Weekend Reading

It’s the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and the weather here on the Pacific Coast is just beautiful.

Here are some of the things that are annoying me or uplifting me on the internet right now:

If you were an elephant mother
, giving birth in captivity with a bunch of humans with flashlights and cameras looking on, and your baby didn’t breathe or show any signs of life for two minutes, what would you do? This mother elephant has a novel (but effective) method of infant resuscitation.

In the wild, birthing elephants are surrounded by the other females and those midwife elephants have their bums pointed toward the birth and their faces looking out for predators on the landscape. I often think about that at births and turn myself the elephant way to afford the mother privacy and protection.

This little elephant is born in the caul which is a good luck charm but the part I didn’t like about little Riski laying there lifeless for two minutes is that her cord has separated from the placenta. In elephants, it snaps in the second stage and the baby has about 20 minutes worth of oxygen stores. If his mother wasn’t such a big, dangerous animal, the zoo staff would have been in there “resuscitating” and we wouldn’t have this demonstration that most mammals will come around on their own when the mother is medication-free. I’m glad that human babies don’t drop with a thud and the cord can be preserved to help balance the oxygen levels for some time after birth. This little female elephant was also born breech (the hind legs and tail presented first) which seems to be the most common elephant presentation.

H1N1 Hype

Flu season is upon us but I haven’t talked to anyone who is getting the shots. There seems to be a very healthy skepticism in the population at large. This is a link to an interesting little interview with Dr. Oz. Seems he has taken the swine flu shot on the air (would like to know if the pharma companies paid him big bucks to do that) but his wife is not taking it nor will his children.


With Halloween coming up, do your whole family a favor this year and say “NO” to candy. School absentees go way up right after Halloween and Easter. Keep your kids well by being vigilant about their diets.

The people I know who have had the flu this year say it’s the same one that went around a few years ago where, it comes back with a vengeance if you try to rush getting back to work before full recovery. If you get the flu, don’t panic. Get to bed with lots of warm fluids and stay there until you have fully recovered for a few days.

Nobel Peace Prize

Why should President Obama receive the Nobel Peace Prize when he hasn’t quickly fixed all the problems in Gaza, Afganistan and Iran like I told him to? Because who he is in his being is a man of peace. He’s gentle and loving to his wife. His daughters look like they’ve been adored by their Daddy from the start. He brings a black university professor and a white policeman together and gives us all a demonstration of what we could do with the irreconcilable differences in our lives. That is how we create peace on earth. One man can’t be expected to do it. We all individually can affirm that “peace begins with me” and then take actions appropriate to that. It’s a lifetime job. I am constantly apologizing for being a trouble maker and creating dissent. I probably will till I’m taking my last breath.

When the Nobel Prize is given to Obama, I think it’s being given to every kind, decent man in the U.S.A. When we give a Peace Prize to those who promote peace in our families and communities, we are the even grander recipients of the peaceful ripples that go out and out into the bigger world.

This world and it’s troubles are a complex puzzle. I think the Nobel Prize Committee should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for making us all look at the deeper meanings of the word “peace” and awarding the prize this year to a man who has the whole world in his hands and is willing to hold it gently. His wife and daughters will now be able to point to the Peace Prize anytime he gets upset with them and that will be a good thing, too.

Bossy/Manipulative Midwives

This blog post by a father of three explores the love/hate relationship that many people have with their midwives. I always like to see things from the perspective of the men.

Bossy Midwives

By Eric Lee


Human Foolishness in obstetrics

There has been a discussion on the British midwives list about a bizarre product that is being sampled to obstetric units. It’s a gel that has no pharmacological effect but that the promoters want practitioners to believe will help make births go smoother.


All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t have to swim my way through “bioadhesive” gel when I was born 62 years ago. What a bunch of baloney. I only wish I had the chutzpah to manufacture some sort of garbage like this to medical professionals and could get rich on stupidity. Maybe in my next life.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO MY CANADIAN READERS and please know that I give thanks for all of you who read my blog, leave comments (hint, hint) and link to me. I appreciate you. Gloria

14 thoughts on “Weekend Reading

  1. It is normal for animals such as cows, horses, and giraffes to be born feet-first, but that is normal. I suppose it is so that the babies don’t break their necks in their post-birth fall (esp. giraffes, being so tall!). So, it would seem the same thing would go for elephants.

  2. Two things in response to these pieces–all of which I love and appreciate your offering.

    One, I read somewhere Dr. Oz had to get the H1N1 vaccine as a condition of his job as a cardiologist.

    Two, I just posted on Facebook a video of Rachel Maddow on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. I like the woman. She makes sense. And she generally agrees with your points, showing clips of Obama’s speeches over the past two years–which were why he was elected as the “leader of the free world”. I am just praying now that he has not been bought out by big pharma and the health insurance industries in approving health care reform. I don’t envy him the job he has but I think it will take at least until the end of a second term, if he is afforded one, and maybe considerably longer, to see how he fulfills his promise.

    Thank you again, Gloria. You serve at least two purposes in my life: you participate in educating me about birth, and you bring happy thoughts of Canada to my mind when I am itching to leave the desert!

  3. I don’t know about all mammals but I do know that Killer Whales birth fluke first (i.e. breech). There’s an amazing film called “Beluga Baby” where a baby whale is being born head first at our Stanley Park Aquarium. The physicians in the viewing gallery are going ape because the baby’s coming the “wrong way”. The baby comes flying out and you see the cord snap and pour out blood as it hits the cold water. In the wild,the other female whales are usually around to assist the baby up to the surface. In this film, the Baby is born fine but dies later of a massive infection. Whales are not meant to birth in captivity or breastfeed with hundreds of spectators looking at them from bleachers. Bloody awful.

    I’ll look up that Rachel Maddow item, Claire, I didn’t see it on my feed. Thanks.

  4. I hadn’t thought about this perspective regarding Obama and the Nobel Prize. I can see where you are coming from. However, to me, the Prize is an award, not an encouragement. He may very well deserve it, but I think it may be a little too premature and may actually hurt him. For one, Afghanistan is not showing any peace unfortunately. In fact, the opposite has happened, more troops have been sent and more people have died than the year before his Presidency. He is not holding the world that gently in his hands in my opinion.

  5. I agree, Maria. The nobel peace prize is to be awarded for ones accomplishments. The fact that it was awarded to someone for the hope of what he can do is a slap in the face to previous award winners, it’s a complete sham. The fact that it was an unanimous vote even more so. The fact that nominations came in right after he became president appalling, it shows that the award was fixed, that it was predetermined. And that makes it a sham, no longer an award one has to work for, no longer an award that is given for ones achievements, but rather, a fixed “award” that the committee gives in order to try to make something happen.

  6. WHAT is up with the friction-reducing obstetric gel and the company’s claims?

    “Dianatal is a Trademark of HCB Happy Child Birth Holding AG, Basel Switzerland”

    The header on the page is “HAPPY CHILD BIRTH.” It’s listed on the right sidebar under drugs as “Happy Child Birth.”

    “Dianatal® obstetric gel shortens both the first and second stages of labour. It should therefore be used throughout the entire delivery.”

    And you should use it because it will give you a happy childbirth. How lovely.

  7. Hi, Gloria, it’s good to hear you say that you like to hear the father’s perspective on birth. I do, too. Another new father told me that he’d been reading my book, Labor Pains and Birth Stories, and he wished there were more stories on there by fathers. I told him I loved the idea, but that I’d need to advertise in other places to get stories by men–for some reason, I had very few submissions by men when I was editing that book. He said he’d gladly put some advertisements out for birth stories by dads if I was interested in editing that book, and I said, “Okay,” so here we are. That was two weeks ago. So I haven’t put up an official announcement on Catalyst Book Press’s website, or on The Fertile Source, but I will soon, and meantime, would be happy if other people spread the word that I’d love to start getting birth stories by dads–personal essays that relate personal transformations in their lives–for a future book. I’ll put guidelines up soon but meantime they can email me if they’d like: jess@catalystbookpress.com

  8. Interesting stuff for this Sunday morning !

    Obama – love him!

    Bossy modwives. Little light bulbs. Cute story.

    Obstetric gel? unbelievable. the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of.

  9. Love this, Gloria. You’ve been so inspirational to me this last year and I’m so glad I have you in my feed.

    I just nearly cried while watching the elephant video. It was just beautiful and when she began wrapping her nose? around her baby to bring baby around…wow. Just amazing that we really do often know what to do.

    I’ve heard about the elephants standing guard. Laureen Hudson reminded me of this just before our HBA2C and it helped me so much to concentrate on privacy and not being disturbed. The imagery is amazing!

    Thanks again. Oh, and I have to add that I just had my first article published this week for National Midwifery Week. I only had a few hours to pull it together, but it’s exciting to see something of mine in print. 🙂 If anyone’s interested, the direct link is here: http://www.blackhillsportal.com/npps/story.cfm?ID=3466



  10. Happy childbirth obstetric gel? Bioadhesive friction reducer? Shortens the first stage of labor HOW? Don’t wait until your next life, Gloria. Let’s invent some fantasy product and make a fortune now. Maybe a magical potion that promises immediate postpartum weight loss and increases the length and girth of the prescriber’s…well…nevermind. Their egos are big enough already.

  11. As a radical unschooler, we let our children make their own decisions about their diets. Our family has found that when you remove arbitrary rules, the kids make their own good decisions. So, just like last year, we’ll let them trick-or-treat & collect candy if they like. And like last year, I bet we’ll find that the candy bowl largely remains full. In my experience, it’s the kids who’s parents say “no” that tend to sneak the stuff as soon as their parents aren’t looking!

  12. Despite the lights & spectators – I loved the momma elephant – she was calm until it was time to bellow and ACT! And she did. Then she was fine. Many lessons there we should all learn from- not just in birth but in life.

    Obama – don’t even get me started. Actions will speak. Right now he seems to be in bed with big pharma and special interests. IF, after many years in office he DID create some PEACE in this world – then may be THEN he ought to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. I have yet to SEE any ‘PEACE-FILLED actions’. I could go on and on. I would never watch the mass-media / read a newspaper or watch CNN (Continuous Negative News) but do tune in daily to NPR’s offerings.
    Nonetheless, I keep praying for him and our world and will never stop.

    Wishing only Peace to all, Rev. Bobrie Grace

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