What I find amazing about this article is that a baby's brain gains 50% more mass between weeks 35 and 39. I didn't know that! And this article explains well the reasons why I think induction is a very risky procedure.
About the placenta deteriorating past 42 weeks, I personally think that when a placenta does get to the point that it can't sustain a baby, it signals to the body to go into labor. Then once the baby's out, we notice that it's starting to deteriorate. I don't think it's a sign that the baby was in too long at all but a sign that it was in just right and that the placenta and mom's body were communicating well. From my own personal experience, Margaret was well past 42 weeks (and there's no question as to the dates) and the placenta showed no signs of aging- no calcification at all. It was a very large, very healthy placenta, all in one piece. And if we thawed it, I could give you proof. :)
I think we forget that each mom gestates differently and that 40 isn't a magic number- some moms will repeatedly go "overdue" because that's how their bodies work. Had I given birth to Margaret at 37 weeks ("term" by some opinions), she would have been a month and a half early. That would have been like a 34 week baby to a 40 week gestating mom- definitely on the dangerous side.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
What I find amazing about this article is that a baby's brain gains 50% more mass between weeks 35 and 39. I didn't know that! And this article explains well the reasons why I think induction is a very risky procedure.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
1. I'd really like a little extra time right now.
2. "Ow!" is the word you'd most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe. Creative, aren't I?
3. Possession is a really strange concept. Seriously- what does it really mean to "own" something?
4. He was cool and then he got lame and overdone. He's Captain Jack Sparrow.
5. Marshmallows and fire go together like peanut butter and jelly- for some reason people really like the combination, but I'm not all that big of a fan.
6. Margaret has two settings: on and on.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include more Dungeons and Dragons and Sunday, I want to meet one of McKay's old high school friends for dessert and games!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I was given the opportunity to read Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Nap Solution this past month.
I don't normally read sleep books. In fact, this is the first one I've read. Margaret has been a pretty good sleeper, so I haven't had the need for sleep books yet. However, I have heard moms, whom I hold in the highest regard, repeatedly recommend her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution. If Margaret had sleeping problems, that would have been the book I would have tried first because of its acclaim; I looked forward to reading the Nap Solution.
The No-Cry Nap Solution starts out explaining the importance of naps and describing the sleep cycles of babies and young children. This was pretty interesting to read; it made me wonder if I should pay better attention to making sure Margaret gets naps. She talks about the hormones in the brain and how missing naps can affect those. She doesn't really get into the science of why it's important to find non-crying solutions to naps, though I think it would have enhanced this section of the book, especially since there are studies that relate prolonged crying and brain hormones. It would have been interesting to connect the two here.
The book then continues on describing newborn sleep and tips specifically for newborns. The sections in this part of the book have titles including, "Newborns do not need to be 'taught' how to sleep" and "Newborn babies cannot be spoiled." I definitely agree with these. She also describes the difference between newborn sleep cycles and sleep cycles of an older baby or toddler whose sleep is more like an adult's, which I think would help a lot of parents starting out those first few weeks.
There are a few things that I find a little inconsistent, specifically refering to letting the newborn fall asleep in your arms, "the hitch here is that your baby will easily become accustomed to being held as she falls asleep. She'll soon be unable to fall asleep on her own." Pantley then recommends that you make sure you give your baby chances to fall asleep not in your arms. The inconsistency I see here is that just a few pages back, Pantley emphasizes that you can't spoil a newborn and then here, she makes it sound like you can. It isn't until much later in the book that she adds the caveat,
"If you really love having your sleeping baby in your arms and your daily schedule allows this pleasure, then continue on as you are with my blessings. . . . Don't change what works today for some fear of future problems. It will likely be no harder or easier for your baby to make a change now or later."Ideally, I'd like to see this mentioned nearer the front of the book and specifically in the newborn section. Parents of newborns can be really occupied in making sure they do everything "right." I, myself, was worried with how much Margaret was sleeping and eating to the point of stressing too much. I wouldn't want other parents to be stressing about holding/not holding their baby to sleep especially if their baby has colic or other problems and probably needs the sleep more than needing to get used to falling asleep in other positions.
The last third of the book is the longest and is set up to address napping changes and specific needs of naps. This is where all the tips are. I really enjoyed reading these tips- a lot of them are for older babies and toddlers and it's nice to have access to various options when it comes to helping your child nap. I especially liked Pantley's "Hush Hour" suggestion. Although I don't need it now, I can see where I'll probably need it in the future when Margaret's older and when I have more than one child.
Another great tip she suggested was moving dinner and bed time up if children are really cranky- which I think is genius. I never would have thought of it, but having dinner at 4 is probably better for their systems and it'll help them get ready for their bedtime routine earlier and make sure they get their rest. Another thing I really like about this suggestion is that it reminds us that our "schedules" are really fluid. Why not have dinner at 4?
She also mentioned other things- such as different ways to warm your baby's bed so that a transition from in-arms to in-bed would be easier. This is something I always thought about, "My arms are so warm, she's going to wake up if I put her in a cold bed," but for some reason, I hadn't thought of remedying that- it seems so obvious now!
In all, I did really like the book, especially the explanation of sleep cycles and the variety of nap and sleeping suggestions. I think sometimes parents just don't know what other options there are to the cry-it-out (CIO) method and this book gives parents those tools they need. A lot of parenting, and life in general, is knowing what your options are. If you don't know what your options are, then you have none. I would like to see more books like this available to parents.
Pantley also has a variety of books on other subjects, too.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Just wanted to give you all a warning that I might not blog as much this next week (semester?). McKay has decided that he'll be more productive if he takes my laptop to school. I do get the desktop, but it's much harder to nurse and surf the web at the desktop than with the laptop.
Just a little warning. Maybe this is code for "I'll update my knitting blog finally because I'll have picture of FOs." :)
Written by TopHat at 9:28 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Had some ups and downs here.
McKay came home sick from work on Friday, but I was able to clean the bathroom because he was home and could kind of watch Margaret.
We went and played some DnD. Fourth edition clerics are pretty rad. Then when we got in the car to come home, it wouldn't start. Wires to the battery are loose and I'll probably be walking to the car parts store tomorrow.
I won awesome blessingway stuff from a contest! Can you understand how cool that is?
I got a copy of The No Cry Nap Solution, but I haven't had time to read and review it. I'm over halfway through it. Margaret's own naps lately have been weird. It started with her schedule being off over the holidays, continued with sicknesses, and then is really messed up with afternoon church this year. But during the week, we get some semblance of routine. Kind of. When we're not sick.
McKay had to go to campus to work on something Saturday when I had to do laundry. And we still haven't steam cleaned the carpets. Things keep happening.
Margaret's been naked butt for EC most of the past week and a half. Most days she only uses 1-2 diapers (including the nighttime one). But it does mean a few misses- but lots of success, too.
Margaret has started using her hands to signal to us what she wants (unfortunately not EC related).
McKay just let me know he needs more socks.
I'm almost done knitting like 3 different projects, but they aren't actually getting FINISHED.
It's past midnight and I should go.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I just saw this and thought I'd post a link.
There's a campaign in Marin County, California where cardboard cutouts of breastfeeding moms are placed around the county with a little note that says, "When breastfeeding is accepted, it won't be noticed."
I think the campaign is very creative. Other things I like about it include the eye contact it shows and that not all the breastfeeding children are tiny babies. Toddlers are breastfed, too!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
1. Oh, I am so surprised it's the weekend already!
2. The weather changes, big and little (it's warmer, but the air is still pretty poisonous).
3. During Margaret's naps, I try to relax.
4. Baby threw up again; are you kidding me???
5. Right now I'd like to be somewhere with clean air.
6. The laptop is my favorite gadget.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being with McKay, tomorrow my plans include Dungeons and Dragons and Sunday, I want to play the piano for the choir!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I mentioned here about our birth/pregnancy culture and that when I UPed I kind of felt separated from it. When I think about any of my future pregnancies, I feel even more separated. The first pregnancy is surrounded by lots of excitement because everything is new and wonderful. I've noticed that among women who are pregnant with their 2nd, 3rd, etc., they're kind of just left out there. I'm even guilty of this myself when I see women in our ward pregnant with their 2nd or 3rd or more. Do I go up to them and show my excitement for them? Not as much as women who are pregnant with their first.
As I mentioned in the post I linked to, being left out of the obstetric realm of pregnancy is kind of lonely to. And I've heard of UC moms who've chosen midwives for subsequent pregnancies just because they wanted someone to talk to. But I've reconsidered this: Is a 5 minute OB appointment- or even a 45 minute midwife one- the sort of pregnancy culture I want? Do those appointments really Celebrate pregnancy?
I've been to two blessingways, or mother's blessings. They were very different from each other and there's no overriding "must do" activity for a blessingway. I blogged about one of them, and the other was more recent and pretty much consisted of a potluck gathering of women sitting around and chatting. It was fun.
What is done at a blessingway? This varies from blessingway to blessingway. Belliesandbabies did a great overview of different activities. Things I've done at blessingways/what was done at blessingways I couldn't attend that I know about.
- Beads. Everyone brings a bead that represents their idea of a happy birth/happy mothering vibes. The beads are all strung on a chain for the mom to wear/look at while she is in labor so she can remember that she has the support of her friends.
- Candles. Everyone brings a candle and an uplifting birthing/mothering thought. Each candle is lit while the thought is being said. I think it's typical for the mom to light these again while she is in labor to remember the support she has.
- Belly casting. I think that's a great way to remember and celebrate your pregnancy. I'd like to do one myself next time.
- Henna. At the one I was at, the mom's pregnant belly was decorated in henna and we also got to do little henna tattoos on ourselves.
- Reading of fears and affirmations. At one blessingway the mom read her list of mothering fears and then put them in a fire. The rest of us had written down birth/mothering affirmations for her on a piece of paper and we read ours for her. She kept the list of affirmations to read during the time that she would be in labor.
- Coloring. One friend of mine said that she had a blessingway that involved everyone coloring a picture that would bring hope and strength to the birthing mother. She said she looked at the pictures when she was in labor.
- Food and chatting. This was a part of both blessingways I've been to. Conversation was kept upbeat and uplifting. If someone happened to mention a bad birth story (and sometimes it's hard not to in this culture, they're all we hear), someone gently reminded us that we're at a blessingway and we're here to give encouragement and support, not cause fear.
If you're planning a blessingway soon (I think our playgroup is), Belliesandbabies is having a blessingway giveaway only until Wednesday, though.
Friday, January 16, 2009
So a few people have seen this article. I wanted to clarify my position. I was probably talking too fast on the phone interview for the reporter to get what I was really saying (she told me this was her first story ever).
In November, when my picture was removed, I don't think Facebook had a stance. I think they were just saying "this is obscene" and removed pictures.
About mid-December when talk of nurse-ins and such started happening, Facebook decided to get a stance. Their stance was "no fully exposed breast."
That is, of course ridiculous- when you're breastfeeding, the baby's head is in the way. There is no way to have a fully exposed breast.
When pressured more near the end of December, they came out and said, essentially, "Ok, by "full breast" we mean "nipple or areola."
I told the reporter that I was glad that Facebook actually came up with a policy- it means they've been thinking about it and giving it consideration. I still don't agree with the policy though- breastfeeding is simply not obscene. Maybe I didn't emphasize that enough.
I've been sick most of the week and I completely forgot it was Friday.
1. Enough with the fever.
2. The fact that I should drink more to cure my sickness versus the fact that it hurts to swallow causes me to be conflicted.
3. I've been craving orange juice, but I don't feel like doing dishes to clean our pitcher.
4. Margaret makes me laugh.
5. I wish I could go to the inauguration next week.
6. Feminism has been on my mind lately.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to feeling better, tomorrow my plans include cleaning our carpet and Sunday, I want to make cake!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So I've been reading Rixa's PhD dissertation these past couple of days (along with having some sort of lymph node-swelling illness). It's a wonderful overview of UC. Here are some of the thoughts that came to me, in no particular order.
I thought it was interesting that she said that a lot of UCers reach UC through other natural living topics: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, midwife homebirth, etc. I am not one of those UCers. I found UC in a book and was so impressed that I knew that's how I wanted to give birth. Everything else: breastfeeding, ECing, cloth diapering, etc. came from reading UC boards and noticing those topics come up.
I really enjoyed her chapter on the UC "movement" and how it got started and whether or not it can be even called a movement. I really love history, so that was fun for me.
She talked about the birth/pregnancy culture in our society. This has been something that's on
my mind- I thought about how my last pregnancy I interviewed midwives, made doctor's appointments (canceled every one) and was somewhat part of that culture. I've also been thinking about my future pregnancies- and if instructed to do so, I'll UP/UC again. There won't be any talk of doctor's appointments and stuff that usually gets passed along in circles of pregnant women. It seemed lonely to do it all. But then I thought about what I'm really missing out on- do I really want to regularly see someone who's going to question my body's abilities and put fear into my mind? Nope. Do I want to just enjoy being pregnant? Yep. I think I'll be doing another blog post about this in the future.
There was a great chapter on intuition and how important it is to UCers. Heavenly inspiration was a big part of my last pregnancy and labor- and I only want to encourage that more every day.
Her dissertation also reminded me of what agency is. When she talks about UCers taking responsibility for their birth outcomes- good or bad, she mentions that some people choose an OB or midwife because then the responsibility isn't on themselves. Also, a conversation I've had with a friend recently about infertility struggles has caused me to think about agency and how we really need to own our choices. Preserving agency is why we chose to come to earth and I feel that consciously making decisions and owning them is one way to accomplish that. "This is my choice and I'm not going to blame other people for this." This is a really vague thought. I'll probably blog about this and elaborate in the future, too.
I found the whole dissertation very thought-provoking. I relived my choices and feelings for Margaret's birth and my options for future births. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in understand why women choose unassisted births.
Monday, January 12, 2009
A lady at church yesterday came up to me and apologized for watching my breastfeed in Relief Society a couple of weeks ago- she was afraid that her watching made me uncomfortable. I don't even remember this, so that'll tell you how uncomfortable I was. :) She had been struggling with breastfeeding and was at the end of her ropes and going to switch to formula that day or the next. She wanted to see a good latch and watch someone who has done it. She did go to a lactation consultant the next day (or soon after that) and her baby is now 100% breastfed. Yay for her!
I think this exemplifies a lot of the problems we have in our culture with breasts and breastfeeding. We just never see breastfeeding- we don't know what it looks like and we don't know how to do it. We really have to go out of our way to see it. I went to 5 months of LLL meetings while pregnant to learn what a good latch is- and I'll even admit to trying to see a latch over someone's shoulder. I remember even contemplating, "Should I just ask her if I can watch her latch the baby on?" about a woman in our playgroup. There are youtube videos- Dr. Newman has some great videos there.
She also related some of her struggles, which I empathized with- yes I had over supply, yes I have overactive letdown, yes it sometimes took 45 minutes to latch Margaret on in those early weeks and both of us were crying in frustration. Yes, I had to call people for breastfeeding help. I think she felt relieved to not be the only one.
I think sometimes we confuse the "breastfeeding is natural" thought with "breastfeeding shouldn't take effort" and forget there is a learning curve for both you and the baby. And I think we look at more experienced mothers and assume they've never had problems because they can breastfeed with ease. While it's much much easier to latch Margaret on (she really just does it herself) there are new challenges like teething. This is why I think LLL and other mother to mother support groups are so important. You have access to the experience and understanding of other moms.
Support is so vital.
And surprisingly, a friend and I were asked to come talk about breastfeeding support in the community with a BYU Women's Health class this semester. A professor saw my name in the paper about the Facebook nurse-in and wanted me to speak to the class. I think it'll be a question/answer like session. It's kind of exciting for me.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
1. It's January; you can tell by the weather and that my house has been clean for most of a week (go resolutions!).
2. A warm bath is what I crave most right now.
3. Cork and
wine Applebeer go together like plaid and paisley (sorry, non-drinking home).
4. Breastmilk is so nourishing.
5. Let us dare to make waves.
6. Margaret brightens up my home.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to playing with our new Wii (yay birthday presents that I buy for McKay, but not really), tomorrow my plans include another newspaper photographer (last one maybe?) and Sunday, I want to go to church!
Written by TopHat at 11:00 PM
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The Crunchy Domestic Goddess asked us what our green goals are for this year.
In 2009, I hope to:
- Get a new bike and a bike for McKay.
- Remember to recycle on a more regular basis. We have a recycling box that we have to take to the Provo recycling drop off, but I forget to ask McKay to take it there and it just sits here with papers and plastics just waiting for me.
- Re-use more glass jars. Provo doesn't recycle glass, so I'm trying to make an effort to keep our glass jars and use them leftovers instead of the plastic Ziploc containers.
- Get a Diva cup. Still haven't gotten one, but I've been using cloth. It has cut my periods in half (makes you wonder what they put in the disposable stuff, doesn't it?) and anything that shortens my periods is a good thing.
- Figure out a better way to get to the laundromat. I've been driving there this past month because Margaret is getting big and wearing her on my front and carrying the laundry on my back in the ice and snow is a recipe for falling. But the laundromat is only 2 blocks away. It really is a waste to drive.
- Use less air conditioning. Let's pray for a cooler summer! It does help that we live on the first floor and not the third, though.
- Use more re-purposed yarn in my knitting. I'd like to knit a sweater, but yarn for a sweater is expensive (like $60). An old sweater at the thrift store and then taking it out and reusing the yarn? Much cheaper.
- Keep up on our car maintenance- the better it runs, the more efficient it is when we do use it.
- Use more eco-friendly chemicals from beauty products to cleaning products. When I buy new ones, I'm trying to make sure they're safer.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Edited: In the "And now breastfeeding" paragraph, I wrote, "It is also my understanding that the Church Handbook clarifies that the primary purpose of breast is to nourish and nurture children. If I am wrong about that, someone who has access to the Handbook, please let me know." I have been corrected: it isn't the Handbook, it's from A Parent's Guide, Chapter 5. Sorry about that. -TopHat
This post has been a long time in coming- I really meant to post it months ago. Last week a reporter asked me about the Facebook nurse-in, "How do you, as a BYU grad, get involved with this?" I answered his questioned with a simple, "A good education teaches you to think for yourself and compels you to action, just as the BYU motto states, 'Enter to learn, Go forth to serve.'" I skirted around the question he intended to ask, but I'm going to be more direct here. What did I think he wanted to ask? "How do you, as a member of the LDS Church, get involved with this- especially with the emphasis on modesty in the Church?" I'm going to answer this, but I want to emphasize that this is how I understand the principle of modesty and I don't speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Reason behind Modesty
I'll first tackle this- I do know that as people with finite minds, we don't know nor can we understand all of God's intentions behind everything, but this is what I understand from my study of this topic. Almost every talk about modesty emphasizes that we are in the image of God. We are then taught to be modest out of respect for God's image. We shouldn't misuse the image of God for the purpose of satisfying the natural man. "The natural man is an enemy to God." When we dress with the intention to be "sexy" or bring to attention to our bodies, we are succumbing to our natural man and we are misusing God's image. I think this is where the line is drawn between art and pornography: art is respectful of God's image, pornography isn't.
And now breastfeeding
Now we get to how breastfeeding is involved. This made me think, "Is breastfeeding misusing the image of God?" Well, that's an obvious "No." In the Latter-day Saint Woman, Part A, it states, "Our Heavenly Father made the mother’s body so it could produce milk." In A Parent's Guide, it also states, "the female breasts....were intended to nourish and comfort children." The breast is intended to breastfeed, so when I breastfeed, I am not misusing my body or God's image, so I don't feel that I am immodest in this.
"But men are more visual...we should help them"
I understand where this is coming from- we are trying to become a Zion people and a Zion society is a society that helps each other. However, I feel that this argument hurts more than it helps.
First, it hurts men. It implies that men have no self-control or agency in the matter. Preserving agency is one of the primary reasons of being here on Earth and removing men from their agency is harmful and against the plan. I want no part of it, so I will not encourage that argument. Also, this argument can be used as an excuse to not tackle an issue. This is one example of, "I'm like this ____ and I can't change that." This isn't limited to men and being visual, of course, this can be extended to any person and any addiction/struggle they might have. The ultimate harm of this argument is the "I can't change that" clause. This is a direct attack on Christ's atonement- implying that it isn't as encompassing and total and infinite as it is. "I can't change that. Nothing can help me- not even Christ."
Secondly, this argument hurts women. The "women should be responsible for men's thoughts" line is a thin and dangerous line. At what point would that stop? When a woman wears a mini skirt and is raped? I fully believe that men and women are responsible for themselves. When we tell young girls that they need to be modest for men, we are encouraging a very detrimental thought process and setting them up for abusive relationships. "He thinks/does ____ because I _____" is what is going to keep women in relationships that they need to get out of. It's what makes someone think they can change their spouse/friend/family member, "If only I ____, s/he wouldn't ____."
The biggest issue here
I really feel the issue is cultural. Our American culture breeds the idea that women's breast's are for sex and arousal: that breasts = sex = private. But breasts don't equal sex any more than mouths do- and I breathe and eat and speak without hiding my mouth. The idea that breasts are for sex and sex only is not a world-wide phenomenon. Some argue that since women have breasts and men don't (for the most part) that it was meant to be a sexual organ. You could say the same for a man's facial hair. But perhaps, the reason women, and not men, have breasts is that women bear children and are mothers and men aren't. I feel that Satan's attempt to sexualize breasts is part of his attempt to devalue motherhood, and ultimately the family. By tackling this issue, I'm hoping to restore some of the sacredness of motherhood and family and to set straight some of what Satan has twisted.
A World-wide Church
One friend of mine pointed out to me that if the Church is the same world wide (and it is), then the issue with breastfeeding should be the same worldwide. If a mother can breastfeed in church in Brazil uncovered (and they do), then I should be able to do the same here- covering while breastfeeding isn't the gospel. It's like the "The Church isn't the people, it's the gospel" argument. I do think it is nice that many buildings have a mother's lounge for women who need more seclusion- I used it when Margaret was going through a time where she would only nurse lying down- and it's kind of hard to lie down in Relief Society! However, I don't want the thought process to become, "There is a mother's lounge for women to breastfeed, so all breastfeeding must belong there whether or not a woman wants to be there." The Church is a family church and segregating mothers from the rest of the congregation is damaging and discrimination.
One argument for "covering up" while breastfeeding is that other people are "uncomfortable." I do understand consideration for others, but personally, I'm going to feed and comfort my child before I worry about another person's comfort. My child is a person too, and I'm going to respect her comfort also. I read one argument about this last week that there are still some people (sadly) uncomfortable with the sight/thought of interracial marriages and couples, but that doesn't mean those marriages and couples should hide; the same goes for breastfeeding. People are going to be uncomfortable with just about anything... from the color yellow to elephants. In the meantime, I'm going to concern myself first with the needs and concerns of the children that God has entrusted me. They are my first priority.
I do, as a Latter-day Saint, value modesty and the respect of God's image. However, I don't feel that breastfeeding disrespects God, so I don't feel it is a "modesty" issue. I want my children to be modest, not because of what other people might think, but because of their own testimonies about the sacredness and the nature of God.
Friday, January 02, 2009
I didn't do Friday Fill-ins last week, even though they used my fill-in suggestions. I was on vacation and all that jazz. I kind of feel guilty about that, but I figure I'll use them on a Tuesday or other day in the future when I feel like it. Happy Friday and New Year!
1. The world is cold and snowy.
2. "Are you planning to go to work today?" was the last thing I said.
3. I wonder who are new neighbors are- they just moved in next door.
4. I hope there is a party at the end of all things.
5. There's something to be said for enjoying a lazy day.
6. Cuddled up in bed is where I want to be.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends and merry-go-rounds, tomorrow my plans include probably knitting (when don't I knit?) and Sunday, I want to see how going to church at 1 compares to 11 with a 9 month old!