Google+ Authentic Parenting: July 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quote Of The Day

It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Breastfeeding: What It Means To Me

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about baby friendly communities. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Even though I'm a little late in the game, I would like to answer today's question on the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: If you could tell your little one just one extraordinary or ordinary thing about what it means for you to nurse, what would you share?

Breastfeeding for me is to is to find that little moment of peace on a busy day. A moment where our fingers intertwine and our gazes lock. A moment where time stops and nothing else matters. Wether you were hungry, or tired, or fussy, one sip of the buhbuh makes you calm, albeit just for a moment.
It's a moment where I feel your warm belly against mine and I caress your soft skin sense and smell your moist, sticky cheek (probably a mixture of chocolate and marker). A moment where we are both present at the same time, in body and in mind.

Eventhough you often nurse in busy rooms and crowded spaces, in places where it's noisy and through a conversation, there's always this moment where we are both one person, where we are fully attentive of each other, where I stare into your eyes and remember all the millions of reasons why I love you so much. Where I think of you as my baby, even though you've grown now and you walk and talk and sometimes act as if you do not need me so much any more.

Sometimes this moment lasts for a while, sometimes it is just a glance, but it is always there. And all I can feel for you is pure love and I see in your eyes that you love me too. That you are grateful for this love and this warm milk I keep giving to you, and have given to you for over two years, without restrictions.

These moments keep me grounded, they keep me in touch with the bottomless pools of love I have for you, even in times when it is hard, even when I am tired or angry or ill. Even when I am busy or absent minded.

On that little instant, there is just you and me, there is only us. I hope we may have many more of these moments.

Image: notsogoodphotography on Flickr

 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid it will never begin." 

~ Grace Hansen


Sarah's Herbal Pillows And More Giveaway

I am very pleased to be able to offer you this wonderful wrap form Sarah's Herbal Pillows and More. Winners can choose the color (heather grey, chocolate brown, chili red or true blue), the wrap is made out of a very breatheable poly/cotton knit interlock.

Sarah is a single mother of two small boys (DJ age 3 and Joshua age 1). SHe's a massage therapist who's currently going through doula training. She started the shop so she could stay at home with her newborn, all the while still generatinig an income.

Sarah also sells microwave/freezer friendly herbal pillows, filled with flaxseed, that provide wonderful hot/cold therapy to muscles. Some of them have invigorating or calming aromatherapy, and they range from a standard neck/back pillows to more unique ones, like the colicky baby tummy pillow/ouchie pillow (for bumps and bruises) and the childbirth pillow (designed to assist in pain management in childbirth, which worked miracles when Sarah had her VBAC).

Sarah is offering a free ouchie/baby pillow to anyone who places an order over $10 in her shop; all you have to do is mention Authentic Parenting when you place the order.

This giveaway is open to continental US and ends on Friday the 13th of August. 
My family will not be able to enter, nor will I
To enter, leave your first name and email adress in the comment box below. 
The winner will be drawn using
You can have additional entries to increase your chances by:

  • Becoming a new fan on facebook - Comment: fanned you on FB in the comment box, plus first name and email
  • Become a new follower - Comment: became a new follower, first name and email
  • Become a new follower on Twitter - Comment: follow you on Twitter, first name, email
  • Suggest my fanpage to some friends - Comment: suggested to friends, first name, email
  • Share this giveaway or any other post on you facebook page - Comment: I shared *enter post title* on facebook
  • Tweet this or any other blog post - Comment: tweeted *insert title* + add link to tweet
  • Blog about this giveaway or this blog (or both) - Comment: blogged about *enter topic*, link to your post, first name, email adress
  • Link to this or any post on this blog in a group or forum you attend - Comment: I linked to *this post* on *this forum/group*, name, email


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quote Of The Day

A life lived in love will never be dull.
- Leo Buscaglia


White Woman Breastfeeding

This post was written as a submission for the World Breastfeeding Week Carnival, hosted by The Leaky Boob. The theme is "Perspectives: Breastfeeding from every Angle." Submissions are due by July 30th.

I am really, really blessed to be able to live in a country where you cannot drive a mile without seeing a woman nurse her child. Just like that, by the side of the road, no worries, no hesitations. A country where, if a woman would leave her child to cry while he is strapped to her back, she would instantly be corrected by some bystander and told that she has to feed that child.

However, I remain an outsider in a strange culture. I am a white woman in a black world, and there are lots and lots of assumptions that go along with that simple fact.

For one, every time I go to my doctor with my two year old daughter, I am greeted by disbelief that she is still breastfeeding. I had enough of that one day so I asked him if he knew about the WHO recomendations. He told me yes, but that he was just so astonished to see a white women still breastfeed her child at that age, that 'we' don't do that.
Here, women generally breastfeed until their child is 18 months old, but these high breastfeeding numbers are lowering, as the higher classes switch to bottles in pursuit of the European ideal, and of course they set the trends for other women in the country.

When I nurse in public, people see this as a sign that I have integrated, that I accept their culture, and it is not uncommon for someone to stop and express their happiness about this. For them it is something different to see white people adapt to their ways, instead of the other way around.
As we've now passed the Ivorian average weaning age (my daughter is two and two months), we do get some comments about her continued nursing, but we shut those up with a joke like: "you're just jealous". After all, this is a country where the expression goes: "I"m going to nurse at my mother's breast" (Je vais tĂȘter chez maman) when people visit their mother, even after they've grown.

Image: babasteve on Flickr


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard," I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?"
- Sydney J. Harris


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quote Of The Day

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
- Vincent van Gogh


And The Winner Is...

The winner for the African Breastfeeding Statue, on occasion of surpassing 1000 likeronies on Facebook, as drawn with, is:
comment number 36

Paige will be notified by email.

Congratulations Paige!!!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Quote Of The Day

The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.  
- Plato


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Surf

If exposed to HPV, Gardasil actually increases your risk on precancerous lesions.
Change starts at home , the story of a farmgirl with a PhD, and the origin of the 'housewife' concept. A must-read!

Traditions surrounding the placenta and the umbilical cord in Asia.

A magnificent post on Joyfully Free talks about when parenting becomes a burden.

"(...) for a child to be spoiled wouldn't that mean at some point they were rotten? And if they were rotten wouldn't that mean at some point the scales began to tip from good to bad? In order for that tipping moment to emerge from a being that was pure unconditional love when it arrived one would have to argue it had something to due with the environment the unconditional love was being nurtured in."
A circumcized dad explains why he didn't circumcize his son in "Just to be fair, I'm circumcized".

For more Sunday Surfing, visit Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries


Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Story Of Loss, Part II

Written by Elizabeth Walker

This post was written for inclusion in the Pregnancy Loss Week Blog Carnival . Please join us at Fertility Flower for the week of August 23-27, 2010 where we will be featuring articles, posts and artwork about pregnancy loss.

A while back, Elizabeth shared her experience of miscarriage with us, here's what she writes about the aftermath. I would like to thank Elizabeth for putting her heart in words, and sharing her experience with us.

It's now been exactly a week. I've visited the OBGYN's office. That was really reassuring. The doctor commented on how fast my hormone levels were going back to a "normal" pre-pregnancy level. This meant I didn't need a D&C. I was relieved. She commented that there was absolutely nothing I could have done to have prevented me losing the baby.

I still have my moments. I've snapped at my poor husband more than once. I even got around to telling him that maybe he was at fault for using some glue that could cause birth defects. I know it isn't. I don't know why I said just came out. I feel horrible.

Sometimes I feel fine. That makes me feel bad too though. I feel guilty for doing ok with it. I feel like I should be worse still. I have my reasons for having to move on. I HAVE to. I have 2 little girls that I have to be there for. I have to work. I don't have a choice right now. Sometimes I feel guilty for just wanting to be pregnant again! I've told my husband that I want twins next time to make up for this baby. I feel guilty about that too. The guilt is the killer for me. It comes and goes. She says NIP becomes easier with every child she has. She lives in Michigan.

My hormones are still trying to go back to normal. I think my body still thinks it's pregnant sometimes. The other day, my chest starting hurting. I don't understand why they'd start hurting now. I had a few hours the other night where I was dizzy for no reason. I have no idea why...I wasn't standing up and down fast; I was sitting, doing laundry. When I'd called my grandma, she suggested I might need to take some iron.

I'm thankful for my friends and family that are there for me during this. I'm thankful my body isn't giving me too many problems. I think to get through this I just have to be thankful for what I DO have. I'm still scared to try again, but I'm anxious to have another baby. I've held another baby in the last week. I miss that. I hate that I won't have that when I was scheduled to. I ache for the baby. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy.

Elizabeth has been married for seven years and has two beautiful little girls. She is an aspiring SAHM and a proud lactavist, and finds NIP easier with every child she has. She would like more children some day and lives in Michigan.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nestle In The Doctor's Office

We had to go to the doctor's office with the little one this week. Normally, I stay clear of hospitals and doctors as much as possible here in Africa (well, in Belgium too, actually), but we were in town and she develloped an extremely high fever, so I didn't want to take the risk of a malaria attack, and wanted to get that checked out right away.

We came into the waiting hall of the small dispensiary in San Pedro and were welcomed by a Nestle Cerelac poster, and a sparkly new Nestle Cerelac kiddie table and matching chairs.
During the consultation, we were handed a Bledina comforter, and we were told that breastmilk contains no nutrients at the age of two (from which I can deduce that we better substitute with a Bledina or Nestle product).
I am living in an African country where sanitary conditions are incomparable with Western conditions. Where few families have the money it takes to formula feed. Where safe water is often either expensive or non-existant.Where most women - luckily - still breastfeed their child until they're 18 months (I imagine that is already a lot younger than 50 years ago).

Yet this is shifting by misinformation by people of confidence (like this idiot doctor) and an indoctrination by big businesses like Nestle.

I see it deteriorating however, as richer women wean at early ages, or 'choose' not to breastfeed. Working women are getting convinced of the supposed ease of formula and leave their children in the care of others (while before they would just strap the kid to their back and go on with their job).
This kind of product endorsement in hospitals and doctor's offices is an outrage and clearly unethical, but we must ask ourselves who - on an international level - cares enough about these 'poor little Africans', the best product and medicine testing market on the planet.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Holiday Aftermath

Hello all! I am back! Have you missed me? I hope you liked what I had prepared for you. I liked the guest posts a lot, so if you are a blogger and you have something up my league, don't hesitate to email me.

If anything, this holiday gave me a lot to contemplate and a serious amount of issues to write about. Just for fun, let's make a list of things I might be writing about in the weeks to follow:

  • Francophone people might win the award of the worst parenting language. The things those people say to their children... you cannot imagine (and I even wonder if it is possible to translate all of the things I heard parents say to their kids)
  • There are huge differences between Russian, Turkish and Western-European parenting styles
  • The clash of the generations: how my child and I survived living under the same roof with my parents and grandmother
  • What kind of parents would we be if we had stayed in Europe?
  • Europe and Africa: worlds apart for raising children
  • Can we even raise a free range child in a modern world?
  • Gentle discipline is not permissive parenting
  • Collective care and the natural child don't mix
  • The meaning of life of a SAHM
  • Is it silly to stay out of the rat race?
  • And much more

Image: mandolin davis on Flickr


Monday, July 19, 2010

A Story Of Loss

written by Elizabeth Walker

I just miscarried. It sucks. I got to spend 6 hours in the ER to confirm this fact. That sucked even more. I knew it could happen. The information I read says that it actually happens quite often...sometimes before the woman even knows she's pregnant. They call it a "spontaneous abortion". I was 6 weeks pregnant. 

I have 2 girls at home. My husband and I tried to get pregnant with my oldest for 3 years. We'd actually planned on starting the adoption process if we hadn't gotten pregnant that Christmas. We found out we were pregnant with her the week after we moved into our first apartment together! Neither one of us could believe that it had finally happened. Everything went perfectly. 
The only thing that wasn't perfect was the birth. I thought I was leaking fluids, so the Doctor sent me over to the Birthing Center to get my fluid levels checked. The levels were fine, but my Doctor decided to induce me that night as I was due in a week anyways! I didn't want to be induced as I'd worked a full day, and hadn't shaved my legs!!! I'm silly about that stuff! 
After being induced at about 9PM, I labored through the night. Around 3  AM my water broke. By 11 or noon that day, I couldn't stop throwing up...the Doctor came in and said we were going to do a C-section. I didn't care. I couldn't handle throwing up any longer! My oldest was born about 2:15 in the afternoon that day. I was just happy to finally have my baby! She was born the day before my mom's birthday.

I breastfed her. Thankfully, that went perfectly. I had to return to work. I hated having to put my oldest in daycare. I'd always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford it. I couldn't pump often at work, so we had to supplement. Yet I managed to breastfeed her until she was 11 months old.

I thought breastfeeding was a good form of birth control...even after the periods started again. Silly, silly me! Found out I was pregnant again on the day we went to court to get evicted. We were extremely concerned. We moved to my parents' house. That wasn't easy, but we had to take care of our children. 

I went to work for my aunt. I did that until my husband found a job. Thankfully, it only took him about 4 months. My second girl was a scheduled C-section. I was scared into it. She was scheduled to be born the week before my sister's birthday. The girls were born 17 months apart. My youngest also took to breastfeeding right away. I was able to exclusively breastfeed her until she was about 17 months.
I found out I was pregnant again on July 4th, 2010. I had thought I was pregnant for a couple of weeks, but wanted to make sure by waiting until I'd missed my period.  I knew we weren't financially ready to have another baby as my husband had been unemployed for almost 6 months, and my hours would be drastically cut August 1st. I hesitated to even tell my husband. I did after a few hours...I can't keep something like that a secret. I looked up on what my due date would be. This baby's due date was my dad's birthday. March 10, 2011. I cracked up over that! We hadn't even planned it, but I was hitting every single member of my family's birthdays!

I was so nervous about telling anyone about this pregnancy. I am a chicken sometimes about facing ridicule! I didn't want to be told how we couldn't afford a baby. My husband and I had talked about it. Our oldest is pretty much potty trained, and  hopefully, our youngest would be potty trained before this baby was born. 
The first person I told was our cousin, also the girls' godfather. His first response...shit. He was happy for us though...just nervous as he knew our situation. The next person was a friend of mine from a breastfeeding support group I'd attended when I had my oldest. She was great to talk to. 

The next day we went to my grandparents' house. My grandma took my camera and started looking through pictures. I generally show everyone my camera to see the random pictures I took/take of my girls! I was so nervous about her finding out about the baby. I had taken a couple of pictures of the pregnancy test. She passed by them a couple of times, but failed to realize what they were. I finally just showed them to her. She was stunned, but happy to be able to go to one of my obgyn appointments to hear the baby's heart beat. I had told her that I had found a midwife/doctor's office that would work with me to attempt to have a VBA2C.

I ended up telling my mom on July 12th. I had wanted to let everyone know at my youngest daughter's 2nd birthday party on the 10th, but my sister in law had thought she was pregnant. I didn't want to "rain on her parade". My sister in law let me know the day before their anniversary that she wasn't pregnant, yet again. I wasn't going to tell them then. I wanted to give it a little more time so it hopefully wouldn't hurt them as much. I was surprised at how well my mom took the news. She was so excited. I think she was even more excited that I had found someone who would work with me to have the birth I had wanted! It also meant that she could attend the baby's birth. She called up my dad and told him. I was shocked when all he said was congratulations. I was relieved to at least have them know.

On Friday, July 16th around 11 am, I started spotting. I was so scared. I'd never spotted with either of my other children. I was working though and couldn't get away for a little while. Plus, my OBGYN's office was closed between 11 and noon during the summer. I waited until 12:01 and called. They told me to go directly to the ER. I dropped off the person I was working with, called my husband (who was at home with our 2 children), and headed to the ER. When I got there, I noticed that I'd stopped spotting. The nurses kept asking me if I was cramping; I wasn't. I was hopeful. 

I waited. They put in the IV and tried to take my blood...I inherited my mother's veins! Eventually I had to pee. I asked the nurse if I could go to the bathroom. He said sure and handed me a cup thing to collect a pee sample. I told him no problem. I went to the bathroom. I noticed that I was bleeding again. This time it was bright red with clots. I started bawling. I was pretty sure I knew what this meant. I told the nurse what was happening then called my husband. I also called my mom once I could control myself a little better. Everyone was concerned...except me...I was depressed, but trying to keep it in.

The nurses told me they were going to have to do an make sure. This meant I had to drink a lot of water. I did this. When this was done, I got to be wheeled back to the ultrasound area. I felt so silly being wheeled around when I felt I could walk without a problem! I got the ultrasounds taken. The ultrasound tech was so very nice. I asked her what she saw. She didn't say much about that, but told me the results from the blood they'd taken had showed decreasing pregnancy levels. She said they weren't what they would normally have been had I still been pregnant. I held it together still. This meant that I must've started miscarrying a couple of days prior. She did a second ultrasound test, but this time from the inside. They finally wheeled me back to my room. My dad was there to offer me support. I needed it by that point. 

I called my husband and mother again to let them know what I'd learned. Shortly after that, the PA came in and gave me a pelvic exam. She said that she was seeing clots and such, and her diagnosis was that I was having a miscarriage. Somehow, I still didn't break down again. I was able to be released. The told me I'd have to come in again in 2 days to get blood taken to see if my hormones were continuing to go down to normal. 

I went home. That first night was bad. I cried. I felt guilty. I thought about how just a few days before I'd said while fighting with my husband how I didn't want this baby. I did, but was stressed. I had fallen twice in the previous week or so. I was extremely stressed out. I had to have caused this somehow...I just didn't know how. Guilt, it's horrible. I knew it wasn't my fault, but it's hard to believe it. I was shocked at how little it hurt physically. I had a lot of support though. My whole family kept calling and emailing me to make sure I was ok and to let me know they were praying and thinking of us/me.

The second day was even worse. I would randomly cry. I was snapping at my kids. They didn't understand what was going on. My oldest asked me if I was ok (she's 3). I told her mommy was hurting. I told her my heart hurt. She asked if it was broken. I try not to cry in front of her because it makes both the girls cry too. They knew that mom had a baby in her tummy, but thankfully, they didn't quite comprehend what all that meant. 

Today was the third day. I'm still bleeding, it's still hard, but getting slightly better. I'm exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. I don't want to eat. I have 2 little girls though that are here. I had to go back to get more blood drawn today. I cried a little during that. I understand this has happened many times before to many people. I know it's not my fault. The baby could have had some serious life threatening birth defect. Nature's selection. It doesn't make it easier. I try to believe it does, but it doesn't. I know eventually I'll be able to move on...just not yet. I need time to heal. Time is going to be the only thing that will help. 

Eventually, we'll try again. I'm nervous about it though. I know I'll be plagued by doubts and such. I may not tell anyone for the first couple of months next time, well, except my husband. I'll probably take it overly easy as well. I still have a doctor visit to get through before this is over. I'm not looking forward to that AT ALL! It's going to be another pelvic exam. They need to make sure everything came out. I'm hoping my body will take care of everything. I don't want to have to have a D&C. 

This is my story. I don't know if this will help anyone else out. I just wrote this to get it out of me. I also thought if anyone else is going through something like this, it's nice to know you aren't alone. I don't think guys can understand. I'm full of guilt, even though I know I didn't mean what I said and didn't do anything to cause this. I'm in mental pain. Time...I just have to'll take time.

Elizabeth Walker is the mother of two beautiful little girls. She has to work out of necessity, but as soon as her husband finds a job, She'll be a SAHM again. She proudly supports breastfeeding, and it gets easier to feed in public with each child she has. She would still like to expand her family and lives in Michigan. Elizabeth wrote an update on how she dealt with her miscarriage here.

Photography by Dave Leiker


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Surf

Dohiyi mama has an article about changing her perception of feminism on her blog Namaste Mothering.
Who decided that feminism is all about competing with males, anyway? I can understand this ninety years ago when women could not vote or perform other fundamental tasks, but I prefer to call that the woman's liberation, not feminism. Feminism should be about embracing femininity.
Wendy Priesnitz compares standard education to fast food.

Jenna, on 'With The Family', writes about negative attitudes of parents towards their children and the general perception of parenting as a burden.

Danielle Elwood writes a very to the point article about avoiding interventions in childbirth.
(...)birth should take place where you feel most comfortable, and if that is in a hospital, the best thing to do is educate yourself about the choices and risks and related to common medical interventions.

For more Sunday Surfing, visit Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Children have more need of models than of critics.  
- Carolyn Coats, Things Your Dad Always Told You But You Didn't Want to Hear


The Birth Of Anna Yael

written by Dohiyi Mama

I perpetually hear my little girl crying when she's not. Isn't that weird? I'm pretty sure she's not right now, so I'm taking a trip down memory lane and writing about her beautiful entrance into the world. I feel the need to share this with the world, as no one ever really asked me about my labor, since no one in my family or family in law (except for my mother) has any inkling about natural labor and birth. This hurt my feelings badly, especially when my cousin in law came to visit, and my sister-in-law, who barely spoke to me about my birthing experience, nearly drowned her in questions. "You were induced? Who was your doctor? You had an episiotomy, right?" So, this is to some one who cares. I want some one to hear my story.

For the entire evening of February 17th, 2010, I was in labor. I didn't know it, but the contractions I was having were the real deal. It was my father-in-law's birthday, so I remember my husband calling me from work and begging me to go to the store and pick up things to make a cake. My reply? "HAHAHA. I'm not getting out of this tub, buddy. I sure hope when I'm really in labor you don't need me to make a stupid cake!"

I got absolutely no sleep that night, and therefore was exhausted for my 10 am appointment with my midwife. I was tempted to cancel, but was partly curious to know if I was dilated any at all.

So on the 18th, off we went. My checkup results were not good- ketones in my urine (from apparently not eating enough, even though I had eaten that morning before we left), high blood pressure, and gained eight pounds in a week (I was retaining fluid at this point in my ankles and legs). My midwife urged me to go home, eat a healthy meal and get some sleep. Right before we left, my husband reminded me to ask her to check me (this was the first time I'd had to 'drop my bottoms,' and I was nearly 39 weeks pregnant- just one of the things I loved about my midwife). I was indeed dilated 2-3 cm and 50% effaced. I started to get excited, but my midwife quietly reminded me that it still could be weeks before the action started. She encouraged me to go home and rest, since I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before, and "if I went into labor that night with no rest it could be bad." So we left, still excited.

We got home, and lo and behold, the stupid fight about the birthday cake commenced again. My husband was again begging me to make a cake, and I was vehemently refusing and insisting that I take a nap. We ended up having a huge yelling match about it in the kitchen, and I finally stomped to the bedroom and tried to sleep. It was about an hour before I got up after hearing various sounds of frustration coming from the kitchen. My husband had tried to make a cake himself... I felt bad for him, but this was truly hilarious. He had made two round layers. One had come out of the pan alright, but one had stuck badly. He tried to piece it back together, without cooling it at all, and then tried to cover it all up with cream cheese frosting. The frosting was melting, and had chunks of cream cheese sticking out where he hadn't mixed it properly... My husband was SO upset about it, as he was overtired too, so I tried to comfort him while hopping up and down since I had to pee so bad. Finally I said "wait just one second!" and ran to the bathroom. It was there I discovered my mucus plug. I screamed, half grossed out and half excited. My husband immediately called the midwife 20,000 times until she called back. She instructed me to go back to napping, and reminded me that it still could be days before it was time.

I reluctantly got back into bed, and naturally couldn't sleep. I gave my husband a list of things to do around the house just in case it was time, and tried to relax. Thirty minutes later, my water broke. I went to screaming again in excitement, and even managed to quote Juno when her water broke! "Baby! Either I just peed my pants, or THUNDERCATS ARE GOOOOO!" I went running for the tub, trying not to get the bed or floor wet. I was squealing "we're gonna have a baaaaby!" and my husband was saying, "I could be a dad tonight? I could be a dad before midnight?! But I didn't do anything on the list!"

I started waddling around getting stuff together while hubby called the midwife. While all this was going on, I never had a single contraction. I called my mother and said, "Mom, my water broke!" She said, "It's time! Come on over!"

I cannot describe to you how excited we were.

We got to my mom's around 6pm. I had my first contraction as we pulled up. It was easy, no problems there. I ate some toast with my mom, got on Facebook, and just chilled. Things started getting harder around 7:30. I remember falling to my knees, and staying on all fours and breathing through the pain. It was around this time when I made my final facebook update before disappearing from cyberspace for 9 hours.

My husband and mother prepared the bedroom. Plastic sheet, plastic on the floor, ect. They talked with me, and kept the mood light.
By the time my midwife arrived, I was in real pain. My mom had suggested I get in the tub, and that's where I was when my midwife walked in. I was laid back with my head on an inflatable pillow, ensconced in warm deliciousness. My midwife asked me "How are you doing, Christa?"
Now my midwife is the best in my area, and has been delivering babies before a licensing program for midwives ever existed. That being said, she has the sweetest, softest and most comforting voice I have ever heard. When she asked me that, I almost burst into tears and said something like, "It hurts."

Everything is kind of a blur after that. I got in and out of the tub many times. I always said I would NOT give birth naked, but after about the 5th time of getting out of the tub, I said the hell with clothes. We used a heating pad briefly, which helped a little with the pain, and put my husband to sleep next to me promptly. I remember, not long after my midwife arrived, asking my husband for my music, a CD titled Swimming with Dolphins. He was almost scared to tell me that he couldn't find it on his iPhone, and called his dad to get it and bring it.

By the time my father in law arrived, I was past the point where any music could help. I really, really wish I had had it though for those few moments where it could have helped. As soon as FIL got there, my husband disappeared into the kitchen. I could hear them talking and laughing noisily, and then heard a very loud voicemail blaring from a cellphone. My midwife looked distressed at this, and I nearly screamed to the hall for them to "freaking be quiet, I'm having a BABY!" My midwife quietly agreed with me, and my husband quickly returned.

As things got worse, I was trying every position I could think of. I know it sounds silly, but I kept thinking over and over again that there must be some position that I was missing that would relieve the pain. All fours helped the most. The tub helped too. It was so nice that I was almost falling asleep between contractions, but when they came roaring back, I was starting to get vocal... okay, I was yelling. A lot.

At this point, I had reached the peak of how painful this was going to be, but I didn't know it, and was terrified that it was going to get worse. There were no breaks in between my contractions. They came, partially subsided to a dull grip, and then came roaring back. Even though I was in pain, I couldn't help but worry about everybody else's feelings. I was trying not to snap at people, or be too loud, ect. ect. Once though, I was in the tub, on my hands and knees, groaning loudly, and happened to look up at my husband who was sitting by me. To my irritation, he looked like he was about to cry himself, and started playing music on his iPhone- Haunted by Evanescence, which I now hate. I said "What the hell are you doing?" And he actually said, "I'm trying to drown it out." I snapped. "If you don't wanna be here, GO! Mom can sit with me!" Of course he didn't leave and turned the darn thing off.

3 am rolled around, and I was almost afraid to ask my midwife to check me. She had checked me once before when she had first arrived, and I was only 4 cm. This fact had about crushed me, since I thought I was doing so well. It took us a long, long time to find a point between contractions for her to check me, but when she did, I was 99.9% dilated and 100% effaced. Just a lip of the cervix remained over the baby's head (later I was told that the baby was not in the right position to be born, and this was why I could not fully dilate, and also why my labor was one continuous contraction towards the end). I went and sat on the toilet, hoping that the baby's head bearing down would help. Let me tell you this: sitting was AGONY. The contractions were so powerful I had to get up. I climbed back on the bed, while mumbling something to my mother about "look how low the baby is now." I laid down on my right side, which was a horrible idea, and got stuck. The contractions were so bad I literally could not move. All I could do was lay there and moan with pain. My midwife sat down next to me and rubbed my back, and said softly, "Christa, this is a very difficult position..." I almost yelled, "I know! I can't move!" She asked quietly again, "Do you feel like you need to push?" And she checked me again. I really didn't, and I told her so. She then informed me that the lip of the cervix was still there, and I announced loudly that I didn't care, I was pushing. I didn't know it then, but she manually pushed the cervix back, and my two hours of pushing began.

Now the pushing was my favorite part. It made me feel like I had some measure of control over the pain, and like I was getting somewhere with all of this. They didn't tell me at the time, but my husband and mother said later that much of my pushing did not yield any results, and they all were terrified that I was going to be too tired to go on. Kudos to them. I never picked up on that, even when my mother started feeding me honey in hopes of giving me more energy from the sugar rush. I remember my midwife trying to get me to drink some water (all I could think was who the hell wants food and drink at this time???), checking the baby's heartbeat (she was fine), and checking my blood pressure, which was an alarming 190 over something (alarming to me, anyway). My midwife was in full action now, holding warm cloths on me and applying olive oil, both of which felt wonderful and helped the baby come down more.

I pushed pretty much non stop for those two hours, because I had no choice. I never got a break from the contractions, and I had no choice but to push when I felt them. I remember getting through a contraction with my mom and my husband holding back my legs as I sat up and pushed. They'd let go as soon as I started to breath again, and I'd freak out screaming, "No no no don't let go here it comes again!" My poor mom was so sore the next day from having to hold onto me for two hours.

I kept asking repeatedly, "Can you see the head? Can you?" Neither my mom nor my midwife would answer, so my husband lied to me, bless his heart. "Yeah, yeah I can see the head, baby." And of course I had to press my luck and blurted out, "Does it have hair?" He looked confused, looked at my mom, and said, "Uh, I can't tell yet." I still bought it. Maybe half an hour later, my husband looked excited and said, "It does have hair, baby!"

I was getting so tired, and my midwife was helping me press on, telling me when to take a break, when to push, when to breath. Once I looked at her and said, "Miss Tavish, how much longer is it going to be?" She smiled and said quietly, "I don't know, Christa..." "Lie to me!" I begged, "Say five minutes!" She never would lie to me though. As we neared the end and the baby began to crown, I kept incessantly asking if I was tearing. I guess this was a fear of mine, though I had never thought of it before then. My midwife, mother and husband reassured me I was completely intact.

When my baby's head slowly emerged, I screamed like I've never screamed before, and it was like I had no control over it, but I was so happy because my midwife kept saying "Yes, yes, yes, Christa, that's it!" I remember going "ooooooooooh... FUCK!" I was so embarrassed afterwards, because my midwife is pretty well-to-do, but no one judged me, thank goodness. My mom didn't even slap me. :)

Once my baby girl's head came out, I gasped, "Oh my god, Miss Tavish, just pull it out!" She quietly replied, "Christa, I can't..." Then, all at once, I felt her little squirmy body come slipping out, with a little kick of her foot, as if she had self-propelled herself into my midwife's hands, at 3:45 am, on February 19th, 2010.

I cannot describe to you how wonderful it felt for that baby to be out. I fell back on my pillows. All I could think was, oh god, it's over. It's over. It's finally over. I almost forgot there was a baby for a moment, I was so relieved. A second later, I sat back up, and caught my first glimpse of my darling girl.

She was tiny, and dark, and beautiful. My husband looked confused, and later told me since her little parts were so swollen he couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl. My mom couldn't hold it in anymore and exclaimed, "Oh, it's a girl!" I knew it had to be, since the one little cry she had made had sounded so very feminine.

Even so, I was surprised, and all I could say was, "Look how dark she is..." My midwife asked me what her name was. "Oh, it's Anna!" I murmured. My husband and I had argued over what name we would give a girl, but I was in no mood to argue now and promptly chose the name he had wanted. "Talk to her!" My midwife urged us, and I began quietly speaking to my baby. My husband is a huge jokester and can't hardly take anything seriously, and everything he does is usually funny, just like this. He stuck his face next to hers and, in a comical tone, simply said, "Hello."

My midwife asked if she could lay the baby on my tummy, and I exclaimed, "Oh yes please!" Anna, covered in a receiving blanket with a little hat on, lay on my stomach, eyes wide, with her hand in her mouth. I have a picture of this, and it is so adorable.

I could hear my mom sharing the news with my father and father in law in the hall, and then heard my dad say, "We wanna see the baby! We're not calling anybody until we see the baby!" My midwife said no visitors until the placenta is birthed, and thankfully, I pushed once, and out it came.

After this, I started shaking uncontrollably. My mom said my muscles had run out of glucose, and started feeding me honey again. My dad came in and expressed concern over how white and shaky I was, so my mom gave me some soup. It was the most delicious soup ever. :)

Anna latched on easily with some instruction from my midwife, and I was so happy she was able to eat. I just lay there, looking adoringly at my daughter. Then I noticed my husband looking less than happy. He said quietly, "I wanna hold her." Once she finished, her daddy gathered her up into his arms and rocked her in the recliner next to us. One time she started to fuss, so my husband stood up and announced, "I'll be right back, I gotta go calm her down." It was so cute and so... fatherly. :)

By this time I was feeling afterbirth pain, and said almost fearfully, "Is it still supposed to be hurting?" My mom assured me it was normal, and offered me an herbal pain reliever, but I denied it. "Oh, I just had a baby, this is nothing."

My midwife soon weighed my little girl and dressed her, ect. She was only 4 lbs, 12 ounces, and 18 inches long. I still don't remember her Apgar scores, because my midwife never said them aloud. I think she didn't want me to put much stock in them, or want me to worry if they weren't maxed out. I have the paperwork somewhere... The whole time was was being dressing, Anna kept gagging, so I asked what was wrong. My midwife laughed and said she kept trying to suck her fingers and kept getting choked.

My midwife checked me out next, and nope, no tears, to my relief. I was fine and completely intact. She stayed until 7:30 am, talking with us and giving us instructions and making sure everything was okay. She left us while both Anna and my husband were sleeping. I was too excited to sleep. I just sat there and looked at my gorgeous family. I took some pictures, send some text messages, made a facebook update, ate some more soup and eventually slept, all on my own time, and nobody bothered me unless I wanted them to.

What a beautiful, liberating experience my birth was. One would think I would dread giving birth again because of the pain and the exhaustion, but to tell you the truth, I can't remember the pain now. Unbelievably, I can't wait to give birth again. Never had I felt so happy, so strong, so confident, or so alive. I remember, minutes after giving birth, saying to my mom so assuredly, "I think I could do that again."

My little girl is now almost 5 months old, nursing like a pro, and the absolute apple of my eye. Her entrance into this world is my most favorite memory. :)

Dohiyi mama is a 19 year old stay at home mother to a baby girl. She is of Cherokee decent and actively practicesattachment parenting techniques with her husband in the deep south of the United States.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Simply having children does not make mothers.  
- John A. Shedd


Breastfeeding toddlers

I used to be the person who found breasfeeding an older child a bit awkward. I can't really say from what age I found it weird, because right now, this person that I was, well, she's like prehistoric history to me, and I can't quite figure out the way she thought.
I know that that person would have found breastfeeding a four year old rather quirky. Maybe even a two year old.
But hello, this is me, and I am still giving my two year old the natural milk she deserves.

I never considered I might one day be 'that woman'. I knew I was going to breastfeed any child I would carry in my womb for nine months, but never ever pondered the amount of time I would be nursing.

But then there she was. We set out to nurse for a year, because that as the healthy thing to do, and I had the time for it, so why not. One year became two and two became 'until she self-weans'.
She started out a newborn just as any other nursling. We took it one day at a time. And looky here, she walks and talks and eats solids and yet, she still gets her buhbuh when she asks, although this is more infrequent than before.

How can we think that from one day to the next they get 'too big' for it? Now, it seems such an awkward thought not to nurse until they self-wean. How can you decide when to quit?
The only reason why we feel a nursing toddler is awkward is because we're not confronted with it enough. So nursing momma's: get out of the closet! Let's create some awareness while we're at it!



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.  
- Roger Lewin


Birth Options

Written by Brooklyn

When I was pregnant with my first baby in 2003, my husband and I attended a birth class. It was a small class, consisting of just my husband and I and one other couple. The other couple was due two months before me and they were planning a home birth. I was floored! What? Excuse me? People actually have a choice to give birth at home? I thought a home birth was something that happened *on accident* when labor begins and goes sooooooo fast. You know – like they portray it on TV. My husband and I had done research and settled on a birthing center … attached to a hospital. We have learned since that first birth class that being active in choosing how we want to participate in birth makes birthing a better experience.

This choice that had been brought to my attention on where I could choose to birth opened my eyes to the fact that there are all sorts of ways of doing things surrounding birth that I was completely unaware. I had so much more to learn! The first time I heard the word “doula” was during these birthing classes. I learned you could move around during labor. You could eat and drink, walk and squat, sleep and get in a bathtub. One of the most shocking things I learned was about my husband. My husband was actually encouraged to help out during all of the labor and birth. He wasn’t supposed to just sit there and pass out cigars afterwards. Wow. How can this be? I had begun reading all of the books I was supposed to read. I was prepared and excited to meet my baby. I just had no idea that there were other ways in which we could be introduced.

Recently, this choice of where and how to give birth has been brought into the spotlight. This is in part due to media normalizing birth, as the popularity of Ricki Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born” showed. This documentary follows women who are pregnant making choices about birth, in addition to giving statistics on a scope of issues (home birth vs. hospital birth, natural vs. caesarean.) While there are other films out there, this one was available to a wider audience, rather than to people already aware of choice in childbirth.  I believe the increased awareness about choice is also due to the fact that more women are talking about birth and their choices with each other. Not only do my friends and I dish weekly about some aspect of childbirth, but also plugging “childbirth” into Google (or Facebook) brings up numerous blogs and websites, in addition to respected magazine articles and books.  Growing up, I led a typical life in a small town in the Midwest. I was astonished when my aunt not only chose a birthing center within a hospital but also breastfed while on maternity leave. These two choices she made were so far out there to me as a pre-teen. It was so surprising to discover that I could have an active role in the birth of my children.

I’m so thankful I was able to ask questions and make decisions based on what I learned from many different sources. How many other women are out there, nodding dumbly to the doctor (or midwife or newspaper article) because they don’t know they can have an active role in their birthing decisions? How many other expectant, first-time mamas are like I used to be – ready to believe anything my doctor (or mom or in-laws) said without doing any other research because s/he had to know what was best; after all, s/he had been through childbirth before. While I’m not saying that your doctor (or your mother-in-law) doesn’t have information that is important to consider, rather there are usually safe alternatives that you can choose to make your birth experience more enjoyable to you and your babe.

I now have three children and each birth was a new and different experience. With each one, I have become more confident in both my body and my choices. I’m discovering things I’m excited to try during each pregnancy and labor/birth, but most importantly I am proactive about my births. I ask myself what I want and then find a way to make it happen.

If I hadn't attended those first birth classes, (and read a few different books and talked with other women and midwives…) I would never have known that there are other ways. It’s up to you to decide how you want to celebrate the miracle within you. Ask; discuss; and ponder the different ways you can participate in labor and birth. Take control of bringing your sweet baby “earth-side” and creating the experience you want. Birth is a journey, but if you are knowledgeable in what you want, you’ll enjoy the passage even more. 

I'm a birth junkie, a mama to three awesome girls that were birthed naturally and in various places, and a wife to a sweet-lovin' farmer. When I'm not playing tea party or nursing, I love to read, knit, and attend births.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quote Of The Day

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.  
- C.G. Jung, Integration of the Personality, 1939


No Means No

We tell our girls that if they don't like something, they should say so. We teach our boys to accept 'no' for an answer. We keep repeating this in order to avoid them to be subjected to unwanted situations, to coercion, ultimately to rape.
But do we say the same through our actions?
How corrumpable are our parental no's?
How often do we let our children and our partners convince us out of a 'no'?

If your child wants to give you something, feed you something, you would rather not accept... Do you give in? If they insist, do you fold?

And let's turn the situation around. Do we - as parents - accept no for an answer? How often do we coerce our children into something WE want? How often do we sheme and manipulate to get the desired result?
Think about the little things, small frustrations, where we coerce just a little to get our way.

Getting them dressed or in the carseat, what means do you use? Having them take some medication.

As klong as we coerce our children nto doing what we want them too, coercion will be a part of our world. As long as we show our children through our action that insisting, manipulating and forcing works, they will continue this behavior.

No means no. Live by it.

Image: Informatique on Flickr