Monday, June 29, 2009

Being On-Call

Tonight, at midnight, I will be officially on-call for a birth. With the honour of being a birth doula comes the obligation of being available at a moment's notice from 2 weeks before D-Day until the baby shows up...possibly an entire month.

Unlike other jobs that require being on-call, there are no shifts, no down-time. For a month, I will become the unreliable friend, uncommitted volunteer and hopeful participant. I will hesitate to plan any dinner plans, especially expensive ones, just in case I have to leave after the appetizer but before the main course. I will RSVP to parties with the words, "2 adults...maybe, if my client isn't in labour". I will refrain from going to the movies or Walmart because the cellphone reception is crappy in those huge buildings. Long walks or hikes will be replaced by short ones, lest I need to sprint back to the house to hop into the car enroute to the hospital. My cellphone will be my constant companion - by my bedside, on the sink while I shower and tucked into my pocket during church. I will haul my doula bag with me everywhere I go, even to the grocery store.

Ah, but with the bad comes the good. Whilst on call, I will re-read The Birth Partner with renewed fervor. I will go to bed early to get precious sleep lest I need to be awake for 30 hours straight. I will rise early to hit the shower and do my housework in case I am called away mid-morning. I will eat healthy, regular meals because this may be the last unrushed lunch for a couple days. I will savor my morning coffee for it's taste and warmth, and not only for the caffeine that may sustain me through the night hours. I will become an ultra-organized, efficient mother and wife so as not to leave any loose ends when I abandon ship for the high seas of labour. I will cuddle my children, remembering their own births with fondness and a remembrance of that high I felt for days after first kissing their chubby little cheeks.

On-call is tough, but it does have it's silver lining...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Who Died Yesterday?

Okay, show of hands. How many of you change the channel when you stumble onto a World Vision special? Do the images of the bloated bellies and swarming flies give you that unpleasant guilty feeling? Got better things to watch (Seinfeld reruns?)?

Last Monday, the hit TLC show Jon and Kate plus Eight drew an audience of 10.6 million. They were announcing their divorce (no surprise there). Sky News reported that it had 735 000 viewings when it was reported that Micheal Jackson died.

Everyday, 16 000 children around the world die of hunger related causes. Every 3 seconds, a child in Africa dies of AIDS. Every day, over 4000 babies are aborted in the USA (only 4% of those because of rape/incest or severe health problems).

Where is our perspective?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cat Dish Woes

We have a problem at my house. It's about the cat. Richard is in charge of feeding and watering Tigger, but for some reason, he likes to put the cat's water dish in the corner of the kitchen. The corner of the kitchen where the breakfast foods and coffee pot are placed. You know - the corner of the kitchen that I stumble into in the wee hours of the morning before I've had my daily dose of caffeine.

The result is usually the same - I kick over the water dish. My socks get wet (ew, cat spit), the floor is a mess, Graedon splatters it throughout the kitchen, or drinks it (ew, ew, cat spit). So, I fixed THAT problem.

There. And, I *do* aim to use the paddle.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To Be of Use~ by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
the pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real

Saturday, June 20, 2009

African Birth Collective Update #3

I feel like crap. Not physically (although this nagging summer cold is the pits). I got semi-accepted for the African Birth Collective trip in February and...I turned it down. I e-mailed the director with my decline, and now I feel a curious mix of relief, disappointment and "que sera sera". Here's an excerpt from the e-mail I sent her:

"I've given a lot of thought to the African Birth Collective trip, and the interview with Kristi gave me a lot of insight. My husband and I have thought and prayed about it, and I am sad to say that I believe it would be best for me to pass.

This trip would be amazing, and such an educational experience for me, but with my level of experience, I do not think that I would be the right kind of help for you. I think it would be better for everyone if I gain more experience before participating in such an intense program.

Please accept my sincere apologies for having to turn down the trip. I'd like to apply again in a few years when my comfort level and experience can help me be a better help to you and the team."

So, there you have it. I just couldn't shake the little nagging feeling in the back of my mind saying that this wasn't right for me. Although it is still a trip I'd like to take, I know that the timing isn't quite right given my level of experience.

When we talked about it, my mom said that I was still very young and had plenty of time to get to the level I need. Frankly, some days I feel like a dinosaur.

I have another trip up my sleeve, but I won't write about it yet. Perhaps that one will work out?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quote, Dr. Michel Odent

"Unfortunately, the role of obstetrics has never been to help women give birth. There is a big difference between the medical discipline we call "obstetrics" and something completely different, the art of midwifery. If we want to find safe alternatives to obstetrics, we must rediscover midwifery. To rediscover midwifery is the same as giving back childbirth to women. And imagine the future if surgical teams were at the service of the midwives and the women instead of controlling them." ~ Dr. Michel Odent, MD

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

African Birth Collective Update

I had my interview with the African Birth Collective (ABC for short, because it's crazy long to type!) yesterday. I guess it went well! It was less of an interview than a chat about what to expect from the trip, from them and from me. From what I understand, it's not a leisure trip! That's fine with me, I'm not looking for a vacation. I guess I'm looking for something that will bring perspective to my birthing/life philosophy, make an impression on me, grow me up, and wake up the senses. I think ABC will do that.

I haven't "officially" been accepted, since my references are still being checked out. However, now that things are getting a move on, I'm getting nervous! When I applied, I did my best to just forget it. I figured that it was best not to get my hopes up. Now that I've passed through the first 2 obstacles, the experience seems so much more real!

The cost of the trip is affordable in relation to other humanitarian trips (I estimate at about $5000 for 1 month), but a huge stumble in relation to our family finances. I've been saving up since I sent in the application, but there's still quite a ways to go.

So, any tips, ideas and/or encouragement will be accepted!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm a Soccer Mom

Soccer. It's what summer is made of, it seems.
Little Big Girls, in even bigger jerseys - Left to right, Maddie, Eva, A & G.

My brother helped coach. Maddie is a nailbiter, especially when nervous...

Especially when she's learning a new skill of which she's unsure. I have to give her credit for dribbling the ball and biting her nails at the same time, though!

There was lots of fast running.

Really, really fast running!

In the meantime, Graedy hid in the grass. He was exasperated that the grass would snag at his legs and slow his scooting down.

So, he switched to playing with the gravel. Soon enough, he'll be on the soccer field, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

While the Husband's Away...

I've been single-momming it for the last couple days. Rich is gone to Miramichi to repair and set up buildings. Summertime is the busy season for Rich. The frost is gone from in the ground, travel is good, and the days are long. Often, he'll be gone for the weekend, sometimes the week, to put up tarp garages.

I don't know what it is about his extended absence, but it makes me feel incredible industrious! As I am waving goodbye to him from the doorway, I am mentally making lists of all the projects I need to complete while he is away. I like the motivation of having a deadline. I like the excitement and satisfaction of finishing a task before he gets home, just so that he'll be surprised.

Last summer, there was such a business trip that ended with newly painted cupboards, complete with replaced hardware. This time, the list was as such:

*buy and set up a bookshelf in the girls' room (their books are in piles right now for lack of space)

*dig up and replant the flowerbed in the front yard using the plants in the flowerbed that is going to be destroyed when we replace the draintile

*paint the hall upstairs

*clear off the couch in the living room (no easy task, since it's my catchall/laundry area)

So far, I've painted, and cleared the couch. Unfortunately, it's rained the whole time Rich has been gone, so the flowerbed will have to wait. In the meantime, I think I might organize the pantry...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Home Schooling Conference

Rich and I went to our first homeschooling conference last weekend.
Here's what I learned, in note form:

1) Teach the 4 Rs - Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic and aRt. As it wisely was said in Mr. Holland's Opus (I think), if there is not art, what will the kids read and write about??

2) Be balanced in your approach. Make sure you have the right mix of learning and fun. The kids need alone time and free time in order to develop their own personalities, hobbies and talents.

3) The "S" word - socialization. All socialization is not positive. Homeschooling allows freedom to mix with people of all ages and walks of life. Personal problems between students will not get in the way of academics.

4) God has called us to teach all our children, even the youngest. Stay on the course!

5) Be transparent. Apologize to your kids as needed.

6) Keep God first.

7) You can't homeschool if you're never home. Be involved in outside activities, but not at the expense of your school work and sanity!

8) Be scheduled. Be flexible.

9) Have a goal. Decide on what is most important in your homeschooling journey and go for it. Have a long term vision. Decide on a block of time that you will homeschool, and re-evaluate only at the end of that block. This is best if it's a few years instead of only a few months because this will minimize self-doubt and instability.

10) When you need help from the hubby - ask for it! They aren't mind readers! These are our children, these are our decisions.

11) Train your kids. (even non-homeschoolers need to do this, right?)

12) Read, read, read. Especially aloud.

13) Your homeschooling role is a natural extension of parenting.

14) Find support with other homeschoolers, and make friends with another homeschooling family that is similar to yours.

15) The corrosive nature of public school doesn't show up until grade 5 or 6. It's a matter of pay me now, or pay me later.

16) Be decisive. Be the parent.

The good thing about New Brunswick, is that there is a huge support system when it comes to homeschooling. We're lucky to be here when it comes to homeschooling.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goodbye, Midwives

The last midwife left New Brunswick 2 weeks ago. Gone. There are no more licensed midwives left in the entire province (at least, not publicly).

I can't even begin to explain what this means to me.

I can't blame them for leaving. The government has been farting around so long on the midwifery issue that the midwives were bound to either go broke waiting for funding, or get fed up and leave for greener pastures.

For the public, this means: No choice when it comes to care providers. We don't have the luxury of choosing a doctor or midwife. The way it works here is by shared practice. You see a different doctor every time you go in for your prenatal appointments. You're stuck with whoever is on call when you go into labour.

Want a homebirth? There isn't anyone who can help you unless you

A) choose a traditional birth attendant ("midwife" with no formal training) hugely controversial, underground, quasi-unassisted (how Graedy was welcomed into the world)

B) go unassisted, which means you deliver at home with no medical help

C) hire and import a midwife from another country or province. Big money. Bigger money that most NB women have or ever will have

D) relocate to another country or province for the late pregnancy/due months. Big money. Again, more than most can afford.

So, there you have it. I get so frustrated by the chapters and books that stress the importance of choosing your care provider wisely. WE DON'T HAVE THAT LUXURY! WE DON'T HAVE CHOICE!

That is NB for you. That is our reality.

Where is This Going?

I started this blog with the intention of recording my journey into midwifery. Surprisingly, there isn't nearly as much midwifery/birth related info in this blog as I originally thought there would be.

There isn't as much midwifery/birth in my life as I originally thought there would be, either.

In truth, I'm struggling every day with where I'm going. This blog is a reflection of life at the moment, but censored. Heavily. I avoid the blog on my bad days because I know that my relatives and friends read this. I don't want people getting the wrong idea, and once something is written down, it can't be erased. Even if it's erased. I'll give you a minute for that!

So, this blog has been filled with the kids, homeschooling, rants, homemaking, doulaing...all that my life is filled with at the moment. Surprisingly, very little electrolysis...

I feel like I should narrow it down and focus on one subject. I'm feeling that in my life, too. I play with the idea of an anonymous blog on which I can write whatever I want without worry about pointing fingers or gasps. Don't look for it, though, it hasn't happened yet!

Anyway, another pointless post, but that's that.