Wednesday, October 24, 2007

There comes a time in a woman's life...

...when she just has to hop on a plane and go to Paris with her sister.

Be back next week.

Au revoir.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Doula Prototypes

I was thinking the other day about a solution to the situation I often encounter: being contacted by someone who cannot find a doula, but who I can't take on myself for whatever reason. I worry about these women wanting doulas but not being able to find one.

My solution: the Drop-In Doula. It would work like this. I would give the woman all of my contact numbers, tell her to call me when she's in labor, and agree to come if I can. If I come, I charge an hourly rate (sliding scale...maybe $20-$50/hr?) with a maximum equal to my regular fee. I would provide postpartum care as I usually do.

If I couldn't come, the woman is in no worse a position than she originally was.

This is only a solution when the woman can't find any other doula. Obviously it's not optimal. There are no prenatal meetings to build rapport and learn the woman's needs/preferences. But it would provide a better than 50/50 chance she'd still get the support she wants in labor.

After my last (long, as usual) birth, a colleague proposed another type of doula. The Doula Drill Sargent. This would be the doula who comes in -- good cop, bad cop style -- when labor has reached a plateau or the mother, for whatever reason, isn't responding to "typical" doula encouragement and support. The Doula Drill Sargent would enter and begin barking out things like, "Do you think this is pain? I'll give you pain. Drop and do 20 pushups." Or, "Your mama ain't gonna help you out of this one. You gotta do it yourself. Now let's cut the crap and have a baby." It is probably worth noting that this colleague has not given birth herself.

Whaddaya think?


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lost in a Ravely Reverie

I haven't wanted to rub it in for those of you still waiting, but I got my Ravelry invitation last week. I was a little slow to start -- making sure not to do it at work. But now I'm trapped tighter than a fly in a spiderweb.

I used the 15 minutes of good light between when I got home yesterday and sunset to begin photographing my stash. I spent more time before bedtime than I'm willing to share uploading photos to flickr. I even DREAMED about Ravelry last night.

Others with new toys (or new to Ravelry) have probably had a comparable revelation, but as I was heading to bed late (I mean late) last night, I thought, "Do I want to electronically organize and chronicle and photograph my knitting, or do I want to KNIT?" There is only so much time and one can spend it doing or thinking about doing and having done.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Knit Flat Hat

Pattern: Knit Flat Hat from The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville.

Yarn: 1 hank Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies (85% wool; 15% mohair), color 12 (Iris Garden).

Needles: Bryspun circulars, size 6.

Modifications: began crown shaping at 4 inches height instead of 5; cast on 100 stitches instead of 110.

Notes/Thoughts: I love the yarn. This is the first I've ever used yarn with any mohair and I like the little halo it gives. I wouldn't want this yarn for a sweater because of the itch factor, but for a hat, it's great.

The color is also good and not completely represented here. The purples look too blue in the photo. Better representation here.

It was fun and easy to knit. All garter stitch. I've nearly finished a twin to it (same yarn, pattern, etc.) for my Christmas knitting; I think I may keep this one for myself.


Too many cooks?

My client had her baby over the weekend. All went well, though it was a very long induction.

When she delivered, the following people were in the room:

birthing mother
mother's husband
1 midwife
2 nurses (mama's and baby's)
2 pediatricians (some low heart tones and meconium)
1 doula
2 grandmothers-to-be
3 great aunts-to be
3 second cousins once removed-to-be

At the moment of the baby's birth, one of the girls (maybe 11-13 years old?) fainted. It was completely chaotic.

I think women should have whomever they want with them at a birth. But do they really know what they want?

For all the effort we put into "informed consent" for medical procedures, we don't put much of any into the ramifications of a crowd at a birth. Moreover, familial pressures and expectations can be far stronger than those we worry about from the medical establishment. It's one thing to say no to a procedure; it's quite another to say no to your mother!

In this case, my client repeatedly had to ask her guests to quiet down so she could concentrate. I have seen this at many births with a crowd. Folks are bored or nervous and turn to small talk to pass the time. The birth room becomes the equivalent of a breakfast nook.

What do you think? Should there be limits on birth guests? How does one deal with guests who are disruptive to a birth if the mother isn't asking them to leave?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

creativity on the internet

I went to a work-related session yesterday on the latest trends in environmental careers. Guess what one of the most desirable characteristics for new hires in the Climate Change/Sustainability field will be in the coming years?

Technical knowledge? no.

Communications skills? no. (well, yes, always, but it's not at the top of the list.)

Creativity? you got it!

Environmental problems present a new challenge because of their complexity (and interconnectedness among fields). Companies, government, non-profits will need workers who have experience making up totally new things, or applying old things in new ways. This trainer's advice to environmental students: take a painting class; do improv; join a writing circle.

Is it wrong that I thought, "Teach all students to knit?"

If you think knitters aren't creative, check out these solutions to everyday challenges:

Thumb sucking.

Where to put the sleeping baby while you garden (o.k., neither knitterly nor new, but wonderful).

Keeping your yarn untangled while you do stranded knitting.

What am I missing? What ingenious things have you knitters been up to?


Updates all around

Running: The race Sunday was excellent. I can't remember having fun at a race in a long time. But the weather was perfect (sunny, crisp), I felt great (and ran a respectable time) and my son ran with me the first 3/4 mile (he finished 3 minutes behind me but enjoyed the race, too). And I raised $540 for the Center* to boot.

Knitting: I finished the knit flat hat over the weekend. I will post photos as soon as I take them. It was such a delight that I immediately cast on for a second one in the same yarn. Twins!

Doula work: I gave my client her footbath last week and seem not to have done any long-term damage to our trust relationship. She is nearing 42 weeks' gestation. I really REALLY want her to deliver before the weekend. I'm scheduled to go with a few other moms on an overnight getaway. If she hasn't delivered, I'll have to stay home to wait. I'm embarassed to say that I just assumed she'd be induced before the weekend. I can't remember the last time a client "got to" go past 42 weeks.

I met last week with a college student who plans on going to osteopathic medical school. She had just learned about doulas and was very interested in our wholistic approach to birth. She asked if she could observe a birth.

I'm always torn about these requests. On the one hand, the more people who observe normal birth, the better, especially when these are future caregivers. On the other hand, they become yet another person in the birth environment. And no matter how supportive or unobtrusive an individual is, she is another body in the room, a diminisher of intimacy.

Obviously a doula is this also. In the doula's case, we hope that our support and assistance outweighs the degree of lost intimacy our presence may create.

In this case, I asked my two current clients if they would want an observer (not "would you mind"). I also say that I expect their answer to be "no," but will let them answer for themselves. My November client said she would welcome an observer.

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