Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Four year old urges: "choose the better way"

Last week we took a family (2 year old, 4 year old, 27 week pregnant me and out-of-his-mind-to attempt-this husband) trip down to Disney World. It was an amazing trip, full of moments I'll never forget. I'm sure my feet will never forgive me, though!

One afternoon when Sarah and I were in a bathroom stall she saw my scar and asked if it still hurt. I told her that no, it doesn't hurt anymore. She asked if it hurt when the doctor cut me and I said it didn't because she gave me some "numbing medicine" first, but that when the medicine wore off it hurt a lot.

She thought about that for a moment and then asked, "which way hurt less: the way I was born or the way Kay-wub (Caleb) was born?" I told her that when she was born it didn't hurt at all because I was numb, but that later it hurt really bad, and when Caleb was born it hurt, but that as soon as he was out all of the pain went away.

She was quiet until after we both washed our hands and then she looked at me and said, "well, I think you should have baby Anna the better way, like Kay-wub. It hurts less." I laughed and told her I agreed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Belly Picture!

I finally have my digital camera so I was able to take some pictures last night. Yes, there is a baby in there and she's quite healthy. I just hide her well!

24 weeks 3 days

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Breastfeeding Book Giveaway!

Woman to Woman CBE is having a giveaway celebrating 100,000 hits to her blog! The book she's offering is a wonderful new breastfeeding book called Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy: A Photographic Guide for Mom and Those Who Help Her, by Laura Keegan. Please visit these sites, enter for the giveaway and read more about the book! Good luck everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009


As you know, two (two?!) of my sisters had c-sections last summer. Sister A has never been "okay" with her section and now, unfortunately, she's dealing with even more complications.

Two months after her section her cycles returned, along with a familiar, though worse, pain. Her periods were always painful before she got pregnant due to severe endometriosis. So, at 2 months postpartum she just assumed that was the pain she was feeling.

However, two nights ago she woke to severe pain from her navel to her mid-thigh and went to the emergency room. They did a vaginal ultrasound and thought initially that she had 'pregnancies' both in her fallopian tube and also on the outside of her uterus.

Thankfully, after a more thorough evaluation, it was found that it wasn't a pregnancy (or pregnancies) at all. That's the good news. The bad news is that apparently she's had an infection in her uterus for the last five months.

Anyone care to guess how a healthy 22 year old woman gets a rampant infection in her uterus? A c-section?! No! But they're SO SAFE!

The doctor gave her a two week prescription for two strong antibiotics, but he wasn't very optimistic about her chances at avoiding having her uterus opened up again. Can you believe that? She's basically going to have to have ANOTHER c-section!

Oh, but there's more. The doctor also said that there is a chance she may lose her uterus if the infection can't be controlled with antibiotics and surgery.

A 22 year old losing her uterus due to cesarean complications.

But they're so safe. So, so safe. . .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

When you cut me

When You Cut Me

I know. I understand—it’s your job
but it’s not my job
it’s my life, my baby, my body!
you went home that night to a warm home, a soft bed
and I was left on my back
in a cold room
with a hole in my soul abdomen
I’m not complaining about the job you did—
with your “cut rate” I believe you must be an expert now—
I’m complaining that you did the job

Did you know that when you cut me, I bled?
you cut a hole in my body and put your
hands inside
you didn’t ask may I move your bladder
may I touch your ovaries
may I take your baby

you took my baby!
You were the first woman to touch her
she was my first child and your bloody latex hands
were the first thing she felt
instead of me pushing, you pulled

When you cut me
I didn’t do anything!
I was just strapped to a table
a tube in my nose
my arm
my back

then you just walked into the room
hidden behind your puke green screen
chatting with your colleagues
touching my body
cutting my skin

I was right there!
but you didn’t
see me
think about me
know me
did you ask if I was scared?
was I okay?
did I have any questions?
did I want to know what was happening?

I know.
I understand.
It’s your job.
When you cut me.

President (Elect) of ACNM

Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN

Candidate Statement Related to Office:I am a midwife passionately committed to the profession and the women it serves. If chosen as ACNM President (Elect) I will use my passion and leadership to place midwifery as a forerunner of women’s health care. Early in my career I discovered change comes from solution-based action – and to effect change I had to work “with” people to achieve collective agreement about the road forward. This has shaped my collaboration with all stakeholders in clinical practice, teaching, research, and leadership. The philosophy has served me as a midwife, family nurse practitioner, educator, scientist/researcher, military officer, policymaker/administrator, and leader. It has helped me be successful in numerous settings – tertiary, community, and military hospitals, health maintenance organizations, urban and rural heath centers, professional organizations, and US/European academic institutions. This breadth of experience has given me an exceptional skill set to work with people from diverse backgrounds, but who hold common goals with midwifery – the health of women and their families.

My career has heightened my awareness of the importance of local grassroots activism to assure legal mandates to support the profession and women’s health. Membership on local, national, and international committees and the RI Board of Midwifery has helped me understand the daunting obstacles midwives face. My commitment to local advocacy for midwifery and women’s health was recognized by the ACNM Regional Award of Excellence – an honor I hold dear because it came from my colleagues in the trenches with me.

One of my most important professional contributions is my research, which articulates and links the work of midwives to healthcare outcomes. As Chair of the ACNM Division of Research I helped forge a partnership with MANA to establish scientific evidence supportive of our work. As a 2008 Fulbright Distinguished Scholar I conducted research on England’s national commitment to normal birth. Those powerful lessons will be instrumental in my future leadership, teaching, practice, and research to address the challenges we face in the US.

As President (Elect) of the ACNM I will work on our proposed “Future Focus” goals with the ACNM Board and ask each ACNM member to join me in that effort: (a) create strategic communication detailing the value of midwifery care in the US and globally – we must systematically reverse the US culture of fear and ignorance to build public and political support of midwifery; (b) attend 20% of all births by 2020 – visibility through birth attendance is key to professional and economic survival; (c) full autonomy for CNMs/CMs in practice and equitable reimbursement – we must work together on local and national levels to change policy and laws; (d) 1000 new CNMs/CMs annually – every one of us must commit to our students. None of the goals are possible without a critical mass of midwives. The road forward requires political and personal savvy, enlistment of expertise and resources, and leadership. I believe I am prepared for the challenges I will face and through the spirit of cooperation we will have the momentum to assure women’s right to health care excellence led by midwives. I am honored to be a candidate for President (Elect) of the ACNM.

Now that is "change we can believe in"!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

That One

On my first day of high school, my chorus teacher sat down in front of us and read us a story. It was a story, I forget the title, from the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. While I'm sure that there are many different versions of this story floating around out there, here is a summary of the version she read to us:

There was a woman walking on the beach one afternoon. As the tide pulled away from the shore it left thousands of starfish stranded on the sand. As far as the woman could see up and down the beach there were starfish. As she continued to walk down the beach she saw a man walking several yards in front of her. She watched as this man would take a step, bend down, pick up a starfish and hurl it back into the ocean. Another step, another bend, another starfish flung into the ocean. When the woman was close enough to the man to speak to him she asked him what he was doing. "If these starfish stay here on the sand they'll die. I'm throwing them back into the ocean," the man said. The woman replied, "but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. Throwing a few of them back into the ocean can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the man took a step, bent down, picked up a starfish and tossed it into the ocean. "Made a difference to that one."

Sometimes I get so frustrated. How do we change birth practices in this culture of fear? Doctors are afraid of lawsuits, women are afraid of normal birth and that harm may come to themselves or their babies. A few weeks ago a lady on a birth board I frequent posted a link to a beautiful unmedicated birth. Many of the comments to it were along the lines of yuck, gross, disgusting. How sad!

Another lady said she wanted to have an epidural because she was afraid of "losing control" in labor. She doesn't realize that by having that catheter in her back she gives up any control she ever had. She will be confined to bed, have a blood pressure cuff on one arm, tubes in the other, vaginal exams she can't feel and little control over pushing her baby out.

One poor lady said she hoped (hoped?!) to have a c-section because she was afraid of "tearing" and "being so exposed" during a vaginal birth. How ironic and tragic! Has no one told her that a surgical incision is worse than a tear? Does she not realize she will be exposed, at least for a time, from the chest down, and that her most feminine parts, her uterus and ovaries, will be exposed?

How? How do we change this? Sometimes it just seems so hopeless. Thousands, thousands, thousands of women lying stranded on the sand.

I am fortunate though. I have some hope for the future. I have one daughter (the one who was cut from me) and another daughter on the way (who will not be cut from me). They will grow up with a knowledge and respect for normal birth. They will see normal birth. They will know how babies are made and how they are birthed. My Sarah, 4 years old, can't wait to see "baby Anna" come out of my "fuh-jina". She delights in putting her hands together to form a "uterus", showing her two year old brother how it will contract, open, and "let baby Anna out to see us".

Made a difference to that one!