About Me

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Evaluation

Every year I try to de-commercialize Christmas. I am up against some stiff competition in this arena, as I'm sure you are aware. Not only are the kids bombarded by television and radio ads as usual. Now they are also wooed by postal mail and email. I delete the emails, but those catalogs are devoured, circled, cut out and poured over time and time again.

Another trouble spot in my de-commercialization plan is that I am going solo. The kids even know it. They told me that their dad spoils them at Christmas and they will get piles of presents from the grandparents.

The third issue is internal. I end up putting way more focus on the gifts than I plan. I don't mean too, honest, I can't explain it! Each year I strategize ways to put Jesus at the forefront. Stories we can read, ways to increase the use of the Nativity set, events we can attend, etc. but too often I find myself Christmas shopping instead. I like to think I am a pretty strong woman, but I have been indoctrinated so thoroughly it is hard to break out. Wait a minute, that's placing the blame externally and is not my intention - I have allowed myself to hold on to the lessons I was taught growing up. I am always the weird one, I should be used to it, but I've gotta admit fitting in has its appeal. We already don't do Santa (except for the hats, but they're so cute!) which, I swear, makes some people think about calling the child abuse hotline on me. It's crazy how attached to that whole tradition people are! I hold strong to my beliefs on that issue. That being said, sometime around December 20, I decide to drink the Kool-aid and go spend a bunch of money. This year, I did way better than last year when I decided to compete with Tracy. This year I let him win, and bought sensible gifts in my last-minute remorseful shopping trip. I mean, really, are the kids going to love me less if they each only have one gift, but lots of story telling and game time, NO! They would love it, why can't I stick to the plan, I don't know, ack.

This year a friend, who adores the kids (and how could he not?) bought them gifts rather unexpectedly. He was afraid I wouldn't accept them from him, so didn't go overboard, which I really appreciated. It was nice for them to have something else to open on our Christmas morning at my house. I hate people to spend money on us, so it took me a bit to get used to the idea. The so sweet fact that he thought of them when he has no legitimate reason to was overwhelming. After they opened them , the only trouble for me was that they loved them. More than my gifts! They played with them almost the entire day! I'm teasing, of course, I adore that he knows them well enough from the stories I tell and the few interactions they have had to pick out perfect gifts. They were even hands-on and a bit educational, so he obviously knows me as well.

So, I'm sure we did not keep the Christ in Christmas as well as the average homeschool family, but darn it we did better than the average American family and that is good enough for me. I know that bar is pretty low, but the older I get, the easier I am on myself, which is only positive. Trying and failing to be perfect can make you crazy and I'm already too far down that path to add any more speed to my travels.

Overall, this year the kids were super happy with how it all went and it was only barely stressful for me and fairly easy on the checking account so I am claiming success.

Side note: Kara and I both celebrated on Christmas Eve and the kids went to their fathers' on Christmas Day. That left us alone on the actual day. We both decided independently to celebrate in a really healthy way: she had wine and I had mimosas. :-) When she called about 10:00 am, we laughed - a lot - at how pathetic it was, but what's a girl to do?

Friday, December 7, 2007

First Snow

Well, it had to happen eventually. We have had a very mild winter (thank you global warming) and I have tried to be appreciative, but apparently Mother Nature has decided we need some snow anyway. This afternoon we were blessed with fluffy, icy goodness. The kids, of course, were ecstatic, which made me feel like a louse of a mother since I spend so much time wishing against it. They managed to hit me with only four snowballs, which I count as a victory for me.

Levi took a slab of ice from the little pond out front and pretended to eat it, which I found hilarious, and also, disgusting. Paige decided to slide down the hill on her front and back alternatively, making her super happy and freeeezing! She didn't care a bit, of course.

So, that's our first snow day. We got maybe an inch of snow, but it was perfect snowball snow, so great fun. Now, if it could get up to, like 80*, I'd be super happy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mouseless, Dogfull

We have closed up the mouse cage for now with the death of Speedy. The kids are fine with the circle of life. We put her outside to nourish another animal and Paige thought that was a fitting way to say, "goodbye."

In other news, I decided to get a dog. I spend a good deal of time alone in the house and the house stays empty quite a lot, so thought it might not be a bad idea to have a companion. I would like a standard poodle, but am not a fan of purchasing full-bred dogs when there are so many mutts out there in need of homes. I was able to find a very mixed dog with some poodle in her. Her name is Missy Bouffant and she is 3 1/2 months old and just as sweet as can be. She came from a woman who runs an informal rescue and kept her inside, so she is used to using a doggie door and being on a leash. She is almost completely housebroken, which is really good for me since I have to work for at least 7 hours a night. I have a tie out that allows her to go through the doggie door to be inside or outside and it works pretty well, as long as she keeps from getting wrapped around the table leg or porch post. After a mere $140 trip to Petco for the free dog, we have another happy member of the family.

So that is the animal update for the Doyle household, it's always something here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Treading Water?

Ever feel like your not getting anywhere financially? Ever feel like you work for nothing? Let me tell you about my weekend.

Saturday night I made $131, which is a bit low, but I'll take it.
The babysitter (Debi who I work with watched them) cost me $25.
Spent $20 bringing the staff doughnuts and berries when I picked up the kids (she brought them to the restaurant so I didn't have to go all the way to her house.)
$20 went to the offering plate.
$53 for the kids a new Wii game (Doug gets some credit for helping the kids convince me this morning that they needed it and that it was an active game.)
$57 ticket for expired plates (apparently the renewal went to Tracy, but I should have noticed anyway, dang it.)
That means right now, I am at $-44 for the day and still need gas.

I am thankful that I have a job that gives me a bit of financial freedom. There have been times in my life where a day like today would have destroyed me. Today it is merely a setback. I will probably make enough to pay the ticket and get new plates tomorrow and then can move on to the other bills with the rest of the week.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mice, again

Two mice issues.
One dead, one living.

We happily housed Speedy and Aisha for quite some time and then Aisha passed to the next realm, as mice, and all things do. After a couple of weeks, we decided to replace her with a new tenant, Azul (apparently her favorite color was blue.) Speedy became very territorial and mercilessly attacked poor little Azul. We started by interrupting them each time Speedy attacked, then moved Azul to her own box for a night and tried again. More attacks ensued, so Speedy got her night in the new box and Azul got a night in the cage. Tried again and the attacks became less frequent, so we decided to just let them fight it out. Well, two days later Azul joined Aisha at the giant cheese wheel.

That same day, a short time after tossing Azul outside, I see a brown mouse, that I did not pay money for, scurrying across my kitchen floor. So now my dilemma is that I like living mice, just not outside of my cage. I don't want to kill this new addition, but I prefer her to not be in my home running free. Off to the hardware store I go to get live traps. An hour or so after placing them, I catch her. Yea! I decide to put her in Azul's box. Turns out, wild mice are WAY faster than tame mice. She jumped out of the trap the second I opened it and out of the box before I could slam the lid on. A couple hours later, I caught her again. Yea! Take two ends much the same way, I am much more careful and put the lid on as fast as humanly possible - mousely possibly is apparently quite a bit faster. So I re-set the traps and go to bed. About 6:00 am I hear rustling in the trap. This time, I have gotten a bit smarter, and put the unopened trap in the box and take it to the back porch before opening it. I manage to get the mouse out of the trap and the lid on with no mishap. I tell the kids about the cute little mouse I found and as soon as we get to the house, they go to look. They find an empty box. I don't know how, but that little mouse is quite an escape artist! The good news is that she escaped outside and I have not seen her since (I did re-set the traps just in case.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have been thinking lately about how my mind works. Let me start by saying that my mind is a frightening and confusing place, much like a labyrinth built by drunken clowns. So generally, I prefer to sail on blissfully oblivious about how I manage to get through each day relatively unscathed. So why have I been thinking about it? Well, two things happened.

One, I went to the FoMM retreat (which was amazing!) and took part in Molly Remer's session on Birth Art. I have had moments of artistic capability that I am proud of, but I can not harness that creativity at will. I only create art that I would show to anyone else when I am depressed. Unfortunately/fortunately I have been quite stable for several years and have not been able to create anything worthwhile. Molly guided us in decorating a birth goddess that should have been wonderfully stimulating, particularly considering the fantastically rejuvenating environment. It was disappointing for me though as I couldn't get a feel for how my goddess should look. So I have this feeling of duality where I want to be creative, but not at the cost of my stable mental health.

The other thing was much different. I was at work and quite busy. I needed about five things from the cooler and liquor room. I knew exactly what I needed, but when Doug asked for my list, I went blank (annoying him terribly) and couldn't tell him. It bothered me a little after work when I had time to think about why. It turns out that, as far as I can tell, I think in pictures, not words. I had in my mind what supplies I needed to pick up, but hadn't bothered to put words to the pictures. This explains why when I need something, I usually hold up the empty bottle instead of asking for it by name, I subconsciously assume that everyone thinks my way. There are benefits to this style; it makes me a great editor, for instance. When I open a page of a book or website, typos jump off the page at me before I even start to read because they don't look like any picture of a word I have ever seen. Also, when I am transferring new contacts to the FoMM database I frequently type without really reading the words, my fingers just type how the words look and know if they are wrong without ever having to know what they say. This comes in handy too when playing the shower game or taking parts of IQ tests where it is necessary to memorize objects and then recall them as long as I just look at the items and don't try to put words to them.

So, what does this all mean? Not a thing really, but it is interesting sometimes to get to know myself better.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


How old is too old for swingsets? Well, apparently 32 is right on the edge. I was at work the other night and a little boy (maybe 9 years old) was doing backflips off the swings and it looked like fun. Most adults would stop there, but, oh no, not me... I thought maybe I could do it, too. So, like a fool, I tried. As I sat in the swing, I thought maybe my legs are too long to clear the top, so I started slowly without letting go of the chains. That worked twice, with relative ease. So, confidence boosted, I decided to try again, this time with gusto. Turns out, my legs are in fact too long to clear the top, I learned this with one *thud* as my feet hit the top of the swingset and another *thud* as my knees grated the sand. Lucky for me, someone was there with a camera to capture my lesson. My favorite pics are the last two where the little girl looks appropriately frightened and confused as to why I thought this was a good idea when she could clearly see a disaster was in the making.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Levi is ELEVEN!

Today is Levi's 11th birthday. I can't believe it. Honestly, how did 11 years go by so fast?! I feel like my grandma all the time, talking about "the good ol' days" and years ago as if they were days.

He had a party with Tracy and a few friends on Saturday and today we are having the neighbor kids and Tuesday and Kane (his cousins) over for a small party. He has leftover cake still, so I am not making one, but we are making strawberry smoothies which are his absolute fave, so he is excited about that. It should be fun and low-key, which I need on my only day off this week. I used to go way overboard on parties and this year, Paige's was a bit much, but I'm getting better at just letting it be easy. We are also having a pizza party at baseball tonight, so that will be fun, too.

I am giving him a trip to Chicago this weekend. He doesn't know anything about it, but I keep torturing him with a "super secret surprise" present. Friday morning we are going to get in the car and I'm going to start driving and see how long it takes them to realize this is more than our usual errand running. My friend, Jane lives there and she has a son his age, Will, and a daughter, Katie, a little older than Paige so they will have fun playing and I will get some wonderful intellectual stimuli. We will probably do the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, or at least one of them and maybe get dessert at a fancy restaurant. I am really excited about it. I have the money to spend, although I should put it toward the remodelling debt, I think this will be something he remembers a long time, if I got him a new toy, he would forget about it in a week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jill McDonald Fairview Article

Choice must precede profit

I shouldn't be surprised that the Missouri State Medical Association is fighting midwifery legislation tooth-and-nail. I just find it hard to believe that a bunch of doctors can tell me that I don't have the right to choose who will attend me at the birth of my babies.
In Missouri I have the right to a home birth; I just don't have the right to choose a midwife who has been trained to know how to handle a normal birth and when to transfer the situation to a doctor. I can have the mechanic who lives down the street from me deliver my babies at home. I can decide to "go it alone" and hope for the best. The medical associations only want to make it a crime for me to use someone who represents herself as a trained professional or charges money for her services.

I think for all the MSMA's pandering to people's fears about birth gone wrong and the safety of mothers and babies, they are really worried about one thing: profit. Explain to me how the USA is 20-something in the rankings for birth outcomes when all the world's developed nations are compared? Don't we have the best obstetrical technology in the world? What does that say about our current system?

This is a matter of personal freedom. A powerful group is protecting their own interests at the cost of my freedom to choose what is best for my family. I don't feel I have the right to decide what is acceptable for others, but who is more qualified to choose what is right for me: myself or a well-paid lobby group? Forty other U.S. states have passed laws legalizing midwives that allow pregnant moms a range of options. Missouri women want this freedom, and they have been denied it for too long.

My four healthy, happy children were all born outside a hospital with the expert and attentive care of a midwife. We had a couple of minor complications, like a cord wrapped around the baby's neck and a stuck set of shoulders. In both instances, midwives knew exactly what to do. These occurrences are normal, and a midwife is trained to deal with normal birth. It's what midwives do.

Doctors provide excellent care for high-risk birth. I am glad they are there if I should need one. But I am healthy and low-risk and deserve a choice. I don't want to make everyone else have babies with a midwife. I just want to be able to choose it for myself. I want my three daughters free to choose when that time comes. More and more Missourians are realizing that this is not a safety issue. This is all about family freedom at stake.

If you think we should have this right in our state, let your representative and senator in Jefferson City know. Thank the governor for signing the recent midwifery legislation. Write to your local newspaper editor. Let your voice be heard about the lawsuit the MSMA has filed against the state of Missouri to challenge the new law.

Jill McDonald Fairview

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Other midwifery articles and letters:


MSMA Announces Preparations to Take New Midwifery Law to Court
Mary Ueland
Email: LegislativeChair@MissouriMidwivesAssociation.orgCell Phone: 417-543-4258Fax: 314-721-1149
Homebirth families around the state are appalled at the Missouri State Medical Association's plans to try to overturn the new law legalizing Certified Professional Midwives.Homebirth families have all been celebrating a victory since Governor Blunt signed HB 818 several weeks ago. The bill legalized Certified Professional Midwives and ended 48 years of the practice of midwifery being a felony in Missouri.Despite broad bi-partisan support in the Missouri legislature for the legalization of midwives and the passage of HB818, MSMA's tyrannical insistence on the felony status of midwifery in Missouri has now turned its efforts to the court system. The announcement of the planned law suit against the state of Missouri has claimed the top banner on the MSMA website.Those lobbying for the midwifery bill say that they were always willing to sit down and work out a midwifery law agreeable to all parties if the medical associations would have agreed to withdraw their intense opposition. However, they only intensified the opposition as time went on. The midwifery supporters say that the goal of the medical associations seemed to be making sure that no midwives would be available for mothers who choose to give birth at home in Missouri."The Missouri State Medical Association has never had any need to work with us, because they intended to maintain a complete monopoly on birth," explained Dr. Keith Nisbett, Ph.D., a professor and homebirth father who has tried to change Missouri's midwife law for nearly twenty years."The Missouri State Medical Association does not speak for me as a physician, nor do they speak for many of my physician colleagues who respect midwives and want to see them join us at the table as experts in healthy pregnancy and birth," said Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, MD, a physician from Columbia. "The MSMA has spent twenty years of time and energy fighting the legalization of midwifery in Missouri. You would think the sky is falling and terrible things are going to happen to doctors! That's the farthest thing from the truth. Midwives are well trained professionals and work well together with doctors."The midwifery supporters say that they are encouraged that other medical groups such as the Missouri Hospital Association are refusing to join the MSMA in the lawsuit. "It shows that the Missouri Hospital Association knows that there are more important things to focus on, like increasing access to healthcare for all of Missouri's citizens," commented Dr. Allemann. "For that, I applaud them.""There are so many other healthcare issues that need attention in Missouri. Why does the medical association spend so much time trying to criminalize my midwife and limit my access to the birthing service of my choice?" questioned Samanda Rossi, St. Louis Friends of Missouri Midwives area coordinator.Missouri women who choose home birth are more qualified to determine who should assist them than the MSMA. It is both demeaning and an insult to the intelligence of women to suggest that they would choose anyone other than a qualified professional to deliver their children.Midwifery is about access to healthcare. Some women do not have the choice whether or not to use a physician. The MSMA, if successful, is actually endangering the lives of women and their babies by denying access to trained professional midwives to attend homebirths. Every pregnant woman deserves to have a professional attend her birth who has been trained to recognize fetal distress, resuscitate a baby, and stop a hemorrhage.Mary Ueland, legislative chair for the Missouri Midwives Association, contends that MSMA is giving false information to its members and the public. "Anyone can look up the definition of tocology and see that bricklayers and professional golfers are obviously not certified in tocology. Because the truth will not cause concern among physicians or the public, MSMA is telling them lies about what the new law does. We had hoped that we could at least have a candid discussion of the facts with obstetricians."
The law says that those certified in tocology under the National Organization for Competency Assurance can provide prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. The two tocological certification processes certified by NOCA are the Certified Professional Midwives and the Certified Nurse Midwives.

The Missouri Midwives Association is dedicated to promotion, protection, support, and education for midwives in Missouri. www.missourimidwivesassociation.org

Friends of Missouri Midwives is a non-profit consumer group committed to expanding and educating about safe childbirth options for Missouri families. www.friendsofMOmidwives.org

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For more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please contact Mary Ueland at: 417-543-4258 or email Mary at: LegislativeChair@MissouriMidwivesAssociation.org

Reproductive war’s new front line Columbia Tribune
Reproductive war’s new front line Midwifery provides cost-effective health care.
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In May, just before legislators were to recess for summer, Republican state Sen. John Loudon pulled a fast one. He snuck a one-sentence amendment having to do with women’s reproductive choice into an otherwise unrelated 123-page health insurance bill that Gov. Matt Blunt was certain to sign. The measure was approved unanimously before anyone noticed the add-on, and when they did, it caused such a ruckus that Loudon was stripped of his committee chairmanship.
Reproductive politics is war, and this was exactly the kind of sneak attack you’d expect from a partisan politician. Except that this amendment wasn’t about abortion. Actually, it supported a woman’s right to choose - a midwife, that is.
Lobbyists in Missouri tried to legalize midwives for decades. You heard that right. In Missouri and 10 other states, independent midwives cannot get a license, which drives them to practice out of state or underground. Loudon sponsored a bill that would have licensed and regulated certified professional midwives - CPMs, whose credentials are recognized explicitly or implicitly in most other states - and it was finally close to passing when a lone senator filibustered, killing it. So Loudon got creative, and literary, and quietly slipped some Victorian lexicon into the widely popular bill.
The amendment grants anyone with "tocological certification" the right to practice. Tocological is derived from the Greek word "tocos," which means birth. It was code for the CPM credential. Blunt signed the bill into law on June 4.
And faster than you can say tocological, the Missouri State Medical Association was in court, suing for malpractice.
The doctors claim that recognizing CPMs will make birth less safe. That’s incorrect. Midwives provide evidence-based care, and studies show they promote optimal births. A 2005 study of 5,000 low-risk women who planned home births with CPMs in North America - the largest such study to date, published in the British Medical Journal - found that 95 percent of the women had spontaneous, vaginal births, and their babies did just as well as babies born to healthy women in the hospital. The low-risk women who receive traditional obstetric care have far higher rates of cesarean surgeries and other invasive procedures.
CPMs aren’t nurses or doctors. They are trained to be the primary-care providers for normal pregnancy and childbirth in an out-of-hospital setting. Midwives are regarded with suspicion by many Americans, but in much of the industrialized world they are the norm - a woman only sees an obstetrician if she has a problem - and these countries have a far superior track record than we do in the United States. The women there have fewer cesareans, fewer birth injuries and fewer deaths.
In some states, such as New Mexico and Tennessee, CPMs are health-care providers like any other, who list themselves in the Yellow Pages and get reimbursed by Medicaid. In other states, such as Illinois and Indiana, they are outlaws. In such places, women who want an alternative to the hospital must go underground and find an illegal provider. As they give birth, they are accomplices to a criminal offense.
In Missouri, it’s a felony.
The Missouri State Medical Association would rather keep it that way. Arguing in court for an injunction last week, the physicians group claimed that the midwifery measure is unconstitutional because it is unrelated to the larger thrust of the insurance bill, which Blunt lauded as expanding Missourians access to health care. Here, too, the doctors are wrong: Midwives provide cost-effective care to which many women are now being denied access. And don’t consumers have the right to choose where and with whom they give birth? This is not only a major public health issue, it’s a women’s rights issue.
You don’t typically hear Sen. Loudon defending women’s reproductive choice - he’s one of the state’s most vocal abortion opponents - but here he’s proved himself a surprise hero. The chief opponent to the midwifery bill - the one who filibustered, Chuck Graham turns out to be a pro-choice democrat. Surely Loudon wouldn’t want to be labeled a champion of women’s reproductive choice, and Graham wouldn’t want to be branded a foe. But in this instance, the two men have swapped places.
Perhaps Graham and his physician allies could instead follow the lead of Sheldon Wasserman, an obstetrician and democratic state representative in Wisconsin. Last year, he voted for a bill that licensed CPMs in his state. "If women have the right to decide on abortion, don’t they have the right to decide where they give birth?" he said.
Missouri CPMs should be able to practice in the open. It makes the most sense all around, especially in the "Show Me State."
Jennifer Block is the author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care" (Da Capo, 2007).

Deciding How, Where to Give Birth
Monday , June 04, 2007 By Dr. Manny Alvarez Fox News
Once the decision to start or expand a family is made, parents-to-be face a sequence of additional decisions.
Expectant mothers may be confused by the many options available. And frequently, they don't fully consider what their wishes are for the birth. But they should.
Women today can choose to personalize the experience according to their needs. Elective C-sections, epidurals, water births, hypnobirthing and induced births are just some examples of the possibilities.
One of the first questions soon-to-be parents should ask themselves is whether to have a midwife or doctor present for the prenatal period and delivery. This decision also influences whether the birth is to take place at a hospital, birthing center or at home. While none of the choices is considered the "better" one, being prepared and informed does give women a more positive birthing experience.
Also, when deciding on a birthing plan, parents should remember that one option does not have to exclude another.
"Midwives collaborate with other health care professionals," said Diane Holzer, president of the Midwives Alliance of North America. "It is possible to plan a birth with a midwife, and have the midwife stay involved even if complications require intervention from a doctor."
Midwives are trained to handle certain situations that are considered abnormal, such as breech birth and posterior position. In these cases non-invasive techniques are used to deliver the child naturally. When more complicated problems arise, the midwife will work with an obstetrician (OB/GYN) or transfer care fully to the doctor.
The ability to build a relationship with a midwife is one of the reasons an increasing number of women are choosing them as their primary caregivers.
"Regular prenatal appointments are 30-45 minutes long, which allow us to get to know our clients and their families," said Elizabeth Brandeis, a midwife with the midwives collective of Toronto. "We also provide on-call care which not only increases client satisfaction but improves safety in clinical care."
During these consultations a midwife is able to discuss the risks and benefits of different scenarios, including the array of medical interventions available. A doctor will do the same, but many midwives are able to give their clients more time and can act both as a health care provider and emotional support system, Brandeis said.
OB/GYN and Midwives: The Differences
The leading benefit of entrusting an obstetrician with the prenatal care and delivery of a baby is the immediate access to hospital facilities. It is advised that women who have high-risk pregnancies choose the care of an OB/GYN. This provides the mother with regular monitoring of her health and the health of the fetus, as well as early intervention if complications arise.
Women who are in a "normal, healthy" pregnancy may not want or need routine interventions, such as IV's, artificial speeding up of the labor process or electronic fetal monitoring, but may get it under the care of a doctor.
Women who prefer to stay away from this, and who do not medically necessitate it, often choose the care of a midwife instead of an OB/GYN.
Although midwifery is still illegal to practice in a few states, the majority of states and Canadian provinces have some form of regulation and licensing for midwives. But expectant mothers should check state regulations before making a decision.
Some mothers may want to give birth at home or prefer natural pain management options, rather than the routine epidurals administered in hospitals.
Holzer said many women seek a more personalized experience than a regular hospital can offer. "Women want to approach birth as a celebration, instead of a disease or illness," she said.
Also, Holzer said, midwives are educated to deal with deviations from the norm, if they arise, but generally strive not to intervene with the natural process. In contrast, an OB/GYN is taught to actively "manage" the birth process using routine intervention.
"Many women want to work with more natural options, because giving birth is something very natural of course," said Holzer.
This often leads women to midwives and alternatives to conventional painkillers such as massages, water baths and relaxation techniques.
"Water birth is great," said Holzer, "but it does not necessarily mean the actual birth has to happen in the water. Sitting in a tub will help the body relax which helps with pain."
The woman can choose to use a warm water tub during contractions, and deliver the baby "on dry land", or she can remain in the tub for the actual birth.
Another technique that is becoming increasingly popular, according to Holzer, is hypnobirthing. This involves relaxation techniques being practiced by the couple prenatally. "This way, the woman learns how to relax to the partner's voice," she said.
And the best natural painkiller can be the presence of a person the mother knows and trusts. This can be a partner, a friend, a parent as well as the health care professional delivering the child.
The presence of someone close has shown to make a prominent difference in a woman's ability to manage pain. It is also the one factor a mother-to-be can plan for regardless of where the actual birth takes place, or whether any complications throw off the original birthing plan.
Giving birth should be a positive and empowering experience for every expecting mother. Ensuring this depends on being fully informed and finding a health care practitioner the woman trusts, whether that is an OB/GYN or a midwife. The goal is always to deliver the baby in a safe and healthy manner, but the method in which this happens is as personal a choice as the decision to become a parent.
Foxnews.com health writer Christine Buske contributed to this report.
Click here to check out Dr. Manny's book The Check List (Harper Collins, 2007), from which this article was excerpted.
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tired, but making it

Whew, this working all the time crap is kicking my butt! I was off last Tuesday and am not off again until next Tuesday. It is fantastic to have some wiggle room in the budget, though. I spent almost $300 this week on curriculum and was able to pay cash for it without taking any money away from my bills. I have not used the credit card in a couple of weeks and have no major expenses expected.

I am seeing a new psychiatrist next month for my yearly review and I think I will be able to get some assistance with my bi-polar meds, or at the very least get some samples which will really help out (they run about $175 per month.) Of course, there is the Catch-22 since I am working so much right now, my income might be too high to qualify for assistance even though it will drop off after the Lake job closes for the season. We shall see.

I am pretty stable on the meds right now, but I do sometimes wish I had a little hypo-mania going to give me some energy to work and be awake and alert during the day. I hate being so tired when I have the kiddos. I will just have to be satisfied with normal amounts of energy - mental stability is good!

In other news, I decided to break down and teach out of a box, at least for Language Arts and Social Studies. I am too lazy right now to make up my own curriculum and really need to button down on Levi's schooling. I am thankful to Matt for gently holding me accountable for getting school done every day, but I know we need to do more. Levi will hate some of what I got (e.g. handwriting,) but he is already excited about some things (e.g. the microscope and other experiment supplies.) He has corrupted Paige in a way that really bums me out. She already dreads school and hasn't even really started. I got her some materials that look really fun, so hopefully she will come around.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mouse update

Jake is gone, replaced by Aisha. I'm so glad the kids aren't bothered by death, we seem to have a lot of it. :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hands OFF!

I am so sick of legislators deciding what is best for my uterus. Do they honestly think that ALL women fit into one neat category and can be shuffled through the healthcare system as if they were one patient? Personally, I want the legislature as far from my uterus as possible!

It seems so simple - let women research options and decide what is best for themselves and their families. Use legislative power to restrict truly dangerous and corrupt ideas, but let medically-sound options remain legal, even IF an individual legislator personally thinks it is crazy.

The idea that midwives in Missouri were ever determined to be so dangerous that they needed to be felons is unfathomable to me, but even more so is the idea that the Missouri State Medical Association now thinks that they should remain so. More info and rant to come, gotta run to baseball!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Shower

I took a shower for the first time in my newly remodeled shower, it was fantastic! Let me give you the rundown on the shower saga.

About six weeks ago (two weeks after buying my house) , I decided the caulk the shower surround. As I prepared to do so, I noticed that the surround was a little loose on one of the seams. Well, as a prepared homeowner, I just happen to have a tube of Liquid Nails, so I will fix that right up. So far, this whole process should take fifteen minutes, tops.

Then comes the drama. I gently pull the surround out to apply the Liquid Nails. The wall begins to crumble and fall into the tub. It is completely rotted from, apparently, years of needing to be caulked. So, out goes the shower, and the window which is also rotted. I realize that this job is one that might be out of my scope, so I employ my friend, Jon, to help. He tells tales of working in construction many years, as a matter of fact he went to New Orleans after Katrina to work. He assures me it is no big deal, he can do it. We go to Lowe's and buy supplies. Well a couple days pass and there is a still a hole in my wall where I would prefer a window. The forecast says rain, so I would like to fix that. Jon is busy and a neighbor guy asks if I need any help, he would love a little extra money. Great! He assures me it is no big deal (see a theme) and goes to work. He finishes the window and it is totally crooked, I mean, really crooked, like the Ripley's Believe it or Not building in Orlando. I give him $20 for his time, mostly because I am too nice. So he says he'll fix it, but needs to leave for a bit and come back. I decide I will just do it myself and come to the realization that he is an idiot; two of the screws are completely destroyed and can not be removed - no sign of a + or - in which to put the screwdriver. I go to Lowe's and buy a $10 Grabit that is supposed to pull out screws. Nope. So I go to Westlake's and get a $25 set of bolt extracting bits that actually remove the screws. Unfortunately, the bits are large and won't fit in the window channel without me cutting part of the window off. But now, I can reinsert the window straight. I do so and cover the outside of the window with vinyl 1x4s in a not-very-professional manner (remember, I'm in a hurry, it's going to rain!) I ask silicon to do jobs it was never intended to do (like cover huge gaps and hold the window in when I ran out of nails), but it is holding strong.

Okay, so now, I have a window, but still no shower walls. I am leaving on vacation and give Jon a list of projects, my key, and credit card. My instructions are simple - the most important thing on the list is the shower. I really want to be able to shower in my own home. I also called the plumber to come look at a leaking toilet. He calls and lets me know it is cracked and needs to be replaced. Jon does that for me; thank you, Jon. Of course, that isn't even on the list...

I get home, rush to my bathroom to see my beautiful new shower. Nothing. Still looks exactly the way I left it. But, how can that be? He spent $80 eating and drinking on my card, which is significantly more than the $20 I approved. Of course, if I could shower, I don't mind paying $80, but alas, I can not shower. My friend, Matt, is in Costa Rica for three weeks and says I can stay at his house while he is gone. Cool, I'm sure it will just be a day or two... if Jon would return my calls... or show up at the house to finish...

Fast forward three or so weeks, Matt has returned and I still can't shower. I keep thinking, "surely he will come today, he's my friend, he won't desert me." He does show up a few times and gets some work done. So now I have all three walls in and two faucet handles, no tub spout, giant gap between the window and the shower surround - no functioning shower. I give up on Jon. I go to Lowe's spend some quality time with an employee named Jeremy who is fantastic! I get all the supplies (okay, it takes me three trips to get all the stuff, but I got everything, darn it!) I get to work.

I work on it after getting off at the Apple, till the wee hours of the morning and get it done! I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR!! Amazing what you can accomplish when necessary.

I have skipped some of the details, believe it or not, but that's the highlights. I now have a completely functioning house, yesterday I even had a mattress delivered, now for a couch... hope I make bank at the Lake this week...

New Pets

In other news, last week I bought the kids pet mice. They chose two males because the males seemed more active in the store. Well, as it turns out, males don't make good pets beause they will fight until one becomes the dominate one and the other has constant bloody bites. They also smell really bad. So we returned the males and the guy was really surprised that the first guy didn't tell us that. So we traded them for two females. Levi's is named Jake and is brown. Paige chose a white one and named her Digger. Digger was the smallest mouse in the pet shop and yesterday she escaped. Paige is arguing with me that she wants another baby, but I am not budging - she is getting the biggest one there, I'm not paying money to put mice in my walls!

Update: I have never been so happy to see a dead mouse - Levi found Digger under the wheel in the cage, yea! No mice in the walls! We put her by the garage to be a guard mouse, then the kids decided to bury her out back, either way, they aren't the least bit bothered by the, umm - circle of life.

So now, we have a new white and black mouse named Speedy, let's see how long she lasts...

The Plan

So I started a second job this week at the lake (about an hour drive and $9 in gas) and love it! The place is called Jolly Rogers and is a pirate-themed restaurant and bar. A friend from Applebee's told me about it and promised that the money would be worth the drive. It is such a fun place, and totally laid back. The guests are mostly on vacation, so just out to have a good time, unlike Applebee's where people are always busy and in a hurry. I love the Apple and am comfortable in the corporate chain environment, but it is nice to do something different. I usually budget $100 a night at Applebee's, but last night at Jolly Rogers I made $200 and the night started out really slow because it had just finished raining. From what I understand, that is an average, maybe even low night. I am going to work at each place two -three nights a week through the summer, then probably go back to just Applebee's. It should really help with my finances.

I am doing the Dave Ramsey gazelle intensity debt-reduction plan. I got out and dusted off my envelope system and put the tips from last night in there. I will use tonight and tomorrow's money to put toward the mortgage.

I plan to pay off the house in twelve years so that when Paige goes to college, I can move to Florida. But, I am wondering if I should start that plan this month or use the additional $185 that I need to pay to make that goal to pay off the credit card.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I thought there was not enough going on in my life to fill a blog, but as I read my friends' blogs (Hi Nikki, Deanna, Tanya!), I realized that our lives may all be mundane, but in different ways. I read with interest details about dogs and laundromats, midwives and politicians. So, that was the start of my blogging thought, but today as I write this, it is with a new purpose.

I am in debt and I need some accountability to get myself out. I want to put this out here so I can't hide from the details.

I also want to brag (and sometimes, complain) about all my blessings, Levi and Paige, of course, and my new house top the list of current topics. So here goes...