Friday, October 29, 2010

Is it really Friday already?

Wow. I'm having trouble believing that it's really been five days since I posted about my BirthWorks certification stuff coming in the mail. This week, I wrote two of the essays that I need to do for my certification and talked with my reviewer briefly on the phone. I have one more autobiographical essay to write before I start on writing the book reports, but I have started reading Birth Reborn by Michel Odent and have been carrying it around with me for when I have a free moment.

This week was a really productive week as far as homeschooling goes. Husband Tim is still reading through the book of Exodus with the kids and he's also reading to them from C.S. Lewis' book The Last Battle at bedtime.

In math, Patrick got four lessons done in CLE Math 408 and did two pages in Math Skills 5. Delilah did three lessons in CLE Math 202 and two pages in Singapore's Math Practice 1A. James did a couple of pages in Counting With Numbers. I got a couple of books from the library about adding money, mainly for Delilah, but all of the kids have been interested in them.

Patrick and Delilah have both been working through the Writing Skills workbooks for their grades. James did two pages in Adventures in Reading. On Monday, Patrick and Delilah wrote letters to friends in Baltimore.

For history this week, we read ch. 11 in Story of the World (ancient Africa) and also a couple of library books about Africa and African stories.

Patrick also worked on Latin and Spanish this week.

Patrick, Delilah and James all had their homeschool P.E. class at the Y on Wednesday afternoon. James had his speech theapy at the school on Monday and Friday. We went to the library on Tuesday and Thursday.

Today, the kids voted against doing anything academic because it was the Friday before Halloween. They did still read with Daddy though.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Down the BirthWorks Path...

By now, everyone has heard all about the BirthWorks Childbirth Educator workshop that I attended in Syracuse October 8-10th. Last week, I paid for my Childbirth Education Certification packet. Today it arrived, along with my copy of Birth Reborn by Dr. Michel Odent.

So far, I'm happy with choosing the BirthWorks organization as a path to becoming a Childbirth Educator. I'm looking at their "Statement of Beliefs" that I need to sign and send back to the BirthWorks International office and I can't find anything that I disagree with.

The BirthWorks beliefs are as follows:

1. The knowledege about how to give birth already exists inside every woman. Women's bodies are designed to give birth.
2. The nutrition of a pregnant woman has a great impact on the health of her baby from its life as a fetus through adulthood and that breast milk provides the optimum nutrition for the newborn baby.
3. A woman will labor best wherever she feels the safest and most secure. For some that may be a hospital. For others it may mean at home or in an alternative birthing center.
4. Birth is one of the greatest challenges life has to offer and provides an opportunity for personal growth.
5. While a cesarean section may be necessary at times, the current rate is too high.
6. In most cases, VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is a safer alternative to routine repeat cesarean.
8. A woman in labor deserves an environment in which her privacy, autonomy, and emotional security is protected, and her mobility is encouraged.
9. Expectant parents should have access to infomation they need about obstetrical procedures. They should participate in decisions regarding the judicious use of obstetrical medications and procedures.
10. A woman's beliefs influence her birth. Exploring beliefs heightens self-awareness, serving as a catalyst for positive change.
11. The emotions of a birthing woman have profound effects on the birth outcome. Women must be allowed to express all their birth-related feelings.
12. The practice of Human Values builds character and instills confidence in birth and life.
13. Love is the foundation upon which positive birthing begins, and that one must have love of oneself before being able to love others.

Tomorrow, I'll be mailing my signed copy off to the BirthWorks office, completing Step One in the ten tep childbirth education certification process. As I go through the process, I'll continue to post updates. My goal throughout is not just to become certified as a childbirth educator, but also to use what I'm learning to serve my doula clients here in Syracuse.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homeschooling Report, Week of 10/22

Over on The Well Trained Mind discussion board, there is a thread where the homeschooling families link to their blogs and post a weekly report. I'm going to try to do ours' more often. So, here is our week:

Mom (Liz)

Started reading Guerilla Marketing by Jay Levinson. It's all about marketing your business without spending money. I've also been reading Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Shanley


Did 4 pages in Math Skills 5 (Harcourt) and 2 lessons from CLE Math 4. Did 7 pages in Math Skills 5 (Harcourt) and 2 pages in Sentences to Paragraphs bk 3. Worked on chapter three in the Spanish for Children A workbook.


Did 4 pages in Singapore Math Practice 1A and 2 lessons in CLE Math 2. Did 10 pages in Math Skills 2.


Did 6 pages in Counting With Numbers. Had speech therapy at the school on Monday and Friday. Worked on speech homework with Mom.


Read chapter 10 in Story of the World I. Watched lesson 3 on Spanish for Children DVD. On Monday, we had an art lesson at our friend Donna's house. All three kids went to the homeschool P.E. class at the Y on Wednesday and Patrick and Delilah had swim lessons at the Y on Thursday. Thursday afternoon, we went to the American Girl book club at the library. All of the kids watched a DVD about writing to communicate. Dad has been reading through the book of Exodus with everyone at bedtime.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homeschooling Myself

I've posted about my reading (and book buying) hobby before. Today, I'm going to talk about homeschooling.

This is the sixth year that I've homeschooled my children, who are now aged 10, 7, 5 and 3. Additionally, this fall, I've started keeping a Learning Log for myself in relation to my doula/CBE/midiwfery studies. The official name right now is the "Fall 2010 Reading Log." Originally, I was just going to keep track of what I read, but I'm also logging workshops/classes I attend and relevant DVDs I watch.

For the week of October 11-17th, I:

- Attended the BirthWorks Childbirth Educator training workshop. This was a wonderful experience, spending the weekend talking about BirthWorks philosophy and childbirth education

- Read all of Active Birth by Janet Balaskas (which I think is a valuable read for expectant parents and birth professionals alike)

- Watched "Special Women" DVD

- Read ch. 1 & 2 of Nurturing the Family: A Guide for Postpartum Doulas

What I really like about my "Learning Log" is that I can go back at the end of the week, month, season or year and see how much I've taken in. Looking back at the entries in September when I was reading Diary of a Midwife and Children at Birth brings back what I got out of those books. It's a reminder of what I've gotten out of each reading session.

I'm enjoying homeschooling myself almost as much as I enjoy homeschooling my kids. Hopefully, all the time I put in now will be an asset to me when I am finally at the point in life when midwifery school is something I can do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meet the Doulas!

This week, there will be two opportunities for pregnant moms and their partners to come meet the ladies of the CNY Doula Connection:

Dessert with the Doulas
Cicero United Methodist Church
8416 Brewerton Rd
Wednesday, October 13th

Donuts and Doulas
Cicero Library
8686 Knowledge Ln, Cicero
Saturday, October 16th

For more information, you can email or stop by at one of our events!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Only two more days!

It's almost Christmas! No, my birthday! No, actually there's just two more days to go until the BirthWorks Childbirth Educator training here in Syracuse! I'm pretty excited.

For those of you who aren't familiar with BirthWorks, they train childbirth educators and doulas. They have a good deal of information to offer, even to those who are already trained through another organization.

Eventually, I'll be certified as a BirthWorks Childbirth Educator.

The Childbirth Educator training covers:

1.BirthWorks philosphies of childbirth

2.The systems approach to wholistic health care

3.The impact of emotional learning that makes Birth Works a unique program

4.Human values as the foundation of all decision-making

5.Pelvic bodywork and postural alignment advantageous to the baby in helping to prevent a dysfunctional labor

6.The art of discovering belief systems and changing them if necessary

7.Group facilitation and communication techniques through role plays

8.Setting a supportive atmosphere for classes

9.Components of labor, privacy, pain, and vocalization

10.Comfort measures for labor and labor positions

11.Guilt, blame, and judgment issues as they pertain to birthing

12.Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and cesarean decision making

13.Multi-sensory visualization

14.Grieving and healing

15.Presentation of class topics and wise use of audiovisuals
For more information, you can visit

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Diary of a Midwife"

I did finally finish reading Diary of a Midwife by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr. It took longer than I expected because, while the book was fairly interesting, it didn't grip me the way that Baby Catcher had. For me, it wasn't one of those books where I absolutely had to stay up all night to finish it because I couldn't put it down.

The book moved along slowly, a chronicle of how the author became a midwife and the various struggles that she had to deal with, both personally and politically. Her experiences with working in hospitals, both before she became a midwife and after, were painful to read. The level at which the hospital system dehumanized the women who had turned to it for care was disheartening, though not suprising in the least. Story after story of women's voices being ignored and their bodies not being respected illustrated why Juliana became a midwife. She realized that midwifery was the key to providing women with the care that they so badly needed.

Each birth story in her book is unique, each house, each family different. The beauty of midwifery and homebirth blossoms as the book goes on, showing the reader that there is, in fact, a different way. A better way, for women and their families.

At each turn, the system that Juliana has removed herself from, the system of medical childbirth, tries its best to stop her from providing the individualized care that is the trademark of a midwifery service. The Department of Health in her county asks her to do initial prenatal appointments for clients who will be delivering at the hospital, but refuses to allow midwifery patients to recieve care there. Doctor after doctor refuses to back up her mothers. Despite the small number of mothers who choose homebirth, what she offers is seen as a threat by "the establishment."

Even though the book moved along more slowly than other midwifery books that I've read, I would still recommend it for ladies who are interested in the birth field.