious salad out of Bok Choy greens, regular greens and green peppers, and we had a lovely meal together. We couldn't really decide whether it was bad luck or good luck to count money at the table, but we did it anyway, and we found out that we did make enough at the showing of the film to cover the cost of getting the movie plus a little bit more. all proceeds beyond the cost will be sent to ICAN, something that Rixa announced before the film. We didn't make very much to send to ICAN, but every bit counts--a really good turn out, for sure, especially in such a tiny town.

After dinner Kelley brought out her super cool and extensive jewelry making supplies, and invited us to make stuff with her instruction-- bracelets, necklaces, earrings, all with real clasps and tools to do them right. I ended up with 3 new pairs of gorgeous earrings, and they are now part of my "thing"-- really cute with short hair, I think! Rixa brought out her silk art kit, and we went craft-nutty. I made a Mama and Baby silk thing, which turned out quite nicely, except that the black paint parts got smudgey...but this was just so fun, so girly, so relaxing! I was disappointed in how tired I was, but I was tired and took Rixa up on her offer of taking an evening bath in her gigantic jacuzzi tub before retiring for the night. It was really fun, my mom has a tub like this in her house, super deep and bubbly! How do these people do anything but take baths???? I slept very soundly that night.

In the morning, I think my sneezing attack woke up Kelley, and it was getting to be sad and bittersweet, but I didn't want to cry. Was it already over? I wanted to see my family but I wanted this to be my new life, too--- going to functions and discussing things with intelligent people in a beautiful town, eating special bread and making jewelry...I vowed to take lot of this vibe home with me, and that positive decision is what kept the tears at bay as I packed, brushed my teeth in the gorgeous bathroom, walked up and down the stairs, loaded up my sweet racecar with all the flim flam I brought, ate more of the bread and mysterious french jam (what was that, Rixa? with the little tiny black berries in it?) and packed a sandwich for the road. We hung out that morning and we somehow got talking about how I was different than they expected, but how I spoke the "exact same way" that I wrote on my blog, and who had an "accent", me or them? It was really nice. I didn't leave until 10am, and I didn't cry until I called my husband from the first highway.

I was blabbering, bawling, stammering on and on about how nice it all was and how much I love all the ladies and what an amazing man he was to "let me do this", and how nice all of our friends were to support this trip in so many ways, and how sad I was for all the moms who couldn't find a midwife, sob, sob sob, I had better save my minutes on this phone, huh? and I hung up and DROVE.

The ride home was long. Long long long. My legs ached, my back ached, I stopped ALOT. I was tired of the CD's and people were driving like idiots. Alot of it was one and two lane highways and people were going about 60 in both lanes. Very dumb. I didn't get to use my cruise control hardly at all, the funnest part of driving the racecar, it turns out. At one point I almost freaked out when I realized just how far I still had to go, but I hung in there, and made it home in 6 1/2 hours. I parked in front of the house and surprised everyone by coming to the front door which we never use. The house was clean and they had raked TONS of leaves. The kids looked so cute and so kissable, it was just amazing to get to miss these guys! I always get to love them, but seldom get to miss them. All the fat little cheeks and blonde little heads got kisses and kisses and we had such a cuddle! Daddy made a fire in the fireplace and even brought out the whole queen mattress so we could have a fireside hangout. It was so perfect, the fire warmed my bones after cramping my six foot one frame into the smallish Caliber, I was tense and stiff.

We returned the car the next day at lunchtime, and I had a good giggle with another woman when she joked about "not wanting to give the car back" to the rental man, I chimed in with my own love for my rental car! We joked about gas pedals that accelerated, brake pedals that stopped on a dime, and, yes, boomin stereos. As I climbed into my crusty, trusty, loosey-goosey minivan, I wondered where that lady had gone this weekend, and if it was her first time away in her entire adult life. I doubted it, but I hoped that she had done something meaningful, something special, something even remotely as unforgettable as what I had done.

The End.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not ready to say it sucked until later.

This one really hit home. I tried to write about women changing their stories as time passed a few months back, but this really was well-said. Oftentimes, in those desperate survival times of 24-hour caring for a newborn, we are simply not in ANY position to process, think, mourn, ponder, get angry, question stuff--especially if we have had a hospital birth that we did not want, and especially if our butchered bodies and aching bones and ringing ears are being bombarded with GOOD THING YA WENT TO THE HOSPITAL bullshit, it is very easy to just say yeah yeah uh huh uh huh and go back to our nursing and diapering and scraping out tiny snippets of sleep.

But it don't mean its truth. Our truth. It just means noone knows how to treat a postpartum woman anymore, and noone really gets the power that shutting up and bring hot meals really holds. Anyhow, Pamela nailed it as always :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I am totally done with "Comment moderation".
There are SO many blogs that I leave thoughtfelt comments on, and they never get posted. I am beginning to feel like I am being blacklisted, could that be possible? I read other people saying almost WORD FOR WORD what I have said but mysteriously my comment isn't ever up.

If this isn't just paranoia, please someone tell me what this is all about. Sigh. At least I get some of my freetime back if I am not going to be commenting all over midwife blogs anymore.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I feel like this is really going to happen

This Friday I am going to do something I have never done since being a wife and mother: go on a trip, out of state, all by myself. Nursing babies were invited, but, even though I do have a nursing child, I am going to make an executive decision and leave him home. (doing a little victory dance at the prospect of not traveling/socializing/attending a film fest/public speaking/chasing/wrangling/changing/feeding/apologizing for insane 2 year old whose latest fave activities are stripping naked, throwing food and screeching. No guilt here, sorry!)

I was honored and thrilled to receive an invitation to meet, in person, several of my long time blog friends, specifically from the birth blogs. We are going to be getting together, talking birth and babies until our voices go hoarse, and we are going to be attending/hosting a screening of The business of Being Born, a highly acclaimed new docu-film from Ricki Lake that will be showing at a local college where the BBBB event will be taking place! BBBB stands for Birth and Babies Bed and Breakfast--just the name is so exciting!

We are trying to get as many people to come to this as possible, and my friend that is throwing this whole event has been working so hard to get the flyers out to everywhere, students, doctors offices, birth centers, libraries, all all sorts of health care providers. I wish I could help more but I am out of state with way too much on my plate for me to even get into detailing right now here at home.

I had planned on asking people for sponsorships/Xmas gifts of money to help me get to this event, and then somehow shyness and time got away from me and now we are in a lurch as to how in the heck this is gonna work out. Somehow it has been concluded that taking out family's only car would be a very risky decision-- if it broke down, not only would I be without any vehicle , but who would I call? What would I do? "Tow" it to where? then what?

We looked into airlines and it was $300.
We looked into the train and there is no train route that makes any sense and to go the crazy way I would need to go would cost over $200 also.

So now we are looking at trying to rent a tiny car that is good on gas. We found a few online last night but need to find out the details today. I worry that they will want some kind of credit card or big deposit.

I JUST got an email from my friend asking me to babysit her 2 children this Thursday(for money)! SO COOL-- this might be my financial breakthrough.

I also JUST found out that I have a long time friend who is going to "Sponsor" me $50.

I really think is is going to happen. I can't believe it! Hopefully by Monday morning I will be posting all about it, pictures and everything.

(I was asked to speak before the film showing, what should I say???????)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy birthday, baby Charlie Linden!

Charlie was born 2 years ago, November 1st, 2005. It seems like a long, long time ago. I know most moms are supposed to say it went so fast, and of course I can't believe he is 2, because 2 sounds like a little kid, and he is not a little kid at all, he is a baby, but as I get older and as my children get older, I get more perspective on just how funny it is to think any 2 year old is a--quote--KID. But I know I thought little Greta was this big giant woman when she turned 2...its a firstborn thing....

So, the dear baby is turning 2 tomorrow. This is funny because that is the age when some folks get freaky about nursing, diapers, co-sleeping, etc. But he is just a little fat rollypoly baby, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow. His hands are little plump stumps, he walks like a duckie, he rides in a baby carrier, he sleeps in a crib. Sometimes.

So, I will save all my sniff sniffies for 3. He is still a baby, and we love him eternally. Happy birthday, little sweet baby head!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Here is a link for my friend who just this week really laid into me for "Still" being angry about my own life experiences.

And for the commenter a few entries back who got upset at me for using the word RAPE.

And for all my sisters who are getting sliced up tonight.

and for all of the @#$%&*& people who beg and implore me to hush hush cheer up take your knifings and move on, for your own healthy state of mind! Move on, move on--

I HAVE moved on. Life moves you on. Time ticks on. But shit is STILL messed up and like any abuse situation in this world, there need to be activists who STAY pissed and who WORK for change.

So, no, I will not placate the queasy. I will not "drop it". It doenst make me some sick freak who is "wallowing in my past", it makes me an aware caring person who refuses to turn a blind eye to shit that is BAD.

Thank you, SageFemme for the linky head's up. Thank you to this new blogger for sayin it so boldly. Thank you and my deepest empathies and sympathies to all the Mamas who have been butchered, and thank you to my heart and my brain for lining up and for that pathway refusing to be blocked or cluttered from what it is that I have concerns about in this world.

P.S. I have had non-consentual sex. It was a billion times worse getting sectioned. That is MY life's experience, and nobody gets to negate it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Homebirth stats needed for old friend

Ok, someone got my goat. I wasn't going to let them, but they did. They asked me for proof that homebirth is "actually safer" than hospital birth, etc, and I just am not in the mood to really get all into this right now. I guess they wanted some of those good studies with the stats and numbers.....I am so past that part of my personal life's education, if that makes any sense, and my heart just wouldnt be into the sleuthing when I get so little time online anymore, anyhow.

But, admittedly, it would be cool to have some sidebar stuff, and yep, to send to my old accquaintance who laid the challenge before me, though I do not understand just why they did...

So, dear readers, if you've got links, can you please leave me some? I wouldnt mind brushing up on this stuff myself. Thank you in advance :)


SO sexist and messed up!

I was screwin around on Wikipedia the other night and ran across the most rediculous, hateful thing:

"A persistent instability of mood, involving numerous periods of mild depression and mild elation. This instability usually develops early in adult life and pursues a chronic course, although at times the mood may be normal and stable for months at a time. The mood swings are usually perceived by the individual as being unrelated to life events. The diagnosis is difficult to establish without a prolonged period of observation or an unusually good account of the individual's past behaviour. Because the mood swings are relatively mild and the periods of mood elevation may be enjoyable, cyclothymia frequently fails to come to medical attention. In some cases this may be because the mood change, although present, is less prominent than cyclical changes in activity, self-confidence, sociability, or appetitive behaviour. If required, age of onset may be specified as early (in late teenage or the twenties) or late.
The essential feature is a persistent instability of mood, involving numerous periods of mild depression and mild elation, none of which has been sufficiently severe or prolonged to fulfill the criteria for bipolar affective disorder or recurrent depressive disorder. This implies that individual episodes of mood swings do not fulfill the criteria for any of the categories described under manic episode or depressive episode."

Cyclothymia??? Gimme a fricking break! What kind of robotic freak-a-zoid wrote this shit? Changes in mood now have a disorder? Oh, the issues I have had with the DSM over the years, such a messed up scene, the whole psych community is, huh? Look, the MILLISECOND I read this, I was thrust into a CYCLOTHYMIC moment, do ya hear me? My MOODS were a-shifting, believe me! I was DANGEROUSLY SWINGING!

Where do I start, with the male model as the norm for all humans? With the logic versus emotion bit? Head versus heart, bla bla bla? So everysingle interesting person on this Earth has this disease, I am concluding, right? I sure as hell do. Proud of it. I am a cycling female and it ain't a disorder, it is normal and natural and I wouldnt want to be whatever flour and water emotionless dough-girl the DSM would want me to be to garner it's NORMAL label anyhow, so PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

Cyclothymia. Bite me. So rude, I am aghast. I feel an episode of mild depression followed by mild elation coming on! Grab my meds!!!!!!!! Lock her, up, she's gonna get all mildly excitable on your ass!

I really do hate so many things (evil grin) and it is so, so fun.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007


If something goes wrong, it is all your fault.
If something goes right, you got lucky.

This is the repeat mantra and theme of motherhood. You can apply it from pre-conception to pregnancy to birth, post partum, breastfeeding, teething, sleeping, crying, crawling, walking, talking, toddling, lving, learning, homeschool/choice of schools.....

There will ALWAYS be someone clucking their toungue at you, wagging their finger at you, knowing what is "best" for you. Screw all of that. Smash it and stomp it and smear it into the cracks in the concrete.

These *people*, who we worry so so much about impressing, pleasing, convincing, converting haven't walked one second in your shoes, and they never will. Nobody can. Not your lover, not your child, nobody can walk in your actual shoes. This can be terrifying, liberating, helpful, grounding, scary, empowering, awesome, sucky, but nothing changes the fact that it is true.

So, Mamas, keep that little path that goes from your brain to your heart nice and clean. Sweep that path and keep it swept. Only you walk that path, and you have a choice who to let clutter it up or not.

You ARE a good mother and no, it ain't just LUCK. You know that, sometimes boldly and sometimes very very faintly. But MamaJoy is giving you permission right now to be as proud and as righteous as you oughta be, everyday. Show it to the world, show it to your babies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't you wanna see a real doctor, honey?

There are still a few people in my life who refuse to hear me and Steve tell about our prenatal care and birth experience with our midwives. I hesitated to write about this because, for my UC friends, there might be some gaps or some defensiveness or what have you. (I wish you only knew how much I respect and understand what it is that the UC families are about!!) but this is about midwifery, so maybe the few folks who need to read this will end up at my blog, and maybe they will finally get it. And if not, that's ok, too.

My midwives checked my blood pressure every visit. By hand. With a cuff. Carefully. More than once if needed.

My midwives checked my heart rate every visit. By hand. Carefully.

My first midwife weighed me because I wanted her to. My second one gave me the choice and I opted not to.

My midwives checked my urine with the medical strips. They also let me do it myself and left me the strips. I had a history of UTI's and of excessive protein in the urine and I wanted this done.

My midwives took blood from me at a few key points in my pregnancies. I do not remember them all but one was to see if my blood did the thing its supposed to do around 28 weeks and it did :) right on my couch. Lovely.

My midwives felt my tummy and felt my baby. They warmed their hands first and asked me and the baby's permission to touch us. Measuring the fundal height was only a small part of this, and it was funny to see how erratically the number grew and changed depending on position, etc. No freaking out when I "measured big" and no freaking out when I "shrank" one week.


My midwives shared good books with me, dog eared ones with little pencil notes in the margins. Books like Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, Mommy Diagnostics and Wise Woman Herbal.

My midwives turned me on to bulk teas and made me a lifelong fan.

My midwives turned me on to tinctures and insisted on Herb Pharm as their favorite brand available widely.

My midwives turned me on to Rainbow Lite prenatal vitamins and for the first time, my barfing lasted 4 months instead of 9.

My midwives took better care of me than anyone ever has in my life. They listened more than any shrink ever could, they respected me like an adult capable of making choices and they cared about me and my family and our journey to birth and beyond.

There really isn't anything else I can explain about Midwifery care.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

buried alive

I am so angry about the way that I was abandoned after both of my c-sections, I scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream scream and I scream.

"What if something went wrong?"

What if something went wrong?

This one sentiment is, I think, the real pivotal point to wrap our heads around when we contemplate, discuss, envision, consider, support, and/or choose homebirth.

For many mothers, fathers, couples, grandparents, friends, neighbors, strangers, reporters, authors, nay-sayers, and well-wishers alike, I really think this is the Big One. You know what they picture--and you know that for some people, you can tell them and tell them and tell them all about what you would do if such and such occurred, and they still wont care, still wont hear you.

So, what is really involved here is multi-layered and complex. (You know how I abhor trying to write impressive statistical scientific essays...)
You have the basic fact that childbirth in the popular culture is based in fear, secrets, and avoidance of lawsuit.
You have the basic fact that no one, not even obstetricians, knows what natural spontaneous unhindered unmanaged childbirth even looks like, sounds like, IS like.
You have the basic fact that there are huge amounts of bucks wrapped up in the system that has taught us all that we cannot think for ourselves, we cannot seek information from each other, and that only experts can save us from the perils of our life processes.
You have the basic fact that most things natural and whole are secreted away, hushed, hidden, even reviled and feared as a matter of habit and commonplace.
You have the basic fact that a dramatic "thank goodness for the doc because of XYZ" childbirth story is probably the ONLY kind anyone of your moms, dads, neighbors, pals or enemies have ever had any exposure to whatsoever.

Roll all that into this big nebulous that is the murky imagery that floats around in *most* folks' heads when they hear that you are pregnant, and then tell them you are going to have a homebirth. they do not hear you say "we are planning a homebirth", they hear "We aren't going to the hospital".

The Hospital, the big safe magical place where all the guardians are with all of their minty fresh technology and impressive masked men? You're NOT going? Wha-wha-what do you mean???

You just shook up their little snowglobes in more ways than one. Be aware of this on some level. You don't have to give one hoot, but it helps to be aware of it.

When you demonstrate to some people that you are willing to forge your own path, that you are willing to eschew popular custom, that you are willing to follow instinct and reason and personal research, you can unwillingly piss them off. How dare you do what they could not. How dare you question your reality when they could not. (How dare you succeed, lets not forget, either.)

They might see you as foolish, but if they stick around long enough to hear all of your lovingly gathered safe birth statistics, they might just get bristlier. So they will turn to fear and aggression, out of habit and needing to remain within their own comfort zones. Especially older people. Not everyone wants to take their life by the horns and bust out of the box and stand for wildly progressive change. For some people, even talking like that will upset them. Que sera.

So, in order to talk you out of your choices, in order to make their own selves get back to a more comfortable zone, they will unconsciously think "hey, why does anyone go to the hospital to have a baby--oh yeah--cuz its so safe" and then they will bust out the WHAT IF SOMETHING WENT WRONG?

A perfectly legitimate question--for all of our lives experiences, really. We try from our first waking moments in the morning to the end of our day to avoid injury, danger, and death, right? Brush your teeth, buckle up, don't grab the hot stove, careful with the knife, don't throw glass, shut your eyes tightly in a sandstorm. We try to be safe naturally. So the actual question is not so dumb--I spent every single visit with my midwives asking variants of this exact question, and the UC-ers inform their selves the same way, most likely---educate yourself on negative scenarios involving labor and delivery and then plan solutions and options.

What would granny and pappy say if you told them that babies and mothers die ALL THE TIME in the hospitals?? For alot of folks, this would end the conversation because that would be too much truth and too much radicalism and too much reality chipping away at the Big Beloved Buildings of our communities. They might counter with something about "well, in rare cases", etc. But that's just it. Birth has no guarantees, your living through today has no guarantees. Life has no guarantees. But for some of us, instead of just lining up at the doors of the local popular OB/GYN's office for 3 minutes visits by grumpy strange doctors who don't know our names, for scheduled inductions and unnecessary interventions that put our bodies and our babies and our psyches at grave risk, like so many sheeple, we stand up and choose something different. Something we researched and heart wrenched and soul searched about, some of us for years. We choose to have our babies at home, at birth centers, in water, in forests, in peace, in safety, in dignity, in wholeness, in humanity, in sanity.

If anyone ever says to me "what if something went wrong?" in regards to birth, I can tell them it already has, and then show them all my external scars. I don't care if we are in the middle of Sunday dinner, and in fact, I hope we are. They can consider themselves lucky that my deepest scars are inside of me, or Id show those, too.