Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Hiatus

I'm sorry for the long hiatus from this blog, I did not mean for it to last this long. There are honestly two reasons for this; one of our computers (the one I use most often) randomly stopped accessing certain websites, including this one, and I have been debating what exactly I want to put on the site.

On one hand, I say some things that I'm not quite comfortable sharing with certain relatives and friends, things that I would rather keep anonymous. But I'm pretty convinced that if I didn't share the blog with people I know, I wouldn't have any readers.

One day I'll come back to this, but it's not today. Sorry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Blog and 'Mommy-Brain'

I started this blog with the intention of posting long, well-researched articles on various aspects of parenting and feminism... doesn't seem to have worked out that way. At best, this is a personal blog where I briefly touch on pertinent political and social subjects, usually only when they personally apply to my life experience. Honestly, I'm disappointed in myself.

In reality, I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I have mommy-brain, and a baby that, while she's not particularly fussy, she's demands a lot of attention. I can't even seem to read books of the same caliber that I did before I was pregnant.

Does anyone else have experience with this sort of mommy-brain?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

3 months already

River is 3 months old TODAY!

She's a leg-kicking, smiling, flappy-armed ball of baby. Well, not so much a ball as much as a long sticky baby. We even finally feel like we're getting a glimpse of her personality. She's awake more often, and is really great at following things with her eyes and head. She's got excellent head control and is finally letting me put her down for a little bit at a time.

In the past month River has been introduced to her parents' second home: the Bristol Renaissance Faire! It's been eventful, getting to meet so many different people. We got more roommates so there are always people around. Our cat, Mochi has even taken a liking to River, though they're still a little standoffish. Sometimes I even catch them snuggling together.

I wish I had some pictures to post, but things are still pretty busy here and we can't seem to find our cords to get pics off of the camera.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sometimes, It Does Happen

In stark contrast to the facebook conversation that I blogged about before, over the weekend I was actually thanked/congratulated for breastfeeding in public.

I'm a big Bristol Renaissance Faire patron. I've worked there in the past, but took time off since my due date was so close to performance rehearsals and faire opening. (honestly, I probably could have worked in a shop with River, but I had no idea how easy of a baby she would be!) I know a bunch of people there, and there are not many other places that I feel so at home.

Anyways, I've only made it to faire a handful of times this year because of issues with rides, laziness, money, or whatever else. The times that I have gone, I've been met mostly with positivity from people I know when they see me breastfeeding. The people I don't know are not always so positive.

This past weekend, on sunday, J and I made the trip up there with some kids from his work. It was mostly work, he was showing them the costuming and performing that people at faire do and looking to network with some shops to buy product from them. It was in one shop, after feeling particularly icked by an old man with eye-contact issues, that the shop artist complimented me for breastfeeding in public.

She is an awesome mother and artist who creates all the product for Grichels (Check out their Etsy page!). I've always been a big fan of the art she creates out of leather (I know, I'm a hypocritical vegetarian). I had also never had a complete stranger react so positively to my breastfeeding in public (I've had either ambiguous reactions or negative ones to varying degrees). It was great for someone to tell me that they breastfed their children, how hard it is to breastfeed in public, and how necessary it is to see it so that people know it's normal.


In other news; it looks like I'll be taking a quick trip to West Virginia soon.. It seems that they do not have any laws protecting breastfeeding on their books.. Does anyone know if West Virginia in general is hostile to breastfeeding or just ambivalent? I'd really rather not be arrested for public indecency, have to deal with any legal drama, or anything else while I'm there..

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Breastfeeding Manifesto

I refuse to feed my baby food that is not the best I can give her.

I refuse to sacrifice a good latch and my baby's comfort by putting a blanket over her head (it's hard enough without one!).

I refuse to succumb to society's artificial oversexualization of breasts.

I refuse to become a hermit to make other people comfortable.

I refuse to make my child wait to eat, therefor upsetting her more and making it harder to feed her when I am able.

I refuse to spend hours in public restrooms being ashamed of how I feed my child (would you want to eat in there?).

I refuse to supplement because I know that I can make enough to feed my baby no matter what some ridiculous growth chart says (the doctor was using the old growth charts that include formula-fed babies instead of the WHO breastfeeding charts).

I refuse to listen to uneducated beliefs about breastfeeding, breastmilk, formula, and other baby-raising decisions.

I refuse to be scared away from doing the things I love and seeing the people I love because someone might get uncomfortable.

I refuse to think that people who love me are going to change their opinion because of my parenting decisions.

Here are some great breastfeeding related links:
Authentic Parenting: Breastfeeding Curtesy
Authentic Parenting: Lamest Reasons Not To Breastfeed
Authentic Parenting: Ignorance is Bliss - Silence is Golden!
How To Hide A Tank: Breast is Best, Revisited

Facebook Frustration

I'm frustrated. I'm so frustrated, I'm finding it hard to think. I tried giving this a couple days before talking about it, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

I'm a pretty opinionated person. That said, I take pride in researching and formulating coherent, rational arguments. Unfortunately, I also expect other people to do the same, and get quite frustrated when they fail to do so.

Recently an acquaintance has begun telling me about how she thinks public breastfeeding is 'disgusting'. I believe quite the opposite and will readily breastfeed in public whenever my baby is hungry without a second thought. She told me that she bottle feeds when in public and that people who insist on breastfeeding should put a blanket over them.

Now, I know how I can get when people say things that are both against medical studies (using formula depletes breast milk supply) and are formulated on personal opinions but are not presented that way (like saying that something is disgusting instead of saying that they think it's disgusting). In an effort to curb my quickly growing fury, I put a stop to the conversation. Still, I find that I'm incredibly upset by this.

I deal well with random people's disdain for public breastfeeding. I even deal well with the discomfort some family members have with it. But for some reason, this acquaintance really threw me off. Usually I'm outspoken in support and quick to write off someone who persists in disagreement.

My breastfeeding manifesto-of-sorts is coming up soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More on my hunt for a doctor..

Since the post I made about being unhappy with our family practitioner for River, I've been on the hunt. After some research online and some unreturned phone calls, I made an appointment to meet with a family practitioner in the area we just moved to.

She was a pretty cool 30-something year old osteopathic family practitioner. Unfortunately, although she seemed more open than most doctors, I still am not entirely happy. My unhappiness probably has more to do with my distrust of the medical profession in general and my beliefs against overmedicalization.

I had been so happy with the midwifery model of care that I think it's going to be hard to ever go back to the medical model when dealing with a healthy baby.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!!! Wahoo!

I was thinking about having a breastfeeding party, but not only am I the only person I know who lives near me and is breastfeeding, but I'm also already having a little dinner party thing on Friday for my return to vegitarianism ^.^

That's right! After two years of being a vegetarian, I started eating meat during my pregnancy because of some dizziness and iron issues. To be more precise, my Neurocardiogenic Syncope was acting up. Since giving birth I have been weaning myself off of meat, which wasn't really working. I'd made excuses and have more meat products that I wanted and was comfortable with. Finally, it became apparent that I needed to go cold turkey (sorry about that one).

It's going to be especially hard to be a vegetarian now though... Where it used to be just J and me, meaning that there was never much meat in the house because I did the shopping, now I'm living with roommates, two of which are very heavy meat eaters. One of them has offered to scale back their meat eating and buying habits on my behalf, but as much as I'd like to see less meat eating, I am very much in favor of people making their own choices in life. They don't have to be vegetarian, but I'm not exactly going to be cooking meat for them.

J has also offered to go vegetarian with me, and if you listened to what he says, it sounds like he will be.. but I'm not sure about that either. Just like the other roommate who offered to buy and eat less meat, I'm not sure that he's doing it for his own reasons. We'll see how that goes.

In other news, I also just sent my mom an article that I found online that describes some of my parenting decisions really well. I would post a link here, but I've only found it posted as a note on facebook. It describes some of the evolutionary reasons that babies prefer certain things. It also argues that things like vaginal birth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting shouldn't be considered 'best', but what's 'normal'. In my mind, saying that something is 'best', even if it is, argues that there are other options that are also good. Saying that something is normal or natural takes away the idea that there are other options that can be chosen when there isn't need for them.

(If you're family, please don't pass this on. I've talked to my mom about this, and I understand why she does the things that she does. This is not meant as an attack or a critique, just airing out my thoughts on the issue) My mother has not exactly been unsupportive, but she doesn't understand my decisions and will make comments about how River always seems to be eating and that I should let other people hold her or put her down more often. She also tends to hold River through her 'asking' for food, until she's forced to cry to get it. I know that my mother means well, I just wish that she would understand the reasons that I made the decisions I made.

Anyone else have experience with well-meaning relatives?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

unsolicited advice

I've heard unsolicited advice and comments throughout my pregnancy, and I really wish I had kept better records of all the silly comments. So, in light of that, I'm going to be keeping track here of the stupid comments I get from people when I have River.

(I'm not going to write about every pervy look I get while I'm breast feeding in public, that would take too long, but suffice it to say, there are MANY!)

The other day I was in Jewel with a couple friends. We decided to take a walk to the grocery store to pick up a couple ingredients that I needed to make dinner. We were outside in the heat (about 90 degrees) for a good 15 minutes there and 15 minutes back, and must have spent about 5 minutes in the store total. River was just in a diaper and in my sling. At one point during the walk, she started getting fussy in the sling, so I took her out to avoid her overheating. We were in Jewel, standing in the produce department, I was breastfeeding River. An old lady with some indistinguishable accent walked up to us and started lecturing me. She told me that my baby was cold, was going to get pneumonia, etc... at one point, after realizing exactly what was going on (this was my first public lecture) I turned to her, called her a rude old lady, and kept shopping. She said that she had never seen anybody do that with a baby, and walked away. I saw her a couple other times while we were still in the store, she would shoot me these evil glares and then keep walking. Unfortunately the two friends I was with didn't know what was going on until to told them later, otherwise I think they would have stood up for me.

Another day I was sitting in my car reading while River sat on my lap. J and his friend were in a magic store getting some more tricks for him to use at work. I had gotten tired of standing and really wanted to get a little further in my book, and with the nice breeze outside, I didn't mind sitting and waiting. After a little while a car parked in the space next to me, and out came an older lady, a younger lady, and two kids. The older lady, after noticing me in the car, proceeded to beckon over one of the little girls and told her to look at my 'baby boy'. I don't mind gender mix-ups as River is usually dressed pretty gender neutral. Eventually while they asked questions and I answered with a fake smile plastered on my face like a good little mommy, I slipped in that River is a girl. The old lady then asked why she was wearing shorts and "where is her little dressie?" I was amazed, and she was serious. I snapped back (at this point I was annoyed that she was sticking her head in my car and interrupting my reading) that the women's liberation movement happened a while back and that I was a big fan. She stormed away in a huff and actually scolded me, saying "well, I Never!"

The most recent occurance happened yesterday and to my friend Tom instead of me. Tom, his girlfriend, and I were in a Teavana picking out some tea and other products. Tom was at the counter at one point when a middle-aged man walked up to him and started talking to him about 'his wife and child'. Tom politely corrected him, that I was not his wife. After some insisting that I was, and then finally realizing that I wasn't, he gave him a really confused look and said 'then you'd better get a lawyer!" Yup. Because how dare a married woman with a baby be friends with a guy!

Anyone else have experience with unsolicited advice or comments? I know I had a ton when I was pregnant (usually about how high or low I was carrying and how it must be a boy or a girl). Lately it seems like i'm getting more judgemental looks than comments, but I still get a few really golden ones -sarcasm-

an update and more excuses

River is growing more every day, she's two months old now.

Between her and the move (and roommates), I don't have much time for updating the blog. I was hoping that I would be able to continue researching and writing well thought-out articles, but that doesn't seem to be possible. I'm a two-handed typer, and typing with one hand frustrates me so much that I give up before I get a full sentence written.  I haven't been taking many pictures lately either. I know I should be taking them for myself so that I can always remember River as she is now, but I find that I'd much rather just sit with her, drinking her in, instead of looking at her through a viewfinder or on a digital camera screen.

Another issue is that it's summer... which means that I've gotten a little flighty... to say the least. I've been trying to make it to Bristol faire more often, bought a lot of tea products for some delicious iced tea (had my first glass today, it was amazing!), cleaning and unpacking whenever I can, and just being a mommy. Two of my friends also just got jobs at J's place of employment, plus he has a tentative raise and promotion in the works (they've told him that he's the best employee that they have and that they want to give him more responsibility).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Update goodness

Again, I haven't posted much here recently.. things have been busy.

We're still in the process of moving to our friend's house. Most of the stuff left at the old apartment is junk that needs to be thrown out, and most of the stuff that's necessary has already been moved. It makes it really hard to motivate ourselves to go to the old place and clean it out. Still, it needs to get done before the end of the month.

My birthday was on the 20th. I turned 23, so I'm almost a quarter of a century, but still considered a relatively young parent. I decided to postpone my birthday a day since J was working a double on my actual birthday. On the 21st we took a trip to Brookfield Zoo with two of our close friends, and later J and I went to Big Bowl with River along for a date night. The whole day went really well and we went to bed that night exhausted and satisfied.

I've also been finding it extremely difficult to type one-handed, maybe not difficult persay, but definitely time-consuming. That said, River just got bored of a friend's attempts to sooth her and needs a boob. Adios.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moooooving

Sorry for the multiple posts one after the other, I just wanted to limit having a huge post with multiple topics :-)

J and I had been living in a nice little rented one bedroom townhouse for a year. We rented it when he was at his last job, which was steady and with decent pay even though it made him miserable. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), right after the holiday season, J was laid off. It was bad news. We managed for three months without a steady form of income (he collected unemployment and did a couple side jobs for friends). Eventually he found the job he's at now, where he's super happy but wasn't making quite as much. We scraped by. Recently he did get a raise, and is now making about the same as, or maybe a little more than, his last job. It's awesome, but with paying the hospital bills and for our own insurance, we couldn't afford to renew our lease.

Two days ago we moved to an awesome three bedroom house that the parents of a friend of ours owns. Sounds awesome, right? well, it really is, but it kind of isn't. Yes, the house is big, our room is huge, and right now we're living just with our friend and kind of his girlfriend. For this month. Next month the rest of the group moves in. We'll end up with a total of 8 people living here! T and H live in the finished basement, C and V have the second bedroom, A has the third, and J, me, and River have the master suite. I know it's hard with the letters instead of names, but it works better for me on a public blog like this.

Cool thing is that we're all pretty hard-core gamers (I'm probably the least hard-core of the group), most of us are quiet shut-ins, and C, V, and A are all getting a lot more space from the move (they had been sharing a studio before). We've basically decided that it's a commune. Another good part is that whatever money we pay in rent that is above the mortgage payment, we get back to use on fixing up the house! Double plus because it not only makes it better for us living here, but helps my friend's parents sell it after we move out.

AND! my bedroom has green walls! WIN!

The Dreaded Baby Shower :-)

I haven't posted in a while, mostly out of sheer insane busyness.

The 10th was the dreaded baby shower. I have to admit that it went surprisingly well! We did the onesie decorating activity that was featured on OffbeatMama.com and everyone loved it. I didn't get too much that was obnoxious and pink, just a few things.

One problem I had was with what appeared to be critiques of my parenting style. I've been practicing attachment parenting and on-demand feeding. This basically means that River is on me all the time and she's usually got a boob in her mouth. Unfortunately, the only time these parenting styles seem to be an issue instead of an amazing thing is when I'm around family. They all want to hold River all the time! I'm sorry, but when River is asking for food, telling me she's hungry, I'd rather get her the food she wants before she starts crying instead of waiting until she's too worked up to suck properly. When River is asleep and using my boob as a pacifier, I'm not about to break that and wake her up. I got a lot of comments from people who were amazed about how much I let her nurse and how attached she is to me. It might have been paranoia, but it really felt like everyone was critiquing my parenting decisions. At one point I even had to tell someone that my parenting decisions are not up for discussion.

Otherwise things went really well! J's family mostly stayed separate from mine except during the decorating activity, but I've learned to accept that as probably being for the best. I forgot my camera, so I spent the day without a lens in front of my face, again probably for the best. And River even slept through most of it!

I did get a surprisingly long period of time without River attached to me, for the first time since she was born! My grandmother (aka: Momo) has some serious baby super-powers! The second she holds River, River is passed out on her shoulder! I couldn't believe it! I tried to take major advantage of the time but kept finding myself going back to check on River and make sure she really was ok.

Well, sorry I don't have any pictures! I'll take pics of the onesies when I get them back from my mom.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Business of Being Born, a Review

I recently watched The Business of Being Born as per my Bradley Method teacher's recommendation. I've gotten a lot of flak for being very anti-medical model on this blog, mostly from friends IRL (in real life). This documentary did a lot to reinforce my belief that midwives should be more accessible in the United States.

The statistics that are presented in the documentary are cultivated from valid medical studies whose results reinforce the midwifery point of view but many medical professionals ignore. The scenes where obstetricians share their perspectives were extremely troubling, especially for someone who has done a lot of reading about the hazards of medical perspectives in birthing.

To reinforce the statistics and relate them to real experiences of women in labor there are some fantastic interviews with women who birthed using the medical and the midwife professions. They talk about the cascading effects of medical interventions, about the ways that obstetricians coerce women into further interventions, and about their observations about society's views of childbirth. Some of these interviews are even with women who favor the medical model and argue for scheduled inductions and cesareans.

 I love their emphasis on the snowball effect that comes from the introduction of medical interventions, specifically the use of Pitocin causing the need for an epidural which can stall labor and create a need for more Pitocin, which then puts the baby in distress and creates a need for a C-section.

The documentary does a good job of approaching the myths associated with midwifery and home birth. They follow a midwife to some home visits and even a birth, emphasizing all of the tools that she brings with her, most of which she does not often use but carries for emergencies. 

I would imagine that one of the hardest decisions for the filmmakers was to include the filmmaker's own homebirth which ended in a rush to the hospital and a c-section because of fetal distress. I feel like this inclusion added legitimacy to the documentary by giving it a balance and showing how it is still possible to get needed interventions during a homebirth.

One critique that I have is the inclusion of the 'machine that goes ping' scene from Monty Python:

Although the video is frighteningly accurate, the comedy is not prefaced with the documentarian's reason for including it. Instead of showing how absurd the medical perspective is, I fear that the inclusion of this video just makes those who are pro-midwifery seem like they are getting their information from comedy or that we are overreacting.

I have to say, this documentary has given me much more respect for Ricky Lake. I loved her in Cry Baby, didn't really understand her show, and never realized that she had real passion. Her work through this documentary is amazing.

I will be showing this video to any woman I know who is pregnant and will encourage her to do her own research about the medical and midwife perspectives to childbirth.

Things I want to do...?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about things that I want to do in my life. Yes, having a kid is going to take up a big portion of my time. I think it's because I'm used to having something to do, something that i'm working towards, something I consider WORK. I definitely don't consider River work. I mean, at this point, I've just been laying around with a baby at my boob.

I've been thinking about a few options:
  • Teaching Baby Sign (I'd have to buckle down to flesh out my signing skills, get more confident with signing, and get certified if I want to be a serious teacher. unfortunately training takes time and money.. but I might be able to host parent groups and facilitate learning as a group)
  • Becoming a Postpartum Doula (again, I'd have to get trained, and from the research I've done, it's a LOT of training.. plus training takes time and money)
  • Write! (In highschool I was part of the writing club and in college I was really good at writing my GWS papers. Unfortunately without deadlines and such, I suck at motivating myself.)
Otherwise, I know I should be working on costuming or crafting, but it's so hard with the little one. by the time she gets comfortable enough that I can get up to do anything, she's hungry again.  Plus, I have yet to find a one-handed craft!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Stretch Marks

I have posted here a few times about my frustrations with society's assumptions, mostly regarding pregnancy. Well, there's a new one.

I like my stretch marks. I wear them with pride. I've heard a lot of advice on how to get rid of them. It seems that there is a whole slew of products made just for me! Well, me if I wanted to get rid of the scars. There's oils and lotions and pills and herbal remedies, etc, etc.

Me though? When I decided to get pregnant I signed up for everything that went along with it. I signed up for the sleepless nights, the crying baby, the feeling of constantly being needed. I even signed up for the stretch marks.

I feel like I should have something I can show off, like "look what I did, I got so big that I split at the seams!" I look at my stretch marks and I see an accomplishment, I see a reminder of my wonderful uncomplicated pregnancy where I tried really hard to take good care of myself, I see a reminder of my wonderful labor and delivery where I managed to do everything without any drugs or medical interventions.

So after you comment on my large, still red stretch marks, when I say that I'm not looking to get rid of my stretch marks, that is not an invitation to keep telling me about whatever magical remedy you are convinced I need to be using. That is not an invitation to tell me about how I will want them gone. And it is definitely not an invitation for that chuckle that says "aw, that's cute, but you're not serious". I got that same laugh when I talked about unmedicated delivery and I went through with that just fine.

In the end, I just don't feel like I need to be told to hate my own body.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

First set of July Pics

Here is River's first set of pictures from July. These were taken with my awesome friend's amazing camera of doom!!!! Also, these are the first set of River pics that I bothered doing any color editing on, but in my laziness I did it with whatever software came with my lappy instead of transferring the pics to the desktop comp with photoshop on it. Anyways, there's a bunch of pretty similar pics, so here's a slideshow ^.^ Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The flu is not fun.

Had a pretty bad day today. Got the flu or something similar... basically body aches, headache, nausea, shakes, and feeling like I was freezing! Even ended up with a fever (at least for me, I'm usually in the 96F range, I was in the 99's the one time I checked).

Worst part was that my boobs were in TONS of pain! Somehow it seemed like the  body aches were amplified in my breasts. Made it hard not only to feed the baby, but to even so much as move from the bed!

I felt bad that J had to cancel all the plans that he had for the day (not just hanging-out type plans, but actually productive plans). He's been great about taking care of me, but he ended up losing the last day off he had for a little bit. Still, J is an amazing father! He took care of River and me all day.

I haven't really left the bed or gone downstairs at all today, we've just been laying in bed and watching Netflix (we just got it, and are still in our 2-week trail! it's been awesome since I've been spending so much time at home and the streaming video on xbox makes it worth the price). Right now he's even playing Left 4 Dead 2 with the volume super low.

At this point I'm just hoping that River doesn't catch this from me. Usually I'm a research maniac, but not so much when I'm sick. Does anyone know about getting sick while breastfeeding? From what I remember, I think it's better to continue breastfeeding and being close so that they'll get the antibodies. But I'm not sure.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One Month!

As of yesterday, River is one month old!

It's been a great month. It's felt too fast and too slow at the same time. We've done so much and so little.


This past month included, aside from having River and getting home from the hospital, River has gone to the Highland Games and Scottish Festival, to the Boerner Gardens Fairy Garden Walk, to the Bristol Renaissance Faire's GARBage Sale, and to her first fathers day celebration with her grandfather and great grandfather! It's been a busy month for such a little girl.


She's gone from being a little squiggly sleeping/eating baby to a slightly less squiggly and sleepy but still constantly eating baby. We're finally getting to know her, getting to know what all those funny little faces she makes mean, getting to know how to sooth her quickest so that we can get some sleep at night. She's even finally started giving us the littlest smiles and staring into our eyes.


We've learned a lot in the past month as parents. Both of us had never even changed a diaper. Now we've learned all about the practicalities of breastfeeding, how to swaddle and sling a baby, diaper rash, gas and burping, etc... We've also started learning about how to deal with all the unsolicited advice and over attentiveness. I even learned all about postpartum symptoms (like all the bleeding, achiness, joint pain, etc...).



This last picture is of J, River, and me from the fairy garden walk, we were dubbed the tree fairy family. She was slinged (slung?) and slept through almost the entire event.

((all pictures are in chronological order. Sorry for no newer close-up photo of River, I've been meaning to take one the past two days, but she's been pretty constantly attached to the boob))

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Handmade children's products: Illegal.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (or the CPSIA) is a piece of legislation that was originally intended to make large, multinational corporations liable for the safety of the toys they produce. It created a list of dangerous ingredients that were not to be allowed in children's products and held the manufacturer responsible by making them test the products. Sounds great, right? Honestly, as it was intended, it is.

Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to make mandates on large businesses that small businesses are not forced to follow as well. Where there is a loop hole, large business will find and exploit them. So, while huge corporations will not have an issue paying the thousands of dollars it takes to test a product, small-batch producers will be left in the dust. The legislation is, effectively putting small producers out of business.

I have been making simple children's toys out of recycled plastic felt for a little while now. I've mostly sold them to a friend of mine who is a doula and runs childbirth classes. I've been intending to start an Etsy shop, but wanted to wait until this legislation is figured out. Although all of the parts used in the production of my felties, I would be forced to pay thousands of dollars to test each product. Change the shape of one, or the color of another, pay another few thousand dollars to retest everything. Yup, that's how comprehensive this legislation mandates the testing to be. Keep in mind that every product sold at a store like JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels has already been tested, but because I have repackaged that product, I am forced to retest everything individually and as a finished product.

While this comprehensive testing is great for customers of companies that put out cheap plastic toys that are made using tons of chemicals and small parts, this is murder for anyone that buys products from retailers who make their products by hand in small batches. This doesn't only effect the seller, this effects the people who want to be able to buy locally produced or hand made products. This applies to anything that any child under 12 might use, including toys, clothes, slings, etc. Even thrift stores would be forced to comply with this legislation, which they have no means of doing! This means that the market will only contain products made by these large corporations.

This legislation was already passed in 2008. Currently most small businesses that create products for children are choosing to break the law in order to keep their livelihood and keep doing what they love. They are working to contact legislators and have some exemptions added to the legislation that will allow them to keep creating their amazing products.

HERE is etsy.com's story on The Handmade Toy Alliance, an organization that is working to support small handcrafting businesses


Please, keep supporting small businesses, keep buying from individuals, we need it now more than ever.
Check out www.handmadetoyalliance.org and contact your legislators!

Reading Reading All The Time

I grew up with books like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Animal Farm, and The Last Unicorn. Later I moved on to Anne Rice among other authors. Although I did have some typically child-oriented books, such as Harold and the Purple Crayon, I was always encouraged towards more adult-oriented reading.

I've already begun continuing this tradition with my daughter. I read to her from whatever I happen to be reading. So far this has already included Lord of the Rings, Ishmael, and the Dalai Lama's book on science, as well as websites like OffbeatMama.com, Feministing.com, and CNN.com.

My hope is that she will become an avid reader like myself. We'll see how that goes.


As an aside: I still haven't managed to master the motherly art of feeding my baby and myself in a day >.< Baby gets fed, I don't... This needs to be fixed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Baby Shower Finally Figured Out ^.^

This is a follow-up to my post HERE about my baby shower frustrations.

My mother decided to throw me a baby shower now that little River is here. This follows some of the Jewish tradition by waiting until after the baby was born, and still lets me have a baby shower. My husband and some other men of our generation were invited and are expected to attend, which we're really glad about. We're sad that there weren't even numbers of men and women invited, but there would have been if space was not a concern. I'm really glad that my mom took some of my advice and is planning on having the Onesie Decoration Activity.

As far as buying things for the baby goes, we went ahead and got most of the things that we felt we needed already. There were a few things that we decided that we didn't need that my MIL (mother in law) got us (another case of 'knowing better'). But either way, there's not much left that we need. Honestly, I'm kind of happy about this, because I ended up getting a lot of the stuff used or super-cheap, and because it means that I can register for things that I want and wouldn't otherwise get (like a baby-food making system).

(this is mostly just in response to my old post, not really associated with the shower any more) I have to say, now that I had the natural birth that I was planning, I've been getting an amazingly positive response! I think the fact that so many people who did not think I could do it has led to some real surprise! Although I have been corrected that not ALL of my family was unsupportive, I have to say I wish that there was more positivity when I was pregnant instead of just after I had proven I could do it.

I'm just hoping now that family members can be supportive of my parenting choices. I've heard some disparaging remarks about on-demand-feeding and cosleeping, but am set on the decisions I've made. Although I think the 15-min every 2 hours schedule might be easier on the mom, I don't think this is the best route for babies. Babies do not live by a schedule.

The issues with the MIL not wanting to plan the shower and complaining about the wedding shower have not quite been quelled, though we are getting there. She came to visit for dinner one day last week, and started complaining about some family friends that had not been invited. Please keep in mind that my mother was the one planning the shower, and that space was a concern when we pared down the guest list. Instead of staying silent and letting her complain like I normally do, I spoke up and told her that if she had thrown the shower herself, that she could have invited anyone that she wanted. I honestly can't believe I said that, I can say things like that to strangers and friends, but I have never been able to speak up like that to my in-laws! Still, I'm glad I did, and it worked. For that visit she didn't have anything else to say. Still, when we talked to her recently, she started up with pointing out that our registry info wasn't listed on the invites, etc...

All-in-all, I have to say that I'm actually looking forward to the shower! I think it'll be a good chance for everyone to get to meet River! I just have to get used to other people holding her and giving me all their parenting advice.

Why aren't there more midwife-type practitioners?

I think going through a midwife for my pregnancy was one of the best choices I ever made. I don't think I could have had anything close to my positive experience if I had chosen another type of health care provider. That said, I'm frustrated now. I'm frustrated that there aren't more professionals using the midwife philosophies in their practices. I'm so glad that I can keep going to my midwife group for my regular gynecological appointments, but I wish they could do more.

Much like pregnancy, I feel that the point of early pediatric appointments are to stand out of the way of the child's development and just monitor it to make sure that there are no issues. How does going to a medically trained pediatrician differ from going to an obstetrician for pregnancy?

I feel like the doctor, more often than not, is looking for something to be wrong. I feel like they can often let their own judgments get in the way of their practice. Every visit to my child's pediatrician has included her telling me that it's ok to use formula instead of breastfeeding even though I have told her my opinions and cited research that contradicts her. I have been less than honest with her about our decisions to cosleep and breastfeed on demand because I'm afraid that she will think less of my parenting (how stupid is that).

Recently the World Health Organization published a new set of size charts for babies who are specifically breastfed. My pediatrician, at our one week appointment, insisted that we bring River in for a two week appointment because she had decided that River wasn't gaining enough weight. She decided this based on her chart that was developed including formula fed babies, even though formula fed babies typically gain more weight and are more likely to be obese. I think I might have to print out these newer charts and bring them in.

I really shouldn't feel that I need to educate my child's pediatrician.

You might be asking why I'm not going to another pediatrician that shares my views about raising children and stays more up-to-date on research.. well, there's a couple reasons: (1) those pediatricians don't seem to exist in my area, or if they do, I can't seem to find them. (2) The doctor that we're seeing was my hubby's doctor when he was younger, and he has some attachment to the idea of River seeing her.

I have given in to seeing this doctor in particular because I feel that I am well-researched enough to counter her opinions with well-researched fact, but I worry about mothers who don't do their own research and follow everything that the doctor says.

Back to the original topic of this post: I don't see why there can't be a practitioner that functions more like a midwife. This would include a weigh-in, some simple measurements, maybe some occasional testing, but mostly just a check-in. This would include talking to me like I'm an adult who might have some knowledge or at least know how to read instead of like a child who would be hopeless without the doctor's guidance. This would include getting to know us as a family instead of just River's statistics in her file. This would include telling us about a procedure, vaccine, or concern instead of just telling us what the doctor recommends. Why can't we have more medical practitioners like that?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A day late fathers day post

Thanks to all the hustle and bustle yesterday, I wasn't able to make a fathers day post, and I really do want to share the awesomeness that is my husband and the father of my baby girl. Unfortunately, this isn't really that post.

The night before was another hard night for me. I had taken some benadryl before bed, so I was ridiculously groggy. River had woken up some time in the early morning hours, was having trouble latching on, and was getting quite fussy. Since I wasn't really able to wake up fully, I don't remember much of this, but apparently I was refusing to let J help with anything, saying that it was fathers day so he should get a full night of sleep. Eventually, with me crying, I let him change her diaper and help get us into bed. After that, River still would not latch or stop fussing, and I, in my Benadryl-induced stupor, kept getting more and more frustrated. I guess some craziness happened after that on my part (mostly half-asleep ramblings and a strange inability to differentiate sleep from wakefulness (according to J)).

One part that I do remember from that long night was J telling me that I shouldn't make a big deal about fathers day because he didn't even really feel like a dad. I know he's having a hard time right now because he's not able to feed the baby and she spends SO MUCH time eating! I know he feels helpless when she starts to get fussy and it's only mommy's boobs that can sooth her.

So, later in the day, I made a card for him with River's help (ok, I used traced her hand), and on the inside I wrote:
To the best baby daddy and kitty daddy,


I know you say you don't feel like much of a father yet,


But it's just because you are such a natural.


Love you so much,


Cheryl and River.

Unfortunately, J had to work through his first fathers day and I ended up going to my family's fathers day dinner with River. I was sad to spend the day separate.

Today is Gaming Day (basically, every monday, we have a group of friends over and play Warhammer, D&D, or WoW, though I haven't been playing much lately). He's downstairs with a big group of people while I am upstairs with little River who I am convinced is having a growth spurt because she WON'T STOP EATING! She starts fussing whenever she isn't attached.

This is a picture J took of River and me while we were napping on the couch. I love it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today and Some Observations

Just got back from the Highland Games! had an amazing time with some good friends. River and I are back home now, chilling in the amazing air conditioning, and EXHAUSTED! It was really hot and sunny out today, so I'm downing water while she nurses. I had meant to bring a camera to the games, but with everything else I've been carrying around it just got left behind.

I used my new sling for the first time. We decided to go with a Maya Sling from Cutie Poops and Bottoms because it seemed to be the most versatile and provide the best support for a newborn while being in the lower price range (I won't say cheap, because no baby carrier seems to be cheap!)

I've decided that my bobbies are my super power! No matter where I am, I have easy access to the best thing to feed my baby. They're also a great way to bond with her and sooth her. I never have to fully wake up to feed her at night (unless she's being a fuss-butt). And I don't have to carry around any bottles, formula, water, etc...

I decided that this post needed a picture, and I've found this breastfeeding picture beautiful for a while now :-)

Tomorrow River and I will be driving up to my parents' house, and then on to my grandparents' for fathers day ^.^ it'll be the first time introducing River to my extended family. Unfortunately, like today, J is pulling a double tomorrow... so that kinda sucks.

Well, I have a snoring baby asleep on my boob. Life is good.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Unbidden Advertising!

I have to take a moment here and do some un-asked-for advertising for my midwife... If you live in the Chicago-land area and are pregnant, seriously, GO TO HER!

SHE IS AWESOME! I had the coolest, silliest, most awesomely supportive midwife EVER! She really made J and me feel comfortable and we really had FUN with her! She supported every decision we made.

I have a big problem with most people in the medical profession talking to me like I am a child. I spend a lot of time reading medical literature about anything pertinent, I'll ask questions if I don't know something. It usually feels a lot like a strange parent-child relationship where the child is paying the parent... Instead Cynthia was amazing about treating us like adults. She approached everything by giving us recommendations and information and letting us make the decisions.

Our pre-labor appointments honestly felt a lot like social visits! We would chat about emotions, work and financial situations, as well as pregnancy health related issues.

Our labor and delivery was peppered with awesome geeky jokes, fantastic support, and amazing encouragement. She respected everything I did, even allowing me to push even though I was only 9cm, with a lip, and I wouldn't let her check me again. She trusted my body and my instincts even more than I did. She even took the time to stay hours after birth and sit with me while my husband went with the baby to get measured.

I honestly don't think I would have gotten the delivery experience that I wanted without Cynthia Mason as my midwife. If I ever am pregnant again, I have no questions about who I would go to.

So seriously, if you live in the Chicago-land area and are pregnant, make an appointment to meet with Cynthia Mason. DO IT!

To make this post interesting I have inserted River pics between every paragraph ^.^

Haven't really posted here in a while, mostly because there's nothing much to post about. I haven't left the house unnecessarily yet, only leaving for midwife and pediatrician appointments, so not much has happened. After the appointment we'll usually try to hit up somewhere for lunch and then the grocery store, but that's still too much for me..

Here's a pic of River and me in the hospital:

Otherwise, my mother has been over a few times, plus some close friends, but mostly I prefer to be by myself with the baby and the hubby.

Here's a pic of my mom and River:

I'm still sore, swollen, bleeding, and head-achy. Any time I do go anywhere I end up exhausted.There were two times that I had to call an early end to the errands we were trying to run after an appointment. It happens though, and I've been assured that everything I'm feeling is totally normal (doesn't make it hurt less though).

Here's a picture of J and River, he's a FANTASTIC DADDY!!!

I've been keeping a close eye on my mood since delivery. I had a lot of the indicators that I was more likely to get postpartum depression, but so far I seem to have been pretty lucky. I've had a couple crying jags, mostly related to frustration though (they were both when River was upset and I was exhausted), so those were pretty normal. Otherwise I just get a little overly sad when J has to go to work for a long day (like today). I think I've gotten off easy so far, especially compared to the antepartum depression I had earlier.

J and I have both gotten really good at using the computer while River is on us (she's a cuddly baby who tends to fuss whenever she's not being held). Here he is playing WoW:

I've gotten to the point though, where I don't think it's healthy to be sitting around at home and alone so much. I want to start showing River the world so that, at least when she's old enough to really absorb things, she'll be used to going out and experiencing everything. So.. tomorrow I'm planning on taking her to the Illinois Highland Games and Scottish Festival, and then sunday I'll be taking her to my family's Father's Day get-together. The really big thing here: I'll be doing these thing ON MY OWN. J is working an extremely hard 'week' (his week is most people's weekend since he works in entertainment).

Here's a picture of River in the hospital:
Since I have more pictures to share, I'm just going to make random statements to go between them :-)

Here's another picture of her in the hospital.. she's all pensive looking, and you can see the scratch she gave herself while the nurses were weighing her :-/


River looooves Kangaroo Care! She's a sucker for being nakey on someone's chest! (unfortunately the article I linked to associates Kangaroo Care with premature infants primarily and misses out on the benefits for babies who are at term.. but I'm too lazy to look for another article right now)


Here's a picture of River the day that we got her home. She's laying on one of the blankets I crocheted for her. Since she was still all flail-y we had to put mitties on her.


We couldn't believe how beautiful River was right when she was born! She looked just like a little baby! We had been bracing ourselves for some hideous monster-baby; all purple and covered in cottage cheesy-nasties. Instead she was pink, clean, breathed right away, gave a little cry to let us know she was ok, then snuggled up to me.

Here's another pic of her right after we got her home:

I'm out of random things to say, so here are some more pics:

Here are her chubby cheekies, I eat them for breakfast!!

Here she is in the Thirsties diaper we bought from an awesome local store called Cutie Poops and Bottoms! The owner was awesome and even gave us demonstrations of all the different cloth diaper options. We'll definitely be going back there! Seriously, if you live in the Chicago area check out this place! and if you don't, you can still order from them online!! Unfortunately we have her in 'sposies right now because the adjustable Thirsties covers we bought seem to be a bit large for her and she springs leaks out the sides. As soon as she gets a little bigger we'll be cloth diapering!!


Oh, and because it is awesome and I'm very proud of myself: here's a pic of breastfeeding! I HAVE MAGIC BOOBIES! You can't really see it in this picture, but I have some issues breastfeeding. This might be over sharing, but I think this is an issue that should be talked about more and people shouldn't feel alone. I have relatively small, flat nipples. River had a VERY HARD time latching on and still does. One of the night nurses at the hospital was particularly amazing! I mentioned momentarily that I was having a hard time getting her to latch, and she was instantly there with a ton of little toys to help. She was very pro-breastfeeding and wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed to be successful. The toy that worked: a nipple shield! It looks a bit like the nipple on a bottle, it fits over my areola and nipple and gives her something to latch onto. The only downside is that she doesn't seem to recognize my actual nipples any more, and only nurses with the shield on which can be a little awkward to juggle in public. It's a small price to pay for being able to feed my baby what's best for her!

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed with our pediatrician. The two times we've seen her she's made it a point to tell me that "it's really ok to supplement with formula." I've told her how I feel about supplementing and that it's really unnecessary as I don't mind breastfeeding and it's going well. The pediatrician in J's childhood doctor though, and the doctor for the rest of his immediate family, so he's willing to let some of her opinions slide. Since I just met her, I'm a little less at ease...

Anyways, that turned into a rant, so here's the picture:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life is Pretty Good

I've been having a hard time posting since River's birth. Not for lack of time, I've had plenty, but because I just find it so much easier to post when I have something to complain about!

J has been amazing. Not only through labor and delivery, but since then. Whenever I have any sort of issue, he's always there to take care of me. He changes practically all of the diapers (my abdominal muscles are still really sore) and takes River whenever I start getting frustrated. He is coping really well with the fact that River is almost always attached to me (she's a hungry little thing) and that feeding is just not something he can participate in at the moment (we're looking into borrowing or buying a pump). When he is holding her, I can't help but smile as he gets lost gazing at her, or does some of the stupidest things to try and get her to smile.

River has been amazing. She's a quiet little thing, and although she is hungry and can nurse for HOURS (literally, i'm not kidding) she's good about telling us that she's uncomfortable before breaking into a full-blown cry. I've already gotten pretty skilled in deciphering what's making her cry. There have only been a few times (I can still count them on one hand) where I've gotten frustrated, and most of that has just been because of sleep deprivation (she still has her days and nights flipped, and I'm not the best at napping during the day). She sleeps on my chest at night and I often find myself falling asleep while she nurses to wake up an hour later to her demanding more boob.

The only issues that I have are related to my physical recovery. It's going sloooowly. I'm still sore, shaky, bleeding, and overall feeling like I got hit by a truck. People who know me know that I have a really hard time with not being able to do something.. it just makes me want to do it more. Most also know that I have a really really hard time asking for help. J keeps being reminded of this when it takes a full blown breakdown on my part just to ask for some snuggles (as happened a couple nights ago).

Right now though, I have a sleeping baby on my chest and a computer in front of me. If J were at home instead of at work, all would be right with my world. And tomorrow is my 2-week followup appointment with my most favoritest midwife ^.^

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

After Birth

Throughout pregnancy, and even before it, it seems like every woman wants to share her stories about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Everyone has their gruesome tales and their unasked for advice. Seriously, I've met people who go on for hours about whatever horror took place during their delivery, as if that was supposed to help me not be terrified for mine. But no one told me about what happened after!

There are even tons of websites devoted to pregnancy, most focusing on the baby, but some focusing primarily on the mother. And none of the websites that I was reading mentioned even momentarily what to expect for after labor. American Pregnancy Association, the website that I frequented most often because of its no-nonsense scientific approach to discussing pregnancy (though I wasn't so appreciative of their very gender-stereotypical advice for mom's partner), DID include a section on After Pregnancy, but this section focused only on the baby, with a small bit focusing on postpartum depression. Yes, PPD is very serious, and needs a lot of attention, but it's a hot topic. You can find information about it anywhere (hell, there's usually even an article about it on CNN's health section's top 5 articles).

What I didn't hear anything about was aftercare for any tears, about the bleeding, clotting, etc., about the soreness that stays with you for weeks, about the utter exhaustion that it never feels like you get a chance to recover from (after all, I'm this baby's only source of food), about the pelvic pain, about feeling like your organs are sloshing around in you, etc.

Keep in mind that I only called my midwives once during pregnancy, and that was to get their permission to travel to Michigan during my final trimester for a funeral. Otherwise, the midwives never heard from me except at scheduled visits. Since giving birth I have thought of calling them every day to ask if _____ was normal. It's only my usual procrastination that keeps me from calling. I'll wait and wait, trying to see if it will get better, until finally their office is closed and I can't talk myself into believing my issue is important enough to bother the on-call midwife.

It has been 11 days since River was born, and I'm still bleeding. Some of it is still bright red, some of it is rust colored. Yesterday I got lightheaded and blacked out in the shower, today I couldn't stand long enough to accompany J on a short grocery trip. My pelvis and tail bone still hurt, and so do my legs, arms, neck, head, etc. My abdominal muscles hardly work. There's other pain too, but I don't want to gross out the family members and in-laws that read this. Yes, I expected some of this, but the intensity and duration are already more that I was told to expect. Even in the hospital they didn't really prepare me for this.

The only mention of postpartum bleeding that I came across in my normal pregnancy and baby reading (meaning not without extra research and searching) came in my most recent American Baby Magazine (a free magazine that I magically started getting after becoming pregnant) that I actually received after leaving the hospital. Still, the article only mentions the bleeding, and manages to skip over the pain, the tears, the readjusting that your entire body is going through, etc.

Basically, I'm saying that there needs to be more attention paid to, and more information out there about, what happens to a woman after pregnancy. I hope that sharing a bit about what is happening to me helps some other women who read my blog.

Other than that, I have a sleeping baby on my chest, and it feels so good ^-^

Saturday, June 05, 2010

River's Birth Story *TMI WARNING*

Starting May 25th  I had been having some pretty intense pre-labor signs. On Tuesday it was the inability to sit still and some pretty intense discomfort. The baby had already dropped, so I was in the bathroom every half-hour or so. Wednesday was mostly discomfort and painful contractions. Thursday I got a break from the painful contractions for the beginning of the day, but they came back during the Bradley Method classes I've been attending. I honestly don't remember much of what was talked about in class that day, I was just concentrating on relaxing and feeling what my body was doing.

7AM (on the nose) on Friday May 28th I woke up, ran to the bathroom, and felt my water break. Spent the next half hour sitting on the toilet dealing with the now-intense and painful contractions. J and I waited until the midwive's office opened for the day before calling. Found out that our favorite midwife, who agreed to 'special' our delivery, was actually on call that day ^.^ Contractions were jumping around between 7 and 10 minutes apart, and usually a minute and a half long. My mother, who had a very fast labor and delivery with me, rushed over expecting me to be similar. She expected us to run to the hospital, but instead worked on the quilt that I had started.

Jehosh was amazing, he was with me for most of the contractions (the only ones he missed were when I sent him to do something else). I spent my contractions with him holding me, swaying with me, and generally making sure that I was relaxing and letting my body do what it needed.

They stayed like that until around 3, when, even though they weren't much closer together (maybe around 6-8 minutes apart) I started feeling really anxious. It took till shortly after 4 before I could convince J that we really needed to leave. The midwife was hesitant, worried that I wouldn't progress fast enough once I was in the hospital and might be pushed into an induction.

When I was at home I was doing a lot of the laboring on the toilet since every contraction made me have to pee, so the car ride was pretty horrible. We got stuck in traffic, and the drive that should have taken 45 minutes (there are very few hospitals that offer what we got in Illinois) took like an hour and a half. To make matters worse, I had started getting a slight urge to push, the weather was extremely warm, and I had been really reliant on J for relaxation.

We finally got to the hospital, and after checking in the E.R., I was sat in a wheelchair in front of an elevator to wait for someone from labor and delivery to get me. Since I hadn't been able to pee for the past hour and a half, I was getting impatient, and it felt like it was taking forever for the L&D nurse to get me. So I started wheeling myself over to the bathroom. Guess they don't like that in the E.R., and I pretty quickly got someone pushing me to meet the L&D nurse half-way.

My midwife, Cynthia, was already waiting in L&D for me, and got me hooked up to an external Electronic Fetal Monitor for the required 20 minutes of monitoring. We had a really hard time keeping track of the baby's heartbeat, and kept accidentally picking mine up. This is one of the many times I was SO GLAD to have Cynthia as our midwife! Other health-care professionals might have gotten worried, or even started an intervention, but Cynthia was completely calm.

Oh, we also found out that I was 5.5 cm dilated when I came into the hospital! Cynthia's worry that I wasn't progressing fast enough was replaced by gratitude that we came in when we did. We were moved very quickly into an open Alternative Birth Center room. Once there, I finally got to sit on the toilet like I had SO wanted to, while the nurse filled the water birthing tub. As soon as it was full I got in and it was AMAZING! seriously, it was the best pain relief ever! I finally was able to relax, and the weight off my body was extremely cathartic. I was able to relax so much that I hardly even felt the next two contractions.

After that, I have to admit that I was terrified. Nothing can prepare a person for labor and delivery, especially transition. I managed to let go of myself and started screaming pretty loudly. J said it sounded like I was being tortured... I think that's because it kind of WAS torture!

Cynthia checked me at this point, and I was 9-cm with a small lip on my cervix. Unfortunately, her checking me gave me some horribly painful contractions.. and I didn't let her check again. At this point I felt the undeniable urge to push. Even though I knew I had another cm before I 'should' be pushing, my body didn't really give me a choice. Of the almost two hours that I was in the hospital, I think I spent a little over an hour actually pushing.

J was amazing through all of this. I pushed on all fours in the tub with J holding my head up so that I could push against it. I didn't realize that he was using the wrist that he had broken in highschool and apparently had never healed correctly. He was also great about supporting me and helping me relax between contractions.

After a few really GOOD pushes, River's head was out. I wasn't sure I had any more in me, but next thing I knew she was in my arms. It was amazing. She cried for half a second, almost like she just wanted to say hi, then she was completely quiet and looking into my eyes. She was already pink and wasn't covered in that nasty cheesy stuff. It was amazing, she just looked like this happy little baby. She scored a 9,9 on her apgar.

A lot of birth and what happened after is a blur. I know that at some point I looked around the room and commented that I hadn't actually seen it before because I had my eyes shut through most of the time I was there. I think J even had to lead me from the bathroom to the tub. We were left for over an hour with the baby, just laying in the nice queen-sized bed and bonding. Eventually River was taken to be measured: 7 pounds 9 ounces, 19 inches long, 34 inch head diameter (yup, I pushed that out of me >.< )

All in all, the labor was about 13 hours long, with only 2 hours of it spent in the hospital. River was born at 7:52pm.  My mom was amazed at the end of it, she couldn't believe that I got through the whole thing with no medication or interventions. I ended up with only a small tear that didn't even really need stitches.

We decided to spend the next day and a half in the hospital, mostly so that I could get some sleep, breastfeeding assistance, and so that family could visit us in the hospital instead of at home.

Trying to write this (it's been up on my browser screen for the past two days) has really shown me how impossible it is to describe the pain and the emotions involved in childbirth. It's easy to talk about times and facts, but it's hard to describe exactly what it felt like. We are just so happy that we got the birth that we all wanted.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quick Update before I pass out

Just got home from the hospital! Baby is BEAUTIFUL! we named her River.

I'll post more about everything when I get a chance, but the birth was amazing (though incredibly painful), unmedicated, and without any interventions. my midwife was FANTASTIC, and the hubby was AMAZING!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A big congatulations!

A big congrats to a friend of mine who just had a blog post get featured on Offbeat Mama!

Check it out here: Raising Babies in a  Two Religion Household

or check out her blog: Becoming SuperMommy

I've been reading Offbeat Mama since the website was born, and consider it a huge honor to be featured there, so CONGRATS!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quick Update

For those of you who are watching my blog impatiently, waiting for me to pop... I'm still here, and still preggo :-(

Honestly, I hate pregnancy. I'm never going to be one of those women who love it, who reflect happily on the glow or having a baby in me. No, if I ever decide to have another kid, I think I'll adopt.

So here I am, still huge, still having painful contractions that aren't actual labor, still unable to walk or move around much thanks to my painful pelvis, still going to the bathroom ever half-hour because the baby's already dropped in my pelvis.

I know it's just a matter of time, and I'm not even at my due date yet, but I'm getting impatient. I'd rather not have so many of the uncomfortable pre-labor indicators if I'm not actually in labor!

So... today we went on a huge grocery shopping trip, tomorrow we have our Bradley class after J gets off work, friday we have nothing, saturday is our Baby Boot Camp class, and sunday is another nothing day. As much as I love Colleen and her classes, I'm ok with missing any of this if it means that I get to have the baby!

My body is a tease

This is getting frustrated. My body is teasing me at this point.

Yesterday I woke up super early (5:30 AM, which is UNHEARD of for me, I'm a 10-hour a night kind of girl) and couldn't stop moving! I helped my mom clean, started a quilt, went out to a late lunch, and wandered around a mall for a few hours. I tried hard to stay calm and preserve the energy, sure that I would be going into labor at any minute. Instead, I ended up exhausted at the end of the day and with nothing more than the usual Braxton Hicks to show for it.

This morning I woke up a few times really early to some PAINFUL contractions! Again, I was sure that this was it, but I forced myself back to sleep so that I could maybe sleep through prelabor and some of the first stage. I laid in bed, squeezing J and practicing relaxing through the pain, and even managed to go back to sleep between the contractions. I made the mistake of assuming that I was still having contractions while I slept, but that some miracle was happening that let me sleep through the pain. Instead, after waking up, I decided to practice timing them and to see where I was at.... well, the contraction lasted 3.5 minutes, and another didn't come for an hour. So much for that. Now that I've gotten up and ate some graham crackers and soy protein stuff (I had a little upset stomach and didn't want to push it with any dairy) the contractions have pretty much stalled.

I'm getting so anxious to get this bugger out of me! Raspberry leaf tea seems to intensify the BH's to a point, so I'll keep downing that with copious amounts of honey... but other than the tea, I don't think there are any other home-remedies that I'm willing to try. So here's to another day of pregnancy >.<

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update and such

Well, yesterday's drama about Better Homes and Gardens was interesting! If you didn't see the two posts, check them out!

BHaG is Anti-Breastfeeding
and:
BHaG Article Update

 It felt awesome just to know that bloggers and other internet-present-people can really make change just by speaking up. The fact that I got a public apology in the comments on the second article really made my day!

Yesterday
Otherwise, yesterday was one of the more busy days that I've had lately, which isn't really saying a lot since I never seem to do anything anymore. We had our midwife appointment in the morning where we met with another of the midwives who might be called in if I go into labor when our main midwife is out of town. Again, she seemed really nice, but we still definitely prefer Cynthia!

After that, we went to Flat Top Grill to get a good meal in me since I've been too tired and achey to do any real cooking at home. I'd never been to a Flat Top, and it was delicious! I can't wait to eat the leftovers!

We decided to skip grocery shopping, even though it was pretty high on our to-do list, and even managed to space out on doing laundry. Instead, we had our group of gamer friends come over for some Warhammer. I don't really play since I'm so distracted, but J and his friends had a great time, and I got some time playing World of Warcraft ^.^

The whole day was peppered with some nice, strong, more-uncomfortable-than-painful Braxton Hicks contractions (though by definition BH's don't accomplish anything, and the pre-labor contractions I've been feeling are very likely thinning and effacing my cervix) as well as some slight cervical spasms. Still, these things are nothing new, just slowely getting more and more intense.

Today
This morning I woke up around 5:30 AM after my normal (at least lately) 2-hr sleep schedule between peeings. I think I got a total of 6 hours of sleep. Maybe. Still, woke up to pee and started feeling very anxious, like I had a ton of things that I had to do right then. Still, I made myself lay in bed until J had to get up to go to work (another two hours) and got up with him.

Unfortunately, no matter how much there is for me to do, my pelvis hurts so much that I can barely move. Instead of cleaning, doing dishes and laundry, picking up around the house, organizing everything, or any of the other hundred things I can think of to do, I've been cutting out little 4x4in squares of fabric to use for my first attempt at quilting. I know I probably won't have time to finish the project, nor do I really have the drive, but I needed to do something.

Luckily, with all the feeling like I need to get things done, my mom is on her way over here to help me clean a little. I feel really weird about her cleaning my house, but it needs to get done. I know J doesn't really like the idea either, but he's so exhausted from work that I hate to ever ask him to do it when I can't.

So... Yeah. Hope everyone else in the blogosphere is having a good day ^-^ 

Monday, May 24, 2010

BHaG article update

VICTORY! BHaG apologist for their article where they condemned breastfeeding in restaurants and deleted that section from the article! All the negative feedback that BHaG received after the article was published really made a difference! We need to keep working to make sure that breastfeeding mothers are comfortable no matter where they go.

Here's the apology in their own words:
Editor's note: We apologize for the patently inappropriate sections, which we have removed from the post. We support breastfeeding moms -- and all moms -- in their desire to include their children in their public lives. We pledge to do better in the future in both the tone and content of our posts. We will be posting our positive parenting tips for eating out soon.

and here is a link to the new article and the apology:
The 9 Commandments Of Dining With Little Kids

BHaG is anti-breastfeeding.

Generally speaking, I'm for breastfeeding. I respect every mother's right to choose what is best for her and her child, even if that's not breastfeeding, but MY intention is to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and almost exclusively for another 6 months after that. That said, no matter what your personal decision is regarding breastfeeding, I think that most women (especially mothers) can agree that a woman should never be pressured to NOT breastfeed. In fact, I think that women should be encouraged and breastfeeding should be as comfortable as giving a kid a bottle.

In Illinois (as in most U.S. states and on federal property) a woman has the right to breastfeed anywhere that she is allowed to be. Still, some businesses are not aware of this, and try to get breastfeeding women to leave or stop breastfeeding. Unsupportive public opinions can make the difference between successful breastfeeding and a mother deciding to switch to a bottle.

I recently came across this article from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine: The 10 Commandments of Dining with Little Kids. In it, the author says:
THOU SHALT NOT BREAST FEED AT THE TABLE
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)
What amazes and scares me is not only that this article was written by a woman, but that she claims not to be 'anti-kid'. I have more than a few issues with this:
  • Yes, a bathroom might be very nice, but no one wants to eat in one, and I think there are very few people who would want to spend up to 30 minutes of their meal out sitting in a bathroom.
  • Handicap stalls are for people with disabilities, not for breastfeeding mothers. 
  • Who wants to wait in line for the bathroom while a mother breastfeeds, especially if there are not multiple stalls.
  • She also includes the 'commandment' "THOU SHALL TRY TO QUELL HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMING". I don't know if anyone has noticed, but a hungry baby tends to be a loud baby. 
  • Most mothers who breastfeed show surprisingly little to no boob.
  • You don't have to look, in fact, it's rude to stare. 
  • Society has created this insane oversexualization of breasts and has turned them into a taboo. Exposure to breasts being used for sustenance should be encouraged, not exposure to breasts as a way to use sexuality to sell products.
  • Eating as a family is a positive experience and should be started as young as possible. Eating while breastfeeding is also a great way for the mother to make sure that she is getting the nutrition necessary to continue breastfeeding. 
  • The author is definitely anti-kid if she does not support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been shown over and over to provide the best nutrients for a child and lowers the rates of SIDs. 
Yes, I'm using this article as a sort of sacrificial lamb, but if people are not called out when they do not support breastfeeding, no change is going to be made. We should not isolate mothers, we should not discourage breastfeeding. End of story.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My battle with antepartum depression.

I've been really horrible about updating here. I get a good post in about once a week, and otherwise I can't motivate myself to make coherent posts (or do much of anything else). About once a day I'll open up the new post page and just sit there, with nothing to say. I've been like this about a lot of stuff actually.

I've been having a hard time with depression during pregnancy (or antepartum depression). Basically, the hormonal changes in my body are bringing on a reemergence of the horrible depressive episodes I had in high school. I've had no motivation to do much more than sleep and eat. Since I don't have motivation to actually get up and do anything, that means that I'm eating processed junk more than anything, since it's the easiest to just grab without having to cook. It means that I only made 4 felties in the past two weeks, and only one crocheted boob. It means the house is a mess. It means that J comes home from work, asks what I did that day, and I say nothing because I really did nothing. It means that the slightest thing makes me cry.

I know that these feelings are hormonally based. Unlike during my depressive episodes in high school, there is nothing triggering these, there are no excuses for my mood. I just feel down. I know that J is getting frustrated with it. He asks me what is wrong all the time. I feel horrible because I know that he's just looking for some way to make me feel better, I know that he's frustrated. He reminds me all the time that the pregnancy is almost over, that soon I'll have my baby in my arms and she won't be playing with my hormonal buttons all the time.

I'm trying to take the time to enjoy little happy moments right now.  I've been trying to get myself to whip out the camera and smile. I've rearranged all of the baby's things and played with her toys to try to bring myself out of this. I've talked to my midwife and my hubby, and short of therapy (which I don't have money for and don't think will help since it's hormonally based) or medication (which has never worked well for me in the past) there's nothing that can really be done.

I also worry about postpartum depression. I know that people who have depression issues earlier in life, especially during pregnancy, are much more likely to have postpartum depression. I have this vision of me, happy, with a newborn, enjoying all the little moments in life, but a part of me knows that this is not very likely. I'm more likely to be sitting at home doing nothing every day, much like I am now, except with a crying, pooping, needy baby.

There's a lot of attention given to postpartum depression, especially in the media. It's great that there is so much information about it floating around, but there is almost no time given to antepartum depression. I hope that by posting, at least someone else out there might not feel so alone when dealing with it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Midwife Visist

Had another midwife visit on monday, this time it was with my favorite midwife again ^.^ The main purpose of the visit was to talk about what will happen when I go into labor. The midwives group I see recommends laboring as long as possible at home, so I'll be waiting till my contractions are 3-5 minutes apart before heading to the hospital (if the midwive's office is open, I'll be leaving a little earlier to get checked out at the office). My GBS test came back negative, so I don't need an IV during labor, which is great. Otherwise it was a pretty boring visit, and boring visits are good.

Other than that life has been boring. J has been working a lot, and since I'm at term (not due, but ready to pop) I haven't been borrowing his car. The days that J is off, we usually spend sitting at home since he's exhausted and sick (I seem to have managed to stave off the worst of the cold, while he's had the full thing). I bought J a gift online for being my hero and going to work while he's sick. I'm just waiting for it to get here (i'll have to post pictures and such when it's finally here).

Not much else to talk about, just been crafting lately and sitting around waiting to pop. I just wanted to update and let people know that I'm around ^.^

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Babies review crossposted to FeministReview!

I'm super excited right now that my review of the Babies documentary was chosen to be crossposted to FeministReview.Blogspot.com! It means a lot that other people thought my review to be that good!

So check it out at Feminist Review Here!

Or on my page, Here.

(there are some slight differences in the articles, mostly because there  is a word limit at Feminist Review, and partially because some conscientious wording changes were made)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Horrible about updating, again.

Yup, another post where I apologise profusely for not updating more often >.<

This week has been hectic and extremely boring at the same time. I spent four and a half days without leaving my house. Literally. I think I stepped outside twice to get the mail. Over that time I haven't really accomplished much of anything at all. I've started work on a new line of felties, most of which I probably already have a buyer for, or I might just keep them for myself (they're so cute that they're hard to get rid of!). The picture here is of some of the first felties line. They're all purchased now, but I loved them lots while they were mine!

I'm officially 37 weeks along! All of a sudden I seem to be overly-in tune with my body. I keep pausing at random moments or whenever I have a Braxton Hicks to see if I'm in labor. I know I'm not and that I'm just over reacting, but it's hard not to. I'm so ready to give birth and get the little monster out of me!

J (the hubby) is super sick right now. He's been sick for most of the week with a horrible head cold. He's my hero and keeps going to work and doing everything he needs to do to be ready for the baby, even though most of the time he's stumbling through everything. Unfortunately I seem to be getting the same cold >.< I already have a horribly sore throat and plugged ears even though I've been loading up on the vitamin C. I really REALLY don't want to go into labor with a sore throat! I need to get over this, fast.

Yesterday was my grandfather's funeral. He passed a week ago, and it was definitely his time to go. The funeral was nice. It was a military funeral, complete with a folding of the flag and a 21 gun salute. Unfortunately, it was also 3 hours away in Decatur, MI. I called my midwife ahead of time to get permission, and even though she said it was fine to go, I was still a little nervous about being so far away from J and the midwives. I think the best part of the day was getting to spend time with my cousin's baby, definitely did not help the baby cravings though! My cousin is so lucky to have the most gorgeous, well-behaved baby in the world! She didn't even cry when they shot off the guns.

Today J is at work again, after pulling 12+ hour shifts on both Friday and Saturday >.< Luckily he gets off earlier today so we're going to go get some Sweet Tomatoes (an awesome buffet restaurant that has some great home-made soups!) to sooth our sore throats.