Home Birth Using a Midwife

Home Birth Using a Midwife So why are families having home births? Though each couple may have individual reasons, many women prefer home births because they believe that most of the time pregnancy and childbirth are normal functions of a healthy body – not a potential life-and-death crisis that requires the supervision of a surgeon.

Home Birth Using a Midwife

Home Birth Using a Midwife

Having your baby at home will mean that you won’t be able to have available hospital resources. But you will probably get more personalised and supportive care from a midwife who will look after you in labor. They will use traditional midwifery skills as far as possible to help you through labour and birth; however, if problems arise during pregnancy or the birth, they will transfer you to specialist care in hospital.

What is the relative safety of home birth compared with hospital birth? Ole Olsen, a researcher from the University of Copenhagen, recently examined several studies of planned homebirth backed up by a modern hospital system compared with planned hospital birth. A total of nearly 25,000 births from five different countries were studied.

The results were that there was no difference in survival rates between the babies born at home and those born in the hospital. However, there were several significant differences between the two groups. Fewer medical interventions occurred in the homebirth group. Fewer home-born babies were born in poor condition. The homebirth mothers were less likely to have suffered lacerations during birth. They were less likely to have had their labors induced or augmented by medications or to have had cesarean sections, forceps or vacuum extractor deliveries. As for maternal deaths, there were none in either group.

In order for hospitals to support and encourage normal birth, doctors and insurers have to get over their desires for efficiency and profit. Normal birth takes time and doesn’t involve billable procedures. It’s cheap and its slow (even when it’s a fast labor (20 minutes c-section is faster) and because its slow, the hospital staff tends to want to speed it up and rush the process providing lots of incentive to do something even when it’s not indicated, necessary, helpful or supportive.

In the home setting, you are away from the cascade of interventions and the people who push them. At home there’s no one pushing an epidural, Pitocin, or constant monitoring. Medical interventions tend to be like a snowball rolling downhill. You’re stuck on your back with monitors strapped on which makes labor even more painful, so you get the epidural which makes labor slow, so you get the Pitocin which can cause stress in the baby, so you end up with a C-section. At home you’re far away from the snowball and it’s results.

I’m supposed to be on vacation at the moment, taking a few days off with friends exploring the countryside surrounding Santa Ynez before returning home to enjoy Thanksgiving.

It’s beautiful this time of year, with wisps of white clouds accenting the blue sky and the crisp fall air greeting you each morning. It’s also nice when there are relatively few travelers on the road and the pace of life is unhurried.

But rather than celebrating my good fortune, I’m snarling at The Wall Street Journal. Suddenly my coffee is acidic, my eggs are cold and I’m fit to be tied while reading one of the front page articles: Anatomy of the Morgan Stanley Panic.

“Trading records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal now provide a partial answer. It turns out that some of the biggest names on Wall Street – Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank and UBS AG – were placing large bets against Morgan Stanley, the records indicate. They did so using complicated financial instruments called credit-default swaps, a form of insurance against losses on loans and bonds.

“A close examination by the Journal of that trading also reveals that the swaps played a critical role in magnifying bearish sentiment about Morgan Stanley, in turn prompting traders to bet against the firm’s stock by selling it short. The interplay between swaps trading and short selling accelerated the firm’s downward spiral.”

I stop and reread the passage. While hundreds of billions were being flushed down the toilet by the icons of Wall Street, they were simultaneously placing bets, in hopes of making a big profit, that one of their own was about to go belly up. Reflecting on the fact that millions in the world are starving, millions more are in refuge camps, and the planet is under siege from the mounting effects of climate change, I began to wonder:

Are these executives adding one single ounce of value to humanity?

Not only had the federal government agreed to pump in $20 billion in new capital to this failing firm, they had also agreed to guarantee $306 billion in toxic assets. Maybe such numbers are rounding errors to the financial elite, but I’m guessing that for most of us such statistics are mind-numbing.

I’m convinced that in the future, some industrious accountant with a sharp pencil will tally the price of this disastrous escapade, and when they do, it will be counted in the trillions, not billions.

What we’re experiencing with regard to the collapse of this country’s financial market is the realization that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, and our government simply continues to bail out one firm after another, with apparently no ramification to those who caused this mess in the first place.

The Price They Should Pay

The idea then came to me that all of the executives who played a part in this fiasco should pay for their greed. My first thought was that each of these corporate charlatans should give back all the bonus money they earned during the past five years. That thought quickly expanded as I realized they should also give back the salary they earned during this time, followed by the notion that they needed to cough up all their stock options and any money made from exercising those options.

But much of these ill-gotten gains have already been spent, and so the final solution became clear.

  • Clean out their bank accounts of all cash assets
  • Liquidate all their stock and bond holdings
  • Confiscate any collections, such as art, wine, coins or watches
  • Take back any jewelry, especially the diamond bracelets and earrings
  • Repossess their primary residence, like the posh condo in Manhattan
  • Repossess their secondary residence, like the house in the country
  • Repossess their automobiles, boats, planes, bicycles, mopeds and skateboards

I don’t care if they end up at the soup kitchen or have to live in public housing and use public transportation to get them to and from the unemployment office or job interviews.

Can you tell I’m pissed off? If I steal someone’s purse you can bet I’ll be in jail rather quickly and will end up in court explaining my actions to a judge. But these scurrilous vagabonds have stolen billions and wasted trillions more, yet they appear to have gotten away with it.

The pundits on television don’t seem to care as they pontificate on the point that these financial institutions are too big to fail, and that the government has no choice but to bail them out. To them it’s just a case of better luck next time. While I can somehow tolerate some of that logic, I can’t in all good conscience agree that the bandits in question should ride off into the sunset with our money.

The Benefits of Ranting

Do I think my suggested acts of retribution are possible, or plausible, or advisable? The jury is still out on that one, but what I do know is that it will take more than a few sips of wine this afternoon to calm me down, as this episode in our country’s history is something that defies comprehension. The extent of the greed, the overwhelming stupidity, the lack of concern for anyone else is hard for me to grasp.

Can we prevent such acts from occurring again, or will history repeat itself?

The Entrepreneur’s Dream Financial Plan – Opportunity is in the Mind of the Beholder

In his book, The Millionaire Mind, renowned financial author, Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, summarizes how several multi-millionaires responded to the question, “How did you become millionaires in one generation?” He summarized their answers by saying, “Most of us saw an economic opportunity that others just ignored, and we had a willingness to take financial risk given the promise of good return…It is less about investing in the stock market, and much more about investing in ourselves, our careers, our professional practices, our private businesses and so forth.” In other words, millionaires aren’t relying on the growth of their investment portfolio to create wealth; rather, they are depending on their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Entrepreneurs who are skilled at finding those “economic opportunities that others just ignored” need to have quick access to cash, often in the form of liquid investments, so that they can take advantage of such opportunities. Therefore, they are doing themselves a disservice by investing in the traditional retirement vehicles that are most commonly used today. IRA’s, 401(k)’s, and even annuities are great for the vast majority of the population; however, these can be a costly mistake for a successful entrepreneur. Such a mistake comes in one form: huge opportunity costs!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” But to the entrepreneur, a penny saved in an IRA is one less penny that can be used to create real wealth – the kind of real wealth that is owned by the multimillionaires in Dr. Stanley’s book. Traditional retirement vehicles may seem like the “right and responsible” thing to do; but considering that the wealthiest folks in America didn’t achieve their wealth in this fashion, it would be wise for entrepreneurs to explore alternatives which focus on liquidity – even if it means sacrificing some tax deductions and stock market returns!

Most entrepreneurs will agree that there is tremendous value in maintaining a liquid financial position; and that starts with breaking the cycle of traditional financial planning. If you’ve got what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, consider the power of making your financial plan more liquid. Start looking for alternative places to put your cash, such as buying your investments outside of an IRA. If you hold them for at least one year prior to selling them, you will be subject only to the long term capital gains tax which currently has a maximum rate of 15%.

Another alternative includes educating yourself about constructing a maximum-funded cash value universal life insurance policy; and then finding a skilled agent who understands the intricacies of these policies to help you facilitate that transaction. Your cash value will grow tax-deferred and can be accessed via fairly low-interest policy loans. These loans are not considered taxable events unless the policy is surrendered or canceled. Fees can be minimized by reducing the death benefit on the contract. Always make sure you don’t reduce your overall life insurance coverage such that you become under insured.

So, before you dump your next wad of cash into an IRA or an annuity simply because someone told you that tax deductions and tax deferral are the keys to great wealth, consider something more liquid. It just might sharpen your mental vision enough to see that next big opportunity for your business! And then who knows, maybe you’ll be the one called in for an interview with Dr. Stanley!

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