Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My hands! I can see my hands!

Tonight, just a while ago while I was trying to get my asshole son a Certain Baby to go to sleep, he discovered his hands. I don't remember Perp having that moment, at least when I was there to see it, so it was nice to catch it this time around. And funny!

I'm trying to get him into a better sleeping groove, down about an hour and a half to two hours after the last time he woke up, but it's slow going. He's not the best napper. I mean, he'll nap, but not for long periods, at this point at least. Here's hoping!

We were lying on the bed after a nice, long snort and I was hoping he'd just nod off on his own but he was so busy checking out his mitts that he forgot to sleep. Aw! Awww!

I don't think he'll have this much fun watching his fingers until he drops his first hit of acid.

Monday, May 15, 2006

While we're on the subject

of motherhood (we were, anyway, so back to it!), I found this lovely post by Selkie. I'm not a Christian, at least not by practice, but what she has to say overall (and so beautifully!) is as relevent to a Muslim or a Jew as to a Buddhist or Taoist, I think. Hell, I even know a couple atheists who might appreciate her view.


Mr. McFeely freaks me the fuck out. I don't know why, precisely. Maybe it's the jerky movements and half-stoop. For sure it's his hair. Overall, though, there's just something about his mannerisms that set my Freak-O-Meter to dinging.

Unfortunately, Perp is passionately in love with Mr. Rogers' trolley, so I have to deal with McFreaky on a fairly regular basis.

The things we do for our kids.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Smackytown Post hits the stands

Generate a snippet

Once in a while

our otherwise shitty newspaper prints something I actually want to read:


In the middle of it all

Like his six brothers and sisters, Henry George Moeller VI was brought into the world by a midwife, but with one difference.

They were born in the hospital. He was born in the comfort of his parents' bed.

The 8-pound baby was perfect, healthy and squalling as his mother, Beth Moeller, cradled and nursed him. After dad, Henry Moeller V, and sisters Ellie, 11, and Annaka, 10, held him, he was passed to his grandmother and friends who had watched his birth.

It was a joyful ending to a long night for the woman who delivered him, certified nurse-midwife Katie Sandell.

Sandell wasn't more than a few feet away from Beth from the time she arrived at her home about 9:30 p.m. April 14 until she left after 5 a.m. April 15. She had planned to leave to celebrate Easter weekend with her family in the Twin Cities, but Beth was intent on having an Easter baby.

After a little manual stimulation of Beth's cervix and administration of a couple of homeopathic medications early Friday, labor advanced during the evening, and Sandell's plans for a Good Friday departure were dashed.


Sandell is one of about 7,000 certified nurse-midwives in the nation.

Midwives see their role as attending to the woman and letting nature take its course. They try to avoid intervening or using technology unless it's called for.

"The midwifery model of care really looks at the woman and her health in a family context," Sandell said. "It's our job to support and encourage, side by side with the woman and her family, instead of being in a position of power over the woman, or dictating to the woman."

Sandell charges $2,900 per delivery, and insurance sometimes pays for her services. A local hospital delivery without complications can cost more than $14,000, including physician and hospital bills.

Nurse-midwifery practice is legal in all states and Washington, D.C. In most states, including Minnesota, nurse-midwives can prescribe medications. They also perform annual exams and provide reproductive health care for women.

Prenatal office visits typically last an hour. While following the pregnancy during monthly appointments at her office early on -- and more frequent visits later -- Sandell talks with expectant mothers about what's important in their lives, not just the physical state of pregnancy.

She accepts only women with low-risk pregnancies -- "the cream of the crop," she calls them -- because she only attends home births. Midwives in this region who deliver at home don't perform Caesarean sections, deliver twins or take on other difficult cases.

Sandell has a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in midwifery from the University of Minnesota. She said she has delivered more than 100 babies.


Sandell is one of a handful of midwives in the Duluth area. Another one, certified nurse-midwife Mary Johnson, is affiliated with the Min-No-Aya-Win clinic in Cloquet.

Two others, who have independent practices, are Monica Liddle of Duluth and Leah Hatcher of Solon Springs. Liddle and Hatcher are certified professional midwives, having met the requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives, which include written exams and experience. About 800 people have been issued certified professional midwife certificates, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Minnesota has voluntary licensing of midwives, and Wisconsin recently passed a licensing law last month that has not yet taken effect.

Certified nurse-midwives such as Sandell attend about 10 percent of the nation's births, or about 300,000 of them in 2003. Ninety-six percent of those births take place in hospitals, 2 percent in free-standing birth centers and 1 percent at home, according to the American College of Nurse Midwives.

"For a (certified nurse-) midwife to be in an independent practice like me is very unusual," Sandell said.

Sandell worked as a nurse-midwife at Fairview Riverside Medical Center in Minneapolis in the 1990s. Fairview and other large Twin Cities hospitals give nurse-midwives the right to deliver babies in their hospitals.

In Duluth, Johnson is the only midwife with hospital privileges. She has had them at St. Luke's for about five years. "I do everything that any other family physician would do when delivering a baby," she said.

St. Mary's Medical Center had a nurse-midwife, but she left a few years ago, spokeswoman Kim Kaiser said.


In England and other countries, midwives routinely deliver babies. They aren't as well-accepted in the United States, but the National Institute of Medicine has recommended more use of nurse-midwives to provide women's health care.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives issued a joint statement in 2002 urging "mutual respect and trust" when the physician specialists and nurse-midwives work together.

Sandell, Liddle and Hatcher say that the local physician community, while polite and helpful, in general doesn't favor home births. Some doctors, however, provide backup for midwives and take over if a birth turns complicated.

"When it comes to home birth, it's hard to find an OB that would embrace home birth. They tend to think it's not safe," Sandell said, referring to obstetricians.

If an expectant mother were brought to a hospital in a crisis situation, "I think everybody would respond to the best of their ability," said Dr. Gary Peterson, vice president of medical affairs for St. Luke's hospital and a family physician at the Denfeld Medical Center.

"Many of us have had experiences when things have gone bad and we've been very glad to have the resources of the hospital," Peterson said, emphasizing that he wasn't speaking for the entire medical staff.

Sandell, Liddle and Hatcher don't have hospital privileges, so they always have a backup physician, in case the patient needs to be admitted.

Some physicians might not be willing to participate in care related to a planned home birth, Peterson said.


Beth Moeller said that during her experiences as a labor and delivery coach, she has observed "huge differences" in traditional physician-attended births and those attended by midwives.

For example, she remembered one time when a nurse pushed the baby back until the doctor arrived. "I vowed I would never, ever, ever witness something like that again," she said.

Midwives tout a safe and natural approach to birth, saying their care is unrushed. They say they approach childbirth as a normal function, not an illness.

Last summer, the prestigious British Medical Journal published a study of home births that involved certified professional midwives in the United States and Canada.

Twelve percent of the mothers who expected to deliver at home were taken to the hospital for interventions such as epidurals, forceps assistance or Caesarean sections.

"These rates were substantially lower than for low-risk U.S. women having hospital births," the study said. Death rates for mothers and babies in the study were similar to low-risk hospital births.

A study by the American College of Nurse-Midwives found that the Caesarean section rate for clients of certified nurse-midwives was 4.8 percent lower than that of obstetricians and 7.8 percent lower than family physicians. The Caesarean delivery rate was nearly 28 percent in 2003, the study said.

Bridgitte Baker, one of Sandell's clients, intended to have her baby at home, but she ended up delivering Nolan Trey Baker in the hospital last June.

It was a disappointing, emotional decision to have a Caesarean after 38 hours of labor; Sandell and Baker were in tears before the surgery.

But last week, Baker said Sandell's decision was for the best. "I think she made the best choices she could. I guess if I had another baby, I'd do it with a midwife if I could," she said.

The Moellers definitely would have another home birth if they were to have more children, Beth said.

Sandell examined Beth and baby Henry at the Moellers' home two days after the baby's birth.

The baby was still a little jaundiced and black-and-blue from his birth, but he passed muster with Sandell. His mother was in high spirits, feeling good and chatting with Sandell as though she were a close friend. By that time, she was.

As Sandell left, her client gave her a long hug. "I love you. I do, I do," Beth said.
News Tribune staff writer Janna Goerdt contributed to this report.

Friday, May 12, 2006

As a mother, not so much

I've been thinking about Mothers Day lately. So has much of the blogosphere. I love that so much of what I've seen is about the dirty, smelly truth of it all, how ugly and hurtful, wonderful and terrible it can be.

The cooing baby lying fetchingly in its cradle too easily supplants the trials and embarrasement of labor, I think. What you see in the media and in most books is the rosy, downy-headed ideal of it all: the soundly sleeping baby; the cozy mornings in the nursery as the rising sun softly paints the walls; the first laugh, steps, words. As a result, it seems like women are afraid to talk about the rage and isolation that can come with having children. Like they're bad mothers if they even so much as think that maybe this whole motherhood thing isn't as great as everyone said it would be. Even worse, I think some start to think there's something wrong with them for not being 24/7 head-over-heels in love with their children. That's starting to change--and about time--but not fast enough for my taste.

Every now and then, you see what's been hastily swept under the rug. Brooke Shields blew the barn doors open when she publically revealed her battle with postpartum depression. Liv Tyler lambasted other celebrity moms for rushing to lose their pregnancy weight too fast. For the most part, though, celebrity mothers have nothing to say about motherhood but how wonderful it is, how fullfilling, how they can't imagine anything as entirely glorious. Feh. Give me a nanny, driver, cook, housekeeper, and personal trainer and I'd have nothing but sunshine coming out my ass, too.

Most of us, however, muddle through as best we can with no one to aid us but family if we're lucky, nearby friends if we're not. There isn't enough public discussion about the raw insides of motherhood. I hope that will change soon. Until then, I'm here to rant about it in excruciating detail.

Happy Mothers Day, you.

Five bad motherhood things about me:

  • I spend entirely too much time online. Part of that is that we live far enough outside of town that working around the nap schedules of two kids pretty much prevents me from running errands or doing toddler-time activities without sacrificing infant sleep. So I waste a shitload of time socialize online. Oh, and blog. I do that, too.
  • I am a terribly impatient person and get immensely frustrated when she dawdles or refuses to cooporate. When we need to leave yesterday to get to an appointment and she refuses to get dressed, I get icy and stiff.
  • I have discovered that I don't like toddlers nearly as much as I like babies. Not to say I don't get a kick out of her on a pretty regular basis, but this independence thing is killing me.
  • I let her watch more tv than I would like because I'm spending too much time online (see #1 above).
  • No idea how to entertain a toddler, especially on shitty, cold, rainy days. Which we've had for the better part of a week. Which will continue into next week. Which sucks. Immensely. I leave her to entertain herself a lot more than I think I should because I don't know what to do with her.

Five good motherhood things about me:

  • Perp eats anything we put in front of her. I put that down to feeding her whatever we're eating and refusing to make food an issue. We'll fight about so much stupid shit in our lifetimes, why make food a battle?
  • She's sunny, independent, and sociable, mostly due to her inborn nature but fostered by my willingness to hand her over, as a baby, to nearly anyone who asked. Or so I tell myself. She never had stranger or separation anxiety.
  • Both my children were breastfed since the day they were born. Perp continues to nurse several times a day at over 2 years of age.
  • I am a Good Enough Mom.
  • I honestly can't think of a fifth item. How fucked up is that?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Enough with the cuteness!

Exhibit A: The day before yesterday, The Dude and I were hanging out on the bed having nakey baby time. Okay, for the pedants, it was dipey baby time, I'm not INSANE. Perp was bouncing around on the bed (Husband thinks it's cute, I think. I think it's potentially dangerous and bad for my side of the bed which is the only side that seems to leak --air mattress adjustable dealies, very comfy but exasperating my god this is a convoluted aside. It's also a good way to smash the baby, and I'm sort of on the Against It side.

So. Perp is upset because I told her no jumping and made her sit down. She noted, with some interest, AMP's teeny little baby nipples. She poked at them for a second, looked at me, and said, "Na-na?" Yes, I said, baby has na-na, too.

She looked and poked again and --wait for it-- leaned over to try and nurse! On a baby! On a boy baby! It was too fucking cute for words! I can't stop!

Exhibit B: The Dude has started talking. Unfortunately, none of us speak Baby, so we try to follow along as best we can. The other day he actually said "A-goo!" You know, that archetypal baby noise that adults always try to make but can't? It's limited to toothless poop bags, apparently. My ovaries are all a-twitter over it. He also does that cute back-of-the-throat gurgle and every once in a while grants me one more baby goat.

Exhibit C: The language explosion. As some of you know, Perp's been in the middle of one for a few weeks now, and I was keeping track of her daily progress for a while. It's gotten to the point that I can't keep up anymore without a transcriptionist on duty (oddly enough, my last job, but I can't type and diaper at the same time, so there you are).

I have, however, made note of a few favorites:
Blanket has gone from bank to wank.
The letter W is duggayouyouyouyou
Pillow = papoo
Thomas (the tank engine) is Pa-Moose Choo-choo

More as they pop up.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Apparently I DO hate my kids

So there's this pretty heated debate going on this week, and I've come to the conclusion that the only reason I went for my homebirth is because I wanted to die, and take my baby with me. Why else would anyone want to stray from the warmth and safety of their local hospital? Well, there's nosocomial infection; iatrogenic problems; avoiding unnecessary and often unadvisable interventions; docs dismissing birth plans out of hand, even when the bullet point in question is valid. For instance, I requested no cord traction, recognizing the increase in uterine involution and subsequent hysterectomy, and my doc said, "Yeah, well I like to do a bit of traction." Um. I'd like for you NOT to, so let's just leave it at that. For starters.

Anyone who knows me from CM knows I wanted my homebirth and that I did a lot of research and soul searching over my decision. Anyone who knows me IRL probably isn't reading this, but they would know the same. Anyone who tries to tell me that I didn't make an informed decision is living in a dream land, as was the resident who told me that the Terbutaline they wanted to give me with Perp's pregnancy was "for slowing down contractions and relaxing the uterus." Actually, Uninformed Resident, it's an asthma medication that just so happens to have the salutory effects you listed. You did not let this little fact slip past your pursed lips, however, so my consent was less than informed, wouldn't you say? The information you did give me was related to the immediate side effects (increased heart rate, primarily). It was a breach of our doctor/patient relationship that you left by the wayside a pretty important fact: Terb isn't approved by FDA for obsetrical patients, it's used off-label and that, my friend, is information a patient needs to make informed consent.

So, off that particular soapbox and back to my primary point: women who choose homebirth are not unfamiliar with the potential problems, even disasters, that may await them at home. Nor are they unaware of the same potential problems or disasters that may await them at the hospital. So they take a calculated risk and choose to have their babies at home where, according to WHO and any number of studies (despite Dr. Amy's statistical gymnastics strongly felt opinion), they are deemed to be *less* at risk of death or injury than they are at home.

The attending at Perp's birth did at least three things that were directly contraindicated in my case. They were interventions that would see a midwife excoriated for dangerous practice, if not outright malpractce, but in hospital they were considered standard procedures.

So I chose to have my baby at home. With a qualified midwife, and just to prove I'm not entirely down on the medical profession, with parallel OB care up to 38 weeks when my OB dropped me because she didn't approve of my plan and didn't want to be liable. How that would ever be possible is hard for me to figure, but okay, now I know where we stand and I won't ever set foot in her office again. Fair dinkum.

And here I sit, 9 weeks later, my homebirthed son in my lap, and I am glad.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Too many thoughts

Things on my mind today:

I'm reading The Mask of Motherhood and it's pissing me off.

I watch too much TV. Some of it Really Good: Sopranos; Big Love; Deadwood. Some of it beyond terrible: American Idol; Plastic Surgery Disasters (okay, anything on the surgery channel). Some of it just plain pisses me off: Babies: Special Delivery; Birth Day.

I don't buy into the Mommy Wars theory that the media promulgates. Why should I care if another woman chooses or needs to work outside the home? Why should they care if I choose to or can stay home?

What is that sticky shit sprayed all over the kitchen floor and why wasn't it cleaned up?

How long before Perp catches up on the sleep she lost while the fam-damn-ily was in town and while I was visiting my mom in St. Paul? 'Cause seriously, she's making me IN.SANE.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Shark attack

AMP is kind of a wild eater. He has eased up a little bit, but he has moments where he lunges at me like a mako shark, banging his head on my breast, his mouth open, whipping his head back and forth like he's blind and can only find the nipple by sense of smell.

It's pretty cute.

He doesn't eat a lot after he goes down for the night. It's been that way since the day he was born, and I'm getting a little tired of waking in a puddle of my own making. My supply is starting to regulate, but even so, from time to time I am awakened by the tickle of a trickle of milk sliding down my side.

That isn't so cute.

I'd really like it if he would either get on with it and sleep the *whole* night through, or do me the favor of having a full goddamned meal when he does deign to awaken.

It's funny, and I know I've rambled about this before, but on some level you know your kids are different people, but it always comes as a surprise when they do something to remind you of that fact. F'rinstance, Perp *detested* the nuk. I spent my pregnancy ranting about 3 year olds with plugs in their faces, and how MY kids weren't going to be given artificial means of calming themselves, goddammit. Witness me two weeks after her birth, buying one of every fucking pacifier on the shelf, praying she'd take one, just one, please, anything for a break from the endless nursingnursingnursinggodmakeitstop.

AMP? He'll suck on anything. Give him a finger, a nipple, or, hey, a chin, whatever you have handy. He even goes for his own hand, and I can't WAIT until he can find it reliably and I can ditch the nuk.

He doesn't, however, seem willing to just nurse for comfort, and sometimes he doesn't want the nuk, either. That's when I really see the difference between the two. Aside from the penis, I mean. Perp's junk is neatly tucked away, like mine, which I think is a much better system, frankly. I mean, come on, how do men take themselves seriously with their tackle just hanging there like that?

Sometimes he is obviously distressed and needs comforting, but the nuk doesn't do it, he doesn't want to nurse, and I can't really find the right position to hold him in. V frustrating, really. He does like the swing, though, so at least we have a go-to if we need it.

Seriously, people

I have GOT to start exercising. What to do, what to do? Pilates? Yoga? Some fucked up machine-based program at the Y, since we pay for a membership but don't use it?

I like the idea of Pilates, and yoga, actually (I keep typing yoda), but it has to be on a DVD because the only available classes are at 7 am or 7 pm and the 7 am doesn't have daycare and the 7 pm is at 7 pm.

Watching Trainspotting as I type. Ewan McGregor is H.O.T. He managed to lose 30 pounds for this role. I don't need to lose 30 pounds, so really I should be able to pul this off. I mean, his job is to lose the weight for the part, and that gives him a lot more incentive. Plus, he probably had a trainer and someone to advise him on food.

Actually, that's a whole new rant I haven't gotten into yet. Women (primarily, I'm sure some men do, too) spend all this time looking at movie stars and wishing they could look like that, forgetting that it's the stars' JOB to look that way. So they spend HOURS every day working out, hire cooks, trainers, and probably people who scream obscenities at them if they so much as look at a fudgesicle. I don't doubt that they participate in a bit of pharmaceutical assistance as well, but maybe I'm cynical.

So I have 5-10 lb I'd like to lose, or barring that, a flabby gut I'd like to tone. I'd be more than happy to keep the weight if I could just tighten things up. I have ... muffin top. Probably from eating too fucking many MUFFINS.