Thursday, December 31, 2009

Interview with Joy Szabo

ICAN has posted an interview with VBAC-warrior Joy Szabo - check it out!

Interview: Joy Szabo

I posted on her (about two entries down) a week or so ago, but for anyone who hasn't heard about this story - Joy Szabo was threatened by her home-town hospital in Page, Arizona with a court-ordered cesarean if she did not submit to an elective repeat cesarean section for her recent birth (the hospital has stopped "allowing" VBAC births). Although nothing has been done about the criminal behavior (my opinion) of of the hospital in question, Joy successfully thwarted the system by moving to a different town for the last few weeks of her pregnancy in order to birth at a VBAC-friendly (or VBAC-allowing, at least) hospital. And... she got her VBAC!

Hopefully this story will bring much-needed publicity to the VBAC scene, which is currently in a ridiculous state of hysteria. VBAC birth is statistically safer than repeat cesarean birth, but it is not more profitable - and it is more liable - so the current trend is for repeat cesareans, or "trials of labor" that are stacked against the mother (and so turn into repeat cesareans). The tide needs to turn sometime, and it is great stories like Joy's that will help it to turn!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Medical Cannabis for Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

This is not a new article (2004, I think), but I just saw it when a birth buddy posted it on Facebook. Interesting stuff! I haven't really been involved in the medical marijuana debate, so I don't feel justified in posting an opinion (morally, politically, medically). Here is the original article:

Medical Marijuana: A Surprising Solution to Severe Morning Sickness

Does anyone out there know anything more, or have any opinions to share?

I took a quick look around the web to see what the status of medical marijuana in the U.S. was (try this site) and found that it is legal in thirteen states, not including my own (which is in some odd state of legal limbo).

With regards to severe morning sickness (my own particular pregnancy problem), I post all information I find, however wacky!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good for Her!

Joy Szabo got her VBAC! Hurray!

This is the woman who was threatened with a court-ordered cesarean if she didn't submit to an ERCS (elective repeat cesarean section, i.e. a cesarean for no good reason) at her hospital in Page, AZ, a hospital which has an active VBAC ban. She decided to spend the last bit of her pregnancy here in Phoenix in order to birth at a hospital that allowed VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean).

Mom fights, gets the delivery she wants

Of course, this doesn't do anything about the underlying problem - a hospital that is threatening court-ordered cesareans for moms who want VBACs is a MAJOR problem and an enormous human rights abuse. Frankly, I don't know why this isn't bigger news nationally. There's a lot of work to be done.... But congratulations to this mama and her baby and her family! Great job!

The article also has some good tips on avoiding unnecessary cesarean birth, and a it's presented with a good perspective! Hurray! I'm going to reprint those tips here:


1. "Doctor, is this an emergency, or do we have time to talk?"

Sometimes you need a C-section to save your life, your baby's life, or both. In those cases, there's no room for discussion.

Delivery room emergencies include excessive bleeding, a breech position where the baby is headed out foot-first, or when the baby has certain heart rate problems, according to Flamm.

"In these situations, this is not a good time to talk about your desires for a natural birth," Flamm says.

2. "Doctor, what would happen if we waited an hour or two?"

The vast majority of the time, when your doctor or midwife tells you it's time for a C-section, it's not an emergency, Flamm says.

In many cases, women just need more time to labor, he adds. In fact, he says the No. 1 reason for a C-section is "failure to progress" during labor. "If that's what we're talking about, then it's not an emergency," he says.

3. "Doctor, are you sure the baby is too big for me to deliver?"

Sometimes parents are told a baby is too big to deliver vaginally. Dr. Ware Branch, medical director of women and newborns clinical program at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, says parents should ask whether a C-section is absolutely necessary, especially if labor hasn't advanced very far.

"If it was my wife in labor and she's three or four centimeters dilated and the obstetrician says the baby's head is too big and she can't deliver him, I'd say, 'Nonsense, she hasn't really had a trial of labor, doctor.' "

4. "Doctor, is there something else I can try before having a C-section?"

Antunes, a spokeswoman for DONA International, which certifies doulas, says there may be options such as maneuvers like the one she used on Ste. Marie to get a slow labor moving.

You shouldn't be afraid to speak up and say you'd like to try to labor longer.

5. "Doctor, can we talk more about the baby's heart rate?"

If you're told you need a C-section because of the baby's heart rate, try to get your doctor or midwife to be as specific as possible.

Some heart-rate problems mean a C-section is necessary immediately, but other types of heart-rate issues are not nearly as serious, and you may be able to labor longer.

"This is a very gray area," says Debbie Levy, a certified nurse midwife in Marietta, Georgia. "It takes years to learn how to read fetal heart tones, and it's not an exact science."

Levy says it can be difficult to ask these questions when the person delivering your baby says it's time for a C-section, especially since mom and dad are often exhausted.

"This is a very tough discussion to have in the delivery room," she says. "You're vulnerable, because you're talking about your baby's well-being."

But she says as long as it's not an emergency, you should have these delivery room conversations with your doctor or midwife.

"You shouldn't be afraid to speak up and say you'd like to try to labor longer," she says.


Does anyone know what the maneuver mentioned in the article for getting a baby repositioned was? I hadn't heard of it before. It sounded like McRoberts, but that is for a totally different problem (shoulder dystocia).

Good stuff!

h/t to my hubby, who saw the article, knew I'd been following the story, and sent it to me! Aren't those guys just great!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Beginning-of-Life Day, Baby!

No, I am not pregnant. Just realized that the title might be misleading, so I thought I'd better disclaim first.


A midwife friend of mine said some time ago that she always celebrates her baby's first beginning-of-life (my own phrase) day - the day when he/she began life on this planet (as in "day of conception" rather than "day of birth"). I thought it was a lovely idea, and I intended to celebrate our baby's beginning-of-life day - and I just remembered today that it was four days ago! Ah well, better late than never.

December 12, 2008 was the day when I charted that cute little basal body temperature-rise that signals that ovulation has occurred... and knew that unless God Himself intervened, we would most likely conceive that cycle. I won't say why. Ahem. And one week later, when the nausea and heartburn hit, I knew I'd been correct!

Actually, in some ways, since conception occurs within 0-48 hours after ovulation, you could say that I knew about our baby before he was conceived! Pretty cool. (Long live Natural Family Planning!)

So.... Happy First Beginning-of-Life Day, Baby! You have been a most welcome addition to our family!

Birth Story

This is a blogger I love, MckMama: birthing, babies and beyond, and this is the story of her first birth, which occurred about four years ago. It's beautifully written, not too long, and a very enjoyable read. Check it out!

This birth is a good example of how one's plans can change; she planned on an all-natural waterbirth in-hospital; what she got was an induction due to post-dates at 42 weeks, a four-day labor, an epidural, AROM, multiple complications (fever, etc.) and a vacuum delivery with a broken tailbone. (Despite that run-down, it's not a birth horror-story... really.)

BUT... I wonder how it might have been different under different care. What if her midwife had not insisted on a post-dates induction? Might all of the above might have been avoided by waiting for labor to start on its own?

I know care-providers are really nervous about going over 42 weeks. Some nowadays won't go over 41 weeks (a rule that gave a friend of mine two unnecessary cesareans) or even 40 weeks. Bad things can occasionally happen with postdates babies.

But some babies do just need to cook longer. Would it have been acceptable to do biophysical profiles, keep an eye on the baby, and only induce when baby's welfare looked questionable - instead of going by dates alone?

Not being a professional, I don't know the answers! (If you do, feel free to fill me in.) However, this is still a great story by an AMAZING woman, and I really admired her fortitude during her birth. See what you think!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Great Pictures

Navelgazing Midwife posted some amazing and really interesting birth photos that she's taken over the year of various birth-rarities (birth in a caul, etc.). Check them out!

Later note: Here are some more pictures she added later. Just terrific!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I had hoped never to be writing this again, but once again, our dear friends' babies are now in heaven.

I had been haunting Facebook and my friend's blog for news ever since Thursday, when I was expecting their announcement (their transfer of their adopted babies was on the 2nd), and by today I was pretty seriously worried. They announced this afternoon that their test results confirmed the worst.

I am devastated for this family. They have now dealt with years of infertility, adoption paperwork, and two failed transfers. I can't even imagine what they're going through. God knows what He is doing, but we do not... I'm not sure that my faith would hold up as well as theirs has.

The next time I make an announcement for this sweet family, I sincerely hope that it will be about an upcoming birth. Praying for them!

Parenting Advice

The following was written several years ago and shared with me by one of my wonderful-and-amazing doulas, who has seven children (one still in-utero). If you know this family, you know that they should have a baker's dozen - they're an amazing family! Enjoy!

"We currently have five children and are expecting the sixth. They are ten, eight, six, four, and two. So I am mostly talking about younger kids. Seven years ago my husband and I totally overhauled our parenting style from a very punitive to a positive style. We have spent much time reading about parenting and talking to each other and other parents about the way we want to do things. We are still a work in progress, very much so. I have some very special mentor mothers to thank for much of what we do today to discipline our children. Thank you Joanne and Lisa most especially.

"Have a vision for your family and children. I encourage you to set your standards very high but not beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. I really don’t expect us to obtain the perfection of our vision but we will certainly be so much better for trying. Don’t practice “accidental” parenting. You can collect many tools (i.e. tips) but if you don’t know what you are building you won’t know which ones to use or when to use them.

"Our vision for our family is to have a peaceful home in which we all take care of and are kind and respectful to each other. A family where we always try do what is right because it is the right thing to do, regardless of whom is around. Of course this includes the parents too. :-) Share your vision with your children often in little ways throughout the day. This will help to keep you on track too. (This can really be the hardest part.) For example: One morning I made muffins. As we all sat down one of my children wanted to “call” the one she wanted. In our family we don’t “call” things. She asked me why I had made this rule. I told her, “Because it is selfishness. I want a family where, when we sit down to breakfast you will turn to your brother and ask ‘Ethan, which one would you like?’ and then he will do the same for you.” To my surprise, her brother turned to her and did just that! I thought they would roll their eyes at me because it was pretty idealistic. J

"Once you have established a vision it will be easier to choose which tools you will use. Throw out the ones that don’t help and may actually destroy what you are trying to build. Your definition of what “works” may also change. Though one tool may yield immediate results, its long term effects may be undesirable. For us, this meant throwing out hitting of any kind, yelling, all punishments and most rewards. (Pretty much the whole tool box) We do still discipline. Discipline does not have to equal punishment. Ultimately, I want to raise people who will choose the right from an internal motivation. Rewards can foster a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. They can also put you in the position of wondering what to do when the child has decided the reward is not worth it. In the same way, punishments can lose their scare factor and sometimes they just don’t make sense. Most importantly, these are both external motivations and don’t foster an internal motivation for choosing the right. Hitting and yelling are neither respectful nor kind and in no way foster peace in the home. Neither do they foster peace in the soul of either party. (We are STILL working on the yelling.) So what do we do?

"We try to have natural consequences whenever possible. For example, if a child won’t control his/her body (i.e. he is hitting, running off) Mom will have to help you. This may mean being removed from the situation or sitting on mom’s lap etc….I try to always explain why I am doing what I am doing, even to very young children. When I say being removed from the situation it may mean leaving a play date five minutes after arriving, leaving a whole cart full of groceries, etc.

"We had one child who was almost never flushing. Yuck! The consequence was to clean the toilet every time I walked in on an un-flushed toilet. Very rarely do I now walk in on an un-flushed toilet. :-)

"If I can’t think of what the appropriate natural consequence should be I often ask the offender what they think would be fair. They are often much harder on themselves than I would be. For hurting another (including with words), the family rule is that the offender do an act of service for the one they hurt as well as an apology. This can be getting a glass of water or making a bed, etc. We did this because we found the apologies had become much less than heartfelt and very forced and it is so beneficial to both parties.

" * Whining-I tell my children “You are whining. I can’t hear whining.” Then I help them bring their voice down by saying “Mom” (this is usually the first word whined) over and over in a normal tone until they bring down their voice to a normal tone to match.

" * Fights- If it is a small disagreement I ask them if they tried handling it with words and often give them an idea of words that could help like, “May I please have my chair back?” instead of shouting “MOVE!”

"For larger fights I don’t ask what is going on. It almost never matters who started it or what happened. I start by asking each child “Are you doing what is right?” They usually try to launch into their side of the story but I will only hear a “yes” or “no.” (It is almost always “no” from both parties) I then ask them each “How can you do what is right?” This gets them to think about how to solve it themselves and what part they own in the fight instead of how awful their sibling is.

" *For very young children that refuse to do something I ask “Mommy do or Baby do?” This makes it their choice. My help is not doing it for them but hand over hand “helping” them.

" * For rude answers or demands I say “Try again.” This gives them a chance to rephrase. I often will give them an example of an appropriate way to say what they mean.

" *On our way to special events or restaurants we go over the behavior expected of them. I always ask them to tell me how they should behave so I know they’ve got it. It is only fair to them to know what is expected of them.

" *Try to not assume negative intent. (Messes are usually the result of curiosity or boredom not a devious two-year-old’s plot to ruin the last three hours spent cleaning.:-))

" *Notice the good in your child. Do it often and out loud in front of them and others, especially for those “challenging” children. This helps you too to be more gentle and loving in those rough moments.

" *Practice “Get off your rear” parenting. Be proactive and thoughtful with words and actions. Would you want someone to treat you the way you are treating your child?

" *Everyone will choose different tools but two that will work for every child are love and respect.

" *My favorite parenting saying of all time is

“'Good parenting is that which leaves both parent and child’s dignity intact.'”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ultrasound Article Link

I tell you... Once you have enough "birth junkie" friends on Facebook, you don't have to do much research - the articles just arrive in droves! Love it!

I think I read this article when it came out, but it's a good resource for those who are ultrasound-leery. It makes some good points. Check it out:

Ultrasound: Weighing the Propaganda Against the Facts

I'm on the fence with ultrasound.... Like most obstetrical interventions today, I believe that it is majorly overused. Personally, if I have another baby, I don't think I'll be having an ultrasound. I didn't have one with our first (who was miscarried) or second (our son); I did have one ultrasound with our last baby because I felt (for whatever reason) that I needed to - however, I don't think I'd do it again. After all, I wouldn't abort for any reason, so it's kind of pointless (it is nice to be forewarned of problems... but I do think that there are risks with ultrasound, so I'd rather play it safe).

However, everyone is different, and some women live for ultrasounds. For most of my friends, ultrasounds are the high point of their pregnancies. (I was so nervous that the tech would slip and tell me baby's gender that I didn't enjoy mine at all!) So... to each his own! It's definitely a wonderful technology that can be used for great good, and it's helpful in many situations. Also, for parents who like to know ahead of time if baby has problems so that they can be prepared, it can be quite useful.

Thoughts, anyone?

Birthing Magazine Online

I haven't read this magazine, but it looks great.... and to introduce their online version, they're offering this issue free to read online! Check it out here.

Cross-post on Co-sleeping

I posted this article on Facebook, but didn't have time to blog about it - but my friend Kathy did! So check it out what she wrote here.

I find it utterly fascinating that I have instinctively chosen the exact position for co-sleeping that the study mentions is extremely common among co-sleeping women - curled on one side facing the baby, arm curled around baby, knees drawn up under baby. It feels (and is) incredibly safe, and is very practical for nighttime nursing.

As I commented on Kathy's blog.... "I don’t feel comfortable in any other position. When I’m in that position, I “remember” the baby even when I’m sleeping, but when I use any other position, I “forget” that the baby is there while I’m sleeping and then wake up, think “Oh my gosh, where’s the baby?” and panic until I find him. That’s why I exclusively use the described position for co-sleeping."

Interesting stuff!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Male Doulas?

Sure, why not? I don't think it would be for me, but whatever works:

Your Space: Doula Man

Kind of like a male midwife - hard to get one's mind around it, but some women really do prefer male caregivers. If so, this guy is for you! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Incredibly Funny Birth Story

Kayce has posted this birth story, and I'm linking to her blog instead of the original story because there are four parts (she has links to each part). Check it out! It's not a natural birth (i.e. sans drugs), but it is a VBAC - hurray for VBAC!!!! And what a wonderful hospital and doctor she had! Birth balls, labor tubs, not-too-pushy of a doctor - nice!

Incidentally, her description of contractions really reminded me of my own experience - and why I wouldn't have been able to have a natural birth in-hospital! There are some goddess-like women who apparently have the willpower to have drug-free hospital births, but I am not one of them! Staying where drugs aren't available for birth is the only way natural birth happened for me - or will ever happen! If I'd been in-hospital, I too would have taken an epidural. Make that ten or twenty epidurals. All at the same time. Double strength.

Anyhow, that was really a rabbit trail. Just a random thought.... But check out this birth story and prepare to giggle!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Embryo Adoption.... PUPO

Our dear friends J. and T. had their embryo adoption transfer this week, and things went really well! So J. is now "PUPO" - Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. For now it's just a waiting game as they wait to see if the babies were able to successfully implant (which will be shown by a positive pregnancy test). We are hoping for wonderful things for them! As two embryos were transferred, there is a good chance of TWINS! (Or triplets or quads, as each has the possibility of splitting.)

J. and T. decided on embryo adoption after the barrage of fertility tests they underwent showed them that they were not only infertile, but completely sterile due to the husband having Kleinfelter's syndrome (a genetic condition which renders males sterile). So the embryo-babies that are transferred are transferred just like a usual IVF cycle, but they have different genetic parents who have given them into the care of their adoptive parents (just like babies and children are given to adoptive parents post-birth). This is a wonderful option for genetic parents who have more embryos than they can transfer themselves.

Praying for this wonderful family!

New Midwifery Partnership

Our midwife, having lost her former business partner (she recently retired temporarily after the birth of her baby), has formed a new partnership with midwife Marinah Farrell, and they are now taking clients! You can see Marinah's blog here:

Midwife in the Clouds

For some reason I haven't had this blog in my subscription, but I've added it now and am looking forward to reading it.

Marinah is also somewhat famous for her series of articles in Midwifery Today on the subject of bullying within the midwifery profession.

We're not planning any more kidlets, but if we do, we'll look forward to working with Marinah as well as our midwife!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New OB Blog

I haven't looked through this blog at all (so don't quote me), but the top article (which I saw on Facebook) was absolutely astounding, amazing, wonderful, etc. Here it is:

Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics

Do I really need to say more?

I've subscribed to this blog and am looking forward to reading it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good Quote

I saw this comment on "My OB Said What?" and thought it was great... Sometimes we women (myself included) focus unhealthily on what childbearing and time do to our bodies rather than the importance things we are doing with those children and that time. This is a good reminder to me:

"You know what? I could spend the rest of my life trying to hang onto the body of a 19 year old, worrying about gaining half an ounce, spending half my day at the gym, and spending a fortune on products and eventually plastic surgery. But I’m still gonna get old. I’d rather work my way toward having the body of an 80 year old great-grandmother, who carried, bore, and nursed 5 children (for a grand total of 49 months, a bit more than 6!), who spent her days caring for those 5, plus 2 more, and a husband, whose only diet was healthy, home-cooked food, whose exercise was bouncing a baby, then a grandbaby on her knee. I’ll probably never pose nude in Playboy, but I really do not care."

Good stuff.

Target's Response

I emailed Target to encourage them (nicely!) to support public breastfeeding, and very quickly got the following back:

Dear Diana,

As a family-oriented retailer, Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores.

We want everyone to feel comfortable shopping at Target. Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms.

We strive to provide a distraction-free environment for all our guests, including nursing moms. We regret the incident in our store and will continue to provide a shopping environment that respects the needs of all guests, including nursing mothers.

At Target, we work hard to provide you with an enjoyable shopping experience. If you ever have concerns during your visit, please visit the Guest Service Desk and ask to speak to the Guest Service Team Leader. They'll make every attempt to resolve the issue while you're in the store.

We appreciate the opportunity to share this information with you.


Target Guest Relations

Very nice indeed! Way to go, Target!

Parenting Book Recommendations

I wanted to send out an "I love these books" recommendation for the following, by Dr. Kevin Leman:

Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days

Making Children Mind without Losing Yours

Most parenting books, I have found, are way too heavy on principle for me. By "principle," I mean vague directives like this:

- "Look for the heart message in what your child is saying"
- "Use biblical methods for discipline"
- "Teach your children good manners"
- "Don't let your children be disrespectful"
- "Parent gently"

And etc. I'm just not bright enough for those! I need things that say "when you see bad behavior A, respond with action B." These are the books for that! I'm looking forward to reading his other books.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Looking at the Other Side

The birthing world often (way too often) chooses sides (natural v. medical, midwives v. OBs, clients v. doctors) and then proceeds to blame the other side for all of the birthing world's woes. We in the naturopathic birthing community are just as guilty of this as the other side! So.... here is a great blog entry by an OB (whose blog I have just discovered) showing a great example of a birthing mother who was... hmmm. Suffice it to say that we can't blame doctors for all the problems in the birthing world! It goes both ways:

Overheard in a Beauty Salon

I have overheard similar conversations myself... there's nothing to make one angry/depressed like a mother being absolutely cavalier about her baby's health so long as her convenience is consulted. Mamas, we can do better than this!

Later addendum:

Kayce reminded me that we don't know the other side to this woman's story, and that it is unfair to judge her harshly when we really don't know the details. Read her comments on this article for details (she is a mama who also has had a baby in the NICU). Thus, I wanted to publish a public apology for being unfairly judgmental and/or harsh in my above writing. Eating crow as we speak! Thanks to Kayce for having the kindness to gently correct me. :)

News Item: Target Calls Police on Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding - that's definitely a criminal activity worth calling out your local law enforcement for!

Target Calls Cops on Breastfeeding Mother

It really gets me how women can dress as absolute whores and no one will blink an eye, but as soon as a mama starts breastfeeding, people get on their moral high-horse.

For.... what?

Sometime I'll write a post about public breastfeeding, but for now, if you'd like to send Target a word of encouragement for them to support breastfeeding, here's an email link for them:

Contact Target via Email