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Month: February, 2016

The Business Of Making Babies: Supporting Midwifery Care

 

M0003964EB Ancient Roman relief carving of a midwife

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Who’s in the business of making babies?

Calm down.  Not me.  I had my two and would be happy to bake another baby-pie for y’alls entertainment, but I think this kitchen is closed.

There are however a whole lot of women out there who are in the business of making babies.

And then there’s the ones in the business of catching them.

MIDWIVES.

I personally did not have a midwife. You can read all about my heroic births here and here if you want a good laugh at my expense. My family doctor is one of those rare ones who does all of her own obstetrics (except when she is on medical leave at the end of your second pregnancy because fuck my life.)  She’s been my doctor since I was seventeen and I felt comfortable with the care and open relationship I have with her.  Had this not have been the case, I would have definitely sought out the care of a midwife rather than an OB.

But unfortunately it’s not that simple.

In Manitoba, we have about 50 practicing midwives, while the demand for midwifery care could support around 200.  That means that only 25 % of women who want to chose this kind of care and birth for their children are able to receive it.  Bitches, this is bullshit.

It is 2016.  Women are supposed to be in charge of their bodies and able to make informed decisions during pregnancy, labour and postpartum.  How is it that we are unable to provide necessary services to mothers and their newborns at a consistent level?

And yes.  Necessary.

How may of you have waited hours in an OB’s office waiting for your 10 minute prenatal appointment?  How many of you have spent the most vulnerable and raw moment of your life with a complete stranger as the resident on call came to catch the baby you were delivering and stitch up your vagina while he chatted casually with the nurses or you?  How many of your choices and desires were ignored or disrespected during labour or delivery because what you wanted was inconvenient for the hospital staff?  How many of you were laughed at or ignored at when you trusted your instincts and what your body was telling you during birth even when you were right?

All of those things happened to me.  And I have an awesome doctor who knows me well.

Midwifery care is different.  It’s personal.  It’s a bond of trust and care and guidance.  Of choices.  And those are all the necessary things you need during childbirth.

And there are some wonderful doctors out there.  Mine included.  But I can tell you from experience that labouring in a hospital and labouring at home are two completely different experiences.  And my doctor doesn’t make house calls.

So, what’s the solution?  Hire more midwives, right?

Not in this province.  First of all, the midwives here have been without a contract for two years.  Their current wages are so far behind the rest of the country that we keep losing the ones we have to other provinces where they are compensated better for the work they do.  They are about to strike, so we are about to have 0 practicing midwives if the province can’t get its shit together and offer them a decent deal.

The other issue is that we don’t really have a current training program.  A few years ago, the University of Manitoba teamed up with the College of the North in The Pas to develop a Midwifery program that included specific training in Aboriginal traditions and cultural sensitivity.

Sounds great right?  Women in rural communities without access to a hospital are the most in need of midwifery care.

Well, over 8 years,the program took in 26 students.  Only 8 graduated, and it cost the taxpayers 8 million dollars.  They have currently halted enrollment since 2015.  So now nobody is getting trained. *Edit:  There has apparently been a new intake of students in the fall of 2015.  Thank you readers!*

What the ever living fuck?  You’re going to invest a million dollars EACH to train these midwives and then you can’t compensate them properly when they are doing the job you deemed it was so critical to invest in?  Not only that, but half of them weren’t even offered full time positions.  So then the midwives we do have are so overworked with their clients that we don’t have enough of them to train the students.  AND SO it goes on.

We also built this beautiful birth center that is grossly underused.  With not enough midwives and doctors not allowed privellages there, it was a waste of money.  We keep trying to pretend like we are supporting women’s health and offering all these services, but we need to have an adequate number of midwives to make it all work.

The province needs to take a look at this.  They need to find a way to recruit, retain and train more midwives.  They need to stop putting the cart before the horse and get back to basics.  And for God’s sake, don’t lose any more of the ones we have.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, demand better care.  Insist that you have choices in your care.  Insist that you are provided all of the options and that they are available to you.  Because birthing in a hospital on a doctors timeline sucks balls sometimes.

 

In Other News, Cam Newton Is A Crybaby

So if any of you watched the Superbowl last night, you know that Denver’s defence reigned over Carolina’s offence to come out on top.

Peyton Manning will (likely) retire a Superbowl Champion, and the only thing that could have made yesterday more perfect for him would have been an MVP.

In reality, Cam Newton and his boys dropped the ball.  Literally.  A lot. They provided way too many opportunities for Denver’s D to swoop in and make some big plays.  And they took advantage of every single mistake Carolina made.  For a Peyton Manning fan ( like me) and therefore a Denver fan last night, it was seriously so fun to watch.

So anyway, you don’t need me to recap the game, but I will also say holy fucking SHIT Lady Gaga and YES MA’AM may I have another Beyonce Bruno Mars mash up!  Coldplay is still whatever for me.  He can take his flowers and rainbows and hit up the next pride week.  This was the fucking Superbowl man.  COME ON.  Don’t be so lame.

And then the post game interview with Cam Newton.  You can read the transcript here.

And I have to say that although I understand the deep disappointment he must be feeling, I wasn’t a fan of his attitude and disrespect for the media. Yes, he’s young.  Yes, he realizes that his three fumbles were probably the most significant contributing factor in their loss yesterday.  And I’m sure it sucked so bad.

But you know what?  For someone who is so full of antics and dancing and smiles and crap when things are good, you have to be able to equal that in your ability to be a good loser.

I think that a little bit of grace goes a long way.  He needed to have a shot of tequila, nut up, and go out to his interview with the ability to congratulate the opposing team and talk about the things they will do better next time.  Because anybody who watched the Carolina Panthers in the rest of the season knows that they have a pretty good thing going.  They’ll be back.

That’s what a leader does.  And I get that he’s young, but you can’t just lead when things are good.  You have to set the example of how to behave with a bit of maturity and graciousness when things suck too.  That’s what a good leader does.

So feel good about how you play football, but work on that off field behaviour.  Take a page out of Peyton’s book…..which is all class.

Brave

Beam_and_feet_(close_shot)

en.wikipedia.org

If I had a dollar for every time I had to repeat myself to my children, I could afford to be a stay at home mom.  Of course I would probably still go to work because honestly, who likes to be ignored that much?

It actually doesn’t seem to matter if I am requesting a simple action “put your boots on please” or having a regular conversation.  If it isn’t about cookies or Star Wars, nobody gives a shit about what I have to say around here.

Except yesterday Buddy said “fuck” for the first time.  I guess it was bound to happen eventually.  Sigh.

Anyway, any of you regular readers will have gathered by now that my four year old is a feisty little thing.  She had a few “developmental delays”  (not really) along the way, to which the specialist laughed and diagnosed her with a case of stubborness with maybe a pinch of assholery.

And you know, that’s just her way.  My Twee Destroyer doesn’t do anything that isn’t on her terms.  Potty training was a huge fight last summer.  Nothing worked.  She just refused and there was nothing I could do or say or bribe that child to take a piss on the toilet.  And then, about a month after I completely gave up, she just walked into the bathroom and went pee like she’d been doing it that way since birth.

The other challenging thing is that she’s a little bit chicken shit.  Where her brother will just run full speed ahead and deal with the consequences later, she is way more cautious and fearful.  She takes her time to weigh all the possible outcomes I guess.

Anyway, she’s been doing gymnastics for about a year now.  It’s my favourite part of the week because watching her roll around in her little bodysuit with other little kids is fucking adorable.

So all this time she refuses to walk the beam without someone holding her.  The other kids just do it without giving it a second thought and she just stands there, frozen in fear until someone holds her hand.

It’s like 2 feet off the ground with mats to land on if you fall.  And I promise that there are no crocodiles waiting to eat you or hot lava or whatever.

“I’ll give yo a dollar if you walk the beam alone”

“We’ll go for donuts if you walk the beam alone”

Nope. And Nope.

So last week we had this conversation about being brave.  And I explained that being brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid of anything.  I explained that in order to be brave, you have to be afraid first, and then try it anyway.  That there is no courage without fear, so it’s ok to be scared sometimes.  And then it became a conversation about Anakin Skywalker and how the fear in his heart turned him into Darth Vader.  Because four year olds.

And then I forgot all about the conversation because nobody listens to me anyway.

So yesterday, during free time  I am down in the gym with her and Buddy, and she asks me to help her up on one of the beams that’s higher than the rest.

And she walks the entire thing, refusing to allow me to touch her.

What the what?

I clapped and praised and tried really hard to be that positive reinforcing mom that everybody talks about.  And then I asked her, “So how did you do that all of a sudden?”

“I just remembered what you said.”

What?  Someone heard words that came out of my mouth and remembered them?  WHICH ONES??

“About being brave.  I had to be afraid so I could be brave. I didn’t want the fear to stay in my heart like Anakin.”

And THAT, Bitches, is how I realized that the things I say are important and do have an impact.  At least sometimes.

This time, I did good.

 

 

Stay At Home Dads Are The BEST EVER.

Any stay at home dads out there?

You are all my heroes.  Seriously.  Along with the stay at home moms.

And not to be a rude, sexist ass or anything, but I think it is harder for Dads to be the stay at home parent than it is for a woman.

My husband took paternity leave after both of our children were born.  As someone who does mostly contract work and has private earnings coming in, I didn’t have any employment benefits.  I did have the luxury of having my summers off every year, which meant my July babies were perfectly timed to give us a few months together before Daddy took over.

And it was the only way for us.  And it was SUPER HARD.

I struggled because any new mom will tell you how hard it is to be away from your infant.  Not only that, but most of my work is done at home.  I can’t describe to you the conflict in my heart while I tried desperately to pay attention to my students and help them learn while I could hear the cries of my baby coming for another room.

And the thing that sucked the most is that my Husband was doing a stellar job.  But the babies didn’t give a single shit about that.  There are many times when a baby needs their momma and that is fucking that.

So he felt like shit, I felt stressed out.  He worked so hard to make it bearable and the kids worked super hard to almost kill him.

So why is it so much harder for a dad to stay at home?

Well, first off is that while its becoming more  and more common, people still do a bit of a double take when the dad is at home with the kids.  They assume:

  1. Dad is a lazy freeloader who can’t hold a decent job.
  2. Mom is a selfish bitch who puts her career ahead of her family

And while neither of these things are true, the perception makes it hard for some families to make the decision that ultimately makes the most sense for them.

I think that once a man gets over whatever it is that their environment and society expects of them:  to be the provider and protector in terms of financial and safety; and thinks of those terms more along the lines of nurturer, then the role of primary caregiver will fit more easily.

And a few lessons in how to tie ponytails and braid a little girls hair would probably go a long way too.

In today’s world it’s rare that a family can afford to do things the “traditional way”.  And really, as long as everyone is fed and happy and sheltered and loved, the logistics are just logistics.

Every year I adjust my work load slightly to what might work better for us. It’s completely trial and error. Some things work better than others.  But amongst all the chaos and irregular work hours, I will never take those 9 months my husband was home for us granted ever again.

Because our stay at home dad was the best ever.

 

 

I’m Glad I Just Payed That Fine To Keep You From Dying Of Boredom, City Of Winnipeg Animal Services Guy

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Yesterday afternoon, as I was tackling the never ending task  of laundry, the doorbell rang. I was  little bit irritated, because I have one of those signs that basically says ” I don’t want your shit so fuck off”  (in a nice way), and people always seem to think it doesn’t apply to them.

Well it certainly applied to this asshole.

It turned out to be someone from Animal Services.  I opened the door, completely confused.  My dogs were well behaved, both sleeping on the couch. They hadn’t bitten anyone.  I didn’t let them outside to bark and annoy my neighbours and they were both up to date on all their vaccinations and they were registered.

Or so I thought.

Somewhere along the way, between one job or one kid, between trying to remember to feed all the living beings in this house and get everyone to swimming lessons or gymnastics or whatever, I had fucked up and missed the renewal on one of my dog’s licenses.

Shit.  So, I said to guy “Honestly, I had no idea but I’m happy to take care of it right now.”

No dice. He had to write me a ticket.  A 231 $ ticket.

Jesus. Fucking.Christ.  Considering a dog license is about 30$ a year, that’s a pretty big fine for a shitty mistake that isn’t really affecting anyone’s life.  My dogs have never been lost, they aren’t putting anyones life in danger.  The City wouldn’t even know they existed if I hadn’t registered them in the first place.  Also, my other dog is clearly licensed to it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t miss it on purpose.

Anyway, that’s not the stupid part.

Fair enough.  I broke the rules.  In trying to manage all the things in my life as a working mom, the dog’s license was pretty low on the priority list and I have to suck it up and pay the fine.

That’s not even the part I’m that mad about.

The guy comes back with my ticket and explains the process to me.  I ask a couple of questions, including  “I don’t understand, have my dogs been disturbing someone?  How did you end up here on a Sunday afternoon?”

And this is what the douchebag said to me:

Well, you know, we’re City Workers and right now we’re experiencing a lull in activity.  We can’t just sit around the office together with nothing to do.  We’d go crazy! So we pulled up all the addresses with an expired license and starting driving around to find you.”

This is seriously almost his EXACT WORDS.  I was flabergasted.  I couldn’t even respond because I couldn’t believe this asshole actually said this to me.

  1.  He’s in a middle class/working class neighbourhood, where 230$ is likely way more than an entire day of pay.  Where people with young children are stretched so thin financially and physically trying to stay ahead that it could make a significant impact on their quality of life for that month.
  2. I am a self employed teacher/musician who has to take her job seriously or I wouldn’t have enough students to pay my bills.  I have had to work while I was sick, my kids were sick and still so a good enough job to earn the money my families pay me.
  3. Besides that, I keep a part time bartending job  because I can always work more to cover extra bills or save up for something nice without increasing our debt load. Which means I sometimes work 7 days a week.
  4. My husband works a rotating shift in a technically and physically demanding job that leaves him so exhausted sometimes that he hardly ever knows what day of the week it is.  He has chronic pain and numbness in one of his hands.  Oh, and the work is dangerous as well.  One wrong switch and BOOM.

So, I’m super sorry that you’re cushy, well paying job with good government benefits is SO TRYING because you have nothing to do.  I’m sorry that you came to my home to write me ticket to ward off your BOREDOM.  I’m sorry that you had SO LITTLE respect for me as a working parent that you would have the balls to say this to me.

I’m sorry that our roads aren’t properly plowed, that the police never have enough staff to come and help sort out domestic disputes.  I’m sorry that every time the psycho that used to live next door  got drunk and threatening you didn’t have enough resources to come and deal with it because your resources were tied up in a department where the staff is underworked, overpaid, and disrespectful.

I’m sorry that this city hides behind the words “safety” when it cracks down on fines of any kind, when obviously, in many cases it is simply just a way to make money.  I’m sorry that my property taxes go to pay for this guy’s salary.

I’m sorry that there is litter and dog shit all over the place in this city that no one picks up.  I’m sorry the city can’t afford to properly keep the boulevards cut and tidy or to clean up the graffiti everywhere.  I’m sorry that instead we chose to pay a bunch of spoiled city union workers to do nothing.

I’m sorry that the words this guy said perpetuated every opinion about lazy government workers and a system that bleeds the people who actually work hard for their money.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell this guy to fuck off right there.

Rant done.

 

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