Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boy or Girl?

On a tip from a pregnant friend, I took a little field trip to the CVS in my neighborhood but, to no avail. Except that now this treasure hunt seems even more elusive and mysterious than when I first started.

The object of my desire is called "Pink or Blue: Early Gender Test Kit". This is a home blood test (with results sent into a lab) that can, supposedly, predict the gender of your baby after 7 weeks of pregnancy. Here's the thing: most "predictive" ultrasounds are done between 16-20 weeks and the most accurate testing to indicate gender, amniocentesis (sampling of the amniotic fluid which contains baby's DNA), is usually done within the same time frame. This test seems a little fishy to me (and a bit expensive) but, I don't know any one who has tried it- do you?

I prefer charming folk methods, such as the Chinese Gender Prediction Calendar, if you're looking to DIY your baby's gender (except I would strongly advise against the Draino method).

Here and here are two comprehensive lists about gender predicting lore and "methods".

Monday, August 17, 2009

Themed links, Part II

Brooklyn is the theme this time.

Interesting article about a typical day at New York Methodists Advanced Women's Imaging and Prenatal Testing Center.

Finally, a new New York cloth diaper service!! Much needed from what I've heard.
Also, you can meet these ladies in person at the Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A growing baby and blogs

The thing that these two links have in common is "series".

The first:
A series of photos of a baby's first year. Watch how long, chubby and toothy he gets!

The second:
A series of thought provoking and inspiring blogs:
Top 100 Natural Birth Blogs


Last Wednesday night was a full moon and boy, did I know it. As a fellow birth assistant said "It was a hot night". One mom even had her baby in the car! The Brooklyn Birthing Center was certainly a bustling place.

Once all of the business had subsided and all babies were on their ways home, I was chatting with a co-worker about the "Business of Being Born". She said that after the movie came out BBC surprisingly did not seem to have the same spike as New York home birth midwives. I mentioned Dooce. Alot of birth bloggers have been making a big deal of this "mommy blog" lately because of the recent telling of her birth story: Part I, Part II, and Part III. "Dooce" is one of Forbes magazine's "Most Influential Women In Media" for 2009. To make a long story short "Dooce" was convinced by reading "Your Best Birth" by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein to have a natural birth.

Birth has always had trends. For example, chloroform became a widely used and popular from of pain relief after Queen Victoria used it. As Tina Cassidy states in her marvelous book "Birth: The Surprising History of how We were Born", : "Women on both sides of the Atlantic finally embraced what became fashionably known as chloroform a la reine".

I wonder what the impact of this very popular blogger will be on our current natural birth movement?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.'

My dad was adopted. His birth mother was a young teenager when she gave birth to him. I think I remember hearing that the birth father was much older but, the details remain murky. She later went onto marry and had no other children. My father had three other adopted siblings, all were raised with happy memories childhoods of playing baseball on dairy farms, summers on Lake Michigan and finned, teal colored automobile- quintessential life in the 1950's. While I was in college my father decided to find his birth mother. He discovered that she was old stock American, her family having lived in America at least since the time of Lincoln. Although most of the rest of the details about her life were unremarkable, she did share with my dad that no one else in her whole life, except her and her mother, knew about her pregnancy. There is much to the story that I have forgotten, or didn't ask or wasn't told but my biological grandmother's life and decisions much more made sense after I read the book, "The Girls who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade" by Ann Fessler.

Please read this book if you have not already. I think it is fair to place this book in the category of "books that have changed my life". Not only did it make my own family history seem less strange but, it literally gives voice to those who had no choice and, for me, reaffirms why it is so vital to appreciate and continue to fight for our reproductive freedoms. Additionally, it explains away the rationale for why women should give their babies up for adoption rather than having abortions. Our physiological process of childbirth has evolved to bond a mother to her baby and visa versa. Deciding on adoption is an completely different kind of choice than choosing to not have a baby.

A quote from the book:
"The girls who went away were told by family members, social-service agencies, and clergy that relinquishing their child for adoption was the only acceptable option. It would preserve their reputation and save both the mother and child from a lifetime of shame. Often it was clear to everyone, except the expectant mother, that adoption was the answer...They were simply told they must surrender their child, keep their secret, move on and forget."

While on the topic of adoption, I'd like to mention a wonderful New York City program, The Doula Project. It provides doulas to those who cannot afford douals, doulas for women having abortion procedures and doulas for births in which the baby will be adopted.

And lastly, the title quote is from John Irving's novel The Cider House Rules. A novel that deals much with choices of abortion and adoption pre Roe v. Wade.