Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Living my life like it's golden...

It's time to send my little darlings out into the world... Not my kids, my students! I finish up with this OB class for RNs on Friday and start OB for LPNs next Monday. I am dead dog tired but with a smile on my face. I hope I've given my students food for thought when it comes to women and birth and breastfeeding. One of their final assignments is to write a short essay on what the class meant to them. I'll ask their permission to post some of their responses on the blog. There are some terrific future nurses in this bunch and I'm so proud to have been a part of their education.

World Breastfeeding Week is upon us! (Aug. 1-7) I just emailed my customary annual letter to the editor about it this morning. They usually print it. I'll post a link to it if it goes up. Life is a mad rush of creating a 100 question final for my OB students, getting ready for our Sat WBW event (I got the mayor's wife to come speak- she used to be a doula, and some food donations from some catering friends of mine), and getting my kiddos ready for school. We have eye appointments, haircuts, clothing shopping, school physicals and shots, and instuments to get into playing condition (blow the summer dust off of them). If I live through this week- you'll hear back from me!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

I haven't written about Las Vegas yet- so here it is. I spoke to a small but enthusiastic audience about maternal-infant care after a disaster. The audience were institutional, municipal, state, and federal emergency management planners. I talked to them about the special needs of pregnant, laboring, and lactating women, before, during, and after a disaster. I knew this was information that probably didn't even come onto the radar screen for most of these folks. I spent a large portion of my time on the importance of lactation during a disaster. They seemed particularly enthralled with the concept of 'giving birth in place'- not a planned homebirth exactly, but giving birth wherever a woman happens to be by necessity (think Katrina- hospital not functioning or can't get to it). The ACNM website has lots of info on it: http://www.midwife.org/. The folks I spoke to have to plan for every possibility as well as contingency plans. They have to designate possible shelters and were intrigued by the idea that women might be giving birth or breastfeeding in their shelters- oops didn't think to plan for such a thing. It was very satisfying to give this presentation. There were emergency planners there from as far away as Delaware. I'm glad I could give them new information, and I learned a lot from them as well. Las Vegas was- interesting. My mother and visited the strip twice. We walked through several of the hotel/casinos. We didn't gamble- all those slot machines with the lights blinking and and pinging sounds were kind of headache inducing. Each hotel has it's own personality- some were cheesy/quasi-sleezy, others were more elegant than I ever would have imagined. We ate meals in lush surroundings, and enjoyed a lovely afternoon respite on the most elegant hotel veranda in the presence of a waterfall and lush wooded area (all transplanted to make you forget you were in a desert- it worked). Nice trip, but I was glad to get back home- to my family, and my students. I didn't like leaving them in the hands of another instructor. My kids on the other hand, were in the hands of my DH and MIL so I knew they were fine-- I just missed seeing them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sorry for my long hiatus. I've become enmeshed in this new venture of teaching nursing. I love it, I absolutely love it. Slowly but surely I'm clearing my schedule to accommodate this grand experiment. I really thought this was just a part time gig for extra money. I didn't think about it being an opportunity to convert 13 people to midwifery care, or opening 13 people's eyes to birth inequities, or change 13 minds about the delivery of healthcare to birthing women. I've gotten to teach OB nursing exactly the way I would want to teach it. We have visited both the navelgazer's blog and the baby catcher's blog. They sat in raptured awe as my friend Mary told us about her experience being foster mother to an HIV positive child, we thrilled to the stories of my midwife as she told of her struggles and challenges in trying to practice her trade. I watched them giggle as they tried to steady themselves on the birthball the way the doula had showed them. I thrilled to hear their comments about what they saw and heard in clinicals- I knew I had gotten to them before they were enculturated into 'normal hospital birth.' I love watching their minds change right before my eyes. I taught them about the seven types of childbearing loss and watched their eyes grow big as they realized that they had experienced their own losses, but no one had called it that. We've discussed maternal and infant mortality, healthcare in third world systems, unorthodox family structures, healthcare policy and the impact of politics. (Now to be fair, we've also learned how to read a fetal monitor strip, how to assign apgars and difference between a first degree and fourth degree tear- you know the textbook stuff. ) I've tried to focus my skill building on good communication, and critical thinking, two skills indispensable to nurses. I don't think I've ever done anything so difficult that I loved so much.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Living La Vida Loco

Yes, Dear Reader
You have been abandoned. Between my new teaching gig and getting ready for Las Vegas on Monday, I have not had a spare moment to write. I really like teaching, but as I assign my first grades, I'm seeing the down side. I've been using the Navelgazer's blog to teach them about midwifery. Writing curriculum has consumed me. On top of all that, my business is booming. I'll have to see if really have the intestinal fortitude for success. My mother is going with me to LV. I'm looking forward to 3 days with her. I have to return early because I have classes to teach, but it will be nice to get away if I can refrain from worrying about my nursing students, and my baby, and my business, and my clients, and my husband, and... (okay, maybe it won't be so nice- but collecting a check for speaking will be. I'll be talking about maternal/child health during a disaster. Did I mention I haven't finished my powerpoint...