Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Snowflake Adoption News Story

My good friend Jennifer is featured in this news story about Embryo Adoption, also known as Snowflake adoption. Check out the video! They did a great job in their interview. You can also visit Jennifer's Snowflake Adoption Blog to find the errors in the story, as Jen did a little list of the factual errors that were included in the video by the news channel.

Embryo Adoption is a relatively new option for families who have created more IVF (in vitro fertilization) embryo-babies than they can use. Rather than destroy the embryo-babies, they can be adopted into infertile families and thus given good homes. Our friends mentioned above are now the adoptive parents of 12 embryo-babies who couldn't be transferred by their biological family. We hope to meet them soon!

Article: "Cesarean Sections Linked to Future Birth Risks"

I was really surprised and quite impressed to find this article the feature story on our local newspaper's website!

"Cesarean Sections Linked to Future Birth Risks"

Generally I have noticed that mainstream publications tend to feature articles that either praise the cesarean epidemic or attempt to excuse it or hem and haw over the dangers of cesarean birth. This was, for the most part, right on!

Here is the story that opens the article:

"Flagstaff mom Jody Borrero was only five weeks along in her pregnancy when doctors told her something had gone awry.

"An ultrasound confirmed her placenta had implanted itself at the bottom of her uterus, across her cervix. What's worse, it also had attached itself too deeply, perforating the uterine wall and invading her bladder.

"Borrero's physicians at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center kept her stable for as long as they could. But on Feb. 2, they were forced to deliver Ethan Jr. nearly four months early.

"He's still struggling to survive, and his 28-year-old mother, who hemorrhaged during the delivery, can no longer bear children.

Borrero's conditions, called placenta previa and placenta accreta, are both still relatively rare.

"But physicians say they're turning up in more women, and medical experts believe the trend is tied to record numbers of moms-to-be delivering their children via Cesarean section.

"C-sections, in which a baby is delivered via an incision made through the abdominal wall, leave a scar on the uterus. It now appears that scar is a key risk factor for the complication in subsequent pregnancies, physicians say.

"Many women are unaware of the danger, however.

"'I wanted to have four children, so after the first one was born by Cesarean, I knew I was going to have lots of C-sections," Borrero said. "I thought it would be fine. It wasn't. It's devastating.'"

I was completely impressed with this article! It is rare to find an article so honest and forthright, especially in a non-natural-birth publication. Check it out!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Amazing Birth Video

The woman who can birth like the woman in this birth video is.... more than a mere mortal. Check it out! Many thanks to Empowering Birth for posting this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Comfort Measures in Labor

Last night at the East Valley Birth Circle (I'll add the link when my computer stops being annoying), the subject of the evening was "Comfort Measures in Labor." I found the conversation fascinating, as some women brought up things that I hadn't thought of as being "comfort measures" - but which actually were. What were your best comfort measures for labor?

Here are some of mine, in no particular order:

(1) Being at home - If you can be comfortable at a hospital, great! But I needed to be familiar and comfortable and safe and secure in my surroundings, and that - for me - happens at home. Being at home is not a selfish move that a mum makes at the expense of the baby's safety - it is an essential way to ensure that the mother feels safe, which ensures a smoother labor with less chances of stress-related problems arising (arrested labor, etc.)

(2) Knowing my birth team intimately - I didn't have to deal with nurses or doctors I'd never met before. I knew each member of my birth team intimately and personally. That makes a big difference.

(3) Having complete trust in my care provider - I didn't have to fight any battles (i.e. for not having an IV, for not having continuous EFM, for refusing routine vaginal checks, etc.). I knew that they were on my side and that they would honor my wishes. In case anyone out there doesn't know this, labor isn't the time to be fighting battles. Labor requires 100% of your energy - body, mind and soul - and trying to fight for something during labor is either going to be fruitless (because you won't have energy to devote to it) or counterproductive (because it will disrupt your labor and/or your concentration).

(4) Low lights and silence - Big help. No interruptions. Much easier to focus.

(5) Water - I don't know how I could have had a natural birth without water. I spent all of active labor in the tub, shower, or birth pool. Laboring out of water is something that will hopefully never happen with me.

(6) Not being aware of the time - My care providers weren't clock watchers, and most of the time I wasn't aware of the time. There was a clock in the room, however, and whenever I did look at the clock I got discouraged. I think I'll make sure there's no clock next time.

(7) Not having vaginal checks - In case you don't know this yet, vaginal checks are EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL during labor (I learned that during my one and only check). They're really not necessary unless something is going wrong, and they're torture to endure. Thank you, wonderful midwives!!

(8) Not knowing my dilation - Whenever I asked my midwife if we were almost done, she would either say "soon!" or "I'll only know for sure if I check." I refused a check each time, because I knew that to hear something like "3 centimeters" would be absolutely devastating. I think this is probably one reason why so many women get epidurals - hearing constant updates on your status, especially when things are moving slowly (i.e. "3 centimeters!".... two hours later, "3 centimeters!") would be utterly disheartening. This is going in my next birth plan - that under no circumstances am I to be told my dilation unless I specifically ask for it.

(9) Being free to have my needs honored - For example, during labor I learned that I am a "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" kind of laboring mother. Being touched made me furious and uncomfortable. When I expressed that, it was honored! No one touched me any more. I loved that!!

(10) Being supported by women - I didn't anticipate this, but when I was in labor I wanted to be supported by women. The more the merrier. I wanted to know that they'd been where I was and that they knew what I was going through. Yes, I know there are great male OB's out there.... But for me, it's all about women.

(11) Having hubbie there - I didn't want to be actually supported by my husband, but I needed his presence. The one time he left, about halfway through labor, to get food for our doula and himself, I kind of mini-panicked. I needed him there continuously.

(12) Freedom to move freely - Moving as my body dictated was crucial. I can't imagine being tethered in one spot, or worse, on my back.

That's all I can think of at the moment, though I'm sure there are more. Interesting to think about!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BMJ Confirms Eating During Labor is Okay!

Many thanks to Jill at Unnecesarean for posting this article from the British Medical Journal reporting on a study confirming that eating and/or drinking during labor does not have a deleterious effect on mother, baby, or neonatal outcomes of birth! I'm going to quote the same segment that she did here:

"EATING while in the throes of childbirth should no longer be a medical taboo, according to a study released today.

"The duration of labour, the need for assisted delivery, and caesarean rates were all unaffected by munching between contractions, found the study, published by the British Medical Journal.

"Doctors the world over have long discouraged women in labour from eating, for fear that it could lead to breathing food into the lungs in the case of an emergency caesarean while under general anaesthetic.

"But such incidents have declined dramatically in recent years, mainly due to the use of local anaesthesia.

"Moreover, some doctors have long argued that fasting while in labour - which can last many, many hours - may be bad for the mother and the baby."

Our childbirth ed teacher prepared us for the hospital protocol of "no eating after admission" and told us, quite frankly, to bring our own food to the hospital.

There is no justification for starving mothers (and babies) for hours on end based on the assumption that the mother just might might might need an emergency section. Hopefully American hospitals will get the message, though it'll probably take a while.

Thankfully our midwives never discouraged eating in labor - they encourage eating and drinking in labor according to the mother's wishes. So I didn't have to fight that battle.

During my own labor.... hmm. Well, my labor started at 4:28 a.m. with my water breaking and immediate labor contractions following. I ate a normal breakfast, and then a snack later in the morning, and then nothing till 11 p.m. that night after the birth - I just wasn't interested. I think I've heard that most women don't want to eat during active labor. I sure didn't! (Though I have heard that some women like to eat in the break between transition and pushing. Wasn't it Ina May Gaskin who said that she needed a tofu salad sandwich at that point in each of her labors?) But I was starved afterwards and devoured two bowls of strawberries and cottage cheese. Yum.

Our midwives did push fluids, though - Gatorade, mostly, which I drank in sips throughout labor.

And so, mothers of the world, eat up! (And drink up!)

Arizona Birth Event: CAPPA Conference in Scottsdale

This is pretty awesome! CAPPA (Childbirth And Postpartum Professional Association) is holding their 2009 conference here in Scottsdale! It's free to members, but it only costs $45 to join! You can't beat that price for a four day conference! There are a couple of extra sessions that cost extra, but most of the conference is available for that price. There are going to be a ton of awesome speakers, among whose numbers will be Barbara Harper, international waterbirth authority, and one of my favorite local midwives, Stephanie Soderblom, who will be speaking on birth in the media! I'm considering joining in order to go! Check it out!

2009 Cappa Conference

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birth Activism: Where Is It?

I found this quote on the blog "Musings of an OB Nurse in Transition" and found it interesting. Her question, basically, is "Where did all the birth activism of the '70's go?"

"First day out of the gate (in her new job), I went into a total state of shock.

"This was the late Nineties...I had "come of age" in the Seventies, in the era of "Our Bodies Ourselves", Ina May Gaskin, fighting for our rights in the hospital to have our partners at our side, to birth our babies naturally, without the fog of Scopalamine or Demerol, of immediate bonding and breastfeeding, of Bradley, Lamaze, and VBAC. Although I didn't give birth myself until nearly fifteen years later, I totally absorbed that mind set. I had pretty much gotten what I wanted when I gave birth for the first time in the late Eighties. I had no idea how much things had changed (read that regressed) in the "Self Empowerment in Birthing" school of thought. I was stunned at all the planned inductions, the "epidural as norm" attitude, and the relative ease with which the decision to perform a Cesarean Section was made. Honest to God, I even remember a physician sitting on the edge of the bed of a newly admitted, beautifully laboring multip, with a history of two vaginal births , then a c/section, and finally a successful VBAC, trying with all her might to convince the mother that it was too dangerous to "attempt" another VBAC, and that she should immediately prepare for surgery! She didn't, thank God, despite what was essentially a temper tantrum by her physician...the same physician who had attended her VBAC!!!!!

"Needless to say, things didn't go well for me. I was simply aghast that mother's seemed to just accept drivel like this, few if any took childbirth preparation classes, or if they did, they managed to squeeze them in during an 8-hour marathon Saturday class, and that most of them wanted to "stop being pregnant" by 39 weeks, so they gladly scheduled their inductions, and the first question out of their mouths upon arrival was not "How soon can I breastfeed my baby", but "How soon can I get my epidural"?"

Being that I am new to the birth world, I only have a hazy sense of how things have changed over the past 30 years. Have things regressed or progressed? Or perhaps both at once? And if the birth scene is more bleak than it was 20-30 years ago (in terms of high c-section rate, high induction rate, lack of preparation for childbirth by parents, lack of independent thought/action by parents) why is that so?

I can think of a couple of possibilities:

- Perhaps the natural birth world of the '70's was just as tiny as the natural birth/homebirth movement nowadays - it just seems bigger when you're involved in it.

- Could lack of true preparation for labor/birth have caused mass turn-off to natural birth? A lot of childbirth classes seem to try to cover up the reality of birth (read: "pain") by using euphemisms like "hard work" and etc. Experiencing the pain of childbirth after being prepared only for 'hard work' could definitely be a turn-off.

- Could it be that natural birth has been abandoned as a vestige of the hippie movement, which most people don't want to be associated with? Or could it be that society is tired of militant feminism, which natural birth can sometimes also be associated with?

I'd be interested if anyone out there had any thoughts on this. It's a very interesting question.

Regardless of whether the birthing scene in America has progressed or regressed, it's a certainty that American women are, at this time in history, very compliant and obedient to the medical authorities. I constantly hear women saying, "My doctor decided to induce me..." "My doctor decided on a cesarean...." "My doctor wouldn't allow me to go into labor...." "My doctor wouldn't let me labor more than 12 hours..."etc. etc. ad infinitum (or ad nauseum). One rarely hears of a woman telling her doctor "No" when a bad medical decision is made on her behalf, or of a woman making her own decision against her doctor's advice.

Part of this is, I think, simply because doctors have the ultimate trump card - the "dead baby card." As in, "Yes, you can go against my authority, but you'll have a dead baby if you don't do what I say." That's the way to get a mother to fold before the fight even starts. A friend of mine had this happen to her this year. They were trying to coerce her into an induction which seemed pretty unnecessary (her labor process had already started), and she was questioning the reasoning behind it - so the doctor pulled the dead baby card. It worked. It would have worked on me too. Thankfully my wonderful midwife doesn't play that game!

Part of it is also the hierarchy. When I'm with my midwife, I'm with a friend. We're on the same level. She advises me, but it's friend-to-friend. I don't feel the need to bow down or obey. Independent thought is openly encouraged. But when I visit an OB, there's the instant hierarchy. The white coat, the stethoscope, the chart, the clinical atmosphere, the coolly professional tones with lack of much eye contact, having to conduct one's entire conversation while seated on an exam table. Even though I don't believe in medical hierarchy ("believe in" as in "support"), I immediately feel the need to obey, to avoid questioning, to comply. It's just part of the system.

I'm wandering.... Back to the subject.

Anyhow, though, aside from that, American women are definitely on the whole apathetic about natural birth. Generally the plan is, "Don't want to take childbirth classes because I don't want to think about it; going to hospital to get an epidural." That's not the greatest plan in the world. It's not that epidurals are evil, but that uninformed medical choice (or lack thereof) is foolish. If you go into an epidural knowing all the risks, fine! But if you're just showing up at the hospital and accepting all advice and all interventions suggested, most likely you'll end up with a cascade of unnecessary interventions, which affect both mum and baby, and quite likely (in today's climate) a cesarean.

This entry has been all over the place. But really, my question: Why the apathy among American women? Why the unquestioning compliance to one's OB? Why? Especially when American society is otherwise rife with independently-thinking, feminist-oriented women? Why did birth get left out of the philosophical equation for 95% of American women?

Interesting to ponder.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ICAN Releases New 2007 C-section Data: 31.8%

I saw this first posted on Jill's blog, The Unnecesarean, and then went to ICAN's (International Cesarean Awareness Network) so that I too could post the original material. The following is ICAN's official press release. (Original story here.)

Folks, all I can say is that this is SAD. We know for a fact that most of these cesareans are completely unnecessary, due to the research that the World Health Organization has done showing that maternal and fetal outcomes are never improved when the cesarean rate jumps above 10-15%. And cesareans pose many risks for mother and baby. We know why the rate is too high - it's due to the widespread practice defensive medicine by doctors and hospitals ("The only cesarean you get sued for is the one you don't do." and etc.) The real question is - how do we lower it? My guess is that until women start demanding better things, nothing's going to change - unless you count the skyrocketing c-section rate.

And now, onto the article....

Cesarean Rate Jumps to Record High
1 in 3 Pregnant Women Face Surgical Delivery

More Women Forced into Surgery; Few Mothers Recognize They Can Reduce Their Risk of Surgery

Redondo Beach, CA, March 18, 2009 – The National Center for Health Statistics has reported that the cesarean rate hit an all-time high in 2007, with a rate of 31.8 percent, up two percent from 2006.

“Every pregnant woman in the U.S. should be alarmed by this rate,” said Pam Udy, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). “Half or more of cesareans are avoidable and over-using major surgery on otherwise healthy women and babies is taking a toll.”

A major driver of cesarean overuse is underuse of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The VBAC rate currently hovers around 8 percent, far lower than the Healthy People 2010 goal of 37 percent. Driving this decline is the growing practice of hospitals banning VBAC.

In February, ICAN released the results of a new survey showing a startling increase in the number of hospitals banning VBAC. The survey showed a near triple increase (174%) from November 2004, when ICAN conducted the first count of hospitals forbidding women from having a VBAC. In 2004, banning hospitals numbered 300. The latest survey, conducted in January 2009, counted 821 hospitals formally banning VBAC and 612 with “de facto” bans (1). Full results of the research can be seen at the VBAC Policy Database. Between formal and de facto bans, women are not able to access VBAC in 50% of hospitals in the U.S.

Research has consistently shown that VBAC is a reasonably safe choice for women with a prior cesarean. According to an analysis of medical research conducted by Childbirth Connection, a well-respected, independent maternity focused non-profit, in the absence of a clear medical need, VBAC is safer for mothers in the current pregnancy, and far safer for mothers and babies in future pregnancies (2). While VBAC does carry risks associated with the possibility of uterine rupture, cesarean surgery carries life-threatening risks as well.

“The choice between VBAC and elective repeat cesareans isn’t between risk versus no risk. It’s a choice between which set of risks you want to take on,” said Udy.

Studies from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal–Fetal Medicine Units Network, one most recently published in the February 2008 issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, demonstrate that repeated cesareans can actually put mothers and babies at greater clinical risk than repeated VBACs (3).

In October 2008, Childbirth Connection released a report called “Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve ,” (4) showing that the state of maternity care in the U.S. is worrisome, driven largely by a failure of care providers to heed evidence-based care practices. For most women in the U.S., care practices that have been proven to make childbirth easier and safer are underused, and interventions that may increase risks to mothers and babies are routinely overused. The authors of the report point to the “perinatal paradox” of doing more, but accomplishing less.

“All pregnant women are faced with important choices in their pregnancies. It is critical for women to understand what their choices are, and learn to spot the red flags that can lead to an unnecessary or avoidable cesarean,” said Udy.

Women who are seeking information about how to avoid a cesarean, have a VBAC, or are recovering from a cesarean can visit ican-online.org for more information. In addition to more than 110 local chapters nationwide, the group hosts an active on-line discussion group that serves as a resource for mothers.

For women who encounter VBAC bans, ICAN has developed a guide to help them understand their rights as patients. The resource discusses the principles of informed consent and the right of every patient to refuse an unwanted medical procedure. The guide can be found here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Book Review: "Home Delivery" by Cara Muhlhahn

Home Delivery: A Midwife's Journey Through Motherhood and Other Miracles
Cara Muhlhahn
2008, 234 pages

For some reason I can't find this book on Amazon to link to - whenever I do find it, I'll include the link!

(Later note... An Anonymous commentor told me that the reason I can't find this book on Amazon is that it is the same book as Cara's book "Labor of Love" which can be found on Amazon. I have no idea why they would publish the same book under two different titles and covers, but the description of "Labor of Love" is exactly like "Home Delivery", and I can't imagine one midwife writing two almost identical books.)

This book immediately went on my "lifelong favorites" list. It is awesome!! I loved it and have read it twice already since I borrowed it from my midwife, both times in under 24 hours each. I can't recommend this book highly enough!

Being somewhat dense, I didn't realize until close to the end of this book that the author is the black-haired midwife featured in "The Business of Being Born," which I saw at a screening when it came out a year or so ago (and loved!!). That made an instant and fun connection with the author - I could immediately picture her vibrant personality and all of the fun shots we got to see of her in the movie.

"Home Delivery" covers Cara's life story, focusing on the paths that led her to become a homebirth midwife. It's a fascinating read. She begins in Oregon, apprenticing with a lay midwife, then moves on into nursing and then midwifery school, works in birthing centers and hospitals, and then opens her own private homebirth practice in New York. Quite a journey! I loved reading about it.

Other parts of the book include stories of her work, explanations of what she does and why she loves homebirth, problems in the modern maternity system, and introspection on all of the various facets of birth, including the reasons for homebirth and why it is as safe or safer than modern hospital birth (a fact that is repeatedly confirmed by statistics).

She also tells the story of her own pregnancy, labor and birth (a homebirth), and I loved how realistic she was about the experience. Birth is the biggest and most wonderful experience of a woman's life, but it is NOT easy, and it is (for most women) the biggest challenge we ever face. Here are some of her words:

"At that moment, the idea of a C-section seemed pretty good, or at least an epidural. I promised not to be one of those women whining at an ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) meeting about my unnecessary c-section. No, mine was justified. Too much pain!

".... I thank Miriam now for saving me from that, but in the moment, I wasn't exactly the picture of gratitude. She had blocked all of my escape routes, and the rest of the crew was banding with her....

"I got in the tub and just stared at the faucet. I don't know how long I looked at that focal point, but at some point it finally occurred to me: I couldn't get the section, and the pain of pushing was probably just as bad as the pain of staying right where I was, with the feeling of a rock covered in glass shards lodged in my a--. This was the epiphany I needed. I got up out of the tub, walked out of the bathroom and down the hall and got fully behind the idea of second stage labor, and the miserable pushing it required." (p. 100-101)

I was laughing out loud as I read this, because my experience was very, very similar. And so are our similes. I've been telling people ever since my own birth that it felt like trying to push out a bowling ball covered in broken glass shards.

This next quote cracked me up, because I had the exact same experience at my birth:

".... Miriam gently guided him into my arms. I wish I could say that I was overcome with bliss, overjoyed with the birth of my son. I'd love to paint a picture in which my face gracefully morphed from laboring Aztec birth goddess to beatific saint as I embraced my perfect child. I'd get there a few days later.

"But the truth is, right after birth, I was too completely traumatized by the pain and the whole ordeal. In fact, I think I might have called him a little bastard. He cried for twenty minutes after the birth, and I remember thinking, in my post traumatic stress disorder frame of mind, 'He's probably thinking his mother is a bitch.'" (p. 101-102)

(With apologies for the profanity.)

My goodness, I'm glad someone else had that experience other than myself! LOL

I also loved what she said about her own breastfeeding experience:

"When my delicious baby cried and needed to feed, I would have to put music on and ice my nipples to tolerate latch-on, and sometimes sip on a glass of wine or indulge in some ibuprofen. That lasted nine days. I knew I would get through that, and never considered stopping nursing, even though I now had a new understanding of how challenging it was and why so many women don't get past that stage if they're not deeply committed." (p. 104)

My friends, it is so true!!! Breastfeeding may be natural, as they say, but it ain't easy.

Anyhow, I simply loved this book. If you're interested in homebirth, this is a great resource. Even if you're not, it's still a great read - a wonderfully casual style, with lots of information and a great story. Check it out!

Great Birth Story

I read this birth story and loved it! Check it out! Some lovely post-birth pictures, too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Birth in Children's Literature: "The Bears' New Baby"

I haven't taken time to look into a lot of birth literature for kids yet - we've been relying more on birth videos and in-person explanations to explain our upcoming birth to our DS. However, my mom bought "The Bears' New Baby" for us, and it gave me a chance to peruse what's on the market - or rather, what was on the market, as this book was published in 1988. However, birth hasn't changed that much since 1988 (in public perception, that is), and I think it's probably a fair representation of what I would find in other modern mainstream children's literature.

Anyhow, it's a pretty standard book. Mama and Papa Bear explain to their daughter that a new baby is coming, and then they vanish in the middle of the night to the hospital, coming home a few days later with Baby Bear. Fairly standard. However, going over the specific birth parts of the book, I can glean the following lessons that are being taught:

(1) Birth happens in the hospital
(2) Birth is not for families (i.e. children) - only parents
(3) Birth is an emergency

I don't know if you want your kids learning these lessons. For me - NO. I would rather have them learn the following:

(1) Birth happens at home as well as in the hospital
(2) Birth is for families
(3) Birth is a normal life event

My readership may think that a mountain is being made of a molehill... but I don't think so. Social conditioning starts very, very young. The seemingly harmless lessons learned by children's literature set the base for deeply ingrained beliefs, acknowledged or not.

So, needless to say, I'll be looking for some better "baby is coming" children's books!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Footage of a Footling Breech Birth

This was posted last year on the "Homebirth: A Midwife Mutiny" blog, but I just saw it for the first time recently - and it's awesome! It's footage of a homebirth with a footling breech - the hardest type of breech baby (when the feet are the presenting part rather than the rump). The mum and the midwife did an awesome job, and it was great to watch, and very instructive and encouraging. Check this video out here!

It's sad, but almost 100% of breeches now are born surgically in-hospital, and most doctors are not even trained in how to attend vaginal breeches safely (the technique is quite different and requires much more patience and "hands-off-ness"). Midwives are now some of the only maternity caregivers who have the knowledge of how to catch breech babies safely.

As a side note, I just noticed that I used the term "delivered" three times in the above paragraph. As I had JUST (not 5 minutes ago) made a new resolution never to use that term in my writing again, I went and replaced it with better terms! That decision was made after reading Kathy's blog entry "The D-Word" on why the term "delivered" is so demeaning to the birthing woman, as in "the doctor delivered the woman's baby for her" (Like heck he did! She's the one doing the work!). So just as I say "client" instead of "patient" (a pregnant woman is not sick and should not be under anyone's authority), I will now do my best to say "attended" or "assisted" or "caught" in reference to a care provider and "birthed" in reference to the mother. Let's give credit where credit is due!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Details on Dr. Michel Odent's Visit to Phoenix

A free event with a world-renowned obstetrician and champion of natural birth and water birth speaking - what could be better? Check it out!
World Renowned Obstetrician

Published in 22 languages
Author of 12 books and 50 Scientific Papers
Founder: Primal Health Research Database

Childbirth: Physiology to Practice
The Role of Catecholamines During Labor

Hosted by
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
April 29, 2009

7:30 AM Breakfast meeting
Repeat at 3 PM
Goldman Auditorium (3rd Ave. entrance)
No Charge - Reservation only
RSVP : Margaret Lopez 602-506-6180

Presented by:
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
March of Dimes
The American College of Nurse Midwives
The Gladys T. McGarey Medical Foundation
The Greater Valley Area Health Education Center
Maricopa County Department of Public Health
(The Alliance for Innovations in Health Care and
The Arizona Pre and Perinatal Childbirth Think Tank and Task Force)

CMEs and CEUs available Upon Request

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

In honor of the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, I thought I would like to write a quick note about why I do not appreciate abortion providers! It's only fitting.

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a couple of entries has probably gotten the idea that I am pro-life. Well, here it is officially: I am. I have not done a lot of abortion-specific articles simply because this is a natural birth blog rather than a right-to-life blog, but I want every part of this blog to be life-affirming. It is a bit intimidating to even write on the subject, just because I know that most natural birth blogs (being, as the movement is, wrapped up in feminism and patient/women's rights) are pro-abortion, and I know that I risk both negative backlash and lost readership. However, one must stand for what one believes is right, and it's time for some pro-life birth blogs. However, if you are pro-choice, know that I love you! If you would like to have a calm, respectful discussion, feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back with you. If you would like to be incendiary and hateful, please don't bother leaving a comment. I've seen the abortion debate degenerate too often into a screaming match, and this does not do anyone any good.

It is also difficult to write on the subject simply because with abortion, one risks descending into what can only be described as a diatribe - a derisive denunciation of the other side (think Ann Coulter) which generally gets people on one's side saying, "Yeah! That's right!" and people on the other side even more deeply divided and set against what you had to say. That is not the purpose of this article. My one purpose is to have pro-choice readers examine their views and question the goodness of what they are defending.

My history, for the record: I was raised pro-abortion and stayed that way, strongly, until sometime around early college, when I took a good look at what it was I was defending - and thereafter began the gradual journey into my current pro-life position. On the way I slid through most of the "in between" positions - "wrong except in rape/incest/fetal abnormalities," "wrong except in rape/incest," etc. Only when I finally came to the resting place of acknowledging all human life as sacred did I know true peace on this issue.

There are only two possible justifications for abortion: (1) Abortion is okay if the unborn child is not a human being, and (2) Abortion is okay if there are certain groups of human beings who do not have the same rights as other human beings.

As to the humanity of the unborn, let's get realistic. Either the unborn child is fully human and thus sacred from the moment of conception, or no human life is sacred (as one abortionist so aptly put it, "What exactly is it about passage down the birth canal that suddenly makes a baby sacred?"). All of the "non-human to human" transition points that have been thought up (such as "not human until the heart starts beating," "not human until the age of viability," "not human until breathing on its own") are purely artificial human constructions that have no basis in objective fact. From the moment of conception, the baby's hair color, eye color, personality traits, and an innumerable host of other characteristics are already determined. The baby is growing and developing from day one. All attempts to dehumanize the unborn infant (calling a baby a "fetus" or "products of conception") are just that - human attempts to reason away the humanity of an infant so that its killing does not seem so heinous.

And if an unborn infant is human, then the idea that some human beings just don't have rights is absolutely despicable. All human beings deserve the right to a natural, God-ordained (rather than humanly-ordained) lifespan which cannot be pushed aside for the convenience of other human beings who don't want to deal with the bother of an "unwanted" or inconveniently handicapped child.

The abortion movement has been wrapped up in some absolutely lovely, mouth-watering terms: Freedom. Choice. Every child a wanted child. Women's rights. Patients' rights. Privacy. But at the end of the day, what do we find? Do we find freedom and empowered women? No. We find the horribly mutilated bodies of countless babies (over 50 million since 1973) being thrown out with the trash in biowaste bags. And that is the literal truth. Go look at some abortion pics on the internet and tell me what you see - you will see dead babies. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no freedom - only death, in the most brutal way and visited upon the most innocent, vulnerable and fragile of all human beings, those who most deserve our tenderest and move loving care and protection.

I could write all day about this subject, going into the various reasons for abortion and defending my position. But I don't need to get long-winded. Maybe I'll cover some of those subjects later. For now, I just want the thoughtful reader to truly think.

Thus, if you are pro-life, get active! Participate in 40 Days for Life. Participate in the Red Envelope Campaign. Go find an abortion clinic and spend some time in prayer there.

And if you are pro-choice? Please spend some time in deep thought. Think past the rhetoric, the campaign slogans, the propaganda. Realize what "choice" means. And decide whether or not that "choice" is where you want to put your heart.

Closing with the words of Mother Teresa:

"Yours is the one great nation in all history which was founded on the precept of equal rights and respect for all humankind, for the poorest and weakest of us as well as the richest and strongest. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to faithfulness to what you once taught the world. Your nation was founded on the proposition very old as a moral precept, but startling and innovative as a political insight that human life is a gift of immeasurable worth, and that it deserves, always and everywhere, to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Book Giveaway Party! Pay Attention!

Kathy Peterson, of Woman to Woman Childbirth Education, my all-time favorite childbirth-ed blog/website (check it out!), is celebrating her 100,000-blog-hit anniversary (congratulations, Kathy!) with a book give-away! The book is (drumroll, please).....

a copy of the book Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy: A Photographic Guide for Mom and Those Who Help Her, by Laura Keegan!

Check out the book at its website here!

I unfortunately have not yet had the chance to read this book, but I hope to do so soon! I definitely could have used it. As a lot of you know, breastfeeding is NOT easy. My early days of breastfeeding were fairly disastrous. I had an unhappy baby who was losing weight, continuous blocked ducts (couldn't clear one up before the next one started) and multiple milk blisters. (If you don't know what a milk blister is, count your blessings. Nursing with a milk blister feels like baby is biting hard - all the time you're nursing! Aah!!) Thankfully our pediatrician was able to set me right on technique, but many women understandably give it up as a bad job. I am so thankful we were able to work things out, because long-term nursing has been great for us. Any book that promotes successful breastfeeding has all of my support!

So visit Kathy's website here and learn about what you need to do to enter!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Upcoming Arizona Birth Events!!

Here are some upcoming birth events in the Phoenix Valley Birth Community!

Global Midwifery Client Reunion Picnic
I'm writing somewhat guiltily, as this event started (ahem!) five minutes ago. Yes, I know - no one reading this will have time to plan on it anyhow! But think about it for next year! This is a great time for Global Midwifery's clients, current and former, to gather, meet other homebirth parents, say hi to our wonderful midwives and student midwives, and have a picnic/playdate/hangout time. 10a-2p at Sirrene Park in Chandler. I'll be there in half an hour!

Infant Loss Memorial Service
This is being put on at Chandler Bible Church in Chandler (480-786-3124) by a friend of mine, Jennifer, who lost twins in a miscarriage this past fall. The service is being held to honor and remember all infants lost before birth due to any cause - miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic, abortion, etc. Check out her website here! Attending or not, you can still have your child's name and/or due date and/or conception/loss dates included in the bulletin.

Michel Odent is Visiting Phoenix!
Yes, really! This is the pioneer of waterbirth in France and an amazing author, speaker and obstetrician who stands up unashamedly for natural birth and safe birthing practices. He will be speaking at St. Joseph's hospital on April 29th. Here's the information:

"Yes, he is speaking at St. Joes at two different times on April 29, 7am and 3pm. The topics are: "The Role of Catecholamines During Labor" and Childbirth: From Physiology to Practice". For information contact: Alyce-Anne Meadows, 602-506-6347 Alyce-AnneMeadows@ mail.maricopa. gov. RSVP Margaret Lopez 602-506-6180, margaretlopez@ mail.maricopa. gov"

I probably won't be able to go due to babysitting issues, but I hope that lots of people can make it!

Cheers! I'm off to the picnic!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pausing for a Shameless Website Promotion!

While doing research for this blog, where I have just started a new sidebar for positive and affirming support for parents of babies with poor prenatal diagnoses, I ran across one of my very favorite blogs, "Bring the Rain," which I have been following for the past year or so. This blog is so good, and has had such a profound effect on my life, that I just had to put in a little plug for it.

If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to check it out!"Bring the Rain" is a blog started last year by a mother who learned, halfway through her pregnancy, that her baby had severe birth defects and would not live past birth. Though encouraged to choose abortion, she carried her baby to term and was able to spend several precious hours with her little one before she died.

This is not an easy read, but it is extremely powerful. Start at the beginning and prepare to grow!

Bring the Rain

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Features

I have added some new features!

#1 - I am drastically expanding my list of Arizona doulas. If you are an Arizona doula with your own business and/or website, let me know! I'd love to add you to the list.

#2 - I have added a pregnancy & birth photography sidebar! If you are a professional photographer in Arizona who does pregnancy and/or birth photography, please feel free to email me your website!

#3 - I have added a new sidebar for websites that support parents during poor prenatal diagnoses. If you know of any great websites on this topic, feel free to email me! Too often parents today are only given the option of "It's not healthy, so kill it and save us all a bunch of bother" and are not told of the incredible blessing of carrying a baby to term and being able to hold her during her last moments rather than the hideous alternative. Parents need to know their options!

Thanks everyone for your support on this blog! I am having so much fun expanding it and learning more through the experience, and I appreciate your support and comments.