Sunday, January 31, 2010

Duggars Present Baby #19 - ParentDish

I just have to share this. I've been following their story of their premature baby and this is the first update I've heard in a while.

Duggars Present Baby #19 - ParentDish

The baby is still so tiny, its unbelievable to me that her birth weight as doubled.

There's all sorts of opinions on the Duggar family and while I mainly disagree with Michelle on how early she weans her babies, I have tremendous admiration for them and do enjoy learning about their family and from them.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Healthy Birth Carnival: Avoid Interventions that are not medically necessary.

I'm choosing to participate in the Science and Sensibility Blog Carnival where the current topic for bloggers to address is Lamaze's Healthy Birth Practice #4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary

Going into Willem's birth, I was aware of and planning to avoid unnecessary interventions. I thought I was making the prudent decision of working with midwives instead of an obstetrician and on a number of occasions throughout my pregnancy attempted to discuss my desires to follow this recommendation for my son's birth. I was also under the mistaken belief that midwives would not recommend interventions that were not based in medical need. How naive I was!

My son's labor was, no surprise, lengthy and slow to progress just as is common among first time mothers. I tried to avoid the mistake of going to the hospital too soon but had a prenatal appointment the morning that contractions began. At the appointment, the midwife was very excited and counseled me to go straight to Labor and Delivery where I could be admitted. I felt at the time that it was too soon in labor to go but trusted her recommendation. I spent the next 8 hours at 3 cm. And in that time, I was bullied, harassed, threatened and manipulated into accepting pitocin augmentation and AROM. I knew it was not necessary and I felt no need--physical or emotional--to speed up my labor. I was coping well and was trusting the natural process that birth is.

Eventually as I was so adamantly refusing to consent, I was summarily kicked out of the hospital. I say it that way because there was no gentleness or supportiveness in the attitude of the attendants. They used it as a threat to get me to cooperate. When I didn't, they rudely told me to leave and left it at that.

To read my complete birth story, read here: Descent into Motherhood: Willem's Birth Story

I came away from my son's birth traumatized by the way in which I was treated by the midwife on call. I felt that she was threatening to take away my power to make decisions for myself and coerce me into giving control over my body to her. The situation felt very much like someone unjustly wielding power over another. I was able to imagine just what it would be like be threatened with rape, or with watching the murder of someone I love. To read more about my reactions to the treatment, read: I Came out With a Baby, Crash Course in Birth TRUTH, My Experiences with PTSD after childbirth and Recognizing Birth Rape.

Since then I've learned that I was fighting over the principle of informed consent. Like most rational people, I believed I had the ultimate power to make decisions over which treatments I would accept or refuse. I've come to believe that violating the principle of informed consent is a form of abuse; a violent misuse of power and authority.

Now to relate my story to the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practice of Avoid Interventions that are not medically necessary:

Since interventions in childbirth are frequently used more often than necessary, it can be beneficial to remember that pregnant and laboring women have the right to refuse treatment and to first use alternatives to interventions before consenting to a intervention.

But beware, some providers will not be respectful of that right and will attempt to manipulate a woman into cooperating, no matter how hard she tries to avoid unnecessary interventions. A woman may find that it is not possible (or severely challenging) to avoid them based on the attitudes and practices of their provider. They may have no indication beforehand that they will encounter a provider who will push these interventions and emotionally manipulate her into consenting to unneeded and unwanted interventions.

Experiencing this sort of situation can be emotionally traumatic. PTSD after childbirth can be clinically diagnosed in between 1 and 6% of women (Beck, 2004 and Ayers,2001 ) and up to 34% of women have been found to exhibit some trauma symptoms (Soet, Brack & Dilorio, 2008). If that statistic is true, that means that over 1.3 million women are traumatized by their birth experience in the United States each year. That rate is HIGHER than the C-section rate. However, birth trauma is not widely recognized.

In my experience and from what other mothers who have experienced birth trauma have told me, getting help can be very difficult and not being able to find people who understand is very lonely. It was for that reason that, when I had the opportunity, I helped created the Solace for Mothers Online Community for Healing Birth Trauma.

In my work for Solace for Mothers, we have put together a list of questions to ask maternity care providers on the topic of informed consent. Essentially interviewing a provider to determine how respectful they will be of an individual's right to determine the course of her labor and to choose which interventions to accept or refuse may be more helpful than trying to find a provider who doesn't often use interventions in their care.

Much work needs to be done to give women the due respect they deserve to make decisions for themselves. While there is power in consumers (in this case pregnant women) demanding the type of care promoted by the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, providers have the responsibility to change the way in which they practice so women are not having to fight off providers who are pushing interventions that are unnecessary and introduce unneeded risks.

If providers were to follow the informed consent guidelines closely and promote evidence based practice, the trauma rates would be dramatically reduced and unnecessary interventions would not be offered as often as they currently are.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday Fill-ins

1. Wouldn't it be easy to put the children in child care.
2. Breastmilk isbetter than ever!
3. I love the taste of cheesecake!
4. There's a castle taller than my 3 yr old in the living room.
5. The first thing we're going to do is put a bowl under the vomiting 3 yr old.
6. Drip, drip drop, little April showers, drip, drip, drip; doo doo doo doo doo fall on the ground...
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to children getting healthy and parents staying well, tomorrow my plans include yoga and speaking at someone's baptism and Sunday, I want to take a nap!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What does birth mean to me?

We are celebrating the birthday of my first child. It was three years ago today that I became a mother. Three years ago, I fought for an unmedicated, vaginal birth. Three years ago, that I breastfed for the first time. Why then am I still writing and talking about birth?

There is something profoundly special about birth and in recent months there has been alot of talk about what that something is. Rixa clued me this discussion with her post "Thinking No Conclusions Yet". I was also inspired by this post by Keyboard Revolutionary and how she describes how birth impacted her as a maturing, developing individual and mother.

I originally wrote the following statement about birth in April of 2009 when I was 8 months pregnant with my little girl. The top paragraph is a statement of what I believe about birth followed by the logical implications I could think of as well as explanation for why I believe my statements to be true. This post is an exercise for me to see if my thoughts have changed in anyway now that I've given birth a second time and grown in my logic, knowledge and though processes regarding the life event.
Birth is a normal process in a woman's life much like the menstrual cycle. Typically, in the majority of cases, it is a process that women can handle on their own without medical assistance. Sometimes the process goes outside the normal range so its a very good thing that traditional and medical knowledge and intervention is available for consultation and judicious use. Menstruation, like birth, can be a painful (intensely painful) experience for some, even most experience pain in relation to that womanly process. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable for women to seek out ways to minimize that pain.
What are some of the implications of this belief?:
1) Drs, hospitals and midwives are not necessary in most cases for birth. It would be like going to a hospital when menstruation starts and staying for the duration of the bleeding cycle while efforts are made to speed the shedding of the uterine lining, reduce pain and discomfort and prevent excessive bleeding.

2) Sometimes consultation is needed when something is varying widely from normal and its a good thing that those experts and facilities exist.

3) Those facilities and trained experts need to exist, know the role they are intended to play and use practices that are based in logic, evidence, safety and effectiveness with minimum intervention. I cannot say that I believe that current obstetric and even midwifery practices support this.

4) I'm not going to begrudge anyone who seeks to find pain relief for either womanly process, but I will point out that the big guns of anesthesia are not typically warranted for pain associated with such a normal event (and I'm going to say it) everyday event.

5) Birth is not treated like an everyday event in our world, but in many ways it is. Its a normal part of life that is filled with significance and symbolism, but its just birth like defecating is just taking a poop and menstruating is just the shedding of the uterine lining.

6) There needs to be levels of involvement based on need when something is going wrong. The first response to derivations from normal is the individual relying on knowledge sought and shared by peers and women who have taught her about the process. Self-comfort measures, then possibly herbs, then possibly stronger pain relievers, then consultation with an outside trained consultant who offers the minimum of support for a normal process. As more is needed, those services can escalate to meet the need presented before them. But prophylaxis is not really warranted. Treatment of symptoms and finding the root cause while supporting the overall process ought to be maintained as the standard of care. What this implies is that midwives need to be able to consult freely and make referrals to obstetricians without fear or reprisal. OBs need to remember their place in the process not as the director but as consultant. Women need to accept and act on the belief that help and assistance is not needed and its something that they, their bodies and their babies do as an everyday fact of life.

7) Where does trauma fall into this? When things goes serious wrong with any health related concern, the emotional trauma can be profound. Women in childbirth aren't the only ones who are traumatized by a major health crisis: cancer, injury, surgery, hemorrage all are scary because there is a threat to our sense of safety within our own bodies. Those crises are scary and its no wonder that people have long term emotional effects from those experiences. For birth, there's also another cause for trauma besides the pain, besides the fear of when things go wrong. There is what happens when people who shouldn't be meddling in a normal process get involved and screw things up. Providers don't realize the physical and emotional damage they are doing when they push for unecessary and not evidence based practices to control and process that they are afraid of. Its not something to be afraid of in most cases. Yes, sometimes it can be scary but that doesn't mean that every poop needs to be closely monitored and controlled. Doing things that don't need to be done will just make things worse.

Since experiencing Belle's birth, I have to say that the similes between birth, menstruation, and defecation hold true for me. Her birth was such a normal and as I experienced, pedestrian process that it was in some ways boring for me. It certainly doesn't make for an exciting story, there was little drama. Just an emergence and a completion for a normal bodily process.

I did fail to state in my original writing however to emphasize that birth is altogether a more physically demanding bodily process and it is a very special life event for a mother. I do not believe that it the most important events of a mother's life like Jan Tritten states, as I believe that it is overstating a simple transition from one state to another. As a mother who as been traumatized by events relating to childbirth, I know too well the long-lasting emotional effects that a mismanaged, "pushed" birth produces in a woman.

For the baby, the birth (and the manner thereof) is important bio-chemically and throughout development. This is reflected in the research suggesting that babies exposed to pain relief drugs in childbirth are more likely to become drug addicts when they become adults, as well as the research linking birth practices to autism and maladaptive attachment between parents and child. But to say that the events of childbirth are a strong predictor of child's health, well-being and capability as an adult ignores the functional adults (often the mothers who are now fighting for natural births themselves) who experienced less than ideal births when they were babies. It is safe to say that most of the adults up to at least age 70 were brought into this world not in the way that research shows as optimal for development and bonding. How one was born does not often make that child less capable of facing their life's challenges.

So if I just stated the ways that birth is not special, why is it special and what does it mean to me?

Birth is special because it was the moment I got to meet my children. The emotions, environment, thoughts and feelings of my body are still strong in my consciousness as I remember what it was like to bring them into the world and hold them in my arms for the first time. With Willem, I was frustrated with the people around me that is caused my focus to not be solely on my child and I still resent that he was born into a moment of bitterness and frustration. With Belle, the laughter and excitement of the final moments of her birth and the joy of having my husband and child look on still cause me to relive those feelings. With Willem's birth, when I relived his birth. It was in the form of flashbacks and PTSD. With Belle, I relive her birthday and I know joy.

Birth is a woman's battleground where the inherent and supremely unique strength of womanhood is exerted in its fullest. A woman each time she gives birth "walks through the valley of the shadow of death" because there is the possibility that she will die bringing life into the world. So in a sense, a woman faces death and walks away conquerer bearing new life in her arms. Its amazing! No wonder, Goddess worship is common throughout history! She faces fear and pain, discouragement, exhausted and comes out experiencing the highest high of her life (granted she's not facing the commonly disturbed birth environments of today). With both of my children, I fought to bring them into the world without experiencing things that I felt could be damaging to their health. One the fight took place while I was laboring. The other I fought and prepared and schemed before labor so the actual event of her birth could be peaceful and private.

Its because I had to fight, and that all women who are seeking a normal birth the way nature is intended are having to fight for it, that is why birth is so important to me. That its become a cause that I feel like I have something I can do to keep other women from experiencing the emotional suffering and stress that I experienced. Its a matter of right and wrong for me too. Its simply wrong for a woman to be told by authority figures that she is not capable of making decisions for herself. Its wrong that an entire system is structured in a way that many women and babies suffer unnecessary risk, damage, ill-health and distress in the name of what is culturally acceptable. Its these issues that I'm taking on and that I want to work to correct for my daughter and my sister-women so they can give birth undisturbed, in joy and have access to the help they need when it is appropriate.

What does birth mean to you?
How is it special?
In the course of life, how important is it?
How important is mode of entry (vaginal, cesarean, medicated or not)?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Revisiting Birth Plans

I'm always on the look-out for birth plans that catch my attention for using a novel technique or strategy that in some way can garner cooperation and respect from hospital workers when parents try to communicate their needs. Since there is such a disparity between practice and evidence in birth services, most of the time, women who prepare birth plans are trying to get the evidence based practices employed in their births rather than what is on the contrary typically done during hospital births.

Below is a birth plan a mother shared with me recently. The reasons I think it is worth sharing are:
  • It recognizes the need for intervention in some situations and does not overinflate or minimize the risk of birth. Perhaps by framing the topic with "birth in inherently dangerous" hospital workers will be more receptive to reading the desires of these parents. While recognizing the risks and dangers, it emphasizes the fact that birth is typically normal. This balanced view, I hope, will earn the respect of birth workers.
  • The parents include the reminder that they have the right to informed consent and given concessions when consent might not be able to be obtained, while at the same time remaining firm that consent is necessary.
  • The father is explicitly stated as medical proxy if the mother at some point becomes unable to make decisions for herself, or even if she wishes at some point to grant the proxy to her husband verbally. This shows in a clear manner that the husband is involved and needs to be respected in the case that he states any decision.
  • Hospital staff are not obligated to support the provisions listed in the birth plan, but are merely stating that they have read it. This should be less threatening than the typical birth plan which generally presents a document asking hospital workers to make some sort of commitment to upholding the provisions; something that most workers are very hesitant to do for fear of liability.
I understand that birth is inherently dangerous, and, if the situation warrants it, interventions can be good, even lifesaving, that being understood, the vast majority of births are a normal, natural process that need little more than ‘the tincture of time’ to reach a safe and healthy end.
I understand that, at any time, my written or witnessed verbal consent may be given and will override any previous non-consent or refusal. I understand that in a true emergency there may not be time to fully explain or receive consent for a life saving procedure, and I will not attempt to interfere with life saving interventions. I expect every attempt will be made to give me any information possible before, during, or immediately following any emergency situation.

My husband and I, as legal guardian and rightful biological parents of Baby (last name here) have the right to informed consent and to choose to consent or refuse any and all medical interventions or procedures given to our child, both before and after birth. I, as an adult of sound mind and legal rights, have the right to informed consent and to choose to consent or refuse any and all medical interventions or procedures to my body, before, during, and after labor. My husband is my chosen medical proxy for all medical and legal decisions should I be unable to make decisions on my own behalf.


_____________(medical proxy/father)

I/We do not consent to:
Ø Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) before full dilation and effacement
Ø Induction of labor prior to 42 weeks by any means physical or medical
Ø Augmentation of spontaneous labor by any pharmaceutical means
Ø Epidural or other pharmaceutical pain management
Ø Continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM)
Ø Frequent pelvic exams
Ø Episiotomy
Ø Cesarean Section
Ø Coached pushing
Ø Immediate cord clamping or cutting
Ø Formula or glucose water for infant
Ø Separation from infant
Ø Eye salve for infant
Ø Vitamin K shot for infant

I/We will:
Ø Eat and drink as my body demands during labor
Ø Labor and deliver in any position comfortable
Ø Allow intermittent fetal monitoring using a Doppler or fetoscope
Ø Allow rupture of membranes if waters have not naturally broken by full dilation and effacement to avoid a birth in the caul
Ø Allow pelvic exam at least once per four hours of labor provided consent is obtained before each exam
Ø Use water, heat, cold, massage, movement, change in position, and other non-pharmaceutical means to cope with labor pains and to help labor progress naturally
Ø Push as my body demands, making every attempt to inform provider when I am ready to start and when I am pushing

I/We expect/demand:
Ø My husband will be there for labor and birth unless life saving measures require all non-medical personnel be removed.
Ø Immediate skin to skin contact with infant unless life saving measure makes this impractical: Baby is to be taken from my womb to my stomach or chest, depending upon length of cord. Any vitals or physical check of baby can be accomplished while baby is on my chest. If cord is extremely short, too short for baby to be safely placed upon my lower abdomen, every attempt will be made to retain cord connection for at least 60 seconds before clamping and cutting.
Ø Cord will be left intact until it stops pulsing: Baby and mother are to remain connected unless life saving measure makes this impossible, many life supporting measures can be safely and readily done with cord intact, allowing baby to continue to receive oxygen and blood through the cord, which has been show to increase positive outcomes.
Ø Placenta will be allowed to birth normally: Cord traction and forced delivery of placenta has been shown to increase risk of hemorrhage, we will attempt to nurse, try nipple stimulation, and continue to push during contractions as my body indicates until placenta is delivered naturally.
Ø Baby is to remain in room: Baby will not be separated from mother/father, all vital checks, physical exams, and other medically indicated newborn procedures can be done with baby in the room, after a reasonable amount of direct skin to skin bonding we will allow baby to be weighed and, if agreed upon, washed in room by nursing staff/hospital staff as needed.
Ø To be consulted and given full information on all procedures performed on baby:
We consent to standard weight/measurements and heel prick for state mandated blood testing, however, we expect to be informed when these things or any other procedures or tests are about to be done, we may ask for a delay or more information before continuing.

Signing does not indicate personal or medical agreement, opinion, or recommendation, it indicates only that signee has read the document.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review of "Pregnant in America"

For Christmas, I was given a copy of Pregnant in America a documentary film that chronicles an expectant couple as they learn about the process of birth and their options as parents and consumers. Over the course of the pregnancy, they unearth the whole drama that is choosing between hospital and out of hospital birth with all the propaganda employed against parents who desire to become apart of the statistical exception.

In some ways, I liked this movie more than the Business of Being Born. I like that the film follows the journey of a family and especially enjoyed how the filmmaker connected personally to the experts that he interviewed. Robbie Davis Floyd was featured in a touching interview where she turned it around and became the interviewer anthropologist that she is. I was touched by her compassion, astuteness and understanding. Another interview that I found very compelling took place outside the FDA offices where Maddie Oden delivered a petition to stop the administering of Cytotec to pregnant women. It highlights the story of the Tatia Oden French Foundation in such a way that the issue is made clear how its misuse can harm families.

The facts and statistics presented were consistent with all that I've read and learned about birth and provides a companion film to the Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth.

All three are great movies to share with expectant families who may be among the uninitiated in the discrepancy between evidence and practice. In a way, I feel that Pregnant in American is more convincing on this score, showing how the choice to birth at home is a valid choice where help when needed is effective and accessible.

*Spoiler* The family chooses to transfer to the hospital after a peaceful home birth because of concern over the baby's breathing. The transfer may not have been necessary, but the parents chose to consult with experts over a valid concern. They, and the viewers, learned how a transfer can occur smoothly, without harm coming to baby or mother and that emergency care is available when needed.

The style of the documentary imitates the style of Michael Moore pretty closely. I don't have a problem with this because I had been hoping that the controversy with birth issues would be presented in the same style. In fact, if Michael Moore tackled the topic, I don't think he would have done it as well. Michael Moore enjoys being over the top and for birth, that's not necessary. The tone of Pregnant in America is sweet and endearing with just enough anger and frustration to highlight the injustice inherent in the American maternity system.

I'm hoping to host a screening of this movie soon for a Meet-up group I belong to.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fill-ins

1. You have a chance to finally get rid of some big baby toys that were rarely used
2.Eat breakfast right now!
3. There is a surprisingly fast baby and surprisingly imaginative toddler playing in my bedroom.
4.Charge it and pay later.
5. It's time to get dressed.
6. Baby up in the air but mama below catching.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing in particular, tomorrow my plans include going to yoga, cleaning and playing as a family and Sunday, I want to play outside in sunshine! (Will there still be sunshine?)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cool en utero photographs

A friend passed this link on to me showing photographs of various mammals en utero. Techinically, the shark is not a mammal or en utero, because they gestate in egg cases inside the mother and are then born live, but I only know that because my husband is in the process of becoming a shark expert.

These photos come from a National Geographic documentary viewing various gestations of animals aside from humans, for more information on it, see here.

The EC Potty Song

In what has become a series on recent silly songs, this is my show-stopper.

I have a song for Elimination Communication and use it as cue for Belle when she sits on the potty. It also incorporates the Pss sound often used for cueing.

Is there Pee in your body?
tune: There's a Song in My Tummy by Laurie Berkner
Is there pee in your body that needs to come out?
Is there pee in your body?
Is there pee in your body that needs to come out?
Is there pee in your body?
Is there pee in your body that needs to come out?
And when it does its going to go in the potty!
Pss, pss, pss, pss, pss, pss
But your pee in the potty!

Variations include:
"Put your pee in the potty"
"Is there poop in your body/put your poop in the potty"

Recent birth news

There has been a lot going on in news about birth in the last couple of weeks.

First there was the mom in Australia who had police show up at her door after she chose not to show up for the induction that her doctors scheduled her for. Her doctors decided to call the police to escort her in.

Later, the hospital issued her an apology. Ironically, they claimed that they were not trying to pressure her into an induction. Right..sending police isn't an intimidation tactic?

If The Birth Survey was available for mothers around the world to take, I'm sure Rochelle would be able to report that she did in fact feel pressure to induce from her providers.

Then there was the mom who is going to court over being court-ordered to remain on bedrest while confined in a hospital and undergo a mandatory C-section.

Both of these stories are disturbing to me because it shows the lengths that medical professionals will take to force women to act according to their recommendations.

I have been on the mothers end of disagreeing with the medical professionals I'm paying to advise me on my health. In the two cases described above I see enough evidence to know that the mothers were informed about the research and known risks of the proposed treatments and in good conscience chose what was actually more evidenced based and better for them personally. My experience fighting to prevent an induction leads me to empathize with these two women who experienced much stronger attempts to manipulate their choices and force them into things that they knew they had the right to refuse.

It may be unfair to expect, but I would not be surprised with either of these women were traumatized by these experiences where they had to fight for their bodily integrity and to make health choices for themselves; without fear of reprisal. I hope that if they are experiencing trauma, that they will find the support they need and know about Solace for Mothers as a resource for women who have been traumatized by experiences relating to childbirth.

To quote directly from an ACOG publication:
"Even if a woman's autonomous decision seems not to promote beneficence-based obligations (of the woman or the physician) to the fetus,...the obstetrician must respect the patient's autonomy, continue to care for the pregnant woman, and not intervene against the patient's wishes, regardless of the consquences."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Silly Songs: Toddler and Early Preschool

Willem is at the age where he loves hearing songs that are song about him. There are lots of songs by many children's artists that are designed to replace children's names like Willoughby Wallaby from Raffi (which works so nicely for the name of Willem).

Here are some others that we've adapted to sing about Willem, family members and friends.

My Friends Lie Over the Ocean
tune: My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean
This one is pretty simple you insert other peoples names in the place of "Bonny." This was in someways therapeutic for Willem when we were separated from our friends and home over the summer. He really enjoyed being able to remember the friends he had back home and sing about them. He was so happy to see them again when we got home.

C is for Cookie or ___ is for ______
This one we got from a youtube video of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. Willem knows and recognizes the letter C and that Cookie starts with the letter C!
Here's the video:

We have adapted it for Willem and Belle's names and for that reason he knows and recognizes the Letters W and B.

Here's how our version goes:
W is for Willem
He is my little boy
W is for Willem
He is my little boy
W is for Willem
He is my little boy
Oh, W W W is for Willem!
Willem, Willem Willem starts with W!


B is for Belle
She is my little girl
B is for Belle
She is my little girl
B is for Belle,
She is my little girl
Oh, B B B is for Belle!
Belle, Belle, Belle starts with B!

You get the idea. We also sing C is for Carolyn since that is Belle's first name.

More Silly Songs: For infancy

With WIllem, I've had a lot of fun using the melodies of songs that I know and changing the words to include themes from our day to day life, or names of people we know. To see some of them that I came up with when Willem was younger, search "silly songs" on my blog and you'll find other examples.

When Belle was born, I felt like I needed some that were more specific for non-mobile infants and the following are what I came up with.

Rock and Roll (the baby!)
tune: Raffi's Shake the Sillies Out

You gotta rock, rock, rock until you roll
Rock, rock, rock until you roll,
Rock, rock rock until you roll
Rock till you roll all the way over!

I sang this while rocking Belle's body from side to side and then at the end rolling her over unto her stomach. She thought this was great fun and then enjoyed being able hold her arms out to prevent me from rolling her over (and who says babies don't have other ways than crying to communicate!) Of course, Willem wanted to join in on this game so I'd take turns. First with the baby, and then with the 2 yr old!

Tickle Tickle

tune: Alouette

Tickle, tickle, tickle tickle tickle
tickle tickle tickle tickle tick
Tickle all the way up to the neck
Tickle all the way down to the hips
Tickle up here,
Tickle down there
Tickle Tickle

As suggested by the lyrics, I tickle all over and then specific parts. My favorite is tickling the feet on "tickle down there" and making sure I sing with a deep voice as I do so.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Intervals at 6-7 months

ECing with intervals is a way to understanding the frequency in which a baby pees. Sometimes, they don't communicate with a fuss or a squirm or the blank look or whatever, or mom/dad misses the cue. When Belle is busy playing, she will often not given an indication that she needs to pee, but I can use another clue to know that its time to put her on the potty.

I can know when she peed the last time.

Between 4-5 months, she was peeing every 20 minutes. I figured this out using an iPhone ap where I can record pees and poops and their times. Its designed for diapers but I use it instead to track eliminations, wherever they occur, in the potty or otherwise.

Around 6 months, the interval switched to every 40-45 minutes. Now I find that I need reminders or I get distracted or engaged in something else and I miss it. Using my iPod Touch, I set a timer to go off. This has been helping.

Its been fun choosing the timer sounds too, right now we've using the old car sound-- a horn that sounds like like "Oh-oooo-gah!" Sounds perfect for a poop sound!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Must mean something!

I've been meaning to get around to an Introduction to EC post and its not going to happen at this point. Maybe I'll get to it, but at this point, I'm jumping in where we our in our journey.

Belle is 7 1/2 months. We've been ECing for 3 months or so. We get a good number of pees and most poops into the potty. And like this blogger I agree that some is better than none and poops are especially weighted to be better in the potty than smeared on a bum. Those are so worth it!

One thing I've been noticing recently is how sopping wet a diaper gets when a pee is missed. They get taken off pretty quickly after a pee so most of the time only one or two pees in a row are going to be into the diaper. Unless she just has big pees most of the time (which I know she doesn't because I see the volume of those that go into the potty), she appears to be holding her pee for longer so when she does release into a diaper, the volume is higher than if she were pee whenever.

At least I think that's what it means.

And if that case, its an indication to me that even though it seems like her cueing has quieted down and more pees are going into diapers, that the process is still moving forward. She is holding it for a while and the volume is building so when she does pee, its a big one.

Because of that, a diaper gets really soaked even if its just one or two pees because she's holding it!

That means that I can make efforts to pay more attention to intervals and arrange our situations to have potty-tunities available more of the time.

Those are other posts I'm hoping to write: Intervals at 6 and 7 months and ECing/Potty around the town

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Mythological Midwife

In her PhD dissertation, Rixa Freeze (Stand and Deliver) includes a discussion of the mythological midwife. Ever since I read it, I've been formulating what my mythological midwife would be, or what I would do if I were to become a midwife and could do/be all the things I would want to as a midwife.

I have considered becoming a midwife. Ancient Arts Midwifery Institute is very appealing to me. And if I could apprentice with any midwife, it would be with Suzanne Thomson of New Life Midwifery in Seattle. I worked with her during my pregnancy with Belle. She's offered to let me attend births with her but I haven't taken her up on it yet.

The one reason why I will likely never become a midwife for hire is: I really don't want to run a business and be responsible for keeping it profitable. I want my passion to something that is not tied to money, which in a way negates pursuing any passion...

But I enjoy dreaming and my dream to become the mythological midwife would be to:
  • Complete a midwifery training program
  • Become trained in prenatal massage
  • Become an herbalist specialized in women's and children's health
  • Learn naturopathy
  • Be supportive of unassisted children, provide educational resources to families seeking it and back-up care if needed/wanted
  • Learn chiropractic, especially the Webster Technique
  • Assemble a lending library of the best books, CDs and DVDs to prepare for normal birth
  • Provide Mother Blessing Ceremonies for mothers I work with
  • Pray over and perform energy work for pregnant women at each appointment
  • Learn traditional and cultural birth practices from around the world in order to be able to recommend them to clients
  • Remember where I come from as a birthing mother and ALWAYS provide adequate informed consent
  • Write, publish, present and advocate for practices that support and encourage normal birth in the overall population of women and families
  • Provide family life education to families that would prepare parents for the transition to parenthood, enhance their communication skills, and marital attachment
  • conduct research on birth issues, and how it relates to human development, individual and public health, and connect it to public policy (PhD)
I've tried to figure out how much the training to become this might cost me. These are approximations of programs in my area:
Midwifery program: $5,000 - $40,000
Chiropractic degree: $90,000
Herbalist degree (through Bastyr University): $90,000
Massage Therapy Certification: $10,000
Naturopathy training: $90,000
PhD: probably could be paid for with Teaching and Research Assistantships

Based on that alone, and the years of training. Its not going to happen.

In fact, if I were to be the mythological mother, I'd do all that training and education too.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Fill-ins

I need some help to keep my blog going so I'm using this exercise to help me along.

1. The lesson I learned yesterday was the Zoomazium at the Woodland Park Zoo is a cool place to take little boys to play.
2. The airport is where friends and family meet.
3. All these years my husband and I both may be gluten sensitive.
4. Nothing happened when I arrived, just how I like it to be.
5. The truth is nature works really well, most of the time.
6. The laughter is what I remember most from that day.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Peter coming home from school, tomorrow my plans include yoga and Sunday, I want to have a discussion about A Mother in Heaven with my Relief Society class!

Monday, January 11, 2010

End of An Era

A recent Facebook status of mine was:
Jenne's family has reached the end of an era. No more sidecar crib. Its nice to have a place to put my books, a reading lap, a glass of water, etc now. Maybe when I find my phone, I'll have a safe place to keep it!

This came after it was determined that Belle sleeps more soundly when she is not bedsharing or cosleeping. My movements in my sleep disturb her at night. After 4 sleepless nights and some profound stress and exhaustion (and help from neighbors and my Relief Society sisters), we tested a new sleep arrangement where she sleeps in the second bedroom. We tried it out first with a pack and play because we didn't want to move the crib, rearrange two rooms just to find out we were wrong.

It was a sad and difficult decision to reach this point because we are still happily bedsharing with Willem, and I was looking forward to sharing that special nighttime connection with my newest child. I've really loved bedsharing for the most part.

One of the hallmarks of attachment parenting, of course, is bedsharing. But I had to remind myself of the wise words of Dr. Sears "Wherever all family members get the best night's sleep is the right arrangement for your individual family....Attachment parenting implies first opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby, and eventually you will develop the wisdom on how to make on-the-spot decisions on what works best for both you and your baby." For us, it was a matter of finding out our individual child needed.

I believe that the default parenting practices ought to be the 7 B's of Attachment Parenting but there will always be need for adaptation to and respect for the individual.

Our sleep problems aren't solved. Belle, although she had been sleeping through the night and I hadn't been sleep deprived at all--until she was six months old, is still frequently nightwaking. I'm not sure exactly what is causing this although I suspect its a developmental stage. I find that swaddling helps. She may also be a light sleeper so I'm planning to cover the window with dark fabric to keep light out.

However tempting it is to bring her to bed with me, or to lay down with her on the twin bed in the "nursery," its not as effective as nursing her back to sleep in my arms and then laying her down again in the crib. Its not my ideal because not only do I love cuddling with my babies, but it means I have to wake up more fully to attend to her needs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Update: 7 months

Belle recently turned 7 months old. Early in her sixth month, she started crawling. Now she's really good at it and can get where she wants to go. Except up the stairs. She hasn't attempted those yet.

She also started cruising right before she turned six months old and can now stand on her own for upwards of 20 seconds. I've been able to see how she thinks things through before acting (so unlike her brother!). If she wants to sit down, she prepares for it and sits. She doesn't fall like one would expect. I've seen her contemplating picking up a foot to try to take a step but she quickly changes her mind and then sits down.

Before Christmas, I thought walking might be pretty close, but she's so content with crawling that I think it will be a couple of months before she decides that walking is worth it. Once spring comes around and she's having to crawl on concrete, she'll decide that walking is better.

ECing is progressing. Most poops are into the potty instead of diapers. We have been able to take some outings to the shopping center nearby and she's stayed dry the whole time we are gone. I'm having to rely on more intervals than cues. She's now peeing every 40 minutes or so. I've recently started putting her in training pants and that's working well.

Table foods were introduced and after exploring with her fingers and tasting for a few weeks, she finally gets the concept of food and enjoys whatever we put in front of her. Yay messy baby, and of course, the prerequisite soiled clothing and the multiple baths a day.

Willem has started pretending extensively. He has 3 imaginary pet dogs and an imaginary Tiger. The dogs are all named Angie and they are Australian shepherds. Yesterday I noticed him playing with words for the first time. A Campbells soup commercial was on (Mmm, mmm good) and a few minutes later, we heard him dancing around singing "Mmm, mmm bad." Its one of his first jokes!

He is starting to recognize letters and is learning to operate the touch pad on the computers. He'll tell you that W is for Willem, B is Belle, C is Cookie and M and is for Lighting McQueen. That one bothers me because I was trying to teach him that M was for Mama and he connected M to McQueen first. No good! Now he'll say that M is for Mama and McQueen.

We've been having difficulty getting along recently. Sometimes I've felt like my life is being directed by a 3 foot tall dictator. Some days are better than others, but I've gotten pretty frustrated with his constant demands and impatience. I try to be patient and teach him more appropriate behavior, but its challenging and I've been finding myself in need for more time for myself.

I'm still taking yoga classes every week. To relax, I've been learning about Nature Based Spirituality and sustainable living. I recently started No Pooing and I like it very much. I'm hoping to start some patio gardening and getting organic produce delivered weekly.

Today we took a lovely walk through Ravenna Park and went to the U-District Farmers Market where I tried Raw Milk for the first time. That might become standard in our house and part of our weekend routine.

The applications to the University of Washington are in. I applied to 3 PhD programs: Women's Studies, Public Health and Public Affairs. We'll see if I get in and if I'm able to accept.

If I'm lucky, I will be getting an article published in the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering for their violence against women issue. I should find out next month about that.

Willem is turning 3 later this month so the birthday plans are underway.

Consider this a New Year's Resolution

A couple of weeks ago, I considered deleting this blog because I have been neglecting it. I have been trying to figure out how I want to record my thoughts, and add my voice to the blogging world, especially as it comes to birth advocacy.

I *think* at this point I'm going to redouble my efforts to keep this blog going. I just discovered how to schedule posts so that may be helpful for me to get more consistency. Then I can give myself deadlines too!

I'm considering combining this blog with my spirituality blog because I've been finding it very difficult to separate my experiences as a mother from my spiritual practices and ponderings. So this is your warning, readers, you may find more religious themes on my blog. Its all apart of my journey as a mother and woman.

Part of what has been keeping me from blogging is insecurity. There are so many other great blogs about birth out there on the internet that either I feel I'm inadequate to add anything more or I would only be posting links to other blog posts of other authors that I found interesting or informative.

I'm going to give it a try to post more regularly. I know some bloggers have goals to post daily, or weekly. I'm going to try for weekly.

We'll see how it goes. No promises.

You know how New Year's Resolutions are...

This is the only one I'm making, so maybe there's a good chance it will work.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Review of Dri Days Training Pants

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

When your child is toilet training, he shouldn't be distracted by bulky, scratchy, uncomfortable pull-ons! Our design team performed months of research to bring you these remarkably soft, leak-resistant cloth pants (a great alternative to expensive disposals!). Very slim, and more absorbent tha...

Great for potty training, and ECing!

By jenneology from Seattle, WA on 1/8/2010


5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Portable, Playful Design, Easily Stowed, Easily Cleaned, Lightweight, Easy Setup

Best Uses: Traveling, Toilet Training, Potty Use, Hygiene

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

We used these with my son when he was potty training and still sometimes find them useful for traveling, just in case we have a hard time finding a place to go.

With our second we tried another way and are using Elimination Communication with our 7 month old. I tried put these training pants on her just to see how they fit, and surprisingly the 2T fit just fine. We have been using them successfully if we miss an potty opportunity.

They are great because they hold in any pees and even poops (with the gussets) and don't leak easily. They are a perfect in between diapers and underwear. I'm glad I tried them with the baby too!

It would be nice if they were made in a 18M size because some families are able to start pottytraining at that age. More petite toddlers could also benefit from a smaller size, but like I said, they are fitting an infant just fine.