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“What’s that term honey, the one you use when somebody tries to sue a doctor for no good reason and it gets thrown out of court?”

I was reading a local news article about a woman in the next county who was suing her ObGyn doctor for “coercing and threatening” her if she didn’t deliver her baby by Csection. The Mother had diabetes, and for one reason or another her doctor actually had her sign the consent form five years ago, and now she’s crying foul. Bad doctor, oh and BTW good baby and mommy were just fine after the surgery, so I wasn’t quite sure what this was all about, besides the 2 Million dollars.

“Frivolous, are you talking about a frivolous law suit?” Bob said. Indeed I was.

I usually never jump into the fray of a public forum, since I neither have the time or the energy to fight with true believers. But I was home sick, teetering on the edge of adding a snarky comment to the long list of online comments either praising said doctor or lambasting our entire health system by internet thugs who use pseudonyms for names so they can’t be traced. The lurid underbelly of social media, trolls living under an online bridge of anonymity. I wrote, I deleted,, I worried. Finally, I said:

“We live in litigious times. Certainly we deliver more babies by Csection than any other country in the world, but at the end of the day I believe most docs are recommending what is best for their patient.”

I only hooked one smirky, smiley comment.

“So American women just generally need Csections more than the rest of the population?”

I smiled. Should I tell her about Brazil? But before I had time to pick up the bait, the news posted that the jury had decided in the doctors favor, Not Guilty, after 20 minutes of deliberation. My faith in our justice system was temporarily restored as I put fingers to keyboard:

No we need to train American Doctors differently, transfer well patients to nurse midwives, and institute a board of docs and citizens to review lawsuits and throw out frivolous ones like they do in MA

Ps, my daughter was breech and a section was MY decision – as much as I wanted a natural birth, I didn’t want to risk the health of my baby

This lawsuit disturbed me because it assumed the woman could be coerced, was not in her right mind because she was in labor or something and all of MY feminist peeps, the type of women who believe we have the right to make our our own decisions about our own bodies were lining up behind her defense. Like HE MADE HER DO IT…She was of sound mind and maybe her body was trying to expel an alien at the time, still she could have put on the brakes and said, “NO, WAIT, I want another opinion.”

Childbirth is messy, it is a risk/benefit analysis. Some women go through days of labor only to have an emergency section to save their child, or even their own life. This was the Bride’s biggest nightmare last year, she was determined to have her baby boy VBAC, and she knew everything that could go wrong. My husband has seen women come into his hospital’s ER with a dead baby from a homebirth with a midwife who didn’t transfer them fast enough.

When you hire a dola, a midwife, or a doctor to assist you in delivering your child, you are entering into a sacred trust. When we won the right to vote in the early 20th Century, when science gave us birth control in the later part of that century, we women willingly gave up our status as arm candy and fertility goddess. We got tired standing up there on that pedestal for so long, all those corsets binding us into place. And now we have a woman in a pantsuit running for President. We should never be willing to be coerced or threatened by a man, boyfriend, husband, doctor, or lawyer ever again.

And the mom/plaintiff reduced her amount from 2M to $200,000 yesterday afternoon before having her case dismissed. Ask me again why our health system is so crazy. http://www.nbc29.com/story/30455784/update-augusta-co-jury-rules-in-favor-of-doctor-in-c-section-case

Here is our friendly little ghost, delivered by section three years ago because she was breech, just like her Mama!

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Months ago I heard about a nifty new strategy for robbers and thieves. They would roll up next to your car at the gas station, and while you’re busy filling up your tank with gas (just ignore this my NJ peeps, everyone else in the states has to pump their own gas) the bad guys will drive up next to the passenger side of your car, and in one swift move jump out, open up your door and boom, snatch your purse right off the seat! Seems like easy pickins, right? So I’ve been locking my car doors while gassing up ever since, just in case.

But one time in Nashville I didn’t see this hustle coming. The Bride was outside her car filling up the tank, while I stayed inside in front talking to the Love Bug in the back seat. All of a sudden there was a young girl at my open window telling me a sob story about how she had to get somewhere and just needed a few bucks for gas. Naturally I gave her a five dollar bill for gas, and later the Bride told me I’d been had. In retrospect, she did look like a meth addict, but hey.

But I was not surprised this past week. In the middle of my zombie/like/9hour/driving/trance on my way back from Nashville at a Sheetz, I was struggling with the monitor on a gas pump. It took my credit card info and I was about to enter my zip code when it asked me if I wanted a car wash??? Normally I’d press the “No” button – only there was NO “NO” button! So I’m trying to figure out how to get back to the initial screen, when all of a sudden a man who I can only describe as a lunatic is staring me right in the face.

With my car locked and only a gas hose between us, he starts telling me how he needs some money to get back to West VA!This guy, who looks like the psycho who abducted Elizabeth Smart, hauls a big red gas can up for me to see and what? fill it up for him? I can’t even get my own gas, which is what I start yelling at him – “I can’t get this damn thing to work, so NO…” and he gets out of my face in a hurry. Probably the first crazy Yankee nana he’s ever encountered! As I drive out of the Sheetz, I notice a beat-up van with a woman who looks like the wife of the psycho who abducted Elizabeth Smart sitting in its open door. She’s holding one of those cardboard signs with a message I didn’t read.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice? In retrospect, maybe I should have called the police. But I’d already called them on my drive to Nashville about an aggressive driver who almost ran a car off the road right in front of me. I didn’t need to become known as the interstate watchdog/vigilante/nana, so I found a Starbucks, which is like finding an oasis in the desert on that trip, and refueled my engine. One non-fat, Chai tea latte later, and I was home free.

"Yeah so then what happened?"

“Yeah so then what happened?”

They are searching in Orange County today for Alexis Murphy and another missing girl. The last place Alexis was seen was at a gas station. Maybe NJ has the right idea after all?

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On our very first outing with my new baby grandson, the Bride and I were perusing Lululemon in the Hill Center. It was a warm day, the door was open and a slight breeze blew colored leaves at our feet. The Bride was looking forward to practicing yoga in a few weeks and getting her post-natal groove on. While she tried on yoga togs, I had a nice time chatting with another grandmother from Kansas who was taking care of a two year old who just happened to be in preschool at the time. Then while checking out, the fit, handsome young man tallying up our purchases, looked up and had the nerve to ask us,

“What do you have planned for the afternoon?”

“Well, we’ll have lunch, then I’ll feed him (pointing to the stroller), then we’ll pick up the two year old from preschool,” the Bride said with a smile. ps, never ask a nursing mother anything about feeding her child, for the obvious reasons. And pps, never ask a woman, ever, what she’s planning on doing with her day, or for that matter what she did all day, because,
A) it’s none of your business, and
2) you don’t know her and you don’t really care anyway.

Maybe my Jersey came out, but I don’t like the implication. It’s a semi-paternalistic, passive-aggressive question that suggests we had nothing better to do on a weekday than shop and dine. After all, I couldn’t reciprocate, I knew what he’d be doing with the rest of his afternoon; he’d be right there behind that cash register asking inane questions.

Which leads me to this wonderful article my niece posted on Facebook about the Dis-EASE of being busy all the time. http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-disease-of-being-busy/7023?page=1
I was guilty when my kids were little. The Bride had to write me a note about not having time for ballet, what with piano and horseback riding, etc. And the Rocker asked me not to schedule him for any more sports teams, before asking him first! I love the sentiment from the Persian culture, in their language they don’t ask how busy you are, which is what we mean when we say, “How are you?” They ask how your heart is doing

It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know. I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Having a new baby at home cuts through that disease – we no longer need to appear busy, because in fact we are very busy. Nursing, cuddling, changing diapers all the while toilet training and teaching and feeding and loving a toddler, not to mention laundry and husbands and grandparents and friends who come to visit and cooking and…

There is a new yoga studio opening up in Nashville, specifically for young moms and children called Blooma.http://bloomanashville.com I’ve often said it was yoga that got the Bride through medical school. I’m pretty sure this new studio is just what the doctor ordered. Take that hipster Lululemon clerk.
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Remember when cell phones and blue tooth technology were new? You’d see people walking down the street talking to themselves and wonder, what the heck? Then you’d see that little light in their ear and realize they were not actively hallucinating.

There is currently a cute little PSA on TV with a woman in a grocery store. She is also ostensibly talking to herself…until you notice the baby in her cart. She’s explaining how to pick out fruit, or just passing the time in language. Not baby talk, but really talking to her infant, as if she could understand her. Which is good, because they can.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/the-power-of-talking-to-your-baby/?src=me&ref=general According to this article, children who are raised in a poor or disadvantaged family are actually exposed to less language – fewer numbers of words – than other children before the age of 3. And it is this disparity, that can predict future school achievement or failure.

“The disparity was staggering. Children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour. Working-class children heard 1,200 words per hour, and children from professional families heard 2,100 words. By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family. And the disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.”

2,100 words per hour. Now I studied child psychology in college, I knew about the monkey studies, the importance of touch and bonding. I knew about Skinner and operant conditioning, to pick up your baby before they start crying, so they don’t learn to cry for attention all the time. To praise the behavior you want to continue, and ignore others or distract to avoid total tantrum meltdowns. It all seemed so simple. But no one had ever actually counted the words parents say, per hour, until now.

The lesson here is not just to increase the numbers of words you may say to your baby. Because I have a feeling, and it was not a part of this study so I’m going on instinct here, that distracted parenting may have the same effect as hearing 30 million fewer words. When I see a parent with their head in their lap, on their phone texting away, I see a baby who is adrift in the world. I see a toddler in a playground saying “Look at me,” and a parent giving a cursory nod before returning to their oh so important smart phone.

What you say, and not just the number of times you say it, matters – and it matters deeply. When people would compliment the toddler Bride on her appearance, I would always counter with “…and she’s so smart too.” Later, her Grandmother Ada would give her money for a report card that had the supposedly negative checks of “Raising your hand too much in class” or “Talking too much.” 

I will have to continue that tradition with the Love Bug. She is already saying “Mama” and “Nana.” And she is babbling up a storm. She is a lucky little lady to have very talkative parents. And also to have such a musical family. After all, I wonder how often babies are serenaded almost every night with live guitar music? Well, maybe Nashville babies?

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…was yesterday.” My psychologist brother, Dr Jim, told me that this is a Navy SEAL saying, which explains the title of that book in the news, “No Easy Day.” You may or may not agree with the Pentagon about possibly seeking criminal charges against its author, but spokesman George Little said “Sensitive and classified information is contained in the book.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/no-easy-day-pentagon_n_1855783.html

Yesterday we received very sensitive information about breastfeeding. My daughter and I talk about how taboo the subject still is, how strange it is that women show much less skin nursing under a well-placed receiving blanket or one of those fancy “hooter hiders” than they do at the beach. Baby Boomers have been making menopause proper dinner table conversation, maybe these Millennials will de-mystify breastfeeding and make public displays of nursing mamas acceptable. We decided that the Lactation Consultant specialist at their hospital is a veritable saint; and that the Love Bug is an epicurean delight.

Today is the Bride and Groom’s Wedding Anniversary, and tonight I have the honor of babysitting for the first time. They will walk to their favorite neighborhood restaurant for a romantic dinner. Bob has told them to make a date every week if possible, to get out and talk about life and all things not-so-baby-related. We did try and do that once the Bride was about 6 months old, though at the moment leaving her for more than 2 hours seems unimaginable.

Yesterday love was such an easy game,

Today it’s time to celebrate,

Tomorrow the Rocker arrives with Ms C to meet the baby. Hello bliss

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While you were watching the GOP Convention, I was snuggling my newborn Grand Daughter. Let’s pretend that she’s sitting in a chair…I know I know, she can’t sit up yet. But we are pretending.

“What’s that you say? You thought this whole outside the womb thing was going to be a piece of cake. I know. I know. Living is hard work. You’ve got to cry to get what you want.”

“No, no I wouldn’t want that. An outstanding public school system is hard to find in this holler. Relax, private schools have everything you’ll ever need.”

“Oh sure, Montessori is great to start. I forgot, you’ve got five years to worry about school. Let’s just try sleeping through the night first. But take your time, no rush, try not to worry so much.”

“Who were they? They are your other set of Grandparents. You are a very lucky girl, you have two sets of them and a matched pair of Great Grandparents. Now here’s the trick with us, we are all pretty crazy about you. Any little thing you want…well once you can talk. Anything you want, you just have to ask.”

“No, no you can’t have five houses. What would you do with so many homes? You’d what? No,,,that’s just out of the question, it’s not practical. Think about all the cleaning staff you’d need.”

“That’s right. For now, all you need is love. And believe me, this home is filled to overflowing.”

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The funny thing about scheduling a C-section, you know when the baby is coming, and everything seems organized and in control. You check into the hospital 2 hours before the OR time, then you find out there have been a few emergency unscheduled C-sections that morning, so you wait…and you wait…and you wait. And waiting is the hardest part.

Then all of sudden, they come in the room and roll out with your daughter. The Groom gets to wait until the spinal takes effect and the surgeon is ready, then he heads for the OR. And now you start to crumble inside because now there is no one to stay strong for, no one to visit with and chat up about this or that. Well, there is Bob still, her Father and the Saviour of Lost Things. He knows how you feel instinctively. Together you hold each other up…

Until they roll her back in the room, followed by the Groom and a new little person. A beautiful baby girl who somehow manages to steal your heart all over again. Just the way the Bride first did so long ago. This morning we played the Circle of Life on Bob’s iPad, because that’s how it feels. Seven whole pounds of wonder and enchanting eyes.

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