Last week, I mentioned on the podcast, that my son was getting married in a small, intimate ceremony. Well…it happened and I couldn’t be a prouder mother! This week, I’m in post-wedding mother-of-the-groom recovery mode and there’s no darn way I can churn out a new episode. I need a week to catch up and catch my breath. So, I’ll make up for it by posting a picture of the most gorgeous family to ever walk the earth (hey - I said I was proud, right?) - MINE! Just look at this crew of beauties, willya?
I missed a couple weeks posting here on the blog because I was on a trip to DC, NYC and OC (Oregon coast). Sorry ‘bout that…couldn’t be helped. I was super busy being in the present, doing my thing and spending very little time online.
This was my DC thing: I went to Washington DC for CARE’s National Conference to ask Congress to support a fully funded foreign assistance budget for 2020 and to sponsor a new act that integrates a gender perspective into emergency, refugee and humanitarian response efforts. Attending this conference annually is one small way I can advocate for women and families in developing countries, who will carry their families into a thriving future, if they can just get a little help. That’s where US foreign assistance comes in. It doesn’t take much to provide that help and the impact goes a long way.
But first, I went to the Capitol Pride parade at Dupont Circle. Nuff said, except, it was fabulous!
I also went to the National Cathedral because even though I’ve been to DC many times, I’d never seen it. I happened to pick a great day to visit - Pentacost Sunday – AKA - baptism day, where a crowd of very well-dressed people held a dozen babies in long, (probably heirloom) baptismal gowns. Everyone looked exceptionally Congressional and Senatorial and very, very dignified. The babies didn’t seem to care about that and they fussed and spit up and fell asleep.
Off in a corner, an older gentleman with silver hair and a dove gray suit (think - central casting for “white, male Senator”) held a baby no more than 8 weeks old. She was so busy nuzzling and drooling on his shoulder that his suit was wet halfway down his sleeve. He looked like the happiest man alive, like he held the most cherished of prizes. He was a grandpa through and through, soaked with baby drool and happy to have it. It was a lovely sight to see.
This was my NYC thing: I hopped from DC to NYC to spend some time with my oldest baby-girl. She moved to the big city from Portland, OR five years ago, all on her own. It’s an impossible distance and it breaks my heart that she’s so far away but I come to town whenever I can. It’s one of the best things about parenting. Eventually, and if you’re fortunate, you get to see your kids as adults in their element, living their best lives. My daughter is a designer and artist who creates unique floral events and experiences, like the crowns worn by the Prom king and queen at Hinge Pride Prom 2019. They’re gorgeous, one-of-a kind and they were touched by JonathanVanNess! There is no prouder mother.
She and I did some window shopping in Soho and came upon Lively’s store. You remember Lively, right? They’re the super cute, comfie bra and athleisure company that’s been sponsoring Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics lately. I’ve shopped with them online and just got a couple of their bras in the mail but it was great to walk into their lovely store and see the same selection up close. They have a great range of really beautiful bras and leisure wear but the best thing is, but you don’t have to go digging around to find the items that are also comfortable. All their bras, undies and clothing are comfie. Anyways…that was a fun. Lively’s ads feature actual customers.
Here’s one of those customers wearing her Lively bra.
Here’s me wearing mine. Same, right?
After a few days in NYC, I flew home to Portland and drove to the Oregon Coast, where we chilled out hard on a pristine stretch of beach. We did almost nothing other than look at this.
So…that’s why I didn’t post anything here on the blog. I was busy. I’ll do better in July.
We keep rolling out big announcements and this week, we’re excited to announce:
Patreon is a crowdfunding membership site that allows sponsors to support creative artists. By becoming a Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics sponsor, you’ll help us grow our podcast and receive exclusive insider information and content like special podcast episodes, merchandise giveaways, video Q&A’s and sneak peeks inside my studio.
That last part – the sneak peak – is going to require a bit of effort on my part. My recording studio is one of my favorite spots on earth but generally when I’m interviewing a guest, I wear jeans and a t-shirt, sweater, glasses and no makeup and my hair is clipped in a bun. I am not a naturally camera-ready woman and my selfie game is poor. So…these are the lengths I’ll go to for my sponsors – I’ll put on a nicer than average top, brush my hair and put on a little lipstick. I’ll even tidy up the studio. How’s that? Pretty good? Thanks!
Why have we launched a Patreon page when we already have advertisers? Because podcasting is expensive, our sound quality could stand some improvement and we want to expand our reach.
We want more mothers and parents to navigate pregnancy without so darn much fear.
We want more women to understand how to be a healthy pregnant person and get the best prenatal care possible.
We want to raise the level of respect and genuine support women experience in their birth experiences and as parents.
We want more families to have the information, support, community and resources they need to thrive as parents and raise our children to be excellent world citizens.
That’s ultimately what our podcast is about and your sponsorship makes all that possible. In fact, every time you buy a copy of Common Sense Pregnancy or Mom’s Side of the Story or a Cup of Common Sense, you’re helping us keep the conversation going at Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics. Your sponsorship at Patreon makes it even easier to add your voice to the conversation on a monthly basis. Thanks everybody for being in on this with us!
My oldest daughter sent an urgent text message: MOM!!! What time was I born? MUST KNOW!!!
For those still new to parenting, you’d think I’d be able to text back with her birth time lickety split. You’d think that moment would be indelibly burned into my brain along with her weight, length and other vital statistics. You’d think so…but alas…it’s been a while since that moment. There have been several other births and lots of other numbers to remember like shoe sizes and prescription doses and GPAs. I remembered it was sometime at night, and I hate to admit this out loud but, I didn’t remember the exact time.
I rummaged through file folders to find her birth certificate but the official documents only listed her birth date, not her birth time. At this point, a mild sort of panic set in as I realized this was a critical fact I could not Google. Then, I remembered her baby book, tucked away in a bookcase. It was filled with handwritten notes, all about our birth, her babyhood and the first few months we spent together. Most of the entries were written in my hand, but some were written by my husband. They were sweet and brief and showed just how confused we were, how delighted and tired and very raw. It broke my heart a little to see the three of us right there at the beginning, knowing how precious and fragile those days are .
This week’s episode of Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics is a follow up from one we did way back in December. In Episode 144, we read an email from Kori who’d recently been hospitalized with placenta previa. We talked that letter through with Chris Beard, CNM and laid down the basics on what a normal placenta does, where it’s supposed to be attached inside the uterus and what can happen when the placenta picks the wrong spot. For those who haven’t gotten to that episode yet, make a point of it. In the meantime, here’s what a normal placenta looks like in comparison to placenta previa.
You just can’t push a baby through the cervix and vagina when it’s covered by a placenta. Nope…can’t be done. At least not safely. It’s one of the absolutely incontrovertible reasons why we’re so grateful that ultrasounds and C-sections exist and are readily available for women who need them.
We’d been thinking about Kori ever since that episode and wondering how she and her little one were doing. When she got in touch with a follow-up note, we decided to get her on the podcast to find out what happened. The short story is that Kori had a safe C-section, but a little early and her little guy had to spend time in the NICU. The whole experience was a roller-coaster ride that Kori navigated like a queen. Give this week’s episode a listen and hear her story.
I got pretty creative over on Canva this week and made this post for Instagram/Facebook. I am not a social media natural and my daughters are always saying,, “good job, Mom,” with all the sincerity you deliver to a toddler who’s showing good effort.
Why all the trees in this picture? Because I’ve looked closely at thousands of placentas following thousands of births I’ve attended as a labor and delivery nurse. After delivery, the midwife, doctor and/or nurse examine the placenta to make sure all its blood vessels are normal, all lobes are present (and not still stuck in the uterus) and that overall it looks normal and healthy. Look at enough of them and you’ll notice that no two are exactly alike but they all look like trees - big multi-branched oak trees that spread massive webs of branches and twigs that nourish leaves and create oxygen. These trees also have massive root structures from which they pull nourishment. That’s just like placentas – I mean, just look at ‘em. Oh and BTW, I was totally inspired by a meme I saw yesterday: sloth or chocolate croissant?
Stuff in the News
There’s a lot going on in current events right now that connects to women’s lives and our abilities to thrive, especially as parents and we have a lot of reading to catch up on. I mentioned several thought provoking books and articles on this week’s episode of Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics and I promised to share the links. Here’s what we’re reading now:
I spoke with two authors this week that I admire a lot – Heather Armstrong, (AKA Dooce) and Emily Oster. Heather is the author of the newly released book, The Valedictorian Of Being Dead, a memoir about her participation in an extreme medical study that ultimately helped her recover from severe depression. Emily Oster is the author of Expecting Better, and the newly released, Cribsheet - A Data Driven Guide To Better, More Relaxed Parenting from Birth to Preschool.
Both women tell the truth and talk about motherhood in ways we haven’t heard before and I am grateful for it. Smart women who are willing to share their stories, experiences and knowledge and to write, speak and fill space with critical information we desperately need - those are my people! Pick up their books and do some learning. They’re excellent writers.
I also mentioned several news articles that discuss:
The resolution Senator Kamala Harris introduced to improve maternal healthcare for Black women:
The Georgia abortion ban:
A new breakthrough treatment for postpartum depression:
How women are penalized for motherhood at work:
I know that’s a lot to read, but I also know you’re up to the task because you’re some of those smart women I mentioned above, my people! Let’s do our homework together, shall we?
Oh and one last thing: We also talked more about why I want you to pick up your copy of Mom’s Side of the Story. Part journal, part workbook, it’s a guide to help you chart the course of your own pregnancy and birth and write your pregnancy into your life story. That’s how we change the narrative – by writing our true stories. Seriously, it’s a game changer.
I place a lot of value on the power of ink and paper and its digital equivalent – words on a screen page. Writing things down makes shit happen because it takes effort, focus and intention. The words we choose to write can take a random thought, turn it into a course of action and put a plan in play. That random thought becomes elevated or degraded with documentation and the words and symbols we choose are the ones that become our stories, histories and futures. I think about that when it comes to women’s stories about their pregnancies, births and motherhood. Who is documenting their stories
Writing down women’s stories is a big part of a nurse’s job. BIG PART! We call it charting or documentation and most nurses are inundated with it. In fact, every healthcare provider does the time-consuming, attention-zapping job of feeding the electronic medical record. It’s a huge, huge part of our occupation though few of us go into healthcare because we want to help computers. We go into it to help people.
There are huge advantages for both providers and patients for having real time records available online anytime you want them, up-to-minute lab values, reaching your doctor by email and keeping track of all your medical bits-and-pieces. Electronic medical records are major game-changers with huge benefits, but there’s no argument that they have also irrevocably changed the healthcare dynamic and patients’ healthcare relationships.
Do electronic medical records reflect what’s really going on with women’s health? Do they help women to be well before, during and after pregnancy? Are providers asking the right questions and putting the best information in their records? Do they take into account all the critical issues that women face every day that profoundly impacts their health? Issues like stress, nutrition, employment, housing, loneliness, community, money and relationships? Are we documenting the wonderful things that happen during pregnancy or only the risks, complaints and problems? Those aren’t the usual questions women are asked during routine prenatal care.
Electronic medical records weren’t created primarily to reflect women’s health. They were created for other reasons including as a communication device between healthcare providers, as a way to document compliance with hospital standards and as a defense record in case a patient sues. They are, however, the only place where most women’s pregnancy stories get written down.
I made a thing recently that I hope changes that. Mom’s Side of the Story is a workbook/journal that I created to help women write their own stories. It’s a guide that helps women plan and document their pregnancies, prenatal care and births along with their goals, joys, challenges and experiences. I want women to own their stories, know their histories and write themselves into the most transformative year of their life. After all, shouldn’t one of the people charting your pregnancy be you?
Check out Mom’s Side of the Story here and get ready to write. This book’s a game changer.
We’re launching a bunch of new things this week here on JeanneFaulkner.com and a brand new blog is one of them. I’ve blogged for magazines, websites and organizations for a dozen years, but not consistently for myself. Hey! I’ve been busy, K? One of those blogs (Ask The Labor Nurse, for Fit Pregnancy Magazine) led to two book deals (The Complete Illustrated Birthing Companion, Quayside Press 2013 and Common Sense Pregnancy, Penguin Random House 2015), which led to my podcast (Common Sense Pregnancy, Parenting & Politics, which leads me to my point. It’s time I blog on my own website.Read More