Saturday, September 29, 2007

Baby Steps

This has to be given better treatment elsewhere, but I took heart from two pieces of this story.

First, that one corner of the legal system recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and the unique situation lactating mothers are in.

Second, that this future doctor is bucking the system for her and her baby's rights.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Minnesota woman needs a doula. Anyone able to help?

If you're willing and able to be a doula for this woman (at Radical Doula), please give Radical Doula your contact info as directed on her website.


birth benefit events THIS WEEKEND (and a contest)

This Saturday (September 29) at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor: benefit screening of Ricki Lake's documentary "The Business of Being Born." Ricki won't be there, but some great local midwives, doulas and doctors will be, for a talk-back session after the screening. Proceeds benefit BirthNetwork.

Our neighbor town south of the border, Toledo, recently screened the film, too. Here's what Ricki had to say in their paper.

On Sunday, mere hours after the movie screening, I am running for charity in the Big House Big Heart 5K. It's a fun race idea. As usual, the entrance fee goes to a cause -- this time ALS research and the new U-M Mott Children's Hospital.

BUT runners and walkers are also encouraged to organize a team and independently solicit donations for their own charity. So I'm running as part of the
Center for the Childbearing Year's team.

What's that? You want to support doulicia's fundraising efforts? You want to make a tax-deductible donation to the Center because of all the good* it does for pregnant women and new families in Southeast Michigan? Bless you! Here's how:

  • Either here or via the "Donate" section of the Center's website, use PayPal to make a secure, on-line donation directly to the Center. Then e-mail me (doulicia at gmail dot com) to let me know that you donated.
  • More slowly, you can mail a check payable to the Center for the Childbearing Year to the Center at 722 Brooks St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Again, e-mail me to let me know that you donated.
To make it exciting, I'll randomly draw a name from among donors and send you your choice from among Style Your Own Kids Knits (for the knitters in the crowd), Pushed (for the birth enthusiasts), or Pastoralia (for anyone else).

I need notice of your donation by this Friday, September 28 to include you in the drawing.

*among the Center's services: free doulas for low-income women in a five-county area; birth and postpartum doula training classes including scholarships for low-income women; expectant parent classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and infant care; continuing education lectures for professionals who work with pregnant women; a lending library for parents and doulas. All this with a woeful budget of less than $225,000!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Something Tells Me I'm into Something Good

Cast this on last night. All the garter stitch going 'round lately coupled with lots of seaming on my nearly-done-WIPS got me itchy for something pretty, easy and soothing.

Hopefully soon I'll have a Knit Flat Hat to show.


The importance and fragility of doula trust (part I)

Last week I had another reminder about how important our trust relationship is with our clients. I had vaguely committeed to do a footbath with my current client once I "checked with the home schedule." In my mind it was an iffy thing. I like to do the footbath when I can, but it's not part of my official package.

A few days later I got an e-mail from my client saying she was disappointed that she never heard back from me about the footbath. She had really been looking forward to it last week.


I do not take my responsibility to clients lightly. I feel very badly I let the call slide. It was a very busy week last week, including in the evenings, but that was no excuse for leaving her in a lurch.

The tone of her e-mail made it clear to me that the true offense of my oversight was not the omission of the footbath. It was my failing to perfom in a trustworthy manner.

When clients hire us as their doulas, in large part they are paying for reliability and trustworthiness. We are often the one part of their birth team they KNOW will be there (doctors and midwives rotate call after all). They also often seek doulas precisely because they want someone there they can trust and feel safe with.

Every step of our doula contact with women/families should foster, not challenge, this trust.

I fear my failure to call last week may have set back this doula/client relationship to where it was when we first met. Or worse.

It was hard reminder that our relationships with clients are very delicate and should be given the hightest priority at every opportunity, not just at the birth itself.


Friday, September 21, 2007

I see two victims in this story

This article showed up as a little AP blip in our paper Wednesday. I've been thinking about it ever since.

A woman gave birth to a baby at home and put it in a plastic bag. The baby suffocated while she showered after the birth. This is tragic. It's probably criminally prosecutable. But my sympathies go out to the mother not the baby.

What state must this poor young woman have been in to deny the pregnancy for so long, to have not sought medical care for the delivery, and to have let the baby die. Does the combination of denial and neglect not look a lot like shock?

How does an adolescent face unwanted pregnancy, particularly when she is far from family (this woman was at college) and short on options? Did she want to abort the pregnancy but felt she couldn't for financial or religious reasons? Did she proceed with the pregnancy hoping that some last-minute solution would present itself?

I wish someone had been with her when she had this unwanted baby, to help her accept what had happened and deal with the situation rationally. Instead, she was alone and made a decision she'll likely regret her whole life.

Women should not feel abandoned, alone or afraid as they face decisions about their pregnancy.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

For my entertainment only

This doesn't even qualify as a post. But I saw it at Moon Tea and thought, "Yeah!" Just the kind of little mental vacation that will make work pleasant for the remaining 2 hours today. That, even though I am too lazy to find out the lists's origin or the books' significance. It's totally random. The fact that I like it despite not knowing why it was created probably says loads about me...and not necessarily positive loads. Anyway.

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read. Italicize the ones you want to read. Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

Movies don’t count!!!!!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
3. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
4. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
5. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
9. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
10. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
11. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 . Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)


Monday, September 17, 2007

Cute as a Daisy

Here's a sweet little sweater I made for a colleague's two-year-old daughter. I think it worked well all the way around. She got a handmade sweater in the color of her choosing. I got to knit something girly for a change.

Pattern: more or less the 2-3 year crewneck cardigan pattern from Kate Buller's Style Your Own Kids' Knits.

Yarn: 6 balls Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Lemongrass. note: I link to the Camilla Valley Farm site because they were kind enough to send a free color card for the yarn. Believing in returning favors, I bought this sweater's yarn from them and share the link here.

Modifications: I made the overall width less than the pattern called for. I also think I reduced a bit for gauge issues, but can't find my notes now so can't be sure. Oh, and I decided to continue the eyelet bands for the button band. It allowed for visual continuity AND some flex in where I sewed on the buttons (insert knowing grin).

Notes/Thoughts: First, this is a very pretty color. My photos wash it out terribly. I received a lot of compliments on the yarn while I was knitting it.

Second, I enjoyed Mission Falls cotton as much as I'd hoped. This was recommended by several knitter friends who use it exclusively for kids knits (it's machine washable). Its slubbiness made it a little hard to work with for K2togs and picking up the buttonband stitches.

Third, the buttons won my heart. I am NOT a button fan. From ages 3-23 I refused to wear any shirts/tops with buttons. That said, these little daisy buttons seemed just the thing.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Can Anything Good Come from This?

We've all been there, right? You knit exactly what the pattern says and end up with a piece of cloth half as thick as it should be, with 27 more stitches and a slant where it should be straight.

I am to the sleeves of this sweater. It makes sense when I look at the shape of the piece I should be creating. But the directions DO NOT WORK. I checked errata and found one small error for the pattern, but nothing that explains the difference between what I should be getting and what I am getting.

I have fallen back on my own calculations and approximations. They go on FOR PAGES. The first adaptation I tried was too short. Rip, rip, rip.

Then I got it right, but had never switched up from the smaller needles I'd used to catch my live stitches. So I had two inches of fabric at a noticably smaller gage. Rip, rip, rip again.

Then (are you thinking Three Bears?) it was too long again, so a did a few more modifications and reknit. With the too small needles AGAIN! I am nothing if not persistent in my thick-headedness.

At any rate, I finished the first sleeve, have successfully sewn it to the front panel (thus confirming that it is the right length) and am on to sleeve two.

Does this look like it should be so difficult?


You know you've been a doula a while when... come across the last name Foley and immediately think of the catheter.

Actually, that should be appended to read, "You know you've been a doula in a hospital...." Do homebirth midwives ever use catheters?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Like a small beacon of light, hope shines from...New Jersey?!!

Amid all the clucking about rising C-section rates and accompanying risks what, really, is being done?

Word from inside sources is that the new University of Michigan women's hospital (currently under construction) will have state of the art operating bays to accomodate 50% surgical births. Presumably that means they 're planning on 50% vaginal births.

Allow me to reference the oft-quoted point that the World Health Organization aims for a 10-15% Caesarean rate in developing countries. Imagine Ann Arbor at that rate. Would the hospital even have space for all the vaginally birthing women? Would they permit their operating suites to sit empty while women slowly walked, squatted, bathed their way through labor?

To put my worry more realistically, will borderline cases more often get pushed to the surgery side?

I suggest many hospitals, not just the University of Michigan, send a crew to Plainfield, New Jersey's Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. Somehow, it has attained a C-section birth rate under 16%.

I hoped to find clues to their rates at the hospital's website. I first noticed that they brag about their low C-section and high VBAC rates. As they should. I also noticed that CNMs deliver there. That could be part of the puzzle.

A bigger part may be that Muhlenberg does not appear to take high risk pregnancies. Not being from the area I cannot say for sure. But a search of the state's maternal and fetal medicine doctors comes up empty for Muhlenberg.

Even if that is true, I can't see how adding high-risk patients to the mix would make that much of a difference. High risk patients have to be a small part of the hospital's overall pool. So even if every MFM patient had a C-section (which they don't), one wouldn't expect the overall rate to double (which is what would need to happen for Muhlenberg to match national averages).

Anyway, food for thought. There are different ways to run hospitals and L&D units.