Archive for September, 2005

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Setting Limits

September 30, 2005

When I was younger, there were a few things of which I was absolutely certain: 1) My parents couldn’t possibly understand my angst, 2) my personal boundaries were firm and well defined, and 3) when I died, wherever I ended up, Jim Morrison would be waiting for me and I would finally get laid properly and often. Now I’m older and I can see that, while my parents probably never had the same angst that I had (have,) they had their own brand. Jim Morrison is probably not going to be waiting for me, but that’s cool ’cause I’m not waiting for my carnal rewards after death (somewhere along the way, someone in charge finally felt me deserving of a talented man and gave me the strength to say the magic words, “No, darling, a little to the left.”) But through the years, my boundaries had become fuzzy, less defined, and oh so easy to cross.

I can almost see when things started going bad. When I was 18, I fell in love with a guy of 21. I totally lost myself to him. I’m not sure why or how, but I’m certain that it was my own doing and I hold nothing against him. Yeah, he made some pretty heinous mistakes, but dear Elvis, he was 21! These days, I wouldn’t trust a 21 year old to tie my shoes much less protect my sense of self worth. Besides, that wasn’t his job. This guy and I endured a pretty rough experience or two and I came to find myself losing every bit of myself to him. I gave my power away – maybe because I felt like it wasn’t enough to protect me. Man, 21 and 18 = the blind leading the stupid.

Regardless, nothing with me was ever the same after that. What followed was about 5 years of self destructive stupidity. We all have those years, eh? I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have, said a lot of things I shouldn’t have, and certainly let a lot of folks get away with things they never should have gotten away with. I had no boundaries – well, none that couldn’t be persuaded. While I’m not proud of a lot of what I did and a lot of the choices I made (and I sure as hell wouldn’t repeat them,) I’m not sorry that I went through it all. It’s made me who I am. I am learning and getting stronger again. I’m connecting to that bad ass inside more and more often these days. I like who I have become, who I am. And who I am just keeps getting better.

So much better, in fact, that it is again becoming easy (and secretly fun) for me to say NO. No, I cannot come this minute, I have my own things going on. No, I cannot bring those samples because they currently don’t exist and I’m not going to kill myself creating them. No, I will not let you eat my last piece of chocolate – I’m bleeding and it’s essential to me as oxygen. If you want to keep that finger, you’ll get it out of my ice cream right now. Yes I can help you but no, not in that way. No, I will not support you when you continue to make asinine choices. NO, I will not say it’s okay when it’s not. NO, I will not agree with you when I think you’re being an idiot. No, I will not compliment you when you’re being an asshole. No, I will not add a zipper to that bag – I didn’t design it that way, thank you very much.

You know what? Saying NO works so well that no one argues with it. NO is a complete sentence. Anyone who doesn’t listen when you say NO is trying to control you. Heh Heh Heh. Go ahead, sucker, just TRY to control me. Hope you have insurance.

In the coming years, I’ll be the one who cannot possibly understand my kids’ angst. I’ll be the one who is so uncool that I’ve never possibly experienced anything as profound as their lives. My boundaries will, hopefully, continue to strengthen when they need to and flex when called for, but hopefully my resolve to respect them will grow until the very end. And, when I finally get to where I’m destined after this time on the planet, I just hope Mr. Morrison can handle it when I tell him NO.

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And that is how you do that!

September 30, 2005

In my line of work, the word “Induction” usually evokes one thought – “UGH.” Just basic facts – inductions hugely increase the risk of cesarean, labor is often harder to handle and integrate because there’s no natural ebb and flow of things, and they are usually LONG and end with a baby looking less than happy and a Mom either being a) drugged or b) so tired she couldn’t care less if she gave birth to a boy, a girl, or a gorilla.

Occasionally, however, things are different.

Yesterday, I attended an induction with some clients with whom I’ve been working for a few months. Induction was the second to last thing that they wanted, but their care provider was giving them the choice of that or the very last thing they wanted, a cesarean. After considering those options, as well as the option of doing nothing at all, my clients decided that an induction would be fine -they wanted to see their baby. These folks had done it all right. They read the *right* books, took the best childbirth education class around, hired a doula, asked the hard questions, made good choices. Both my partner and I felt really good about them. If an induction could be awesome, which it could, then these would be the folks who could do it.

I could go on and on about the nitty gritty details, but 1) you probably don’t care, 2) it’s not my place to tell their story, and 3) it doesn’t really matter. What DOES matter is that this couple made this birth fun. Plain fun. Bullet points of happiness about this birth (from my eyes.)

  • in 13 and half hours, less than one full IV bag of pitocin was used. Yep. awesome
  • positioning was never limited. No one ever said, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that, get back into bed.”
  • Internal exams were kept to HER request (unheard of in the hospital.)
  • No one flinched at her eating and drinking at will
  • Multimedia included music by Johnny Cash, The Who, and the Ramones and TV of King of the Hill, and That 70’s Show. You know that makes me happy.
  • Mom never once asked for any pain meds and no one even mentioned it.
  • Mom chose her desired way of pushing.
  • Baby boy born looking happy and healthy (and beyond adorable) and not even once taken out of Mom’s arms until she was ready.

This was the first time I had worked with this doc. Let me just say, she very quickly has moved up into my list of favorites. She was so respectful and, frankly, spent most of her time looking to me for suggestions for positioning and pushing and whatnot. After all, she knows that she’s trained in catching the baby, I’m trained in helping the baby come. Right on.

Congratulations A, J, and Baby Z. You showed them. You showed them all. You did it with style and grace and you did it under your own power, your own way. That’s just hard core. I’ll come to your baby-having parties anytime.

And that is how you do that.

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Pick a title, any title

September 28, 2005

Random thoughts –

I posted new pictures to Kohleidoscope today. There are some before and after shots of two bags that were custom ordered so folks can see how they start out and how the end up. Seriously different. And, there are pictures of 2 bags that are knitted and lined – no felting. They’re pretty darn cute, cheaper than felted bags of their size, and up for grabs. I’m getting feedback on these things since putting the blog up. Wahoo!

I have been an evil Mom lately. Just really no compassion. Hard assed. Think Red from That 70’s Show. Happy Fun Time has been over. Shit, that really sucks for my kids. I mean, come on, they’re just a breath away from still be babies, you know? Bad Mom. Bad Mom. Bad Mom. Guess I’ll have to fork out the big dough for the stuffed gorillas when we hit the Zoo in a couple of weeks. Yeah, I know, buying my kids. I gotta say, at this point, it it’s between buying them and beating them, I’m sure that they’d appreciate being bought. We can sort out the mess later.

I’ve been working like mad lately. DDFF and I have a slew of clients coming due. That means we’re going to births AND fitting in a couple of prenatals every week. And I make appointments to see folks for Kohleidoscope probably once a week. For the last 3 weeks, B has had to put the boys to bed without me at least 3 out of 7 nights. No big deal, in the long run, but I tell you, it’s quite a change from the months that I hardly ever missed a bedtime story. It’s good for me. And it’s good for them. And no one is sneezing at the looser purse strings, you know?

DDFF has written a post about her weight loss. Awesome! She’s doing great and I’m so proud of her. I tell you, we’re two foxy doulas. Oh my, sometimes I crack myself up.

Kindermusik rocks. Just rocks. Check it out. Enough said.

My doula gig is getting in the way of me enjoying my one (hush, my friends) trashy vice – Days of Our Lives. Yep. Yesterday a baby was born and I have to tell you – just about the ONLY thing they got right is that this baby didn’t come out the mother’s nose. Holy Cannole, do some damned research, folks!! Even us birthy folks look for an easy escape now and then, a fantasy to get lost in while folding the laundry and wiping noses and cuing up birth videos. DON’T BE A BUZZ KILL. Maybe I’ll get a job making sure these folks don’t look so asinine. I think Salem could use a doula, eh?

This coming weekend I’m going to a joint party (again, my friends, HUSH, it’s not that kind of joint party,) for my nephew and one of my nieces. It’s a birthday party. Somehow, they’ll be 12 and 6. The 12 year old’s, my nephew’s, was the first labor / birth I ever attended. A failed induction that ended in a cesarean, this was the birth that made me see that it could be, had to be, another way. Unreal. He’s grown into an amazing young man – actually becoming more man than boy every single day. But he still lets me hug him, as long as I listen all about his girlfriends (there are many.) The 6 year old reminds me of myself. She’s blond haired and blue eyed and feisty as all hell. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. Right on. Happy birthday, folks.

Love and Rockets forever.

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With thanks

September 25, 2005

A little boy was born in the wee hours of the morning. I was there, as was my business partner. We’ve done births together before. Many, in fact. It’s always fun working together. Almost always after, we meet for dinner and talk about those moments we’ll always remember – the funny thing that Mom said right after that whopper contraction, finding the stash of chocolate, the amazing sight of a baby looking around underwater while waiting for the rest of his or her little body to slide out into the birthing tub. In our line of work, talking about details of a birth with folks who weren’t there is a no-no. Sure, we might tell friends, family, and other doulas about this or that, but it’s always with a tight lip. Never is a name mentioned, never an identifying detail. We adhere to a strict code of confidentiality in order to protect the family’s privacy and the sactity of birth. Birth is passionate. Birth is intimate. Birth is personal. Birth is sacred. It’s also sometimes funny, jubilant, intense, annoying, exhausting, trying, challenging, mysterious. It’s always emotional. Having a partner with whom to discuss and debrief, for lack of a better term, is a blessing and I’m grateful that I’ve been gifted with such an amazing one.

Sometimes, having a partner means the difference between hanging up the birth bag for good and slipping on those funky purple Birki’s and dashing out the door at 2 in the morning to help greet the next new person in town.

I’ve always written about the beauty of my job and sometimes the complaints of my job. Really, the beauty goes without saying. I mean, c’mon, I get to see people come out of people. I get to hear a child’s first sounds. I get to be present for that magical moment when parents lay eyes on this new person for the first time, and I get to see the realization between long lovers that, “wow, we did it! We made that little human from our love.”

The complaints? Well, the hours suck. No question about it. Sometimes I get a nice and easy butter birth and get home in enough time to kiss the kids good night, or at least fall into bed myself early enough to make saying good (very early) morning to my kids less excruciating. Most of the time, however, I go 24 hours or more without sleep after getting called out to a birth about 3 minutes before I finally drift off to sleep after a long, haggard assed day of being Mom. As I get older, it takes longer and longer to recover from a birth and the “hangover” that comes the next day seems to last longer than it used to. Most of the newbie doula birth obsession has long since faded into a pragmatic approach. I don’t jump out of bed in the middle of the night with quite so much excitement and fervor as I once did. I’m noticing that I’m becoming less tolerant of labor arresting whining and much more apt to take the, “Yes you can so do this – you’re a mother and mothers can do ANYTHING, so get on up and have this baby” point of view.

Some folks may say that I’ve become jaded. I disagree. I think I’m seasoned – and getting more and more so with each rapidly successive birth. I’m certainly still learning from each one, but when you stop learning from them, you should just stop doing them all together.

This morning, I saw a little boy decide to stay in this world. I saw him come out looking like there was no hope, but feeling and knowing in my heart that he wasn’t done here. As the doctor and my business partner worked to bring this beautiful boy into his own awareness with stimulation, oxygen, and the breaths from their own lungs, I helped out by reminding the parents that their son needed to hear them, so talk to him now. RIGHT NOW. I warmed towels, grabbed the oxygen tank, spoke to this old soul in a new body, gathered hats and blankets and faith. As I put hat after hat onto this soft new head, I prayed to every higher power I’ve ever known, believed in, or even heard of. Please, Elvis, please help him. Help us. Baby, breathe. Please breathe. Come on baby, breathe for us again.

And he did.

As he got his first ride out into the world (in an ambulance – what boy wouldn’t be thrilled with that?) he got pink and started to cry. And now, nearly 20 hours after his birth, I’m matching his cries with my own. As it turns out, this little boy is fine and beautiful and, most likely, enjoying a long comforting meal at his mother’s breast right this minute. There’s some controversy about whether or not he will remember this, whether infants remember their births. I have my own opinions about that and other folks have theirs. What’s irrefutable, however, is that I will remember this one forever, as will the other folks who were there. It has had a profound effect on me. This little guy left his mark on my heart.

My partner and I didn’t meet tonight for our usual dine and decompress session. We’ve spoken on the phone several times, but I think we both know that what we experienced together today doesn’t need to be voiced- at the moment, there just aren’t words. Well, not words that we need to say to each other, anyhow. This is also the advantage of having a partner – sometimes a look or a pause or a breath says it all. DDFF, I know. Oh, I know. For the rest of you, if you know my partner and you know her blog, be sure to read today’s entry. It’s beautiful. A tribute. A benediction, of sorts. An “I know” moment of her own.

Thanks for taking the leap, little boy. I’m glad you are sticking around. And, in appreciation for what you’ve given me, I’ll tell you where to find the good chocolate – it’s stashed in the pantry.

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Ozark Oh My! 

September 23, 2005

Ozark Oh My! Posted by Picasa

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Whammo Cammo (for David) 

September 23, 2005

Whammo Cammo (for David) Posted by Picasa

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AHOY! 

September 23, 2005

AHOY! Posted by Picasa