Friday, July 29, 2011

I Let My Kid Walk to Walmart

The past few months, Tim and I have been letting Patrick, our oldest walk to more places in our neighborhood. He's almost eleven and we both remember being his age and being allowed to ride our bikes miles from our houses without our parents freaking out.

Yesterday Patrick asked one of his friends, who is two years older than him, if he could walk to Walmart with him. Our Walmart is literally three suburban blocks away. There are no big streets to cross. His friend isn't allowed to walk there and the feeling that I got was that his parents feel like its a safety issue.

I got a mixed response from friends, most of them falling into the "Oh my God! That's not safe!" category.

For as much as I searched, I wasn't able to find record of a single child kidnapping locally. All of the news stories about kidnappings here are about non-custodial parents taking their children and men kidnapping adult women.

NeighborhoodScout has this to say about Cicero:

"Importantly, our analysis shows that Cicero has one of the lowest violent crime rates in all of America, across cities and towns of all sizes. Murder, forcible rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault happen far less frequently here than in most places. Your chance of becoming a victim? Just one in 10,000. Cicero's violent crime rate is just 0 per 1,000 residents."
- From NeighborhoodScout

Conversely, it seems that Patrick would have been in more danger if I had chosen to drive him the three blocks to Walmart, as our chances of being in a serious or fatal automobile accident far exceed the risks of a "stranger" doing him harm. Googling "Syracuse NY car crash," I was able to find more stories of people who were killed in car crashes than I was stories of non-custodial kidnappings (virtually non-existant in our area). The kidnapping is more sensational and scary, but the car accident is more likely and it doesn't keep us from driving almost every day.

I'd like to suggest the writings of a man named Gavin DeBecker. He is "our Nation's best-known expert on the prediction and management of violence." What he says runs contrary to the fear-based things that we tell our children, like the ridiculous saying "Don't talk to strangers." He provides practical, evidence-based teachings about reducing risk and making our families as safe as we can without becoming agoraphobic. His book Protecting the Gift is one that I recommend all parents read.

So yeah, I let my kid walk to Walmart. I felt comfortable letting him go and it meant not having to load up all of the kids to go buy toilet paper. Judge away.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You've Got to Move Your Body- Movement and Positioning for Birth

Look at all of the lovely hip movement in this youtube video! Sure, there aren't actual pregnant mamas, but the song and video are a good reminder of what I want you to remember in labor, the swaying hips, the movement.

In early labor and sometimes well into active labor, many moms like the feeling of being upright, walking, lunging, squatting and swaying. Early labor is also a good time to get rested up for the work ahead, so I think that it's important to balance activity with periods of rest.

Here are some links to good positions for early and active labor:

Positions for the pushing stage

Lamaze's Tips for Maintaining Freedom of Movement

U.K.'s site, Babycentre has this to say about laboring in bed,

"Why not labour in bed?

If you are upright rather than lying down, gravity can help push your baby's head down onto the cervix (neck of the womb) to help your cervix dilate and then assist your baby's progress through your pelvis.

Research, though limited, has shown the following disadvantages to lying down in labour, including:

• more painful contractions (Molina et al 1997)
• less effective contractions (Lewis et al 2002; Andrews and Chrzanowski 1990; Flynn et al 1978)
• longer labour (Andrews and Chrzanowski 1990)
• reduced blood flow to your baby, particularly if you lie flat on your back (Ryo et al 1996; Ang et al 1969 cited Gupta et al 2004)
• narrower passage through the pelvis for your baby (Michel et al 2002; Russell 1982 cited Gupta et al 2004)"

Remember that one of the things your doula does for you is to suggest position changes during labor. So if you start feeling like you're not sure what to try, your doula is there to provide ideas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homeschool Week of 7/18-22

A couple of good things came in the mail this week. On Tuesday, James' box arrived from Memoria Press (pictured in last week's post). I'm as pleased as I thought I would be. It literally has boxes that you check off each day for each subject. With the number of things I'm balancing, this is what I need for homeschooling him this year. We also got the Patrick and Delilah's scores on the Terra Nova (New York standardized test). Except for Delilah's "66" in Language, both kids scored high in the 80s for everything (Reading, Mathematics, etc). As much as I think that standardized testing in schools is a waste of time, with all the talk of teaching to the test, it's nice to see that my kids, who were unprepared for the test itself, could do well on it.

Patrick and Delilah both did lessons in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies at Three days this week, Patrick spent 20 minutes working in Saxon Math 6/5. At the moment, he's sitting at the table working on Life of Fred: Fractions.

Tim is still reading to the kids from the Bible at bedtime. This week, they're reading the book of Nehemiah.

For Phys. Ed, Patrick, Delilah and James did the Outdoor Games class at the Y three days this week. Patrick had karate twice.

I'm considering signing up for an "Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics" course. I took the Pre-test on the American Academy of Family Physicians website and scored a 97%. Last Friday, I mailed my first tuition payment to the National Midwifery Institute. I've been checking our account every day to see if the check has cleared.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Busy, Busy Day

Usually one to sleep in late on days that I don't work the night before, I was up this morning by 7:30. I flipped the laundry, cleaned up a little bit and looked at homeschool curriculum online. I've been wanting to get the Memoria Press kindergarten for James to use this coming school year and this morning, I decided to order it. I'm happy with the choice and looking forward to the box arriving :)

Memoria Press Kindergarten
It'll be the first year that I've used a boxed curriculum for one of the kids and honestly, I think it'll be a relief.

I got all of the kids up around 8:00, since we had to get Patrick to morning karate camp by nine. Everyone ate breakfast and got dressed and we managed to get out of the door by 9:02am. Luckily, the dojo is less than a mile away.

Delilah, James and I did a quick housecleaning and, around ten, some moms from the Syracuse AP yahoo group came over for a gentle discipline discussion. We decided to pick a book to read and meet back here again next month to discuss.

The afternoon was a blur. We picked Patrick up at noon. I talked to Roz, from the Doula Connection, for about half an hour. I took the kids to Barnes & Noble, then Chipotle for lunch. After Chipotle, we went to Office Max to make a copy of my high school diploma to send to the National Midwifery Institute. We had to stop and grab a birthday present for Patrick's friend; then we went to the post office and I mailed off my first tuition payment of $4000 to the National Midwifery Institute. From there, we dropped Patrick off at his friend's birthday party sleepover.

The younger kids and I stopped at Wegman's so that they could rent a movie from the Redbox. Tim was home when we got back. I got to chat with him for a little bit. Around 5:45, I put "Rango" on for the kids and I took a nap until 8:30pm. I'll be working at Walmart tonight from 10pm-7am, catching a nap in the morning and going out to meet with a few doula clients during the day.

Mailing that tuition payment was definitely the highlight of my day. Once they get the check, I'll be officially "enrolled" instead of just "accepted" and I can go around telling people that I am a student midwife.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The Deal"

Between all of the working to save up for school, studying midwifery and homeschooling the kids, I am still taking on doula clients. In this post, I'm going to explain "the deal," or how the whole hiring me as your doula works.

Generally, people call or email me (though it's happened through facebook before) and we set up an "initial consultation." That meeting is free and it's a chance for you to learn more about me and see if you think we're and good fit and for me to meet your family and get a sense of what you're looking for.

If you decide to hire me, you pay a deposit to reserve your slot on the calendar, usually 1/3 of the total.

Then we set up three "prenatal visits." What we do at those visits will depend on your needs. If you're a first-time mom, we may focus a lot on basics; learning about the birth process, techniques for coping with labor and what to expect in the birth setting you've chosen. While I do have a basic visit outline, I adapt that to each family.

I am also available via phone or email during pregnancy to answer any questions that may come up.

The last month of pregnancy, I ask moms to email me an update or call me after each prenatal visit.

When you think you're in labor, you give me a call and we chat on the phone. If you are at home and would like me to come support you there, I can provide labor support at home. Sometimes couples call me on the way to the hospital (if labor is moving along quickly) and I meet you there. I stay with you throughout the whole labor, providing physical and emotional support, advice and information.

If you want help with breastfeeding, basic support is included in the birth doula package.

Within a week of the birth, I visit you at home for a "postpartum visit." At the postpartum visit, we discuss your birth experience, talk about any newborn and breastfeeding issues and the transition of integrating a new baby into the family.

Currently, the cost for my birth doula "package" as described above is $600.

I also offer a five hour childbirth class for non-doula clients at a rate of $125. If you and a friend want to have a semi-private class, the cost is reduced to $100 per couple.

If a doula client wants a private childbirth class in adddition to their doula package, the cost is $100.

The best number to reach me is 443-690-6212. It's my cell phone, which I got when we lived in Maryland. I do live in Syracuse :)

You can also email me at

So, if you're looking for a doula in Syracuse and this sounds like something you're interested in, get in touch with me. I have one spot available in August. I'm booked for September and have space available in October and November.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Homeschooling = Field Trips

In the past week, we've had a field trip pretty much every day that I've been home.

On Saturday, Tim and I took the kids to a nature walk at Beaver Lake nature center. This summer, they're having a free nature walk every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. You can find out more about their events here:

Since Tim was off work for the 4th of July, we took the kids to Oneida Shores, a local beach with a great playground. Their playground is close enough to the beach that we spent the afternoon going back and forth between playing on the playground and in the water. Here's the site for Oneida Shores park:

I was "away" at a birth from late Tuesday night until Thursday morning :)

Thursday evening, we took the kids to a Chiefs (minor league baseball) game with the free tickets we'd gotten from James' speech teacher. The Chiefs played well and the kids liked it.

We wrapped up the week by going to two libraries on Friday. The kids took their summer reading lists and got prizes at both places (they signed up for two programs, I only let them count each book once) and we attended a music program at the second library.

In mom-schooling news, I checked out some books from the library about paying for college and getting through college without incurring debt. My midwifery school account is up to $3000, thanks to another paycheck from Walmart and some donations from my mom :)

My savings chart!
I'm off to go spend half an hour reading Holistic Midwifery Vol 1 before I head off for the overnight shift at Walmart.