Sunday, January 31, 2010

A (mostly) AP mama's bone picking with Babywise

OK, as many of you know I originally created a blog to serve as an outlet for my not-always-popular ideas and links regarding childbbirth, vaccines, Babywise, circumcision, etc... Here is controversial topic number one!

*If you are one of my Babywise friends, please know that I do NOT mean any sort of judgement in this post or believe that you are anything less than an absolutely STELLER mommy. In fact, some of my best baby advice has come from moms who implement BW in their household. These are the reasons I have chosen to NOT use Babywise and why it, in fact, gives me the willies. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom!

CIO: Crying it out. The act of leaving a crying baby on his own to train him to sleep on his own
BW: Babywise. The book in question. Written by Gary Ezzo.
GKGW: Growing Kids God's Way. An organization founded by Gary Ezzo. Full of controversial and harsh methods of raising and disciplining children. If you ask me, anyway.

I am going to provide lots of links to my articles on my Favorite blog: The woman behind these blogs has 3 M.A.s, her doctorate, and 11 years of teaching or counseling in sexual development-related areas, and has deticated YEARS to researching the 'birth and babies' field. In fact, here is a link to the best, most thorough aritcle about babywise I have read, which so happens to be on Dr. Momma's Peaceful Parenting blog:

My covering of BW will be no where near as thorough or awesome. You may just want to skip what I have to say below and head on over to Peaceful Parenting. Please. Do it.

Here is my modest review. It goes a little somethin' like this:

Where me and Gary Ezzo agree:

1. Scheduled naps. When Jericho emerged from Newborn-hood at 4 months old, he suddenly quit sleeping through the night (yes, my NON CIO 2 month old was sleeping 7 hours straight for a month and a half). I was desparate. After doing much research, I realized it was because he was suddenly 'awake to the world' and didn't just put himself to sleep anymore. He would snooze for sometimes only 40 minutes all day. This created a bad cycle of overtiredness that lead to bad night sleep. When I changed my behavior and started nursing or rocking him to sleep three times a day after about 2 hours of awake time, his night sleep improved GREATLY! My AP books (such as the Baby Sleep Book by Dr. Sears) never mentioned the importance of regular naps. I believe them to be invaluable.

2. Not creating Sleep Associations. There was a time when Jericho would just put himself to sleep anywhere. Whether I was holding him or nursing him or if he were chillin' in his Pack-N-Play. I believe that if I would have let him to so more often (such as 50-75% of the time) he wouldn't have needed Jaden and I to rock him for 5-10 minutes evenry sleep time starting at 4 months. He would have had the expierence necessary to do it himself. Jericho is almost 8 months and will NOT sleep without some sort of movement. We're currently practicing the gentle sleep methods listed in the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. I will let you all know how this works out for us. The hard part here is who can resist snuggling an almost asleep newborn? A SECOND time mama, that's who!

Where Ezzo and I part ways:

1.Leaving very young, crying babies alone in their cribs in the name of "learning how to fall asleep." I personally believe a little fussing for a few minutes before they fall asleep is really no big deal but I don't think that's really crying it out. I've read every baby book I can get my hands on from Babywise to all of Dr. Sears AP books but one of the most eye opening book for me was my sister's child physcology book (I can NEVER spell phycology right, LOL!). Here is a quote:

"The production of stress hormones by the brain is lifelong, but the amount produced relates partly to early experiences. If too many stress hormones are required early on (for instance, in an infant is terified or anticipates pain much of the time), then the developing brain loses to capacity to react normally to stress; the reason may be that the normal neuronal reactions have been pruned to allow rapid responses. Later the child may be hypervigilant (always on the alert) or seemingly indifferent...."

Basically, babies brains are shaped by early experiences. Here's a link to more info:

There is little doubt that when a baby is left to CIO, they are under stress. Sometimes severe. How can you tell? How do YOU feel while crying? What if YOU were crying so hard you vomited? Sure, perhaps the damage done is minimal if your baby sleeps on his or her own after the "three nights of crying hell". The key word here: Perhaps. If there is ANY question that what I am doing is potentially harmful to my completely dependant baby, why would I want to chance it?! I have friends who do Babywise and use CIO in ABUNDANCE. Almost recklessly. GKGW makes it VERY CLEAR that your child is not to be in control of you, but you in control of it and unfortunatly many take that too far. It seems some mothers who use CIO have a hard time keeping it minimal.

There is a reason CIO is so hard for a mother; we were meant to respond to our children's cries. Not doing so dulls our motherly instinct. True story. Google it. Read Helping Baby Sleep by Anni Gethin and Beth MacGregor. Even Richard Ferber, author of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Ferber's name is so synonymous with crying it out that this method is also known as "Ferberizing") himself now says he would never let one of his kids CIO.

2. Scheduled feedings. There is a reason the (usually moderate) American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a warning about Babywise's advocation of scheduled feedings (called PDF for Parent Directed Feedings). Dr. Momma has an awesome, in depth article on Demand Feeding (also known as Cue Feeding) written by two nurses/lactation consultants. Here is the link:

3. The total negativity about all things Attachement Parenting. I'm not going to lie to you. When I first read BW, I felt an almost brainwashing effect. I am very passionate and firm in my beliefs about the almost devastating effect BW can have. If this book divided MY mind, I can only imagine what it does to people who HAVEN'T done their research. I had one friend tell me the only place she ever read about Attachment Parenting is in Babywise. BW paints AP parents as selfish parents, held captive by their babies and their desire to coddle them. The picture the book paints is almost disasterous. Toward the back of the book, Ezzo covers (and undermines) different "crunchy" topics such as natural childbirth, the critical bonding period, co-sleeping, babywearing, etc. It's almost as though Mr. Ezzo has a personal agenda to critisize this parenting style.

No where will you find the words, "Do what's right for you and your family as all babies and family units are composed differently" There are very radical and finalized statements in this book. And hardly ANY references for back up. I repeated read, "if you do THIS, your baby WILL become THIS way" as thought it were basic fact. My personal favorite: "if you don't sleep train your infant, your infant will never learn to sleep through the night."

4.The general attitude "babies enter OUR family, they'll live by OUR rules". I recently had a friend who is very much into Babywise, Toddlerwise and Growing Kids God's Way. She is VERY indoctrinated and passionate about the 'benefits' of following such a regime. In fact, her exact quote was, "These babies join OUR family. They need to bend to our rules and way of life. We decided long ago that we weren't going to bend to fit them. They don't know what's good for them. If I decide my baby can go 5 or 6 hours without a feeding, they ARE GOING TO GO 5 or 6 hours without a feeding." Her tone was harsh and abrasive and I left our meeting almost livid. Where's the grace? Where's the love? Nurturing? When we have kids, they change our lives forever. I believe it's the ultimate lesson in humility and selfless ness. While I don't believe in letting toddlers rule the roost, I DO believe that babies know best! They know where they're hungry. When they need love and affection. They have preferences and needs just like we do. I'd like to add that this mother's youngest child didn't sleep through the night until almost a year old. So much for CIO being the end all answer to the night waking "problem"

GKGW is supposed to be a Christian organization. They back up their Crying it Out beliefs with saying that God ignored Jesus while he died on the cross, which was beneficial; so shall we ignore our baby's cries for the benefit of better sleep". To that, I bring up the fact that God has lavished more grace, love and understanding on us than we could ever deserve. We, too are God's children. He is our Abba (daddy). He never leaves us or forsakes us. When we were created we entered 'His family'. God didn't expect us to "bend" to fit in with him. He knew we were born to be sinners and He so humbled and "bent" Himself to come to the earth as a lowly man to DIE a gruesome death on the cross. He met us where we are and paved the from the depth of our sin to a blessed, godly life. He has grace and mercy as he gently disciplines us as His beloved children. I believe He filled out lives with children to teach us selflessness. We simply CANNOT expect an immature being to bend and mold to fit into our tidy adult society. We MUST meet children where they are: as children.

Let me ask you this: Who of us is going to look back when our children are grown and wished we held and snuggled them LESS?

I believe whenever a mother decides she might be intersted in using Babywise, she must weigh the benefits and the risks. Just like everything else. Informed consent is of priceless value. Please, do you research. You owe it to your baby. Here are some more links:

*Disclaimer: I want you all to know that I MEAN NO JUDGEMENT to those who disagree with me! I just want you all to know the things I've come across in my many (MANY!) hours of research on these topics. I've chosen to start my controversy with "Why we are NOT fans of Babywise and Growing Kids God's Way." While it is true that I have big issues with crying it out, that is NOT my specific main issue with my friend Gary Ezzo. To prove this let me inform you (probably much to the dismay of my Attachment Parenting readers), my 2nd favorite baby sleep book is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. While this book advocates CIO, it goes into great detail of how to get your baby to sleep better by never (I repeat: NEVER) letting them get overtired. It was life saving in our household but I just disregarded the CIO parts. Seriously. I love that book.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why Choose a Midwife?

If you are pregnant or planning on possibly becoming pregnant, watch this video. It's an easy watch with very clear, condense reasons why midwives are awesome!! Be informed!!! ♥

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Homemade diaper wipes

Let me just start off by saying I LOOOOOOVVVVEEE homemade diaperwipes! Almost as much as cloth diapering! Before Jericho was born, I bought 2 packs of those cheap, tiny Gerber washcloths from Babies-R-Us. After he was born, I quickly realized it is WAY easier to use our adult sized washcloths on him and use the baby size cloths on his butt. I have two recipes here. My *favorite* one and my *easy* one. I'll even include the one I started with in the very beginning before become freaked out by anything made by Johnsons and petroleum products (Yep, I'm one of THOSE! Haha). That one is easy to start with becuase who DIDN'T get a cornicopia of Johnson's baby wash/oils from their baby shower??? Here we go...

For all of these recipes simply mix up all the ingredients and pour over wipes. I prefer to store my wash (butt) cloths in an old plastic diaper wipes container and use as needed. Some people use a squirt bottle to spray each individual wipe. Do whatever works :-)

Before and after wipes solution was added

My *FAVORITE* recipe
4 cups of water (boiled and then cooled)
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil*
4 squirts of With Hazel
3/4 tsp + Olive oil**

My *Easy* recipe
4 cups of water (boiled and then cooled)
1/2 cup of aloe juice
10 drops of Tea Trea Oil*

My *first* recipe
(the one you can probably do without having to go buy anything special :-) I will say this one feels like HEAVEN on your hands after cleaning your baby's butt!!)

4 cups of water (boiled and then cooled)
A few drops of baby wash
A few drops of baby oil*

*I use a LOT of Tea Tree Oil becuase it's antifungal properties help immensly with Jericho yeast diaper rash issues. Also becuase I know it doesn't irritate him. You may want to start with less, like maybe 3-5 drops

**Olive oil and baby oil can cause your pocket diapers (with unnatural fiber like microfiber or microsuede) to repell almost immediately. With natural fibers (IE: cotton), it takes a bit longer but can still cause problems. I have 4 pocket diapers that weren't cheap so I switched to the *easy* recipe without oil...

For outings,we just either use disposable wipes or else pack some premoistened cloth wipes into my small plastic case or a ziploc.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Human ovulation caught on camera

Here is a *vivid* picture sequence of what happens during ovulation. It is super cool!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jericho Fury, born 6.15.2009 into his daddy's hands. 7lb, 3oz. 19.5in

Jericho's birth story-Or- How I became so passionate about childbirth

(YES, this is a rough copy and I do realize my font is 2 different colors. I got a bit sick of typing and have a wee-one who needs my attention right now :-)

Here's the story of how our son came to be. Out of the womb, anyway ;-)

Choosing a Caregiver

When we found out I was pregnant, I almost immediately went into research overdrive. After reading more books, websites and forums than I care to admit and starting off with 2 different OB/Gyns, at 24 weeks pregnant we decided to have our son with a midwife at a freestanding birth center about a mile away from the hospital. Cascade Midwives and Birth Center.

We prepared by taking a *free* pregnancy/birthing class at a Pregnancy Resource Center nearby (which was actually a REALLY great class) and then taking the Bradley Method Classes. We chose the Bradley Method after reading that over 90% of those chose choose this method ended up having natural births. WE LOVED our Bradley class, teacher and class mates. Yes, WE. Because this class is geared toward including the husbands, my husband ended up being just as involved and passionate about birth as I was. It was an amazing time of comradship between my husband and I. This 12 week class is NOT a sit back and learn class. It is highly involved and a lot of homework. We kept track of our eating and aimed to eat as close to the "Brewer Diet" as possible ( We had exersizes we had to do; from squats to butterflies to pelvic tilts and kegals. And more kegals. And even more kegals after that. My favorite: daily "relaxing" practice time with the hubby. For us, this included massage which is WONDERFUL for the pregnant.


Two days before going into labor, I had a friend's mom who is a Bowen practitioner perform Bowen on me. Bowen in late pregnancy is supposed to help align the pelvic floor muscles so that one side isn't tighter than the other, causing the baby's rotation to be slightly off. I also shouldn't neglect to mention that I had Bowenwork done around 30 weeks pregnant for typical pregnant lady lower back pain. The pain was gone almost immediately and NEVER came back. I felt GREAT at even 9 months prego. We went camping twice during my last month and even slept on our living room floor during our bedroom remodel.

Here's where our birth story begins.... During the later Bowenwork session Jericho had NOTICIBELY dropped.

Before and After:

Jericho was due Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 which was our 3 year wedding anniversary. I thought FOR SURE Jericho would be late. I had a due date "celebration" planned; complete with pedicure, a date to Olive Garden for some Eggplant parmasan and baking a 'labor cake'. Instead, my due date 'celebration' included being a sleep deprived new mama, nursing aound the clock, a good, pathetic cry in the bathtub and a casual, "oh, hey, happy anniversary" nod to Jaden.

Sunday, June 14th

Heidi, my sister in law invited me to her college graduation months prior with a condition "... As long as you're not in labor!!" She meant it as a joke, as did every member of our family when they said, "Wouldn't it be funny if you went into labor at her graduation? Also, you BETTER NOT!! It's Heidi's day!!" Luckily Jericho was nice enough to hold out until the END of her graduation :-)

Looking back, I TOTALLY had a suspicion that I was in labor. I don't know how. I could just feel it coming. It was kind of a primal intuition thing, or something. Before we left our house for the graduation, I realized I had been bleeding a bit 'down there'. Bloody show! I called my friend who had had a baby 5 weeks prior to see how long after her 'show' she went into labor. Her answer: one day. Half of me knew labor was immenent, the other half was completely obliviously disbelieving. We decided to go the the Graduation and act like nothing was happening. Once we got there, I realized I felt a bit crampy. On and off. Every 5-7 minutes. Hmmmm... A bit after that I started to withdraw a bit mentally. It seemed I was in some sort of a fog. Once the ceremony ended, our family went to the Speghetti factory to celebrate Heidi's awesomeness. I felt so weird! Urgent! Indwelling. Focused. On what?? Contractions weren't bad, they were between 5-10 minutes apart. Sometimes I'd go 20 minutes with nothing. I couldn't focus on anything but not because of pain. I just knew I had to RUN and get our house the rest of the way set up.
Me, the elephant... Sunday, June 14th, about an hour and a half before labor started.
We left early from dinner, came home, cleaned, set up our Cosleeper and finalized our 'what to pack' list. During all of the hustle and bustle my contractions about stopped. This is where I black out. All I remember is once I was in bed, I kept waking up with contractions. Kind of like waking up knowing you have the stomach flu. It was just... there. We watched Scrubs (filthy, I know!) on my laptop during the night and one of the characters was eating some pancakes. Along with contractions, I also felt an incredible urge to have some pancakes. Everytime I hear the theme song for Scrubs, I remember laying in bed, somewhat in labor, beautiful sunrise, NEEDING pancakes. Insert song :"I can't do this all on my ow-own; I'm no super man!" Da da dunt da da!

Monday, June 15th

When I woke up to start my day, I decided I was going to get some pancakes with my mama. Luckily she was obliging. I thought I'd give my midwife a quick call to see if she thought I was in labor. Contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, lasting maybe 30 seconds. She pretty much said, "Nope! Get into a warm bath to get them to stop". So after taking a quick bath, making Jaden a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to deliver to his work and realizing there was no change in contractions, I headed out the door for breakfast with my mama! We went to the Buzz Inn in Lake Stevens, about a 45 minute treck from my house. I remember thinking multiple times, "I probably shouldn't be driving." At this point, contractions started to hurt a bit. It just felt like really awful period cramps. By the time I got to the Buzz Inn, I had to actually stop and relax during each contraction. "I think you're in labor, sweetie," my mama said almost right when I got there. Nah! Couldn't be! Conractions were now 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds. Too irregular to be labor. Besides, I REALLY needed some french toast (by the time I got there my craving shifted a bit). I was timing my contractions on my mom's Napoleon Dynamite watch. I don't know why I'm telling you this. Mostly so I don't forget later on. We finished breakfast and my mom made me promise to call her when I got home. She was a worried wreck. "I'll be FINE!!" I kept telling her as I decided I didn't want to go home just yet. Next stop: going to Jaden's parent's transmission shop so my mother in law and I could go for a walk. That would "reveal my conractions for what they are". If it wasn't labor, they'd go away. If it was, they'd intensify!
We walked for 2 hours. An hour each way on the Centennial Trail. Through the forest with no roadway inbetween our starting and our finish. Looking back: NOT a good idea. Also, looking back, I had to be about 3 or 4, possibly even 5 cm dialated at this point. Contractions intensified almost immediatley. By the middle of the walk they were every 3 minutes, lasting for 45 seconds. It was actually a really nice walk. I never really had to stop walking during a contraction until we were almost back to the shop. I was still super "indwelling" and getting more serious by the minute. Marker that I was in labor #27... Ha.

We get back to the shop. I decide I want to go home so I could clean some more. Jaden made me promise to keep him update. By now we were thinking, "yeah, this is probably labor". I drove home by myself thinking, "Maybe NOT such a great idea, heh heh." Of course, I ended up being behind evey slow drivin idiot on my way home. One guy stopped in the MIDDLE of the last intersection before my house. For no reason. During a contraction. I yelled, "HURRY UP, YOU MORON, WOMAN IN LABOR BEHIND YOU!!!!!!!!!!!" I sure hope he learned his lesson ;-) I got home and collapsed on my bed. There was no time for cleaning. I was officially DOWN. I called Jaden and told him I thought I needed his support during contractions. It was 4:30 in the PM at this point.
This is where things sort of blur. At some point I got onto facebook and let everyone know I might have been in labor. At another point I got into the bathtub. At another point we called the midwife who STILL didn't believe I was in labor. Oh, contractions were still 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart, lasting around 50 seconds. But some contractions were 5 minutes apart. Others only lasted 20 seconds. I started to get REALLY focused. I told Jaden to call our Bradley instructor and see what she thought. At this point I could barely function and was frusterated at the idea of possibly NOT being in labor. I knew once I became focused things were rolling but why the heck were my contractions so weird?
Lynette told him it sounded as though I was in labor but the baby wasn't quite perfectly aligned for descent yet. Per Lynette, Jaden had me do some pelvic tilts and then go up and down the stairs a bit. This was pure TORTURE. I wanted to sit. NO! Stand. NO! Be on my birth ball. NO! Lay in bed! I think I lasted 10 minutes before I demanded to lay in bed. This is when Jaden's mom, our secondary coach came to help.
What contractions felt like to me
REALLY intense period cramps that radiated into my hips and then lower back. In case you're wondering. I kept getting hot, NO! COLD! I didn't want to be touched (there went our relaxation practice technique). I was soooo thirsty. I also kept thinking I had to throw up. My contractions were still super irregular. And at this point they never stopped. I'd have one (putting my hand up in a 'stop' motion) it would started to subside, TWO (holding up two fingers) and as it would start to subside, THREE (Still holding up 2 fingures. I forgot how to count during labor). Every move I made seem to cause a contraction. If I had to pee. While I was peeing. After a pee. Closing my eyes. Thinking. Everything seemed to cause a contraction. Jaden called the midwife again. She finally said I was probably in labor but wait an hour and see. Actually, I think this might have been before the stair climbing. I don't remember. All I know is that it was 7:30. 8:30 came before I knew it. The midwife told Jaden that they were JUST going to check me and not to bother telling anyone we were coming in just yet. I felt hopeless thinking I was only MAYBE half way through labor and feeling this much sensation. It was so hard to get me out of bed. I would contract and then want to lie down again. Finally I got the motivation when I felt like I had to poop. Jaden helped me hobble to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet. Lots of blood. I would have been worried but I couldn't manage to worry. No poop happened. Lots of contractions.

Me, laboring on my bed. THINKING I was MAYBE 1/2 way through. More like in transition!
Somehow I got to the couch. I was sitting there while my Mother in law and Jaden packed the car (took forever. They didn't realize they should have been hurrying more). It felt so wrong to sit. While sitting, I had an unusual contraction where I held my breath. Meaning 2nd stage of labor? Time to think about pushing? Or did I just wish I was having a breath-holding contraction? It had to be wishful thinking. I got into the car, TORTURE (no necessarily pain, just felt weird. Like sitting was a wrong thing to do. And restless. Or something). It was now 9:15ish. BEAUTIFUL sunset. Stacey prayed, thanking God for this day. To labor under such a lovely sky. The birth center was 20 minutes away. Stacey was driving and my ever faithful husband coach was seeing me through contractions from the back seat. Stacey hit a pothole while trying to avoid said pothole. She felt awful. "It's OK" I managed to squeek out. When we were maybe 10 minutes away, I felt another slight urge to push. I told Jaden to go ahead and call my mama and sisters and have them come down. Just in case. We finally got the the birth center. I somehow managed to stand up out of my seat. A contraction began to build and I hobbled inside so I could lean up again the counter. My water broke (forewater? It wasn't pee, I'll tell you that!). I started to bear down. The baby was coming and COMING NOW!!!
I waddled to my room (Well, more of a beautiful hotel lodge than delivery room), KICKED my shoes off in all sorts of directions and collapsed on the bed. Sarah (AWESOME midwife) checked my cervix and sure enough I was fully dialated and effaced but with a bit of a lip. Glorious news! Thank the Good Lord that she already had the birth tub full for me. It was 9:30. Jaden and I got in and RELIEF! The water was amazing. I started pushing in earnest at this point. I got into the "squat" position (did you know this opens your pelvis by 10%?) with my elbows up and chin down just like I pictured I would. My brain came back to me and I could once again gather my thoughts. I started to worry about whether or not my family would make it in time. My mom walked in the door at probably 10, bawling. "It's OK, sweetie! I know, I know it hurts!"

Squatting in the whirlpool tub of heaven with Jaden and Sarah (midwife)
Actually, ladies and gentlemen (uh, well, probably just ladies) I'd like to stop here and break a common misconception. 2nd stage of labor (the pushing stage) is a RELIEF from contractions! It hurts FAR LESS and is MUCH MORE productive. I wish I could remember the specifics but all I know is that the labor PAIN in replaced with the labor URGE. A crazy, unstoppable, uncontrolable urge to PUSH! And PUSH more! And push until your contraction is over. For me it looked like this: Contraction builds, take 2 deep breaths, push on the 3rd for as long as is comfortable (NOT until a dr counted to 10!). Writing and reliving the pushing stage makes me miss it. I loved it! It was so cool.
My sisters showed up probably 15 minutes before Jericho was born. Sarah (sister) lit some candles. Stacey put on some lovely worship music. It was romantic and beautiful. Sarah (midwife) kept the lights low and inspections to a minimum. After she felt me to make sure Jericho was descending, she told me I could feel my baby's head in the birth canal if I would like. "HECK YEAH!" I reached up there, probably 2-3 inches and touched my son for the first time. Turns out he was still in his water sack (As I said: I think only my FOREwater had broke) and Sarah broke it. I didn't realize Jericho was still in his bag of water and was (loudly) wondering why his head felt like rubber. Haha. After Sarah broke my water Jericho was just RIGHT there. His head started to emerge and Jaden, expecting his head to retreat back in (as most babies do between contractions) looked up at me to make sure I was doing OK. I pushed like CRAZY, Jaden looked back down and BAM! Jericho's head was entirely out. I was saying, "It hurts! It hurts" not because it really hurt pushing him out, but because I KNEW I pushed so hard and he came out so fast that I tore. Sarah (Midwife) came in closer as his body perfectly rotated out and let Jaden 'catch' our son. Jaden brought him to my chest all the while I'm exclaining, "Why is there so much blood? I bled a lot! I think I tore!" Ha. THOSE were my first thoughts after meeting my son. He cried the most glorious gurgly cry (again, on his OWN, no sucking or harsh treatment necessary) and all of girls in the room rejoiced loudly.

My mom cut Jericho's Umbilical Cord.

I'll try to go quickly through the rest: I got out of the tub. I was freezing cold and STARVING. I layed on the bed, got wrapped in blankets. Jaden had Jericho and Jericho pooped all up his arm. Welcome to daddyhood!
"Good work, son" Notice the poop. Bwa hahahaaha
Checking out our newborn son
With Jericho laying on my chest, I was checked and sure enough I tore. Not long, but deep. I finally got to nurse Jericho while laying on my side. It HURT. They say it's not going to hurt to nurse as long as they're latch is perfect but that's just not true. I've heard it said, "you've never had anyone or anything suck on your nipples that hard and for that long." hahaha. You have to built "callouses", I guess. I ate the most glorious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, drank some orange juice and was totally elated and on top of the world. I joked around and was my usual self pretty much instantly. I was anxious to see the placenta that nourished my child and took a bunch of pics of it. We left at around 2:30 AM, after being stitched up and sure I could indeed pee, and went home. It was a BEAUTIFUL, "giant's toenail" moonlit night. It was the most bizarre thing EVER, to leave the birth center as parents, having JUST given birth. So surreal. We didn't get much sleep that night (as expected) and woke up early the next day. I had my first triple latte in 9 months. This, my friends, is when the going got tough for me. Days 2 until-well, Jericho's almost 7 months old at this writing. I'll go through 80 deliveries before going through the postpartum, emotional, attemping to recover, feeling trapped, learning to breastfeed and take care of a wee being again. I didn't know I would later have post partum depression. I had the baby blues pretty bad. I will touch on this in another blog
Jericho in his short-lived Skull and Crossbones blanket. He pooped all over it
"DUDE! I can't believe I just GAVE BIRTH!"

Going home

Something funny: When Jaden got out of the tub, he apparently had a piece of Jericho's water membrane attatched to his leg. Our midwife was like, "Uhhh... You have some... Pieces on your leg..." My sisters still make fun of the "pieces" on Jaden!

If you read nothing else, read this:

Oh, if you've never had a baby, I want to give you hope. I just kept thinking, "THAT was labor?" It was SOOO not what they make it out to be in the movies. Yeah, it hurt and was hard, but it wasn't the worst pain of my life. When it got really difficult to cope and I was hopeless, it was because I was in "transition" stage and getting ready to push. They say, "When you feel like you can't take anymore, there's no more to take." So true! Some may say, "well, she just forgot the pain like we all do." That's true to an extent. I don't remember exactly what a contraction felt like. But the entire time I was pushing and afterward, I was astounded at how easily things went. Then again, I did NOT face labor afraid. My research and especially Bradley training taught me what to expect so precisely that I felt like I could just deliver my own baby. I want you to know that fear causes our muscles to tense and our systems to release "fight of flight" chemicals. Both of those lead to increased pain and dread because your body has to overcome that while trying to birth a baby.

Also, I had an uncomplicated, normal labor in a setting that allowed me to do as I needed to do. The VAST majority of births are uncomplicated. I was free to birth in setting that believed in my abilities as a woman to give birth naturally.

No pitocin to increase painful contractions and cause my baby to be born before he was ready. No vacume/cutting to remove my baby from me when the pit doesn't work. No IV to hold me captive to my bed. No catheter to cause even more unnecessary pain. No apgar score to rate how affected by labor (or medicine) my baby was. I was not numbed, bossed around or had any decisions made for me. Believe it or not but these interventions (unless medically necessary) not only make for more trauma to the mom and baby but serve to increase fear and pain for many women. I was never made to believe this was an emergency or otherwise not normal. There was no trauma for me or my son. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was so wonderful that I am on a mission to share the joy of natural, normal childbirth. Not that ALL births aren't amazing. They are!!!! I just think our hospital system scares our women and takes away our rights. I know so many young women who are desparetly afraid of giving birth. They needn't be.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home made *boogie wipes*

FINALLY! I have a sick baby to test out my newest creation! I received some Boogie Wipes as a shower gift. After reading the lable I realized I could TOTALLY make these!! (only minus the shady 8 syllable ingredients and preservatives). Here's my not-so-precise recipe SO FAR:

16oz mug
a pinch of sea salt
a centimeter of aloe juice
an entire vitamin E capsul
2 drops of lavender
a squirt of witch hazel
hot water to the top of the mug
whole leaf chammomile tea in tea strainer

I put all of the ingredients into the mug, poured hot (not boiling) water over the top and set the tea strainer in. Next I'm going to cut a flannel recieving blanket into squares (maybe 4"x4") soak and wipe away! I'll let y'all know how these work out!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pregnancy... Before and After.....

When I got to be about 5 months prego, I couldn't even imagine having my old body back. I couldn't even fit a calf into the pants leg where my thigh used to go. I gained 39lbs; which doesn't sound THAT bad but I also gained 39 million stretch marks and am left with the dreaded 'droopy mama tummy'. Well, droopy mama EVERYTHING. I honestly thought my life was OVER. I wish I were kidding but alas, I am not. Originally when I posted this I thought for sure the difference would be a little more astounding. My body HAS changed, and maybe these pics don't do the transformation justice, but really, it's not as bad as I had thought. BAD! But not as bad as I was thinking.... Well, until I get the courage to post a close-up!

Actually, I was 12 weeks prego in the before pics. But there was no baby bump to be found, yet, anyway. Afters are 6 months postpartum. I weigh the same in both pics.

Here's a fun fact for you: YES! My tattoos were obliterated. When I asked my tattoo artist if there was any salvaging them, not only did he say, "NO" but threw in a, "Wow, I've never seen anything like that before..." Lesson learned, Ladies: DON'T GET STOMACH TAT'S!!! :-)
Here's a 'during' pic. Nine months prego. Taken June 12, 2009; three days before Jericho was born.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The way we cloth....

So, you wanna cloth? And you want to cloth as simply and cheaply as possible? You've come to the right blog, my friend! This is a very basic, very good way to start cloth diapering, especially if you're on a budget. I think the total cost for the basic supplies was less than $125 for months of diapering. And that's a generous amount. Plus, I'll never have to buy diapers for our next baby. This is my photo lesson in PREFOLDED DIAPERS as we do it in our home. There are many, MANY variations that one can come up with but I am posting what has worked the best so far... OK, here we go! Oh, quick warning, my pictures are FAR from being the best. Hopefully you at least get the idea!!

Supplies needed (just for diapering, I will discuss laundering later.)
Here is a prefold

Prefolds are soft, cheap and relatively simple. They range in price from $1 to MAYBE $2.50 a piece. The are so called because although you have to fold them 'onto your baby', you do not have to fold prior to use like old fashioned flat diapers (which is basically a receiving blanket looking peice of cotton fabric used in the 'olden days.' I use these sometimes, too). Right now, I'm using unbleached Indian Cotton from Green Mountain Diapers (link below). We have 12 of these in our rotation plus 10 'fitted diapers' (I'll explain these below). When Jericho was a newborn I had 24. Please don't use Gerber prefolds, though they work better than anything for burp rags, they are nowhere near absorbant enough for pee and poop.

You can safety pins, snappis or the tri-fold method explained below.

This is a snappi. WAY easier than diaper pins and super cute. I have 2 of these. I LOVE my snappis! It works kind of like the metal holder thing with teeth works on an ace bandage. Brilliant.

Keeps all the moisture where it's supposed to be. Gone are the days of those white, poofy plastic pants. There are many (MANY!) covers to choose from. Some people use wool, which is my next venture. Some people use cotton. Some people use hemp or fleece. Some people are brave enough to not use a cover. From what I've researched, wool is probably the best but it's more expensive up front. Right now, we use Thirsties and Bummis Super Whisper Wraps because they are cheap and super cute. The Thirsties are my favorite because they have an extra inner gusset. I keep 4 of these per size in my rotation.

The inside of these covers is made of Polyurathane Laminate which can easily be wiped clean but isn't the most breathable. I also love the fact that you don't have to pull these up over the baby's legs. The essentialy "wrap" around them and fasten with velcro. Like a disposable diaper. Some cloth diaper people don't even fasten the prefold. The simply fold it into thirds, lay flat in the cover and velcro.
Notice the shiny surface. Also, the velcro tabs conveniently close in and hook for storing and washing.

(See? An inner gusset!)

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap:

Now, for the how-to:

Lay the baby on the prefold. I try to line up the back of the prefold with Jericho's belly button(ish):

Fold over the right as shown:

Fold over the right as shown:

Put up through the middle of the baby's legs:

Sort of 'splay out' the fold so it goes across baby's tummy and hold like shown:

Grabbing one corner from behind/underneath the baby at a time, pull TIGHTLY in toward his belly button and downward so that the corners form an angle like below. Remember: pull TIGHT!!

Secure with snappi. While holding the diaper as I am above, I use my other hand to attach the snappi on the baby's right side, pull TIGHT to attach it to his left side and then down. The snappi should for a "Y" shape, not a "T" shape.

As an alternative method, if I have enough length in the diaper I fold down once splaying over the baby's tummy. It's hard to explain but it's sort of like folding a sock. I think it looks cuter and it's fun to do but now that Jericho is filling out it's been hard to do.

Pull the back corners in like above and snappi:

Last step: Put diaper cover on. I didn't get great pics of how to do this and I'm hoping it's pretty self-explanatory. Put the cover under baby, pull the tabs and fasten just like a disposable diaper:

Thirsties cover:

Bummis cover:

And VIOLA! A cloth diapered baby!


During my last prefold purchase, I notice a sale on what are called "fitted diapers". These are just like they sound. No fold necessary. They already "fit" and use velcro to fasten. So, we bought 10 of these, too. They're awesome. Exactly like a disposable only... Cloth! I think I paid $7.50 these on sale. They are "Cloth-Eez" fitteds from Green Mountain Diapers.

Lay the baby on the diaper. Again, I line up the back of the diaper with his belly-button:

Pull the velcro from one side and secure to the front. Repeat on the other side.

Here is a not-so-great picture of what a fitted diaper looks like once fastened. They are actually really cute. Next you put the diaper cover on and you're good to go!
As I said before, this is only ONE way to cloth. It is certainly one of the cheapest ways and easy, although not the EASIEST way to cloth. Later on I will discuss All in One and Pocket Diapers which are kind of like having a prefold, fastener and cover all in one diaper super easy and slightly expensive diaper. Happy diapering!!
My favorite Cloth Diapering websites: <--- I LOVE the forum on Diaper Swappers <--- LOTS of pics of pretty much every diaper out there, from newborn to toddler. Makes my tutorial look awful :-)