I just returned Monday the 18thfrom a conference put on my Midwifery Today in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a 5-day long conference. There I took workshops on breech birth, shoulder dystocia, 1st & 2nd stage difficulties, 3rd stage & hemorrhage, placenta medicine, birth models that work, postpartum care, pursuing the birth machine, birthing women-sacred ground, etc. There I met Marsden Wagner, Ina May Gaskin, Robbie-Davis Floyd, Cornelia Enning, Michel Odent, Jan Tritten, Gail Hart, Enedya Spradlin-Ramos and other local Denmark midwives.
There were about 100 women in attendance from 32 different countries. It was so very interesting to learn about midwifery in Europe, it is SOOOOO different then it is in the states! In Europe the government pays for you to attend a 3yr program, after completion of the program the midwife can work in hospital, birth center or home. I befriended a Danish midwifery student and at the hospital she is doing her clinicals at they have a 15% c-section rate, they do breech, twins and vbac births! I told her she doesn't know how lucky she is! VBAC is becoming banned in most hospitals these days in the states, vaginal twins are rarely heard of and breech birth is a thing of the past. Even some homebirth midwives are afraid to do twins and breech, it's really too sad we've let peer pressure affect the way we advocate for women and babies. If we are practicing based on fear are we really serving mothers and babies?
It was so wonderful to meet other midwives and student midwives, what a sense of sisterhood! I really bonded with an Irish midwife named Claire and the Danish midwifery student I mentioned earlier name Caja. Claire and I did lunch often and did dinner a few times. One evening I met Caja after work, we went to a coffeehouse and then back to her flat to make some dinner. We chatted for hours over beer and chili, we had so much to share with one another.
Michel Odent was quite funny and not as hard to understand as I anticipated. Michel has a new book called The Function of Orgasms. Robbie Davis-Floyd is a terrific speaker. I got her new book Birth Models That Workthat was co-authored with Jan Tritten, I had them both sign it. Cornelia Enning, author of Placenta: The Gift of Life, blew my mind! Her class on placenta medicine was so enlightening. I knew that placenta encapsulation was good for PPD(postpartum depression), PPH (postpartum hemorrhage), fatigue and milk supply. I had no idea it has anti-aging effects, good for colic, cosmetics, circulatory for the heart, and good for memory. Really really fascinating! I also purchased a book called Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Healing and Mothering After Sexual Abuse. I myself have not endured sexual abuse but I know women I will be serving as a doula, lactation consultant and midwife have been; I feel it is prudent I learn how to handle the delicate situation. I want to be very mindful of that.
I'm really looking forward to attending the Philadelphia conference next year in April and the Scotland one in fall!
One thing the conference did do was motivate me more to be more of an activist within my own community. Sure we can talk the talk but can we put our money where our mouth is? So I have some plans to advocate more for midwifery, doulas and birth. I'm going to start an organization of doulas that serve Delaware. I want to meet every other month and host an annual conference. I already have ideas for speakers and topics for the annual conference. I'm also going to submit an article to my local community newspaper on "5 Tips to Achieve a Normal Natural Birth" and then later an article on legalizing midwifery in the state of Delaware and submit it to the state news. Then maybe later an article to a national mainstream pregnancy magazine publication about the status of our maternity health care system that has been part of my driving force to become a homebirth midwife.
In addition I'm working on becoming a Le Leche League leader and starting a group in Delaware, there currently isn't any. I will be taking a course in Human Lactation in the fall, thus becoming an IBCLC.
While I was away from my 14mos old I pumped four times a day to keep my supply up. I donated all the milk I pumped to a client of a midwife that was attending the conference. She was 2wks PP and was hospitalized due to a bacterial infection and was working on re-establishing her milk supply.
Here are some pictures from the conference, enjoy!
Cornelia Enning and Ina May, Breech workshop
Me, Gail Hart, Caja, Ina May Gaskin and other midwives.
A park near my hotel.
About 50% of people rode bicylces instead of cars. Cars are expensive to own because of the amount of taxes you have to pay for on it. The more luxurious the car with more "bells & whistles" the higher taxes you pay.
A traditional Danish meal. Creamed cabbage, boil potatoes, beats and meatballs.
Gail Hart demonstrating a technique.
Gail Hart, Enedya Ramos, Jan Tritten and Marsden Wagner
Claire and I
Ina May and I :O)
Marsden Wagner and I
Gail Hart and I
There are more pictures here