Why I Chose Midwives (Video)

by flowers on May 5, 2012 · 1 comment

Hello! I hope you are having a great weekend. I’m peeking my head in to send my best to you and your family and also to share this video just released today from MANA in honor of International Day of the Midwife. I know their team has been hard at work creating this video and preparing for its launch.

As I watched, I couldn’t help but be reminded of why I chose midwifery care for all three of my pregnancies, births and postpartum care. A skilled midwife is a gift to an expectant mother and I look forward to a day when midwifery care is considered the norm and most (if not all!) women have access to midwifery care.

Take a peek at this video and be sure to share it with your networks too!

 

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My friend Erin Goodman has been running an awesome podcast series called Behind the Blog. I’ve loved listening to her chat with some fabulous blogging women and was honored when she asked me to appear as a guest on the podcast. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Erin and I accepted without hesitation.

Erin was one of my earliest internet friends. In fact, we’ve known each other since before we started out blogs, so I was thrilled to connect. But it also rubbed a sore spot because as you’ve surely noticed, I don’t really blog anymore. As we discuss in the podcast, I never really decided to stop blogging, but rather the waters around me have been rushing so fast that I simply never get to writing the posts that live in my head.

I’m now working forty hours as week, telecommuting from home, as a social media and community manager, and at the end of the day I want to connect with my kids and husband – time for blogging has simply disappeared. But I don’t feel “done”. Not yet at least.

Nila is turning two in a few short months and Stone and I are constantly looking at each other in amazement wondering where the time has gone. I know that sounds trite, but I’m not kidding. Time is flying by so fast and we’ve had to reckon with so much in a short amount of time. It’s been overwhelming, and to be quite honest, it’s been stressful.

The good news is that for the first time in a long time I’m beginning to pick my head up and slow my breath down. The kids are a bit older and we’re a bit more experienced at being parents of three kids. Stone’s business is in its third season and finally gaining traction. And after being a stay-at-home for the past five or so years I’m finally contributing to our income which is a lifesaver at this point in time. All our hard work is paying off and things seem to be gelling quite nicely. Phew.

I was so thankful for my conversation with Erin. Not only was it a nice reflection, but it also brought me some closure and clarity. My life is different now: I’m not a stay-at-home mom anymore, my baby is almost our of diapers and there are snap-free bras in my future. Talking with Erin was a therapeutic look back and acknowledgement of just how much has changed. It also helped give me a fresh look of where I sit now.

If you have some free time and like listening to podcasts please check it out. I know I’ve been quiet here and it will give you a peek into why and what’s been going on. We talk about surprise pregnancies, freeing the NYS midwives, and juggling family life, careers and passions.

And maybe I’ll poke my head in here a little more often….

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There is nothing that feels better than helping out a good cause and today I want to tell you about an opportunity to help ensure safe births for mothers and babies in Fond Parisien, Haiti.

Last spring I was invited to a brunch to learn about Circle of Health International (COHI), a maternal health organization that provides reproductive, maternal and newborn healthcare in times of crisis and disaster. The event happened to be in my neighborhood so I walked over to learn about the work they were doing in post-earthquake Haiti.

I listened to COHI’s director, Leilani Johnson, present their work in Haiti and I was absolutely blown away. We’ve seen the pictures and imagined how terribly difficult it is for the people of Haiti, but imagine being pregnant? Or having a newborn? Imagine having a postpartum hemorrhage without a skilled attendant or trying to recover without clean water.

But COHI shows up in the most difficult of times. They are a small, tightly run, grassroots NGO with the mission of working with women and their communities in times of crisis and disaster to ensure access to quality reproductive, maternal and newborn care. COHI works to address the issues of access and availability of life saving measures such as trained birth attendants and access to Emergency Obstetric Care (EOC) in areas of war and disaster.

Yes, they are AWESOME and doing incredibly important work!

What I learned was that in times of crisis and disaster women’s health falls to the back of the line. Women themselves are busy caring for family members and access to healthcare for themselves is hard to come by. COHI is a unique organization that arrives and works with women and their communities to support women’s reproductive and maternal health. COHI also ensures that they are building a sustainable model. Instead of bringing in foreign practitioners to provide direct care they focus on training and supporting local practitioners so that when COHI leaves the women still have health care.

This is where I first met Karen Feltham — a certified nurse midwife and COHI volunteer. She also happens to be my neighbor! Karen volunteered in Haiti just weeks after the earthquake to help begin the process of providing supportive care for the women and babies in Fond Parisien and she is returning two years later to provide peer-to-peer support and training for the local Haitian midwives.

In the US, midwives rely on their support systems, but the two midwives at the Fond Parisien birth center work long hours and do not have access to peer support. Karen has three goals for her 10 day trip to Haiti:

One - Review existing protocols for managing emergencies and deciding when to transfer to the local hospital.  Provide clinical support and skill building where it could improve outcomes for Haitian women and their babies.

Two - Run emergency drills using improved protocol for complications most likely to be seen at the clinic, including shoulder dystocia and postpartum hemorrhage.

Three - Improve monitoring processes so that the clinic can evaluate their existing protocols and make improvements based on evidence, not just anecdotal understanding.

This is where we can help! Karen needs help covering the cost of travel and room and board — about $1000. I’ve pledged to help Karen get to Haiti so she can help provide the life saving support to the midwives serving the local women and I hope you’ll help too!

Little by little we’re making it happen! We’re almost half-way to raising our goal of $1000 and I hope you’ll help us get there.

As you know I rarely ask anything of my readers, but after meeting Karen and hearing about the important work she is doing with COHI I wanted to share the story because I thought we could help make a real difference!

We’ve set up an indiegogo campaign to raise the funds and there are tons of great perks including a COHI messenger bag and authentic Haitian metalwork. And if you only have $10 to spare that’s just the perfect amount!

So please head over and make a donation and leave a comment of encouragement! Also, please share the indiegogo campaign on your facebook page and on twitter! I would be so thankful.

I want to leave you with a quote from Karen’s Q&A over at Our Bodies Our Blog last week so you can get a feeling for who she is:

“I absolutely believe in the power of kindness and how it can be transformative, even revolutionary. Think of what women bear, here and elsewhere — assault, abuse, submission. I can’t change a country’s infrastructure, health care and education policies. But I can listen. I can provide the most gentle pelvic exam and the most respectful atmosphere.

If my touch is the first that a newborn feels, then I promise to make it a gentle one. If my voice is the first that she hears, then let it be welcoming. This is what I can bring, a reminder that excellent clinical skills are essential, but that kindness is life-changing. At least that’s what I think, and it’s the best that I can offer.” –Karen Feltham, CNM & COHI Volunteer


 P.S. There is an amazing group of bloggers supporting this cause! You can see everyone who is participating over at BirthSwell. And if you want to blog about this cause leave a comment and I’ll get you set up!

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dpp ’11: Messy & Busy

by flowers on December 7, 2011 · 10 comments

boy playing at a messy desk

I like this photo, but I didn’t want to post it.

I like it because it reflects a very real part of our everyday: messy and busy. If you look closely you’ll find Christmas in the photo, but you’ll also find Stone’s old He-man figures from when he was a kid and half-full can of unflavored seltzer.

I didn’t want to post it because it shows you how messy our life can be. It’s not zen, stylish or remotely organized. Then you’ll know that I don’t keep a home that looks like a catalog.

I like to take pictures that show off the beauty of my home. It makes me feel good to catch all that I like about my house, home and family in one frame. It’s also easier because just beyond that frame can be the mess that is life.

This table is where Solshine has spent the better part of the past three years. It’s filled with trinkets: marbles, legos, playmobiles, treasure he finds when he’s out and about. It’s messy and he’s busy.

I know there is an unintended danger that happens when we fill our lives with picture frames filled with only the “perfect” parts. It sets unrealistic expectations and leads to dissatisfaction with what we already have–even if what we have was enough before we saw pictures of something better.

I do it. I love to look at catalogs and pretty blogs and feel inspired and daydream about what I like and what I would do with this or that. At first it feels fun and then I start to look at my own stuff as not good enough. And another mom’s homemade curtains become a testament of my failure.

I think this is a good metaphor for the holiday season. We hold many romantic ideas about the holidays and what they should be like and feel like that it becomes almost impossible to live up to them. But when we stop being enchanted by the idea or the pictures we begin to notice what we have right in front of us–the everyday life that, while not perfect, is perfectly ours. And there’s really nothing else worth having.

Sure this holiday season is messy and busy, but at the same time it’s one of my favorite times. Just like the picture.

 

December Photo Project
This post is part of Treadways’ December Photo Project. A photo every day to celebrate the festive month of December. My theme this year: Our Everyday Christmas

Oh, and today I’m over at Simple Homeschool talking about how our Christmas Bucket List is helping guide our learning this holiday season. Go on over and check it out.

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dpp ’11: Joy to the World

December 5, 2011
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oy to the world. The big world. And the little world that lives inside our tiny home. Where Lego adventurers boldly go where no little plastic (wo)man has gone before and a little girl clamors for an old school calculator and holds it up to her ear because she thinks it’s a smart phone. Joy [...]

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dpp ’11: Everyday Christmas

December 4, 2011
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t’s been a little while and I’m so happy to be here today. It feels good–like visiting an old friend with a pot of tea on a leisurely afternoon. I’d like to invite you to join me in participating in Treadways’ annual December Photo Project. You can join yourself or you can simply come along [...]

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Losing My Mother’s Mother

September 23, 2011

  In the most basic of physical essence she is gone. Her voice. Her hands. Her body. She’s gone. I could see that she was gone. I watched them close the casket. I was at the cemetery, but that does little to convince me. A body, without the spirit is a startling reality. You see [...]

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Peace Begins With Me: A Mother’s Hope for Peace

September 10, 2011
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I offer this hope for peace in remembrance of 9/11. May we never loose our hope for a more peaceful world and may our children know how to create peace in their world. Originally posted in August 2009. “If we are to create lasting peace we must start with the children.” ~Mahatma Gandhi   In [...]

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Link Love: Last Hurrahs of Summer

September 3, 2011
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We have no plans of slowing down summer, but the signs are everywhere. We’ve begun to close windows in the evening and I even thought about putting on socks early one morning. Officially, fall does not begin until the Equinox in late September, making these next few weeks the perfect time to soak it all [...]

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Creative Hotspots

August 26, 2011

Did you catch my post up at Steady Mom about important life/work/family boundaries? ************************************* Everyone has a hotspot. (And no I’m not talking about my new iphone that is an actual wifi hotspot and allows me to take my laptop to my creative hotspot. Different hotspot.) The hotspot I’m referring to is that certain mix [...]

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