Sunday, January 31, 2010


Have you considered the use of  the word "deliver" in relationship to birth attendants assisting a woman during her birth?

    I love words. I respect them. I appreciate knowing their roots, understanding their meaning(s), and applying them appropriately. I often make mistakes in my word choice/usage. We live in a culture that throws words around, often without thinking about them, their meaning, or their consequences.
   I'm sure those of you who are familiar with, and/or work, in the birth world have heard and/or participated in discussions about the use  of "deliver" under birthing circumstances.

What does the word deliver mean? Where does it come from?

  Our language has been updated to include "to give birth" and "to assist at the birth of", but that's not how it started.  The origin of deliver comes from latin : dēlīberāre to set free, equiv. to dē- de- + līberāre to liberate.

  Is that what doctors and midwives are doing? Are they setting the baby free from the womb or liberating the mother from her pregnancy? Are the mothers passive in this act? Do doctors and midwives want to be seen as saviors? As liberators?
    I realize many women may seem as if they want to be "saved" from their births... saved from pain, saved from fear. I also realize many birth attendants may desire to be seen as saviors. I could come up with many theories as to "why" this may be the case, but for now I'd like just to bring up the choice to use "deliver" in respect to assisting at a birth.

    Words are powerful.  I've never found the age old "sticks and stones" adage to be true. Words often hurt me. I've often hurt others with the words I've spoken. Words often stick with us. Women remember what was said to them during thier pregnancies and during their births.
Check out for more information about what women think, feel, and remember about their birthing experiences.

Words matter. Should we not consider carefully which we choose to use? Especially in regards to our future and to the futures of those we love?


RN Update

     I recently obtained my RN. I am now a registered nurse. For the past few months I have been looking for work and having a terrible time of it.
    Believe it or not, despite the "Nursing Shortage" we all have heard so much about, new grad's are having a hard time finding work. The lack of work is being blammed on the recent "economic downturn". Experienced RN's, who had not been working in the field, are returning to RN work for the money and new nurses are very expensive to train.
    It appears as if things are beginning to turn around. More residency positions are popping up all the time. But none in the area I want to be working in. I want to work in  Maternal- Infant health. Ideally I will work with birthing women, babies, and families. But, residencies in labor and delivery, antepartum, and mother-baby are notoriously difficult to come by!
   So once I realized I "wasn't" going to waltz into a hospital position that I really wanted I began applying to anything and everything I thought I might qualify for, which really wasn't much. Over the last month every response I received indicated I was not being considered for the postion. I was even being turned down for residency positions. The rejection began to take it's toll and as of last Tuesday I was convinced I had wasted my time in nursing school, that there was something fundamentally wrong with me, and that I wouldn't get hired for any position, let alone something I would enjoy doing.
   Then, just after an hour or so of crying my eyes out, I received a call from a  ND/LM who wanted to interview me for a part time, clinic position. After scheduling that interview I realized I had been spending all of my time and energy pursuing something I thought I should do rather than what I wanted to do.
  Now, you should know I am generally the type of person who belives in "creating your own reality". I believe the energy you project into the universe determines what you get back. But for some reason I had lost my faith in what I "knew". I had convinced myself that I "had" to get a residency position in a hospital, whether or not it was doing something I am interested in. And the universe was not supporting me in that!
   No sooner had this all dawned on me then I received two more calls that day. By late evening I was laughing at myself. Of course I wasn't getting interviews for jobs I didn't realy want. Why would I? I have a passion, I have a goal, and all I need is faith that I will attain it, that I will be supported along the way in getting what I need to follow the path of my passion. That's why I'm here after all!
    I interviewd with Planned Parenthood on Friday afternoon. It went very well. Both the Planned Parenthood job and the Wellness clinic job would be work I would enjoy doing, work I could contribute to and learn from.
    I have another interview scheduled for Monday afternoon. This is the job I really want. Although the others would be great fits as well, this is the one! That being said I am leaving room for other options, but my vision leads me here... To working in a hospital that supports women having choices in childbirth, more than most area hospitals. A hospital that has midwives, family practice doctors, and OB's attending women. A labor and deliver/ mother-baby unit that has a woman like the one I spoke to on the phone Tuesday evening hiring it's staff!
     We had an amazing conversation. We spoke for an hour and half, almost as peers, although she has been working in the field for over thirty years.Early on in the conversation she asked "what would you say if I say the name Penny Simkin?". What would I say? Penny Simkin in the mother of doulas as a profession in the greater Seattle area. She is a pioneer in choices for women in modern childbirth. Did I already say it was a great conversation?
      I am so looking forward to meeting with the OB hiring manager in person on Monday. She spoke as if she really wanted to get me into a postion. She suggested she was working on finding a way to accomodate for my experiences as a doula and accelerate my residency with mother-baby in order to get me into labor and delivery sooner.
    It feels so good to be wanted, to be interacting with people who also have a passion for health, for women and babies, for birth, for choice! It feels good to be following my passion again, and to have faith that I will be where I need to be, to remember that I am where I need to be!!
  Watch out world... here I come!

In The Beginning.....

         Almost fifeteen years ago I birthed my first child. My first pregnancy was an incredible journey, the beginning of an incredible journey that would alter the course of my life in more ways than one.
         I was twenty years old when my daughter was conceived. My boyfriend, N,  and I were recently  engaged and had been living together for awhile. We were both attending college, he was a year ahead of me, and were pretty happy with our lives. Our plan was to be married in June of 1995.
         Sometime in 1994 we attended a music festival at the Gorge Amphitheater, along with my sister and her boyfriend at the time. We were camping out in tents, enjoying our youth and freedom. I felt tired and semi -nauseous. I remember clearly, lying next to my sweetie in our tent, I believe it was early morning, and saying to him, "Either I have the flu or I'm pregnant." I was  irritable and grumpy. I remember throwing a fit during the afternoon, demanding that we leave early. Poor boy, he tried so hard to be understanding and still plead his case for wanting to stay. (I was great at throwing fits in those days!)
        I don't recall how much time passed between the music festival and the night I took a pregnancy test. I do remember being at my friends apartment. We were having a girls night while N and his friend were out for a guys night. I was feeling jealous and resentful of N spending time with his other friends and I think we had some kind of arguement early that day. (We argued often when we were younger). I was pretty sure something was off with my body. I suspected pregnancy and had purchased several pregnancy tests. I don't remember how many I took, but I know it was more than one. They were all positive. What an amzing rush of emotions... awe, fear, apprehension, elation... I called N and told him over the phone. Looking back on it that probably wasn't the best way to break the news, but I was so overwhelmed, I remember wanting to share it with him right away, so that I wouldn't feel so alone.
         N handled the news well. He has always been a calm and steady person, one of the many (foreign at the time), qualities that attracted me to him, (and still do). In truth I have a terrible memory. I have forgotten so many of the details of so many events in my life, but I know N and I were commited to having our baby and to sticking together to do it.
        Thus began my first journey into pregancy and what a rollercoaster ride it was. Only three years earlier, when I was seventeen years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin Dependent). I'm not sure how I got hooked up with my OB. I know I was on the state's Basic Health Plan, so I had to go through the whole rigamarole of getting set up with DSHS medical coupons. What a difficult and depressing journey that was.
        Being on state assistance is so much work. If you do not have compassion for those who need it then you should at least have respect for them. Jumping through all the hurdles, filling out all the paperwork (this was before the internet made online forms easily accessible, to those of us luck enough to have access to computers), traveling to all of the different sites, putting up with all of the people, keepingtrack of all of the people, making infinite #'s of phone calls, being pushed from one person to another, being treated like a second class, or no class citizen, all of this requires an incredible amount of determination, patience, and willingess to be treated as less than to have your needs met!!! And while running that rat race and jumping through all of those hurdles I was a full time college student, new diabetic, a newly pregnant young woman, and I had it so much easier than so many.
        I liked my doctor. A rare and blessed gift for me because I struggle with issues of trust in authority figures, especially when it comes to my own health and well being. He was a diabtetic himself and one of those rare human beings who listens well, communicates well, and offers information as if one had a choice. Ahhhh.....
       The first time I showed up for an appointment I discovered  I had my dates mixed up. They had me scheduled for a different day. I felt like such a failure. I cried. I don't recall if I had to reschedule or if they were able to get me in that day, but I do remember thinking it was a terrible way to start a relationship with a doctor. (Feelings of shame and worthlessness plagued me in my youth. I still struggle with them, although less and less). But we were able to develop a positive relationship. I learned a lot from him and from a nurse who worked with him. She was also diabetic. I think she was a diabetes educator but I can't be sure. She was able to spend quite a bit of time with me. Helping me learn about nutrition, managing blood sugars, and she helped me learn how to use my insulin pump.
         I was able to get an insulin pump early in my pregancy. My grandfather, a wealthy doctor himself, bought my first insulin pump for me. At the time I belive it cost nearly $4000.00,  none of it  covered by insurance. Insulin pumps were still fairly new on the scene at that time. The pump made a huge difference for me. I was better able to manage my blood sugars and maintained my A1C in a fairly healthy range throughout my pregnancy.

To Be Continued.......