OK, OK!!! I made a decision!

Phew, this was tough. Weren't they all great?! Isn't it sort of interesting to look at birth with such a relentlessly editorial eye? I think that one of the things that really stuck out to me was that nearly across the board, no matter how difficult/painful/scary the writer felt the birth was, one of the six words was something like, "beautiful," "miracle," "amazing," "blessing," "proud." And that's really what it's about, I guess. A birth can go so many different ways and what I love is when moms and dads (yah, dads, I didn't see any submissions from YOU guys!!!) remember the birth of their child as a beautiful event.

So without further ado, let me announce the "winner!"

Although, seriously, I don't think that's the right word because you're all so great, and I mean that.

See, now I can understand what gets into Joe Biden sometimes. You know how he just can talk and talk and go into all these great, touching, funny, anecdotes about the great people he's had the fortune to have touch his life? Like, when he was introduced by Dan Rooney today in Greensburg? Seriously, I just love this guy.

OK, I'll be good.

Now, without further further ado:

Jessica KTS said...

Saw her head in mirror forever!

I just loved that! Just a moment in time frozen forever. And having pushed myself for a total of 6 1/2 hours between Chim and Badger, I feel your pain, dude. Congratulations!!!

Now, like I said, I had a hell of a time picking and I gave this a lot of thought and made many lists. I loved the progression in birth stories in Kris's response:
#1-excited, naive, painful, pitocin, failure, cesarean.

#2-scared, another surgery, tears, another boy.

#3-determined, communication, surgery, support, fearless, girl:)

... the personal story that Julie emailed me and explained a little about the "serendipity" part:
Induction, assumptions, urgency, support, relief, serendipity.

... the bravery of Kristi and so many others as she illustrates in her telling of the cesarean birth of her daughter:
induction, overzealous, scarring, disappointing, beautiful, painful

... Christine's joyous alliteration:






... and the lovely, gentle birth described by Maria (the description of, if she's who I think she is, is completely accurate!):
loving, peaceful, natural, PUSHING, beautiful BOY!

Oh, I could go on. But I've done enough of that already. And you guys know me, I do go on. Thank you everyone for participating! I hope you had as much fun as I did! I really hope I can do this again. PW inspires me with her contests, what can I say?

Contest Time! Beautiful BIRTH BEADS!

This is a contest for all the moms and childbirth professionals!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Write about your birth or a birth you've attended, or if you've not yet had the big birth day yet, your hopes for birth, in six words. This is borrowed from doulicia -- by way of my doula board! To play fair's fair, here are my births, in six words.
#1: watched pot, surgical, plenty of blame.
#2: textbook, instinctual, midwife, supported, strong, healing.

So leave a comment with your six words. Don't get caught up about being all poetical, I'm much more interested in your true recollections, or hopes. Please also pass the word along! I don't know how I'll pick a winner but whether it's deciding which speaks to most, or loving each of them so much that I have to employ that Random.org thing that Pioneer Woman uses, it'll be fair. Unless I decide to keep the prize myself, because just take a look:

These are Birth Beads and this bracelet is made by a doula who works with Heart & Hands. Aren't they beautiful!? And there is a lovely story behind the beads, as seen below. Don't you love the tiny feet and little picture frame? What a nice keepsake for a new mom, a special client, or heck, even yourself! If you love this bracelet as much as I do, why don't you give Ellen an email (egcc93 at hotmail dot com) and find out about guaranteeing you can have a bracelet of your own?

Pink- Between the mother …
A spark! Anew life has begun
Blue- And the father
In just three weeks,
The heart begins to beat
Two more months,
This is the exact size and shape of baby’s feet
Another month
Time to find out the sex? Or be surprised? Pink, blue, purple
After another month or so
Movements of the baby can be felt
You and the baby are growing
Soon will come Labor! Unpredictable, Beautiful
Moment in time
All leading to meeting your new child


I'll accept submissions until, say, 10pm EST on Wednesday September 24, and announce the winner Thursday September 25 (births and other life permitting!).

Good luck!

Third Baby in China Dies from Tainted Formula

A third baby has died after drinking tainted formula and more than 6,000 children have been made ill, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

China's largest producer of milk, Mengniu Dairy Group, announced the recall of three batches of formula made in January after tests showed they were contaminated.

More than 6,200 babies have been sickened by milk powder now found to be tainted with the chemical melamine, said Li Changjiang, China's director of quarantine and inspection, up from about 1,200 on Tuesday.

More than 1,300 infants are hospitalized. The illnesses include malnutrition, kidney stones and acute renal failure.

This is yet another reason why I think that formula should be more closely regulated. China is not alone in having to recall formula -- it's been done in the United States 22 times from between 1982 and 1994 alone. With a manufactured product, there is a risk of contaminating the sole food supply for astonishing numbers of young babies.

We are fortunate to live in a time when babies who cannot receive human breastmilk for whatever reason are not left to starve. We are fortunate to live in a time when a cesarean birth can save the life of mom and baby alike. We are NOT fortunate to see these options overused and abused.

The True Face of Birth: Help Dr. Newman's breastfeeding clinic

The True Face of Birth: Help Dr. Newman's breastfeeding clinic

Over at The True Face of Birth, Rixa (who is expecting, whoo!!!) reports that the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute of Toronto is facing a funding crisis! Please do help out if you can!

The Midwife Center Sponsors Screening of “The Business of Being Born” on Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Midwife Center Sponsors Screening of “The Business of Being Born” on Saturday, October 4, 2008

Clients and friends of The Midwife Center understand its value first-hand and know how lucky we are to have access to an independent midwife practice. Now that the United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world as more and more medical interventions during birth become commonplace, the Center is even more precious. Ricki Lake’s response to this crisis in birth was to produce a documentary film about birth titled The Business of Being Born.

From the producers:
Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business.
Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies.
The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal.
Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?

If you haven’t seen the film, you don’t want to miss it. Even if you have seen the film, please consider joining us for this special screening event and inviting that friend you’ve been meaning to tell about the center. More women need to see that there is another way – this film will make it crystal clear.

Screening of The Business of Being Born
Waterworks Cinema, Aspinwall
Saturday, October 4, 2008
9:30am - Bagels and coffee reception
10:00am – Welcome and movie screening, followed by a panel of local physicians and certified nurse-midwives to answer questions from the audience.

Tickets are available at The Midwife Center or at the door for $10.00 each or 2 tickets for $15. A kid’s movie will be shown at the same time, supervised by volunteers, for $6 per child (ages 6 and up recommended). Please call 412-321-6884 or email c.haas@midwifecenter.org for more information and to RSVP for your child(ren).

Welcome Baby Boy C!

Some wonderful friends of mine (my college sweetie and his wife, actually) welcomed their son this morning. These petite parents grow 'em big, as Baby C. was 9 lb 9 oz (if I recall, his big sis M. also tipped the scales at nearly 10 lb).

Congrats guys -- what a lucky boy to be born into such a lovely, loving family!!!

Contest coming up! Watch this space!

Keep checking back here for an upcoming contest! The prize will be very beautiful and appropriate for giving or keeping!

Dr. Phil Homebirth Show

I got this request today. If you'd like to share your homebirth story, here's a chance to do so!

If you have not already seen this, Dr. Phil is doing a show on the horrors stories of home birth!! He wants you to submit your bad stories so he can do a show on it. Please flood his site with your positive stories so that he can know that the correct story would be to do a show on the joys of home birth!! I just sent in mine. If you haven't had a home birth but have attended one or know someone who has, write about theirs!


Congrats to my friend C!

My "internet" friend C and her family just welcomed a beautiful little girl -- I can't wait to hear about this homebirth! It was attended by a midwife and apprentice as well as her friend A., who is an awesome photographer as well as a first-time doula :)

Congratulations to all on the new addition!

Opening of the new Obama office!

Last night Badger and I attended the opening of the new Obama office in East Liberty. It was very crowded, which is a good thing... unless you have a spooked 22-month-old strapped to your body. I thank my lucky stars that I had my sling with me though; otherwise we would have had to turn right around. We bumped into my midwife there and he couldn't believe how big "the baby" had gotten!

Anyway, it was a fun time, very exciting, and I wish I'd have brought my camera!

My kids, with the waking and the not sleeping.

Last night, Badger decided that 4am is wake up time. Night before last, it was Chim who was up every few hours with a tummy-ache. It's as if they got a memo from the Kid Patrol that I finally got health insurance (yay!), and this week concludes my 3rd cycle after the miscarriage, and those were the milestones I was waiting for before I start thinking about whether we will try again for another kiddo. I have a feeling their vote is "no."

Pregnant Bellies Give Birth to Art Form

How beautiful are these belly casts? What amazing talent these artists have, and what a gorgeous keepsake of pregnancy!!!

Delivery Method Affects Brain Response to Baby’s Cry

I thought this article was so interesting:
Delivery Method Affects Brain Response to Baby’s Cry

I know that from my personal experience, I felt very detached in my mothering with my first child, who was born via c-section, when she would cry. With my second child, who was born via vbac, I couldn't tolerate hearing him cry. I would act immediately (well, most the time). I have chalked this up to the toll the difficult labor and recovery with the c-section, that it just took a lot out of me, emotionally and physically; whereas with my second, I felt victorious and energized, and I had energy to spend mothering my child.

This study is very small but I find it professionally interesting and personally gratifying to read scientific evidence for this phenomenon!

Our sad garden

Well, the garden didn't turn out too well. It was fun to watch everything grow but not too much fun to watch everything stop growing. This was our first year so we decided from the outset that it would be just a learning year for us.

Check out the best of the carrots. Cry with me.

I can point to several factors in the garden's not doing very well, and how we hope to counteract them next year:

  1. The soil was not tilled far enough down. When I see the stunted pathetic carrots, I can really imagine that they just didn't have anywhere to go. Next year we'll look into hiring someone to do it for us (I can't imagine it would cost much more than renting it ourselves and the subsequent ER costs and foot reattachment surgery).
  2. Chipmunks. Little rodents -- good thing they're so cute. Next year we plant to plant a marigold and lavender border.
  3. Powdery mildew. It got our zucchinis and cantaloupes and I think it got our watermelon too. Next year we will spray with a milk solution that should help.
  4. Planting too much, too close, all at the same time, and late in the season. Next year, we'll use our experience from this year!
  5. The miscarriage happened the weekend after I planted the garden. I don't know what I plan to do to not have that happen again, but it sure did put a damper on my enthusiasm and ability to do anything this summer.
Now, we did have some success. I had a nice crop of cherry tomatoes in a big pot on our front porch -- we probably got close to 60. We still have about a dozen green tomatoes and we're just hoping the plant can hold out long enough to ripen them up. Another case of overcrowding but I think it was a success nonetheless. I also did better-than-expected on my herb pots as well, since I usually kill anything off by the time it sprouts. We have had lots of fresh basil, thyme, and mint. Cilantro and dill didn't do very well -- I think they got too much sun.

Tell me -- how did your gardens grow this summer?

So, doulas... any Labor Day babies?

Come on, doulas -- any Labor Day babies born on your watch? I haven't been to a birth in 3 weeks and I'm getting antsy... and none on the horizon either! Frustrating!

I will be visiting my most recently delivered client tomorrow and I'm excited about that -- it's always nice to see how a new family is settling in and getting to know each other.

Jon Delano's Streaming RNC Webcast Chat

Here it is, my 15 minutes of fame.
Jon Delano's Streaming RNC Webcast Chat

I don't think I embarrassed myself too badly! There's one question at the very end when he asked about undecided voters I blanked and just started babbling. Of course I know undecided voters, Heather on the panel is one of them, and I know many more -- nice one, Karen!!!

But as I said, it sure was fun! As I mentioned earlier I felt a little out of my depths -- after all, the other guy blogs about politics and I blog about breastfeeding, vbacs, and if you're lucky, a three-year-old's temper tantrums.

OH, if you notice that I refer to Sarah Palin's children as "humans" -- that is totally my daughter's influence. She calls people "humans."

"Mama, look at that human! She has a pretty dress!"
"Shush, Chim, you don't want to blow our cover before the Mother Ship returns."

Karen "the Liberal" Pittsburgh Doula :)

OK, I just had a ton of fun. I was asked to be part of a live streaming chat on KDKA.com with John Delano (who was super nice) regarding Sarah Palin and motherhood and all that good stuff. Now, I don't talk about politics very much here but I'm pretty liberal, politically speaking so I was "the liberal". My vote is definitely for the Obama/Biden ticket this fall.

I will post the link when it's live -- unless I look like a total doofus, in which case I won't :) I'm really a hobbyist when it comes to politics (although I like to think I put a lot of thought into the issues) and I don't know as much as "the conservative" about the political apparatus, so to speak. He sure did know his talking points though and managed to sneak in a "Hussein" and call the two women on the panel sexist a few times.

I will keep you posted! It really was super fun -- I love talking about politics and it's usually so taboo that I am not able to do so. I've never done anything like that before and I really appreciated the opportunity (thanks Heather from Pittsburgh Mom, if you're reading!).