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Archive for July, 2008

My mom forwarded a blog post to me the other day that, truth be told, royally pissed me off.

I briefly considered writing my own post about the new BirthTrack™ Continuous Labor Monitoring System, but Rixa (of The True Face of Birth blog) summed it up so well that I’d recommend reading her blog post on the subject.  I’m just going to add a little to Rixa’s post. 

After reading her post & checking out the BirthTrack™’s website, I was amazed.

What male, childless inventor decided this device was a brilliant idea?  Wherever he is, he should be castrated immediately and have his license to practice medicine revoked.

This is not the first device to be screwed into the baby’s head while still in the womb.  Fetal scalp electrodes have been around for years (according to this research FSE’s were used in 755 out of 1,000 live births in 1991).  FSE’s are routinely used in the hospital setting, despite the fact that research shows their use has no positive effect on fetal outcome.  Think they aren’t really screwed into the baby?  Try this hospital’s description on for size:

A long, plastic electrode guide will be inserted into your vagina. A small spiral wire at the end of the electrode will be placed against the fetal part and gently rotated into the fetal skin.”

After internal fetal heart rate monitoring, the electrode site on the newborn baby will be examined for infection, bruising, or a laceration. The site will be cleansed with an antiseptic.”

Risks of internal monitoring include, but are not limited to, infection and bruising of the fetal scalp or other body part.”

Fetal Scalp Electrode

Fetal Scalp Electrode

Way to say, “welcome to the world, little one”! 

There’s no “gently” about it, but at lease this hospital (who I’m not affiliated with and have nothing against) provides parents with information regarding the procedures they “offer”. 

That said, I didn’t intend to bash the FSE in this post, though I’d like to point out that EVERY pregnant woman/couple should DO THEIR RESEARCH and be aware of all aspects of pregnancy, labor, and birth (including medical devices such as the FSE) before writing their birth plan and agreeing to such procedures.

Back to BirthTrap…I mean BirthTrack™.  Not only does it involve the aforementioned FSE, but it also consists of two “clips” attached to the cervix.  The company’s marketing site states:

Also three sensors are attached: two to the cervix and another one which is incorporated into the fetal scalp electrode.”

Excuse me, that does not go there!  Also, and perhaps this question comes from my lack of understanding and there’s a logical answer, but wouldn’t two sensors clipped to the cervix interfere with proper dilation and effacement?  How is the cervix going to thin and stretch (efface) uniformly if these devices are clipped to it?  Also, what happens to the sensors as the baby descends through the vaginal canal?  I assume the answer to the latter question is that they’re crushed by the baby’s head as it passes through.  Umm….?  I know it’s overshadowed by birthing the baby, but ouch!

Take a look at the BirthTrack™ birth scene and tell me what’s wrong with their picture of “the perfect labor & delivery”:

Directly from BirthTrack's website

Directly from BirthTrack's website

First off, where is this woman’s support team (partner, family, or other)?  Where is her care provider?  Oh wait, their all sitting back watching the monitor–which is basically a robot that tells them “all they need to know”–instead of focusing on supporting the woman’s labor.  And of course she’s on her back, because you can’t get up or move around while continuous fetal monitoring is going on.  She’s also not allowed to keep her own clothes on, perhaps because it’s standard in many hospitals but also because FSE’s (and thus, by association, BirthTrack) increase the risk of infection, use of C-sections, and other procedures.  

And don’t get me started on what a sterile & over-controlled birth this scene portrays. 

Of course, that’s what BirthTrack™ is trying to represent: the ultimate in human control over birth–a naturally un-uniform, un-micromanageable event.  This “ability to control” mentality is the heart of their direct-to-consumer (that would be the mother-to-be) marketing scheme.  When it comes down to the bare bones of this marketing ploy, it’s all fluff.  The amount of actual, factual information offered to mothers-to-be is very, very scant.  They’re simply playing on an expectant mother’s fears by attempting to offer her a sense of control. 

Since by it’s very nature birth is uncontrollable, isn’t that false advertising?

What really gets me is that:

1) this company is introducing a product without a lot of research to back it up (“over 300 women” isn’t a large test group);

2) introducing it as the “latest and greatest” when it’s not (the FSE component has been around for many years and physicians/midwives routinely gather the cervical dilation/head station information less invasively);

3) marketing directly to expectant mothers without giving them substantial supporting information and research on which they can rely to make their decision to use this device;

4) expecting women to allow–hell, even to appreciate–their bodies and babies to be treated like machines with little concern for their comfort and safety.

In my opinion, the BirthTrap (I like my new name for it!) is a medical device to be considered for use on prisoners of war as an interrogation device, not on precious mothers and babies.

Just my two cents.  What do you think?

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Shortly after 9am this morning I turned 25. 

And for some reason this birthday freaks me out.  I’ve never gotten too worked up over turning a new age, but somehow this one is different.  Not just because between 18 and 24 not much changes (well, besides the 21st).  Not just because after today I’ll be working on 30.  (Ok, I’ll admit that maybe that does get me a little.) 

What’s bothering me is somewhat less tangible and difficult to put my finger on.  It’s almost restlessness, but more than that.  I’ve mulled it over a lot over the past month or so.  All I can describe it as is an undercurrent of restless discontent.   I feel like 25 should be a milestone, but it’s not.  I should have more to show for 25 years on this planet.  I wanted to accomplish more before a quarter of a century passed.  Don’t get me wrong–I’m not looking for fame or a way to save the world, but I feel like I’m in a race to get more things done.  Honestly, I’m not sure what or why.  I have a college degree, I’m married, I co-own a house.  I have a horse farm, which was always a huge goal of mine.  (It’s admittedly a small one, but it’s a farm.)  I’ve taken steps towards establishing it as a business.  It’s not all the way there, but those things take time. 

Those are all things I’ve done in the past 7 years. 

It just doesn’t feel like enough.

Perhaps it’s because I spend 40+ hours a week in a place I don’t want to be, doing things I don’t want to do.  Maybe a job I enjoy and want to keep will make me at peace with 25.  Maybe having a career, with a foreseeable future and honorable goals will make the difference.

Maybe I’m unknowingly longing for the Master’s degree I didn’t pursue.  That was a goal that I never fulfilled.  But giving up grad school was a conscious choice.  A choice I made so that the future hubby and I could move to Dayton and, ultimately, commit to spend the rest of our lives together.  Nobody forced me to leave it behind.  Besides, if it had been that important to me I would have found a way to make sure I went back to school.  Yes, I still think about it.  But, as far as I can tell I’m not pining away for it. 

Besides, it’s just a title.  A piece of paper.

Or perhaps this is all baby longing in disguise.  I like to watch babies.  I want them. 

Well, I used to think I wanted kids without any reservation.  Now, I’m not completely convinced.  Hell, I’m not even convinced I’ll make a good mother.  I mean, I think I will, but how do you KNOW?  I know I don’t want to share my hubby…at least for a while.  Selfish, I know.  That’s one reason why I’m not sure about being a mom.  I’m too selfish and hot headed.  Not really mommy qualities.  I assume those things will sort themselves out in time.  Honestly though, there are enough bad parents in the world…there’s no need to reproduce unless you’re 100% sure the resulting children will have a great home life.  I always wanted to be pregnant and give birth.  The part I never thought about until recently (i.e. the last 5 years) was that you’re responsible for the resulting child for the rest of your life.  Talk about commitment–the choice to become a parent is more serious than the choice to marry someone! 

I know it’s a bit odd that I always thought about being pregnant and giving birth rather than raising children, but it’s not so weird when you remember my mother makes her living assisting mothers as they bring their babies into the world.  Other little girls played with their Barbie’s or baby doll’s hair.  I ‘gave birth’ to my baby doll.  I know, I know.  Freaky.  But I grew up believing that giving birth is the coolest, most wonderful thing a woman can do. 

Anyway, I’m not sure where this turned into a dissertation on my views of becoming a parent instead of me trying to convey why I’m freaked out about my birthday.  But…yeah.  That’s about it.  The bottom line is that I don’t know why this birthday.  But this one is somehow more serious, more important.  More bothersome.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be at peace with 25, but as of today I’m not quite there.

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My New Best Friend

My New Best Friend

 

Except I don’t like cherry ice cream (or anything cherry, for that matter).  But yeah, meet my new favorite splurge.  It’s cheaper than my old standby, Breyers, and almost as good.

My Old Standby

My Old Standby

 

Can you tell I really love my comfort food?  Popsicles, ice cream, and popcorn.  Yep, that’s what keeps me going.

Of course I buy mine only from the Boy Scouts

Of course I buy mine only from the Boy Scouts

When the Boy Scouts of America start raising money, I get hit up at least three times–both of my brothers are Boy Scouts, as is our boss’s son.  Last ‘popcorn selling season’, I also got hit up by the cutest kid as I was coming out of the grocery store.  He was obviously getting a lot of cold shoulders, so he looked pretty pathetic by the time I walked by his table.  I felt so bad not buying from him…and really, I would have if I thought I could manage to eat my way through three huge boxes of popcorn by the time the next popcorn selling season rolled around.  There’s no way.  But, I did stop to explain myself to him (silly, I know, but I felt too guilty!).  After I told him that I’d already ordered as much popcorn as I could consume, he gave me the sweetest, most understanding (but still sad!) smile.  His mom thanked me, making me feel even worse, and I almost caved.  Honestly, if this keeps up, next time anyone sees me I’ll be looking like this:

~

My garden is actually coming along very nicely this year.  I must say, I’m impressed with myself!  I have to post some pics as soon as I take them. 

That said, I’ve been battling green caterpillars (from the white cabbage moth) on everything.  Brassicas, radishes, and even watercress–my pride & joy.

This is what my watercress looked like before the caterpillars came:

Happy Watercress

Happy Watercress

This is what it looks like now (post-caterpillars):

Unhappy Watercress

Unhappy Watercress

*sigh*

However, my mom came to the rescue, as usual! She gave me a little of her secret weapon, which I like to refer to Bottled Death to All Caterpillars in My Garden.  This stuff (correctly called Bacillus thuringiensis, or BT) is great!!  To the naked eye, it actually looks like it rots the nasty caterpillars from the inside out!  What it actually does is a little more involved.  It’s a harmless bacteria (except to caterpillars) that renders the little beasties unable to digest their food.  The best part is can actually work as quickly as 20 minutes after the caterpillar eats a leaf sprayed or sprinkled with BT.  Bye, bye caterpillar.

Maybe I’ll try watercress again another year, though I’m all out of seed so I’ll have to find some more.  Meanwhile, the other plants are thoroughly sprayed with BT twice a week & are back to normal.

Right now I’m reading up on how to keep Squash Bugs away.  I. Hate. Them.  Talk about nasty bugs!  And, unfortunately, there’s no BT equivalent to take them out.  I saw one a few days ago–which I crushed.  Even though I haven’t seen more since then (and, believe me, I’ve checked) I’m worried that it’s just a matter of time.  I was out there this morning and saw three cucumber beetles.  I squished two, but the third one got away from me (twice).  So, the war against the viney plant killers is ON!

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Happy 4th of July

Ah, one of my favorite holidays…

Fireworks

The first time I saw fireworks was at Red, White, and Boom in Columbus, Ohio.  It was quite impressive.  I spent the entire half an hour (which felt like two hours) hiding under a blanket.  But, now I love fireworks.  And I love what the 4th day of July stands for.  She is a proud day, for sure.

So, HAPPY 4TH!!!

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A Posse Dog

When I was young we got a dog from the Athens Co. Dog Shelter.  He was a wee puppy (we kids were so excited!).  A few days after we brought him home, he came down with Parvo.  Fortunately, after three days at the vet’s he was in the clear. 

The pup loved to explore, so my Grandpa Moe named him “Posse”, because he said the dog plus us kids made up our own posse.  The pup grew into a big, gentle, long-haired dog.  He had a small patch of white on his chest, but other than that was all black.  He fit the Belgium Shepherd breed standard almost perfectly.  As the AKC says they should, Posse “reflect[ed] the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. ” 

Posse patrolled the farm for about a year.  Then, one day, he was hit by a car and died.  I was devastated.  He had been my obedience dog for 4-H that year and I had high hopes for showing successfully together.  Besides that, I’d lost a best friend.

Today I was reminded of my friend Posse when I was browsing the Franklin Co. Dog Shelter’s website, as I tend to do from time to time.  Check out this guy–he looks almost exactly like my Posse.  I love his eyes–they say, “I can’t wait to find a friend to guard & a job to do!  Can I be yours?”. 

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