High hopes for The Business of Being Born

Cross-posted at BlogHer: BlogHers Act.

It’s just over a month now until the release of The Business of Being Born to DVD a la Netflix* on Feb. 12, and I, for one, am counting the days. There are 36.

As a self-confessed “birth junkie,” I’ve been excited about this movie since I first learned about it back in May of 2007.

For anyone unfamiliar with the premise of the film and how it came about, here’s a little background. Actor Ricki Lake had two very different birth experiences (one in the hospital and one at home), and over the past several years considered becoming a midwife to help make a difference. However, after learning about the years of schooling and training involved, she felt that she could bring about more change by using her time, celebrity status (and her money) to make a documentary about birth. Lake recruited filmmaker Abby Epstein for the project.

The Business of Being Born explores the business aspect of birth and the way that American women have babies. The film includes a history of obstetrics, the history and function of midwives, footage of several natural births (including Ricki Lake’s home birth), interviews with people “on the street,” doctors, as well as birth advocates like Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin, and Robbie Davis-Floyd, and more.

The film is about empowering women to know what their choices are when it comes to birth. As Ricki said in her interview with The Huffington Post, “I hope this film educates people and empowers them to really know their choices in childbirth. We do not want to make any woman feel bad about the outcome of her birth, or the choices she made (or will make).”

It is my hope that because this movie has the potential to appeal to all women and anyone who is concerned with women’s rights, it will reach the masses, not just the midwives and birth activists out there. I believe that having a choice when it comes to birth is a woman’s right. It is also a woman’s right to know what her options are, as well as have access to all of the information about what is healthiest for her AND for her baby.

While the media would often have us believe otherwise, birth is a normal, natural process, and in most cases women require minimal assistance and no intervention to give birth to a healthy baby. Of course there is always the exception, but I believe birth should be treated as normal until proven otherwise, not as a potential emergency waiting to happen.

While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see the film even though it’s been shown a handful of times around me locally (always at my kids’ bedtime it seems), I have been enjoying reading reviews and observing the different perspectives the reviewers have based on their personal (and professional) backgrounds. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what they wish was or was not included in the film, but the overall consensus is that this is a wonderful film.

The Navelgazing Midwife had a unique perspective on the movie since she’s been a midwife for the past 15 years and a doula for 23 years and thus is much more observant of the intricacies of birth than a lay person may be. I enjoyed her “insider’s” point of view and critique. Despite disagreeing with some aspects of the film, overall, she was very pleased and concluded that “she (Ricki Lake) did a beautiful job and I am proud to call her our own. She knows her stuff.”

Another midwife, newer to the profession, from Belly Tales wrote “overall I thought the film was truly amazing; it brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Rather than being far out on the left fringe as I had feared, I was actually blown away by how mainstream and accessible it was. It begins with the assumption that the audience knows absolutely nothing about birth and the business of birth in this country, and then moves on from there, using a simple and easy-to-understand, yet powerful and engrossing format and narrative.”

Tanya Lieberman, host of the Motherwear blog, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and breastfeeding advocate, came away from the film believing change in the current birth system is definitely needed and said, “the only people who can change this trend is us.” She makes the point that to bring about change we need to vote with our feet, which is why she believes it’s so important that the masses see this movie – to realize that they have choices.

Despite the fact that I’ve read several articles and reviews about the film and consider myself fairly well-versed in the history of obstetrics and midwifery, I am still so excited to see it, especially for the beautiful footage of normal birth. I watched a lot of birth videos in preparation for my son’s home birth and got emotional just about every time a baby was born. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of my time watching The Business of Being Born with a tissue in hand as well.

Birth is such an amazing, beautiful, raw and emotional event, and I truly hope that this movie will be seen not only by the “birth junkies” such as myself out there, but by the mainstream population – the couple who is newly expecting, the woman who is dissatisfied with a previous birth experience, the medical community, and anyone who is interested in learning about birth – as well. I think it has the potential to bring about change for the better. Change, that I believe, is so desperately needed.

Rest assured I will be writing about this film again once I’ve had the pleasure of viewing it. And I will add my own review, as a woman and birth junkie who has experienced both a hospital birth and a home birth, to the list. Until then, the countdown continues…

*While the film is not going to be released on DVD until Feb. 12, you may add it to your Netflix queue at any time.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess Year in Review – 2007

Kelli at There is no place like home and Steph at Adventures in Babywearing both inspired me to do my own year in review post. They both posted the first sentence of their first blog post of each month, but I’m changing the “rules” for my blog and doing things a little differently. Instead of taking the first sentence from the first post of each month, I’m selecting the first sentence (or few sentences) from one of my favorite posts from each month and including a link to that post as well in case something piques your interest. (Yes, it took a lot more time to do it this way, but it seems I’m all about making things more difficult challenging for myself.) By doing it this way I hoped to select posts that best represented my blogging throughout the past year. 🙂

The CDG Year in Review

JANUARY
I’m not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but was happy to learn he was having the Sears doctors (Dr. William Sears and sons, Dr. James Sears and Dr. Robert Sears) on a show on Friday called “Young Moms Ask the Experts.”From The Sears doctors chime in on CIO and other parenting topics

FEBRUARY
One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time. — From Room for two

MARCH
It’s the little things that make me appreciate just how much I love my kids.
Like the new lip-smacking sounds that Julian makes.
Like the way Ava kissed my arm a few times while falling asleep tonight. — From The little things

APRIL
In the spirit of putting more of myself “out there,” here it is, as promised – my completely honest post. — From The truth will set you free

MAY
As I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. — From An Evening with Ina May

JUNE
On Sunday morning, Jody, Ava, Julian and I braved the record-breaking 100 degree heat to attend the National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration in Denver hoping to help break a record of a different kind. — From National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration


JULY
Some days you have to throw out your plans and just go with the flow. Today was one of those days. — From Go with the flow

AUGUST
As parents, we do the best we can to ensure our children have the very best start in the world. We may breastfeed them, make their baby food from scratch, buy organic and whole foods, childproof our homes, teach them not to talk to strangers, and a myriad of other things. We trust that when we buy age-appropriate toys for our children, that they will be safe and not pose a choking hazard nor contain toxic elements… – From Tots, toys and toxic paint don’t mix

SEPTEMBER
I tend not to write much about celebrities on my blog. As a general rule, I find there’s just too much other stuff going on in the world (especially my family’s world) for me to discuss who’s doing/saying what out in Hollywood. But when I heard that Brad Pitt (and then Kevin Kline) recently made comments about co-sleeping… – From What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

OCTOBER
Halloween is right around the corner, but in light of my recent discoveries about damaging effects of artificial colors and flavors (and petroleum and coal tar) in candy, I haven’t been feeling very excited about a holiday that promotes candy consumption. — From Amy’s Halloween Candy Alternatives

NOVEMBER
It’s been just over a year since my baby boy made his amazing entrance into the world, and yet, I never posted his birth story on my blog. So here it is one year later – in it’s full, unedited (LONG) glory (altered only to change the midwives’ names to first initial) – for your reading pleasure. — From One year later – Julian’s (footling breech) home birth story

DECEMBER
In light of articles like this one, stating that as recently as Nov. 20, hazardous toys (containing high lead levels and other dangers) were still being found on the shelves in stores like Target, it’s validating (but really no surprise to me) to read that Simple Retro Toys May Be Better For Children Than Fancy Electronic Toys. — From Simple toys better for children

If you wrote a year in review post (of any kind) on your blog, please add a link to your post in the comments. 🙂

Happy New Year!

One year later – Julian’s (footling breech) home birth story

NaBloPoMo – Day 28

It’s been just over a year since my baby boy made his amazing entrance into the world, and yet, I never posted his birth story on my blog. So here it is one year later – in it’s full, unedited (LONG) glory (altered only to change the midwives’ names to first initial) – for your reading pleasure. 🙂 I think you birth junkies out there will especially enjoy it. 🙂

Julian - 1 1/2 hours old - 11/23/06

Julian Emerson’s birth story

Recorded on Nov. 29 and Dec. 11, 2006

My labor began around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006, (41 weeks to the day) when I woke up to a real contraction, not the typical toning contractions I’d been having for the past several months. This was the night after I went in for some serious acupuncture (with electronic stimulation) at the acupuncture college to bring on labor. I was excited when I had another and yet another contraction and it started to sink in that I was in early labor.

I mentioned that I thought I was in early labor to Jody when he came to bed around 2 a.m. He got me my HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation c.d. sometime during the night and I listened to it with my headphones on to help me stay focused and relaxed. I went through most of the night sleeping in between contractions. When I did have one, I breathed through it and reflected on something I’d read on a Mothering.com message board. One mama said that each time she had a contraction, she thought of her body giving the baby a big hug. That thought made me smile when I read it and so I focused on all the hugs my body was giving my baby for the last time while he was in utero.

I woke up a bit before 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23). Jody and Ava were still sleeping. I continued to have contractions though they weren’t really regularly spaced. I decided to go have some breakfast and watch TV. I had some yogurt, peanut butter toast and Pregnancy Tea and watched a bit of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while I breathed through contractions. I found the TV to be a bit distracting so I turned it off and mostly lay on the couch. When I got up and moved around, my contractions picked up, but while I laid on the couch, they slowed down a bit. I was feeling pretty tired so I decided that hanging out on the couch was a good thing for now, to save up my energy for when I really needed it.

I called K, my midwife, around 10 a.m. and told her that I was in labor and what was going on with me. She said to check in every few hours – like around 1 p.m. – and let her know how I was doing. She also said she would probably come by to check on me later in the day and take my blood pressure and draw my blood so she could make sure that all was going well with me and there were no signs of HELLP syndrome (which I developed when in labor with Ava). In the meantime, she said I should go eat a big breakfast.

Jody came downstairs (and Ava soon after) and made eggs, turkey bacon and toast. I didn’t feel much like eating, but it tasted good and I slowly ate it all.

After breakfast and watching some of the parade on TV with Ava, I was still feeling really tired, so I decided to go back up to the bedroom and take a nap. That was around noon.

Before I went to sleep, I briefly talked to my sister Carrie on the phone and told her I was in early labor, but I had no idea if the baby would be born that day or when. I just wanted to give her a heads-up since she was planning on being here during the labor (once we needed her) and birth to watch Ava.

Again, I slept between contractions while I napped, but somewhere in that hour or so that I lay in bed, my contractions shifted significantly. They started to get very intense and I had to start vocalizing (or moaning) to get through them. I called out to Jody and told him that things were getting really intense and right around then the phone rang and Jody answered it. It was K (midwife) saying she was on her way by to see how things were going with me. Jody mentioned that it was good she was coming because I had just said that things were getting intense. (I later figured out that I must have been in “transition” during that time.)

I don’t recall if I asked Jody to apply counter-pressure to my back around that time or if he just instinctively did it, but it helped a lot to relieve the back labor I was experiencing.

K arrived around 1:10 p.m. She took my blood pressure, which was normal. (She never got a chance to draw my blood, but it turned out not to matter.) Then I had another contraction which I vocalized through and told her that it really hurt. She wanted to check me then to see how dilated I was. I was thinking that I hoped I was at least 5 cm dilated so that I could get into the birthing pool (which hadn’t been set up yet) or this was going to be a very, very long labor. I can’t remember if she said I was fully dilated when she checked me (though she later told me that I was complete), but she commented that the head was still really high. She felt around a bit more and then excused herself. (I found out later that that was when she discovered what she was feeling was limbs and that the baby was now breech. She excused herself so she could call A, the assisting midwife, and tell her to get to my house ASAP.)

K came back in the room and whispered to Jody that she had felt feet while she was checking my dilation. He didn’t quite realize what that meant at the time. At some point he said something aloud about the baby’s feet, which I heard and replied “feet??” (although I don’t remember this). And K said yes, the baby is breech, which I remember. I didn’t have any weird reaction to this news. I thought I remembered reading stories of babies being born vaginally in the breech position in “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” so I knew it could be done. I wasn’t fearful at all. It was all just very matter of fact in my mind – the baby is breech and I’m going to have to get him out.

Somewhere in there, Jody called Carrie (three times) to come to the house. The last time he talked to her, she said she would be here in 20 minutes, but Jody said at the rate things were going that might be too late. So in the meantime, Ava hung out with me, K and Jody in the bedroom. She never seemed scared or worried for me and I think it helped a LOT that we had watched birth videos and read the “Welcome With Love” book (about a home birth) many times in preparation for the birth. In the book they mention that sometimes moms have to yell and scream and make a lot of noise when babies are born and I am thankful that it said that since I ended up making a LOT of noise myself – something I didn’t expect because I never got vocal while giving birth to Ava. At one point, K asked Ava if she could go downstairs and get her purse for her. Ava did it without missing a beat. She was a great helper.

Anyway, I think it was after K left the room to call A that I felt the first urge to push. It was a completely involuntary urge and I yelled out, “I need to push!” I remember K yelling back to go with whatever my body was telling me to do. I think it was on the next contraction or the one after that that my water broke, all over the bed. I had not planned on giving birth in bed, and because things had progressed so quickly at the end, we hadn’t even put a waterproof cover down. I remember thinking, “Oh no! I’m soaking our new mattress!” (Our mattress was only six months old. Thankfully, it cleaned up and dried out nicely.)

The baby’s feet were born first without too much pushing on my part. Jody left the room during that time and I yelled to K, “Where is he going?!” furious because he was no longer applying counter-pressure to my back. She said, “He’s getting the camera.” And I yelled, “I don’t care about pictures!” He did snap a few of the baby’s feet coming out, but only one turned out because K’s hand was in the way of the others.

Jody called the professional photographer we hired to photograph the birth around the time I started pushing, but got her voicemail. By the time she called back, the baby had been born. (We opted to have her take family pictures a few weeks later instead.)

Carrie arrived after his feet were born and took Ava downstairs since things were very intense in the bedroom.

After his feet and legs came out, K said I needed to move to the end of the bed, so that gravity would be on our side. I said, “No” emphatically, not wanting to move a muscle. K said I *had* to move, so she and Jody picked me up and scooted me to the foot of the bed. She then told Jody that we needed to get into a supported squat position, so he held me under my arms while I began to bear down with everything I had.

I started out pushing with contractions, but it didn’t take long for K to say she wanted me to push whether I was having a contraction or not. I’ve heard enough birth stories to know this meant that I needed to get the baby out ASAP, so I pushed and pushed, taking breaks just long enough to catch my breath.

While his body was being born, A (the assisting midwife) arrived.

I don’t remember birthing him as being painful per se, but it was really, really intense work. I vocalized through every push and couldn’t imagine doing it without making noise. I think I opened my eyes once and then closed them again so I could focus on pushing. I also remember moving my right hand to the top of my belly. It helped me feel more connected with the baby and the job we both were working on.

Once his body was born (but his head still inside me), at K’s urging I pushed with everything I had to get his head to come out. I remember wondering if I was pushing enough or if I would be able to do it, but his head emerged with one really hard push.

Minutes after Julian’s breech home birth - 11/23/06Mommy and daddy look at Julian - 11/23/06Our son, Julian Emerson, fully entered the world at 2:14 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006, after about 13 hours of labor, only one of which was really intense, and about 45 minutes of pushing. It was approximately 1 hour after K had arrived to our house.

It turned out that Julian’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times. It is for that reason, my midwife and I believe, that he ended up turning into a breech position in the days or hours before he was born. It was as if he “knew” he couldn’t safely be born head-down with the cord as it was, so he flipped to a safer position – in an act of self-preservation.

Also, I later learned that his right arm was tucked back behind his head and K had to reach inside me and pull it down so that he could be born without damaging it or getting stuck. She also reached in while his feet were being born to make sure they both came out together and one didn’t get wedged in.

Jody and Ava cut Julian’s umbilical cord - 11/23/06Julian scored a measly 3 on his first Apgar, then an 8 on the second one done 5 minutes later. A gave him a few puffs of air mouth-to-mouth to help get him breathing, while they encouraged us to talk to our baby. It didn’t take long for him to start breathing, and in the meantime, he was still getting oxygen from the umbilical cord that was left attached to the placenta until it stopped pulsing. Jody and Ava cut the umbilical cord together a little over an hour after he was born.

Julian weighed in at 9 lbs., 8 oz., was 22 inches long, and had a 15 inch head. What a big boy!

After the intensity of that birth and such a large baby, I ended up with only a first-degree tear, requiring four stitches. Not bad at all.

Amy and Julian after breech home birth - 11/23/06Giving birth to a baby in the breech position felt so different from birthing a head-down baby (as Ava was). With Ava, once her head was out, it felt like the rest of her just slid right out. With Julian, I felt like I had to work for every ounce of him to be born – saving the hardest part – his head – for last.

It was an amazing, incredible and very intense experience, but, if you ask me, it could not have turned out more perfectly. We have so much to be thankful for. We have a healthy baby boy and I had a great home birth with our amazing midwife. It is a Thanksgiving Day our family will never forget!

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Related Post:
How we made the decision to have a home birth in the first place: Planning for a home birth

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Happy birthday baby boy :)

NaBloPoMo – Day 23

It was at this exact time 2:14 p.m. on Nov. 23, one year ago today that my sweet baby boy Julian was born at home.

I never did post his home birth story on my blog but I have plans to do that in the coming days. His birth was a little bit out of the ordinary so it my hope that by having it “out there” on the ‘net, it might be useful and encouraging to someone else.

I’m in the process of writing Julian a letter recapping his first year that I will keep for him until he is older. I did the same thing on Ava’s first and second birthdays, though I admit I flaked out on her third.

What a difference a year makes!

Julian’s birth - 11/23/06Julian on his 1st birthday - 11/23/07

Happy birthday, Julian! We are so happy and thankful to have you in our lives. May your second year of life be a wonderful as your first. 🙂

As much as I appreciated Rachel‘s suggestion for a birthday cake with breast milk frosting (from her comment on the previous post) LOL, I’ve decided instead to go with a vegan chocolate birthday cake, which I will be making along with big sister Ava’s help. Yum!

An interview with yours truly

Jenny at Mommin’ It Up was recently interviewed by another blogger and had so much fun with it, she decided to carry it on herself. I told her I was game to play along so she sent me my own set of questions. Here they are, with, of course, my answers.

If you’d like me to interview you, leave me a comment stating you’d like to be interviewed and I’ll send you your own set of questions. 🙂

1) You are the Crunchy Domestic Goddess. How did you get to be so Crunchy?
While I think I always had some crunchy tendencies, they really didn’t start fully emerging until I became pregnant with Ava. At that point I started becoming more aware of the foods I was eating and how they would affect my health as well as my baby’s. I learned about organic foods for the FIRST time. I started researching natural childbirth and eventually took Hypnobirthing classes. I also learned about attachment parenting, which felt to me, like a natural way to raise my children. Over the past three years, I’ve become progressively crunchier as I’ve learned more about various things like vaccinations, homeopathy, home birth (which I had with my son), acupuncture, placentophagia, growing my own organic garden, composting, natural cleaning products, cloth diapers, baby wearing, the DivaCup (which I haven’t tried yet), and the list goes on and on. I really feel my kids were the impetus for letting my crunchiness blossom.

2) You met your husband on the internet. What was your first “face-to-face” impression of him?
Uh, my very first impression after I flew across the country to meet him was – “Oh my gosh, what have I done?” 😉 Honestly, it was very awkward for the first several minutes and I started wondering if I could somehow get an earlier flight home. But after we hung out for the first hour or two, the awkwardness faded and we completely hit it off. In fact, I ended up extending my visit for a few more days because I did not want to leave him. That first meeting was almost 10 years ago now.

3) You take some amazing pictures! Do you have one or two all-time favorites you can share with us?
Aww, shucks. Thank you. 🙂 Share one or two? You’re kidding me, right? Do you know how many photos I have on my computer?! Well, neither do I, but the point is – there are a LOT. A LOT! OK, OK. Just for you, I will try to narrow it down and find a few of my favorites. 😉

This sunset picture is definitely one of my favorites and I got it by being in the right place at the right time AND actually having my camera with me. I find it’s often hard to have everything come together like that, so I feel I lucked out.
Colorado Sunset 2005

I have tons and tons of pictures of Ava that I love, so it’s really impossible to choose a favorite, but I really like this one from when she had just turned two. She just looks so sweet and innocent. I actually had it one blown up to a 16 x 20.
Ava - age 2

Here’s one of my favorites of Julian – in a cup – from when he was 4 months old. Hard to believe he’ll be turning 1 next month!

Julian 4 mos.

4) You seem to be passionate about a variety of things – breastfeeding, attachment parenting, photography, etc. If you could only choose ONE thing to advocate for, what would it be?
Again with the choosing just one thing. You like to make this tough on me, don’t ya?
If I had to choose only ONE thing to advocate for, it would be for an overhaul of the current childbirth system in our country. I would advocate for the normalization of birth and a serious decrease in the over-medicalization that has taken over the institution.

5) Tell us, O Crunchy Domestic One, what’s your favorite non-mommy, non-blogging related thing to do for fun?
Sleep. Seriously. I miss my sleep. If not sleep, then definitely photography. 🙂

Now it’s your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words “Interview me.” I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don’t have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Co-sleeping for sanity

Welcome to the September Carnival of Breastfeeding where this month’s topic is something that weighs heavily on every parent’s mind and eyelids – SLEEP.

Ava in bed - 4 mos. old - Oct. 2004 Julian in bed - 3 days old - Nov. 2006

During Ava’s first few months of life, she slept in a co-sleeper beside our bed. Being first time parents, we were too nervous to have her in bed with us, plus our queen-size bed seemed a little too small for three of us. Because I had to remember to put her back in the co-sleeper after each time she nursed, I’d force myself to stay awake and not nod off while she was at the breast, even though I really wanted to. This, as you can imagine, lead to some serious sleep deprivation on my part.

I recall a few occasions where I woke up with a start in the middle of the night and, in my half-conscious stupor, had no idea where Ava was! My first thought was that she’d fallen off the bed. I’d quickly sit up and survey the room (we had a small night light to assist in nighttime parenting). On the floor? No! Whew! But not on the bed either. Hmmm. Ah-ha! Safe and sound and sleeping peacefully in her co-sleeper. Of course.

The second time around, with Julian, I wised up and he came directly into bed (a king-sized bed we’d purchased just months before his birth) with my husband Jody and me. He was born at the foot of that bed and he spent his first night sleeping in it. 🙂 Not having to worry about moving him back and forth from the co-sleeper to the bed made my nights so much more restful. He would stir to eat often (heck, he still does), but I would latch him on and we’d both fall back to sleep together. Ahhh. No more middle of the night startled waking to find “missing” babies. 🙂

Having Julian in bed with us has truly been a lifesaver for me. There’s no way I could care for a baby and a 3-year-old if I wasn’t getting some half-way decent shut-eye. I think as long as some basic safety (common sense) guidelines are followed, co-sleeping can be a very safe and very helpful (think sanity-saving) practice when breastfeeding. 🙂

Please take a moment to read some of the other carnival participants’ take on sleep:

“Business of Being Born” – update

The Business of Being Born

Many of you know of my excitement about the movie The Business of Being Born produced by Ricki Lake. I’ve been following developments with the movie since I first heard about it.

Of course I had to sign up for the mailing list and I received an email earlier this week with some good news about the release of the movie…

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN has been acquired by Red Envelope Entertainment and New Line Cinema. The film will have a limited theatrical release this autumn in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and 11 other cities. After that, it will be available for rentals and internet viewing on Netflix and the DVD will be released in March 2008. Stay tuned for theater locations and dates!

Also worth noting, private screenings are available:

We have arranged a way to rent advance copies of THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN to individuals and organizations for grassroots screenings. You can use the film as a fundraising event or just an opportunity to raise awareness in your community or University. The screening could take place in a professional theater or in your home – the idea is to get a movement going and to get people talking! If this is something that interests you, please visit the website for the guidelines or contact us at info@thebusinessofbeingborn.com

I think I will email them to find out if anyone in this area is organizing a screening. If not, I might try to organize something myself. I am so excited to see this movie! I have a feeling I could get more than a handful of interested people together here. 🙂

By the way, I just noticed on the official website that there are now some excerpts from the movie available for viewing. Click on Excerpts at the bottom to check them out. 🙂

If you are wondering what exactly this film is about, here is a synopsis:

While the United States has perhaps the most advanced health care system in the world, it also has the second-highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation, and many have begun to question conventional wisdom regarding the way obstetricians deal with childbirth. While midwives preside over the majority of births in Europe and Japan, fewer than ten percent of American mothers employ them, despite their proven record of care and success. How do American doctors make their choices regarding the way their patients give birth, and who is intended to benefit? Director Abby Epstein and producer Ricki Lake offer a probing look at childbirth in America in the documentary The Business of Being Born, which explores the history of obstetrics, the history and function of Midwives, and how many common medical practices may be doing new mothers more harm than good.

Also, all you baby wearers, be sure to check back here tomorrow. I’m having a giveaway I think you will all be interested in. 🙂

Insurance crap stinks

I’m feeling rather disgusted with our insurance company (CIGNA) lately.

First of all, I’ve been trying to get them to acknowledge a claim (just acknowledge it, not even pay it) for Julian’s home birth since, hmmm, let’s see, probably January 2007. So, what’s that, like 8 months now? Every time I call they say it’s in “pending status” and they need something else – one more code, one more form, one more dotted i. I’ve mailed or faxed them everything they’ve requested and when I called today for my monthly status check, I was told it was still not in the system.

The good news is that the woman (Jennifer) I talked to today seemed honestly interested in helping me get this resolved. Perhaps she was just placating me or perhaps she sensed the utter frustration in my voice and genuinely wanted to help. I guess time will tell.

Sadly, with all of this exposure to insurance crap I’ve been getting over the past several month, I’ve found I’m getting more savvy with their jargon. So today I was able to tell the rep what information has been requested, what I’ve sent in, and where to look on documents for the information she should need, etc. She seemed to think they should have everything they need now and said she would forward it back to the insurance adjuster.

Jennifer is the first person I’ve spoken with there who actually asked for my phone number and said she would call me to let me know how this is resolved (which should take up to 15 business days). I was shocked! I was actually just starting to ask her when I should call back again to get another status report and she said that she would take my number and call me. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I did think that was very nice of her.

I’m still holding out some hope that somehow this claim will be acknowledged and then (*gasp*) approved and they will cut me a check for at least part of the $2200 I paid for my home birth. It’s not that the money wasn’t well-spent (my home birth was worth every penny and then some) or that I would hesitate to do it again, but, plain and simple, we could really use the money. Really.

Since I had this live insurance rep on the phone, after we finished talking about my home birth claim I had another question (one I’ve been trying to get answered for two weeks) about coverage for Ava. I have called the insurance company at least five times over the past two weeks and tried various selections on their phone menu system to try to find out if a speech evaluation would be covered. Unfortunately using the phone system to check eligibility never got me to a live person, no matter how hard I tried. I tried pressing zero, I tried saying “speak to a person” and was met with, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request. Did you mean… (insert everything under the sun except speak with a live human being).” I even tried a few choice swear words which got me nowhere as well (but it helped me feel a little better).

Anyway, I’d been in the process of setting up this speech evaluation for Ava for the past month or so. I had to fill out several forms, fax information in and talk to a “case worker” at the rehab center to get this all arranged. I found out today from Jennifer at CIGNA that speech evaluations for developmental issues are NOT COVERED. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you child has a lisp or can’t say sounds that she should be able to at her age, they won’t cover it. If, however, she has a medical diagnosis, like autism or had been in a car accident and lost her ability to speak, then they would cover it. Is that F’d up or what?!

I got back in touch with the case worker at the rehab center and found out the speech evaluation would cost $441(!) if not picked up by the insurance company, so I canceled it. We will have to go another route. The case worker gave me the number for “Childfind” and said I could schedule a screening with them. I guess that’s our next step. Yay for wasted time! :oP

Maybe tomorrow I will call up CIGNA again and cuss out their automated system, just to help me feel better. 🙂

3 boys – answers revealed!

Three days ago, I posted a guessing game for you all to guess what TWO things the three boys in this picture have in common.

3 boys

Your guesses were varied but a handful of you got at least half of it right!

While they actually have MORE than two things in common, the TWO THINGS I was thinking of when I posted the picture are that they:

  1. All were born at home.
  2. All had the same midwife in attendance at their birth!

The other things they have in common are:

  1. All are breast-fed
  2. All are intact (not circumcised)
  3. All were born in 2006
  4. All have crunchy, AP mamas (or as one of my friends put it “ultra-cool” crunchy mamas)
  5. And yes, all are cute!

If you guessed any of the above things, give yourself a pat on the back and an extra scoop of granola! You are getting to know the “crunchy domestic goddess” quite well. 🙂

Ears, noses and throats – oh my!

At nearly 8 months old, my li’l buddy has his first cold. If it weren’t for the snot often smeared across his face and the periodic junky cough, you’d never know he was sick. Julian is still his happy-go-lucky self, which is why Dr. G nearly laughed at me when I took him in to be seen about a possible ear infection yesterday. It’s hard to convince someone your kid is sick when they are so darned smiley, flirty and otherwise happy. 😉

The only reason I took him in to the doctor was because the previous day, something came up when we were at the audiologist to have both Ava and Julian’s hearing tested. Ava’s hearing test was her doctor’s recommendation after I shared at her 3-year-check-up that she asks us to repeat ourselves or “Say it louder” a lot, and due to some speech difficulties she has with “s,” “f,” and “th” sounds. Julian’s was because he was never tested at birth due to being born at home and my laziness of taking him in for a hearing test, and, after finding out a friend’s 14-month-old grandbaby, who was never hearing tested at birth, is deaf, I thought it better to be safe than sorry. (An aside, my friend has been working to get more babies who are born at home hearing screened at birth, so, at least in CO, some midwives are now going to have the screening equipment to take with them to their clients homes. She is pursuing this for other states as well.)

Ava did really well with the testing and the “games” that the audiologist played with her to check her hearing. I was very proud of her. There was one tone that she had a slightly harder time hearing, but she was still within the normal range so it isn’t anything to worry about. We will have her re-tested in 3-6 months to make sure it’s staying the same and not getting worse, and in the meantime I will schedule a speech evaluation to talk about her difficulty with those consonants. I have to admit I was a little surprised that her doctor recommended the hearing test and speech therapy for her. I figured the asking us to repeat ourselves was mostly an age-related thing (and it very well may be now that we found out she can hear well). I didn’t expect the recommendation for speech therapy either. I figured it was something she’d grow out of on her own. And she may, but her doctor pointed out that it’s better to work on these things now before kids are off to school so that they can communicate with their peers, etc. That got me thinking. While Jody and I can understand nearly everything she says, other adults and children have a hard time because they don’t know that “s” and “f” routinely sound like “t” when they come out of Ava’s mouth. And that made me sad that she may be having a hard time communicating with other kids at the farm summer camp and in her future preschool program (likely this fall). So rather than think “Oh no, there’s something wrong with my child. She’s not perfect” and feel like I’ve failed her somehow, I decided to go ahead with this and help her correct the problem. I feel much better about it already.

Back to Julian’s story…When the audiologist went to test Julian’s hearing, she was getting a very weak response. Then she remembered that he has a cold (I had mentioned it when we first got there), and she took a look in his ears. She said there was some fluid and they were red, which would explain why he wasn’t hearing much of anything. She said if it were her child (she happened to have a daughter who was 1 day older than Julian and who’d recently had an ear infection of her own), she’d take him in to make sure his ear infection didn’t need treatment, and that we’d reschedule the hearing test for another day after he’s past this cold.

So I got him in to see Dr. G on Friday. She confirmed that he has a bit of an ear infection due to the viral cold that he has, but because he doesn’t have a high fever (or a fever at all actually) and isn’t acting sickly, it’s nothing we need to treat (with antibiotics) at this poin, which is pretty much what I had figured but after the audiologist recommended seeing the doctor, I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. I know there’s a movement away from antibiotics after they were hugely overused decades ago, “which in turn has allowed the bacteria that cause ear infections, sinus infections and pneumonia to become tougher and more resistant to antibiotics.” – Dr. Sears Dr. G also said we wouldn’t want to mess with Julian’s flora with the antibiotics if we didn’t need to. No thrush for us please, thank you very much.

I, too, have some sort of cold myself – my second one in the past several weeks. It was extremely painful for me to swallow last night while I was trying to go to sleep. After lying awake for an hour, I finally decided to take some ibuprofen to help lessen the pain and I got to sleep until Julian woke me up coughing at 6:15 this morning. Blah. I did take a nap with him when he went back down this morning though and that was much needed. I also found my zinc lozenges this afternoon so I’m taking those and am in hot pursuit of the Cold Snap I know we have somewhere around here. I wish I would’ve remembered it a couple of days ago.

If you’ve got any healing vibes/thoughts to spare, please feel free to send them our way. We could use them. 🙂 Thanks!