Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fertility Necklace

See my pretty new necklace??
It is a fertility necklace that I found on Etsy for a screaming deal. It has really only been 7 1/2 months that we have been TTC (trying to conceive), so while I am anxious, I am not really concerned that I have a fertility problem per say. I really just think I need to start some yoga and work on stress relief in order to get my life back in balance.

However, with that being said I still enjoy pretty sparkly things!

The necklace is from an Etsy shop called Bohemienne Belle and here is a link to it.

She has gorgeous infinity love bracelets, more fertility bracelets, anklets, and more. What is your favorite?

This is what she had to say about the stones and why she chose them for fertility:
Rose Quartz is known as "The Stone of Unconditional Love" 

Ancient Celtic Belief is that Butterflies are the souls of Unborn Babies Looking For New Mothers.

Single Spirals represent the Ancient Symbol of the Goddess, the Womb, Fertility, and the Evolution of the Universe

Pearls Help to Connect to The Feminine Energy, The Goddess, and Enable Attunement to the Ebb and Flow of Life. They Have the Vibration of Purity, Charity, Truth, Loyalty and Integrity.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NEW ARRIVALS!! LaborLooks Gown Giveaway!

Announcing our new LaborLooks Gown design... gowns are still Hospital Approved and Breastfeeding Friendly! We have made just a few simple changes. Gowns have a slightly lower neck line for comfort and style and each size has an additional 4-6 inches of fabric in back for additional coverage. We know you will LOVE our new gown design ~ this week we will be sharing photos of our 4 new gown fabrics (expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks). Enter below for the chance to win one of our new release LaborLooks gowns for your special day. If you don't have a Pinterest account... send us an email and we will send you an invite. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 24, 2012

Psi Bands

I was in the local Babies R Us the other day and I stopped for a minute to check out what they had on their rack for morning sickness. With my 3 year old I remember buying "preggie pops" to help with my nausea and very mild morning sickness. However, daily I am talking with women about what to do in their pregnancy for the nausea and vomiting and this is what prompted me to check out the Babies R Us section.

I noticed these cute arm bands. Then something clicked. I had heard somewhere, sometime, about these acupressure bands... then BAM! I remembered these were created by another mom company!  I had to check it out a little more, and low and behold I read all about it on their website:

pronounced "sigh" like a sigh of relief this is another, non medicine option for women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. I mean seriously, there is only so much ginger tablets you can take right? Or ginger snaps?

I talked with PsiBands and I was fortunate enough to get some brochures that I can now pass out to my pregnant patients.  Hopefully I will get pregnant soon so that I can test out the bands themselves!!

Let's continue to support other momprenuers and mom invented company by liking them on facebook HERE

Monday, September 17, 2012


One of the most important things I have learned as a midwife is patience. Not patience in the overall scheme of life, but patience with birth.

I forget about time when I am with a mom in labor. I am fine to sit in a room and just sit. I am fine to be doing something or to be doing nothing. The other day I just sat with a mom for 2 hours before a nurse even came in the room to check on us.  It was glorious. We talked, she labored, we rocked, she squatted, we swayed, she made birthing noises, we walked, she breathed. It wasn't about me at all. It was all about her.

Then when the pushing starts I still am patient. I let mama's push how they want, when they want. The nurses sometimes get a little nervous, thinking a mom might never get her baby out if she yells instead of bears down. Or how will she get the baby out if she doesn't tuck her chin to her chest or put her hands behind her knees.  Fortunately, now that I have been in the hospital long enough, it is rare when I run into a nurse who tries to convince a mom to push other than the way she feels.

Just yesterday I spent 3 1/2 hours with a mom who was pushing. I wouldn't have thought it was that long without the nurse there letting me know how long it had been. That mom who had her baby after 3 1/2 hours of pushing had a beautiful, healthy baby with 9/10 apgars. Never a drop in heart rate, never a concern for me. So why is 2 hours often a cut off? Why can't we push longer if a mom and baby need it or want it?

I wish I knew why the world doesn't have enough patience with birth.

All I know is after that baby is born, I have no patience for the placenta. I try to wait for it, but 5 minutes feels like 20 and 10 minutes feels like an hour. Seriously, I could wait all day and night (and often do!) for a baby, but that placenta- well buddy, you are a wonderful life sustaining organ, but seriously, come out already. No one wants you to stay in there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sick Kiddos

It is never fun to see your kids sick. However, when they have fun holding their own nebulizer, you know that they are on the upswing!

More posts to come soon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Have you heard of NoseFrida??

When my little sister Devyn was in town her 8 month old got pretty congested. This made it hard for baby Hazel to nurse, so Devyn and I went on a hunt for NoseFrida. We found one at Buy Buy Baby and then Devyn went to town. 

 Hazel actually LOVES this product! She laughs and giggles every time that Devyn uses it to suck out her boogers and snot. The best part is that the boogers never ever even get close to Devyn's mouth, but Devyn is controlling the amount of suction being used to suck it out. 
The tube never actually goes inside Hazel's  nose, that way we know that there wont be any damage done during the process.  What an awesome product. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Body for Baby: Fail

I started my healthy diet and exercise program back in January. I wanted a good 3 months to prepare myself in order to be in the best shape to get pregnant.

Flash forward 6 months. Not pregnant yet, getting a little discouraged, and tired of keeping up all this healthy eating, smoothie making, and limiting myself on all the sweets.

Another month goes by and I am busy busy with patients delivering babies. Up all day, up all night, I have fallen off the exercise train.

This month, still not pregnant, still busy, still tired. I think I have eaten ice cream from the doctors lounge  6 out of 7 days this week. I would have eaten it all 7 days, but one day the flavor of ice cream was carrot cake.  Seriously? Who makes carrot cake ice cream. bleh.

What keeps you motivated? How can I get back on track? I am still taking my prenatal vitamins with DHA, my vitamin d, probiotics, and folic acid. I am maintaining my ideal weight but just not exercising and the food I eat is not the best. I have added in a lot of sweets.

Don't tell me to look at pinterest... there is only so much motivation I can get from pinterest... I look at all these work out plans and pins that people have put up, but I usually fall asleep before I finish reading a work out plan because it sounds so boring and I am tired. Plus, who really could ever look like that? Do I want to work that hard to look like that? Absolutely not, I want to work hard to get a big baby bump!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I don't make this up

I walked inside this morning from a short hike and my girls are sitting watching a movie. Dad was still upstairs sleeping and my daughter says, "Daddy said that if we are really quiet and don't wake him up then we can have a baby brother!"
My husband claims he didn't say this, so these little girls have quite the imagination.  Seriously though, I don't make this stuff up. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Busy Births

As a midwife I took a 2 year hiatus from delivering babies. I had a 1 year old and a 3 year old, I was burnt out by some unfortunate circumstances at my last practice, and a few other reasons that made it the best decision for me and my family.

But recently I was itching to get back to the births. I always missed them, but I started to yearn for the opportunity to labor with moms, to support and help them in ways that no one else could. I have spent enough time with moms to know when they need that extra word of encouragement, when they should change positions, when they need chapstick or a drink of water. And also I have learned when they just need someone to fill the space. To reassure them to know that someone is there even if they aren't doing anything. 

So, the doctor in the practice that I work with decided that it would be a great opportunity for me to get back into the game.  An amazing blessing happened to our practice and our births per month doubled almost over night!  Now I wasn't just there to be with my patients, but I was really needed to help the practice survive and thrive. 

In June I attended 25 births. 25 glorious births with healthy moms and healthy babies. Moms that I felt honored to be there with and other moms who I felt like a long time friend coming to spend some time with them.  All of these babies born were in the hospital. (I don't deliver babies at home, not that I don't want to deliver babies at home, but in my practice I deliver babies at the hospital.) The only way I could possibly be at 25 births a month is by being in the hospital with the wonderful support of the hospital staff and labor and delivery nurses. 

I don't think it would be very wise or very safe for a homebirth midwife to deliver 25 babies a month. Am I correct in that thinking? I was exhausted after just a few days of this, and I only spend a fraction of the time with each mom as a homebirth midwife does. 

Anyway, in the month of July I was present at 26 births. Seriously? I had no idea I could get any busier. And I took a week off!!  From this past Thursday to Sunday I was able to greet 14 babies. I was able to gently lift each baby to its mother's awaiting arms and chest. Each birth was different and special. Some of the births are fuzzy and when I think of those births all I think of is the beautiful mother's that anxiously awaited to hear their newborn baby cry. 

Some births stand out as births I will never forget. I remember the mama who didn't think she was strong enough to birth her baby after having a previous c-section. She cried when she held her baby close, skin to skin, and checked to make sure it was a little boy. 

I remember the mama who was so strong she didn't need anyone with her while giving birth. She prayed and smiled as she sent her husband away to tend to her two other daughters. Quickly, peacefully she birthed her baby and her husband returned when the morning came to have his wife introduce their newest daughter to her big sisters and her daddy. 

I remember the dad who didn't think the baby could be born without me.  He was at the door waiting for me as his wife slowly breathed down her baby that was born seconds before I entered the room. He was shocked when he realized he missed video taping the birth all because I wasn't there in time. The next two days he gave me quite the hard time by teasing me about letting him miss his baby's birth. I in turn teased him back because he thought the midwife was the key to having a baby. (which I hope you all know that is NOT the key!)

I am off call tonight. Basking in the idea of sleeping through the night. However, while this last weekend was a whirlwind, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Thank you mothers. 
Here was a rare moment that I had at home this weekend with my girls. They were missing their mommy, but they know what I do and they love that I do it. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Make a Baby Boy

No secret that I would like my next baby to be a boy. I have 2 girls already, but how far is too far in trying to choose the sex of your baby?

Look what I found :)

How to make a baby boy?

My husband likes to have a son so I would like to know if there's any way or any tips to make a baby boy?

Thank you so much for your help.

Additional Details

Oh! I forgot some detail of my question. I would like to know a way or tip that I can do myown for free of charge or with charge but low price.

Thank you again.
5 years ago

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

Timing intercourse: Have intercourse the day of ovulation.
Timing intercourse correctly is the most important factor.
Learn to detect when you ovulate and practice until you're sure you understand your body's signals that ovulation is approaching.
The ideal time for intercourse is 12 hours before ovulation.
Have intercourse only once on the day of ovulation.
If you are tracking ovulation by the BBT method, time intercourse for the day of the "dip" in temperature before the BBT rise.
If you are tracking ovulation by the CM method, time intercourse as close as possible to the shift from peak mucus back to thicker, cloudier mucus.
Why is this important?
Conditions for conception are ideal on the day of ovulation, favoring the faster Y-sperm. The egg is released at ovulation and is waiting for the sperm, so the sperm don't use up their short lives waiting for the egg to show up. Also, the environment of the vagina becomes more hospitable to sperm at ovulation; the cervical fluid increases and becomes more slippery, making it easier for the sperm to swim, and also becomes more alkaline, helping the sperm to survive.
Abstinence: The father must not ejaculate during the 4 - 5 days before ovulation.
Intercourse and ejaculation are okay up until 4 to 5 days before ovulation, but after that point the father must avoid any ejaculation until the day of ovulation.
Always use a condom when you have intercourse, both before and after ovulation, to prevent the possibility of conceiving on days when it is more likely to have girl. (Except, of course, during your one attempt on the day of ovulation.)
Avoiding ejaculation allows a higher sperm count to build up. Higher sperm count is associated with more male offspring.
Scrotal temperature: The father should "keep it cool".
The father should make sure to avoid excessive heat around the scrotum, which can be caused by tight, hot clothing, or an overly hot workplace.
Choose boxers. Even close-fitting underwear can make the scrotum too warm by holding it too closely against the body.
No saunas, hot tubs, or scuba diving.
Bicycling has been linked to impotence and reduced sperm count, so while you are actively trying to conceive you may want to choose another sport.
The optimum temperature for sperm production is a little lower than body temperature, which is why a man's sperm factory is housed in a handy bag just outside the body -- the scrotum. If the temperature is too warm, sperm count for both X and Y sperm will be reduced, but the more fragile Y-sperm will perish first.
Sperm count: The father should avoid other causes of reduced sperm count.
Illness can temporarily reduce sperm count, so if the father is sick you may want to delay your attempt until the following cycle.
Smoking, drug and alcohol use, and exposure to toxic chemicals, can all reduce sperm count.
Emotional stress is associated with lower sperm counts. You may want to check into relaxation techniques.
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are lifestyle changes that can improve sperm count.
Lack of certain vitamins and minerals can lower sperm count. You may want to try a nutritional supplement for enhancing male fertility
If you're worried that you may have a low sperm count, you can use an at-home semen analysis kit to check your sperm concentration.
Any form of stress, not just heat, can affect sperm production and lower sperm count.
Diet: The father may have some caffeine just before intercourse.
The father can have a couple of cups of coffee (or other caffeinated drink) fifteen minutes to half an hour before intercourse.
Caffeine gives both types of sperm a boost, but the Y-sperm would get a little more of a boost.
Female orgasm: Have one!
The woman should try to have an orgasm during intercourse, ideally just before the man's. (If you don't, though, don't get too hung up about it.)
Female orgasm causes the cervical fluid to become even more plentiful and alkaline, and thus more hospitable to the sperm, which would again favor the faster swimming Y-sperm.
Vaginal environment: Try to make the vagina as alkaline as possible.
Douching: Enhance the vagina's alkalinity with a baking soda douche. If you do decide to douche, here is how to prepare a baking soda douche:
Use 2 tablespoons of baking soda in warm (not hot) mineral or filtered water.
Wash your hands and mix thoroughly in a clean glass.
Cover glass with a napkin, and wait 10 minutes to allow to completely dissolve.
Most drugstores have reusable douche kits available. You may also be able to buy an inexpensive disposable douche (with a removable top), and pour out the original contents. Since most douches are acidic, rinse very thoroughly.
Douching is linked to vaginal infections, and associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Consult your doctor before using a douche.
Dietary supplements and pre-conception gender diet:
Out of the several methods that were used over decades, the only method time tested and almost sure method is sex selection by ionic equilibrium, i.e. modification of diet before pregnancy.. You’ve made up your mind but your body's condition may be preventing the conception of your chosen gender.

By Altering your your body chemistry through a preconception gender diet prior to conception you can change the pH level in your body, and therefore, it can change the polarity of the egg. . The resulted charge will attract one gendermore than the other


  • 4 people rated this as good
Asker's Rating:
4 out of 5
Asker's Comment:
Formally In formation, Thorough an sciencetifisic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fun on Facebook

My sister and I are in a mommies group on Facebook. It is mostly with local moms from the Napa Valley where we both grew up and where Ashley still lives. Recently a mom had some questions about a hospital that Ashley and my Dad work at. It was really neat to see these posts come up:

One mom says about Ashley:
But I've had Ashley as my nurse ALLLLLL 3 times and I love her :) best. nurse. ever.
Monday at 9:33pm via mobile ·  · 1
In fact, she is truly the one person I'm going to miss for this delivery :/

Another Mom Says about our Dad:

 Dr Wagner delivered my daughter! (breech sceduled C -section but i went into labor an had an emergency -section) He was so calm, comforting and confident! At the 3 day newborn checkup the nurse was his wife and she was soo sweet too! At my pp checkup he even said it was too bad it wasn't 10 years earlier because they would have been more likey to go ahead with having me try a vaginal birth even though she was breech and facing sideways and cross legged. He also said that with the way my labor progressed and such that I would be a great candidate for a VBAC. I actually felt very supported even though the birth was not my plan I never felt like I didn't have a voice.
Monday at 9:39pm via mobile ·  · 4

" I'm seeing Dr. Wagner (who was also Sofia's OB) Andes he is thorough, very calm and comforting, and didn't give me a hard time about my homebirth plans."

It was like night and day. The Dr and nurses truly listened and were helpful with my 2nd with the 1st that is a whole other story
Yesterday at 1:30pm ·  · 1

So I'll try and set up appts with Dr Wagner then ;) did you choose to stick with following up with kaiser just in case you need a back up plan? Or how did you choose?
Yesterday at 3:37pm via mobile · 
 · 1

What an amazing group of people that we have around us to support us. Thank you to all the wonderful friends, families, moms, coworkers, and everyone else that makes up our support system.  We couldn't get this kind of support and encouragement even if we sought it out.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Facebook and Breastfeeding Article Removal

This morning when I logged onto my Facebook page, I received a warning from Facebook that said...

"Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, pornography, or graphic sexual content, are not permitted on Facebook.

This message serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account. Please read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in the future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation."

The post that was removed shared the article on our LaborLooks Facebook Page "In Search of the Perfect Latch" from The Leaky Boob Blog and I quoted from the article, "If it’s comfortable and it’s working, it’s a good latch. There is a wide range of normal."

As a Labor and Delivery Nurse, I work with women regularly that have latch questions. I also have many expectant and breastfeeding moms on our LaborLooks facebook page that I felt would benefit from the excellent latch photos and explanations provided in this article. The post had received several comments and shares on our LaborLooks facebook page.

What is upsetting to me is that the article that I shared does NOT violate Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Removing the post violates Facebook's own stance on breastfeeding...

So what did I decide to do?? I thought about it for a couple of hours and then I emailed Jessica from The Leaky Book (I would have emailed her even if it hadn't been The Leaky Boob article that I shared because she has experience dealing with these not so fun situations and she somehow always has the perfect advice.) Then, I emailed facebook objecting the removal and
YES, I'm reposting the wonderful article "In Search of the Perfect Latch."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birth and Baby Fair

Look at this handsome man.  Thanks Ethan for all your help at the Birth and Baby Fair in San Mateo!  What a rock star, selling those gowns and making those moms look so good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Body for Baby: The Baby Daddy

Some might call me a little crazy for trying to get so healthy to have a baby. But if you don't think I am crazy yet then just read on...

If you don't think I am crazy for eating spinach smoothies, running in the hot Phoenix sun, or for wanting an unmedicated homebirth, then you might think I am crazy because I am bugging my husband to have healthy sperm.

*Seriously. Like the other day I saw him with his laptop on his lap. I only had a minor freak out when I said, "you have no idea what kind of crazy radiation is going to your sperm right now, get that off your lap!"

*I also bought him a ginormous bottle of folic acid about 5 months ago. I heard from a colleague that it makes "super healthy sperm."  Uh yes, I want that.

*No "tighty whities." I don't want the sperm to get too hot.

*Take your omega 3 fish oils daily, if it helps baby's brain develop then it must help sperm too.

*No alcohol or smoking (we don't ever do that anyway).

I haven't made him diet or try to lose weight like that, come on, I don't want to give him a complex.

Oh, he might already have one (a complex) you say?  Yeah, probably, like I might just be using him for his sperm...

But how could I not want more when he has helped me make 2 amazing beautiful daughters already?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all those wonderful fathers out there. My husband happens to be one of those wonderful fathers and I attempted to celebrate by bringing him breakfast in bed with my girls.
I promise he was happy, but he did have a full mouth and didn't want to smile for a picture.

However, see that big blob of homemade whipped cream?  Yeah, it was sour. The whipping cream had expired 8 days ago, he didn't tell me it was bad though, he just smushed it over to the side of his plate and ate everything else.

Awesome fail on my part, awesome save on the hubby's part.

I can't believe he didn't say anything. He was trying to be so appreciative, but when I tried some of the whipped cream later I almost threw up it was so bad.

What an awesome guy. Thanks hun and Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Period. Over it.

Be careful what you wish for....

I have mentioned previously that I am doing "body for baby" by working out and exercising, eating right and taking my vitamins and supplements. I am in a healthy weight range, no medications, no caffeine, none of all that other stuff that I want to stay away from when I am pregnant. (okay fine, a cheat once a week and eat sweets because I would go insane without it all)

Anyway, I finally took the plunge. I pulled out my own IUD.  You do not want a visual of that? Ooops, sorry, well, I did it anyway and when I did, I took a picture of it and texted it to my dad. Wait.... you didn't want a visual of that either?  Oh, you did. Well, here it is....
I hope you all know that my dad is an OBGYN.  If you didn't then sorry about that, he is. Yes, my dad is an OBGYN, I am a midwife, and my sister is a labor and delivery nurse.  That is right, we are a one stop shop for all your women's healthcare needs. But anyway, It was fun to text that picture to him, because he knows what it is without explanation and he always gets really excited when new grandbabies are on the way. Plus, I feel like my dad and I have a special bond.  He delivered me, he delivered my first baby, and was there for the birth of my second. I don't know what I would do if it weren't for my dad and our relationship. I am constantly calling him to discuss birth outcomes, how he would have managed care better, etc. 

But on to the real point of my blog post today.

After I took out my IUD I really hoped for a period.  I had one day of spotting 3 days later, and then 1 day of spotting a week after that. I was quite nervous that I would get pregnant right away, that I wouldn't have a period before getting pregnant.  The reason I was nervous is because there is an increased risk of miscarriage if you get pregnant right after taking out an IUD. The reason is because often your uterus hasn't had to opportunity to build up an endometrial lining thick enough to support a pregnancy.

But then I started my period.  Now, I know most of you women get a period every single month and I commend you for that. You are stronger women than I am. But I haven't had a period in about 4 years. I am bloated, cramping, I am constipated and I feel like I gained 8 pounds overnight. Plus... I have absolutely NO tampons in my house!  Why would I have them? I don't have periods remember??

We can also look at prior to my last baby.  I didn't have a period for the 9 months with my first daughter, the next year while I was nursing, and I got pregnant like 6 months after that. So basically in the past 6 years and 3 months I have had 6 periods, and now 7.

7 periods in 6 years and I am complaining. Well, be careful what you wish for... cause when you get it you will feel like a major idiot for complaining about it.

I will now stop complaining and be happy and get over it. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I am a Midwife... Part I from

I spent some time last week with a dear friend in my community who is a homebirth midwife. Then I saw her facebook page a link to this video on and guess what? She is in the video. I teared up a little at the end when they all proclaim that they are midwives. But I guess that is what happens when you are a midwife yourself. 

I am a Midwife Because…Part I

Why do women (and yes, some men) become midwives? In the latest video from the new series, I am a Midwife, seven midwives with diverse backgrounds and practicing in different settings in the US and Canada–home, hospital and birth centers–share their stories of what led them to midwifery. For some, it started with their own birth; for others it was a deeply felt “calling,” a way to be part of the “solution” of improving birth outcomes and experiences for women and their babies.  Inspiring, moving and at times hilarious, I am a Midwife Because…provides an inside look at what moves women to do the important work of being a midwife. Part 1 of 2. Part 2 coming next week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My facebook post answers... C-Sections

I thought I would take a second to answer the questions that I posted on our facebook page over the past couple of days related to c-sections.

Click "like" on this status if you had a c-section... was it planned? emergency? We will have some c-section posts over the next few days and would love any moms with experience to comment/post.
I had a c-section in July 2009 with my daughter... It was unplanned for fetal intolerance to labor.

Okay moms that have had c-sections, how long after delivery was it before your baby was skin-to-skin or snuggled up to you?! I feel very fortunate. It was probably 5-10 minutes after delivery that she was being held by my husband and snuggled up to my shoulder and face. As soon as I was moved from the table to my recovery bed (still in the operating room) she was placed skin to skin and I held her as they wheeled me into recovery. I was nauseated, exhausted and don't remember these moments very well but I can remember how beautiful she was and how happy I was that she was okay. I don't remember exactly when but I know there was someone helping me breastfeed her while I was still in the first hour of recovery. I think she latched well... I can't remember. I do remember my family kept calling her a little lizard because her tongue was going in and out of her mouth so much... I'm lucky that even after a stressful labor and c-section she was ready to latch from the moment she was born.

Was your c-section recovery easier or harder than you expected? What surprised you most about the recovery? Was your pain well controlled? It was SO much harder than I expected. I am amazed as I watch women moving around on only motrin day one post surgery!! I still can't believe the burning feeling that I felt for the first couple of days at the incision site. I staggered motrin and percocet for pain control. It worked okay but I was on pain meds for a couple of weeks. I had a very hard time walking up stairs and/or leaning over to pick up my baby for at least a couple weeks after I got home. I thought it was strange that one side of my incision always hurt more (I think the left side) than the other. I remember being surprised at the numbness at the incision site. I had never thought about the nerve endings being cut during surgery. I don't have a vaginal delivery to compare my experience with but it was about 6 months before I really felt like my body had recovered.

We will be continuing with c-section posts and discussions... the reality is that many women deliver via c-section (32.8% in 2010, CDC National Center for Health Statistics). Many of these are unexpected, unplanned. What can we do to better support and prepare our c-section moms? The World Health Organization suggests that best outcomes for mom and baby occur with a c-section rate of 10-15%. What are we doing and what can we do to lower our c-section rates? So, so many things to explore... thanks for participating and sharing!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


So sorry for the lack of posts lately. I am trying to recover.

My back up doctor is out of town. He has been gone since Thursday night.

Friday I caught 1 baby.
Saturday I caught 2 babies.
Sunday I caught 3 babies.

Need I say more?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The WRAP -UP from South Africa

(This post was already on my Facebook page, but I realize not everyone has access to that) that we are all done with our South African journey, it will take awhile to process the trip, and all I have seen and done. I managed to do five surgeries with no mishaps, no needle sticks, and, thank goodness, no bad outcomes. It is amazing how much they do with so little...Yet, their operating room was equipped with all of the same instruments that we use, including cautery--and they are very aware of the high risk of blood contamination, because EVERYONE wears a protective "apron" under their surgical gowns, and EVERY package of gloves comes with two pairs. On the last day, when we were supposed to be packed up and gone by 4:30, I could not say no to doing a stat CSection at 4:00 when there was no other doctor around. I feel good for having done "good", but at the same time, I was always SO much more vigilant than usual, thinking of my family and myself, and what would happen to me if there was a surgical mishap when most of these patients are HIV positive. It was exhausting. Would I do it again? Definitely. Would I do some things differently? Definitely. Working for a short time in two different places, although interesting in terms of variety, is not as effective, I believe, as working for longer in just one place. I had JUST gotten to know the layout of the hospital, who to ask for the key to a locked office, and who is the nurse in charge of booking a C Section; then we were leaving. They told me they learned so much from me, but it was truly both ways. I now (unfortunately, because of their patient population) know when to put a patient on anti-retroviral medications, how to treat TB, and how common cervical cancer is in a place where no one gets a Pap smear. One thing I can definitely say is that I would like to make a plea: the places we visited and worked are in serious need of money for supplies, equipment and education. Everyone who has been following and enjoying this blog (and your friends and family)---it would be so great if you could make a donation to either the Network of Caring, or the RSAA, the Rebuild South Africa Association. These are the two organizations that sponsored this trip, and both have websites where you can go to see their work and to donate. In closing, there is one declaration that comes to mind which sums up how I feel about all the doctors, dentists, nurses, contact people and everyone else who made this trip possible. To quote from one of my favorite musicals, (Wicked)------"because I knew you....I have been changed for good".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Isn't it ironic?

I am pretty much done blogging about my trip for now, unless anyone has other things they would like to ask or know about from my journey. I just thought I would mention one last thing---the irony of the fact that I have been blogging on a website devoted to beautiful gowns that moms can wear in labor------yet EVERYONE who was laboring in the hospital that I was volunteering at went through their entire labor, AND their delivery---completely naked!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Surgery in South Africa

Dr. Levy's Blog Post from May 30, 2012.

Where on earth do I begin to talk about the last 4 days of our trip? We got on a van, with an attached trailer with all of our belongings, and after a mishap with a speed bump disengaged the trailer, we were finally on our way-(after it was fixed of course)- to Tegula Ferry, a town in the mountains of South Africa 7 hours from Johannesburg and about as poor as they come. It's the home of a large orphanage where forty % of the population have HIV or AIDS, and we came here to open a temporary dental clinic and for me to do whatever I could. The dental clinic was a resounding success-- seeing and taking care of many children (and adults) who had never seen a dentist. They filled cavities, did check ups, extractions, root canals and gave away about a thousand toothbrushes.

As for me, it turns out that the list of "whatever I could do to help" was long indeed. The one (ONE!!) main doctor here, who is responsible for almost all of what goes on at this 300+bed hospital is a wonderful, sweet, overworked general practitioner who told me he is a "jack of all trades and master of none"....more like he is a Superhero and something close to a Saint, all rolled into one. I went on rounds with him, advised him on at least fifty different patients' treatments ( for example, for those of you in the L&D world, they had a 10+weeker on Mag Sulfate, and wanted to Section a primip who had slight fetal tachycardia but no IV!!) I did many sonograms, saw patients at their high risk antenatal clinic, and did three surgeries. The surgeries were a D&C ( they don't have suction), a postpartum tubal ligation that I convinced him could be done with a sub umbilical incision instead of a Pfanensteil, and believe it or not I repaired a female circumcision on a woman from Somalia who had been almost completely sewn up. I hadn't seen this in real life before but had read about it in preparation for this trip. All three surgeries were successful, and the learning opportunities here are amazing....and not just what they can learn from ME!!! It is what I can learn from them--- like how to run a maternity ward with only one working fetal to judge how pregnant someone is without really knowing when their last period was or having an early to diagnose and treat multiple conditions without the methods or technology we take for granted every day, that truly stand out in my mind. I am in awe of what they do and truly did not come here to tell them how to do it "our way". They have taught me that our way is certainly not the only way, or even necessarily the BEST way; but that it takes a certain kind of person to be able to manage all that they do here using only the most basic of tools; skilled hands, a sharp mind, and a kind heart.

This is the midwife in charge of L&D in the hospital in South Africa. Note the name on the t-shirt-- they're going to put it on the model doll that they use to teach breast feeding to the moms.

Thank you Dr. Levy for sharing some of your experiences with us. We are so excited to see you back at work this weekend. We are very excited to hear more about your adventures!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Child Labor

My 3 year old had her first "job" this weekend. The neighbors went out of town and asked her to feed their fish.  What was your first paying job? Your kid's first paying job?  I want to hear.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The circle of life......

We have just completed a three day safari at Kruger park, one of the biggest game parks in the world (its the size of a small country). A typical safari day goes like this---- wake up REALLY early-- like 5am, wear warm clothing (thank goodness for thermals!),have some coffee (not too much, since there are no bathrooms on safari!)...get in an open air jeep with a slowly on the path, scanning left and right to see if there are any interesting animals---look up and straight ahead, and a pack of elephants are literally crossing the road right in front of our jeep!!!! Take lots of pictures. Wait for the elephants to cross the road and then start driving again....scan the Bush for anything interesting-- suddenly spot a mother and baby rhino, not two feet away from our vehicle. More incredible picture-taking.Stop at a snack station and share your bench with babboons,trying to steal some food, until a man with a stick chased them away. This went on all day---hyenas, buffalo, giraffes, wild dogs, a leopard and even a female lioness......much of the time was spent sitting patiently and waiting for something to see----which is why a safari takes all day long! Its an experience I wouldn't trade for anything and one I will never forget! Tomorrow, back to work. We will be driving south about 5 hours to Tugela Ferry where we will re-open our medical and dental clinic;not sure what to expect as far as accommodations and work conditions, but I'll be ready! Probably no WiFi while we are there though so this may be the last blog post until Thursday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kruger Park

Here the "Big Five" is not a sporting goods store; its a list of five animals that one should try to see while on safari-- buffalo, leopard, lion, elephant and rhino. And I'm happy to say today we saw them all! Scary elephants, charging at our jeep, and a mama and her baby rhino not two feet away from us. Its amazing here and SO beautiful. Internet costs money here so that's all for now--- we are all safe and well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Last day in Zandspruit

Today was a bit of a sad day here. I finally got to speak to my 12 year old today, which had been proving difficult with the time difference (I'm 9 hours ahead) and the lack of Internet. I'm sad to say he is getting along fine without me. I miss him terribly and have never been away from him this long. It was also a bit sad today because it was our last day at the Zandspruit clinic where we have been working. You know that old commercial that goes "she'll tell 2 friends, then they'll tell 2 friends, and so on and so on"? That's what's been happening here. The word was out in the community that people could come see a dentist and a gynecologist, two services truly either unavailable, or very expensive. And we have gotten busier as the days have gone on. The dentists have done a great service, filling cavities, extracting teeth and generally putting people in pain out of their misery. As for me-- I KNOW Ive been helping people with information (if I hear one more person say "I think my womb is dirty".....), treatment for infection (I must have seen 12 cases of Herpes, and people had NO clue that it was something someone gave them.), and, in 2 cases, performing small procedures that they would have needed an OR for. We have taken pictures of and with grateful patents, and have all anxiously been asked when we will return. It was sad to say goodbye to the patients and to the Network of Caring staff that have taken such good care of us. It was also sad to have to turn away the last few patients who showed up after all of our equipment was already packed away. We went to dinner afterward at an authentic African restaurant (who says only kids get their faces painted?!),and ate local dishes like ostrich snd oxtail, listening to beautiful traditional African music and drinking (lots) of South African wine! Today we leave for a three day Safari in Kruger Park. That will be an amazing experience! Not sure about the Internet there so this may be the last blog for awhile......until next time,when I may be up close and personal with some wild animals!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

finally....some South Africa Info!

I am really not sure where to begin....but the word "overwhelmed" seems a good place to start. Overwhelmed by the amazing people that I came on this trip with---Dr Fenderson and his wife Jeanne-- Fred, a dentist from NY, Angie his dental assistant, and Judy, another dental assistant;wonderful, caring medical professionals, all. They are all taking fantastic care of the poor people from Zandspruit, a poverty-stricken township here in Johannesburg where people would otherwise not have any care, or at least not the emergent care they need. As for me, by the time we get to the clinic at 8am, there is a huge line of women waiting to see me. The first day I saw 17 pregnant patients in the morning and 23 gyn patients in the afternoon....everything from vaginal infections to biopsies to educating about fertility and safe sex, to a woman in labor that we had to send to the hospital by ambulance (which took 3 hours to come)! I even did a little surgery on an infected hand!! I am overwhelmed by the poverty, by the kindness and appreciation these patients are showing us, in spite of the grim circumstances most of them are in; overwhelmed by the beauty of this we went to a lion park, where even I (not a big fan of close ups with what are usually zoo animals)petted a cheetah! There is even a pet cheetah on the grounds of the lodge we are staying at! Anyway, I know we are doing good work here, performing needed and valuable services and I can only say that it all has somehow left me.....overwhelmed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

we have finally arrived!!

A short blog oday because I'm exhausted aftersuch a long trip...we arrived this morning in Johannesburg and drove immediately to Zandspruit-- the township where the clinic will be located. Thanks again to everyone who donated items. I set up what looks like a well stocked obgyn clinic. ready for tomorrow when patients start showing up. I have very limited Internet access so I will blot when I can!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

First leg... very long day...

First leg....very long day today. VERY proud of my stepson Carson who graduated today from college---Sac State! We all (My husband and I-and our other four kids--) all went to the graduation and then headed tor the airport to drop me...where I now sit with about forty minutes to spare before boarding an overnight flight to NY--- for the first part of this South African adventure. Airports have a strange and significant meaning for me; as much as I always know I am going TOWARD something-- I am also always going away from something....or someone. Anyone who knows anything about my strange past knows that my husband and I spent many years living on opposite ends of te country...even after we were married. So Airports always fill me with an unstoppable feeling of happy anxiety and dread in about equal amounts.....and I'm not a BIT afraid of flying. I like the solitude...the reading and thinking...(and blogging hopefully)that I can do......but I am SO connected to my family--to my husband and my children that I can just be happy and sad:and also marvel at the comment that my (21year old) son made this afternoon...."its gonna suck here without you"......boarding now---- to be continued

Happy Birth

I just want you all to know how much I love my job.  Not because I get my own parking spot :) , but because I love what I do and who I get to work with and who I get to help. 
There aren't many things more joyous than a woman becoming a mother.  
Because of this work I am truly blessed. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Packing....and working....and packing....

As I continue to get ready for my trip to South Africa, I just keep thinking, "This would be so easy if I didn't have ANYthing else to do but get ready.....".but I have two college kids home from school (well, one newly graduated college kid, and one sophomore) one in Middle school, oh, and BTW a full time job. Add to that, the fact that I am in the midst of selling a house, and planning several big family summer events, and I'm kind of thinking that being away for a few weeks, even on a working trip, is really going to be a bit of a break. Planning for this trip has made me think about what kind of a traveler I really am----can I do without electricity? A hairdryer? A mattress? Wireless Internet? Well, I am surely about to find out. I have traveled quite a bit--in all kinds of circumstances, with many different companions, and in many different stages of my life; and I have never considered myself as someone in need of luxury, or even a soft mattress---but I really have no idea what type of accommodations we will be expecting. And as I have gotten older, sleeping on the floor (as I have done more than once) or traveling through multiple time zones (again, been there....) has gotten harder to recover from. My luggage contains multiple medications, MOSTLY for donating, and warding off Malaria----but there is plenty of Motrin, and Tylenol (and some better, stronger stuff, just-in-case) for my personal use, especially after an especially long plane ride (or jeep ride on unpaved roads!!). I am up for the task---but it may take a little more than it used to to KEEP me up and running.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting Ready For South Africa

Hello. This blog is by me, Dr Rebecca Levy. I am (hopefully) going to be a "guest blogger" on this site, since I have been lucky enough to be connected to the very nice people who run it. Thank you so much for all the "likes" awhile back--that resulted in a sizable donation to my medical mission to South Africa. I have been planning for and thinking about this trip for what seems like forEVER, and in 6 short days, it will be here!! Somehow the old John Denver song which begins "...all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..." keeps playing in my head, but it seems I could never be totally packed, and, even though I am leaving next Friday, I don't think I'm totally READY. The plan for the trip will be to arrive on Sunday morning (yes, that's right--I'm leaving FRIDAY-----it is THAT long of a trip), and after landing in Johannesburg, we ( dentists, nurses, dental assistants and ME) will go to Zandspruit, a community near there where we will work in a clinic, doing whatever is most needed and is in our capability, based on the need and the supplies there. We have shipped several large crates with all kinds of supplies (THANK YOU, nurses and all other personnel at my office, and at Queen of the Valley Hospital for supplying me with all things big and small---what I will do with that epidural catheter, I don't know, but it COULD come in handy!!!). After four days there, we will go to Kruger Park for two days, on a Safari (very exciting, but I did get a little worried when they told us not to wear any clothing colors that would ATTRACT the animals!! What is a not-looking-tasty-to-eat color????) Anyway, then we will go to a place called Tugela Ferry, about four hours away, where there are many sick adults and children, who really never get care of any kind. We will set up dental and women's clinics, and do whatever we can to diagnose, treat and help there. Then we head back for another almost-two-day trip home. I am SO looking forward to this trip, and this opportunity, and now that I have actually started packing things in suitcases, the fact that we are leaving soon has become very real. I will continue to blog whenever I can. throughout my trip preparations, and, if I can find some wireless internet, while I am on my trip as well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Body For Baby Update: Vitamin D

As I continue to prepare my body to be ready to support a pregnancy I was gently reminded by a fellow midwife that I should get my vitamin D levels checked. I am not sure if that was a tease that since I am so white and never see the sun that maybe I should get checked... or if she really just checks every pregnant patient.

Well my friends, my midwife friend does check every single patient and I guess I also need to get out in the sun a little more.  I went and had my vitamin D level checked and it is 17!  Okay, so you may not know, but 17 is LOW. We want these levels to be at least over 30ng/ml, but 50 is optimal.

When women are deficient in vitamin D they often feel fatigued, imbalanced, achy, sore, and about a million other symptoms can come along with vitamin D deficiency.  However, when pregnancy women are vitamin D deficient that can lead to problems for their babies. Babies need vitamin D to help their little bodies grow.

I found this really cool article on vitamin D, actually a whole website- yes it is not fact and it isn't peer reviewed, but it has some good information as well. They do site a lot of peer reviewed articles and studies though. So read through it and make some educated decisions on vitamin D and the importance in your life.

I guess I am off to go buy some vitamin D to add to my sunshine.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photo Shoot With My Girls

How come a simple Saturday impromptu photo shoot with your girls can turn into you getting your face licked by a "baby dragon" named Stormlight????
 There was also a little puppy named Pepper.  Just try to get them to respond to any other name besides Stormlight and Pepper. Not gonna happen.

When did your kids start playing pretend?  When did your kids think that licking their mom is a fun thing to do?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Missing Pictures

Ashley and I always wonder why we have no pictures of us together. I think it has something to do with the fact that we are trying soooo hard to get these girls to take ONE decent photo together.

I have a feeling that this week we are spending together in Phoenix we will finally get some pictures of us together and hopefully we will get a picture of our girls that is better than this one.

There is always tomorrow.