Tag Archives: Birth

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Tale of a Chiro Convert

We invite our chiropractor to come speak to all of our childbirth prep class students.  If you had told me 7 years ago that this was going to be true, I would have laughed you out of the room.  Here is my story – maybe it will help you understand why people choose chiropractic care if you are on the fence about going to go see one for care.

I was terrified of chiropractors.  In my mind, they were back-crackers.  I have a vivid memory of my childhood dance instructor, who I revered, going ballistic when she saw some of my classmates walking on each other’s backs.  She admonished us to NEVER risk injury to our back, or we would live to regret it when an injury prevented us from dancing, or doing anything else we wanted to do. There was no way a back-cracker, or “chiroquacker” as I called them, was ever going to touch me!!

As an adult, I became a student of yoga.  This study also emphasized the sacred spine, the lifeline of all health. Except, our instructors had a working relationship with a chiropractor and there was a reciprocal discount between the studio and his office. I chalked it up to a crazy idea and I wanted nothing to do with chiropractic care.

Fast-forward to July 2009.  I was pregnant with Charger, and at my 32-week check with our one of our OBs, he informed the student nurse that the baby was breech. No thought to mention to me that I might want to do something to change that.

Before our 36-week appointment, I had growth ultrasound to see how big Charger was. I consented to this because my primary OB wanted to know if she would need extra hands during the birth “just in case” – Night Owl was an easy 11 pound, 1 ounce delivery – surprise! She didn’t want any surprises this time. The ultrasound showed that Charger was still breech!!  The ultrasound tech mentioned that if he was a persistent breech, my doctor would want to schedule a cesearan.

Cue FREAK OUT!!! I was speechless at the idea of a surgical birth and recovery with two toddlers running around. I looked for everything I could on the Internet to see what I could do to get this baby head-down.

At our next appointment, I took the list I had compiled and went through it with our primary OB.  She checked off the ideas she was comfortable with, and I set all my intention on having a vaginal birth with a head-down baby. (Read more about that HERE.)

The combination of things we tried got Charger into a transverse position. That position was still most definitely a cesarean birth – there is no other way to birth a baby who is lying sideways in the uterus. Last on the list of things to try was to have a chiropractor do “The Webster Protocol”.

As things worked out, all three people I asked for a recommendation gave me the same name: Dr. Kevin Ross. So with a wish and a prayer I went to see him.  To my surprise, he was very kind and took the time to explain to me what chirpractic care is, what it isn’t, and what I might expect from The Webster Protocol (click HERE for an explanation of what it is from Dr. Ross).

It wasn’t as scary as I had imagined – my back was still in one piece and I actually walked better after my first adjustment. And, The Webster Protocol worked for us!! I think I had a total of three visits before Charger turned head-down on his own, and then I kept going 2 times a week to make sure things stayed balanced.  He was borh eight days after turning head-down.

What really sold me on continuing care with our chiropractor was the new baby check that we did around 10 days postpartum.  I had a huge and painful learning curve when I was breastfeeding with Puma, and another painful initiation of breastfeeding with Night Owl.  It took 6-8 weeks with both of them for nursing to be less painful. Before that, it made me cry every time I nursed on the left side.  It’s a miracle that we breastfed at all: if it wasn’t for the fact that I had seen it as a child and an amazing support system, we would have quit after the first week.

Charger and I started out the same way – it was excruciating to nurse on the left side.  Dr. Ross did one little tiny adjustment on Charger.  The next time I put Charger to the breast to nurse – flowers bloomed and angels sang. It was a miracle!! Pain-free!! And it never hurt again.

After that, I was hooked.  We continued care all through Otter’s pregnancy.  Being pregnant with my fourth, and having a 6, 4, and 2 year olds to care for was a little daunting given the demands of pregnancy in my body.  There had been days with all three previous pregnancies where I literally crawled around the house in the evenings because walking was too painful.  When I could “walk” in late pregnancy, I waddled. I believed my body did not like being pregnant.

That pregnancy taught me the benefits of chiropractic care as the body changes through pregnancy. It was my best pregnancy ever!! I had more energy, I was virtually pain-free, and I was able to walk from day one until the day of her birth *without* waddling. It turns out my body needed some pubic bone adjustments along the way to resolve that excruciating pain that made me crawl or waddle in late pregnancy. Dr. Ross also did “Webster checks” every session to make sure that my body would encourage a head-down baby. By that time, he had also started using KST in his office, and that allowed me to connect with our Sweet Pea in a whole new way.

Our whole family has been going to see Dr. Ross for 6+ years. Daddy Bruss and I are in the best health – we rarely get sick, and when we do, it doesn’t last very long.  We have also learned much more about natural living with Dr. Ross’s guidance – his wisdom has forever changed the course of our family’s health.

The biggest beneficiaries are our children. From an early age, they are learning that their body is a wonderful machine with the ability to heal itself.  As soon as something is misalinged, Dr. Ross does a child-appropriate adjustment and they are off and running. The same holds true for them: they are rarely sick. For the most part, rest and hydration kick any illnesses in less time than is typical. They are also learning that their body is capable of healing itself. Medication is rarely necessary, so they are not learning that drugs are a panacea for every ache and pain.  First we ask Dr. Ross, and then we usually follow whatever course of action he recommends based on their needs.

In fact, one of our pediatricians thinks we had left the practice since it was so long between visist with them. I chalk it up to saying our prayers, taking our Juice Plus, drinking lots of water and getting adjusted :)

So that’s our story. Please leave me a comment if you have any questions about our experiences.

Find out more about Dr. Ross and his practice HERE

 

Monday Musings: A Better Postpartum

Despite reading about and trying to prepare for the postpartum period while pregnant with my first baby those first weeks after his birth were a pretty miserable experience for me. I think with your first baby it is going to be a huge shock no matter what you do, everything that comes with being entirely responsible for a tiny human life is brand new and your body is undergoing rapid changes that have never happened to you before. That being said, I had an absolutely wonderful postpartum period with my second born, a blissful first week and then another wonderful two weeks after that spent at home. There are obviously a TON of factors that differ from first borns (knowing what to expect, your body’s physical memory, being used to interrupted sleep or very little sleep, etc. etc.) but there are a few things I did differently this time in hopes of a better postpartum that I wanted to share.

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Expectation & Household Help

Be very up front with your partner about the household needs if you are to remain in bed all day during those first days/weeks. Everyday I…. sweep, do one load of laundry, do two loads of dishes, pick up the playroom before dinner, wipe down the counters, etc. Personally, having my house out of order makes me feel out of order, you may be tempted to get up and do what you would like done, you may start to feel frustrated or resentful that your partner doesn’t see or know what needs to be taken care of – in my opinion it is best to have these conversations prior to birth and as frank as possible. If after understanding the requirements and expectation your partner isn’t up for the job then you can make arrangements to hire temporary help or ask friends or family members to take on specific duties (that you now have entirely listed out). I know it feels very strange and impersonal or uncomfortable but it is SO WORTH IT when you have a tidy home and can completely enjoy resting and responding to your newborn uninhibited.

Community

Which leads me to my next example, community. This is much harder with your first born as you may not have many friends that are mamas, or mamas of young children, but if there is any way for you to connect with other pregnant women or new moms or moms of your current child/children if this isn’t your first, DO IT. And while you can, before you are pregnant or before birth, show up for them. Make meals for new moms in the group, offer help to pregnant or new moms with their older children, reach out with flowers or anyway you can and when you have your baby they will do the same. We were showered with meals, snacks, flowers and gifts every single day that first week and it was nothing short of a continuous warm & fuzzy feeling.

Nourishment

At the advice of my midwife this time around I followed a vegetarian, high fat diet post birth. I really believe that this made such a HUGE difference for me. Nothing processed, no refined sugar or grains, big batches of nourishing smoothies, soups with seaweed, vegetables, soft cheeses, lots of ghee and butter, stewed fruits and nuts. This made going to the bathroom such a breeze (which seriously can be just as scary as birth itself that first week!) and I felt wonderful. Good fats are so important for hormones and there is evidence that they help combat postpartum depression, read a little more here & here. I will be forever grateful for all of the food preparation my husband did for me those first couple of weeks, and all of the generosity of our little community here made that possible. Him, my toddler and my mom, who was at our home helping out, never had to worry about anything to eat and I had endless options for quick grab-and-nurse foods in addition to everything my husband had prepped.

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Postpartum Lounge Wear

This point may seem vain and unnecessary but after an ultra nourishing postpartum diet I am going to put this up there as my next biggest game changer for baby #2. I lived in ultra tight Lululemon with teeny underwear prior to having my first baby and in the last few weeks of pregnancy it was the same pair of maternity tights and tank top that still fit. Once he was born I found myself so uncomfortable in those first weeks (months) with nothing to wear, my pre pregnancy clothes WAY too small, even my comfortable pajamas were squeezing me in various places, I had no underwear to accommodate large pads, I needed easy nursing access for my baby and it felt impossible to be slightly presentable, even just being in bed. This perpetuated more of the loneliness and isolation that is often felt after the birth of a first child. I wanted to at least try and see if that could be different this time. During Black Friday and some other holiday sales and with the help of my very generous mom I picked up some nice loungewear for after birth. A silky pajama set, two pajama sets I wouldn’t mind going for a walk around the block in, two pairs of comfortable high waisted jogger sweat pants, two nursing camisoles from Belabumbum and a few pairs of black boy short underwear in a size bigger than I normally wear. I didn’t wear any of my purchases prior to birth and everything was so fresh and nice and new to me when she arrived. I would take a lovely sitz bath and change into a nice, new pair of pajamas and I felt great. Now at 5 months postpartum I still wear every piece all of the time at home, definitely a good investment.

Perspective

I really wanted to make the most of our time home as a brand new family of four. Besides some aspects that are just kind of shocking, I think one of the hardest parts of postpartum is the guilt, the unrealistic expectations, the “shoulds”, the “have tos”, so I took some time before the birth to give myself some personal perspective. I was going to ask for and accept help, I was going to accept that my son was well cared for by someone other than myself, I was going to stay in bed, I was going to take a bath every day, I was going to take time and eat good food, I was going to see this as a blissful almost three weeks at home as a family, we would never all be home together for that amount of time! I was not going to power through pain or negative emotions, I was going to rest, cuddle and nurse the baby, and when someone else was cuddling her I was going to cuddle my son. And that was it. Instead of feeling trapped inside the house I was going to view it as my personal sanctuary, a spa like place, that was tidy from the help I requested, that served amazing food and where I took hot baths with and without my new baby. There was nothing else I should or had to be doing, this was it.

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A friend recently posted a link to this article on her Facebook page and it is so true. We have lost so much as new mothers in this country and I really hope little by little we can support each other and help change the face of postpartum (which really extends throughout the first year, IMO!), even a little bit. What did you do to have a better postpartum? What do you recommend to new mamas? How did your postpartum experience change with each child? We would love to hear your stories :)

Sibling Preparation: During Pregnancy

Krystyna has wrote various pieces on preparing siblings for the arrival of a newborn brother or sister and even specifically preparing them for a home birth of that sibling over on Sweet Pea Births blog, but today I am going to share what exactly we did with our 2.5 year old son during pregnancy and birth in anticipation of his sister’s arrival.

We talked about the pregnancy, baby, breastfeeding, what he could expect, etc. every day in all different contexts and situations, it was a regular topic of conversation and everything was always positive. In addition to that ongoing dialouge the following was all extremely helpful in easing the transition.

1.  Big Brother Books.

We picked up all sorts of different books: I’m Going to be a Big Brother , Daniel Tiger’s The Baby is Here and Big Brother, Babies Can’t Eat Kimchee and were gifted Berenstains Bears’ New Baby and The New Baby. We read them throughout the pregnancy and he still likes reading them today (3 months post birth).

2. Watching Birth Videos.

We were planning a home birth so towards the end of the pregnancy we watched home birth videos online quite often. I searched for ones with siblings present and we talked about how this is what it would be like when baby sister arrived. We talked specifically about what labor was like and how she would come out and join us.

3. Breastfeeding: Remind, Remind & Remind Again.

We were in the process of weaning when I found out I was pregnant. My son was completely weaned very early in the pregnancy but still was interested in and asked about “milk” ALOT. I knew that breastfeeding might be a point of frustration / anger / sadness for him when the baby arrived so we talked about it early and often. We talked about how babies have mama’s milk when they arrive (and watched newborns nurse in the above mentioned birth videos), we watched animals nursing online, we talked about how little babies need mamas milk but he is big and has things like yogurt and ice cream that babies can’t have. I asked him over and over again what the baby was going to do when she got here so he could respond with “mama milk!” and over and over and over just kept the conversation going and always kept it very upbeat.

4. Big Brother, Little Sister Gift.

We talked a lot about how when little sister got here she would bring a gift for him (my parents and grandparents so generously purchased him an iPad mini! We wanted it to be something notable) and we took him around my due date to a local children’s store and let him pick out a gift for her. He picked out a little plush giraffe and a couple hours after the birth he started asking about his gift and was extremely excited to give baby her gift too! This really worked like a charm for us and definitely promoted his interest in her when she arrived I believe.

5. Recognizing & Pointing out Siblings.

As soon as we started talking about a baby joining our family we started emphasizing siblings wherever we went. We talked ALOT about his friends that had babies and what it was like for them and how exciting it was that *he* was going to get a baby too, just like them. When we would see babies at the park I would always point them out and say “a baby like your baby sister that is coming”, etc.

These are all extremely simple and were not hard to implement but for our family they really did make an impact. Our son knew exactly what to expect during and after the birth and I could not have been more pleased with the immediate transition. I feel like a large portion of the work actually came *after* she was born in order to preemptively mitigate tension and maintain peace within our day to day though. Stay tuned for those in part two, Sibling Preparation: Post Birth, coming on Thursday!

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What else did you do to prepare your older children during pregnancy? We would love to hear in the comments, cheers to siblings without rivalry!

the number of days until my due date - AHHH!

Monday Musings: do I actually know what I need?

I felt fiercely private and protective of all aspects of my first birth, leading up to and then beyond my due date. I didn’t want anyone to know I was in labor, I didn’t want anyone to be there except my husband and my doula and later my midwife, I didn’t want anyone even talking out loud about their predictions or how they envisioned it unfolding for me: day/time/outcome/etc. And… it worked out well. I spent most of the day going about regularly scheduled activities and during my 5 hours of active labor and then 1 hour of pushing it was just me, my husband and my doula (and later my midwife) with nobody else being any the wiser. I had no idea what to expect and I needed to experience it by myself with no outside disturbances or distractions, I very much felt like I *knew* exactly what I needed and it seemed to be perfectly true. I wanted to focus entirely and completely on the task at hand, nothing to break my concentration. I barely talked and there was no conversation between contractions, it was all very intense the entire time – but worked well, the entire labor & birth were very efficient.

the number of days until my due date - AHHH!

the number of days until my due date – AHHH!

This time I seem to be behaving exactly the opposite. Part of it has to do with the fact that now it is not just my husband and I but our son too and he requires more, a friend will be coming over to play with him and take him in and out of the house as he wishes. This friend may have another child with her so it could not just be him running around but one of his little best friends too.

Part of it is that our living situation has changed, our location and the fact that I know longer work for a paycheck full time, my full time is now spent looking after our son. Because of this a doula was not a viable option this time, *but* my midwives have a couple of women they work with that love to come to births to lend a hand, just because they love to. I haven’t actually met them yet but told my midwife I would adore and appreciate any extra help, emotionally, physically, even just help around the house as things are much more chaotic than last time.

And then there is birth photography. Photography was not even a consideration with my first birth and the farthest thing from my mind. My doula said she would snap a few shots for me and thank goodness for her because her three or so pictures are all that I have of that day and night and I actually LOVE looking at them. A few weeks ago I saw these photos of a girl I know that lives near us and I fell completely in love. I couldn’t stop looking at them for days (she is totally going to think I am a creep the next time I see her) and when I found out the photographer is actual a home birth mama herself any reservations I had about the process were gone and I just wanted her there too.

So now the count for my birth is: my husband, my son, possibly one of his toddler friends, one of my friends, two midwives, a possible free doula I have not met and a photographer – and my house is less than 1,000 square feet. It feels completely insane yet entirely right to me all at the same time.

The other day my son & I watched this birth video and I felt even another huge shift in how I envisioned my birth.

I didn’t want it to be me in an intense, unbreakable, focused place tuning out all of the people and probably inevitable pseudo craziness around me, I want to be a part of it. I want to talk and laugh with the women around me like in the video, and I see the entire environment much more light hearted in general.

I re-read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth this pregnancy and something in it really stuck with me. I can’t remember exactly what Ina May said but it was something to the extent of not being a crazy, dramatic, shrieking woman towards your partner during labor, that they (your partner) deserve positivity and for you to be nice, not slinging insults their way, etc. She talks a lot about “relaxation of the cervical sphincter that correlated with positive and loving words spoken during the most intense phase of labor” and “how the words [you speak] affect [your] labor” and then goes on to tell stories of mothers that would tell husband, baby, midwives and the friends helping how much she loved/appreciated them and Ina May added that “[she had] never noticed anyone’s cervix remain tight and unyielding while speaking loving and positive words”

I felt that during my first birth a lot of my rest between contractions was spent anticipating and bracing myself for the next one – and I would really like to have a go at some laughter and breaks in the tension and intensity this time around.


But then I think… am I crazy? Why fix something that isn’t broken? My labor with my son was swift, straightforward and effective. Can I really get the job done in a completely different environment? Is what I see for this birth actually right for me (and subsequently baby)?

I am a very changed person since the birth of my son, I feel like a lifetime of joy, tears, love, growth and sleep deprivation have taken place in the three short years since he joined us earth side. And I am also a vessel for an entirely different human being this time. Her wants and needs may not align with her brother’s in the slightest.

And so… I am just going to trust. Trust that everything has come together exactly as it should. Trust that when I say or do something without thinking about it first it comes from a place of inner wisdom. And trust that everything is fluid, no matter how the birth environment is it can always change if I or baby need it to.

How have your births differed from child to child? Has becoming a mother once changed the way in which you give birth again?

Do you *know* what birth holds for you and your baby while pregnant? Has envisioning the kind of birth you want come true for you? I would LOVE to hear other people’s experiences <3

Tuesday Tips: Bare Bones Newborn Essentials

Now that I am approaching past the halfway mark of my second pregnancy we I have started thinking about the “things” we will need.

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hi baby!

I tried to keep the stuff to a minimum with our first, even with our attempt people still bring things, certain things seemed appealing to us when our son reached x,y,z milestones and eventually I ended up giving away a TON of “baby” things when we moved (my son was 10 months old). This time around the attempt to keep things to a minimum is even greater as we know what lasts and what doesn’t and considering that home birth costs roughly 3x more here in central California as ours in Arizona did, we are on a strict budget to save up for birth and newborn care. I also feel that money is better spent during pregnancy on prenatal herbs and supplements, chiropractic adjustments, massages, a birth tub, birth and postpartum supplies/luxuries and the like to give our babe the best start at life even if it means having to sacrifice a few conveniences for ourselves during the first year.

This is what I have narrowed my personal list down to, it isn’t as bare as diapers, wipes, clothes and boobs but it was as darn close as I could come while still considering my sanity of having to take care of two children on my own most days past two weeks postpartum.

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 Sling
I used a ring sling with my son and I loved the ease of use and versatility it provided. I especially loved the cradle carry position during infancy, the option to forward face once the baby gained head control and the ease of breastfeeding while in the sling. I will definitely be getting a Sakura Bloom Pure Linen Sling as everyone I know raves about them and they are made locally in the US in Massachusetts.  I do have an Ergo Organic that I used from about 10 days until now still with my son that I am sure I will use quite a bit too but having the sling for different situations and especially the younger months is a must in my book!

Clothes
Much more of a must this time around in our cooler weather and considering that baby should arrive sometime in January. I am going to keep it very simple and pick up a few organic pieces, onesies, tees, leggings and sweaters. I love American Apparel Baby and Kate Quinn Organics, both organic cotton and made in USA. We will be reusing all of our Aden + Anais organic swaddle blankets we still have from when my son was born.

Diapers
I cloth diapered with my son and absolutely loved it, until we moved to the central coast. We live less than a mile from the ocean in a town notorious for its fog and lack of sunny days. It is always damp here and line drying is completely out of the question. After a few months of drying the diapers in a dryer and coming up with no options for a diaper service I called it quits :( We have been using Seventh Generation pull-ups which I love, but considering the transition from a one child to two child family as well as the trip that is required to frequently purchase these I am excited to try out The Honest Company for diapers + wipes with this little babe (knock on wood, all fingers crossed that in January our then 2 year 10 month old will be completely potty learned!!) The delivery aspect is something I am extremely excited about, I have heard nothing but good reviews regarding the quality of product and delivery service and think we will give it a go for a bit and see how we like it.

Double Jogging Stroller
A jogging stroller is a must for our family as I walk numerous places in a 2-3 mile vicinity of our home, which includes tons of uneven surfaces and hills. I don’t plan on using any type of infant seat attachment with a stroller as we are putting baby straight into a convertible car seat that we already own, so this won’t be entirely necessary until I am comfortable placing baby directly in the seat. I see me using my single stroller for my toddler and wearing the baby for the first couple/few months, which gives us plenty of time to save up for the stroller I want, the BOB Revolution SE Duallie. I use my stroller every single day without fail and have been making due with a decade old completely bare jogger we picked up on Craig’s List for ~$40 for the past 2.5 years. This is a splurge I have been looking forward to for some time! That being said, I will definitely not be buying this guy new and have already seen quite a few in great condition on Craig’s List in my area!

Portable Swing
We borrowed a full size swing from a friend with my son and he used it non stop for months. He liked the motion, had a hard time sleeping, had reflux and liked to be upright and it was a lifesaver. I know all babies are different, but I would like to be prepared. It is also nice to have a safe place to set baby down away from a crazy toddler or if I need to attend to the toddler for whatever reason. I am pretty set that the swing is going to be a must. I have my eye on a 4moms, their products are all breathtaking to me! I haven’t decided between a rockaRoo or mamaRoo yet but love the compact, portable nature of both – a definite necessity for our small living space.

Ergo Infant Insert
I mentioned we used the Ergo from about Day 10 with my son but we never actually had an infant insert. He was born in March in AZ and it just seemed to hot and sweaty and I had quite a few moms show me how they used swaddle blankets to secure baby instead. This time around because of the time of year and weather the snuggly coziness of the infant insert seems very appealing, especially because I am much more “on the go” chasing a toddler these days. I will probably try to borrow or buy one off of a friend!

I haven’t quite decided if I absolutely need a nursing pillow or baby lounger pillow or if they are something we can do without this round. I already have a breast pump and I am not really sure if we will even bother with bottles, so that is about it! Baby will sleep in bed with us or next to our bed on a crib mattress on the floor, I mentioned we already have a convertible car seat for him/her, we have tons of flat cloth diapers to use as burp rags, etc. and although I would love a new diaper bag, I am sure my old one will do just fine :)

Anything bare bones, absolutely necessary that I am missing? What newborn “essentials” did you have on your list??

Carnival of Natural Mothering: What I Wish I Knew

We are excited to participate in this month’s Carnival of Natural Mothering from Growing Slower!

What You Wish You Knew

Remember when you got your first positive pregnancy test? What do you wish that woman knew? Write a letter of love and encouragement to that awesome mama just starting her journey.

Read more at http://www.growingslower.com/p/carnival-of-natural-mothering.html#BLyjPcmFfALHIW9e.99

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I found out I was pregnant one Friday after a long week of work and travel, I was so tired at my desk late that afternoon that I called my husband to come drive me home – I honestly thought I might fall asleep at the wheel because my eyelids were so heavy. I was wearing a long, loose, beach-y tunic with tights that day because I felt so bloated… I did not have even the slightest idea that I may be with child.

It was June 17th, 2011 and one trip to the bathroom, pee stick in hand, dramatically changed the course of that evening and every single day since. I was going to write a generic letter to any/all mamas that had just received that positive test but the real love and encouragement comes from addressing the very specific things I have experienced and/or struggled with throughout my journey, maybe some of you have or will encounter similar and can find a little solidarity that I was once there too, and came out the other side better than I could have imagined.

what I wish I knew

Dear Cassandra,

You will wake up tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day for many, many weeks and not believe or feel you are pregnant, don’t worry, really don’t, you are. You are and you will stay that way, pregnant, and then really pregnant until the very end. You do not have to worry about what is beyond your control, you are doing everything you can to stay healthy and happy and that is all that really matters. You will take great care of yourself and subsequently the baby growing inside of you during this journey that is pregnancy, no matter how other people make you feel: other women that have come before you, people at work, anyone, it is so very important. You will be extrememly grateful for every moment you spent stretching, every chiropractic appointment, every massage, every walk, every herbal tea, every green drink concoction, every yoga class, heck even every pedicure, when you naturally deliver a healthy baby that continues to grow into a very healthy child, while simultaneously taking up all of your time and energy leaving self care a distant, but fond memory :)

You will be in amazement the entire process, just because millions(?) of women have grown and birthed babies before you do not let it take away from how utterly miraculous the entire process is. You will think about pregnancy and birth 100% of the time, it is a lot, but do not fret. You will be prepared, prepared for birth yes, prepared for motherhood, no. There is nothing you could have done differently though, it truly is something that you can never be prepared for. It is instant and it is permanent, you will often feel like you are barely hanging on, but it will pass, and then return – it is one heck of a roller coaster that is for sure.

Adding a human being to your family who is entirely dependent on you every second he is not asleep (which in his case will not be often) is not like you imagine. It will be more exhausting, more demanding, more physically and emotionally draining, more trying, and more compromising then you can even wrap your brain around at this point. You will hate everyone who says that being a parent is hard, but SO WONDERFUL, you will feel lied to and you will feel frustrated with yourself for rushing into something you could not have second thoughts about. You will be mad that all you want is time alone but then do not enjoy it because being away from your baby makes you uneasy, you will be more tired than you could ever imagine yet unable to fall asleep because there is a small but heavy head cutting off the circulation to your arm that you would rather let lose blood flow permanently than move it and risk waking up the baby. You will wait for things; your body, your life, to feel “normal” again and constantly wonder how you missed the memo that once a baby comes out of your lady parts they are forever changed.  You will become a night owl, your body and brain will literally adapt to the fact that if you want to get anything done it will have to take place between the hours of 10PM-1AM. You will cry, a lot. And then cry some more and some days you will wake up and cry because all you want to do is go to the bathroom and brush your teeth by yourself. And then you will spend the first night away from your child, and you will wake up in the morning and cry because you miss him, and then cry harder because you don’t want to cry, you want to enjoy yourself gosh darn it and now you’re crying!

You will know that becoming a mother made you 6,567,943 times better as a person, you will know you would not be where you are today without embarking on this journey, you will know that every thing happens exactly as it should – but it will still be hard, too hard, and some days you will wonder how you can possibly live another day with no sleep, no alone time with your husband, carrying 25 pounds on a hip that definitely notices it, cleaning someone’s else’s extremely smelly poop, pushing a Cozy Coupe around the block 13 times and literally not having 10 seconds to drink water before it was seized by miniature hands and dumped on the floor.

You will wait to forget what it was like to stay out all night with your husband and how amazing all day Netflix marathons on the couch are, you will hope that the sadness you feel when you see a person reading in a coffee shop or while admiring someone’s nice, unwrinkled, unsoiled, new clothes won’t always be there. You will wonder why it is taking you longer than everyone else to use words like awesome, amazing, wonderful, joyful, and rewarding in relation to parenting.

You will know deep down that having a young child IS difficult no matter what, but that it is also temporary, a fleeting memory in the entire journey of parenthood and you will remind yourself of this, but it will not always help.

There will be times when you feel like you are losing, losing your mind, losing at marriage, losing at life.

You will wonder when you will ever be able to “do” anything ever again, and if there is re-emergence from the crazy, dirty, messy, chaos of your current daily survival called motherhood. And then one day, one day far away yet so close, you will realize you have in fact, surfaced.

You will make dinner multiple nights in a row, your son will be happy to spend hours with babysitters, you will be working again and able to feel good about getting yourself a few things just for you that you need/want, someone will say to you & Eric that you look young and in love, and when you tell your son that you’re going to put on makeup and do your hair in the bathroom and he can play with his kitchen/tools/legos in the playroom until you are done he will nod and *gasp* do it.

And the moment will come, the moment you are at the ocean’s edge on a beautiful day standing with your husband seeing your now toddler intently watching and listening to the waves crash, smiling and laughing profusely when some ocean spray gets his leg, running wildly, entirely carefree and lavishly happy that you will know that this moment would be nothing without him. Your capacity to feel the love, gratitude, overwhelming joy, happiness, reward and peace right then would not exist if he did not. His hugs, his kisses, his laughter, his stories, witnessing his connections with others,  they make life something it would not be otherwise.

Everyone’s children are different and therefore everyone’s experience of parenthood is vastly different. You may never not miss how much time you used to spend on yourself or with your husband, it may take you longer than the “norm” to describe parenthood as joyful and awesome, but you will arrive. You will take your son somewhere just for him, class, the park, the aquarium, a play date at least once everyday during the week, you will squeeze in emails during walks and work into the night, you will shop for healthy food and even if you don’t make dinner every night health will always be a priority for your family. You will share information, clothes, and baby gear with other mamas, make dishes for new families, get dressed up for work dinners despite a small person hanging on your leg, your hair will almost always be messy and your house even messier but you will be so happy. There will be shiny days, and hard days, days that fly by and days that drag on and you won’t be happy all day every day, but you will be happy every day. And most of all you will be grateful, grateful for the profound experience that is parenthood, grateful for the opportunity to grow and change into a mother and person that you are very proud of. Be easy on yourself, each day is a new opportunity to do better and be happier than the day before <3

Love & Mothering,

Cassandra, March 2014 

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Thoughtful Thursday: Birth Vocabulary

So there were two articles back to back in my news feed this morning….

First this one:

Gold Coast Hospital reduces caesarean rate by helping expectant mums overcome their fears of natural birth

But after being given time to talk through her fears with obstetrician Anne Sneddon and then with midwife Jenny Fenwick, Ms Watts says her “faith has been restored” in natural deliveries with the birth of her second son, Gyan, a month ago.

“They talked about how to labour, what would be the best position, what I could do that would reduce pain relief,” she said. “I didn’t even ask for gas, whereas I was asking for gas in my first birth and I was asking for an epidural.”

Dr Sneddon credited drops in caesarean rates to a range of changes, including the identification of anxiety in some women and linking them with the one obstetrician and midwife in a “continuity of care model” to work through their fears.

Read the article here: http://bit.ly/1alpzRy

And then this one:

Do I Need a Yurt to Have a Natural Birth?

Giving birth is scary — especially if you have never done it before. I remember looking down at my giant, pregnant belly, and thinking the laws of physics were a lie. I knew the baby would come out, but the suggested hole did not make any sense. Giving birth to a human seemed about as likely as regurgitating an entire watermelon. In fact, I was so nervous I’m sure I would have preferred if the baby came out my mouth.

Read the whole article here: http://huff.to/1alrm9k

While the author,  Toni Nagy, goes on to explain that she did have a natural birth in a hospital, and offers for decent tips on how to achieve that; if I was a mama freaked out about natural birth, that first paragraph alone would not encourage me to read down to the bottom of the article to read her natural birth tips.  I would probably read that first paragraph and say to myself, “Thank goodness for epidurals!!”

There are care providers and birth spaces that support a mother’s birth choices – it is our role as consumers to find them.  When we do, and have transformative birth experiences, I really invite those of us who have had empowered births to start talking about them with empowering words.  If we had a natural birth, an appropriate use of an epidural, a cesarean by choice, basically, choices that we feel good about, start telling people about that birth experience.  Use other words that are encouraging, even if “fear” and “scary” were part of your story, make sure you share that you transcended and came out on the other side with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

I define an Empowered Birth as:

A mother working together with her support team and a care team that are invested in a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  As much as possible, they honor her birth wishes, help her make informed consent decisions regarding her care if/when there are decision points, and there are no regrets about the path of labor or the outcome.

In our own experience, Empowered Birth can be:

      • Transformative
      • Empowering
      • A Rite of Passage
      • A Learning Experience
      • An Amazing Experience

After reading those articles this morning, I will definitely make more of an effort to use those words when we go to birth events, meetings, or in general conversation when it comes up.

What kind of words do you use to describe your birth experience??