Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen

A few weeks ago, my "child care provider" informed me that she would no longer be able to watch my kids past 4 pm since she changed the hours she is working her other job. I work from 2 to 7 pm, three days a week, and this change doesn't work for me at all! So, rather than track down all new child care (a daunting and terrifying task as it requires one to screen out wackos and idiots as well as vette the hours available and cost issues and find someone willing to be a bit "crunchy" in the way they deal with children).

I bring Ribh to the office with me every day. My patients play with her or else she plays on the floor or sleeps in her carseat. I nurse her when I have a little gap in my schedule and my staff slings her if she gets too fussy and I am busy adjusting. My office is a very child friendly place since about 30 to 40 percent of my patient base is comprised of children. We have a whole shelf full of toys and games and coloring books and what not. But, I still prefer to not have all the kids with me. My big kids need to have more supervision and room to run around.

Because I had no easy solution for this crisis, my mom agreed to help out for a few weeks while I figured out what to do next. She came for a week, but the rigors of dealing with my hooligans wiped her out. She has a few chronic health issues and her 50-something bones weren't up to the task. She went home sooner than expected. I tried to call in favors and scrambled together alternate child care options. A friend came out and watched them one day but I was forced to bring all three of them to the office with me another day that week.

The Scene:

Patient: Hi, Doctor Mary. I see you have helpers today. Who is this?

Me: (With a two year old wrapped around one leg) This is my daughter, Qui........

Quin: (interrupting) Aiiiiiii! Arhghhhh! MAMAMAMAMA! (Climbing) I don't like her! I don't want to be here!!! NOOOOOO!! AIIIIIIIIII!

Patient: Um. Oh.

Me: (peeling Quin's four point toddler death grip off of my sweating torso) Let me just... (Hissing) Quin, Let's go watch Dora in the other room. (To patient) I'll be right with you.

Quin: Water! I neeed water!!! Mamamamamama! Water! WATER!

Me: Look Quin, you have water right here in this room.

Quin: Nooooooo! WATER! WATER! WATER!

Gabe: Mama, Quin doesn't want that water. She poured it on the floor. See. (Pointing to spreading puddle on carpet)

Quin: I get water. I get water in closet. (Gesturing toward location of water cooler)

Me: I'll help you in just one minute, honey.

Quin: NOOOOOO!!!! AIIIIII! WAAATER! (Thrashing on floor)

Gabe: Mama, can you turn the movie louder?

Quin: (Kicking my ankles) Go home Mama! Mamamamamama, I want GO HOME! Aaiiiiiiiaiii!

Me: (Gently closing door) I'll be right back you two, hold on. (Sprinting back to patient.)

While adjusting patient the screaming subsides. Blessed peace is restored. Then a glug glug glug noise is heard.

Me: Oh no. Excuse me just one second. (Sprinting to water cooler closet)

Quin: Look mama! WATER! (Holding up overflowing cup of water)

Me: Great Quinny. No more water. Lets go back to the TV room (sipping water off top of cup to bring slosh quotient down) and watch Dora. (dragging child by one wrist)

Quin: MY WATER! NO! MY water Mama! Quinny hold it! I holdit! Iholdit! Iholdit! Oh. DORA! Look Mama! DORA!

Me: (sneaking away, soundlessly, blithely ignoring the fact that Quin is now clutching a full cup of water, thrilled because the Dora crack cocaine has taken effect)

(two similarly noisy and stressfully interrupted hours later)

Me: Kids, lets go home now. Lets clean up the crayons and markers everywhere. Ummm. Hey Gabe! What are these little pieces of blue foam on the floor in here?

Gabe: Quin was eating them.

Me: Okaaay. But what are they? Where did they come from?

Gabe: Quin bited them off that big thing there.

Me: What big thing? Oh. You mean this $60 foam cervical traction unit?

Gabe: Yeah. That big thing.

Me: Great. (thinking) Did she swallow any?

Quin: Look Mama! (pulling a soggy chunk of blue foam from her mouth) Blue!

End Scene

My sister, Banana Girl, and her daughter, Honey Babe came to relieve me shortly afterward. They have been here for a week now and my sense of well being is significantly improved. We've learned a lot. Banana Girl is now terrified to have additional children within 5 years of each other, and I have discovered how cool it is to have a wife.

Seriously, blessings to all Stay At Home Moms in the world. That is some serious job! If your husbands don't tell you how great you are every day, you need to make them come read this post and imagine what their day would look like if they brought your children to the office with them.

Just imagine the previous scene, except set at a corporate bank, or car dealership, or accounting firm. Imagine all the water coolers, and paper products, and office supplies, and ankle kicking and leaping off of chairs, and running into inappropriate offices and people. Just think of the computer cords to chew through and all the lovely chaos and destruction just one two year old could wreak in the first half hour in a professional setting. Impressive, is it not?

I also want to take this opportunity to sincerely and deeply thank my mother and Banana Girl for giving up weeks of their lives so that I can not only have top quality child care for my kids during this time of great stress, but also someone over the age of 4 to talk to when I am home. Bless you, both of you. You are the best wives a girl could ask for, EVER!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Babies Babies Babies

On Wednesday, my friend J called me to tell me that she had her baby on Monday! Whooohoo! But then the plot thickened.

Her family has a history of cleft palate and her newborn son (her third child) was born with a cleft palate. Because the baby was born at home (before the midwife could arrive) they decided (reasonably) to transport to the hospital a few hours after the birth, knowing that a child with one congenital anomaly runs a higher statistical risk of having additional anomalies.

Just before transporting, their midwife informed them that she had become recently embroiled in a legal situation due to complications from a previous birth and could not go with them to the hospital. Furthermore, she asked that they not mention her name or even mention that they had used a midwife because that would further complicate her ongoing legal situation.

So they went to the hospital, were admitted through ER even though no emergent situation was unfolding, because the hospital had no other "easy" way to deal with them. They were require to admit their child to the NICU unit since labor and delivery would only accept them if J was *in labor*. So, their new son, who was doing just fine, was put in a little plastic box and hooked up to a bunch of tubes, because that is what they do in NICU.

The hospital folk ran a bunch of tests to ascertain that there were no other defects, like a heart murmur or occult spina bifida etc. The baby is fine. But his blood glucose was a little low. (Imagine that! in a new born who is just 6 hours old and has been through all of that and not fed. Insert sarcasm here) So they fed him a little formula and his blood glucose came right up, but not quite to the number they have dubbed *normal*, so they insisted on keeping him overnight "for observation".

The brought in numerous "experts" to meet with the parents. Five doctors told J that while her desire attempt to nurse was laudable, that nursing was simply impossible and that she would be wasting her time trying. A speech therapist told her that she should talk to her baby "as if he were a normal little boy." Nice that! WTF! They were told when the surgeries could be done, given the special nipple to feed him with, and taught how to use it. J and her husband already knew much of this due to J's family history of this defect. J's husband is a chiropractor and perfectly cognizant of what all the test and parameters are, even though the hospital folk insisted on explaining painstakingly to them what issues they were concerned about and why. Explaining as if they were 10 year olds rather than experienced parents of 3 who have advanced degrees in the health care field. Because, chiropractor don't go to medical school and therefore don't understand. And because J and her husband, R, didn't just roll over on their backs with their tails between their legs over every recommendation given them by the hospital folk.

So, in the morning, although every routine test had returned to normal parameters, the hospital recommended that the baby stay another day, "for observation". J and R decided (well within their legal rights) to take their baby home "against medical advice". A follow up appointment was scheduled for them by the hospital, 2 days hence. After being home two days, they called the hospital to inquire exactly when that appointment was. The hospital could not find the appointment. The hospital called that afternoon confirming that they had missed the appointment which had been scheduled for that morning and set up a new appointment for the next day.

Then DHS (Department of Health Services) called. And this, people, is where I move from highly irritated to "my f-ing blood is f-ing boiling now!" DHS was "concerned for the welfare of this child" because the parents had removed him from the hospital against medical advice, had failed to appear and his first post natal appointment and had attempted to deliver him at home (as far as they knew) without the use of a midwife or any other expert.

I have heard many times that people who work for DHS are well intentioned if not noble people who just want to help children with crazy negligent parents. That they must "investigate" all claims and that they only continue to focus on the family when it is clear that the parents are behaving in a negligent manner. So, everything will be fine for my friend J, right? J and R explained the whole situation, including the mixup with the scheduled appointment. The DHS folk said, Whatever. We will be doing a home visit and watching you every week until we are satisfied that this child will be properly cared for (by their criteria).

My friends and their tiny baby are being held hostage (with the looming unspoken threat that DHS can remove not only their newborn, but also their other two children) to the guidelines of a failed system! They must capitulate to whatever the medical establishment recommends or risk having him taken away! They must follow the advice and requirements of a system (I'm talking about "medical science" here, people) that continues to fail not only to "cure" the problems of our nation, but actually has become the number one cause of death in the US every year! Medical science is NOT GOD! They make mistakes (and costly ones at that) all the time. They kill people (784,000 per year) with their surgeries, and their properly prescribed drugs, and their insane notions about what health is and where health comes from. And heaven forbid that any educated and informed person not bow to the altar of their authority!

I am so pissed off for my friends. I am not afraid that their child will be killed by the recommendations of the hospital folk. But I am enraged that our (legal and health) system is so deeply flawed as to punish and stress and torment any who disagree with the F-ing authority of a bullshit system and illogical health paradigm which have proven themselves ineffective by their own standards so many times, even a third grader would declare: "Let's try something new. This shit ain't working!" And this in a country that uses the word "Freedom" as a battlecry of all that is right and good supposedly about itself.


And then I got a call yesterday afternoon. A different friend's partner called to tell me that they had just had their first baby, at home, unassisted as planned! The baby is doing great! The mama is doing great! They just had a couple of questions about cord care and post-natal procedure. But left alone in their own apartment, with no hovering "helpers" and no interfering medical folks and cautionary procedures, their first child quietly and simply was born into his mother's and father's hands.

I stopped in, at their request, yesterday afternoon to check the baby's spine and overall health. I was so honored at their trust and faith in me to help them evaluate their precious boy. They knew instinctively that he was okay, but since they know me well and know that I have lots of experience with this type of thing, they asked me to just run through the basic parameters of a new baby check. I think they just wanted to share their joy a little bit.

The family was so peaceful, mama snuggled in bed with her baby's skin in full contact with her own, his tiny head nestled against her breast, her hand cupping his body and stroking his soft warm flesh. Instictively, she smoothed his head in a pattern that encouraged the appropriate remolding of his cranial bones. The father proudly showed me the placenta so we could examine it for defect or clots. He was laughing and beaming and exclaiming over his son's hands (future chiropractor) as they closed around his own.

They had decided to hold off on calling family and friends until after I came by and after they were a little more settled into their new experience as parents. They were observing a classic "babymoon" with minimal visitors or interference to their bonding as their own little family for the first week. And they were so calm and collected and bonded, already, as a brand new, 3 hour old family. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this.

This is what birth can be, for those who value such a thing. This is what is possible for those who have confidence in the human body and it's vast ability and for those who are willing to give the power of that body more than lip service. This bold "new" (ha! How do we think our ancestors got here?) paradigm not only works, but is so valuable and so precious, that few even dare to speak of it. And that must change.

We, as a culture, need to really look at the art, and the science and the philosophy of the "experts" that we have currently elevated to the status of Gods. While they are good and well meaning people, the system and the paradigm of western medicine is failing in epic proportions. The US is ranked 28th (in 1999, and it keeps declining) of industrialized nations for birth safety and infant mortality. The richest and "smartest" nation in the world, the US, is more than half way down the nations list of success in birth. But we let them dictate, to people like my friend J, how she MUST care for her newborn child, because he has a mild anomaly. And while the medical folk will offer valuable service, in their ability to correct this little boy's defect and help him to appear more like everyone else, this should be all done when and how his parent's decide it be done, without pressure or threatening persuasion.

But all over this nation, and all over the world, loving, educated, bold parents buck the system and birth at home, with faith and trust that they can do it. They know that their bodies were perfectly designed for procreation. They know that the more well meaning people who try to manage and aid their birth, the more complications will arise. These parents have incredible strength and trust and knowledge of what birth can be. These parents will not hesitate to use western medicine's emergency services if a rare complication were to arise. They are knowledgable as to what to do to handle the myriad possibilities within birth. They hire midwives and doulas, they birth alone or with trusted family members, but ultimately, they birth on their own terms, and under the full power of their own intimate connection with what is right for their bodies and their families.

It is this notion of Empowered Birth that keeps my faith in the birth community alive. We must foster this notion, teach this notion, workshop this notion, and change the world, one baby at a time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

My friend, Jim, sent me this meme and I thought some of you might be amused. Enjoy.

1. Middle name?
I won't tell. It is somewhat obscure. It starts with a "J". If you can guess (no fair for those of you who already know) you will be awarded with the grand prize of a phone call from me in which I will sing my masterpiece, "Making Love Out Of Nothing at All" by the World's Greatest Cheesy Rock Band. How cool is that!

2. Were you named after anyone? Not that I am aware of....but it WAS the 70's.

3. Do you wish on stars? I've been known to. I miss the stars in rural Wisconsin. Even Iowa has too much "light pollution" where we live for the stars to be very visible.

4. When did you last cry? Last Saturday, while talking on the phone to somebody to whom I was trying to sell my practice. How professional, huh? I'm sure he'll be making me a juicy offer any day now. Sigh.

5. Do you like your handwriting?
I actually have beautiful handwriting. I am quite particular about it. I share patients, and subsequently patient files, with my partner in practice (and with Hubby) and I can't stand to see their ugly handwriting on my otherwise attractive patient notes. I have such lovely handwriting (and I am wicked smart) that my quick, handwritten notes from class when I was in Chiropractic school were actually saleable.

6. What is your favorite lunch meat? Turkey.

7. What is your birth date? May of 1972!!!!! (I'm still holding out a few details). As I like to say, I celebrated my 5th annual 29th birthday this year. And I still get carded!

8. What is your most embarrassing CD? I'm sure there are many, but I can't think of them specifically. I'm pretty sure I got rid of Hootie and the Blowfish when we moved last time.

9. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with yourself? I would definitely want me for my Chiropractor. I think I'd be friends with myself but I'd sure get tired of hearing the same stories over and over again.

10. Are you a daredevil? I'm a wuss. I guess some people think my stance on birthing is quite daring, but I think braving the horrors of a hospital is daring, so it is all in the perspective..

11. Have you ever told someone a secret & regret that you did? Yes. I can't remember ever revealing someone else's secret, but I have regretted blabbing too much personal info about myself more than a few times..

12. Do looks matter? Let's face it: everyday life can be somewhat easier for the attractive. It's not right, but these biases exist. I was once young and tight assed. Now that my boobs droop and my backyard has grown, people aren't always quite so helpful. However, I am much more resourceful now. But I think being too attractive can also be a negative because those (ultra attractive) people can become lazy, bland, and just plain under-developed. So, you can't win. Be yourself and get over it. (But I am still struggling to lose those pesky "baby pounds".)

13. How do you release anger? I let it build up and then I either come here and vent or wait until my children suggest they don't want to eat dinner or wait their turn or whatever childish petulance they lay on me and I break down and scream at them. I know I do this because this is now the way Gabe deals with his anger (and he can't blog). When he gets mad he says "I am very! very! very! angry with you Mama!" And then he screams. Not so cute. One of the greatest gifts of parenting is the way your children once exposed to your own woeful inadequacies, will present them back to you in perfect mirror image.

14. Where is your second home? Right now, wherever Hubby is. In general, a quiet lake in Northern Wisconsin. But we don't get there much anymore, so maybe that will have to change. I am quite fond of a little island off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Sigh. I'd LOVE to own a second home there.

15. Do you know anyone who was ever missing? No.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? Hmmm. I always coveted a Barbie Dream House, but was never even allowed Barbies ('cuz they promoted unrealistic expectations of womanhood. Yup, my parents were religious hippies). Most of my favorite playthings were books. Does my library card count? I spent entire days at the library all summer long as a kid.

17. Do you have a journal? Yes. As I mentioned recently, I have stacks of journals but each one only has 3-7 pages filled in. Sad. I have a few from my pre-teen and teen years that are quite painfully trite.

19. Favorite movies? A Room With a View, Pride and Prejudice (BBC version), Dirty Dancing, Pulp Fiction, Caddyshack, Old School, gosh...this could go on all day. I know I am forgetting a bunch of favorites.

20. What are your (acceptable)nicknames? Mar, Maja, Mama, Marathon (this one is only used by one person)

21. Would you bungee jump? Only if I were on The Amazing Race. (Please, please can I go? I'd be damned good at it and have better manners about foreign climes.)

22. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I don't think I own a single pair of shoes which tie. I do hate to wear shoes you know. I just like to collect them. And then I take them off as soon as I get to wherever I am going.

23. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? I'm trying to lose weight right now people! Why must you ask me these questions? Right now I'm all about Dove Chocolate frozen ice cream nibbles. Vanilla with milk chocolate coating.

24. What size shoe do you wear? Seven. I am a shoe whore. Send me cute heels and I will be your friend forever.

25. What are your favorite colors? It depends on the context. For decorating my house I like taupe-y warm earthy colors. For dressing slim and elegant I like black and chocolate brown. For everyday "play" clothes that make me feel young and hip I like spring green and melon-y reds. Lately I've had a thing for robin's egg blue. I thought I'd never dress my girls in much pink but I love a sporty hot pink. They wear pinks about 50% of the time, which shocks me 'cuz I really like it.

26. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? A tendency to let my emotions win. Don't get me wrong, I think having emotions is a great and appropriate thing, I just have a tendency to let them get the better of me sometimes. This is getting better as I age.

27. Who do you miss most? Hubby. Lots of other people too, but Hubby wins the "Most Missed" award.

28. Do you want everyone you send this to send it back? Post on your own blog (if you are that cool), or make a comment

29. What color pants are you wearing? Black skirt with a white lotus flower on the bottom.

30. What are you listening to right now? The sound of Peevers blowing raspberries to herself and grunting while she destroys a magazine. Thank God we get so many useless catalogs in the mail. They keep Peeves busy for hours while I blog.

31. What was the last thing you ate? Some cherries and a piece of cheese I begged off my assistant.

32. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Olive Green (Lush. Verdant. Earthy.)

33. What is the weather like right now? It has been such a beautiful day! Blue skies, puffy clouds, temperature in the 70's and not even terrifically humid. Sure, right before I leave Iowa it tries to convince me that it is nice here. I hear it's like 99 degrees with 97% humidity in Atlanta today. Uggh.

34. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My new realtor, Tammy, who called to let me know she has a family who is really really excited about viewing my house tomorrow morning! Cool!

35. What is the first thing that you notice about the opposite sex? Ummm... I don't know how to say this delicately, so I'll just say it: a cute ass.. I also always fall for charisma, but that takes a little longer to notice.

36. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Awww. So so much. I don't think he reads my blog though.

37. Favorite Drinks? Margarita, on the rocks, a little salt on the rim. A lovely pinot noir (especially when shared with a girl friend).

I like all this silly fancy schmancy "martinis" that are all the rage these days. They aren't really martinis but they taste lovely and really knock me on my ass to boot. I tried to make "green apple martinis" from a mix I bought at Target for a party I had a few months ago. When my guests arrived I got out the mix and the vodka I had bought especially for the occasion. And then I read the directions. Oh. Mix with warm water (to dissolve mix-y stuff) and Freeze. Huh. We tried to get it to dissolve without warm water. No way. So we mixed it up for later and I made Squirt Martinis ("squirtinis"). Which sucked. I still have a gallon of Apple Martini slush in my freezer. Who wants to come over?

39. Your hair color? It's supposed to be mostly reddish, but now I get all these fancy multi-tonal color jobs with high lights and lowlights in blonds and burgundies. It is very colorful and fun right when I get it done and then it fades out to a more pedestrian mix of tones, which ain't bad until it grows out into the scary roots I have showing right now. My next hair color appointment is a week from today and then it will be red and shiny again.

40. Your eye color? Brown. I think they are even a little orange. Does that sound freakish?

41. Do you wear contacts? Yes. And very carefully I might add. Last summer I developed an infection in my eye (from wearing contacts on an airplane they said) and ulcerated my cornea. Not only was it incredibly ugly and scary looking and exceedingly painful (give me childbirth over that nightmare anyday!) but the incident also occurred while I was at a seminar at very expensive hotel in New York City. So, while I had lots of opportunity to enjoy the Heavenly Bed, I also would rather have white hot pokers held to my eyeballs than endure the excruciating pain and torment that ensued. For weeks actually. The bills were outrageous. What with the hotel visit from a doctor on a weekend. In New York City. And the trips (2) to the Emergency Room. So, now I am quite religious about removing and cleaning my contacts. And I have permanent vision loss in that eye. How fun are contacts!?!

42. Favorite food? The Tandoori Shrimp Masala they used to make at India House in Davenport. Peter's Garlic Dip. Monkey Bread (another long story for another day). Creme Brule.

43. Last Movie You Watched? Troy. On HBO, with Anna, last night. It was lame.

44. Favorite Day of the Year? Christmas morning. It's twice as fun with your own kids.

45. Scary Movies or Happy Endings? Happy endings that aren't forced. I like unsettled endings a lot too. It's good to use your imagination..

46. Summer or winter? I guess I had better say summer since I am moving to the Southland any day now. Really, I prefer fall.

47. Hugs or kisses? I'll hug just about anybody and kiss most everyone on the cheek once we're pals. Overall, I'm a hugger.

48. What is Your Favorite Dessert? I already mentioned the Creme Brule didn't I?

49. Who is Most Likely to Respond? Bloggers.

50. Who is Least Likely to Respond? The rest of you lurkers.

51. Where Would You Want to Go on your Next Vacation? Wewere just watching the Tour de France and talking about how we should totally go to Paris sometime soon. Also talked about South America. Now Brian is working on a trip to South Africa through someone he has been coaching.

53. What's on your mouse pad? Packers football helmet and logo. It's Hubby's, but I like it .

54. What did you watch last night on TV? Troy. It sucked, remember. I tivo-ed INXS Rockstar, but I didn't watch it yet. That show has me sucked in good.

55. Favorite Smell(s)? My babies, Hubby. Thunderstorms. Leaves in the fall. Starbucks..

56. What's the furthest you've been away from home? India. It was far away geographically and in every other conceivable way.

57. What is your favorite quote?

"Outside of a dog,
Man's best friend is a book.
Inside of a dog
it is too dark to read"

-Groucho Marx

58. What else do you want your friends to know?

Please, haven't I been on this pulpit long enough?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Boober is an Old Lady

Boober is an Old Lady, originally uploaded by esserboo.

My golden retriever, Esste, is getting pretty old. She was 9 this spring.

She was our first baby, the "experiment" in whether we could hack it as parents. She turned out pretty great.

She is the sweetest and most gentle dog. She is amazing with the kids and can tolerate all kinds of love (hair yanking and dog mashing) and adoration (attempting to ride her and dress her) with nary a whimper of protest.

She is also a handy Hoover-helper with food related child messes, including vomit and excrement. (Too much information for some of you? I guess that you are not kid people or dog people if you didn't see that one coming.)

But now she mostly sleeps on the sofa and steers clear of the baby, as if to say: I know what that horrible thing is about. That thing wants to poke my eyes and chew on my ears and frankly, I'm too old for that shit. Maybe I'll check it out when it gets old enough to start doling out snacks when the Mama is distracted. This one has no food. Bah!

Then she usually looks at me inquiringly like: Are you done yet woman? No more children please. I am old and I don't see too well anymore. And then she wonders off to safer climes.

But she still sleeps at my feet every night and follows me from room to room, slumping on the softest available surface with a sigh as I scurry about.

I feel pretty guilty about her sometimes. She gets only the "left-over" love. She gets the attention and affection I have left after I have devoted my day to the kids, the laundry, the Hubby, the computer, and the practice (Not necessarily in that order.)

But never the less, I do love her and I worry that she will be gone before I know it. And before Peevers is big enough to play dress up with her.

So, a hearty shout out to my Esserboo Dog. I love you houndy!

Yet Further Proof That I Can Keep My Kids Safe From Bad Guys

After yesterday's diatribe on why I'm not scared of internet's the evidence that I am a super astute mom.

I got 8 out of 10 in identifying scary serial killer guys versus computer dorks. Can you beat that? Thanks to Kris for the link.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Blogging Discussion (A Rant)

Several blogs I read regularly are gearing up for Blogher conference this weekend. There has been some discussion of what we blog and how we blog and why we blog. And now I feel compelled to speak up (because I am normally so shy).

I began blogging because I am working on a project about empowering birth with a few friends long distance. They both have blogs and I decided that this would be a great place for me to get down my ideas and thoughts about the project and the articles and workshops and what not that will get the project really moving.

My blog began as a professional place with a little personal flair. And then I started writing every day. I could feel the words getting pent up inside of me as the stories and thoughts and ideas that usually are just jumbled about in my head are trying to escape and find expression. (Hubby is so grateful that he no longer has to hear every one of these painstakingly repetitious ideas as well.)

I have always *kept* a journal, in that I am always buying cute and colorful journals with every intention of actually maintaining a running narrative of my thoughts (blah dee blah). And now I am the proud owner of approximately 13 cute as pie little crafty journals each with about 4 handwritten pages. What a fantastic testament to my writing skills! About the only thing that actually moved me to get off my ass and write (in a journal) was being really pissed off, usually at poor beleaguered Hubby.

But blogging! Now that's a horse of a different colour! I've realized that I enjoy writing for an audience. It helps me find my voice. Sometimes I have to write about something that I have been pondering and twisting about in my mind for days and weeks on end. Sometimes I just get to recount an amusing anecdote from daily life that would otherwise be lost forever. Sometimes I write about birth stuff or other work stuff. Sometimes I don't have any specific agenda and then I end up writing a manifesto. The words pour from me. I have finally developed the writing habit I have always dreamed I had in me.

How do I blog? I blog in spurts while at home. I am forever interrupted by screaming children and meals and phone calls. And then I glance up at the clock and realize I must finish it NOW so I can take a shower and run off to work or wherever. I blog with a cup of coffee or a FUZE beverage (my latest low-cal try-to-trick-myself-into-thinking-I'm-having-a-treat drink).

But there remains one oft-visited issue to ponder in the blogosphere. This issue has been brought up in several blogs I read, especially the so called "mommyblogs". The issue is privacy and safety. Some bloggers write about their children but remove all identifying information including names and ages and would never ever post a photo of their child on-line. Others tell all, including their child's fullname and birthdate. I read a comment on a blog saying that parents who post personal information about their children are taking such a huge and irresponsible risk. There are those who think that this can invite the attention of not just diaper perverts, but also that of pedophiles and stalkers. Within this thinking, one should volunteer no information about your children (and definitely no photographs) that could in any way identify them.

Here's where I rest: I name names. I divulge ages and general birth data (but not the actual date). I (obviously, see below) post photos. This is my life. I live all aspects of my life by these principles. I do not expect the worst. I do not go to great lengths to protect against what I consider to be long-shot dangers.

Pedophiles normally go after children to whom they have access. They are not likely to cross the country in search for my small child. My children are not communicating with anyone via the internet, so they cannot develop relationships with online freakos. I think my children have a much greater chance of being stalked by someone who sees them playing in my yard or at the pool than by someone online who goes to great lengths to find them.

I choose not to post nude or semi-nude photos to keep obvious creepiness risk down, but really even if someone was *doing something* while looking at am online image of my child, how does that harm them? Is it gross and creepy? Yes. But not harmful. And frankly, quite unlikely.

The bottom line is, any child, anywhere, could become a target. I don't feel I am substantially increasing my risk. It is important to me to post photos that express my life. When my kids get older, old enough to understand what blogging is all about, I will see how they feel about being blogged about. I will even delete old archives if it seems appropriate. But somehow, I doubt it will come to that.

Dancing Queen

Click here to see my Peapod Girl

And Lo, She Rested

And Lo, She Rested, originally uploaded by esserboo.

After all that dancing, she needed a break.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

It WAS the 70's After All

It WAS the 70's After All, originally uploaded by esserboo.

First of all, check out my mom's WIG!!!! Holy moly woman! She looks exactly like the glidy alien woman is Mars Attacks!

Next, note my suave big brother. I see a bit of big bro in Gabe all the time.

Next, check out my Dad's super cool 70's 'fro. (And small dog kissing him. That's Sugar)

Oh my God! I just noticed that my parents are wearing matching pinstripes! How could anyone not have known my dad is, well, GAY!!!! And the sofa is paisley!

Now, look at my own adorable pigtailed two year old self. Hot jumpsuit, aye?

So, the question is: Does Quin look like her mom a bit or what? (see below for photographic evidence)

This Blogger: Age 11 Months

This Blogger: Age 11 Months, originally uploaded by esserboo.

And here's about the cutest photo ever of me, just barely walking. Looking quite cute with chubby thighs and an ill fitting bikini. How come baby fat is so cute on babies and not so much on 33 year olds? Sigh.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Trip To Pottersville

I just finished the new Harry Potter. I started late, because I didn't want to wait in the hour long line at Borders and didn't pick up the book until Monday night. On Tuesday I quickly skimmed the last 100 or so pages of Year 5, so I'd remember what the heck was going on. Then, when I was really really crabby on Wednesday, I decided to self-medicate with The Book.

So, even though I haven't read any book that wasn't work related in its entirety since May, I finished this one in 4 days. I have spent considerably less time on-line reading blogs and camping out at

I have also had the advantage for the past day and a half of being a two adult household! Whooopee! I can continue to read while Hubby breaks up squabbles and makes PB & J sandwiches! Only blood or vomit could tear me from the saga of teenage Harry and his troubled doings.

So. Now I'm done. Back to the real world. I'm going to go hang out with my family. I am the Mama. But I really needed that little break: from reality, from single-mom duty, from my internet addictions, from hearing the word "Mama" 87 times in rapid succession. Color me refreshed. Thanks Harry (even though you made me cry)!

Oh yes! And Date Night tonight! Need I say more?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why I Study Philosophy

I just need to know a few things:

Why is it that toys designed and purchased for a sibling are always WAY better than your own age-appropriate and interest-appropriate toys?

Why is it that shoes become anti-gravity to children's feet while in the car?

Why is it that kids always have a gargantuan poop right after you put a clean diaper on them, especially if they were just bathed and put in clean clothes?

Why is it that leftovers are universally rejected, even if it was a dinner that the kid had three portions of the night before?

Why is it that the kids entertainment industry on live TV think that there are no small children watching TV after 6 pm and exclusively show teenage soap opera shows and waaaay too adult death and destruction cartoons? (Is Dora asleep already?)

Why is it that NONE of the kid's movies/DVDs are ever findable in their actual clamshells/cases? Where did my DVDs go too? I really want to know!

Why is it that the child who will stand for 3 hours in the freezing cold sprinkler is reduced to a whimpering puddle of phlegm when forced to cleanse his filthy body in the nice temperate shower?

Why is it that children can hear the subtle sound of Mama sitting down on the sofa to watch just one Tivo'd show and must run into the room demanding attention, love, and hours of ongoing inane conversation?

Why is it that kids only drink two sips water at 3:00 am after begging for a drink of water for 20 minutes and sending you out servant-like to fetch it for them?

Why is it that the sound a child whining for something is egregiously more piercing and disturbing than the sound of screaming, crying, or even fingernails on chalkboard?

Why is it that the child who most needs a nap, resists it the most?

Why is it that a child can hear the siren call of a freezer door opening in the vicinity of a popsicle and come running, yet cannot hear you call his own name within two feet of his head ten times in a row?

Why is it that a child will get out of his very own bed to sit at the top of the stairs and call down to you that his sister has (gasp!) gotten out of her bed and then expect you to only chastise his errant sister?

Why is Mama's purse and Mama's change and Mama's Burt's Bees Lip Balm always preferable to a child's very own Hello Kitty Purse stuffed with Polly Pockets and old lip balm.

Why is it that even a 6 month old will scoff at your attempts to pass off an old defunct remote control as a reasonable exchange for the real remote control? (The buttons push the same baby girl!)

Why is it that the child who was "just a dream" for the babysitter all afternoon becomes a whirling dervish that screetches in a tone which exactly matches a mid-sized pterodactyl the moment her Mama returns home with her loving embrace?

Why is the most grotesquely annoying song on a child's kiddie music CD always the one they just looove the most and want to hear 97 times in a row?

Why is it that kids insist that they love to play with the huge bin of legos, but all they ever do is empty all 1097 teeny tiny foot twisting pieces on the floor, push three of them together, and then become distracted by the baby's teething ring and never come back to play. Ever. And then feign knowledge of removal of said 1097 pieces from storage and insist that helping you put them away "hurts their head"?

Why is it that kids would prefer (strategically) to spend their allotted 5 minutes in time-out to helping their hard working mother put all 1097 tiny pieces of legos back in the storage container?

Why is it that after all this, all they need to do is smile winsomely at me and say "Mama, you are my best friend in the whole world" and I completely forgive them their complex and twisted view of how things should work and I am ready to consider having another one. (Just kidding, Honey! No more.)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Come Sing and Dance With Me

I'm singing the happy song and dancing the happy dance today because tonight, my darling Hubby comes home!!!!

We will get three delightful days together as a family. It seems that it will likely be another month or two before we will all live together again, so each little weekend together seems like such a major homecoming.

I predict that the weekend will be occasional marred by child related shenanigans which will doubtlessly precipitate devolution into yelling and hiding (by the parents, I mean) under beds. But, I think we are so excited to be together that we will tolerate all our own family idiosyncracies better than usual.

Then, on Sunday night, Banana comes with her little Honey Girl and the fun will extend into the week. Banana will watch her Honey Girl and my Big Kids when I am at work, and I will have adult supervision at night.

To quote the Goddess of Things Fluffy and Trivial: It's a Good Thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Your Daily Quota of Knock Knock Jokes

Gabe's Favorite Joke:

G: Knock! Knock!

Me: (enthusiastically) Who's there?

G: Banana.

Me: Banana who?

G: Banana Banana.

G: Knock! Knock!

Me: (wearily) Who's there?

G: Banana.


G: Mama! Mama! You've got to say "banana who?"

Me: Banana who?

G: Banana Banana.

G: Knock! Knock!

Me: (sigh) Who's there?

G: (excitedly) Orange!

Me: Orange who?

G: (triumphantly) Orange you glad I didn't say 'Banana' again! (insert maniacal laughter)

Quin's Favorite Joke:

Q: Mama! Knock! Knock!

Me: Who's there?

Q: Banana!

Me: Banana who?

Q: Orange! (insert maniacal laughter)

I think I like her version better.

You Clicked All the Way Over Here for This?!

After yesterday's post of epic proportions I have just this to say:

I am waaay crabby today.

You don't want the tedious details.

The End.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Baby Story (But Not So Full of Doctors and All That)

Since my sweet Peeves will be 6 months old this week, I thought I would revisit the day of her birth. I wrote up this up for the Mothering forums. It is a bit of a professional/factual/stiff accounting. It is also very very long and detailed because I know how much I love reading all the gory details in birth (especially unassisted birth) stories. It is an important part of preparing emotionallly and spiritually for birth. So, you will be really getting in my "head space" so to speak. Enjoy.

My second (and final) unassisted birth story:

The week seemed to be stretching on endless as my secret due date was approaching. Because my previous two children had each been born a few days before their due dates, I anticipated that this child would be born sometime that week as well. I had frequent bouts of semi-intense contractions that were uncomfortable and annoying, I felt the baby’s head lower in my pelvis every day, and my upset stomach and gag reflex had heightened. Every night I would put the kids to bed with my husband and think, “Okay, everyone is asleep, I can go into labor tonight.” Often, I would experience contractions that woke me during the night and get restless, but I would wake every morning in disappointment knowing I was not likely to begin labor during my busy days.

I continued working three afternoons a week with patients asking constantly if it was hard to continue to adjust them while so pregnant and how I was doing. Being busy at work was actually some of my best times emotionally, when I would totally disconnect with my obsession with *when would “it” happen* and just live my normal life. I knew my obsession with second guessing every sign of impending labor was detrimental to my goal of intuitive labor. I knew how my educated mind could pull me away from “laborland”, that intuitive and almost meditative state of labor that was so critical to me during active labor. I knew that the days of prodromal labor I was experiencing were indeed part of my labor, but I was still struggling daily (hourly) with letting go of my constant thoughts and surrendering to my body’s wisdom.

The next day was a Saturday, and my husband had planned to leave me with the kids for several hours while he went to work on a major project for work. In the morning it was very snowy and blowy so he delayed leaving. I was struck with an intense need to get the whole house clean all at once while he was home to help with the kids. My (brilliant) husband sensed that something was going on with me, and decided to stay home all day as I continued to scrub floors and wash windows and fold laundry. I had been nesting for weeks, so I didn’t consider the day’s activities to be necessarily outside of the norm.

I also did some extensive reading on the motheringdotcom unassisted childbirth thread. I not only read a number of inspiring birth stories, but also a few links to threads debating the legitimacy and safety of UC principles and practice. This reading was just what my psyche needed. I felt empowered and validated on a deep and primal level. I knew everything was going to be okay and all I had to do was relax and wait.

We were up late, watching a movie and didn’t even start getting the kids ready for bed until 11:00 that night. The house was immaculate and I finally felt relaxed. My husband took the kids upstairs to bed and I was getting myself ready for bed in the bathroom when a bad smell made me throw up into the sink. That is also a common occurrence in pregnancy for me, so again I didn’t jump to any conclusions. I cleaned up the bathroom and crawled into my solo bed downstairs saying to myself, “Probably not tonight. Just get a good night’s sleep after all that work.” As I settled into my pillow configuration and got comfortable, a felt a slight *pop* or release from an unknown location. I had just enough time to think, “Weird, I wonder what THAT was?” and then I felt the unmistakable warmth of my water spreading. I jumped out of bed faster than I thought possible for that stage of pregnancy, worried about staining the new mattress. I noted that the fluid (now running down my legs) was clear and pulled off my underwear.

I immediately went upstairs where my husband was still reading to the kids and told him that my water had broken and I would like him to come back downstairs to adjust me (DH is also a Chiropractor) before he went to sleep. I settled back on the sofa with a pile of towels to distract myself with some mindless TV. I had no contractions or discomfort at all. After about 15 minutes my husband came back and asked if anything was happening. My other labors had always been well underway by the time my water broke, and then the flow was only a slight leak. This had been a good sized gush and when I got up from the sofa for my husband to check my spine, I gushed more. We giggled at the continuous stream of fluid and grabbed more towels. Every time I shifted positions the stream would start up again. Finally I got into a neutral position and my husband was able to quickly adjust me. Then he gave me a kiss and went off to bed with his cell phone in hand so I could call him rather that go all the way upstairs if I needed him. I settled down on my cushion of pillows to watch a cheesy movie and see what would happen next.

It was so strange to know that this baby would likely be born by sunrise, yet not be having any real “symptoms” of labor. I was having an occasional mild contraction, but nothing different that what had gone on for the past week or so. I considered going to bed but was too full of adrenalin and still leaking fluids. I got up to pee after about an hour and noticed a small clot of mucous and blood on my towel. When I went to the bathroom there was more bloody show but no real change in intensity of contractions. I did have some slight loose stool, which cheered me up, knowing that things were moving along normally. Periodically I would check my watch, noting the passage of time in a distracted and impatient way. My last birth had gone so quickly (just a little over an hour after waking with uncomfortable contractions) and this seemed so anticlimactic. The ramping up of contractions was so subtle and gradual that I really didn’t realize I was getting uncomfortable until I realized I was spending more time going to the bathroom *to relax* than watching TV. A little over two hours had passed. I decided to run a bath because I could still smell my vomit a little and I didn’t want to labor with that smell in my nose. The bath didn’t seem to help or hinder things, so I just matter of factly cleaned up and got back out, feeling a little refreshed. I continued to mostly sit on the toilet during contractions. I made a conscious decision to stop watching TV and to try to get into “laborland”.

At that point things suddenly got more serious. I lit a few candles in the bathroom and turned off all the lights in order to lessen the distractions of “the real world” invading my laborland. I was softly moaning during each contraction and visualizing a dark hole that I was sinking into more deeply with each surge. Between contractions I would get distracted thinking about whether I should wake up my husband and have a little moral support or if I would rather do it alone. We both had talked about a fantasy of my birthing completely alone during the night and him getting up in the morning to the surprise of the new baby. Suddenly, this didn’t sound so great to me. I was feeling restless and a little lonely and time was passing slowly. I decided that this decision was too distracting and that I should just wake him up so I could quit thinking about it. I went upstairs and woke him at about 2:20 am. I don’t know why I didn’t call him. I guess I didn’t want to freak him out.

Obviously, my instincts had been correct once again. As soon as my husband joined us in our small bathroom things picked up dramatically. I don’t know if I hadn’t fully surrendered to labor without the reassurance of his quiet presence (he knows very well by now that I need extreme quiet and stillness during labor) or if I had just innately timed the need for him to the exact moment labor kicked up the next notch, but I suspect his being there was critical for my complete release of control and thought.

I continued to moan through each contraction while sitting on the toilet. My husband made me a glass of weak Gatorade and checked my pelvis between contractions. He was mostly silent unless I expressed my frustration and discomfort. At one point I checked my watch (bad idea!) and was so disheartened to see that I had been laboring hard for well over an hour. I had experience such a quick and effortless birth with my daughter previously and just expected that this birth would be equally efficient. Instead I felt that I was wallowing in an every increasing sense of futility and intensity. I wished I knew how dilated I was and how much longer it would take. This seems silly in retrospect as I know that my cm of dilation wouldn’t really tell me anything more than what I already knew…that my body was doing its job…steadily and surely.

My mental state was slowly deteriorating as I grew exhausted from the steady and painful contractions. I continued to breathe through them and *maintained control*, but I was feeling increasingly out of control and panicky. I didn’t fear that anything was going wrong, but just a growing sense that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was sitting on the toilet for 2 to 3 contractions and then standing for a few contractions while my husband applied light but steady downward pressure on my sacral bone. The standing position was slightly more painful but during those contractions I would sometimes feel a subtle but distinct shift of the baby and of my pelvis. This gave me the much needed confidence that *something* was happening and I was getting closer with every contraction. I began to get overheated and feel like I couldn’t catch my breath during the contractions. I was feeling desperate and at the end of my rope. I knew these feelings probably meant I was in transition, but I didn’t let myself label it consciously as such for fear I was wrong. I was trying so hard not to *think* about the process and tried to push away thoughts that identified or labeled what was happening.

I asked my husband to run a bath, hoping that something new would distract me from my desperation. As the water ran I knew there was no way I could sit down in a tub right then. I was so so hot. We had left the heat on overnight since we knew I would be awake and laboring, and now I couldn’t cool off. DH suggested I go to the kitchen for a minute (where there was no heater) to cool off. I moved to the kitchen and stationed myself in front of the (miraculously clean!) sink as another surge overtook me. This time I felt a little grunty and pushy. Not quite there but just on the cusp of *there*. It didn’t hurt but wasn’t quite right. Again I asked my husband to traction downward gently on my sacrum and again I felt a *shift* but this one was more significant. “That moved something” I said. DH said, “I know!” DH inquired how far down I thought the baby was positioned. I felt gently and discovered the head right at the tips of my fingers. “You should feel it!” I encouraged my husband. He gently felt and looked thrilled. As I waited between contractions, I felt the baby wriggling quite energetically. “Its okay baby,” I said aloud, “We’re almost there. This has been some crazy sh*t, but we’re gonna get you out right now!”

Suddenly I was totally pissed off! I read recently about the fetal ejection reflex and the characteristic accompanying surge of energy and emotion. Well my emotion was entirely of the angry and frustrated variety. I pushed with all my might during the next contraction, determined to get this “blessed event” over with! I felt the baby come down substantially, but as the contraction eased away the baby slowly shifted back up. “Is it closer?” asked DH. “You check,” I answered tersely. He felt carefully and announced I was making progress. I was still angry and doubly so that this baby would shift back upward between contractions. With the next contraction I pushed with all my might, even past the point when the contraction started to ebb a little. It was so close and I didn’t want it to. Go. Back. Up! Amazingly, just at the end of my strength, the head broke through. There was a seemingly endless pause as I waited for the next contraction. I was on my tip toes, trying to keep my pelvis open and squirming uncomfortably. DH was crouched on the floor and biting his tongue. The baby’s head was pretty purple and he was wanting to make sure everything was okay, but he wisely held his tongue and waited while the baby rotated its shoulders to line up properly for birth. At last the urge came again ( it was probably only a little over a minute…seemed longer) and she slid easily out and into her Papa’s hands. She did have a cord around her neck, but DH gently eased it off and turned her to check her gender. As he announced it was a girl, I remember thinking that I had forgotten to tell him that I wanted to discover the gender myself when I was ready. I was so relieved that the whole ordeal was over that I didn’t really care anyway. We immediately dubbed her Ribh Wallis, (pronounced Reeve; Gaelic pronunciations are a trip!) the name we had finally agreed upon after an extensive search for a Celtic girl’s name we both liked. She looks like a “Ribh”.

Most stories seem to end here, but I think a little third stage dialogue is important so others can recognize what un-managed third stage and post-natal periods look like. I was bleeding a bit and shaking a lot (although I wasn’t cold at all). I settled myself on a kitchen chair on another towel with Ribh in arms, wrapped in an old towel. She was very vernix-y and her color was excellent. She was breathing well, although with a slight raspy sound of fluid. I cleared her mouth and found no obstruction, so I let her work it out herself over the next hour or so. I held her while DH checked her neck (the area of the spine most frequently stressed during labor) and cleared the subluxation he found there. She still had not cried or even made any noise, but she began to open her eyes and peer at us. DH got the camera and I put her to my breast where she got to work immediately. The three of us just hung out in the soft light of the kitchen and talked a little about the birth. I asked my husband what he felt the second time he checked her head for descent. He said it felt no different than the first time but he wasn’t about to tell me that!

DH rolled up the kitchen rug (totally ruined) and got me a drink. As Ribh nursed I began to feel some uncomfortable low back labor-y pains. We checked the cord and found it to be white and cold so we decided to cut it so I could move about more freely in order to birth the placenta. I would estimate about an hour had passed since the birth. While DH held Ribh, I went to the bathroom and balanced a stainless steel bowl on the toilet. Then I squatted above it and gave a slight push and the placenta released neatly into the bowl. I examined it to be sure I hadn’t retained any portion and that it looked intact and healthy. Then I returned to tell DH that I was going to take a quick bath to warm up and wash off the sweat and blood on my legs. I had him bring the baby to me in the bath to gently wash some of the blood and mucous off her, but I left the vernix alone to nourish her skin. It was all gone except for pockets in the folds of her skin by that evening. Then I bundled up in comfy clothes (and a frozen sanitary pad) and wrapped Ribh in a clean towel and took her to bed with DH to snuggle and nurse while we talked softly about the birth.

About this time, my oldest child woke up upstairs and missed his papa and then his crying woke his little sister. I send DH up to bed with the “big kids” and I settled down to snuggle and babymoon with my newborn. I was tired but elated. I had no tears, no pain and I was able to experience such peace and harmony with my purpose as a mother. This is what birth is all about. I cried a bit in relief and happiness that my family is complete and whole and that we did it all on our terms. Such bliss!