Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our 4th of July.

Morning of the fourth, I put on my red, white and blue dress and proclaimed it my American outfit.
My children chose orange, green and tie-dye and proclaimed it their American outfit.
Apparently, we have not instilled much patriotism.
They had no clue.

The morning was spent playing in the baby pool.
Dinner was an indoor picnic of bratwurst, garden picked butter beans, lemonade and a chocolate cake per Henry's request.


Then we went for a walk in the cemetery.


You guessed it.
Liza quickly face planted and needed her daddy's hand.


You guessed it again.
She peed on her dress.
Naked.
In the cemetery.


This one turns four next month.
And, yes. his hair is long.
A year's worth of growth will do that.



He wants to grow his out to his toes.
And, he doesn't even know about Rapunzel.


The walk in the cemetery ended when the need for baby wipes arose and they were still at home.
Yep.
You guessed it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On Budgets and Booties:

Two things are consuming my mind this weekend:

1.  Our budget.  We are back to budgeting because when you are poor, you can't buy everything you want and you can't do everything you want to do.  Even when all you really want to buy is enough fruit to keep your kids happy for an entire week and buy cheap (cheap) cheap stuff from the thrift store.  Especially when the saddest thing that has ever happened in your life costs almost $300 in medical bills and you pay your bills in full without dipping into savings.  I promise I don't dwell on that sad event constantly in real life, it just keeps coming up on OMML.  This month is tight and even though our kids still have plenty of fresh, locally grown fruit from the farmer's market, I wish we could have more.  And, even though I cheated and charged $6 to the debit card at the thrift store because I didn't have any cash and I desperately wanted a pair of brand spanking new jeans that fit perfectly and a book I've been itching to read, I wish I could have dug through the clothes racks until I found brand new Ann Taylor Loft sweaters like I always do.

But, I can't. 
And, I won't.

Because I finally have the insight to know that this budget is more than paying bills and saving our pennies.  It is about delayed gratification -- something I hope my kids have at an early age after learning about the "Marshmallow Test for Success" -- and knowing that I don't need stuff to make me happy.  

And truth by told, maybe less stuff will make me happy.  After all, I am paying for yoga with the monies from selling unsused stuff around the house.  My biggest complaint about our house has always been the horrible kitchen storage space and these days I have more than enough room since selling off everything I don't use. 

 That's nice.  
I can complain about the budget but at least I don't have to complain about the lack of storage space anymore.  

2.  Liza has been out of diapers for 3 days.  She has only peed in the potty 3 times.  Like her much beloved pup-pups, she prefers the grass.  Can't blame her since she watches big brother pee outside all day, every day.  But, she's not a boy so it's not quite as convenient for her.  Good thing we love little girl dresses and I am laid back about things like this.

I keep telling myself that she will find the potty in due time.  And, then I tell myself again.  And, again.  And, then I tell myself that it will happen when she is ready and this is an amazing first step at 22.5 months old.  And, then I remind myself to breathe.  

Just breathe.  
And clean up the pee.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I could be blogging about...

I haven't been blogging much.  My evenings are filled with emailing doula clients, working on my doula certification, reading birth research and blogs and oh yeah, mindlessly zoning out on Facebook.

Things will happen during the day and I think -- hmm, a few months ago, I would have blogged about this.

But, alas, no blogging is done.

Still not taking many pictures of my kids.  My camera is frustrating me and I get a case of "the wants" every time I take it out and it doesn't perform as well as I think it should.

But, I really want to thank all of my readers for being my outlet when life was hard post-miscarriage.  Blogging was my quiet place, my peace and my solace when my brain was in overload and I couldn't sort out my emotions.  I am in a good place now and honestly can't fathom the thought of pregnancy and a third baby.  Twinges of sadness and loss strike when I hear about newly discovered pregnancies and a part of me feels like every pregnancy is doomed like mine was.  But, then I think of the million of birth stories I read and all the birth videos I watch and it's hard to balance all those babies with the fact that I feel like pregnancy is a loss cause.

So....I didn't intend to write about miscarriage.....but, you know, this is my happy place and apparently this is what I want to talk about.

Maybe one of these days I'll get back to writing about all this ridiculous amount of baking I've been doing and how I've mastered the food processor for all my mixing, creaming and beating needs.

Or I could write about how Henry is a full-fledge devotee to Netflix.  Or not.  Because then I would have to take back that post about how my kids don't want television.  What?  It doesn't count when it's on the computer?  Great!

And, birth.  I can always write about birth.  I could write a bit about how I'm much more tempered on my opinions regarding birth.  Or not.  Because then I might have to take back all those highly opinionated birth posts from a while back.  But, yeah.  I still think those thoughts but I realize that some things might be better left in my brain.  Or not.  Because I still think elective induction is pretty crappy.

Liza.  She would be easy to write about.  She is one cute little cookie.  Even when she is hysterically throwing herself on the floor because I scooted her chair 6 inches too far to the left.  Or because I won't let her walk backwards on the kitchen counter.  Or because I stop her from trying to climb onto the sun canopy of the stroller while in mid-walk.

Or that I FINALLY left the BlogHer network.  It was an honor to be included because a lot of my favorite blogs are a part of BlogHer but let's get real.  I have been a mouthpiece for a bunch of crappy products I would never ever ever use and I got paid squat.  Diddly squat.  Buh-bye.

I do suppose there isn't much left to add to the "greening my life" page though.  Except when I turn that bulk box of baking soda into washing soda in my very own oven.  That will definitely deserve a blog post.

Here I am blogging about blogging....

Does that count?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Changing Perceptions on Birth

I'm a birth junky.  I like the physical reality of giving birth -- the role of hormones, the position of the baby, contractions, dilation, pushing positions, impact of care providers and support teams, statistics on cesareans and epidurals, history of birth in America.
I like it all.
It's my drug.

But, my doula work has shifted my feelings on birth.  Visiting with families about their pregnancy and birth plans and finally witnessing my first doula baby's birth has given me insight into the very personal nature of bringing a baby earthside.

The physical reality of labor isn't what matters to a woman in labor.  I'm glad to know how the motherbaby functions to give birth but what matters to the birthing couple is the feeling of support, respect , informed consent and open lines of communication.

I'm still learning this doula role but with each consultation and with each prenatal appointment, I see constants:  the need to understand hospital interventions before the possible need arises and reassurance their decisions will be respected by hospital staff.

The need to not feel a loss of control in the hospital machine, in the laboring woman's body and mind and in the emotions of the partner is paramount to having positive thoughts regarding your birth.

This could just one big fat plug for my doula business, Southern Nurture Birth Services, but it's not.  Of course, if you are local I don't mind if you get in touch with me about availability for your due date and setting up a consultation.

But, that's not what this is about.  Although more business would be nice.  It's about a woman's right to feel in control of the birth of her baby she has been growing for the past 40+ weeks.  It's about a woman's right to listen to her intuition and make decisions she feels are right.

This lesson was reinforced even more a few days ago when a friend elected for a repeat cesarean in lieu of her planned VBAC.  She got to choose the terms of the surgical birth and she has no regrets.  It was a great reminder for me that birth is more the mechanics of pushing a baby out.  When Mondria isn't busy with a toddler, a newborn, tandem nursing, changing 2 sets of cloth diapers and doing everything else a mama has to do she is going to share her story on Our Messy Messy Life.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Secret Life of (un)Schooling

Homeschool has been on my mind a lot lately.  I vacillate between going crazy with my children underfoot, being thankful we can live frugally enough to keep me at home, wishing Mississippi would stop being the bane of my existence and allow unvaccinated children to attend daycare and school and being so flipping excited at the prospect of watching my children flourish under our guidance and love.

Yes.
It's a lot of work keeping up with all those conflicting thoughts and emotions.


But no matter if our unschool plans work out or not, you can't stop the teacher in me from coming out all.day.long.  Henry is very well-versed in the natural science world of our backyard and astounds me with his comprehension of books we read.  

He refuses to say his ABC's and has little interest in identifying numbers and letters but the kid can break down the life cycle of a moth, knows exactly what plants needs to thrive, explains that baby animals that come out of eggs don't drink mama's milk but babies that are born drink mama's milk and has a firm grasp on categorizing animals into herbivore or carnivore status.  


Tonight's post-bath activity involved him wearing my cowboy boots and his cowboy hat and using my robe's belt as his lasso to drag the rocking horse into a "safe, dark place so she can have her babies".  He proceeded to rearrange the furniture so she could rest behind a chair in a dark corner and I watched as he lifted up to her tail and the announce "there is another baby!".  We could only leave for our walk once I proclaimed his job was done -- the mama was healthy and comfortable and the babies were drinking their milk.


So yeah, we are doing our little unschool thing which involves us doing whatever we want to do and knowing that our kids' lives are enriched by it all.  Our biggest little's 4th birthday is just around the corner so we are firmly planted in "preschool" mode but I can't fathom our attitude changing about homeschooling our children anytime soon. 

Of course, I can't fathom Mississippi law to change anytime soon.  Or moving our of state anytime soon.  So here we sit.


Sitting like a mama bird on her little clay eggs.

Just doing our thing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Duality of Dealing With Loss

Two friends and I talked about my miscarriage at a "let's have drinks" get-together a few days ago.  Maybe it was the irreverent atmosphere of the bar, the fact that my one beer was long finished implying that everyone else had moved on to subsequent drinks or maybe it's just because I have really amazing friends but this conversation was completely different than any other concerning my miscarriage.

One friend told how her mother had two miscarriages and the way her mother spoke of those losses was so positive that even as an adult with children of her own, she has a hard time remembering miscarriages are emotionally difficult for women.  

Another friend speculated that our culture's obsession with abortion and pro-life vs. pro-choice debates has created an environment making it even harder to overcome the emotional burdens of miscarriage.  During Mississippi's Personhood Amendment debacle, we were asked to decide if we believe life starts at conception.  Everybody in my circle, including myself, agreed that yes, life starts at conception.  Of course, I did *not* vote for the Personhood Amendment for a vast number of reasons but that doesn't change the fact that for months the hottest topic in my state was the discussion of whether or not life begins at conception.  And, that's just my local little tip of the iceberg.

We talked about how I really am doing okay.  How I believe my baby was not compatible with life.  How I believe everything is for a purpose.  Perhaps Baby Tomas's purpose was to teach me compassion.  Maybe not.  At this point, his purpose isn't clear and maybe it never will be.  But, his short little life certainly had a purpose.

And as strange as it seemed to say out loud, it felt really good to talk about how our loss has been immensely freeing for me.  No more physical hardships of pregnancy, no more worrying about how I would take care of a newborn and still give my very needy children the attention they desperately crave, no more rushing through my doula certification just to put everything on hold for a year with a new baby, no more worries about money.  The list goes on and on.

The duality of being thankful for the benefits of a miscarriage while at the same time mourning the loss of what could have been -- a beautiful round belly, a peaceful homebirth surrounded by my family and women who love me, a precious newborn, first steps, first words -- is a tribute to the spirit of life, especially the life of Baby Tomas.  

And for those of you who are dealing with these conflicting emotions and the aftermath of infant loss, I found this speech a huge inspiration for peace in my heart.  Spoken at a "Spirit Babies Ceremony" on the winter solstice in San Francisco in which women came together to honor babies lost through abortion, miscarriage and stillbirth on the longest night of the year, I hope it will grant you the same peace and perspective it gave me.  

And now I am off to do non-pregnant activities....like mentally plan a Spirit Babies ceremony in my own little town, prepare for my first doula birth, and obsess over how excited I am to attend a CAPPA Childbirth Educator course this fall. 

And, I really am okay with that. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not My Words.

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact, that children shelter there. 
Ours boasts of it quite openly, The signs are everywhere!
For smears are on the windows, Little smudges on the doors,
I should apologize I guess, For toys strewn on the floor,
But I sat down with the children, And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell does not shine, Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other
I want to be a housewife-
But first I'll be a Mother.
--Unknown


Thursday, May 24, 2012

YuYu Makes Her Debut

Lulu or 'YuYu' as she calls her self is 21 months old.

Her favorite things are:
kissing
saying "no, Heidi!"
nursing, nursing, nursing, nursing!
brushing her teeth
making sure you do whatever she wants you to do
telling me that the chickens need all "dirty" food that falls on the ground
making art
taking walks in the stroller
pitching fits in the grocery store because she wants to walk instead of ride
playing in the parked car
carrying a purse or whatever bag is on hand that she can call a "purse"
counting 1-2-3 and 8-9-10
crying because the only words she knows to 'Ring Around the Rosie' is "ashes ashes"

I still get comments about how beautiful she is everywhere we go.
And, like my mom always said, being beautiful isn't everything but is sure does help.




Monday, May 21, 2012

Ending the Endless Snacks.

As I predicted, writing the details of our loss dramatically cleared my brain of the internal whirl of the past week and a half.  Thank you so much for the kind words on all of my sad sad posts.  What little I've read about grief said that some people are internal grievers and others are external grievers.  Apparently I'm external.  It feels good to share and it feels good to know I have prayers, positive thoughts and lots of love and light heading my direction.  I need it all and it is much appreciated.

This weekend was a big fat disaster filled with lots of tears, snotty runny noses and bad attitudes from every corner of the house.  I woke up this morning with a sore throat but I was determined to break the ugly little cycle my family has become accustomed to.

Today was day 1 of my new life with two toddlers.  Just two toddlers.  And nothing else to focus on during the day.  Just my toddlers.  And having fun.  And not going crazy.  Emphasis on the 'not going crazy'.  Pretty sure that's my current goal in life.

Since Henry was a wee little bossy boy, I've considered having meal times, snack times and ending the endless grazing.  I figured that if I was ever going to do it, today would be the day to start.  My children need reigning in after a solid 1.5 weeks of crappy parenting on my end and a previous 5 weeks of lazy pregnant parenting.

So, I did it.  And, it worked!  They didn't beg for snacks all day.  We went to the park and they actually played rather than focusing on their snacks.  And more than anything...they ate meals.  Real meals.  Breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.

Surely I'm not the only mama who understands how momentous this is?
Seriously.

This is what I did:

1.  I made Henry and Liza a breakfast plate.  Their plates were essentially the same but a little different. Henry had toast with jelly, orange slices, almonds, and a slice of avocado.  Liza's plate had a peanut butter tortilla roll-up, orange slices, walnuts and a slice of avocado.  Liza and I share eggs every morning so I knew I could count on that as well.  They ate and then we covered up the leftovers with a napkin and left the plate on the table.  When they asked for a snack, I reminded them they could finish their breakfast plate.  Both kids nibbled a bit more but it was apparent they really weren't hungry.  They just enjoy new snacks.

2. Around 9:45, I gave the breakfast scraps to the chickens and the kids ate a snack of a slice of cake we baked on Sunday and shared a piece of fruit.

3.  Requests for more snacks were refused with the promise of lunch at noon.

4.  Lunch consisted of tuna fish on crackers, olives and a piece of cheese.  And, they ate their whole lunch!  Well, enough of it for me to be happy.  Seriously.  My kids are snackers.  This was huge for them to eat a proper meal.  I kept the olives and cheese leftovers out until about 3.

5.  At 3, they ate another piece of cake -- must finish this cake soon!! -- and a few slices of orange.

6.  And, then they ate supper at 5:30.  They.Ate.Supper.

Amongst other notable events of the day, I pushed through endless activities the kids enjoyed but dulled my brain to the max and resisted the urge to move to the next activity that I would find more interesting.   I can't be the only mother with a shorter attention span than my children....can I?

All in all, it was a great day.  A normal day.  A pre-pregnancy day.

With the added bonus that I wasn't preparing and barely cleaning up after an endless parade of snacks.

Now if I can just get little Lulu nightweaned, life might be even better than it was......before I got pregnant.....and miscarried.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Story of Loss - pt. 2

I need to write this out for my sanity even though my emotions are still saying no.  My brain has begged to get these words out since the day I miscarried but the task has seemed too daunting.  I'm feeling so much closer to being myself and I know this is an important part of my healing.


The afternoon of my "missed abortion" diagnosis was spent at the hospital getting bloodwork for my RhoGam shot and at the Women's Clinic waiting for the hospital to fax over the results of the bloodwork so I could actually get the injection.  I sat there for hours in a total daze thinking about my first doula client's prenatal appointment scheduled for that night and writing down everything I would need to discuss because I knew better than to trust my brain to remember any thing important.

Finally got back home and we broke the news to Henry.  He was confused.  Sad.  And wanted to get back to watching his cartoon.......the Netflix crutch began that morning.....

I wrapped my brain around no longer being pregnant.  Waiting to miscarry.  Hoping it would happen fast.  Obsessing over my achey back.  Thankful for my healthy babies.  Identifying the heavy feeling in my uterus and realizing it wasn't a pregnant feeling.  It was a miscarriage feeling.

A sweet friend brought dinner over.  We chatted. I felt normal.

The next morning, I woke up a wreck.  My back was aching.  I didn't know what to think.  Mr. Messy decided to go to work and I enlisted my babysitting co-op to find a friend to keep my kids that morning.  My instinct said the physical act of the miscarriage would happen that morning but I was so confused.

Lost.  Tired.  Sad.

As soon as the kids were gone and the house was quiet, I turned on our Mother India playlist and listened to the Hanuman and Shiva chants over and over again.  My back cramps were becoming more intense and I was starting to bleed heavier.

I googled "waiting for a miscarriage" and immediately realized googling was not healthy at this point.

So I waited.  I knew it was coming.  I chatted on Facebook.  I waited.  I cramped.  I bled.

Eventually, the cramps had me pacing the house.  I pushed the thoughts of pacing the house during Liza's birth to a far dark corner of my brain.

Bleeding.  Heavier.  Heavier.  Made sure I had my phone with me wherever I walked in the house because hemorrhage horror stories floated through my brain.

So thirsty.

Rocking on the toilet.  Cramping.  Bleeding.  Freezing cold even though I was wearing a sweatshirt.  Wanting to puke but the trash can was full of dirty nighttime disposable diapers so I held it back.

Cramping.  Bleeding.  So thirsty.

Finally.  A clot passed.  Big.  Apple sized.

Cramping.  Bleeding.

Second clot passed.  Not as big.  Plum sized.

Immediate relief.

Praying it was over.  Completely unsure of what to expect.

--------------

And that was it.  I had a miscarriage.  I was no longer pregnant and I was no longer carrying my dead baby.

I bled for 7 days and had a few more cramping episodes but nothing serious.

My body did what it needed to do.

Now.

Just sadness.  Lots of sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed with the normal pace of my life.

And tired.  So tired.

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Unicorn Farts:

1. This is honestly the first time I've grieved a death in my life.  I'm 30.  Quite a nice run if I say so myself.

2.  People don't want to hear about your grief.  They say they do.  But, they don't.  These posts about my sadness are barely getting any hits whereas my "big news" post got many more hits than my average.  As a blogger quite enamored with the number trends of my blog posts, this fascinates me yet it's completely understandable.  I don't want to hear about your bad news.  I want to read your birth stories, read your healthy redo recipe of a chocolate cake, hell, I even want to see your new haircut.  But, read about your sadness and your grief?  No, thank you.

3.  Too bad my life is full of sadness and grief right now.

4.  I won't lie.  I think I'm doing pretty good.  Even with kids that won't stay healthy, we've been getting dressed and doing our normal things.  Still many more cartoons that I'm comfortable with but I'm slowly easing out of the Netflix crutch.  I'm finally doing the last month's worth of laundry that has piled up and proven my family has entirely too many clothes.  I'm cooking real food for meals rather than just handing out apple slices and blueberries.

5.  But, I'm sad and hollow on the inside.  I can tell my hormones are still in flux.  I still prefer to zone out during the day and find myself getting unreasonably frustrated with my children.  I want to shut down but can't.  I'm too needed.

6.  My friend, Alisha, sent me this link to a site for bereaved parents.  Yesterday I finally gathered the courage to visit the site.  Their explanation of grief was a godsend.  It made me feel normal.  Cause, you know, this grieving business is new to me.

7.  I'll go ahead and throw it out there that I haven' taken pictures of my kids in 2 months.  Seems like that bit of news fits with this depressing theme.

8.  My Jessica Seinfeld's 'Deceptively Delicious' avocado chocolate chip cupcakes were delicious.  Avocado for the fat in lieu of oil.  Brilliant.

9.  #8 was my at my attempt at a normal blog post.  Pitiful attempt, yes.  Maybe next week will be my week to write about non-depressing things.  Maybe not.

10.  And, yes, this post's title was a total bait and switch.  Forgive me.  I'm a whore for blog hits and I'm  curious to see how a cheerful title will affect the numbers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Too Many Thoughts

Today.
I took a shower.
Put on real clothes.
Dressed my kids in non-pajamas.
Did our normal Wednesday thing.
I didn't cry once.  Kept on thinking.
My worry list is much shorter now:
Milk drying up at 20 weeks.
Three carseats in a car.
Sleeping with two.
Too tired and hot.
Tandem nursing.
Jealous kids.
Too much.
Thinking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Story of Loss - pt. 1

On April 1, 2012, my suspected pregnancy was confirmed.  I had implantation bleeding on March 29 but my last cycle had started on February 22 so I was very confused about my irregular cycle and why I had negative tests for the past week but no period.  With great relief and a huge sense of joy, I looked at a few ovulation calendars online and chose December 10 as our estimated due date.  We were thrilled at the thought of a Christmas baby.

But, even that day, I had an unsettled feeling.  Anxiety.  A feeling of uncertainty.

Since I had tested positive on the earliest possible day, it took about 2 weeks to actually feel pregnant.  Those waves of nausea and the sense of falling asleep in my chair was a great relief because that unsettled feeling remained in the back of my head at all times.

Around 7 weeks pregnant and the day of our town's arts and crafts festival, Mr.  Messy decided it was time to start spreading our good news.  He told everyone we saw about our Christmas baby.  I was fine with that because I felt like my paranoia was just that but my unsettled feeling was growing stronger and stronger.

Around 8 weeks, I finally told Mr. Messy about my feelings.  He was very reassuring but the nagging thoughts lingered.

A few days before 9 weeks pregnant, I had the tiniest bit of pink spotting.  Even though I spotted with Liza and I know that first trimester spotting is normal, that spot on the toilet paper was enough for me.  I knew I was miscarrying.  I went into full-fledged depression mode -- taking to the bed, crying, letting Mr. Messy take care of the kids.  I lost it.

The next day, the spotting was the tiniest bit heavier.

The day after that, I had a streak of red.

Then, a gush of brown.

I pinned all my hopes on a sub-chorionic hemorrhage.  Not a great thing to hope for but I knew it was my only hope and my bleeding lined up perfectly with the symptoms.

But, my heart already knew the truth.
I knew we weren't going to have a Christmas baby.

On Wednesday, May 9, I called my OB and left a message with him nurse pretty much begging her to fit me in that day or do anything she could so I wouldn't have to see the on-call doctor who I don't trust to be respectful of my homebirth plans and my need to be an active participant in healthcare decisions.

Within an hour of my message, I was sitting at the Women's Clinic.  I told my OB, Dr. Cobb, about my bleeding and as soon as I said that I hadn't felt sick or had any pregnancy symptoms in a week, the look on his face said it all.  He asked what I wanted to do and I said that I wanted to check for a heartbeat and follow-up with an ultrasound if he didn't find a heartbeat.

10 minutes later I was in the ultrasound room.  I saw the sac.  I saw the baby.  No heartbeat.  No movement.  It was so obvious I didn't even ask the technician what she saw.  I watched her measure the sac at 7 weeks and 2 days.  Exactly 2 weeks prior.

Immediate grief.  But, also a strange sense of relief.  My heart already knew the bad news and now my brain saw for itself.

I really was at peace immediately.  This baby wasn't meant to be born.  At least I knew for certain now.

Dr. Cobb saw me a few minutes later.  He instinctively knew I wouldn't want a D&C unless it was medically warranted so we talked about the risk of infection and he told me that if I emotionally needed to be done with it all, he could schedule a D&C whenever I wanted.

I called my midwife a few hours later.  She told me what the physical aspect of the miscarriage would likely feel like and gave me firm instructions to call if I needed support or had questions about the bleeding.

To be continued.......

Monday, May 14, 2012

THE DAY I WENT VIRAL...or something like that

Since I've been nothing but doom and gloom for the past several days, I would like to share a funny story.  A true story.  A story that was quite embarrassing almost one year ago.  A story that is finally funny.

Last summer I wrote a guest blog for my friend Imogen at Alternative Mama.  She was looking for guest posts, I had a topic I wanted to write about so I ignored my kids for about an hour one morning and wrote out my thoughts on choosing to let Liza wean from my breast whenever she is ready.  No great revelation for my readers but it was perfect for Imogen's blog.  

But, there was a problem. At the end of my post, Imogen included a picture of, ahem, an unattractive woman sitting on an ugly couch with a cute toddler girl nursing her baby doll.  I fully approved of the toddler nursing her doll but I just couldn't get past the thought of people thinking I  sitting on that ugly floral couch.  Shallow.  Yes.

It really bothered me.

So, I assigned Mr. Messy to take a picture of me nursing Liza.  And, he didn't even cut my head off.  Amazing.  This picture was emailed to Imogen with a little note that I would loooove if she would remove the original "couch" picture and publish my post with a picture of me.
Problem solved.
Until.


This picture went viral.  

Okay.  You are right.
Viral, I was not.

But, it was as close as I have ever gotten to going viral and here is the Facebook thread to prove it. 

And, I was oh so very much embarrassed.  And, violated.  And, disturbed about what other people were doing to my images that were floating around the interwebz.

But, now I like it.  Still not sure who this guy is but I like it.  Or.  I'm okay with it.

*Apparently, Imogen switched my picture with a picture of a woman nursing twins.  I'm definitely okay with this as long as it's not that unfortunate floral couch picture.   

**And, this has been a much better day.  I actually slept last night and although my kids are sick with a fever and we are still watching endless cartoons, I don't feel like my world has been turned upside down anymore.  At least not at this moment.  Thank you for your thoughts and kind words.  They mean more than you could ever know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

grief

It's been 4 days.  Plainly said, I'm a mess.  I'm shutting down when my kids need me.  My stomach is already flat so I assume that means I'm not eating enough.  I haven't cooked in a week.  We've been eating out a lot and I'm not really sure what my kids have been eating.  All I want to do is sit on my bed by myself,  zone out on Facebook and work on my doula certification.  I feel like myself when I am distracted.  I am now fully informed on accupressure points and rebozo techniques to use during labor and aromatherapy is my next topic to tackle.  Let's just say distraction is my new best friend.

My brain is having lots of recurring thoughts.  Mostly good but I think that's just because I'm pushing away the bad thoughts.  My friend Elizabeth helped me realize that even though I would have preferred to appreciate the beauty of pregnancy and birth, my body was also designed to take care of a baby that wasn't meant to grow.  And I have to admit, it gives me even more respect for the female design seeing first hand how my body knew just what to do when the time came for the release.  After Liza's birth, I had a strong feeling of kinship with women through the ages and that feeling is very strong now as I grieve my little lost baby and know most mothers have experienced a similar grief.

My logical brain is telling me to write out the story of Baby Tomas' loss to help process my grief but I'm not ready to feel that much sadness yet.

I'm grieving.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Processing.

Since the inception of OMML, I've processed life's events by blogging and I know our miscarriage will be no different.  I will need a chunk of time to myself and readiness to cry my eyes out but I feel this baby's story deserves just as much love and attention as the births of Henry and Liza.  I'm not ready to write it all down but it is important for me to honor our little baby that wasn't born because he matters too.

Yes.
He.

Mr. Messy and I, independent of each other, decided this baby is "Baby Thomas" because Henry was insistent we were going to name our Christmas baby after that whiny ass train I can't stand.  It is the least we can do for our biggest little boy.

So, his story is important and I know it is important for me to get it out of my mind and through my computer as a part of my grieving and healing process.

To be continued...


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sad Sad News.

Without going into the details, an ultrasound confirmed our baby will not be joining our family in December.  At this point, all I can say is that I even more appreciate my two children and the everyday miracle of their healthy pregnancies and births.  And my friends who support me and are taking care of those little miracles today.  And my ob who intuitively understands my appreciation for my body's design.  And that I do have that appreciation, understanding and perspective to understand that these things happen and while I am sad sad sad, I know it will be okay.

Two out of three isn't bad.

I suppose.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back to blogging and our VERY BIG NEWS!

The last week of March 2012 was a very big deal.
I turned 30. 
I officially began my Birth Doula certification.  
I found out I am pregnant with baby #3 and due this December.

A big deal in deed.

Turning 30 was easy.  Being pregnant is fairly easy for me.  At least easy enough where I can't complain.  The sweet little thing was eagerly anticipated and our happy juices are still flowing at the thought of adding another precious face to our bunch.  The Doula certification was exciting but not easy in the beginning.  Especially considering Birth Arts International requires 5 births for certification and my plan is to finish everything up before I take my BabyMoon break at the beginning of November.  So, I began frantically working.  Working.  Working.  I have to admit, I impressed myself.  I knew there was much to do before I could open up for "business" and I did it.  At least enough to actively search for clients.  Much of the certification is incomplete but my paperwork and documents are ready for clients.  And of course, all this working working working took up my brain space during the day and my time at night so no blogging.  But, I am hoping now that the frantic rush to get ready for clients is over that I will be able to find balance and go back to my blogging ways.  It does seem that I will have to let go of my compulsion to gain new readers and break the previous month's number of site hits 

But, balance.  I am searching for balance.  And some things will have to be released.  But, blogging is not one of those things.  I have too much to say.  And, it's killing me keeping it all to myself.

So...if you are in the area, I am a doula!  It's official. 

And we are expecting a baby.  And planning another homebirth.  And indulging in copious amounts of dairy now that Liza has outgrown her dairy sensitivity.

Life simply doesn't get any more exciting.

Seriously.

****Like my doula business' Facebook page!****

Monday, April 2, 2012

Treasure Map and a Mississippi Giveaway!

*Giveway details at the end of the post*

A few months ago, I attended a "Treasure Map" workshop on a whim.  All I knew is that the morning would be focused on thinking about my goals and plans, I would bring home a finished product and the kids were going to stay with Mr. Messy.  As I felt an unexplainable urge to participate the night before the event, my heart told me I needed time to focus on myself any way I could get it. 

 The 4 hour long workshop consisted of sitting around a tight little table with a dozen women, most strangers, and the workshop leader, described by a friend as a "mystic".  We quickly got down to business discussing goals and obstacles holding us back from those goals.  I talked about how I wanted to write but was having internal conflict knowing  I didn't have the energy and I didn't want to find the time to dedicate myself to writing the way I envisioned.  Within the first hour I quickly realized it was okay to use blogging as my writing platform for now.  My writing career can wait until the kids are older and I am able to carve out more chunks of time during the day.  

That day I learned it is okay to wait for the future.

Several of the women had participated in Treasure Mapping in the past and all spoke of how their map helped to shape their immediate future.  I'll admit, I didn't think that was me.  My map was more about embracing the future and understanding the future doesn't have to start today.  Yet, as of 2 days ago, I have begun my doula certification through Birth Arts International and I really and truly feel that without my Treasure Map morning, I wouldn't have a clear picture of my life goals to guide me. 

So yeah.  I am a believer.


My treasure map:
The lines between the picture segments are dashed because even though each segment is an individual concept, there is fluidity between my present and future goals.  
I see the map as 3 columns:  lefthand, my "now"; center, my "forever"; righthand, my "future".


My family.
Too important for words or pictures to describe.


My blog.


My desire to leave Mississippi with the understanding I will always be a Mississippian.



The importance of female friends.


I will write and  I hope to honor the long literary tradition of Mississippi with my writings.



Serving women and babies.  
I honestly didn't think it would happen so soon but I am ready!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just because life, present and future, is SO GOOD and I am embracing Mississippi for everything it means to me,  I want you to embrace Mississippi too!  

Three winners will win a rocking Mississippi themed mixed disk made by Mr. Messy.

To enter:  Leave a short comment on this post telling me about your perception or thoughts on Mississippi, good or bad.  Just one word or a phrase is fine!

Bonus entry:  Share my Facebook status about this contest and leave a comment telling me you shared the status.

Contest ends on Monday, April 9, 2012.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friends. Finally.

Nothing like


an empty park


to force my children


to be each other's


best friend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

10 Tips for Becoming a Mommy Blogger:

1.  Start a blog.  Duh.

2.  Choose a theme.  Quite obviously, my theme is natural parenting.  Not only is this my blog theme but this is also my thang.  Your thang might be homeschooling, sewing, vegan cooking, or being the crazy cat lady of the neighborhood.  No matter the theme, stick to it and blog on that topic regularly.

3.  Pimp your blog.  Add your blog url to the bottom of your email siggy, link to your blog frequently on your Facebook page, ask your favorite blogger to add you to their blog roll, list your blog name as your Google name and comment frequently on other blogs,  add your blog to every blog roll you can find, participate in blog carnivals and link up to plenty of Mr. Linky's.  If the opportunity arises, pimp it.

4.  Find a blog community.  It was so reassuring for me to find the Natural Parents Network and read other mama's blogs who share my same parenting values.  With a bajillion bloggers out in BloggyLand, there is sure to be an established network of bloggers sharing your blog's theme.

5.  Obsess over your blog's statistics.  Permission is granted.  Obsess.

6.  Blog frequently.  See #6.  The more your blog, the more hits you get.

7.  If you aren't savvy with blog design, hire someone who is.  I'm not.  At all.  Good thing Catherine of www.catdmoore.com is very talented!

8.  Be choosy with advertisers.  I'll be honest.  I'm still quite iffy about the BlogHer network.  I'm advertising products I would never buy and not making enough money to cover my very inexpensive thrifting habit .  Yet I like the air of legitimacy it gives my blog.  Crazy?  Perhaps.

9.  Get a thick skin.  Even though the only truly ugly comment I've ever received was written by an in real life friend which helped me realize she obviously wasn't much of a friend, I've had plenty of comments that aren't rainbows and unicorn farts.

10.  Stay true to yourself.  Your readers will appreciate it and you can be proud of to call your blog your own.

Anything to add?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

10 Tips for Starting a Blog:

1.  Just do it.  Stop talking about starting a blog and just do it.

2.  Blogger or Wordpress?  It doesn't matter.  Refer back to #1.

3.  Worried about the blog name and URL?  Don't be.  Follow your instinct and own your decision.

4.  Accept that your only readers will be your immediate family.  Be okay with that.

5.  Don't feel the need to write a novel for each post.  A single picture makes a lovely blog post and you know your parents will love it.

6.  Blog often.  According to Google Reader, I publish 2.8 posts a week.  I aim to blog at least every other day but some weeks are more conducive to blogging that others.  Personally, if I clean a lot, I don't blog a lot.  Let's just say my house is usually pretty messy.

7.  Can't think of a post topic?  Flip through the pictures on your camera.  Post a picture and describe the day's event.  Done.

8.  Decide before your first post to use your kids' real names or to make up cutesy fake internet names.  If I were to start my first blog today, the kids would be named Blueberry Boy, Cherry Girl and our non-existant baby would be Kiwi - collectively referred to as "my fruits".  And, the blog name would be "Fruit of My Womb".  Pretty damn cute if I say so myself!   Laura, refer back to #3.  Now.  

9.  No hurt feelings if nobody leaves comments.  Not everyone understands that blog comments are the new hug.  Hint.  Hint.  

10.  Blog for yourself.  Create a special place of your very own and relish in the fact that no small children can mess it up.

Do you blog?
Do you agree with my tips for starting out?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My response to Dr. Rick's response:

I'll admit my immediate reaction to Dr. Rick's response and his flippant attitude towards the benefits of b
breastfeeding was to fire back a sassy email letting him know exactly what I think about opinions, his silly radio show and his so-called breastfeeding science.

But, I didn't.  I held my fingers back and stewed on it.  After all, it is obvious he doesn't care to tout breastfeeding as the best start for Mississippi babies and I know quite well my emails don't mean much to him.

So, I waited.
And, I thought about it.  A lot.
And, if you live with me, you can attest that I've talked about it.  A lot.

I thought about my mind's recurring theme on biological norms vs. cultural norms and how Dr. Rick is all cultural norm.  I thought about how a friend always says she "wants her babies to thrive, not just survive".  I thought about my generation's hang-ups on breastfeeding and the guilt mothers carry.  I thought about how it is practically impossible to discuss the science and the facts of breastfeeding without offending a population of women.  I thought about the cultural disconnect; women know "breast is best" but "booby traps" lay claim to many breastfeeding relationships each year.

And, because everybody loves a disclaimer, women also have the option to formula feed and just like Seinfeld said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that".

---------------------


In the end, I wrote a short little email and kept my millions of links to myself.   I couldn't stay 100% sass free but trust me, it's markedly more polite than previous drafts. 

---------------------

Dr. Rick,

Thank you for your reply in regards to my query of your handling on the topic of  breastfeeding during the latest pediatric episode.  However, the American Academy of Pediatrics maintains breastfeeding is a public health issue and I believe it needs to be addressed as such, especially considering the dismal health statistics in Mississippi.  I encourage you to connect with Dr. Rebecca Saenz of the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic to brush up on your breastfeeding science, especially before the next show on pediatrics.

Thank you,
Laura OMML

http://www.msbfmedclinic.com/
http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/29/why-pediatricians-say-breast-feeding-is-about-public-health-not-just-lifestyle/

Friday, March 16, 2012

Payday's Groceries.

As payday arrives, the fridge is empty.
The fruit has been long gone so my kids are happily snacking on carrots.
The rotten leftovers make me sad but the enthusiasm for the carrots definitely lighten the mood.


The morning of payday is spent meal planning and grocery list writing.


Can you tell little fingers grabbed the pen whilst shopping?


Post-grocery shopping is spent cleaning out the fridge and dumping out rotten leftovers.  
This week wasn't so bad on the leftover front but the chickens did enjoy the green and salmon cakes.


This is $140 worth of groceries spent at Wal-Mart (don't even get me started!) and Kroger.
The next 2 weeks are crazy so I only planned for 7 meals but I can always scrounge a meal if needed.
We will definitely run out of fruit but thank goodness for those 5 pound bags of organic carrots!  


Happy fridge!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dr. Rick's Response

Remember my disgust at Dr. Rick recommending "12 Hours in 12 Weeks" to listeners of Southern Remedy?  I called into the show that day and explained how this book and the cultural phenomena of insisting young babies sleep through the night can be detrimental to breastfeeding relationships and followed up the call with an email.


I finally got a response from Dr. Rick.  Let's just say I am as unimpressed with his reply as I was with his original negative reaction to breastfeeding.  I have so much to say about his letter that I am honestly left speechless.....for now but possibly not forever :)


Although there are real advantages to breast feeding, the science shows that children who are not breast fed do just fine in the long run. I am very careful about making folks feel guilty about not doing it when it is difficult or impossible. I am sticking with this science on this.  Breastfeeding is best, but not essential in the long shot. If that changes, so will my opinion.  I know there are other heartfelt opinions on this and i respect them.

Hope this helps,
Dr. Rick

----------------------------------

Mississippi might have the fewest breastfed babies in the country but we certainly have our share of informed and passionate mamas.  Thank you, friends, for sending in your letters to Dr. Rick!

Dear Dr. Rick,
With your recent push on focusing on Mississippi's health and specifically our state's issue with obesity, one would expect you to be very knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding. The statistics on the health benefits of breastfeeding are outstanding and specifically the significantly lowered rush of obesity and childhood diabetes. The AAP suggests a minimum of 1 year which is lax compared to the WHO's recommendation of a minimum of 2 years. Recently, the AAP released a statement that breastfeeding is not a lifestyle choice but a public health issue. Support at all levels from hospitals to workplace to community to physicians is imperative in improving breastfeeding rates and reducing a multitude of health disparities. At a conference this past weekend, I was pleased to hear a Dept of Health leader proclaiming the benefits of breastfeeding to establish healthy eating habits among our children. I have included a link to a really great Time magazine article of the new AAP statement and it's impact. I'd also encourage you to connect yourself and your listeners with Dr. Rebecca Saenz who is a Specialist in Breastfeeding Medicine in Jackson. Her expertise not only benefits the metro area, but the entire state. She is known nationally and internationally for her expertise in the breastfeeding field and our state is lucky to have her.

Also, since you mentioned that breastfeeding is nearly impossible for working mother's, which it is not, I'd like to take the opportunity to commend our State for having such breastfeeding friendly laws in place. Not only is it written in the books that a woman is doing no wrong by breastfeeding her baby anywhere they have the right to be, but MS laws also provide that any workplace must allow a breastfeeding mother time and place to pump without exception and without negative consequences or penalties. This sets the stage for Mississippi workplaces being highly conducive to breastfeeding mothers. The issue arises in the lack of support elsewhere. Along with it's awful rates of childhood obesity and other health issues, Mississippi has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. (correlation? I think so.)Here is the article I referred to that discusses breastfeeding as a public health issue:http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/29/why-pediatricians-say-breast-feeding-is-about-public-health-not-just-lifestyle/

Thanks!
----------------------------------

Dear Dr. Rick,

I have listened to the show for years and there have been times I've disagreed with a statement or two on different topics. But the show this week on pediatrics left me very disappointed. When the caller from Starkville discussed breast feeding I felt like she received quite the brush off from you and Dr. Allyn. Not necessarily her personally but the importance of breast feeding in general. Considering the alarming state of health in Mississippi, especially concerning obesity and diabetes, I would think this would rate higher on your scale of importance. I know how hard you've worked and are currently working to help pull Mississippians up out of the bottom of the barrel in obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure rankings and I would have thought you would have been better informed on the benefits breast feeding has on the long term health of a child who receives it. The statements you and Dr. Allyn made regarding breast feeding made it sound like a lifestyle choice for moms. And while I agree that many many women have difficulty breast feeding for very long and some at all- I think it's inaccurate to say that there are a lot of women who can't breast feed. Our bodies were made by divine creation to feed our children. 

It's statements such as yours and the careless attitude of so many health professionals that gives women the idea that they probably won't be able to breast feed successfully-starting out with this type of atmosphere, how can anyone be expected to keep trying even when it's difficult-and it is especially at first. Sure, there are medical explanations for why some women can't breast feed but these cases are few and far between in comparison to the number of women who don't succeed due to lack of support and education. Also, one of the worst things a new mother can do for her breast feeding relationship is try and 'train' her baby to sleep thru the night before a strong supply has been established. Books like the '12 hour sleep in 12 weeks' are the cause of many a failed breast feeding relationship. If you stop removing the milk, your smart body stops making it. Please be careful of recommending such books without this information included.

I have included a few links to articles detailing the benefits of breast feeding for obesity and diabetes since I know fighting these is a passion of yours. The benefits of breast feeding go far beyond these two topics but I'm hoping that referencing two of your interests will have you interested enough to do a little more research and possibly have a show devoted entirely to breast feeding. Most Mississippi women are sadly uneducated on the topic and views such as your statements seemed to portray it-as a life style choice for the mother. Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give her newborn and with proper education and support most women can succeed in providing this lifelong gift to their children. Thanks for all that you do and I hope to hear more on this topic in the future, for the sake of Mississippi's children who so badly need the best start possible.

Thank you,
A listener in Mississippi

Monday, March 12, 2012

1.2.3x3

1.  Henry's hair is long.  If he would cooperate, I could just about pull it up into a ponytail.  Mr. Messy and I think his long hair is pretty cute and after all, you are only little once but I still make sure he knows that he only has to say the word and Mr. Pete will cut his hair.  Yesterday's reminder ended with Henry telling me that he wants his hair "long long long long long.....long....long.....down to the ground."  Okay, little buddy.

2. Current shoe sizes:  Henry, 7 and Liza, 6.  And, why am I always so surprised when people ask if they are twins?

3.  Liza is a mini-me.  My whole life I've heard my parents talk about my need to "do it myself".  Well, Liza gives a firm "me" with a thumb in her chest and insists on doing everything herself -- getting dressed, changing diapers, buckling herself in the car, cutting up her apple, peeling her orange, putting her shoes on.  Do you have the mental image of all these things a 19 month old can't do no matter her level of determination?  There has been a lot of screaming with this new found level of independence.

1.  I am sick of the mud.  I want my children to play outside with getting covered head to toe in mud within 3 minutes.  Actually, it isn't so bothersome with Henry but Liza doesn't like dirty hands or feet.  A difficult feat when you are playing in a huge mud pit.

2.  I am completely caught up on laundry.  My hampers are empty.  Can I get an amen from the choir?

3.  We strongly suspect Henry is allergic to shellfish due to an ug-lee reaction to a mysterious something in Mexico at 20 months old.  The plan is to keep him away from all shellfish until he is old enough to tell us his throat is closing up.  I'm a bit concerned about summertime and crawfish boils so we have been talking to Henry about his allergy to shellfish.
Mr. Messy:  Henry, what are you allergic to?
Henry:  *long pause*  Hmmmm,  I don't like soup.
Me:  Ha ha!  'I don't like soup.'
Henry:  Me neither, Mama!

1. I love unloading all sorts of random vegetables into spaghetti for no one but me to know about.  It was a highlight of my day today.

2.  I'm feeling the need to confess that my 'tv show hating' skills are currently up to no good.  Henry watches one of our 3 dvd's everyday during Liza's naptime.  And, I understand why people let their kids watch tv.  I officially get it.

3.  Liza needs me to completely surrender to sleep and fully relax my body in order for her to fall asleep at night.  Let's just say I've had a spate of early bedtimes.  Early.