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10 on 10, March

A picture for ten hours on the 10th.

8:30am: Cedar’s new way to wake us.  She calls it “Hulk Smash” and it is quite painful.

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9:30am:  pancake stirring with infinite patience

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10:30am:  meal-planning

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11:30am:  my man belting out The Eagles

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12:30:  the girls picking daffodils for the lunch table

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1:30:  my mom’s lunch menu for my birthday.  I love lasagna but no one else does so it was a large spread!

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2:30pm:  happy birthday to me!

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3:30pm: at the car wash

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4:30pm:  admiring my birthday present from my parents.

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5:30pm:  grocery-getting

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ten on ten button

SC Lay Midwife Act–Bill 3731

You may have heard that SC is going backwards again.  Not surprising, really.  But for a conservative state, I’m surprised at the movements lately to squeeze in more governmental control.

Enter Bill 3731, the SC Lay Midwife Act.

What the heck is a “lay midwife?”

I’ve attended over 100 births as a doula.  If I decided, “Hey, I think I know a decent bit about childbirth.  Why do the OBs and midwives get paid the big bucks?  I think I’ll start catching the babies.”  That.  That would be a lay midwife.  I would be a person without training hanging up my shingle. (*see footnote)

When I first read this bill, I thought the legislature’s intention was to criminalize, well, lay midwives (i.e. people who were DIY babycatching).

Surely they could not mean SC Licensed Midwives.

Then I read on.

Now, I realize it may be difficult for a layperson (pun intended) to understand the in’s and out’s of midwifery with it’s many acronyms and differences state-to-state.  Let me break it down.

To apply the misnomer “lay midwife” to our licensed midwives is offensive.  Simply that.  And clearly the bill understands this offense as it belittles midwives and the families they serve by requiring a name tag (!):  A lay midwife shall wear a clearly legible identification badge or other adornment at least one inch by three inches in size bearing the lay midwife’s name and the words ‘Lay Midwife.

Do you see the absurdity of this?  These midwives are attending births primarily in homes.  They have spent hours with the families they serve prior to the birth.  Name tag?

Back to this lay midwife term.  The bill defines lay midwife as a “midwife who may have had little formal training or recognized professional education in midwifery, who learned by accompanying doctors or midwives attending home births.”

Does that apply to SC Licensed Midwives?  In the 1930’s, the state embarked on formal training of midwives.  There were thousands of midwives practicing in rural areas, equipped by the SC government.  In the 1970’s, a move (eerily similar to this one) ended government support of midwives.  The people of SC reacted in protest and a new licensure program developed in the early 1980’s.  This licensing process is still in place and ain’t broken.  DHEC sets standards and regulations for midwives.  Their outcomes are public information.  Nobody is hiding anything.

A layperson can go to the DHEC website to view more information than s/he would ever want to know about regulations, current care providers, reporting, and more.

“Little formal training?”  Licensed midwives must complete a formal education program approved by DHEC and finish an intensive clinical apprenticeship.  Typically the preceptor-apprenticeship ratio is 1:1 or 1:2.  It cannot be more than 1:3. The apprenticeship generally takes 2-3 years.  Then the applicant completes an examination.  Once licensed, there are continuing education requirements and peer review processes.  And, of course, there are fees, fees, fees.

Calling Licensed Midwives “lay” would be the equivalent of suddenly calling all Licensed Builders in the state “lay” and requiring citizens to hire structural engineers to build their deck.

This bill will end the licensing of midwives in SC.  It calls for direct supervision of “lay midwives” by obstetricians.  Obstetricians and licensed midwives practice in different environments and under vastly different models of care.  Don’t let the wording fool you, this bill would end legal midwifery for out of hospital birth in SC.  This supervision wording is merely a smokescreen.

What will happen if there are no licensed midwives in SC?  There will always be families who don’t want a medical birth.  There will always be families who choose homebirth.  And there will, I trust, always be midwives who will serve them.  But these midwives will do so under the threat of criminalization.

There are many other issues associated with this bill:

  • Financial considerations:  a homebirth with a licensed midwife typically costs less than 4000.  An uncomplicated vaginal birth at the hospital may cost 10,000.  Medicaid reimburses licensed midwives.
  • Freedom:  this bill removes access to professional midwives.  It will destroy an entire profession in our state; a profession recognized world-wide.  If you care about freedom, this bill is one to fight.
  • Safety:  I would need to write an entire post to discuss this one!  This bill is not about the safety of mothers and babies.

So now, what will you do dear layperson?  I saw a few weeks ago how a rapid response from citizens pressured the sponsors of a homeschool bill to remove their support.  We can make that happen here, too.

Keep up to date on talking points, petitions, and information at the SC Friends of Midwives website.

Write, email, call the members of the 3M committee.  Let them know you  oppose this bill.  You don’t need to write or say anything fancy.  I think numbers are more important at this stage.

Please help SC families who want access to licensed midwives and protect our freedom to choose where and with whom to birth.

*There are many wise and experienced midwives who choose not to license.  Some have called them “lay midwife.”  I do not because I think the whole term “lay midwife” is oxymoronic.  This bill isn’t addressing these unlicensed midwives anyhoo.  It is addressing SC licensed midwives.

Friends who don’t homeschool, 10 things I want you to know.

Dear friends, there are some things I want you to know.  I’m putting it here so I can catch you all in one sweep (unless you don’t read my blog.  Hey, why aren’t you reading my blog??).  This post is not a reaction to anything.  I just know that school choices can be polarizing.  I also know I had misconceptions about homeschooling before I started.

1)  I have zero opinion or judgement about where your kids go to school.  Really.  Ok, I take that back.  Some days, I may judge you to be smarter than me for sending your kids to school.  See my side note in #2.

2) I don’t homeschool because I’m anti-public school.  I am a product of public school and I loved it.  I met the guy I married, had some amazing teachers, and earned college credit from AP classes.  It is likely my kids will be in public school one of these days.  *Side-note:  I had a mini-meltdown two weeks ago and it almost happened.  If that school bus had only gone a little bit slower…

3) I don’t homeschool for religious reasons.  I’m happy that I can talk to my kids about my spiritual beliefs but I would do that regardless of where they went to school.

Source: homeschoolerproblems

Source: homeschoolerproblems

4) We don’t replicate traditional school at home.  There are no white boards or desks.  We don’t say the pledge of allegiance and there is no bell.  What we learn is different than what your child might be learning.  Different; not better or worse.  We do school year-round so that we can be flexible and play.  We play a lot.  I have a list of what I’d like to cover in a week and we squeeze it in as we do life.  I like lists; particularly checking them off.  We usually finish everything but life comes first.  And life has plenty of its own important lessons.

Source: fatjealouscatlady

Source: fatjealouscatlady

5) A word about my excessive prolific facebook activity.  Confession:  I may have judged some women before I was a homeschool mom.  It may have gone something like this, “She says she homeschools but she’s always on facebook.  That’s one of my issues with homeschoolers–they can be such slackers!”  Ugly, right?  What can I say?  I’ve eaten so many words since I became a mom.  (Like, “I’ll NEVER homeschool.”)  What is the deal with some homeschool moms and facebook?  I get it now.  It goes like this:  when your child needs supervision while they’re working on a task–say, practicing their reading–you will slowly lose your mind.  It starts oozing out your ears and your foot begins to bounce as irritation creeps up your body.  I survive the mundane sounding-out of words by surreptitiously checking facebook on my phone under the table.  It is for sanity’s sake, people.  I also secretly eat girl scout cookies under the table.

6)  Socialization:  The top question I get from people is “how do your socialize them?”  My question is how do we fit in school with all the socializing?  Norah learns some valuable skills in her daily relations with her sister:  patience, persuasion, conflict resolution, and physical defense skills.  Our calendar is packed with science labs, zoo school, co-ops, field trips, classes, and playdates.  I drop her off every Monday to spend 7 hours with other kids her age.  My husband gently pointed out that I over-scheduled this month.  I did.  It got ugly.

source:  atorahlife.com

source: atorahlife.com

7) It’s challenging for me to hang out kid-free.  Each week, I need to carve out kid-free time for my work:  prenatals, postpartums, births, and classes.  I can’t take a child to those.  That leaves little other time I can ask my child-watchers to help.  If you want to hang out, you’ll get the whole clan.

8) As in most situations, it’s not helpful for you to say, “I could never do that.”  You probably could do it.  Not that you SHOULD but you could homeschool if the situation called for it.  When I hear someone say that, it makes me feel a little isolated and crazy for trying.

9) I’ve found that sometimes homeschool parents can be boastful snotty about their kids.  Do you know why?  Because they’re in the minority.  Whenever anyone does something that isn’t mainstream (ahem, homebirth, attachment parenting, not vaccinating), we tend to focus only on the positives and sometimes sound preachy.  I’ve read homeschool articles that ooze with superiority.  This makes it difficult for me to talk about the areas I worry about when I’m surrounded by “all the homeschool kids test above grade-level, yada yada”.  And it sometimes makes it difficult to talk about it with you.  I want to be transparent about my kids.  Call me on it if I’m sounding too “my kid is a unique snowflake.”  I’m probably really insecure about screwing up my child.  To keep it real, some days are horrible.  Horrible.  Here is a facetime image my husband captured when he called in one morning:

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10)  “But how are you going to teach every subject to your kids?”  First off, my kid is in 1st grade.  I can handle that material.  I don’t know how long I’ll homeschool so this question might be irrelevant to us.  However, my goal–and the goal of most homeschool families–is to teach kids to teach themselves.  When they reach material that presents a challenge, there are online classes/lectures, local college classes, mentors, the library, and more.  I hope I can help my girls work beyond what I can teach them.

Why do I do it?  It feels right.  For now.  I like the flexibility of it.  It works well with being on call as a doula.  I like that when Norah gets excited about something, we can drop everything and dig into a subject.  I don’t have to get up early in the morning and I don’t have to do carpool lines.  I really like what I’m learning.  I’m digging up memories from Mr. Wilson’s 8th grade Latin class.  I’ve memorized a 13 minute history timeline song.  This week, I’m learning about the Songhai empire.  I love the old and often obscure texts we read.  Redeeming my own education.

If this post sounds disjointed, I broke up 15 fights between my children, lost my temper three times, got side-tracked by google image, and attended a birth while attempting to write it.  So, I’ve meandered.  What I want to say is I love my friends who don’t homeschool and very much need you in my life.  You give me balance and perspective.  And you keep me from being a HOMESCHOOL MOM instead of a mom who happens to homeschool.  

Repeating Hypnobabies

I’ve been teaching Hypnobabies since 2009. Lately, I am frequently asked, “What do I do to prepare for my next Hypnobabies birth?”

Hypnobabies strongly recommends that students repeat the class series when preparing for subsequent births.  To prepare for another birth, you want more than just a refresher.  You want to prepare as thoroughly for this birth as you did for your first Hypnobabies experience.  Moreover, your materials are not designed for self-study.  If a couple absolutely prefers to DIY, they should purchase the Home Study Advantage set which was created for self-study.

I have two repeat students registered for my March series.  What an encouragement it will be for the other students to have experienced Hypnobabies moms in the class.

In order to make this option possible for my repeat students, I charge only 75.00 to take the series again.

 

 

10 on 10 February

8:30am–I wake to this little imp in my bed

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9:30am–Strawberry pancakes made by my delicious husband

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10:30–Re-reading The Ragamuffin Gospel

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11:30–Norah’s Valentine’s for Artios.  It’s gonna take awhile for all that glitter glue to dry.

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12:30pm–Lunch for me:  my yummy maca smoothie with added blueberries

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1:30pm–Rushing to the my Hypnobabies class reunion

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2:30pm–Sharing birth stories

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3:30pm–Shiny, happy Hypnobabies graduates

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4:30pm–I was too busy scooting across town to get to a Hypnobabies class to snap a pic.  But my husband texted this picture.  He kayaked to an island at Jocassee.  He even swam!  In February!  So, I’ll steal his picture.

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5:30pm–Dr. Polo Shirt’s waiting room before I tore it apart to make room for my class.  I always take a “before picture” so I know how to set up when class dismisses.

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February, be gentle

Such a busy month!  It isn’t all work-related.  I’m also busy socializing my homeschooler.  Heh heh.

I have an invitation for YOU to fill up your calendar space with a few choice selections:

“Now What”:  a class about the first six weeks postpartum.  20.00/couple/student.  Feb. 5.

Greenville Babywearing Meeting:  noon.  Bring your lunch if you’re on a work break.  Feb. 6.

Clemson Babywearing Meeting:  new time this month!  Free gathering to play and discuss babywearing (or anything else that you fancy).  Feb. 7

Spartanburg Babywearing Meeting:  Feb. 11 at 11.

“Sleeping Like a Baby“:  a class about *yawn* newborn sleep.  20.00/couple/student.  Feb. 12

Greenville Cloth Diaper Group:  a group for families who plan to or are cloth diapering.  Topic and discussion.  Free!  Taylors Library at 10am.  Feb. 13.

Cloth Diaper 101:  a free introduction to cloth diapering led by the savvy Jessica.  Dads are encouraged to attend.  Feb. 16.

Blessingway:  I’m so excited about this month’s gathering!  Please come to hear Norie’s birth story.  This first time mama had a peaceful hospital birth.  And the Puppy Nanny will be there to talk about pets and babies.  Free!  Babies and kids are welcome.  Feb. 23

“Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank”:  a class about creating a smart and green registry, DIY items, and saving $$.  20.00/couple/student.  Feb. 19.

New Member Picnic:  I’m hosting this one!  A picnic and playtime at Lake Conestee for new members of the Greenville Attachment Parent Meetup Group.  Join the AP group to find out more.  Expectant moms are welcome.  Feb. 19

Organic Nutrition for Pregnancy and Lactation:  taught by midwife, Grace Hannon.  FREE!  Feb. 21

Anderson Babywearing Group:  Feb. 25 at 6:30pm.

“Parenting the First Year”:  a class about introducing solids, child development, age appropriateness, and more.  20.00/couple/student.  Feb. 26

Water Birth and Other Comfort Measures for Labor and Birth:  another free workshop taught by midwife, Grace Hannon. Feb. 28.

*Also check the schedules for your closest La Leche League!

Coming UP:  

Registration is open for my March/April Hypnobabies Class.  This series will meet from 6pm-9pm on Tuesdays beginning March 12.  Contact me ASAP for information!  j_byers@bellsouth.net

Oh!  And due to a client birthing early, I have a doula space which has opened up for late February or March.  I also have space available in May and June.  Let me know if you’d like to sit down for a free consult.

The March space is taken!  🙂

Swept away

Adoring: My husband who brings home the bacon and looks so dang hot when he leaves for work in the morning.  Also, he and Norah love to sing Swept Away by The Avett Brothers.  I cry quietly imagining her wedding, dancing with her daddy, and getting all crazy sentimental.

Listening to:  A podcast about fecal transplants.  Oh my word.  And people get all worked up about placenta encapsulation??

Proud of: Norah.  She learned to crochet and began wood-carving last week.  She also made another bat house and hiked to the top of Table Rock.

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Never Leaving Home Without:  my phone.  I’m back on call.

Appreciating:  the flexibility of my days.  It could change tomorrow but for now, I appreciate that I sleep until 8am many mornings.  I can call a play day like I did today instead of doing school with the girls.  We school year-round to allow for that.  I’ve never enjoyed routine and, for now, these days are satisfying.

Nostalgic about: Josh Finch.  Scott and I have spent hours remembering our old co-worker.  That time he ran through the woods with a pocket-knife certain he was being chased.  That time he cried with me over Scott’s chainsaw injury.  That time he pulled me up when I was dangling off Kaaterskill Falls.  That time he ran through the woods with some shredded cheese certain he was being chased.  Oh Finch.  You are missed.

Reading: Eat Mangoes Naked, While I was Gone, Birth Matters for my Hypnobabies Recertification, and loads of poetry.  I just read The Poisonwood Bible for the first time.  That one messed me up in the way only a great book can.

Buying: Dr. Bronner’s Patchouli-Lime Lotion, Alba Sugar Cane Body Polish, and a new math curriculum for Norah.

Drinking: Numi Earl Grey Tea

Working on: long overdue birth stories for my clients.  And taxes.  And projects for Upstate BirthNetwork.

Wishing: I was finished with my taxes.

Giddy about: My sister will be home in just a few months!!!  She’ll be in my kitchen complaining about how I forget to turn on lights.  We’ll take our kids to the park.  I’ll help her through re-entry culture shock by feeding her chocolate and ice cream.

Feeling:  Energized and happy.

photo-20Missing:  Vermont.  And the dear ones who live there–like that sleepy fellow on the right.  And the fact that they have recycling containers at the gas pumps.

Grumpy that: I need to make a decision about a homeschool co-op for next year.  I’m not ready.  I like our current program but it is pricey.  With a program that costs less, I’ll have to volunteer more but I’ll have more money to spend on extra-curricular programs.

Decisions.  I hate them.

The story told

A language is not words only,

it is the stories

that are told in it,

the stories that are never told.

–Margaret Atwood from “Beauharnois”

I am a repository of birth stories.  When I reveal my vocation, the stories pour out from young mothers and white-haired grannies.  I’ve learned that a woman might forget many things but she holds tightly to this powerful event.  And she remembers with passion and detail how she was made to feel during her births.

Some stories bring me to tears.  This one is such a story.  It took place in a developing country in Asia and was told to me by a friend of the mother.  We will call this young mother, Sara.

I asked permission to share Sara’s story and she agreed.  I share it because she is my sister and her horror is my horror.  And yours.  I believe we honor her grief and her courage when we hear her story.

Sara and her husband do not have much money.  They chose a birthing clinic for her first baby.  This decision is a common choice for families without many resources.  When her labor began, her midwife did not think she was progressing well but told her not to worry; that she would be with her the whole way even if she had to go to the hospital.  At midnight, the midwife decided that Sara needed to go to the hospital but that she would not go with her because she (the midwife) was not feeling well.  Sara’s blood pressure went up and anxiety set in.  She and her husband would have to find a way to get to the government hospital far away in the middle of the night.  Transportation is tricky even during the daytime.

In this country, the patient must show her money before she will be admitted to the hospital.  So Sara and her husband had to scrounge for money.  When she arrived, she was 4cm.  She labored in a room with 30 other women–some two to a bed.  Her blood pressure was high.  No one monitored her baby’s heartbeat.  Sara says she could feel her baby trying to get out.  Her water broke and her pain increased.  The nurses ignored her and told her to be quiet.  The only encouragement she received was from the janitor.

Sara’s husband had to leave to get medicine (the don’t have them at the hospital).  While he was gone, someone decides she needs a cesarean and informs the doctors.  It took five hours before she was wheeled (by the janitor) into the operating room.  When she is given anesthetic, she falls asleep.  After laboring for two days, her baby is born alive but in distress; possibly from meconium aspiration.  The baby, a little girl, dies.

When Sara wakes, she is alone.  Her husband is not at the hospital.  He is making funeral arrangements.  Sara is in the recovery room where other mothers hold their newborns.  Sara sees a tiny, white butterfly land near her and she knows in her heart that she her baby is gone.

The hospital staff tell Sara not to talk or to cry because it would hurt her incision.  Her family believes it would be better for Sara not to see or hold her baby.  She is not allowed to go to the funeral because her family thinks it would be too hard for her.

Her mother blames Sara for the death of the baby because she missed church a few Sundays.  The doctors say the baby died because the baby was too big.  They blame Sara, saying she must have had diabetes even though she was tested more than once.

The hospital staff tell her that she should not have sex or get pregnant for 3 years.

I’m not gifted in creating a tidy moral from Sara’s story.  I think her story can stand alone without platitudes or homilies.

Remember her, grieve with her, and love her.

*And if you need to take action/learn more/give/get involved, there are many organizations like Bumi Sehat, for example, that will get you started.

I remembered! 10 on 10

8am:  Morning Race (pardon the blur; those girls can move)

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9am:  School time

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10am:  Chickadee added to Norah’s nature journal

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11am:  Read aloud

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12pm:  My little ponies

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1pm:  Watercolors on the lawn; poetry for me

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2pm:  Tea time

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3pm:  Unexpected visit from a sweet friend.  Cedar loves her “goat lady”

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4pm:  Stray Cujo scared the bejeebies out of me *

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5pm:  Riesling in a jelly jar (classy), nag champa, and blog time.  I deserve it.

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*That dog!  I walked to the mailbox and when I turned to walk back to the house, he was standing 15 feet away between the house and me.  Where did he come from?  Stealthy fiend.

ten on ten button

Review of Cloth Diapering Trainers

Cedar has been (daytime) diaper-free for some time now. I had intended to do this review and, well, procrastinated.

First, some history.

Norah learned to use the potty like a dream. I didn’t do anything. We never used a little potty, training pants, or strategy. We never read potty books or watched DVD’s. She turned two and decided she’d had enough. C’est fini.

Lots of parents asked me how to potty train and I confidently responded, “they just do it when they’re ready.” This information was based on my case study of ONE.

With Cedar, I tried half-heartedly to do elimination communication. I stared into her baby blues watching for her “cue” while she stealthily pooped in my lap. Great bonding time. After dropping out of EC, I provided her with a little potty. At 16 months, she used it! Nice. Just like I remembered.

And then she never used that potty again.

Her two year birthday came and went. We had the big trip to Asia coming up and I decided she simply must be diaper-free by then. It is tough for me to admit but I checked out one of those “potty training boot camp” books from the library.

After dropping out of potty-training boot camp, I dealt with cloth diapering in Asia. Then I simmered down and let her “just do it when she was ready.” Guess what? She did.

I tried training pants this time around. I’m not sure it made a significant difference. I tried a bummi’s, flip trainer, and grovia trainer.

Bummi’s: This one did not get points on cute factor. It was huge and bubbled out around Cedar’s trim bum. There was no way this thing was going under pants. It would have to be for skirts and dresses. I bought a medium. Maybe a small would have been trimmer but I’m not sure the elastic would have been comfortable. This diaper takes forever to dry. I liked the flannel lining that would let her feel wetness quickly. Leaks were contained. I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I got it on sale and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

Flip Trainer: The flip trainer is an adjustable cover that comes with five organic inserts. The diaper can be pulled down or snapped apart. I liked the snap apart feature for the few times she pooped in them. A poop accident in a trainer that can only be pulled down? No thank you. It has adjustable snaps for sizing. The problem I encountered was fitting her skinny legs. I think the cover was so light and the inserts so heavy that it increased the leg leak factor. When I stuffed it with a BG microfiber insert, it worked much better. Cedar did have some trouble pulling the flip back up when she used the potty. Because the insert is on the outside (to feel wetness, I get it) and because I had the cover so snug to prevent leaks, the insert sometimes shifted as she pulled the diaper back up. The inserts require extra drying time. But, I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I bought mine used and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

IMG_1250Grovia Trainer: This trainer is darling. It won me over when I saw how trim it looked. Cedar was easily able to pull it up and down. The Grovia material is, in my opinion, the cadillac of the cloth diaper market. The core is a hemp/cotton blend which makes it fairly absorbent. It has a pocket for additional stuffing and I found the flip trainer inserts fit perfectly for nighttime. The big complaint, however, is the size. Cedar is small and she can no longer fit the trainer. She says it is too tight. Grovia offers extender tabs that snap in but with a trainer that already carries a hefty price tag, who wants to spend anything else? Also, if you have an early potty learner, the snaps can not be sized smaller. These diapers dry faster than the other two.

Bottom line: I’m not sure I’m sold on the whole concept of training pants. This opinion is based on my case study of TWO so what do I know? We’re all trying our best to figure this parenting gig out and, in the big picture, while potty-learning can feel huge; it’s really a tiny blip, a fleeting moment.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on potty learning or trainers.

;

Disclosure: I Love Natural Baby, a retailer of the above diapers, gave me a Grovia trainer when I was complaining about potty-learning in the store one day. The manager suggested I could write a review on the diaper. </e