Saturday, March 1, 2014

It Took Me Long Enough!

For the past few weeks, I have been working on a rather time-consuming project - cleaning up the link lists on this blog!

And goodness gracious - I didn't realize how horribly outdated they were!

Every year I post a request on our local network of birth professionals asking for people to notify me of updated links and information, but in going through the links I realized that step was not enough. When I undertook the project of going through each link, I found that a solid one-quarter to one-third of the links were completely dead - and that was aside from the links that were no longer accurate (i.e. midwives listed under practices they've left, etc.).

I have greatly pared down my link lists. Some lists I have removed completely, such as lists that were somewhat redundant (like lists of Bradley teachers and links to the Bradley site where teachers can be found). Some lists I reduced for purposes of clarity (like taking my blog list down from 100 to 20). All of the dead links have been cleared, with apologies to the birth professionals represented - unfortunately, I can't chase down the hundred or so birth professionals in question to find out if they're out of business or have just changed their website addresses.

I have also taken care to make sure that all midwives are listed with their current practices, and that all name updates (for example Boojum to iWomen's Health Care) have been accounted for.

(I have also added a list of some of my favorite blogs on the topics of womanhood, marriage, mothering, and the link. Enjoy!)

Local friends, if you know of any wonderful practitioners who should be on these lists, or if you yourself would like to be listed, do let me know! I need to know your full name or company name, your service category (see below), and your website.

Current categories include:

Homebirth Midwives
Hospital Midwives
Homebirth Doctors
Birth Doulas
Postpartum Doulas
Placenta Encapsulation Services
Independent Childbirth Educators
Birth Centers
Waterbirth Rentals
Pregnancy Chiropractic
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Breastfeeding Counsellors and Lactation Consultants
Pregnancy & Birth Photographers
Crisis Pregnancy Centers

My blog focuses on resources within the Phoenix valley, but submissions for anywhere in the state of Arizona are welcome.

Love to you all! Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Time for a Birth Story! (*Wild Celebration*)

Re-posted from my other blog!


That's right, folks! Time for a birth story! Y'all probably didn't know that we've been concealing a pregnancy, but now it's time to meet the new young'un!

Just kidding. I can hide a pregnancy for about as long as it takes me to get from the bathroom to the computer.

BUT since I just put up my birth story sidebar (on my other blog) and simply cannot find where I published my second birth story there, I have decided to republish it!

As it will come up in your newsfeed (my apologies), I'll just invite you to enjoy reading it again!

One HUGE added bonus is that I have taken the time to go back, find our birth photos, and add them to this originally picture-free story. Is that fun, or WHAT? Many of them I haven't used, because at the time I chose - for whatever reason - to labor completely nude. It was the hippie in me coming out. But there were lots of usable pictures, and even our close friends have not seen these - and I hope you enjoy them!

Both DH and I look completely different - this birth was eight years ago! - and I think you guys will get a kick out of seeing how we've changed.



We had my last prenatal on Monday, June 20, 2006 - my due date. We were worried because Wendi, our midwife, was leaving the country for six weeks that Saturday, and didn't want to have to have another midwife if we were a few days late. Wendi, bless her, wasn't a bit worried, and she was right. I lost my mucous plug the next day, so things were in motion.

(I should mention how I came to choose a midwife - When I got pregnant, we didn't have maternity coverage. In my cherubic innocence I thought that "no maternity coverage" meant that while our insurance wouldn't cover hospital birth, they would cover other services [such as homebirth midwifery]. Well, I was wrong - they wouldn't cover any of it. But by that time I'd done enough research and read enough stories that I was hooked! I didn't care at that point - I knew I wanted a midwife.)

On Wednesday night I took a firm hold on DH and told him that we were going to get our to-do list done, as I was tired of putting things off indefinitely. So we hung our clothesline, set up our bassinet, and did several other things. My one and only instance of nesting!!!

Thursday morning I awoke with a start at 4:28 a.m. with the odd dual sensations that (a) I really needed to use the restroom, and (b) I was already doing so! It didn't take me too long to realize that my water had broken. I was nervous and excited! I got up and cleaned like a maniac and then got dressed, being very careful to do my makeup and clothes nicely, since our midwives would be coming over! (Ha! As if that would last!)

My contractions immediately made themselves known. I had had rolling Braxton Hicks contractions since my second month of pregnancy, but as soon as my water broke they became much more intense and uncomfortable - labor had started.

When DH got up, he immediately freaked out and insisted on calling Wendi. After that we had breakfast, and then I headed back to bed. Getting up at 4:30 a.m. and cleaning wildly had been tiring! So I slept lightly, waking up for contractions.

Sometime that morning the toilet decided to overflow, so there I was - trying to help DH clean up a flooded bathroom in between contractions. Rather amusing! We called for emergency maintenance help which, as expected, never came, so the carpet had to dry on its own. We were too busy to fuss with it anyway.

Our doula Jennie came over in the early afternoon. Sometime during the afternoon, Wendi came over to check on us. I asked her if I could labor in water, and she said yes, so I immediately headed to the bathroom and stayed there - first in the shower, and then in the bath.

I have to put in a plug here for laboring in water. This may sound weird, but when I got into the tub/shower, labor pain initially vanished. Completely. It was wonderful. Of course it built again from there, but I don't think I could have done it out of water. It is, after all, reputed to reduce labor pain by about 40 percent, and I highly concur.

Another amusing thing was my total loss of modesty. When I initially got in the tub and DH asked if our doula could come in to say hi, I was really reluctant. Well, it went downhill from there! By the end of the night I was walking around stark naked in front of everyone and not caring a bit! So funny.

One thing I also learned about myself was that I am loud in labor. Very loud. Think male sea lion during mating season. Or maybe a wounded bull moose. Many women are. I'd read enough birth stories to know this, so I didn't try to fight it (couldn't have, probably, anyway). So I yelled my head off with each contraction! Thankfully, none of our neighbors seemed to notice.

Setting up the (dead) video camera.
Somewhere during early evening, DH and Jennie set up the birth pool in our living room and filled it up with warm water. I immediately headed in there, and the relief was once again great. Wendi and her back-up, Sue, arrived about this time. However, I was never actually able to say hi to them. It is true that in labor you do loose a lot of functions you normally have - such as conversation. Your whole body is focused involuntarily on labor, and all extraneous functions cease. Makes sense. I actually spent several hours trying to say hi, and never managed it. Maybe I should apologize sometime!

However, after going through childbirth, I realize how important it is to have an advocate with one - an informed husband or doula. A woman is really helpless during a lot of childbirth - she is vulnerable to suggestion and unable to fight for her rights. If I'd been with an unscrupulous caregiver, he could have given me pitocin, an episiotomy, whatever he'd cared to, because I wouldn't have noticed and/or been able to stick up for what I wanted.

Back-up midwife, Sue!
This last part of labor was not a lot of fun. Everyone just sat around quietly, giving support when needed, while I dealt with things (loudly!). During the worst part I had a massive throwing-up spell, signaling transition (gotta love it!). It was during this time that I broke out in the standard "I can't do this anymore, dang it!!!" lingo. However, I was giggling inwardly at being so stereotypical - breaking out the typical transition phraseology like I'd been reading it from a script!! LOL

This single picture is why midwives are awesome. 

Dealing with a contraction. 

Sleeping through a break between contractions. 

Our cat was totally freaking out. She had no idea what was going on - we have some great pics of her going around sniffing everything.

"There are some really weird hormones in the air and I am NOT happy about it!"

When I would ask "Am I almost finished?", Wendi would wisely say, "Soon!" I'm so glad she didn't tell the truth - I couldn't have handled it. She also told me that the only way she could know for sure was to do a vaginal exam. I refused each time. I knew that I couldn't handle it emotionally if she said something like "2 centimeters!"

When my vocalizations changed from yelling to grunting, Wendi said she'd like to check to see how things were going. She did, and not only were we fully dilated, but baby was at a station of +4! Almost there!

I should say that it is one of the proudest points of my pregnancy that the first vaginal exam of my entire pregnancy was an hour before baby's birth. Wendi is so, so hands-off (not all midwives are), and I loved that about her. No fuss!

She tried to help me push more effectively in the water, and then after a while suggested I get out. Wendi mentioned later that most primips (first-timers) don't end up giving birth in water, as they tend to find the lack of gravity confusing. I concur!

So we went in the bedroom and pushed in a variety of positions, ending up with seated. I pushed like anything for one or two hours. It hurt! At the very end I just gave up and pushed, because I wanted it to be over more than anything. And baby Caleb was born!! At 10:35 p.m. - 18 hours and seven minutes of labor. We'd refused prenatal ultrasound, so the first big excitement was finding out that he was a boy! DH had desperately wanted a girl, but he immediately fell in love with his baby BOY and hasn't looked back since.

Calling the family - it's a boy!

Just a few minutes old! 

We'd discovered mid-labor that our video recorder had quit, so our doula only caught the last minute or so on her camera. Big disappointment. Next time we're going to check it before labor starts!

One of my big disappointments was that I (through some odd act of divine intervention) missed out on the birth ecstasy - that "my baby, my baby!!" moment. I was really bummed. I wasn't actually that interested in baby at all. I just wanted to go to sleep! But he was pretty cute, and we spent the next couple of weeks falling in love.

Wendi and Sue and Jennie and DH took turns cleaning up, getting rid of the birth pool, bathing baby, and doing a gentle newborn exam (we refused eye prophylaxis and vitamin K and Hep B vaccine, and delayed newborn tests). I myself had only torn slightly (nothing to worry about), so I went and showered while they changed the sheets (after eating an enormous bowl of strawberries and cottage cheese, I should mention) and then went back to bed. They all left a couple of hours later.

(I should mention that midwives don't forbid eating during labor - in fact, they encourage it - but after breakfast, I hadn't wanted to eat anything. I just drank Gatorade. So I hadn't eaten since about 6 a.m. that morning!)

Doula Jennie.

Our beloved midwife. 

So that's my birth story! I have a feeling that I'm going to be coming back to my blog every couple of hours today to input little details I've forgotten, but that is the main!

Super-long cord! 

Placenta examination. 

Newborn exam. 

Newborn exam. 

Taking heart tones with daddy! 

And that was our first (live-birth) birth story! Reviewing this birth story and adding pictures has been so much fun! Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Talk, Shall We?

Greetings, ladies!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm afraid I'm not nearly as active on this blog right now as I once was - or I'd like to be. Sometime I'll write a blog post explaining why, and what's going on, and all of that.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd ask...

Do we have any Catholics in the audience? 

I don't really know my audience very well. I'm assuming there are lots of Christians-in-general here, but I'm looking specifically for Catholics. Or, for that matter, Protestants who are interested in life ethics. I was thinking of posing a discussion question specifically concerning Catholic life ethics, and I thought it might be fun to chew on it for a while among friends.

But only - ONLY - if...

(1) There are people interested in discussing it! And, equally importantly...

(2) Those who participate can pledge to remain 100% sane, level-headed, kind, and gentle-tongued. In other words, who are willing to play nicely.

So, dear friends, let me know! Catholics and Protestants interested in the theology of life ethics - check in! If I get a decent response - even just one or two people! - I'll try to post my discussion question.

Hey, I'll probably post it even if I don't get any response - just for fun! So you're stuck with me either way!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season, ladies!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"The Cause and Cure of Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum" (Part 1 of 2)

The upcoming article I mentioned earlier last week has been posted, and I am so excited to link to it!

The Cause and Cure of Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have a whole bunch of thoughts and comments that I want to share with you all (Part 2!), but they will have to wait for a not-so-busy day. In the meantime, go read the article and join the comment threads there!


(P.S. I do testify again that yes, this is for real and has worked for a six-time hyperemesis mum who is an in-person friend!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Cure for Extreme Morning Sickness, Coming to a Blog Near You!

(Cross-posted from my morning sickness blog...)

A cure for extreme morning sickness? It sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn't it?

But, as a matter of fact, I'm not joking.

More details will be published soon, and in the meantime you can read the initial summary here. I can testify that yes, this is for real. This mama is a repeat-HG (six-time) mother, and she is just finishing up her first trimester... with no drugs and no HG. I'm anxious for all of the details to be published (*hint*hint*hint*), but I wanted to link to the teaser so you can all be waiting on tiptoes!

Have a great night, everyone!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My New Favorite Birth Video!

I have watched this video twice... and cried both times! This gorgeous and heart-touching birth video (click here to see full-size) is a true keeper, and embodies everything that is beautiful and holy and precious about childbirth. Please take a few minutes to watch (and share!) - I know you'll love it as much as I did!

This video is very G-rated - no nudity at all.

Enjoy! Congratulations to this sweet family!

An Awesome Book.... For Free!

This week I became aware of a soon-to-be-published book, "Three Decades of Fertility." It looks absolutely awesome, and I can't wait to read it! Here is the trailer:

I am a long-time blog reader of many of the authors, and I am sure that this is going to be a great book.

And..... if you would like to use your blog to review this book, you can get a virtual copy (E-book or PDF) for free here

Much as I'm drooling over this book, I probably won't take advantage of the offer, simply because I have found e-copies of books impossible to finish. Not having (or wanting) an e-reader (or whatever those things are called!), it requires massive amounts of time sitting at the computer - time that I don't have right now, as all of my reading is done while nursing (or while brushing my teeth!). I've tried to read e-books on the computer before and found them impossible.

However, for you Nook/Kindle/etc. people out there, this is an awesome opportunity! Please let me know if you decide to take them up on the offer, and how you like it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Best Parenting Book You Will Ever Read! (Promise!)

That's quite a promise, isn't it? The best parenting book you will ever read. We'd all click to buy that book!

If I were to recommend a parenting book, it would go like this:

#1 - The Bible. It truly lays the groundwork for godly parenting, and I am attempting (however imperfectly) to follow its precepts.

And, as a side note, there is nothing in the world more annoying than a parenting book which claims to be "Christian" and then goes on to ignore, contradict, or belittle everything that the Bible has to say about parenting. Just sayin'.

#2 - Raising Godly Tomatoes. Love this book. It is biblical, it is practical, it comes from a woman with vast experience (that is, ten children!), and it is simply awesome!

Another humorous side note. Have you ever read of one of those parenting books which was obviously written by someone who had only easy-going children? Those crack me up. I read one book which gave an example of child-teaching something like this:

Mommy: "Johnny, when you said such-and-such, you hurt your sister's feelings."
Johnny: *Weeps copious tears of repentance and never says such-and-such again*

Um, yeah. I'll stick with the parenting books written by parents who have experience dealing with challenging children.

But I digress.

Back to the "Best Parenting Book You Will Ever Read." Well, I can't quite come through on that promise. Because the "book" I'm going to tell you about isn't exactly a... book.

It is this:

The best parenting "book" you will ever "read" is.... spending time around good, experienced parents. 

That's it. Not reading the newest books by PhD experts, or going to mommies' groups, or any of that. Simply spending time around parents who are doing a good job parenting their children, and learning from them.

When I look back at my parenting career, I can easily see that the times that I have made the most progress in my parenting skills have been from that very thing - being around experienced moms, watching how they interact successfully with their children (loving them, spending time with them, correcting them, disciplining them, discipling them), and then making those good habits my own as I imitate them. Those are the positive changes in my parenting that have had the most lasting and most memorable impact.

Books - not nearly so much. Usually, when I read something in a book, I think, "I should do that!" and then make a few sporadic efforts, only to forget it until I read the book again and think, "Oh yeah, I meant to do that."

A few months ago, I spent just a few minutes with a very experienced, wonderful mom - and in those few minutes, I watched at least three or four specific examples of awesome parenting that were immediately tucked into my mind for future reference. And that same thing has happened to me many times. Learning from other (good) parents is simply the way to go.

And when you think about it, the main biblical model for teaching and training the next generation is through one-on-one discipleship. Jesus spent three years doing one-on-one discipleship with his twelve disciples. And when Paul is writing instructions to Titus, he writes:

"[Older women] are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children." (Titus 2:3b-4a)

Not "Younger women should go and read lots and lots of parenting books to learn how to take care of their children" but "Learn from the older women who have done this all before." Each generation learns from those who have gone before.

I think that the absence of this precept is what often plagues us younger and more inexperienced moms. We don't automatically get this type of discipleship like former generations did. Some older women don't have much to teach, because they abnegated their child-raising responsibilities. And some women don't pass on the riches of their experience because they simply do not make themselves available to disciple the next generation of young mothers.

Older mothers, never think that you are not needed because your children are up-and-out. We younger moms need you desperately. If you do nothing but keep your home, help with your grandchildren, and minister to younger moms within your church, we younger moms will arise and call you blessed. You are greatly needed. 

Some young mothers find themselves isolated from older mothers due both of those reasons, and also to geographic isolation (lots of job-related moves, etc.). And all of those factors result in young women who don't receive the discipling that they need from the older generation of experienced mothers.

What happens next?

What happens next is that we younger mothers turn to unreliable sources - either the newest pop-culture parenting books (and we are so vulnerable to all of the nonsense they turn out) or our mommies' groups, where we are receiving the counsel of women just as inexperienced as ourselves (and often women who are greatly misled by the latest disastrous parenting fads). Neither produces the true discipleship that we need.

With all of that in mind, I would simply say...

Older (and more-experienced) mothers, make yourselves available to the next generation. We need your counsel and wisdom and advice so very much. Be willing to spend time with younger moms who can benefit from your experience.

And younger moms (such as myself), take the time to find those older mothers - either the "graduated" moms who have finished their parenting journey and are willing to offer counsel and support, or moms who are simply further down the parenting road and are doing a good job of it.

That is truly the best parenting book you will ever read. I promise. 

Whoever said that parenting these kidlets wasn't a hardcore full-time job was, frankly, insane. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's Time to Protect Arizona Midwives & Homebirth Rights

Hello out there, dear readers...

As most of you know, big changes are coming down the pipeline in Arizona regarding licensed midwives and client rights for homebirths.

These changes are not good ones. In fact, they are disastrous. If the current proposed regulations go through, (1) Arizona midwives will no longer be able to practice safely, due to (among other things) a removal of their ability to carry and administer life-saving medications (such as pitocin for postpartum hemorrhage), (2) homebirth clients will lose the right to informed refusal of state-dictated prenatal, intrapartum. and postpartum procedures and tests, and (3) many additional restrictions and requirements will be added to homebirth midwifery that will prevent midwives from practicing and serving their clients well, and which will restrict client access to safe homebirth midwifery services.

Even I, who have had three safe and uncomplicated homebirths, will most likely lose access to legally-attended homebirth should these new regulations pass.

You can read an excellent summary of what's going on here.

You can leave your comments here.

Please take a minute to follow the above link and leave comments regarding these regulations. You do not have to be an Arizona resident or homebirth client to leave comments, and all are appreciated. Please remember to keep all comments calm, polite, and evidence-based. Flinging accusations or being rude or argumentative will get us nowhere.

Regulations will take effect on July 1st unless changes are made.

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Resource for Hyperemesis Moms in Arizona

Arizona birth professionals, please add this to your list of resources to give to your hyperemesis mamas - a new Facebook group specifically for hyperemesis women in Arizona! A wonderful local resource for help and support.

See you there!