Google+ Authentic Parenting: November 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Birth of Our Third

Where to start my son's birth story? On the day he was born? Or before that?

Our third decided his birth would not come unprepared and offered us not one, but two false starts. To prepare his siblings for his coming? To make sure we were ready?

To be quite honest, I had not been ready, even fearful of his arrival. Wondering if it had been a good idea to have a third, given that the other two were already demanding so much of me with their near constant fighting.

So came one Saturday and I noticed I had quite a lot of contractions... I went about my day, dropping off the eldest at horseback, going to the thrift store, having lunch... But the contractions kept on, strong and steady, but not at all alarming.
When we got home, I decided to see how much time was in between, as my midwife had to come from quite far. They were ten minutes apart, but steady.

I pmed my midwife on Facebook, telling her that I'd had quite regular contractions, so it could be near. Yet, by the time I wrote this message, my father in law and mother in law showed up. Unannounced.

And the contractions dead stopped. There would be no baby today!

This was a couple days before my official due date, which was the 8th of October. I'd given myself the 12th as the baby's birth date.

The week went by and nothing steady or regular came about.

The on Thursday - one day after the official due date - my husband went to work in France and I had an extreme bout of nesting, setting up everything for baby's arrival, cleaning the house, taking care of our animals. I hadn't had this amount of energy for weeks, so I wondered? Would it be near? I had incessant contractions throughout the day. My dad came to pick up my daughter so I could rest a bit in the afternoon. Even with rest, the contractions continued. And I cleaned and organised some more, doubting wether I should call my husband to come home. Wether I should inform my midwife or not.

By the time my husband was back, I was in quite a state and we decided to call the midwife to come over. We made the bed as we figured it could be somewhere during the night and we'd managed to sleep a little during the birth of our second child too.

Midwife arrived after dinner and we talked a lot. My contractions kept coming and by nighttime, they were getting quite intense.
I decided to go to bed and get some sleep while I still could. We'd put the kids to bed earlier.

I didn't sleep well that night, and by one in the morning, I knew it wouldn't be now. I felt guilty for having called my midwife and have her come over. I was pretty upset and didn't understand this coming and going of contractions, as I'd not experienced this with my two other children.
By morning, we wondered wether or not labour would continue, I went for a walk in the woods with my midwife, but decided it would be best she go home.

I consented to a vaginal exam, which I hadn't really wanted originally, but she wanted to make sure she wasn't leaving only to come back a few moments later; given the two hour drive. I was at three centimetres so she was ok going back.

In hindsight I'm not very happy having had the vaginal exam. I knew she could go home and it did push me off my balance at the time. Plus it hurt.

That was Friday morning. On Saturday morning, the 11th, I woke up and I knew it was on. BUt I didn't feel compelled to call my midwife again. I phoned my mom to take my daughter to horseback, so we'd have some time to get the last couple of things done.

By the time my daughter came back from horseback, I had been in and out of the birth pool several times. I'd paced around a lot. Had spend some quality time with my son in the birth pool. The yoga ball had stopped being useful as contractions became more intense and I felt like I was sitting on the babe's head. We tried watching an episode of Downton Abbey, but I couldn't concentrate on tv at all.

We had the fire going and it was a lovely sunny day.

I still hadn't called the midwife, as I knew it would make me feel inhibited, and I wasn't ready just yet to pop the lovely birthing bubble our family had formed. The kids walked around while I paced and sand and occasionally took hold of a chair to squat through contractions. Deep squatting really helped. Singing too (my oeuvre was mostly the Bastille CD, but also other songs on my birth playlist).

Somewhere in the afternoon, my daughter said it was time to call Leen (the midwife), and I told my husband she might be right. Initially I'd considered calling when my water would break.

Around the same time, it became too difficult for me to have the kids splashing around in the birth pool with me, so my husband took our son to watch something on tv and my daughter stayed to play doula. She sat beside the pool and held my hand.

I'd also found that positive moaning was more productive and meant less intense contractions, so I was alternating singing and "yes!". My husband came in and said he wouldn't let in Leen when she arrived, and I'd just have to shout if I wanted her there. I nodded, that was exactly how I wanted it.

When she arrived I was already pretty deep in laborland. He escorted her though the other door into the living room, my daughter was still by my side. Apparently she'd told him "this won't take very long", given the intensity of my "yes"-es. She was also quite surprised about the "yes" and the singing.

My water broke and I asked my daughter to get Leen to come and check wether it was clear. She did, like a pro, I may add.

Leen came in and said everything was clear, and asked if she could sit there, next to the pool. I was ok with that. The next contraction was huge and intense and seriously downward. It became clear that baby had seriously moved through the birth canal with the sack intact and I'd never even noticed. That one contraction was seriously painful, as if with the breaking of the water, he'd taken a wrong course and I felt like he'd break my tailbone.

"He's wrong, I have to move around" I said.
Leen suggested to get on all fours, but I felt like I couldn't move. She said to breathe and turn. Which I did.

It took another push for his head to be half born.
The another push for the rest of the head.
And with one more push, my new baby was born.

I took my baby and let him float in the water. It was pretty magical. I called out for my husband and kids to come, looking at the baby in the water. He was perfect. He opened his eyes slightly and stirred his limbs.

I called out again, then Leen said to take him out of the water.

The kids came in to gaze upon their new sibling. We spend some moments as a family cherishing this new life. The emotions washing over me.

We didn't know if it was a girl or boy yet. So my daughter went over to the other side of the tub to check. It was a boy. My feelings - and refusal of picking a girl's name - had been correct.

He had a full knot in his cord, and the cord wrapped around his neck. Oddly, I'd quizzed my midwife about her cord around the neck tactic the day before...

My daughter got to cut the cord with her daddy.

We had been guessing about his weight when I was pregnant (given that our son was 4kg710). He seemed really tiny.

Yet he weighed 4kg225 and measured a whopping 54cm!!


Monday, November 17, 2014

My Mother's Blessing in Pictures

It's been quite a while since my mother blessing. Late pregnancy, birth and everything going on in our busy homeschool home - which is still under construction - has left me unable to write... Moreover, this birth has really exhausted me, I can't remember having been this tired, this long after the other babies. Is it age? Is it because there's now three to take care of? Is it because of the incessant breastfeeding my two year old has taken up alongside the newborn?

Without further ado: my mama blessing pictures!

Even though we kept the guest list very small, we had quite a lot of food :) All of which paleo! We were only 4, plus three kids, who then went on with two of the daddies. I intentionally invited very few people, because I wanted to be able to do the activities we'd planned without feeling inhibited. Plus, having few people around made it less tiring.
I also decided to have the kids and husbands out of the house, to just have a day for the ladies. I'm already non stop around the kids, so this was just for me.

We had a henna artist over to do some belly henna and hand henna for the guests and the kids. It proved quite the challenge to find someone in Belgium!!

All the kids and guests got some awesome henna too. Sadly, it was rather cold in the house, so the natural henna she used on me and my friends didn't last very long. By the time I gave birth, it was all gone!

After this, the kids went to the farm to pick up my birth favours and after that to the playground with the two daddies present.

We made an affirmations banner for the birth.

And a necklace with the beads each of the guests had brought.

The last activity we did was having our nails done. An unplanned activity my best friend had prepared.

I'll try to get a post up about organising mama blessings later on, when I have the energy to write another post. And I promise I'll get the birth story and some of our amazing pics up as well!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Improve the Lives of Children Who Have Autism

Content provided by Janice

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly called autism, is a developmental disability that lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It affects how a person interacts with other people and their environment. All people who have autism share some difficulties, but it affects different people in different ways. It is a neurological disorder that affects normal brain functioning, especially the person’s communication and social interaction skills, and it is usually seen in a child during their first three years.

What Can Be Done? 

There are professionals who work with children who have ASD, such as Lindsey Stone, to help them become more integrated in their communities and develop better communication skills. Studies show that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning as well as social and communication skills. Some of the features of a good program for toddlers and preschool children are:

• Highly trained therapists perform the intervention.
• The therapy has well-defined learning objectives.
• The child is regularly evaluated to measure their progress in meeting these objectives.
• The child receives therapeutic activities that are well-structured for at least 25 hours every week.
• The intervention focuses on social skills, language and communication, imitation, daily living, play skills and motor skills.
• Children have the opportunity to interact with typically developing peers.
• The parents are actively engaged in the program.
• The therapist views each child as unique.
• The therapy team is multidisciplinary, including a doctor, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.

Tips for Helping Children With Autism

There are several things parents can do to help their ASD child, but in order to be effective, the parents must be emotionally strong. When a child is diagnosed with ASD, it may be a shock to the parents, and they will need the support of professionals. There are free government services, in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs that assist parents as well as their children.

If parents suspect there is something of concern going on with their child, they should seek help immediately and not wait for a diagnosis. The sooner a child gets specialized help, the better chance the treatment will be successful.

Tips for Parents

• Parents should learn as much as they can about autism so they can make informed decisions for their child.
• Parents should learn as much as they can about what makes their child stressful, what calms their child and the activities their child enjoys.
• Parents should value their child as an individual and not constantly compare him or her to other children.
• Parents should never stop the love and support a child needs from them because his or her abilities will constantly be developing.

Recognize the Symptoms

The symptoms of ASD vary in severity and may go unrecognized, especially if they are mild. Some things to look for are:

• No pointing or babbling by one year
• No single words or two-word phrases by 16 months
• No response to their name
• No or very little eye contact
• No smiling at people
• Excessively lining up toys or objects

The treatment for ASD needs to be modified as the person develops into a teenager and adult. Most people still require support and special services, but if they have a supportive environment, they may be able to work successfully and live independently. There is no cure, but with the help of professionals who are trained to help people with ASD, they can experience substantial improvement in their lives.

photo credit: G. J. Charlet III via photopin cc