Thursday, June 26, 2008


(image from this lovely flickr photo set)

I'm a bit of an collector- it applies to my lifestyle: wrapping paper, tea cups, herb plants, etc. This tendency of mine also applies to information. I like to scout for interesting facts and then keep them for the perfect occasion. This habit does come in handy for a blogger who's job it is to take in details and images and words from as many different sources as possible , distill them and then disseminate. So while I'll spare you with my obsession for handmade goods and vegan recipes, I will share 2 good lists of information that may prove immediately useful or perhaps you can save some of these resources to impress your friends (and look like a know-it-all, like me!)



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

choose your own birth

If you are pregnant, chances are that you've envisioned your ideal birth. If you are a birth professional, chances are you've envisioned your ideal birth. One of my very favorite descriptions of an ideal birth comes from this Slate article:

"The ideal Berkeley birth has probably never actually happened, but if it has, it happened far from civilization, in the woods, without painkillers or doctors or any intervention whatsoever by modern medicine. Along one side of the birthing mother was a wall of doulas wailing a folk song; along the other, all the people she has ever known; at her feet, a full-length mirror, in which she watched her baby emerging; at her head, a mother wolf, licking and suckling. Incense-filled urns released meaningful, carbon-free odors. The placenta was saved and, if not grilled, recycled."

But imagine if you could try it out before hand... VIRTUAL LABOR ! Kind of like a choose your own adventure: It's fun!

Monday, June 23, 2008

are you my mother?

I love stories of unexpected nurturing and mothering under extreme circumstances. This is a very nice article about a police officer in China nursing orphan babies after the earthquake. She got a promotion for her good deed!

In a strange way it reminds me of this wonderful tiger who mothered little piglets...

everybody loves a midwife...

It's true (except for, as we all know, the AMA and ACOG). Be it at an opera in the park or a meeting of financial women, everyone seems pleased or fascinated to know that I am going to be a midwife. Every type of woman usually has questions and ultimately, usually shares some kind of birth story. Birth is fundamental and deep. Women (and men!) respond to it with a visceral-gut understanding and on intuitive level. Pre-modern midwives were pillars in their communities serving in powerful roles as an archetypal healer figure- possibly slightly magical. But a midwife also tends to a primal action, earthy and bodily- and so too does a midwife recall earth goddess figures, fertile mothering and nurturing. (Of course, as a disclaimer, this is not to say that a modern midwife is not totally and utterly well trained in the ways of modern medicine- our modern midwives are whip smart and passionate activists, as well). Here are a few small tokens of appreciation to midwifes, bits that seem lovely like valentines:

- this

- this

- this

Friday, June 20, 2008

the new IUD and you

Last night at an activist council training at Planned Parenthood, we were discussing the health center's birth control offerings including IUDs (inter uterine devices). The director of the health center said that more and more women had been coming for IUD insertions- she seemed almost giddy stating that this was a "very good thing". She then went on to innumerate the benefits of the new IUDs. I was initially sort of stunned and felt out of the loop. To me, IUD's have always seemed medieval- a scary metal device inserted into your uterus to act like barbed wire to sperm- harsh and dangerous. She reassured us anyone could have one inserted (not just women who had given birth) and that they are quite safe (unlike the 1970's models). There are two versions currently on the market: Mirena which releases progesterone and ParaGard which uses copper. The IUD works to prevent pregnancy in two ways- 1) a chemical change to uterus to create an inhospitable environment for sperm and 2) the "T" shape of the device disrupts egg implantation onto the uterine wall. Mirena is effective for five years during which the woman does not menstruate and ParaGard is good for 12 years (but still having a monthly period). The IUD is "as effective as sterilization" (which is not 100% effective) thus making it the most effective method of birth control available. Read more about IUDs here and here.

I was intrigued- mostly I liked the idea of a non-hormonal birth control that was determined by me and that I didn't have to think about on a regular basis. On the other hand the notion of a foreign object being inserted into my body by someone else still bothers me a little bit.

Fascinating! And how exciting that, in some ways, our world of reproductive health choices seems to be expanding!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

science: egg-citing!

Super cool video and pictures of human ovulation. via here

current events: ACOG aginst homebirths (and Riki fights back!)

This is troubling .
The American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued a statement reiterating that they do not support home births- declaring them as "fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre", ultimately dangerous ("puts herself and her baby's health and life at unnecessary risk." ) and seemingly selfish ("Choosing to deliver a baby at home, however, is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby.") Read more here.
Riki Lake has been specifically targeted and offers this message in return:
"I was empowered, I was transformed and I would love for women to have had that opportunity — to be an active participant in their own birth choices and birth experience".

**Full response from Riki Lake, Abby Epstein and Jennifer Block as posted by the Huffington Post: here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

birth event: orgasmic birth screening, 06/26

I've read wonderful things about this film (take a look at the terrific set of experts featured).

If you are interested in attending, more details are

Watch the trailer:

midwife to us all

Ina May.

When I was first starting to get my prickling intuition that I might want to be a midwife, a friend gave me Spiritual Midwifery. Truth be told, it scared me- there was just too much. Too much birth, too many hippies. I had to be ready for it.

I've stated carrying to to births with me as a reminder how simply beautiful and natural birth can be. The language of the book is amazing- powerful and positive and the images of the beautiful hippie moms and dads (full beards and long hair) are super cute.

I had the pleasure of hearing this amazing woman speak last Saturday at the Open Center. She was so smart, warm, funny and down to earth- a true inspiration both in terms of her advocacy and innovation in the field of natural childbirth and raising awareness of maternal mortality in America but also for her playful and respectful attitude that she seems to maintain regardless of situation or audience.

She could not recommend this book highly enough:

I love this clip of her talking about childbirth (and breast milk ice cream!):

quote for today:

"I think of midwifery as a seed full of potential - a seed that will grow into a lush, blossoming tree with green branches and plenty of ripe fruit for nurturing women, babies, and families."

Marina Alzugaray

via here

welcome, full moon

In birth there is no real, set due date. The "due date" of a baby is determined 280 days to the approximate first day of your last menstrual period or 266 days from conception. It is not a guess nor is it a perfect science-- it is personal, up to the mother and the baby to decide upon their special mix of hormones and development.

I had wanted to stat this blog on a number of important days: Mother's Day, Father's Day, my birthday- all for symbolically obvious reasons but the timing was not right. Perhaps I had too much anxious anticipation or perhaps the ideas and inspirations I hope to set forth in space had not yet matured and maybe I was not yet relaxed enough to allow them to come through me in a fluid way. But I am now ready to begin to share with you and hope that you will join the conversation and use this blog as a tool or resource or a jumping off point or maybe just as a bit of interest and entertainment.

One of my most important jobs as a doula is to protect the sacred space of a birth. I have learned to set down my own intentions for the birth, to embrace the intentions of the mother for the birth and then know to step back to respect the intension of the birth itself allowing it to unfurl as it may. I set forth his blog a safe space for all of those participating in birthing - it is a wise and deep community; I look forward to this new learning journey.

Tonight is a full moon. The full moon symbolizes motherhood, nurturing and fulfillment. It is a time of enhanced intuition and deepening of internal desires. It has been said that a full moon is a powerful trigger for the onset of labor- the mothers amniotic sac syncing with the rest of the planet’s water in oceans and rivers responding to the moon’s gravitational pull.

Welcome, new friends.