2009 Reflections

I know. Boring. But know what else? I have a napping baby (yay!), occupied kids (yay!), snow on the roads, and while I was going to make waffles during the nap, I ruined three out of four remaining eggs when I poured in buttermilk that I then decided was just too far gone. SO I have some time here.

2009 was such a tough year for so many people. Great people who are absolute blessings in my life got piles of shit dumped in their lives and it's beyond unfair. I can't hope enough that 2010 brings nothing but hope, health, and prosperity for all but especially those who have had a crummy 2009.

But there have been joys for me this year. Shortly after the new year was rung in, we remembered the pregnancy that we lost in the summer of 2008 as what would've been the due date came and went. We then got a peek at Charlie at 11 weeks or so. Had my first prenatal appointment with my midwife on Inauguration Day -- joy upon joy!

Our family had the pleasure of watching our daughter and son grow along with my belly. Seeing Chim Chim and Badger become buddies (with a healthy dose of rivalry) has been a blast. Badger had his first ER visit and a mild concussion in the spring, fun! We rehabed our basement so my husband could have a nice quiet(-er) place to work, which really expanded our living space. We were getting ready to become a family of five!

Which we did, on July 28th. Charlie. What a great baby. What an amazing time in my life. Just as Badger's birth was a redemption of sorts of the negative experience of Chim's birth, Charlie's birth provided a measure of healing from the miscarriage, a regaining of the confidence that my body is strong and capable -- and yet I understand now more fully that the emotions aren't raging, there will always be a gaping, glaring omission from my... life? soul? heart? Wherever the hole is, it's there and the ache will never be filled, nor should it.

The mothering of Charlie is so much more in line with how I have always wanted to do it, and I'm thrilled. It's been a huge adjustment but I think I'm dodging the postpartum depression that I should have better addressed the last 2 times. I am confident that it has a LOT to do with what a comparatively awesome sleeper C. is, compared to his big brother, and I'm reasonably sure that it's due to cosleeping this time around. Not to say that the sleeping is perfect but it's so much better than I was prepared for.

And the big kids are getting SO grown up. Chim started full-time Pre-K and Badger is in a Transition to Early Childhood program, which not only addresses his speech issues (which are SO improved) but will get him ready for a full-time Pre-K when the time comes.

The holidays have come and gone once again, and we celebrated with family and friends. We were able to spend a bit of time with friends from Germany visiting Pittsburgh in October, and I got to see one of my longest-lasting friends, glowingly pregnant, which was beyond worth the drive.

2010 will probably bring more changes, of course. I love making resolutions these days. I used to be very vocal about the amount of suckage contained in New Years, but now that I am a little more aware about the speed of time passing, I see the value in looking back, looking forward. My hopes for 2010 for my life are to get back into both work and home life with a renewed vigor, now that we're getting the hang of this family of 5 with 2 kids on different school schedules thing. I am hoping to get in shape, with The Run Around the Square being a goal for me (to run/walk/finish on hands-and-knees). More generally, I really want to be more present, to make new connections and strengthen neglected ones (like this blog).

Deciding when to return to work

The first thing I want to say is that I fully recognize how awesome it is that we're able to have any choice in the matter -- a lot of women, if they're lucky, have their 6 weeks unpaid leave, before they have to go back to work or lose their jobs.

But nonetheless!

When does a doula go back to doula-ing after her own birthing time?

My boss offered me a client who had a due date in October. Two and a half months after my own son's birth. I just couldn't fathom that we'd be ready by then and I was right to decline. Now, here we are at Charlie's 5-month birthday and lo and behold... I still don't feel ready. It makes me wonder -- when will I be ready and what constitutes "ready"?

My practical concerns are most easily calculated. Charlie doesn't take a bottle or cup and he's not on solids yet. So he'd, you know, starve. The second factor is that he doesn't sleep through the night, which leaves me not really fully functional the next day. At least, not the high level of functioning that I expect of myself when I work. I'm cool for fingerpainting and singing Itsy Bitsy Spider 19,382 times but not for providing support for a woman at one of the most pivotal moments of her life. To say nothing of the fact that frankly, I feel like I'm barely making it from day to day as it is and there's no way I could deal with being on call, leaving for a day or two, and expecting my husband to handle what I barely can!

The emotional/mental concerns -- now, this is tricky. I know I'm just too close to my birthing experience to detach enough to assist another woman. When I hear friends talking about their births I can't help finding parallels (or... perpendiculars?) with Charlie's birth. I think my birthing experiences are valuable as a doula but I also think that if I can't focus on my client without bringing my own emotions into it -- I'm not being the best doula to her.

I don't know how I'll know when I'm ready -- I just know that right now, I'm not.

Charlie the Wonder Baby

I hope you all are having a lovely winter holiday season. Our main holiday is Christmas and we had a really pretty low-key celebration -- perfect! We went to services on Christmas Eve, then out to dinner with friends and home to wait for Santa. Opened presents and then made the trip over the mountains to my parents' house where we celebrated with all my brothers, their families, and a cousin I've not seen in a good 6 years. The kids had a lovely time, especially THE BABY.

THE BABY was the hit of the weekend and everyone commented on how pleasant he is, how happy he is, how he clearly loves everyone and everything.


The opinion from some of those giving the praise was that he should already be eating solids, he should not be breastfeeding as much ("Oh, I don't want to give you back to your momma, you can't be hungry, you JUST ATE!"), we should not be cosleeping, and we babywear excessively and hold him too much. And ooooooooh boy, did you see that the child is not circumcised?!

So even though we're committing all those parenting 'mistakes' he's a lovely baby. He's delightful in spite of our failures.

No chance he's a happy little dude because he has no reason NOT to be happy?

Contest on Crunchy Domestic Goddess

Enter here to win a gift basket from Equal Exchange Fair Trade, from Crunchy Domestic Goddess! Good luck and Happy Holidays :)

A Mom Goes to Extraordinary Lengths for her VBAC.

Mom gets her vbac

I am so glad that she had a great vbac! How absurd that she had to go to such lengths.

So. Tired. And Ho, ho, ho, too.

I hope this finds anyone who is still reading my poor blog well. Life as a mom of 3 is really kicking my butt lately. The formerly awesome sleeper is really not doing very well in the sleeping department for the past, oh, 2 1/2 months, but he sure is adorable and sweet when we're holding him! Put him down, though, and oh the crying! I am trying to keep my head on straight this time -- Badger was the same way and it really did drive me nuts. I don't want to be nuts again. I have been feeling a little bit nuts lately between the sleep issues, keeping kids' schedules straight, and recovering from our Thanksgiving trip to New England and preparing for Christmas. I'm trying to simplify and appreciate what is important.

This time around I really feel like I'm parenting the baby the way I wanted to with the other two but didn't have the information, resources, or courage of convictions. Since I am not comfortable bedsharing due to hubby's ability to sleep through anything, Superbaby's in an Arm's Reach Cosleeper. However, once he wakes up at night, he won't go back to sleep unless I am holding him... so we end up with him in our bed anyway. I wear him a lot, and still exclusively breastfeeding. Cloth diaper is going MUCH better. I really like the BumGenius 3.0s.

Badger's doing really well -- he's in a 2-day-a-week program that gets kids with special needs ready for Pre-K, and he just loves it. Chim is still doing well in her Pre-K and she's really looking forward to Christmas.

In doula news -- well, I am still not able to work since the baby's still not nearly sleeping through the night. In addition to not wanting to leave my husband with a baby that he can't soothe, I can't imagine what a terrible doula I'd be, being as sleep-deprived as I am. I'm barely functioning in my role as cook, chauffeur, and Santa Claus. But I have been getting the itch to go back to births -- been starting to read the birth blogs again, etc. December offered two birthy events -- Heart & Hands' Doula Service quarterly meeting, where it was so nice to touch base with all the doulas, and a party for Mr. Midwife, who marked 10 years of catching babies in Pittsburgh.

So my friends -- please do forgive me for being so terrible about blogging. I'm sure it's just left a gaping hole in your lives. ;) I just wanted to put out some happy holiday wishes!

Vegetarian Three Sisters Stuffed Squash

To supplement our income and keep my mind active I've started submitting content online.

Check out my recently published content on AC:
Vegetarian Three Sisters Stuffed Squash


How has it been two months already since Charlie's birth? What a whirlwind. In addition to just the major adjustment of adding a new person to our family and family and friends visiting, Chim has started Pre-K in the public schools. She's adorable, wearing a uniform and pink princess backpack, and loving school 5 times a week for 6 hours a day -- I am proud that she's doing so well with such a long day! Badger continues to make great progress in his speech therapies. He is putting 3-4 words together and will be starting a Head Start program after his 3rd birthday... which is in a MONTH. They're all getting so grown up!

And Charlie... he's still super baby. As Dooce describes Marlo, Charlie is also the kind of kid who makes me want to just have a dozen more just like him but I too have experienced less easy babies, and we're not rolling the dice again! He's sleeping like a champ at night and nursing so well -- and subsequently growing like a weed.

Ted Kennedy, Lactivist

I ran across this blog post
Senator Edward Kennedy: The Lactivist
and thought it was so interesting.

I had the honor of having Ted Kennedy as my senator for eight years. He will be missed.

More pictures?

You'll have to talk to my husband about that -- the memory card is full and he's in charge of emptying it. So no new pictures!

OK, here's one that I took with the camera built into the laptop:

Ups and Downs of My Recent Birth

I really loved nearly all of my birth experience. I got nearly all of my wishes and I'll go over the ups after the downs, to end on a good note!

In a perfect world, I would not be a VBAC mom -- most of the negative parts of my birth experience stem from the restrictions and attitudes that go with the VBAC. Continuous monitoring (and of course the telemetry monitors didn't work). Crazy charge nurse having to be there for 2nd stage. Said crazy charge nurse flipping out during crowning because they couldn't get a good FHT reading. Said crazy charge nurse telling me how to push when I was doing fine. I had a 2nd degree laceration and I wonder if I had been able to continue pushing as I felt it, as I was trying to do, if I would've remained a little more intact!

I wish PA was more homebirth friendly and I hadn't had a previous cesarean, and that our house was a little more suited to a homebirth. Then I might have considered a homebirth. I missed my kids immensely -- my mantra was "oooooookay" which is Badger's latest favorite word, and it just felt horribly wrong not to have Chim with me since she had come to every midwife appointment and shared the excitement and comforted me in a way that no one else in my life did.

Now, what I will remember positively...
I am so glad my midwife is my midwife. He advocated when needed and gave me space to advocate for myself and joked around when needed and told me what I needed to hear -- as he has since I had unexplained bleeding in February 2006 when I was pregnant with Badger. My only regret involving Patrick Thornton is that I did not try to transfer to his practice while I was pregnant with Chim.
I had a ball for most of the labor. Even hooked up to the monitors and after my water broke, I was able to freely move about the room and drink (and if I wanted to eat I reckon I would've). I brought my doula bag and my midwife got a kick out of nosing through out. And as with most clients' births, the only thing I used was lip balm and lotion!

I loved being emotionally and mentally present in a way I wasn't for Chim's and Badger's births. A combination of being that much more familiar with the process and an acute awareness that this was the last time I'd have this experience.

Similar to the way in which Badger's VBAC resolved a lot of pain from Chim's cesarean birth, this birth resolved a lot of pain from my miscarriage last year. And in another way it made me mourn that loss on a deeper level.

It was a very good birth. My biggest regret is that it was my last birth (barring a massive failure of an IUD that has my name written all over it... or a stellar increase to our income level). My greatest joy, well, that's easy:

4 weeks with baby boy.

he's so sweet. typical newborn stuff like spit up and not wanting to be put down... but i find that i am a lot more patient with him and his needs than i was with chim's and badger's when they were infants. i am a little distressed about the state of my house -- primarily because my inlaws are visiting next week -- but it'll get done and if it doesn't, they'll still love me :)

my husband described having a newborn around with a preschooler and a toddler as running a marathon while carrying a 10-lb bag of sugar. it's not necessarily that the sack of sugar is that heavy, it's that you're running a marathon! i had a lot more patience for the bigger kids when i could interact with them more actively instead of sitting and nursing all day.

but he's a sweet pea baby and we're all just in love with him!

cloth diapering.

i started using cloth diapers with badger this spring with the intention of being able to use them with the new baby, under the assumption that badger would someday start to use the potty. i'm sure he's not too far off but in the meantime, i am so turned off cloth diapering! in the short few months i have been using these diapers, they've become stained, stinky, harbored a stubborn yeast infection, and have just been disgusting to handle, especially the soiled diapers.

i took a break when the new baby arrived but now that his bowel movements have lost that newborn runny quality i started with both boys in cloth and have had mixed results. one day i'll have leaks on both boys, the next day i'll have none. but i've determined that i am done done done with cloth on badger. it's too gross. i can manage the breastmilk poop but sorry planet, i am putting my nearly three year old in disposable diapers.

Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding

very excited about ina may's guide to breastfeeding, out in a month or so!

now if she would write na may's guide to holding a baby and typing.... we'd be set here.

for my family members who may happen across the blog...

the birth story below contains some rather straightforward talk about my labor and delivery with baby boy. it's a doula's birth story after all! so if you are my dad, my brother, or my father in law, be forewarned :)

this public service announcement has been brought to you by karen the pittsburgh doula!

Charlie's Birth Story

Albert Charles's Birth Story
Tuesday July 28, 2009 – 10:44am
8 lb 7 oz., 20 1/2”

Throughout the third trimester, I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, and generally feeling very healthy, happy, and energetic. I really enjoyed this pregnancy and concentrated on remembering the physical sensations and emotions I felt during this time.

On Monday July 27 my contractions were starting to feel a little more crampy but nothing to time or stop me in my tracks. ChimChim had school and Badger had speech therapy in the morning, and afterwards we went and got new litter boxes for Salem. The three of us went to Chim's favorite restaurant, Qdoba, and I got the vegetarian gumbo with the spiciest add-ons. Chim and Badger were really fun and great listeners on our outing and I thought about how glad I was that we could have a special, pleasant, fun lunch, just the three of us.

Throughout the afternoon nothing really intensified but during dinner prep (fettucini alfredo) I started noticing the contractions a lot more – while I was draining the pasta, notably! During the evening they kept going and for a span of 90 minutes, during which time I lost my mucus plug and took a shower, they seemed to be getting regular. But then around 10 they fizzled out and around 11 I decided to drink a little beer and try and rest up.

Well. Baby likes beer because as soon as I lay down to sleep the contractions became regular and frequent – every 3-5 minutes – but mild. Since they weren't mild enough to sleep through, I called my midwife at 1am (poor guy) because of the frequency of the contractions and this being my third baby. He suggested I take a shower and see if that slowed things down or got them started. They didn't change but at least I was super clean! My husband put Krull on TV to try and bore me to sleep. It worked for him but not for me, I was up for the long haul. I was able to do some laundry and light cleaning since I was sure I would not be home for several days.

I was able to lay down on the sofa for about 20 minutes before I had to move with the contractions, probably around 3am. I used the birth ball and hot rice socks for pain relief. At 4am we called Kelly to come over to watch the kids – it was getting pretty intense and I didn't want to get to the point where I didn't want to make the car ride. I called her home phone.... no answer. Called again..... no answer! Kelly had been in Seattle visiting her husband on business but she was SUPPOSED to be back on Monday... I tried her cell and she picked up – hooray! She was here in 30 minutes or so. I packed up a few more things, told Kelly to expect my parents to be there to relieve her by 10am, called the midwife, and off we went to Magee!

On the car on the way there, I had an excellent PB&J, and we called my parents' home phone. No answer. Tried again at Magee. No answer. I was admitted and I'm 4-5 cm, which sounds right to me and I am happy with the timing – glad I didn't wait so long that I had to get used to the monitors, new people, etc., too close to transition. I had my heplock placed and we headed to the LDR. I was psyched that I was able to wear my own clothes.

Once we were there we finally got in touch with my parents. They were on their way home from the ER – my mom had gallstones and they'd been up all night. They had an appointment with a surgeon to schedule her surgery at 1130am, so my husband spent probably about an hour on the phone and emailing to see if anyone could help. Finally around 730 he got it settled. Phew.

I listened to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Farmhouse while I did my thing with the contractions. They were still quite manageable and I was more concerned at this point about my energy level. I had been up since Monday morning, more or less. I worked on the birth ball to conserve my energy. At 830 or so I was not in a suitable amount of discomfort so the midwife and I talked about AROM. I said, let's check and see the progress and see how far down the baby is and then decide. Well, I was 7cm and then my water broke. Fluid was clear. Not a particularly vigorous exam so it was ready to go. I could feel the difference almost immediately. I integrated the more intense contractions while in bed for probably 30 minutes or so and then got out of bed. Things continued to intensify and I could tell the baby was descending. I felt those kicks and punches and started to cry because I would miss being pregnant. I held on to Sayf during the contractions and probably around 930 I started to feel some pressure. This was a big deal because I had never felt an urge to push spontaneously – someone looking at a monitor would have to tell me. One of my hopes for this birth was to not have directed 2nd stage!

So I was pushing while standing and being encouraged by my husband, my midwife, a resident, and I believe a nurse as well. At some point I moved to the bed and things get sort of muddled. I was checked and there was an anterior lip (shit!) but within a few contractions it was gone. I was sort of on my right side, just because that's how I guess I landed on the bed! I was very aware of the baby moving down and frankly wanted no part of it. I kept telling my husband that I did not want to do it. He would reply, “Well, what do you want to do?” He was right – it really wasn't a question of whether or not I wanted to! I didn't believe it when they told me it was all going well – and frankly that's what everyone was saying for 4 hours as I tried to deliver Imogen so one can forgive my skepticism! I was able to reach down and feel the head – what a strange strange feeling – and that was very motivating.

The baby was crowning, I swear to god, for 10 minutes. The nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest apparently is a charge nurse at Magee and when the baby got too low for the monitors to pick up the heartbeat, with me being a vbac mom, she got into the directed pushing. I pretty much ignored her instructions about shutting up and holding my breath. I like breathing and lord knows I hate shutting up.

Finally, at 10:44, I delivered a healthy baby boy (as Nurse Ratched announced, despite our requesting that my husband be the first to say so!), APGARs 9/9, 8 lb 7 oz, 20 ½ “ and just sweet as anything. We named him on the following day – Albert Charles.

Welcome to the world Charlie! Thank you for a great birth!

introducing charlie...

i know i have been absent -- getting our 3 bedroom house ready for family member number five has been keeping us busy!

without further ado: introducing baby charlie! born 7/28, vbac #2. 8 lb 7 oz, 20 1/2"

Binsi Giveaway on Thrifty & Chic Mom!


I should encourage you to enter, but that would reduce my chances of winning. I do. not. want to wear a hospital gown!!!

A Day with Ina May -- Part Two

The topics listed for the afternoon were Post-date Inductions (including midwifery methods of inductions) and Demand Cesareans: What Women Probably Don't Know. Ina May didn't quite stick to the outline but that was fine by me (although there were those who beg to differ). She brought panels from The Safe Motherhood Quilt, which is something of a memorial to mothers who have died as a result of complications of pregnancy or birth.

She talked a lot about the risks of induction and the lack of informed consent. Ina May also discussed not only the sharp increase of maternal morbidity but the method of reporting deaths -- from the fact that death certificates are different from state to state, that reporting of maternal deaths is done on the honor system, and that autopsies are rarely performed. She described the quilt as a blunt instrument and I am so glad that she brought it with her.

One of the reasons *I* loved this part is that Ina May got political. In my opinion, you cannot have a conversation about maternal health and not have a political discussion. It's too intertwined. It's absurd. You can't point out the fact that the system sucks and not talk about why -- especially when the fact of the matter is, as a result of the system being so busted, women die and they don't need to.

So the conference ended and after cleaning up the room, some doulas were able to have dinner with Ina May. What an treat it was to have a casual conversation with Ina May! How many stories she must have -- and she wisely confirmed that I really didn't want to be camping at Bonnaroo with my kids and being really pregnant in June -- even if it is a killer line up AND close to the Farm! Honestly, some days I really feel like packing it in and moving to the Farm or somewhere like.

Anyway, I will always treasure this picture and the time spent with Ina May. Here's Ina May Gaskin, yours truly, Thing Three, and my extra chins:

A Day with Ina May -- Part One

Yesterday was Heart and Hands Doula Service's 9th annual Family Centered Maternity Care Conference and as I *may* have mentioned, the only speaker was none other than Ina May Gaskin. What an AMAZING and tiring day!
At left, Jan Mallak introduces Ina May.

The beginning of the day focused on using manual skills instead of relying on medical interventions and tests (for instance, it has been proposed that ob residents no longer need to be able to palpate the abdomen to determine fetal position); Sphincter Law (my favorite part was the idea that the vagina was erectile tissue much like the penis, and that instead of "stretching" it just plain gets bigger); and the Forgotten Powers of the Vagina. The second two topics blended together flawlessly.

Lunch was pretty bad but it was nice not to have to wonder if the food was actually vegetarian -- it was!!! Of course no one came for the food but rather for the legendary speaker and the company of fellow birth professionals.

The conference room at PPG Chemical Center

The Heart and Hands Display

Heather Mallak, baby Zeev, and Ina May

And I'm going to stop here, publish, and then write part 2 later -- it's taken me about 9 hours to write this much due to catching up at home!

9 days til Ina May!

It seems like we have (meaning, Jan has) been planning forever but Ina May is coming NEXT WEEKEND. If you're interested there may still be room!!!


And now if you'll excuse me, I have to put Badger back in bed for the 5th time tonight. I swear, when he started climbing out of his crib my first thought was to turn it upside down and use it as a cage... smart first impulse.

Nothing like snuggling a newborn!

I had a postpartum visit with a client who had her baby last week -- a SWEET little baby girl with just about as much hair as I currently have. Just one week old, still all curled up like a little fetus but eyes open wide and absorbing all the details about her new life. This lucky little girl has to great parents and they're doing a fantastic job! What a happy and healthy little girl!

Thanks for the snuggle, baby I! Makes me so look forward to snuggling my own little one in 20 weeks or so!

Always nice to see a former client

I met a former client and her super cute baby boy for coffee this morning before Badger's speech therapy -- it's always really wonderful to catch up and get to see how moms are settling into motherhood! This particular mom, who had a really lovely birth at the Midwife Center, seems to be as natural at the motherhood thing as the labor thing! If not for my dear son's temper tantrums and constant escape attempts, it would've been a perfect morning (until we went to speech therapy... I'm pretty sure his ST cries every Sunday night in dread of Monday mornings!).

It was great to reconnect, C, if you're reading :)

Rixa's giving stuff away!

Stand and Deliver (formerly The True Face of Birth) is giving away some makeup! I am translucent this time of year so I'm entering for sure!


Welcome Baby Z!!!

Jan Mallak is a grandmother (and oh, her daughter is a mama). Baby Z made his grand entrance early, arriving tonight -- about 6 weeks early but seemingly in quite good shape!

Please keep this family in your thoughts -- we hope to continue to hear good news!

Salma Hayek Breastfeeding

Have you seen this?

Salma Hayek on why she breastfed another woman's baby

I thought this was so beautiful, spontaneous, and natural. It does bring up issues about the safety of breastfeeding another baby -- that a nursing mom may unknowingly transmit a blood-borne virus... and I really don't know about that. Do I think that the chance of transmitting something to a baby by nursing him once has a lot more benefits than risks? I'd imagine so.

What do you think?

Yay, a February client!!!

I'm so glad to have a new client lined up! It has been since November (yes, 2008!) since I have attended a birth. This mom is due 2/20 -- right between Valentine's Day and my birthday :) Let's cross our fingers that my husband and I get to go on a date on 2/21, for which babysitting was graciously offered by a friend who totally knows we'll never leave the house alone again after Thing Three arrives!

WOW, six Superbowl wins? Has that ever been done before?

The answer is, no. Not until last night. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the first!

We all had a very late night last night, which for Badger always means a terrible sleep. My husband had the horsesense to sleep on the sofa since, as predicted, I had a whining, flopping-around two-year-old sharing my bed starting around 2am. We had a surprisingly productive speech therapy session at The Children's Institute, where Badger began today a 6-month series of weekly sessions to supplement his already weekly sessions here at home.

Once the boy was napping, I did something I hadn't done in a while -- I sat and read stories to ChimChim for an hour. Lately it's always been SOMETHING, we've been so busy. It was nice to take the time and relax together.

Superbowl XLIII and Doulas having Doulas

Is everyone ready for the Superbowl? This will be ChimChim's second Steelers Superbowl and Badger's first. Their black-and-gold is ready to wear and I even got a new T-shirt for the occasion since my cute Steeler T-shirts aren't really housing my 14-week-pregnant belly. Obviously, much like our president, we're rooting for the Steelers even though you have got to be happy for the Cardinals as well.

In a note related to doula-ing... one of the great great perks about working with a doula service is that we can choose whichever doula we'd like, pending availability. I confess: I am nervous about "performing" in labor in front of a colleague. What if I don't do what I "should"? What if my worrying about what I "should" be doing interferes with my doing what I REALLY should be doing, which is laboring in the way that feels best for me? Just the sort of thing I think about at 3am when I can't get back to sleep after my twice-nightly visit to the potty.

Back in the saddle

At the urging of some folks... I'm baaaaack! I'll be honest, guys... I got all caught up in the elections and, well, you know how happy I was about the Obama victory. Turns out that we're going to be contributing to the OBAMA BABY BOOM. I am due at the end of July/beginning of August!

So, what with the first trimester narcolepsy and since I mentally sort of insulated myself from birth news (not sure why... I think I just wanted to enjoy a really boring first trimester, which all in all, I have), I didn't have a ton to say! I also took off a bit of time off from doula-ing for traveling during the holidays (to Connecticut for Thanksgiving and Nevada for Christmas/New Years), and I discretely mentioned to our fearless leader, Jan Mallak, that I was in the family way again, so she didn't schedule me for births given my previous miscarriage (she wanted to give me a chance to take it easy).

Just a few little items...

We're still excited about Ina May Gaskin's coming to our conference on March 28th. You can visit Heart and Hands to download the brochure. It'll be a great day!

Chim-Chim is going on 4 1/2 and really awesome. She's a blast and she just made a Valentine's Card for Barack Obama. That's my girl! She's enjoying preschool and her ponies and princess toys.

Badger is going on 2 1/2 and he's doing super well, especially with his speech. He is putting words together and using adjectives and verbs -- which I must say is better than either of his parents can muster before 9am any given day. Oddly enough, he can identify most letters of the alphabet. Even though he's doing very well with his speech we're going whole hog and adding in another hour of therapy to aggressively try and get him to level. He loves choo-choos and he's on a big puzzle kick lately.

This pregnancy has been treating me pretty well. After 1st trimester bleeding with Badger and the miscarriage this summer, I'm thrilled to be having a healthy pregnancy. An ultrasound around 11 weeks showed a lovely heartbeat, which we heard again at the midwife's office on Inauguration Day.

So, I promise to try to be a better blogger!!!