Today was what I think a lot of us were waiting for. Though I am quite content just to be on this legendary farm with these legendary women-some of us really came here to acquire some skills. I had never taken blood pressure before so that was really fun and have been practicing it all day. I even learned some really great tips for my childbirth education classes-like using rubber bands to show the different stages of effacement or ways to remember how to technically described the baby’s position.
Pamela Hunt named the model Fanny so from here on out if I refer to Fanny you will know what I am talking about. We were shown how to palpate a pregnant woman’s belly on Fanny. I was quite nervous because I remember when my midwife showed me how to palpate my own uterus and I couldn’t feel a thing. We each had to get up and test it out. Joanne positioned the baby in the belly and we had to figure out if the baby was vertex, breech, where the back was and if the neck was extended or flexed. I decided I would go first-we had just checked blood pressure and I could feel mine rising as I stepped up to bat. For some reason I felt like everything was riding on this-if I got this wrong I might as well pack it up and head home-no logical reason for me to be feeling like this-just some sort of private test with myself I suppose. It wasn’t easy to feel all the landmarks through this thick, plastic belly and bubble wrap inside. I felt what I thought was a butt, and a head, and the back, and I didn’t feel a bump where I figured the head was, it was smooth so the head must be tucked in. Ok-final answer. Opened the belly up-I was right! Then she said ok what position is the baby in…oh crap…this is always tough…Left-Occiput-Anterior. Perfect! Whew….I could stay.
Dinner is really amazing. I never thought I could enjoy vegan food so much but I suppose if you really know what you are doing-as Louise does (her cookbooks are available for purchase if you are interested)-and have the ability to really be creative the meals will lack nothing! Tonight’s dinner was truly special because Ina May’s Husband-Stephen honored us with his presence. I was smitten immediately and had the privilege of sitting next to him all evening. For those of you that don’t know the history of the farm he was the founder and has not lost a bit of his charismatic personality. I asked him if he was joining Ina May on her 3-week trip and he told me he was writing a book. I asked him if he was almost finished-his response “I am 60,000 words in and I am not even a hippie yet.” We talked about many things and I found out he lived in Santa Fe as a young boy. I told him that I wanted to be a hippie not a modern day hippie-a real hippie-in the 60s. Stephen Gaskin made me-officially an honorary hippie!
In the evening Ina May talked to us about the Quilt Project and how we can all help bring awareness to the issue of Maternal Mortality and how we are not being told the truth. I recalled later that evening the article she wrote for Mothering about masking maternal mortality. I had read about the Quilt Project but was nevertheless moved by the power of seeing one of the quilts with my own eyes. Somehow the reality of it all really sank in.
About Simone Snyder