Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I caught a laugh on camera! I actually took a better video of her cracking up yesterday but I accidentally erased it.

Zari got sick again last night--what gives? It's a bit of a fever and congestion. I am wiped out. The only way she would sleep was with me holding her hands, and with one of my knuckles touching her lips. She didn't want to suck on my finger, just have it touching her lip. Weird. So I was pretty stiff by morning. I think I'm getting what she has, but it could just be from not getting enough sleep.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ear update

We had a followup visit to check on Zari's eardrum, and it is completely healed. She's also gaining weight nicely--a little over 14 pounds now!

I shall procrastinate no longer and get back to work on my dissertation!
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I am selfish

Another response to an anonymous comment that "in my opinion unassisted birth is not only dangerous but selfish."

I am selfish. I admit it.

I am selfish because I want a birth experience that leaves me feeling fulfilled as a mother, that gives me confidence and joy.

I am selfish for giving birth at home, because I want to minimize the chances that my newborn will acquire an infection. Infection rates of newborns are many times higher in hospitals than at home. (1)

I am selfish because I want to avoid an unnecessary cesarean section; healthy women birthing at home have average cesarean rates of 1 to 4%, compared to around 20% in healthy women birthing in hospitals.

I am selfish because I do not want my vagina cut open by scissors (the nationwide episiotomy rate is STILL around 30%) or my belly cut open by knives. I have a 60% chance of acquiring a surgical wound if I give birth in a hospital.

I am selfish because I would prefer not to have to go into labor, pack my bags, get in the car, drive to the hospital, check in, sign consent forms, refuse the standard hospital procedures, and fight for what I want—all while giving birth to a baby.

I am selfish because I do not want to be separated from my baby. I want to hold my baby as soon as she is born. I do not want her to be taken from my arms to be weighed and measured, injected and bathed. I am selfish because I want to nurse her freely, without interruption.

I am selfish because I want to be washed in a “cocktail of love hormones,” to borrow a phrase from the French obstetrician Michel Odent. These hormones—endorphins, oxytocin, and prolactin—are released in full force only to women birthing without medications, in safe and private environments. Narcotics, anesthesia, surgery, and even high levels of stress and adrenaline inhibit the release of these hormones.

I am selfish because I want my baby to be born into her parents’ hands and to know only the safety and warmth of our arms. I want her be born in an atmosphere of love and ecstasy.

I am selfish because I want to avoid postpartum depression. Women who birth at home have much lower rates of postpartum depression. (2, 3)

Sometimes we need to be selfish.

(1) Mehl, L., Peterson, G., Shaw, N.S., Creavy, D. (1978) "Outcomes of 1146 elective home births: a series of 1146 cases." J Repro Med. 19:281-90
(2) Jones, Carl. Alternative Birth. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1990 p. 24.
(3) Kitzinger, Sheila. Home Birth. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1991 p. 193.
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"It is none of your business"

In response to one of the anonymous comments to "Four out of Five":

I care a great deal about what happens to women giving birth. I care that over 30% of American women today have major abdominal surgery in order to have a baby, because most of those surgeries are preventable.

I care because cesarean sections have a huge host of risks to both mother and baby. Here is a short list of some of the risks of cesarean sections, from the International Cesarean Awareness Network:
A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery with all that entails. The surgery itself, as opposed to medical problems that might lead to a cesarean increases the risk of maternal death, hysterectomy, hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, damage to blood vessels, urinary bladder and other organs, postpartum depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, and rehospitalization for complications. Potential chronic complications from scar tissue adhesions include pelvic pain, bowel problems, and pain during sexual intercourse. Scar tissue makes subsequent cesareans more difficult to perform, increasing the risk of injury to other organs as well as placenta previa, placenta accreta, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, uterine rupture in subsequent pregnancies and the risk of chronic problems from adhesions. There are also risks to the baby such as respiratory distress syndrome, prematurity, lower birth weights, jaundice, lower APGAR scores (APGAR is the means of assessing the health status of a newborn), and finally in 1 to 9 percent of cases the baby is scarred or even maimed by the scalpel.
I care because there are better ways of doing birth. Three of the four women did not desire a cesarean. Now they are dealing with the aftermath of the surgery. They will always live with their scars and their emotional wounds.

I care because a 30% nationwide cesarean rate is an incredible waste of medical resources. It is indicative of an obstetrical care system that has failed women.

I care because it is so hard to be "allowed" to have a vaginal birth after cesarean in this country. Many hospitals do not allow VBACs--which is ridiculous, because how can you outlaw an involuntary bodily function? The first cesarean often dooms women to repeats, unless she does an extraordinary amount of research and makes choices that are socially frowned upon--such as hiring a midwife for a homebirth, or birthing unassisted.

I care because my friend (woman #4) loves her baby, but hates everything about his birth. She has told me that she feels violated by what happened to her. It IS my business to care.
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Script for "Machine that goes Ping!"

ANNOUNCER: Part One: The Miracle of Birth.
OBSTETRICIAN: One thousand and eight!
NURSE #1: Mrs. Moore's contractions are more frequent, doctor!
OBSTETRICIAN: Good. Take her into the Foetus Frightening Room.
NURSE #1: Right.
[exciting music]
OBSTETRICIAN: Thum, thummm, thummm, thum, thummmm, thummmmmm. Thum, thummm. Thummm. Jolly good.
[music stops]
DOCTOR SPENSER: Bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bum--
OBSTETRICIAN: So, it's a bit bare in here today, isn't it?
OBSTETRICIAN: Yes. More apparatus, please, nurse: the E.E.G., the B.P. monitor, and the A.V.V.
NURSE #1: Yes. Certainly, Doctor.
DOCTOR SPENSER: And, uh, get the machine that goes 'ping'.
OBSTETRICIAN: And get the most expensive machines, in case the administrator comes.
[exciting music]
That's it. Bring in the other machines. Right over here.
DOCTOR SPENSER: [whistling]
OBSTETRICIAN: That's it. Just behind me.
[music stops]
Lovely. Lovely. Jolly good. That's better. That's much, much better.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Yeahhh, that's more like it.
OBSTETRICIAN: Eehhh. Still something missing, though.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Where's the patient?
OBSTETRICIAN: Anyone seen the patient?
NURSE #1: Aah! Here she is.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Bring it over here.
Mind the machines!
NURSE #1: Sorry, Doctor Spenser.
NURSE #1: Jump up there. Up!
OBSTETRICIAN: Hallo. Now, don't you worry.
DOCTOR SPENSER: We'll soon have you cured.
OBSTETRICIAN: Leave it all to us. You'll never know what hit you.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Can I put the tube in the baby's head?
OBSTETRICIAN: Only if I can do the episiotomy.
OBSTETRICIAN: Okay. Uh, legs up! Doctor, come in. Come on in, all of you. That's it. Jolly good.
OBSTETRICIAN: Come along. Spread 'round there. Uh, who are you?
MR. MOORE: I'm the husband.
OBSTETRICIAN: I'm sorry. Only people involved are allowed in here. All right.
MRS. MOORE: What do I do?
MRS. MOORE: What do I do?
DOCTOR SPENSER: Nothing, dear. You're not qualified!
OBSTETRICIAN: Leave it to us!
MRS. MOORE: What's that for?
OBSTETRICIAN: That's the machine that goes 'ping'.
You see? That means your baby is still alive!
DOCTOR SPENSER: And that's the most expensive machine in the whole hospital!
OBSTETRICIAN: Yes, it cost over three quarters of a million pounds.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Aren't you lucky?!
NURSE #2: The administrator is here, doctor.
OBSTETRICIAN: Switch everything on!
[exciting music]
MR. PYCROFT: Morning, gentlemen.
RANDOM: Morning.
MR. PYCROFT: Morning, gentlemen.
OBSTETRICIAN: Morning, Mr. Pycroft.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Morning, Mr. Pycroft.
MR. PYCROFT: Oh, very impressive. Very impressive. And what are you doing this morning?
[music stops]
OBSTETRICIAN: It's a birth.
MR. PYCROFT: Aahh. What sort of thing is that?
DOCTOR SPENSER: Well, that's when we take a new baby out of a lady's tummy.
MR. PYCROFT: Wonderful what we can do nowadays.
Aah! I see you have the machine that goes 'ping'. This is my favourite. You see, we lease this back from the company we sold it to, and that way, it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account.
Thank you. Thank you. We try to do our best. Well, do carry on.
NURSE #1: Ooh, the vulva's dilating, doctor.
OBSTETRICIAN: Oh, yes, there's the head. Yes, four centimetres. Five-- Six centimetres.
OBSTETRICIAN: Amplify the 'ping' machine.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Eyes down for a full house!
OBSTETRICIAN: Here it comes!
BABY: [crying]
OBSTETRICIAN: And... frighten it! Thank you.
DOCTOR SPENSER: And the rough towels!
OBSTETRICIAN: Show it to the mother. That's enough.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Right! Sedate her!
OBSTETRICIAN: Number the child.
DOCTOR SPENSER: Measure it, blood type it, and isolate it!
NURSE #1: Okay.
[clap clap]
Show's over.
RANDOM: [mumbling] ...everyone.
MRS. MOORE: Is it a boy or a girl?
OBSTETRICIAN: Now, I think it's a little early to start imposing roles on it, don't you? Now, a word of advice. You may find that you suffer for some time a totally irrational feeling of depression: 'P.N.D.', as we doctors call it. So, it's lots of happy pills for you, and you can find out all about the birth when you get home. It's available on Betamax, VHS, and Super Eight.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Four out of five

I have decided to remove the original post since it has hurt some people deeply...I am quite sorry.

I hope my readers will understand that my dislike of a high cesarean rate does not mean I dislike, or judge, or feel superior to women whose babies are born that way. Not at all! I understand that a cesarean section can be the best choice for some women. For others it isn't their first choice, but not overly traumatic either. But I am writing for those women who feel deeply wounded by their surgeries, who feel violated on a day that they wanted to be one of joy and empowerment.

Let me end with this thought: for women who want a cesarean section, it is reasonably easy to find a doctor to agree to it. But for women who do NOT want one--for example, those with a breech presentation or those who want a VBAC--it can be nearly impossible to find a care provider who will support them. By advocating for this last group of women, I am not at all trying to take away the options from the first group.
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The machine that goes "ping!"

Sometimes comedy says it best. Thank you, Monty Python!

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Recycling and swimming

I met with a group of moms this Friday for a playgroup at a big indoor water playground. Zari was probably a bit too young to appreciate it, but it was nice to get out of the house. We've had sub-zero temperatures at night and barely above zero during the day.

It's interesting how gendered these things are. I saw one father in the entire pool area; the other 20 or so parents were all moms. Eric said he might come next time and shake things up a bit, since he only teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The night before, I made Zari two swimming outfits, one recycled and one new. First, I took a pair of Eric's old swim trunks, cut them apart, and made a new pair for Zari. They are super cute, but of course everyone thinks she is a boy when she wears them. It's not like Eric has hot pink swim trunks lying around!

I also made her a swim diaper out of some leftover materials:

Since we are doing EC, I peed her before she went in the pool and didn't bother with the swim diaper.
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Interesting film

There's a documentary coming out this year called Pregnant in America. I just watched the trailer and am intrigued.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snowed in

We got a huge dump of snow yesterday. School is canceled, so we've been sitting around the house enjoying a lazy day. Eric read Zari some books, which she quite enjoyed. You can hear her talking away.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I have been pumping extra milk starting in early January, after I received a request for breastmilk for a mom going on some temporary medications. I didn't have any milk set aside at the time, but thought it would be a good idea. Since then, my freezer stash has been growing slowly. Since breastmilk stays good for 3-6 months in an upright freezer, I have been wanting to find a home for it soon. I looked into donating via Milkshare, but it would be a huge hassle to ship.

On Sunday, my problem was solved! There's a couple in our church who have been trying to adopt, and they just found out they're getting a baby, and soon. The birth mother is due in early April, but her other 2 kids both came six weeks early. So it could be any day now. I had talked to the woman a few weeks ago about donating my milk if she wanted it. She approached me yesterday and said they'd love to use it!

So I am motivated to keep pumping. I'd like to get at least 8 oz extra per day if I can.

By the way, does anyone have an idea of how much breastmilk a newborn eats per day? When you're breastfeeding you don't think about those kind of things!
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Friday, February 09, 2007

Good news & bad news

Bad news first:

Zari has a ruptured eardrum. Well, technically the doctor couldn't see the eardrum because her ear was so full of discharge. But she said that based on how much gunk there was, it had most likely ruptured. She prescribed antibiotic eardrops, which I am okay with using. She initially suggested oral abx, because there aren't many drops approved for infants under 6 months, but I told her I didn't want to do that unless it was very very serious. So I am hoping that the drops work to clear up the infection.

Good news: Zari weighs 13 lbs 6 oz. It's right about what I had guessed based on our very cheap bathroom scale.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sad baby, again

Zari is really sick but we can't figure out what is wrong. No outwards symptoms like fever, congestion, vomiting, etc. It started last evening--she became super fussy. Then she was up most of the night crying. The only thing that helped was nursing. So guess what I did all night? Anyway I am sore from staying in one position all night, and tired from being awake. She's been sleeping a lot, nursing a lot, and crying a lot. And she HAS to be held all the time. Well she needs to nurse again. This is not fun for either of us.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

More Then & Now Pictures

Zari at 5 days, 2 months 4 days, and 3 months 6 days.

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Feeling sentimental

I just packed away Zari's 0-3 month clothes. Most of them still fit, but barely, so I decided to start using the next size up. Here is a picture of her beside a premie outfit she wore for the first few weeks.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Family portraits

We took some family pictures over Christmas. They turned out quite well. Who knew that we had a great photographer in our little town?

Me & my sisters. I also have a 19 year old brother.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Talking (kind of)

Zari has started "talking" and we caught some of it on video. She's also taken up a new hobby: staring at our Dalmatian.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sleeping siblings

Calling them siblings is a bit of a stretch, but I liked the alliteration...

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