Monthly Archives: December 2013



Tra la la.

It’s Christmas.



Or whathaveyou, and I’m up at dawn using the few hours before my husband wakes to assemble The Garment That Shall Not Be Named.

This is more difficult than it sounds. My consultants (Joey the Hun and Mama Kitty) find  it necessary to sit on either the fabric or the instructions. You know–instructions. Paper that makes a great crackling noise without really telling you whether to pin things right side together or the other way ‘round. Certainly not before being shredded.

The consultants are assisted by my mother (of blessed memory) who taught me to sew and won’t get out of my head. Hence the basting. And cats tearing off to swat the odd pin under the refrigerator. Mom never did approve of pins.

Nor does she approve of my fabric choice. The newer stuff is of low moral character. She thumbs her cremated nose at my plan to make a warm thing out of fleece and flannel. (Acrylic. Cotton. Mixed media. Read all about it in Leviticus.) With the spouse, emphasis is on warmth. With Mom, and now me (both of us in perpetual menopause), emphasis is on opening windows in the dead of winter.

The only thing in my favor is that the consultants approve of fleece. I bought enough of it to put great folded swaths at either end of the kitchen island where, if they heed my intent, they’ll observe the work in sartorial comfort. This hasn’t yet come to pass, but it’s Advent, and in that season we wait.

Tomorrow the real sewing begins. I get to find out if closing the French doors keeps the sound of the machine from bringing the giftee downstairs at a run. You see, he’s a professional sewing machine fixer and ever alert for the subtle shift in timing that signals stitching disasters yet to come.

Kinda like Superman wielding a bobbin.

Until then, friends…

The new normal? Maybe.


OK, Colin (you know who you are). I’m back on the midwifery soapbox. Sort of. I got asked to write a blog about water birth for a hospital site. I kept the property rights, so it’s posted below in all its restrained glory.

Yes, I looked for a picture of lemmings leaping to their deaths, but never once mentioned that women in their thousands do not jump into the Bering Sea in the throes of active labor.

Except for those really staunch Russian women who do so in their threes (they were featured on a website years ago). They can probably be  seen across the Bering Strait by that gal who knows how to field dress a moose. She has a bunch of kids–wonder if she’s got “giving birth in the Bering Sea” on her resume.

I’ve been known to remind people (especially people with a medical reason for not being able to have one) that water birth ain’t natural. We haven’t done it for thousands of years and we’re not going back to our roots when we do them. An epidural can be more natural than water birth. (Especially those where they let the baby float around under water for minutes and minutes and hours. Forgive me. I’m just not that groovy.)

But boy oh boy, a tub full of warm water is a great thing for relieving pain if you’re not having an epidural, and when a baby comes out without much fuss (either way) there’s nothing better. Housekeeping thinks so too, as they wash the evidence down the drain. Epidural births happen on the bed, so housekeeping hopes the midwife’s good at mopping up all that stuff.

I’ll never forget the first days of trying to provide a “birth pool” in any of the hospital rooms where women wanted them. A doula (bless her long-suffering heart) would bring in this huge, inflatable tub and start it filling. Hopefully before the baby came or the water heater gave up.

There were plenty of times the water wasn’t ready, or the woman wasn’t ready, or the fitted top didn’t fit and the water got cold. And I’ll never forget the time a woman had a death grip on my hands, her feet braced against the tub, and super-human strength that was going to pull me head-first to my death. Yep, just like a lemming.

To save myself, I sat my butt on the floor, braced my feet against hers through the side of that squishy, ridiculous tub, and congratulated myself on cheating death. Next thing I knew, my pull exceeded her pull, and she and all those hundreds of gallons of water landed in my lap. Nobody drowned, and we were laughing SO hard that the baby flew out. Also into my lap.

I don’t have any kids, but am considered a mother many times over in the Biblical sense because of events like these. If you don’t believe me, just see Genesis 30:3. In the Tanakh Translation the barren Rachel says: “…that she may bear on my knees and that through her I too may have children.” Lovely.

And neither Rachel, her maidservant Bilhah, nor the benighted Leah were concerned with whether or not their babies were born in water. They just wanted them. And wanted them safe. Which is what my blog for the hospital tries to get across in “Waterbirth and Plan C“:….pdf

If the stoopid link doesn’t work, go down to the Blogroll at the bottom. It does. Sometimes.