Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trust Birth Conference Aftermath Pt 2

Saturday morning I was monitoring Patricia Ann Edmond's session on Midwives' Biographies. This turned out to be an amazing foray into our history. She had published diaries going back to the 1600s that detailed births. It was really wonderful to think of them heading out to attend a birth on foot or horseback... maybe by canoe. The work remains the same. Babies are born. Wow. The history of the human race. Midwives helped birth an awful lot of us throughout history. Patricia brought up that those women's faces are alive today in their descendents, and that we too look like our ancestors. The thread is never broken.

The next session was the one I was waiting for... Writing About Birth. This session was a panel of 4 speakers: Jan Tritten of Midwifery Today, Jody McLaughlin of The Compleat Mother, Sheila Stubbs, an author, and Laura Shanley, another author and the accepted leader of the unassisted birth movement. This session was great. We talked about magazine articles, online writing, and publishing books through a publisher or by self-publishing. I came away with a lot of ideas about my own publishing future.

At lunch, I took my daughters across the street for burgers. My oldest was getting a chance to meet an online friend of hers she had been corresponding with for about five years. We met her friend, her friend's mother, and her friends two nieces. We had a lovely lunch, and all too soon I had to head back to the hotel.

My next session was Don't Push Me: Physiologic Pushing with another panel that consisted of Heather Brock, Gloria Lemay and Karen Strange. This was a terrific session. Our bodies are amazing... they push whether we put the grand effort into it or not, and more often than not, if we do put the grand effort into it, pushing takes longer than if we just breathe through the contractions and let the uterus do its thing. Gloria Lemay was extraordinary and funny... I'd love to listen to her all day. Karen Strange gave her input about the baby's experience of birth and how the baby helps himself get born. This never fails to amaze me and I never fail to well up with emotion thinking of this wondrous process we have to reproduce ourselves. Heather talked about her own births and how she was able to listen to her body and trust the process without actively pushing. I've done this myself, so I could totally relate to her experience.

After this session we had to rush to the next one. I was attending Gail Hart's The First Ten Minutes of Life. This is yet another amazing midwife sharing her experiences. Babies have a lot going on in those first ten minutes of life. The circulation changes from an open system with the placenta to a closed system. They open up their lungs and breathe, oxygenating their own blood. Their digestive systems turn on, as their nutrition must now come from outside the body. They have people in their face, they may be getting poked, rubbed with harsh towels, blinded by bright lights, startled by loud cheers... it is quite an adjustment. This session was amazing in its insights and humor. Gail Hart is another person I could listen to all day long, just soaking in the wisdom.

After this session, it was time for us to say our goodbyes and pack for the plane. We were dropped off at the airport, where we waited for two hours before we could board our plane. We had a straight flight back, landing in our town a little after 10 pm. While I was sad to leave early and miss another wonderful day, I was so glad to be home and able to see my husband and other children.

Now I can't wait for the next one. :)


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