Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Hippie Thoughts on Attachment Parenting

It has been a couple of weeks now since I have learned what "style" of parenting I apparently practice... and after having some discussion, reading halfway into a book I borrowed and my own reflection on the topic as our family operates naturally in this way, I cannot hold back any longer and am finally ready to have a "bloggy" discussion on Attachment Parenting. 

Recently I came across a lovely fellow Hippie Momma's blog, (The Happy Hippie Homemaker) while searching for blogs to follow and the first two words that popped off the screen to me were Attachment Parenting, or AP for short.

Had no idea what it was. Never heard of it. But it sounded intriguing and I've been reading about it ever since!

Giving something a label is usually overrated to me and puts things into categories that can separate people, cultures, etc. And I have to admit that the first thought that came to mind after reading about it a little was.... "Isn't AP just Parenting, and shouldn't the alternative to Parenting be "Detachment Parenting"? But there's still just something about knowing that the way we naturally parent actually has a name and definition that gives me the warm and fuzzies. 

AP is more of a philosophy and less of a "style".  It is a lifestyle by instinct to those of us who usually practice baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping or bed sharing, choose natural foods and read labels, shop local, labor naturally and are all around Hippie Mommas (and daddies) at heart (none of that is criteria of course). 

We are are sensitive to our babies needs. We believe in their cries and respond to their cues, staying flexible and avoid schedules that are impractical for a baby. 

For example, since I began writing this post I have stopped to play, nurse, change a diaper, play some more, rock and even took a walk because the sun came out for a moment (Sure it was raining on us a little bit while we walked, but we take what we can get up here in Washington). 

We feed our babies when they give the signs of wanting to eat and we allow them to sleep when they feel like dozing off. When one parents in this way, parent and baby live in harmony within each other day to day, taking away many stresses or worries that they would have otherwise if they'd chosen to follow a rigid schedule. 

Here are the 8 basic principles of AP: 

  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Studies have found that attachment-parented children grow up into more secure adults who handle the stresses of life, relationships and pressures of life better than children who were not attachment-parented. The studies have also shown that AP children usually have healthier relationships with both friends, acquaintances and lovers than the non-AP children.  

With AP, the baby can trust that their caregiver (the parent, guardian and even baby sitters) will comfort them when they need it, eliminating doubts or fears of the new world around them far before they ever have time to form. The AP child has a great respect for their parents, a bond that is based on trust and love, and generally aim to please their parents, being less likely to wanting to risk disappointing them. 

AP parents take any opportunity to turn a situation into a learning experience.  This holds true even with discipline.  

AP children are disciplined with what is called Positive Discipline (PD), focusing on helping the child learn and grow and on helping them handle their current situation. The opposite of this would be to respond to a situation in an angry (or violent) fashion, punishing them without teaching them anything in the process. 

Practicing PD means to have reasonable expectations of the child according to their age and to discipline the child in a loving, caring, encouraging and firm manner. 

There seems to be a confusion in modern society that when a baby cries, they are trying to manipulate their caregiver, and trying to somehow control their surroundings.

Before the age of 1, babies do not cognitively have such an ability to give them any sort of thought process, and it is psychologically impossible to spoil them. That is a fact!  When a baby cries, they simple need comfort and care. It is their primal way of requesting care in order for them to survive. 

All of their "wants" are actually also their vital needs during the early stages of life, and they cannot even comprehend they are a separate being from their mothers for months after birth. Because of that... baby wearing, bed sharing and breast feeding all contribute to their security, which gives way to a more secure and independent toddler, adolescent and adult. 

So often you hear of "baby training" where the parent is trying to teach their newborn to be more independent and sleep through the night right after birth, when really... a baby needs the opposite of that. 

The reason a baby wakes up every 2 to 2.5 hours at night is all a part of that primal request of "PLEASE TAKE CARE OF ME! PLEASE TEND TO ME! PLEASE HELP ME!". 

Babies need to eat every few hours for several months after birth and should NOT go more than 4 hours between feedings, as recommended by midwives, doctors, nurses, studies, etc. Baby is simply reminding you of this when he wakes in the middle of the night. 

Babies should also not sleep with a wet diaper all night long. Baby is asking for a clean, dry one when he wakes you up at night. 

Obviously AP evolves over the years as the child gets older when bed sharing ends, breastfeeding is in the past and the parents are still in tuned with their child; all of their needs, body language, etc. 

To Attachment Parent is to be bonded with your child closer than you could ever imagine. Read about it... Learn more about it....

I recommend a book ....  The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby.  It has validated so much for me and I wasn't ever really looking for any validation. 

Disclaimer: This post is simply that of my own "Hippie Thoughts", is reflective of how I personally feel and is in no way meant to be demeaning those who do not parent in this way.  I just feel that maybe if we, as parents, simply surrender to parenthood and NOT parent at a distance, letting go of rigid schedules, ignoring any outside pressure of what we "should" be doing for our baby/child and just follow our own natural instincts, enjoying our children and nurturing them as they need us to, when they need us to... We could raise more secure adults who have something to contribute to society. After all, our children are our future. 

Sure, Attachment Parenting is a "label", but I will accept it.  It is a good set of guidelines, so to speak, and the very topic could awaken new parents who may be unsure of their self to a truly beautiful world of parenting. 

<3 MHM

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Mothers, Breastfed Babies

Yesterday I visited our local La Leche League just to check it out and meet other mothers who are as passionate about breastfeeding as I am. 

As I was warmly welcomed by a mother who was unpacking the library of books for the group while her 2 year old ran circles in the room blabbing a song only he could understand, and as her 4 year old sat quietly at a table coloring, I found a chair, set down my things and asked if one has to be having difficulty with breastfeeding in order to attend. 

"Definitely not" was her response with a smile on her face as she lovingly tried to wrangle the crumbling graham crackers from her toddler's hands. 

Only 5 other women and myself attended, and as they entered the room one by one with their children, ranging from 6 months, 2 and probably 5 or 6, the room was soon filled with the sounds only a room full of toddlers could make. 

And so the meeting began. After introductions, the mother who greeted me lead discussion, with the day's particular topic being "Overcoming/Preventing Difficulties". 

I've always been a people watcher, and it is not to judge them in the least. To the contrary, it is really because I genuinely appreciate people... What they're made of as far as personality, their body language, their smiles, their eyes... Especially their eyes. So much can be seen within the eyes. They are truly the gateway to what is underneath. 

I was immediately comfortable in that group. Of course I expected to be, but you just never know.. well, the unknown, until you've put yourself out there and try it out. 

Discussion was organic and continued seamlessly among the battle cries of the toddlers among us. 

Mothers are such amazing beings. It is a beautiful truth that, once you're a mother, you're a mother to all children. It was interesting to notice how we all, at one point or another, had our eye on the children (whether they were our own or not) and occasionally would instinctually "mother" (Yes, it is a verb too!) the closest to us, all while being fully engaged in discussion that was filled with personal experiences, advice based on those experiences, and of course, affirmations. 

You can always count on affirmations among women. Well, most women. It is only among those who are comfortable within their own skin, do not pass judgement and are open and receptive to other women. It's unfortunate that some are not. They're missing out on connections that could help them grow in unfathomable ways. 

After discussion and toward the end of the meeting, all of us had breastfed at one point or another, with children being breastfed from the ages of 6 months to the age of 2. Seeing toddlers being breastfed reminded me of "Attachment Parenting". This is something I recently read about on a fellow hippie momma's blog, realizing that, although I probably will not breastfeed into toddlerhood (just a personal choice), I have always practiced Attachment Parenting! It's actually the most natural way to parent, essentially following instincts rather than "popular" or societal expectations. Who knew it had a label though! I'm not big on labels, but was pleased to learn more of this AP, and was more pleased to find a book in the LLL library. 

Before we changed diapers and headed out, the leader then mentioned the need for volunteers.... UH OH. LOL 

I mentioned to my husband a few weeks back that I planned on attending this group at some point, and he said in so many words, that as long as I don't end up planning rallies every weekend, then all should be fine. 

What he means is... I tend to gravitate toward organizing things. I'm good at it. I love it. And it is just natural for me. 

It was a good point for him to make, because one thing we're focusing on for right now is being home and NOT planning/leading anything, mainly because for an entire year and a half, we helped lead in several ways within and behind the scenes of the Occupy Movement, taking a lot of time and energy and passion. A lot. 

So, it was good to have his voice in the back of my head when my "OOoo!! Ooo!! I'll help with publicity, coordinating events, social media, and.. and..!!" urge came on at the first mention of them needing help to grow and get their name out there. 

Not being able to completely pass it up, and after brainstorming a bit on some ideas, I did offer my help but mentioned how my 'man hours' must remain low for the time being, receiving chuckles after I shared the reasons why. 

Groups like this are very important. This pregnancy and baby (as far as breastfeeding, mothering, etc) has been a piece of cake (knock on wood) with really no difficulties or feats to overcome. But I say that humbly. 

With my daughter, postpartum and breastfeeding hell were demons on my shoulders leaving me feeling like a failure, and with hardly a support system or confidence in myself at the time, it honestly scared me to reach out. I know for a fact that if someone would have reached out to me and gotten me to attend just 1 meeting, my life and world probably would have been a whole lot different from that point on. 

Women need women. Mothers need mothers. 

After what we go through for 9 months and then the birth of our child, no matter how we birth... We're all sisters in a sense. We must reach out to one another. 

La Leche League is full of angels who do just that. This is something I could get used to. :) 

I'm glad I went. Looking forward to where this takes me. (SLOWLY, of course.) teehee

<3 MHM

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Woohoo... The Liebster Award!

After taking a break from the computer over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to find that the author of the blog 
has nominated 
Modern Hippie Momma for the Liebster Award! 

I am humbly honored to have been nominated. Thank you, The Wondering Brain!

You may be asking, What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award has been passed on through the blogging community for many years. Despite lots of searching, no one seems to be able to find who created the Liebster Award. The award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 subscribers. “Liebster” is a German word that can mean kindest, dearest, or beloved. The Award is designed to help lesser known blogs worth reading get discovered by others.

To participate in the Liebster Award, one must do the following:

Well... Here it goes!

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I have a (fat) cat who was born with no tail. 
  2. I moved from the South to the beautiful Pacific NW 10 years ago (LOVING IT!)
  3. My dream is to live a self-sustained life with my family on our own piece of land. 
  4. My husband and I were leaders in the Occupy Movement. 
  5. I have 2 little (school age) brothers living in Florida. (and I miss them terribly)
  6. My honeymoon was in Amsterdam. 
  7. My favorite color is deep/dark Sapphire Blue. 
  8. My favorite food is Thai food.
  9. I have 3 tattoos and used to have 21 piercings. (Now I'm down to one) 
  10. I met my husband in the tattoo shop he used to own. 
  11. I am a proud advocate for the medicinal use of marijuana, especially to cure cancer. 

Questions to Answer

  • What made you interested in blogging?
    • After recently becoming a stay-at-home mom to take care of our newborn son, I found that, without the rush of the working life, my mind suddenly had room to think of things that actually MEAN something to me. Blogging seemed like the best way to give my thoughts a voice. 
  • Who is your hero? Why?
    • That's easy. My hero is my best friend, lover, father of my children.... My husband, Paul. There is nothing he wouldn't do for his family, and that is proved in his daily actions. He has more love to give than he can possibly give and that also shows in his daily actions. We are all spoiled by him and are very lucky to have him. 
  • If money was no object, what would you spend it on?
    • If money were no object... I would FEED ALL OF THE STARVING CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!! I would give them shelter and food for life. Then, I would buy that piece of land I dream of living on, set up a completely self-sustaining lifestyle and move the family I miss so badly to live right next to me. :)
  • Do you sing or dance?
    • YES! I LOVE to sing... I just don't do it that well. LOL And YES. I dance. Every chance I get. Where there's a beat, there should be a dancer. This is what I teach my daughter, Abigail. 
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
    • Living with my father. I know now as an adult how important those years were in my development and how those few years has helped make me become who I am as a woman, wife and mother. 
  • What is your dream vacation?
    • My husband and I have always dreamed of traveling to Thailand. We do LOVE the food, but it is also such a beautiful city.
  • What is the most daring thing that you've done?
    • Drove across country in 3 days just a week after graduating high school with all of our belongings in a 12ft trailer being pulled behind our truck to the Pacific NW, while having no job to come to, no place to live and not knowing anyone. Yeah... it was scary, but here we are!!!
  • What is your favorite book?
    • "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. Just... read it. You'll be enlightened on recognizing the Ego, and just how much it rules your life! It will also help you understand (and forgive) others. 
  • If you could change something in your life, what would it be?
    • I wish that my husband didn't have to work and that we instead worked for only ourselves, and were financially comfortable while doing so. We have a dream or two for owning our own business.
  • What do you plan to achieve this year?
    • To turn half of our backyard into a bunch of raised gardens. As of now, we probably spend around $40 per week at least on produce! It will be cost effective and will be fun to do with the kids.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    • With a 5 year old, 10 year old and a 20 year old..... LOL Wow. And hopefully finding myself thriving in our own business. :)

My Blog Nominations Are: 

Fox in the City

Hen N Chicks Soap

The Happy Hippie Homemaker

The Story of a Modern-Hippie-Mom

The Accidental Stay-At-Home-Mom

Project Stay At Home Mom

Nominee's... Here are your questions:

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. Where did you grow up?
  3. If you could make 3 wishes, what would they be?
  4. If you were to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
  5. Who do you consider your hero?
  6. What is one thing you want to accomplish this year?
  7. What hobbies do you have?
  8. Fill in the blanks: Without ______ I would be_______. 
  9. What is your favorite color?
  10. Where is your favorite place to escape? (beach, forest, home....)
  11. Do you dance or sing?
Ready, set, GO! Can't wait to read yours!
<3 MHM

Monday, March 11, 2013

Just a Standard Nipple.... Go figure

Yesterday was an exciting day for us! Well... it was exciting for Mommy & Daddy at least.

***Carlin had his 1st bottle feeding!!! 

He is 6 weeks old and is beyond well established in breastfeeding, so I felt it was time to test the waters with bottle feeding.

This is great news for us as parents because, in order for us to be able to get a babysitter for our little man so that we can go be husband and wife for the first time in a LONG time, he needs to be able to eat from a bottle and not just my boobies.

First, we tried the Medela Calma Bottle, which is around $20.00 per bottle.

It is a new, state of the art bottle designed with breastfeeding in mind. The baby must suckle the nipple as baby would suckle the breast to first draw the breast milk down into the chambers of the nipple (which would equate to "stimulating" in breastfeeding, to bring the milk "down" to allow for full flow). And then only with the baby nursing just as he would from the breast, will the milk come out of the nipple and into baby's mouth.

It sounded so good.... We were SOLD!

However, it failed. Miserably.

First of all, the nipple is not even the shape of a nipple. It is more of a tube-like shape. That had me questioning it from the beginning, along with the fact that the nipple didn't seem to be soft enough to mimic the breast as they say it does, but again... we were sold on the sales pitch, loved that the bottle acted as a the breast and wanted to give it a shot.

This bottle may work for some babies, but Carlin was not having it. He gnawed on it for a while, before eventually just getting royally pissed.

So,  I grabbed the 4 oz. glass bottle we bought for less than $2.00 a piece at the Liquidators, which sports a standard, old fashioned nipple, by the way... And I then crawled on the floor up to Daddy who was feeding Carlin ...   (side note: when you desire to continue to breastfeed and want to introduce a bottle for the first time, it is best for someone else to feed your baby the bottle and for you to stay out of sight and quiet

... I then transferred the milk from Mr. Calma to Mr. Glass (I just named it that)..... AND.... WAH-LAH!


I stood on the other side of the room silently bouncing up and down, celebrating the moment and, of course, jolted to the baby book to log the date and time of this milestone!!!

Being the hippies that we are, it is a big bonus for us that Carlin prefers drinking from a bottle made of glass so that we are certain to stay away from the chemicals found in plastic bottles. Yes, Medela bottles say BPA free, but still. Nothing beats a glass bottle!

IN CONCLUSION! This means (after I get the IUD in place in a few weeks) that Mommy & Daddy get to go on a date soon! :) Yay Carlin and YAY for us!

<3 MHM

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things Abigail Says (#1)

Oh my.... Our daughter.... Who is 5, but has always been this precocious....

< And, just so you know, you can't make stuff like this up. LOL We have been trained over the years to log every word, word for word, of something she says like this because these words must be remembered forever and ever. >

So, word for word, Abigail just said to me....

"Mom! You gotta come see this!! You just gotta come see the SIZE of this! I just pooped that HUGE poop, Mom, and it didn't even hurt! This is fantastic! And LOOK! See it poking out of the water?! <shakes head> WOW... I can't wait to show Daddy. He's going to be so proud of me! Don't flush the toilet, Mom. Dad needs to see this. <skips through the living room and goes outside>."

Me? What was I doing...?? Well... I was doing what any other perfectly....  Immature parent would do...

LAUGH MY ASS OFF!!! ... Then give her a hug, a bunch of kisses for being so damn cute, and then bolt for the computer to log these timeless, priceless "victories" of hers. 

:) We love you, sweetheart. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Midwife, Friend, Angel.....

Ever heard of the quote...

"People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime." ... ? 

 This has proven true to me in my life many times so far, and now I am reminded of it again. 

Today I went to my postpartum check up appointment with my midwife at Pacific Midwifery Services and got to see my midwife for the first time since delivery! Most check ups are 2 weeks after giving birth but my midwife was off work for a month and if I were to have a check up, I wanted it to be with the woman who delivered me. There are a few midwives there but none of them shared the experience Patty and I shared during delivery.

It is called an "appointment" but, with no real concerns to address, it pretty much turned into a visit. 

We sat together and laughed, cried and talked for a good 30 minutes, remembering the details of all that happened during my delivery. I expressed to her how special she is to me, how much I appreciated her and how she handled me, knowing just what to say and how to say it, knowing the exact decisions to make under pressure, and for helping bring our little man safely into this world. 

She stood and embraced me tightly saying, "We're bonded." 

She is my angel and I love her. 

This is when I was reminded of that quote. We attract what we need from life, when we need it. Any midwife could have been on call when I went into labor. But it was her. Secretly in my heart.... I wished it would be her. There's just something about her that pulled me closer to her than the others. There was an instant connection between us from the start. As I'm sure the others would have performed well, she was the answer to my wishes and may have been just the person we needed to be where we are today... with Carlin in our arms. Who knows? 

I asked her how I can keep her in my life without having to have any more babies... LOL, and she said they do annuals! And of course we can come visit anytime. 

Who knows... Time will tell if she is in my life for a season or lifetime. 

I already know she entered it for a reason, but there could be more to it! Life is full of many beautiful surprises. :)

We took pictures together, I gave her a Thank You card with a photo of Carlin enclosed, and hugged, then off I went, full of the warm & fuzzies and of love & appreciation. 

<3 MHM

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Totally Baked Recipes

Confession...... I don't cook. 

Yep, my husband does all of the cooking in the house. 

Not only does he actually enjoy cooking, but he is also doing a service to the rest of the family by not making them eat my cooking, which would be straight out of a box. 

He can make anything. Thai, Chinese.. anything! And thank goodness because we eat really healthy and eat food BETTER than what you can buy in restaurants. 

I do, however, LOVE to bake!!! 

Here I will share my baking adventures, which are usually with my daughter Abigail. :) 


Gooey-Good Rice Crispy Treats

Yes I know... Rice Crispy Treats do not get baked, but still! 
It's easy, quick and fun to make, especially with your little one. 

I'm sure making these is probably one of the most easiest recipes to make, but here's a step-by-step of what we did to make these delicious treats anyways. 

6.5 cups mini-marshmallows
6 cups rice crispy
3 tbsp butter
Greased 9x9 inch pan

Melt butter in medium size pot. 
Then add the marshmallows; stir until melted.

Once melted, add the rice crispy cereal and stir until completely mixed.

Spoon into your 9x9 inch pan, let cool and serve! 
Abigail and I personally prefer them while they are still warm. :) 


Perfect No-bake Cookies

Once upon a time it was just a typical weekend and my daughter Abigail and I want to bake something when we discovered we were out of eggs.... 

"OH NO, Mom!!!" 

"No worries!", I said. 
And this is when Abigail learned that we can actually make cookies WITHOUT using the oven. 

She was happy to hear that. :)

You MUST try these!

You will need...

                          1 1/2 cup sugar            4 tbsp coco powder
                             1/2 cup milk              1 cup peanut butter
                             1/2 cup butter            3 cups oats
                                            1 tbsp vanilla

Before you get started, go ahead and set out your wax paper to put your cookies on because once you get started, there won't be much time left to prep!

If you do not have wax paper on hand (that would be me!), spread  out a piece of tin foil and spray with cooking spray. It works just as well.

Mix the sugar, milk, butter and coco powder in a saucepan and heat to a boil.

Once mixture is at a full, rolling boil, like this...

...set your timer to 1.5 minutes. It is best to set a timer to be sure your mixture does not boil too long because the cookies may not set well and you will end up with crumbly cookies. 

After timer goes off, remove from heat and add vanilla, oats and peanut butter. 

Do this quickly so the mixture is still hot enough to completely soften the peanut butter
to be sure it gets spread evenly! 

Take a spoon and make even dollops of your cookie mixture onto your wax paper, let it cool for an hour to allow the cookies to set and ENJOY!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Carlin's (long) Birth Story

Carlin Delano Nipper
7lb, 4oz, 20 1/4 inches long

Saturday, January 26th was like any other day to us. I was tired from barely sleeping due to my huge and growing belly and dealing with sporadic contractions that had lasted a ...full week by then. But as usual, wanted to continue to get ready for baby Carlin b/c even though he was not due until Feb 12th, we knew he could come any day. I started my morning nesting.. vacuuming, folding his clothes, putting up his pack n plays... when at 11am I had a contraction that was seemingly stronger than usual, but didn't think much of it. Then 11:10, another, then about 7 minutes later, another. When contractions are false, there's usually something you can do to make them stop. I walked, drank some water, laid on my side., took a shower.. they kept coming. I notified my midwife of them and also that we were heading out the door to attend my baby shower. She said "Of course you are!". LOL And said to contact her after the contractions progress. We went to the baby shower; at this point it is 1pm. 

As soon as we arrived, I realized that my contractions were now 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute long. Rule of thumb is for this to take place for an hour to determine if it is real labor, known as 5-1-1. ( 5 min long, lasting for a minute, for an hour long.) Contraction after contraction took place, each growing stronger, as I opened my gifts, laughed and visited in between them. This was determined by everyone present that it was definitely the most interesting baby shower any of us had been too. Some were worried, but most were laughing, and sometimes the room would go silent when a big one came and everyone would talk me through them. But by the end, an hour later, we were all but rolling on the floor giggling b/c I would have a painful contraction and then be so grateful for the gift I had just opened right afterward. It went from one extreme to the other repeatedly until we were all delirious. A little after 2pm I knew we needed to go. We rushed home, grabbed my bags that had been packed for a month, called the midwife, called my friends on call who wanted to be present and help with Abigail, and hit the road. 

By now they are 3-4 min apart, and Paul is letting me squeeze his hand while he uses the song times on a CD to time them for me, but with the volume down. (worked perfectly!). At one point I realized I had to pee (we're on our way to Vancouver) so he stopped at a gas station in Ridgefield and I proceeded to run inside, during a contraction, begging for the restroom. You should have seen that girl's face. haha I would have peed on her floor at that point. My bladder was seconds away from bursting so I 'm glad she answered fast even in her moment of shock. 

My friend Diana was ahead of us and met us at the hotel where we needed to pay for a room really quick so that she and Abigail would have somewhere to stay that night. We planned on booking at the Shilo Inn b/c they have full kitchens, etc. that make it seem a bit more "homey" and comfortable for Abigail. Paul didn't have his credit card so I waddled in with him with mine, full blown contractions happening in the lobby. The man was so kind, we got a discount for the room b/c I was in labor! (Shilo Inn off 134th exit in Vancouver - THANK YOU!). 

We finally made it to the hospital and into our room with the built-in birthing tub for my planned water birth that we had looked forward to this entire time. My midwife, Patty from Pacific Midwifery, was so wonderful. Very soft spoken, immediately dimmed the lights and to my relief, notified us that I was already 6cmm and had managed to labor mostly out of the hospital on my own. I cried tears of relief, and felt a little empowered to make it through the rest of the labor. 

As soon as I lowered into the tub... "Ahhhhhhhh...." parted my lips and a calming wave of energy washed over my body. I realized now, after making fun of what they called Water Birth in our child birth classes, "Auquadural".. it is really "aaaaaaaahquadural", b/c of the immediate feeling of Ahhh.. LOL Water.. what an amazingly healing element. Felt right at home. Each contraction came 3-4 min apart, but with Paul sitting in front of me holding my hands, Diana and my midwife sitting beside the tub, and with my sweet, precious daughter Abigail offering me calm, loving words of encouragement as she poured water over my back, washed my face with a rag, rub my cheeks with her hands.... my contractions seemed further apart than they were and were so much more tolerable. 

A couple hours went by, my friend Ann arrived with toys for Abigail and now my moans were getting deeper and longer. The world outside myself was a blur as I focused internally, completely submitting to the pain, staying relaxed and using my loving husband as my focal point.

My midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water. I thought for a moment... knowing that it could still be a while, and although everyone around me said I was handling the pain of labor more beautifully and gracefully than what they are used to witnessing... I honestly knew in my heart that I just wanted to hold my baby. I just wanted to be done and hold my little man. She broke my water at my request and my pain immediately went from about a 10 to a 15 in seconds flat. (they always ask what your pain is between a 1 and a 10). She then asked if I was pushing my baby out based on my guttural moans. 

When I said No, she checked and said I was at 9cmm, and at that time she wanted to check the baby's heartbeat just to make sure all is well since he is now deep into the birth canal. For several minutes, she and a nurse fight to find his little heartbeat, and b/c what they kept hearing was a beat between the 90's and 100, they couldn't tell if it was his heartbeat or mine that they found, so they asked that I briefly get out of the tub so they could determine baby's heartbeat. It is then I realized that there are oddly no breaks between contractions.

For some reason, the pain was ongoing and felt intolerable. I no longer felt in control or peaceful as I did only moments before. On the bed, after a few scary minutes of not finding his heartbeat, she found it... and was not happy. My back faced her as I faced the back of the bed, mumbling how I don't think I could do this... please get this baby out... the pain wasn't breaking... something felt wrong. At one point I was backing down off the bed and in my mind, just wanted to run out of the room and go home. LOL I didn't want to do it anymore. 

Everything had changed so quickly. My friends Ann and Diana, my midwife and the nurses, and my husband all shouted out words of encouragement. My midwife had me turn around; she looked me square in the eye and said "We need this baby out NOW. You have to get this baby out, Amanda, RIGHT NOW." My body was tired, my mind had become my enemy and I knew that I could not birth in the tub as I had long dreamed. I knew that my peaceful birthing experience where I was in full control, and my baby would gently float into my arms... was over. But I knew that his life was up to me. I had to save his life and get him into this world as quickly as possible. 

Patty told me that the reason my pain was constant and the contractions seemed never ending was b/c his little forehead was stuck on the lip of my cervix, preventing it from dilating to a full 10cmm, which is what it must be to push him out. At this point.. I must remind you.. I am doing this entire labor DRUG FREE. This is important to know, b/c from this moment forward, just when I thought I was in the most pain possible... these next several minutes would prove me wrong. 

After ordering the nurses to give me an emergency dose of something to help my cervix dilate and relax more (at which time I was stabbed in the thigh with a huge needle of medication that would do the trick) Patty had to pop the lip of my cervix off his head with her fingers... OMFG, OUCH. And I immediately started pushing. Patty kept instructing me.. Keep your legs wide open, Amanda. You have to push with your chin to your chest.. Keep pushing. With all that was taking place, focusing my mind on doing just one thing was a feat, but all 3 of the commands were a bit difficult to master, so a nurse held my leg, my husband held my chin to my chest and held my other leg while he coached me and encouraged me, telling me “it is almost over, our baby is almost here.” 

With this being such an urgent need to get this baby out, I felt a doctor cut an episiotomy, which was followed by me belting out a blood curdling scream, which I was later told could be heard from the end of the hall even with the door to my room shut. (Diana had taken Abigail out of the room long before this time.) It seemed like forever, and found myself looking down at my midwife Patty... She locked eyes with me for what felt like eternity, telling me when to push and that I needed to get this baby out NOW. I remember thinking this is the greatest woman ever... With her locking eyes with me, the rest of the room, which was now full of about 20 or so doctors due to my urgent need to deliver all of a sudden, had faded away. 

It was me, her, and my husband’s loving voice right in my ear as tears streamed down his face. I pushed and his head emerged. Paul cried harder saying "He's here baby, he's here... keep going.. he's here baby, keep going, you can do this baby." I pushed and pushed and half his body came out when my body said it was done and I stopped pushing, only to be revived by tons of voices in the room shouting “NO!! You're not done!! Keep pushing!!!” LOL In my mind I'm like, "really?!" I didn't know it but Carlin had his umbilical cord wrapped over his shoulder, under his arm, and down around his ankle, and Patty had a doctor in there who had placed a vacuum on his head as well as electrodes to better monitor him in his descent down the birth canal. I gave a final push and our baby boy was born at 6:18pm... 7lbs, 4oz and 20 1/4 inches long. 

He was immediately carried over to an incubator as Paul gave me a quick kiss and followed him to the other side of the room to be by his side. After all that pain... I found myself smiling and staring at our little man across the room, as well as my husband’s sweet face as we both cried and cried and cried. Carlin's little hand already clutching his daddy's finger in his very first minutes of life. 

It was brought to my attention that I had lost and was continuing to lose more than twice the blood one should lose during giving birth. Nurses pushed on my stomach and would manually contract my uterus for a good 30 minutes at this time b/c it was not doing it on its own, a doctor would stitch up my episiotomy, my husband was still across the room with our baby boy, Abigail and Diana was behind a curtain to where they could only see Carlin and Daddy and not mommy, and Ann, who immediately rushed to my side when daddy went to be with Carlin, was standing beside me squeezing my hand tightly as we both cried together, and she then informed me that I scared her to death and that I am never doing this again...LOL To which I agreed.

The reality of what I had just been through.. what I had just accomplished, with absolutely zero pain medication, was beginning to sink in, and would continue to do so for the rest of the night and following days. The feeling of.. 'I cannot believe I just did that. I cannot believe I just made it through that, and the feeling of 'there is nothing I cannot do'.. all of that was a lot to take in. I cried b/c it hurt. I cried b/c, despite the excruciating pain, I did it. I FREAKIN JUST DID THAT. I cried b/c I was immediately thankful, rather than sad, that... NO, I didn't get my water birth. But what I did get was more of an empowerment than I could have ever expected or imagined. More of an experience that would have so much more of an impact on me for the rest of my life than I could have ever planned for. 

Here I was in exhaustion and tears, looking around the room in complete awe of the moment, completely in the Present, completely thankful for all that I see.. All that had taken place. Everyone made the right decisions at the right time to guarantee that myself and my baby boy are safe and alive in the end, my two close friends were present and I knew that we could not have done this without them, my midwife was my strength as she remained calm and focused in the midst of urgency and emergency, and my husband.... my best friend.. my loving husband who was my center the entire time. 

I love you, Paul. You are my center, my core, my consistent sturdy ground in all that we do and all that we are in our lives. You are the man who I know, from your actions throughout our day to day, loves me as if I am you and you are me. And after this sweetheart... after this experience, and just when I thought I could not be more certain, I have never been more sure of all of this. There is nothing I cannot do with you by my side. Thank you. Thank you for loving me as you do. Thank you for fighting for us when we were at our most fragile state, not letting our love die, not letting anything come between us. Thank you for all that you are and for the Man that you are on the inside, that you probably never thought you could be before we met. 

Most of this experience was caught on video as I instructed Ann to film even the most graphic scenes, but.. after my blood curdling scream from the episiotomy, she was instructed to shut the camera off. Ann being Ann of course, turned it back on at one time, but was immediately told to turn it back off again... LOL Mainly due to liability on the hospitals part, I'm sure. So, baby Carlin’s birth was not caught on camera. But, that's ok. The memory will be forever vivid in our brains and hearts. After this, when all was calm, Paul then told me and anyone who could hear him that when I had Abigail, he thought I was the shit but he still thought he could take me. After witnessing this though... he said that he has nothing on me and would never claim he could take me. LOL I'm not afraid to say it.. I am the SHIT. That shit hurt!!!!!!! LOL :) And it was all in the past the moment I laid eyes on my newborn son. 

Giving life and being a mother... there is nothing greater in this world that a woman has the pleasure of being, and I will never take that for granted. And I wear that badge proudly. Our son was finally placed in my arms… I cried like a baby and, despite it all, I’d do it all over again if I had to. There is nothing.. NOTHING in this world, comparable to the feeling of holding your child, meeting your child, for the very first time. Mommy and Daddy loves you, Carlin, more than you will ever know until you one day have children of your own. Welcome to this world. We will try, have tried, and will continue to fight to make this world a better place for you. That is our promise. ♥

<3 MHM

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cloth Diapering, Month #1: Tips & Advice From My Perspective

Here are a few things I have learned so far, and a few things I appreciate because of Cloth diapering....

~~~~Month #1~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who survived the first month of cloth diapering..?? THIS girl!!
I'm happy to say that it is not at all as hard as it seemed.

  • Hospitals do NOT have diaper sprayers!  
    • This is probably a given but it was not something I considered beforehand. Carlin was put into maybe 2 disposable diapers right after he was born, but after that... We wasted no time starting our cloth diapering adventure. YES, it feels good to put your newborn into soft cotton material with no chemicals against their brand new skin (AND I'M GLAD I DID!), but consider the meconium. It is as thick as tar and black-green, so simply swirling it around in the toilet doesn't really do the trick. So that is just something you will need to think of when it comes to starting cloth diapering right away. 
  • PREFOLDS for newborns! 
    • We purchased a few different styles of diapers... All in Ones, Pocket Diapers, Prefolds.. But I have found that the prefolds fit Carlin the best. (He was born 7lb, 4oz). They are not too bulky and hold in the breastfeeding poo just fine.  We purchased about 25 newborn size prefolds and about 25 general size prefolds, along with 3 newborn covers, 3 small covers and 3 medium covers. I recommend Prorap Classic Diaper Covers. FIRST OF ALL, they are made right here in USA, so they get extra Hippie Points for that!!! (Yep, Hippie points... That's just something I made up. Just now.)They are reasonably priced and, as long as you fold your prefold well (and as long as the poo is not incredibly massive beyond the norm), they do not leak. We need to wash our diapers about every 2 days.
    • The Newspaper Fold worked well for Carlin's little poops for the first few weeks, but in this last week and a half I have had to transition to the Jelly Roll fold to stop the leaks. (Refer to videos on YouTube for different folds and see what works for you!)
  • Buy the Snappi!
    • Cloth diapering is made so much easier with the Snappi. No more big safety pins! 
  • Cloth Wipies - Cut up receiving blankets! 
    • Receiving blankets can be purchased at thrift stores for under a dollar, usually. Cut them up evenly into squares and wah-lah! Done. They start to fray a little at the ends after several rounds in the wash, but you can trim them up if they get too bad. It's worth saving the money. However, if you are savvy with a sowing machine (which I am not) you can easily line the ends with some thread. Get creative with different colors of thread! Cloth diapering is an adventure. Make it fun any chance you get. 
    • You can also purchase baby wash rags at thrift stores for a dollar or less and those work perfectly too. 
  • My Wipie Solution & How I do it:
    • Dr. Bronner's Hemp Castile Soap - Unscented, 1tsp
    • Almond Oil, 1tsp
    • 3 or 4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (you can also combine this with 2 drops of Tea Tree EO, which is also a healing oil)
    • About 4 to 6 oz of water
      • You can use a small pump bottle, or a small spray bottle. I use a coconut hair oil on my hair and saved a couple of the bottles, which have pumps. First I fill the the bottle with the soap and oils, and simply fill it to the top with cool water. It is best to use a 4-6oz bottle because the solution should be used within 2 weeks and you don't want to end up wasting any. Just a few squirts on an end of a folded wipie and that is plenty for Carlin's little bum, so far. 
  • Diaper Champ = Great Wet Pail:
    • You can hang your diapers in a wet bag and wait to soak them in the washing machine before each wash, or you can put them in a wet pail and have them soaking before you need to wash. We chose the wet pail and the Diaper Champ is perfect for that. 
    • Add about 3 gallons or so of water and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Add a few drops of lavender oil if you wish too. This can make the pail very heavy, so it may be best to put it as close as you can to your laundry area.
  • Bum Genius Diaper Detergent:
    • The scoops are small and it only takes one scoop (or two if the load is large and/or extra soiled). 
  • Forget the Stains!
    • Having a new baby, even if it is not your first, is enough work. Plus, you'll want to spend all of your time cuddling and napping in the beginning, and you can never get those times back. For the most part, only your family will see the stains. So just forget them and enjoy life with your newborn and make cloth diapering easy on yourself. If you can't get over the stains, try spraying them with lemon juice and sunning them for a little while outside. I have not tried that yet. Not just because I don't mind the stains right now, but also because it is pretty wet where I live most of the time. But even with overcast, people stand by this method. 
    • The way I do it for now..... Breast milk poo's do not really have a smell. ENJOY THIS PHASE! I pile the diapers up over night, then spray and put in the diaper wet pail in the morning. Then I pile them up until about midday, then spray and put in pail, and I repeat that before the end of the day. 
  • Diaper Sprayer = Great Investment:
    • You can assemble one on your own or you can purchase one. It connects to the back of your toilet and is, I find, what ensures my success in cloth diapering. The newborn breast milk poo is mainly liquid but if one sits too long, it hardens a bit and is more difficult to get off by swirling it around in the toilet. 
  • Buy 3 Wet Bags, at least:
    • It helps to have enough to rotate through the wash (wash them with your diapers), and maybe to even keep one in the diaper bag so it is one less thing to think of when you need to get up and go. 

This is all I can come up with for now. If you have any additions to make based on your experiences, or if you have any questions, leave a comment! We're all in this together! 

<3 MHM