Happy International Women’s Day!

womenday

Today is a day to celebrate women. Women who have fought the good fight for fairness and equality for women and young girls globally. Though we have made great strides in education as well as our professional and personal lives, there’s still a long way for us to go. In the US alone, women earn about 77% of men’s salaries in 2011 compared to 77.4 % in 2010. We’ve actually lost ground in some sectors.

Over two-thirds of women in the world—up to 76 percent in some countries—have been targeted for sexual and/or physical abuse at some point in their lives, according to United Nations statistics on women. Yet we had members of Congress fighting tooth and nail to not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act,  legislation that would make it easier to prosecute crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking. The bill also extends protections to gays and lesbians and women of Native American tribal lands who are attacked or abused by non-tribal residents.

We also have another all out assault on women’s reproductive rights where some Senators, Congressmen and Governors feel that they have a “moral imperative” to legislate a woman’s body as if we’re not intelligent enough to make informed decisions. Trying to stop contraceptives from being covered under our work insurance but Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications for men, are completely acceptable. However, they should stop saying they’re pro-life when in actuality they’re pro-fetus. This legislation has nothing to do with anything other than men trying to dictate our actions.  And laws of this nature will disproportionately affect rural and impoverishment women because they won’t be able to seek abortions out of the states with these Draconian laws as those who are wealthier. Thus causing more children to be abandoned, abused, thrown into a system that is painfully outdated and flawed and so goes the cycle of poverty for the children and their mothers.

Rape and honor killings are at a fever pitch in countries like India and throughout the Middle East and those women are in danger just running errands or going to the movies. Africa is one of the biggest shames of them all, because some African women in particularly dangerous regions, are serially raped on a daily basis. They are impregnated, infected with STD’s including HIV/AIDS, maimed and genitally mutilated.

Yes, this is a day to embrace our triumphs and acknowledge our struggles, but under no circumstances should we ever be lulled into a false sense of security that we’ve finally arrived. We must still keep up the offensive not only for ourselves but women all over the world. We should not rest until every woman and little girl has the same opportunities as men and boys. Gender should NEVER be an obstacle to success and happiness.

Peace, love and blessings to all of you…until next year, Besos!

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Another Level of Stupid…Pregnancy and Babies are Not Novelties

Yes I’m on my soapbox this morning. Is there no end to the stupidity of some people? In the article below, a father starts a business of throwing sonogram parties. Allow me to remind people that sonograms are medical procedures and should be done only in a medical facility by licensed medical professionals and a doctor should be the one ordering them.

Babies are real live human beings and should not be there just for their parent’s amusement. Why on earth would a parent subject themselves, their baby and their family and friends to an unnecessary medical procedure just because it’s the newest fad and they think it’s cool ? What if that sonogram shows a problem with the baby that they didn’t know about? Then what?

I guess that little detail wasn’t necessarily thought out was it!?!? Pregnancy and babies can be a beautiful things but far too many people only like the good side of it; presents, attention, oooohing and awwwwwing, the decorating of the baby’s room, the pretty clothes, etc., but what they sometimes forget is that said baby, is not a toy or a novelty. You don’t just get to play with the kid (before birth) by rubbing your belly a million times a day and after – patting them on the head and parading them around like the newest pair of shoes or handbag.

I thought that “babymoons and push presents” were some of the most nonsensical fads surrounding expectant parenthood, but this one takes the top prize. I cannot stress enough, that this IS a medical procedure and the medical community does not recommend it. Most doctors will only order one, maybe two during the pregnancy. I’m beginning to think for some people, that having a baby is just another way to feed their malignantly narcissistic personalities.

Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 6:39 PM EST

  • Fla. Father's Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

    Good Morning America – Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle — their own daughter is living proof. Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today they offer a “glimpse of your little miracle” in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging. The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years — sonogram parties.

“We’ll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come,” said Chad Berry, 37. “In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see.”

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly. Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Berry said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Berry. “We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic.”

“The most touching one we ever did was for a couple in their 40s trying to have a baby,” he said. “She finally got pregnant and they planned a dinner at home but didn’t tell the parents. One of the grandparents was crying hysterically the whole time.”

The man had been diagnosed with cancer and told he likely would not live long enough to see the baby. “He could watch it in his own home,” said Berry. “This was the most rewarding experience to provide that to someone.”

But medical experts caution against the experience. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development — to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no “requirement” to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk — usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

“Some doctors don’t do any,” she said.

“Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary,” said Brown, the author of“Expecting 411.”

“In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds,” she said. “There is no certainty of the technician’s training or if the machine is properly maintained. And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours. It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat.”

Technician Lisa Dixon, who is just starting up Peek a View ultrasound services in Santa Monica, Calif., confirms that the trend is growing. “‘Viewing parties’ is what they are called,” she told ABCNews.com.

She charges $375 and up for her parties, depending on location. Like Berry, she provides 3-D images and a DVD with the deal.

Miracle Images provides a “gender reveal” package for $179 anywhere between 15 or 32 weeks. For $198, a client can buy, “Watch Your Baby Grow” with a classic sonogram session during each trimester.

With the deluxe “Shower Package” for $249, Miracles Images will go to a reception hall or a home and provide a 4-D film of the fetus moving in the womb that can be Skyped to absent family or friends.

LeAnn Flippen of Lehigh, Fla., surprised her 33-week pregnant sister-in-law with a sonogram at ababy shower because the family couldn’t afford a 3-D image through their own doctor. (Insurance only pays for 2-D images, unless there are medical complications.)

“My brother was trying to be frugal because with a baby on the way, he didn’t want to spend the money,” said Flippen. “She is a dental hygienist and doesn’t get maternity leave.”

“With 3-D you see the entire face and the pudgy cheeks and nose and eyes,” said Flippen, 30.

“We ate as soon as we got there and played a game while they were setting up,” she said. “We had her chair at the front door so everyone was in front of her and she was the center of attention…. She was so excited.”

Flippen, who has two boys, is now 23 weeks pregnant with a girl. At 15 weeks, she went to Miracle Images to find out the gender in 3-D. Back in 2007, she went to another ultrasound company and had a 3-D image of her son and paid three times as much.

Viviana Aguilera, a 25-year-old teacher from Cape Coral, Fla., held her own sonogram party in her home. Friends attended in person and family from Miami watched the 4-D image of the 29-week fetus moving in her womb via Facetime on her iPad.

“It was awesome,” said Aguilera, who got a discount because her husband is in law enforcement. “The house was packed.”

Sonogram Parties Are the Rage

At first the baby wasn’t “cooperating,” she said of her daughter, who is now 2 months old. “So they made me do certain exercises and I was eating brownies and drinking Coke, trying to wake her up.”

Afterward, she received a DVD and photos. “I would definitely do it again.”

But medical experts say that even though sonograms are considered “safe,” they do not recommend them for “entertainment.”

“Ultrasound should only be performed for medical purposes with a prescription from a licensed professional so people won’t do it just for the fun of it,” said Dr. Deborah Levine of Harvard University Medical School, who is chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound.

Certified technicians are also not supposed to practice independently, without a “physician behind them,” she said. “If a sonographer goes out to the house, you don’t know how it is calibrated, who is operating it and you don’t have the normal quality assurances as in a medical practice. You don’t have the normal checks and balances.”

But Berry of Miracles Images said no research has determined that ultrasounds are unsafe.

“We have quite a few ob/gyn doctors here that we refer women to,” he said. “Insurance covers on one or two, and especially for those on Medicaid, there is little chance for them to have them done.”

He offers discounts to active military, firefighters, first responders and police officers.

Miracle Images requires that their clients have their own doctor to provide prescribed medical sonograms and to oversee their prenatal care.

Berry insists his is no “fly-by-night” operation and has a medical director on call if ultrasound reveals medical problems. “When we find a baby with no heartbeat, we know the physician to call.”

Even LeAnn Flippen, who is now 23 weeks pregnant with her own child, doesn’t seem to worry that an ultrasound could reveal a deformity before a horrified group at a sonogram shower.

“It’s always a concern,” she said. “I guess I leave it up to God. There’s nothing I can do.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to One and All!

May your holidays be filled with joy, laughter and love.  Stay safe, celebrate like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy!!!

Horrific Shooting in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School

First, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. What an unnecessary and horrific tragedy. The State Police just confirmed that one shooter took his own life and they’re looking for the 2nd. So far 27 people were killed and 18 are believed to be children. Unfortunately, the authorities expect the count to rise.

sandy hook shooting witness

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: Newtown, Connecticut Administrators, Students Among Victims, Reports Say

Posted: 12/14/2012 10:28 am EST  |  Updated: 12/14/2012 1:36 pm EST

Newtown School Shooting

Authorities in Connecticut responded to a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning, the local NBC station reports.

Police reported 27 deaths, including 18 dead children and others wounded, according to the Associated Press.

The one known shooter was 24, carrying four weapons and wearing black clothing and a bullet proof vest. He is dead, authorities told ABC News. Police continue to investigate if there was a second shooter involved.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVEBLOG UPDATES

Unconfirmed reports say that principal Dawn Hochsprung and a school psychologist were killed, according to a parent who claimed to witness part of the attack, CNN reported.

CBS reports that a student’s father was the shooter.

Danbury Hospital’s emergency room staff has readied its wing for the arrival of an unknown number of victims, a spokeswoman for Western Connecticut Health Network told News Times.

Reports say that the alleged shooter appeared in the building’s main office at about 9:40 a.m., approximately 30 minutes after the school day began.

The initial 911 call said that students were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns, according to WABC.

Students were escorted out of the building single-file. There are approximately 626 students enrolled in kindergarten through 4th grade classes at Sandy Hook Elementary, with another 46 faculty members, Newtown Patch reported.

connecticut school schooting

My Niece/God-Daughter in Times Square

This weekend was the Covenant Service for my niece/god-daughter Mallory. She was given her Hebrew name of Michaela, named for my sister-in-law’s mother Michele. As a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law, I wished Mallory a “Happy Baby Naming” in Times Square – New York.

My girl looks beautiful, appearing on the jumbo screen at the ‘crossroads of the world”. Whoo…Hoo!

Please Help This Family

I know it’s early in the morning but this story breaks my heart. There’s this wonderful family of 4 living here in Los Angeles. I met the mother briefly in my exercise class. She has stage 4 Lymphedema (which is a terrible debilitating disease of the lymphatic system). It has gotten so bad for the family that they literally have little to no food, money and must vacate their apartment has soon as possible.

The problem is that the system is so backed up and flawed that she doesn’t qualify for food assistance because her disability payment is too high…basically, I’m sorry your family has no food, but we can’t help you. Housing isn’t an option because the wait-list is well over a year. I will do everything I can to help them, but if there’s
anything any of you can do, please contact her family at 310.902-3134 – Evette.. No one in a country like the US should go hungry especially children.