Lucy Eades' 'Breastfeeding Discrimination' video goes viral

Published: Friday, August 09, 2013 @ 2:38 PM
Updated: Friday, August 09, 2013 @ 2:38 PM

Mothers are often judged for choosing to use formula instead of breast milk, yet shunned for breastfeeding in public. The creators of the "I Support You" campaign join us to discuss why the way you choose to nourish your child generates judgement. Guests Suzanne Barston, Kim Simon, and Lisa Belkin join to discuss.

Giving birth is hard enough. Try it in the middle of a wildfire

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 5:53 PM

Nicole and Ben Veum and baby Adrian, who was born after Nicole had to be evacuated from a hospital because of a fire that swept through Santa Rosa, Calif. (April Dembosky/KQED/Kaiser Health News/TNS)
Nicole and Ben Veum and baby Adrian, who was born after Nicole had to be evacuated from a hospital because of a fire that swept through Santa Rosa, Calif. (April Dembosky/KQED/Kaiser Health News/TNS)(Handout/TNS)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Days before there was any sign of fire, Nicole and Ben Veum of Santa Rosa had been waiting and waiting for their baby to arrive. Nicole’s due date came and went. Her doctor called her into the hospital — Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital — to induce labor. That was Friday, Oct 6.

“So we were very excited at that point,” she said. “And then, day after day after day with not a whole lot of progress.”

They tried three different ways of inducing labor. Then, on Sunday, Oct. 8, with the third attempt, it started working.

“And then finally I am in a great rhythm,” she said. “We’re all excited. They’re talking about breaking my water.”

Her contractions were strong, coming every four to five minutes.

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“Things are rolling,” Ben said. “We’re getting good checks from the nurses. We started to get in the mood to play some music — a little bit of opera.”

They had just turned on Pavarotti when the hospital power went out. The generators came on. And the smoke outside the building — coming from deadly wildfires that had spread across at least 57,000 acres in the California region — started to creep inside.

“There was a ton of smoke in the hospital,” Nicole said. “You could see it and smell it.”

The nurses said the buildings around the hospital were on fire and they had to evacuate everyone. Eighty patients from Sutter and another 130 patients from Kaiser Permanente were transferred to other hospitals in the area on Monday, including Santa Rosa Memorial and Kaiser San Rafael. (Kaiser Health News is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)

Nicole Veum had just received an epidural when the evacuation orders came through.

“I couldn’t walk or move, which was just not cool,” she said. “I didn’t like that part. I felt really vulnerable.”

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The staff gave Nicole medication to stop her contractions.

“We were like ‘Noooo.’ It was the worst news,” she said. “To have tried for three days and then OK, here’s the shot that’s going to end all of that.”

Then, Nicole had to wait again. For an ambulance.

It was hours before dawn, and Nicole lay on a gurney by the docking bay, feeling paralyzed, in a line of would-be evacuees. There were so many patients who needed to be transported, and by the time her turn came, she had to share the ride with another woman in labor and a third with a newborn in her arms. That left no room for her husband.

“The charge nurse explained that ‘This is a disaster. We’re following disaster protocol and no spouses or birth teams or anything are going along on the ambulance,’” Ben said. “And there was a part of me briefly that was like — but I’m a dad. I’m going to be a dad. This is us.”

Ben waited for a city bus and was soon reunited with Nicole at Santa Rosa Memorial. But by that point, her labor was again at a stand still.

They gave it another 12 hours, then agreed to a cesarean section. Monday evening, Nicole gave birth to a healthy baby boy, named Adrian Veum. Their friends had some suggestions for a middle name.

“They wanted us to call him Adrian Fuego Veum, or Blaze Veum,” she said.

But Nicole is a big Los Angeles baseball fan, and she and Ben decided to stick with their original name plan: Adrian Dodger Veum.

Mom uses infant daughter’s death to warn new parents of this simple sleep-related mistake

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 2:15 PM

IKEA recalls crib mattress

AKRON, Ohio — All it took was a blanket.

Before Meagen Gries returned back to her first day of work from maternity leave on May 4, 2015, she dropped off her toddler son, Owen, and 2-month-old daughter, Molly, at a baby sitter’s house. Of all things, it was an object of comfort that has prevented her from ever picking her little daughter back up again.

While Molly was napping in her Pack ’N Play that day, she suffocated on a blanket and died in her sleep.

The grief and guilt still follow Gries and her husband, Jeff, to this day. But instead of immersing themselves in grief, the Hudson couple has immersed themselves in activism.

The Grieses started the Molly Ann Gries Foundation last year to raise awareness about and distribute resources surrounding infant sleep safety.

The foundation’s newest partnership is with Akron Children’s Hospital. Beginning in January, every baby who visits one of the hospital’s 28 pediatric offices for their initial well-check will receive a copy of Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug, a small board book about safe sleep practices, along with a card of questions to ask potential childcare providers.

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“She should still be here,” Meagen Gries said. “That’s all we can do is share our story.”

Molly’s story

Meagen Gries was on her lunch break at Echo Hills Elementary School in Stow where she teaches first grade when she got the call from the baby sitter that Molly wasn’t breathing.

She hurried to Akron Children’s Hospital to meet Molly in the ambulance, but was greeted instead by a social worker and teary doctor.

“The worst part was leaving her there,” Meagen Gries said. “As a mom, it goes against every fiber of your being to hand over your baby and walk out the door.”

Meagan Gries talks about losing a daughter from positional asphyxiation in 2015, during an interview at Akron Children's Hospital on October 13, 2017, in Akron, Ohio. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)(PHIL MASTURZO/TNS)

In the days following Molly’s death, Meagen Gries wasn’t thinking about sharing her story. She didn’t even want to be part of the story.

But that changed when the Grieses learned Molly’s cause of death. The family initially thought she died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an unpreventable death, until the medical examiner called Meagen Gries in August and told her Molly died of positional asphyxiation.

The first thing Meagen Gries did was call the baby sitter to let her know what happened — and let her know that she was just as guilty of making the same simple sleeping mistakes with Molly every day.

“It absolutely could’ve been me,” Meagen Gries said.

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The second thing she did was write a post on Facebook about Molly’s death. Despite the tragic news, Meagen Gries couldn’t help but think of all the other new moms making the same vital mistakes as she and her baby sitter had.

“If I didn’t say that, somebody could have potentially walked upstairs and put their baby in the same situation,” Meagen Gries said.


The Grieses have since had another daughter named Emma, who is now 1, but Molly is still ever-present. Her name lives on through the foundation, its logo covering stickers, shirts and even the back of Meagen Gries’ sedan.

Sleep-related infant deaths are an issue Meagen Gries has made her personal mission to alleviate — and one that still needs attention.

Sleep-related deaths have been trending downward in the state in recent years thanks to intensive state and local initiatives, the Ohio Department of Health found in a recent report, but babies are still dying in preventable situations. Suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for babies before their first birthdays.

Dr. Susan Nofziger, a pediatric hospitalist and chair member of the Akron Children’s Hospital Safe Sleep Committee, said there are six to 10 infants under the age of 1 who die in Summit County every year from sleep-related deaths. A large part of that is due to lack of education, along with changes in safe-sleep guidelines in recent years.

“Most people just feel like it’s something that would never happen to them,” Nofziger said.

The hospital is undergoing several initiatives to alleviate the problem as well. Sherry Blair, the Akron Children’s Hospital Cribs for Kids coordinator, and Nofziger said the goal is to educate every parent in the system with a child under the age of 1 about safe practices and get them to develop a safe sleep routine.

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“We just want to make it standardized, like a car seat,” Blair said.

The books donated by the Gries foundation could help accomplish that mission. They were written by Dr. John Hutton, a Cincinnati-based pediatrician who also lost a child to a sleep-related death.

The book is an illustrated board book, much like one that would be read to a child at bedtime, and it covers the do’s and don’ts of safe sleep.

The Grieses purchased 8,500 of them with money a friend raised for them on GoFundMe, and they’ll be given to new parents. The Gries plan to donate the same amount to the hospital each year.

In addition, the foundation also distributes movement monitors and breathable crib mattresses to families of infants at risk for SIDS, and it gives away two additional movement monitors every month.

“I have a love/hate relationship with the foundation. The only reason I’m here right now is because she’s not here right now,” Meagen Gries said. “But the thought that there are babies alive today because of Molly is really powerful. The idea that even though she’s not here, other babies are — it helps.”

Infant-safe sleeping practices

— Remember your ABCs: Put babies to sleep Alone on their Backs in an empty Crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheet.

— A baby should wear a T-shirt or onesie and a sleeper or sleep sack if needed.

— Nothing else should be in the crib — not even a blanket.

— Ask caregivers to see where they’re putting your kids to sleep.

— Sleep in the same room, not the same bed.

Parents, tell your teens synthetic marijuana is no joke

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 5:06 PM

Police Discover Huge Marijuana Plants After Domestic Dispute

We’ve done a lot of stories about K2, aka synthetic marijuana, and a rash of overdoses and death, especially among the homeless population in Austin.

That seems like something that happens to other people, not our teens, right?

John O’Neill knows that’s not true. He’s the clinical director and vice president of Phoenix House drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, which has centers in Austin and Round Rock. Synthetic marijuana addiction in teens is second only to marijuana addiction.

Why is that? Synthetic marijuana is easier for teens to get than alcohol, opioids or other drugs, and it’s often cheaper than marijuana. It’s sold in smoke shops under crazy names like Tiger’s Breath, Yucatan Skunk, Joker, Black Mamba, Kronic.

“They market it as natural herbs, natural materials, like it’s not something bad for you,” O’Neill says. Yet kids don’t know what’s in it, and they don’t know how it might affect them. Every batch can be different.

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“The argument that teenagers will make is ‘it’s not a big deal. I can get it in the store,’” O’Neill says. “It’s absolutely without a doubt destructive and harmful.”

And in teens, it’s even more harmful because their brains are not fully developed. That doesn’t happen to around age 25. What synthetic marijuana does do is alter the brain chemistry. Users can have psychotic issues, aggression and hallucinations.

Parents should look for these signs:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Change in attitude more so than is developmentally normal.
  • Disconnection to usual interests.
  • Dropping out of activities.
  • Becoming more secretive.
  • Holding onto their backpack like it’s gold.
  • Withdrawing into their room.
  • Agitation.
  • Aggression.
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
  • Euphoria.
  • Paranoia.
  • Excessive emotions.

“When parents are paying attention, they have an instinct that something is going on,” O’Neill says. “Paying attention can be difference between life and death.”

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One thing to pay attention to is what are their friends doing and what are the drugs going around their school. If one of their friends gets caught with drugs, start asking questions. Don’t assume it was just what that friend or someone in their friend group was doing.

“The most important thing any family can do is not hesitate in having conversations with teenagers about the substances and substance use,” O’Neill says. “Be open and honest and direct. It’s easy as a parent to hope and assume and have good thoughts that they are not messing with that. We have to assume that they all have access to those substances.”

What starts out as a way to have fun on a weekend then becomes something they need to escape whatever is going on in their lives that is difficult.

When O’Neill treats teens, he treats the whole family and whatever is beneath that need to escape. Sometimes there could be mental health issues as well. It might mean outpatient treatment or it could mean residential treatment for a time and then outpatient later, but all of it has a whole-family component.

“It’s easy to say, ‘That’s not my problem. That’s your problem.’ It’s everyone’s problem,”he says. He likens addiction to the tiger in the room. It’s not only the person closest to the tiger that could be hurt by the tiger. “We’ve got to figure out how to manage it or it’s going to eat us all.”

Is 18 the new 15? Today’s teens drink and date less than in the 70s, study says

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:50 PM

Teen birth rates in the U.S. have dropped to a historic low According to records from 2013 to 2014, births to teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 fell to a low of 24 births per 1,000 women. The study said that in recent years, more teens have acc

Teens aren’t in a rush to grow up. They’re not as interested in dating, snagging jobs or even driving, according to a new report. 

Researchers from San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College conducted a study to determine how soon adolescents engage in adult activities. 

To do so, they compared teenagers from the 70s, 80s and 90s with today’s kiddos, using surveys that questioned more than 8 million children, ages 13 to 19, from 1976 to 2016. The poll focused on topics including sex, alcohol and part-time jobs, and it also factored in race, region and gender. 

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After analyzing the results, they found that kids were not having sex, drinking or holding jobs nearly as much as those from 20 years ago. 

Among 8th graders, only about half of them had held down a job or tried alcohol, compared to kids in the 90s. As for older teens or those in the 12th grade, the number of youth getting their driver’s license, working, drinking and dating was down nearly 20 percent, compared to those from 40 years ago. 

"The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teens growing up more slowly than they used to," co-author Jean M. Twenge, said in a statement. "In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did."

While researchers could not pinpoint why minors engage in fewer adult activities, they say homework or extracurricular activities were not a factor as those activities had decreased among 8th and 12th graders and was steady for 12th graders and college students.

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However, they believe their findings, which were recently published in Child Development, could be associated with increased internet and social media usage.

"Our study suggests that teens today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol)," co-author Heejung Park, said in the statement. "These trends are neither good nor bad, but reflect the current U.S. cultural climate."