Friday, 21 February 2014

Warm and Woolly Snood

1 100g skein yarn (5mm – 6mm weight)
The yarn here is Araucania Milodon Blue/grey 1456
5mm crochet needle

1.      Foundation round: Crochet a chain of approx. 80 stitches (52 cm long) and join with a slip stitch (ss) taking care to keep the chain from twisting.  If the circle is joined properly you will be forced to work into the ‘rear’ of the chain stitches in the firist round. 

2.     1st Round:   Chain 2 and turn.  Half double crochet (Hdc) (or half treble UK) into the first stitch (same as joining loop) and into each stitch to the end, taking care to work into the top edge only of each stitch to prevent the loop from twisting. Skip last stitch and join with a ss.  Chain 2 turn. 

3.      Once the first row is finished it is all v. simple.   Repeat step two till the skein is finished.  I ended up with a snood that is 26cm diameter and 26 cm long.  Enough to cover my nose and neck in a bitter wind.

This pattern is free.  Please respect the ownership of this pattern and give credit back to this blog if you share it on.  I have no problem with it if you decide to make items for others for free or for payment.  Just give credit where it is due.  Happy Hooking.  

Thursday, 13 February 2014

They told me...

by Lora Willshaw

“Be careful, take care, pay heed. Your baby’s in danger. Your body may bleed.”

They told me…,”Sadness in your past could happen again, Use our machines, your body’s no friend. Sit straight, lay back, don’t comfortably bend.”

They told me…,”We’ll scan you and touch you, just to make sure, your body can’t do it, it didn't before.”

“The baby’s too big… the baby’s too small..there’s too much fluid or there’s none at all.”

“36 weeks is too early 42 is too late. This os policy –  there is no debate”

“The baby's at risk. Your putting it there. Having a homebirth is not really fair.”

They guilt me and challenged me and made me so mad. Is wanting the best for my baby so bad?

I told them:  No. I will take no more. The attitudes towards me have been very poor.

So I challenged and questioned, and asked them right back.

Their answers were meagre…their speeches were mild. They talked to me as though I was a child.

So I found faith in my body to do it alone. To be comfortable and calm and be at my home.

I found groups and ladies in an on-line land. Where we share and chat and virtual hold-hands.

I learned that my body of course can be strong. I learned what my body knew all along. To follow my instincts, a womanly intuition. I hope that others manage to listen.  Sometimes birth doesn’t happen at home, but the choice is a mother’s and it’s hers alone.

My births were wonderful. Not scary or bad – that’s why I love these groups to say ‘we’re not mad’. I hate that we fight to get something normal and natural.

Spread the word  -

Choosing our birth isn't fantasy it’s something that’s actual!

Empowering stuff Lora, thank you for the privilege to share it on.
And if you agree, please share it on.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The part where I decided to birth alone.

For my second birth I planned a home water birth.  My mother had a home birth with me and the midwife who attended my birth lived in my street when I was growing up.  I always got fuzzy feelings when my mum would tell me how my dad was the first person to hold me and he wrapped me in one of his old shirts.  Then the first thing he said was, 'She looks like a baby rat.'  (Thanks, Dad.)   My aunt who I always wished was my mum when I wasn't seeing eye to eye with my mum was a midwife for many years.  So I had strong views that home birth with a midwife was the ideal for me.

My first pregnancy was complicated with acute pre-eclampsia and a hospital was at the time the safest place to birth.  The trauma from that experience assured me that as long as my pregnancy remained fit and healthy, I was staying home.

The community midwives who provided my antenatal care however, did not agree.  
At first there was the lie: 
MW Our midwifery team doesn't do home births so you will have to transfer to another team.
Me:  Ok, transfer me.

and obstruction: 
MW But you have SPD.
Me:  A water birth is easier on a woman with SPD.

and the shroud waving: 
MW: What if you have pre-eclampsia again?
Me: As long as I remain fit and healthy, I am staying home.

MW: "What if you need to transfer?"
Me: I will get a transfer.  But as long as I am fit and healthy, I am staying home.
MW: "What if you hemorrhage?"
Me: Midwives carry kit and have skills to intervene and I can transfer in.  But as long as I am fit and healthy, I am staying at home.

and the emotional blackmail:  
MW: What does your husband think of this.
Me:  (laughing inside, Not that I have to discuss it with him anyway but...) If my husband can't talk me out of a home birth, neither can you.

I went home depressed after that meeting but read up on my rights and then I got angry.

So a letter using the AIMS template meant I had a different midwife and all would be warned not to be messing with my plans.  Or so I thought.

My next antenatal appointment with the team leader of the community midwives, in brief, went like this:
She preached, nay, evangelized that I could birth anywhere I wanted and that I had their undying fealty. At first I felt relief then suspicion because like they say, if it is too good to be true...

Yes, there it was, the change in expression, and tone as she looked me in the face and said, "But, if we are too busy on the ward you will have to come in."  

There it was.  There is the cheap deception, the cheap blackmail which takes away so many women's choice.  Instill the fear.  Make her responsible for the safety of other women.  Guilt her with having two midwives when 16 other women shared 4.

I argued with her for several minutes, repeating I would never go into hospital again unless for a medically necessary caesarean section, citing my previous trauma which made me terrified of birthing suites. And there she sat, undermining me, telling me 'but that won't happen again', and how could I want a midwife to come to me when other women were in labour, and at one point, disputing actual events from my previous birth experience because 'that never happens'.  

So I went home again, disappointed, again but angry again.  And I wrote another letter, this time to the Head of Midwifery, the Head of Obstetrics, and the Chief Executive, that I would not be not coming in due to their staff shortage.

But quietly inside, all trust in the midwives was gone.  I did not share that with anyone.  I no longer wanted them with me at my birth despite knowing that all my requests were reasonable.

My friend said one day, 'sometimes women wait to call the midwives so that by the time they arrive the baby is nearly there.'  And then I saw my path.

I was already doing natal hypnotherapy in preparation for my birth.  I could never visualise a midwife at my birth.  I was always alone.  I told no one, not even my husband because I did not want anyone to feel responsible for my choice.  I trusted me and my mammalian body. I didn't need anyone injecting fear and doubt and I was tired of fighting so I settled into myself and into an inner space of calm. And it was fear that these midwives were bringing.  To me they were fearful of home births for many reasons I am not privy to.

I had a couple uneventful antenatal appointments with a new midwife and then another one, at about 37 weeks with the head of the community midwives.  She did a palpation and determined that my baby's shoulder was presenting, though previous palpation by the other midwife had said the baby was head down. She looked scared, and sent me off for a scan. My gut reaction was, 'you are scared to have to attend a home birth'. As I expected, the consultant felt, then scanned, confirming that the baby was head down.  

I was now terrified that these midwives would turn up! 

I felt safer birthing alone.  I knew that it was me and no one else who could birth this baby.  I only wanted someone there to guide me.  Someone with knowledge and confidence of previous normal births to keep my company.  I knew that I would now do it on my own.  I come from a long line of home birthing Mayan women.  I would just go and do the work like Mayan women have done for several thousand years.

I eventually went into labour at 41 weeks.  Labour was fast.  I turned down my husband's first request to phone the midwife.  I phoned my friend first.  The second time my husband asked, I rang the birthing suite, planning to hang up immediately if they told me to 'come in because they were too busy'.   But they said they would be here in an hour.

A quick wave of fear rushed over me that the baby would not yet be born before the midwives arrived. Then 'the race was on', as I envisioned it. 
 And I got my wishes.   Thanks to living in a new house, the midwives had a little trouble finding the address and the baby was sitting quietly in my arms for 5 minutes, where she had taken her first breath.

Do I regret being 'pushed' into a solo birth?  
No in fact I learned something timeless and instinctual through experience because I was pushed.
I trusted my body before I was pushed.  I had do not fear the birthing process.
The midwives' behaviour made me eliminate them from my plans.
I regret the absence of a positive relationship with a midwife, a role that is supposed to be 'with woman'.