Saturday, February 26, 2011

a natural birth plan dissected.

Although this hospital birth plan was a moot point after we switched to a homebirth midwife, writing a birth plan really guided me to realize that I wanted to give birth to Liza in a 100% natural intervention-free birth.    *The birth plan bullets are in bold.*

Please do not offer me an epidural or other pain medications.
Even though I knew my resolve for a natural birth was strong, I had read enough about transition to know the allure of numbing drugs would be strongest during the phase immediately prior to pushing and I didn't even want that card on the table at the most difficult stage of labor.

I am happy to have 20 minutes of electronic fetal monitoring upon checking in.  After that, I prefer only 15 minutes of monitoring per hour.
Electronic fetal monitoring is the strap placed across your belly checking baby's heart rate and your contractions.  Research consistently shows constant fetal montitoring does not improve birth outcomes and being strapped to the bed is the last thing you want during a natural labor.

After the initial cervical check, I would like my cervix checked only upon my request.
If you are in labor, you are in labor and the baby is coming.  Knowing your dilation, effacement and station tell you nothing about when your baby will be born.  You might have a short early labor and a long active labor or vice versa.  Emotional signposts are much more effective at letting you know your stage of labor.

I decline all IV fluids.  I will stay hydrated and energized by drinking and eating at my own discretion.
Although they do not address possible risks os IV fluids, even ACOG (which has no concept of 'normal' birth) states women should be allowed to drink clear fluids at their own free will.  Of course, the same release states that a laboring woman wouldn't want to eat.  But, if a woman does want to eat, she should absolutely be allowed food.  Labor is like a marathon, taking every bit of your physical and mental energy.  Would you restrict foods to a runner simply because of the tiniest remotest possibity she might need general anesthesia for an emergency surgery?  I think not.

I would like my bag of waters to remain intact.
My baby is in a bag of water for a good reason.  I prefer not to mess with a good thing to possibly shorten labor by a few hours.  Amniotomy is not medically necessary.  Fact.

Freedom of movement will be important during labor and delivery.  I will not be limited to the lithotomy position as I push.
During labor, movement is important in order to cope with labor pains, to aid gravity in moving baby down into the birth canal and to help baby get in the optimal position for birth.  The lithotomy position during the pushing phase only serves to give the birth attendant a good view of what is happening below.  Pushing flat on your back is not a good idea for a number of reasons, such as it narrows a woman's hips and compresses major blood vessels limiting blood flow to your hardworking baby.  Squatting, kneeling, or hands and knees are much more comfortable and physiologically appropriate for delivering a baby.

I intend to use "mother directed pushing".
If you are not numb from an epidural there is no need to be told when to push.  Your body will let you know when the time is right.

I prefer to tear naturally rather than receive an episiotomy.
Think about this way:  either a doctor can cut you to the point he thinks is necessary or you can allow your perineum to tear to the point which is necessary for your body and your baby.  Also, research shows that episiotomy can do lasting damage unlike a spontaneous tear.  Of course, not tearing at all is the best case scenario and there are plenty of things your provider can do to prevent perineal damage during delivery.

I intend to breastfeed and use kangaroo care immediately after birth.
Why would I want my baby swaddled and  placed in a warmer immediately after delivery when my bare chest is warm and cozy and just right for initiating the very important first breastfeeding session.

Baby's cord is not to be cut until it is finished pulsing.
Baby receives oxygen and blood from the placenta via the umbilical cord until the cord is white and no longer pulsing.  There is no need to clamp and cut the cord until my baby gets every bit of blood and placental goodness that belongs to her.


Friday, February 25, 2011

homemade deodorant.

Today, I made homemade deodorant.

My reasons:

1. Why not?  Really.  Why not?  It was easy to make and I already had the ingredients on hand.

2. It's not like I was super satisfied with the performance of my Sure solid stick.

3. I am always looking for a thrifty way to cut back grocery store spending.

4. Any breastfeeding woman can attest that breast tissue reaches into your armpit.  Chemicals.  Breast tissue.  Not such a good combination.

5. Granted, it's only been one day but it really works.  As in,


5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
1. Combine baking soda and arrowroot powder/cornstarch.                                                                           

2. Cut coconut oil into the powder mixture with a fork or spoon until you reach deodorant consistency.

3. Scoop deodorant into a small jar to apply with your fingers.


*I tried storing the deodorant in an empty deodorant dispenser but it turned out easier to just keep the deodorant in a lidded tupperware and use my fingers to apply.*

If you aren't familiar with coconut oil, it is a super versatile and super healthy oil good for cooking, moisturizing and as a base in many homemade beauty products.  It is a solid oil that melts upon contact with your body heat.  
This is only day one but I stayed sweat-free and odor-free all day long, including through a 2 hour span of cleaning and cooking with Liza asleep on my back.  

Regiments are not my style so I am not going to set a date for a followup post about the pros and cons of my deodorant.  

But, rest assure, I'll be back with an update.  

This is Mississippi and it's about to heat up!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

4 topics.


The kids and I daytripped to Jackson yesterday with a friend and her kids to represent Mississippi Friends of Midwives at our state capitol.  The battle to regulate midwifery and legally sanction homebirth in Mississippi is still going strong thanks to the dedicated women with MFoM.  Seriously.  Dedicated.  I was quite disappointed in our senator when he chose to go home post-lunch even though he knew very well he had constituents waiting for a visit.  Yet, some good connections were made during our visit and we thoroughly enjoyed our day in politics.

A the capitol, Liza spent in the Ergo.  She loved it.  Henry spent acting as Mandi's middle son and riding in her stroller.  He loved it.  Good day?  Yes.  Long and tiring day?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Liza didn't wake up last night until 3am.  Maybe we should drive to Jackson and back more often if it means I get longer stretches of sleep.

Henry's speech is showing drastic improvements after only 2 sessions of speech therapy.  His therapist was absolutely correct when she said after he makes the final sound on a few words, it will transfer to other words.  He continues to amaze me in his newfound willingness to attempt entire words....and the pride on his face when the proper sounds come out is one of the best things in my world! 

After speech this morning, we visited with friends at a "feeding the neighbor's  horse" playdate.  Henry was thrilled to see a horse up close and personal even though he ate the unwashed, unpeeled carrot we specially reserved for the horse.  The kid even ate the carrot top.  Strange.

Henry still refuses to say "horse".  "Huh huh" it remains.  


I officially conquered my fear of dough and finally started baking my own bread.  I am pleased to announced Henry's addiction to "baba" is no more.  Hallelujah.  Apparently, he thinks Sara Lee bakes better bread than his mama. I'm just fine with that since he longer begs and whines for bread all day long.

My bread baking skills are improving with time.  I really like the recipe I'm using but I want to experiment with making it a more nutty, wholesome bread.  You know.  More like Sara Lee and less like  Mama.


Can  you tell Liza likes bananas?

We were in a rush this morning and I grabbed a banana to eat in the car.  Um yeah.  The girl went crazy.  She definitely thought the banana was for her.  So, I slowed down.  Adjusted priorities.  And, gave the girl some banana.  

I'm not so sure she is actually "eating" her food yet.  She likes to pick up food chunks and put it in her mouth and she obkviously likes the new flavors but I'm not positive that the food is going down the gullet.  But, that's okay.  She will figure it out on her own time.  Remember?  She doesn't actually need the food.  She just wants it.  Trust me.  She wants it bad.

The end.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sesame Noodles My Way.

When I'm in need of a new tried-and-true recipe, I always hop over to The Pioneer Woman.

I love her and I wish I was her friend.
She is funny like Ellen.  Seriously.  Funny.
And last but not least, she cooks good food.

I already had all the needed ingredients for this quick little sauce in my cabinet and I love the endless possibilities of this dish, from a simple side dish to a veggie filled main dish.

12 ounces fluid noodles -- I used whole grain spaghetti.
¼ cups Braggs natural soy sauce 
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons pure sesame oil
dash of cayenne pepper4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
4 whole green onions, sliced thin
Veggies of your choice -- I used sauteed mushrooms and sugar snap peas.

1. Cook noodles.
2. Prepare veggies.
3. Whisk remaining ingredients.
4. Pour sauce over warm noodles and add veggies.

big day for my babies.

Henry started speech therapy last week and I certainly had a good laugh when I was told the results of his language and speech assesement.

Receptive language skills:
"off the chart"

Expressive language skills:
"2 years and 6 months" aka exactly how old he is!

We already knew the kid understands everything we say so the fact that his receptive language skills are way above age level was not a surprise at all.  But, I was so pleasantly surprised to hear he is right on target with his expressive language skills.  Although, considering the way his sentence structure has exploded over the past few weeks I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising.  The therapist agreed that even though he is age-appropriate, his oral language skills have consistent gaps that are not showing improvement on their own.  Henry was approved for 6 speech sessions and then we will decide if more help is needed.


As Henry napped yesterday, I wiped down the highchair and mushed some avocado for Liza to try on her own.  Ummm, yeah.  She loved it.  

*** insert precious picture of my baby covered in avocado that I didn't take because my SD card was full and the camera battery was dead***

When Taylor got home from work, I put her in the high chair to show him how cute and proud she is to sit in her big girl seat.  Her joy quickly turned to sadness when she realized her tray wasn't covered in avocado, so we had a repeat performance and it was just as successful.  This morning, Taylor fed her bits of banana and of course, she loved it!


In addition to:
waking up at 5am
grocery shopping at 6am
speech therapy at 9am
playing at the park from 10am-12:30pm
feeding Liza her first foods, convincing her to nap, baking bread and cookies and preparing supper for a friend from 1-5pm
visiting with said friend and her precious newborn at 5pm
hanging out with my mama friends sans children at 8pm ..................

I also learned that Henry is not speech delayed and Liza officially likes food!
We can scratch two major anxieties off my list.

Can you tell yesterday was a big day?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've been getting the same two questions over and over again concerning our little girl:

1. How is she sleeping?
Ummm, she's not.

You might remember I'm not worried about the fact that she doesn't sleep well at night.  She is a baby and that is what babies do, or rather what babies don't do.  So yeah.  She hates to sleep at night.  It might irritate me in the middle of the night when I prefer to sleep but once the sun is shining, I am fine knowing that interrupted nights are a fact of life with small children.

2.  Is she eating solids yet?
Ehhh, not really.

After dealing with Henry's aversion to solid food, oral defensiveness and all-around control freak behavior, I had a lot of emotions and thoughts to sort out before giving Liza any solid food.  Thankfully my friend, Google, is there to hold my hand and teach me new things..... even if I feel like Google failed me during Henry's infancy -- how did I not know about baby led weaning (BLW)?  In a nutshell, BLW calls for skipping the rice cereal and purees and going straight to finger foods that babies feed themselves, i.e. avocado, a whole steamed carrot, butternut squash chunks, etc.  Not only is BLW perfect for little control freaks that hate foody spoons coming their way, it is also perfectly adaptable as a gateway to table food once baby no longer likes runny purees.  

So yeah.  I really do think we could have avoided Henry's hatred of all foods solid if we had put the ball in his court from the get-go.  After all, his first real food was homemade red beans and rice while sitting on a favorite blanket.

But, this post is about Liza.  Is she eating solids yet?  My plan has been to wait until she truly shows interest in solids before making them a regular part of her life.  After all, breastmilk is all she really needs and at almost 16 pounds, her mama's milk is treating her just fine.  

Yesterday at the park in the middle of an in-depth conversation with Alisha and Mandi about BLW and how to teach our kids healthy eating habits, Liza grabbed Henry's peanut butter and jelly sandwich off  the blanket and proceeded to eat half of it without me even realizing what she was doing.

So yeah.  I think she is ready for solids.

Is it bad to wish she wasn't ready because I don't want to clean up after another messy eater?

It's not bad of me?
I'm glad to hear.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Liza's little tree.

Prior to Liza's birth, I knew we needed to do something special with her placenta.  After all, it nourished her in the womb and I felt it deserved respect honoring it's important role in our healthy pregnancy.  But life with a newborn and a toddler quickly picked up pace and our placenta remained double bagged in the back of our freezer.

My original intention was to plant it under a fruit bearing tree or bush so that it could all come full circle. But, I am not one to snub my nose at something free so it was easy to change my plans when a sweet little cedar (or is it a fir?) tree fell in my lap.

Taylor came home early on Valentine's Day to plant our little tree while the light was still good for taking pictures.  He is sweet like that.

I remember our midwife looking over the placenta after Liza's birth and deeming it a healthy specimen that was "all used up".  Liza got exactly what she needed from her nutrition source and when the timing was just right, various hormones kicked in and labor started.  Even though those 9 days past her due date were the longest 9 days of my life, I'm glad she got to decide her birthday.

Henry refers to anything small as "Lila".
He had already deemed this tree "Lila" before it officially became hers.

Like that artsy burlap?
This tree's former life was a Christmas decoration at Anthropologie!

It was Valentine's Day after all......

May the placenta nourish this little tree as it nourished our little baby sister girl in the womb.

Monday, February 14, 2011

So, you want a natural birth.....

You've officially decided -- The Golden Vagina Award is in your future.  What next?

1.  Figure out why you want a natural birth.
Do you want to lower your chance of having a c-section?  Are you in search of the 'birth high'?  Do you feel that an unmedicated birth is the best way to bring your child into this world?  For me, it started out with "I know I can do this" and then evolved into the realization that my body was designed to give birth and there was no need to control the natural process of childbirth.

2.  Decide where you want to give birth:  hospital, freestanding birth center, or your home
I'm the first one to admit that I am biased to homebirth if you want a natural birth.  But, hospitals and freestanding birth centers are perfectly good options too.

3.  Find a care-provider supportive of your natural birth goals.
You can automatically assume a homebirth or birth center midwife is natural birth oriented.  But, it isn't so easy with an ob/gyn or a hospital based CNM. Be prepared to ask lots of questions:  to name a few, what is your c-section rate?  epidural rate?  will I have freedom of movement during labor?  am I limited to the lithotomy position for pushing?  -----> And, if you aren't happy with the answers, find a new provider!

4. Read.  Read.  Read.
Read everything you can get your hands on about normal natural childbirth.  Learn the ins and outs of the stages of labor and the emotional signposts accompanying each stage.  Learn how your body is perfectly designed for birth.  Read a million and one natural childbirth stories online.  Read Ina May Gaskin's books , Henci Goer's Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Jennifer Block's Pushed and pretty much any book about normal childbirth.  And, even though this isn't something to The Business of Being Born.  It is a must.

5.  Hire a doula.
I've said it once.  I've said it twice.  I desperately needed a doula during Liza's birth.

6. Know that you CAN do it!
And, if your confidence wavers.....give me a call.  I am always glad to give a peptalk.


What do you think?


What are the chances?

A favorite blog posted a link to "So you want a VBAC" tonight....

Great minds think alike.


*So you want a natural birth - pt. 1 - The basics of planning a natural birth
*So you want a natural birth - pt. 2 - Is your ob really naturally friendly?
*So you want a natural birth - pt. 2 - Hospital natural birth talking points

with love.

P.S. - At least one of my babies will smile for the camera.  Even if the smiley pictures are the blurry pictures.  That fixed lens is tough when you are in need of quick movements to keep a baby from falling on her face.

P.P.S. - So I don't forget and for interested parties, Liza's 6 month stats:
15lbs and 8oz (50%) and 26in (60%)

P.P.P.S. - Hen Hen was 24in at 6 months.  5%......

P.P.P.S. - Pops, these pictures are for you!

P.P.P.P.S. - I'm pretty sure Hen's haircut doesn't look so goobery in person.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Storm 2011 - Round II

This winter weather has been on the insane side for the past few months.
I'm accustomed to cold spells followed by warm spells.
But, snow like this on Thursday and t-shirt weather on Sunday is taking it to a whole new level....

I was pretty sad when I forgot to take a picture of our snow covered house after Winter Storm 2011.
Who knew we would have a repeat performance?

3 inches of perfect powdery snow!

Henry played his little hiney off wearing several layers of wool longies to keep him dry and warm.
I bought these well-loved bellbottomed longies off Ebay for $3.
If they look this cute on Henry, I can't wait to see little Liza running around in them!

Our green space was a white space!

No snowday is complete without breakfast at City Bagel.
And no snowday visit to City Bagel is complete without Henry battling Taylor about putting his warm clothes back on after we finish eating.

What about the baby?  Where is she?
Exactly where she needs to be!