alicia: October 2003 Archives

UCLA Biomedical Library History & Special Collections: Programs in Medical Classics. Scroll down to 17 November announcements. I wish I could be there to listen and to comment. I wonder whether the culture of life or the culture of death will have the upper hand.

Steve Habisohn's E5 Ranks Pursue Holiness by Fasting

EAST DUNDEE, Illinois, OCT. 29, 2003 ( When Steve Habisohn heard John Paul's call for a new evangelization, he knew the fastest and most efficient way to change the hearts of the multitudes was to target men.

Through his study of the Pope's teachings on marriage and the family, Habisohn had learned that wives and children naturally follow the example set by their husbands and fathers, and that problems in marriage often stem from a family's lack of pursuit of holiness.

Random Quiz




Erik suggests ways to 'celebrate' Ramadan. Here is a recipe that I think might be appropriate.
Posole is a traditional Christmas dish in New Mexico, and there are probably as many posole recipes in New Mexico as there are paella recipes in Andalusia. Here is mine.

brussel sprout report

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Erik kindly suggested a recipe. I am constitutionally unable to follow most recipes exactly. I see them more as suggestions than orders, meaning that sometimes I end up with wonderful food and sometimes even the cats won't eat it! I am happy to report that I actually ate and enjoyed baby cabbages for the first time in my life.

my husband found this


another UN issue


Catholic World News : UNFPA complains Philippines diverted funds for contraceptives to NFP.
Apparantly, UNFPA thinks that the only acceptable family planning methods are those that enrich the drug companies.

Halloween around the parish

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Catholic School Blogger talks about schools and rules in Binky says die.
Chris has a great picture of an unusual trick-or-treater.
Sparki posts about All Souls' and All Saints' days and the proper commemoration thereof.
Nicole posts about HallowE'en and SoulCakes, and Pan de Muertos (with a recipe!). Actually, if you haven't dripped by there lately, Nicole has a wealth of good stuff about All Saints and All Souls.
Summa Mammas (actually, Smockmomma) posts about Holiday Hangups. From the comments box comes this link to The Catholic Roots of Halloween. The Moss sisters post here about costumes for All Saints' parties, and here with another link to an article about Catholic families and Halloween.
Davey's mommy posts about that annual event, the broadcast of "It's the great pumpkin, Charley Brown".
I really miss Kathy the Carmelite these days.

recipe help request

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Yesterday's CSA box contained a vegetable that, had I been doing the pickup, I would have left on the table. However, my husband thought that maybe I could figure out a way to cook it so that at least one of us would find it tasty - a real challenge since this is a vegetable that both of us grew up despising despite pleas from our mothers.
The vegetable in question is Brussel Sprouts. I don't know why we have both always disliked them, given that we love brocolli, cabbage, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables. It has been suggested that we have never had them cooked properly.
Hence my plea to my readership (Erik?) - how best should I deal with these fresh locally grown baby cabbages? I must admit they are really cute to look at.....



Thank you all for your comments on my blogger's lament. I wan't able to post anything yesterday - the computer I usually use when on call was misbehaving, and I also had a couple of patients who kept me busy. Some patients want or need an almost constant presence when in labor, but many others do better if I leave them in control of deciding when they need me - I think that labors do better if left alone to follow their own rhythm. I don't manage labor, I support the family in working with it. I see myself as more of a guide than a general.

blogger's lament

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"I have the usual blogger's complaint: the posts you really feel strongly about, and/or would like feedback on, are the posts that receive the least number of comments"
Bene Diction is having a Pooh day.
I fully sympathize.
For some reason, I have been getting a lot of random comments on an old post about "Why did God make killer sharks" and almost nothing on my insightful commentary.

Medical data I hadn't seen before

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There is a saying in Neurology:"You're never the same once the air hits your brain".
The Gadsden Times has a fascinating and highly technical article about coma, PVS, and minimally conscious states. They should bring this guy in for expert testimony.
Has anyone done a PET scan or an MRI on Terri?
link via Mark Shea.


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Send Flowers to Terri's family. Please. I think roses would be good.



I have decided to add a link to the Catholic Company to the site. If you click through and buy, I will get a small percentage. IF you don't, that is ok too. I run this blog for my own reasons, and making money is not one of them!
Addendum - that is, if I can figure out how to add the linked graphic and click through without totally screwing up my page!

Doves and Pomegranates

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Found this site through checking my referrals in sitemeter. Interesting title. And, I had been looking for the quote below.
Doves and pomegranates
recall the words of Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.



Go to Bishop Steinbock's Homilies and Letters and scroll down the archives to read the letter on the above topic. You will not be disappointed.

Parenting alert!

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Toddlers Have Bad Eating Habits
How hard is it to give a kid a banana instead of a candy bar?



John Paull II knows that peace is not founded on pills and prophylactics
From Envoy Encore.
The Register Guard is one of the things I don't miss about Eugene OR>

on the media


humanae vitae conference


I don't quite know where to begin on this event. God's plan for life was an obvious underlying theme.
Friday was a conference for priests and religious. It was well attended (around 30 priests, I am told) and the attendees included our current pastor, our previous pastor (who had to drive 50 miles to attend!) and the pastor of the local parish with the NEW Perpetual Adoration chapel. All 3 of these men had what is commonly called a 'late' vocation. (one of them hates that term, he says that his vocation was not late, it was in God's perfect time!).

Save this page somewhere

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A month before Christmas 2002, I met the owner of the Carrying to Term Pages. At that time, I didn't know about her page - I simply knew that she had been an enormous support for a patient of mine who had been diagnosed prenatally with a uniformly fatal (to the baby) birth defect. I had heard about her over the months from my patient, and I met her during the labor and birth of precious Cynthia.
This afternoon, I met her again at the conference, and learned about her web page.
This is a great resource for women who are in the terrible situation that my patient was in.
Check it out.

a pic of me

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Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
"A person's a person, no matter how small".
Link via The Sleepy Mommies

Humanae Vitae


I spent all morning at a wonderful conference on the above encyclical. Then while reading through the blogs, I found the quote below, which I found most appropriate.

Fr. Rob says


in his fine blog Thrown Back

No, personhood is inherent in the human being. To separate personhood from human identity is as disordered as separating eating from nutrition, or separating sex from... ohhh.... procreation. It is this way because God made human beings that way. And God made Terri Schiavo that way. Those who know and love her see her as a person not because they are deluded, but because they look beyond what she can or cannot do, to see who she is.

change of subject


There has been so much important stuff going on around the parish lately that I haven't had the heart to get into such fripperies as food and recipes and so on. But I think it is time for a change of pace - if only for a few minutes. While Terri was being actively starved, I did not think it right to talk about food, but I am hoping and praying that soon she will be getting the care she needs and deserves. I want to share a bit of a recipe.
One of our CSA farms had a bumper crop of beets, so I made borscht. My Hungarian/Russian godmother taught me how - and it isn't that wimpy stuff you sometimes see in jars in the Kosher section of the supermarket. For one thing, her recipe uses a meat-based stock, and if available, chunks of meat, too.

new blog


Ever New
lots of interesting articles and links, and a precious picture of mother teresa.
Via Flos Carmeli

a much needed critique


If you have been wondering how to reply to friends and family about The Da Vinci CodePLANET ENVOY! has an insightful analysis. Carl Olson and Sandra Meisel fisk the book - and this is only part I! I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Rest in Peace

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John Lee, M.D. is a physician who fought valiantly for a proper understanding of the role of the natural hormone, progesterone, in women's health.

In my inbox this am

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To: undisclosed-recipients:
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 8:47 PM
While many have heard that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube has been re-inserted, her life is in imminent danger. Michael Schiavo is still her legal guardian. The would-be murderer is responsible for guarding his own victim! In addition when Terri was moved from hospice, he immediately blocked visitation rights at the hospital for her parents, siblings and family priest - the only source of Terri's comfort, love and joy. An emergency motion ordered visitation restored for the family but it was not received in the attorney's offices until 5:15PM today. By the time the family was able to get down to the hospital, her husband had removed her from the hospital and taken to an "undisclosed location" - we are told perhaps back to hospice.


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Last night, I was surfing blogs about Terri's fight. I found a first person story from a woman who had come out of a so-called PVS even though her husband, a physician, was trying to have her disconnected. I have been trying to find it again (I had to log off the computer at work suddenly to take care of a walk-in). If any of you know what I am talking about, could you post me the link either in the comments or in an email? thanks!

Fertility awareness site


Fertility Friend OnLine is a fertility awareness Symptothermal Method set of charts for couples who are trying to conceive. Looks pretty interesting.

Kairos Guy


is taking a Survey.
"What's the best, most accessible book on Christianity, or one of its aspects, that you have ever read? (Exclude CS Lewis from your answers, since I've read just about everything he wrote.) What makes it accessible, and what makes it best?"
Please answer him in his comments box - feel free to leave a duplicate answer here if you wish as long as you tell him first!

totally off topic

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From an email my daughter sent me.
The following is from the Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asked readers to submit something written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry was The Hokey Pokey (as written by W. Shakespeare)

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within.
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke-- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.
-- by William Shakespeare

Faith and Obedience, II

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In my earlier post, I may have inadvertantly sparked a tussle in the comments box by not defining my terms clearly enough. I apologize for that, and I ask those commenters involved to please unruffle your feathers enough to realize that you are comparing unlike issues. Chris said,"I've got a big problem with obedience and blind faith in authority figures".
My intent was not to encourage blind faith in authority figures but rather a reasoned obedience, based on faith. That faith could come as a divine gift, or as a consequence of a healthy relationship (NOT POWER TRIPS). Blind faith in an authority figure comes darn close to the sin of idolatry. Even the Pope is not immune to error in matters of prudential judgement or everyday stuff - he is protected by infallability only under some fairly severe restrictions.

moving day


Kairos has moved. Please update your links. Welcome to the parish and to MT.

Fr. Todd's Sunday Homily


About Terri and our culture, with reference to the Scripture of the day.
Fr. Todd has a line in there that I think ties in with my posting on faith and obedience.
"The Catholic Church doesn't vote on what is true. We obey what is true. If you want to vote you need to find another church."
He also proposes that we fast.
Another Priest from St. Blog's, Fr. Rob Johansen, is going to Florida and could use some financial and prayer support.

Blog On!

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Bene Diction Blogs On! is doing an informal survey of 'god blogs' throughout the blogosphere. I am going to try to help him to gather some data from around St. Blog's, and if any of you would be willing to share (if only about yourself) here is the information he is trying to collect, from his email of yesterday.

another strange quiz

| | Comments (2) > Your celebrity Names is a link from the Summa Mammas. The only one of mine that is remotely interesting is my Punk Rock band - the Mellifluent Bugs.
It works kind of like Mad Libs.

Faith and Obedience

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The other day, my husband and I were having a deep discussion in the car on our way to somewhere. Actually, we seem to have some of our best discussions in the car...
I don't remember what the trigger was, but I remember thinking that God gave me the gift of faith so that I could learn obedience, and that God gave John the gift of obedience so that he could acquire and develop faith.
I have always had MAJOR problems with obedience. I was born rebellious, and my parents were more likely to encourage rebellion than to encourage obedience. They wanted me to grow of to be a critical thinker, to be a free spirit and independant-minded women. Did I mention that they were both in the Los Angeles Feminist Theatre Group in the early 1970s?


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Maybe next year I will just take the whole month of October off.
I keep getting the feeling that the enemy of mankind is putting in overtime in both big stuff (Terri's fight for life) and little stuff (marriages under stress).
I just know that in all the years I have been doing midwifery, I don't think I have ever had a month with more weird and scary stuff happening.
I have had some great births, too, but they kind of get lost in the shuffle when the guacamole hits the fan.
This month, I have had the dubious pleasure of taking Mr. Toad's wild ride on a gurney, with my hand inside a woman holding her baby's head up off the umbilical cord, and then assisting in her emergency cesarean (never mind that it had been 3 years since I last scrubbed in for a cesarean - the resident had the night off and the other OB and other midwife were both busy taking care of the rest of the patients. mom and baby did OK, thankfully.
I have had a patient with retained placenta where the OB and I were running ragged to try to save, first, this woman's life and second, her uterus. Normal labor and birth, then, 1/2 hour later - boom - hemorrhage of 1500 cc blood in about 10 minutes - imagine 2/3 of a two liter soda bottle - just pouring out.
And those are just two of the many 'interesting' events this month has brought.
I have been praying to St. Gerard and Blessed Gianna for one thing or another practically every shift I spend in-house at the hospital - in thanksgiving when things go well and in panic and petition when they don't!
I think I am going to try to find a relic of Blessed Gianna.
I am so looking forward to All Saints' Day!

Friday Five

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Haven't done one for a while - kind of boring questions - or maybe I'm a boring person!
1. Name five things in your refrigerator.
Salad greens, milk, eggs, blueberry juice, a bottle of wine
2. Name five things in your freezer.
A 30 Lb turkey, a leg of lamb, assorted frozen fish, vanilla ice cream, whole wheat waffles
3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.
Dishwasher detergent, dishrack, sponges, Pur sink filters, several flower vases
4. Name five things around your computer.
several hundred books, Palm cradle, scanner, hairbrush, full teacup

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.
Matches, candle, q-tips, dental floss, contact lens stuff.


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I haven't written many substantive posts lately. I have a lot of stuff simmering at the back of my brain, but it hasn't boiled over into my fingers yet. Maybe Saturday - if I am not busy catching babies that is.
My husband just started medication for high blood pressure. He has not been feeling well, and I am so helpless in the face of this. I can't help but worry - his mom died from complications of cardiovascular issues (it's a long story, and a sad one).
There is so much to pray for, these days. ora et labora.

links update


David Morrison has moved Sed Contra. Update your links.

Another carmelite infused blog

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Notes to Myself...
from another cursillista. Check her out!



I haven't blogged much on Terri's fight for life because so many others have done so, and done it well.
Envoy Encore
has several items today about this travesty of justice, including a report from the vigil. I encourage all of you to become informed, and to pray. That is the first and the last thing we can do.

Culture of death alert


Decline in Down Syndrome Tied to Abortion
which is actually how the March of Dimes plans to 'eliminate birth defects' - if you read their literature between the lines.
Link via Jeanetta

Feast day alert and story


Sparki has a great tribute to St. Gerard Majella. My mother in law had a great devotion to St. Gerard, and actually named one of her sons after him. I think St. G should be one of the patrons of my profession, along with Blessed Gianna Molina.

KTC checks in


at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor.
Kathy, know that you are in our prayers, and we hope to hear from you again in 6 months. Hey, we have been waiting and praying for Dylan almost that long now.

THe rosary and the culture of life


I have been waiting for this article since I read about it being in process. I was not disappointed.
I will confess that it took me a very long time to understand the connection between contraception and the overall sexual depravity of our modern culture. Maybe it was because I really didn't want to face up to my own part in this horrible aberration.
Thank God for the sacraments and for purgatory!

Mark Shea

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Mark Shea asks his commenters what they do besides drop comments in his boxes. Last count, the librarians and the lawyers were neck and neck. What do you do, dear reader?

Culture wars


ON THE FRONT LINES from Jeff Culbreath. Jeff, hang in there.

Whose child is it, anyhow?


A Quiet Threat to Homeschooling
outlines a concept that is truly scary - that the 'rights' of the state to indoctrinate children would supercede the rights of the parent to educate them.
Link via Mark Shea.

Thank you, Mrs. Butterfield

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She was my 8th grade English and Social Studies teacher. Because of a habit of hers, I came to realize that I could write, and write so that others would want to read what I had to say.

food for thought


Karen Marie has a post about the morality of blogging, complete with quotes from the CCC. Well worth contemplating.

a broken music


I'm a few days late to say happy blogiversary to dylan, a voice I greatly miss.
"God does not love us because we are valuable. We are valuable because God loves us." (Archbishop FUlton J. Sheen)

Major prayer request

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Ashli is pregnant. She also has hyperemesis gravidarum. She is trying to keep a blog of her experiences. Please, please, pray for her. Blessed Gianna, watch over our friend and strengthen her in her resolve with this difficult pregnancy.

Let's be militant

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The sleepy mommies had a comment (in Bill Luse's recent post) about the Militant Breastfeeding Cult. So I bopped over to check out their website. Wonderful, wacky, and supportive. I could have used that kind of support years ago!

Economics and morality


The Kairos
guy has a great post on shopping and salvation. Drop by and say something!

songs, lyrics and musings

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Phil Ochs Lyric Index is a site I found while looking for the music to Phil Och's rendition of the Noyes poem, The Highwayman.
That was triggered by a post of Steven Riddle's.
There is a poem about April being the cruelest month. I would disagree. I think October is the cruelest month. I find it especially hard now that I live in New England rather than California. I know that winter is coming, and with it, depression. The beauty of the leaves turning seems a mockery. The occasional warmth of the Indian Summer is taunting me, as I know that frost is also here, and snow will be falling soon. It is time to prune my roses, and I dread that as well, sending them into a near death from which I am not sure they or I will return.
I have fought SAD for most of my life, even in Southern California. I know that I will do better if I eat my fish on Fridays, get out in what sun I can find and get some exercise. I have my full spectrum light bulbs all over the house and also in my office. I know that I will get through this, and Advent becomes Christmas as Lent becomes Easter. Still, I approach this season as I approach working out my salvation - with fear and trembling.

Still tired


Thanks for all the prayers. I had another brutal call night last night. I ended up only sleeping between 0430 and 0600 (this was after being in the office all day, meetings until 10 PM, and a truly emergency cesarean at 0130 or so).
I can only hope and pray that the pace will slow down a bit over the next few days, but I am not optimistic. We are averaging 25 births a month the through Feburary......

I know I am tired _ just checked out a few comments I have made on other blogs and I totally missed some pretty egregious typos.
Thanks to all of you that have been stopping by to check in. I have been busy and exhausted. Last week (9/27 to 10/4) I did a birth Sunday at 0700 after an all night labor, attended births over lunch (and after seeing patients in the office the morning and afternoon) on Tuesday and Friday. I also supervise a resident clinic (in addition to seeing my own patients) on Tuesday mornings, supervise a nurse-practitioner student on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, maintain the High-Risk pregnancy list and attend the weekly meeting Friday mornings. I was just appointed to a committee to work on JCAHO certification for our methadone program for pregnant addicts, and that meeting is every other week at 0730 when I am just getting off call. Add in the monthly OB staff meeting and the residency faculty meeting, the office staff meeting, the office clinical management meeting, and I am fried by the end of the week.
Will you all please do me a big favor? Pray for those of us in health care? There are so many pressures on us to be 'productive' (i.e. bring in money) that sometimes I worry that the patient is going to get lost in the shuffle.
I truly do try to see my patients on time so that no one has to wait forever in those skimpy gowns in a barren room. Your time is valuable - I try to run on time. I truly do try to take the time to listen - to hear not just the first layer of the problem but also the stuff underneath. Sometimes these two goals are in pretty direct conflict.
Labor, as in to give birth, is usually pretty time consuming. It is an effective process, and God designed it well. But it is not always efficient in terms of time. The package charge for prenatal, birth, and 6 weeks postpartum is what is called a global fee. The provider is paid the same regardless of what time is required. Lately I have felt like I was being torn in thirds (or more) because time spent with a mom in labor is time not spent in the office seeing other patients, and the economic pressures are incredible to ignore the labor patient (manage by phone and through the nursing staff) in order to see the paying patients in the office.
One effect of this is that many women are encouraged to have their normal labors intensively managed, so as to time the process in order to maximise the productivity of the birth care provider. A normal but slowly progressing labor may be speeded up, a fast and furious labor slowed down. Fortunately most moms and babies have enough resilience to tolerate this kind of intervention. I will confess that I have felt these pressures too - I try to resist them but when I am tired it can get so tempting........and when a mom comes in asking for all the intervention it can get pretty tough to hold my own.
I have been told that it takes 10 births a month per midwife to cover overhead and make a modest salary possible. We also do annual exams (pap etc), routine gynecology, and I have a small practice in PCOS and NFP as well. My home-birth midwife friends consider 4 births per midwife per month to be more than a full load.
Something has to change in the way we provide health care in this country. I don't pretend to know how, only that what we are doing is not working well either for those who provide the care or for those who are on the receiving end.

Food and culture


Erik has some wonderful things to say about The utmost importance of food in our culture. Be sure to read the comments in the box, also.
I was raised to value sit-down dinners, despite having feminist parents who both worked. Of course, I also was the person responsible for cooking them and cleaning up afterwards from about the age of 12.
What interferes with out family meals these days is a combination of weird work hours (I stay overnight at the hospital 2 nights a week) a long commute (I drive 1 hour each way) and the multiple activities that a High School aged daughter is involved in. Still, I think we manage to sit down together for dinner most nights -even if it is at 8 or 9 PM. We also have a firm tradition of Sunday bruch as a family.
We are caught in the two-income trap. I don't think it is necessarily good, but I also think that there are good and bad ways to manage having two paying careers and a large family. (Split shift parenting, or per diem work, or home based work, for example). Many of my classmates when I was growing up had less access to their 'non-working' mothers than I did. Their mothers were involved in social and volunteer activities that took them away from home as much as my mom was gone for work. My parent's generation also often had domestic help - ranging from the weekly housecleaner to the ironing lady to the live-in (think of the Brady Bunch).
Technology and fast food is this generation's equivalent of the domestic help.


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Just back from being doula to a good friend who went to another midwife for her birth. It was great to just be able to hang out and provide labor support, for once, and let some one else have the headaches of paperwork and decision-making. It was a longish labor (16 hours) and VBAC as well - but she did it without drugs and had a normal birth, and a very cute baby boy. I don't have weight or name on the baby - my friends had picked out a girl name but not a boy name. When I left the hospital the baby was firmly attached to mom and nursing away.


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The Red Sox are still in the running!!!!!!

read this


Read Smockmamma's feminist conversion story.


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Midwifery Today just published a booklet on Second Stage labor that included an article I wrote a few years ago. In re-reading this, I realized just how much I miss the autonomy I had in my small Oregon practice.
Where I am now I can reach many more people, but the down side is that I am constrained by so many institutional policies.
I am sorry that I haven't posted too much substantive this week. Once again, I compose them in my head on my drive home, and then once I am home I end up doing other stuff.
Saturday night I will be hosting a party for my daughter's 15th birthday. Where have the years gone?

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by alicia in October 2003.

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