Monday, April 30, 2007

Let them be little....

I was recently a speaker at the Indiana Perinatal conference - the last speakers of the day were a panel of fathers, talking openly about their experience in childbirth classes. They did an awesome job! So I thought of them when I saw this music video by Billy Dean. If I could figure out how to purchase the video (already have the song) I would show it in my childbirth class.

I hear he is performing at the LLL conference in July in Chicago.

Watch and listen to "Let Them Be Lttle": Billy Dean

May baskets, music, and more

Whew! I think the cloud is's been a tough couple of months - on top of the move and all the chaos that creates, complicated by illness/surgery, and then recently breaking down, having so much of my stuff stolen, followed by saying good-bye to the family dog (Kisa, a dalmatian who was true to the story and had 15 puppies one New Year's Eve a long time ago)....I look forward to May 1st!! I have such fond memories of a family tradition when I was a kid - May baskets. My mom and I use to make/deliver little flower baskets and ring doorbells and run!

I haven't blogged in a while....I have been on the road to Indianapolis! I once again learned my lesson about the stress there is built in when depending on technology - why do I put myself through that? The best laid plans of powerpoint and dvd clips ended up with me sweating bullets and flying by the seat of my pants! Luckily I survived to the break, gave up on the technology and did what I do best...Teri, unplugged!

Just read about an Associated Press article about Music for Birth. Links always change but today it is available at: Music

While I was humming "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross as a possible pushing song and wondering if I could use "The First Cut is the Deepest Cut" by Sheryl Crow in the cesearean role play I do....I reflected back on a birth I was awhile ago....she had been pushing for awhile, quite awhile when the the Cat Stevens song came on "You can't keep it in, you gotta let it out...." We cracked up and welcomed the baby soon after that. When I went on the post-partum visit, they had a copy of the cd as a thank you gift. So sweet.

Use music in your Childbirth Class....people will remember more longer. Connie Sultana introduced me to the idea of using Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" during second stage stage discussion to describe the buring sensation women may feel.

How do you use music? Post your ideas!

Friday, April 20, 2007

New York has been promoting breastfeeding for a long time

Recently New York City Mayor Bloomberg has made it a city-wide initiative to increase breastfeeding rates including support for hospitals to become baby-friendly.

Jeanne Green sent me this link from 1914 that shows NYC has been taking a stand FOR breastfeeding for a long time. They were even more adament in 1914! Read the orginal article here: Ten Reasons Why to Nurse

To read about the new initiative to increase the BF long-term rates in NYC, click here: NYC support for breastfeeding

So as childbirth educators, how can we incorporate this into our classes?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Business of Being Born

Live near New York? I just learned from an email sent by Barbara Harper that this year's Tribeca Film Festival is the premiere launch for Ricki Lake's documentary on birth: The Business of Being Born

From the official description: "In this candid and eye-opening documentary, director Epstein and producer Ricki Lake explore and question the way American women have babies. Shocking facts (to men and women alike) regarding the historical and current practices of the child birthing industry interweave with stories of couples who decide to give birth on their own terms."

Click here to find out more information on this production and where it is being shown:
Business of Being Born

And an interview where she shares that her birth is included is here: Ricki Lake

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From the good to the bad

I had a great opportunity to travel to eastern Washington to work with a dynamic group of childbirth educators-to-be who work with women as community health workers and case managers. This small town of Othello is so lucky to have a progressive health care system that is doing and supporting amazing things! The women in the workshop were open, excited and so enthusiastic!

I was so excited to DRIVE to this workshop (about 4 hours away). I decided to take the SUV so I would have more room to take extra "stuff". I was thrilled NOT to have to deal with an airport. As I was packing after the seminar, grateful that I had help lugging the suitcases, the bins, the boxes to the car, little did I know what was ahead on the trip home.

First the engine temperature light came on....if I ran the heater on high, it stayed below the bright red line - I read the manual and pulled over at this small convenience stop, added fluid and hoped that was it. I hit the road! No luck, the light came on and I decided to call for help. I was in the middle of nowhere - waited an hour and half for a tow truck! 30 miles and $225 later, we left the vehicle at the repair shop and I checked into the local Holiday Inn - it was Saturday night and no mechanic until Monday! I alerted my family and tried to make the best of it....Monday morning the call came - "sorry but your vehicle has been broken into along with 3 others - police are on their way - but your stuff is pretty spread out all over the place...."

That's right, they opened my two huge suitcases and spread what they didn't want all over the place - they dumped the bins - scattered the hundreds of teaching activity cards - they took the "labor tool belt" What will they do with a pelvis? And the birth posters and .....I haven't taken a final survey of what all is gone but I have gone from hurt to anger to a reality check as I watch the true horror of what happened at VA Tech.

So I have to re-create a lot of stuff - and re-order supplies....and get the cd/radio/doom light/car locks fixed....and forget what you see on CSI! This small town policeman couldn't find a single fingerprint!

So no more complaining about flying for me! (until the next time they loose my luggage!)

High touch cesarean

With the cesarean rate rising, it would be great to "family-friendly-ize" the birth experience and welcoming of the new baby. I remember being so delighted to hear from Marilyn Hildreth in South Dakota how she was getting those babies to nurse while the woman was having her incision closed!

Here is one article about an option for a woman to be even more involved: Cesarean

In childbirth class I think it is important to talk about options with cesarean - who is present, what music is being played, keeping mother and baby together in recovery, etc.

Yes, we would all like to see a reduction in the cesarean rate. While we are working hard to change that tide, we can also inspire women in our classes to advocate for themselves if their birth path leads to a cesarean, how to make it baby and family friendly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Breastfeeding in shampoo ad

I heard through the grapevine (lactation vine?) that Suave has a shampoo ad on TV that has a mom breastfeeding in it...not sure if anyone has time to watch TV these days, but if you catch it, write a review here!

You know you are a creative childbirth educator when...

I am typing up the evaluations from the last couple seminars - did I tell you I hate paperwork? But they are fun to read - as people share how excited they are, how they want to be more creative, how they are inspired to lecture less and how their enthusiasm for teaching childbirth classes just fills the pages of evaluations. There are more and more of us out there "stomping out boring childbirth classes!"

I received a note today from a new educator who is just finishing up her observed teaching and she writes: "I have been inspired and I wanted you to know. I even sang on the first night of teaching - I adpated the philosophies of Lamaze to Happy Birthday."

Do you I need say any more? You are a creative teacher when.....

Cookies and milk!

Advocacy takes many different avenues. Read about a woman who is raising money for the new Iowa milk bank by making 1,000 breast cookies. Milk Bank cookies

Sunday, April 08, 2007

BF materials in many other languages

I know some of you are looking for great breastfeeding materials in English and other languages such as: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Kurdish, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish and Urdu. Well I came across a UK health site that has a great booklet on breastfeeding available in all those languages. And actually the pictures are so incredible that even if someone didn't speak any of those, they could get the jest. Enjoy! And comment on the blog if you know of other awesome materials available in other languages. beautiful BF booklet

This reference was actually posted on LACTNET, a wonderful list serve for people working in the field of lactation. It can overwhelm your in-box (I recommend the digest. Want to learn more about it? You can review the archives and learn about joining the group at LACTNET

Saturday, April 07, 2007

BF for a day handout

Will I ever run out of things to share? As I write yet another post in a very short time period, I am telling myself, "I should wait and post this tomorrow. What if I don't have anything to write about next week?" But my gut tells me there is always new and exciting things to write about in the field of childbirth education! And if I don't post when I have the idea or inspiration, I will loose it! So for those of you who are regular readers, there will be flood times and drought times! And that's ok!

Breastfeeding is near and dear to me....and I wanted to make sure that you knew of a great site - with one of my favorite handouts. I went there to check to see if it was still there and noticed that for a few dollars, you can receive any and all of her handouts and can duplicate as much as you want/need! She is Diane Wiessinger and my favorite handout is here: BF for a day All of her handouts are listed here Wiessinger handouts

Enjoy and think about getting permission to use in your classes!

Monty Python Meaning of Life

In many seminars we have had the time to show a short clip from Monty Python's "Meaning of Life." While I don't show it in my childbirth classes, I do think it provides a good discussion platform for those who attend birth and support families. Created in the 80's, there are a few things that have changed.

But for me the most thought provoking scene is when the woman asks "What do I do? What do I do?" And they reply, "nothing! You aren't qualified." While in today's hospitals that is not expressed openly, it is integrated into the way that some (not all) places treat birthing women. Our work as childbirth educators is to provide the space/teaching methodologies/discussions so that the women leave our programs, knowing they are the center of their birth and their body does know how to birth her baby.

If you haven't seen the clip, it is on UTUBE (Is there anything that isn't?)Monty Python's Meaning of Life

Friday, April 06, 2007

A birth story and a story about carrots

Today I got an email from someone going through the Passion for Birth program and she commented: "I read your birth story in Journey into Motherhood - which will be required reading for my classes- Great story!" It's always a treat when someone shares that they read your story. ("Our story" actually, the birth of my daughter.) That was easy to write and I am grateful that Sherri collected positive birth stories and made them available to balance all the scary stories about birth that are out there!

Another place where I have written a family story (not a birth story) appears in a cookbook. My family who knows I hate to cook cracks up with the idea that I have something in a cookbook! It started out as a submission to the FamilyFun Magazine describing a tradition we started: planting special carrot seeds to be dug up in the winter for snowmen's noses. I received a small payment for that submission. They then decided to use the story in a sidebar in the cookbook and asked permission and sent a free copy of the cookbook and another payment - that was 10 years ago. Well they are re-publishing the cookbook and tracked me down - I have moved from WV to CO to CA to MO during that time - and sent me an even bigger check and a promise of a copy of the new cookbook in exchange for being allowed to reprint! And I will continue to amaze my family and friends that I am published in a cookbook! Sounds like a reason to go out to eat tonight to celebrate, eh?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On a blog marathon

Sometimes I won't blog for a week and then days like today when I am focused on clearing out my overflowing inbox, I keep finding a lot of "gems" and want to share them before I delete them or store them in places I may not be able to remember!

So here are a couple breastfeeding resources - an animated drawing of a latch - asymmetrical, nipple aimed for the nose, chin coming in first - just like I demonstrate with the Breastfeeding hamburger (veggie burger). Latch

There are so some diverse posters here: Poster

And a nice and easy site to see/read here: how - to

Back to catching up on email!

Healthy People 2010

Healthy People 2010 has been talked about for a long time. Lamaze worked really hard to ensure that at least one of the objectives included a focus on childbirth education. They just released a mid-way report. Healthy People mid-way report It does say that progress could not be assessed as data was not available. They also addressed breastfeeding. I think it is worth childbirth educators to read and be familiar with....


April is Cesarean Awareness month. On their website: ICAN they describe how to make the ribbon and why it is upside down.
The Cesarean Awareness Ribbon debuted in April of 2004 for Cesarean Awareness Month. The burgundy color of the ribbons represents birth and the wearing of the ribbon upside down symbolizes the state of distress many pregnant women find themselves in when their birthing choices are limited. The loop of the inverted ribbon represents a pregnant belly and the tails are the arms of a woman outstretched in a cry for help.

*To make your own CAM ribbon, use sku#310815, item# M10141, BASIC BASIC Woven Double-sided satin burgundy ribbon from Michaels Stores* Cross arms pointing up and hot glue a pin on or use a straight pin.

Check to see if there is ICAN chapter near you.

Watch this clip

I "blogged" about BIRTh the play before - but I just learned from Pat Predmore that Karen has added a video on her website and I found it inspirational. Think about becoming involved in BOLD this year - but definitely go to: Birth the Play. Several of the Passion for Birth Trainers have been involved in the play. Standing ovation for them!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Elephants: birth upright and with continuous support

Remember those books - "Everything I needed know I could have learned in kindergarten?" Well the same could be said about watching some wild animals birth. This clip Elephant Birth at Ulusaba illustrates the six care practices: labor starts on its own, no routine interventions, continuous support, freedom on movement, upright for pushing and no separation of mother and baby!


looking vs. seeing

Often times quotes leap off pages and cause an "aha" for me. I was reading a marketing newsletter when the words of Henry David Thoreau caught my attention:

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

This is so, so true about the visual aids we use for childbirth class...from the posters on the wall to the dvds we show to the models we use for demonstrations. As dynamic childbirth educators, we need to constantly be assessing what people in our classes are "seeing" (and feeling) vs what they are looking at.

When choosing dvds, really examine what it is that people see and remember and ultimately apply to their birth. Are they increasing confidence or making them more fearful?

When you use the charts of the stages of labor are you making birth seem too complicated vs something that a laboring woman just moves through....

I remember a labor partner commenting he didn't like the cross section posters of a pregnant vs non-pregnant woman's body (headless/legless.) I remember a great teaching idea used by someone in a seminar (and I will remember her name as soon as I am not trying so hard to remember - she is in Australia!) She works with teens - she buys a current teen magazine and cuts out the large face of someone who is currently "hot." She glues it to flip chart paper and then draws the body and places all the organs and talks about the impact of the pregnancy and baby on them...she made her points without making us feel "dissected." She was a talented facilitator.

So I think it's time to "see what people are looking at" in our birth programs.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Under the Belly on ABC

ABC is promoting a new comedy that is suppose to air starting April 11th. Under the Belly is about pregnancy and birth and is a comedy series. The trailers look a bit alarming to say the least. I am sure the program will be a hot topic of discussion in your childbirth classes. Feel free to post how it impacts your classes! To watch the trailers go to: Under The Belly

Two new breastfeeding sites to check out

Have you ever noticed how you get an email blast with an interesting link. You go there and before you know it, you have found even more amazing sites! Well that happened to me today and I want to pass on two very intriguing sites - one is Latch On which appears to be a great place to find out about breastfeeding projects as well as link to funders.

The other is a parenting/breastfeeding information site. It is sponsored by Amy Spangler. Baby Goo Roo and I like the look and feel and the information there.

Both of these look like sites to watch!

Anesthesiologists take a little step when a leap was needed

Robin sent me a link to a press release about changes in care sent out by US anesthesiologists. Looks like they finally realized that women can drink in labor.
When I saw the release date (April Fool's Day) I paused and wanted to make sure I wasn't being tricked.

Here is part of the press release:
"* Drinking clear liquids in limited quantities has been found to bring comfort to laboring patients and does not increase labor complications. Patients with uncomplicated labor may drink small amounts of clear liquid, while patients scheduled to undergo a nonemergency cesarean section may drink small amounts of clear liquids up to two hours before receiving anesthesia."

It's a little step, let's hope they continue to look at the research and change their stand on food!

They also say:
"*Patients in early labor should be offered the option of receiving neuraxial analgesia (spinal or epidural) when the service is available, and it should not be withheld to meet arbitrary standards for cervical dilation. Patients can be reassured that receiving neuraxial analgesia or pain blocks, including epidural analgesia and spinal analgesia, does not increase the incidence of cesarean section."

Read the whole press release at:
epidural practices updated

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Free access to breastfeeding research

These is a new style of peer-reviewed research journal focusing on breastfeeding that has open access (free) to all it's articles. Instead of the readers paying a subscription for access to read, the authors pay a fee to have their manuscript reviewed and published. Go to International Breastfeeding Journal