Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spare Him The (Un)Kindest Cut!

I have debated writing about this topic for awhile but I have decided I am going to go ahead and throw it out there since it is a hot topic and something I feel is very important to research and discuss.

What do 85% of the men in this world have but it removed in the most common surgery performed in America?

Answer: A foreskin!

When I was in high school I had to do volunteer hours and I chose to do mine in a newborn nursery at a local hospital. I remember seeing this thing that looked like a torture device for infants, and I didn't know what it was for:


Little did I know that I would be subjected to hearing many baby boys being circumcised. Their cries were enough to turn my stomach.




I would scoop up the newly circumcised boys and try to soothe them. I would pray that I would never have a boy because I never ever wanted to subject him to that pain. At the time I didn't know I had a choice. It became a sore spot in my heart and an experience that would forever shape me.

So many of you are reading this and saying "And.....???"

Well, did you know that no health organizations in the world recommend circumcision? It has no proven medical benefits, the benefits are regarded as "potential." North American culture has adopted circumcision as "normal" and we often see it as "cleaner" and want our boys to look more like their fathers. What is so interesting to me is that so many of us don't bother to question the practice of circumcision on our tiny infant sons but if our children needed a tonsillectomy or ear tubes we would be weighing the pros and cons and getting second opinions. We are told the procedure is simple and the baby won't feel much pain. We hand our little boys to the doctor trusting that we are doing the right thing. But what if we aren't?

The practice of circumcision is fear-based and excuses for circumcision always have been consistent with the dreaded disease of the day. For instance, in the late 1800s it was thought to cure masterbation (now we all know that isn't true). As time went on it was thought to cure tuberculosis, insanity, hip joint diseases, convulsions, bloody noses, and night terrors. For a long version of this history please click here. Now there are studys that are trying to prove that circumcision prevents HIV/AIDS.  These studies have been regarded as flawed by many but the media continues to advertise these claims in an irresponsible manner.  If this is true why does America have one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates as well as one of the highest circumcision rates? What a false sense of security to those who will use that in lieu of safe sex. It also doesn't prevent penile cancer and is not recommended by the American Cancer Society. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are also a reason a lot of parents site for circumcising their sons. Unfortunately, this claim holds no water as it would take 195 circumcisions to prevent one UTI, which can easily be treated with antibiotics. See this link for more info. Yeast and bacterial infections can occur if the forskin is not properly cared for or if the foreskin is prematurely retracted. These can be treated with antibiotics and creams without unneccesary surgery. Keep in mind that girls get far more infections than boys and our first resort is never to cut their genitals.

So now that we have moved past that issue, what about the hygiene issue? Is a foreskin really that hard to keep clean? As a mom of two intact boys I can tell you it is not at all. Before your son is retractable you do not have to wash under the foreskin at all. In fact you should not attempt to retract the foreskin. It will retract on it's own sometime between two years and puberty. Premature retraction can lead to infections and other complications that can lead a doctor to recommend circumcision. You just clean it like a finger. After the foreskin is retractable all that has to be done is a quick splash of water with the foreskin pulled back and that is it. No harsh soaps needed! We live in a country with running water and there is no reason to be scared of the "unclean" penis. Little boys can be taught to clean their private areas just like little girls. No harsh bristles or clorox bleach needed...just rinse and go!

So let's talk about the father/son penis mismatch scenario. How important is it that a son's penis look like his father's? When a boy sees his father naked and compares himself for the first time the first thing he will probably notice is hair. Should we run out and make a mini-penis toupee so father and son match? Mothers and daughters don't match either. Should we run out and involve plastic surgeon so daughter has breasts to match mom? Of course not! We often project our own insecurities on our children and it is so easy just to say "Back when daddy was a baby he had his foreskin taken off. Now we know that wasn't the best thing to do so we left yours alone so you could have all of your penis." And while we are on the topic let's talk locker room teasing. Who is going to point out somebody's penis is different for fear of being teased for being gay? In the unlikely event it does happen you can teach your son to say "Eww, dude why are you looking at my junk anyways?"

Is the foreskin just a little piece of skin? Not at all! It is a highly sensitive and functional sexual organ.



A foreskin protects the head of the penis, which is by design an internal organ. When the foreskin in removed the head of the penis becomes calloused and desensitized. When the foreskin is removed sexual pleasure in the male is reduced and in women it takes away the gliding action that reduces the need for lubricants. So don't let someone convince you that the foreskin is "just a piece of skin." It is a functional part of the male penis that is an important part of their sexual well being.

Is circumcision safe? I find that most people have heard a foreskin horror story but never a circumcision horror story. The truth is that baby boys are harmed by circumcision. Not only is the penis size and sexual fucntions reduced but there are risks of bleeding, infection, scarring, skin tags, removing too much skin, bowed penis, meteal stenosis, buried penis, skin bridges, loss of penis, and death. These things are 100% preventable by chosing not to circumcise. 

Does circumcision cause pain? Yes, it absolutely does. Babies feel pain when they are circumcised. Even if the numbing patch (EMLA) is used the sensation of the foreskin being torn from the glans is like ripping your nail off of your finger. Using any kind of local anesthetic is painful because needles and lidocaine hurt. The recovery is also painful as a raw penis is rubbing up against a soiled diaper and can cause great pain and discomfort. No matter how you slice it (pun intended) this procedure is not pain free.  There have been studies that have shown that infants who are circumcised have increased stress hormones and are more sensitive to pain later in life.  If a circumcision has to be done as an adult he can be given anesthesia and pain medication.  Generally speaking most men don't have to be circumcised as adults.  The horror stories that people are eager to share about foreskins often involve a doctor who is not familiar with how to care for the foreskin or problems originating from premature retraction of the foreskin.

Lastly, is circumcision ethical? Is is okay to remove a healthy, functioning body part from someone who is not able to consent? This procedure, once done, cannot be undone. Should we perform surgery to prevent potential disease?  We do not perform routine tonsillectomies because we might get recurrent throat infections. We don't pull our teeth out in case we get cavities. Why remove a healthy organ? It makes no sense. Because a circumcision has no proven medical benefits it is technically a cosmetic procedure. Why should it be okay to perform a cosmetic procedure on an unconsenting newborn? And why is it considered a birth defect when a baby is born without a foreskin but "normal" when we take it off a week later?  The truth is that people in America have seen the foreskin as a problem for many years when in reality we are the ones that are creating the problem.  I have always liked the bumper sticker that says "If a baby was meant to have a foreskin he would have been born with one."

Of course I am not writing this as a criticism or a guilt-laden lecture. I merely want to share with my readers my thoughts and feelings on circumcision based upon my research and personal choices. I highly encourage you to do your own research. Watch a circumcision video and read as much as you can get your hands on. Remember that it is okay for you to make a choice that is against tradition or culture.

Here are some informational websites:

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/

http://jewishcircumcision.org/

http://www.circumcision.org/

http://www.noharmm.org/home.htm

American Academy of Pediatrics' stance on circumcision:

http://www.aap.org/publiced/br_circumcision.htm

I also want to let you know that if you have chosen to circumcise your boy I am not placing any judgement on you. It is not my intention to make you feel guilty for the choices you have made for your children.  I just want to encourage you to question this procedure and do some research on it's benefits and risks.

Off to bathe my baby boy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Mirrors

This morning I came home from dropping the kids off from school and found this:

Aww.  He loves me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Ways to Get Involved

I just thought of who more ways to get involved with your community. The first is to Freecycle. Click here to get information and join your local group. It's a great way to get items you are looking for for free and to keep re-usable items out of the landfills. I have used it in the past and it great!

The other thing is to go to meetup.com and find a local organic produce meetup in your area. It is a great way to get organic food for a good price while supporting the community. I love mine...a huge basket full of fruits and veggies for $22! Can't beat it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Be Green So We Can See Green

California is nasty.

For those of you who have never been here I will paint you a picture.

Here is a view of the place I live:



The brown air is all pollution. In elementary school we would actually be denied recess because there would be a "stage 1 smog alert." Meaning that the air quality was so bad that it was more harmful for us to go outside than to stay in and miss the exercise. As it stands I am a two pack a day smoker although I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. The air here is so bad that just by breathing in and out I pollute my lungs the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes. When it rains Californians are advised to stay out of the ocean for 72 hours because the rain washes pollution into the ocean in potentially toxic amounts.

What contributes to this awful air quality? Well...



The majority of people who work have to commute. The ridiculous price of housing (another rant altogether) forces a lot of families to drive to higher paying areas.

What else?



Yes...superstores like Wal-Mart kill air quality. Not to mention small businesses and the local economy. There are many reasons I won't shop Wal-Mart. The reason that pertains to this topic is that in order to get the products into a Wal-Mart store many many diesel trucks must travel to and from the warehouse to each Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart also increases vehicle traffic. And if you are concerned about America's economy consider that about 70% of Wal-Mart's products are made in China. And it's workers are paid pathetically. While it may be good on our pocketbooks to shop at Wal-Mart, in the long run it is putting many Americans out of work and harming the economy. You can read more here.

What else?



Call me a tree-hugger, I take it as a compliment. Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are our natural air purifiers. Cutting down trees is like taking away our air. Which brings me to my next point:



This is a topic I could really go on about. Instead of telling you why recycling is important I am going to give you tips on how to re-use and reduce your waste:

-Buy re-usable grocery bags. Then use them. Some stores offer incentives for bringing your own bags. Trader Joe's holds a monthly raffles for it's earth friendly customers.

-Stop using plastic bottles. They contain chemicals that can leach into your drinking water and they stay in a landfill for 70 years. Buy yourself a Klean Kanteen and re-use it. They are re-usable, recyclable, and BPA free.



-Use cloth diapers. They are a huge money saver and not as difficult to use as your grandma might lead you to believe. Nowadays you don't have to mess with pins and leaks are pretty minimal. Disposable diapers are a huge landfill burden and contain chemicals you may not be aware of. Xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene are just a few that have been found. Some have been linked to asthma and other health problems. They are also scented, which is another irritant.



Buy organic. Preferably locally. Less pesticides=less pollution. Less time food has to travel to store=less pollution. This is goes for both produce and meat.



Don't support factory farms. I am not saying you have to go 100% vegetarian but I highly recommend that you watch this video to get an idea of how factory farms work. I also want you to watch The True Cost of Food so that you can see how buying meat and produce from Super Centers and non-local farmers affects everything from the economy to the environment and our very health. If you do chose to eat meat make sure your cows are grass fed.



If you don't need a Hummer, don't buy a Hummer! I am just ashamed that car companies produced the electric car several years ago then pulled it and started mass-manufacturing SUVS and Hummers. I'm not only ashamed, I am pissed. By now there should be electric cars everywhere on the road. Who killed the Electric Car? Check this out:



Clean up after your pets. I don't like dog poo in my drinking water supply. Please be responsible. Also, properly dispose of oils, paints, and other hazardous household products. My tap water is cloudy with floaties when it first comes out of the faucet. I am thankful for my Brita filter but I know I am still ingesting chemicals that are harmful.



Stop using commercial laundry detergents. Ever notice they don't list their ingredients? It's because they are full of chemicals. You really do not need all those suds and bubbles to get clean clothes. You are probably doing yourself more harm than good plus the plastic bottles that the detergents and fabric softeners come in go into landfills. Instead of Tide and Downy try Charlie's Soap or Maggie's Soap Nuts. I have used both and I think they are both excellent products. Plus the people I have spoken to at both companies are so nice!

I hope I have provided you with some good information. I am not trying to guilt anyone into my suggestions or to criticize anyone who shops at Wal-Mart or drives an SUV. My intention is to provide you with some good information that will help you impact your health and the health of others around you for generations to come.

Thanks for reading. I know this was a long one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's a Jeep Thing,

So today my hubby and I decided to take the Jeep out off-roading. It was relaxing just getting out in nature, away from the sounds of the city. After stopping at a local tiny local liquor store to get a pack of Big League Chew and a vanilla Charleston we ventured off the beaten path and found ourselves at a cool little stream in the valley. At this point he wanted to show me how to climb some smaller rocks and here in this video you will see me get myself right stuck. For the record, I did have myself some successful climbs right before this one:

video

So I decided this was a perfect moment to do a mini-video blog. Here it is:

video

It was a fun trip. Here are a few pics:

Me and Midge hanging out:



The happy couple:



Midge got really wet so we went ahead and let him wade in his birthday suit. Although his tushie is the cutest I did appropriately censor it for young eyes:



Overall it was a great trip.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Charlie! Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!

I don't know how I never saw this before. I can't stop quoting it lately.

Shhhhuuuuunnnnnuuuhhhh!

Disclaimer: Probably not appropriate for all ages. I recommend that you preview this before letting your kids see.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Feed Me!

I installed a feed so I can figure out if anyone actually reads this blog and lo and behold...people do!

I have a list of unanswered questions this morning. The majority are rhetorical but nonetheless they still plague me daily:

1. Are ants facing such a famine outdoors that they are forced to come indoors and eat the drippings of my Juicy Couture sugar body scrub of the jar? I think it would really give them severe diarreha considering the sugar is coated in oil. And if that happens why do they come back?

2. Why can't people say "vaginal?" Granted it doesn't roll off the tongue like "penile" but I can't understand why it's so hard. I hate it when people ask me if I had natural birth. I tell them yes, then they ask me if I had drugs. Didn't they just ask me that? No, they were afraid to ask me if I had a vaginal birth. Say it with me: vaaag-gin-nuuull. Use it in a sentence: I was so embarrassed because I passed gas during my last vaginal exam. Still trying to stifle that giggle? Me too...passing gas is funny.

3. Why do toddlers only want what is potentially harmful, lethal, or can cause long term damage? When you pull them out of danger they scream, yell, kick and flail as if to say "But mom, I like brain damage!"

4. Why can't the people running the Starbucks drive-thru let me make my own choices? Why do they offer me a fabulous non-fat carmel mocha latte frappachino and a chocolate chip cookie before I have a chance to speak? Although Chris at the Starbucks here has lured me a couple of times, I'll admit. And I didn't like the honey latte at all. Sorry Chris, but you are still my favorite barista.

5. And while I'm on the subject of Starbucks why does a soy drink cost more? In my experience soy is actually cheaper than cow's milk.

Okay, that is it for this morning. I have some errands to run and I need to finish up washing my cloth diapers so that I can pack my diaper bag. I still need about 6-8 more to get me through comfortably. For the record, I love the BumGenius pocket brand. I think that is the one I am going to be sticking with from now on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tired Tyrant (aka: Terribly Touchy Toddler)

Why do we never fully appreciate sleep until we are too old to have time for it?


The last week or so Midge has decided that sleep is for suckers and that the crib is equivalent to a concentration camp for babies. Usually his fears peak between midnight and 2am. He just doesn't want to be in there for anything. I have tried putting him in our bed but he is all over and my fear is that he will go headfirst off our king sized bed and get a bruise worthy of a CPS call. To top that off he refuses to nap. He staggers like someone put a nipple on some Fat Tire and allowed him to suck himself into a drunken stupor. Every small simple task that doesn't go as planned is met with a shrill scream, red face and a funny foot stomping charade that looks like a Mexican hat dance. He yawns, rubs his eyes, and looks dazed but is determined that sleep will not overtake him. It's a self-inflicted type of misery. Kinda sadistic if you ask me.

To add pain to misery the kids just started school again and now we have to rise early to be gone at no later than 7:30. Then I have to take him to pick the kids up right before noon and right before 2pm. Poor kid's schedule is just wacky.

So as uncrunchy as this sounds I have resorted to allowing him to fuss in the crib. I have concluded that this is for his own good. I just have no other options. Either I have a complete mess of a child on my hands or I let him cry and crash out in the crib. I try putting him to sleep first but once his head hits the mattress and he realizes that he is back in baby jail he wakes up and jumps to his feet in protest.

I have to ponder the cruelness of this whole scenario. I mean if I was that tired and I had the chance to go to sleep I would rejoice and jump in bed in a heartbeat. If I am that tired now I knock back some caffeine and try not to kill anyone with my overtired outbursts. I pray for a moment of sleep...just the right situation where I can lay my head down and rest and the kids will be safe and cared for. The laundry would do itself and the dinner would be on the table when I woke up. Ah, to dream. But in order to dream I need to sleep. DANGIT!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mommy Olympics 2008

I think I will be hosting my own mommy Olympics this year.  While I admire those who train their entire lives for the Olympics I think that motherhood is just as deserving of medals and cermonies.  So I present to you...the Mommy Olympics 2008!

Opening Ceremony:

Begins with last year's winner who walks up the steps in her Crocs and sweatpants and lights five Nuva-Rings aglow.  Then she lets go 2 helium balloons that her kids got at the grocery store on the way over.  She then turns and announces the games will begin by saying, "Don't make me come down these steps or so help me..."  The crowd cheers and the games begin.

Events include:

The Longest Aisle

This event consists of you bringing a tired toddler into Walmart with you just to pick up a bag of Pull-Ups...or so it seems.  Then you chase down a WalMart employee to actually help you when you can't reach the size you need on the top shelf.  She who makes it the longest without a toddler tantrum wins the gold.

Lake of Legos

You go to put your soundly sleeping baby down for a nap when you come across a sea of legos your 5 year old left.  Try and step on and over the legos without waking up your sleeping infant.  If you step on a lego you are not eliminated unless you cry out in pain and grab your foot.  Fastest mom to the crib gets the gold.

Barf-a-thon

This event is a surprise event where moms wake suddenly from sound sleep at 1am to the sound of chunks being hurled onto freshly cleaned comforters.  First mom has to grab the hair of the child and hold it back.  Then mom has to try to aim the child's head towards the comforter and not allow vomit to spill on the floor.  After that mom has to dash the comforter into the wash.  After that mom has to pick out of the washer the leftover whole chunks of pre-digested food.  This challenge is scored on three factors: quickest response time to child, longest gag stifle, and one who removes hot dog chunks from the washer in the quickest time.  Points are deducted for vomit on the floor.  Vomiting along with sick child is grounds for elimination.

Vegetable Incognito Relay

Moms are placed in a kitchen full of vegetables and food processors.  The one that can hide the most vegtables in a serving of meatloaf (ounce for ounce) without the child rejecting the food wins gold.  French fries are not vegetables and are not permitted.

Sour Milk Crawl

A sippy cup full of rotten milk is left in a car in a place that no person would ever think to look.  Be the first to locate the cup of foul hot yogurt and win gold. 

PTA Plunge

This is very simple: get fundraiser packet from child's school and beg, plead, guilt, pester, and cajole all friends and family to buy a useless piece of junk for $14.99 so that junior can earn a pen that lights up at the end of the month.  She who is able to sell the most gets the gold medal and will be receiving all the useless junk back as Christmas gifts.

Birth Blockbuster

Mothers are given an opportunity to utilize their creativity and create a documentary on the birth of their child.  A special effects crew is available for all scenes with explosions, car wrecks, bloody husbands, and aliens pushing their way out of your nether-regions.  She who produces the film with the most parental warnings and and at least a PG-13 rating will win gold.  Judges will be women who have never had babies and probably never will after seeing these documentaries.

The end of the Mommy Olympics will be a bunch of nursing mothers breastfeeding in protest in front of a store that asked a mother nursing twins to leave the week prior.  That will be followed by a bunch of minivans trying to leave the parking lot to get their kids back home for soccer practice.  Most will be on their cell phones ordering pizza because it is too late to make dinner.  The stragglers will be those who had to change poopy diapers in the back of their minivans before leaving. 

For all moms who read my blog I just want to tell you that you rock!!!  You can all be on my team next year.  Motherhood is not for wimps and I am glad I am in it with you all. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Happy List

PMS hit me like a ton of bricks this week. I went from fine to craptastic in a matter of a few hours. Stephen pretty much decided he was suicidal. He decided to push my buttons the other day and he almost hit that one red button that sends off the alarms and flashing lights. You know the one...where the lady's voice repeats over the loudspeakers: "Self destructing in 10 seconds, self-destructing in 9 seconds...." It's a good thing he made it out alive.

So as I sit here waiting for my "please don't kill me" chocolate chip cookie dough to arrive home at 9:34pm I decided I will write a list of ten things that make me happy. So without further hesitation:

10. Orange blossoms. Best smell in the world!

9. Grande iced soy mochas, no whip.

8. The sound of the ocean at night.

7. Being able to see the stars.

6. Walking in the rain.

5. Finding an extra $20 you didn't know you had.

4. Morning cuddle time.

3. Hearing Midge say "Mama" in his tiny raspy voice.

2. A massage and adjustment...just feeling relaxed.

1. The feeling of all three kiddos putting their arms around me at the same time and showering me with affection.

Now you probably thought the Happy List was over. Sorry, I have one more to make. This one is for my hubby, who needs the redemption. While I really want to call it the "10 Reasons Stephen Is Still Alive" list I will settle for "10 Reasons I Love My Husband."

10. That great butt...dang!

9. He is so good with the kids.

8. He works hard and puts up with a lot and still has a smile.

7. He envies pregnant women.

6. His dimples.

5. His naive midwestern mentality.

4. His support with my new business.

3. The way he can't keep his filthy paws off of me.

2. He bought me tampons when we first started dating.

1. He is my best friend.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

Seems like every five days or so, whether I wanted to or not, I found myself in the diaper aisle at Target to buy the only disposable earth-friendly, chlorine-free diaper that doesn't leak on my toddler. I plunk down roughly $10 a pop. So the math is:

Every 5 days at the store = 6 times a month.
6 x $10= $60 a month.
$60 a month for roughly 30 months= $1800

Not including any unforseen need for night time Pull-Ups or regression that is a huge chunk of change.

Common sense tells me that money could better be spent on other things. Plus, the earth would really love it if I stopped filling it's landfills. So I jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon along with many of my friend and other crunchy mom aquaintances.

So today was my first experience with the cloth diaper. Noah didn't seem to mind it at all. I used a Thirsties cover along with a bleach free prefolds. I was really excited...until he pooped. Crap! (pun intended)

It happened to leak out of the cloth and onto the diaper cover so I removed the whole thing and put him back in a disposable until I could wash everything. I only bought one diaper cover to start, and within 15 minutes it was a goner.

So now came the messy part, removing the "solid" waste from the cloth. I shook it over the potty, only to leave myself a huge mess to clean up. "Okay, first time is always hardest. It will get easier," I tell my bystander husband who is watching me, waiting for the smallest indication that this change from disposables to cloth is a bad move. I carefully walk the soiled pile to the washer, throw in some handy dandy Soap Nuts and soak everything in cold for 15 minutes before washing.

When all was said and done I survived my first poopy cloth diaper experience and I don't have any urge to run back to Target and buy disposables. Yay!

Now where are my birkenstocks?

My Newest Title!

I have been known as daughter, sister, cousin, mom, aunt, friend, and a respiratory therapist. My bilingual niece calls me "tia." Me...a tia! I love it!! Now I have taken on a new role that I am thrilled about....Doula.

A woman will always remember the way she is made to feel during her birth.

Why does that mean so much to me? I suppose it is because I remember how I was made to feel during my births and if I knew then what I know now I would have done things differently.
As a NICU Respiratory Therapist I saw so many interventions done at births. I watched frightened moms on their backs with babies being sucked out with vacuums and then the babies were handed to us where we were supposed to rub them, flick their feet, and make them scream until they were completely pink. The idea of putting baby to breast as soon as possible was scoffed at by many nurses who felt it wasn't important. I began to feel like I was only doing very few of these babies a service. Later on I learned that the United States has the second highest infant mortality rate of all the developed countries in the world. I also learned that we are the country with the lowest number of home births. Birthing here is a billion dollar industry and as a country we spend the most amount of money per birth out of any other developed country and the outcomes are still statistically poor. Why? We are letting our mothers and infants down here in a big way, and sadly, I think it is because hospitals have pretty much taken over the birthing process.

Now I am not saying that hospitals and doctors are not important. Most certainly they have their place in some births. There are some amazing doctors out there who have saved babies and I give them much credit. However, not all women need to be in a hospital to have their baby. In fact, being in a hospital can cause a mom to have unnecessary interventions, which lead to more interventions, which leads to more interventions...which leads to problems. For instance, an epidural is a great form of pain relief but it often slows labor and Pitocin is given to speed things along. Pitocin increases the strength and duration of the contractions, which stresses the baby. The baby's stress shows up on the monitor and now they have mom on oxygen. Finally, the baby is not tolerating the hard labor brought on by the Pitocin, the doctor comes in and declares he/she needs to do a c-section, and now we have a major surgery being done to mom and baby. There is a correlation between the use of Pitocin and c-sections. And, FYI, most c-sections are done at 4pm and 10pm. Interesting....

So how do I tie into all of this?

I have decided to become a doula. A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical , emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. She is usually self employed therefore works for the mother and her family and not for other institutions such as a hospital, Dr. or Midwife.

So what will this do? Well...

Benefits of having a trained doula*:

50% reduction in caesarean births
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesic use
40% reduction in forceps delivery

*From Mothering the Mother by Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus

With the rise of autism, ADHD, and other behavioral problems why are we spending tons of money on drugs to treat these problems instead of looking at what we are doing to our kids? Look at the way they were born...was it a drugged Pitocin mess? How about looking at other factors, such as food additives, baby formula, the effect of circumcision on an infant's brain, the effects of seperating mom and baby, and the additives in vaccinations. As parents we need to demand more information. As a doula I can provide a mom with that information. I can help a mom have the birth she wants, rather than the birth that everyone else thinks she should have.

Now if a mom wants to have a hospital birth that is fine with me. I had two myself. I am just there to help her through her contractions. I am there with a gentle touch, reassuring word, counterpressure, or a wet washcloth. I am there to help dad feel comfortable and to show him ways he can be helpful.

I have chosen to become a doula because I believe I have a direct effect on the well being of mothers and babies in my area. I want to pursue the information women need to make informed choices. I want to be there for those miraculous moments. I want to help a mom through the hardest journey of her life.

I highly recommend the documentary "The Business Of Being Born."

It is going to be a fantastic journey.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Birth Junkie

May 1st was really my last post? Really? Geez.

Update: Midge is fine. Just had a nasty virus. No hospitalization needed. He recovered on the 6th day. We have been through hand foot and mouth disease as well since the mystery illness and all is well now in the house.

I'm an official birth junkie now. I have been through a doula training course in San Diego where I have started my journey to become a birth doula.

A do-what?

From Wikipedia:

A doula is a non-medical assistant who provides various forms of non-medical support (physical, emotional and informed choice) in the childbirth process. Based on a particular doulas training and background, the doula may offer support during prenatal care, during childbirth and/or during the postpartum period. A birth doula is a continuous care provider for labor in many settings. Thus a labor doula may attend a home birth or might attend the parturient woman during labor at home and continue while in transport and then complete supporting the birth at a hospital or a birth center.

I just attended my first birth on Friday morning and it was fantastic.

I want to write more but Midge needs my attention. He's tired and we have to go pick up Nee Nee from her 3rd day of second grade.