Monday, July 18, 2011

Pregnant and Nursing... The WHAT?! WHY?! And What's it like?! Of it.



"international toddler breastfeeding symbol"



Because you know you're curious :-)

I've been getting a few inquiries about still breastfeeding Jericho so I thought I'd clear the air a bit.

Yes, if someone would have told me two years ago that I'd be in this boat I probably would have gagged a little, too. I won't lie, in our culture, it's definetly unusual (oh, heck, it's downright WEIRD!). Before I quit caring about 'culture' I would have had a rough time with it. I remember the days when I had issues looking at my newborn boy and imagining nursing next week let alone next YEAR and the year after that! It's ok to think I'm weird or that what I'm doing is strange. I totally understand it. Two years ago I would have thought so, too.

It IS weird and strange *in our culture* but it's definetly not wrong. Let's explore that a bit :-)

First off, WHY?

Breastmilk never ceases to be nutritious and perfectly utilized by the body. It's full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes,antibodies, probiotics and good ole' mama lovin. Just like raw cow's milk only made for human consumption! Did you know that there's a 'black market' of breastmilk being sold to body builders because of it's beneficial makeup? I've heard stories of wives sneaking breastmilk into their husband's coffee or smoothie thus healing them of intestinal issues they may have had (no, I didn't do this when Jaden had his GI bug... If I HAD milk I probably would have tried though. Don't tell him that...). Here is a tidbit of info I found of the nutritional makeup of breastmilk during the 2nd year of life (I know, Jericho is technically in his third year of life but this is as close as I can find):

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:

* 29% of energy requirements
* 43% of protein requirements
* 36% of calcium requirements
* 75% of vitamin A requirements
* 76% of folate requirements
* 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
* 60% of vitamin C requirements




Astounding! Who needs a daily multivitamin with stats like that?

Here is a great article for of information about extended (nay, "full-term") breastfeeding:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html

There have been studies done that show that children were designed to nurse until somewhere between 2.5 and 7. Worldwide we see that babies are nursed FAR longer than here in the United States. And not just 'third world' countries, either. If you want more info, feel free to explore the above link.

WHY?! #2

Because I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that my baby still needs it. It's the deepest, most natural comfort during the perilous toddler years. I swear, I don't know how moms handle tantrums and owies without using 'booboos'. Instant silence! Ahhhh.... It's the BEST and most comforting way for me to know that he's getting a balanced, well rounded, protein based diet (again, toddlers are renowned for being picky. It's really, REALLY a lot harder to deal with this without breastmilk. I know this now that my pregnancy hormones have diminished my supply). I fully believe that every child needs the comfort and nutritional that mama's milk has to offer until they're ready to give it up. That belief is what's motivated me this far.

WHY? #3

I've addressed nursing a toddler but what about nursing during pregnancy? And my planning on nursing both Jericho and our newborn at the same time unless Jericho weans (HA!!!)? My motivation there is that I want Jericho to wean because *he* was ready, not because I got pregnant. Also, from what I've heard nursing your toddler along side the "intrusive" newborn helps qwell sibling rivalry a bit. I truly believe it will help Jericho know that he is still my baby and will never be replaced. It will be a GREAT retreat for him when he's feeling left out (because let's face it, that WILL happen). Also, I'm thinking it'll be easier to relax more often if Jericho is still nursing. Lay in bed. Latch on newbs. And latch on toddler. And sleeeep! Again, I want him to wean because *he* was ready, not because another child came along.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

I won't lie. It's HARD. And really easy. I actually think it would take me a ton more work and energy to wean than to just nurse. And I'm lazzzzzy. The hard part is that since my milk supply dwindled he's been wanting booboos constantly. It's like when there was milk, there was a definite starting and stopping point. He would need to nurse 5 times a day (upon waking, before nap, after nap, before bed and one time in the night. Like clockwork). The milk would flow, slow down, Jericho would get full and stop. Now that my milk is essentially zippo (just colostrum) there is NO end. He wants to nurse very frequently. I have to set up boundaries because the feeling of nursing makes me feel crazy. I will admit this. It's OK to set boundaries with a toddler!




Around 18 weeks is when my supply started to drop. It's also when nipple soreness kicked in. OUCH!!!!!! It hurt like a mother. It felt a lot like nursing Jericho when he was a newborn and had a bad latch. It DID give me great opportunity to practice my relaxation exersizes I will use during birth, though :-) Doing that REALLY works to diminish pain!!!

I just realized last week that I haven't been sore in a while. No, what I experience now is far worse. I call it the "urge to dropkick the baby and RUN!!!!!!!!!!!" Am I allowed to say that? I can handle nursing for only so long (maybe 3 minutes a side) before I get restless legs and this extreme frusteration. It's considered normal during pregnancy but I suspect it has a lot to do with systemic yeast issues. Pregnant women tend to be yeastier if they're prone to it (*raises hand*) so that's my theory.




Interestingly enough, when Jericho had a horrid GI bug and mysterious fever that lasted at least a week and a half (3 1/2 weeks later he's still not back to normal) he nursed like crazy and I never had that urge. My body must have known that my baby needed me. But now that he's better my urge to throw him outside is back and worse than ever. The other day was the first time I thought, "WHY the heck am I doing this?!" I am truly excited for my milk to come back.




Over 4th of July weekend Jericho suffered from his first ever forementioned GI bug along with a soaring fever (it almost made it to 105* one night). It was the first major illness that we had to combat without breastmilk. Sure, there are still benefits to the colostrum he's recieving. But the amount is miniscual and I'm not researched enough to know if that contains enough antibodies to help his immune system much. On Sunday morning, the day before the 4th of July, the boy woke up with a fever and guess what else? A dry diaper. I panicked. He was surely dehydrated. I was angry and terrified and felt guilty that I had no breastmilk to offer. And dumb for never considering this could happen. Afterall, that had never happened before as he normally gets plenty of liquid when nursing. I put a breastmilk donation request on a Facebook page called Human Milk for Human Babies and recieved a response almost instantly. Praise God! My boy had breastmilk for the first time in 3 months on the morning of the 4th.




Let me say it again. Everything is easier with breastmilk.




Tandem Nursing




I have no idea what it's going to be like nursing two. I've read enough to know that every experience is different. I'm honest enough to admit that I've never been the type that just loves to nurse. I experience d-MER during the milk letdown and after (basically major depressive feelings and anxieties take over. Google for more into). I do it for the benefits for my baby, pure and simple. I suspect it will range from a great way to establish peace to driving me crazy. It'll be worth it, though. These moments of baby-hood are so fleeting and I know I'll look back fondly.



And the big question is....


How long am I planning on nursing for? Admit it, you're wondering that! I honestly have no clue. Right now, if I'm honest, I hope Jericho will wean 6ish months after the baby's born. But for now I don't plan on forcing it. Just... Hoping. I really doubt I could go longer than 3 1/2 or 4, though. But then again, nursing an older one is so different from a baby! From what I hear they start to only want to nurse in the morning and before bed. And then only before bed. If it was only one or two times a day, I think I could last a while. But I'm not planning on anything. We will see, I guess!


So, there's my story. Hopefully you feel slightly less curious or creeped out. I only touched the tip of the iceberg of the benefits and normalcy of nursing through toddlerhood. Feel free to Google if you're interested!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Ideal Pregnancy Diet

18 Weeks, yo!!!

Let me just start out by blurting out a big ole "ha!" I had the best of intentions when I was first pregnant. I was going to follow the Weston A. Price's recommended Pregnancy Diet. I was going to give up sugar and start eating liver. Little did I realize my liver escapade would trigger the beginning of morning sickness. Blech! Nothing sounded good to me except sugar. Insane amounts of sugar. Twice during this Girl Scout Cookie Season I binged on an entire box of Samoas. In one sitting. Let's all say it together: "HA!" (one thing you can do to slow the absorbtion of sugar is to take a table spoon of chia seeds and let them sit in a bit of water until gooey. Drink. Yummmmm)

Now that I'm well into my 2nd trimester, I'm beginning to add the good stuff back in (not take anything out, mind you). I have energy and will power. Well, somewhat. I've just ignored the whole sugar addiction thing but am slowly adding in nutritious supplements and whole foods. Here's where I'm at, so far:

Kombucha: I've actually started keeping up on my brew. Instead of putting my K-Tea in a giant pitcher and keeping it in the back of my fridge, I've started keeping it in the little bottles that I've kept from the store bought 'booch. This helps tremendously. I don't know why. It's all psychological, I'm sure. Kombucha is essential to me for dozens of reasons. It gives me a better energy boost than any espresso ever did. It's packed full of B Vitamins, essential to mood and *energy*. It detoxifies and has natural probiotics in it. And it's fizzy goodness is addicting!

Homemade chicken stock: An old fashioned immune and mood booster! I try to cook up a whole chicken every week. When we've eaten the last bit of chicken off the carcass, I throw the carcass into my crock pot, fill with cold water and 2 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and let it sit for an hour. The cold water and ACV help to extract the nutrients, namely calcium, out of the bones. Then I toss in a little of this and a little of that. My basic recipe includes an onion, 3 carrots, some celery, lots of garlic and some fresh ginger. Nutrient city!! In the last 1/2 hour, I like to add a bunch of parsley for more minerals. I've been wanting to try freezing my broth in jars because plastic freaks me out but that's a project for a later time. I put 2 cups into quart sized freezer bags and try to drink a cup a day with a tablespoon or more of raw coconut oil (more below).

Coconut oil: All natural energy boost, healthy source of fats essential to fetal brain growth (and great for breastmilk, too!) and an antimicrobrial. I've came to the conclusion that Jericho and I are yeast inhibitors. I will try to remember to touch on this more at a later date but for now, it's just too much for me to even think about. An anti-yeast diet is likely in our future. For now I'm making sure we get enough C.O. and have been taking small amounts of Oil of Oregano (my immune miracle herb!) to help combat the yeasties.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Perfect. Whole. Food. Essential for basically everything. Great source of fat. Also a natural source of Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

Spirulina: A great way to get greens in ya! I'm not too familiar with all of the benefits of spirulina (or chlorella, another algae) but I've read tons of stuff about it. I just can't remember. Ha!

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Delicious uterine toner. Most people think this is only beneficial (or allowed) during late pregnancy. Actually, RLT is great for any women of childbearing age. During periods of menstrual cramping, RLT can help relax the uterus. In early pregnancy, RLT will "tighten up a too relaxed uterus" thus preventing miscarriage in some instances. And we all know of it's use in later pregnancy as a uterine toner! I'm just now finding out tons of amazing things about this tea. Did you know it contains calcium? And calcium in it's most absorbable form! It also contains vitamins A, B and C. Very cool

For more info about herbs during pregnancy, check this out: http://www.herbalgardens.com/articles/herbs-for-pregnancy.html

Raw Milk: Oh, another perfect, whole food. And the only way my digestive system can handle dairy. I find that I have much less insomnia when I get adequate calcium in the evening. Check out http://realmilk.com/ for more info.

EGGS!: My beloved! We purchased chicks this spring and are look forward to fresh, organic, free range eggs come mid-summer. For now, I try to buy eggs from a local farm at a natural food co-op. Raw is the most health beneficial way to eat eggs but until I'm getting my own eggs I like to eat my eggs fried with a runny yolk. I've heard of people adding raw eggs to smoothies for unbelievable creaminess and also the nutrition benefit. I try to eat 2-3 eggs a day.

My next endeavors are to start eating mostly sprouted, fermented or soaked grain products (sourdough, sprouted wheat bread, soak beans and other grains, etc). I'm also going to purchase Nettle Leaf Tea (read more about it on the website posted above) from www.mountainroseherbs.com (you can buy the raspberry leaf tea there, for around $8 a pound!). I'm supposed to be getting more kefir grains from a friend soon so I'll start drinking kefir smoothies again soon. Once our chickens are laying I want to start making homemade mayonaisse since out "dairy free" family eats a lot of the stuff. Oh, yeah. I'm supposed to be dairy free. Another big "HA!!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is Spanking Biblical?

Corporal punishment has been somewhat of a sore-spot in our household. When I became a believer, I was very firm about the need for spanking while raising children. Very. Very. Firm. Jaden, too. In fact, when researching Attachment Parenting just prior to Jericho's birth, I stumbled across the typical AP (Christian and otherwise) stance on spanking (it should never be done) and nearly fell out of my seat. And that was when I determined to never label myself as a big ole wimpy attached mama. I was fully indoctrinated in the common belief that if you don't lay a hand on your child, he will never become an adequate adult. I LOUDLY scoffed whenever I heard 'hippy' parents talk about 'peaceful discipline'.

As Jericho has grown up and started to display *ahem* behavior, I find myself utterly appalled at the idea of hitting him. I have also met more and more Christian families who don't spank and have raised beautiful, respectful children. My stance has gradually shifted from "know your child. Some children need spankings and some don't. If you do spank, NEVER do it while angry" to "I'll never spank". I'll be honest and admit that Jaden isn't on board with this. We have some discussions to have. I have a feeling after reading a bit more on the topic he'll at least understand where the other side is coming from. I have learned a lot about the Biblical meaning behind such verses as:

Proverbs 23:13 "Withhold not the correction from the child; for if you best him with the rod, he shall not die"

In all of the "rod" verses, the Hebrew word translated "child" is "Na'ar" which in the orginal language meant "Shaken off" and was used to describe a pubescent boy or young man. That's just about the age that every pro-spanking community agrees that parents should make use of other methods of discipline.

Also, the word translated "Rod" in these verses was the word "Shebet". Psalm 23 says "Your rod (Shebet) and Your staff; they comfort me". How could a stick used for beating also be used for comfort? A shebet was typically used as a large walking stick, held by the head of the family. It's a symbol of leadership, strength and guidance. The term used for instruments typically used to beat someone was the word "Choter".

This is just the beginning. I found myself thinking more and more about the way the Lord disciples us. What's His demeanor? What are His methods? He is gentle and sweet, like a mother with her nursling. His grace abounds. Though we deserve the "Choter" daily, His approach isn't to scare the poo out of us. He gently draws us in, brings us closer. Perhaps a more Christ-like method of discipline would be to draw in your child to a peaceful place. Maybe a little bit of "mama time" would soothe a frustrated spirit.

Anyway, all that to say, check out this link:


Besides, the goal in discipling our children isn't to repay evil for evil. It's to raise competent and respectful adults who love the Lord. I think it's important (and hard) to look at the big picture when our children are driving us bonkers. If a different, more peaceful method of changing behavior works, then why resort to physical punishment? I'm not perfect (far, far, FAR from it) and obviously neither is Jericho but there has never been a time (as of yet) where I felt like spanking was my only option. I've read books about discipline, asked other peaceful mamas and read numerous posts so that I have an arsenal of tools at my disposal. I will leave with a Verse and a few places where you can go for parenting support.

Books:
The Love and Logic series of books by Jim and Charles Fay, has been INDISPENSABLE! This is where I've gotten the bulk of my 'tools'. I am especially loving "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood". It's so logical. And so loving. There ya' go.

How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is next on my "To Read" list. I've heard nothing but awesome about this book.

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson also gave me GREAT tools. A must read.

Playful Parenting by Laurence Cohen is another on my "To Read" list. Again, great reviews.

The Discipline Book by the Sears family is a great one, as well.

Gentle Christian Mothers has great posts and an ever more AMAZING forum for natural Christian parenting. I highly suggest signing up (membership is open this month but is known to close randomly... Keep trying!) and if you have more questions about spanking, feel free to bare your heart out to these amazing, non-judgmental ladies!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sick Baby... Now What?


A nasty cold's been brewing in our household. Jaden was the first to get it and it was a bad one! Jericho started getting strangely fussy the other day and that's when I knew we were in for it! Surprisingly, Jericho hasn't had any bad illnesses since he had pneumonia, a year ago now. Maybe it's because he caught everything in his first year of life! Later in the even on Wednesday, Jericho became very lethargic and just wanted to snuggle. The next morning he was even more lethargic and would cry, almost inconsolably and out of the blue, saying, "Owie!!!". He slept on and off most of the day, didn't eat a thing, nursed every hour (thank GOODNESS he's still breastfeeding!) and towards the later part of the day became sort of shaky. I decided that my Mama intuition was telling me to call his doctor (our Naturopath). We took him in and SURPRISE! Jericho had his first ever ear infections! Two of them; one being pretty infected. *Sigh*




A day later our boy was mostly healed (Praise God) and we were able to get through without any pharmaceutical drugs. Here is a list of natural methods of healing our sick children.





As always, my post is NOT to diagnose or treat. I am not a doctor and am just sharing what has work for us. I'll put a * next to the ones that we did for this current illness.





All Around Immune Boosters:





*A scrupulous diet will do more for your body than any medicine or vaccine!





*Garlic! Preferably fresh.





*Probiotics* (I add these to whatever Jericho is drinking- the higher quality the better), especially if your child has EVER been given antibiotics.





*Natural, food based vitamin C* (best way to get this is through food. If you can get your child to eat, an orange or some baked yam is a yummy way to get tons of vitamin C) or vitamin C in the sodium ascorbate form (find SA online or at Super Supplements)





*Vitamin D is great for all around immune support, as well*





*Cod Liver Oil is my favorite natural source of vitamin D as well as a host of healthy fats





*Echinaccea* (you can buy children's tinctures at any store that sells natural remedies)





*Elderberry syrup* is a great antiviral and immune stimulator. Jericho's ND whipped us up a customized antiviral tincture that included Elderberry. How cool is that?!)










Cold and Flu Symptoms With Fever:





A note about fevers: fevers are the body's natural response to an invader. The higher temperature is NECESSARY to fight the illness. The goal during a fever is to stimulate a strong immune response and healing. Not reduce the fever.





*PLENTY of fluids. Preferably nutrient packed ones, such as:


*Breastmilk* (PACKED with perfect nutrition, including specific antibodies to whatever your baby is sick with! Check out the link for more info)





*Home made chicken stock* (An old time classic- and for good reason!)





*Whole fruit smoothies made with high vitamin C fruit* (sometimes I'll buy an Odwalla and dilute it a bit)





*You can freeze whole fruit juice or smoothies (even breastmilk) to make into cooling popcicles!


*Coconut water- a natural electrolyte drink that used to be given in IV's!





*Wet or Warming Sock Treatment* and find more Hydrotherapy information HERE.





*Homeopathics:


*Belladonna* (specifically when the child's fever is accompanied with red cheeks)


*Gelsemium (specifically when fever is accompanied with headache, weakness and dizziness)


*Hylands and Boiren (to name a few) have a variety of Homeopathics to suit your needs (I've heard especially awesome reports of Osccillicinium by Boiren.


*Allium Cepa (give at the first sign of cold such as runny nose with clear mucus)


*Pulsatilla (to be given as the clear mucus progresses to thicker mucus)





*Raw Honey* to babies over one. My sister has a friend who made her a concoction of delicious immune support by simply mixing raw honey and slivered ginger





*Vitamin D3* in an important immune booster





*Sodium Ascorbate (a type of vitamin C) has been touted as an amazing antiviral and even cancer fighter. I know of many parents who swear by Sodium Ascorbate for healing even from Whooping Cough. It's best to use this in powder form. Give your child (the amount depends on weight- click on the link for more info) enough to cause loose stools and then cut back (known as dosing to 'bowel tolerance')- Buy Sodium Ascorbate HERE.





Coughs and Congestion:





*Raw honey* can coat an inflammed throat and be very soothing





*Raw ginger is a dirt cheap natural cough inhibitor





*Traditional Medicinals has an arsenal of teas to help with coughs. I've heard great stuff about "Throat Coat" for helping with coughing





*Eucalyptus oil applied to the chest, bottom of feet or under the nose can help relieve congestion. You can add it to your humidifier, as well.





*Prop your child's head up at night for better rest. This can help with cough as well as stuffy nose symptoms.








Ear Infection***:





*Wet or Warming Sock Treatment* (this is great for ANY inflammation or fever)





*A few drops of olive oil with garlic juice* (add mullein oil for even more benefits! I actually purchased a mixture of these three items at Fred Meyer. You can warm it a bit if you choose)





*Breastmilk* (just squirt it on in!)





*General immune boosters listed above (make sure your child's immune system is prepared for battle!)





*Homeopathic Pulsatilla is effective in treating ear infections





Stomach Flu or Food Poisoning:





*Breastmilk (besides the nutritional benefits, such as probiotics, it provides tons of comfort!)





*Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics! You ideally want a mixture that includes L. rhamnosus, S. boulardii and L. Reuteri. These have been proven to be the most effective strains in healing rotavirus infections. Your standard P.B. (they usually contain acidolphilus and bifidobacterium bifidum) will also work.





*Fermented, nondairy foods such as sauerkraut (probiotics!), water kefir or Kimchi. These would likely be best given as a preventative when the entire family is already sick and after the storm has passed a bit. I believe food based probiotics are your best bet for making sure your gut is populated with plenty of good guys!




*Bentonite clay mixed however you can get your wee one to take it (we ended up using applesauce) will bind to the toxins in the gut and dispose of them.





*Raw honey for babies over the age of one (I have a friend who healed her stomach flu by eating coconut oil mixed with raw honey! Hallelujah!)





*If possible, forgo store bought electrolyte solutions which are full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. Use either coconut water or make your own. Here's a recipe for a homemade solution:




4 Cups of Water


2 TBSP of natural sugar, raw honey or sweetener of choice


1/2tsp sea salt (we use Real Salt as it has all of it's natural minerals intact)


1/2tsp baking soda (aluminum free, if possible)






Find other recipes HERE.





*Homeopathic preperations:


*Arsenicum Album (give at the first sign of vomiting and diarrhea- especially if it comes on in the middle of the night)


*Podophyllum (this remedy typically corresponds to watery, stinky diarrhea that fills the diaper)


*Ipecacuanha (for repeated vomiting)





Am I missing anything? Feel free to post your tried and true illness remedies in the comments section!











***If your child is prone to recurrent ear infections or infections of any type, please seek help from a Naturopath or another health care provider trained in whole-body healing. Illnesses weren't meant to settle in children's ears and a healthy immune response should prevent this from happening repeatedly. When you start giving antibiotics for an ear infection, you kill off the healthy bacteria that live in the intestines. This ultimately lowers your immune response allowing for more often and more pathogenic illness to take hold (thus causing even more infections). My husband is a classic case of the antibiotic- recurrent ear infection circle. He ended up needing tubes put in his ears and his hearing isn't all that great to this day. To put a halt to the vicious cycle, in addition to seeking professional help, start a daily regimine of immune support. Reestablish the gut flora by given quality probiotics, eating probiotic rich foods (kefir, coconut kefir, kombucha, fermented veggies are all great examples). Make certain your child isn't Vitamin D deficient. If s/he is, begin giving vitamin D3 supplements. If you're breastfeeding and your child is under 6 months, simply make certain you're getting enough probiotics and vitamin D yourself. These benefits (and more!) will pass through you milk).A GREAT, food based source of vitamin D is Cod Liver Oil. You can purchase this at nearly any store. Fermented, high vitmain C.L.O. is much more potent but also more expensive and can only be purchased online.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Settled the Vaccine Question in Our Home

Vaccines. Nothing strikes debate among parents and health care professionals like vaccination. Like a lot of parents, we went back and forth about what to do. There was a lot of that influenced our decision but the charts on the following link is what truly solidified our decision.

I originally found these charts straight from the CDC themselves but of course I haven't been able to find it recently. These charts are 'zoomed out' disease mortality charts. The charts typically given by your pediatrician show disease death rates starting from around 1950 (or whenever a typical vaccine was introduced) until 1990. If you zoom out to around 1900 you will see that various diseases were already on their way out. WAY on their way out.

http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2654:united-states-disease-death-rates&catid=55:united-states-deaths-from-diseases&Itemid=55

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bonus Post :-)


I found this birth plan! I love it! It's a bit more friendly than my original idea of having my birth plan simply say, "Hands Off, Please".

From what I understand birth plans are supposed to be friendly and very positive. The idea is that you want to come across as friendly so that your hospital birth team will be more willing to work with you. I'm struggling with that because in my mind, it's my birth and if I get transferred to the hospital I'm not there to make friends. This may just my chip on my shoulder. And it could very well be linked to ignorance. I plan on talking to a few doula friends and my midwife later and seeing what they say.

I'm also toying with the idea of having a C-Section plan. There are certain medicines that I want to avoid. And that's just the tip of the ice berg. But I'm also feeling like I don't even want to let my mind go there. Fear is NOT something you want to bring into your pregnancy and I have a feeling that the research involved would lead me to greater fear. Here is an article about an ideal C-Section: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/08/28/health-cesarean-birth-dc-idUKCOL85379920080828?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

In case anyone is curious, here is what my in-case-of-hospital-transfer birth plan said during my last pregnancy. As you can see it is very long. Now that I know more about birth, I have a bunch of things that I would add. I highly doubt that this would get read if it were any longer, though:

Jaden and Heather Songstad

Cascade Midwives and Birth Center

EDD: 6/17/2009

We would like to let you know that we have been taking the Bradley Method Childbirth classes in preparation for our son’s arrival. We strongly believe in the philosophy and methods used in having the most natural childbirth possible. We have been careful to eat well and stay fit, and have done everything we can to stay healthy and have an ucomplicated labor. However, we understand that complications do arise and can be unpredictable. You have our full cooperation in the best interest for our son’s health, yet we ask to please allow us to be involved in any decision making concerning the well being of our son if intervention is needed. Please understand we feel very strongly about being informed and aware of any dangerous medical conditions or emergency procedures before they are to be performed. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our needs and concerns! Our baby’s father, Jaden, will be the primary coach during labor and delivery

Our Environment preferences are:

*To be able to have music playing

*To maintain a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere w/quiet voices and dim lighting

*To have no extraneous hospital staff present, including residents or students

*To be able to adjust the room temperature to our preference if possible

*To have privacy when needed

*To be allowed to consume healthy beverages, ice chips, popsicles and small snacks for energy if labor is prolonged.

Our Labor preferences are:

* To have a natural, drug free labor with no stripping of the membranes or pitocin. Should augmentation become truly medically warranted, we prefer natural methods such as nipple stimulation or thumb sucking. We do not, under any circumstances want cytotec (Misoprostol).

*Vaginal exams only upon consent and as few and gentle as possible

*To have intermittent fetal monitoring

*If an IV is necessary, we would prefer to have only to have a hep-lock

*For pain control, massage, water therapy and relaxation are our preferred methods. We are aware of the many pain medications available. Please do not offer medication, we will ask if we need it

*To have the freedom to move, walk around, change positions and go into the bath or shower during the laboring process and practice what we’ve learned in our Bradley Method birthing classes

*For second stage labor, we would like to push using whichever position works best for us, including squatting

*To avoid tearing by taking the crowning stage slowly and controlled with the use of a warm compress, perinea massage, ky jelly or oils and stretching. Unless I start to tear upwards, we would much prefer a tear to an episiotomy

*During the pushing stage, we prefer to push spontaneously

*To have our newborn delivered into his mother’s arms to breastfeed immediately and left there undisturbed for as long as possible

*To have the umbilical cord clamped only after all pulsation in the cord has ceased. Jaden would like to cut the cord.

*Also, please do not administer routine drugs for the third stage of labor, we would prefer natural expulsion of the placenta by breastfeeding and massage first

Our Newborn preferences are:

*One of the most important issues for us regarding birth is to be able to spend quality time bonds immediately after birth prior to routine checkups.

*To allow our son to be accompanied by his father or family member at all times if needed to be taken out of the room

*We will give the baby his first bath at home

*To breast feed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after delivery. Please no bottles or pacifiers

*If our baby is to be circumcised in the hospital, we request he be given pain medication

*We wish to waive the administration of eye medications and opt to have only one PKU test at 10-14 days post-partum

*Do not administer the Hepatitis B Vaccination

In the event of a caesarean section, we prefer:

*It is critically important to us that Jaden, Heather, Susan and baby remain together at all times. Should the baby need to be taken to the nursery, Jaden will accompany baby while Susan stays to support Heather for the remainder of the surgery and recovery

*In the event a C-Section is necessary we request to please have one of the mother’s hands unrestrained and to be with the baby at all times

*We would prefer epidural anesthesia

Thank you again for your support!

Jaden, Heather and baby Songstad


10 Weeks!

Nothin' yet!!

Ten weeks has been a busy week in my uterus! We had our first (and probably only) ultrasound on Sunday. Our little babes measured almost exactly where I calculated and was moving around a ton! Last week I started having Braxton Hicks contractions (CRAZY, right?!) but it's only when I'm dehydrated. At first I thought I was getting crampy but then I noticed the cramps were coming and going. I've been able to externally feel my uterus for the last week or so and I could feel that it was super tight. It happened all day Saturday and a bit on Sunday. It stopped after I chugged a TON of water. Oh, and hello toilet! I'm running to the bathroom CONSTANTLY! I've also started getting round ligament pains when I stand up too quickly. My nausea and exhaustion are subsiding! I'm not sure if it's because I've been semi-careful to eat more regularly or if it's just the timing.

I'm definitely pregnant :-)

OK. Believe me or don't. Just keep in mind that I know my body and am very in tuned. OK. I felt my first flutter of movement just over a week ago. It was the day I turned 9 weeks. I was driving to get coffee and as I turned a corner I felt a goldfish go "Floooop!" in my uterus. I KNOW it wasn't gas or intestinal churning because I've never felt anything like this before. It was definitely in my uterus. Even when I first felt Jericho, it never felt like a goldfish. More like someone flicking my from the inside. I haven't felt it since but I can't wait for more movement!!

I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what sort of water birth I want if we do end up birthing at home. I've come to the conclusion that I'll probably decide in the late weeks of pregnancy if I'll be birthing at home or at the birth center. If I birth at home, I want an AWESOME, creative spot to birth. So far ideas I've had or got from friend are:

Birth outside in a clawfoot tub heated by a camping stovetop (I have official directions for how to do this- please overlook the 'shadiness' of my description :-)

For an outside birth- hang up curtains from clothlines as well as twinkle lights and lanterns. Have a table nearby for candles and aromatherapy

Birth inside (in my kitchen) in said clawfoot tub, a farm feeding trough (check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R92xTFyTQn0), a rented birth tub (I have a bad feeling about rented birth tubs- I'm not clear why, I just do. I'm feeling like I need a HARD tub) or really big jetted tub that we'd rig up in the kitchen. Possible? I dunno.

Birth inside or outside in an unhooked up hot tub filled with water from a hose from our sink (I have a feeling I'd have issues with keeping the water the right temp- I'm picky enough as is let alone in labor).

Convince Jaden to take on a bathroom renovation with the $1500 we save by birthing at home ;-)

Convince Jaden to buy one of those cool but overly priced portable hot tubs they sell at the fair. Oh, my gosh. We could keep that in our bedroom!! That would be awesome.

I'm really drawn to the ideas that will help my postpartum and beyond, also. How fun would it be to have a nice soak in an outside tub? How much more fun would it be to give two kiddos their baths outside in the clawfoot?

I'm already making lists of stuff we need for another baby. If it's a boy, the list is pretty simple. More cloth diapers. Wool everything. A woven wrap. For a girl? I didn't even bother listing things. I just wrote: "girl EVERYTHING!!".

I'm also compiling stuff for my postpartum period. I'll try to devote a blog post just for this. I've learned a thing or two in my postpartum doula experience and well as "I've already been there" experience that I will list for you. Basically, I'm taking the tribal woman route. I had a really, REALLY hard time last time during my first postpartum and I will go to almost any measure to have an enjoyable postpartum. Oh, how wonderful would it be to spend new mama-hood basking in the delicious enjoyment of a newborn instead of the being lost in "blues" (or "blacks", haha. "Fiery reds?" "Blues" sound so benign and innocent).

Hmmm... I do believe that is all! Do mean a favor! If you happen to stumble upon a GRAND idea for a creative home waterbirth, let me know!! :-)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mysterious Pregnancy Purple Toilet



I first noticed it when I was around 5 or 6 months pregnant with Jericho. My toilet seat had a strange purple hue in the shape of my batootie! It was so random and so bizarre that I posted about it on a forum I was apart of. Turns out I wasn't the only one with a purple butt-print on my toilet!

If you google "Purple butt-print toilet seat" you will certainly see that I'm not the only one. Some woman say pregnancy has turned their toilet blue or pink. And plastic toilet seats don't seem to take on the hue. Porcelain only. Most women say that the only way to finally get rid of the butt print was to buy a new toilet seat after pregnancy. Thank goodness we didn't have to do that!

But what causes it? The most widely spread theory is the differing pH balance in a pregnant woman's body reacting with the porcelain. I've also heard that it could be the iron in prenatal vitamins seeping through the woman's pores. But I have my own theory.

What's the most horrifying thought for many women during pregnancy? Is it childbirth? Water breaking in public? Maybe. In my case it was STRETCH MARKS. I slathered lotion obsessively on every inch of my body when I was pregnant. Yes, this included my butt. Also during pregnancy, a woman's body shape changes rapidly and she may find herself buying larger maternity jeans a few times before she pops. I think that my lotion-y butt took on the dye from my new jeans and then deposited that dye on my toilet. Yep, my hiney was basically a giant rubber stamp.

In case you're wondering, I haven't yet had the tell-tale marks on my toilet yet this pregnancy. If it happens this time I'm going to try to pinpoint exactly when it happens to see if it correlates with my moving into new jeans thus proving my theory :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pregnancy, So Far....

How I've Been Feeling:

Simply put, this pregnancy is SOOOOO different! With Jericho I hardly felt any different until close to 15 weeks. I'm apparently one for strange aversions and with Jericho, olive oil and the Autumn made me feel gaggy (I call it "freak me out"). With this pregnancy, the EXACT day I turned 6 weeks, EVERYTHING started freaking me out. If I ate it or came in contact with it from the time I became pregnant it "freaked me out". So far on my list: chicken, soy milk, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf coffee joint in Arizona, the entire state of Arizona, Whole Foods stores, chicken, LIVER, cloth diapering, mochas, did I say chicken?! The list is basically infinite by now. I'm feeling yucky just typing this. I haven't thrown up, though!!

Just like when I was pregnant with Jericho, I've experience a lot of cramping. It feels like my period is about to happen and I fully expect to see blood in the toilet when I pee! I've also started peeing like crazy and my nose has been running like crazy. The joy of pregnancy!

I'm shocked at how easy I forget that I'm pregnant! At first I was completely AMAZED that I actually ovulated! And beyond! What a miracle! But now I'm excited to get to the next thing. Baby movement! I felt it super early with Jericho (15 weeks) and am hoping to this time! My midwife said she expects around 12-14 weeks. She says that she has clients who claim they've felt their babies at 10 (!) weeks and she believes them because she did, too! Wouldn't that just be AWESOME!!!!

Stressing out:

It was my goal to eat a perfect, whole foods diet so that I didn't have to rely on vitamins. I recently learned that folic acid is a synthetic, chemical version of Folate that only 50% of women can even absorb. I ventured to get Folate from foods (hence trying liver) but I can't. I simply can't. The only thing I can eat peacefully is junk. Hot dogs. Hot pockets. Freezer pizza. Mmmmmm.... I'm failing horribly and it's scary to me because I believe diet is our key to health and weeks 5-8 of pregnancy are SUPER sensitive to diet.

I don't have health insurance. We will be paying out of pocket for all of our care (unless a miracle happens, which we recently found out is possible!). If I give birth at the birth center, it'll cost us $5000. If I have a homebirth, it will cost $3500. I'd be all for home except that my tub is too small and a bit gross. Also, we're renting right now and I'd get too attached to EVER leave this home, EVER!

Tidbits and pictures:

Yes, I'm still nursing Jericho. I a bit worried for myself because I was 8 lbs less than my prepregnancy weight prior to getting pregnant (THANK YOU, breastfeeding!) but now I'm continuing to lose weight. There is no risk (I repeat: NO risk) at all to my pregnancy or to Jericho if I continue to breastfeed. The risk is on my own health and wellbeing if I'm not taking in enough food. Hopefully my appetite picks up soon!

I always thought I'd 'help' him wean by getting pregnant. Now I'm upset at that thought. Simply put, the boy is not ready to wean and neither am I. I love knowing that he is getting perfect nutrition, protein, healthy fats, etc through breastmilk. It's our insurance. I've heard that pregnancy can make nursing extremely painful and that some mother's milk will dry up in the first trimester. My nipples have been a teeny bit sore and from what I can see I'm still making plenty of milk so I'm happy. I have no plans and will just see what happens. It would be great for Jericho to wean because *he's* ready, not because I got pregnant. But honestly, I've never been one to preticularly enjoy nursing and the idea of nursing two freaks me out more than a tiny bit. I will do what's best for my children, though. We are hoping to nightwean, here shortly, though. We will be using the Dr. Jay Gordon Method (I will provide links later, hopefully).

Oh! I've been pretty torn about getting ultrasounds. Like I said, I'm uninsured and the last thing we need is to drive the price even higher. I am also starting to believe that they are harmful. But when we were offered to get a U/S for free to see our little fetus I couldn't resist the chance to see that wonderful heartbeat. What can one hurt? I had almost 10 with Jericho and I fully regret that, now. Also, unless that miracle happens there is no way we'd be able to afford the anatomy scan at 18 weeks. It's looking like I'll be finding out the gender as (God willing) Jaden hands me our slippery, blue newborn. <3

I am so, totally, incredibly thankful that God saw fit to bless us with another child. Pregnancy is truly an amazing, miraculous miracle and I'm honored to be a part of it! Praise God!!

8 Weeks




Don't mind the stretch marks, heh, heh

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My "Before" Pictures

These were taken at 4 weeks pregnant on my camera phone (sorry for the poor quality).




As you can see, even unpregnant and barely pregnant I have a little lump in my lower abdomen. I think it's just my shape!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

For those who don't already know....

This was my surprise almost three weeks ago:



PRAISE GOD!!!! We've been trying for 6+ months. In the beginning of December I came across a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility at the Goodwill. I learned IN DEPTH ways of tracking ovulation and I'm happy to say it worked! I'm 6 weeks and my EDD is 9/6/2010. (Yes, I was only 3 weeks and some change when I found out! Ouch! That will make for a lonnnnnggg pregnancy! LOL.)

I've also been on a mission to straighten out my hormones. I honestly didn't think I was ovulating. I had all of the classic inovulatory symptoms. My ND and I were working toward getting things in order so I could conceive (you can read a teeny bit about that here). The first thing my Naturopath had me do was cut down on caffeine (I went from 6-8 shots a day to 1-2) and eat regularly (still struggle there, especially now). She put me on Rhodiola to support my thyroid, a liver cleanse, followed by a liver support (I have symptoms of "liver congestion". These include impaired hormone function as well as anger issues. Weird, eh?). She explained to me that your liver is a HUGE player in hormone regulation. I also started taking Maca powder (1tsp a day) and Vitex (I capsule a day. Note: Vitex can take 3-5 cycles to start working. Keep at it). I believe that when your entire body is healthy, each individual part will be healthy (ie: take care of your entire body and your hormones [or skin, hair, moods, etc] will thank you). I also cut back on sugar, started taking a quality probiotic and started supplementing my Vitamin D (I happen to be horribly deficient).

I think that's about it! I foresee myself going back to the topic of pregnancy and birth a lot on my blog. It's on the forefront of my mind, again :-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I FINALLY cleared up my acne!

I've used EVERY over the counter acne medication as well as two different Rx ones. My skin was always left dry, icky, pealing, red and I've bleached my fair share of bed sheets using preparations that contain Benzyl Peroxide (I hope I'm spelling that right). When I was very pregnant with Jericho I got lazy and started using only witch hazel to wash my face with. Nothing got worse, nothing go better and I liked knowing that I wasn't putting a bunch of chemicals on my face. After Jericho was born, I took laziness up a notch. I did absolutely nothing for my face. No washing, no cream, no worries. I did not care. Guess what? Nothing got worse, nothing got better. I went on this way on and off up until a month ago.

One night I was about to go to bed with makeup on. I thought better of it and decided was do a quick rinse of my face in raw apple cider vinegar. I just wet down some TP and took my makeup off. My skin felt dry, for some reason, so I decided to put virgin coconut oil on my face as a moisturizer and went to bed. The next morning my skin was GLOWING. I kept at it for a week when I noticed that my lovely pimples were dissapearing and my skin looked soooo vibrant. Pretty soon, out of laziness I gave up the apple cider vinegar and just started smearing the coconut oil on my face. Works like a charm. I couldn't be more thrilled!

Coconut oil is my cure all. Health wise, beauty wise and diet wise. We had to give up butter and coconut oil is my stand by. I will have to do a post dedicated to the wonders of C.O. because it's for real.

It may seem weird that oil can heal an oily face. It turns out that C.O. is antibacterial and nourishing. Acne is caused by bacteria and is exasperated by dry skin. Besides killing the bacteria on our faces, the oil nourishes, moisturizes and protects our skin. That's why my skin looks so glowy in the AM!

Two recommendations: use living, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil and only do this routine before bed. Your face will feel quite oily for sometime and you're not going to care if you're sleeping! I've made the mistake of trying before putting on my makeup and... BAD idea!

I buy C.O. in bulk from Nutiva. A tiny jar (12 oz?) at the store costs around $24 but I buy an entire gallon (128 oz) of it for $55. That's maybe 5 times the oil for only 2 times the price. Here's the link: https://store.nutiva.com/coconut-oil/

Friday, December 24, 2010

Alternative VS. Conventional Health Care



Are Naturopaths kooks/witch-doctors/hippie ladies with hairy armpits*?

I'm a new Naturopathic medicine patient so I'm by no means an expert at these things. I just want to address 4 things that I think the general public should know regarding alternative health care professionals.

1. Naturopthic Doctors (ND's) are, indeed, doctors with medical degrees. They have formal schooling just like any other MD. They are able to prescribe antibiotics, administer vaccines and deal with major illness. What makes them different is their in depth training in solving issues with gentle, natural remedies, homeopathy, healing with diet.

2. Naturopaths dig deeper. They tend to look at the body as a whole (this is what Holistic means) and find the REAL cause of any issues that you may be having. This is different than your typical MD who will generally just treat the symptoms you are experiencing. For me, after visiting 5 or 6 different doctors about my irregular periods (and going on birth control to regulate them) in the last 6 years, my ND and I are finally getting to the very bottom of what's going wrong. She drew blood to test my thyroid function, gave me a very in depth pelvic exam and I now have to put saliva into little test tubes 8 times this next month to see the pattern of my hormones. We're changing my diet and adding herbs to support my body. My only side effect? My anxiety level has plummeted, already. In Jericho's case, his MD diagnosed him with 'normal nasal drainage' and told us to use a nebulizer nightly. Months later, his ND got to the REAL issue: milk allergy!

3. Naturopaths are IN DEPTH. My first appt lasted an entire hour. Dr. Riccio was relaxed but madly taking notes and drawing boxes around things and linking it to other things. I've never seen a doctor make this look like such an art form. She wanted to know my entire family's health status. She even wanted to know what my BM's look like! My visit yesterday lasted TWO hours! The depth of our conversation and testing and such makes me feel soooo safe. I finally feel like I'm in good hands.

4. Are herbal remedies effective? It may be worth noting that the majority of pharmaceutical drugs began as a plant before being chemically altered in a lab. Also, my ICU nurse friend over at The Organic Dollar told me that some of the worst medical reactions she has seen were of the herbal sort. YES, these plants interact with our bodies. Yes, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. And importantly, yes, these medicines WORK!

Here is the link to my new ND's clinic: www.emeraldcityclinic.com

I'm sure all of the doctors there are fabulous but Dr. Loren Riccio is who I am working with.

*I can't guarantee that all ND women shave their pits ;-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is Pitocin the same as Oxytocin?

Now, let me just preface this by saying that for all medical interventions during labor, there are definite times when their use is necessary; life saving, even. But we all know that labor induction for convenience is a VERY common practice in our country. Just like any OTC medication or major medical procedure, whether it's tylenol or a Cesarean birth; there are risks. I didn't fully realize the risk involved until I read this blog post outlining how the body uses synthetic Oxytocin by Nurturing Heart Birth Services:


What really stuck out to me was the information about the perservative used in the drug. Chlorobutanol. This drug has a really long half-life (10 days), meaning it hangs out in a woman's (and crosses the placenta to the fetus) body for up weeks. Same goes for the baby. The more often the Pitocin is administered, the more Chlorobutanol builds up in the mother and infant's body. Ick.

Also, the FDA and ACOG both have approved Pitocin for use ONLY for an EMERGENCY induction. In researching Pitocin on the FDA's website, I came across this contraindication:

"IMPORTANT NOTICE
Elective induction of labor is defined as
the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual
who has no medical indications
for induction. Since the available data
are inadequate to evaluate the benefitsto-
risks considerations, Pitocin is not
indicated for elective induction of labor."

This is taken straight from the package insert from the makers of Pitocin. Read the entire insert at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/018261s028lbl.pdf

My favorite line from the original blog post that I full heartly agree with before using any drug is, "Treat the cause of the stalled labor, not just the uterus, and give this mom and baby ample time to both start and complete this process."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ramblings of an attached mama...



The other day as I was dropping Jericho off at the church nursery (new church, new nursery, new nursery workers...) he clung to me like a desperately afraid baby monkey. This has been our usual Sunday morning routine for the last month or so, even at our normal church. It didn't help that we were greeted by an unusually outgoing (and slightly pushy) nursery volunteer (this woman was a vibrantly outgoing woman who either owned her own daycare or was some higher up at a daycare- I couldn't really pay attention over Jericho's terrified wails. Either way she was apparently an 'expert' on my child).

She kept assuring me of three things: 1. this is normal behavior for a toddler 2. it hurts the mama more than it hurts the child 3. I just have to have faith that this would work. For a third time, she attempted to detach Jericho from my arms when I informed her that I will also be accompanying Jericho.

"Is it OK if I come in with him to get him used to things?"

I almost felt uncomfortable saying those words. I was basically telling her that I didn't agree with her by staying. She assured me that it was fine and Jericho and I sat on the floor. It wasn't long before his toddler curiosity took over and he was exploring every nook and cranny of the toy box. Then snack time came. Jericho lit up! He got to sit in a 'big boy' chair, drink out of a 'big boy' cup and munch a huge stack Ritz crackers (*shiver* I still have to remind myself that once won't hurt him!). He was as happy as a pumpkin in a patch when I decided that if he was going to let me leave it was now. I gave him a kiss, made one SMALL movement for the door when panic struck. You would have thought I was leaving him in the care of Chucky or something.

I kept walking. I walked up a hall echoing with the sound of Jericho yelling for me and found a clock. 5 minutes, I decided. I'd give him a bit of time to chill before going back in. I told the lady to get me in a heart beat if he cries. Or if it's a constant struggle to keep him from crying. But honestly, I didn't trust this lady to come and get me if he didn't stop crying (because she considered that 'normal' toddler behavior). 3 minutes later: quiet. My mama 'red alert' was still flashing in my head as I joined Jaden in the church service and tried to pay attention. Before long I heard Jericho cry again and ran into the hall.

Silence. "Hmmm. I'd feel really dumb scooping my child out of there now while he's quiet" I thought. Plus I didn't want to give away the fact that this lady was making me super uneasy. I went back into the service. Before I could even begin to focus Jericho started up again. UGH. This time I went all the way back to the nursery and scooped my down in the dumps boy up. He clung to me tighter than I think I ever felt him cling. He was clearly terrified. My teeth were clenched as the worker reminded me of the "big three" again ("this is so normal and it hurts you worse than him. You have all these emotions and all he is thinking is that he misses you. You just gotta have faith....") He calmed down and I was able to think clearly again. For a third time she reminded me that this is normal and then had the guts to ask if I believed her. I couldn't believe what came out of my mouth:

"No. I don't. We run things a little different. We practice attachment parenting" I was so shaky as those words came out.

Her response? "OH!" and a bit of an eye roll. She turned her body back towards the children she was painting with but her head still facing me (if that makes sense). Even after I assured her that I full heartedly believe in discipline as God has commanded us, I still felt judged. Ignorant, almost. On the spot. I KNEW what she was thinking:

"NO WONDER this child is so clingy".

I almost felt like a failure. The words of books I've read flew into my head. "A child who is always attached to his mother will develop separation anxiety when left in another's care."

Honestly, though, Jericho has been teething painfully (we're almost done, though! Hooray!), not sleeping well and left with babysitters in our home a lot lately while I've been doula-ing. But the nursery lady didn't know that. My feelings went back and forth between "Who does she think she is?!?!" and "Maybe I suck at this parenting thing".

Baby J and I hung out, playing with toys, interacting with the other toddlers and dutifully avoiding eye contact with the lady. I was on edge. I felt like I had to prove that I'm not a completely indulgent mother. Why?

Toward the end of church, another toddler started having a hard time. She started by getting angry but eventually she became just really down in the dumps. She wanted to be left alone to hide behind a chair in the corner. The other children circled around her, curious and wondering if she was alright. Eventually they all wondered off to play with toy cell phones and puzzles but Jericho remained. He watched this crumpled up little girl quizzically and finally looked back over at me. "She's very saaaad, Jericho" I informed him.

He was clearly distraught and with upturn eyebrows, he approached the little girl with his arms out, fingers reaching, ready for an embrace. It was so sweet.

And THAT is what I labor for! Jericho clearly took alarm at this other child's tears. We take crying very seriously in this house and it boosted my confidence to see Jericho do the same. I'm not saying it's 100% that Jericho is so sensitive because we're sensitive to him. He was born with a quiet, gentle heart. I am saying that THAT is the type of behavior that I want to CULTIVATE in my son.

Children love to model and will grow up imprinted with what they are taught in their upbringing. I crave that my son would love others and take their pain very seriously. I desire that he would be brimming with empathy and selflessness. So this is the care I model to him.

My goal isn't to forge a perfectly compliant, self reliant toddler. My goal is to look at the BIG picture. I want to raise a caring, responsible, Jesus loving ADULT. Besides, where in the bible is independence ever encouraged?

I wish I would have said that just because it's normal behavior for a toddler to be distraught at a daycare does not mean that it's healthy or desirable. Of course it's normal for a toddler to miss his family. Plus you can't really compare a daycare setting to a stay at home setting.

I'm not perfect. Here's my confession: I've told him plenty of times in the heat of (usually PMS related) emotion to "shut up already!" and have days where I'm just empty. I'm working on that. No, God's working on that. I'm working on showing him the love of Christ, more, by praying, reading the word and by my actions to others. I struggle with the whole empathy thing, myself, but I'm a work in progress.

Back to the "attachment vs independence" thing, here is a response I wrote to another mama 3 weeks ago:

"Being close and being even constantly carried does NOT create clingy babies. I can attest to that from personal experience as well as scientific data. It creates secure babies who are confident enough to 'leave the nest' and are more autonomous at younger ages.

"There's been studies done on 'primitive' cultures (Africa, South America, etc) who literally do not let they're baby touch the ground until they're 12 weeks old. However, independence is not only a convenience in such cultures, but a necessity. The people in these cultures face very real threats to their daily life and most do not live past 50. Clingy toddlers and young children would threaten the entire community. In a study done comparing the carried primitive babies to the kept at arm's length British babies, the African babies showed more daring independence at a much younger age than the Brits. I think the average difference was a year. This is not the only study, just the one I remember enough to quote.

"Also, carried babies have stronger necks and earlier motor functioning skills. They have advanced vestibular development and much, MUCH lower cortisol (stress hormone) in their systems. Babies were made to be carried. I have read many, many, MANY scientific child development books but my absolute favorite was the Vital Touch. It points you to the different studies that support these findings but also talks about random baby things that are super cool to read about. Like: what exactly does it mean when a baby boy plays with his 'junk'? Why do American's hum the same musical note when asked to spontaneously hum while the French hum a completely different note?"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Postpartum Doula information!

OK, I'm officially a business! I've recieved my UBI number (yay, taxes!) and business license. I have a website and a fancy email. Oh! And a business name!

Bliss and Blues Postpartum Doula Service.

My website is: blissandblues.com
Email: Heather@blissandblues.com

Whoo hoo! I've been helping clients fairly regularly since August and am starting for feel a bit more at home in my new (complementing) role!

Well...

Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've been back at the drawing board reconsidering how I want to direct my blog. I'm thinking I'm it's going to go in a "holistic pregnancy and baby's first year" direction, which is not much different than it already is. In the beginning I thought I was going to use my blog as an outlet for the more controversial type stuff (natural childbirth, vaccines, circ'ing, etc) but I'm finding that I'd only be trying to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of other blogs and websites for that information. I will possibly add permanent links to those types of blogs. By far, my favorite is Drmomma.org.

I'm hoping to start blogging regularly once I get my Doula certifications and have a free sliver of time!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feminine issue #2 Mastitis



I'm not sure what my body's been telling me lately but I have had three infections in the last couple months. Mastitis twice and the yeast/BV issue once. Here is how I combated Mastitis without needing antibiotics:

Oh! Wait- I need to throw out there, I am not your doctor. I am not telling you to forgo your doctor either! I am simply letting you know how I handled Mastitis without needing antibiotics. Please use your best judgement, here. Here we go:

Lots of nursing on the infected side, rest (HA!) and water

Lots of raw garlic (you can either cut up the cloves like pills and down em or do what I do now and make garlic mashed potatoes with raw garlic. I did 3 red potatoes with 3 raw garlics smashed in)

Ecinacea and goldenseal (it's a children's mixture with honey and peppermint and it is delicious! You could use any ole ecinacea and goldenseal, though)

Oil of Oregano: YUCK! It's supposed to work wonders for your body, though. I've heard of people healing from food poisoning and GI bugs within minutes after taking this

A newcomer: Blackstrap molasses stirred into warm (soy or coconut) milk. YUM! Tastes like a yummy chai tea! BS molasses is supposed to help with bring down (or is it up?) the overall pH of your bodies. An acidic body (from drinking too much coffee, perhaps?) is a body that will get sick. Since this is the 3rd infection, I'm suspecting something is up.

Raw applecider vinegar: I haven't started this yet but it also helps with body acidity. I will start this one soon. You mix 2 tbsps of ACV in with a glass of water and a ton of honey.

The first time I had Mastitis it went away after taking my 2nd whole garlic clove in 12 hours. I also did the ecinacea and goldenseal as well as raw honey. The main thing you want to do is anything that will boost your immune system. Hope this helps someone!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Natural treatment of *Ahem* Femine Issues

If you're sensative to "TMI" topics you may want to stop- right now! I am going to be covering how I've successfully home treated a few womanly issues, starting with what's going on with me right now:

Yeast Infection/Bacterial Vaginosis:

I'm putting these together because I'm not sure which one I'm battling. *sigh* It started a few days ago with itching then progressed to painful urination, burning, strange discharge (not cottage cheese, which is why I'm wondering if it could be BV). Luckily they have very similiar home treatments. Here's what I'm doing:

Garlic suppositories: exactly as it sounds. You unpeel a clove of garlic, use your fingernail to puncture the skin a time or two and insert into the vagina. Lovely. Usually overnight until the symptoms are gone (+ one more night for good measure) is all that you need but I did it all last night and half of today. I think this is what has worked the best, so far. You can also make a garlic tampon by wrapping the garlic in cheesecloth and tieing with unwaxed dental floss.

Raw apple cider vinegar: at first I squirted full strength ACV with a syringe down there, just on the outside. Holy moly! It burned like none other! My Bradley Method pain relieving "relax as though your life depends on it" tool came in very handy. After about 4 minutes the stinging stopped and all of a sudden my "down theres" felt sooo much better! Later on I diluted the ACV with 3 parts water and dabbed on with TP. No stingy but all of the relief! I just had the idea to use my Peri-bottle I received after birth to gently squirt. I do this everytime I remember. Maybe 3 times a day.

Internal Probiotics: It's definetly better if you can take a broad spectrum probiotic but all I have is acidolphilus. It'll do. Two tablets, AM and PM. You could also drink Kombucha or Kefir for the same effect.

Immune boosting herbs: I'm taking echinacea, goldenseal and organo oil. You could also cut up a clove of garlic and swallow that. What can't garlic do? I also read that olive leaf and black walnut tinctures work great!

**These alone would probably be enough to heal what I got goin' on. But I'm an over achiever so I'm also applying the Oregano oil* on my 'down theres' for good measure. This also stings like crazy!! But, oh, my goodness, after the stinging subsides the result is a cooling sensation that virtually takes away all memory of the former itchiness. I did 4 drops of oil (70% concentration) to about 1/8 cup of water.

By the way, between the oregano oil and garlic, my bathroom smells like an Italian cafe everytime I pee! Hahahah! I just had to tell someone that! :-)

Other stuff that supposed to work wonders:

*Applying plain yogurt to a tampon and inserting overnight
*Applying a couple drops tea tree oil to a tampon and inserting overnight
*Applying diluted AVC to tampon and weaing overnight
*Applying diluted TTO to a soft towel or cotton ball and dabbing on the 'area'
*Watch what you eat! Avoid processed foods and especially sugar

I will try to remember to update my blog with the results of my home remedies! I started my routine yesterday and I do feel quite a bit better. I will keep at it until all of my symptoms have been gone for 24 hours.

*Oregano oil is a GREAT immune system booster! I've heard of people taking it in the early stages of food poisening or the stomach flu and it healing them in less than an hour!


Baltic Amber Necklace... Update!

Jericho's been wearing his baltic amber teething necklace for (I think) 2 weeks now. I wish I could say that miracles happened the second we clasped the beads on, but- nope.

I will say, though, that the night I wrote the first teething blogpost, he woke up at 2am with a crazy high fever. 102.8. He never fully went back to sleep. Just for fun I decided to take him to Dr. Shlafer... Just in case. Dr. Shlafer figured it wasn't the eruption of the molars that was causing his fevers but a benign childhood illness called Roseola (you can google it for more info). Sure enough, 4 days later he broke out in the telltale Roseola rash... And as of yesterday he has come down with a cold. *Sigh* We don't get breaks in the Songstad household.

His molars are now JUUUUST below the surface. Jericho is fussy day and night. Car rides are torture. This is hard core teething. Not for the faint hearted. I wish I could be one of those moms who say that "BAM! Stuck the necklace on and my child slept 12 hours straight and was an angel all day!"

I will still recommend the necklace to people because those "BAM!" moms are out there! Loads of them. Besides, who knows if it would be EVEN worse if we took the necklace off?