Saturday, July 24, 2010

For the mommies!

Reading this article made me think of the comments I received during my pregnancy. Luckily, I was able to avoid much of the negativity I could have received by virtue of the fact that I had the luxury of being a SAHM-in-training during the second half of my pregnancy. I was called crazy quite a bit, and I STILL get comments about how crazy I am for having a natural birth. Since giving birth, I have come across this attitude that there are women out there that hope that those planning a natural birth will "fail." I use that word because I hear that's what it feels like when your natural birthing hopes are dashed. Women feel like they failed-like their bodies betrayed them, etc. It seems like people get a really sick glee from hospital transfer home births. Why? Why is Schadenfreude so rampant in something like BIRTH where women need all the love and support they can get to make labor and delivery the most wonderful and awesome experience possible?

Now I am a new mother. I am trying to follow my heart and instincts to raise a happy, healthy baby. Again, why are women so mean to each other about parenthood. I would hope that, no matter what "method" we use, we are doing our absolute best. I know some people are only trying to help by sharing their experience and wisdom, but try to do it with love and sensitivity. You know when you're being a judgmental jerk. I know I've been guilty of the very same thing, so I am sorry to anyone that may have been hurt by my comments. This, this, and this article really spoke to my heart, and I heard my voice in her words. I am going to do my very best to stop being a judgmental jerk and treat all the mommies I know with the love and sensitivity that I wish came my way! Forgive me if it takes awhile-I am and will always be a work in progress.


Before Lily was born, I knew I wanted to wear her as much as possible. I read about the benefits of doing this, but I was mostly going by how I felt. I thought I would prefer the Baby Bjorn style of baby carrier, but I did not realize that I would have to decide what to use based on my BABY's preferences! After Lily was born, I tried to carry her in the Snugli that we had, but she did not like it at all! Next we bought a Moby Wrap, but she did not like that either. I tried the sling hold one day and she seemed to tolerate that really well. The only problem is that she's not quite old enough to use the Moby Wrap in the sling hold. A few days later I saw a Facebook sale going on for the TaylorMade Batik Baby Slings at the baby boutique that I really like. It came in the mail a couple of days and Lily took to it right away! I never thought I would use a sling with her, but she prefers it.

I love what Dr. Sears has to say about the benefits of babywearing. The entire article is here.

1. Sling babies cry less. Parents in other cultures wear their babies all the time and only put their babies down to sleep. The amount of time their babies cry can be measured in mere minutes whereas in Western cultures a baby's cry can be measured in hours.

2. Sling babies learn more. Because these babies are more content and spend less time fussing, they can spend more time in the state of quiet alertness. This is an optimal learning environment for babies.

3. Sling babies are more organized. "It's easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby's gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby's systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby."

4. Sling babies get "humanized" earlier. "Another reason that babywearing enhances learning is that baby is intimately involved in the caregiver's world...A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him. Baby learns much in the arms of a busy person."

5. Sling babies are smarter. "Environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop. Babywearing helps the infant's developing brain make the right connections...Normal ambient sounds, such as the noises of daily activities, may either have learning value for the infant or disturb him. If baby is alone, sounds may frighten him. If baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. The mother filters out what she perceives as unsuitable for the baby and gives the infant an "It's okay" feeling when he is exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences."

We'll see how it goes! So far it's great!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Preparation for childbirth

I have become a birth junkie. I like to talk and read about pregnancy and birth, and I have especially picked up the pace since Lily was born. I have been interested in natural birth for about a year and a half now, and I am still amazed that I was able to achieve a natural birth with Lily.

Recently I came across a blog entry where the writer posted several questions about birth. One question addressed how I may have prepared for giving birth. I would say the first step was to get married! I never thought of myself as a motherly type person, and I never even had the desire to be a mother until after I got married. Some girls grow up knowing that they want to be mommies, but that was not me! To my relief, almost immediately after getting married, I wanted to be a mommy! At that time I did not know there were many options for pregnancy and birth. I thought everyone had to give birth in a hospital and I thought everyone HAD to have an epidural. I didn't even know about Pitocin, forceps or vacuum deliveries, water birth, home birth, induction, natural birth, moving around during labor, etc. I knew about medicated vaginal and cesarean hospital deliveries. Period.

Anytime I talked with women that had given birth, I would ask about the epidural. I was TERRIFIED of the thought of having one! I didn't want that! Never mind all the long term effects for Mom and Baby, I was just scared of having a big needle in my back! I would talk about this with Robbie and he was anti-epidural as well. However, I still defended having them. You know those comments... "As soon as YOU have a baby, then you can tell me whether or not to have an epidural." I would SAY that, but I was still terrified of having one AND terrified of NOT having one.

Last February was my first encounter with a home water birth. I never heard of such a thing! One of Robbie's friend's wife had a home water birth and wrote about it on her blog. I don't remember how I came across her blog in the first place, but I am glad that I did! I immediately did a whole bunch of research on home water births and fell in love with the thought of having a baby that way!

A few months later I met one of the sisters I was visiting teaching for the first time on her due date! We had no idea that her baby was supposed to come that day and that she was having rushes while we were visiting with her-well until I asked her if she was feeling anything yet. She was planning a home birth and we had a LONG talk about that! It was the first time I ever talked with her (and it was one of the last times-we didn't stay in that ward very long), but she really made an impression on me. At that time, I wasn't sure if home birth was for me, but I knew I wanted water and I wanted a natural birth. She told me of other options such as going to a birthing center rather than a hospital.

Fast forward several months...I began asking a lady I worked with (A) about natural birth. I suspected that she had experience in this. I don't know why, but I just had a feeling I should ask her if she'd had a natural birth. She had! Her first baby was a C-section, but her second baby was a natural home birth. She was patient with me as I did my own research and asked her questions about birth, labor, and even cloth diapering.

Finally, early on September 26th I found out I was pregnant! Yay! We were very blessed with how quickly our baby decided to come. As soon as I got to school, I walked to work (I wasn't even supposed to work that day) and immediately had to tell A that I was pregnant. (She probably was too at this time, only it was way too soon for her to even know.) She told me about the midwives at St. Luke's. This was the perfect option for me because I knew I wanted a hospital birth...just in case.

Throughout my pregnancy, I searched for and surrounded myself with POSITIVE birth stories and people. This is how I prepared. I know a few people thought I was crazy for wanting to give birth naturally, but I was determined! I considered pregnancy, labor, and delivery to be a special EXPERIENCE, not a painful event that I needed to endure.

In order to pass the time the last week or two of my pregnancy...I was getting a little ansy, but I was not in any hurry to be in labor...I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth and Marie Mongan's Hypnobirthing book. After reading those two books, I felt ready to give birth. I don't remember how many days after finishing those books Lily came, but it wasn't very long. I feel I was prepared emotionally and mentally for the birth. I did pretty well to prepare physically, but I could have done better. Even though Robbie and I prayed about the welfare of my baby and about my pregnancy and delivery nearly every day, I probably could have done better to prepare spiritually for the birth.

All things considered, I could not have asked for a better experience! Even though I had my baby in the hospital, I spent most of my labor in the tub exactly like I wanted. The lights were out and it was very quiet and serene. By the time I was in the tub, labor was very intense and my waves came right on top of each other. I felt like I never had an opportunity to rest between each wave. I entered a place deep in my mind and somehow coped with each wave one at a time until my baby was born. Even though I could hear what was going on around me, I really only had the ability to do what I was told. I could not answer if someone spoke to me, and I did not "hear" any questions. I especially did not answer any questions. I only registered the encouragement Robbie was giving me, even though I could not acknowledge it at the time, and the instructions Debbie was giving me to help me relax during labor and pushing. I am still very happy and giddy over my experience.

So the final bit of preparation for childbirth was labor! Our bodies are amazing in the way everything works to prepare our minds and bodies for the birth of our babies!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life with an almost 6 week old

I never knew how much you could love until I had a baby! My little girl is the most precious thing I've ever laid eyes on in my life, and I am thankful that Heavenly Father let us keep her! There was a time early in my pregnancy that I was terrified that I was going to lose her.

It's kind of been a bumpy ride trying to get to know my Lily. I feel sorry for her that she has a dunderhead for a mother, but I guess that's better than nothing. I think what I haven't figured out yet is how to help her to get to sleep. I can finally tell when she fusses due to being tired, but just because something helped her fall asleep one time doesn't mean it will work the next time! I haven't figured out the magic formula, and I haven't figured out how to help her tell the difference between night and day. She quickly outgrew swaddling. She likes a loose one with her arms hanging out. It doesn't matter if we rock her; she tends to wake right up when we quit! Nursing her SOMETIMES works. She hates a pacifier. She LOVES sleeping with her mommy, though, and that would work every time. But I'm too scared to sleep with her in my bed, so I have a little bassinet right next to the bed. The couple of times that I've "accidentally" slept with her were the best for both of us. I'm not nearly as opposed to it as my husband is, but I don't want to do anything he's not comfortable with either. I just don't know what to do yet. When she finally gets to sleep, I feel like I just got lucky.

Something else I worry my baby getting enough to eat???? I sent my husband out to buy a scale, so he finally came home with one tonight. As soon as she wakes up again, I'm going to weigh her! According to her poopy diapers, she's getting enough, but I don't know if she's gaining weight. I'll see soon enough.

Now I know she gets cuter every day, so there is no shortage of picture taking. Here is the latest.