Monday, February 25, 2008

maternity leave ramble

I have a student from my last class who was planning a homebirth with one of the wonderful licensed midwives in this area. She was due in December and totally expected to have her baby on Christmas eve or Christmas day. This student was very diligent about taking care of herself during pregnancy. Yoga. Acupuncture. Chiropractic. Massage. In addition to my twelve weeks of classes, which she never missed, she also took a hypnobirthing class. This was one prepared student and partner.

Christmas came and went, and no baby. New baby.

All during this time, she was contracting on and off all day for weeks on end.

One night, in the week before her baby was born, she felt the baby make a huge movement, and she thought baby was moving from a right-side lying position to left side. At that point, she expected labor at anytime.

Still nothing.

She went for a biophysical profile, and the baby had turned from vertex to breech.


Her cesarean was scheduled for the next day.

We played phone tag for awhile; I knew she was having a hard postpartum period. I finally had an opportunity to really sit down and have a conversation with her last night, and we talked for about an hour.

I am angry.

I'm not angry at her, of course; I am angry at the health care system we have in place here. I am angry that there is no built in safety net for this mom, her baby and her partner. Once the baby is born, no one asks how the mom is feeling--emotionally. A mom is supposed to be grateful that her baby is okay and that she, too, is okay. Luckily she is still seeing her LM, who is in tune with postpartum issues mom is having. She gave her a referral for someone to help her out, as did I.

Her story is not unique, either. I've had three students in my last two classes who have had cesarean births, unexpected all, and they all had the same things to say:
recovery sucked
the birth is foggy
the drugs made them out of it for a good two weeks
nursing was difficult and for one, impossible to continue.

None of them understand the appeal of an elective cesarean.

They are unable to stay home to heal and learn to mother an newborn because they have to get back to work. 4-8 weeks seems to the normal maternity leave for my students who have to go back to work.

That. Is. So. Wrong.

Cesareans are on the rise, maternity leave is getting shorter, and I can't believe that's the way it should be. Obviously I feel the cesarean rate needs to be lower and can be lower, but I really feel that women who don't have enough time to recover from birth--no matter how they birthed--are going to be less healthy. They hardly know how to be a mom to the new baby before they have to go back to work again.

Here's an excerpt from an email from a student from my last series:
Yeah, I went back to work Jan 31st...Baby was about 5 weeks then. I guess I would say that it took me until the first week of March to stop feeling quite so overwhelmed. I started running a fever a few weeks ago and ended up sleeping for 16 hours ( Husband fed Baby bottles and woke me up to nurse which I don't remember much of) I broke into an intense sweat and woke up feeling fine every since. I think it was exhaustion. Working 40 hours, getting caught up at work, pumping, nursing at lunch, taking care of the baby at home and the

I'm stressed out and overwhelmed just reading that!
I have such respect for the moms I know who go back to work and continue to pump and nurse their babies. I am the first to say that I nursed my babies mostly because it was cheap and easy, and I wonder if I have the perseverance to do all the pumping that a lot of my moms do.

So, Wayne and I watched Sicko right around the time that I was hearing from my students who had to go back to work, and I so wish we had a system in place where a parent (dad or mom) can stay home with baby for the first year (or two!), if they choose. That they would get their full wages and be guaranteed their position at their workplace when they returned. I also wish that every woman could have a full 12 weeks, at least, with full pay (without having to delve into sick time/vacation time/PTO), to recover from birth and to adapt to being a mom.

We need a change here in the US, and I honestly don't think that any of the presidential candidates are going to create the kind of change I want to see. It's just so frustrating for me to see the decline in maternity and postpartum care that my students receive-- unless they are with a LM. The LMs provide exceptional care that I wish every woman could experience.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I grabbed this from a blog I read.

That album cover meme:

Follow these easy steps:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result in your own journal:

How weird is it that I randomly get the wiki about this, this quote and this picture. Interesting. Fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

It's a little blurry, but it still looks pretty good:

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

gilly maya

This is so the picture I am going to submit for her 9th grade graduation slide show...her senior yearbook ad...her wedding slideshow... so many embarrassing options!

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Late VD

Valentine's Day was low-key for us this year. We were unable to drop a couple hundred bucks on dinner this year, which was a bit of a bummer, but on the other and, what kind of an idiot spends a couple hundred bucks on dinner.

Wayne did buy me these beautiful chocolates:

They were so pretty that I resisted eating them...until I tasted one. They are so good! I have two chocolates left: cardamom and champagne. They were my two favorite flavors. I nibbled on every piece and have been eating them in order of preference. I'm saving the best for last, of course (champagne). It really does taste like champagne, too. Yum.

I made some cupcakes for Valentine's Day. I thought they turned out quite nicely. I impulsively bought a heart-shaped silicone cupcake pan that I will probably only use once a year, so I stayed up late on the 13th making six cupcakes at a time.

The next night, Wayne and I went out to dinner--something we haven't done in quite awhile. We decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, which we haven't been to in months.

It's always nice to have an evening to go out without any kiddos.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Khaled Hosseini

For Christmas, I received The Kite Runner by Hosseini. I devoured it in less than two days. It was the best book I have read in such a long time, and I can easily put it at the top of my list of all time favorite books.

It was fascinating to read because it took place in Afghanistan, which is a place I am really not all that familiar with. Before reading this book, I only knew that the Taliban was situated in Afghanistan and that they are a horrible group of people. After we (The U.S) sent troops to Afghanistan, we were able to see images of the people of Afghanistan in the news; we began to hear of the atrocities committed by the Taliban against the citizens of Afghanistan. That was when I first became aware of women in Burqas and the horrible way that women are treated in Afghanistan.

Really, though, I was ignorant about much else regarding Afghanistan.

The Kite Runner made me laugh, made me cringe, made me cry and at times, I was afraid to turn the page for fear of what would be described in upcoming paragraphs. It was a devastatingly beautiful book, and I hated that I finished it so quickly.

A few weeks ago, I checked A Thousand Splendid Suns out from the library, and I was afraid that I would not have time to read it before it was due (2/14). I couldn't renew it because there are holds on it. Well, I don't know what I was thinking because I simply could not put down The Kite Runner, so I don't know why A Thousand Splendid Suns would be any different. I tried to put it down, but I couldn't. I read it in one day-- except for three chapters that I read on Saturday night. With this book, just like the previous, I would put the book down for fear of what I predicted was coming, only to pick it up again immediately because I had to know if I was right or wrong. I am also terrible at flipping ahead, and anytime I thought something terrible was going to happen, I would flip ahead. I spoiled a few twists and turns due to my flipping ahead, but it saved me a lot of reader anxiety.

My nails, which I chew, are hurting today because this book had me chewing away like crazy.

It, too, was a sad book. But more than sad, it made me so angry. It is terrible that people live the way that is described in Hosseini's books. He starts in idyllic times, when there was a monarchy and it ends in the present turmoil. The Kite Runner focuses on a wealthy and respected father and his son; A Thousand Splendid Suns has two main characters: Mariam, who was born a harami and lived in very poor conditions with her mother; her father visits weekly like clockwork. The other character is Laila, and she is a few decades younger than Mariam and lives next door to adult Mariam. Ultimately, their paths cross and intertwine, and the book becomes their story. It is tragic, of course, because what else could it be? Though in tragedy, one can sometimes find beauty, and Hosseini really paints a beautiful portrait of Afghanistan and the people there-- people who are hostage, really, to these different factions of leadership who turn their world upside down and inside out.

I cannot wait until his next book. Hurry up, Mr. Hosseini!!

Read these books. You can thank me later for the recommendation.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My girls dance; yes, they do!

Paige's Winter Formal...
February 2, 2008

Brittani Goes to the Junior Prom
February 9, 2008

caucus 2008

Maya and their support for Hillary


Wayne and I went to our caucus today; it was crazy!!!

There were hundreds of people packed into the school where we were caucusing (?). Barack Obama kicked butt in our precinct: 50-26. My mom's precinct's numbers were similar. He really has a ton of momentum right now; if you go to his campaign store, everything is sold out and on backorder!

It was so fun to participate in the caucus, though; the energy was high. There were heated debates going on all around us. Cheering, yelling. It was fun. Wayne signed up to be a delegate to the Legislative District caucus and the County Conference-- both in April.

Sadly (depending upon your opinion, I guess), it was me and a bunch of (well, 25) elderly women who were voting for Hillary. After they voted, most of the elderly women left, which left me and 8 other women who had to try to get 1/2 of an Obama delegate to go towards Clinton. Yeah, right. Didn't happen. Barack got to keep his 1/2 and took Hillary's, too. Our precinct is sending 7 Obama delegates and 3 Clinton delegates.

I tried to spread the word about the caucus today, and it seemed like I may have actually had an effect-- I know at least three people who attended the caucus today because of my small effort. Yea, me!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wayne and I went to watch Hillary speak today. It was so cool!
Here are some pictures.

Don't forget-- if you are voting for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary Feb 19, that vote means NOTHING!!! You must go to the caucus in your voting area tomorrow at 1:00pm to choose your favorite candidate. Kids are welcome. You don't have to stay the whole time they are deciding on delegates; just sign in, choose your candidate and you're done (so I understand). The primary only affects 1/2 the delegate choices for the Republican party in Washington state; the Democratic delegates will only be determined by caucus not by primary votes.

Here's some clarification. The video is 5 minutes long, but there is also a FAQ on that same page, if you don't feel like watching a video.

Please forward this information along to anyone you know who is a registered voter--regardless of their political stance.

And if you are not yet registered to vote: CLICK HERE to register. It's quick and easy and can be done online.