Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cloth


So when the Ditch the Disposables Challenge occurred, I didn't choose to ditch the diapers because we have to use a laundromat.

But after some thought and buying almost a whole stock of diapers last Wednesday for $10, we're ditching the disposables.

Good bye, sposies!

We've been using cloth in the day since Friday, along with ECing part of the day. Because we still have a bag of disposables, we're using them at night until I can make more longies. I don't have any diaper covers that fit her (we have newborns and small), but I do have wool yarn and lots of it. So right now we're using a wool soaker I knit while I was pregnant and some longies we got as gifts. In the meantime, I'm knitting some more longies and I bought some sweaters from DI that will be turned into soakers and longies.

I'll be discussing the happiness of wool as diaper covers on my knitting blog later this week and will probably post a "How to turn wool sweaters into diaper covers" tutorial there, too.

Ooh extra bonus: There's a laundry service in the area called Do it Simple. They are considering doing a cloth diapering service and I get to be one of their trial people! Starting this Thursday for a week, I get diapers at my door and they'll take them away and clean them! They're supplying the diapers, covers, baking soda for odors, diaper pail. All I have to do is fill out a survey of how I like it. :) This'll give me more time to knit up some soakers and longies.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Birth Story (revised)

Six months ago, Margaret was born at 6:45pm. Being born is something magical. After a birth, a family is completely changed forever. Very few events can completely change your family like that- not even death changes your family. I think that's why family is such a happy thing- it can only be added to, never taken away from.

In July I re-wrote Margaret's birth story to be published. By this, I mean I added a lot more and re-arranged some of my thoughts. Birth isn't linear, so it's difficult to write it down.

I thought that it'd be nice for her 6 month birthday to re-post the birth story with my new add-ons. Warning: it's long, and even then can't capture all my feelings those 44 hours.

I was getting a little antsy about my baby coming. She was born Saturday March 29, 2008 at 6:45pm; this was 42 weeks and 3 days gestation from my last period and 43 weeks gestation based on my ovulation date. I had been having regular Braxton Hicks contractions all week varying from 3 minutes apart to 10 minutes apart.

Thursday, the 27th, Krysta, a friend from church came over and brought us split pea soup for dinner. We had just gotten up from a nap and had slept through dinner (that was my last "good" sleep). By the time we finished talking with her, I was trying to hide the fact that the contractions had just gotten stronger. It was 10:30pm. After we ate, I tried to lie down in our bath tub. At about midnight we went to bed. I struggled all night to sleep and eventually gave up at 4 in the morning. I remember looking over at McKay thinking, “He shouldn't get to sleep if I can't!” So I woke him up.

Friday morning, I realized that we should probably blow up the birthing pool we borrowed. A friend of ours let us borrow a pump and McKay blew up the pool and filled it with hot water. During this time I was laboring on our birth ball and it felt pretty good. I tried some relaxation techniques that really helped control the contractions. In fact, McKay couldn't tell when I was having contractions. In my head, I was relaxed- I sent thoughts of “letting go” to my muscles. I was handling everything and was very calm.

Once the pool was filled I labored in it and McKay would make hot compresses out of washcloths and press them on my back for the back pain and would boil water. I had made a list of birth affirmations and he would read them aloud to me. He was doing the work of at least three people.

It was my brother's birthday (he turned 11) so I called him. On the phone, I told my mother, “Oh, I'm having some contractions right now.” I didn't speak on the phone long, but Jared told me, “Maybe you'll have the baby on my birthday.” “Maybe,” I managed to breathe (oh that contraction!).

Most of Friday was just contraction after contraction of back labor.

At some point I asked for a blessing and I was told to be patient and that I would receive the inspiration on what to do next. That evening I started losing my mucous plug which was exciting because it meant progress was being made. Was it exciting! I think I was practically jumping up and down- and if I wasn't literally jumping, I definitely was inside. I continued losing my mucous plug up until Saturday morning. That night I pretty much didn't sleep and around 5 in the morning I was getting frustrated with the lack of progress. I was feeling like I didn't know what I was doing and the prospect of another full day of back labor was so overwhelming. It had been so long and so fruitless- or at least, I felt like there were no noticeable changes.

I called my friend, J. She is training to be a doula, so I knew that walking into a laboring woman's home wouldn't phase her. She had been very supportive during my pregnancy and had told me that it wouldn't bother her if I called in the middle of the night. I left a message on her machine at about 5:45am. Twenty minutes later she showed up at my door with some breakfast. Her husband, Chris, had urged her to bring power drinks for McKay, thinking that McKay was probably getting tired, too.

I explained to J that I was in labor and what I was feeling. I felt hopeless and that the inspiration I had been promised wasn't coming; I was frustrated with how long my labor was- I didn't want to wait another day to finally have a baby.

She gave us the food, which I ended up throwing up later that morning. My diet during labor consisted of mostly grape juice, Powerade for electrolytes, noodles, fruits, and donuts (go carbs!). J took over the job of boiling water so McKay could put pressure on my lower back during the back labor. I had really hard back labor through the day. I threw up again sometime that afternoon, but we hid the clocks so I wouldn't be bothered by the time, so I don't know when. It was during this time that the labor was the toughest: it had been going on for a long time and I couldn't feel any progress.

There were a few times that J offered to go home. She wasn't there as my doula- just as a friend and was worried that her presence was throwing off my birth groove. I told her that she could stay. It seemed less lonely to have her there.

The blessings I was given were my driving force. When I got frustrated, I would ask for another- I was reminded me to have faith and patience; they helped me to pick myself back up and focus. One blessing in particular told me to remember all the women who had come before me and their strength and that I had that same strength. It was the words of the blessings that I would repeat in my head.

At some point, probably around 4pm, I realized that I didn't need McKay to apply pressure during the contractions. That meant either the baby was moving down or had moved down or that labor was going to be stalled. I was getting really tired of the back labor but was beginning to feel pushy. I wasn't sure how dilated I was so I didn't want to push too much, but I started vocalizing through contractions. I tried various positions- I had read that being on the toilet was helpful, but as soon as I tried, I knew it wouldn't be helpful to me. I also tried laboring on the birth ball, and in and out of the pool. I was up for anything.

At some point, we turned on the stereo. I was up for trying just about anything to relax and help this baby out. I think we tried some soft, hymn-like music, but it bugged me too much. I have a playlist titled, “Heather's Happy Music” which is an eclectic mix with musicians like The Proclaimers, AC/DC, They Might Be Giants, and Weird Al Yankovic. It was much better.

Around 6 I started pushing with the contractions and could feel which contractions were productive and which weren't. I put my finger up my vagina and felt that the baby was about 4 inches back. I thought I felt the head, it was very smooth. "I feel the head!" I exclaimed. McKay and J looked very happy and I felt reassured that this baby would come quickly. For the next while I would push with the contractions (and sometimes without contractions because I was so anxious to see my baby). I was finally making progress that I could measure, which gave me hope. I started ignoring the fact that I was supposed to wait for contractions and pushed whenever I got antsy. I discovered that pushing sort of induced a contraction: I would push without a contraction, but then my body would make a contraction and push with me. I was holding on to McKay's hands and leaning over the edge of the pool. I was telling myself, “I are not alone in this; many women have done this before. Their strength is my strength.”

At some point in my pushing stage, the stereo played “I Like to Move It, Move It” by Reel 2 Real. I was doing lots of squats- up and down and thought about how true it is that I like to “move it move it.” I told the baby that I wouldn't mind if it decided to “move it move it” down the birth canal. Now when I look back on my birth, that's my theme song, though I didn't pay attention to which song was playing as she was born.

The next time I checked how far back the baby was, there was about an inch and a half to go! I was almost there!

McKay moved behind me into the water and I gripped J's hands. In the next few pushes I started feeling something crowning, but the ring of fire was not as strong as I expected. It was only a little bit of a sting. That's definitely not how I imagined the ring of fire at all! Ring of stinging, maybe, but no fire. I felt something hanging out of my vagina and put my hand down there and there was something really squishy. Weird. I thought my water had broken at some point in the pool and I had just not noticed. I stood up for McKay so he could see what it was. It was my bag of waters- I guess that's why I had never noticed it breaking.

I knew it was soon, so I gave a few more hard pushes and finally felt the ring of fire. (That's what I had been expecting!) The part that stung the most was up in front, I didn't feel any pain near my perineum. McKay saw the head coming and I finished pushing it out. I knew at this point that there usually is a lull while the baby turns to get the shoulders through. I kept thinking McKay was pulling on the head and told him to stop. He said he wasn't. I felt the shoulders turn and I helped push them through. Two shoulders and an arm were pushed out, and then there was a slight pause before the rest of baby spilled out. The baby was still in the water sack until the feet came out, at which point it broke. McKay passed the baby to me between my legs and I brought it up out of the water for its first breath.. I noticed she was a girl but didn't say anything yet. J and McKay started to help unwrap the cord which was around her arm. Boy, was she slippery! Then it was announced that we had a Margaret. We checked the time and it was 6:45- I had labored for 44 hours.

I had just given birth! I felt that I had made it through my rite of passage into motherhood. I was strong and had done something amazing. No more doubts, no more “what ifs,” just pure, solid “I did it!”

When Margaret was born, she was very pink and started fussing and breathing right away. There was a good amount of vernix on her, which reassured me that she wasn't “overdue” and that everything was fine. There was a little stain of meconium on the top of her head, but that was it, and it was barely noticeable.

I started breastfeeding in the pool and then J suggested getting out of the pool and helped me out. I reclined on the couch, nursing our little Margaret. McKay gave me a blessing for the placenta to come quickly. I started noticing afterpains of my uterus clamping down as I was nursing (and, boy were they intense!). About 10 minutes after the birth, the placenta started coming out and was sitting in my vagina. I scooted towards the edge of the couch and it just fell out into a bowl with a lot of blood clots. Soon after, we grabbed our sterilized meat scissors and a piece of cotton yarn. The cord wasn't pulsing so I tied it off and McKay cut the cord. McKay examined the placenta and it was all there. I asked J at what point she thought I had hit transition. And she said, “A long time ago.” I had shown signs that morning but none recently. Either that meant my second stage was really long or didn't really exist.

One of my favorite parts of this story occurred 15 minutes after the birth. There was a knock at the door. I was naked on the couch, cuddling my little one. McKay answered the door, bare chested in his swimming trunks. I recognized the voice- it was Kelly from church. She had brought me some strawberries. I was a little confused at why she was there- but I remembered that she had called on Friday when I was in labor (we had ignored her call). She assumed we had the baby on Friday and thought I'd like some strawberries to snack on post partum. I called to her from our couch, “I had the baby 15 minutes ago and I'm still naked!” I meant it as a “if you don't mind me being naked, you can come in” offer but I guess she didn't want to.

I will totally go this route again (and again and again!). I love this birth. I loved experiencing it and I love sharing it. McKay was such a help and I was glad that J came so McKay could focus on helping me with the back labor on Saturday. Next time I'm going to do more stretching (hips, legs, back) during pregnancy; maybe it'll help me be able to walk better afterwards (I think all the sqautting caused me to pull a muscle). The pool was the best thing because by Saturday, the birth ball didn't feel comfortable anymore (I tried it, believe me). After having done it, birth didn't feel extreme- just natural.

About 14 hours old:
Last week:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cesareans

I was reading a Shape of a Mother post today and the woman is recovering from a cesarean. She said that sometimes she feels like she wasn't "meant" to be a mother because she had to have a c-section instead of a vaginal birth.

And I remembered the lady I met a couple of months ago that said she didn't know why she had a cesarean- the doctor didn't tell her, and she was left with feelings of inadequacy and post partum depression. She said she'd like a homebirth for her next child.

My heart goes out to these women. I can't really relate, but I'm sorry. This reminded me of an article called You Should Be Grateful that I read a few months ago . I bookmarked it. If you had a cesarean, I really recommend reading it.

I have the utmost respect for women who've VBACed. Sure, I had a UC which some people say is "brave," but I think it is far more brave to overcome the memories of being told that your body can't give birth on its own and that you're deficient. I didn't have to do that. Kuddos and applause to those women!

And I've heard that ICAN now has forums where you can talk to other women who've had c-sections and VBACs. I found that online forums can be a great source for encouragement and support when you can't find it elsewhere.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

1. Designing and making Halloween costumes are some of the things I'm most looking forward to in October.

2. Sometimes I actually clean the house (wow!).

3. I had a baby at home with just my husband and a friend present and that's why there is a saying, "never say never"!

4. When I'm down, I need people and chocolate and prayer.

5. At home on the bed breastfeeding Margaret is where you'll find me most often. (like now!)

6. A rainy day is good for getting chores done, knitting, and cooking soup.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a Brazilian dinner, tomorrow my plans include the General Relief Society Broadcast and Sunday, I want to go to church!

Slow on the Bandwagon

So I just wanted to mention a couple of things that have been flying around the Blogosphere lately that I haven't mentioned, but I've been meaning to. Other people have elaborated more eloquently than I could, so I'll let them do the talking.

Rixa's response to some doctors who seem to have forgotten who the customer is and who's providing the service.

On the Other Side of the Glass
is a moving coming out next year that is specifically addressing the issues of hospital birth and how it relates to the father. There is a preview at the link.

Meanwhile, I've been going a little more greener. After some more calculations, cloth will be cheaper than disposable diapers for us, as long as I don't mind an extra 2-3 hours at the laundromat every week. And we've been ECing some. We got Margaret a potty last week from Ikea for $4. Pretty nice, if you ask me.

And I re-organized my books. By color. This is just my bookshelf/nightstand. McKay's is also color-coordinated as is the shelf above the desk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follow the Money

I ran across this article the other day from CBS: How Independent are Vaccine Defenders?

I think we should always question someone's motives when what they are asking us to do makes them huge amounts of money.

(not quite) Wordless Wednesday


A mantis Margaret and I found last Friday.

Slice

I don't have a huge post in my mind, but lots of little things going on.

I made bread the other day- and it actually rose! Woohoo! The only issue was that the crust was kind of hard.

It looks like my lactation amenorrhea is at an end, but I'm ok with that.

After this post, I'm dedicating myself to not turn on the computer for at least 4 hours.

I really really really want to knit. I have the knitting bug like CRAZY!

The fall colors are coming out. I want to get some breastfeeding pictures in the fall colors. I think it would be beautiful.

I'm re-organizing my bookshelves by color. I'll post pictures when it's done!

We caught a pee yesterday! Woohoo! Hooray for EC!

I need to go shopping.

I think I'm going to make oatmeal/applesauce cookies.

I should do my visiting teaching.

I need to go to the yarn store!

The ward has playgroup today; I should probably go.


Fun conversation last night between me and McKay.

How many kids do you want?
10.
Why 10?
Because you said...
"Because I said?" What happened to 8?
Ok. Fine.
What about 20?
No. 15.
Why 15 and not 20?
I don't want 20.
But why limit it at 20 if you want 15?
Er. More than you. I want more than you.
So you want another wife?

Hahaha. Oh fun times.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Solids?

So Margaret will put everything in her mouth. I've heard a lot of people say, "My baby was just so interested in food so early!" Perhaps Margaret's interested in food? How can you tell the difference between interest in food and exploring with her mouth? I had no clue. You

So McKay decided to do an experiment.

We took a Twix and set the wrapper and the candy in front of her. She'll have two choices: edible or shiny.



She chose shiny.


So we concluded she's still more interested in exploring with her mouth than eating. Not that we'd let her eat the Twix- no refined sugar for her yet!

Also the other day, I was at Ikea and I bought some ice cube trays (the long ones at this site). Fill up a tray with breastmilk and you get momscicles! Margaret loves them- I think she's teething and it's nice and cold on her gums.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

1. There is no need to worry; Everything will work itself out.

2. Where in the heck did the spiders in our bathroom come from?

3. Yesterday, the laundry is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for this upcoming election are depressing, but maybe elections were always depressing and I just didn't pay enough attention before.

5. Charity is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are the products of knitting and breastfeeding.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a formal dance- except neither of my formal dresses are breastfeeding-friendly, tomorrow my plans include a wedding = family in town and Sunday, I want to take a walk!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeling Special

I started this post a couple of days ago- forgive me for taking so long!


So Jack at slightly off center made my day. I knew she read my blog, but I didn't know she read my blog and liked it. Thanks! Plus she thinks this blog is about my "adventures in motherhood." To be honest, Jack, I have no idea what this blog is about, but you might be right. Maybe it is adventurous. Motherhood is quite the party!

RULES about this little award:
(1) give this to people whose blogs mean something special to you - or give it to the blogs whose persons mean something special to you
(2) leave a comment on their blog so they know they got it
(3) you get to pick the number of times you give it



I'm actually very grateful for rule #3. When I opened my google reader this morning, 100 items were staring at me, wanting to be read. 100! Then my brain told me, "You have far too many blogs in your reader!"

Brain, you're right, but you are addicted to them all, too.

So I get to pass this along...

Blogs that make my day- these are some of the ones I look forward to seeing in my reader:

Carrie! You rock, Carrie. She was in our playgroup, but then moved away...
Chilly's World. I've never met her, but I like her blog.
Dancing with Dragons- playgroup friend!
Deardens- Twice I've substituted piano for Crystal, and twice I've been called to the calling I substituted for (Primary and Ward Choir). I see a pattern here...
Escaping to My Happy Place- thorough research on AP-type things and another playgroup friend.
Farley Smiles! Melinda's cool.
Going Full Hippie- yet another playgroup friend- she UCed all three of her children! Hooray for her!
Jamie- she's cool and used to be in my ward
Jennie- she quilts! I'm amazed at that.
A different Heather F. I should have gotten to know her better when I had the chance.
Monique- I love Monique and I'm glad she and McKay broke up 3 years ago. :)
Musings of a Mommy Bee- I think a lot of cool people are in Alaska
My Seaside Retreat- Another awesome playgroup friend.
Prairie Mama- I don't know how I found her blog, but she's cool.
Pulling Daisies- very cool and very crunchy.
Sarah- another cool mama in our playgroup. We have the best playgroup ever.
Summer's Camp- related, so I have to like her. :) I do love you, Beth.
Meagan- I knew her growing up, but not well, and then she showed up again and I discovered how cool she is.
Boogeyman's wife- another cool person in Alaska. She knits!
Passionate Mind- crunchy, knitty
The True Face of Birth- you know you're cool when your dissertation is on UC
View from Utah- DH of a playgroup friend
NH Knitting Mama- she's just nice. I like nice.
Tender Mercies- she plays the harp!

Wow. That took a long time to link and get all together- and I'm sure I've missed a bunch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

That time of the year when everything's green...


I think I've always had a green tendency. When I worked the summer after high school at Think Ink, a screen-printing shop, I could buy shirts and such for wholesale prices. Before I went to college that fall, I made sure that I bought a couple of cloth bags for groceries.

Maybe it started before then. I remember the recycling unit in second grade. They ingrained into our brains all types of information about landfills and garbage and how the earth was running out of space for our crap. I ran home (well, took the bus) and told my mom we needed to recylce NOW!

No matter how it started, I need to be more green. So here's a green post, just for all of you.

Things I do now to save the earth

  • Breastfeed- no bottles to clean (saves water!), no cans to throw away (saves landfill space!).
  • Walk as much as possible. We live in a good location for this. In Provo, church is no more than a few blocks away, so we walk. We are also in a great location: the park is 2 blocks down, the grocery store is 2 blocks down, the library is 3 blocks down, campus is 1/2 a mile with McKay's classes at 1 mile away. I can even be crafty! The fabric store is practically across the street and the yarn store is only 5 blocks away (huzzah!). I even walk to the laundromat with a baby on my front and a bag of laundry on my back. Eventually I'll need to get a wagon for that, because someday I'll get pregnant again, and Margaret + baby in my belly is going to be a little too much for my front. Anyway, almost everything is in walking distance*.
  • Try to buy organic. It's more expensive, but it means less pesticides and other crap in my food and on the fields where it's grown.
  • Try to buy local. We went to the farmer's market on Saturday (and we walked!) and bought a watermelon. When you walk to the farmer's market, the only things you'll want to buy are going to be juicy.
  • Consolidating errands. I now have "errand days." All my in-walking-distance errands are done on Thursdays. All my car-required ones are on Mondays. Yesterday I even went onto Google Earth to map out the best route for my driving.
  • Use cloths for washing instead of paper towels. I try to buy eco-friendly cleaners, too. I use baking soda for our clothes and Simple Green for our bathroom right now. Admittedly, Simple Green is all chemicals, but it's biodegradable, so it counts for something. When we finish our bottle, we'll probably switch away from chemicals.
  • Reusing! Re-purposing! This really pertains to my favorite hobby: knitting. I have 5 bags of yarn in my closet that were once other things. I unravelled the projects and now have yarn! A lady in our playgroup goes to the thrift store to buy wool sweaters to turn into wool soakers and longies. When we cloth diaper, we're definitely doing it.
  • Cloth grocery bags- I mentioned that above.
  • Hand-me-downs and freecycle. A lot of Margaret's clothes are hand-me-downs. And you won't believe how lucky I've been in the Freecycling realm- we've gotten some great things. Don't send things to the dump! Re-use them!
  • Natural birth. I wonder how making the drugs such as the epidural affect the environment.
  • Those energy-saving lightbulbs. All but 2 light bulbs in our house are these.
  • Buying items with little or no packaging. Still working on this.
Things I'd like to do in the future
  • Go no 'poo. I'm slowly working on it. My hair has been so chemically attacked, it's going to take a while. I'm in the "wash your hair every other day instead of daily" stage. I'm considering cold-turkey, though. Margaret has gone no 'poo, though. Her hair looks great! :)
  • Cloth diapers. The biggest obstacle is the laundromat. In the meantime, I need to be more vigilant in ECing.
  • NO MORE PAPER TOWELS. This means you too, McKay!
  • Future-future: my dream house. Off the grid, huge garden, compost pile, homesteading.
  • Raw food diet, perhaps. I'm curious about it.
  • No more disposable menstrual products. Brightonwoman talks about the cup-variety here, but has also sewn her own.
I've enjoyed the Green Baby Guide. There are some other green blogs I follow, I'll post their links as I run across them.

Until then, I have a date with the park.

*Everything is in walking distance if you have the time. -Steve Wright.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Friday Fill-ins!

1. I enjoy Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. You should enjoy it too!

2. How best to curb my Internet time is something I wonder about often lately. Should I give myself "reward minutes" like 1 minute per washed dish or folded laundry? Or should I give myself a block of time at the end of the day?

3. In your heart, you knew you just had to take the plunge. It's ok because Life is an adventure like that. Sometimes there isn't an exact answer.

4. Take yarn, add a little time and you end up with socks- like magic!

5. Life has gifted me with a very understanding and supportive husband and lots of supportive friends (yay playgroup!).

6. Strawberry lemonade is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to the grad student BBQ, and perhaps Life is Beautiful at the Bridal Veil Film Festival, tomorrow my plans include someone looking at the car (perhaps it'll get sold!) and Sunday, I want to knit and knit!

Weird Wednesday

I know a lot of blogs that do "Wordless Wednesday." It's kind of fun, I think. I've even considered doing it.

Then I had a dream last night. As I was explaining it to McKay, I realize the strangeness really is beyond words.

So now you all get to read about my crazy dream. It's really typical for me to have crazy dreams- I've once said that if not for my crazy dreams, there would be no reason to fall asleep, it'd be too boring.

So last night...

I was visiting my in-laws with McKay. I think it was some sort of family reunion because lots of people were there...Melinda, Mandi, etc. I know this because there were 4 newborns, also typical for the family. They were all asleep in this room together: a pair of twins and then 2 other babies. All snuggled up. I went into that room to lie down to sleep, too. I re-arranged the babies and then Deia complained about it being too light in the room- I guess she was trying to sleep too. I tried closing the blinds, which took a while because blinds are fidgety and there were 2 windows.

And then my mother-in-law wanted to go shopping. So Rick, my father-in-law drives me and her to the store. The store was this trailer with all types of crappy souvenir-type items, but Sheri wanted to go out and look at everything anyway. I was still sitting in the car when Rick was like, "You should go shopping, too. It'll make Sheri happy." Of course you want to be on your MIL's good side, so I do go in. Lots of T-shirts, hats, costume jewelry. And I was saying, "oh cute!" to the weirdest things.

Then McKay was in there with a plate with a brownie on it. "Try this brownie!" Ok. It was very good- very gooey. Then we catch up with Sheri- she's trying to file a complaint to the store. She wanted some measurement in metric, but they only gave her standard. She complained about it the last time she was here and upset that they hadn't addressed it yet. So she was writing up another complaint and explaining that if they didn't start using metric measurements, everything would turn yellow. Seriously: yellow cars, pencils, trees...everything in the world: yellow.

So I don't know what that's all about but it was a weird dream. I love my weird dreams. Oh and at one point in the dream, I was driving a Model T Ford. All the other cars were passing me up and my headlights weren't very bright (it was just a bicycle lamp that I attached to the car, because we all know Model T's didn't have headlights). I don't remember where that part factored in...


And I can't explain how weird it was to type that and use my mother-in-law's first name. Strange... If we were in the same ward and not related, I'd definitely be calling her "Sister Farley." I once called her "Mrs. Farley" on the phone and she tried to tell me, "Heather, 'Mrs. Farley' is my mother-in-law."

Mine, too, Sheri. Mine, too. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Suffering, Struggling, Succeeding

In Abby's Shape of a Mother Entry, she says that her body works.

I've been thinking a lot about our bodies and their ability to work, specifically in giving birth. Before having Margaret I was dealing with the what-ifs, the fears, the unknowns. Sure, I was saying, "I trust my body," but it was a whole different thing to actually go through the motions and do it.

A few weeks ago, one of the playgroup mamas brought a friend. This friend had a little boy this April. She has since been overcoming the trauma of her cesarean- she didn't feel like it was necessary. The doctor never gave her a reason for it.

I remember looking at her and not knowing what to say except, "I'm sorry." Her doctor failed her and she didn't know why. I had read about people being disappointed in their cesareans online, but this was the first time I talked to someone in real life who was dealing with this. She said she had some rough times after her birth with depression. She wants to get pregnant again and wants to have a midwife at home because she feels this will be the best way to avoid a repeat cesarean.

I have another friend who had a midwife for her birth. The midwife was very involved and managed her birth too much for her taste. She admitted to me that she wants another homebirth when she has another but is unsure about UC or midwife because is also struggling with trusting her body.

I think it's a sad commentary on our culture that women struggle with body issues: physically and emotionally. I even struggled with trusting my body during my pregnancy. I'd like to share my experience in learning to trust my body.

I had a pretty easy pregnancy. I threw up less than 10 times. I had some terrible migraines in September (losing the feeling in half of my tongue and hands sort of migraines). After receiving a Priesthood blessing, the migraines ended. The next couple of months went on swimmingly.

In early January, I went back to work after the Christmas break (I worked at an elementary school). The first 3 days of work after the break were tough. By the end of the day I was barely walking- my lower back was having some contractions. Looking back, it was very similar to the back labor I had during my labor. I asked McKay for another blessing, for comfort.

I was given comfort, but I was also told that my body would struggle in my pregnancy. When I went to bed that night that word, struggle, was going through my mind. I didn't sleep very well and the next morning I told McKay that I was afraid of the suffering.

He reminded me that the word was "struggle" not "suffer." I wasn't told that I would "suffer."

That made all the difference. Struggle is not suffer. I did some more study, and as I've said before on this blog, came to the realization that just as we aren't punished for Adam's transgression, we aren't punished for Eve's, either. I didn't have to suffer. It didn't have to be this bad thing.

So from that point on, the rest of the pregnancy was great. I was trusting myself again. Even up to past 42 weeks of pregnancy I was thinking, "What ever happened to that struggling thing?"

Then I went into labor.

"Struggle" was the correct word for it. My body did struggle. It was pretty inexperienced in the birthing thing, but it did know what to do, and it did it. I won't lie: it was tough. I didn't practice any particular birthing or relaxation method. Early on, I was able to relax through contractions, but after the first 24 hours, I was just meeting them head-on. I kind of felt that relaxing through them was lying to myself about the sensations. I didn't want to downplay the sensations. I wanted to meet this challenge full-force. Though, admittedly, there were times when the intensity was just too much and I changed positions because I wasn't ready to handle that just yet.

But I did it. Maybe it would have been different if I had studied birthing hypnosis or breathing techniques, and I've considered something on those lines for my next birth, but then again... I might just hit it head-on like I did this time.

After my birth, I remember thinking, "Why did people try to tell me I needed a doctor for this?" Sure, I struggled, but new things are going to push you to your limits and it's expected. Birth was something my body could figure out on its own, just like breathing or digesting or even sweating. Your body's made to do it.

I'm actually really glad I had a long labor. No one can say, "oh, but you were able to do it at home because it was so easy for you." Nope. Not easy. But I did it. And I didn't suffer. My body works.

And for those of you who are wrestling with the idea of trusting your body: your body can do it. Remember: struggling and suffering are not the same thing.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Favorite posts this past week(ish)

This didn't get done on Saturday, forgive me. Or at least ignore me.

Birth- there were a few Cesarean articles this past week and a half
Is a cesarean really safer for a breech birth?
Cesarean reduces mother's response to baby
Humanizing the C-section
Wow. Homebirth is a bigger threat than AIDS!!!
Birth Art- thank you, Brightonwoman for posting this! Now I have more things to covet


Breastfeeding
Formula Feeding increases breast cancer risk


Going Green
Actually, brown.

A Yummy Recipe!
S'mores?

Funny Stories about kids
How did Mom get pregnant?
Toilet Brush

About that coveting...
If you didn't click on the birth art link, you should! Go to the etsy shop! My two favorites are "In All Her Power" because it reminds me of my labor and "Waterbirth" because it reminds me of Margaret's birth. Good thing Christmas is coming up!

Oh and I edited the "Love your Body" post with that link to Abby's Shape of a Mother entry. If you didn't go back to see it, here it is again. Abby- you get 2 linkys! Abby is an amazing person. She has had all three of her babies at home, unassisted. And she has a blog.

Wait, please wait

One of my biggest pet peeves is feeding your baby solids too early. All the research says to wait- it's just too risky to start too early- why would you take that chance with your baby?


Signs baby is ready for food (aka you should wait until your baby has ALL of these signs):

  • Pincer Grasp (the ability to pick up food with forefinger and thumb). The first few signs of food readiness are God-given; babies are designed to be dependent for a while, so let them be- there's probably a good reason (ie. the baby isn't ready!). Basically, if the baby can't eat on their own, they shouldn't eat solids. The pincer grasp is one of those developments- grabbing with their whole fist means that they aren't ready.
  • Interest in Food Real interest- not just the "teething so I put EVERYTHING in my mouth whether I actually want to ingest it or not" interest. Sure, Margaret would be interested in putting food in her mouth- she wants to put everything in her mouth! It's how babies explore their environment and deal with teething pain. If they look interested and you give them a spoon to play with and they are satisfied by that spoon- then it wasn't the food they wanted.
  • Loss of the tongue-thrust reflex Ah, one of those things babies are designed to do. You know that picture? Mom and Dad trying to get food into baby's mouth and baby's tongue keeps it from getting in, "Oh look! They like it!" No. That's the tongue-thrust reflex. It's to prevent the baby from choking. If the baby still has it, it means solids aren't supposed to go in. You aren't supposed to be fighting your baby! The baby will lose the reflex. Just be patient. Don't try to circumvent the protection that God gave your baby. Babies lose this reflex between 4 and 6 months, typically, but there are variations, of course.
  • Teeth If they don't have teeth, they shouldn't be eating solids. They are still needing to suck, not chew.
  • Sitting up on their own. Again, one of those developmental things to protect the baby from choking. Wait. It happens around 6 months
  • Being AT LEAST 6 months old. This is a big one. No, "But my baby has all the other signs at 5 months." Nope. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no solids (including juice) until 6 months. Why? Because the baby has what is called an "open gut." It's designed to let breastmilk be quickly absorbed into the baby's system. It will close, but until then, you need to hold off on solids. You see, if something too big for the baby gets ingested, it will be readily absorbed, but then (say it's a protein) it'll get stuck elsewhere. Then the body will need to attack that protein to get it un-stuck and view it as an intruder- and suddenly what do we have? Allergies- the body recognizing something that would otherwise be good for it as bad. There are NO outward signs of a mature gut. None. Zip. You can't tell. Neither can your pediatrician. It simply takes time- and it's recommended to wait 6 months to let the gut close.
"But my pediatrician said that I could before 6 months..." Ok. There are two thing wrong with that. Either your pediatrician hasn't read up on infant nutrition the past couple of decades or they are blatantly ignoring the research (and their own society: AAP). Would you want a pediatrician who has done either? Switch pediatricians now. Your pediatrician obviously doesn't care what is best for your baby.

"But I/my children ate solids at age ____ and are fine!" Look at the number of allergy/intestinal tract/obesity medication commercials on TV. A large number of adults who were the children of the "feed your kid at 6 weeks" parents are dealing with all kinds of troubles that could have been prevented by delaying solids. Sure there are other environmental factors, also, but now that we know that postponing solids can prevent these things, we should try that. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention... And if you/your children are fine, congrats, but I'm not comfortable with risking my children.

"But, but, but..." No. You can't know if your baby's gut is closed for sure- unless you open up your baby and investigate. Just wait the 6 months: it's better than the invasive surgery. It's not going to kill either of you!

In fact, starting solids too early increases the baby's chances of obesity and iron-deficiency (maybe starting solids too early will kill your baby?). Read the link below at kellymom.com- there are references!

I do sound harsh, but like I said at the beginning, it's one of my pet peeves- why don't pediatricians do their research? Why don't parents? You are responsible for a new being who can't take care of themselves! And of course, you don't have to read my blog if you don't want to hear my rants. :) And isn't your baby worth it? Your baby will have a lifetime of solid foods, what's 6 or more months? It's not like they'll never learn to eat: they will.

Oh and when they start eating solids, babies don't eat 3 solid meals a day. Adults shouldn't even do that- we've all heard that 6 or more small meals are better for us, well, they're better for babies, too. And you should feed solids AFTER a good feeding of breastmilk. Even at a year, babies should still be getting most (most!) of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula. The first foods are for texture/taste exploration, not nutrition.

My sources:
kellymom.com My favorite part of kellymom is that there are sources to studies. Read them! Need sources on the open gut? They're at the page I linked to. Need sources on increased obesity in children who begin solids too early? There, too. She even links to pages of the organizations that recommend waiting at least 6 months (and it's more than just the AAP and WHO).
I was going to list other sources, but kellymom has already listed them for me. Why reinvent the wheel?

And my favorite benefit: easier feeding. Waiting until your baby can feed herself, sit up, doesn't have the tongue-thrust reflex, has teeth, etc., means that you don't have to feed her mush! And it's cleaner (and cheaper- baby food is expensive)! No more, "Here comes the choo choo!"


And if your baby isn't interested yet, just keep on breastfeeding. Some babies just aren't interested in solids- even until 2 years. They are getting everything they need from you. That's what's great about breastfeeding- you don't have to worry if they're getting everything because they are! Babies are going to go through eating strikes, especially if they're sick or going through a big developmental milestone. Isn't it nice to know they are still getting everything they need through your breastmilk? Sets a mother's mind at ease. Relax, it's taken care of! Go breastmilk!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Love your body

When I was at the Utah Valley Women's Expo, there seemed to be an overall theme:

YOUR BODY SUCKS AND YOU NEED OUR HELP. IT'LL ONLY COST $$!

Pretty depressing. The booth next to us was giving out hormonal treatments and botox. One booth had a sign, "If your dimples aren't limited to your smile..." referring to cellulite. There were a more than a couple of booths that advertised laser hair removal and weight loss.

Looking at all this, well, it made me mad. It made me mad that they feel like they can prey off of women's insecurities and I was mad that women feel like they need this! I seriously wanted to tear down all of those signs and advertisements. I'm sick of being told that my body isn't good enough because it is good enough. My body is amazing- I grew another whole being inside me and that little person has gained 10 pounds on my milk alone. Sure it has altered my body, but do I really want to look like a prepubescent child? I'm not ashamed of having a baby and being a mother, so stop telling me I should be. You are getting on my nerves!

One lady's booth was for boudoir pictures (ooh-la-la!). We chatted and she advertised her hair and makeup artist at her studio and also that she does Photoshop out stretch marks. I mentioned that I like mine and she was surprised. The way my stretch marks line up makes it look like tiger or zebra stripes were tattooed to my body. Seriously. I think I look like an exotic dancer. I should get into belly dancing...

I have a friend- the one who invited me to go sell the HugaMonkey slings at the Expo. She has a Shape of a Mother entry. I love it. Reading her entry and chatting with some friends since my pregnancy and birth has made me love my body. I would link to that entry, but it's technically anonymous, so I'll protect her anonymity unless she's ok with me linking to it. :)

LINKY!! She's ok with me linking to it!

When I was in high school and junior high, I was pretty self conscious about my body. I went from a size 0 to a size 8 over a summer. Now, I know size 8 is a very lovely size, but when you're in high school and everyone else is a 2, well, you feel fat. It also doesn't help when you hear things like, "Oh you're over 100 pounds now- you're getting up there!" and "Ha! You could never work for Hooters- you're breasts aren't big enough." And when the first boy who tells you that you're beautiful is just trying to see how far he can go with you... yeah. I was definitely thinking, "That's the first time anyone's ever said that I'm beautiful... It's kind of pathetic that this is who it's coming from."

But anyway, insecurities galore.

Enough of the rambling. Let's get with the point of all this.
Women: You are beautiful. And amazing. If you are in a sad place and feel insecure, go to theshapeofamother.com. Go to 007b.com. Feel secure! Feel strong! Instead of worrying about shedding pounds, shed the decades of cultural propaganda that tell you that your body isn't good enough.

Mothers: tell your daughters they're beautiful. And your sons, too. They need to hear it- I know men can be equally insecure. And dads, you should tell your daughters that they are beautiful, too. They need to hear it from you. Don't let the first boy to say that to them be an 18 year old who's thinking with the wrong head. Let your children hear how you love your body- and theirs.


And this won't be my last rant on this- believe me.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekend Summary

Where are my Friday Fill-ins? My summary of this week in blogs?

Well, Friday and Saturday I was at the Utah Valley Women's Expo selling HugaMonkey baby slings. Two long days. I haven't been able to read blogs or write blogs or anything. And now I want a nap.

So I'll be back later.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ditch the Disposables


Crunchy Domestic Goddess is hosting a Ditch the Disposables Challenge for September and October.

I think I'll join in! Good bye paper towels! And bottled water!

I'd do the diaper thing, but without a washer and dryer, it's just as expensive to do cloth. Ugh. Someday I'll have a washer and dryer and $300 worth of all-in-ones, pockets, or other sort of diaper...


And for those of you in our area, Good Earth Natural Foods is selling a Kleen Kanteen-like bottle. Stainless Steel, no aluminum! I've got to head over there!

Out to Eat

One sentiment I've noticed with some people's issues with breastfeeding in public is, "I hear breastfeeding is this private, bonding time. If it's so intimate, don't do it in public."


You know what? You're right. Breastfeeding can be a very wonderful bonding time. But it's not always and it doesn't have to be every single time.

Imagine you're having dinner with someone you love: a friend, a sibling, a spouse, whoever. That can be a very sweet, bonding time. You can go out to a fancy place and have a candlelit date, or stay in and spend some time talking and catching up. A beautiful bonding time.

But you can't have dinners like that every day. It'll wear you out if you try to make sure you're always intimate every single time- it takes energy and thought and planning. Sometimes, you're tired and just need to throw a pizza in the oven or you have a lot of errands and you need to grab some fast food.

Breastfeeding is the same. You can bond, but sometimes, you need to eat on the go. And expecting that every time you breastfeed it's going to be this magical connection...that's setting yourself up for disappointment, or at least frustration- because your baby's going to want different things out of breastfeeding, too. Sometimes they want comfort and bonding, but sometimes they're just thirsty or tired or are more interested in something else, but are still hungry*. And sometimes I think they just want to show off how flexible and agile they are. "Look Mom! I'm eating AND standing on my head!" "Look at me! No hands!"**

So conclusion, although breastfeeding can promote bonding between a mommy and baby, it also can simply promote food in a baby's tummy. And it can be that simple and doesn't require intimacy.


*Yesterday in Sunday School, Margaret wanted to eat AND sleep, but didn't want to miss out on the lesson. It kind of went like this: sip sip sip, ooh lesson! (pops off to see what's going on), sip sip sip, tired...so close... to closing eyes... lesson! (pops off to see what's going on). Sure, I could go to the mother's lounge, but she eats for less than 5 minutes, always has. I'd spend more time walking there and back than actually feeding her. Besides, I'm interested in the lesson too! And the mother's lounge is boring. No one wants to chat in there.

**Yesterday after church, I was playing some Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And somehow Margaret was able to breastfeed AND watch me play. She's very fascinated with the video game controller...