Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OMG (some mature language and a rant)

I am a long standing feminist who used cloth diapers (loved them and loved hanging them out on the line, loved being a wife and loves being a mother/grandmother. I was reading one of my professional journals the other day and almost fell out of my chair. The article is "The Vagina Catalogue: Literature Review and Author Commentary" (Women's Health Care A Practical Journal for Nurse Practitioners July 2009 Vol. 8 No. 7 pp. 26-31)by Marjaneh M. Fooladi.
The article is about the recent evolution in cosmetic vulvovaginal surgery and the social, cultural, economic and emotional aspects of these procedures.
As a midwife I have spent almost 27 years trying to help women (including myself) to learn to accept their bodies. Women are poked at by the media, other women, men, and themselves to view themselves as imperfect if we weigh too much or too little or if that weight is distributed in "the wrong places". Our hair, our skin, our teeth, our breasts, hips and thighs. Health has almost nothing to do with this-when a women is 50 pounds overweight, has prediabetes and borderline high blood pressure and wants her thighs and bottom to be bigger because this is what her man wants I want to scream. When another woman is normal or underweight and still feels fat I sympathise and want to scream.
In the past I've had women tell me their man feels their genetalia is unattractive. I've tried to reassure them that they are normal and he is the one with the problem (I suggest maybe his poor "performance" has little to do with her and a lot to do with him but she is a convenient target.) Now there are people out there selling another way to make us feel bad and suggest ways we can spend our money to meet some nebulous unattainable version of perfection.
Legitimate repair of damage from surgery or childbirth or cancer treatment makes sense. Having your labia enlarged or made smaller because you don't look like the airbrushed picture in a men's magazine is just---I'm screaming. Having a C-Section so your vagina stays "tight" is just---me screaming again. When are women and the people who truly love us going to quit this utter nonsense.
I know this is a rant. I just can't help it. I respect and care for the women I attend and the women who are my friends. It is time for us to stand up and say to ourselves we won't belittle ourselves anymore and we wont' let others belittle us.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cloth Diapering

Looking back on photos of myself as a baby it's hard not to notice that my mom used cloth diapers. The pictures are kinda funny as I am wrapped in a bulky white cloth with safety pins on each side! Many people think of cloth diapers as a product of the past since disposable diapers came onto the scene. Little did I know (until I became a midwife) that cloth diapering is not a thing of the past! The majority of my clients continue to use the standard disposables, but I have also become very aware that cloth diapering is on the come back! Some names of cloth diapers that I hear in the practice are Bumgenius and Fuzzy Buns! How cute--and funny! Cloth diapering has definitely evolved since I was a baby. There are now cloth diapers that are quite fashionable with Velcro and snaps--instead of the standard safety pin! Also, the new cloth diapers are size adjustable meaning they can grow with the baby. Here is some interesting facts I found out in my research on diapers! You be the judge..:) As always, I am not trying to advocate one way or another...Of course I must say that the new cloth diapers out are incredibly adorable!

The debate over disposable and cloth diapers on the environment is not at all clear cut. The side you come down on in this argument depends on what aspects of the environment you value most. Disposables and cloth diapers each have their own advantages to you and your baby as well as to the environment. So what you choose to do therefore depends on which advantages you value most: convenience, cost, or comfort.

No question, disposable diapers involve less hassle. When your baby gets one wet or dirty, you just take it off, seal it up, and throw it away. Do keep in mind the diaper does have to go some where to disintegrate:) FYI- It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The tape on the sides of disposable diapers makes them generally easier to take off and put on than cloth diapers. (Although Velcro on diaper wraps has made it much easier to change a cloth diaper than it used to be, it's still not as easy as changing a disposable.) Cloth diapers are sometimes unwieldy. No matter how you fold a cloth diaper, you may find it difficult to fit it into a diaper wrap.

You can't just throw away cloth diapers. You need to store them in a diaper pail until your weekly diaper service pick-up or until you have enough to launder. The stench, especially after your baby has begun eating solid foods, can sometimes become overwhelming. Even if you use a diaper service, you'll have to wash the diaper wraps yourself. So cloth diapers require much more hands-on (excuse the expression) dealing with your baby's poop.

The advantages of disposable diapers all center on convenience. Yet cloth diapers offer convenience, too. Parents of babies who wear disposable diapers often run out at inconvenient times. But if you use a cloth diaper service, you'll never need to drop everything at quarter of nine to fetch some diapers before your local store closes. You can order as many cloth diapers as you need every week and have them delivered to your door. Because cloth diapers are so absorbent, they also come in handy in wiping up your baby's spit up and other spills.

As long as you're using a lot of diapers (80 or more each week), a diaper service will probably be less expensive than purchasing disposable diapers. Cost estimates show that disposable diapers will run approximately $50 to $80 per month, using a diaper service will cost approximately $50 to $60 per month and laundering your own cloth diapers will cost slightly less at approximately $25 per month. When the number of diapers you use falls to 60 or less, however, a diaper service is likely to be slightly more expensive due to the base delivery charge. Of course, if you're dedicated enough to buy and wash your own cloth diapers, that's by far the cheapest alternative of all. Most of my clients and friends who use cloth diapers launder their own and say it is really not a big deal!

Babies who wear cloth diapers tend to get diaper rash less often than those who wear disposable diapers. Because it's not always easy to tell how wet a disposable diaper is, babies who wear disposables may sit in their own urine longer than those who wear cloth diapers, and continued contact with urine causes most cases of diaper rash. With cloth diapers, you can always tell how wet your baby is.

For this reason, cloth diapers also make it simpler to monitor your baby's urinary output. If you have any concern at all about how much food your baby is eating, you will find it much easier to keep tabs with cloth diapers.

Finally, cloth diapers probably offer your baby more comfort. If disposable diapers were more comfortable than cotton ones, we would all be wearing paper underwear. Try rubbing a cloth diaper and then the inside of a disposable diaper against your cheek. Which do you prefer?

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I promise I am not missing in action! This month has brought many challenges to the practice. Being that the economy is bad, it unfortunately effects everyone. We are plugging away and the Lord is providing our every step. We have also had a busy month at the practice catching babies! I think, I alone, have delivered 7 this month. God is good! We have many new healthy babies--and mothers. I temporarily took down the blog site to think and to regather my thoughts. In the mean time, I have had many people e-mailing as to where the blog disappeared to! I am so glad to know you guys care! :)Thank you for keeping me encouraged!

Other news..the waiting room has been painted and looks so much better--and cleaner!Several people told me not to bother painting it, but I am so glad we went forth with the project! Special thanks to my friends--Rachel, Jeremy, and Jonathan! We managed to get it painted in 2 days and clean up a massive paint spill on the floor--hehe.:) We also bought some new toys and spruced things up!

I am in the process of doing some research on cloth diapers. I became interested in this subject after watching my best friend, Rachel, use cloth diapers with her last two children Caleb and Anna Felicity. I will be posting a blog about this topic sometime this weekend! The cloth diapers that are out are quite impressive and ingenious!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Boom in the Berg...

Bamberg has been booming in the past week. We have had four babies since Saturday morning and we still have several women who are due as I blog!:) I delivered a beautiful baby boy bright and early on Saturday at 2:30! Gotta love midwife hours! He weighed 6 lbs 8 ounces and had the most beautiful head of blond hair. I had to cervidil his mother for postdates (42 wks) and she lucked out with a 2 plus hour labor! My next came at 6 pm Sunday evening (baby girl) and my third arrived Monday afternoon (another baby boy). It was the first baby for three of the mothers and they worked so hard! Sometimes I stand in awe at how amazing my patients truly are. Leigh caught baby number four yesterday afternoon and it was a girl. So, two boys and two girls!

Other news...I found out last week that I was accepted into the Family Nurse Pracitioner Program at USC. Whoo-hoo! I am really looking forward to starting this challenging program. If I have the dual degree CNM/FNP it will definitely open the doors of opportunity and allow me to see patients that aren't just women's health related. I will start taking classes in August.

Lastly, we are starting to renovate the midwifery waiting room tomorrow! I am still undecided about the color of paint to use on the walls! Any suggestions? I have a feeling that this room is going to take a lot of work. Thankfully, I have amazing friends who are going to help me! I am so blessed to have such good friends. Without their help this endeavor would be IMPOSSIBLE! Pictures to come of our progress...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back from Vegas and ready to catch!

I am now back from a 5 day trip to Vegas! My sister (Amy) tied the knot in a very sweet ceremony on Sunday! I was so happy to be there to witness this special event. It is so awesome to see her so in love! I think my favorite part of being in Vegas (besides the wedding) was people-watching. If you like people watching (like myself) then Vegas is the place to go! You see people from all realms of life. Now, that I am back in the berg, I have a feeling I am going to be very busy catching babies! We have a lot of women due and two that are now overdue! I guess they just had to wait on me to get my catcher's mitt ready...here are some pics from the wedding! Two of the pics are my sister and I and there is one of me with my mom!

Friday, May 15, 2009

How is this for a belly laugh? The pregnant women who decorate their bumps with amazing artwork!

A friend of mine from college recently had someone do some artwork for her belly! The photographs of her baby bump were amazing! Today, I saw this article and thought I would share! It must be becoming more popular! I think I dig it!:)

It's the most exciting time in a woman's life - and, for some, the best way to commemorate the experience of pregnancy is with a painted belly. From a life-like depiction of an unborn baby to goldfish swimming in a bowl, the options for what to paint are limitless.

An increasing number of women are using face paints to decorate their baby bump.
Manufactured to be gentle on the skin, face paints shouldn't stain, although it's advisable to first test any paint on a hidden section of your body to make sure it can be removed easily...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Would you like a burrito?

A couple of weeks ago I was making rounds at the hospital on a baby I had delivered a day prior. As I entered the room I noticed the baby was very cranky and experiencing some nicotine withdrawal (as the mother was a smoker throughout the pregnancy). The mother was very frustrated and stated she had recently breastfed and changed the baby's diaper. The baby's arms were flailing as the mother held the baby in her arms. I gently took the baby to examine him and afterwards I swaddled him snuggly. A strange thing then happened--the baby quickly stopped crying. The mother immediately started smiling and took a sigh of relief. She then asked why I was wrapping the baby like a burrito! She couldn't believe that something so simple could have such a large impact on the baby's disposition. I then explained to her that the custom of wrapping babies snugly in light cloths or sheets has been used for centuries. Swaddling also most likely reminds the baby of being in the womb--which is comforting. I remember my travels to Africa and how the mothers that I worked with had the act of swaddling down to an art. They had seen the act of swaddling done as routine and it was an automatic given that you swaddle your newborn. Since being a midwife I have taught my mothers how to swaddle their newborn babies, but haven't stopped to actually research the act of swaddling. I found through research that swaddling has been linked to a decreased risk of SIDS, improved sleep, and reduced crying in the newborn. I also found that research advocates only swaddling for the first two months. Too much swaddling after this age can interfere with muscle development and the normal development of the ball and socket joint of the hip of the baby. Also, a baby starts to turn over around the age of two months so swaddling could become a safety issue.

Here are some detailed instructions on how to properly swaddle a baby:

1. Lay the blanket out on a flat surface in the shape of a diamond.
2. Fold down three or four inches of the top edge of the blanket.
3. Place your baby on the blanket so that his head is overlapping the top edge you turned down.
4. Tuck your baby's right arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the right corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the opposite side of his back.
5. Bring the bottom corner of the blanket up and tuck it inside the blanket near his chest.
6. Tuck your baby's left arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the left corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the blanket on his back.

If you have problems swaddling your baby, you can actually buy a swaddling blanket with Velcro flaps to make the procedure easier!

PS I enclosed a picture of my midwife partner, Leigh, swaddling a baby and giving it her sugar thumb!