Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scared of Repeating Preterm Birth?

A friend of mine just found out she is pregnant. Among her joy is a heavy layer of fear. You see, her introduction to being a mother was complete with a pregnancy riddled with severe morning sickness and constipation that ended in her daughter being born 2 months premature. and a lengthy stay in NICU. She is terrified that she will be miserable again and have to balance her toddler and a possble premie situation again, and I understand these fears. She is afraid that talking about these fears will make me think she is crazy. Here was my response to her, I thought I would share to help others address similar fears.

I do not think you are insane. That is a nightmare of a way to start your life as a mother. Preterm babies are so hard to heal from. There are so many reasons that our bodies decide not to continue a pregnancy, it is very hard to pinpoint. With the level of technology we currently have available, doctors are certainly able to give a better prognosis to these babies that would have otherwise been considered a late term miscarriage in earlier times. Besides the fact you have had this experience, your fears are normal and you are not crazy! 

Some things to be aware of. I know you love statistics so I will give you some numbers.

Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes  (PPROM)is the leading cause of preterm labor and accounts for 88% of babies that die when born (before 37 weeks gestation)prematurely.  Premature Rupture of Membranes happens in about 3% of all pregnancies, around 150,000 annually in the US. (from my research paper on cesarean birth rate)

In Midwifery Today’s last publication, they had a story about premature births and claimed that the majority of these are caused by uterine infections. They also said that dental hygiene is incredibly important to prevent uterine infections.  Pretty interesting huh?

I am going to take a wild guess here, and this is just a hunch, I am by no means qualified to tell you this is fact but being as constipated as you describe can lead to an overload of toxins in your body and probably had a significant role in your preterm birth.  The first step I would take, if I was your midwife, would be to get you on a diet that would help to reduce that. This may include you going outside of your comfort zone to eat things you may not be entirely happy about, at least try it, and if you cannot fathom keeping up with it, seeking alternatives that would have the same effect. Here are some choices…

Besides what the American Pregnancy Association recommends which is the first steps to take my favorite herbologist, Susun Weed, has some suggestions here that are easy to implement with the right motivation, certainly preventing preterm labor and avoiding the nightmare scenario you endured before is enough motivation to give it a try. You can obtain these herbs at your local herb or Tea Shop or order online.  Not only do they have medicinal qualities, they are nutrient rich and better absorbed than prenatal vitamins in most cases. You can lose the iron supplements and replace it with the herbs that also contain calcium and vit A, C and B’s that are vital to your health while pregnant. 

Vit C is another supplement that can drastically reduce your risk of preterm premature rupture of membranes. This study reports “Daily supplementation with 100 mg vitamin C after 20 wk of gestation effectively lessens the incidence of PROM.”  

In this article by Gail Hart, who is a midwife and educator who travels all over the world with Midwifery Today as an expert speaker, whom I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting and conversing with, she goes over some of the issues that cause preterm labor and ways to avoid them. This woman has practiced natural authentic midwifery for more than 30 years and is a jewel to our community. Please read this and let me know if you need any clarification on anything.   

Now, if you are going to go the high risk route with a doctor, and you tell them about supplementing with herbs and vitamins, they are possibly going to tell you there is no evidence to prove any of this works. They are mistaken. The evidence is in the years and years of these plants being used and producing healthy pregnancies and babies and are not reported or scientifically studied because it would cost loads of money and drug companies can’t patent the herbs the way they do medicines so it is a money issue and not a science issue. I honestly understand why you would want the support of a specialist OBGYN with your past experience. I am sure the tests and reassurances you can gain from them will help your confidence in the pregnancy and your ability to learn to trust your body. I hope I can give you the tools you need to advocate for yourself and take charge of your care and seek to understand ways in which you can maintain your health without unneeded interventions that might disrupt the safety of your pregnancy.  

The easiest way to insure yours and your baby’s health is to make changes to your diet. I have an abundance of raspberry leaf and nettle and can bring you some to get started right away if you want. It can’t hurt. I sweeten the infusions with fruit juice like cranberry or pomegranate. You can brew half a gallon of this every other day and keep it in a water bottle that you can sip on throughout the day to help with your morning sickness. I also brew kombucha and can supply you with kombucha tea or a SCOBY so you can brew your own. This will also aid in digestion and prevent constipation and balance your intestinal and vaginal flora. Here is info on Kombucha during pregnancy.  Like the article says, if you haven’t been a regular drinker of the kombucha, start with just a small cup a day, you may never need to drink more than that, but if you enjoy it, you may want to gradually increase it or even add it to your infusions… I love kombucha, but I have acquired the taste for it and noticed the benefits right away!  

OK, that is a lot of reading for you to get started. I hope it helps ease some of your fears by putting some choices in your hands to work with. If it was me, the first thing I would try is the raspberry leaf infusions with some nettle and a small cup of kombucha to help with the morning sickness and prevent constipation. If you don’t have much of an appetite, these are the bare minimum things I would want in my body to nourish the cells and the baby’s growth.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is Vaccination Really Responsible for the Eradication of Fatal Childhood Disease?

Is Vaccination Really Responsible for the Eradication of Fatal Childhood Disease?
                One of the biggest arguments from people who are advocates of immunizations is that we have seen such a drastic reduction in deadly childhood diseases since vaccinations have been being used.  Unfortunately for them, there is evidence that vaccination didn’t have anything to do with the reduction in illnesses of this nature. In this chart, you can see that the number of people who died from several of the more common devastating diseases were declining before the introduction of vaccines to the population.

The Evidence
                A paper published in 1977 from the Lancet, “VACCINATION AGAINST WHOOPING-COUGH: Efficacy versus Risks” (bystianyk/Stewart) reveals, ““There was a continuous decline [whooping cough deaths], equal in each sex, from 1937 onward.” They report that Vaccination was started on a small scale around 1948 and then nationally in 1957. The findings were that it did not affect the rate of decline in deaths due to disease. The results instead point to the bilogy of disease where the decline between 1930 and 1957 is due to the weakened parts of the population already being removed and the spread of the disease lessening because the population was left with stronger immunity. The reports determines, “With this pattern well established before 1957, there is no evidence that vaccination played a major role in the decline in incidence and mortality in the trend of events.” Furthermore, this study shows that since 1977, the scientific community has been aware that vaccines were not the reason that diseases ceased to exist in our communities. These declining numbers came about during a period when the public health agencies spread a wide campaign about hand washing and hygienic practices to help reduce the risks of infection as suggested by Dr Palevsky in the Documentary, A Greater Good. (Manookian) Dr. Palevsky
Do the Vaccines Work for Future Outbreaks?
                Dr. Lopez-Duran, an advocate for vaccination, claims that children of parents that refused vaccinations were at risk for pertussis 2000% more than children that received the vaccination. The writer than goes on to give the results of a study stating, “Of the 156 children who acquired pertussis, 12% were children of parents who refused vaccination.” This statistic leads me to question who then were the other 88% of the children with pertussis? Were they vaccinated? The research participants were all part of a large health care insurance company.  This statement is not followed with information about the ages of these children when they were infected either. The pertussis vaccination wears off in the teens, requiring continued vaccination to be effective. The way Dr. Lopez-Duran states his claim leads me to believe that the vaccination is not effective.
It Can’t Hurt to Be Safe, Vaccination is Preventative!
                Supporters go on to state that there is no scientific evidence to prove that the cause of the severe reactions that are blamed on vaccinations are in fact from vaccinations. This is a flawed statement as all the studies the CDC uses to determine the safety of current vaccinations are not only paid for by the companies producing them but are epidemic and not scientific investigations with in depth looks t the ingredients and their affect on the human body, including neurological health.  Dr. Lopez-Duran goes on to state, “Parents who agreed to vaccinate their children were 2 times more likely than vaccine-refusing parents to visit the doctor for upper respiratory infections.”  His interpretation of this statement is that the participants were biased and that parents who refused vaccination were less likely to seek the help of a family physician when their children were sick than those who voluntarily received the vaccinations. I find there to be fault with this statement in the sense that if the vac-refusing parents were less likely to seek the help of a physician when their kids were sick and they didn’t die of severe infection, then maybe the help of the physician wasn’t needed to begin with.  If the children did acquire pertussis, as the writer assumes is likely underreported for the same bias reasons, and they didn’t die or need hospitalization, maybe pertussis isn’t as lethal as much of the literature would like to convince you it is. This also shows that studies cite children who are vaccinated have increased visits to doctor’s offices. Let’s examine this.
                If there is a higher incidence of return patients in the vaccinated category, and these patients were not reported to (VAERS) The Vaccination Adverse Events Reporting System, than what were these kids seen for?  It is suggested that an increase in the common cold, asthma realted illness, reoccurring ear infections, and other chronic illnesses are what bring these kids in. Is this not because of the reduction in immune system function directly after the immunizations are administered? Studies from India show that there is an increase in fevers, diarrhea and coughs in the month following vaccinations. (Neustaedter)
                Dr. Neustaedter reports in his article, “Do Vaccinations Disable the Immune System” that  in 1950, studies linked receiving the DPT vaccination. The study confirmed that out of the almost 4000 kids in New York that year that were infected with polio, that they were twice as likely to have received the DPT vaccination 2 month before the onset of the Polio.
                Doctors interviewed for the documentary, A Greater Good, stated that doctors are not trained in how to detect a reaction from vaccinations. The VAERS claim that their statistics are flawed because of the severity of under reporting from doctors and individuals. Doctors often will not associate the side effects with the vaccinations because it has been ingrained in them that they are 100% safe and save people’s lives.
What are the Real Risks of Vaccination?
Each Vaccination is a combination of aluminum, formaldehyde, mercury, antibiotics, and a minute amount of the disease being vaccinated against. None of these ingredients have ever been tested individually in comparable doses on human children or babies.  Dr. Sears advocates that the FDA should have done this job before these vaccinations were ever allowed to enter the market and be injected into our bodies.
                Dr. Chris Shaw, a professor of neuroscience says aluminum is used in vaccinations to make the injection last longer in the body, because the body doesn’t process it out when injected instead of eaten. He conducted a study with mice where he injected comparative quantities of aluminum and reported that there was a significant decline in behavior, motor skills and cognitive abilities. Upon autopsy of the injected mice, findings included severe damage to motor neurons that were associated with long term development of Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrigs Disease, and Alzeimer’s 20-50 years down the road.  4 Years later, no one has tried to refute Dr. Shaw’s study and when approached about the results, the FDA responded that it “does not believe that this particular paper brings to light the need for additional research that is not already underway.” (Manookian)
            If we know that the reason the common diseases that caused death and severe illnesses at the turn of the century declined was largely due to hygienic practices and the biological fact that the strong survived and left us with a population of people that are resistant to the disease, why then should we be worried about an epidemic of that nature again? If there is clear evidence that the safety of vaccinations in the entire population is questionable, why are we accepting legislation that is making vaccination mandatory to all who are not using exemptions of religious or medical nature? Why has the FDA approved the injection of chemicals into infants if they haven’t been tested? Even if vaccinations, alone aren’t responsible for the severe reactions that are becoming more and more common in our society, shouldn’t there be more testing to assure people that they are indeed safe and be offered on a voluntary basis? These are the types of questions I want to raise to motivate you to find your own answers to what is really the right way to handle this issue for you and your family. There are many factors involved to why we are seeing 1 in 10 children diagnose with Autism in today’s society. It could be a combination of an overload of toxins and vaccinations are what drives the damage over the top, it could be because of the reduction in breastfeeding, the increase use of neurologically damaging drugs during labor, heavy metals in our food supply, pollution in the air.  The answers are not yet clearly defined and until they are, routine vaccination of over 30 diseases before 6 years old should come to a halt and be examined more thoroughly on an individual basis and the choices left in the hands of the parents, not doctors and politicians.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Women's Persecution by the Church

Even as a young girl, I didn’t buy the whole story. I remember being about 11 years old and having been raised in a Catholic Church, prepared for my First Holy Communion ceremony, going to Sunday School and learning all manners of things they teach kids about Jesus and the rules and God and Heaven and Hell. I had figured Santa Clause out, looked up books in the library about sex and hated when my mom answered me with, “Because God made it that way.” It was never enough. But the thing I hated most was the way people talked about Eve.
            My parents had a huge painting of The Last Supper on a wooden board in their bedroom. Weird place to have this hanging around but it was there and I remember being sick and home from school and studying that painting. I loved it. I knew there was a woman in it and I knew it was Jesus’ lover. I never asked and never had anyone interpret it to me, but I just knew. I knew something sneaky was up and they were telling secrets and the guy in the corner was a liar. I knew there was something being hidden under that draped table cloth, people playing footsies with each other. I could just feel it in my young mind. The picture was sexy to me, in a weird way, intriguing, mysterious. I knew there was symbolism that I think my genes understood but I couldn’t put it into words.

            Imagine my excitement as a young adult woman who had already separated from the church and studied religions from all over the world. I was a not so closeted but not really out of the closet pagan type, who had just got my hands on this controversial book, “The DaVinci Code.” Oh How I reveled in the conspiracy, how I felt like Dan Brown was telling a story I knew in my heart HAD to be true, after all, history backs up so much of it. Common sense tells you that his version is so much more likely than religious scholars would have you know. Political warfare, men who were greedy and wanted power, killing an important man who wanted peace and equality, and succeeding, but leaving his wife, with child. Oh no, that was not going to work. So defamation is the first course of action, ignoring, demonizing and continuing to repress the voice of women who sought peace, logic, and harmony with their surroundings. What more can be an enemy of men who are power hungry?

            Of course it didn’t start with Mrs. Christ, and it certainly didn’t end with her as Mr. Langdon and Mr. Sauniere reveal in The DaVinci Code. So many cultures have sought to humiliate women, control them, own them. So many still do. But the gendercide that has plagued this planet has been fueled at such an intensity by the Church, to ignore it and act like it never happened and deny the rights of women to restore their original place in society is just one more way of continuing the mistreatment of them. 

            Above all things, women are the creators of life, the very essence of our primal being, the need to reproduce is as strong as the need to eat. I often wonder how many men would be inhabiting this planet if women weren’t making babies and feeding people. In childbirth, women form the very bonds that create a biological safety net to protect their children, our future. They nourish them with their own bodies, if all goes well, for more than 2 years from conception to weaning, and then continue to care for them and not only take care of the young, but old alike as well as their husbands and other relatives or members of their communities if they are able. It must be terribly confusing to a man to see women give so freely of their bodies to create and nurture life, such a selfless act in so many cases.

            Birth is an experience that would prove to be one of the biggest misconceptions amongst men over time. The Bible will explain the pain of labor a price paid by women for their sin of temptation. I would like to reinterpret that to be that the discomforts of labor, to bear a child is the price paid by a woman who engaged in sex, which is a product (if we are lucky) of temptation, and temptation is not all that bad. And in the book, “Medicine and Society in France” by Forester and Ranum, they claim after being introduced to a publication of theories by Dr. Engelmann that, “There has been a widespread acceptance of the idea that the length of labor and the intensity of the pain felt increases with the degree of civilization” and that child birth was easier for women who were more connected to nature, such as those in some African Tribes (there are many tribes that are just as repressive to the women, mutilating their genitalia and considering them property) and how short and easy their births were. It seems with shame of the body and of the act that brought the baby to the womb combined with the fear instilled into civilized, God fearing women, that only then did childbirth become dangerous and painful. There are accounts from all over the world of women in matriarchal societies having amazing births that are easy and hardly resulted in  maternal or infant death when compared to populations of people who are or are attempting to be civilized. Furthermore, these matriarchal societies are often the types that are living close to nature and practicing some form of Goddess Worship, honoring the sacred feminine and exposing the life giving energies surrounding sex as sacred and honorable.

            Calling temptation a sin and saying you shall be punished for it or for causing it to others has created much mental anguish over thousands of years. In an attempt to curtail sexual irresponsibility, the Church has literally mutilated the minds and bodies of countless people, from unnecessary circumcisions ( on both males and females) to brainwashing people into believing that sexual feelings, the biggest instinct of our animal bodies, are evil, to people being sexually abused by religious authority figures by manipulating them to believe they are serving God by pleasuring their leaders.  Instead of men claiming the power of self control, it was easier to demonize women and blame them for the cause of all things sexually desirable. 

            Besides the cultural repression of a woman’s sexuality and her being shamed into a painful and dangerous birth history, the actual proof that lies in the Malleus Maleficarum,  or also known as the “Witches Hammer” is enough to make any woman seriously question if we will ever know the true nature of women. We have undergone such a blatant massacre (over 5 million women executed for supposed witchcraft)  and continue to scare into submission the survivors. This book was published in 1487 by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger and told the reader that “the Devil’s presence was strongest where human sexuality is concerned” and  of course women were believed to be more sexual than men so they must be the cause of it, even accused of  having sex with the Devil himself because they were so insatiable. The writers wanted the readers to believe that women were weaker than men and so women with strong personalities or who were smarter than the average women (or man) must be a witch and must be tortured and killed. Even more disgusting was the ways in which healers and midwives were targeted for helping other women and for knowing how natural medicines worked to ease the ails of women. If a woman who was “over used” by her husband, having too many children in succession and was in danger of dying in childbirth, wanted to have an abortion or use birth control, a midwife would help her and if found out, they would both be put to death. In the time frame we are talking about, the Middle Ages and Renaissance times, women were expected to lay with their husbands when ever called to do so and they were forbidden to try to control conception, often having 2 babies in one year. And during these time periods, women were often married by 16 years old, suffering childbirth before their bodies were developed fully and having a life expectancy of only around 35 years old. (Pomeroy)

            In closing I would like to bring all the info presented together to point out that women suffering because of religious teachings has not furthered society in any way.  It has contributed to a de-evolution of our species, been used as weapons in war and politics, has weakened society and most of all has influenced human kind in ways that do exactly opposite that was intended  bringing us closer to “Evil” than had we empowered, honored,  and respected the women of our societies. Supporting the life giving and nurturing population of our communities ensures healthy humans. If babies are born to a broken mother, how will she then teach them what they need to survive in this chaotic world? When looking at the issues we are faced with today, in seeing the blatant disregard of life and environment, I have to wonder if we participated in a woman centered culture, if things would still be the way they are today.

Ehrenreich, Barbara and English, Deirdre Withches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers The Feminist Press City University New York, NY (no copyright date available)
Forster, Robert and Ranum, Orest Medicine and Society in France Selections from the Annales Volume 6 Published by John Hopkins Press Baltimore, MD 1980
Gies, Frances and Joseph  Women in the Middle Ages: The lives of real women in a vibrant age of transition Published by Harper Perennial, NY 1978
Pomeroy, Sarah B. Godesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity Published by Shocken Books, NY 1975

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Are Vaccinations Weakening our Immune Systems?

Are our immune systems being weakened by the overuse of vaccinations? In the 1980’s there were only 10 standard vaccinations that were mandatory as far as the CDC was concerned, now there are over 30. Some researchers have shown that there may be a correlation to long term immune system dysfunction due to the developing immune system of babies being bombarded with toxins before it has fully established. The continuation of scheduled vaccination throughout much of a child’s life has shown to cause side effects ranging from short term discomforts to long term developmental delays and in some rare cases, death. These possible negative reactions are often not communicated to parents who are in charge of their child’s health decisions and in many cases the physicians are playing down the possibilities of how severe the reaction can and have been for people in the past.
The advocates of vaccinations propose that the risk contracting one or more of the debilitating and life threatening diseases we are susceptible to without vaccinations outweighs the risk of having a slight fever and body aches. This view point believes that if we stop vaccinating, even though we have almost eradicated these diseases in our society, that we will have another plague of illnesses. In order to prevent this mass illness, it is imperative to start vaccinating children at birth.
The protestors of the scheduled vaccination model insist that the vaccinations are proven to weaken the immune system, making the young child more likely to have chronic infections and asthma or allergy related illnesses, resulting in other long term effects, including loss of time at school, reliance on prescription medication that is costly and has more side effects and in some cases, surgeries like tubes in ears for reoccurring ear infections. There are some people who believe it was the fault of vaccinations that have cause neurological disabilities in their children including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. There are a few cases of parents who were not given the proper information to make choices about when the right time to vaccinate their children are and have had to bear the death of a child.
There is a middle ground that thinks vaccinations are a good idea but they chose to do them at different intervals, often delaying the first round of vaccinations until their child is a year old or older, and then selectively choosing which ones are appropriate for their child.
And then the extreme anti vaccination group who comes who firmly believe that their bodies function just right biologically and that if they take good care of themselves and their immune systems that they could survive if they are exposed to the viruses of concern. Some of the people in this group come from a religious background and believe that Faith will guide them and others are from a non religious background and rely on their faith in the biology of their body and the natural law to guide them.
My personal stance on this issue has gone from no concern at all to vehemently opposed to scheduled vaccinations and am starting to lean toward opposing all vaccinations unless the manufacturers start creating them differently. My first child was vaccinated on schedule until he was 3 years old. He had recurring bronchial infections and ear infections and the pediatrician diagnosed him with asthma and ADHD and was prescribing steroidal drugs and interested in behavioral modification drugs. I was absolutely not about to put my 3 year old on these types of medications without looking into all options. I found all of these different views which posed many questions about alternatives and habit changes that would lead to a healthier lifestyle and prevent some of the issues we were dealing with. The first thing we did was modify our diet to get rid of many of the things studies had shown could contribute to asthma and ADHD in children including dairy and artificial food colors and preservatives. It was the best decision we could have done. My son improved within months. I never gave him another vaccination either because at this point, studying a natural, biologically correct diet and lifestyle, I became aware that there could be more going on with the vaccinations than I understood yet.
When my 2nd child was born we decided to delay her vaccinations and waited until she was a year old. The first time she had been to the doctor’s office since her 3 week old check up was the week she was to turn one. She received her first round of vaccinations and she contracted chicken pox which wasn’t even one of the vaccinations we gave her. This coupled with a complete change in her behavior, which at the time I thought was related to the chicken pox, was enough to start me doing more research. I watched as my daughter healed from the pox but then withdrew from interacting with our family the same way she used to. She then started with ear infections, bronchial infections and she didn’t receive another vaccination. She is 9 years old now and has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism.
My 3rd child never received a vaccination until last year, when she was 7. This child was always the last one in our family to get sick, if she even got it. She recovered the fastest and had the least severe effects, often not requiring any interventions or medications when the rest of us would be miserable for a week or more. Even a stomach virus that would bounce from family member to family member that would have each of us laid up for 24-48 hours, she would throw up one time and feel bad for about 6 hours and then be fine. It was incredible to see the difference in a normally functioning immune system on a human being who was born naturally and never exposed to medications and a healthy diet of mostly whole foods.
Some resources:

Thursday, September 29, 2011


A review of "Going Flexitarian: Are you ready to go ‘mostly meatless?’ "By Sandra Neil in Tastes for Life Sept 2011 issue

It has been a dilemma for many people, the choice to be a vegetarian or continue eating animal products. On one hand, many people enjoy animal products and seem to not be able to live without them. They are in everything they are used to eating. Choosing to even go dairy free is a huge discipline that takes a lot of effort to maintain. But many people also know that there are health concerns to eating eggs for breakfast or indulging in that rare burger. And now people are becoming increasingly aware of how factory farms treat animals and their effect on the environment, not to mention the disgusting practices at the slaughter and processing houses. So what to do?

Sandra suggests you become a flexitarian.  The idea is that you do your best to consume vegan foods during the day and eat animal products in your dinner meal only, and if you can avoid that, you do. The idea is to cut back, buy local and ethically produced products and consume them occasionally not at every meal and eventually not even daily. You can have your roasted turkey on holidays, barbque on the weekends with your family, but the difference is you are buying the meat local and being aware of how your choices effect the world around you and your health. Buying locally grown, organic meat is pricey, so that is another reason to keep it to a minimum.  

Sandra shows us a report from Vegetarian Times that  says they “believe that 70 percent of its subscribers are vegetarians who occasionally eat animal flesh.”  She shares that 3.6 years could be added to your life if you practiced eating a vegetarian cuisine and even weigh 15% less than carnivores. Even Michael Pollan thinks that flexitarians can experience the same benefits of a true vegetarian.

Sounds like a compelling suggestion that people could feel good about. These kinds of changes take time and discipline and most of all, realization. It usually isn’t until someone has experienced a health issue that they take a look at their diet and see how they can prevent it from getting worse. We need to look at our diet and not wait for things to go wrong and know we can get better before we break down! Sandra’s suggestion of taking baby steps creates the feeling that this is something that can be accomplished without feeling the change too much. Some of us already have started doing this and not realizing there is a name for it. So trade in your eggs and bacon for fruit and rice cereal over coconut milk, take a bean burrito for lunch and enjoy that pork roast later tonight knowing you made a difference in your health and the environment AND in your pocketbook!

Carla and how she won the arguement

This was a writing assignment for my arguementative writing class. The essay was about arguement history and how I may have thought one way and changed my mind after listening to a different point of view.

I used to think that holding a license to practice a skill, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture or midwifery was the right thing to do in order to ensure the safety of the public. It seemed that this form of regulation could make sure that those people providing these services were held to a certain standard, had to have a reasonable amount of qualified education and that someone was looking over their shoulder to make sure they were doing the right thing. I figured this would protect the public and the practitioner alike.

I even held a license as a massage therapist. After 600 hours at school learning the very basics of anatomy and physiology, bare minimum techniques, paying a few hundred dollars and completing a state test, I was set out to the public to practice massage in a variety of settings from chiropractic offices to five star hotels and spas. I thought I knew it all. Then I realized there was a lot I didn’t know and that the schooling had not prepared me for the real job and the variety of issues I would encounter in the people who lay on my table. In fact I was less qualified out of 6 months in school than I would have been had I learned from an apprenticeship in an office that dealt with the kinds of ailments I wanted to specialize in. And I sure had no clue how short lived my career as a Licensed Massage therapist would be or how hard I would have to work to earn a living or the types of obscenities I would have to deal with because of misconceptions about the scope of practice of a professional massage therapist.

Now I am pursuing a career in midwifery. Most people view midwifery as much more encompassing of a medical profession than massage therapy is, and certainly there is more contact with bodily fluids and some bigger risks involved, but to be honest, it is not too much different. But the common perception is that anyone helping pregnant women deliver their babies should have at the very least a nursing degree and many years of school. The requirements to legally practice midwifery are different state to state and in Oregon licensure is currently voluntary. Licensed midwives are required to pass a state exam after meeting some requirements including attending a minimum of 40 births and being capable of doing some clinical skills like blood draws, suturing, CPR and neonatal resuscitation. Dues are paid to the state and you become a member of a council. The board of directors that run the state regulatory entity are compromised of a few midwives, OBGYNs and public figures. ( note that there are no midwives on the OBGYN board of regulation) They determine the scope of practice and give midwives permission to use controlled substances (like medicines to stop hemorrhages) and carry oxygen. They also restrict the services of midwives to certain low risk clientele, as well as make the determination of who falls into that category.

I thought this was a perfectly reasonable way of regulating the safety of the public as well as making sure that midwives were practicing in a way that they couldn’t get themselves in trouble. I thought this was a great way for doctors to feel comfortable supporting midwives as a back up physician in the case that the midwives needed to refer a client to them or seek help in complicated situations. This system also allows for midwives to be paid through insurance companies, both private and state funded. What I didn’t realize was that the board of people who made the decisions on who can practice what on and what category a woman falls into (High/low risk) were not taking into account the most recent scientific data available that would allow for a broader range of practice. That is until I read a well spoken argument from the director of the school I am now attending to become a midwife. Carla Hartley is a long time educator of midwives and activist for rights of parents to choose how and where they birth and who attends their births. When I first encountered her and started reading the blogs she has posted about the subject of licensure in midwifery, I thought she was an extremist and she was out of her mind. I listened because part of me knew that what she said made sense, but I had no clue just how much until I started apprenticing with licensed midwives in the state.
During my apprenticeship, I watched one of my preceptors struggle with upholding her duty as a licensed provider and give the best possible service to her beloved moms. I watched as the boundaries the state put on her work were stretched as she consulted with physicians, researched, and served her clients who were also consulting, researching and doing everything they could to ensure the safe delivery of their baby. Under Oregon law, a licensed midwife has to refer her client to an OBGYN if the pregnancy exceeds 42 weeks. A mother who was on the cusp of being “high risk” due to her age had hit that mark in her pregnancy and labor was not coming on anytime soon. She had no other “risk” factors with the exception of one high blood pressure reading that resolved on its own and could have been caused by the stress of knowing that if she didn’t produce a baby in the next few days her plans of her dream home birth with her trusted midwife would be ruined by red tape. This mom and dad tried everything to self induce so they could legally have their chosen care provider perform the duties they hired her for, despite all the scientific research that said she was safe and could have patiently waited for her baby to arrive. I honestly believe that the pressure to perform and the inability to just relax and surrender to her body and baby prevented her from going into labor, like an animal being watched who just wants a private spot in safety to give birth to their baby. After a week of fighting and even refusing a scheduled cesarean, she finally surrendered to the pressure and submitted to a cesarean to birth a healthy, normal weight, baby girl.
Other restrictions that are deemed safe by the WHO and several colleges of OBs include extended labor and 2nd stage, VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean section), and in some states multiples and breech presentations. For some parents, the idea of going to the hospital and risking episiotomies, major abdominal surgery, infection, and even death is too much and they prefer the comfort and familiarity of their home and family as support people. Restrictions that hospitals put on people and policies made to protect the hospital and staff can and do create many problems that they are supposed to prevent in low risk women. Home birth has risen 20% since 2004 due to these very factors. Licensing midwives in a way that prevents them from practicing their skills on a case by case basis is taking a choice away from mothers who deserve the right to choose what they and their babies are exposed to during birth. Statistics show again and again that planned home birth is as safe as a hospital birth and in some cases safer for low risk mothers. Many of the issues that have been presented as high risk or outside of normal are not as risky as these deciding boards have been making them out to be and these decisions seem to be more about filling the pockets of the doctors and hospitals than about the actual safety and concern of the mothers who want the choices.
I was absolutely blind to these circumstances until I read Carla’s take on it and then saw for myself how the one-size-fits-all laws restrict perfectly healthy, educated women from making decisions in their own best interest. My husband likes to argue that regulation of midwifery is necessary and if the problem seems to be the way in which we are regulated, than I should seek to change the implementation, not licensure, but I still think that licensure is the problem because our culture will never allow natural medicine, alternative therapies and non western medicine to be autonomous. There is too much money and power to gain in surgery and pharmaceuticals and if a cheaper, safer way of maintaining one’s health became widely accepted in our culture, they have too much to lose. I don’t see how this paradigm will be shifted until people start becoming educated about their choices and demanding to have access to them as well as holding themselves responsible for the choices they make. If people were encouraged to be responsible for their decisions, they couldn’t blame the doctor’s or midwives when something doesn’t go as planned, they would have to see how their choices effected their outcome and how they can do better next time around, if they are lucky enough to have a next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September check in

Hello ladies! I am on the home stretch of phase 2 and about a week away from requesting phase 3. I wrote a research paper on why we should lower the cesarean rate and hve ben looking for a way to publish it. This was an assignment for my technical writing class and I got an A. I consulted with my writing teacher and she has said that this is a totally publishable paper and I would like to send it out to be published, just don’t know where to send it to. She was very impressed with my research and writing skills. I have attended one more birth since my last check in. It was a friend of mine. It was a great home birth, my first water birth attended and I learned very valuable lessons. The mother self induced with herbs and castor oil a week before her due date and the baby was tiny and covered in vernix which leads me to believe she easily could have stayed pregnant another 2 weeks. She had a long latent phase and was anxious. The baby’s head was not in a centered position and so she really had to work with the small contractions and encourage her baby to move into a better position. The other student midwife had an optimal fetal position book that they were going over and so Mom tried a few different things like side lunging during contractions and sitting with her body positioned forward to better engage baby’s head. Once she was in active labor thing moved well. The biggest lesson I learned about birth at this experience is that no matter who you are or how much you know or think you know about birth, when you are in the moment and you can’t surrender, it is easy to become frightened and irrational. There was a period during transition when Mom was trying to escape labor and I knew what was happening and was in awe at the power of the body’s chemicals to disrupt someone’s conscious thoughts and beliefs. I was supporting the family members present and comforting them while it was difficult to listen to mom fight her labor. They were worried and I encouraged them to trust that this is a normal part of transition and it just means that she has some things to overcome and that she and the baby are fine and she will be pushing soon. I asked them to trust that the midwife would not put her in danger and is monitoring her well, knows her well enough to know if she needs to transfer and they are doing fine. This period lasted about 15 minutes and then mom started pushing. Baby was out in 45 minutes, caught by dad, in the water, it was fantastic. The midwife did a great job of supporting Mom only when she needed it and staying hands off the rest of the time. It was a beautiful birth. It was amazing to watch the Mom, her mom and sister, and her husband all work together and have to overcome obstacles in their own thinking to surrender to the power of birth and allow things to happen as they were intended to. I came away from that birth recharged and fully engaged in pursuing more apprenticeship opportunities that will work with my schedule as they come available. I have been invited to come to an office in Albany for prenatals and office work and will be called when I can come to a birth. I am excited about this and think that it will work out for the time being. I have also been invited to attend a birth with Lennon and went on a prenatal appointment with her to this client’s house. This one is a VBAC. Apparently 4 out of the 6 moms she knows who planned a home birth transferred to the hospital so she is doing her best to trust and try her hardest to get ready for this birth. This will be a journey for sure and I am looking forward to watching her transform through it all. I have some confusion about a situation that happened in my area about a baby dying at a home birth with an unlicensed midwife. The newspapers are vilifying her, but I see the most issue with the mom who didn’t do enough research and was not empowered or supported through her decisions. I have so many concerns and probably misconceptions because of lack of details. I am planning on attending the OMC meeting on Friday in hopes of clarification and to monitor the situation as the volunteer licensing in Oregon might be at stake if this mother gets her way. It irks me because if she thought she was hiring a licensed midwife, why didn’t she look her up? Why didn’t she ask questions at the prenatal appointment about what equipment the midwife uses and her policy about transfers? I guess I just want the comfort of knowing that this midwife did everything in her power to help this mom and I hope the papers are wrong. I feel horrible for the mom and her family for the loss of their baby. I only wish that she would have had the care from the beginning taht she deserved and that this situation can be prevented through proper education and practicioners honoring their clients wishes and empowering them with information so they can make decisions that are right for them. The resources are there, people need to be encouraged to use them. So based on all that, I am also concerned about how I should proceed with my education. Do I need to be preparing for my NARM and Licensure? Do I need to step up my studies to obtain these papers faster than I had intended working on it before? How should I plan things out, what if they take away the option of apprenticeship and I have to go to a different school? I am committed at AAMI and prefer this method of schooling, especially considering I am already going to a University for my BA in Human Development and Family Sciences, should I be looking at nursing instead now? I would prefer to be learning psychology and neuroscience, not nursing…. I think that the psychology is more pertinent to midwifery than nursing at this point. Ughhh the decisions…. Let’s see…. Well, I am also planning trip to Haiti for next December to go to the Mamababy Haiti birth center. I sent an email with questions about how I can legally organize fundraisers and plan for a group of me and a few friends to go and haven’t heard anything back. I read through the website and the handbook and FAQs and am trying to get prepared as much as possible. I think 2 weeks there could take out a year of waiting to attend births here and will help me get closer to my primary care under supervision part of training if I am indeed needing to prepare for the NARM. I also am motivated by the non technological aspects of working in Haiti with minimal resources and learning real midwifery skills without the safety net of a prestigious hospital within a few miles… real life midwifery in a setting that requires it. On the side lines, I am also working on filing a complaint with the State of Oregon Medical board about hospital policies surrounding the unnecessary removal of my daughter’s appendix a year ago. It is very much a mirror to unnecessary cesareans, circumcisions, and tonsillectomies… The whole, you should be glad it wasn’t worse/had a healthy baby/you don’t need that part of your body anyway/ there was no real loss mindset of our culture. Lawyers won’t pick up the case because there is no $$ value in it and all I can do is fight the board for policy change about informed consent and how when information changes, so does consent, and how a child is anesthetized. My daughter has a right to her body, her whole body, even if an appendix is perceived as not having any use, if you go in expecting to see an infected appendix and you go in and see a normal appendix, you don’t remove it “just because we were already there” and don’t come in laughing telling me “at least you don’t have to worry about appendicitis anymore.” Oh! And my favorite book find since I last reported was a CDROM collection of 34 antique midwifery books from the 1700-1800’s (for $5 on Ebay)! The few I have browsed were fantastic! It amazes me how much we had to “advance” in medicine to learn that they already had it figured out pretty darn good in the 1700’s, even the male doctors in Europe had respect for birth and knew when not to intervene. The writing is almost poetic in some of the books. I was really surprised!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Birthing Choices and Perceptions of Choice

A review of:
The Ties that Bind
How Belief Creates Birth Realities
by Kim Wildner
In the article published by Midwifery Today, "The Ties that Bind," Kim Wildner is talking about how one’s belief in birth, choices, and what is actually capable of happening will no doubt affect the choices one will make, even so far as to what choices that person perceives are available. She discusses 3 women who were convinced they could not refuse interventions, could not seek out other health/birth care providers, and that they had, “no other choice” in the matter, when in fact there were, they just weren’t prepared to make those choices.

This is a common occurrence in our culture. From early on, as children, we are taught to submit to doctors, that doctors know best and that to ask questions was disrespectful. After all, they are the ones who went to college and they know what is right for you. We teach our children to sit still and be quiet and it is not a big deal, they are professionals, it doesn’t matter if it hurts, it is what is best for them and they will thank us later. While there are certainly times when a child needs to cooperate and there is no way they can possibly understand that sometimes things are going to hurt for a good reason and you still need to do it (like setting a broken bone or pulling an abscessed tooth or a life saving procedure) it is our duty to make sure they are comfortable and informed and respected through the entire ordeal, allowing them room to breathe and time to consider and prepare for what is going to happen. From my own experiences I can testify that this type of treatment is an exception, not the rule, when children have been “cared for” by medical professionals. Because of this tacit rule, people grow up thinking they just have to submit, no matter what, for anything, under the guise of a doctor’s prescription. This has inevitably created generations of disempowered people willing to “shut up and take it” out of fear and “respect” to their perceived authority.

Women, in general, are afraid to tell someone NO. They are afraid they will be in trouble, that they will hurt the feelings of this person who they believe is trying to help them, who they want to trust and believe that they mean the best. They are afraid that the authorities will see them as negligent and God forbid something happen because she said NO, she will be demonized for not listening to the advice of the Doctors. Even when presented with cold hard facts that dispute the doctors’ advice, many women are so unconfident that they don’t understand what the choices are. They are not willing to risk all the “what ifs” thrown at them throughout their lives by family, friends and other medical professionals. It is easier to go with the flow, easier to be victimized, easier to complain than to fight and stand up and change the way we are “cared for” by the medical establishment.

Furthermore, in our culture, to be a boat rocker, to be a whistle blower, to stand up for yourself is such a minority position, it is hard to relate to your friends and family, to tell your story and to be able to be proud of your accomplishment without being chastised for “causing a scene.” They ask you, “why don’t you just listen to your doctor?” And anything you say to defend your actions is ushered away as not as important as the safety of medical advice or technology. You are perceived as a rebel, with a problem for authority, or you are attention seeking… People frown upon the strength of others in these situations because it makes them have to be responsible for the decisions they made that allowed them to be victimized, they have to look at themselves and wonder, “what if I had said no to that pitocin/epidural/ vaginal exam/AROM?”

People do this after the baby is born as well, they believe nothing is wrong with their babies when they hit all the milestones that their pediatricians’ chart shows them, but they still can’t figure out why the child has problems digesting their food, sleeping, or leaving the room. They don’t understand why they won’t stop crying and still wet the bed at 5 years old. Why they aren’t gaining weight or are gaining too much, why years later they have teenagers with severe depression and anxiety disorders, who are not attached to their families and can’t hold a decent friendship with anyone around them. As these children grow into adults, they have a hard time maintaining relationships or jobs, they get into drinking and drugs, they are thrill seekers or hermits and the parents wonder why, they did everything by the book and this person they brought into the world has never been able to adjust according the ideas they thought were supposed to happen. They couldn’t possibly look back at the decision that they made that built the foundation of their child’s psyche, that shaped the way their emotional brain would develop, their digestive system, their immune systems… How many people have to suffer through mental and physical illnesses that are undiagnosable before people start looking at how this person’s brain and body were formed and introduced to life?

Even scarier to me is that women who find the courage to seek another provider or refuse to go to the hospital for birthing only conquer the one step of the fear of saying no, they still have to conquer the fear that something is going to happen that will put them or their baby in harm’s way. They now have to manage all the scary things inside their heads that they have had preached to them their whole lives about how dangerous natural birth is, how painful it is going to be, how they are bound to suffer and they have to believe in themselves. How many women who find the empowerment and encouragement from their family to home birth, still go into it believing they are going to experience the most excruciating pain imaginable and have never even thought about the idea that birth can be pleasurable? As someone who was a victim of their own mind, I can tell you, I went into my first home birth expecting pain and misery and every single sensation I felt I perceived was pain and reacted accordingly. When I went into my 2nd home birth with a clear head and more experience and knowledge of pleasurable birth, I didn’t experience an ounce of pain because I stopped expecting it at every contraction. My mind set made the biggest difference in the world. Belief, perception, stories, ideas, experience, education, knowledge, understanding…. All of these things play a part in how a woman will choose to experience her birthing process and each is as important as the latter.

We all have choices and as the article says, we have more information at the click of a button, ready for our consumption, several sides to a story to figure out and weigh in with, than in any other time in history. It is a privilege to live in the technological world we live in and we have all paid a hefty price for this knowledge, years of research, years of doing things that were not the best of options to prove that they were not, millions of hours of electricity and resources spent on this knowledge. To not use it is the biggest waste of resource our planet has ever seen, to allow the continuation of industrialized birthing in low risk mothers because a doctor or insurance company is not willing to take the risk or live off the money they make and does not want to go out of business or stop driving expensive cars is unacceptable. We need to stop dramatizing the birthing experience and start normalizing it. We need to share stories, we need to call our grandmothers and talk to them and ask questions about what they now of their grandmothers, we need to find the truth, reach out to each other support each other and take birth back from the cult of misinformation meant to scare the daylights out of you so you submit to an even scarier ordeal.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

End of July Check in

My check ins are too few and far between but that is not because I am not doing anything…

I am still maintaining good grades at community college. This term I am taking technical writing, speech, medical terminology and eastern religion. All of these classes are giving me opportunities to expand my midwifery skills, from writing papers and studying for my technical writing paper which is on how and why we should reduce c sections.

This Wednesday I will be delivering a 5-7 minute informative speech about how the home birth rate has risen 20% since 2007. I plan on video recording this and using it on my blog and website for informational and advertising purposes. I am really looking forward to this project.

The medical terminology class has been very challenging and fun at the same time. I spend more time on that class than any other class at this point and have been taking weekly quizzes averaging about a “B.” I remember a lot of it from taking A and P for massage therapy school, but that was over 10 years ago and it is a good review!

The Eastern Religion class has been very “enlightening” and I am learning some very wonderful things about mindset and the role of suffering in life and how to overcome it from ancient texts and practices that suit me very well. I am going to a Buddhist temple for an assignment and am looking forward to learning how to better meditate and keep focus and centered and not allow my expectations or attachments to rule my life. I might even stick with this routine of going to “church” as Westerners would call it, Temple as Easterners do, on Monday nights as part of “me” time.

I spoke with someone in the college about teaching a childbirth education course as part of their community parenting classes. They were not very receptive and even went so far as to tell me they would not want to present a conflict of interest with the hospital’s classes. I had to inform them that the hospital’s classes would not be the same as my class because I was going to get down into depth of the actual physiology of birth, including the hormonal changes and aspects of the environment that will help maintain safety for the mother and baby both physically and psychologically without the use of any interventions, keeping the focus on NORMAL and not on medicalized birthing. She wants me to present her with my resume, references, a full outline, bibliography and an interview when I am ready to get started. I am looking forward to the challenge and my goal is to be teaching a summer class there next year, that will not only appeal to expecting or planning parents, but also some of the nursing program students as well. It will be at least a 6 week course covering pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew planning this, but I am certainly up for the challenge!

The bookshelf is getting fuller. I found a great deal on 3 ring binders at a 2nd hand store, 21 for $5, can’t beat that! I have been getting organized still and working on the list of assignments for phase 2. At this point, I am 2 weeks behind where I intended to be, but I feel confident I can make up some of that time now that my husband will be home more to help with the kids. The downside to that is that he will be home and also contribute to the distractions… ahhh, married life!

I have been working on my herbal knowledge and practices as well. Studying the local herbs, where to get them and what they do. I have even been consulting with some people about their ailments and helping them find herbs that might help out with things from allergies to infectious wounds, menstrual irregularities and headaches.

I love being a student midwife. I really really do!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Make Herbal Tinctures

What is a tincture and why do you use it?
A tincture is a fast acting infusion of an herb or combination of herbs in an alcohol base. The herbal tincture is more potent than a tea or infusion, requiring a smaller dose and easy to administer to sick people and children. Tinctures also can be stored for a long period of time and still be effective making it a very efficient way of using herbal medicine.

Step 1: Gather needed supplies
How to choose herbs. Researching an herbal remedy for what ails you is important. There are many sources that conflict on the usefulness of an herb or how to properly identify an herb so make sure your source is credible. There are a few well known herbalists, like Susun Weed who publishes many books and tours teaching classes to the public. There is also an American Herbalist Guild that you can use to find out if there are any herbalists in your area that may help consult you on herbs that would help whatever your concern is. You can find them here http://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/

Herbs, dried or fresh?
After you have decided what type of herb to use based on your need, you then need to obtain this herb. You can easily find dried herbs in leaf or root form online at websites such as Starwest Botanicals (http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/) and buy them in bulk so you can make large quantities of your preferred medicine. If you are using dried herbs, the ratio of herb to alcohol is one ounce dried herb to six ounce of spirit. If you are growing your own herbs or can harvest them in the wild as some prefer to do, you can use one ounce of fresh herb to one ounce of spirit. (Weed, pg 137) If you are wild harvesting, make sure that you are finding a source that is free from toxins or bacteria. Don’t harvest from road sides, polluted river banks or areas where animals are likely to have defecated on the plants.

Alcohol. The type of alcohol you use to preserve your herbal tincture is a matter of preference. Homeopathic doctors and pharmacists often use pure grain alcohol, but this is very strong and can burn the inside of your mouth if you are using it without diluting it in juice or water. Most people use brandy, vodka, or rum, as long as it is around 100-80 proof. 100 proof means that it is half alcohol and half water and many dosages that you will find assumes this is the material used.

Appropriate sized containers. You will need to gather canning jars of the appropriate size for the amount of tincture you plan to make. I recommend using quart jars with tight fitting lids like you would for canning. You will also need to gather the jars you plan on storing your tincture in and administering the doses from, like the brown bottles with droppers that you can find through many of the stores you would buy your herbs from or from a pharmacy. The jars you use to store your tincture in long term should be colored to block the sunlight from your tincture.

Step 2: Combine your tincture ingredients
Now that you have your supplies in order, you can fill your jar with the appropriate measurement of dried or fresh herbs and the alcohol of your choice. Cap the jar tightly with a lid and label the jar with the ingredient used and the date. You will need to store the jar in a warm, dark place and remember to shake it daily for 2 weeks. This helps to release the properties of the herb into the alcohol. The tincture needs to steep in the solution for at least 6 weeks. Some people like to make their tinctures on a New Moon and that way, they know that if they wait 2 full moons their medicine is ready!

Step 3: Strain and Bottle
You have waited patiently and your medicine is ready to be used. Using a piece of cheese cloth or fin muslin, pour the contents of the jar through the cloth and into a clean bowl, squeezing the herbal material to release any remaining liquid. Discard the used herbs. Making sure your storage dropper bottles are clean and sterile, use a small funnel to pour the tincture into your bottles, label them and they are complete!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summa TIME!

So summer time is finally here, the weather is warm-ish, not quite hot yet, definitely not swimming, lay around and get sunburnt weather but here none-the-less. The kids are keeping me occupied for sure. I am working very hard at time blocking so I can get my school work done, get the projects around the house done, figure out time to get to the birth centers, go to social events, and spend quality time with the family and the garden.

I went to a midwifery meet up last week at Lennon's house and it was really nice visiting with other midwives and learning some different opinions and ideas and how these Ladies have grown into them. There was Patricia (I think was her name) who is from Mc Minnville, Laura and Angie from Salem and Lennon from Salem there. I enjoyed discussing things from how much medical training do we need, vs how much we use or choose to use to differing ideas about why to be licensed or not. It was quite enlightening.

Last night I went to a fundraiser for Debbie's birth center. There wasn't much of a turn out but it was fun to hang out with her and her daughter and a friend. She asked if I wanted to be on call for a client due in a few weeks and I got to meet her this afternoon. She is a lovely mother with 3 boys already and due with another boy. She had hospital births with the others and is really looking forward to no interventions and respectful attendees. Her stories about the last experience she had at the Lebanon Hospital were very painful to hear. I am happy for her that she chose Debbie to assist her this time. I feel really good about her.

Tonight I went to a presentation at a hospital in Stayton, the Santiam Memorial Hospital, where Elise and Mabel talked about their waterbirth options there. They seem like really great ladies. I talked with them about apprenticeship opportunities and they seemed like they might be interested in having me come to observe occasionally. It will be interesting seeing water birth in a hospital setting. I think that is about all I can handle in that setting as I really prefer to stay out of there all together. It would be cool to build a relationship with other types of providers though so I can have referrals for all kinds of people that I can honestly be comfortable sending them too. While I was there I also met a childbirth educator and lactation consultant who was really nice named Emily. She invited me to sit in on any of her classes so I will probably take her up on that in the near future!

I haven't been able to do much with SWBC because I have not been able to leave the kids for the day. Between them and college courses, it has been hard leaving the house at all since last week. But I am itching to attend births and really want to be making progress towards being able to practice. At this rate it is going to take me 4 years minimum before I can start having my own clients.

The organizing of books and files for my phase 2 assignments is making progress though and I am feeling really good about the possibility of completing phase 2 earlier than needed. I wish I had no issues with money so I could just focus on this and buy books and hire some help around the house. Even if I could have 2 days a week to be out it would make a huge difference. With Tim working so hard in school, it is going to be really hard the next few years. I am considering looking into some other work so I can just get done at LBCC and then work part time for an income. if I could get some Doula clients, that would help considerably. I need to weighout some options. start a business and pay the overhead on that, or pay for some memberships and do more marketing for Doula work.... hmmmmm....