Friday, November 30, 2007

Life and Death

After a busy November ushering babies into the world, I bid farewell to a family member. My uncle, Jack Wieder, died unexpectedly on Sunday after a life that was too short, too hard and too lonely. He was 54.

The world was not against my uncle but he thought it was. In the end, what you believe to be true is your truth.

He is survived my his mother, Celia, his sisters Leona and Sandy and brother-in law Michael, and his wife of three years, Kathy. If the depth of her grief was a measure of her love for Jack, he was very well loved indeed. He was preceded in death by his father, Soloman Wieder in 2005, whom he lived for but could never live up to.

Jack was troubled but bright, always wanting to do good by his family and the world. I learned alot about him at his funeral. I am sorry it didn't happen when I could tell him how much I respected him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Why isn't sheepskin waterproof?

I mean really, do sheep stain if gotten wet?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reasons to Have a Home Birth

1. No unnecessary fetal monitoring that leads to unnecessary pitocin that leads to unnecessary instruments pulling your baby from your body.

2. You will never be coerced into having a speculum exam to prove your water actually broke, even though fluid has been pouring out of your body for 6 hours.

3. You will not contract a staph infection at home, nor will you be told your baby has meningitis by mistake because of a "contaminated draw."

4. Your doctor or midwife won't be able to convince you that they need to manually stretch out your vagina because home birth midwives know they don't need to.

5. You will feel safer and you will be right.

6. You will not be woken up every two hours for various ridiculous reasons.

7. You will be able to eat and drink in labor.

8. You will be treated as if you are walking through a rite of passage, not as if you have a potentially life threatening disease.

9. No one will ever say to you "aren't you ready for that epidural yet?"

You should not need to have a home birth to have your rights as a laboring women upheld. But sometimes, you do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two for the road

After a 5 month lapse (I cannot believe that it really was that long) I attended 2 births in 48 hours. One was amazing, the other frustrating though ultimately positive, both keen reminders of why I do what I do.

I am way too tired to say another word.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What I don't know

It's been really hard for me to write because it's been a really hard time for me professionally. I used to think of myself as really impartial, a doula who could happily support any woman's birth choices regardless of whether that is what I would choose. I am finding that harder and harder to do. In my years of doing this work I have maintained an 85% hire rate; most of the families I met with hired me. Lately it's been more like 50%. I don't think it's because there are so many great doulas to choose from, though that is definitely true. I think I am having a harder and harder time presenting myself as neutral. I don't think it doesn't really matter what happens in your birth as long as everyone is healthy. I know that many other things matter. I know that an empowering birth is an opportunity of a lifetime, an experience that gives a woman confidence for all of her future undertakings. I don't think that when a woman in labor enters the hospital her chances of having a normal birth are good. I know that 35% of the time the baby will be surgically removed, and if that doesn't happen, she will likely have a host of plugs and cords and devices attached to her that even if she still manages to eke out a "natural" birth, she will never really know what a normal birth is.

More and more as I try to envision what my place is in this life, I think I have to be an advocate for normal birth. I am not sure where that starts. I used to think it started with my doula clients, but now I am not so sure.