Monday, June 30, 2008

A phone call

May I journal a bit on my blog?

Last night I got a call from friend asking me to come over because her friend, D, was in labor. D had just moved to a new state and was having a hard time finding a midwife because she wanted to VBAC. If I got the story right, D's first birth was a UC that transferred and became a section. As of last night, D had decided to try UC again, but labor had been going for 24 hours and the back labor was tough.

My friend called D, figuring if they didn't want calls, they wouldn't answer. A bit of conversation and phone passing occurred and suddenly I was on the phone with an out-of-breath laboring woman.

I had once heard Laura Shanley say that sometimes when women are in labor and they don't know what to do, they call her. She tries, over the phone, to reassure them and help them relax. I was in the same kind of situation.

I couldn't see her, but I could hear the labor. A couple of times, she'd say "contraction" and set the phone down. I could hear the contractions in her vocalizations; I heard her asking her husband for more pressure on her back. I could even hear the contraction come to an end in her voice. After one contraction, I asked, "It's nice when they're over, isn't it?" "Yeah."

The really surreal thing for me was that it brought me back to my labor. After the baby's out, you are so happy and joyous, your memory of the difficulty fades away, but on that phone, I remembered the hours of back labor, calling for warm compresses and a fist on my lower back. I remember it feeling like it'd never end.

And I could do nothing for her. I knew how she was feeling and I was states away on a telephone in a living room comfortably with my own baby on my lap.

She needed assurance that babies do come. She asked me how long my labor was- I was afraid to say, "44 hours" because I didn't want her to be overwhelmed by that number. She asked me if my labor lasted for 2 nights and I said it did. She said that knowing that my baby came after 44 hours made her 24 hour struggle easier- she was reassured that a long labor isn't a singular experience. I gave her suggestions- try different positions. She told me how much it hurt to lie down, but she was so tired. She told me how sitting on the toilet was so uncomfortable- and I totally agreed.

She asked me if my baby was posterior or anterior, how long my pushing stage was, if I received a boost of energy at the end.

I hope I helped.

At one point she asked if I was LDS and we discussed the use of priesthood blessings in labor. She had been receiving some from her husband. I gave her some advice I received from one that really helped me.

The phone call ended when her 2 year old came home.

But I don't really know what I could do. I had been there- long, endless back labor, feeling like you don't know how to listen to the Spirit because the contractions take all your concentration and you're just so tired.

I told her that what she was doing was totally possible and that she could do it.

I hope she has her baby now and they're sleeping soundly together.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Lovely birth video

I just wanted to share this by Rayvene, I think it's beautiful and brought me to tears.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

1. Birthdays are under-celebrated; we should celebrate each other more often and with more excitement

2. Spring is my favorite season because the light green sprigs of new growth are so refreshing after the gray winter.

3. I feel my best when I'm with people I love.

4. Strawberry ice cream is my favorite food! (at least for today)

5. First impressions are important, but not deal-breaking.

6. The best piece of advice I ever received was "Well behaved women rarely make history".

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to seeing Carolyn and Scott, tomorrow my plans include the Lavender festival and Sunday, I want to do a little dance!

People I Admire

Today I've felt very grateful for the people who have been placed in my life. I've decided I want to mention some of them (and not in any particular order nor do I comment on everyone who I admire).

McKay Sure, this seems obvious, but I am extremely grateful. He has perfect trust in me and supports me 100%. He's taught me that being a friend is unlimited, unhindered encouragement and has given me that encouragement- something I never had until we were married.

Margaret Another obvious one. I've learned from being her mother that my plans can wait and that I am needed. I've learned to slow down a bit.

Sea_Gal and her family: She was the "J" in my birth story. I love that we can be such good friends, and she keeps me in line. Plus Mr. Sea_Gal and McKay get along great and their little girl (Sea_Child?) is so adorable. It's because of them that I want to learn to be a good disciplinarian and respect my children as people instead of demanding it just because I'm an adult and "because I said so."

Ok. That's not her name, but that's her Internet name. I've met her a few times in person and I love her confidence in herself. She writes beautifully- her birth stories sound gorgeous. And I love her Shape of a Mother post- and how she's not ashamed of how childbearing affected her body. I was remembering her entry a couple of weeks ago at the family reunion, knowing that some of my pregnancy stretch marks were visible. I thought of her and said to myself, "I have these marks because I am a mother, and I am not ashamed of that!"

alisaterry I was at her house today and was thinking about how she just keeps on going when things around her aren't going well. She magnifies her assests, which is a quality I would like to have. I'm glad I'll get to hang out with her for a little while longer as her husband finishes up school.

Sarah I admire her because of how she isn't afraid to do what she knows is best. I remember her telling me her conversion story and that amazed me. I admire anyone who joins the Church against their family's wishes- I know how rough it can be when family aren't supportive of your choices, and I'm glad that my family at least supports my religious choices.

Joy She is just so kind and thoughtful. And she bakes her family's bread herself. How does she find time for that? and ECing? And she is so supportive to her husband- I've only met him once, but I can tell how much she supports and loves him. Plus, she's a car seat junkie. I've never met one of those before- it's kind of fun to know when a new model of car seat comes out.

Shannon Ok. I'll admit. I was a little scared of Shannon at first. She comes off pretty strong, but I am so glad of that. It is so refreshing to know a woman who has opinions of her own and doesn't just go along with the crowd. She makes choices based on meaningful information. She's a leader. Plus, I hope I am as crunchy as she is someday.

Andrea I'm her visiting teacher, but last week she came and pretty much visit taught me- she watched Margaret while I clean the bathroom and some of the house and even did some of my dishes. She's so nice. I'm pretty sure I'm going to homeschool because of her now.

Rixa I admire Rixa. When I was pregnant and found her blog, I felt like we had a lot in common when it came to how people reacted to our births which gave me courage in my choices. She's also very classy and can handle criticism and mudslinging without getting dirty herself. And she's knowledgeable. I feel honored when she links to my blog.

Ok. Ok. That's 10 and you're probably bored of this, so I'll stop and pick it up again tomorrow. Maybe I'll have a "People I Admire" series these next few days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Wildfire

I spent many of Margaret's naps blog-hopping yesterday. The blogging community is in quite a storm about the AMA and ACOG's recent statements.

I learned 2 things yesterday:

  1. I should probably link to some more blogs because blog-hopping is, well, fun!
  2. You start in the birthing realm and can end up reading about birth trauma and birth rape, lactivism, vaccination debates, circumcision debates and anti-cry-it-out research. And that's fun, too.
I spent yesterday thinking to myself, "I should remember to save the link to that study! And that study! Oh, and I didn't know they did a study on that!"

I have tried to keep the sidebars to a minimum, but then I know you can't blog hop and that's not as fun for you.

So expect my sidebars to take on new life today!

Meanwhile, here's a little segment a friend sent out about Ricki Lake's response to the AMA. Interestingly, the OB/GYN interviewed is pro-homebirths.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Promoting Breastfeeding

Here's a little video I saw on someone else's blog. I liked it so much, I thought I'd share it here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's a Civil Rights Issue

I read a lot of blogs: family blogs, friends' blogs, knitting blogs, AP blogs, and birthing blogs. Lately the birthing blog realm has been in a flurry about the AMA's new statement.

And I quote from item #205:

That our American Medical Association support the recent American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) statement that “the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers” (New HOD Policy); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our AMA develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the AAP and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.”

Interestingly, my sister-in-law, sent me a news article about Ricki Lake's response (response here).

What's going on here? First, for those of you not interested in the birthing world, I'll give some background:

This year has seen some pro-midwife action: The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake, and The Big Push.

In response, ACOG released an anti-homebirth statement and I just posted AMA's statement.

However, the World Health Organizaion (WHO) has published this about place of birth (my added emphasis in italics):
The call for a return to the natural process in many parts of the developed world opened up delivery rooms to fathers and to other family members, but the location stayed the same: the hospital. Some hospitals have made an effort by installing a home-like birth room and this was found to increase maternal satisfaction and reduce the rate of perineal trauma, as well as reducing the desire for a different setting for the next birth, but randomised trials found no effect on the use of epidural analgesia, forceps delivery and caesarean section (Klein et al 1984, Chapman et al 1986). These trials were primarily concerned with a more attractive labour ward setting without a fundamental change in care; apparently this is not enough to improve the quality of care and the obstetric outcome.
Other studies found that a woman with a low risk delivery giving birth to her first child in a teaching hospital could be attended by as many as 16 people during 6 hours of labour and still be left alone for most of the time (Hodnett and Osborn 1989b). Routine, though unfamiliar, procedures, the presence of strangers and being left alone during labour and/or delivery caused stress, and stress can interfere with the course of birth by prolonging it and setting off what has been described as a "cascade of intervention".

So where then should a woman give birth? It is safe to say that a woman should give birth in a place she feels is safe, and at the most peripheral level at which appropriate care is feasible and safe (FIGO 1992). For a low-risk pregnant woman this can be at home, at a small maternity clinic or birth centre in town or perhaps at the maternity unit of a larger hospital. However, it must be a place where all the attention and care are focused on her needs and safety, as close to home and her own culture as possible.

My opinion: First, in almost all cases, homebirth is the safest option. It prevents intervention which prevents complications which prevents both mother and child deaths. I don't think that the AMA and ACOG seriously have women's health and safety in mind (and definitely not civil rights). I don't know why AMA and ACOG feel threatened and feel like they have to defend the hospital. If they want hospitals to be the #1 choice for birth, then they ought to be trying to understand why women choose against it (is it because of atmosphere? procedures? the attitudes of the staff?) and help the doctors and physicians in their organizations cater to the laboring woman instead of planning to use legislation to overrule a woman's right to be in her own home. You can't force people to respect you by taking away their civil rights. It's ridiculous to say, "I'm sorry- but you have no right to be in your own home." If they're worried about losing "customers" then why don't they try improving their product instead of forcing people to use their services? Maybe I'm crazy, but I always thought that a doctor is supposed to help people.
I like how one person put it, "What’s next- plumbers making a law that says that I can’t unclog my own toilet, I have to call them to do it? It’s certainly risky- Lord knows what could come out of there! Someone could lose an eye!"

I'm not against doctors, but I do believe they should be used on an as-needed basis. I'll call one if I need one. Birth doesn't require a professional, so I won't be calling one.

Heather's birthing checklist:
  • A laboring woman.

Yup. That's about it for necessities.

Friday Fill-ins

1. A smile is the best kind of encouragement.
2. Apples to Apples is my favorite board or card game.
3. I would love to have more yarn in my life and less procrastination.
4. When I think of the Summer Solstice, I think of staying up really late to enjoy every bit of sunshine.
5. I just remembered I need to call the newspaper.
6. One of my favorite song lyrics goes like this: I get knocked down, but I get up again.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to either a potluck, wedding reception or stake activity, tomorrow my plans include Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband and Sunday, I want to visit teach!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Relief Society Love

I love Relief Society and I love it all the time. However, my reasons for loving it change. I think about half a year ago I was in love with it because of Enrichment. And I think I've been in love with because of visiting teaching, too.

But right now, my love is different, let me explain.

I'll admit, I don't have the best people skills- especially in the area of small talk. Small talk wasn't valued in my family when I was growing up, so I never learned it. Of course, some small talk is just "How's the weather?", but I'm currently learning the value of sincere small talk- it helps you learn about people- their interests, goings on, needs. These are all valuable things to know (especially if you're a visiting teacher). Also, small talk keeps you from being that "weird distant one." I know that it's because of my lack of small talk that when I'm in a new situation or with lots of people that I feel left out.

Relief Society is one of those places with lots of people coming and going- and it's wonderful. Every week you get a new chance to try to be friendly and kind. Even if you offend someone one week, you can go again and fix it the next (and if you're going to enrichment, you can fix it sooner than that). It's like unlimited practice of people skills!

And if you mess up and estrange yourself one week and offend every single person in the room, they can't keep you away the next week! What are they going to say, "I'm sorry, you're not a woman"? And what better place to practice loving others and fixing offenses than at a place you'll always be welcome no matter what?

I know the pull not to go to Relief Society- I've felt it. I've gone and wondered, "Who here thinks I'm _____?" and I spend good precious time wondering what people are thinking instead of just being myself and moving on. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ""For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. " I'd like to say, for every minute you spend being paranoid about what other people are thinking, you lose sixty seconds of preventing and fixing any misnomers.

So yes, right now I love Relief Society because it's a constant, continuing way for me to grow. I keep myself from growing by no going- why wouldn't I want to go?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doing new things

The pictures from the vacation are here.

We had quite the time. Vacations are great places to do new things you've never done before. Here's a list of some of the new things I did:

  • Got a flat tire.
  • Took Margaret swimming.
  • Mini-golfed while wearing Margaret (which is not easy).
  • Took Margaret to a water park.
  • Breastfed while floating in a lazy river.
  • Watched the Food Network
  • Seen two lizards at the temple.
  • Thrown up on the temple grounds (in some bushes). I think it was from food poisoning at the water park.
  • Breastfed in the temple, took a nap with Margaret in the temple.
  • Learned that Margaret can do crunchers.
However sick I was at the temple, it was a lot of fun. I hadn't been feeling well since the waterpark (I had thrown up in the middle of the night before), but I did make it through the whole car trip to the temple without getting sick. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I felt nauseous again. McKay and his mom went inside and they kept calling me to come inside, but I knew I wouldn't make it to the door. I sat down, waved them away, and turned and puked. In the flowers. Right before, I said a little prayer, knowing the inevitable and quickly asking for any forgiveness that being nauseous at the temple might require.

I went in and told McKay what happened and went back outside still feeling very sick. McKay was doing baptisms. I called a friend and during that conversation, I walked around the temple, saw a couple of lizards and a butterfly and more bumblebees than you can imagine. I sat down and got off the phone and started seriously considering going inside to wait- except that I was wearing jeans and tennis shoes- not quite temple attire.

A man who was coming to attend the temple saw me waiting outside with Margaret (she was asleep in the wrap). He told me that I should come inside where it was air conditioned. He was so kind I couldn't refuse, so we went inside. Once we were inside, he asked me Margaret's name and then said, "Welcome, Margaret, to your Father's house." I was getting quite teary-eyed from his kindness and from being so nauseous. I went and sat in the waiting room and watched temple workers come and go. Margaret stirred because she was hungry, so I fed her and she went back to sleep. I decided I needed sleep, so I lied down to sleep with Margaret. At one point (when I was awake again, but still lying on the couch) another temple worker asked me if I was tending the baby or if she was tending me. To be honest, I don't know.

I also got to talk to another worker whose daughter had a baby the day before Margaret was born, and that was fun. Even though Margaret's too small for me to leave her for a couple of hours to attend a temple session and I was as sick as a dying camel, I was able to enjoy going to the temple.

Monday Make Up

Makin' up for Friday:
1. Project: Pigeon Hole is high up on my bucket list. (It's kind of top secret, so I won't tell you what it all entails.)
2. My favorite quote is "A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes"; it's from Hugh Downs.
3. The 100 Hour Board inspired me to start blogging.
4. Strawberries are best in my mouth.
5. My top right canine tooth fell out in the last dream I remember having. (Interestingly, here's what losing your teeth in a dream supposedly means.)
6. The most enjoyable time to go for a walk is anytime.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight (Friday night) I (was) looking forward to relaxing and actually keeping a meal in my stomach, tomorrow (Saturday) my plans include(d) a sour dough pancake breakfast and Sunday, I want(ed) to come home!

With the Moon

We just got back from vacation and everything decided to bombard us all at once. I have quite a lot to do today. A post about the vacation will appear once the tide goes out.

Meanwhile, anybody have any visiting teachers they can spare?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

1. Idle hands are rare when you have a baby, knitting, and a house to clean.
2. I love taking my time in the shower.
3. My favorite time of the day is when I wake up next to my two favorite people.
4. The last tea I drank was red raspberry leaf tea when I was pregnant.
5. I like to ride my bike in the Summer.
6. My mother always said the number "50 million" it was like her favorite number.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to having a Brazilian barbeque, tomorrow my plans include a tie-dyeing LLL fundraiser and Sunday, I want to go to Relief Society!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


It's always good to have some extra breastmilk in the fridge for emergencies. Because of Margaret's cold on Sunday, I decided to refrigerate some milk on Monday. Today, she has been showing some signs of an ear infection. I go to retrieve the prepared milk from the fridge.

It's frozen. Our fridge froze my milk. Now what can I use?! Well, I guess I can express some more...

Picture of the dropper and the ill-fated cup of frozen milk:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Things I wanted to say in RS

Yesterday in Relief Society we ran out of time and I didn't get to make the comment I wanted, so I'm going to make it here and elaborate (if you can't use your blog as a soapbox, what good is it then?). The lesson was on the last two talks that Elder Wirthlin has given in Conference.

There was a lot of discussion on being kind to others and serving them. We discussed "the errand of angels" and befriending each other within Relief Society.

I'd like to say that marriage and giving birth has taught me a lot about friendship. While it's nice to be kind to each other, what we really need to do is give each other unabashed, unlimited, unconditional support. About a month before I had Margaret, one of my friends told me that she and some other of my friends were going to fast for me. While I don't mind being fasted for, it was a little upsetting that they were afraid for me and didn't fully believe in me. I had other friends, though that when they heard of my plans to UC said, "That's great!" and were behind me 100%. Their support was wonderful and uplifting and full of faith. They weren't afraid for me- they were excited. I knew they would support me no matter what.

McKay does that for me, too. When I first told him about PPH, I fully expected him to tell me I was in way over my head because that's the kind of reaction I was used to, but he didn't. He said that he thought I should go ahead and do it and still supports me in it.

That's what I really needed- and I believe that's what everyone needs- enthusiastic, constant support. And it's what Relief Society is for- supporting every woman in her life decisions, because that's what Christ does for us. I hope that I give other people the exact same kind of support in all of their choices.

Mother's Blessing

(and a review of the weekend)

This is what we did Friday night. On Saturday, I went to a baby shower and then to a mother's blessing (sometimes referred to as a blessing way).

It's interesting how two activities that celebrate the same event in a woman's life can be so different. The baby shower was sprinkled with the regular phrases, "I'm going with drugs all the way," and, "I don't think I'd want to be pregnant- it looks so uncomfortable" where you could tell the most of the women there were afraid. The blessingway was exactly the opposite of that.

Since I'm sure most of you know what a baby shower is like, I'll describe the mother's blessing. (The baby shower was your typical getting cute clothes and such party.)

First, I am told that the reason we called it a mother's blessing is because the Navajo Indians use "Blessing Way" to refer to a sacred ceremony and they would rather we not use the term for our Americanized knock-off version.

This was the first mother's blessing I've been to and it was for L. L has two kids already- I believe they were both homebirths with a midwife, though I don't know for sure. This one will be a UC.

It started with a meal and the usual chatting that women do: talking about their children, pregnancy, breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, AP, vaccinations, cloth diapers, organic recipes, etc. I love these women. They are some of the few women I know that I can converse with freely and not have to defend myself.

Then a fire was started and we made s'mores. While eating our s'mores, we wrote down birth affirmations for L. L had a list of her birthing and mothering fears and we all went to the fire pit.L read her fears, tore up the paper and threw the pieces into the fire. Then we went around the circle and read the affirmations we wrote down for her. It was so great!

As it was getting dark at this point, we went inside and talked some more while doing some henna tattoos. L's belly was gorgeous! I got a henna tattoo on my hand and considered giving Margaret a henna tattoo, except that she's so wiggly and it would smudge.

The part that is smudged on my wrist was the part that Margaret drooled on before it dried. Margaret has a little spot of henna on her hand where she pushed her hand on my wrist after drooling.

This is my favorite part of the blessingway:
As I went to leave, I gave L a hug and told her that she can "totally do it." She smiled and said, "This birth is going to be great. My other two births were great and this one will be great, too." It is SO refreshing to hear a pregnant woman be so sure and positive about her upcoming birth. That is what it should always be like.

I didn't get a mother's blessing for Margaret's birth (everyone was sick because it was winter and it didn't get planned), but for my next birth, I totally want one. I love the henna idea (we can outline the stretch marks on my belly- they look like flames!), and I think I'll want fingerpaints there for birth art.

Happy birthing vibes to all the pregnant women out there!