"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson



"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!



I love this video! What a joyous thing to do for people. The absoultely most perfect song to celebrate the Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

After the Birth, What a Family Needs

This post on Gloria Lemay's blog is awesome. She has a funny, yet very practical list of things friends and family can do to help out a mother with a new baby. I've been blessed to have meals brought in for the first week or so, but really wished someone would have come clean up the kitchen, done a load or two of laundry and watched the little ones so I could take that precious shower. It's hard for me to ask people to do those things, but if they had offered, I'm pretty sure I would have taken them up on it! I also love her suggestions for bringing healthy salads for mom and healthy snacks for the kids. Usually after that first week, my kids are bouncing off the walls from all those desserts and I'm craving salads and greens. Even though I'm grateful not to cook in those first few days, I'm almost anxious to get back to it just so we can eat healthily again. (Incidentally I've noticed that eating plenty of greens seems to help boost my milk supply.) I'm not sure how to broach the subject with people without sounding picky and ungrateful. Any ideas?

I also loved the suggestion of watering the plants. Who would have thought of that? But it's always something I neglect for weeks after having a baby. The comments on Gloria's post also reminded me that with these last three babies I wished I could just kind of disappear from society for 6 months or so with just me, the baby, and my family--kind of like a vacation where someone else does all the cooking and cleaning. It would be divine to really get to know my baby and make all those post-partum adjustments without the stress of daily life. I know, I'm really dreaming, but can you imagine how great that would be?

In all fairness, though, I have to say that when I was having my miscarriage I was blessed to have a wonderful friend give me a foot rub, make me a gallon of green drink to last me throughout the week and then clean up my kitchen. All pregnant and post-partum mothers should be so fortunate to have such a friend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Brain Says its Better, but My Heart is Sad

This has been a tough week. It started with utter exhaustion, which became a head cold, which turned into a 2 day migraine. And to top it all off, my period came on Tuesday. Now, last week I had told myself that it would be okay if I wasn't pregnant--I would trust the Lord on the timing, and it would give me more time to lose my excess fat and give Talita longer to nurse. Those are all things my brain told me. But the reality is that my heart is disappointed and discouraged. By convincing myself that I had already gotten pregnant again, I think I merely postponed the sorrow and the questioning of the miscarriage until now. It's taken me several days to come to terms with all of it. Not being able to throw myself into an intense exercise/diet program because of the illness hasn't helped me deal with my non-pregnant state very well either.

Don't get me wrong, I still believe there is one more child to come to our family. The Lord was merciful enough to remind me of the unmistakable answers to prayer I had already received about that. I just don't know when it will happen, and I've never been very good at delayed gratification. So, here's another learning experience I need to go through--trusting the Lord and His timing. It's one thing to say you will, even one thing to honestly feel that you will, and another thing to feel that way all the time.

I learned something else last week as well. First, when I do get pregnant again, I absolutely am not going to tell anyone besides my husband, my kids, and this blog. I may even postpone telling my kids until I'm past the 13 week mark. What brought me to this conclusion was having an extended family member who I hadn't told about my pregnancy ask how I was feeling and if I was nauseous or not. It took me a minute to realize that her husband had told her I was pregnant. Scott had told him I was and said that he had "sworn him to secrecy" not to tell his wife. I guess he forgot that part. Anyway, I awkwardly told her I had miscarried. For a very brief moment she seemed sympathetic, but then said, "Aren't you relieved? I mean, when I heard you were pregnant I thought what if there's something wrong with the baby? At your age and eight kids?" The look on her face when she said "eight kids" was completely and totally hurtful to me. Mainly because even though most people in their right minds would question 8 kids at my age, I had known it was right. The Lord has for over a year let me know that it was right and my heart and soul agreed with it. (My brain is often another matter.) Anyway, thinking of 8 kids for our family had come to feel almost sacred because of all the divine assurances I had received, so I was quite taken aback. I didn't really say anything to her in reply because I was speechless. So I think I just changed the subject. Ali was standing there through the whole conversation and she later told me that telling somebody they should be relieved to have a miscarriage wasn't exactly a very nice or appropriate thing to say. I had to work pretty hard over the next few days to really feel like I had forgiven her. And honestly I can totally understand where she is coming from. I'm sure most people would feel the way she did. I also realized there were things going on with her life in the last little while that made it easy to say what she did. So, I don't fault her. But I realize more than ever that I don't want my family who will feel that same way to worry about me when I do get pregnant again. I know what I'm doing. I'm healthy, (got to figure out those migraines though), and I have great tools available to help me have a healthy pregnancy and baby. And above all, the Lord has reassurred me that He will help me accomplish this and that it is His will.

So now, it's back to the trenches of increasing my faith and trust. And losing that baby fat!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Labor & Delivery Nurse Has Homebirth

VBAC Facts has the story. Especially telling are her coments at the end. She considers what would likely have happened had she given birth at the hospital and she points out that she had a big baby (9lbs) vaginally without a tear. A previous c-section was justified by her doctor because "her small pelvis just couldn't deliver an 8 lb baby."

Here's a re-post of the last paragraph:

"So to all of those women who have been told that you would have died in childbirth because you couldn’t push out your own baby YOU CAN! I am proof that I delivered a baby 1 pound bigger than what they said. I am an RN in labor an delivery and see all of the unnecessary
interventions that they do. I was pondering about my birth. If I would have chosen a hospital birth I probably would have ended up with another c/s or an episiotomy. There were times during my birth where I thought am I crazy I can’t deal with this pain. The midwives and doula helped me through the intense contractions. If I was at the hospital they would have bullied me into an epidural and therefore I wouldn’t have been able to move around to get her to come down. Also I wouldn’t have been able to feeling the progression of her head coming down when I pushed. With my son I pushed and couldn’t really feel any progress so mentally I was losing hope. With this birth it didn’t feel like I pushed for an hour because I could feel the accomplishment of her coming down. I see this happen all of the time at the hospital. If a mom isn’t pushing quick enough for the Dr or they think the head is too big then they will automatically do an episiotomy. They probably would have done that and it just shows that it would have been for nothing and I would have had a longer recovery time. So therefore I am grateful that I found homebirth and such wonderful midwives. Any of you who are contemplating homebirth vs hospital try your best to do homebirth. Don’t let money be an issue. After all is said and done money is money. You can always earn the money back but not the experience of a wonderful birth. I hope this inspires all of you who are having the normal feelings of “what if I can’t do it.” Good luck to your future births, You CAN do it!"


A couple of comments: An L&D nurse says "they would have bullied me into an epidural." Homebirthers are often accused of exaggerating the pressure put on women in the hospital to succumb to their interventions, yet here is a nurse speaking from her own experience of what actually goes on.

Second, the epidural during her previous hospital birth made it impossible to feel her baby moving down. She said because of that she "mentally lost hope." So when the doctor says "your baby is just too big," she believes him. The epidural numbs women to their own sensations and inner knowlege and they end up with an unnecessary c-section. (I should say, unecessary had they skipped the epidural.) How often does this happen? I would bet that it happens a lot. Very sad.

Be sure to read the comments at the end. I always find it interesting to read the absurd reasons OB's often give for justifying a c-section. It's also interesting to note the completely different tone in women who have done their research and had an empowering birth versus those women who turned themselves over to their OB's and blindly trusted them to do the best thing for them and their babies. These latter women are often full of fear about the "what-if's"of homebirth and seem almost afraid to question the mighty men in their white coats. (Sorry, I sound a little snarky today.)

Lastly, I just have to repost this comment because she raises some excellent points:

"I’m a birth professional who chose homebirth.
My years of study taught me that no data supported the contention that homebirth was riskier for mother and baby provided the following conditions were met:
the mother is low risk
the homebirth is planned
she has a trained, experienced birth attendant
there is a hospital within a reasonable distance

I find it interesting to think that the mother is somehow more responsible for outcomes at a homebirth than she would be if the birth took place in a hospital. Sorry but we can’t abdicate our responsibilty that easily Amy!


[love the following:]

If the woman chooses a caregiver or a facility that deprives her of food and drink, induces her labor, hyperstimulates the process with oxytocin, puts the woman on her back to birth, then deprives the newborn of her oxygen by cutting the cord prematurely and then routinely send the baby for observation in a nursery which may also undermine breastfeeding, how has that mother made choices to safeguard her baby’s well being?

Why not take a look at the gold standard of evidence based medicine which is The Cochrane Data Base. If you visit
http://www.childbirthconnection.org you can read the Guide to Evidence Based Care in Pregnancy in its entirety.

Homebirth is a viable and respectful alternative to both the hospital and the birthing center. As a professional I move among all three and always encourage each woman to choose the one that provides her with the sense of being loved and protected. If she thinks the hospital is that place we “dig” a little deeper to make certain its practices are congruent with what she REALLY needs and that usually isn’t an IV, lots of vaginal exams and multiple laboratories. It is a environment where she can freely move and express herself throughout labor and the actual birth (no restrictions in birthing positions) and one in which she doesn’t have routines foisted upon her. It is one where she can select who will accompany her at any moment in the process and one in which she doesn’t have to worry about the baby being removed from her arms at any time. If the hospital the woman chooses can meet these expectations then perhaps the hospital will work for her. If not she will do far better to stay at home! Here’s to health!
Joni
"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Breast Crawl


This amazing video shows the difference between babies whose mothers received medication during labor and those who did not. The study also compared babies separated from their mothers to be cleaned and measured and those whe were left on their mothers bodies immediately after birth. The poor medicated babies looked exhausted and clueless--well, they looked drugged. The unmedicated babies who stayed with their mothers looked so focused, assertive and intelligent. Much different than the typical newly washed and wrapped baby burrito who just kind of lays there in your arms. I think when I have another baby I'm going to try letting my baby do the "breast crawl."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sweet April Child

Sweet little love
Little Daughter Divine
You're a budding flower
Whose blossoming is near

You are April
But you dream of June
And every passing day
Beauty grows from within you

Dear April child
Are you dreaming of June
Like a tender young flower awaiting summer's bloom?
Sweet April child
In the springtime of youth
What a glorious season
It is yours, let it shine through

Awaken yourself dear child
A bud begins to wake
Deep inside you are already beautiful
Let it grow inside of you

Sweet April Child
It's the spring of your youth
Cherish these precious days
Summer comes all too soon.


Dear April Child
Still Dreaming of June….


Those are the lyrics to a lovely song from the movie Rigoletto. My oldest daughter sent them to me a month ago just on a whim. They made me cry at the time. I wasn’t sure why. I thought it interesting that the name I had picked out for this 8th child was Summer and yet when I “met” my baby during my hypnobabies practice when I was about 6 weeks along, that baby I held in my hand was not Summer, but a little girl named April. Now, 6 weeks later it all makes sense to me.

In my last blog post I mentioned that I started spotting again—exactly 4 weeks after the last time. It lasted 7 days and when it was done I told Scott that I needed to do another pregnancy test just to reassure myself that I was indeed pregnant. After all, I’d had 2 different positive pregnancy tests, one after the bleeding started. So I was still pregnant, right? On Monday I took the test and was afraid to look at the results. I just had a frightening feeling it was going to be negative. It was. Maybe it was wrong, I thought. I read through the instructions thoroughly and found that I didn’t keep the test stick in the urine stream the required 10 seconds but had only done it for 3. I had to take another test. Unfortunately, I had only bought 1 test. I didn’t want to go back to Wal-mart. I had spent over an hour and a half there that morning! So I went to a nearby grocery store. While I searched for the tests Charles and Talita kept escaping and running around the store. Finally I found the shelf where they should have been. They were completely out of every brand of pregnancy test. What? Was everybody pregnant? So then I went to Smiths. They had a generic brand that looked exactly like the Wal-mart cheapie brand I had bought that morning. But it was double the price of Wal-mart’s brand! Call me cheap, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay double. So I ended up back at Wal-mart. This time I bought the EPT brand which actually had a 3 pack on sale for slightly more than the 1 pack at Smiths. At home I waited impatiently until my bladder was fairly full and danced in the bathroom trying not to wet my pants while I unwrapped the package. I made sure I followed the instructions exactly. I was fully expecting to see the word “pregnant” on the test stick. Never have the words “Not Pregnant” been so absolutely crushing to my soul. I was stunned.

Scott came in the bathroom to find out the results. I couldn’t say anything. I just wordlessly handed him the test. He was visibly surprised and sad as well. At first I felt kind of numb, like I just couldn’t process it all. I knew it would take time. As I was getting Joshy to bed I told him that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. He didn’t quite know what I meant, so I had to say, “The baby died.” Immediately his sweet little face fell and tears filled his eyes. He began crying and I started crying too. Charles didn’t like to see either of us cry and so he told Joshy, who was crying the hardest, to stop. I told him it was okay to cry. Joshy was the happiest of all my kids that I was going to have another baby so it makes sense that it hit him the hardest. I now see great wisdom in not telling your children about being pregnant until after the first trimester is over. And yet, I don’t regret telling my kids. I think it’s a part of life and as long as loving parents are there to explain things to children, I believe it is better that we don’t shield them from the workings of life and death. Our energies are better spent shielding them from wickedness and evil and teaching them how to deal with all these things.

Anyway, I somewhat bitterly put away my pregnancy record and anything else that would remind me that I actually thought I was pregnant when I wasn’t. I knelt down waiting for Scott so we could have couple prayer before going to bed. I started to say a prayer on my own, but the tears started to flow. For some reason I just wasn’t ready to let it all out. So I quickly got up off my knees telling Heavenly Father that I just wasn’t ready yet. I talk to Heavenly Father all the time during the day so I just silently pled with Him to help me deal with this in the way that would be best. Scott said the couple prayer because he could tell that I just didn’t have the heart right then.

When I woke up the next morning and remembered everything I was again filled with sadness. As I went about getting Joshy ready for school, I just kept praying silently that Heavenly Father would help me understand it all. I was afraid I might get totally discouraged about my testing abilities and all the work I had done using The Body Code. I wondered how I could have gotten so many things wrong. I pled with HF to help me understand what I had tested correctly and what I gotten wrong. Surely, I hadn’t gotten it all wrong, had I? As I drove Joshy to school, in answer to my prayers, the ideas started coming to me.

I believe I did miscarry that second day of bleeding when I passed the large blood clot—the one that made me panic. At the time I instinctively knew I had just lost the baby, but didn’t want to believe it. I mistakenly believed that the hCG hormone would immediately be gone if the baby had died. Now I know, according to the pregnancy test instructions, that the hormone can actually stay in your body for up to two months after giving birth or having a miscarriage. So I think I actually miscarried at 7 weeks 5 days and that the baby died the Sunday before that. It actually all makes sense to me now. I hadn’t felt her sweet influence and spirit around since shortly after I “met” her at 6 weeks. It made me so sad that I couldn’t feel her spirit. I kept praying I would and wondering why she didn’t want to be around anymore. I thought she had just gone to stay with HF for a little while, but that her body was growing and all was well. I remembered how I did the HB Special Place track again after passing the large clot and this time when I went inside myself to meet her, my uterus was a dark, empty place. I can still see my spirit standing there crying out in terror and panic “Where are you? Where are you?” She was not there and I felt so utterly dark and empty. After a few weeks of wondering why she was not with me in spirit I finally asked and got an answer (when I was what I figured was 12 weeks) that I would feel her spirit again in 3 weeks.

As I drove Joshy to school the day after learning I had miscarried, it occurred to me that maybe that answer about feeling her spirit again wasn’t completely wrong. Maybe I would get pregnant again soon and I would feel a little spirit with me again then. As I pondered this I began to feel much better with the knowledge that the Lord would give me another opportunity to have a baby. Right after learning I wasn’t pregnant I had told myself that I was done and that it was my last chance to have another baby and that I just better deal with it and move on with my life. Those thoughts made me feel defeated and bitter. Believing that I would still have another child lifted those dark clouds away and gave me hope.

That night as I nursed Talita asleep, I again prayed for wisdom and understanding and the thoughts and feelings began to flow effortlessly. Occasionally as a thought would come it would be accompanied by strong, poignant, sweet emotion. It was a blessed gift from HF letting me know that it was a correct conclusion. I learned that April would not come in the next pregnancy. She will come during the millennium! It is Summer’s turn next and I will get pregnant this year. I have actually ovulated again and I believe fertilization has taken place sometime within the last 2 days. (I really hope time does not prove me wrong on this.) I think it actually happened on Monday. We did make love on Sunday and I noticed the extra mucous of ovulation on Monday and Tuesday, and also the little twinges in my uterus on Tuesday. If this is correct, it puts the birth right in the middle of summer--June 27th would be the guess date. What amazing timing! I feel I was inspired to do the pregnancy test the day I did. If I really did just get pregnant again, doing the test later would show up positive and I wouldn’t have known that it was actually a second pregnancy! The difference in timing and the growth of the baby could have really messed with my mind. Another tender mercy is that I didn’t have to sorrow and grieve for weeks because I didn’t know for weeks that I had actually miscarried. It’s all so amazing.

I am so grateful I will have the privilege of raising April in the millennium. She is too pure, too tender to come to earth at a time of such wickedness and turmoil. My peaceful dream with the light green spring grass and the rolling hills was depicting a time during the millennium. The child’s hand I was holding was Summer’s. That’s why it didn’t seem like Charles or Talita. I have been thinking about how amazingly selfless April is. HF knew that my uterus needed healing and He knew that when the crisis of miscarriage was at hand I wouldn’t rest until I got to the bottom of it. He had given me the tools I needed: The Body Code, a sweet, wonderful friend who knew reflexology, and knowledge of the herbs that would also help provide healing to my uterus. April’s mission was to prepare my body for another pregnancy. That is not her only mission, of course. And that was not her only chance to come earthside. I believe HF wants to reserve this tender, delicate soul for a time when there will be no wickedness or disease on the earth. What a glorious time that will be! I feel so blessed to have felt her sweet spirit for those few short weeks. I felt so happy to be a mother during that time, so in love with each of my children, more than I have ever felt at any time in my life. I also felt closer to Scott and he seemed to have more patience with our little ones. April’s influence on our family was divine and I look forward to feeling that again.

Now I have the opportunity to get to know another divine daughter of God, Summer Rainn. I’m excited for that. Whether it comes soon, like I think, or later on, I will trust HF and in His wisdom and timing. He truly is over all and He knows what He is doing! How I love Him! And how amazingly good He is to me!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Menstruation During Pregnancy?

Last Friday I started spotting again--not as much as last time, but it's got me pretty cautious about announcing the pregnancy to family and friends. The interesting thing is that the spotting started exactly 4 weeks from the first time. When this second episode started I googled "spotting during pregnancy" and read that 1 in 4 women have this problem and only half will miscarry. It's also not unheard of for some women to actually have light periods during the 1st trimester. That is what I would call this--a light period. It's just so weird, because I've never had any kind of spotting at all with my other 7 pregnancies.

I've also experienced absolutely no nausea--not even indigestion. I don't feel that much more tired than usual. I've only gained about 2 pounds and my belly is sticking out only a little more than usual. It's wonderful, but very different for me, and at the same time, I can't help but remember the women who have told me that in the pregnancies where they miscarried, they didn't feel pregnant--no nausea, etc. Intuitively, I feel that the baby is alive and well, and that this is just something that needs to run its course. However, it has made me much more cautious about saying anything to others about the pregnancy. (Except my trusty blog/journal--what would I do if I didn't have this outlet?) Sometimes I have to remind myself that I did indeed have 2 positive pregnancy tests--one after the bleeding started the first time. I didn't pass anything that was large enough to be a baby, so I'm sure I'm still pregnant. It has been an emotional roller-coaster, though. I have so much more empathy and understanding for women who have miscarriages. And I also understand one of my sister-in-laws a little better. She had several miscarriages and she would often go into an emotional defensive mode about having any more children. I understand the tendency to do that now. Being pregnant and knowing you will soon welcome a sweet little spirit into your life is such a joyful thing that it is a heartbreaking disappointment to have that end prematurely. And she had to suffer through that multiple times. I've kind of felt like I have to protect myself from getting hurt and disappointed just in case there is no baby, so lately I haven't allowed myself to get too excited about being pregnant.

I really look forward to a few more weeks when I can feel my baby move and hear a heartbeat and be assured that all is well. I've actually thought about either using my doppler or getting an ultrasound to check on the baby, but I've read enough stuff to seriously question the safety of both. Not to mention that whenever I used the doppler during my last pregnancy, my baby tried to get away from it and I had the very distinct feeling that she hated it, it hurt, and I felt like I needed to apologize to her afterwards. When I stopped denying those feelings after the first 3 or 4 times, I quit using the doppler. Supposedly 1 minute of doppler use is equal to 30 minutes of ultrasound because the sound waves are more concentrated, strong, or whatever. I don't want to take any chances hurting my baby, especially if she is more vulnerable for whatever reason. I had multiple ultrasounds with my first 6 pregnancies and I honestly don't think it did any harm to the first 4 kids. But my next 2 kids came 6 and 8 years later and both had speech delays even though I didn't vaccinate them, no antibiotics, etc. I also remember with my 6th child, that I felt like I was going against the Spirit when I had that second ultrasound. So many things were not good with that ultrasound. Maybe it was just too much for him. I read that today's ultrasound machines are so much more powerful that it very well could be that they are causing neurological problems in babies where they might not have 10 years ago. Who knows? All I know is I can't ignore the coincidental timing of having several articles that question ultrasound saftey pop up in the first part of this pregnancy. Each time I read about it I'd make the commitment to not have any ultrasounds unless absolutely necessary. Some might argue that this is one of those times, but I can't feel good about taking the risk at this point. Unless I feel strongly prompted that I should indeed have an ultrasound, I'm just going to exercise my faith that all is well and look forward to those first exciting stirrings of the baby.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Most Amazing Video of Twins Born at Home--WOW!

This post about a twin homebirth by Lisa at Midwife Mutiny is absolutely a must-see. There are so many wonderful things about this birth--at home in the water, a calm mother and midwife, supportive husband, 2nd baby born in the caul with multiple cord wrapping, and a fused placenta and lotus birth. Yes, the mother actually kept these babies' cords intact until they fell off on their own on the 5th day. And I thought a lotus birth brought logistical problems for one baby!

I am so amazed at this mother. I've watched a lot of birth videos, but this one really brought me to sudden tears. To see that mother sitting there holding two healthy, good size babies just brought home to me the miracle of birth and what an incredible gift and blessing it is to participate in the whole process of bringing life into the world. In fact, I actually said to myself through my tears, "I want to do this forever."

Gloria Lemay - Will You Keep Your Son Intact?

Gloria Lemay is my new hero. I really like what she said about childbirth professionals being "too nice." Basically they are too worried about offending others when what they need to be doing is giving them the truth. (As a sidenote, I felt this way about the book Birthing from Within. I felt the author was bending over backward to not offend women who weren't as open to the truths about drugs during labor. Wasn't one of my favorite books.)

Anyway, I love how Gloria said that if a couple she had educated about circumcision still decided to do it, they would have to drive over her dead body to do it. She is that fierce about protecting these vulnerable baby boys. She also had a great point about the whole needing-to-look-like-Dad issue. The mothers, who often instinctually don't want to cut their baby boys need to stand up, she says, and "show some spine." Fathers, who themselves have been circumcised, are often the ones who make the misguided decision to perpetuate this tragedy onto their sons. Rather, their intact wives who have the natural mama bear instinct to protect their babies should have the greater say in the decision.

Yeah, Gloria's opinionated and strong. On this issue, she needs to be. We all need to be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I really love this birth montage

She does a wonderful job of telling the story through text, touching photos, and two really great songs.

You can read the full birth story at Journey to Crunchville.

Circumcision, Revisited

I found this post on circumcision called "More Than Just Skin" through Barefoot Birth on Facebook. Try to overlook all the grammatical errors because she really has some great points. There is also a photo of a baby having the procedure done. It's heartbreaking to think of the initial trauma and the unnecessary problems these boys and their future wives will suffer. The picture really captures the senselessness of it all. Be sure to read through the comments for some enlightenment by women who have had both cut and intact partners.

I really resonated with this comment regarding the "religious" reasons for circumcision:

"Joel said...
Male or Female - everyone is born with the right to KEEP their healthy, sensitive, functional - VALUABLE - body parts. Everyone is born with genital integrity.

This is NOT compromised by the religious beliefs of a parent. The religious beliefs of a parent do not trump the child's rights to safety and a complete body.

This is ALSO why we do not allow the removal of ANY part of a female's body, not even the tiniest part of her prepuce (clitoral hood). There are those with religious beliefs that we do not tolerate - because they violate the rights of a child.

It's time we gave the rights of infant males the same respect.

Think about it."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Young Women Values and Motherhood

There is a wonderful guest post at The Gift of Giving Life blog titled "We are Daughters: Preparing Young Women for Pregnancy and Childbirth." It's written by Brittany from Birth Unplugged.

One of my favorite parts is in the section on Good Works:

"I a 1942 issue of the Improvement Era, the first presidency referred to motherhood as “the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.” The sharing of the body’s resources with our babies during pregnancy and other hardships we may endure in order to give our children life constitute a very important form of service. The value of the service we give in creating and sustaining new life with our bodies is not to be understated."

Makes me feel good.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So Cool--Birth-Joy is in the "Top 50 Fabulous Pregnancy Blogs"

I recognized many in the list, but didn't see Rixa's Stand and Deliver blog. How could they miss that one? It's the first one I go to when I want to learn something about pregnancy and birth. Lots more pregnancy/birth blogs to check out...wish I had more time. Here's the list if you want to check them out too.

While I'm flattered they chose my blog, I do think it is kind of ironic that both of the organizations that have chosen my natural birth blog as a "top birth/pregnancy blog" are medically oriented. This latest one is sonogram technicians and the other one is a medical coding organization. I think they just want to get their name and URL up on a lot more blogs by having us post their badge. Oh well, I'll take it. (Maybe I'm just a sucker for flattery?) On the other hand, if it helps spread my message about natural birth, homebirth, and alternative health care, I'm all for it.

On another note, I've got lots of news/info I've been wanting to write about but haven't had the time--hopefully it will be soon!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"To Not Circumcise or to Not Circumcise; There is No Question"

This is an excellent article at Mothering.com on the circumcision issue. Kristen Marie Toutgates does a wonderful job of debunking the common rationales people use for allowing this barbaric practice to be performed on their newborn baby boys. I try to be somewhat tolerant and understanding of people's choice to choose when it comes to medicated birth, vaccines, and the standard American Diet (SAD), but when it comes to routine circumcision of baby boys, as one commenter said, "The bottom line is: it is a violation of a person’s human rights (and dignity) to disfigure their body without their willing consent."

This paragraph from the article goes into that in more depth:

"The “It’s a personal choice” issue. This topic is often, erroneously, considered a “personal choice” of the parent/s. While I do believe it should be a personal choice, I do not believe that choice should be the mother’s, but rather the baby’s when he is grown. It is not lawful for us as parents to remove any other body part on our child simply because we think it might be cleaner & we like how it looks better. When this procedure is done by doctors, it violates the Hippocratic Oath of “first do no harm” & when we as parents sit back & let this painful, harmful procedure be performed, we are violating our oath as parents to protect & honor our children. Technically, circumcision should already be illegal because it is unconstitutional to have a law that applies to females but not males. Females in the U.S. are protected from genital mutilation, but males are not (yet)."

Please read this article if you are a parent or will be someday. It is so very thorough and addresses all the reasons parents give for having it done. I admit, it is absolutely heartbreaking to read the truth about this procedure and its harmful effects if you have circumcised any of your children due to tradition and misinformation. I've been there, done that. But I will be eternally grateful that I have since listened to my instincts and learned the truth before I gave birth to my last two boys.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Avoid Giving Birth in the Hospital

This comes from an article posted by Barefoot Birth on Facebook.

‎"Most women I know who have chosen home birth have done so to avoid a 33% c-section rate (or more); a high rate of routine interventions, such as IV fluids, not being allowed to eat or drink, automatic breaking of the bag of waters, internal monitoring, and being confined to a bed; and a higher rate of episiotomies, vacuum or forceps, need for drugs during labor, serious lacerations, infection, and neonatal intensive care admissions. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?"

What a great summary of why I don't feel safe giving birth in a hospital! Of course there are other reasons why I birth at home (click here for a fantastic and more thorough home vs. hospital comparison) and I have to say that I would go to a hospital if it was medically necessary. In the absence of true complications, however, home is definitely the place for me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why we can't shut up about natural birth

These beautifully written paragraphs come from Heather Armstrong and articulate very well why so many women in the natural childbirth community love to tell friends, family and anyone who willl listen about the births of their children.

"I am sad for your birth not because I pity or judge you but because I wish for you to feel that which others have. I am sad when you walk away from your birth feeling like your baby was the only good thing about it and you are telling yourself they are all that mattered. I am sad when you walk away saying, “That was awful”. I am sad if you cannot bend over, if it hurts to cough or you can’t have sex with your partner for months because of what was done to you.

I wish for you to feel the way I did when my husband and I pulled Xan out of the water together. I wish for you to feel so much joy that you can feel its energy bursting from you. I wish for you to feel incredible, triumphant, so brilliantly happy that you can’t wait for someone to ask you how it went so you can feel it all over again as you retell your experience. I wish for your labour to have been comfortable and safe, where you were free to move around your house or take a walk outside, eat and drink what you wanted and not have to worry about time limits or how the people tried to tell you that your body wasn’t doing things “right”. I wish for you to count your birth as one of the best moments of your life, not just because you met your new child but also because they were so beautifully and peacefully brought into this world that you spent the rest of your days with a new respect for yourself.

Birth is amazing, and I wish for you to feel that way too."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting to Know my Baby

I had an interesting experience yesterday. Even though I'm only about 6 weeks along, I decided to listen to my Hypnobabies Special Place track. I was exhausted and needed the deep relaxation I knew would come from listening to HB. At the point in the script where Kerry says to go deep inside yourself to where your baby is and meet your baby, I really got into it and felt like I was actually meeting her. It was very real. I could see myself holding her tiny 6 week old body in my hand. Then Kerry said, "Say your baby's name." So I did. I said the name I had picked out over a year ago. But something was wrong. Suddenly I knew that was not her name. Her name is not Summer (even though I have loved that name forever). In the same instant I knew what her name is. It is April.

How fitting that is. She'll be born in April and to me that month has always symbolized the Resurrection, New Life, the Joy of Spring after a long cold winter, and Reunion. Just like Joshua, Charles, and Talita, this baby wants to be given a name that will remind me of my Lord and Savior and His wonderful gifts to me. I also had the sense that this little soul is very sensitive, tender and delicate. Now the deep, instinctual desires I've had for an undisturbed lotus birth make even more sense.

These words by Mary Siever came to mind:

"The more people present in an earthly way, the more the spirit withdraws and the less beautiful the experience can be. Many people feel that they have a right to be present by virtue of employment or relationship and do not realize this. To them a baby being born is a medical event that is encircled by blood and amniotic fluid and emergency. But a baby is a spiritual being becoming a physical being. Their spirituality is more present at this time than their physicality and thus their passage into life needs to be gentle and loving so they are not crushed spiritually in the process."

So far I am really enjoying this pregnancy. I feel like I am more intuitive to her, to my body, and to the Lord. What a blessed gift all of this is!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Placenta--Baby Connection

LoveNaturalBirth.com talked with Sarah Buckley about lotus birth and they asked the same question I posed yesterday. Specifically they said,

"For those of us who thought about waiting for twenty minutes, it appears longer may be better. But that is why it’s important to delay cord cutting, but why exactly delay the cutting until it falls off naturally?
Dr. Sarah Buckley states that there are many important aspects to lotus birth, one of them she explains is what’s being discovered in primal therapy. She says, “In primal therapy it’s (the placenta is) like the baby’s first possession, the baby’s first object, the first other, even though actually genetically it’s made out of the same material of the baby, it’s part of the baby. But the baby experiences it as the other. And the ultrasound has seen babies licking the placenta and putting their head against the placenta.” What we are seeing is the baby is very sensitive to the handling of the placenta.

Many times babies will start to cry as soon as the doctor, midwife, or other person goes to cut or handle the cord. If we watch birth videos we can see that when the cord is cut is often the exact timing that the baby suddenly goes into distress, this can be emotional or physical. And according to Sarah, this continues on until after the cord has fallen off naturally.

In Sarah’s interview she shared her experience of being at a friend’s house where the baby was upset, and the placenta was cold, and after warming up the placenta the baby was once again calm and happy. What’s important to keep in mind is what our babies are communicating. Sometimes people are undecided about if they are really going to share this experience with their baby or not, but as soon as they start to handle the cord, they realize that baby is unhappy. If you are on the fence, leave some space for baby to have baby’s say. Just because they don’t have the words, doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating!"


I remember when it came time to cut the cord with each of my 3 homebirths, and each time I felt an instinct that said "No! I don't know why, but no!" but I always let my rational mind take over and I'd tell myself that the cord had stopped pulsing so it was okay. I'm still thinking about this emotional connection issue, but I'm becoming more inclined to give my baby the benefit of the doubt and let her decide when she doesn't need the placenta around any more.

One other interesting thing that came out of this interview was the issue of lotus birth versus placenta ingestion by the mother. Dr. Sarah Buckley states

"But I think as far as my point of view, through having three lotus births, I regard the placenta as belonging to the baby. So, personally, and this is my personal opinion, and other people are free to do what they want to do, but personally I would only do that in difficult circumstances because I really think the placenta belongs to the baby. I have heard of people who’ve done a bit of both, eat a little of the placenta and had a lotus birth. After a lotus birth it is pretty hard to care for a placenta so that it’s edible afterwards. I generally don’t recommend that people do that after a lotus birth."

When I first started feeling like this baby wanted a lotus birth, I remember feeling a little selfish for also wanting to dry and encapsulate the placenta for myself. I thought I was just being weird, but maybe my spirit was really trying to tell me something. Hmm... This is all very fascinating to me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seriously Considering Lotus Birth

Ever since I read Sarah Buckley's article on Lotus birth, I have been much more open to the idea. I really feel like this baby wants this kind of a birth. Today I just read some very compelling paragraphs at http://www.lotusfertility.com/ that have all but convinced me this is what I want to do.

First, an explanation to what lotus birth is:

"Q: What is Lotus Birth exactly?

A: The practice of neonatal umbilical intactness - nonseverance of the umbilical cord - and absence of any potential portal of navel infection. The birth practice of the early American pioneers who produced some of the hardiest children known in American history... and valued everything they had. Also called "Umbilical Nonseverance." The baby, cord, and placenta are treated as one unit, as they are all originate from the same cellular source (egg and sperm).

This informed choice practice requests healthcare providers to follow the protocols of "Passive Management" of Third Stage Labor, and also forego invasive cord clamping. The baby is born and remains attached to its cord while the placenta is birthed. The baby's placenta-cord is kept in-situ with the baby, gently wrapped in cloth or kept in an uncovered bowl near the mother, and the cord is sometimes wrapped in silk ribbon up to the baby's belly. The cord quickly dries and shrinks in diameter, similar to sinew, and detaches often by the 3rd Postpartum day (but up to a week in certain humid indoor air conditions) leaving a perfect navel. Interestingly, extended-delayed cord clamping & severing (just waiting more than an hour after the baby's birth), results in quicker cord stump healing, with an average of only one week for detachment of the stump, which makes a big difference for diaper changing!"


Now, my favorite part:

"Q: Why bother to question cord-cutting protocols? Why change family traditions?

A: Care providers and parents who have experienced Lotus Birth babies observe that they are demonstrably more relaxed and peaceful babies who do not manifest the common (and stressful to baby and mother) 1 lb. newborn weight loss and breastfeeding jaundice that is associated with the first week of life after "normal" birth's cord cutting, particularly cord cutting within an hour of birth. These observations have yet to be studied by university hospital pediatrics, though hospital lotus births have taken place in Australia. Needless to say, a beneficial impact on child and family development is what motivates the exploration of non-severance options.

These intact Lotus babies lose no energy just trying to stabilize their systems in the early postpartum hours and this shows on all levels (relaxation, bountiful healthy weight gain, core muscle strength, fine & gross motor skills, and alert observation of the world around them). This could be called 'accelerated development' but that would be a misnomer: Lotus babies are simply undiminished by stress in a very stressful culture. Their greater capacity for relaxation, compared to nurslings who had early cord severance and placenta loss, is apparently a metabolic foundation for life, and makes teething and other developmental stages much less distressful. It could be concluded that Lotus birth gives babies lifelong coping skills."


An exaggeration? Maybe. But the more I read about it, the more I'm convinced Lotus Birth is nature's way of easing the transition from womb to outside world and giving a newborn baby every possible advantage to surviving and thriving in their new world.

No one can deny the "ick factor" involved in carrying around a deteriorating placenta for 3 days to a week, but despite that, I still want to do this for my baby. I just need to research how to reduce the unpleasant aspects.....

The article ends with this beautiful and interesting description of lotus-born babies: "Lotus babies typically grow, glow, and gaze with a uncommon infant VITALITY that brings total strangers to surprising spontaneous states of joy and reverance."

I say interesting because this was a common reaction to my baby Talita, who was not Lotus-born. She did have a peaceful homebirth, though. It begs the question: Are these noticeable characteristics in babies due to the non-severance of the cord? Or rather to the delayed cord clamping and the other gentle birth practices that usually go along with home-birth? I'd be interested to know the answer (although how could it ever be definitively ascertained?) because I'm also interested in the idea of drying and encapsulating the placenta for the maternal benefits of PPD reduction and increased milk production. Would the practice of delayed cord clamping for, say, 3 hours or so, and then placental ingestion be the best of both worlds? I mean, if the baby receives all the physiological benefits from the placenta within 3 hours, (I don't know if this is true or not) then why go through all that work of of managing the placenta for several days?

Talita did lose weight and she did get slightly jaundiced. Would that have changed if I had waited a couple of hours to cut her cord? Or would it have required a full lotus birth to eliminate those problems?

In absence of true research to determine the answers to these questions, I guess the decision to go full lotus or just delay the clamping for a few hours depends on how you view the metaphysical aspects of the placenta. I've read what I consider some pretty far-out ideas equating the placenta with guardian angels, with some cultures actually worshipping the placenta like a shrine. My own personal opinion is that this is misguided. However, I am intruigued at the fact that the placenta resembles the "Tree of Life" and I do seriously wonder how spiritually and emotionally attached the baby is to their placenta. Do babies really need and/or want to keep their placentas attached until they're ready to let it go? Or is this just a misguided new-agey idea that parents have come up with?

I guess I have more pondering, meditation, and prayer to do in order to know what is best for this sweet baby and what she actually wants me to do.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Family reactions

I've decided to keep this pregnancy a secret from my extended family and friends for as long as possible. (I'm pretty sure that few, if any, of them read this blog. They think my health practices are a little eccentric to say the least.) I really want to tell a few friends who I know would be happy for me and supportive of it. However, at my age I realize that most people would be horrified to learn I was pregnant again. That's sad, but it's a part of our culture. Of course, considering how fast my tummy begins to protrude with each subsequent pregnancy, it may become obvious pretty fast. Nevertheless, I am determined to keep my happy little secret for as long as possible. I also want to keep my "bubble of peace" as strong and intact as possible.

When I showed my husband the pregnancy test I had a sudden and very determined thought that I was not going to allow anything negative to enter my mind about this pregnancy. I know that's easier said than done but so far so good! I feel that thought came from a higher source and I will do my best to follow it. I believe it's extremely important to my having a healthy, joyous pregnancy and birth.

When DH saw the test he closed his eyes and gave a little sigh, like "here we go again." But then he motioned for me to lie down next to him and told me he was genuinely happy and that he loved me. I know he was sincere. Although at times, I'm sure he wants to complain or make jokes about attending this child's high school graduation while walking with a cane, he refrains from doing that. He told me that the spirit has told him to accept it and grow with it. One thing about him I can say for certain: when he feels the spirit is telling him something, he obeys! I love that about him.

My son, Joshua, who is 6, almost 7, came into my room shortly after I found out and I was so excited I asked him to read the test (it was the ClearBlue brand that actually shows the word "pregnant") He didn't know what the word meant so I told him it means I have a baby in my tummy. His eyes got huge and he said "YES!" Later on he excitedly told his dad that "mom has a baby in her tummy!" He told him, "I know! I put it there!" I'm not sure what he thought about that....

When I told 4 year old Charles, he said with total astonishment, "Another one?" That was classic. I'm not really sure what my older kids think for sure. I think they are maybe not as enthusiastic as Joshy, knowing that it means potentially more work for them. I think my daughters are a little concerned I may be pregnant at their weddings. (Although neither are engaged right now.)

At any rate, I'm feeling great. The only pregnancy symptoms I have are having to pee all the time and a little fatigue in the late afternoon. I have energy, I am eating right--with a greater motivation than ever to do so--and absolutely love taking my walks up the canyon while listening to my "Joyful Pregnancy" affirmations. In fact I did that the morning I found out. It was just as wonderful and empowering and positive as I remembered. I love it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wow!

Last Saturday I awoke early to discover a surprising but joyous thing. At 45 years of age, the Lord has decided to bless me with one more child. The last 2 years have been somewhat of a roller coaster in that regard. Immediately after my 7th child was born, I kept saying, "I'm so glad that is the last time I have to do that!" Her birth was an amazing experience but I didn't feel the need or desire to have any more children or go through any more pregnancies. That lasted about 2 months. Then I began to feel sad that I would never experience that again. I even wrote a post titled "So hard to say goodbye" about the matter.

But then not long after I finally felt like I had come to terms with the idea of being done having babies I had a dream. I wrote about that dream and a subsequent one in the post "Baby Dreams--Divine Inspiration or my heart just wanting to do it one more time?" DH has been pretty opposed to the idea of adding to our family and so I have tried to give up on the idea. But periodically a spiritual impression would come that would help me to know that there really was one more child who wanted to come to our family. They were tender mercies of the Lord and filled me with hope, anticipation, and gratitude. Perhaps the best impression of all was that I didn't need to fret about DH's attitude because he would change his mind before the pregnancy would happen.

A couple of months ago he told me in a rare moment of peace and privacy that ever since he discovered the name I had picked out in case we had another little girl, he had gradually warmed up to the idea. At the exact moment he said this, myheart burned within me. I believe the Lord was telling me that He had answered my prayer and that this was His will.

I thought I would have a little more time to lose the rest of my baby fat, and for Talita to grow up a little more, but in remembering one of my recent dreams I realize that this baby is supposed to be born in the spring. I am so grateful for the Lord's guidance in my life and in His assurance that even at my age, I can have another healthy, joyous pregnancy and birth. YAY!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Babies Want: The Trailer for the Film

I just watched this whole documentary on youtube. Great documentary! This clip is just the trailer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Homebirth After Cesarean"

In doing research for a friend I rediscovered this wonderful article written in Midwifery Today by Amy Haas. She addresses the whole VBAC issue, (uterine rupture risk, repeat cesarean risks, transfer rates, success rates in home and birthing centers vs. hospital), and summarizes the safety statistics for homebirth, VBAC, and cesarean section. She also mentions how to identify early warning signs for uterine rupture. She does an excellent job of exposing the flaws of the Washington Study that was the primary study used by ACOG in scaring women half to death with the risk of uterine rupture.

There was one statistic about electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) that I hadn't heard before and it is mind-boggling: EFM has a rate of 99.8% false positives for non-reassuring fetal heart rates. She concludes "EFM does not improve maternal or infant outcomes, but leads to more c-sections." Considering that nearly every hospital in the US relies heavily on EFM, it sheds some light on our current s-section rate, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The "You must be brave" comment

This is a great post written by a fellow homebirth mom regarding the comment women who birth at home often receive from family members, friends, and strangers.

Here are some excerpts:

"I am not brave to birth at home. What is brave in my opinion is to entrust my body to someone else."

"What I have realized is that the brave comment often has nothing to do with being “brave” but is often just another way to say “I think you are crazy”. Whereas before I would answer with a confused face, now, I answer directly to that comment by saying that I think the brave people are those that go the hospital. It turns the table and brings up more questions about the things that I want to avoid. The power struggles, the hospital policies that have no basis in health reasons but simple bureaucracy, interventions that are still practices without any scientific backup and all the rest of the negatives of going to the hospital when trying to have a normal and natural birth."

"When most people talk about the things that can go wrong they are often talking abut things that are of direct consequence of standard interventions that are often not questioned, so bringing up those risks as a reason that I want to avoid the hospital setting often brings more insight than just saying that I want to avoid the interventions. Of course I know that things can go wrong, but that is why I would rather stay away from the place that holds the most risks and knowing what I know, that is in a hospital setting."

"It has nothing to do with being brave but with making an informed decision that I believe is best. It is about staying within my comfort zone and choosing what I believe is the safest place to give birth."

I couldn't agree more.