Friday, March 30, 2012

Could I Do This?

Good question. Time will tell.

("Do what? Aren't you going to tell us what IT is?")

"It" is living through as many deep, heartrending trials as this woman has - and coming through them with a faith not only intact, but deepened and made even more vibrant and alive than before. I am in awe.

Take a few minutes to read this story - it is absolutely amazing:

What Can Be Gained Through Heartache?

In an age when losing even one child post-birth is an unusual event, this mama has been called to surrender three of her children to the grave - all due to completely unrelated health concerns - two within a week of birth and one child at an older age.

I love how this mama recognizes God's hand in her life, and His sovereignty. She writes of her son's death (due to anencephaly):
"We missed our precious baby, but we thanked God for a life that taught us to depend on the God we were learning to adore. We praised God for teaching us to value life and family in a way we hadn’t before. (Psalm 128:3) We delighted in God for showing us that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that before he placed us in the womb, he knew us (Psalm 139:13-18). Samuel was no mistake. He was planned by a sovereign God that uses all situations for our good when we love him. (Roman 8:28)"
At the end, she closes:
"Watching my children suffer heartache was worse than suffering my own heartache. But that is how it is with God too. He isn’t happy about our suffering. He hurts with us and for us. That is why he is ever so near to us through those times. He will not let us hurt without his loving arms around us and without a purpose behind it. He will not let us suffer without hope. He will not leave us comfortless. (John 14:18) I’m so thankful for my heartache, because “I’m confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
"I’ve since given birth to another precious and healthy son, Harrison, and I find myself satisfied, completely and utterly satisfied. Why? Because I’ve lost and I’ve gained. I’ve suffered and I’ve recovered. I’ve mourned and I’ve laughed. I’ve learned to be content. If Harrison would have been born unhealthy, I would have hurt, but because of my trials, I would have been able to endure the affliction with more confidence. I would have known how to survive. Through our suffering we gain patience, experience and hope. (Romans 5:4)
"Trials and afflictions (that are not sin trials) are not the enemy, they are God’s way of teaching us and we should be grateful for the opportunity to learn to serve him and minister to others because of them. (II Cor. 1:4) I think about what my life would be like, had I not experienced these trials. I’m so happy to have a story to tell; a story that can not only help others who are hurting, but a story that reveals God’s character through the way he cared for me and my family down our road of challenge, heartache and victory. It’s an exciting life to walk with God, a life I’m excited to share with others."
Absolutely amazing.

On a personal level, I have noticed that my experience with physical suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum has immeasurably enriched my life and my character. I have learned so much since that time. But it's been a journey - a long journey - and almost six years later, I'm still not to the end of it (if I ever will be in this lifetime).

I very much admire this woman's willingness to let the trials given to her be a source of deepened faith, rather than the bitterness which is so much easier to summon in times of intense suffering. I'm so glad she has shared her story!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

News from the front: Infant Sleep Routines

At one point, I would have thought the possibility of violent cultural wars over infant sleep philosophies laughable.

Then I became a parent and started reading parenting and birth blogs.

Oh, my goodness gracious.

I now know the ugly truth. It's brutal out there, people! Babywise v. attachment parenting v. cry-it-out v. baby wearing v. everything-else-imaginable-and-then-some.

Not being an extremist in most things, I find the polarization unfortunate. There's very little grace from either camp, and sometimes a regrettable lack of sense.

That's why I love this blogger's series, linked below! Agreeing or disagreeing is not relevant (I don't agree with every part) - I just love the generous dose of grace that this writer dispenses to all parents and to all methods. While her method is neither Babywise nor AP, but somewhere in the middle (where I find myself, most of the time), she has plenty of common sense and grace for differing parents, babies, and situations.

All of the usual controversies are quite active in the comments, so feel free to jump in!

Infant Routines at Our Home, Part I

Infant Routines at Our Home, Part II

Infant Routines at Our Home, Part III


Oh, and while we're at it, something I came across quite randomly - one mother's method of avoiding cry-it-out while teaching babies to sleep independently.

Is this awesome, or what?

What's awesome?

A new HG blog hits the scene! Woo hoo!!

Yes, it's definitely awesome! 

Check out this brand-new blog, from which I expect to see wonderful things in the coming weeks and months:

Naturally Nauseous Mommy

I'm very excited to read and learn more about this mama's experiences. I personally have only known what I term "mild HG" - the type that is manageable and non-fatal (though hellishly miserable) out of the hospital. This mother experienced the hardcore/severe type, so you will find lots of info there (I'm sure!) about PICC lines, IVs, etc. etc.

Looking forward to reading!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Again, and again, and again? Or not?

Firstly, a note - Now that our little one has been born, and my personal entries are retreating into the arena of private life rather than pregnancy entries, I am once again moving those back over to my other blog. To see what's going on in our life right now, here is my latest entry.

And now, back to our regular programming:

Let's talk cesareans for a moment. Really, with a third of American labors currently ending in cesareans, there aren't many birth conversations that can avoid the cesarean issue.

Here are two of the main problems that I have with our burgeoning cesarean rate:

The first problem with our ridiculously high cesarean rate is one that is entirely dismissed by most medical professionals - the spiritual and emotional toll of denying women the satisfying and transformational nature of giving birth (vaginally) to their babies. I know that I am a completely different woman from the woman I was before my first birth. Giving birth changed and transformed me in ways that I can't even put into words, and has ever since been a source of empowerment, knowledge, and a deep satisfaction that is beyond description.

When a cesarean is needed, it is a source of blessing. But when the reasons for cesareans are degenerating into the downright silly ("I think your baby might be big, so you need a cesarean at 36 weeks"), it is a tragedy to see so many women robbed of their birthright for no good reason.

(This is not to deny that some women love their cesarean experiences or that some women have rotten or traumatic vaginal births - just to say that for many women, a vaginal birth is a highly satisfying experience that they treasure and find precious.)

The second problem with a super-high cesarean rate is, of course, the health problems for both mothers and babies that stem from it (more below). The problems are myriad and growing. (And I'm guessing that we are acknowledging only the tip of the iceberg - as issues such as depleted gut health and immunity in cesarean-born infants due to lack of the microbial colonization that occurs during the normal birth process [an issue also present for babies born to mothers who are on antibiotics from GBS+ status] are only beginning to be recognized.)

Thus, a few months ago, I was surprised when I read one of my favorite mommy bloggers - a woman I highly respect and hope to imitate in her superb homemaking and mothering skills - writing that there were no real health risks of concern to women who chose to have multiple cesareans (and since this is a Quiver-full blog, we're talking lots of cesareans). A friend of mine challenged me to address this issue in the blog's comment section, and so I took up the challenge and did so. I am going to reprint my comment below.

A couple of notes:

- No, I am not going to link to the blog to which I have referred. As previously stated, I love this blogger and have no wish to start a blog war.

- I would love to hear readers' comments on what I have written. I wrote this entry in a big hurry, so I know that it is very incomplete. If anyone would like to offer corrections to my errors or additions to shore up my inadequacies, I would really appreciate it. Please chip in in the comments sections!

Here goes:

Hi, ------!

I am a regular reader of your blog, a several-time commenter, and a huge fan of both you and your blog. I really appreciate your wisdom, and I benefit from it every time I read one of your entries. Please keep them coming!

I would like to take issue with one subject that you bring up in this entry – your statement that repeat cesarean sections are safe and/or advisable. While it is true that individual women can and do experience complication-free repeat cesareans, on a statistical level multiple cesareans carry increasing risk of serious complications and maternal/fetal/neonatal mortality and morbidity.

Here are some of the risks inherent in multiple cesarean sections:

(1) The risk of spontaneous stillbirth is double or higher in pregnancies following a cesarean section:

And also:

(2) The risk of uterine rupture, while low, still does exist for post-cesarean pregnancies. When that happens, it can be fatal.

(3) One of the biggest risks for repeat cesarean sections is the astronomical rise in placental implantation abnormalities. Specifically, the most common problem is placenta accreta, in which the placenta implants too deeply into the uterine wall, causing hemorrhage and often necessitating an emergency hysterectomy. Here is a quote:

“Placenta accreta was present in 15 (0.24%), 49 (0.31%), 36 (0.57%), 31 (2.13%), 6 (2.33%), and 6 (6.74%) women undergoing their first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth or more cesarean deliveries, respectively. Hysterectomy was required in 40 (0.65%) first, 67 (0.42%) second, 57 (0.90%) third, 35 (2.41%) fourth, 9 (3.49%) fifth, and 8 (8.99%) sixth or more cesarean deliveries. In the 723 women with previa, the risk for placenta accreta was 3%, 11%, 40%, 61%, and 67% for first, second, third, fourth, and fifth or more repeat cesarean deliveries, respectively.”


Here is another link on that subject:

Added later, another link:

Placenta problems after multiple repeat cesareans

A quote from that article:

"In other words, your risk of placenta accreta increases from first to sixth cesarean delivery:
1 in 417,
1 in 323,
1 in 175,
1 in 47,
1 in 43,
1 in 15."

This is NOT minor stuff.

(4) Other operative and postoperative complications abound with cesarean surgeries, and the risks go up with each surgery. Here is a quote from the above source:

“The risks of placenta accreta, cystotomy, bowel injury, ureteral injury, and ileus, the need for postoperative ventilation, intensive care unit admission, hysterectomy, and blood transfusion requiring 4 or more units, and the duration of operative time and hospital stay significantly increased with increasing number of cesarean deliveries.”

(5) Additionally, cesarean sections carry short-term and long-term complications for the baby. In the short-term, cesarean-born neonates are much more likely to be admitted to the NICU for respiratory problems or for other problems stemming from iatrogenic prematurity. On a longterm basis, cesarean babies have statistically signifant higher risks of many different health problems – everything from asthma to tooth decay to obesity. The mechanisms, of course, aren’t fully known, but vaginal birth is how babies are meant to be born – and routinely circumventing that process (which has physical, microbiological, hormonal and other components important to the baby’s future health) has consequences.

Bottom line – Cesarean births can pose grave risks to both mother and baby, and those risks rise with every cesarean birth. It is not possible to avoid those risks simply by removing scar adhesions during future cesareans.

Since your blog deals with many childbearing issues, I would love to see:

(1) Your blog encouraging mothers to avoid the first cesarean whenever possible. For example: wide reading for self-education, good childbirth classes, investigating out-of-hospital birth, hiring a birth doula, etc.

(2) Your blog encouraging women who have had one or more cesareans to, whenever possible, investigate and pursue VBAC birth. A wonderful resource for this is the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), which can connect women to support groups and VBAC-supportive care providers.

My intention, of course, is NOT to be divisive or argumentative or critical – nor is it to deny the lifesaving nature of cesarean deliveries when they are necessary. If a woman chooses to trust God with her fertility and has no choice but to birth via cesarean, then that is that! But for those who have a choice - I just want to get information out there for women, especially mamas of large families, who are faced with childbearing decisions regarding repeat cesarean sections.

Love the blog always – if you ever need subject material, write to me! I have about two dozen subjects I’d love to see covered!



Blog readers - please let me know what issues I have failed to address (or have addressed incompletely). I'd love to have a complete entry showing all the risks of repeat cesareans, so please chime in!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Five Weeks Old, and Blogging Futures!

Baby turned five weeks old this morning!

I'd post some pictures, but that would take actual computer literacy. I'll try to get DH to send some over soon.

We are doing well! Giles is a darling. He just wants to eat and be held, and otherwise he's a gentle and sweet-tempered guy! This postpartum has been smooth and wonderful. I am feeling great, and the family adjustment is going as smoothly as I could reasonably ask for.

You know what I have found most intimidating about the whole thing? Guesses, anyone?

That's right - using the double stroller. Man, that thing is so intimidating! I have been avoiding it like the plague. For some reason, it just makes me insecure and anxious. I guess having been joined at the wrist to my single stroller for the past six years has created some sort of co-dependency issues!! Right now I'm using the single stroller and carrying the baby in his carrier, whenever possible. I need to get over it sometime... just not soon. And I think I'd like to switch to a side-by-side rather than the bus-type we've got right now. Things to do, things to do.

I've been thinking a lot about the future of my two blogs. There's no doubt that I want to keep them up. Blogging is one of my real pleasures, and a great way to express myself, relax, and interact with like-minded people near and far. I love it, and I want to keep at it despite the fact that my free time is currently nearing the non-existent level.

I also wish in many ways that I only had one blog - it would be a lot easier - but that did not work out when I tried it in the beginning. Too many links, etc. So two it is! But I am steadily resisting the - crazy - urge to start other blogs (homemaking, etc.). Two is IT! Really! No more!

For my birth blog, I plan to keep it as purely birth stuff, with the occasional personal or HG entry copied over from my hyperemesis blog. For my hyperemesis blog, I will continue to post HG things and keep it as my primary personal blog.

My goal is to blog once a week. Probable? Not likely, but that's my goal - to blog weekly, however briefly. We'll see how that goes.

I may - or may not - start posting more homemaking, faith, and parenting-type things on my HG blog, as that is what my life consists of right now - hardcore bootcamp of learning the ropes on my new career as a mother. (Or rather, it's not a new career - I've been in it for six years - but it is a career that is ever-changing, and having been born with no particular talents child-wise, I am always struggling to catch up. God is definitely using this time to stretch and grow me in so many ways!!)

Well, I'd better go do something useful with my few minutes of down time! Love to all!!

Tragedy, and a Wonderful Response

Tragedy? What tragedy, you ask?

The tragedy of two parents who sued - not because their daughter died, but because their daughter lived. Parents who wish that they had had the chance to have her killed.

That is tragedy at its worst, and I pity these parents from my heart - because I honestly cannot think of a worse spiritual state to be in than one which looks a precious four-year-old with Downs Syndrome, and thinks "I wish I had aborted you."

The thought of that leaves me speechless.

In case you're thinking that I don't know what I'm talking about, you're wrong - I do. Our little boy - our middle child - has an undiagnosed genetic syndrome which is, to all appearances, far more severe than Downs Syndrome. At age two and a half, he does not walk, talk, or crawl. At this point, I have no idea when or if he will ever talk, read, be potty trained, or live on his own. He may need to live with us for the rest of his life.

And he is the light and the darling of our family. God blessed us with his precious little life, and we are so grateful that He trusted us to be his parents. It is a sacred trust that we value highly.

I cannot imagine looking at him - despite the problems behind and the challenges ahead - and wishing that we had disposed of him in an abortion clinic.

God does not make mistakes.

And so, I wish to share this article, which is absolutely breathtakingly brilliant - written by the mama of a child with Downs Syndrome. Please read, and share - it says perfectly everything that needs to be said about this situation.

Perhaps You Should Sue God

Her thoughts are my thoughts:

"I'm not sure how you look into those almond shaped eyes - grasp that warm hand smaller than most - hold close the body vibrating with life and say "We wish we could have aborted you"."

And I love how she closes:

"I heard that FAR in front of you in that line to sue God is a four year old little girl who shares your genetic makeup - her complaint is that she she has to have parents who want her dead. Good luck using your 2.9 million to take the sting out of THAT."


And, of course, this does not even touch upon the more global tragedy of Downs Syndrome - that over 90% of our precious babies with Downs Syndrome never make it to birth - because their parents DO find out their condition and choose to have them killed before they see the light of day. Those precious little ones - who are able to live full and joy-filled lives, and who are killed by the thousands because parents do not want to deal with a child facing health challenges. This is the tragedy of our age - that only healthy, wanted children are considered worthy of life.

May God bless this little girl. My prayer for her parents is that God will use their precious little one to change their hearts - that at some point in the future, they will sit down and say, "I am so, so very sorry for what we did and what we wanted to do."

And may God do the same for all the parents who are blessed with our precious babies who come with an extra chromosome, or with other challenges - those babies who can be such a blessing to our communities and our world, if we just let them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Three Weeks!

Baby is three weeks old as of.... forty minutes ago or so! Since we are now skipping church for the third or fourth week in a row, I thought I'd spend a few seconds to put out a wee update.

Firstly - I'm sorry for double-posting (posting the same posts to both blogs) so much! It happens with each pregnancy, I'm afraid. My blogs - one having to do with my personal life and with hyperemesis, and the other with pregnancy and birth - have so much overlap space, especially during pregnancy, that it inevitably occurs that my pregnancy/birth/postpartum updates get posted on both blogs. Sometime in the next couple of months I shall re-banish my personal updates back to my Whining Puker blog.

So - how are we doing?

Not too badly! This has by far been my easiest postpartum. For one thing - no catastrophic nursing issues! Hurray!!!! I can't say how much of a blessing that has been. By this time in our last postpartum, I was pumping around the clock and baby was exclusively bottle-fed. It was, in a word, awful. Having a baby who is a vigorous and enthusiastic nurser is much better! We had some issues with him being a sleepy eater, at first, but being able to recognize the signs right away this time, I was able to correct that right away and he has been a great nurser ever since.

Another awesome thing - baby has been letting me sleep through the night since the first day! Is that not amazing? I just take him to bed with me, and he eats perhaps three times during the night - but he just murmurs gently to let me know that he's hungry, then goes right back to sleep when he's latched on and eating happily. It has been wonderful, and I pray that it continues! One of the hardest things about a new baby is sleep deprivation, and not having that to battle just makes life more sane.

Operation Afterpains was a huge success. Still unpleasant, but nothing - absolutely nothing - like the debilitating time with #1, or the better-but-still-yucky time with #2. A huge improvement!!

Two notes of interest:

Baby Giles, after waking up from his newborn sleepiness, has shown himself to be (1) not fond of naps, and (2) a cuddle bug who does not like to be put down. Did I mention that he doesn't like to be put down?? Not a good combination! I have found myself in a bit of a quandary, due to the fact that (1) I am not particularly fond of baby wearing, but.... (2) neither do I like to let newborns cry. But it seems to be one or the other. Therefore, baby has won the day and is currently nestled comfortably in my Moby wrap as I type! We'll see how it goes from here.

On another note. We have always picked our baby names to be (1) simple, (2) un-nickname-able, (3) not common, and (4) easy to pronounce. Apparently we flubbed on point #4, because no one seems to know the name "Giles"! I was so surprised! I know it's no longer common in this country, but I thought that most people would still know it. I was wrong! Most people are calling him Giles with a hard /g/ sound (it is pronounced with a /j/ sound), and one nurse even called him "Gills." Quite a surprise!

Other than that, life is well. I feel pretty well (placenta medicine working its wonders - entry on that later!), and we have been so very blessed with meals by friends and church family - always such an incredible blessing! (If you want to bless a postpartum family, meal support is the ultimate way to provide for their needs and bless them!!)

It is always a stretch getting used to another child, and #3 has been no different - but nothing like the life-changing cataclysm that baby #1 was, or even the mental stretch that #2 was. This has been not that bad.... so far. But definitely a challenge, and I know it will be even more so after we get more fully back into homeschooling after our new-baby break. And when I attempt to leave the house with three - something that has not yet happened. We'll see!

A funny side-effect of baby #3 has been that both DH and I have completely lost it with regard to calling each child by his correct name. We didn't have this problem when #2 rolled into town, but #3 has apparently messed with our minds. Both of us have spontaneously started calling the boys by completely wrong names - sometime going through the entire roll-call, or just ending with "or whoever you are!" Odd that it happened to both of us at the same time! But quite amusing, too.

I'm afraid that both of these blogs are going to be even more neglected now than they have been this past year or two. I adore blogging, and it is a wonderful release and relaxation activity for me - but there just isn't much time anymore. For those of you mommy bloggers out there who blog actively while homeschooling five-plus children, raising farm animals, sewing all your own clothes, and running two home-based businesses - I salute you! I'm afraid I shall never live up to that mark. So do forgive me if these blogs just aren't as active as I'd like them to be. Blogging is one of my true loves, but with caring for three kidlets and a hubbie, and trying to keep the house livable, it's the first thing to go.

Okay, off to nurse the baby!!