Friday, January 26, 2007

Rise and Shine

From time to time I get questions about how am I able to to fit so many things into my schedule. The answer, in a nutshell, is discipline and regimentation. I begin and end my days with rituals that get me focused and prepared mentally and spiritually. I'm happy to share my rituals, and then if any readers want to share theirs, we can all have a few ideas on how to fill our own cups. My morning ritual consists of rising early (I'm a morning person) before the rest of my family, to have what I call a quiet time. I take 30 minutes for prayer, journaling, Bible-reading, inspirational book reading, and meditation. I'm very methodical about it so I can fit it all in. First I sit at my computer desk and pop in a CD of relaxing but spiritual music. Most days I listened to a CD by singer Taylor Mesple called "Victory Land." Its 31 minutes long exactly so I time my activities by the legnth of the songs. Sometimes I also listen to Gregorian Chant. Next I light a candle I keep there for this purpose. In the file cabinet next to my computer desk, I keep the top drawer filled with my "equipment." My bible, journal, and inspirational reading books are kept there. Right now, I'm reading Victoria Moran's "Fit From Within." Its made up of lots of 1-2 page essays, perfect for daily readings. I usually start with some deep breathing and meditation (my appetizer), then read my Daylights, a book a daily meditations. Then I read from my Bible, my Daylights has readings listed at the bottom that get you through the Bible in one year( my meat and potatoes). I have a journal that I write in after I've completed my reading. I usually have a few minutes of prayer on my knees (just to change positions). I finish off with "dessert" which is reading from an inspiration book that I've selected. I typically get up before my family so that this is all done in 'relative' peace and quiet. Usually the cats and dog are up and try to get my attention to feed them! This is wonderful preparation for me to face the day, filled from one end to the other with activity and committments. I believe my early cultivation in life of embracing a daily quiet time has enabled me to be as productive as I am. Now its your turn, what rituals do you use to start your day?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Walk Softly and Carry An Automatic Rifle

I was up to nearly midnight the other night putting in a proposal for a break-out session for this year's MANA (midwives of north america) conference. The session is titled: "A Response to ACOG: An L&D Nurs'es Choice for Homebirth" My session centers around the new position by ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynocology) that out-of-hospital birth is unsafe. (see below). The fallout from this is that it is harder than ever for CNM's (certified nurse midwives)to find back-up physicians for their homebirth practices. Insurance companies follow suit and won't insure docs who do back-ups for homebirth. (If you recall, this happened to my midwife, her back-up doc would lose his insurance if he continued to back her up and without a collaborative agreement, she's out of practice) This can leave entire communities without a homebirth option if they don't have lay midwives in their areas. This makes me so mad. They do it under the guise of safety- they say the research is not sufficient. But neither is the research proving that hospital birth is safer (and as a former L&D nurse, I don't see hospital birth as safe AT ALL). This isn't about safety. It's about out- of-hospital options being a threat to the status quo of obstetricians. This will only drive CNMs out of homebirth practice and make the stakes higher for DEMs (direct entry midwives) and CPMs (certified professional midwives). This position paper makes homebirth look irresponsible, and could be a step toward making it illegal. I believe it is a real threat to women's choices in birth. My session will be about my option to choose a homebirth, my perspective as a former L&D nurse, and the battles I fought to get it. I'll include some of the footage from my birth and excerpts from my book. For now, I'll keep my fingers crossed that my proposal is accepted. The conference is in October in Florida.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Statement of Policy as issued by the ACOG Executive Board on Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States

Labor and delivery is a physiologic process that most women experience without complications. Ongoing surveillance of the mother and fetus is essential because serious intrapartum complications may arise with little or no warning, even in low risk pregnancies. In some of these instances, the availability of expertise and interventions on an urgent or emergent basis may be life-saving for the mother, the fetus or the newborn and may reduce the likelihood of an adverse outcome. For these reasons, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) believes that the hospital, including a birthing center within a hospital complex, that conforms to the standards outlined by American Academy of Pediatrics and ACOG,(1) is the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period. ACOG also strongly supports providing conditions that will improve the birthing experience for women and their families without compromising safety.
Studies comparing the safety and outcome of U.S. births in the hospital with those occurring in other settings are limited and have not been scientifically rigorous. The development of well-designed research studies of sufficient size, prepared in consultation with obstetric departments and approved by institutional review boards, might clarify the comparative safety of births in different settings. Until the results of such studies are convincing, ACOG strongly opposes out-of-hospital births. Although ACOG acknowledges a woman’s right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery, ACOG does not support programs or individuals that advocate for or who provide out-of-hospital births.

(1) American Academy of Pediatrics and /American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 5th Edition. Elk Grove Village, IL, AAP/ACOG, 2002.

Approved by the Executive Board October 2006

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists409 12th Street, SW, PO Box 96920Washington, DC 20090-6920Telephone 202 6385577

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Damn the Torpedoes

Sorry for the delay in posts, Dear Readers. I have been floundering a bit as I transition this blog from a birth blog to a book blog. I've been working on getting my life organized and in place to take on the rather large task of writing a book, or rather finishing one. I'm proud to say that I have whipped my schedule into submission- no small feat with a new baby (who is doing great by the way- I'll post pictures soon, he's getting so plump and pretty).
I canceled my trip to Mexico, too out of shape to make the walk. But I am still planning to take Josiah to San Francisco with me when I speak at the breastfeeding conference next month. It has been very interesting for me to prepare my materials for the conference while I endure my own struggles with breastfeeding. I know now that I will always have to supplement him. My milk supply simply doesn't meet his needs. I am shocked that this has happened to me, but it has taught me great humility and compassion. I have never had milk supply issues before with my previous 5 breastfed babies. Could it be my age? At any rate, I have learned a valuable lesson about not judging others when they cannot meet our ideal. No one has judged me, everyone has been wonderful. But I hang my head in shame as I recall in the past actually ostracizing moms who gave up and went to the bottle after having trouble with breastfeeding. What right did I have to make them feel inadequate? You'll get a laugh out of this- the other day I was out in public nursing Josiah, as is my policy, when he started to fuss. I knew I was out of milk and he was getting frustrated so I pulled out the bottle of formula to finish the feeding. I actually felt EMBARRESSED feeding him from a bottle in public. How is that for funny. Most women are the opposite, with embarrassment from feeding from the breast. How far gone is that?
Anyway back to the book. I've set aside an hour each evening for writing, and have an accountability partner to keep me honest about how much writing I'm getting done. I spoke with the film-makers via email and they will start the editing process soon. We have tons of hours of video- they'll nosh it down to a seamless story. I want the book to be finished by the time the documentary is- late spring or early summer. I keep telling myself, I'm just telling my story, but I'm still afraid. My mind is full of what ifs? But I will write anyway. It takes tremendous courage. I have to tell the truth. I have to try to help birthing women. I know I'll be lambasted for it, but I have to try.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year of Possibility

I'm so excited about the upcoming year. While 2006 was devoted to growing and birthing a baby, 2007 will be devoted to growing and birthing a book! I'll continue to give updates on Josiah, (he continues to get plumper and cuter!) but will use this blog to document the process of getting my book completed. I'll be setting aside an hour a day for writing. I have an accountability partner (another writer) to keep me on track (as well as all of you!). I'm chomping at the bit to get started. My film documentary is in England, being edited. I've give you updates as I get them. My new year feels so hopeful and full of possibility. I can't wait to jump in with both feet.