Monday, June 29, 2009

What about the baby's rights?

"Homebirth is about to become illegal in July 2010, as private midwives do not have access to professional indemnity insurance and therefore will not be able to register on the new national register. Even if you don't believe in homebirth, this is an infringement of women's rights."

This statement elicited the response from one person of, "What about the baby's rights?"

It's a frequently heard point brought up whenever homebirth and women's rights to choice for the mode of care is brought up recently it seems. It always strikes me as such a curious question. What about the rights of the baby?

First, it supposes that homebirth is more risky to the life of mother and child than hospital birth. Evidence based, empirical, large scale, peer reviewed research flatly proves that incorrect. Further to that, countries across the world (and no, not third world 'backward' ones) where homebirth is a fully supported option contradict it through experience - infant mortality is LOWER in these countries.

If and when medical care is necessary, the midwife(s) are able to both treat (the same as a midwife would in attending a hospital birth) or advise and attend transfer to a facility where more advanced care is available. (As would be the case if something happened in a hospital based check-up or were in the L&D ward and saw something that warranted further investigation or had an emergency necessitating transfer to theater.) These are all things that are prearranged and in place well ahead of the EDD should a non-emergent transfer become advisable or an emergency crop up.

Second, it's curious the question never comes up in terms to what are the babies rights in regards to a woman choosing to go to a hospital to birth. Women have the right to have elective
c-sections - a procedure which has multiple risks including higher incidence of neonatal death, persistent pulmonary hypertension etc. A recent large-scale 4 year US study of 12,000 neonatal deaths examining rates for babies born by Cesarean among low-risk women who chose for non medical reasons is 1.77 to 0.62 vaginal deaths.

Ignoring the big tickets like caesars - how about the other procedures women who choose hospitals choose for their babies - such as pain management (gas, pethidine, epidurals etc) all of which carry many risks for the neonate as well as risks for the mother. Rare, as are complications in homebirths one might argue, but risks still - ranging from increasing risk of infection, risk of respiratory distress, decreased success and duration in breastfeeding, including and up to the risk of death. The common 'generally harmless' epidurals have a relatively common side effect for example of cause the mothers BP to drop, which compromises the fetus oxygen supply through the placenta causing distress and further intervention. Failure of labor to progress, 4x the rate of requiring forceps, 2-3x more likely to have c-sections are only a few others.
Look at the rate of unintervened births in hospitals or the average c-section rate either Australia wide or especially within the private hospitals. We fall woefully short of the World Health Organizations recommendations.

Even further up the chart of 'safe', 'normal' procedures in hospitals such things as routine vitamin K for their newborns or cord clamping before the cord has fully stopped pulsating carry risks. The vitamin K used is a synthetic variety and there are a number of risks linked to it. Halting the cord flow prematurely has got to be one of the least sensible things around and risks many issues including brain damage and more than doubles the risk of hematocrit levels remaining dangerously low for MONTHS. I might also mention Hep B vaccinations. Again, all these things are well documented in peer reviewed studies, papers and the major professional journals - but no one EVER brings up the issue of the babies rights vs the mothers choice when the mother chooses to have a hospital birth or chooses hospital procedures on behalf of herself and her child.

It astonishes me that there is a common perception that while those who choose hospital births and/or management/interventions go completely without questioning simply because it is the broader cultural norm in Australia while homebirth seems to assume the woman does so because they are ignorant of how risky it must be or else selfishly choose to risk their children because of their own personal preferences and suddenly all the rights of the baby come into question.

There is an awful lot of 'behind the scenes' stuff that goes into a homebirth to ensure safety of both mother and child that most people are simply not aware of when they make suppositions about safety of homebirths or what one entails. No one is more motivated to protect a baby than it's own mother.

Let me also be perfectly clear here: I am NOT anti-hospital. Where it is necessary and warranted it is absolutely a lifesaving miracle. Had I need of it, I would be there in a heartbeat. I am against the removal of our rights to choose, poor arguments and misinformation however.
Likewise I am flatly against the lack of balanced and full information disclosed to the patients in the widely available 'mainstream' education programs/resources. It's impossible to make an informed decision when the information is withheld or skewed to suit any agenda instead of being allowed to speak for itself and be weighed individually on a case by case basis - even if it's withheld with good intentions or ostensibly good reasons. (IE "Don't want to confuse them with too many choices/information they don't wouldn't understand/don't need to know..." type stuff)

It also occurs to me that safety of the baby isn't the only important thing. No one is suggesting it's not important or suggesting risking baby for the sake of mother but it doesn't bear up that any outcome is acceptable so long as the baby comes out healthy either. Maternal physical and mental well-being are very valid issues. Neither is it an exclusive issue - maternal experience certainly impacts on the child, it's likelihood to thrive and their relationship potentially for years to come.

So... what about the rights of the baby?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another brief photo post

I love the light we've got at the moment... the sun is out less often since it's winter but it's gorgeous when it does show itself. I snapped this from our back porch while I was feeding all the birds.

Next is the calorimetry headband. I finished it yesterday morning but didn't get a chance to get the ends wove in till now to photograph it.

Laid flat - preblocking obviously.

And on the head. :)

Last but not least is the newest addition - another little white muzzie girl, come to us courtesy of Flogs! So now we have Matilda, Magnolia and Mazie.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The view from here...

... is miles and miles of smiles!

I started a calorimetry pattern, a sort of headband type thing to keep my hair out of my face. Yarn is Moda Vera Picchio, silk and wool, in emerald greens and blues. Ignore the red threads on the needles - those are just my cheapskate placemarkers. ~_~;

Friday, June 19, 2009

I've been thinking a lot of Cami recently, partly because Nic has suggested that perhaps it would be good to get another puppy - something I am in no way, shape or form ready for given I can barely look at pictures without crying. And partly because we're going to the same (poultry) shows and auctions I took her to last year as a little baby and having to tell everyone why she's not here. I'm glad people remember her and I do enjoy sharing the funny little things they remembered about her but it opened it up again and along with remembering comes the guilt and hurt.

Then yesterday Laurent came down with some sort of virus and spiked a fever. He's been running temps between 38.5 and 40C last night and through today. He swings from cooperative to wailing like a lost soul and nothing is right in his world. He hurts, food tastes bad, his stomach is yucky, his feet are cold, the light is bright and everything is too loud. While I was making breakfast this morning, he looked around and asked where Cami was between mouthfuls of cornflakes and started telling me about an adventure he'd had with her last night not seeming to remember she has died. The adventure was totally made up - he and Cami had gone hunting for honey and climbed a tree to get it with balloons and bees a la Winnie The Poo and Christopher Robin - obviously something he'd dreamed of but it started a whole slew of questions.

Probably a dozen times today he's asked where she is. I try to be honest with him instead of hiding the truth or using sugarcoated euphemisms, so we tell him that someone in a car ran over Cami and Cami's body was too broke for her to live in anymore so she died. Death is what happens when your body is too sick or too broke to be fixed anymore and you can't keep living in it. It's about the simplest way I could think of to explain what happens and he seems very at ease with the ideas of some owwies being too bad to fix and of death meaning you leave your body.

He recounts that she had a bad ouchie from the car, that she was laying on the porch and he had to be careful only to touch her on her head and not on her ouchies. (When we found her I had to keep him from trying to hug her better.) We put her on the blanket and took her to the car and mummy was very upset. We went to see the doctors at the vets and they gave her "IB" (an IV) to make her feel better. She was on the table (at the vets) and he pulled up the blanket to keep her warm. We had to put her in the cage on the blankets to be warm. The vets band aids (solution to all injuries in the world according to 3 year olds) weren't good enough to fix her. Cami was too broke for the doctor to fix and her body died. Over and over and over he keeps asking where she is and then remembering and recounting it all through his fever. Hopie doesn't have owwies though. She wants bikkies. Only Cami got bad owwies. Veri and Sisi don't have owwies either. They like to play tennis ball still. But Cami had bad owwies the doctor couldn't fix and died. Over and over.

random Aussie sketch

A sketch of a dog I saw at one of the Vic shows awhile ago, with a visiting pet owner.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today was not a day I looked forward to - the car needed servicing.

Yeah, I hear you - big honking deal. Except that servicing the car here entails waking up the 3.5 year old and 2 month old at 5:30AM, hauling them out into the cold to drop Nic off to the train and then deal with settling two cranky, overtired children once we get home before later waking them up early enough to drop off to the mechanics, whereupon I'm stranded for the day with two small children, one cranky with a cold and the nearest bus stop a 2.5 kg walk, for a 45 minute ride to the nearest train station. Sound like anyones idea of fun yet??? What? No takers? I'm shocked!

At any rate, today was not as terrible as it could be although it wasn't fun. It started upon arrival where we found they had penciled us in for Wednesday instead of Thursday as asked for and were cross with us having been 'no shows' from incorrectly penciling us in. So we walked into town, we stopped at the pizza joint, we had excellent nosh and headed toward the playground to wait for the bus. When we got there some local youths had smeared excrement all over everything, up and down the slides, on the rocking critters etc - try explaining that to a 3 year old! So we walked back into town - or rather I walked carrying Lily while La whinged and tantrumed in true unreasonable and ill 3.5 year old style. We watched the birds for awhile

and poked around the shops... one of which sells some local handspun/dyed yarn and when I saw this I just had to pick it up! It's $9 for aprox 90g but the neat part is the fiber content: it's dyed sheep and white samoyd - yes, SAMOYD... as in the big white fluffy DOG.

After this we caught the bus, with La claiming to have an owwie back and was sick on the bus, progressing into screaming, wailing and hysterics. He is still feeling miserable as anything and sacked out with a fever.

At any rate, we made it home and I went to let the dogs out when I noticed a goose in the yard...

This is not MY goose. Well... it is now I suppose but I digress. The day before we'd had a woman pull up claiming she'd found a goose walking down the road (as you do...), it had laid an egg, her dog was going to eat it and was it mine. It goes without saying this happened just as I was trying to get the fire going and succeeding after 20 minutes of babying it along, the dishes were stacked everywhere for washing, pile of unsorted laundry was waiting for folding on the couch, La was whinging about breakfast and Lily was just feeling disgruntled over being set down so I could start a fire and warm the place to something above subzero, let alone had a chance to put a brush through my hair or make-up on. Mine were secure in their yard so I suggested maybe it belonged to a neighbor who has geese but if it wasn't, she was welcome to leave the bird with me. I didn't hear from her so I assumed it must've been the neighbors but I'm guessing that having found it in my yard today, it must not have been! So now I've got another goose.

And this is just one for me. I completed the scarf bit awhile ago and decided to start felting a little black tri Aussie on it for La who wants a "dog like Hopie". I've roughed in most of the body shape but still have to do the head and bear in mind it's still very rough and will be more refined by the time I'm done. :) This is done with tufts of wool rovings (picture a cotton ball if you tore it apart) placed on the scarf into the desired shape and needled down. The felting needle on the left tangles the fibers together until they mat into felt and attach to the scarf. Good fun!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cruising along

Little madam is 2 months old now and has grown heaps - 5 cm longer and 1.26kg up from her birth measurements. She has discovered her voice and the power of smiling at people to get them to interact and frequently has long 'conversations'. We are just cruising along, still rather riding the high from her birth. She is just beautiful and generally such an easy-going little soul over all. In a weird way, parenting two is easier than one as she seems to balance him out really.

Laurent has hit a bit of a rough patch, either due to a cold, a major growth spurt (holy dooley, this kid sprouted overnight!) and/or finally seeing some adjustment from her arrival. He swings from being the most unbelievably sweet, gorgeous, considerate, helpful little person to feeling incredibly frustrated and crying over things that normally wouldn't make him blink.

He's going well with his toilet learning again though and his vocabulary has had another explosion as well lately. (Not all for the better though, if you grasp my meaning! Shame on mummy!) Nic also has him pronouncing things very snobbishly ie 'herbs' etc. It's all good though - I've got him breaking out with 'mate' and 'onya' to annoy the crap out of Nic in return... so he switches from very prim and proper to ocker when asking you to "pass the herbs, mate"! (I am so going to hell for manipulating my child's vocab to annoy my husbands sensibilities!)

In the meantime it is well and truly winter here and building the fire is a morning essential. Despite it being a season where not much is growing or changing in the garden, it's exciting in it's own way as there's much dreaming, scheming, planning and preparing to do so come spring everything will be ready to burst into life. We feed the soils... incorporating lots of nutrient rich organic matter and letting it settle in. Later we'll mulch. Improving the soil has been an issue since we moved in being on heavy clay lime, badly compacted, with almost no topsoil. It just chokes the plants - the clay is impenetrable to roots, suffocates them and repels water like it's teflon coated. The lawns and paddocks are still works in progress - I need to rent an aerator for the lawn and maybe hire a slasher or something for the paddocks? I have more research to do there. My smaller garden beds are turning into lovely loamy rich soil though and our new (recycled!) 3 bay compost built just after Lily was born is nearly full up! I've also got plans to put in new beds in the front garden and in the rear and plant heritage variety apple trees I've pre-ordered for July/August.

We are still waiting on purchasing the second car now that Nic has taken mine. Waking at 5:30am to haul a 3.5 year old and a 2 month old out into the freezing cold to drop him off, then resettling, than doing in reverse at night is just too much for most days! It's doing my head in though, as there have been times when I have literally not seen or talked to another human being aside from Laurent, Lily and Nic for a full week and given Nic's hours I only see him about 2 hrs in the evening. Most days we're fine as there is enough to us busy but I'm very much looking forward to having a car again and being able to see people again all the same!

I feel like it's a bit of a winter period for me as well, hibernating and letting my thoughts age before they are brought out. There is growth and change but like the roots of a plant it's mostly happening underneath and unseen. Every time I go to write what is on my mind at the moment though I stall or it's all just fragmentary thought stream. Spring feels like it has so much potential though and I'm kind of enjoying the feeling.

At any rate this is all to say that I'm still here, just more quietly and spending my time enjoying Laurent and Lily, watching the sheep grow woolly while the lambs are growing strong, the birds are all settling into winter. Even our Jasper has matured into a lovely cat and starting to settle from his kittenish ways.

In the meantime planning my garden and indulging rather heavily in knitting and felting. Felting wise I've been doing fulling (felting my knitting) like this Aussie which I also hand-dyed and will embroider shortly. This is the first one I dyed instead of skeins of yarn and I forgot to turn it to get the best depth to the colour, hence the red of the merle being darker in some areas than others.

and needle felting which is awesome! The 'leaf' bits of this little lily of the valley I knitted are needle felted. This one is obviously awaiting dye, as I want a few more pieces before I pull out the dyes and make a big mess.

Lace continues to devil me, cables intimidate me but I love the flow of the yarn under my fingers and I am getting better and learning new techniques although I'm sure my work is still clumsy and noviceish to experienced knitters but I'm proud of it none the less! For a treat I bought some yummy yarns I liked at Spotlight which are just for ME. Aren't they purdy?
from bottom left:
  • white Moda Vera Kicky, a silky acrylic 8 ply
  • bottom right - greens colourway of MV Milliefoglie which is a very soft, self striping yarn whose colourways look like different yarns joined in
  • top right MV Picchio a worsted weight 70% Merino Fine superwash, 30% silk with long gradiant colourways (going to become a mistake rib neck warmer)
  • top left the blue and lime number... from Lincraft though I can't recall the name
  • and last MV Monsoon, also worsted weight and made of soya with a metalic twist in a natural/rusty/amythest colourway... soooo soffttttt... it's hard to resist snuggling it!