Friday, October 15, 2010

birth thoughts...

Birth. It's a very hot topic, and one that elicits strong emotions. Thoughts about the births of my own children have been at the forefront of my mind lately. Not sure why, but now I feel a great urge to write about them: my thoughts and feelings.

I have shared each of my 3 birth-stories multiple times. Depending on which one I share, and who my audience is, the reactions I get vary greatly. I get everything from empathy, shock, opposition, and comradery. I have even been interrupted so a "friend" could discredit my experience in an effort to justify her own.

All three of my birth experiences have been vastly different from one another. I have learned so much about myself through each.

With my first, my sweet boy Aaron, I was the dutiful patient. This is what was expected of me, right? That's what I thought, and I didn't educate myself to discover another option. That realization is difficult and shocking for me. If you know me at all, it might be a shock too. I ask myself now, "How could I have not educated myself about what is beyond the confines of the typical hospital experience?" I justified it, at the time, telling myself that modern medicine in labor and birth was there for a reason. I know better now.

Aaron's birth was fraught with drama, as one medical intervention lead to another, and another and another. I was being the good patient and didn't know it was within my rights to say no to the pitocin, the 3rd degree episiotomy, and so many other things. I repeatedly heard, "We're going to do XYZ now." There was no human touch, and bed-side manners were nonexistent. Of course, the arrival of my son made much of that less-than-perfect experience fade away. But, now, more than 5 years later, I have much regret. I fixate on experiences within my life, and the memories associated with them. For the most part, it's the good memories that present themselves. But, not in this case. I remind myself of the beautiful boy I held in my arms, to again, make the negative fade away.

I figuratively kick myself that the education I gave myself during his pregnancy was through TLC (yep, Baby Story), the hospital's version of birth classes, and What to Expect... There is so much more out there, so much that is better. Thankfully, I did discover this, later.

Molly's birth was HEAVEN compared to Aaron's. My OB and Midwife were great, and I felt like a mother with choices. I *hoped* for a natural birth, but didn't educate myself on how to attain it. My body could, and did, labor and it really did know what to do!! How empowering! The pitocin just sat on it's shelf during Molly's birth. Relief.

At 8cm, I was tense. So tense, I couldn't relax, and I didn't know what to do with myself. It's not surprising that I tensed up. I can be quite high-strung, in case you were wondering. I was frustrated with myself, and caved in to the epidural. No other interventions, thank you. My Little Miss came into the world perfectly. I have little regret with her birth. Thankfully. It was the morning after her birth when my world came to a crashing hault. I'm tearing up now, so maybe I'll write about those feelings another time. Apparently, they want to be felt again.

A long while after Molly's birth, we realized that our family was incomplete. Nora joined our family a bit over a year later. I am forever thankful for her, for so many things. Her birth healed parts of my heart that were still raw from both Aaron and Molly's births. I needed to experience her birth, completely. I yearned to know the feeling of birth - unmasked, unmedicated, natural.

Thanks several amazing women, I became educated. I learned about what birth could be like, and that I was capable and deserving of the birth I craved, and had a right to have.

I've heard it many many times. "Why not just get the epidural?" "They don't give you a medal for a natural birth." A "friend" even said to me, when I told her I was planning an unmedicated birth, "Yeah, good luck with that." I don't call her a friend now. I realized that comments like that are justifications. They are trying to justify their own choices, because heaven-forbid there be another way, a different way than what they chose. Some woman feel their choices cannot be wrong or changed, especially their birth choices.

I educated myself, maybe to an extreme, this last time around. Clay and I took Hypnobabies classes to prepare my mind for a natural birth. We hired our doula, Rose to be another person of support. And we planned on having a midwife there to catch Nora. Afterall, I was the one that would be doing the delivering. I watched The Business of Being Born and read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. I knew I could do it!

Plans changed, as they can and will in life. Nora decided to make her appearance a month early. That meant no midwife, but I was content with my OB being there to catch. I had terrible back labor, which was something else I didn't plan on, and hadn't experience before. But, everything else I could have hoped for with Nora's birth was perfect. All of my wishes were honored, and I gave birth the way I wanted and hoped for. Nora was brought to my chest immediately. I felt AMAZING! There is not a feeling in the world (to my knowledge) that compares with having my baby naturally. I felt strong, energized, and heroic. I could even walk afterwards, and take care of myself and my new baby girl. No one had to be my crutch to use the bathroom, and I could stand strong in the shower. It's the little things, you know.

I am content. I am educated. I know my choices, and am strong in my conviction that every woman has the same choices. Some choose to listen, others continue to justify. And that, is their choice as well. All I can do is what is right for me and my family.

Nora just woke from her nap. I get to go cuddle and nurse her now. I'm a happy and lucky mama.

Friday, August 6, 2010

just freshening up...

I thought my little blog could use a little freshening up! Thanks to a sweet friend for giving me a few blog pointers. I think this new look suits me well.

I'll be back soon with some new posts. I'm sorry about my recent hiatus. I'm working, constantly, it seems, on getting my website freshened up too.

Coming soon:
new quilt blocks I've been working on
Molly's new school outfit
projects I want to conquer
other great stuff

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cloth Diapers can help the oil spill clean-up!

I saw this and had to share!

There is a very unique way that we can help with the oil spill clean-up! Cloth diaper maker, Fuzzi Bunz, has started this program to help with the Gulf Coast's clean-up efforts. You can donate your old cloth diapers - you know, the ones that just aren't resellable. You can also donate other cloth, like receiving blankets, microfiber towels, and burp cloths.

They would like items to be free of velcro, snaps and elastic. If you can't remove those items, they will have volunteers available to sort and donate those items to families in need.

Donations can be sent to:
FuzziBunz Diapers
Attn: CFC
315 Weeks St
New Iberia, LA 70560

Anyone can help, whether you use cloth diapers or not! Let's help out this great cause!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I {heart} babywearing!

I love babywearing for a million reasons, maybe more. Here's just a few...

*She is content and secure, and still close to my heart.

Yes, Nora really likes it "in there". Yes, she CAN breathe. Yes, it is comfortable, for both of us. NO she's not going to fall out. I keep her in the *kissing* position - her head is always high enough for me to give her a nice little smooch.

{Earthy Rainbow Girasol shorty}
*I'm hands-free! I can do *almost* anything!

Bending down to pick something up is my biggest challenge, which has allowed me to practice using my toes. Don't laugh! You know you've done it too.

With Nora on my back, I can do dishes, make dinner, take out the trash, vacuum, clean the counters, and sew! Yes, I can even sew when she's on my back. And usually, she's passed out within minutes of being back there. Makes for a cozy nap.

{Wrapper's Paradise Girasol 4.2m}
{reinforced ruck}
*She can look people in the eye.

No sitting on the dirty floor in a car seat for this little girl! It grosses me out to think about how much crap can float right into a baby's face when they are that close to the ground. Besides that, carrying around bucket seats with a baby of more than 10lbs is incredibly heavy and so awkward. I just leave it in the car, and wear her wherever we are going.

Nora can socialize and have the opportunity to learn early communication skills. {love it!} She LOVES to talk to people and give big ol' smiles when I'm wearing her. She gets a lot of attention, for sure.

Over the past few months, there have been some stories in the news about baby carriers. I want to stress that wearing your baby is a responsibility. Parents MUST educate themselves on proper carriers and wearing techniquess. I believe that most accidents can be prevented with education.

So, go on! Educate yourself! Babywearing is so much fun and stylish too! Some of my favorite places are: - A message board and For Sale or Trade forum - A great retail site with a lot of wonderful information - For great instructional videos on babywearing

The carriers I used here are wraps. I also use mei tais and soft structured carriers. I blog about those in another post.

Friday, May 21, 2010

{head injury}

Last night, on my way to my mommy group, Clay called me to come home. During the call, I heard screaming and crying. You know the kind; the kind that every mom knows and dreads. It was the cry of my child, and I felt my heart break. Aaron had an accident and gave himself a nice gash on his eyebrow.

I rushed home. Well, I went as fast as I could without needing to avoid being pulled over. If you know me, you know that I have been pulled over a time or two – wink, wink. When I got home, Clay’s parents were there and sent us on our way with Aaron. They kept the girls, which was quite the special treat for Molly (she got to stay up a little late). My in-laws are amazing, in case I haven’t mentioned that before.

Checking in at the ER was easy, but the wait was longer than we’d like. Finally, we were in a room and waited for the doctor. At this point, we knew he had a cut, but didn’t really know if stitches were necessary. Aaron was in a great mood and was being his usual jovial self. Once the doctor was ready to really examine him, he thought that giving him some Verced would help him stay calm for the procedure. At first he was a little calmer, but when he had to be restrained from his shoulders to his toes, he became a little clausterphobic and anxious. Yeah, this was NO fun for any of us.

The doctor cleaned out his wound with three huge syringes of sterile water. Then, he revealed the true damage that was done. All I can say is, woah. Really, it was SO much worse than I thought it was. Clay was right there when he slipped on his blanket and took a header into the side of his bed. From the way Aaron hit, Clay knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize. The doctor gently pulled the wound open and man was it deep. My heart sank.

Aaron was in great hands, though, and the doctor placed stitches through two layers of tissue and got him all sewed up. His eye is still puffy and swollen. A black eye is in his future, for certain.

Remember the Versed that Aaron was given, well it didn’t sit well with him at all. At first, it kind of made him drunk. Once we were at home, it was not a fun and goofy drunk. More like a mean drunk, who didn’t know he was drunk and just wanted one more drink. Aaron had a violent reaction to the Versed. He was fighting us and screamed, “Mama, I don’t NEED YOU!” Again, my heart broke. Clay reminded me that this wasn’t our Aaron.

Sleep finally came over Aaron around 11:30pm. Relief. With all he went through, I was certain that he’d sleep-in a little, but no, he was up at 6:30am. Damn. He needed the rest. I hope he gets more tonight.

Did you ask for pictures? Are you sure you want to see? Close your eyes if you have a weak stomach:

“I look totally handsome with this wrap on!” - Aaron

Cleaning the wound.

It's just a scratch, right?


Sewing it up.

Ready to go home!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Cute, huh!?

At one of the many quilt shows I've attended, I found this pattern and knew Molly would love it. This Flirty Skirty Apron was pretty easy to make, although next time, I'd do a couple of things differently. I'd make the neck strap adjustable, figure out a way to make the corners stay in place (they keep flipping out), and put a pocket on the top of the front.

Here's my little cook, all ready to whip up something delicious!

Friday, March 19, 2010

^^Birthday Boy^^

5 years go by in a wink. 5 years can pass far too fast...

Our sweet boy, Aaron, turned 5 last month. We had planned a fantastic party at the park, but were met with winter rains the morning of the party. My in-laws, who are amazing, let us bring the party to their house. It was a tight squeeze, but I think fun was had by all.

Aaron is really into Transformers and Power Rangers right now, so they were the "theme" for his party. Aaron can't have dairy, so I made him a dairy-free cake with rice milk. I was very surprised to see, and taste, how yummy rice milk cooks up in a cake. I got a pic of the Transformers logo and made it into a stencil for his cake:

All of Aaron's friends were so cute at the party! They had so much fun, and were so well behaved. This is Aaron and one of his bestest friends, Riley.

Aaron really wanted a pinata at his party, so we bought one with the strings you pull on the bottom to make the pinata open. That way, kids don't have to swing around dangerous bats and such to bust it open. Well, the strings came off our pinata, so we went "old school" and brought out the bat. The dads kept the kids in line and everyone got a good whack at it. I took at tip from Aaron's teacher, and put the treats and prizes in individual bags for the kids. This little trick keeps the kids from bashing into each other to get the coveted candy. Smart huh?!

What's next for our 5 year-old? Camping this summer and Kindergarten in the Fall. Time just keeps going by...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

{a beautiful birth}

Nora Jean came into our family on November 27th, 2009; 4 1/2 weeks early!! This is our birth story:

Thanksgiving was really nice, and I even took a nap that day. I had my usual preterm contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not painful or regular. I went to bed that night with some contractions (ctxs), but they usually go away when I go to sleep. Well, that didn't happen this time...

Around 1am, I really started to notice that I wasn't sleeping through the ctxs anymore. That was a big sign that things were changing. By 2 am, I couldn't stay in bed anymore and went to the couch. If it were the real thing, I wanted Clay to be rested so he could help me. I also realized that if it were real, I had NOTHING packed for me or the baby. So, in between ctxs, I did laundry and packed bags. By then, I had to stop what I was doing and use my Hypnobabies cues to get through the ctxs. I found the most comfort when I would lean over the washer (or whatever I could get to FAST) and sway my hips back and forth, kind of like dancing.

Once the ctxs got really hard, I got in the bathtub. I thought that would feel great, but no. I was having horrid back labor, and it just made it worse. I wish I had thought of getting on my hands and knees in the tub. That would have felt much better. I got out, and by then it was 5 am. I woke Clay and we got the rest of our things ready. His mom came over to watch the kids and we left for the hospital around 6am.

I was really really hoping that I wasn't progressing and they could stop the ctxs, because she was coming TOO EARLY! The car ride was the worst part of the whole labor. I couldn't do anything to help ease my ctxs, so DH kept giving me relaxation cues (THANK YOU Hypnobabies!) to get me to focus. He was so good, and it got me focusing again.

When we got to the hospital, I could hardly walk because the contractions were were so strong and coming on fast. And talking was out of the question. Clay had to do all of the communicating with the hospital staff and the phone calls too. They took me right back to triage and checked me, first thing. To my utter shock, I was already 7cm! DH called our doula, Rose, right away. She showed up 30 mins later - YAY!

I got in a room really fast and because I was so early, they gave me a dose of antibiotics. Otherwise, I had nothing through the IV. They tried to give me fluids through the IV, but I told them I didn't want any and I was happy to drink LOTS of water.

By 8am, I was 9cm and my water had NOT broken yet. I labored over the edge of the bed with Clay and Rose giving me counter pressure on my lower back. I had really bad back labor because Nora was posterior. I knew she was posterior when I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday! My chiro told me that she thought Nora was posterior too, but I had plenty of time for her to turn, HAHAHA!

Because of her position and my water not breaking, I was stuck at 9cm for 2 1/2 hours!!!!!! Finally, I had my OB break my water. I continued to labor on the edge of the bed for a while, then on the bed, then on my side. Pretty much any position to get her turned around. Nora turned shortly after that and I got to 10 pretty quickly. Whew, that was tough!

My legs were like jello from laboring on my hands/knees and over the bed. I only wanted to be on my back, so that's how I birthed Nora. I only pushed for 20 mins or so, and out she came. The relief was amazing!! Nora's birth was awesome and I am so happy with how it all went. I couldn't have done it unmedicated without Hypnobabies, Clay and Rose. Natural childbirth is hard, but SO SO worth it! My recovery was amazing and I felt wonderful right away. Yeah, I was sore, but compared to my medicated births, EVERYTHING was better. I was planning on my midwife being there for Nora's birth, but because Nora was early, my OB had to be there. He was fabulous, though, and even my doula commented on how great he was and how he even suggested positions for me to move into to get Nora to turn around.

Nora was born at 10:35 am and weighed 6lbs 5oz. For being 35 wks and 3 days, she was a really good size. My dates were accurate, so we know she was early, for sure. After she was born, she had some breathing issues, which resolved by the next morning. After that, I was able to nurse her. She did get a touch of jaundice, but nothing too bad. Once we brought her home (she had a 3 day stay - not bad at all!), we had to take her for weight checks at the pedi and bloodwork for jaundice. Her jaundice is better now and she is putting on some weight.

Nora is so lovely and sweet. We are all in love with her! She looks just like Aaron and is SO tiny.