Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hello! What are breasts for anyway?!

 Breastfeeding in the Everglades:
a natural thing in nature itself.

Breasts were created to nourish our children.  At some point in time they have become sexualized in our society.  New moms, let's get back to the heart of the matter.  Boobs are around to feed your baby.  What an amazing gift we have been given!  In celebration of  World Breastfeeding Week, I am blogging about boobies, and how breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the entire world, because breasts were made to sustain our babies' lives.  WOW!  Please join me in blogging and sharing your breastfeeding stories with the support of Mothering's Blog and Breastfeeding event this week.  Check out the link.

I used to be like them.  I used to gawk when a woman had her chest exposed in  public.  I used to think in my head, how can she not be ashamed to do that in public?  She should cover herself, she should go into a bathroom.  I was horribly uneducated until the moment I became a mom and breastfed my bundle of sweetness.  I had to wait sometime before meeting my Audrey.  The horrible hospital she was born at kept me from her for hours after my c-section.  I kept asking for her, and they told me to rest.  Finally, thanks to some crazy, passionate family members, I got to hold my boo-bear.  I instantly tore open my gown and nursed her.  It was perfect.  I didn't care at that moment who saw my boobs.  I didn't care about anything but giving her what she needed most.  It was a perfect moment.  My whole mind-set switched in that moment. 

I have always had larger breasts, therefore, always have gotten sexual attention for my boobs.  I knew I could accentuate that physical aspect about my body.  Sadly, that is all boobs were to me until that moment in time.  This is mindset is being reinforced to our young ladies constantly.  It is so sad.  I want to be a part of changing that.  Boobies are for babies!

I breastfed my children for 4 years (two years each, back to back).  I have had a lot of comical, uneducated, and even sad responses to the fact that I exclusively breastfed my two children.  Here our some of my many stories, enjoy, relate, and learn form other people's mistakes:

  • As I left the hospital with my first born, Audrey, I was still unsure about breastfeeding in public.  I mean, I had only been doing it for three days, and the hospital was no help at all in that department.  I am pretty sure they even snuck her a bottle when they took her to the nursery.  Audrey started screaming as I was being wheeled out to the car, and I knew she wanted to eat.  I pulled out my boob and she instantly latched, and than I fumbled to get the blanket to cover me.  Part of my shoulder was exposed and you could see my nursing bra.  The nurse stopped pushing me and made a fuss of covering me up.  I felt embarrassed about it. I couldn't believe she made me feel that way.  I mean, being a new mom is hard enough without the hospital employees making us feel guilty. Fast forward to 2 years later, I am leaving a different hospital with my newborn son, Luke.  This time, I didn't even get a blanket.  He cried as I was being wheeled out.  I lifted my shirt, not missing a beat and stuck my boob in his mouth.  I continued my conversation with my surrounding family members.  A nurse came running up and gave me a blanket to cover.  I rolled my eyes in to the video camera.  She said something like, "There are small children around."  I didn't say anything, but I was thinking in my head, "Hello, why don't small children know babies eat from their mom's breasts!?" Give me a break.
  • A friend tells me that she will never breastfeed in public.  The baby will have to wait until she is in private to nurse.  My husband tells her, "Well, then your baby is going to starve."  She is saying this to me because I am breastfeeding my baby in public.  Hmmm, a couple years later when she has a baby, low and behold, she breastfeeds in public.  Ha!  I was nice, I didn't bring that up again.
  • Multiple doctors of mine told me at various times that it was time for me to wean my baby.  It is not appropriate to nurse your baby for more than a few months, they told me.  I told them that the Academy of Pediatrics recommends to nurse until a year, at least.  The World Health Organization recommends two years.   The doctors shut their mouths after that.  See what a little education can do?  Even our medical professionals are not all informed about the topic. 
  • Most of the time people couldn't even tell I was nursing in public, but when they did they would always do a double-take.  Some would shake their heads, some would start whispering, some would actually come up to me and try to sneak a peek.  What the heck?  I am just feeding a child.  Get over it.  
  • My children have fond memories of breastfeeding and they often talk about "boo-boos" (that is the term they made up for them) in public.  Too many people are uncomfortable with my children talking about breastfeeding.  When they see someone feeding their baby a bottle, my kids even say, "Don't you give them milk from your boos-boos?"  My little breastfeeding advocates.  They nurse their dolls and stuffed animals when they play.  The other day, my children were playing together and my four year old daughter says to my two year old son, "Come here, I need to breastfeed you.  Come lay down in bed with me."  My two year old screams, "I don't want to go to sleep!"  I could always get him to conk out in seconds with some booby feeding, and he remembers that.  I love that bedtime is what was offensive to him, not breastfeeding.  Why is this not more of a normal thing?  Why do little girls get a bottle with their baby doll?   Why aren't they naturally pretending to nurse their baby dolls?  I will tell you, my kids mostly know what a bottle is because they have seen it on television.  Lord knows they wouldn't put their mouths near a bottle of even breast milk.  (Although, I do understand there are some times moms need to express breast milk to feed their baby.  I always felt bad for my poor husband when I had to leave him with a supply of pumped breast milk.)  So, strangers who are offended, the lesson to be learned is this: Stop freaking out when my children talk about boobs for breastfeeding.  Stop shaking your head when my son cuddles up to my bosom and squeezes them and hugs them.  It is not sexual.  He was nourished and comforted by those things for two years.  Of course he is attached to them.  If I don't mind, why should you?
  • Audrey used to go around rubbing every girls breasts she came into contact with.  It was like she was feeling them out to see if they were a good meal.  You know we scan the menu, our mouths water, than we get to eat.  Audrey was doing the same thing.  You should've seen the looks I would get for laughing at her instead of scolding her.  
  • One of my friends told me that her teenage daughter thought that women nurse their babies out of their belly-buttons, and she wanted to keep her innocent, so she didn't correct her.  What the heck?!  You're keeping her dumb and ignorant my friend, not innocent.  Breastfeeding is one of the most innocently sweet things in the entire world. 
  • I did take a stand at my job for breastfeeding rights.  I am a full-time teacher.  I would pump during my meetings (luckily it was all females, so I got less resistance).  We weren't allowed to have fridges in our classrooms, but I told them it was my right to refrigerate my breast milk and I kept one under my desk.  They wanted me to put my milk in the faculty lounge fridge.  Gross!!!  I nursed my baby when she came and visited me at work and even on field trips.  I was discreet about it, but I knew it was my right as a mother, and yes, I teach my students, that mammals have nipples to feed their babies.  That is an important mammal trait that gets washed right over.  You should see my parents eyes widen when my students tell them that bit of information. 
  • Like I said, I am a discreet breast feeder, but I didn't use a cover after the first few weeks unless the sun was in my baby's eyes.  Audrey would just rip the cover off anyway.  I didn't even try with Luke.  No one ever tried to kick me out of a store or told me to leave.   I am glad no one ever did because I don't know what I would have said.  I probably would have gone ballistic and gotten arrested because it makes me so angry to even think about. I heard so many news stories about this happening while I was breastfeeding.  Ignorant people firing women from their jobs for promoting breastfeeding, or telling moms to go in to the bathroom to nurse, or telling them to leave a place for simply feeding their child, or asking them to cover up their breasts, and even being called a terrorist.  The list goes on.  Same story, someone doesn't get what breastfeeding is and acts out in ridiculous ways about it.  I couldn't believe how horrible people were.  In the hidden camera television show What Would you Do?  they had a breastfeeding segment.  Most people were disgusted by the breastfeeding mom.  People are so mean.   Watch the clip here! 

    If you are one of those people that get wierded out by breastfeeding, I encourage you to educate yourself on breastfeeding, whether you yourself are breastfeeding or not.  We need to eradicate the stigma on breastfeeding in this nation.  Boobs does not need to be related to sex.  Like I said before, boobies are for babies!
Remember, I used to be that person too.  I used to judge these women for feeding their babies.  And now I can't even fathom feeling that way.  The more I learn, the more I see the benefits, the more I educate myself the more passionate I become.  Breastfeeding is so important.  Don't discourage the brave women who go against the "norm" and do what is right for their children.  I encourage all breastfeeding moms, I encourage all husbands or partners with breastfeeding women in their life, I encourage all family members of breastfeeding moms, heck, I encourage everyone to stand united in protecting our children from people who are ignorant and uneducated in this area.  Let's change this world together one story at a time.   Hope my stories helped you see that in some small way. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Read a Book, People!


I am always shocked to hear the lack of reading and research most new parents did before becoming a parent.  Between the internet, free material from the doctor, best selling books, not-so-best selling books, magazines, and even movies, why are people not reading up on something so terrifying, difficult, and exciting?  You read Yelp reviews because you want to go the the BEST place to eat, don't you want to be the BEST parent you can be?  There is so much information out there, go out and empower yourself.  I remember I read like five books about having a baby before I even got pregnant.  Once I found out I was pregnant, multiply that by 100.  I was very informed, and when it came down to it, I still fumbled around motherhood.  Also, let's not forget that there is a wealth of information out there for Dads as well.  Gone are the times of the father who waits out in the waiting room, pacing and smoking a cigar.  The father is and should be an equal partner in this situation.  He is 50 percent responsible for the situation, after all!  He needs to read up as well (which my hubby did!).  I am one lucky chick-a-dee!  Needless to say, I am giving you some must-read recommendations before you become a parent.  Now, you are actually reading this, which means, you are NOT that parent that feels they will just figure it out when the time comes, but maybe this will help someone who wants to read up and educate themselves before becoming a parent.  Remember many, many, many people have done this before we have, so let's learn from their mistakes and experience.  

For Mama:

What to Expect When You're Expecting By: Heidi Murkoff - Yeah, yeah, I know it seems like this is sooooooooo mainstream, but there is a reason it is a best seller.  I love the fake question and answer format.  Many of the questions are questions I have asked myself, but dare not ask my pregnant friends, so get it and read it while you are on the toilet constipated from pregnancy.  I won't tell anyone you are so traditional.  

Also read What to Expect the First Year, and What to Expect the Toddler Years, and get the What to Expect Pregnancy Journal and Organizer.  I have that journal from each of my pregnancies and it is a great memory, and it helps you know about what you need to ask for at the doctor's office.  You can read the other two while you're breastfeeding your kidlet, (since you know that breastfeeding is the ONLY way to go because you educated yourself on all its benefits). 

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn By: A bunch of smart people - This one is a must read if you like things described more scientific and textbooky.  I enjoyed reading it because it prepared me for the actual medical type situation I came across in pregnancy, childbirth, and taking care of a newborn. 

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers By: Jack Newman and Teresa Pit - I must really like these question and answer books.  My mother in-law is a lactation specialist, so I didn't need a lot of extra support in this area, but when my first child ended up being a rare "barracuda sucker," I did turn to this book when I felt like giving up.  I am so glad I bit a towel when she latched, instead of giving up, because as I now know, breastfeeding is the ONLY way to go.  I wasn't aware of formula companies behaving like tobacco companies until I came home from the hospital with a new car seat, bottles, and formula samples, all funded by Big Formula.  

Love and Logic Parenting -  Read everything, listen to everything, download everything from this organization.  You won't regret it.  As a teacher and a parent I highly recommend this style of parenting.  The world would be a better place if all children were raised with this parental philosophy. 

Little Steps for New Parents - This is a week by week journal that gives you a mini lesson about what to do with your baby that week and you write about what you did that week.  Some of them were silly, but some of them were not.  For example, I didn't know you shouldn't cover your babies hands with those mitts all the time.  It inhibits the baby's development.  They need to learn that it hurts to scratch their face off.  Plus, it makes them smarter.  Thanks Little Steps! - I loved following along with my pregnancy week by week.  Each week I would excitingly get on my computer and read up on how big my baby was and what parts were forming.  It was all very exciting, it made me super happy, and it made me want to take care of myself and my baby even more. They still update me on my babies.  It sends you a little reminder e-mail.  There are tons of these types of sites.  Sign up for a couple of them, so you can cross reference information.  Remember everyone has a different pregnancy.

The Business of Being Born and More Business of Being Born - These are must-see documentaries.  I would have worked harder to give birth in a birthing center, if I watched this at the beginning of my pregnancy with Audrey.  Everything that happens in these movies does really happen at hospitals.  A lot of these things happened to me. - This used to be a magazine I subscribed to, but now is a comprehensive natural-parenting website.  I am not really a total natural-parenting individual.  I am a breastfeeding advocate, co-sleeping advocate, and kind of a hippy parent in regards to parenting my children, but I am by no means full on natural parenter.  I think we can learn from all types of philosophies and outlooks on life, so that we can make the best possible decision for our family and our children.  I always get compliments on my children's behavior and their intelligence level.  I think that is because my husband and I (remember you're in this together) really try to take the best parts of each philosophy to make our children awesome. 

Go to a Birthing Class - Why do people not do this anymore?  Didn't this used to be a pregnancy staple?  The hospital tour does not count as birthing class.  Don't wait until you are about to give birth!  Go at about 20 weeks, so you have time to write a birth plan and prepare.  The link is to the one I went to that was FREE and awesome, but there may be ones in your area that have similar programs. 

 For Dad:

Now, it is not hard to get my hubby to read.  He loves to read.  I know it will be harder for some of you, but it is worth being a nag and making him read these two books.  My hubbo already did the research for you.  He has read every daddy book out there.  Most of them were way lame, but these two are must reads.  You husband will laugh, cry, and read you excerpts because they are that good. 

Hit the Ground Crawling By: Greg Bishop - Don't let the cheesy picture on the cover fool you.  This book is amazing.  My husband would be reading it in a place he was supposed to be quiet and he would start laughing uncontrollably, than in the next sentence he would tear up.  It was the perfect mixture of humor, helpful information, and sentimental stuff too.  A must read for sure. 

What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding  By: Thomas Hill - This one is more straight up hilarious, but still had some important tips.  Who says it has to be boring to learn new stuff? That's our family motto. 

This is not a comprehensive list by any means.  There is tons more out there.  This is just based on what I read and did.  If you have other must-reads, make sure you make a comment and put it out there.  My only plea is to spread the word and tell new parents to read, read, read.  It is so easy to educate yourself in this day and age.  Happy reading, writing, and watching everyone!

Today's Mom

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Traveling with a Toddler and an Infant = AWESOME


It has been awhile, but I am on vacation (again), so I have some time.

Went on our first solo vacation last year, just the four of us, and it was awesome. We had a blast. Here is the deal: We were a little poor, just coming of the maternity leave and such. We didn't have our usual budget because of that. My mom always flies to see us really cheap from Colorado on Allegiant Air, so I looked into the website. Pretty cheap tickets that fly out of LAX and Long Beach. We decided to find the cheapest place we could fly to and plan the rest of the vacation around where we could fly in to for cheap, and we ended up with an amazing, affordable trip.

Las Vegas was only 20 bucks round trip, but we recently went to Vegas, so we decided on the next cheapest place. Medford, Oregon was only $100 bucks round trip with taxes and fees. You might think: Medford, Oregon, what can you do there? Well, we were pretty excited because we had always wanted to vacation to southern Oregon.

So here are my tips and tricks to traveling with the kiddos:

1. Travel while they are free. Children fly free on a lap until their 2nd birthday, so fly it up. It is almost cheaper than driving right now.
2. Bring the laptop and a little fun bag of snacks and toys on the plane. They usually let people with children board the plane first. Take advantage of that. Try to take over a whole row if you can. That way you are not bothering too many people. Audrey was busy the whole flight with eating snacks, watching movies on the computer, coloring, and reading books.
3. Strollers and car seats can be checked for free at the tarmac. Use them while you are in the airport. You can easily strap your car seat to a rolling suitcase, or bring the double stroller like we did, which gives you lots of room to throw carry-on items while trudging through the airport. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security. They have to check all your baby gear.
4. Carry on everything if possible. Buy diapers and wipes once you get to where your going. You can buy food once you're there too.
5.  If you are paying for a seat on the plane for your toddler, use the car seat.  Audrey fell asleep with the drone of the plane very quickly.
6.  Booby feed that baby.  If your boob is in their mouth, then they are not screaming.  This makes it nicer for everyone on the plane around you, especially your baby.  It is pretty perfect.
7. Have fun!

I started this post almost a year and a half ago.  Here are some trips we did since then as a family of 4.

Oregon Trip
  • Stayed in a route 66 type hotel in a small town.
  • Stayed in a "treesort" hotel.  It was a real tree house that was over 50 feet above the ground with a flushing toilet. 
  • Stayed by the ocean in a hotel made out of giant redwoods.
  • Drove the coast and took mini hikes.
  • Went bowling.
  • Went to local parks.
  • Went to an aquarium.
  • Relaxed around the hotel (a lot of people forget to do this on vacation, make sure you get in some "veg out" time).
Florida Trip

  • Stayed on a small island right outside Everglades National Park.
  • Went on a bunch of easy hikes on boardwalks.
  • Saw 99 alligators, 10 manatees, 3 crocodiles, and countless other wildlife in their natural habitats.
  • Drove to the tip of Key West.
  • Stayed on a smaller key island, went paddle-boating, and did short little side trips.
  • Went to the beach of course!
  • Relaxed around the hotel.  
Alaska Trip
  • Stayed in a secluded cabin north of Anchorage.
  • Saw the tallest mountain in North America.
  • Small hikes.
  • Saw a moose.
  • Went on a cruise.
  • Slipped in a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada.
  • Did some canoeing, paddle-boating, swimming in a lake.
  • And of course relaxed in a cabin, a cruise cabin, and a hotel.
  • Stayed in a cheap hotel (we are talking 3 stars for 19 bucks a night)
  • Shopping at outlet malls and cool bookstores.
  • Boat rides.
  • Swimming.
  • Cheap movies.
  • Bowling.
This is just a example of fun family vacations you can do.  It sometimes seems like a lot of work, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Here are my favorite budget travel websites: (name your own price)

Happy planning!!!

Today's Mom

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Expose: Portrait Studios Ripping Off Parents

Look at this hip, cool father with his baby girl.
You could pay only $3.99 for it at Target
or go to another portrait studio
and pay seven times that amount.

A friend of mine took her baby to get her portraits done every month for her baby's first year of life. She displayed them in her living room and I always loved to see how her baby changed each month. It was such a cool memory to have of her child. A baby changes so much the first year of life and it is amazing to see it in professional portraits. I did the same thing, but I had to learn the hard way. Don't make the same mistake I did.

First, I went to Kiddie Kandids, which is slang for "I am gonna rip off parents for mediocre Anne Geddes like pictures." Who do they think they are fooling? I spent over $200 on a few pictures. I handed over my credit card and they handed back some crappy portraits they printed on their machine right in the store. They were all dark and I even had to take some of them back because the ink smudged off in the bag. Come on. We know it cost them a total of $10 bucks or less to print up the pictures. We know because it is only a few cents for us to print up our pictures at the local Costco. Why would it cost them anymore? It is ridiculous to mark up a product that much.

Month 2 I went to Target Portrait Studios. A little better. I spent a little over $100. I knew I couldn't spend that much on pictures every month or I was gonna go broke, so I went to my friend and asked her how she afforded such amazing pictures every month. She e-mailed me the coupons she uses at Target Portrait Studios. This deal is amazing. First, no sitting fee. Second, additional sheets are only $3.99 a sheet including the 10x14. And you get a free 8x10. The rest of Audrey's first year portraits cost me $30-$60 bucks a month. I understand they need to mark up the pictures a little bit, but this was a lot more reasonable. When I went to Target to get Audrey's 18 month pictures (she gets her professional portrait every 6 months now), they gave me free online access to my prints. I was able to upload them to my facebook and share them through e-mail. It is genius on their part because friends and family can buy prints directly from them if they want. They probably make even more money doing that. Target will try to sale you something they call portrait enhancements. Don't fall for it. They take a picture of your baby holding a fake rose and put in a cheesy border with a saying like, "Stop and smell the roses." Totally nerdy! Then try to sale it to you for $30. Just get the basic print for $3.99.

So I moved a couple hours away since Luke was born. There is no Target portrait studio near where we live now (not all Target's have them), so I made an appointment at my local Walmart for Luke and Audrey's portraits. I thought they would be similarly priced and I found a coupon for 20 percent off my entire purchase. Ugh. I got ripped off again. I got 15 sheets for like $140 bucks (with my stupid coupon). I think it will be worth driving a couple hours to Target because I don't feel like being ripped off again. My mother in-law said when we were kids and we went to the portrait studio, they would develop all the film from your shoot and whatever you didn't buy they would shred right in front of you. Painful, right? This was a different time. It was understandable that portraits cost a little more. They were working with film. Now anyone can buy a fancy camera and get amazing pictures. If these studios want to survive they better start to figure out that people are just gonna take their own professional portraits and blow them up and graphically design them with fancy borders. We don't need to pay hundreds of dollars for fancy pictures anymore. Here is the link to the Target coupon. If you are going to go to a studio to get your Christmas pictures, go to the Target Portrait Studios. It is worth it.


Today's Mom

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Amazing Booger Sucker

So, Luke and Audrey have been sick non-stop. Right before Luke was born Audrey did two rounds of antibiotics and then she got a cold a couple of weeks ago and then Luke got a cold. Then Audrey got the flu and Luke got the flu. This week Audrey has a cold again and of course gave her germies to Luke. It is a constant battle of the colds. Well if you have children you know how hard it is to get that snot out with aspirator. Grody. They hate it because you are sucking it out and it doesn't even get that much out. Then you can rinse it, but who knows how gross it is on the inside of that thing. You are probably putting germs right back inside your kid.

All this to say I found an amazing baby product to help those nasty colds. It is a battery powered nasal aspirator. It sucks the snot out like a vacuum and it even has a little viewing window. Gross, I know, but at least you can see what you are getting out. We love it. Audrey hated it at first and would run away crying. Now she knows it helps her feel better. Only 20 bucks at Walgreens in the baby section.

Just wanted to share this must have item since I have been using it a lot this week.


Today's Mom

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Baby Story- Luke Edition

Let me start by saying I am a nice patient. I am cool, calm, and collected during labor. I am super sweet and nice to all my nurses and doctors. I even bring them all goody bags with cool little pins and candy. I consider myself a pretty calm person in stressful situations and my husband is the same way. So, why do I keep having these miserable hospital experiences?

Well I guess it is just that. I truly believe that women should NOT give birth in hospitals. I wish I would have coughed up the extra money and had Audrey at a birthing center. Hospitals are great for sick people, but labor is not a sickness. It is a natural process. A hospital room is the opposite of natural.

I was not able to go to a birth center this time because I had an unnecessary cesarean section with my first child. Birth centers do not accept VBAC patients because of the small chance of the uterus rupturing during child birth. There is a small chance it can happen, but if it does the baby has to be taken out immediately or mother and baby can die in minutes. I understood that part, but I do not understand why so many hospitals ban VBAC's. Hospitals can do a cesarean section in five minutes, so why don't more hospitals perform them? I mean if they love doing surgeries, they should welcome a woman who is trying to do a VBAC since there is a chance they are gonna need one anyway.

Well let me get to the story. I was due September 20th. Well that day came and went and I never went in to labor with Luke. I had a doctor's appointment 10 days later and she sent me to get fetal monitoring at the hospital. Well during the ultra-sound they found that my placenta was mature and that Luke was running out of fluid. Luke was head down, but he was still floating. He wasn't ready to make his appearance. I was also only a centimeter dilated. Most women do not even go to the hospital until they are 4-5 centimeters dilated. I knew I was going in to this situation with a lot going against me already, but to my surprise the hospital was really supportive of my VBAC. I went in to labor naturally while I was waiting to be admitted. My contractions were about five minutes a part. They let me walk around, squat, go potty, dance with my hubby. They checked on me a lot because I kept taking my fetal monitor off, but I thought it was going super well, but then my contractions stopped. No surprise. I had been having false labor for about a month before. I thought this could be fake again. Low and behold they put me on petossin instead of making me have a ceserean. My doctor told me that they would not induce labor because of the risk of uterine rupture, but my doula told me that if petossin is used right it does not make the contractions any stronger than they would have been naturally. My contractions started getting closer together and a little more painful. I still did not have to do my patterned breathing, so I knew this was still pretty early. Then that cursed fetal monitor went off. All of the sudden the doctor, intern (he looked like J.D. from Scrubs), and two nurses came in looking panicky. They said the babies heartbeat was dropping with each contraction and the needed to turn down the petossin. I was bummed. Everything was going so great for an all hospital birth, but part of me knew this wasn't going to happen. Luke was still showing a lowered heart rate after they turned down the petossin and the doctor said I needed to have a Cesarean section. I cried a little, but tried not to show my disappointment. I joked about being in the hospital longer and I get more disability insurance. The thing was I wasn't scared of the Cesarean. I had done it before. I knew what to expect. I really wanted to experience something I had never experienced before. Now I can never do that. Two Cesarean sections means no more VBAC's. Midwifes are not legally allowed to take on a previous Cesarean because of the small chance of uterine rupture and I am a little scared of that too. If we decide to have more children it will be a scheduled Cesarean section. I will know the date and even the time.

They had to give me a shot to stop my contractions. They were increasing in strength on their own, even without petossin and I just wanted to get this over with. I had been in labor for twelve hours and I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I remember them taking forever to get to me. I found out later some lady kept pulling out her epidural, so they were waiting on the anesthesiologist. I was ready to meet my little guy. We had waited for so long to meet him.

They finally wheeled me in to the operation room. They didn't let Philip come in again, even though we both heard them say that he could on the tour. They said he had to wait until I was prepped for surgery. Phil asked, "Are you okay with this?" and I said a little teary eyed, "I got a spinal without you before, I will do it again." Honestly, I wanted Phil to tell me how huge the needle was that they were putting in my back. The hospital I delivered at is a teaching hospital, so they narrate everything to each other, so I knew exactly what they were doing every step of the way. I sat sideways on the operating table and the anesthesiologist prepped me for the spinal. I had to hold my shoulders and back in a weird angle. I held my nurses arms. She narrated everything she was doing. She said, "Injecting, injecting, swishing swishing." I felt a tingly sensation come over me and it felt good, but artificial. They helped me lay down because it works that fast. I never take pain medication, even for headaches, so I get numb fast.

When they laid me back I started seeing stars and I felt like I was gonna pass out. I told them I was gonna pass out and they injected my IV with something and elevated my head. I felt fine after that. I did not want to be passed out for my son's birth. Philip came in and held my hand. They were loosely strapped down. Last time they taped my boobs. They didn't do that this time. Phil narrated everything to me. He did good not making to many grossed out faces. It looks like a horribly violent horror movie. I told Phil that I felt some pressure and he looked at me and said, "Oh baby, if you could see what they are doing to you." Within seconds after the pressure Luke was born. The doctor said, "He is hungry, he is sucking my finger." Phil stood up and said, "He is here. He has a lot of dark hair." We cried and hugged. They held him up for us to see over the curtain. He was adorable. He looked smaller than Audrey and he was very bloody, but the last hospital did not hold Audrey up for me to see, so I was happy I got to see him before they whisked him off to the transitional nursery. They didn't let Philip go to the nursery, but they said they would call him in a couple of minutes. Phil and I talked while they stitched me up. It felt good to have someone to talk to. We kept getting updates about Luke, so I wasn't too worried about his health. He was 8lbs, 3 ounces. Over a pound smaller than Audrey, but still bigger than most. I remember thinking, I could have delivered him naturally. My mother delivered my sister naturally at 10 pounds, 2 ounces, so I knew I could have done it. He was 19 inches long and he scored an 8/9 apgar. They called for Phil and I told him to take care of our son.

As they finished stitching me up I thought about my baby boy. A mother who gives birth naturally actually releases a hormone that is kinda like a love drug. You only release this hormone if you give birth naturally. Women who give birth medicated or surgically do not release this hormone. It didn't matter though. I felt connected to him. He was my son. I had a son. I couldn't imagine feeling more love in my heart, yet I only saw him for a couple of seconds.

How can you not believe there is a God? After going through pregnancy twice and giving birth twice it is amazing to see that this little person was created from the love of a father and a mother. I guess it comes down to this. I was extremely disappointed in both my birthing experiences because of the over intervention of the hospital, but it did not take away my sense of pride about being a mother. Nothing can break that.

Like I said, I thought about this as they finished putting me back together. I had my bonding with my son, by myself (in a room full of medical people). They wheeled me to recovery and I got to see Phil hold his son. It looked like he had his own bonding experience as well. After Luke was born the hospital overly intervened again causing Luke to have a Nuemo Thorax which is like a collapsed lung. I am glad I got those two little moments with my son because he was admitted to the NICU shortly after he was born. I didn't get to see him again for 4 hours. I didn't get to hold him for 18 hours and I didn't get to breastfeed him for almost 2 days. Phil and I had to yet again, fight more battles against a hospital, but isn't that a big part of being a mother and father. You know what is best for your child, even though others try to tell you what is best, deep down, you know. Luke spent 4 days in the NICU and I refused to leave the hospital without him. I am going to save that story for another blog.

Cherish your birthing experience, no matter how it happens. In the end you will have a little bundle of amazingness. I do recommend, if you are healthy, and have had no pregnancy complications, to labor at home as long as possible or give birth in a birthing center, you can always be transferred to a hospital later. That is the only regret I have about my birth story. I am still a proud mother, but if I can help even one future mother with my stories, all this hospital stuff will be worth it.


Today's Mom

Monday, October 18, 2010

Co-Sleeping Times Two

I have written my thoughts on co-sleeping in a previous post, but a friend of mine who also co-sleeps is having a baby soon, so she is in the same boat as me. I wanted to give my thoughts and ideas on co-sleeping when you have two children.

So let me explain what situation I am in right at this moment. My 2 week old son is nursing right now. My toddler is on the other side cuddling with me and watching a movie on my television and we are in my bed. I am able to comfort both my babies and write a blog. I love it.

Audrey co-slept with my husband and
I until we bought our house. She was 21 months old. We did her room up all nice and pink. We got a way cool castle themed princess bed. Audrey and I always sing songs before we go to sleep, so I would cuddle her in her bed and sing until she fell asleep and then I would sneak out. The first couple of nights she would only make it until 4 in the morning and then she would climb in to bed with us. We would not make a big deal out of it and would let her climb in with us. We didn't give up though. We kept putting her to sleep in her bed to start. After about three weeks she was sleeping in her bed all through the night. We got her a night light and showed her how to come to our bed if she needed to. I think by not making a big deal out of where she slept she learned to sleep in her own bed. Sometimes she also likes to fall asleep on her Elmo couch in the living room and that is fine too! She has learned to sleep on her own. Luke came two and half weeks ago and he is already sleeping through the night thanks to my co-sleeper. I love the co-sleeper. Audrey wouldn't sleep in it. Luke sleeps in it when Audrey wants to cuddle. I do not want Audrey to roll over on him or anything, but I don't want her to resent the baby either and make her think she is not allowed in our bed anymore. So I do not make a big deal out of it. We just put Luke in the co-sleeper when Audrey wants to cuddle with us. So far Audrey has only wanted to sleep with us twice in two and half weeks and we just made sure Luke was in his bed. The co-sleeper attaches to your bed, so your baby is right there. If you have a higher bed you can buy the leg extensions that raise the bed higher. The baby senses you right there. You can even have your arm on them when you are sleeping. I know it helps me sleep better. I would be getting up 10 times a night to breastfeed and check on their breathing if I didn't have it. Honestly I think that is why Luke is already sleeping through the night. It is wonderful. I love co-sleeping with my children, but I think it is important that Luke gets his special time with Mommy and Daddy just like Audrey had. I think she is doing a great job being independent because she co-slept with us. She knows Mommy and Daddy are always here for her.

I have to post my second birth story. Lots to tell. Lots to blog about. Talk to ya soon.


Today's Mom