Boo! Happy Halloween!!!

Oh my. The holidays really are for kids! Chim is EXCITED about her costume, and I have to say that she was the cutest kid at her preschool... and I'm not biased at ALL. Badger is in a bit rough shape because of his vax yesterday but hopefully he'll be better for Trick or Treat tonight, so we can show him off in his cute bat costume.


I am BUSY. It's awesome. I have two first-meetings next week (one of which is with my FIRST PAYING CLIENT, ahem), and I'm going to meet the midwife for my homebirth client, at her 36 week home visit. SO exciting! I am booked until the beginning of December. If you'd told me in July that things would be going well, I wouldn't have believed you.

Thanks, Universe, for the breaks!!!

Badger is one today!

My little baby turned one today. Little sweetie woke up to nearly the minute of when contractions started, a year ago... at 2am! Yes, all day I was doing the, "Last year at this time..." thing. Last year at this time, I was shoving you and Chim out the door so you could drop her off at daycare as soon as they opened. Last year at this time, I was laboring at home when the Comcast guy came to fix the modem, and I pretty much scared the living daylights out of him. Last year at this time, we and the midwife were getting settled into the hospital room.... and of course that is where things get a little crazy in my memory, as I went to Labor Land. And then the eternal pushing phase which Mr. Sweetie told me today actually wasn't boring for him... so glad I kept him entertained!

As I rocked Badger before bed tonight, in what used to be our room and now is his, I thought of all the tears of mourning we cried when we thought he was not going to be joining us this time around, when an early ultrasound showed that the brain and cranium was not developed, and the tears of joy and astonishment we shed when we learned it was an error in the way the ultrasound data was interpreted, and a scan a week later showed a lovely head.

It's been an extraordinary 12 months. He has been a needful child, quite the opposite of his big sister. I have questioned my abilities to parent him well nearly every of the past 365. But as I see how sweet he is, how funny and selective with his smiles, and how carefully he considers the details around him, how perfectly BADGER he is, I feel that I am probably doing at least something right.

Baby Badger Boy -- I thanked your sister for making me a mom. You gave me a gift on your birthday as well. You helped me find a power I thought was gone. You helped me fix myself. Mama loves you, baby boy. I'm so glad you're here.

Chim is three today!

Gosh, where have the past 36 months gone? It can't have been three years since I stared, dumbfounded, at this little (ok, gigantic) child who until 14 hours previous had lived in my uterus. I wish so many things for my daughter, not the least of which is that I had been able to make her entrance a safer, kinder, warmer, and gentler birth, and that the first hands that touched her were more loving. But life has its own plans and if I had the birth I wanted, perhaps Chim and her daddy wouldn't be so very close -- a bond that formed all those nights when I was too exhausted (and I'm sorry to say depressed) to rock her to sleep.

Now, three years later, she's a delightful little girl who is bright as anything, loves to play games (and doesn't care who wins as long as she can play AGAIN!!!), make believe, and yes, wear her pretty dresses. She loves to read and paint and climb and run. She loves to talk. Talk talk talk. Some nights I want to buy earplugs because this girl chatters so.

She and her brother have SO much fun together. I love seeing her be a big sister and learn to nurture. I'm so proud of her. When I see her being such a wonderful little person, I know that despite my shortcomings, I must be getting this mothering thing a little bit right.

Happy 3rd birthday, my ChimChim. Thank you for making me a mommy. Mama loves you like peas love carrots.

Lots of doula activity for me!

I have two potential clients that really have me excited!

The first, I'm meeting tonight -- due the end of November. They're a bit far away (maybe 45 minute drive?) and pro bono... but it's a homebirth! It's very exciting for me and a bit daunting as well, since if I get this birth, it will be the first I will have actually attended.

The second is at the freestanding birth center, due the beginning of December... and it's a PAID JOB!!! For those keeping score (like my husband is!), this would be my first. BIG milestone!

So keep your fingers crossed!

First Doula Birth

My first birth! My client A had a beautiful, perfect, baby girl on Thursday. Although I was not in the OR for her scheduled cesarean birth, I was able to provide some support postpartum... although with A's and P's wonderful family and friends, this is one well-supported family, doula or no!

This mom is such a natural mother and seeing her with her toddler and newborn was truly heartwarming. This dad is a very warm and strong individual and there are few things more sweet than a dad and his little girl. And Big Sister V. is about as darling as can be.

I felt humbled and honored to be included, even on the periphery, on the day of K's birth.

VBACS not "allowed"

It makes me so sad to hear of women being forced into repeat cesarean births when they might choose a vbac, all things being equal. My client, as you may have guessed, is about 99% headed for a scheduled repeat cesarean birth. She's not happy. The baby is not engaged at all and keeps flipping. I think that even if we went with moxibustion, which I had suggested to her, that the baby would probably flip again.

But I was asking my web-friends who have had "elective" repeat cesareans, how can I make this better for her? And I now know that "elective" isn't really the word. It's scheduled but it's not what many would choose. It's what they are stuck getting because otherwise they'd need to drive 90 minutes to a hospital that "does" vbacs (yes, that ticks me off... WOMEN HAVE vbacs, doctors and hospitals don't "do" them).

Sure, they could've travelled far and wide. They could've switched care providers. They could've gone underground and found a homebirth midwife. They could've even had an unassisted birth.

But why? Why couldn't they just have the birth they wanted, in the birthplace they wanted? How about if a woman doesn't have to choose a birthplace or care provider that in their hearts they aren't comfortable with, or something that their partners just won't support? It's a damn shame.

My Imaginary Friends

That's what my husband and I call my online friends. Of course, they're real and true and I'd be lost without them. One particular friend gave me a gigantic boost yesterday, when I really needed it. She was thoughtful enough to think of Chim and Badger, sending them a goody box of clothes and a zoo map -- Chim's latest obsession. She is a very busy woman and the love and effort was just as valued as the gifts themselves (and that is saying something because, hello, Disney Princess socks -- BIG hit.).

No one can ever explain to me how the timing of these sorts of acts of kindness come to fruition when they're most needed... this box arrived after I learned that my client was again breech, and a grumpy day at a pumpkin patch in 90 degree weather with everyone snipping and snapping at each other. Then that ray of sunshine... nothing random about that act of kindness.

I may be a heathen but I know there's an energy way bigger than you and me.

My October Client -- her baby flipped AGAIN!

This poor mommy. Her baby flipped to transverse DURING an ultrasound. She's due in 10 days and she's meeting with the OB (since the midwives have officially transfered her since she makes them too "nervous") on Monday, and she knows that he "does" scheduled c-sections on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and likes to do them at 39 weeks, so she's preparing herself for a really good conversation with the doctor. She really wants her vbac, and I hope she gets it -- and regardless I hope she has a good birth experience.

Any wisdom for this new doula, interweb?

Dear Fall,

Please actually arrive. The leaves are starting to change colors but it's going to be 90 degrees today and tomorrow. That means all the beautiful color will get brown, and then it'll rain and all the trees will be bear all of a sudden. We still need to go to a pumpkin patch -- it'll be Badger's first time. So if you could get your act together, weather, that would be juuuuuuust super.

Got Badger registered with Daycare.

So that's a big step in my doula career -- we're now covered for business hours! It's tough to not have family around to pitch in with child care but we are SO thankful for this wonderful center. We enrolled ChimChim when she was just a year, when I started my ill-fated insurance sales career. It's been a real rock for us. It's been a constant for Im throughout all my job changes and when Badger was born, I was SO happy she had a place to be herself which had NOTHING to do with her baby brother. So we feel very good about leaving him there if we need to!

Off label drugs

The first time I heard about prescribing drugs off label I was shocked. This was in my Bradley class over three years ago. We learned about Cytotec and I was aghast. Really outraged. Next thing you know, we go into my 39 week OB appointment and the doctor starts talking induction, just to get the ball rolling. He said he'd give me Cytotec and we said I wouldn't consent to Cytotec because it has not been approved by the FDA for the use he intended, and you should've SEEN him. He got red in the face, sputtered about people taking a childbirth class and thinking they knew more than he did... and stormed out of the room. Thank goodness that's the last time I saw him... but we should've followed our instincts and tried to get into a midwife's care that very day.

Since then I've become a lot more informed and a lot more passionate about these issues. I do understand that it's HARD to do clinical trials for pregnancy, and that's why Cervadil is more expensive than Cytotec. But you know what? Babies are worth it. Moms are worth it. Don't you think?