Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Roundup

1. Apologies to all the folks on Ravelry who were peppered with my overly-enthusiastic comments Saturday night. I got home from an indoor soccer game at 10:30 p.m. and was totally keyed up. Ravelry's a great way to calm back down, but I bring others of you in the frey with me.

2. Apologies to the dear spouse for all the money I invested at iTunes AFTER tiring of Ravelry. I think I learned that I should refrain from clicking the "Buy Now" button for at least 3 hours after any athletic activity.

3. Any Ann Arbor area doulas looking for a client at the end of February? A very sweet person contacted me and I can't help her out. Neither can a lot of other doulas apparently, because she sent me a second appeal this morning. If you might be able to lend a hand, let me know and I can pass along her contact info.

4. I'm getting startitis for some other knitting. And it may be in the form of lace. After working a month solid now on cables (don't worry -- I'm still feeling the cable love), the thought of a few YO, k2togs is appealing. We'll see.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Fun

Get your tea or your knitting and take a 10-minute break to watch Dame Edna interview k.d. lang.

I was saddened to hear earlier this week that Dame Edna has canceled her upcoming American tour to allow additional recovery from an appendectomy. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to this consummate entertainer and vibrant spirit.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What about ventriloquists' dummies?

A coworker forwarded this to our staff as rebuttal for our making fun of her fear of clowns. She's not alone apparently.

Certainly as doulas we have to work at not assuming anything. Just because your past six clients have liked foot rubs does not mean this one does. Women love to labor to Enya...except for those who prefer Eminem or Nine Inch Nails. That's why we're trained to ask lots of questions.

...And to leave our white face paint, red noses, and kinky blue wigs at home.

p.s. Anyone else out there ever have bad dreams about the clown in Poltergeist? That's the one that got to me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Food and Culture photo essay

This came to me as an e-mail with the photos and text pasted in. It actually worked nicely that way because I could scroll down to less and less expensive (but usually more nutritious) food collections.

Nonetheless, you might enjoy the photo essay of what people eat and what it costs weekly on several levels. What stood out to me was the number of countries where soda pop figured in their beverage consumption, the amount of bread in the Sicilian family's diet, and the fresh vegetables in the "poorer" country's diets.


Monday, January 14, 2008

What I've been knitting lately

My Christmas present from the cosmos was getting gauge for the Snorri sweater. I had tried it on the recommended size needles, plus up and down a size, always being a little too large or too small. And because this is my first foray into cabling, I didn't want to have to worry about any pattern modifications.

Once gauge was achieved (with size 10 bamboo needles, BTW, where size 10 Bryspuns had left me cold), the knitting just rolled beautifully along. Despite the fact that I'm making size XL, I have already finished the back:

and am on to the front.

For those cableholics in the audience, here's a little closer-up view.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Keep your womb intact and in situ!

A new study says that women who have a C-section are twice as likely to have a hysterectomy following a subsequent pregnancy than women who do not deliver surgically.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Not sure if this is bad news or not

Until last week I was not aware that enrollment in childbirth education classes is dropping. I didn't see any researched explanation for the decline.

If it is for any of these reasons, I take the decline as a bad indicator of current birth culture:
  • Women do not want to learn about birth
  • Women cannot afford (financially) to learn about birth
  • Women feel learning about birth will not affect the outcome, so back to the first reason...
  • Women are learning about birth from television (Baby Story, etc.) or books (What to Expect...)
  • Women are learning about birth through informal networks of women who've birthed "normally" (i.e. the usual medical/crisis/interventionist birth).
If, however, the decline is for any of these reasons, then I'm not as worried:
  • Women are learning about birth from their midwives, doulas, friends who've birthed from a position of empowerment.
  • Women are forming their own birth "study groups," informed by a variety of written materials and videos (e.g. Birth in the Squatting Position).
I suspect it is the former reasons, not the latter. But the traditional class format is not for everyone. For my first birth I ended up relying primarily on Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Mind Over Labor. My spouse and I worked together on the exercises in both books and, lo and behold, it was exactly the preparation we needed to labor through a great, unmedicated birth together. I think we actually learned more about working together by practicing in the quiet of our own home than we would have in a group setting, where my spouse would have been especially inhibited.

Every pregnant woman should have some sort of balanced, honest, childbirth education. The format of the education should match her and her support network's style of learning and preparing...


Monday, January 07, 2008

Doctor in the House

In poking into an interesting radio series on CBC radio, I found this essay intriguing. How do you feel about doctors using their title when referring to themselves? The essay's author, himself a doctor, says that when health is on the line, we prefer to know we're with Dr. Soandso, not "Jane."

I have bristled at my children's pediatrician starting his phone calls off with, "Hi, this is Dr. Smith." We've been seeing him for nearly 10 years now. Couldn't he say, "This is Paul Smith from Your Pediatrician?" Or, if he's afraid I won't know who he is --though who else would I know from the pediatrician's office, how about, "Dr. Paul?"

I similarly bristle at hospital births when the rotating cast of residents and student doctors flow through, each introducing herself or himself as Dr. This or Dr. That. I understand that one needs to say who they are, to explain why they are in your private birthing space (though do they really need to be there if you don't know them???). But what about using the same introductions nurses use: "Hi, I'm Kenneth, I'll be your nurse today." Try it. "Hi, I'm Karen. I'll be the doctor taking care of you today."

It works, don't you think?

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008


On the day I learned Christina Aguilerra is planning to birth by elective Cesarean, I enjoyed reading these tales of celebrity breastfeeding.

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