29 May 2010

Trust Birth Conference 2010

The TBC 2010 was over two months ago and I'm finally getting around to writing about it. I've been busy with 4 births, assignments due, and planning to be in the USA for the summer. Here was my trip to Redondo Beach, CA:

The traveling: Looooong flight there. And even loooooooooooonger flight back. Easy to get to the hotel. Lots of restaurants, Whole Foods, etc. within walking distance. Great roommates that were also AAMI students. One was nice enough to drive me to Target to do a bit of shopping for stuff to take back.

The fellowship: I must say the best part of the conference was being surrounded by like-minded people. I met many wonderful Christian midwives and some were interested in our missionary work here and what I do. One midwife is friends with one of my friends here in Thailand... small world!

The preconference/skills lab days: For 2 days I sat in the midwifery skills labs. I knew a lot of the skills already from my time in Bali. Others were new, and hearing the philosophy of why/when/how behind each of them was important. I especially enjoyed learning how to do blood draws, IVs, and pelvic exams. Some of the other students were great models for us to learn on. The suturing on turkey legs was interesting and smelly! The two midwives that taught were very knowledgeable and funny too. On suturing, one of them (Jenny West) said, "If there are two pieces of vagina in the room, they should come together on their own"... meaning that vaginas can heal themselves usually. She also was the one to state that, even if we don't do many of these skills often, it is not an excuse to not do them well.

Other great people I met: Carla Hartley (AAMI founder), Gloria Lemay (famous Canadian midwife), Sarah Buckley (fabulous Australian author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering), and many more. I especially enjoyed meeting and eating lunch with Laura Shanley, author of Unassisted Birth. She had read my birth story of my twins' unassisted birth and was excited to meet me!

On to the conference sessions:

Opening session: Dr. Jeanne Ohm is a chiropractor and natural birth advocate. What I gleaned most out of the whole session was the importance of NOT touching the baby's head at birth. Do not mess with the mechanisms that are in place already!

Session One: Prenatal/Postnatal Depression: Pamela Hines-Powell gave a good description on the various mood disorders and how to use natural and pharmaceutical options for them. Very well researched, and I took pages of notes.

Session Two: Jodilyn Owen spoke about the newborn exam. She had some wonderful ideas about how to involve the parents in the exam.

Session Three: The postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and 3rd stage difficulties discussion with Gail Hart was extremely useful, and I know a lot of what I learned can be directly applied to the PPH situation in Bali.

Session Four: Practical Skills for Midwives in 3rd World Countries was more a discussion about how to practice in 3rd world settings. Preparation, cultural sensitivities, etc. I wished we could have talked for hours more!

Session Five: Another Gail Hart class - this time about the first 60 minutes of life. Maternal bonding, hormone flows, and baby hats (not to use them) were discussed.

Session Six: The toxins in breastfeeding class was cancelled so I very luckily ended up in Lisa Barett's class about variations from normal - specifically breech and twins. She was an inspiring midwife to listen to and learn from.

Session Seven: This was an almost 3 hour discussion with a panel about the pros and cons of licensure in the US, specifically the CPM credential. I learned a lot about American midwifery politics and midwifery bullying. Many perspectives were given and I feel that I understand midwifery in the US much better now.

Session Eight: The waterbirth talk by Jenny West was definitely the funniest. And it was very informative with lots of information and research. I decided to buy her book and asked if the book was as funny as her.... she said, "almost!"

Session Nine: Karen Strange's presentation on meconium was well-researched and something I ended up using at a birth a few week later. I took pages of notes and will continute to learn about this topic.

The ending session was incredible. Carla Hartley challenged us in two ways. First, she said that we need to ask ourselves not just what we stand for, but what do we NOT stand for.

Second, she challenged us to continue to shout out the message that BIRTH IS SAFE. Here is the video that she made and used to inspire us:

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