Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Heaven, I'm in Heaven

And my heart beats ever so laconically
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When I'm lying lazily under the sheets.

Heaven, I'm in heaven
And the cares that hang around me through the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler's lucky streak
When I'm lounging by the hour under the sheets.

--Inspiration by Irving Berlin.

If you want to hear the tune, you can sample a piece here (the title is Cheek to Cheek). Timeless, isn't it?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Could Amniocentesis Go the Way of "the Shave?"

Australian scientists have had success with a prenatal genetic sampling test that uses fetal cells from the mother's cervical mucus. Their early numbers are encouraging, though they still want to test against a larger sample size.

If the test's early promise is well-founded, women could go in for a simple vaginal swab instead of amniocentesis to learn more about their baby's genetic characteristics.

The question that comes immediately to my mind is whether this will cause more worry than it will resolve. If it is an easier, less-risky procedure, will more women elect it? Will it become part of the "standard" prenatal screening that currently includes the AFP (or triple, or quad or its successor) test and an ultrasound? You could have a situation where the small population subjected to the risks of amnio is replaced by the entire (hospital managed) pregnant population.

If so, I suspect more women will receive disappointing or possibly disappointing news during their pregnancies. Then they may have to wrangle with decisions about aborting the pregnancy or, if not, preparing for the prospect of life with a disabled child.

It's the same dilemma faced by a subset of pregnant women today: whether to expose the cherished illusion of a perfect baby to the critical eye of modern science. Only soon it may present itself as innocently as a box of Q-tips instead of as a very long and threatening needle.

Friday, May 27, 2005

When a Broken Toe Sounds Like Labor

I'm writing from home, where the phone line connections is just too slow to support any significant surfing. I'm so spoiled having an ethernet connection at work. So instead of news around the world, I'll write about the main event in my little household.

Fridays are my day at home with my younger son. In theory, at least. Instead they end up being the days I schedule dentist appointments, attend executive committee meetings for the board I'm on, and handle any number of errands I can't do on the weekends.

Today, however, the stars aligned, and I and my toddler had a 70-degree day to play with. We spent the morning working around the yard, trimming shrubs and vines that had overgrown the neighbors yard, encroaching on several feet of our driveway. Then we went to the park and swang, ran the bases at the softball field, and played in the drinking fountain for many, many minutes.

When we walked in the door for lunch, the phone was ringing. I assumed it was T$, calling to tell me about the birth she unexpectedly attended as a backup yesterday. I answered and heard very deep breathing. Not pervert breathing, no. I heard the breathing of a woman in transition. Thinking back to the interview I had Tuesday with a woman in her 37th week who was having signs of early labor ("If you go into labor before you find a doula, call me," I'd said on my way out the door), I thought it might be her. Or else the friend I have who has been contracting daily the past 2 weeks with the impending birth of her second child. Maybe she was finally rolling.

"Hello?" I prompted. A familiar voice said, "Oooooh, I think I broke my toe." M. is a childhood friend whose son shares a middle name with my younger boy (both in honor of her grandfather, a gentle man I knew growing up). We grew up on the same block. We spent a college summer as roommates. I knew her pain voice.

After a shelf with her computer fell on her toe while she was cleaning, she had tried calling her husband, sister, mother and brother-in-law, none of whom were answering. She didn't seem to know what she needed out of a phone call to me, except that when she'd tried to go get ice for her toe, she nearly passed out. I said I'd be right over.

When I got there, she'd pulled herself up onto a couch and was breathing normally. "Once I knew you were coming, I felt a lot better," she said, smiling weakly and rolling her eyes. She'd also been able to talk to her husband, an ER doc. Following his orders, I set her up with an ice pack and some anti-inflammatory drugs. I got her a snack and pretty quickly left to get my little guy home for nap.

It was a reminder that a lot of the value in doulas is their simple presence as an extra set of hands, a listening ear, an opportunity to connect with the outside world, if necessary. Knowing a friend was coming was enough for her to regroup. I've noticed that same change in some clients: they're anxious on the phone, but calm by the time I get there.

The beauty of our friendship is knowing that if I ever needed the same from her, she would give it just as easily and immediately. Actually, she already has. She was the person who came at 1 a.m. and stayed with my older son when we went to the hospital to have our second baby. The next morning, my son awoke and climbed in bed with her, telling her how we'd bought, "like, eight boxes of oatmeal" because they were on sale. He said he liked oatmeal. She said she did, too.

For that alone I am endebted to her. Some other time I'll write about our other 35 years of history together.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Breastfeeding News

The news is full of stories about breastfeeding this week:

Drinking alcohol is counterproductive to it, say researchers in Philadelphia.

It may facilitate lower bloodpressure in children as they get older says a British study.

The pre-menopausal risk of breast cancer may be decreased in women who, as infants, were nourished by it, say University of Buffalo epidemiologists.

Blogger Problems Anyone?

I don't know what happened but I can not access my comments any more. I can't tell yet if this problem is unique to my computer or not. I have tried other blogger blogs and am able to see comments. My first step in trouble shooting is to make sure I can still post without a hassle. If so, I'll move into the code and see if I can figure out what's going wrong.

If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me at a2doula@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Two posts that left me thinking

Some delicious food for thought at Red State Moron and Bootstrap Analysis today.

In response to their posts I am left thinking, "What written works have inspired my particular callings? What images, ideas and words will be the last to leave my brain if it slowly shuts down?" I don't have answers for either, but they are nice questions to meditate on for a while.

Any epiphanies out there?

Our Old Pal Oxytocin

I skipped over this article in our local paper last night [aside: I can't find the actual link at OUR paper's homesight because, frankly, it sucks. I prefer to link to primary sources, but the LA Times wanted to charge a fee. Kudos to the South Bend Tribune for providing free access.] because, like 90% of our paper's content, it was pulled off the wire -- photo and all.

But today I saw it again on-line and noticed, toward the end, that there is a discussion of oxytocin's role in promoting friendship and quelling stress:

Increasingly, researchers think that the hormone oxytocin is, for women especially, the elixir of friendship -- and, by extension, of health.

Present in men and women, oxytocin levels spike in females following childbirth and when nursing. But oxytocin levels also increase at times of isolation and stress. And when the hormone interacts with estrogen, studies have shown, it impels females to seek the company of others. "We call it a 'social thermostat' that keeps track of how well (females') social supports are going," Taylor says.

"We don't see the same mechanisms in men," she adds.

By nudging women to build networks of support, oxytocin has a powerful indirect effect on their health. At least 22 studies have shown that having social support decreases the heart-racing, blood-pressure-boosting responses that humans and other social animals have to stress and the hormones it sends surging.

When oxytocin levels are high -- even as a result of injection -- reactions to stress are dampened. As a result, stress is less likely to do the kind of physiological damage that can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease and metabolic disorders.

How convenient that the same hormone that floods our systems during birth and nursing also drives us to seek companionship. What better time to build your support network than when you have a new baby?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Getting That Itch

No, not THAT itch! Sheesh! The birth itch. My last doula client was in March. She had a Cesarean delivery. Prior to her, my last client was in October of last year. It's been 8 months since I've been at a vaginal birth. I have clients lined up for August, which isn't that far away. In fact, we're having our first prenatal meeting in a few weeks.

But last week the phone rang and on the other end was a man who is looking for a doula for his wife (actually his wife is looking for a doula, but for some reason I have only spoken to him in 3 different conversations; this strikes me as odd and has me a bit on guard, but they are neighbors and friends of a former client and she said they're great folks).

So I'm meeting with them tonight and hoping they'll hire me. The excitement is that she's nearly 37 weeks. So things would need to move pretty quickly. Can we squeeze in two prenatals before she delivers? With luck.

Having clients too close together can be quite draining. But having them too far apart is maddening. It gets to the point where I get the urge to approach pregnant women on the street to talk about birth. Not because I want to be their doula, but because if I don't have any clients, I don't have a place to satisfy my need to talk all things birth. Another good reason to make Doulas Drink At Dominick's a reality. T$? Push me on this!

Finally, think about this (if you haven't already). Thanks to LMF for noticing that referring to women as "mom" in the hospital setting is, what, rude? Patronizing? Impersonal? I hadn't stopped to think but that's definitely something I hear a lot of in the delivery room: "Let's have dad take a seat here, and mom, we're going to have you grab behind your knees and pull toward your chest..."

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Postmodern Doula

As fun as writing posts to this blog is reading what people have to say about them. It really feels like a conversation. I also enjoy checking out the blogs of people who comment here. It was in doing that that I ended up at Henry's Webiocosm Blog.

Ever the sucker for pop-on-line-psychology, I couldn't resist following his link to a "What is Your World View" quiz. Here are my results:
You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.



Cultural Creative














I have to agree. And I think this is why I have a hard time being as strident about birth issues as many of my colleagues. I had lunch last week with a friend who works with pregnant women. She is so easily and completely opinionated. She stopped assisting at hospital births because, as she says, "I couldn't stand all the bullshit."

I have friends in La Leche League who are fanatacal breast-feeding advocates. Others, who are stark adherents to the Bradley Method, condemn any variation from the prescribed labor and delivery positions. I know doulas who are quick to fault (or support) doctor or midwife decisions ("They never should have broken her water;" "It was the absolute right thing to do to let her tear instead of cutting an episiotomy.").

Their certainty is enviable. I find myself nodding in agreement, carried along by their enthusiasm. By comparison, I feel wishy-washy. When I find myself having a strong reaction in one direction, a little voice in my head usually provides a convincing counterpoint. Which isn't to say I don't have strong convictions. I just have fewer than a lot of birth professionals I know.

True to my post-modern world view, I don't think one style is any better than another. There are benfits to knowing your opinions and holding to them unwaiveringly. Conversely, it can be useful to temper your reactions by imagining and exploring alternative points of view. Alternative constructions of reality.

What is your world view?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Glimpse Down the Rabbit Hole

I got my mother's day present from my older son today: a "How to Massage Your Mother" class. A massage therapist friend of ours ran it, but I did not know about it until we were on our way there.

The friend and her son demonstrated the techniques first, then the kids followed suit on their own mothers. My seven year old son rubbed my feet, my shoulders and my back. He was very serious about his technique and used the most delicate of touches.

When we got home he was complaining of "freezing" and turned out to have a temperature of 101. For some reason that made his efforts all the more poignant. He wasn't feeling all that great himself, but he gave his all to working on me. I was truly touched.

Of course on realizing he was ill, I immediatley reverted to the giver role and got him on a lots-o-fluids gig and negotiated an earlier bedtime. The book we started reading happened to be Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," a rather apt description of what it felt like to be having my feet squeezed and kneaded tenderly by my own child.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Placenta Brain

Call it what you will, pregnant women have a reputation for being a little forgetful. Now some Canadian researchers are asserting that mothers carrying male fetuses have better memories than those carrying female fetuses. Statisticians: is 39 women a significant sample size? Seems a little small to me.

I wonder if there are any differences in the prenancy dreams you have if you're carrying a girl versus a boy?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Still Life, doulicia style

Today is very special. Why? Because I'm breaking my standing ban on caffeine with that sweet elixer Mountain Dew Code Red. AND because I brought in lilacs from the yard and have their perfume swirling around my desk. Can work get any better than this? I think not.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What do we know about doulas?

Doulas, not the benefits of their services on laboring or postpartum women, were the subject of a national study -- purportedly the first of its kind -- that appeared in the May 2005 issue of Women's Health Issues (abstract here; full article here). As an aside, I am pleased to note that I serve on a board with one of the primary investigators for the study and have several friends who participated in the survey. This study hits very close to home on a lot of levels.

A nice summary of the study appears in this press release.

Generalizing the average doula from the study results, she is:

white (93.8%)
40 years of age
a mother
working another paying job in addition to being a doula
in possession of a college degree

Additionally, 30% of doulas report household incomes over $75,000. One quarter of respondents have plans to become a midwife in the future.

Putting on my most vicious lens, doulas look to me like the new travel or real estate agents: middle-aged, middle-class women whose kids are in school, whose husbands are carrying the household expenses, who aren't using their college degrees, who are looking for something to do.

Doula work requires little training, has huge emotional appeal (what woman can resist the excuse to revisit her own pregnancy and baby days?), and has enough business elements to feel like a career.

Anyone bristling yet? The distinction I see between the distinterested characterization above and the picture of doulas that a data-driven study can't capture is the passion piece. Doulas could not just as easily work at a bookstore as with pregnant women, or fill their empty afternoons with scrapbooking instead of postpartum care.

Most doulas I know wish they could do it more than they already do -- and not because of the money! Doulas fall in love with every potential client who contacts them and invites them to assist on their birth journey. Turning down a client feels like rejecting a friend. Too many weeks or months between births and doulas get restless and empty. Working other, better-paying jobs is merely a way to offset the costs of doula work.

The average gross annual income of a certified doula in 2002 was $3,645. That's not a job (or second job, as the case may be). That's not a second career (though it may be that, too). That is certainly not a way simply to fill up empty afternoons (because don't forget there are many all-nighters, early mornings and late evenings). That is a calling. Any doula will tell you that.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Have a baby, save a life

By now most women, pregnant women at least, have heard about cord blood banking. Fetal blood is rich in stem cells, those magic, yet-to-be-knighted entities that can develop any number of ways, depending where they end up. A vial of your stem cells, if you had one, could hold the answer to your health crisis, be it leukemia or a successful kidney transplant.

The blood in a baby’s umbilical cord is usually (we’re talking hospital birth now; homebirth is a different story) thrown away with the placenta. For a substantial fee, however, some companies provide you with the means of collecting and storing it indefinitely.

Viacord, one of the companies that collects cord blood, charges $1,650 for the collection at a single birth (multiples are more) plus a $150 shipping fee. Then they require a $125 annual storage fee. That’s $4,050 for the collection and storage of your child’s blood until she reaches 18 and becomes the owner of her samples.

The pitch Viacord makes is that $4,050 is a small price to pay if your child contracts any number of horrible diseases that could be cured with stem cells. $4,050 could save your child’s life.

True. But how many children will actually end up needing their stem cells? Very few. Viacord makes $4,050 for sending you a cardboard box and some collection vials and then storing these vials on about 4 cubic inches of freezer space. Imagine what you could make at home leasing out the ice cube tray in your Kenmore.

Interestingly, a British birth advocacy group has voiced concerns about the collection process. They say that cord blood collection may take priority over assessing the mother’s and baby’s health. They also worry that the preoccupation with getting blood collected will get in the way of parents’ first gauzy bonding moments with the baby.

Again, minor points if the baby later develops leukemia and is saved by her stem cells. We can not assume, however, that an additional procedure comes without costs.

I was at a birth where the family had elected to store their baby’s cord blood. The midwife had only done one other collection before and spent large chunks of the mother’s pushing time reading over the rather complicated directions about how, when and where to collect the blood. The instructions referred to two vials but only one was in the kit. In between pushes the mother and father were volleying concerned questions to the midwife about what was missing from the packet. The dad left the mother’s side to dig out the company’s phone number.

When the baby was born, he was given to his mother. The midwife and nurse turned their attention to collecting the cord blood. The family had asked about whether they should let the cord stop pulsing before cutting it, which they’d heard about in their childbirth class, but the midwife said she was supposed to collect the cord blood sooner than that.

I was sent to call the company and let them know the baby had been born. I can’t remember now if a representative was to come pick it up or if the parcel was overnight mailed to them. Because cell phones aren’t allowed on the delivery floor, I was out of the room when the mom delivered the placenta, when she latched the baby on for the first time, and when they announced his name to the room. I was doing what they wanted me to do, so that was fine. But the cord blood collection added a definite element of tension and distraction to the air.

The U.S. government is planning to start a public cord blood bank. Families can donate their child’s blood to a general pool rather than privately storing. This will provide access for many more sick children – at least those with health care coverage – to potentially life-saving therapies.

A federal cord blood bank doesn’t resolve the potential complications of collection. It is a step toward equalizing access to the benefits.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fo Shizzle

Through a post from a blogroll of a blogroll of A Little Pregnant, I linked to Gizoogle. It works like Google only it provides the list of links in Gangsta' talk. For a giggle, type in "doula" and see what it brings up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

If I Had a Private Jet and a lot of Money

I would have gone last week to the San Francisco International Film Festival to see the documentary "A Doula Story."

And sometime between now and June 5, I would go take in EstrogenFest in Chicago.

I have a '95 Corolla and a household income in the 10th percentile relative to the families of the students I interact with at this university.

So instead I will continue reading my latest "International Doula" magazine and get back to organizing "Doulas Drink at Dominick's" with T$.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sisters are Doin' it for Themselves

Have you heard of Mamapalooza? 200 mother-led bands performing across the country this summer. Bands like Placenta and Housewives on Prozac.

I'm currently reading Carolyn Heilbrun's Writing a Woman's Life. I'm only a few chapters into it, but I have been thinking a lot about the author's proposition that women have inherited the language, the narratives, and the stories of men and that these are our only tools for telling our stories. She says women's lives lose their authenticity when they are written down, even in autobiography, because the templates we have for telling them originated with men.

Someone who knows their feminist critiques better than I can reframe that last paragraph if I have butchered Heilbrun's point. What I take away from her book, however, is this enormous sense of "Where to begin?" How do we as women tell our stories in a way that is authentic, original and sui generis?

My first thought is that things like Mamapalooza and the many, many "mommyblogs" are attempts at it. Certainly mother's blogs (and pregnancy blogs) are both a new and democratic forum for women's writing and an elevation of women's reproductive and parenting work to the level of serious subject matter. But we are still using a language, even a design (posts, links to other blogs, etc.), that are easy commerce in the co-gendered internet world.

Birth stories are to my mind the one pure female narrative we have. Only women experience birth first-hand. Having experienced it, women understand other's births with a short-hand no man fully comprehends. And when women tell their birth stories they often reach a point where the story transcends words. They are left speechless, or with an imitation of grunts or moans, to capture the full scope of their story.

The challenge is transferring that essence to the written word. Telling one's story is different from writing it. I want to write a story that is as intuitive and primal as birth. We can start with our birth stories and keep writing the rest of our, women's, lives.

Monday, May 09, 2005


My book group just finished reading Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams. It is the concurrent account of the author’s mother’s battle with breast cancer and record rise in the Great Salt Lake, which puts her beloved bird refuge under water.

As a birder and someone interested in women’s health, I approached the book with mixed emotions. Yes, here were two topics I’m passionate about intertwined in one narrative. On the other hand, neither narrative promised to be particularly uplifting.

To my delight, the book’s message was one of renewal and restoration. Yes, habitat is lost. Yes, the mother dies. But along the way we readers are treated to many moments of choir-volume epiphany and quiet wisdom in three generations of independent and spiritual women.

I organized the book group meeting and posed to our members the question, “What is your refuge?”

In answering it myself I was struck by the difficulty of the question. Ten years ago I could easily have rattle off refuges: bird watching, running, reading, discussion and debate with my spouse, music. Now the best I could do was the occasional bath.

That’s not to say my immediate family isn’t still my refuge. I think my spouse is the most constant refuge I’ve had for the near-12 years of our marriage. In the right circumstances, my children are a refuge, an excuse to focus on the present and delight in the world through their eyes. Under other circumstances, of course, they become a major part of the reason I need a refuge.

And my birth family is a refuge in its own way. I have spent 2 years in therapy working through a lot of anger I have at them. For that reason I especially noticed the degree to which Tempest Williams’ family was a refuge for her. It reminded me that for all their flaws, my parents still offer me a safe haven I can’t find anywhere else. It was a valuable thing to remember.

But, women, listen up here to the dialogue between the author, her grandmother (Mimi) and her mother (Diane):

“At thirty-eight years old, I found I had breast cancer…For the first time in my life, I started to be fully present in the day I was living…I believe that when we are fully present, we not only live well, we live well for others.”

Mimi questioned her, “Why is it then, Diane, that we are so willing to give up our own authority?”

“It’s easier,” I interjected. “We don’t have to think. The responsibility belongs to someone else. Why are we so afraid of being selfish? And why do we distract and excuse ourselves from our own creativity?”

“Same reason,” Mother replied, “It’s easier. We haven’t figured out that time for ourselves is ultimately time for our families. You can’t be constantly giving without depleting the source. Somehow, somewhere, we must replenish ourselves.”

I agree. Which is why I am going to work at recreating some of my refuges. In fact, I went birding yesterday, as a Mother’s Day request to my family. They obliged and the four of us walked through the Arboretum together on what has to have been the nicest spring weather yet this year. My effort was rewarded with the remarkable sighting (thanks to some kind Audubon Society members who tipped me off and pointed me to the right spot) of a Western Tanager. In Michigan!

And as I approach balancing the demands and comforts that are my parents, I resonate to this T.S. Eliot quote that appeared in a recent New Yorker:

There’s no vocabulary
For love within a family, love that’s lived
But not looked at, love within the light of
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent.

Belated Happy Mother’s Day. Go find your refuge.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Let’s Hear it for Midwives

Today is International Midwives Day.

In a week when routine episiotomies are finally called into question by the medical community, I am grateful for midwives’ belief in the perineum’s elasticity.

In a month when the ACOG’s journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology, publishes research which concludes, “a strong association of epidural with fetal occiput posterior position at delivery represents a mechanism that may contribute to the lower rate of spontaneous vaginal delivery consistently observed with epidural,” I am grateful for midwives’ active support of women laboring without pain relief.

In a year when the Cesarean birth rate continued to rise, I am grateful to midwives’ patience, both in helping patients understand common causes of Cesarean births and how to avoid them and in allowing labors to unfold at their own speed.

In a culture where 90% of women deliver with the comfort of an epidural and 99% of women deliver outside the comfort of their own homes, I am grateful midwives present an alternative to medicated, hospitalized birth.
A personal thanks to Cheryl, who caught James, and Jennifer, who was supposed to be there.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Did you know that this classic and ground-breaking book on women's sexuality and health celebrates its thirty-fifth birthday this year? A local nursing professor, Nancy Reame, was one of its original contributors. She continues to participate in revisions, the most recent of which came out this year to mark the anniversary.

From a 193-page, stapled course pack, the book has grown into a non-profit organization committed to "empower women with information about health, sexuality and reproduction."

Funny, but I have never seen a copy of the book, let alone read it. I think a girl in middle school had a copy and tried to tell us about it, but she was pretty peculiar in many ways and so lost any authority on what was and was not worthwhile reading.

Of course, if I had listened to her, I might not have spent my first 18 years of life thinking I urinated out the opening I later discovered was my vagina or, worse yet, fearing would have to birth through that tiny opening I was eventually relieved to learn was my urethra.

Lest I have other important misconceptions still in my head, I am going to take the excuse of the new edition (and, why not, Mother's Day), as an opportunity to finally read it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Again, nobody told ME

It took putting a co-worker's CD on my Windows Media Player at work to get the promotion for In The Womb, a conception through birth, in utero tracking of one baby's development. It uses 3D and 4D ultrasound (and, judging by the promo photos, some amazing computer enhancement) to show the baby lolling about in its home.

Yes, I have reservations about prenatal imaging. Yes, I cringe at what I anticipate will be a typical Western/medical birth scene.

And yet you can bet that I am hoping one of my friends gets the National Geographic channel and invites me over to watch this. THIS SUNDAY (hint, hint).

I'm not a doctor, but I read their blogs on the internet

If you haven't crossed paths with Grand Rounds yet, let me point you in the right direction.

Grand Rounds is a traveling weekly round-up of the best from medical blogs. Of particular interest in this week's post is this reflection on postpartum depression.

As long as I'm highlighting other interesting blog destinations, I wanted to share this one with you: abortionclinicdays. Written by someone who works in a clinic, it contains compelling questions and anecdotes that highlight the complexity of abortion.

Monday, May 02, 2005


I am embarassed (and pleased) to say it was my spouse who alerted me to the fact that Ina May Gaskin will be delivering a lecture this Thursday on the Michigan State University campus as part of the Michigan Midwives Association's International Midwives Day events. I am so there. I have never seen her speak before. I'll let you know what she has to say. Her lecture is preceded by a slide show of Harriette Hartigan's photographs. I can't imagine a nicer evening.