Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arizona Health Department Survey

From the survey website:

Arizona Department of Public Health Services
Bureau of Women's and Children's Health

Community Survey of Women’s and Children’s Health

The Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health wants your help in identifying what you believe are the most important healthcare problems and needs for women and children in your community. Please read the statements below and use the scale to evaluate each health problem and healthcare need for these populations in your commmunity.

Here's the link:

Community survey of Women's and Children's Health

Take a few minutes to fill out the survey, and use the bottom boxes to tell the state of Arizona how important midwifery care is to woman/infant/child health!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Prayer Request

Some very dear friends of ours are having their second Embryo Adoption transfer this week, and we are praying hard for them! Their first transfer last fall ended in the miscarriage of twins, which was extremely hard on them (following several years of infertility testing and subsequent adoption work). We're hoping to hear wonderful things in a few weeks!!

Life, Updated

I've updated my hyperemesis blog with my latest life-stuff:

Random Thoughts

For the past year I've been cross-posting all my posts on both my birth blog and my hyperemesis blog, as they (being pregnancy-related) were pertinent to both, but now I'm not sure what to do! I may keep cross-posting for a while, or I may close one blog (it won't be this one).


Friday, November 27, 2009

Birth Story with Pictures - WOW!

Being that my life right now has about zilch-o free time, I have not yet read this birth story (though it's supposed to be great), but I did scan the pictures, and WOW! This is one of the best collections of birth photography that I have ever seen! Amazing! It's a all-natural, vaginal, singleton, midwife-attended homebirth, the pictures are gorgeous, and you'll probably never get a better look at birth through pictures than you will with this birth story! Check it out! Now! Get going and click on the link, for crying out loud!

Chloe's Birth Story

This is a "no holds barred" kind of photograph collection, so be aware that you will see anything and everything. For birth junkies, that's not a problem! For apprentice birth junkies, this will get you started, LOL!! (It takes a bit to get used to birth photos, but once you get used to it, they have a beauty like no other!)

Love this story so much!!

Hat tip to Rixa at Stand and Deliver!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writings from the Mother of a Downs Baby

This is a beautiful essay by the mother of a Down Syndrome baby, starting when she discovered her pregnancy and her baby's subsequent prenatal diagnosis of having Down Syndrome:

My Life With Trig, Our Down Syndrome Child

These precious babies are such a special blessing to their families - and to all of us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back-to-the-Breast Tip

While researching the subject of "how to get baby off the bottle and back on the breast," I was able to find almost no information on the subject. Almost all articles I found dealt with the reverse - how to wean baby off the breast onto the bottle. Sad! But anyhow, a sweet commenter left the following advice, and I wanted to share it with the internet community because it sounds great! Here it is:

"First, take a nipple from the bottle that the baby is used to drinking from. Cut the whole large enough for your nipple to be partly exposed. Place the bottle nipple over your nipple and allow the baby to nurse that way. I would express a little milk first so the baby gets something right away from the nipple. Each time you nurse, progressively cut the whole a bit larger until you have only the "ring" of the nipple base over your own breast. The baby will gradually be taking more and more of your breast and finally be weaned off bottle nipples."

I would try this, but as a matter of fact (drum roll, please!!!)..... Baby doesn't need the help anymore! That's right! Baby Breastfeeding Bootcamp (i.e. going cold turkey on the bottle, after all else had failed) worked beautifully, and baby has not had a bottle since Saturday morning. He has been breastfeeding beautifully after catching up on his skills over a 72 hour period, and things are wonderful. The bottles are back in their packaging, and the breastpump goes back to the breastfeeding store on Saturday. Much rejoicing!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

9 weeks postpartum: Finally, a few minutes of free-time

Yes, I'm blogging! Don't get used to it, though.... this is a one-time thing.

So, a LONG story made very short....

We had to start supplementing baby's diet with pumped breastmilk due to dropping weight. Breastfeeding still didn't improve. We found out that baby had tongue-tie and got that corrected, but it was done so late that baby was already good and hooked on the bottle and stayed exclusively-bottlefed. I have thus been tied to the breastpump for the past seven weeks - it's hard work!! Not only is it really hard to work breastpumping around a toddler's schedule, but it's a big time commitment and also rough on one's social schedule (not that we have one at the moment!). If anyone out there is considering bottle-feeding as a "convenient alternative" - DON'T DO IT!!! It's a pain in the neck!!! More details later.

Anyhow, here we are. We've had two appointments with lactation consultants, spent a fortune in breastfeeding paraphernalia (pump rental, bottles, etc.), and are really no closer to getting back to breastfeeding. So today, on our pediatrician's advice, we are going cold turkey. No pumping, no bottle-feeding, no nothing - only breastfeeding. Needless to say, baby is NOT happy! (And neither am I, for that matter - engorgement like this is quite unpleasant!) But I have hopes that he will see the light and convert back. He needs to, or I shall go insane from this breast-pump schedule.

So today is the day, and hubbie and son are out running errands. I've taken a break from nursing-attempts to blog, and I need to get back to it. So... that's all for now! Too bad, because I have lots to write about - but it'll have to wait (for another month or so, most likely). Much love to all, and I'll check in when I can!!

Lynsee's Birth, Part II

I've been following the discussions on this birth (which was broadcast live via webcam) on Facebook, and it's been really interesting!

I've also found out a few more details about the birth:

Lynsee was intending a natural, hospital birth, attended by a midwife. She labored in water for the first part, but accepted an offered epidural at around 8 cm. After that, it was a pretty typical medically-managed hospital birth, though thankfully it was vaginal.

I can derive two lessons from this for mamas who want natural births.

Lesson #1 - The hospital is not really the best place to have a natural birth.

Frankly, the temptation to take drugs is usually too powerful. There are simply not many women out there who can refuse an epidural when it's offered during transition! That's the stage when almost everyone says, "I can't do this anymore! I want out NOW!" I know I did!

Sending a woman to a hospital for a natural birth is like sending an alcoholic to a liquor store for a lemonade. Yes, it can conceivably be done, but it almost never happens. If you want to get a lemonade and avoid the booze, go to a lemonade stand. If you want to get a natural birth and avoid the drugs, have your baby at home or in a freestanding birth center.

Lesson #2 - Your birth team will make or break your birth.

Lynsee's birth team has received a lot of online flak for their handling of Lynsee's labor, and, I believe, quite rightly so. Their support simply didn't cut it for a mama who wanted a natural birth but was having a hard time with contractions (who doesn't?). They disturbed her labor and then offered and/or encouraged drugs rather than giving encouragement and suggesting non-drug options.

In a lot of ways, getting a drug-free birth isn't really up to the mom. Okay, yes it is, BUT.... in many ways, it's really up to the birth team. How do they handle the mom's emotions? Her discouragement? Her need for support? Do they give consistent encouragement and the help she needs to make it through the hurdles of labor? Or do they plant seeds of self-doubt in the mother's head and encourage her toward the use of drugs for pain relief?

My birth team was instrumental in my birth. They never mentioned giving up, giving in, going to the hospital for an epidural, etc. Instead, they brought drinks, washcloths, chapstick, hair bands - whatever I needed for my comfort. They gave massage, counter-pressure, a hand to hold, their voices talking me through each contraction, encouragement ("You are doing this! You are great! You look so beautiful!") - everything I needed. If they had said, "Gosh, I don't like to see you in pain. Are you sure you don't want an epidural? Would you like to go to the hospital?" - I'm not sure I could have gotten through.

So.... Choose your birth team with great care. Make sure you have an awesome care provider, and spend a LOT of time picking a really great doula or doula team. Birth plans.... have one, but don't depend on it. Spend the bulk of your time getting a top-notch birth team who will protect your space, your rights, your privacy, and your birthing ability.

More later, most likely....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reflections on Lynsee's Birth

I saw on Facebook tonight that a first-time mom, Lynsee, was broadcasting her labor and birth on the web via a live webcam recording, so I went on over to check it out. As a matter of fact, it's still going on, and if you're in time you can probably see it:

Lynsee's Labor

First of all, good job, Lynsee! Brave girl! And congrats on your upcoming birth! I think it's just awesome that she is broadcasting this.

But watching her labor made me think.

Just a few minutes after I started watching, the screen went blank and I learned that she had opted for an epidural. I was hit with a feeling of overwhelming sadness, and I haven't really checked back much since. I am sad for what she is missing.

Don't get me wrong, and don't write me with complaints of epidural bashing. I don't blame any woman for getting an epidural. Let me be blunt: I spent most of my first labor screaming. And if an epidural had been available, I would have gladly accepted it at least six hours before our baby was born.

But it wasn't available, as I was birthing at home. As a result, I was forced to live through the pain rather than taking the escape route, and I went on to have an all-natural birth which was the most ecstatic and meaningful event of my life. I would not trade it for the world. Ditto for my second birth. My birth experiences have given me an intense sense of pride, of meaning, of self-worth - it's really hard to explain. And I am simply grieved for any woman who doesn't get that experience. Not only does she miss out on all that, but she is left with the feeling that "it was too hard and I couldn't do it" - when she could have. She could have done it just like I did - if the escape route hadn't been easy and available, she could have done it.

Does this make sense to anyone? I don't mean to be negative toward women who take epidurals. Most of my friends are intense fans of them! And I know that I would have taken and loved an epidural with both of my births had they been available. But I'm so glad they weren't.

And that's one of the main purposes of this blog - to encourage women in birth. It isn't the least bit fun at the time (for most women), but it is the most empowering thing in the world. There's nothing in the world like it.

And that's why watching this birth made me sad (and why I don't frequent birth stories/videos of hospital births - I stick with homebirths). I hope Lynsee gets another chance with a subsequent baby to experience the beautiful, God-given miracle which is natural childbirth. It's meant the world to me, and I hope it will to her should she ever be blessed with a drug-free birth.

"BabyWise" II

A commenter left me this link to the story of her experience with "BabyWise," and it is so moving that I wanted to link to it - check it out!

Confessions of a Failed Babywiser

Her story is listed on an enormous BabyWise-watchdog site that I have perused before and which is excellent:

I would advise anyone considering using BabyWise (or any other Ezzo programs) to spend at least an hour reading this site before acting! It is an excellent resource - hand it out liberally.

I promise that I will post on Babywise in detail.... sometime. For now, check out the story and the website!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"BabyWise" Post

My blog-friend Kathy has posted a great article on the Babywise phenomenon - check it out! I've been meaning to write a similar article on why I no longer support Babywise, but it looks like it's going to have to wait a while.... a long while. Though I am writing constant mental-blogging entries, actual blogging seems to have gone by the wayside during the postpartum period. So in the meantime, read Kathy's great article! There are also some good comments in the comment section.