Friday, June 24, 2011

Apologies and News

First of all, let me apologize for totally slacking off with the blog posts! In over 3 years of having this blog I've always posted on a regular basis until now. I feel like a complete blogging loser, but I have a reason.

The News: I'm pregnant!

About 10 weeks along at this point, and feeling every bit of it.

Exhaustion, mood swings, never-ending hunger, constant peeing, etc. I'm just lucky I'm not vomiting. I'm so out of my normal self right now that I'm barely functioning. I stopped writing about a month ago. I haven't written anything new for the blog or for Pampers, and am having the worst case of writer's block in a long time. Writing isn't my priority right now. I'm just trying to take care of myself and my family.

I'm consulting with my midwife about my extreme fatigue and she's advising me on what I can do, including dietary supplementation, and lots of rest. Rest is hard for me. I have 5 kids and a chronically ill husband. Our household depends on me. But I'm trying to rest. I'm having to say "no" more than ever.

Despite the challenges, I feel very good about this pregnancy. When I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test I felt a sense of peace and extreme happiness. After two consecutive miscarriages I came to a decision not to let worry enter my mind. 

During my last pregnancy I was scared of miscarrying again. I kept my pregnancy secret because I didn't want to go through that publicly again. I became severely depressed and I was miserable. All the worry did for me was make me feel terrible, and I miscarried anyway.

So this time I decided worry would have no place in my life. I would tell my friends and family about my pregnancy early on, and I did. I would do my best to enjoy this time, no matter what happened. I realized that I can't control whether the pregnancy goes to term or not, but I can take care of myself and have hope.

All of my symptoms and struggles are giving me even more hope. I feel completely pregnant! This pregnancy simply feels different than my miscarriages did, and very much like my healthy, full term pregnancies. I plan on having a new baby in our family around January, and that thought makes me happy.

This brings me to another bit of news I've alluded to. I was seriously considering planning an unassisted birth. I've been researching and thinking about it for a couple of years, and felt ready to do it myself. However, when I spoke with my husband about it he expressed some concerns and felt strongly that we should hire the midwife we had with our last birth, our wonderful breech home birth. I was crushed at first to have to reconsider the plans that were so close to my heart, but as I thought and prayed about it I realized that I wouldn't be giving anything up by hiring my midwife again.

My main reason for wanting to have an unassisted birth was to learn to rely completely on my personal inspiration from God to guide me every step of the way. I wanted to learn to listen to my body and determine its needs without relying on another person to tell me what they thought it needed. I realized that I can still do this with a midwife, and my desires and my husband's concerns could all be taken care of. My midwife had already told me in my last pregnancy that she would be as hands-off as I want her to be, and I trust her to do that.

I also haven't felt rushed to start prenatal care or try to listen for a heart beat. My midwife wants to schedule my first prenatal visit soon, and I keep putting it off. I don't feel a need to hurry and verify that all is well. I feel, inside, that all is well. As I mentioned, I've already been consulting with her about my exhaustion and she's already proven her value in helping me sort through what I can do about it. I see my midwife as a resource and consultant rather than someone I'm putting my whole reliance on. I love and trust her and recognize her value, but I also trust myself and God to guide me in making the choices that are best for me and my family.

It's interesting that I can be completely physically exhausted and at my limits, but internally at peace. I have this sense of calm that all is well, but I'm still acting like a crazy pregnant lady. This should be a wild ride.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Please Help Raise Funds for More Business of Being Born Films!

The Business of Being Born is a birth documentary film that I love. It helped open my eyes to home birth as a safe, viable option, and I think every woman should watch this film whether or not she's given birth yet.

The great news is that more films are being made! The producers need help with the funding, and YOU can help!

From producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein:

"Making our 2008 documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” was a huge labor of love for us (no pun intended); we shared intimate footage of our own births, funded the entire project ourselves, and fell way short of making our money back.  But like any new mom, we’ve forgotten the pain and we’re ready to do it all over again.  Now we’re giving birth to quadruplets.  “More Business of Being Born” is our new series of four educational films that deepens the conversation about childbirth options, supporting every woman’s right to empowerment and accurate information during the birth process.   We’ve also completed a 28-minute Classroom Edition of “The Business of Being Born” with a comprehensive study guide to reach younger women in University settings.

"This is where we need your help.  We’ve made these films with a microscopic budget, once again funded out of our own pockets.  But we’ve come as far as we can on our own.  

"We just launched a campaign on Kickstarter where you can purchase advance copies of “More Business of Being Born” to help us reach our goal of raising $100,000. This money will be used to both finish the films and fund their marketing and publicity, including hiring a publicist, an online marketing company, and funding campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and various other marketing outlets. The ultimate goal is to make the information found in our films, as well as on our website, available to as many pregnant and soon-to-be-pregnant women as possible!

"Aside from the pride of being part of a revolution in the birthing paradigm, donors will receive incentive packages that include copies of the films, merchandise signed by we, the filmmakers (Abby and Ricki), and some very special packages for the most generous givers. 

"The deal with Kickstarter is that if we don’t reach our $100K goal, we don’t get any of the money – and if we can’t fund the marketing for these films, then our ability to spread the word about empowered birth will be severely hampered. Let’s not let that happen!

Monday, June 13, 2011

If You Could Go Back...

If you could go back to before you had your first child, what would you tell yourself?

Friday, June 10, 2011

We Can Be Much Kinder

About the importance of delayed cord clamping and uninterrupted bonding between mom and baby immediately after birth.

We Can Be Much Kinder from The Other Side of the Glass on Vimeo.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Medicated Labor Impacts Breastfeeding

I recently came across this video which compares babies who were born without medication and those whose mothers were medicated during labor, and how well they instinctively latch on to breastfeed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Explicit" Photo of Face Presentation Violated Facebook Terms of Use

Face presentation is rare, and most people won't ever see one in their lives. A mama I know recently pushed her baby out face first when she had her VBAC in the hospital. This is an amazing photo that her photographer took of the baby's face emerging. I'm in awe of mamas, babies, and birth itself. Babies can come out in all sorts of ways. The mother gave birth with an intact perineum (no stitches needed) and the baby was healthy without any problems.

If this photo offends you, I'm sorry. I don't post it to be shocking or offensive. I feel it's tastefully done and shows something simply amazing. I find it beautiful and interesting. I posted this on the Mamas and Babies facebook page and I was reported for posting an explicit or obscene photo and had to remove it or face losing my account.

Notice the baby's tongue between the lips. What an amazing shot.

From the photographer: " This picture may be shared under these conditions: no editing or cropping of any kind, please. You may repost exactly as you see it."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Can Birth Partners Be Supportive?

I recently asked this question on the Mamas and Babies Facebook fan page:

What is the best thing your partner did or could have done for you during labor?

Here are the responses, good and bad:

"just being by my side I love my husband!"

"he could have had the baby for me lol"

"Supported me 100% -- to elaborate some; positive affirmations, reminders to breathe, acting as my voice when mine simply couldn't escape my lips, rocking and swaying with the rhythm of the *waves* ♥ and the list goes on."

"kept me laughing :)"

"The best thing my husband did was fall asleep. Seriously. I wanted to be completely left alone and I didn't want anyone touching me, lol."

"He didn't do anything,he was playing games on my phone. My mom had to yell at him to come help me. Guess it was the early signs of him not caring cuz 18 months later my son has no idea who he is."

"Spoke up."

"He read my mind pretty much the whole time. It was just him, my sister, 5 year old and me. And without asking me what he could do, he knew to tell my sister to get me more chlorophyll or asked our daughter to get chux pads. He knew the exact spots to give me counter pressure too. He was fantastic!"

"The hip squeeze and keeping my rice sock warm. And just being there and holding my hand."

"The best thing my husband did during labour and delivery was stay quiet so I could focus and concentrate on having a quiet, peaceful birth. Between contractions he told me I was beautiful and doing a great job."

"Let me do my thing :) He knew when to keep everyone away...even him - then he knew when to step in and let me hold him when I started pushing. He was my strength and made my HBA3C magical"

"Mine kept telling me how awesome I was. He wrote up a birth story afterwards telling everyone how amazing I was and that he was in awe. That has stuck with me ever since."

"What he did: Didn't say anything dumb. What he could have done: Spoke up for me!"

"He could've actually been available to me and put my needs first for once and not laughed at me...."

"Made me a fruit smoothie! ♥"

"I had a planned c-section due to fibroids, so never labored, but I have always appreciated my husband "the day after" when I was trying to get a shower. I felt all nasty, ugly, and really didn't want to be seen by anyone, let alone my husband. He was persistent, though, and said he didn't care, he just wanted to help. I really did need the help because I was so anemic and could hardly stand on my own, so I'm glad he insisted on helping. I've always considered that a true manifestation of love and a true marriage relationship, that he could see me at my worst, physically, and still have compassion."

"My husband was amazing at my recent (4 months ago) home birth! He rubbed my back and prayed ♥ After he prayed I got a sense of strength! God gave us the strength! Thanks Wooby (what I call my husband lol)!! ♥"

"If he could have done it for me, that would have been really great. As it was though, just being present was sufficient. This last time, the only thing he did besides sitting with me, talking to me and making me laugh was support my back while I was delivering."

"took lots of photos of the whole thing! that's what i really wanted and so glad he did it!"

"I think that I have the only husband who installed a shower during my labor and it was greatly appreciated. He was there when I needed him, but occupied when I didn't. After 8 kids, we finally have a nice balance."


"Vocalized with me the entire time and was just there. It's all I needed to get through and having him vocalize with me made me feel safe and not self conscious. I didn't even ask him to, he just did it."

I think it's interesting to see the different ways that birth partners can be supportive or unsupportive. I also think that each couple should discuss their wishes beforehand and develop an idea of how the partner can be supportive and helpful during labor and birth.