Monday, November 28, 2011

--singing to the baby

Finn loves when people sing to him, so I try to oblige.
I was singing in the kitchen while I made dinner--
Keelin and Jackson were shredding turkey for me,
(turkey and dumplings)
Finn was in his little vibrating seat,
and this song has been stuck in my head every since.

"All My Mistakes," by The Avett Brothers

Makes me proud to be from North Carolina

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My response to the anti-cosleeping ads from Milwaukee--

Here I go, leaping onto my soapbox!
I am not going to attack or attempt to offend parents who put their infants in cribs, so have no fear-
keep reading :)

First and foremost, the anti-cosleeping ad was paid for by Graco.
Conflict of interest, big red flag.
Just like Big Pharma funding scary commercials for vaccines...
I don't listen to anyone who tries to terrify me instead of presenting me with accurate info.
I'm a big girl and can research your advice for myself, thank you very much!

The ad shows an African-American infant on it's stomach beside of a butcher knife in a bug, fluffy bed, surrounded by big fluffy pillows and blankets. It basically tells parents that them sleeping with their child is just as dangerous as letting them sleep with sharp objects.

What they are showing isn't cosleeping, but bedsharing. Neither of which are dangerous if done safely. My comments below are evidence based and pertain to cosleeping and bedsharing with infants.

My issues with the ad are as follows:
1. Cosleeping is the baby sleeping in the same room... not always in parent's bed.
2. Bedsharing is usually done by responsible parents that do it safely.
3. Instead of demonizing those of us that cosleep, the money could have been spent educating parents on safe sleep practices... and not just displaying scary photos. BUT that wouldn't make the crib industry any money, would it?
4. The ad offers to give a free pack and play to parents so they won't bedshare... pack-n-plays are NOT cribs, they can be a major suffocation risk and the makers of them insist that the child never be unattended in one. Sleeping parents are not attentive parents... they can't be!

What the ad SHOULD have said:
1. Co-sleeping can be very beneficial for mom and baby!
2. If your child is sleeping outside of your bed in your room,
-make sure they have a safe place to sleep like a firm mattress
-ensure that they don't overheat
-no suffocation or fall risks such as drop-side cribs, big blankets and pillows, toys in the bed
-use common sense
3. If your child is in your bed,
-ensure that there is no fall risk by getting a bed rail or putting mom's side of the bed against a wall
-baby should sleep beside mom and not dad, since moms usually are more aware of baby's presence
-no drug or alcohol usage, do NOT go to bed with baby impaired... be aware of any meds you're on
- no big pillows or blankets, no squishy mattress toppers (suffocation risks)
-be aware of baby's temperature, between mom's body heat and blankets, baby could get hot
- baby should sleep on it's back
-obese parents should use caution due to mattress dipping (baby will roll towards you) or possible apnea
-no pets in the area
-don't sleep with baby if you're exhausted... you may not be as aware
-no smoking!
-you should be nursing

Studies have shown that the best place for a breastfed baby to sleep is with mom. Her heartbeat regulates her baby's, so does her temperature and her breathing! Baby mammals (humans included) are well served by sleeping next to their mother's with easy access to nurse!

We bedshare with our nursing baby and I have bedshared with our two oldest, as well.

How we do it:
1. We have a firm mattress
2. Finn sleeps on my side of the bed
3. We have a guard up so there is no risk of him falling
4. I use a small pillow at the head of the bed for me
5. Finn sleeps by my breast, with easy access to nurse if he wakes hungry
6. We sleep under a duvet, but it's never brought higher than baby's waist
7. Finn sleeps on his side, chest to chest with me when he's nursing, or on his back
8. I'm a light sleeper and very aware of him

If I didn't feel that I could safely bedshare, I would cosleep. We have a cosleeper that hooks to the side of our bed, but we haven't used it. I would use it if I were ill, on medication, excessively tired, or in any other situation where I thought Finn might not be safest in the bed with us. This is also the safest way for formula fed babies to sleep :)

I'm not here to convince you to cosleep- we do it because we believe that it's biologically appropriate for babies to sleep with their parents. We don't think it's best for our little ones to come out of the womb expected to sleep in a dark room alone in a crib. I thought it was important for a rationally cosleeping/bedsharing mom to respond, to say that it is NOT an unsafe practice when done responsibly and that we will not be scared by the fear-mongering.

If Milwaukee has such a high infant mortality rate, I suggest they deal with it. Statistics show that many of the "co-sleeping deaths" may have been caused by suffocation, child abuse, drug addicted parents or drunk parents suffocating their infants accidently, smoking in the house, congenital birth defects in the child, etc. NOT safe cosleeping causing a SIDS death.

I urge you to go with your gut, trust your instinct, and not be terrified into making a decision for your family having not done thorough research.

A great video by Dr. James McKenna on safe cosleeping! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gaining some control over the mess--

I've had some trouble adjusting to having three babies. Not in the kid sense, but in the ME sense. I just cannot get it together- my hair needs some help, I really need to get new glasses, and I have a spa giftcard that will probably not get used until this time next year.

I decided to start loving myself a bit more. I don't deny myself the effort, but sometimes I just can't find the time. I'm making a conscious effort, though. With my clothes, my home... it's time to take control of the mess!

I bought some new sweaters.
(naked face, inspired by Samantha of Heart-Shaped Leaves!)

Bought the grey boots that I've been lusting after, thanks to Pinterest. has such great prices!

Bought totally unpractical flats that I found on Pinterest.
Bought from the same place as the boots.
I have nowhere to wear there, but they give me the warm fuzzies.

A package came for me from PlatoSquirrel on Etsy.

The new decorative pillow-case I ordered!
Yes, I do adore Mason jars...

A nice letter-

And beautiful linen napkins!
What a sweet surprise.

The family went on a day trip to the NC mountains.
My favorite!

We had our pool relined, so next summer, it's on!
I love the teal color...

So, on the road to regaining a bit of myself,
we revamped my wardrobe a bit, took a break from reality, decorated the house a bit, and knocked some things off of my to-do list! Sigh of relief :)

October happenings--

Can you tell how much busier I am with three kids than two?!
I am the worst blogger ever.
But I'm really trying :)
I take the pictures and can just never get around to posting.

Here is a bit of what happened here over the course of October-

I made myself more dryer balls!

The last of our eggs.
I think our girls are on strike...

Keelin found one of my midwifery books and was reading.
Then she drew me a uterus with a baby in it!
SO my child :)
I love it!
She even drew fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Our rain barrels in action!

The three babes!

Since we have no room for a mudroom, I finally have a place for the kids to store their shoes.
Isn't it neat?
Bramble & Co. is my favorite.

My wonderful Doula and friend, Tequita, is a tie-dye queen.
Isn't it amazing?
It's a swaddling blanket!

Cloth diapers for two :)
And no, it isn't much more work!

I love having a nursing baby again!

I pulled up some of my homegrown carrots!
SO fun.

Jackson helping Daddy get the chickens their water!

My favorite treat.
A whole smushed avocado and pita chips!

Bath toes!

He's glorious :)

Having a burger with my dad!

Kidlets at the pumpkin patch!

Finn was unimpressed.


Asking market price ;)

Dorothy says, "There's no place like home!"

Love them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finn's 2nd month photodump--

Enjoying an afternoon in the shade!

Kristin came to visit!

Keelin is so great with her brothers!

Finn and Daddy!

My wonderful doula, Tequita, loving on Mister Finn!

My grandmother meeting Finn!

My three babies!
(helping my do laundry-)

"Finn, wake up and smile at me!"

And just to clarify, Finn sleeps in the bed with us but NOT under thick blankets or on pillows. I had him propped up on the pillow so I could talk to him while I flatironed my hair. He happened to fall asleep. Just wanted to make sure you guys knew that this is not how we sleep and that I DO advocate safe, healthy cosleeping and bedsharing :P\)

NC State Fair!

Finn's 1st Month mini photodump :)

1 day old
The best reason in the world to be tired :)

Two days old!
I wanted to document his sweet sleepy self.

Poopy face.
Sorry, son :)

Finn was two weeks old here-
the first picture of my family together!

My first time putting Finn in the Sleepy Wrap!
He kept doing the "newborn butt poke out" and I was cracking up

After his first bath.

I desperately wanted to order this from Educated Mama Decals and finally got to do it!

Oh, his sweet, glorious, soft, baby rolls!

This was when I noticed his face was looking less newborn like and more like an infant. Moms know what I mean... less alien, more person! haha

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

F.A.Q about our homebirth--

Since we had our amazing homebirth in September, I have been hearing lots of questions, so I thought a quick post to answer some of them would be helpful!

1.What were you thinking having a baby at home on purpose?

Evidence shows that homebirths for healthy, low risk women (like myself) are just as safe as hospital births with lower risk of interventions such as pitocin usage and the like.

I really wanted to have a homebirth after my natural hospital birth with Jackson was such a good experience... minus being in a hospital under their roof with their rules. So when we decided to try for baby #3, I told Tim that this would be our homeborn baby if we could help it! :)

2. Did you get the eye goop and shots?

Nope, because it isn't necessary. The eye ointment is a hospital policy, acutally meant to protect baby against sexually transmitted infections- none of which I have... but hospitals don't allow women to opt out of it. They treat all women like they are infected and will infect their babies. I also think it's a load of crap to give newborns any shots, much less one like Hep B... especially since I don't have Hep B.

One of the reasons we chose homebirth was because we are individuals and this is our pregnancy, our baby... I don't want my child being subjected to blanket measures that don't pertain to him at all.

3. What is a doula?

Tequita was my labor support. She is a trained professional (DONA certified), as well as my friend! They provide continuous support before, during, and after your labor. They are a wealth of information- for example, my doula shared with me some resources about natural childbirth that I had not heard of before, she lent me books, I vented to her about my car accident, and we brainstormed ways to get Finn in a good position for labor, she spent hours with me when I was having prodromal labor. During my labor, she provided physical support, which was especially important to me during my labor because of the lower back discomfort caused by Finn being OP with a slight facial presentation (i.e. he was face up instead of face down and instead of his head being tilted down so that his crown emerged first, it was more the front of his head/top of his forehead). Counterpressure is a beautiful, beautiful thing!

4. What did Tim say about all of your "homebirth nonsense?"

Tim believes in homebirth. He believed that I knew what I was asking for when I told him I wanted a homebirth, because I'd educated myself and we made the right decision for our family. Hospitals are for sick people- and I was not sick. Right after Finn was born and I was lying in bed nursing him, Tim announced to the room full of people (two midwives, doula, and birth photographer) that he had no idea why anyone would willingly choose a traditional hospital birth after being present for our homebirth.

Just as a note, I would not have had a homebirth if Tim had not been on board 100%. I believe that if you have a partner, having a supportive spouse is incredibly important to a homebirth. Someone can't be a good support for you if they think you're insane for popping out a baby in your bathtub, you know?

5. What did our family say about the homebirth plans?

There were a few unsupportive people, but the only opinions that mattered were mine and Tim's. Our family, our baby, our decision. Being realistic, the only family that I discussed our birth plans at length with were my mom and my dad ((Hi, Mom and Dad- since I know you read my blog!)), both of whom were super supportive. From what I understand, my father was telling people at church on Sunday that Finn was born en caul in our bathtub! Pretty funny if you know my dad. We knew my mom was crunchy, but my dad being a little crunchy came as a surprise to me, initially. haha :)

6. Aren't you glad you "got lucky" and nothing went wrong?

Actually, MOST things that go wrong during births in this country are a direct result of what we do to laboring women- confining them to beds, external fetal monitoring, inductions, pitocin, epidurals, c-sections... My labor was normal! A normal, healthy birth was expected, but we were prepared in case of emergency. That being said, I do not feel like I got lucky. I gave birth the way nature intended, it was glorious, and I feel like with our state's 32.7% c-section rate, my friends who have ob-gyn managed hospital births and escape relatively unscathed are the lucky ones, not those that have positive outcomes from homebirth.

If something had gone pear shaped, my midwife brought resuscitation equiment and drugs to stop hemorrhage and that kind of thing. The hospital was only an ambulance ride away, in case of emergency. We weren't unprepared. This was not haphazard.

7. Did insurance cover it?

Not a dime, but it was worth every penny! The fees for our birth attendants were less than $3,000... that includes my prenatal care, birth care, and postpartum visits! A serious bargain for the amazing care I received.

8. Did you tear?

No, and my midwife said that I didn't even look (down there) like I'd just given birth, much less given birth to a 9lb. baby that came quickly. Being able to feel the baby move down and not having to push until your face turns purple makes a huge difference, I believe. I was upright for all but the last ten minutes of my labor, 5 of which I laid on my right side, the last 5 I turned over onto my back, then my left side and that's where I was when he was born. Being in a good position (i.e. NOT on my back) during my labor and being able to feel (not getting an epidural) the baby come down and out were of great benefit!

On the other hand, I did develop some 'roids during the last week of my pregnancy because Finn was so heavy and he was so low in my pelvis, it put a lot of pressure on that region. That didn't feel good after birth, but they were totally healed by the time he was about a week old.

9. How is nursing going?

Well! He gained almost 4lbs. in his first 5 weeks :) I'm nursing often, he won't take a paci, and I don't believe in scheduling infants, so we're still night nursing pretty often- which is good for both of us! Cosleeping keeps me from missing too much sleep.

10. Were you scared?

Honestly, not a bit! I felt very prepared and even though it was a fast and intense birth, I felt calm and collected.

11. Did you eat and drink during labor?

Nothing but water, but bear in mind my labor was less than 2 and a half hours long (and there was no down time- it was transitional labor), so had it been longer, I would have made it a point to fuel my body.

Immediately after, I had some juice, a fruit smoothie, and two sliced kiwi :)

12. Did you meditate and breathe between contractions?

Nope, I made the bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper... yes, I cleaned my house during seconds long breaks between contractions in transitional labor. Couldn't stand to be still.

After my doula and photographer got there, I just enjoyed Tequita and Kate when I wasn't breathing through a contraction.

13. Are you having another one?

No, 3 kids is it for us, but if I were planning to have more children, I would plan homebirths. :)