Monday, March 31, 2008

The Middle Wife

as told by an anonymous 2nd grade teacher


I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. "This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birth day."

"First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord."

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

"Then, two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. "She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now Erica is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

"My Dad called the Middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to sit down in bed like this." (Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

"And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!" (Erica has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away.)

"Then the Middle wife starts talking to Mom and helping her breath. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they said was from Mom's play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there."

Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another "Middle Wife" comes along.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

DID YOU KNOW?? Midwives & Homebirth Statistics (2000)



DID YOU KNOW??

Midwives are the most common birth attendants in the world...

There are over 1400 Certified Professional Midwives practicing in the United States...

In the year 2000, the outcomes of Planned Homebirths with a CPM were:


98.4% of all mothers were in good health after birth


98.3% of all babies were in good health after birth


99% initiated breastfeeding and 95.8% were still breastfeeding at 2 months


2.1% episiotomy rate compared to the national 33% hospital rate


3.7% C-section rate compared to the national 32% hospital rate


Infant mortality rate of 1.7/1000 live births (same as hospital outcomes for low risk moms)


No maternal deaths

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

World Health Organization Recommendations on Feeding Babies (Birth-24 months)

Up to what age can a baby stay well nourished by just being breastfed?


Q: Up to what age can a baby stay well nourished by just being breastfed?

A: Infants should be exclusively breastfed – i.e. receive only breast milk – for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. "Exclusive breastfeeding" is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk. It does, however, allow the infant to receive drops and syrups (vitamins, minerals and medicines). Breast milk is the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; breastfeeding is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers.

WHO recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at six months (180 days) of age in addition to breast milk. Complementary foods should be given 2–3 times a day between 6–8 months, increasing to three times a day between 9–11 months with one nutritious snack. Between 12–24 months of age, three meals should be given and two additional nutritious snacks can be offered between meals, as desired. These foods should be adequate, meaning that they provide sufficient energy, protein and micronutrients to meet a growing child's nutritional needs. Foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner to minimize the risk of contamination. Feeding young infants requires active care and stimulation to encourage the child to eat.

The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to full use of family foods is a very vulnerable period. It is the time when many infants become malnourished, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years of age worldwide. It is essential therefore that infants receive appropriate, adequate and safe complementary foods to ensure the right transition from the breastfeeding period to the full use of family foods.

Amounts of foods to offer


Age Texture Frequency Amount at each meal
From 6 months Soft porridge, well mashed vegetables, meat, fruit 2 times per day plus frequent breastfeeds 2-3 tablespoonfuls
7-8 months Mashed foods 3 times per day plus frequent breastfeeds Increasing gradually to 2/3 of a 250 ml cup at each meal
9-11 months Finely chopped or mashed foods, and foods that baby can pick up 3 meals plus 1 snack between meals plus breastfeeds 3/4 of a 250 ml cup/bowl
12-24 months Family foods, chopped or mashed if necessary 3 meals plus 2 snacks between meals plus breastfeeds A full 250 ml cup/bowl

EARTH HOUR: 2008 (March 29)

Earth Hour 2008 - A Global Movement

Created to take a stand against the great threat our planet is now facing, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

Earth Hour first started in Sydney, Australia. On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour, producing the world's first Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved during that one hour in Sydney was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in some of the world's major capital cities will unite and turn their lights off for one hour to join together in a global Earth Hour.

What can you do?

  1. Sign up for Earth Hour 2008
  2. Get involved and create a bigger and better Earth Hour
  3. Reduce your impact on climate change
  4. Organize Earth Hour in your own community
  5. Create your own Earth Hour event

Monday, March 17, 2008

Early, Exclusive Breastfeeding Reduces Newborn Death

Early breast-feeding reduces newborn deaths

CHENNAI, India (Reuters Health) - Initiation of breast-feeding within the first hour after birth or during the first day of life reduces the risk of death for the newborn, according to results of a study from Nepal.

Dr. Luke Mullany and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and a team with the Nepal Nutrition Intervention Project, Katmandu, analyzed data on measures to reduce newborn deaths.

As a part of the study, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, 22,838 newborns were seen by health visitors at their homes soon after birth, then on multiple occasions till the 28th day of life.

Information on feeding practices and illness was collected, height and weight measurements were carried out, and causes of death after 48 hours up to 28 days were determined using a structured questionnaire.

Breast-feeding was initiated in 3.4 percent of babies within the first hour of birth, in 56.6 percent by 24 hours and in 97.2 percent by 72 hours, Mullany's team reports. Others received formula and animal milk, they add.

Two hundred and ninety seven infant deaths were recorded between day 2 and day 28 of life in their group, they note.

The investigators also noted a trend toward higher mortality that correlated with increasing delays in the state of breast-feeding. For instance, babies who were not breast-fed until after the third day were four times more likely to die than those fed within one hour.

The death risk was also 77 percent higher among partially breast-fed infants compared with those who were exclusively breast-fed, they note.

"Approximately 7.7 percent and 19.1 percent of all neonatal deaths may be avoided with universal initiation of breast-feeding within the first day or hour of life, respectively," Mullany and colleagues estimate.

"Infants breast-fed in the first hours of life receive milk with the highest level of protective factors including (antibodies) and protein," Mullany told Reuters Health. Early breast-feeding may also help establish successful breast-feeding patterns throughout infancy.

Improving breast-feeding practices in low-resource regions with high infant mortality rates "may substantially improve survival," he believes.

"Our challenge is to improve culturally appropriate messages that promote this behavior change, and provide the necessary home and community support to enable mothers to provide early breast-feeding," Mullany concluded.

SOURCE: Journal of Nutrition, March 2008.

I am THAT Mom

A friend posted the following... I found it smart and funny - combating ignorance with a little laced humor.


I am THAT Mom

Anyone ever feel that way?

I had my first get together with parents of my daughter's classmates. 4 "normal" moms -- and me.

They’re talking formula and I’m just sitting there quietly. Yes I can sit quietly. I figure I have to be around these moms for several years to come so I just best sit quietly.

One woman said something that sparked me to say (defiance, darn you defiance!) "Livie nursed to 4 years (gasps and shrieks all around), Levi til 3 and...," nodding to Lucy.

"THAT’S GROSS! If they can walk to the fridge and get themselves milk then they are too old! If they can ask for it, they are too old! Anything past 6 months is gross and unnecessary." All from one woman.

One of the other moms said, "Now ladies, we’re all different," or something to that effect. I said "Yes, I am biting my tongue, trust me." I finally got the ranter to quiet down by saying, "I was told that by breastfeeding my daughters they would be lesbians." That got a good laugh.

Ranter got up to go and says to me, "I apologize if I offended you." I tried to tell her that, oh, I understand. I tend to offend people when I spout breastfeeding facts which is why I was keeping my mouth shut. "Oh just take the apology for what it is," she said and flounced out. blinkblink.

I was thinking and so badly wanted to say, "I’m not offended because I know your opinions are based on ignorance."

So now I am THAT mom.

I think I’ll save the homebirthing info our next birthday party.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

CIRCUMCISION... and Christianity

One of our midwives recently sent out a study that was performed to determine the degree to which nerve endings are impacted/not impacted as a result of circumcision. I read this study originally in graduate school, as it is actually about a decade old, and has since been repeated numerous times. Before these studies were done, there were some people who said "circumcision doesn't impact penile/clitoral sensitivity" or that men function just the same with/without a foreskin - and this study (repeated in several countries and health organizations) proved that to be very inaccurate. In fact, the significant loss of sensitivity and nerve endings due to circumcision is more than if we cut off ALL the finger tips of ALL of a man's fingers. That is what is robbed of boys, among other things. Similar studies have been done with girls/women who have been circumcised and similar (actually more significant) results are found among female populations.

Among those receiving our midwife's emails are those who I found were surprised at the results, or unknowing that any type of study had been done on this topic. One person replied with a response that highlighted some of her lack of knowledge on the topic, saying, "My husband is circumcised and he is fine..." I typically ignore topical arguments like this, finding that those individuals who choose not to research/learn/investigate truth and empirical data are those who are not going to ever care enough to do so in the future (no matter how deeply it may impact their own beloved children). But this one, I just couldn't ignore. It is too much of a passion. I believe too strongly in it, and have invested too much of my time/energy in digesting all the surrounding literature on the topic at hand.

And so, I responded...



I was going to try and ignore the previous message sent out in response to this topic...however, as a result of spending 5 years in graduate school earning degrees in both Religion & Christian Culture and Health & Human Sexuality and having recently completed my dissertation on the subject, I simply cannot let it go without responding. 


Every parent is certainly entitled to his/her own beliefs/opinions/practices - however, these should be based on accurate, reliable, statistically sound information.

While I did not care one way or another about circumcision years ago, the more I learned on this topic from solidly performed research and peer-reviewed medical studies, hospital statistics, and procedure observation, the more I have come to see that this is certainly sexual abuse and genital mutilation for boys or girls no matter how it may be sugar coated in some parts of the United States today.



SO...

First - by saying, "my husband functions just fine being circumcised" is like saying a blind person functions just fine without sight. Yes, they probably are functioning as well as can be expected. Does this mean that life may not be just a bit sweeter for them if they had that particular sense all along? Does it mean that just because those who are blind function just fine that we should negate or ignore the function, purpose, and quality of life that is given to us through our eyes? Loss of senses in other aspects - sight, hearing, speech, taste, etc. are frequently those losses that are out of our control. And we do all we can to SAVE them and repair them! Yet genital mutilation - and the LOSS of a male human beings' GOD GIVEN sexual
sensation -- as well as that of his PARTNER (because it does impact his wife's future sexual experience/sensation as well) -- is the one sense that we rob, cut away, and destroy from our boys/men without their consent.

We first started performing circumcisions in the United States between the 1920s-1950s because we believed that it would curtail masturbation. That was our sole purpose in doing them. It didn't work. (Ironically, research on this shows that circumcised boys actually masturbate more often, and longer, than their non-circ peers). However, our reasoning for starting our circ obsession in the U.S. was in no way linked with the Jewish or Muslim rituals or Abrahamian practices in antiquity, and it was not followed in 80% of the rest of the developed world where a Christian base was also predominant.


To say that circ is a "commanded procedure" in the Hebrew scriptures and that is why one chooses to do so is not understanding the Hebrew, Jewish, (and latter Muslim) cultures in the day -- and WHY this was a procedure that was done (to separate the ones following the God of Abraham and Moses from those who did not). It is the same reason that other laws existed commanding people to not mix fibers -- i.e. not wearing clothing that was made from synthetic blends as we all do today -- or not eating of particular foods - animals without cloven hooves, or the mixing of flesh and sugars, or eating flesh with any blood drops... there were many Old Testament laws that Jesus and his disciples (most specifically John and Paul) preached were not
important -- it was a person's INTENTION - their HEART - that mattered - not the ritualistic legalism of antiquity. Jesus provided a new life, a new way, thee one path to connecting with God (the same God of Abraham) without the old sacrifice, food, and purity laws. And he taught that it did not matter if a person was circumcised or not, if a person ate flesh and honey in the same bite, or ate meat from the temples, or wore fibers that were mixed in threads. So this argument cannot be made as justification for genital mutilation unless a person is choosing to obey ALL the antiquity Hebrew laws. And in that case - very little faith and trust and belief is being placed in Jesus Christ himself and his teachings.

Finally -- there are MANY MANY MANY studies from around the world that show significant loss of function and pleasure for men and their partners who were uncircumcised and then circumcised (for various reasons) AS ADULTS. So the men know what both feel like. And their wives know what both feel like. There is a REASON that God designed the foreskin in the same way that He designed the clitoral hood. This organ (the prepuce) is the SAME tissue and SAME function for men and women - it is an organ present in ALL human and non-human primates. (Think of how absurd and barbaric it would be if we all started cutting off the clitoral hood on our baby girls - the exact SAME tissues that we chop off our boys!)

The foreskin on the penis, and the clitoral hood on girls:


-is a specialized, double-layered sheath that covers the glans (head) and is unique in that NO other body organ contains the same number of nerves, purpose, and function as this one does.

-Although the penis and clitoris themselves are not made up of any muscle fibers, the foreskin/hood is highly elastic, intricately webbed with blood vessels, and is lined with smooth muscle that contracts and relaxes in response to touch, temperature, and emotions (it is NOT "just skin")

-contains approximately 250 feet of nerve fibers and tens of thousands of specialized erotogenic nerve endings of various types, which sense the slightest pressure, the lightest touch, the smallest motion, the subtlest changes in temperature, and the finest gradations in texture

-protects the glans (head) of the penis/clitoris from urine, feces, bacteria, viruses, and other irritations from diapers/clothes/etc - (several recent studies show that STIs - sexually transmitted infections - are in higher concentration among circumcised men than intact men, no matter their sexual orientation, sexual practices, religion, purpose for being circumcised, or number of sexual partners).

-protects against infection and scarring of the urethra opening


-the end of the foreskin/hood has a sphincter - or "lips" - that ensures optimal protection of the urinary tract in men and the clitoris in girls.

-protects the sensitivity of the highest concentration of nerve endings in the entire body -- without the foreskin/clitoral hood these delicate organs (clitoral and penile glans) become dry, calloused, and desensitized from exposure and chaffing - the skin on the glans of an adult circumcised man not only LOOKS different than an intact-covered glans does, but it is also made up of a much thicker, calloused skin with thousands less nerve endings (the body's attempt to make up for the loss of needed foreskin to protect the glans).


-releases natural lubrication to assist in sexual practices that is also highly concentrated with antibodies -- I have heard some health and human sexuality doctors state that the "problem" for many older women is not that they themselves are "too dry" or not producing enough lubrication - it is that their male partner has been robbed of his own lubrication that was MEANT to be a part of lifelong effective/pleasurable sexual intercourse for both people involved.

-the glans (head) of the penis and clitoris is designed to be an INTERNAL organ - the foreskin/hood acts as an eyelid does - opening and closing to reveal a very sensitive organ wh
en used/needed

-is lined with a mucous membrane that is the same as the membranes found inside the mouth,
inner lips, and eyelids. This membrane keeps the glans (head) of the penis or clitoris healthy, clean, shiny, warm, soft, moist, and sensitive. This foreskin/hood membrane secretes a great amount of emollients, lubricants, and protective antibodies.

-the "neck" of the foreskin - which slides over the shaft of the penis and is double-sided ranges slightly in length from man to man. However, it comprises 3/4 of the newborn penis and in adulthood is about 3 x 5 inches if it were spread out - equal to the amount of tissue on all of a man's hand/fingers or his forehead (but comprised of thousands more nerve cells than even his
fingertips). This double-sidedness allows for a smooth friction motion that also enhances pleasure/sexual intercourse for both a man and his partner.

-the foreskin alone is made up of MANY different important components - the tubular tip, corona, dartos muscle sheet, frenulum, preputial orifice, smooth mucosa, ridged mucosa, and others. Once again - IT IS NOT "JUST SKIN" WE DESTROY thru genital mutilation. I would highly encourage parents to investigate these components before electing to take them away from their sons.


According to the 2006 U.S. Pediatric Advisory Board and statistics collected by the University
of Michigan Health System, 1 in 400 babies circumcised in the U.S. today has his penis severely cut or scarred in a way that it is no longer able to function, is lost altogether, or the baby dies from blood infection, blood loss, or gangrene due to the procedure. Much more frequently other infections occur, not to mention significant pain, babies lapsing into coma from the horrific procedure, problems with breastfeeding, trust issues, and a drop in serotonin and oxytocin ("love hormones") in the brain affecting the child's bonding/attention/empathy levels.

There are MANY reasons that NOT ONE HEALTH ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD recommends this procedure be done on babies.

Give your sons the option and choice of remaining intact as they are perfectly created. If they decide that is not something they desire, they can latter choose circumcision for themselves when they are able to be fully anesthetized and understand the consequences of their own decision.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

U.S. Pays Out Vaccine-Autism Injury Case in GA

U.S. health officials have agreed that childhood vaccines given a young Georgia girl led to autism-like symptoms and say she should be compensated from a federal vaccine-injury fund, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The decision is significant because, while the government has not conceded that vaccines cause autism, parents and advocates for children with the disorder see the decision as a victory that may help thousands of other families with claims that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative widely used in vaccines, may cause autism.

The government "has not conceded that vaccines cause autism," Linda Renzi, the lawyer representing U.S. officials, told the AP. Federal health officials have consistently maintained that childhood vaccinations are safe, and several studies have discounted any link between thimerosal and autism, despite other pending claims.

According to documents obtained by the AP, five vaccines the girl received on one day in 2000 aggravated a previous condition, that led to worsening brain function "with features of autism spectrum disorder." The term "autism spectrum disorder" was created in the 1990s to encompass autism and a group of milder, related conditions.

The documents, the AP said, do not address whether it was the thimerosal -- or something else in the vaccines -- that was at fault.

The compensation fund, which is run by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, lists problems with brain function, such as the girl had, as a rare side effect of vaccines. Those problems are enough by themselves to warrant compensation, the AP reported, even without autism-like symptoms. The fund has already made many payouts in such cases.

The girl's parents have declined to comment, because the case is not final.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pedigree Dog Adoption Commercial

i'm a huge advocate for adopting unwanted dogs -- NOT purchasing from breeders.

this commercial makes me teary each time i see it

At least you have a healthy baby...



Powerful. And very much how many new mothers feel when they survive a traumatic birth and people say to them, "Well...at least you have a healthy baby!" Birth matters.




Homebirth - Trendy & Fashionable?! Or Response to Bigger Problem

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently issued a statement where they said that more women are choosing birth at home with midwives because it is "trendy" and "fashionable".

I do believe they are missing the point. That is NOT the reason educated women are choosing to birth at home.

Dr. Katie Prown (Campaign manager for The Big Push for Midwives 2008) responded by saying, "It will certainly come as news to the Amish and other groups in this country who have long chosen homebirth that they're simply being 'trendy' or 'fashionable.'"

And another young Mom in our group here in Virginia Beach was surprised by the ACOG statement. She explained,

"Who said that homebirth was trendy?

I would love to refute that!

While I'm glad I had my homebirth, and now that I know how amazing it is, I would do it again even if I didn't feel I "had" to, the main and only reason that brought me to seek out homebirth was my lack of other options.

Home, or C-section.

Sorry, but I didn't want to have a csection. If anything I was being anti-trendy, because I didn't want a csection, and I wanted a natural birth. That is too funny that someone would say it is trendy to birth at home. (especially when my family members acted like I had three heads when I told them my plans!) I guess they are saying it because it is becoming more popular or because celebrities are doing it. But I think they have missed WHY people are doing homebirth. Thank God there are people out there smart enough to choose homebirth for their first child, and not just as a last resort. But sadly, as care gets worse and worse, it is for this reason more people are turning to it.

Happily, once turning to that choice, I think just about anyone would wonder why they hadn't started out there in the first place. I just wish I had known about homebirthing with my first baby."

Those are my sentiments as well. I can go into a hospital with a 95% chance of unnecessary interventions, a 45% chance of ultimately being cut open, and a 100% chance of not being allowed to move and eat and drink and labor and push as is best/most comfortable for me and baby. Or I can birth at home.

Mother's Unassisted Homebirth Story

Well guys this one was a speedy one! Wednesday night I noticed some "contractions". I hesitate to even call them that because they were the ones that are FUN. You know, "ah I feel something! Labor is great! Lets play around with timing them!" Chris got on the computer and started looking up Gaelic middle names for boys and girls which is a tradition for us now. We wait until I start feeling "something" and then he starts looking for names. I had contractions off and on all night and in spite of that I slept GREAT. Better than I had in months. I tend to see that as a big sign that the birth is going to happen in a couple days. I tend to get blessed with a few nights of great sleep at the very end.

So, Thursday I woke up to more fun contractions, no pain, just squeezes, and spent the day sitting in bed by the fire knitting. It was a really lovely day for me and I had a good time just enjoying the very end of my pregnancy and being excited that the baby would be coming soon. Chris made yummy Indian food for dinner, which I adore, and we watched lost after which I decided I was going to bed early. My squeezes had petered out and I wasn't feel anything anymore. I had another great nights sleep and I woke up at about 5:30am to pee. I didn't have any contractions then and immediately went back to sleep.

About an hour later I was dreaming and had two strong REAL contractions (the ones that HURT! LOL) and woke up having to poop. I immediately knew this was it and headed into the bathroom. I decided to let Chris sleep for as long as possible and I was sure I didn't want the kids awake and crazy, so I headed upstairs with some spare bedding for a nest on the floor and a small bag of birthy stuff (washclothes, tinctures, cord clamps, etc) I looked at the clock and it was a bit after 6:30am. As tends to be the pattern for me I spent the next half an hour pooping with every contraction. They were probably about 2-3 minutes apart and 45seconds to 1minute long. After I felt like I was finally "cleaned out" I stood through a few contractions and thought about calling Chris up. I didn't though. I wanted to wait as long as possible, I really feel like laboring is less stressful when I'm by myself.

So, I tried some hot washcloths on my lower belly during contractions but they just weren't hot enough to really dull the sensations. Maybe a super hot heating pad would though. I'll have to try that next time around. I had toyed with the idea during this pregnancy of really trying to SLOW things down and keep the whole process from being so fast and overwhelming. I though maybe laying down would do this, but yet again once I'm IN it, there was no way I was going to lay down. I was afraid really to get stuck in any position but standing when a contraction would come on.

I was trying to stay out of the shower for as long as possible because I didn't want to not have hot water when the contractions got "stronger" and I really needed a change, but I finally decided they were strong enough to warrant hopping in. And it did really help. I love the noise of the water especially. Escaping to the shower has always seemed to work for me and I've had 3 babies in there now! I was only in the shower about 20-30 minutes and during this time had a few of those evil contractions where there isn't really any break. They just die down to a humming cramp before building again (man I hate those, and I always start cursing the people who say "yes, labor hurts, but you get breaks!" right about then.

My breath started to catch and I was amazed that I was almost done. Even while cursing about it hurting, I was also thinking, wow, I am so blessed to have such easy labors. This is really nothing. I felt the change in contractions where they went from hurting to just......moving the baby down, and I felt my body start to push. I started to push and then remembered that I really wanted to see what happened if I DIDN'T consciously push along. So I kind of belly danced instead, moving my hips in figure eights and big round circles. I felt the baby rush down through my pelvis, really SO cool!

I thought again briefly of calling Chris up. I didn't want him to miss the birth of the baby, but I wanted even less to have the kids stampede upstairs into my tiny space and I didn't want to interrupt the process either. I had been almost completely silent up to this point and it just felt right to see it all through on my own. I shut the water off and knelt down as the baby crowned. The end was really glorious this time. I had no pain at all. Maybe 2 easy contractions, no ring of fire, no shooting pains down my thighs (YAY!) just half a baby head before I even knew it. I really noticed the baby turn this time too which was very neat for me. I don't remember noticing how that happened before, and then the baby splooshed out....... Not much of a story really!

Just a Super easy, quick, uneventful birth! Chris woke up when the baby cried. Durian only cried once, almost like he was calling his dad. I asked him the time and said it was 7:40am. The placenta came easily this time probably about twenty minutes after the birth. And Chris had fun bumbling around starting the fire, running me a bath, directing the kids to collect things, boiling the scissors and doing general husband/dad type stuff. Bless him, he's a good cook too.

The few days after the birth were challenging this time. The afterpains were really killer, as bad as labor, if not worse. I was joking with Chris that he didn't miss anything at all, he just gets to help me through labor AFTER the baby comes instead of before. He did some acupuncture which seemed to really help. I don't find afterease to do much of anything for me even though I started guzzling it immediately in anticipation of the pains. I had trouble with my pelvis too which seemed to be really off and causing me lots of pain to walk or even to roll over in bed. It's slowly gotten a bit better and I'll get an adjustment soon.

So that's it! :) Durian is of course adorable, we're all in love and he's nursing, pooping, sleeping and all that newborn stuff. He is a bit more demanding than my last two, but that's okay, I've done demanding newborn before too. :)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Look at These Hands

By Mary Conant, R.N.
Statement to the Press: Third International Symposium on Circumcision, University of Maryland (5.25.94).


Look at these hands.

These hands have taken a newborn baby from his mother’s safe warm breast and his father’s sheltering arms, and these hands have tied this baby to a cold hard platter and served him up to the circumciser.

These hands have readied the scalpel, even as they caressed the brow of the terrified baby as he struggles for freedom and searches my eyes for compassion he will not find.

A tortured being has sucked frantically on this finger in a hopeless effort to end the agony as his flesh – his birthright – is ripped from him and thrown in the garbage.

These hands have removed the diaper painfully adhered to the feces-covered wound between his chubby legs.

These hands have shielded my ears from his screams.

Nurses of America, I did not become a nurse to hurt babies, and neither did you.

In 1992, with over 20 other nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I gave notice to my employers and declared I would no longer be an accomplice in the atrocity that is infant circumcision.

I have reclaimed my tattered soul and begun the process of becoming whole again.

I am a conscientious objector in the war against our infant brothers and sons and it feels wonderful.

Nurses of America, wipe the blood from your hands and join me!


Mary Conant is a co-founder of Nurses for the Rights of the Child. She is one of the original 24 Conscientious Objectors to Circumcision nurses at St. Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also appears on Barry Ellsworth’s video documentary The Nurses of St. Vincent: Saying No to Circumcision.

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