Sunday, November 27, 2011

Breastfeeding and Backwards Planning

Today, I called the Zuni Indian Hospital.
Nurse: Hello, Indian Health Services, Zuni. How may I help you?
Me: Hi! I was just wondering if there were any childbirth education classes offered here?
Nurse: Hmm... I think so? ... Let me transfer you over to OB!
Me: Thanks!
Nurse: No problem!

(Gee, this is going well!)

OB Nurse: OB.
Me: Hi, I was just transferred over here. I was wondering if you have any childbirth education classes?
OB: What?
Me: (repeat first line, only a bit more slowly)
OB: What? You havin' a baby?
Me: Um, no. I'm a doula in the area and so I was compiling a list of references.
OB: (long pause) I mean. Yeah. I think we do. It's the weekend.
Me: Yeah?
OB: Yeah. The administrative staff will be back tomorrow. Call Women's Health at 541.
Me: 541. Great! I'll do that. Thanks.
OB: See, it's the weekend.
Me: Yep. Thank you!
OB: Bye.

Ah, gotta love the roundabout.
Thanksgiving break has been a great time to dread returning to teaching, spend some wonderful cooking / chilling / Dog-Show watching with the parentals, and re-kickstarting my doula training. In the melee of, well, everything, my certification work had been postponed.

But as of today, I finished a Breastfeeding Basics course! It was a free - and excellent! - survey course aimed at informing medical practitioners (and more peripherally midwives / doulas / mothers) on the science, troubleshooting, and general universal advantages of breastfeeding. I WAY recommend it if you think you'll be breastfeeding any time soon :). Though you can complete the course in a linear fashion, it also allows you to skip around and read on topics you have more interest in. . Also, if you have any questions on jaundice, the advantages of breastfeeding, or the composition of human breast milk, feel free to drop a line!
This completion has also re-kickstarted my confidence in marketing myself as a doula (especially as a volunteer one). Breastfeeding was the area I felt weakest in at my friends' birth last winter. Now I feel comfortable with general technique (more than half the areola, tongue under nipple, belly to belly!) as well as the science / literature behind it. I'm sure after I finish Spiritual Midwifery and The Breastfeeding Mother's Companion (my two current doula books in addition to the school Red Scarf Girl and Atonement for leisure), I'll feel even more confident. Now, to the best practice there is: working with mamas and babies!
Oh, a quick note: especially after grooving with Ina May, the Breastfeeding course seems a little sterile. If you don't know Ina May, you should. She's the psychedelic Nana midwife of the movement - her Spiritual Midwifery, which is her earlier, and hippier version of her Guide to Childbirth, is part Bible, part manual, and part oxytocin trip. All of her recommendations and farflung opinions are anecdotal, but underpinned with pure science. I like this comfortable, inductive style; it makes it feel more intimate and woman-centered. The breastfeeding course, while working towards the same end, made me feel more clinically distanced. The focus was certainly a medical one - they said clearly at the beginning that breastfeeding was an ideal process, but then spent the rest of the time troubleshooting the process as if it were rigging up a carburetor. I suppose the main difference was rhetorical? It's unimportant, just a note I had.
Meanwhile, I also looked up some national volunteer doula programs. There are a couple really neat ones, especially in San Francisco. Hmm. . .

Also: the AKC Dog Show made me feel as though we should probably have a Rez Dog show here in Zuni (Cheerleading fundraiser). The categories would be: car-chasing, siren-barking, cutest mutt, ugliest mutt, will-actually-bite-you (as supplied by Emily), and rezziest.
You know you want to enter.

ONE last note from Thanksgiving: First off, it was a delightfully lethargic day. It began with a big big big breakfast at the Inn at Halona (we're talking eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, fruit, and tea) with the padres. Our breakfast the day before was shared by a cool film couple who encouraged my theatrical pursuits and left their info in case I'd ever want to teach the Inupiak up in Alaska. Hmm, as Emily said, "probably next week."
Anywho, breakfast and round one of cooking back at ye olde trailer #5. Then back to Halona for afore-mentioned dog show. Then cooking and eating and relaxing. We - parents choice, promise! - also watched "Imagine Me and You." If you haven't seen it, it's a DELIGHTFUL lez romcom.
I had never thought of myself as remotely conservative - I'm probably akin to a baby-loving, tree-hugging mystic Bolshevik - but I realized queer theory wise, I'm happily traditional; I once heard "Imagine Me and You" for being criticized as utterly unrealistic. Well, then. I'll let you know when I see a Romantic Comedy that IS based in fact. It normalized a lesbian relationship in the way that "The Kids Are All Right" tried but failed. Go, "Imagine," go!
Moving on, in preparation for the early arising and trip to Amtrak Gallup, we got in the car to pop back to Halona -- only to find our one route blocked by the Christmas / Thanksgiving / Shalako night parade. I mean, of course. So, we walked behind the parade - blaring Christmas tunes and weaving through all of Zuni - until Halona was in sight. We said goodnight, but I walked back to the Giant gas station so I could see the first part of the parade.

One image: religious elk dancers, in full regalia (antlers, turquoise, tall cloth boots, prayer canes) dancing to a drum circle. BUT, the song the drum circle was chanting? A Zuni language version of "Good King Wenceslaus." The antlers of the dancers? Hung with tinsel. The boots? Jingling with jingle bells. The prayer canes? Striped like candy canes. Holla back, hybrid identity!

This past month (and then some) has been such a blur - it feels like practically no time has elapsed since I wrote my Police entry, while also Halloween seems like eons ago. Go figure.
Halloween was swell, though, as these pictures provide ample evidence:

Yes, we carved four pumpkins and cadged another. A couple were stolen by errant students, but retrieved from down the drive. And yes, that IS a Zia pumpkin. Yes, it IS awesome.

1. Dramatic reading of "The Raven." Check it out.
2. Yes, curriculum supervisor, I am using the textbook on a daily basis.
3. How good does our ristra look? (a present from the lovely Lyly)

Halloween was professional development - it started out in a spooky scary way learning that I could work the rest of my life in the ZPSD, but only half of my retirement could be collected by a domestic partner (as opposed to 100% by a spouse). Cute, institutionalized bigotry. Cute.
But then the trick-or-treaters came and sang their Halloween song and loved our puppets answering the door, so all was well!

OH, it has also been in the last month that my classroom got up to 92 degrees for about a week. 
I don't think I need to say more than that. It was a time of utter and abject misery where no learning and much frustration was present. 

I must pop off soon to grade my memoirs, my Spider vs. Wasp comics, my accounts of discrimination (so far, they've been well-written and revelatory), and my Sojourner Truth paragraphs, but I need to make note:

I got to see the great "Opiate" twice - I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see THEATRE, and furthermore how delightful it was to sit up in the booth on Friday night. Similarly, attending junior seminar and having Ethiopian food and the BGP and the cast party and "Fire and Brimstone" and brunch and DogTooth and Poor Richards and angelic Ellement and and and -- 
It was an immensely rich weekend, thank you to all.
Also, thank you to all my friends who said, "OMG I LOVE your blog." You've gotten me to resurrect it, albeit with an odd holiday post that's more natural birth than teaching reflections.

After picking my parents up from Amtrak Albuquerque one week ago, we got stuck in crash traffic ( and it took us 6 hours to get back to Zuni. After a reckless and sleepless CC weekend, this was the icing on the cake. However, thanks to my parents coming in as guest lecturers, I got sleep and my kids sure appreciated the enrichment! My mother taught a ladder of abstraction lecture with apples and my dad brought a poetry-writing workshop. 
By in large, my kids were remarkably focused and respectful; it's not easy to conjure up attentive students the two days before Thanksgiving break. My 3rd hour crazies were still crazy for my mother, but simmered down and were nonissues with my father -- this confirmed my suspicions that those three guys almost certainly have issues with female authority figures. Hmm, hard to know what to do with that.
But we got some beautiful work especially in poetry form, but it was also great to see my students get warmed up and engaged into describing their homely, Halona apples. JC gave a lovely note to my dad, and MN became one of "Doc's" biggest fans from the moment he held the door open for us as we walked up Monday morning.

**At this point, I'd like to summarize what I've done teaching-wise for the last month. Then, I realized that this would be a fruitless venture. At the end of a week, it almost seems too big to condense, let alone a month. I'll leave it at this: scary story contests, dramatizations, reading circles, tearing apart and writing about osage oranges, Making Meaning (thanks to Professor Pence, the awesome master teacher), banned book projects, another issue of the T-Bird Times (plus community distribution), newsjournals, peer revisions, reading reading reading. . . **
More easily:
So, what's on the docket for tomorrow?
My sophomores, in conjunction with Red Scarf Girl, will re-imagine Zuni as if it had a communist cultural revolution and give tours in groups; my journalism kids will read through our survey results of "What are you thankful for?" and prepare for training from documentarian MS for an oral history project; and my juniors will begin Cather's "Wagner Matinee" in groups in preparation to study the complexity of hard-bitten frontier women. My cheerleaders have typical MWF practice, but also games T&Th. Oh, boy.

All in all, it's looking to be a good week! Now, to gather up the gumption to do it.

Over and out.