Hait or BUST!!!!

It is now one month and 2 days before I leave for Haiti by way of Kansas City then Florida. Signs say I will be taking a PRIVATE plane from Florida into Haiti itself… more on that later. I have MANY things complete for this journey, and many things still to do. Who knew I’d have to work for 3 months to go somewhere for 2 weeks!? [I’ll also admit to being nearly giddy with excitement as my very own PASSPORT showed up in the mail!]

The support I’ve received from our local homeschool group, my church, people I’ve NEVER EVEN MET… well, it’s been nothing less than staggering. Humbled? Why, yes, I am. I have to CONTINUALLY remind myself that they aren’t giving to “me” but to Haiti. It feels so artificial for me (Mrs. Independent) to accept offerings from people I love and care about. Let alone strangers.

In the interim I’m so happy ton ave Robin here (my new apprentice). You can read her biography on the “Our Team” page. Look for more updates to this website soon, as it’s on my list of “MUST COMPLETE BEFORE HAITI”. To come: Placenta encapsulation, independent childbirth classes coming to your town, a better way to pediatric care, and an ONLINE STORE! At last! You don’t have to wait on me to get stuff shipped to you anymore! So excited to have this very very close to completion.

I am still a few hundred dollars short of my needed funds to serve in Haiti – please consider a donation. Every tiny bit helps. Paypal to psalms66@gmail.com as a “GIFT” and I won’t be charged any fees. Blessings to you all – love and hope only the best for you all.

Stay tuned for more!

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Gunnarr’s Blanket

(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)

I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.

Well.

It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.

I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going! 🙂

And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.

Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. 🙂 He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.

6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt.  A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.

Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”

Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it. 🙂

Momentum

I’m tired tonight. I’ve driven roughly 600 miles this week, and that’s not counting driving for family matters. That adds about another hundred miles or so. Now, I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I am blessed beyond words, and HUMBLED by the number of colossally awesome families I meet in a given day. For instance:

The last minute meeting with a gal I’ve only talked to in passing that turned into a real “Ah-hah!” afternoon while we both nurse our babies and spoke of ways to improve MOTHERING support in our community.

The family I served this week (albeit BARELY!) who will leave for Mexico as full time missionary’s as soon as this baby’s birth certificate arrives. The mama wants to learn about herbs and homeopathics, and essential oils – she wants to mother her family to the fullest in a possibly hostile and surely third-world environment.

The family who is trying their level best to deal with well-intentioned but sometimes annoying family members who question their choice to homebirth. To see the GRACE with which they do this, and the STRENGTH behind their choice is astounding. I’m SO proud of them for standing their ground REGARDLESS of the choice they make (hospital birth vs homebirth really isn’t the issue here).

The young family that chased me down on the highway because they recognized my vehicle and wanted to see me again (I served them at their birth a few months back). We chatted about organic farming and their recent chicken killing activity over a latte’ at Starbucks. Well, I was the only one with a coffee… and I HAD quit until THIS week hit me! The conversation ranged from that to rare hogs to missing hens and non-GMO corn. Oh, and I got to cuddle THE sweetest baby boy who is getting SO BIG!

Really, I could go on and on. The text conversations with my sister-midwives, my daughter’s dreams of life after high school, my oldest calling home (sniff, sniff), my wonderful sons and husband who cook and even clean in my absence with nary a complaint. They even let me sleep the afternoon away until I can reclaim my home-post. 🙂

The real meaning behind my original statement is that when one is walking out their life-calling it can begin to move really really FAST. Once things get going the momentum is breathtaking! I know Staples has an EASY button, may I have a SLOW one? Because I certainly wouldn’t want to stop, skip or fast forward this journey. I simply would like time to enjoy it a bit more. 🙂

Sonogram: The New Crystal Ball?

I am So frustrated at the amount of misinformation put out there as FACT soley for the convenience of the provider! Grrrr!!!!! Some OB’s do it, some GP’s do it, some midwives do it, heck as far my experience shows some DENTISTS do it.

There was recently a comment made on my Castor Oil post from a woman who was told she was too small and couldn’t go to 38 weeks or her “uterus would rip open”. Baby was just TOO TOO big. Even if the poster got some of the semantics wrong (probably is her pelvis they are talking about not her uterus) the arguments for induction just amaze me. Of course I did not offer he any advice as to induction.

My local hospital routinely does inductions at 37 weeks. 37 WEEKS! Yeah. Ludicrous.

The main reason given to women for inductions and even cesareans is the “big baby” argument. And we have these wonderful things called sonograms to “prove” they are too big to “fit” through your pelvis. Please. Do they think we are stupid? Ignorant perhaps, but we are not STUPID.

Here is a lovely blog post by the fantastic “Unnecessarian” on sonograms and estimated size and due dates. Sonograms can be off as much as a pound either way and 2 weeks +/- for due date predictions! So if the sonogram says you are ok for an induction at 37 weeks (by the sonogram) and you induce and it’s off by 2 weeks guess whatcha get? A baby at 35 weeks with respiratory issues, breastfeeding challenges, and a myriad of other psychological implications the likes of which we have NO CLUE about yet.

And the weight predictions are just fantastical. The stuff of Harry Potter and traveling circus acts. There is some science there – just enough to be dangerous. Sure. Gaze into the sonogram screen and see your future: induction + pitocin + epidural = surgical birth.

And let me tell ya from experience: a 2nd degree tear is alot easier to heal from than a 10″ wound on your belly complete with scar tissue and a spinal headache for dessert.

Off-label drug use

I understand that the off-label use of pharmaceuticals is a normal occurrence in the medical world. I get that. What’s not cool is that this is done in maternity care as well with dire consequences.

I’m not talking about the random, “uh-oh”, I’m referring instead to the drug company themselves issuing statements saying “We do not endorse the use of this product for any use other than that described on the label.” Yeah, they’re probably just covering their b*tts but still. They said it. Yet it happens everyday in the labor and delivery department of nearly every hospital in the country. It has become so commonplace to induce labor that not only have we stopped wondering how/if this affects the baby or the mother we have now started grabbing whatever drugs we can find that give us “a better induction outcome”.

Hrrumph.

Bishop’s score be damned. God created women’s body to birth. With consideration made for the odd-one-out with pituitary damage or other disorders that truly make her body hold onto her baby long past safely, using drugs to begin labor before the body begins to open up on it’s own is risky risky risky.

Births are kindof like bowel movements. They happen on their own. Can’t plan ’em, can’t stop ’em, can’t hurry them along. Bowel movements happen (errr… I can’t help but think of a certain bumper sticker I’ve seen alot of right now).

Birth HAPPENS as well. Babies are born when it is TIME. If we have accepted that every other body system has knowledge to know when to open and release, then why can’t we accept the body’s wisdom in birthing when it is time?

You might have had a Cytotec induction. And so did your sister, your friend, aunt, daughter’s 2nd grade teacher… and all went well. On the surface perhaps. But what did it do to that baby’s emotional/psychological health to be so rudely pushed into the world before he/she was ready to come? And what about the women reading this who is a victim of a cytotec induction who is grieving the loss of her womb? Suddenly hurrying a baby out seems less important when faced with an emergency cesarean to save your baby’s life and a hysterectomy to save yours.

All from a couple of tidy white pills manufactured to treat ulcers. Who’da thunk?

Oh my goodness.

This has to be the single most ridiculous “invention” I’ve ever heard of in relation to women’s health. Good grief.

Ever heard of GOOD NUTRITION strengthening and giving elasticity to pelvic floor tissues?

Ever heard of emotional/psychological conditioning to learn to accept the labor waves instead of fighting them?

Ever heard of, oh I don’t know, BIRTHING WITH A MIDWIFE? 🙂

Goodness. I applaud the idea that episiotomies are ugly, nasty inventions of man (which, by the way, nearly every “invention” in relation to birth has been an unmitigated disaster). But seriously folks. A balloon in the vagina to stretch out vaginal floor tissues? Good grief Charlie Brown.

Who’da thunk it?

A WOW news release on MedLine this morning regarding the safety of planned homebirths. Get this:

All of the outcomes studied occurred with comparable frequency in the planned home and hospital birth groups. These included intrapartum death (0.03% vs. 0.04%), intrapartum and neonatal death within 24 hours of birth (0.05% vs. 0.05%), intrapartum and neonatal death within 7 days (0.06% vs. 0.07%), and neonatal admission to an intensive care unit (0.17% vs. 0.20%).

[My note: actually, the numbers show slightly better outcomes at home. 😉 ]
“As far as we know, this is the largest study into the safety of home births,” the authors note. The findings, they conclude, indicate that with proper services in place, home births are just as safe as hospital births for  low-risk women.  ~ BJOG 2009;116:1177-1184

NOw of course this is a “foreign” publication (British Journal of Gynecology) so I don’t know how much credibility it will get here in the trenches, but WOW. Very cool that the news is getting out there to US med students and physicians!

Birth Beautifully

That’s my email address… that’s what I believe… that’s what I’ve seen… yet today, at 34+ weeks pregnant there is nothing “beautiful” reflecting back at me. I mildly resmeble something off of Animal Planet as I try to turn over in bed. My skin is icky, my back and hips ache in ANY position I’m in, my pubic bone feels like someone kicked me there. Hard. I’m tired. But can’t sleep. Excited to meet this baby and get my body back.

And I am told that I should hate that I feel that way – that I long for this pregnancy to be over. I’ve tried meditating, hypnosis, calming affirmations of beauty… ack. Doesn’t work. I do have glimmers of “Wow. I’m pregnant. I still can’t believe it.” And for those moments I am grateful. The rest of the time? A countdown to the finish.

I have to admit here that I had forgotten just how LABOR-some pregnancy can be. I really had forgotten. As I encouraged other moms, and told them how beautiful they look I wondered at their deer-in-the-headlight response… “Uh beautiful? Uh. Yeah. Sure.” One even said, “Well, ok I guess. Even whales are beautiful to somebody.” I had forgotten that sense of despair and FATIGUE that comes for some women with each pregnancy. I’m one of those women.

And since this is my 5th pregnancy to term, I can say that I don’t regret feeling that way with all of my babies. Diet tweaking has helped me feel MUCh better for this one than the previous 4, but still… I’m tired. I want it to be over. The fun begins for me, with the birth ending. 🙂 I think the babies of moms like me understand. I really do. Never once do I reject THEM, or feel for a second any form of maliciousness that THEY are causing me pain. Because of course they aren’t.

I don’t regret feeling ambivalence towards the PREGNANCY but not the baby, the PROCESS but not the outcome. That’s how it is oftentimes isn’t it? The outcome is worth the process? A bit like a marathon eh? The running starts out fun, the finish is excruciating, but the prize… oh the prize makes it worth it all.

And it is.

SO. Go hug a pregnant woman today. Offer her some chocolate. And for God’s sake do NOT mention how “huge” she is  or ask “how much longer?”. She already knows how much longer. To the nanosecond if that’s possible. 🙂 And go ahead – tell her she’s beautiful. Because even though she won’t believe you she WILL remember that you said it. And it will make her smile.

Cure Gum Disease = Cure Pre-Eclampsia

I read an interesting article a couple of days ago and it’s been bothering me ever since. In essence, this study is showing a link between a protein marker for inflammation and gum disease with pre-eclampsia. Ok. So ok. I can deal with that. Nutritionally speaking, if one is eating a diet low in protein and quality amino acids/vitamins/minerals/etc. then gum disease is likely to be present along with pre-eclampic symptoms. Ok. So far so good. But the last line just cracks me up. Then it ticks me off. Are they for real?

“What remains to be seen,” concluded Ruma, “is whether treatment of maternal periodontal disease can reduce the rate of preeclampsia.”  ~ Gum Disease, inflammation risky for pregnant women

Alrighty then. So we’re going to see if “treating gum disease” will prevent 30% of pre-eclampisa cases? Good grief. I mean, this group is actually WONDERING this!

Do any of the people who do these expensive studies on toxemia ever consider that MAYBE the midwifery community might be right in saying that dear Dr. Brewer was onto something when he claimed to cure and prevent 100% of eclampsia with dietary measures??? And that hey, I don’t know, but maybe gum disease is also a symptom of DIET issues and just happens to occur simultaneously with pre-eclamptic symptoms???

UGH. I’d think, after all of these years of turning up NOTHING, they’d be willing to dive into Dr. Brewers research and actually try to help women. But that’s the rub isn’t it? Helping women doesn’t seem to be the main focus of the medical community at large. Making them “feel” better… maybe, by delivery thier babies via surgical wounds. Yep. That “fixes” the problem doesn’t it? All better. Makes the joke “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” seem pretty fitting.

Lest I end this sour post on a sour note, here is some further reading on nutrition in pregnancy.

Modern Baby Books Full of Bad Advice

Brewer Diet FAQ’s

Toxemia Case Studies

Of course Brewer’s Diet could use a little “tweaking” but overall it jsut makes too much common sense to ignore completely. yes, it’s pretty calorie dense, and yes there are alot of fats in it. But for me, reading the research, case studies, and first-hand accounts (and the latter carry alot of weight for me)  makes it too good to just off-handedly set aside. I’ve seen first-hand, an increase in protein ALONE fix pre-eclamptic symtpoms. Within a week’s time blood pressure readings went down to normal that had been steadily climbing in this mon with a high-carb / low-protein diet (otherwise healthy eating habits). So – read the stuff, decide for yourself. But I believe it’s worth investigating.

 

In the interest of contradiction…

This is so frustrating for me – to be sitting here with so much to say – and to be constrained within the bars of “propriety” and “graceful woman” and “Christian” and even “feminism”. PROPRIETY does not allow me to say “F–K you. All of you. This is my body. My baby. My life. Piss off.”  CHRISTIANITY does not allow me to say that I ***hate*** doctors that perform surgery on normal, healthy women and babies (because a cesarean is performed on the baby too – let’s not forget that) in the name of liability and scheduling and “long hours” and ignorance. FEMINISM does not allow me to say that I want someone to rescue me from the dungeon of hospital birth.  I want a guardian when I cannot express my wishes, and if/when I do/can they are routinely ignored.  I want the person closest to me (a man) to protect me. GASP. “I am woman, hear me whimper.”

Yeah, I know. A bit of contradiction there huh? I know. Get over it. I’m pissed off today. While giving birth unassisted sound LOVELY when I think of laboring and delivering my baby without ANYONE there but me, VBAC status (and my recent dive into the statistics of uterine rupture) leave me a bit shy of doing so. I can’t have a vaginal birth (no matter how managed they would make it) at the local hospitals. If I hire a midwife – she takes an incredible risk to care for me and emergency back-up is non-existant. I must hope and pray there are no complications.

Yet there are the likes of certain “Dr. Amieees” in the world (and I know I mispelled it. I don’t want her to get any more google tags than she already does) who would say, “Life is hard. Have the section. They are recommending it for a reason. You’re not a doctor. You can trust them.” There are SO many nay-sayers, I find it increasingly in my best interests to not tell anyone of this pregnancy, or my plans to birth at home, and G_d-forbid I mention we won’t circumsize or do routine immunizations! UGH.

Can you hear me screaming?????????

So now for the fine print: I am a Christian. I do not use language like this in real life (can’t say NEVER, but I can say rarely). I am not generally an angry, tantrum-throwing person. But if this scenario, and knowing that hundreds of Missouri women find themselves in just such a predicament, does not bristle YOUR neck hairs too… Well, then you’re reading the wrong blog.