Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

Two studies need participants May 22, 2007

Filed under: home birth,Mothering,Natural childbirth,Parenting — amygeekgrl @ 8:12 pm

A research study about parenting views and practices

From Research on Mothering:

You are invited to participate in a research study of parenting views and practices. We are interested in understanding what sources parents find useful in their parenting practices, how parents use different parenting information, and what views parents across the country hold regarding parenting issues. We are interested in getting responses from mothers of small children, ages 4 and under.

A research study about home birth

And from A New Look at Home Birth:

Welcome! I hope you will participate in my study about home birth. I am a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Iowa, investigating current home birth cultures, with a strong focus on unassisted birth.

There are several different surveys related to home birth and unassisted birth, including surveys for health practitioners, birth attendants, as well as if you’ve had a home birth or unassisted birth, want to share your thoughts on childbirth literature, intuition in birth, sexuality in birth and birthrape. Each survey takes from 15-30 minutes and must be completed before May 27, 2007.

Click on the links above to go to the surveys.

 

New home birth resource May 16, 2007

I just wanted to let you all know that I have started a new page on my blog devoted to information about home birth. You can get to it by using the link at the top of the page in the right-hand corner called “home birth resource.”

On it, I will post news articles, statistics, birth stories and more all related to home birth. I hope to add to it on a regular basis, so that it can be a great resource for anyone contemplating a home birth or just looking to learn more.

I was thinking about doing a similar page on breastfeeding information, but I just don’t have the time to commit to that right now. I’m amazed by how many articles are written about breastfeeding. I might tackle that project later.

I’m hoping to redo my blog in the semi-near future and have a lot of ideas floating around in my head on things I’d like to do with it. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

Ricki Lake to appear on Leno May 15, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Current events,home birth,Natural childbirth,Pregnancy — amygeekgrl @ 3:06 pm

From “The Business of Being Born” mailing list:

Ricki will be appearing on Jay Leno tomorrow night, May 16th. (NBC, 11:35pm EST.) So tune in, as there is sure to be talk of “The Business of Being Born!”

I will plan to tape it, watch it and hopefully report back.

 

Free the placenta! May 14, 2007

Ann Swanson, a Hynobirthing Childbirth Educator, recently gave birth to her second child, a daughter, at Sunrise Hospital in Nevada. Knowing that she developed postpartum depression after the birth of her first child, she wanted to combat it this time around by having her placenta dried, ground into a powder and encapsulated for ingestion – a practice known as placentophagy. However, the hospital would not release her placenta – the life-giving organ that provided nutrients to her baby in utero – citing health reasons, though Ann has neither HIV nor Hepatitis. The hospital stated that the only way she may be granted access to the placenta was to obtain a court order. She said, “it was never my intent to file a lawsuit, but I have definitely been pushed into doing just that.”

Unable to find an attorney to take on her case pro bono, Ann is representing herself, which means she is responsible for all legal filings and costs. She had an injunction today and is starting a campaign to pass legislation that makes it illegal for hospitals to refuse women the rights to their placenta (provided it is determined to be non-infectious).

Because all of these things will take money, donations are needed. A PayPal fund has been established to take the donations : LegalizePlacenta@PlacentaBenefits.info – Go to PayPal.com, select the “Send Money” tab and then fill out the “Send Money” form on the right hand side of the screen. Any amount, even if it’s only $1 or $5, will help offset her fees. If more money is received than needed to cover the injunction, the excess will be used for other legal placenta issues and passing legislation.

Ann said, “If the issue was just *my* daughter’s placenta, I would drop the issue. However, the issue is much larger and it affects all women.”

Read more about Ann’s story in an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal – Making pills from placentas, and a follow-up story – SUNRISE HOSPITAL: Placenta befouled, mom told. Because the hospital has now said the placenta is contaminated, Ann no longer has plans to ingest it, but does still want the organ “for the principle of the thing” so that she can plant it. You can also follow Ann’s story and another woman who also was denied her placenta at a different hospital in NV, by reading Diva/Mama‘s blog.

ONLINE PETITIONS:
Sign the petition to the medical establishment to Release Placentas to Mothers. (For anyone to sign):
Petition to release placentas to mothers

Sign the petition for the Nevada legislature, and should only be signed by residents of Nevada. This one will be used to create a state law giving mothers the right to take their placenta from the hospital.
Create NV state law

Are you wondering why is this so important?

Eating the placenta is known as placentophagy. It is practiced by most mammals in the animal world, including many primates. This excludes the majority of humans.

However, there are some that proport that eating the human placenta can help with ailments from postpartum depression to postpartum hemorrhage. There are some midwives and doctors who use the placenta medicinally in the early stages of postpartum because it is high in progesterone and has small amount of oxytocin. This supposedly helps stem bleeding after birth and causes the uterus to clean itself out. Some forms of Chinese medicines also contain parts of human placenta. — From About.com

For the record, I haven’t mentioned it here before, but yes, after my home birth I had my midwife dry, power and encapsulate my placenta (she calls it “placental medicine”), which I took for a few weeks following Julian’s birth. (I would never have eaten it raw or cooked – I’m too squeamish, but when it was in the capsules, it wasn’t a big deal to me.) I do feel that it had a very positive effect on my emotional well-being and my healing from the birth. I am saving the remaining pills for either Julian when he gets older and goes through a major life transition or for myself for menopause. The placenta is such an amazing organ, why throw it away when it has so many health benefits?

 

Home Birth: The Spirit, The Science and The Mother May 11, 2007

This movie looks hella cool. I’m sure it’d be a great investment for midwives or childbirth educators. I wish I could justify spending $39.99 to watch it online myself. 😉

Home Birth: The Spirit, The Science and The Mother

© 2006 Sage Femme. Running time: 46 min. includes interviews with Dr. Marsden Wagner, Dr. Jeanine Tgettis and Dr. Fred R. Duhart as well as joyful footage from two Home Births.

Dr. Tgettis rocks her three day old baby (Bella was born footling breech at home) as she explains her desire in having a home birth was to keep everything simple and normal. Dr. Marsden Wagner (scientist, neonatalogist, officer in the World Health Organization) talks about his passion of many years for honoring mothers and keeping birth safe. Dr. Wagner is joined by the Wright Family of Rockport, MA as they celebrate the arrival of baby Griffin. Dr. Fred R. Duhart (family physician in St. Louis, MO) has attended hundreds of home births. He is joined by the Jurczyk family at the birth of baby Benjamin.

Home Birth Series

Sage Femme is committed to finding, producing and distributing the broadest selection of natural birth videos available. Why? Because many of us have nearly forgotten or have never seen what a natural birth looks like. In 2005, the cesarean section rate in the US was the highest in recorded history – 29.1%. This along with the damaging and pervasive use of drugs and the negative images the media presents has evolved a state of cultural amnesia about the normal process of childbirth. Sage Femme’s Natural Birth Series was created to show us what safe birth really looks like. The aim is to restore our faith in birth, rekindle our love of nature’s design, and show the benefits of babies arriving in peace.

 

Firsthand review of “The Business of Being Born”

Below is a review of the movie “The Business of Being Born” by Rachel, from Queens, New York City, NY, a woman I met on Mothering.com. She saw the movie during the premier at the Tribeca Film Festival and gave me permission to print her review here.:

I was able to see this movie last night (May 3, 2007) at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was fantastic. You can read the synopsis on the website, but basically the film features women who choose home birth with a midwife, contrasting this with what happens in a hospital birth, the stats of US births v. other developed countries, some history about birth in the US like “twilight sleep” and Cytotec and cesarean rates, lots of interviews with mainstream OB/GYNs, labor and delivery staff, midwives, birth activists and educators, and women about birth. Michel Odent is featured, and a few short snips of an interview with Ina May Gaskin. We follow NYC home birth midwife Cara Muhlhahn as she tends to her patients in prenatal care and at the birth itself. One humorous segment has Cara talking about her own home birth spliced in with footage of her home birth. She admits she wasn’t an ideal patient and could write the book on “home birth midwife begs for c-section!” Less than 90 minutes long, the film was tightly edited and kept me enthralled the whole time.

The facts and expert opinions are mixed in with the experiences and birth footage of women featured in the film. I think 4 or 5 home births or birth center births were shown, all so beautiful and natural and moving in their simplicity. I cried through each one, and the audience literally gasped with joy as each baby was safely and gently delivered and given right to mom. It was a stark contrast to the footage of hospital births.

As one moviegoer said in the Q&A after, “thank you for making a film that celebrates life.”

Parts that stood out for me:
-The filmmaker interviews 3 OB/GYN med student residents and asks them how often they get to see a natural birth. They stare at her blankly before admitting “not very often.”
– All of the births: home, birth center, and hospital.
– A range of opinions from the OBs, those who don’t know anything about home birth and think it is crazy, to those who fully support it
– How women were treated in the hospital vs. at home

The message is very straightforward. It wasn’t preachy and condescending. They use a lot of humor, intelligence, facts, and humanness to illustrate their message that “hey! Women deserve options in birth and to learn what those options are.” Most of the audience seemed already open to or educated on the topic. Even the family physician and OB who spoke up at the Q&A were not newbies to the concept of home birth. The former said that he found the film very balanced and was now interested in learning how to offer home birth as an option to his patients, and the latter is an OB who had her babies at home and said this movie captured the message that she was always trying to give her colleagues. I’d be interested to hear what a skeptic would think of the movie.

Ricki Lake was the executive producer and is featured in the film, too, talking about her own journey to home birth and showing the experience itself. My opinion of her as a Jerry Springer-ish talk show host has definitely changed! She comes across as smart and strong and I’m so happy that she is using her wealth and celebrity to get this important message out. She mentioned that one journalist had written an article slamming her as an opportunist for making this tasteless film, and he wrote a long retraction after seeing it and finding it very worthwhile. I’d love to read both if anyone finds them.

On a more personal note, I was deeply moved by this film. Having been grouchy and depressed for days, my mood turned to elation watching this film and I still am high from it. I wish every woman thinking about having a baby could see it. But I know it would not impact many of them, since so many of us in the US are conditioned to see birth as a nightmare to just get over and do whatever the OB says and nothing really matters but getting a healthy baby in your arms at the end of the day. To me, my birth experience DOES matter. I want it to be the transformative, powerful, life-altering experience I know it can be. Seeing this made me so excited and proud that we are planning a home birth, and grateful that I live in a state and have an insurance company that makes it possible. And that my husband supports my choice despite his misgivings. I hope it gets distributed before our baby comes so he can see it.

Another funny story—the NY Daily News said this movie “wasn’t for the squeamish.” And when I picked up my tickets at will call, the woman who gave them to me said, “are you sure you want to see this? It is very graphic.” I said, “I can’t wait to see it! I’ve heard such great things about it!” She said, “well, won’t it scare you, you know, with all you’re about to go through?” [indicating my pregnant belly] I was a little tongue tied for a moment, and said, “It won’t scare me, it will prepare me.” And she seemed happy with that. I just think it would be so weird to be thinking, “Ok, my body is about to go through this tremendous experience, so I’ll just be sure to remain as ignorant about it as possible.” But I guess that is true for a lot of people. I didn’t get the “squeamish” or “graphic” comments at all. Considering what you see in movies and TV these days, these births were so simple and beautiful. Maybe I’ve just seen enough birth footage already that this wasn’t shocking to me. We are so cut off in our culture from birth and death. How it all starts and ends. Interesting.

Everyone should see this movie! Enjoy! You can sign up for the email list on the website, and I assume they will send an update when they get a distributor.

Thank you, Rachel, for letting me share this with my readers. 🙂

 

Giddy as a school girl May 4, 2007

Ina May Gaskin

I’m giving myself an early birthday present tonight (my birthday is actually Monday, May 7) and going to see/hear Ina May Gaskin, called “The Greatest Midwife In The World,” talk about her views on childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting at an evening talk. I was hoping both Jody and I could attend, but we didn’t have anyone available to watch Ava, so Julian and I are going ourselves and will meet several of my friends (and my midwife) there.

Since planning for a homebirth for Julian, I admit I’ve become quite the birth geek. I’m fascinated by and in awe of it and love to learn all that I can. I admire midwives so greatly for the work that they do. While I can’t picture myself ever becoming a midwife, I do think it’d be amazing, an honor and a privilege to be a birth photographer someday (when my kids are older).

Ina May is a midwifery pioneer, noted international speaker and author of “Spiritual Midwifery” – a book that “encourages Americans to view birth as a natural life process, rather than a medical emergency” – and “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” She’s been “catching babies” since 1970. She also introduced to the world the Gaskin Maneuver, an important birthing technique, which allows for a safe, non-invasive solution to shoulder dystocia, one of the most perplexing and feared complications facing obstetricians. – The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

There’s a great interview with Ina May here.

Besides the fact that I get to hear this incredible woman share her views tonight, I feel it will be an awesome experience to be in a room with so many other women who are passionate about birth. Imagine the energy! After I sent my registration in, I received word that due to the overwhelming response, they were having to close registration. However, I found out last night that it has since been reopened as they found a larger room in which to host the talk. I’m glad that others who had wanted to go, but didn’t get their registration in in time, will now be able to. At least three women from my AP group have said they will now be coming since I posted that there is seating available. Yay! The more, the merrier.

Rest assured I will be posting about the talk in the next few days. Julian is usually a pretty mellow baby, so I’m hoping he’ll be content to either sleep on me in the Ergo or suck/chew on his toys while in my lap. I don’t want to miss a word Ina May says. Maybe I should bring a tape recorder? 😉

 

 

“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”

— Barbara Katz Rothman