State Bill Would Ban Shackling Female Prisoners Giving Birth

State Bill Would Ban Shackling Female Prisoners Giving Birth

Legislation has been proposed to ban state prisons and county jails in Pennsylvania from shackling pregnant female prisoners to gurneys or beds in prison hospitals at the time they go into labor and give birth.

Yeah. That's big of them! There have been times during my hospital births when I have felt like a prisoner -- that gown is a big factor (and why I wore my own clothes for Charlie's birth) -- but can you IMAGINE being actually shackled? Where the hell do they think moms are going to GO? And how quickly do they think they'd be able to run?!

Cosleeping. With the Co- or the -sleeping.

Charlie is in a cosleeper. He sleeps well in the cosleeper from about 7-8pm until maybe 1am on a good night. I generally end up feeding him and falling asleep with him in bed. If I put him back in the cosleeper for the second half of the night -- well, he doesn't go to sleep. So it takes the "sleeper" out of cosleeper.

So I'm generally fine with having him in bed, cosleeping for realsies. Except for nights like last night when he was ready to greet the day at 4am. That was not OK. No co-. No -sleeping. I brought him downstairs, took the Circle of Neglect (haha, I just love Gretchen's term for the Exersaucer) into the bathroom and took a hot shower. I wasn't handling being woken up early very well and I didn't have the capacity for kind words or loving touch. A shower was just what I needed.

By 5am, I was relaxed and scrubbed clean of most of the bitterness of being up well before the sun. I had a cup of coffee in hand and I was ready to face the day. Of course Charlie wanted a nap by then. We nursed and snuggled on the sofa, and listened to my husband saw wood over the baby monitor. I dozed off myself, but not comfortably since I wasn't correctly positioned or covered (remember, it is January in Pittsburgh!), and if I'm going to share sleep space, I want to do it safely and on the sofa is NOT safely.

I think we need to put the crib together. I think it's time to at least start to ease our way into it. Charlie will hopefully be rolling over and I don't think the cosleeper is safe at that point. And I think it's possible that if I'm not there next to him, I will be able to put him back down and if he stirs, he will be able to settle himself as he does in the first half of the night.

On the other hand... it feels wrong to think about not having him with us.

Food during labor

Of course it's OK. So says Cochrane Collaboration.

In Labor? Bring on the Food!

It takes a lot of energy to give birth! I encourage my clients to eat in early labor especially. Light foods are generally advisable. The great Jan Mallak says that it's a good idea not to eat anything you don't want to see again :)

Childbirth in the age of social media

My Son Was Born on Twitter

This blog post by Lee Stranahan about the role Twitter, Facebook, and Flikr played in his wife's recent planned unassisted homebirth was very interesting! I know that during Charlie's labor we were on message boards and on Facebook -- and it actually totally saved our goose that we were because our childcare totally fell through and we were able to get the word out FAST to a lot of people that we needed help. And really, frankly, most of my best friends are not in Pittsburgh. Either they're friends I've known for years who live elsewhere, or friends who live elsewhere that I know online. It might be sad in a way but really, when is having a friend, period, not really a huge blessing?

So what are your thoughts on tweeting and facebooking, etc, during labor?

Another baby lost to Cytotec

Mother loses baby after being given 'abortion' drug to induce labor

Of course Misoprostol is not an 'abortion' drug. It's an ulcer drug. How many mothers and babies have to die before they stop administering it for labor induction? Stop being such money-hungry cowards and develop it properly for labor induction, at least. Stop being lazy and cavalier and properly monitor women if you're going to use an off-label drug to induce labor. So sad, so preventable.

Results are in!

The results of my contest are in -- and thank you all for commenting! Suffice it to say, 26 comments did not break the bank although it was I believe a record for my sad, neglected, maternity-left blog! The donation to Yele was MORE than $2.60 because really, that'd just be sad. I unfortunately couldn't specify an "in honor of" donation. came up with comment #9 as the winner -- Doula Amy! Aaaand unfortunately she left no contact information, so Doula Amy, send me your information, and I will send you some cookies! I think I know which Doula Amy it is but there is more than one.

The news coming out of Haiti is so horrific and shocking -- but underneath, and exacerbating, the dramatic misery is the steady misery of extreme poverty. As it has been said countless times in the past week, Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, but extreme poverty is not isolated to Haiti. Please visit End Poverty 2015 to learn more about this ongoing issue.

Dads and Breastfeeding

I read this really great post:
Breastfeeding Lessons from the Kardashians

Now, full disclosure, I have never seen the show. But I have nursed three kids and I can tell you from my experience, I never would've succeeded breastfeeding Chim without support from my husband.

He came to the classes with me. He advocated for me in the hospital, tracking down lactation consultants. He got up with the baby at night, changed her, brought her to me, helped me feed her if I needed help, and then took her back and rocked her to sleep if she needed it. And he gave me the best gift of all -- encouragement.

He is the one who told me to commit to breastfeeding just one more week. And then, another week. And by then -- oh look, we're almost to a month. We can make it to a month, right? And by then it was smooth sailing -- she was off any supplements, back past her birth weight, by far, and sleeping a good 6-8 hours at night (seriously, we had no idea how lucky we were!!!).

Having another person -- a husband, partner, friend, mom, mother-in-law, sister -- who will be a tireless cheerleader is SO important for a first time mom breastfeeding. Someone who won't say, however well-intentioned, "It's OK, you tried, there's nothing wrong with formula." It makes all the difference to have someone there to say (especially after a cesarean birth), "You can do this. You're doing it. Your body does work."

Contest for Haiti

Taking a cue from Pioneer Woman, I am having a sort of contest. I will donate 10 cents for every comment posted to this blog post. I will donate it to Yele, Wyclef Jean's organization that helps Haiti in the short term and long term -- and if I figure it out, I will make the donation in honor of a randomly chosen winner. And that winner will also receive.... two dozen homemake chocolate chip cookies (if the winner is within the US or Canada). I don't have anything birthy to give away right now!

So leave a comment and spread the word!

Comments will be closed at 5pm on Friday.


I'll admit it -- pretty much everything I know about classical music I learned from Baby Einstein. This appalls my husband but the fact is, I don't think we ever listened to classical music growing up. My kids adore it now though -- especially the simplified Baby Mozart and Baby Beethoven stuff. If Charlie is crying, all one has to do is turn on Mozart of any variety and he will switch gears and listen to the music. I don't get it.

Smarter people than I am, do get it though.

Mozart Effect Helps Premature Babies Get Stronger

I guess it's the repeated themes? I love that something simple, pleasant, and non-invasive can help babies.

Elective cesarean sections are too risky, WHO study says

Elective cesarean sections are too risky, WHO study says

This article in Scientific American... I hope it will be one more step to a reasonable rate of occurrence for a life-saving surgery instead of the 30-35% rate that the US currently enjoys. However, since ob/gyns typically scoff at anything the WHO says, I believe this change will come from the "bottom" up -- i.e., mothers, doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, etc.

My OB said WHAT?!?

This blog is a guaranteed head-shaker. Some of the things that doctors, midwives, nurses, and yes, doulas say!!!

A new feature is positive statements posted on Thursdays -- because there are tons of great, supportive care providers!

One of my favorite recent "doozies" however, is this:
“You wouldn’t tell a pilot how to fly a plane.” -OB to a laboring woman, also a pilot, who questioned the Ob’s suggested labor management.

Ha, yeah! I'd love to say to this OB, That's RIGHT! And the BIRTHING WOMAN is the PILOT!

Cesarean Art

This is a collection of the artwork of a woman after her cesarean birth. I know that I identified with some pieces after Chim was born. I also know that not all women have such negative experiences during and after cesarean births and that it's not always unnecessary. However after mine, it was amazing to find that someone else was feeling the same way.

Some of the images are disturbing and graphic -- fair warning!

This one, entitled "postpartum," is so beautiful and haunting.
edited to add -- Badger saw this and said, "Sad mommy hurts baby." I added this not only because I wanted to show off his mad verbal skillz, but also because it gave me pause about how perceptive such a youngster is and how it's no wonder why there is such shame attached to postpartum depression -- no mom wants people to think she's wanting to hurt her baby!

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

So they've reverted to the previous guidelines for breast cancer screenings:
New guidelines back mammograms starting at age 40

One of the things that really bothered me was that previously they were backing off the aggressive screenings, and even recommendations of self-exams, because of false positives causing anxiety. I found this to be really condescending and contradictory.

Prenatal screenings have a HUGE false positive rate -- we received false positives for various ailments for both boys. Did those screenings cause "anxiety"? You better believe it. Would insurance pay for for the screenings and the more invasive tests? Yes it would have. But the guidelines for breast and cervical cancers that have been fiddled with recently are held to a different standard for some reason.

This line of thinking is tied, in some way, to the 30% or higher cesarean section rate -- the fact that a woman's right to make her own decisions about her bodily integrity is compromised by doctor's fear of litigation for a poor outcome in obstetrics. But frankly -- since the sun is not up and Charlie is not that great at sleeping in his own bed after his first wake up, I'm too tired to unravel it. But Charlie's cute enough that I forgive him.

Milestone Time!

Chim has lost a tooth! I understand that she is on the early side (5 years, 2 months) but I would like to assure the skeptics that she indeed had a wiggly tooth that fell out in the course of nature. In fact I have photographic evidence:

Totally stupid slideshow -- 5 Delicious Pre-Prepped Snacks For Postpartum Guests

5 Delicious Pre-Prepped Snacks For Postpartum Guests

OK -- the recipes do sound good. How about retitling the slideshow, "5 Delicious Snacks to Bring to a Postpartum Mom"?

Seriously -- a new mom should NOT be playing hostess. Anyone who crosses the threshold without food in their hands or the intention of doing a load of laundry or occupying older siblings for a few hours so mom can have some rest... not cool.

After Charlie was born -- I have to say, having my folks here was not the greatest help simply because my mom was in between gallstone attack and gall bladder removal. We spent more time taking care of them than ourselves. Not great. The friends and family who did come with a bag of bagels (yah, Julie!) or who would take the big kids out for a few hours (thx Aunt T and Uncle M!!!) were invaluable.

Postpartum depression is a real thing that some women will have to deal with regardless of the system of support they have in place but other women are rendered more susceptible by exhaustion.

Great Blog -- Birth Sense

Birth Sense -- Really interesting stories about birth both in hospital settings and at home. There are some crazy things that go on "behind the scenes" in hospitals!

Mom and Baby "Back from the dead"

It's wonderful that this story has such a happy ending. I do wonder what caused the mom to go into cardiac arrest. It's not that common for such a thing to happen during the course of a normal labor. That huge list of risks that come with an epidural includes cardiac arrest, too. I don't like to speculate, but I have to wonder what really happened here.

I know that the side effects of epidurals are extremely rare and that epidurals are not always a bad thing, and I'm glad that women can choose for themselves what to do with their bodies. I do wish however that informed consent was truly informed, instead of a list of side effects rattled off when a laboring woman is in an altered state of mind.