Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, Natty Dreadlock.

It really is so fitting that Bob Marley and his reggae friends are a constant feature in our house.

Um, yeah.

Maybe that is why my children always have dreadlocks.

It couldn't possibly be because I never brush their hair.


It's definitely all the Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and their revolutionary ideas.

Revolutions don't need hairbrushes, don't you know?

Trust me.

My kids know all about it.

As evidenced by their natty dreadlocks.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My homebirth transfer story.

To be honest, I've only recently realized that I did indeed transfer to the hospital after Liza's birth.  It seemed like such a non-issue to me because I got the intervention free peaceful birth I so desperately wanted and then Mr. Messy and I only spent about 2 hours at the hospital as our newborn was left with my mom and my strict instructions not to put her down for a second.

Yet, my sweet and short transfer story has been on my mind lately as I write letters, make phone calls and visit our state capitol to discuss why midwifery in Mississippi must be legislatively regulated.  Non-emergency and emergency transfers happen and women who opt for out-of-hospital birth need physicians who understand and respect their decision to give birth at home and it is imperative hospitals allow midwives to provide continuity of care for these women.

My homebirth transfer story:

Elizabeth Ophelia was born at exactly 8:05 am on August 7, 2010.  Just as I had envisioned giving birth in the hospital on my knees with my arms draped over the back of the bed, Liza was born as I kneeled on our bed and held on tight to Mr. Messy's shoulders.  My water didn't break until the final push that delivered her body and I will never ever forget that feeling of release.

She was born.  I survived and I was no longer pregnant.  She was even still a girl like the 20 week anatomy scan promised.  Not only was she still a girl like I hoped, she was the most beautiful baby in the world.  I might have been full to the brim with oxytocin but I knew this baby was extra beautiful.  Of course, I was right.  She really was a beautiful newborn.

Over the next 2 hours, I had a "bleed" quickly controlled with an intramuscular injection of Pitocin, Liza finally decided to start nursing about 30 minutes after her birth, I delivered a beautiful healthy placenta, big brother met baby sister and my midwife determined I had 2nd degree lateral tears extending onto both of my labias.  This was not a surprise to me because I could feel the tear as I chose to push through the resting period between contractions as Liza crowned.  I was impatient, ready to be done and did not listen to my body as it screamed for me breathe and not push.

So yeah, I tore.

I knew from previous discussions my midwife only preferred to repair first degree tears.  This hadn't worried me during my pregnancy.  After all, I was going to have a water birth and I wouldn't tear because I would breathe my baby out.  Um, yeah.  Neither of those grand plans worked out so well.

Mr. Messy called our local hospital's L&D several times and spoke to the same nurse as we decided on a game plan.  I knew without a doubt I did not want our newborn daughter at the hospital so I wanted everybody at the hospital to be ready for my arrival to expedite the process and get me home as soon as possible.  I was beyond thrilled to hear my ob was on-call.  He had shown wonderful and considerate support regarding my switch to midwifery care.  At that, we decided there was no need to have my midwife accompany us to the hospital.  We knew we would be in good hands.

We arrived at the ER and was quickly ushered to L&D by a nurse who asked me how many months pregnant I was.  I laughed and laughed and told her I had given birth that morning.  A nurse had us fill out some paperwork and took my vitals as we chatted about Liza's birth.  She kept asking me about being afraid of the pain and being afraid of something going wrong.  I proudly told her I didn't worry because I trusted my body and my midwife was there to spot issues before they turned into emergencies. At that, she let out a big sigh and told me everybody thought I had an unassisted birth.  I distinctly remember thinking how nice everyone was even though they didn't agree with the birth choice they wrongly believed I had chosen.

At this point, my ob came in and began the task of stitching my tears.  I told him about Liza's birth and he talked about delivering his own babies.  After that, we decided to go ahead and order my RhoGam shot rather than have to type Liza's blood within the next 48 hours so Mr. Messy and I turned off the lights and napped for an hour or so while the prescription was processed and a nurse brought the injection.

I was wheeled out to our car and I went home to nurse my baby girl and ooh and aah about her radiant newborn beauty.

And that was that.

But,  I was lucky.

I have heard too many horror stories about homebirth transfers from hell in my very own state to ever take my positive transfer for granted.

I was respected and my decision to birth at home was respected.

And, she really was a beautiful newborn.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So, you want a natural birth - pt.4

Which maternal care provider is right for you?  Do you prefer a Medical Model of Care or a Midwife Model of Care?

Obstretric/Gynecologist -- An OB/GYN is a highly trained medical doctor with a speciality in surgery for the female anatomy.  OBs are trained in the pathology of birth.  In other words, they are experts on every worst case scenario for a birthing woman.  Obviously, that is a great thing if you have an emergency but isn't always compatible with giving birth naturally and intervention free.

Certified Nurse Midwife -- A CNM is a nurse with a graduate degree in midwifery.  Although CNMs are occasionally found in the homebirth community, most CNMs work within a hospital or clinic setting.  Many times, malpractice insurance does not allow a CNM to attend a homebirth although they can often be found at a free-standing birth center.  

Certified Professional Midwife -- A CPM is, in my opinion. the gold-standard for a homebirth midwife.  Though there are several different routes to becoming a CPM, you can automatically assume a CPM has the training needed to attend an out-of-hospital birth, be it birth center or home.  CPMs

Direct Entry Midwife/Lay Midwife/Granny Midwife --  Although technically a DEM is any midwife who did not attend nursing school, the label typically stands only for those who are not CPMs.  While many DEMs are highly trained and highly skilled in prenatal care and attending low risk births via an extended apprenticeship, the utmost care must be taken when hiring a DEM as it is practically impossible to verify the birth records of a non-certified midwife.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nothing was easy.

Yesterday was one of those days.

One of those days you just want to forget about.

And, forget, I did.
I would have bet $1000 that today was Monday rather than Tuesday.

One of those days when nothing is easy.
Zilch.  Nada.  Doodly Squat.

Personally, I think sitting in your carseat about to depart for the park to play with friends should be easy.

Not yesterday.

Nope.  Nothing was easy yesterday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oh, the nights of the endless latch.

Breastfeeding is a relationship between mother and child.  A relationship cultivated from the first moment of life earthside.  A relationship nurtured around the clock during the early months.  A relationship constantly evolving as your newborn becomes your baby and your baby becomes your toddler.

And like all relationships, balance is necessary.  If baby is hungry, nurse.  If mama is engorged, nurse.  If baby needs soothing after a fall, nurse.  If mama desperately needs to veg out on the internet, nurse.  Give and take.  Take and give.  

Mutual satisfaction is also necessary to maintain balance.  As baby grows, her needs change from the days of nursing for survival to the days of the casual sips, constant nursing because everything else is too boring and the nights of the endless latch.  

Oh, the nights of the endless latch.  

And, it's not impossible to imagine how a laid back mama with a love of breastfeeding to keep that baby quiet and happy finds herself at a crossroads when she can no longer tolerate nights of the endless latch.

Oh, the nights of the endless latch.  

Several months ago, I told myself I was ready to night wean Liza.  I was ready to sleep uninterrupted and I was ready for her to magically sleep in her crib all night.  Yet, something was holding me back.  I talked and thought a lot about night weaning but I didn't make much movement in that direction.  Then, we took out my bed and put the mattress on the ground and all of a sudden we had a safe co-sleeping bed.  After selling the crib I had a weirdly freeing emotion surrounding our sleep environment -- partially the realization that my babies had outgrown the crib and partially the realization that any future babies would be co-sleepers from day one -- I had a new sense of peace about our sleep arrangements:

There is no need for us to have strict boundaries of who sleeps where.  Mr. Messy with Henry.  Liza with me.  It's obviously not our permanent arrangement but that doesn't mean it isn't right today.  

Oh wait.  That isn't right for today.  As of 5 nights ago, Liza in my bed was no longer beneficial to our breastfeeding relationship.  My aching shoulder from laying on the same side all night, the clogged ducts from learning how to properly night nurse while laying on my other side, an increasing feeling of being touched out after days of mothering my children and full-contact baby all night.  The list goes on.

It had to change.  I knew it had to change.  I knew it had to change soon but I was still at a loss.

Then, I freaked out.  As in, total hysteria on the verge of shutting down because I simply could not handle another night of Liza waking up and nursing her back to sleep.  Mr. Messy took over and decided  it was officially time to move her to Henry's bed to break the habit of night nursing.  The first night was rough and while there was definitely crying involved, there was no crying it out as her daddy soothed her and she had the sleeping presence of her big brother next to her.  Each night was better and it seemed she was well on her way to sleeping through the night.

That is, of course, until she got in bed with me last night and nursed to her little heart's content.  She wasn't having a good night and she needed some mama love.  And, it didn't feel like a fail at all to give in to that pitiful sleepy baby girl and do what was needed to keep her asleep.  

It's a delicate balance for sure and one I find much easier to handle after several nights of uninterrupted sleep.  Of course, everything is easier without nights of the endless latch.  


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Surely I'm Not the Only Mama Who.....pt.2

1. Realizes her pajamas are dirty because she has been wearing them for 3 straight days.
2. Pulls a digital thermometer, a baby sock and a wet clump of cereal out of her Dyson vacuum cleaner after noticing the suction wasn't quite up to par.
3. Has a backyard that looks like a daycare with all the riding toys.
4. Manages to cook a delicious black bean soup out of a totally empty refrigerator the day before payday.
5. Keeps putting clean and dried random socks back into the washing machine because they don't have a match.
6. Is ready for a certain little 18 month old to become more independent at the park so I can rejoin the ranks of the mamas who sit their butts on a bench.
7. Cuts raw vegetables into teeny tiny little cubes and calls them "baby food" for her baby loving children.
8. Has a son who insists on eating an unwashed red bell pepper in the grocery store.
9. Is shocked about how many people question her about how her son is eating a "hot pepper".  It was so obvious we live in the unhealthiest state in the country.
10. Only reads the first sentence of each page on books I don't like or I am tired of reading on repeat.  Works every time unlike the old turn a bunch of pages at once trick.

Am I the only one?

Monday, February 13, 2012

She barely even cried.

For the past week, Liza hasn't slept.  At all.  As in, she wakes up starting at 9:30, nurses just long enough to get really really mad at something, screams hysterically until she decides she likes my milk again and then refuses to delatch.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  All night long.

It's not hard to imagine that I'm not a fan of this version of nighttime parenting.  I would even say I hate this little routine as much as the hysterical 18 month old hates it.  And, trust me.  She really hates something during these bouts of hysterical screaming.

And no.  Her teeth are fine.  Her ears are fine.  Her eczema is fine.  

Her attitude and her sleep habits?  Not so fine.

Tonight we decided to do something different because apparently what we are doing isn't working out so great.  I got her to sleep and then moved her to over to Henry's bed.  Of course, this fully woke her up because she was pretty excited to be in big brother's bed but whatever.  I pushed through and got her to sleep again.

2 hours later.  Awake.  I would call it mass hysteria except she was the only one crying.  Until I started crying later.  

So yeah.  Mass hysteria.

I finally got her back to sleep in my bed.  She was asleep and I was still crying.  

Something has to change. 

Mr. Messy and I decided he would take over next time she wakes up.  I was seriously prepared for her to scream until I could no longer handle it and then I would rescue her as always.  

The child cried for 3 minutes as her daddy rocked her.  3 minutes.  Let me say it again.  3 minutes.  I was so prepared for the worst that it didn't occur to me she might not even put up a fight.  

Right now she has been asleep in the bed with her daddy and her brother for, oh, 30 minutes.  Without nursing.  Oh, the things I rejoice in as a mama to these children.

I'm not sure how this night is going to work out but I finally see light at the end of this dark tunnel.  

Amen and The End.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cute kids doing funny things.

Henry in one of his many variations of "so tight" and when he puts his head in all the way he goes "so dark". 

She can spin much faster too.  
Cuh-razy girl

Saturday, February 11, 2012


1.  I've been cleaning and organizing.  Therefore, not blogging.  Not sure why the three are not compatible for me but it always works that way.  On the upside, I've made some much needed extra cash by selling things straight out of my kids' closets and my kitchen cabinets.  Very nice indeed.

2.  Since deep cleaning and organizing is a notable event in my life, I shall expound:  kitchen was completely cleared out, scrubbed and reorganized.  Liza's crib was sold, her crib mattress situated next to my mattress and her room is our new playroom!  This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time and it was totally worth the wait.  I feel like our little playroom is our little unschool classroom of sorts.  The linen closet was decluttered and totally reorganized back into working order.  Aaannnddd,  I took a massive amount of my summer clothes to our local ladies consignment store.  It's been a busy week to say the least.

3.  I've also discovered Party Down on Netflix Instant Viewing.  It's pretty much the funniest thing I've watched in ages.  

4.  So many things I want to blog about:  night weaning or the lack of, lots of good recipes, Henry's need to be wrapped up so tight and go so dark a la Temple Grandin's hug machine, more thoughts on Mississippi, a friend's Hypnobirthing hospital birth story, a video of Liza spinning like a mad woman in the doorway mounted baby bouncer, a detailed explanation of different maternity care providers, the list goes on and on.  Yet, here I am blogging about blogging.  Very strange.

5.  This morning I made my first 'life map' or 'treasure map' with a lovely group of diverse women.  Not only was it enriching to spend my morning with like-minded women but I truly feel more secure in my current place in life.  I fully intend on taking an artfully composed photo of my (non)artistic lifemap but it didn't happen today so I don't dare write about the experience without the accompanying photo.  Yep.  Still blogging about blogging.

6.  I am ready to let Henry and Liza try sleeping together in Henry's big bed at night so we asked Henry his thoughts on the situation.  He was very very excited until Mr. Messy said that would mean he wasn't in the bed to snuggle and hold him tight.  That little boy's face fell in an instant.  He was so sad thinking about not snuggling with his dada all night long.  Of course, this led to the conversation about how Mr. Messy really should step it up and sleep with both kids at night.  A girl can at least dream about occupying the whole bed to herself, right?

7.  I have a cosleeping injury -- apparently, I'm not quite finished with #6 -- my left arm aches and aches and pretty much no longer properly functions.  This achey ache combined with my non-functioning left baby holding elbow makes easy activities difficult.  This is no longer new news to my family so I will likely feel the need to talk more about this in the future before it becomes old news to you too.

8.  My arm still hurts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Crying It Out: Then and Now.

I always knew we would let Henry cry it out when he was a baby.  I read plenty online about different techniques and styles and finally settled on a plan that worked for us.  Starting around 7 months I began a long process of transitioning him to fall back asleep at night without nursing.  I was quite systematic as I nursed and rocked incrementally less for a couple of months until I felt like I had pushed him as far as I could on my own and that was the point where we let him cry.  I remember letting him cry for just a few minutes as a time and going in to pat him on the back and tell him everything is okay and then leaving the room again.  Then at some point, it got to where he would cry and then go to sleep.  Wake up.  Cry.  And, then go to sleep again.

Then Liza is born.  And, the crying it out was instantly banished from our house.  Crying is still quite fashionable for my children but crying it out in a lonely room just so the kid will go to sleep is no longer an option for us.

When I look back on Henry crying it out, I think about how cold our house gets.  How snuggly he is.  How he is very particular about his blanket arrangement.  How sometimes his jammies get tangled and he needs a little help to get everything straightened out.   But mostly I think about how much he loves sharing his bed with his daddy and how glad I am they have that time together and I try to push the regret of all those tears into a place where I can focus on today.

I don't want to sound preachy.  I don't want to sound judgey.  I'm not even going to write all the things I have to say about crying it out, and trust me there is a lot, because it probably will sound preachy and it probably will sound judgey, even if it isn't meant in that way.

I just want for mamas and daddies to focus on the big picture and then decide if they want to let their babies cry.

If it is still right for your family, fine.

But, if you have even a glimmer of doubt, pick that baby up and keep on rocking.

I promise you will have a sleeping baby eventually.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My son is a photog.

Henry likes taking pictures with my camera.

Most look like this color scape.

But, this afternoon he snapped these pictures of Liza nursing after her nap.

A sweet moment captured by my sweet boy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Even Five.

1.  Liza loves colors.  She is endlessly fascinated by repeating various color names.  However, she can not identify any colors on her own.  Her default used to be 'orange' but now she says things are 'blue', 'yellow' and 'pu-ple'.  It's pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.

2.  I started oil pulling today.  As in right now.  I am currently swishing 1 tablespoon of sesame oil around in my mouth.  It is pretty much exhausting.  My poor jaws are about done and I'm only 7 minutes into my 20 minute devoted time block.  For those of you not in the know, kinda like me until just last night, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic process of drawing toxins from your body pretty much curing you of all your ailments according to www.oilpulling.com.  If it's Ayurvedic, I believe it so we shall see how it goes. All I know at this point is that my jaws are weak and more tired by the second.

3.  Henry and I baked these oatmeal cookies tonight.  I made them dairy-free by using 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup palm shortening in lieu of the butter.  I also cut back the sugar by half a cup.  Delicious.  And, it makes a lot of cookies so I am planning on freezing the remaining dough for future use.  Okay.  I won't lie.  I'm sure I'll bake them tomorrow night.  Okay.  More like early tomorrow afternoon.

4.  My newest line of thought is centered around biological norms versus cultural norms.  Lots to think about.  Too much for a blog post.  More thinking is needed.

5.  I just went back to www.oilpullingwww.oilpulling.com.com to check on my tired jaws issue.  "If your jaw muscles get sore while swishing, you're putting too much into it. Relax your jaw muscles and use your tongue to help move the liquid around the inside of your mouth. When you do this correctly, you'll feel very comfortable. Pretty soon."  Good to know.    

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

no'poo two.

Contrary to what some people think, ahem, Connie, I do wash my hair.  I just wash it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  

I no'poo.  And, I pretty much love it.  

Read my no'poo tutorial here.  

In my mind, the baking soda is the shampoo and the apple cider vinegar is the conditioner.  I suppose it's not just in my mind as the baking soda actually does the "cleaning" by opening the hair follicles and rinsing away dirt and grime while the apple cider vinegar "conditions" by closing the follicles and making my hair so soft like, um, conditioner.  

It's been almost a year of no'pooing so I thought it was high time for me to come back and report that yep, I still like it.  Unlike the soap nuts for cloth diapers but hopefully not like the homemade dishwasher detergent which is still on my "like" list.  

My hair is super soft and while that often times equates into frizz with curly hair like mine, I really do think I have way less frizz than back in my obsessive hair product days.  My "gel" is a dab of olive oil smoothed over my wet or dry hair and as long as I keep it to just a dab, it really is the perfect gel for hair.

My preparation routine is unchanged although I often have a hard time finding both squirt bottles as they are my kids most favorite bathtub toys.  But, when both bottles are accessible, I put about a tablespoon of baking soda and an inch of water in one bottle and about a tablespoon of vinegar and an inch of water in the other bottle.  When only one bottle is found, I prep the baking soda and then bring my little bottle of vinegar in to the shower with me to get ready after I scrub my hair with the baking soda water.  

So there.  
I do wash my hair.  
Just not like most people.