The Lamaze conference in New Orleans was a great experience for me, as always, I loved being a part of a large group of women who are all determined to help women have great births!
I flew out the day before and checked into the Astor Crowne Plaza, right on the corner of Bourbon St and Canal St. It was a fairly smooth direct flight, thankfully, and I arrived late evening. My poor friend and conference roommate, though, had a rough time getting there! My plane went around a huge line of thunderstorms, and her plane flew right THROUGH it! To give you an idea, here’s what I saw as we were flying around the storms:
The next morning, we had a few hours before the conference started. After a proper southern breakfast, we headed out to explore the city. We walked the length of Bourbon Street, cut over to St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and the Mississippi River. Grabbed some beignets to go and headed back to the opening session of the conference.
First up was a general session presented by Richard Waldman, former president of ACOG. He discussed a wide range of topics, everything from the Affordable Care Act and its impact on obstetrics to how midwives and OBs can work well together. He is married to a midwife and was instrumental in bringing midwifery care – independent midwives – to central NY. What I found most interesting was his discussion on the things that have impacted him both as a care provider and personally. He talked about training, he talked about peer pressure, he talked about keeping patients informed participants in their care. He spoke on a personal and emotional level about how lawsuits and the death of a patient impacted him. It was an interesting perspective.
Next was a breakout session on “Memorable Class Moments” led by Victora Deer – I chose this session because I always try to go to sessions that will not involve PowerPoint, and I was not disappointed! When I first walked in and sat down, I knew this would be a different kind of session, as there were lots of craft materials waiting at each spot. The first thing she had us do was put on a pair of head bopper headbands that had light bulbs representing all the ideas we could get if we allow ourselves creative freedom. Victoria showed us some of the fun things she does in class, but she also talked about how YOU can create your own fun ideas. She presented 5 steps:
1. Imagination and brainstorming
2. Creativity – changing, molding, adapting to what you want to teach
3. Innovation – applying and integrating into your classes
4. Test and evaluate – actually do the activity in your class
5. Accept/refine or reject
Victoria had a lot of great ideas and was not the least bit shy about doing goofy things like dressing up as “Operawoman” and singing birthy parody songs, jumping like a cheerleader, or mimicking Katie Perry!
That night was the Dine Arounds, basically an activity where the conference organizers make a bunch of reservations at area restaurants and you can join a group to go out together. My roommate Elizabeth and I met up with Melinda Delisle, who we had met at another conference, and two new women I hadn’t met before, Alicia (didn’t catch her last name or snag a business card…) and Tamara Hawkins. We went to Galvez, a Spanish restaurant right on the Mississippi. I had my first paella – YUM! and once again, Liz and I got a real character waiting on us. (We’ll never forget Mary in Milwaukee!) – didn’t catch this waiter’s name but he was an interesting fellow with an interesting accent that shifted from Spanish to French and back again. After we finished with our meal, the owner took us outside on a balcony overlooking the river and the skyline of downtown NOLA.
And then we headed home and to try and get to bed early. That’s kind of a joke – we ended up talking until pretty late!
Read about the next day here.
(All the photos in this post are from my phone, I promise I’ll post some nicer ones from my “real” camera later!)