Saturday, December 22, 2007

Matt & Cameron Belly Photos

A great local photographer, Kristen Iwai took our photo on Monday December 10th. We love the images and hope you do too! Family, if you are interested in ordering any, let me know and I'll send you the price list from Kristen.

click here to see the contact sheet of images Kristen shot.

Monday, December 17, 2007

eyes opened, eyes closed

Hi there! It's an honor to contribute to this blog.

My son was born on Sept. 17, 2006. If you're into reading about unmedicated labor and the attendant joy of pushing out a 10 pound (and some change) baby after over four (no lie) hours of pushing, please be my guest and read about it here.

Every once in awhile, I'll remember bits and pieces of the labor. Such as the role of my eyeballs.

Folks who know me know that I can't see crap without my glasses. It speaks volumes that at some point during the labor - I don't know when - my glasses were removed. Did I take them off? Did my husband or doula helpfully remove them? I got them back eventually, but when? I have no idea. I know that once active labor began, I couldn't see anything.

I didn't need to.

Everything turns inward. Before my own experience, I had heard that drug-free labor transports you to, well, another planet. Basically. In several childbirth books containing various degrees of hippy-dippyness, this planet is "Labor Land." Or maybe "La La Land." I'm not sure any label can approach describing the altered state I found myself in. And my magical hormones have done their work, those little taskmasters, and all is lost in a gray haze of mish-mashed memories now. (Sometimes I tell my husband, "Oh, it wasn't THAT bad," and he just looks at me. Like, "Woman, you're nuts.")

But the glasses flew away at some point. One nurse asked me toward the end, "Do you want a mirror?" I was like, "Mirror what? NO." (Someone also asked me if I wanted to feel Tommy's head as he crowned. I was specifically uninterested in this, but did it anyway. It was...alright, I guess. You know. Other things on my mind after pushing that long.)

When that precious naked baby body laid on my chest, Tommy's tiny mouth open and squalling, that most fantastic sound in the world that meant all was well and especially that he was OUTSIDE MY BODY, everything was so close. So close and hyper-real and I could see everything perfectly and wonderfully and vividly, no 20/20 required.

I'm a writer and I'm a looker, normally: I like to see things, examine them, study. There was no desire to do any of that during Tommy's birth. He traveled out and my whole body was a vessel, a canal, a passenger ship for him. No mirror, no glasses. I was on that other planet, and it was inside of me.

Pregnant Spinning Instructor

I can't believe I am posting this oh so unflattering photo of myself. I am 6.5 months pregnant here teaching my bi-weekly spin class. This week is my last week :)

Thanks for the photo, Dawn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

small change | consignment in Phoenix, AZ

Hello BARGAIN CITY!! I found this great crib (Thanks Gram Sarah), changing table and bookshelf for STEAL at this great consignment shop in Phoenix called "Small Change." I will proceed to do all my shopping there. It's in Paradise Valley where very wealthy folks drop off their very nice very lightly used baby gear AND clothes GALORE (some with the tags on). So I got this hand-painted crib there. Look how cute? Green and yellow (ha, which means we don't have to paint the room) and little doggies and duckies and turtles and pigs... I love it!! Matt can match these little characters on the wall. He is going to paint the ceiling blue with white clouds. So our baby room colors are officially light yellow, light green and other pastels that match. HUGE THANKS to Hollye and Eric (AND Sally Schumacher) who helped me find the store and moved the crib to their garage until I can find a vehicle to pick it up with.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meet Dr. Bradley | Bradley class #1

Dr. Bradley was a pioneer in the natural childbirth industry and began developing his technique back in 1947 when women were regularly being completely sedated. Apparently some of his Dad "coaches" would handcuff themselves to their wife's hospital bed so they could be there for the birth. You can read a book: Natural Childbirth--The Bradly Way by Susan McCutcheon or Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth by Robert Bradley. I read the McCutcheon book which details the Bradley Method and has great diagrams coupled with funny 1970s photos of real home births. I read this book with a grain of salt because they are condecending of hospitals and their methods and well, I'm skeptical of anyone who has to criticize others to make themselves seem better. While I'm not an advocate of any regular hospital intervention, I also don't bad mouth a hospital experience. I've heard both good and bad. Matt and I attended our first Bradley Class tonight (we are lucky enough to have two Bradley instructors in Flagstaff) and will be going every Wednesday evening until mid-Feb. It was 2+ hours. So the time commitment on this child starts now. EEEKS. Summary of the class:
  1. squat a lot if you are pregnant - it stretches skin so that you don't tear or so your doctor doesn't have to do an episomoty (fancy word for cutting the skin from your vagina to your anus or anywhere in between- YUK) **sidenote, my midwife has birthed over 1100+ babies and done 3 episomoties. She says they are almost never necessary with proper preperation. Sqatting is my new best friend.
  2. exercise everyday: walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, low impact... just DO IT.
  3. do your kegel exercises - the muscle that controls your bladder and anus, (it stops the flow of urine and men have one too) apparently this can help you present the head in birth in a more favorable position (back of head) and also keep your organs in place. Don't want those pesky organs dropping out of your body. NASTY. Trust me, just do the exercise
  4. practice relaxing: AKA have your husband talk to you nicely and gently rub your back while you lie in sideways position that prevents any tension.
  5. watching birth videos from the 80's -- nothing like a little visual preparation. Ouch, those babies look big when the come out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Business of Being Born

BACK BLOGGING: We saw a great documentary film called "The Business of Being Born." It was shown to a sold out audience in the downtown Flagstaff theater, the Orpheum. It was about the current business of birth in the US. It focused on the alarming rate of C-sections in this country and the general OB practices that are going on in the US today and how that compares to other 1st world countries (without ruing the film for you, we spend more money per birth than UK, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France and yet have 2nd WORST infant mortality rate). I recommend everyone see it. It was the only film which received a standing ovation at the Tribecca Film Festival in NYC recently. In Manhattan hospitals alone, c-sections have reached an alarming rate of 40-46%. In most other developed countries in the world the rate is less than 12% I knew all the stats in the film because I've done a lot of research on American birth but it was great because they also showed 3-4 home births, all of which were amazing to see. I have seen a live birth 2 years ago when our neighbor delivered at home. It truly was the miracle of life. **Note** Let it be known that every woman who gave birth at home complained in the footage how painful it was (and thereby questioned their decision and ability) but each triumphed in her own way and it seemed like a neat experience. Matt and I were glad we went. If you have Netflix you can save it now and watch it when it's released. You can view the trailer here: Check out their website HERE

Monday, November 26, 2007

1st pregnancy photos

Okay so I started a baby blog... just for baby Clark and family photos and my rants about the healthcare for pregnancy, babies, labor/delivery,etc. I smell a documentary photo story coming my way. At some point, I will announce on my "real" blog that I'm pregnant but probably not until after booking season is over. I find vendors and clients think your world will end when you deliver a child. I think my world will just be beginning. I was in the studio shooting on Friday so I had my friend John Running snap off 20 or so frames with my camera so that I could at least get an informal shot of this growing belly. I have scheduled a "real" photo shoot for December with Matt and will continue to get into the studio with frequency now that I have a belly to photograph. I obviously didn't do my hair or makeup for this photo... a la natural...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Our midwives

I thought I'd share a glimpse at our midwifery's website. Two of these lovely ladies will be present during Baby Clark's delivery. They have many answers to many questions on their site.