Sunday, April 27, 2008


Read this startling article from Crunchy Domestic Godess. Here's an excerpt:

The maternal death rate in the United States is the highest it’s been in decades - 13 deaths* per 100,000 live births and, even more startling, for black women 34.7 deaths per 100,000, in 2004. Gaskin asserts it also may be seriously underreported. According to the Center for Disease Control in 1998, “there is so much misclassification in the US system of maternal death reporting that the actual number could be as much as three times greater than the number officially published each year.”Perhaps by raising awareness and demanding more information, we can turn the tide in this country.
Another great article worth reading on Refuse To Be A Womb Pod: Top 5 Most Underreported Birth Stories of 2007

Statistics are an interesting thing. On a blog I've just started reading, there's a debate about the safety of hospital births in the US. Many respond with how the US has one of the highest maternal and neo-natal death rates in the industrialized world. Others respond back saying it's not that bad, at 'only' 5 deaths per 1000 births, it's just 'one down' from countries like the UK at 4 deaths per 1000.
Well, you might say, that's not so bad! Only 5 deaths! But wait! That's per 1000 births. Do you know HOW many babies are born in the US every day? Every year? My little local hospital has about 500 births per year alone. While simplifying the numbers to the lowest possible denominator might make it look not too bad, it really doesn't show the broad picture!

And really, in the broad scheme of things, is the number the important thing, or the attitudes that create the numbers? Is 5 deaths per 1000 worse in the US because it's industrialized, or is it worse in Uganda because it's NOT industrialized? (Note---I just picked Uganda out of thin air. I have no clue about it's actual rates, although I assume it's not the same as the US). Are those in Uganda happy with their numbers because they could be worse while the same numbers in the US create fury because they should be better?

And do statistics help birthing mothers? If I know my baby is posterior, do I want to hear that my chance of a c-section has gone up by 75%? Or do I want to hear about and how to rotate the peanut? Do I want to know that my hospital has a 30% c-section rate or do I want to know how to prevent a c-section for myself? Do I want to know that 25% of women who have an epidural get a spinal headache, or do I want to learn how to birth without numbing my body? I don't think it's naive to ignore the statistics; or rather, the better option is to learn the statistics but to learn what to do about the situation. Just because the hospital has a 50% epidural rate doesn't mean I have a 1 in 2 chance of having an epidural.

Knowledge is power; what you fear you create; what you focus on expands.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Rob always says he has bad luck "I'll lose my job just before we need to renew the mortgage; it's just my luck" But, I say, you've never lost a job before! However, one place he does have bad luck is his bank cards. More than once he has left them in the bank machine. And at least twice before his bank card has been fraudulently copied and used.

And now, AGAIN!! We heard on the radio this morning that there was a big scam operation in Newmarket (40 minutes east, but we don't go there very often--once a year maybe) where a pinhole camera was installed on (a) RBC bank machine(s). Being that we're not far from Newmarket; just up the highway; and that RBC's security department discovered the issue with his card, it's quite likely that it's the same operation. They tried one account, but there wasn't much money in it, LOL, but the other accessible account had a bunch of $$ cause Rob had put money in to cover a big cheque that hadn't been cashed yet. I wonder why he keeps getting targetted. I don't think he comes across as potentially having a well padded bank account, LOL, but I guess once they get into the accounts and find that one has money it doesn't matter.

So, be extra careful when using ATMs! And for all of you that are scared of using the Internet to buy things, or on-line banking......

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


No, not me. Did I scare you? We're all sick right now, and websurfing is filling my time as it's close to the bathroom ;) I came across a fabulous semi-surprise twin homebirth story. She had decided to not care for the woman at 38 weeks due to some disagreements and she thought there might be twins. But then re-considered, and then changed her mind about the twins. Until labour. The mother was in denial too, LOL. Fourteen pounds of babies. Wow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I am not a trained doctor (although I might know more about vitamins than 'old-time' doctors), nor even formally schooled in the vitamin field. I am a firm believer in self-education, and even more important, self-awareness. Take my recommendations as lightly or as seriously as you wish, but don't substitute my knowledge for your own self-education.

Growing up, I watched my mom and dad take a multitude of vitamins. My older brother was forced to as well, but I just couldn't manage to swallow pills :) We used to have a kitchen table with bunkettes (or is it bankettes? Benches that opened for storage). My brother used to stash his vitamins in the benches; the smell of the B vitamin was especially pungent! I grew up learning that vitamins were important and gradually absorbed info from various sources such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil, Dr. Roizen, Dr. Durand and more.

But shopping for vitamins is overwhelming. You know you need Omega 3, but the number of options is boggling! You know you need calcium, but do you want it with magnesium AND zinc, or with none? Chewable, long-lasting, natural flavoured vitamin C? The red iron or the green iron? Recently Pharma Plus had a really good sale on ALL their vitamins/herbals; no more guessing what was on sale and what wasn't. So I stocked up. Of course, vitamin therapies only work if you actually take them. I have been trying really hard lately, and I have definitely noticed a difference. My regime is the 'basic' regime that most doctors promote, and for me, a bit of added focus on mood stability, craving control, and better sleep. Others may need immunity improvements, heart health, or another specific concern. Again, use your own self-education. My goal today is to provide a general vitamin therapy plan that will work for most women of child-bearing ages, and to provide shopping info, especially for other Canadians on a budget :) (Although I am not trying to endorse particular brands, these are reasonably priced and easy to buy here).

Vitamin B12: An important vitamin for red blood cells and brain function. See the post I wrote last year about a great book "Could It Be B12?" It also promotes energy, and I recently learned to not take this supplement at night time :) Right now, I'm using Jamieson B12, 100mcg, once per day. Make sure you are not folate deficient; there is much about that in the book I mentioned.

Vitamin C: I am not a big fruit eater and don't drink juice. I know I am low on vit. C all year (except perhaps during Ontario strawberry season), but others might just need a little over the winter to increase their immune system. If the kids are sick, I bump up the number I take, and I have definitely noticed that I don't get as sick as before, although I will still feel a little under the weather. The choices for vit. C are incredible. As with most vitamins, lower-dose/more frequently is usually the way to go. Right now I am using Equate (Wal-Mart) Vitamin C Plain, 500mg, 250 tablets. I take one/day unless the kids are sick, and then I take up to 3.

Vitamin D: This is the latest 'must have'. If you live north of Atlanta, you are probably deficient (as many as 60% of adults are). It's being linked with just about every aspect of health, but is important for helping calcium absorption (hence, why it's added to milk). Make sure your vit. D is "D3" (Cholecalciferol) and is at least 1000IU/25mcg. I'm taking Premium Jamieson Vitamin D 1, 000IU. There are some health experts out there though that say Vit. D supplements are a waste of money because our body doesn't process it well enough, and too much Vit. D can have problems. I suggest more research, but the big name doctors do highly recommend everyone take a Vit. D.

Vitamin E: Not really necessary for most women, so do some research before you spend the money. There has been mixed evidence about Vit. E and heart health. I'm taking it just because I bought it to use on my incisions/scars after the surgery, so I bought the cheapest one, Equate Vitamin E Regular, 200IU.

Calcium: "Drink your milk!" has been the motherhood cry for a couple generations now. We know women stop building bone mass as early as their mid-20s. But there is a growing anti-dairy group, so supplements, while not as efficient as food sources, are a good option. Calcium by itself can be constipating, so it is often mixed with magnesium. I"m not sure why zinc is added, but zinc is good for the sex drive..... There are also differing opinions on the type of calcium one should have in the supplement. It just gets me confused, LOL. I'm taking Jamieson MEGA CAL High Absorption Calcium "Calcium Magnesium with Zinc". It has 333mg of Elemental Calcium, 167 mg of Elemental Magnesium, and 20mg of Elemental Zinc. I aim for two per day, but usually end up with just one. They are large capsules. Between ovulation and period I really try hard to have two per day to help control cravings and improve my sleeping. Women need about 1000mg of calcium per day, so factor in what you consume in food too.

Iron: I can never remember if I should take the green iron or the red iron. Iron in general is hard for the body to absorb, and should be taken with Vitamin C and not at the same time as Calcium or caffiene. It can also be constipating. If you're feeling tired, weak, and pale, try taking it every other day throughout your cycle for several months. Also add in the B12 for energy. I don't take it every day, but the week before my period, and during, I will take it every other day (sometimes two days in a row if I'm feeling 'regular' but iron deficient, LOL). I go for cheap instead of name brand. Value Priced (bought at Zehrs/Loblaws I think, but every drug store has a store brand) Iron Supplement Ferrous Sulfate tablets, apo-ferrous sulfate 300mg. It says on the side, "Each tablet supplies 60mg of elemental iron as 187mg of dried Ferrous Sulfate USP".

Omega 3: This is a hard one to figure out. Some brands label the different ratios for Healthy Heart, or Mood Control, or Women's Formula, etc. That can help, but use it as a reference, and then pick based on other criteria--size of capsule, price, source of the oil, etc. I was looking for one that would help my moods, but the store didn't have that one on sale. So I used the info on the label, and found that it was very close to Premium Jamieson Omega-3 Complete, 40% EPA, 20% DHA, 1000mg which is promoted as Healthy Heart and Brain Function. I haven't noticed improved brain function, but my moods are MUCH more stable throughout my cycle now. I aim for two capsules/day, especially in the PMS week :) The dosage is 3 capsules/day, but they are large, and fishy (though not as fishy as another brand I had tried). Megan though will chew up a capsule with no complaint! I highly recommend Omega 3 for any woman suffering from the 'witching week'.

I also give the kids a couple things, a chewable B12/6/Folic Acid and a chewy Omega 3 (Megan loves them and I have to keep the jar up high. Huey is not so keen, but loves the B12/6/FA).

If budget is a concern, watch for sales. Never pay full price for vitamins/supplements. Some have long shelf lives, so you can stock up. If it's still a little pricey, I'd recommend dropping Vitamin C and E, maybe a cheaper B complex.

I'd love to have input from others on what has worked for them!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Birth, American Style

I've been reading a lot of blogs/websites lately about the issues surrounding birth in America. I wish I could find similar Canadian blogs. Does it surprise anyone that about 95% of babies in the States are born in hospitals, yet the US has one of the highest maternal and neo-natal death rates in the industrialized world? In most other countries, as many as 95% of babies are born at home, c-section rates are a reasonable 5-10%, AND they have better survival rates. Not many women seem to realize that while birth is a normal physiological event, having a birth in an American hospital INCREASES your chance of death.

One recent story I read is at Mothering Dot Com. At first I went there by following a link about an UC (unassisted childbirth) that transferred and went horribly wrong. The baby had been OP and got stuck on her pelvic bone. Fairly common, usually easy to correct, and it was in this case and the baby was born. However, the on call doctor came rushing in and demanded that the placenta be delivered immediately (not sure why). She yanked and pulled on the cord, despite the incessant pleading of the mother to stop. She yanked out the placenta...AND the uterus.

There are some interesting terms floating around in cyberspace regarding these types of birth stories. Pushed birth, purple pushing, birth assault and birth rape. How horrifying that such a wonderful event is used by doctors (and even midwives) to assert their position of all-knowing godship. What happened to birth being a woman's event, not a time for the medical establishment to insert their ideology where it doesn't belong? How can it be remedied when there are women electing to have c-sections (does the name Britney sound familiar) so they don't have to push, or because it makes them feel like they are in control of their birth (like, somehow, they can be in control when strapped down, half naked, separated from the 'sterile field' that is their divine femine landscape?), or because they want to schedule their life.

Women don't need to be afraid of giving birth (why do so many pregnant women get asked if they are 'nervous' about the upcoming birth); they need to be afraid of those who supposively know more than the ageless, global, female conscious that has sustained our existance for milleniums.

Monday, April 7, 2008

If it's got "Cow" in it's Name....

....and it's marketed for babies....that can't be a good thing. There is now a formula specifically designed to help your 6 month old and older sleep better. Because, heaven forbid, your baby has a growth spurt and gets hungry and disturbs your sleep. Imagine the size of a 6 month old's fist. That's the size of their tummy. Do you really think it's designed to hold 8oz; a common bottle size? Do you really want to give your baby's tender tummy a liquid that is thickened enough so it will take ALL night to be digested?

Friday, April 4, 2008


I'm always talking about what a handful Megan is. She's exuberant, full of life, inquisitive, and energetic. And to think, in the early days, we were concerned about her passiveness, LOL.

On Wednesday morning, we were making squares on top of the stove. She was playing at the counter next to the stove. The stove is one of my 'non-negotiables'. I don't even like them touching the stove when it's not on....I don't want them to forget it could be hot at any time. I tell them all to not touch it, probably every day. I had finished the cooking part (on medium), and turned off the burner. I had poured in the corn flakes, and stirred it all up for several minutes. I usually put the kettle onto a still-hot burner, but didn't this time. It only takes 'one time'. I turned to the other counter, and Megan screamed. She has a long, painful blister on the palm of each hand. She has been very good about not bothering them; I had kept loose gauze on her hands, but she's figured out how to take that off, LOL.

Then, we got news that there had been an electrical fire in the basement of Lucy's "Kinderpak" (the building that is separate from the school and houses the kindergarten class). She was given the option of going for her afternoon class in the library, or staying home. She was very upset that her Crocs were in the Kinderpak and would have to stay there for a week; so she stayed home that afternoon.

After a messy dinner, I planned to give Megan a bath. I stopped to watch a few minutes of the news, and all the local flooding. Suddenly Megan runs in screaming; something hanging in her month. It dropped on the floor and I realized it was a tooth, root and all. OMG. I don't do well with gory things. She was pretty hysterical, and of course, wanted her pacifier. I finally gave in and let her have it; figuring that if it hurt, she'd take it out. We got a hold of one of our dentists, and her and I headed out.

It was the front tooth, and they don't put baby teeth back in. It can fuse to the jawbone, making it hard for the adult tooth to come in. The dentist took an x-ray, and the other tooth appears unharmed, but we won't know for sure for awhile. All three kids are AWESOME at the dentist, and Megan had been asking lately to go herself, LOL (if you're wondering how a mostly non-verbal child asks this, LOL, both Lucy and I had dentist appointments this week so I had told her). Megan was quite excited to be in the chair herself this time! She was really, really good; having calmed down before we went. Even the x-ray went fine. She got 5 stickers AND 2 things from the toybox!

Last night, I asked Megan what happened. She took me to the entrance of the computer room, and pointed to the corner of opening....right where there was a dark red her mouth height. She's had a few troubles eating, but is otherwise doing good. Daddy and I are having a hard time though :)