Monday, September 15, 2014

The fine print of the law

After a recent amendment to the law, I began researching the specific phrasing of my state's law regarding breastfeeding.  In the state of Missouri, it has read (since 1999) that "Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.918 (1999) allows a mother, with as much discretion as possible, to breastfeed her child or express breast milk in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."  Effective this summer (2014) it now reads "Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.918 (1999, 2014) allows a mother, with discretion, to breastfeed her child or express breast milk in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be"

The part about "as much as possible" has been, thankfully, removed.  Who gets to determine that level of discretion?  Who decides how much discretion is the appropriate amount "possible"?  The mother does, and no one else.  So first off, I would like to say THANK YOU to the state of Missouri for giving that tiny amount of authority back to the only person who can make that decision.  The mother herself.  Because honestly, the definition of discretion is vague to say the least.

During my research of MO state law, I also began looking into the state laws of the rest of the US.  Purely out of curiosity, I was just browsing to see who (if anyone) had a really kick ass law to protect Mommy's rights.  What I found was less than thrilling.  While I did find some awesomeness, I also found a recurring theme within most state laws that I feel needs to be addressed.  It's the particular phrasing of 2 words that bothers me.

"her baby/child"

Almost every state that has a law protecting the rights of breastfeeding women use these two words/phrases.  The laws are worded that "a mother is allowed to breastfeed" as opposed to "a woman is allowed to breastfeed".  This bothers me because I know that there are many instances when a woman nursing a child may not be the child's mother.  (gasp!) Yes, yes, I know.  Wet nurses are archaic! (insert sarcastic text font here) Who's going to know the difference? Well, honestly, no one at the time.  But when push comes to shove and a WOMAN is wrongfully discriminated against for public BFing, the LAW will not be on her side.  When the wording of a law clearly opposes a situation, that is all they need to use it against you.  That one simple word "mother" could be the deciding factor for a woman in a court battle.  It's seems like such a small change, but it could make all the difference in the world one day.

The other phrase "her baby" or "her child" has two parts.  The first being directly related to the "mother" issue (not your baby? not legal!)  In fact, Iowa specifically states "Iowa Code § 135.30A (2002) a woman may breastfeed the woman's own child in any public place where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized."  HER OWN!  her own child?!? only her own child?  Who do you think you are Iowa, to tell a woman is she can or can not publicly BF a non-related child? 

But the other part of this is the courts legal decision to decide at what age a child is no longer protected to be comforted and nourished in public?  "Her baby" What is the cut off age for "baby"?  My 2 year old is still my baby.  My brother is 23 years old and my mom still considers him to be her baby.  Heck!  By definition, he IS a baby simply because he is "the youngest of a group" (the group being our family) Even worse is the fact that Maryland specifically states that "a woman to breastfeed her infant"  INFANT! only her infant, and once the child is past that point, no other legal protection will be given to that family.  So again, we are down the technical definition of a term.  Baby vs child.  I believe that all laws should either read "child" or simply leave that phrasing out of the law all together.

Now, I do want to share some of that awesomeness I was talking about earlier.  

I found 16 states that have very supportive and less restrictive phrasing in their laws.  Most of these say something along the line of:

"Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-14-112  (2007) defines indecent exposure and specifies that a woman is not committing indecent exposure for breastfeeding a child in a public place or any place where other individuals are present. (2007 Ark. Acts, Act 680; HB 2411)"
"Kan. Stat. Ann. § 65-1,248 provides that it is the public policy of Kansas that a mother's choice to breastfeed should be supported and encouraged to the greatest extent possible and that a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be."

The vagueness of Michigan's law is actually very helpful because it does not attempt to define the woman/child relationship or confine the child to an age bracket
" Mich. Comp. Laws § 41.181, § 67.1aa and § 117.4i et seq. (1994) state that public nudity laws do not apply to a woman breastfeeding a child."

But here is my favorite!  By far the best and most specific, protective wording out of all the 50 US state laws regarding public breastfeeding.  I give you MINNESOTA!
"Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding."
**I'll forgive them for the use of the word "mother" only because the inclusion of the nipple exposure is just so awesome =)

All of the state laws can be found here and I strongly recommend that everyone bookmark the page or print out a copy to keep on hand.  You never know when you're going to need to educate the ignorant public masses LOL

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jessica vs Snomaggedon

 As promised, here is another installment in my series of Birth Stories as written by fellow members of my "mama tribe".  This birth story is of a first time mother and her labor during the worst snow storm of that winter. 

First time mom, 26 years old, 2013: 
So, William was born last year during snow storm Rocky. He was my first child.   Like most new moms, I took a birthing class and while I didn't really pay a lot of attention, I did study the mongolian birthing method like crazy. That book and CD's had me convinced that labor did not hurt. 

Well, it was the morning of 02/23/2013 when I went to the doctor and they said that I was dilated to a 2.  By then I was so sick of being pregnant and huge I just wanted it over with! I was severely anemic and had gained 70 lbs.  I looked like the pregnant Bella from Twilight. I continued working right up until I delivered as well as doing yoga and tons of walking in the snow.  The doctor asked me for the 100th time if I wanted her to rupture my membranes and I told her no, I had already had lost my muscus plug and the baby would come out when he was ready. She tells me that it could be a while. (yeah, great to hear considering I wasn't due for another 12 days and all the other women in my family were induced at 41 weeks, yay....)

I go home miserable. I told my husband "Lets do this, get this baby out! Lets have sex and make contractions!"  We start, but my husband freaks out and thinks the babies head is hitting his.. umm.. ok, so that didn't work. The next day I decide to try castor oil only because I had already eaten everything spicy in the house.  Caster oil is terrible and gross.  I took some and I waited and waited.  Then I waited some more.  Nothing.   By now its Sunday.  I am tired, its snowing and I am sick.  I threw up at random all over myself throughout my entire pregnancy and had to constantly carry spare clothes with me.  Monday comes and I decided to call into work.  I was exhausted and it was still snowing.  Fortunately they were closing due to weather anyway.  I am tired all day but still no contractions and no movement at all, so I get some coffee to "wake him up".   Nothing. 

I go to sleep but I woke up at about 11 pm and needed to take a bath because my back is hurting.  I did this regularly because my baby always sat right on my satic nerve.   My husband is so nice, he runs the bath for me.   I get in and sit down and suddenly I PEE!  A lot!   It felt weird though because I couldn't stop, but by that point who cares.  You pee all the time, right?  So I sit in the bath tub awhile, then I need to go to the bathroom (like number 2) immediately.   I jump out of the tub as fast as I could and sat on the toilet.  I tried to go to the bathroom, but nothing would happen, so I go back to bed. 

My back was killing me and the baby was moving a bunch (finally) so I think "Well, maybe these are Braxton hicks."  I got up thinking  "If these are Braxton hicks, I need to move and drink something so they'll go away."  I walked into my living room (which is maybe 6 feet from my bedroom) and BAM!  I doubled over and suddenly needed to go number 2 again really bad this time!  I couldn't stand up so I move slowly, hunched over, to the bath room in the hall and tried to go again.  I turned the lights on this time and I tried to go but nothing came out.  When I looked in the toilet all I saw was blood.  Like, a LOT of blood!  I was so scared.  I had just watched the mayor declare a state of emergency and now I was in labor!  i hd to decide what to do.  Do we chance the roads or do i deliver my own baby in the bath tub?  

William was coming out one way or another.  I could feel him pushing down, he knew what do and my body was accommodating him.  I woke my husband up and told him "Lets go"  He wanted to pack first, but I told him that this baby was coming out!  He asked if I had had time to count the contractions.  I told him "They are about 1-2 min apart, we need to go now!"  My loving husband drove me to the hospital, in that terrible snow storm, with me screaming the whole time.

We made it safely to the parking lot of the emergency room .  I didn't think I could walk because I was so scared the baby was going to fall out.  On top of all that, I felt like I was gonna poop all over myself! LOL We made it inside the emergency room and I listened to my birthing ipod mix and squeezed my pillow tightly.  It seemed like I had to wait forever.   When they finally got me up and checked me, the nurse said that I was a 4, but my water wasn't broken.  I told her what had happened in the tub and showed her how my bed was wet.  I asked her "Then what is all this goo coming out?" Thank God for the experienced nurse that came in to double check me.  She kept using these strips to check and see if I had amniotic fluid and they all showed negative.  I told her I felt like I should bear down  but she told me not to, but to wait for the doctor. I wanted an IV by this point and an epidural.

Due to the storm, the power kept going off and on, so my IV wasn't as effective as I would have liked. The anisteologist on call had a really hard time getting there and told me it may not spread in time, but he was going to give it to me anyway. By that point I just wanted it to all be over.  I got the epidural and I can tell you, 50% pain is way better than 100% pain!Unfortunately, the epidural did not spread on my left side.  I asked the nurses why my stomach was not hurting.  I had no period like cramping, in fact, I had no pain from my uterus at all.  The only pain I was experiencing was the WORST back pain of my life.  I mean the worst kind EVER!  No one said that my back would hurt.  But oh man did it hurt!   I think that's why I didn't know I was in labor.  Looking back now, my back was hurting every couple of hours and those were probably my first contractions. 

Anyway, I wanted to take a shower but they wouldn't let me with the IV. I just wanted a shower so bad.  The doctor finally came in now because I was at a 6 and progressing.  She said that the nurses told her that I was dialating but my water was intact.   I told her I didn't care, lets just do this.  Then she goes in to break my water and says "Umm ... your water is already broken!"  I said "I know that! I told them that. I think that pee in the bathtub was my water breaking and I am pretty sure this baby wants out."

She told me to wait a few min and she would be back.  I waited and felt William beginning to push down.  The mongolian method teaches you to relax and remember that the baby knows what he is doing.  Okay, so that's what I did.  I relaxed as much as I could.   The doctor came back and said  it was time to push.  I remember smelling something and thinking "Finally! Poop!" LOL  The doctor asked "Do you want to touch his head?"  Umm ... no thanks!  Lets get this over with.  

It's a little unnerving to hear your delivering doctor say  "Oh my...."  I asked if everything was okay?   Her response was "He has soooo much hair!  The most hair I have ever seen!" (whew!) She then asked me if I wanted to tear naturally or be cut. (episiotomy)  I respond "I don't know, whats it looking like down there? What do you suggest?"  I passed on the episiotomy and just pushed.  He came out and I ripped so bad I had 3rd degree tears and a lot bleeding.  It took a lot of stitches to get me sewn back up.   I was soooo cold.   I remember them handing me my son.  I started to cry and asked them to take him away and clean him up, then bring him back so I could nurse him.  They cleaned him up and I just kept saying "Holy shit, that's a baby!"  That came out of my vagina! He was living in there the whole time! I couldn't believe I had just had a baby.

I was shaking all over by that time and was still really cold.  I asked for some Iron tablets but they said they couldn't give me any, so I asked my husband to bring me some from home.   I spent the first couple of hours terrified to touch my baby, and I was scared to do anything with him except for letting him nurse.  I refused to be alone with him as severe postpartum depression runs in my family.  The first thing after having a baby is take a shower and I desperately wanted a shower so bad. (remember?) I got into the shower and was scared to touch my vagaina.  I didn't want to touch or see it.   I rinsed it with water and got out.   The nurses kept looking at the pads to see how much I was bleeding and they wanted to touch my stomach every so often and look at my sheets.  I stayed both nights in the hospital by myself and walked the halls. I hadn't eaten anything. The nurses questioned me about this and I explained I was vegetarian but they kept bringing things with meat.   I wasn't hungry anyway.  Thankfully I didn't need any meds for the postpartum depression.  I just sat at the window, in the light, everyday with my baby. 

It can be rough, but you will get through it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mary: a Late in Life mother

The first of many guest writers to submit her birth stories.  Mary is an amazing mother of 4 spectacular children.  She's given birth in 3 different decades and 2 different countries.  So, in her own words, I give you:

Mary's Birth Story

Ok. Babies births.

Baby 1: It was 1983, I was 19 years old and married living in Norfolk, VA.  At about midterm, I was told I was 1 1/2 cm dilated and to go home and go to bed for the rest of the pregnancy. Every exam they told me "It could be any day now."  Two weeks before I was due, my then hubby's ship was leaving for 6 months, so I flew back to Indy to be with family. 8 hours, with lay overs, 9 months pregnant! I had been up and active for a month. I kept calling the doctor telling him my back hurt and his only answer was to come to the hospital when the pain moves to my stomach. I never had one pain in my stomach, so we finally just went to the hospital. It's a good thing I don't listen well.  I finally went into labor ten days late.  Also only took 7 hours from first back ache to delivery, no pain medicines. Only intervention was doctor had to bust bulging water sack. (My mom freaked because "omg you could have had him on the plane" me "no mom, I would have had him in Philadelphia on my layover" lol) except for a large head & cord wrap (so i couldn't hold him immediately) that resulted in left side cut instead of a center, all was perfect. Late babies are ok. Successfully breastfed until he weaned at less then a year. When he walked he put his paci in the trash and he was done.

Baby 2: 1986 and now I was 21 years old.  My entire pregnancy went fine. I went into labor at 34 weeks though while living very rural northern Japan on an Air Force base. 13 hours of labor. Had to be put on pitocin and oxygen when babies stats dropped drastically. Once again I had a bulging water bag that the doctor ruptured and said he'd be back in a half hour to check me. I stopped him as he was going out the door and told him "Too late! Babies coming now!" At that time labor and delivery were separate and were under construction for the new style. My doctor rode on the gurney with me down the hall to delivery, with his hand in my vagina, holding onto baby. All this time a medi vac jet was on stand by to take off with my baby, to God knows where, without us, as it was a 12 bed hospital with no ICU unit. They had no idea the condition he would be in. I didn't get to hold him either until later because they wanted to examine him good. Besides feeding issues, he did great. Lungs were fully developed and he got to stay with us. He stayed for a week, home for a week, back in for a week. By the way, I was up and in the shower two hours after birth so I could go get my baby.

Baby3: 1990 and I was just shy of 26 years old.  By now I'm listed as high risk.  At 14 weeks, my doctors decided to do a cerclage and sew my cervix shut. It was supposed to be outpatient, but it carries risks and of course I hit those risks and started bleeding. My outpatient procedure became a two day inpatient. I went into labor at 26 weeks and spent the next 4 weeks in and out of the hospital in labor several times. Thankfully I was the type that my water never breaks easy.  I think that was all that saved her. On one ambulance ride from our small town to Indy, I asked the EMT if he'd ever delivered a baby. "No, but I watched once."  I told them to pull over and have my husband that was following get in, because at least he's watched twice! At 30 weeks the doctors decided baby and mommy have up had enough drugs. In 1990, the way to stop labor was morphine and seconal and tons of steroids. But for some reason she turned feet first and was in distress. That meant an emergency c section at 3:30 am on Labor Day. I've never seen so many masked people in one room. We each had a complete team. (I'm crying now!) It's a girl! After having two boys I finally have a baby girl, but ... she's totally lifeless. Nothing. They're working hard to save her. They all came rushing by me as I lay there in tears and they said "Kiss her mom, it doesn't look good" and they left with her.  I got only a half a second with her.  Artificial surfactant for preemie lungs didn't exist then. When I saw my baby later in the day she was on a ventilator in an incubator. She's had a long hard battle, she has ADHD and learning disabilities in some ways, but she is incredibly smart in other ways. She is now a flight attendant. By the way, I pumped daily and successfully breatfed my preemie. It can be done.  It's not easy at first, but it does get easier and it's very rewarding.

Fast forward 20 years to:

Baby 4: 2011 and I am 46 years old.  I'm remarried now and my hubby, who helped finish raising my first three, had said his only regret in life is he never had a child of his own. So?  We fixed that!  We are LIL (late in life) parents and we love it. I spent time in bed rest again but she still came 5 weeks early as we kind of expected.  This time though, with new technology, she had no lung issues. This time, delivery was hell. Going into labor late on a Saturday is the worst. I of course wanted to VBAC. Being a preemie I figured she'd be easy, but once again my baby's stats were dropping with every contraction. So , c section at 4 am on a Sunday by a surgeon I've never met. The epidural failed miserably, my legs were dead weights, but I could feel my insides being torn apart. I puked, I cried, it was pure torture.  They gassed me as much as they could without it getting to baby. My experience with my previous successful natural births helped me tremendously. I did my breathing and it helped. Once again, I don't get to hold baby but at least she's crying. They examined her as I'm focusing on my breathing through Every. Single. Stitch. (WTH didn't they glue me?!?). They take my baby girl to NICU for exam and observation and I make daddy go with her.  In recovery, when the nurses rolled me to change my bed pad, they busted my stitches about a fourth of the way. Like totally open. FML! Thankfully, this time they glued it. My little girl was small, 5lbs 11oz and I tried to breastfeed but she dropped to 4lbs 5oz when we left the hospital. A few days later they re admitted her for dehydration and failure to thrive. I think a better breastfeeding support and a LS tube would have worked and by the time she reached due date we would have been good. I even emailed my local LeLeche once when i was in the hospital because i wasn't getting enough BF support but I didn't get a reply. So I still hate that we missed out on that.

PS  I have Cloth Diapered all of my babies at least part time, if not full time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Birth Story

While many new moms-to-be might spend hours walking the zoo or desperately cleaning all those nooks and crannies that suddenly appear filthy with grime, I preferred to relish in my last lonely, quiet, lazy moments before the whirlwind of motherhood rained down upon me.  I cut my hours at work to mostly part time and spent my off hours getting all the tiny details wrapped up for baby's homecoming.

The week of my due date came and I was beyond anxious to have him be "on time".  I had multiple reasons for wanting him to come on Oct 19th.  As Friday (the 19th) approached, I began trying to self induce, but as I expected, nothing I tried was successful.  When I woke up Saturday morning, still pregnant, I made an agreement with my son that I wouldn't try to force him out again.  Instead, I allowed him to live, rent free, for as long as he felt necessary.

The next seven days were filled with an endless wave of irritating yet unproductive Braxton Hicks contractions.  Back pains that pinched, grabbed and squeezed me during all hours of the day and night.  Finally, Thursday evening, Hubby and I were sitting in the living room watching TV when my contractions became real.  Very, very real!  When that first contraction hit me, it was like the difference between chocolate and vinegar.  I hate it when people tell you "oh, don't worry, you'll know"  But you know what?  YOU WILL KNOW!  Those real contractions are a Bitch!

I began timing my contractions around 8pm.  They began extremely erratic, so I sent hubby off to bed at 10pm so at least one of us could get a little sleep.  I stayed awake, timing my contractions and watching My Fair Lady on late night TV =) I tried to sleep but couldn't.  Every time I got comfy on the sofa a contraction would come crashing over me.  My only relief was to roll off the sofa and kneel in front of the sofa, burying my face in a pillow to muffle my moans of pain.  (as bad as that sentence sounds, it was actually quite bearable)  I rolled on and off the sofa for the next 5 hours.  Eventually, the contractions became so frequent, consistent and powerful that I couldn't manage them alone any longer.

Before waking hubby, I washed my face, braided my hair, changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, etc.  I knew if I woke hubby, he'd panic/freak out/worry about me doing all these "unnecessary" things.  When I finally woke him, in that classic "Honey ... Honey ... wake up!  We need to go.  We've gotta go to the hospital!"  I was shocked (and beyond irritated) at his response of  "are you okay?"

Am I okay?  Really?!? Um, NO!  I'm in freakin labor!! I'm gonna have a BABY!

We get to the hospital right at 4am and hubby drops me off at the ER entrance.  Yes, I said "dropped off" as in my hospital has NO parking close to the doors except for handicapped.  What's a woman in labor supposed to do?  Walk ALL the way across the parking lot?  No thank you.  So I walk, alone, into the ER at 4 o'clock in the morning.  I approached the front desk and told the (very elderly) lady

"I need ... (contraction! breathe ... wait for it) .... Labor and delivery!"
"Are you in labor?"
"....... (stunned silence, not to be confused with a contraction) ...... yessssssss"

Really people, is this what I need right now?  What else am I doing here?  Delivering cupcakes?!? (facepalm) geez

She grabs the nearest wheelchair and rolls me up to L&D where hubby (finally) meets me at the check in desk.  They take me into a room, give me a gown and check my cervix.  I'm still at 3cm like I have been for the past few weeks.  Since my OB had me scheduled for an induction that same morning (although I hadn't really determined if I was going to) they kept me but didn't "admit me" which meant no drugs or epidural yet.  I was fine with that because I planned on going drug free as long as possible.  I walked around the room, swayed and breathed through the contractions and basically just tried to pass the time as best I could.  I was shocked and surprised the first time I had to pee and was promptly hit with yet another contraction.  It never occurred to me that that would happen!  LOL  the worst, and I mean most unbearable, part of all this was when the nurses would ask me to lie on the bed so they could strap on the belly monitors. =( back labor while actually laying on your back is excruciating! The pain of my contractions was intensified 100 times when laying down.  Fortunately, I had wonderful nurses who figured out a way for the monitors to stay strapped on while I stood next to the bed.  

During one of these bed side contractions, hubby was across the room eating a handful of peanuts.  I called for him when the contraction started and he said 
Him: "I gotta put the lid back on"
(Excuse me?!?)
Me: "I don't fucking care about the PEANUTS!!!!!" 

Some time after this, my OB came in and asked if I wanted her to break my water.  (Shrug) I don't know ... sure?  No, no, NO! Holy cheese balls that crap hurt!!!! My cervix(?) was tilted and it took a bit of maneuvering for her
to get it popped.  The string of obscenities that came flooding out of my mouth would have made a drunk pirate blush.  I apologized immediately of course, but the look of both shock and amusement on the nurses faces was priceless ;)

By 7 am I was finally, officially, admitted (a.k.a. paper work completed) and was able to receive some IV drugs.   At this point I was exhausted (it was Friday morning and I hadn't slept since Wednesday night) and simply could not bear the pain of contractions any longer.  The IV drugs did not suppress the pains completely, but I was finally able to lay down comfortably.  It was after this that I asked hubby to go ahead and call our parents and my 2 best friends.   The anesthesiologist arrived before 8 am to administer my first round of epidural.

I passed out hard.

I finally slept.

I vaguely remember my mom, MIL and best friend coming and going, but mostly I just slept.  I was exhausted.  Before noon, I was awake and felt the epidural wearing off.  Luckily, the anesthesiologist was able to come back to my room to give me a second dose quickly.  After that, it was time to push.  I told the nurse that I felt "something" but it wasn't pain.  Not really.  I didn't know what it was.  She suggested I try pushing and lo and behold, the sensation went away.  The next hour + consisted of me dosing off, waking to push and dosing off again.  The last half hour was my only really productive time.  I stayed awake between pushes and was able to learn how to push effectively so that T man was actually making progress.  

Right before one of my pushes, I stopped, looked hubby right in the eye, and said
"I don't think I can breastfeed!"
He very calmly reminded me that I needed to actually finish having the baby first, then we would tackle that job together. (I love this guy!)

So with a few more really good pushes, I finally squeezed that beautiful, gooey, purple, cone headed baby out.  They
laid him on my tummy and I helped the nurse to rub him down and clean him up.  He cried and cried and all I could think was "I want to feed my baby!" After just a few short minutes I was able to breast feed my son for the very first time.  (Oh, and somewhere in there I also delivered my placenta and got stitched up, but with that baby in my arms, I don't even remember any of that) 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No Yelling Challenge *progress*

Okay, so it's been 2 weeks now since I started my personal challenge to end yelling.  Here's a quick update in how I've been doing so far.

The first couple days were not so good.  I realized quickly that snapping at people (T man included) was a very "normal" reaction for me during stressful situations.  Unfortunately, my definition of stressful appears to be anything and everything.  I would snap at T man to "stop" in a much more stern manner than was necessary.  (Remember, I don't vaguely tell him No) I caught myself getting seriously irritated at the tiniest of things that shouldn't have caused such a negative reaction from me.  By the end of day 3 though I'm glad to say that I went without yelling for a whole 12 hours :-)  I still spoke sternly when needed, but only when actually needed.  And I did have to speak loudly to be heard above the noise, but I don't consider that yelling.

Week 2 progressed about the same.  Calm, level headed and very aware of myself and my tone of voice.  We had a couple of snow days and I worried at first that the cabin fever was going to get to us all, but it honestly didn't.  I thought I had conquered my yelling! :-)

Um, no. 

I'm deeply ashamed about what I'm going to write next.  I want to be completely honest with you guys though because I believe we need to share our faults along with our achievements.  People, parents, mothers NEED to know that they are not alone when they feel like they've failed.

Sunday night.  The shit hit the fan. =(  I lost it in a bad kind of way. 

The day started off well enough with T man sleeping in till 9 then going straight to Grama's house for a few hours.  Hubby and I took advantage of our alone time and went out for a nice sit down breakfast.  Then we did some errands, piddled around the house and watch a bit of t.v.  T man came home when the snow started again and took an afternoon nap. (So far so good) Our afternoon was spent just playing in the living room, doing some house work and watching Sesame Street.  Then I got tired.  Really, really tired.  I don't know why, it just hit me like a ton of bricks.  I actually fell asleep, passed out cold, I the living room floor. 

And then?

I woke up >=[

I woke up in the nastiest, most foul mood you can imagine.  Suddenly, everything that T man did or said just grated on my nerves!  Hubby went out to pick us up some dinner, then after we ate he went in the backyard to bring in some fire wood.  Naturally T man wanted to help, but it was (obviously) freezing cold and bringing in the wood is a heavy, messy job.  After snapping at him too many times and physically moving him out of my way (for the billionth time) I just looked at him and felt ... nothing.  I didn't like him, didn't want him, I wished he just wasn't there.  I momentarily regretted ever deciding to have him in the first place.  As he dragged the wicker waste basket to the back door I snapped.  I cussed at him, snatched the basket off the floor and threw it down the stairway. 


What in the name of God is wrong with me?  And that is pretty much what Hubby said to me.  Of course I realized how absurd and horribly disrespectful I had just behaved towards my toddler, but hearing it out loud from daddy really nailed the lid on my coffin.  I suddenly felt about 1" tall.  My bad mood wasn't gone (those suckers are hard to shake) but I was determined to take back my self control. 

Breathe deep.  Count to 5.  Crouch down to his level.  Speak softly.  BREATHE!!!!

I reminded myself of these things over and over for the rest of the night.  And as I laid in bed with T man that evening, nursing him to sleep, I silently begged him for forgiveness.  I'm not perfect, I've never claimed to be, but that sudden outburst of uncontrolled aggression was a mistake I don't want to repeat again.  T man deserves to be cared for and respected, not dismissed as an irritation.

I will check back in again in another week or so, and I promise you, I will NOT be ashamed to share these next several days with you. =)

Monday, January 27, 2014

My personal challenge to end yelling

The 30 day No Yelling challenge.

I've seen this going around lately and thought I would use my blog to help keep me accountable.  Good or bad, I'm going to try and check in once a week to let you know how I've been handling things. 

First, let me warn you.  I'm not a calm person.  I'm actually a very obscene, angry, hateful, pessimistic kind of person.  I've leaned over the years how to manage my road rage and filter my verbal sewage, but I'm still human.  I have bad days, I pms just like the rest of you ladies and I haven't had a good night's sleep in more than 15 months.  I find myself getting angry at inanimate objects (stupid fucking microwave) or situations that are cosmically beyond my control (stupid fucking sunrise) And of course I get upset at other humans (stupid fucking person driving that blue car)

But what bothers me the most about my internal anger is how easily I find myself getting angry at the people in my life who deserve better.  They deserve better FROM me and they deserve a better ME.  Those people of course are my husband and my son.  Yes, my son.  My sweet, innocent, precious, love of my life, FIFTEEN MONTH OLD baby boy. 

How can you yell at a 15 month old?  How can a sane person begin to rationalize actually, angrily, verbally yelling at a toddler?  When you look at it from the outside it just seems ridiculous.  Yelling at a toddler for behaving like a toddler is like yelling at winter for being cold.  Or yelling at a tree for growing in the forest.  I mean, come on!  He's only 15 months old.  Why am I getting so angry at him?

I can give you a list of excuses, but that's all they are.  Excuses.  And you know what they say about excuses right? ;)

Yes it's true, I've barely slept during the last 2 years. (Because pregnant sleep is NOT good sleep, am I right?!?)  I work long hours.  My hormones are wack because I'm on my period. Blah, blah, blah.  He's still only 15 months old.  And you know what?  He's cutting molars =( He's going through a growth spurt right now that is aching his bones to the core.  He's got a monster case of cabin fever from being locked indoors for his first "real" winter. 

Did I mention HE'S ONLY 15 MONTHS OLD!!!!

I'm the grown up here, I need to start acting like it.  I need to stop taking my frustration out on the most innocent member of my family.  (And don't forget my poor husband!) So starting right now, this very moment, I am going to use every ounce of strength I have to keep my temper, maintain balance and stop yelling.

** I want to add that although this sounds like I'm some screaming lunatic mom (Roseanne? Malcolm in the Middle?) I'm not.  I promise you.  My fits of verbal anger and frustration are typically limited to about once a week. And I never, I mean NEVER!!! take my frustration out on T-man physically.  Never! **

Saturday, January 4, 2014

You might be a Redneck Mama if ...

I've come to realize that there is a very fine line between being a "crunchy" mama and just being a plain ole Redneck mama ;-)  So I've asked my mama friends to give me their very best, real life "redneck mama" moments.  Here are a few of my top favorites:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What do you do with the poop?

That has got to be the most frequently asked questions that people ask a cloth diaper parent.  Well, to be more accurate it's more like:
"Ewwwww!! Omg, but what do you do with the ... POOP!!!"
It sounds silly, but hey!  It's an honest question!  I asked the exact same thing before I began using cloth and now, when people ask me I can answer them openly and honestly. 
"I eat it, of course! (Duh)" 
Come on people, seriously? It's poop, what the Hell do you think I do with it?  I flush it down the toilet. =)
After having a little fun at the questioners expense, I give them a brief explanation of how I rinse, store, wash and dry my son's cloth diapers.  That usually satisfies their curiosity and they either change the subject or, and I love this option, become more interested and ask even more detailed questions.  Yay!  Educate!  Educate! =)
Okay, so how DO I clean and care for my beloved stash of (highly addictive) cloth diapers?  I'm so glad you asked.  ;)  Here, let me walk you through my system.
First off, storage of dirty diapers.  There's a lot of options for containing the dirty diapers, but I opted for a cheap, simple, lidded trash can.  You can add a "wet bag" inside (a washable, waterproof bag) if you like, but I don't bother with that.  Does my toddler play with the lid?  Yeah, sometimes.  Do I find the random toy mixed in with the dirty diapers?  Yep!  Is that the end of the world?  No.  Just wash the toy and move on.  ;-)
Wet diapers just get tossed in the pail till wash day (every other day usually) except for the overnight diapers.  I like to rinse those in the sink first since they are so heavily saturated with urine.  The poopy diapers take a quick detour to the bathroom first before landing in the diaper pail. 
My darling husband rigged up a kitchen sink sprayer onto our toilet (and another one on the toilet at work too) You can buy manufactured sprayers, but this route was more economical, only costing us about $20 (per toilet)   

To help contain the water and poop splatter while rinsing, I made my own spray pail from a small waste basket and cloths pins.  Of course you can buy a manufactured version (for about $25) but you know me, always looking for the most economical route! I found this waste basket for $3 and it took me about 5 minutes to cut out the bottom with an Xacto knife.  Add a couple cloths pin or even a kitchen clip, and your ready to go!
Alright, alright.  There's the parts, but how do you actually "do this" poopy diaper thing?  Easy, I promise!  With these simple parts you can quickly and efficiently clean your diapers with minimal Ick Factor.
Holding the spray pail with one hand,  clip the soiled diaper into it (or just grip the top of the diaper if your brave) You'll have to get acquainted with each brand & style of diaper you own to find which spray direction will be the most efficient.  I've found that some pocket diapers are best rinsed pocket "up" while other pockets need to be rinsed pocket "down".  *anyway*  Take your sprayer in one hand, the pail in the other, point and shoot!  Rinse until the diaper is poop free, then simply flush the toilet (see? easy!)
I like to give the diaper a quick sink rinse afterwards and a good squeeze to get the water out.  Then it's back down the hall and into the diaper pail it goes.  (The diaper pictured above was a poopy one that I had just finished rinsing.  That's how clean my diapers get by rinsing)

And there you have it.  That's what I "do with the poop" 
Unless I'm hungry, then I eat it.  ;-)  (Ba hahahaha!!!!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas with a toddler

I think that title speaks for itself doesn't it ?!?

Wow ... just, wow.  Now of course, this wasn't T man's first Christmas, but I'm calling this his first REAL Christmas.  This year we got to do all the fun Christmas-y things.  Lights, presents, Santa, the works.  But what I loved the most was getting to experience all the joys and wonder of the season through the eyes of my son.  Everything was magical to him.  Every house with lights on, every snowflake, every gift wrapped package, every bobble and ornament on our tree.  It was a world full of enchantment and surprises. 

Christmas morning, we woke at 8 and nursed like usual.  Then, after a quick diaper change, daddy and I guided our little sleepy eyed angel down the hallway towards the living room.  Watching his beautiful face change from curious and confused to amazed and delighted was the best Christmas present a parent could ever wish for.  His smiled stretched from ear to ear as he (still a bit cautious) crept over to his gifts.  His Little Tykes car, his mega block building set and his Elmo indoor play tent. :-) "Where did these come from?" his expression seemed to ask.  He was both confused and excited at the same time.  Daddy and I shared a glance, thinking "success!"  One Christmas down, a lifetime to go ;)

That was the fun part of Christmas with a toddler.  But this is a 2 part story and the second part is a bit more ... exhausting.

We celebrated Christmas eve with my family and Christmas day with Hubby's family.  Now, T man does really well with his beloved grandparents and cousins, etc.  But shoving every family member into a 24 hour period, with enormous amounts of food, candy (hey, it's Christmas, don't judge me!) and of course gifts, can become extremely overwhelming for anyone, especially a one year old.  By the time we got to the in laws house, T man was already on Christmas overload.  All I can say, is thank goodness for breastfeeding! :-) halfway through the seemingly endless pile of toys and clothes, T man decided he'd had enough.  He simply walked away from everything and everyone and asked me for a boobie (sign language)  So right there in the middle of the room, amidst the chaos and celebration, we snuggled together and reconnected.  Sometimes T man just needs to recharge his batteries, so to speak.  He gets so overwhelmed with the world around him and he doesn't know how to process everything.  BFing is his way of slowing down and catching his breath.  So, there we sat, while his cousins continued to rip open package after package, oblivious to what was happening 3 feet from them. :-)  (I absolutely love how completely normal BFing has become for our whole extended family.)  When he decided he was ready, T man rejoined his cousins in the carnage of paper and ribbons and bows.   We nursed again several times that day before finally loading up the car and heading home. 

After a whirlwind Christmas we were looking forward to settling down for a peaceful evening.  BUT WAIT! What about all these gifts?  All these toys?  All this new laundry =( sigh .... no rest for the weary!  Time to clean house, rearrange furniture and find places to put ALL this stuff!!! .... sigh ..... no rest

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Life after miscarriage

I probably should have written this post a couple months ago, since October is national Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month (PAIL)  I'd like to tell you guys that I didn't do it because I was just so busy that I couldn't find the time, but actually, I'm just scared.  I'm scared of having to relive those terrible times in my life.  I'm scared of having to admit all the weakness and pain I experienced, both physical and emotional.  But even more than that, I'm ashamed.  Ashamed of the thoughts and feelings I had.  I cycled through all the "stages of grief" denial, anger, etc., but what I seemed to latch onto the most was the anger.  Anger at myself for losing my baby(s), anger towards other women for getting to have their babies, anger towards my husband for being so damn irritating!  (It was hormones,I know) 

Naturally I blamed myself. 

"What did I do wrong?  How could I have not known that my baby "stopped growing" (the polite, medical term for dead) and mostly, what did I do to deserve this?  I'm being punished aren't I?  I always said I didn't want kids, I always said "we're not having kids".  So this is my punishment, isn't it?!? This is my fault for being selfish, for waiting so long to have kids.  I wasted all those perfectly good, healthy, YOUNG years.  How dare I think that I can just piss away my youth, being selfish and carefree, doing whatever I wanted, then finally decide I want kids.  This is my fault! If I hadn't waited so long, this never would have happened."

That was the sort of journal entries that I wrote during my recovery (both physical and emotional)  I was angry, bitter, resentful.  I couldn't stand to be in the same room with pregnant women or babies.  I hated them.  I wanted to know why they were allowed to have their baby but I wasn't allowed to have mine. 

I'm not proud of myself but at the same time I can accept those thoughts and feelings as a part of my healing.  I slept for days, didn't get off the sofa, didn't eat for almost a week.  I lost 12 lbs in 4 days.  I didn't shower, didn't talk, I avoided eye contact with everyone.  I was ashamed, I was devastated and I was angry.  I cried almost constantly, completely unable to control the gushing flow of tears that seemed to pour out of my eyes every second of every minute. 

Did I mention I was angry?  Everyone wants to help or comfort you.  But at times like this, there really isn't anything that anyone can do for you.  They hug you, they speak softly, they hold your hand.  Mostly, I think that's to make them feel better.  They are uncomfortable with the situation and they feel helpless as a bystander.  I can't count the number of times I was asked "is there anything I can do?" or "let me know if I can do anything for you."  I finally snapped one day.  My wonderful MIL was the unfortunate recipient of my outburst of emotion.  I had attempted to go back to work, thinking that if I did I would start to feel "better".  It didn't work.  I barely lasted until lunch.  My MIL offered to drive me home and asked that damn stupid question again. 

"Is there anything I can do?"

"NO! No God damn it, there isn't ANYTHING that ANYBODY can do!!!  The only thing I need, the only thing I want is my baby.  I want my baby to be alive, I want her to be in my belly.  I don't want her to be gone, to be .... to be dead"


"I wish everyone would stop asking me that.  I don't want anything from anybody.  I just want my baby"


So, what do you say or do in this kind of situation?  Let me tell you what helped me the most or what I would have appreciated from friends and family.

Cry with me.  Forget about being strong or being my "rock".  I don't need a wall, I need compassion.  I need to know that this loss is affecting you as strongly as it's affecting me.  This one is aimed mostly at the dad's.  Hubby never cried with me during our miscarriages.  Not once.  My MIL told me later of how he came to her, heart broken and in tears, but he never showed me that side of him.  He thought I needed him to be strong, but his lack of emotion only made me feel lonely.  Like I was being overly sensitive about the whole situation.  I wondered how everyone else could just pick up and move on so quickly and easily. 

Hug me.  Just wrap your arms around me and hold me.  Don't say anything, just hold me (and cry with me)

If you feel the need to "help" then just do it.  Don't ask, just do it.  Come over and walk the dog.  Do my laundry.  Bring me groceries.  That's fine, I need and appreciate it, but don't expect me to make these requests willingly.  99% of me just wants to roll over and give up.  But if you keep coming over, maybe, just maybe, I'll get off the sofa one of those days.  Maybe I'll even take a shower.

What do you say to someone who's just found out their little bundle of joy is gone?

"I'm so sorry"
"I can't imagine how you must be feeling, but I love you."
"I know your hurting and I'm so sorry"
"I love you"
"Let me take care of that/do that/get that for you"
"I love you"


I've never told anyone these things before.  I've talked about my miscarriages before , but I've never been so exposed about my anger, my emotions or my heartache.  I hope this can help someone realize that they're not alone in their feelings and that there really is life after miscarriage.

Phantom cries

I had the strangest experience the other night.  I was sound asleep (well, I was "mom" asleep) and I remember jumping up out of bed because my son was awake and crying.  I stepped into his room though and he was still asleep!  Okay, maybe he called out in his sleep, no biggie.  I go back to bed, fall asleep and a little while later, I scrambled out of bed again because my son "needed to nurse" ... didn't he? Doesn't he? Where is he?

I checked the video monitor and there he was, sound asleep in his crib.  Hmmm .... Okay mama, go back to bed.  I crawl into bed, fall asleep for and hour or so only to awake again to what I can only assume is "phantom cries" that my brain is creating. 

As if moms don't get little enough sleep, now my brain is creating false baby alerts to wake me up even more?  LOL Thanks brain that's just what I needed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cloth diapers (they're not your mothers cloth!)

I know I've already posted about "Diaper Dooty" giving you the basic run down between cloth & disposables.  But now I want to go into a little more detail about cloth diapers.  I am proud to announce that I have officially gone 100% cloth! =)  It took a couple of months for us to get to this point, but we have finally succeeded.  Let me start at the beginning:

After my original diaper post I began having horrible "sposie guilt" every time I changed T mans diaper.  Knowing that I was contributing to the extreme diaper landfill, I was exposing my sweet little man to unknown chemicals, fragrances and toxins AND! I was literally throwing my money in the garbage.  (sigh)  Every diaper change became a moral battle that made my stomach turn.  I decided that I needed to go cloth and I needed to do it NOW!

I came into a chunk of money and decided that was my opportunity to dive into the world of cloth.  Rather than edging into cloth (like a sane person would probably do) I just jumped into the deep end with both feet.  I contacted my good friend at Baby Bunz Diapers and asked her to help me start my stash the right way.  =)  8 pocket diapers and 8 All-in-one diapers and I was hooked. 

I've been poking around the world of cloth, testing and trying different brands, styles and options.  Although my Baby Bunz Diapers are by far my favorites, I want to share with you a few of my findings regarding the "other" diapers currently residing in my stash.

First a few terms to help you translate the cloth language (it gets a bit confusing)

AIO/AI2 = all in one or all in two.  These diapers are all inclusive.  They are waterproof and one piece (in some form or another) that require no (or minimal) assembly on your part.  Simply put on & take off just like a sposie. (<< term used by CD mama's for disposable diapers)

POCKET = a diaper with a water proof outer layer and a stay dry fabric inner layer, an opening at one end or the other allowing you to stuff absorbent inserts in between the layers.  These require you to assemble them after every washing, but you can customize the absorbency however you like.

FITTED =  a fully absorbent diaper with no pocket or waterproof outer.  These diapers require some sort of outer cover for optimum waterproofing.  These are great for overnight use. 

PREFOLD/FLATS =  these are "your mothers cloth" diapers.  Large rectangles of fabric that can be used a variety of ways for customizable fit and absorbency.  These also require some sort of outer cover.  These are very economical and are wonderful for newborns.

COVERS = a waterproof material made specifically for covering the fitted or prefolds. These have no absorbent material in them at all.

PUL = polyurethane laminate.  The material that most AIO and pockets are made from to make them waterproof.

APLIX = term used to describe a hook and loop closure (aka Velcro) that some diapers use instead of snaps.

I have 2 different styles offered by this company. The pocket diaper called the "4.0" and the AIO called the "freetime". 
I like the 4.0 pocket the best.  This diaper has double flaps to cover the pocket opening which helps to keep any poop from slipping into the pocket.  The inner fabric is soft and does not discolor too easily.
I am not a fan of the Freetime though.  The "AIO" part of this diaper is built in as 2 flaps that you lay on top of each other.  While this makes for a nice enough fit and absorbency, it's terrible for poop!  Each time I tried to clean up the poopy diaper I couldn't prevent the flaps from just falling into the toilet.  The flaps are awkward and inefficient.  I no longer use this diaper.

I have a couple from this brand.  I use the One Size Elite pocket diaper.  I love the fabric, it's very soft and comfy for T man, although the inside of the pocket can be a bit "sticky" while stuffing the inserts.  The pocket opening is nice and large, allowing you plenty of room for both your hand and the inserts your stuffing.  The liner fabric is soft, but it seems to always discolor with every pee or poop that happens.  It washes out okay, but it's never quite "white" enough anymore.  The unique thing about this diaper is the one size adjusting.  All other diapers (that I'm aware of) have snaps for adjusting up the size for little babies.  This diaper though uses pull tabs with buttons (like the insides of children's jeans)  On the inside of the pocket, on both legs and the back waist, you can pull a strap of elastic and fasten on a tighter button.  I both like & dislike this option.  It saves you from accidentally unsnapping the riser snaps (happens often for us) but it also makes it more difficult to adjust the size.  It takes a few tries to get it sized right.

I really like this diaper for the most part.  It's soft and comfy and doesn't seem to stain easily.  What I like most about this one is the "gussets" on the inside of the pocket liner.  There's a soft ridge that runs down each side of the inside creating a channel to help keep liquid messes inside the diaper.  (Yay!)  What I don't like about this diaper is the pocket opening.  It's placed lower on the liner than other diapers and it hangs open with nothing to cover it or keep it closed.  Because of this, I am constantly worried that poop is going to somehow slip up in there and get the inside of my pocket all poopy (ewww)  Also, the pocket opening is tiny!  It's not the easiest pocket to stuff.

I've got a few different diapers made by this company.  I've got one Cover, three Pockets and six AIOs and one fitted.  The Cover is used with my fitted diapers for overnight wearing.  A distinct feature of the Thirsties brand is a type of leg gusset.  (similar in concept to the RaR ^^ but completely different in design)  I like that this cover has these for my peace of mind overnight.
I also have the Duo Diaper which is their pocket diaper.  These are not a one size (OS) diaper like the BGs, RaRs or FBZ.  These diapers come in 2 sizes (6-18 pounds or 18-35 pounds)  The idea behind this is that a "one size fits all" rarely ever fits "all".  This diaper uses the leg gussets just like the cover and it has a soft inner liner fabric.  The pocket opening for this diaper is wide and easy to stuff, but it opens at both the front and rear of the diaper.  This dual opening pocket allows you to toss the still stuffed, dirty wet dairy on the wash, without having to manually pull out the dirty insert.  The insert will agitate out during the wash cycle.
My absolute favorite (manufactured) diaper is the Thirsties Duo All In One  I have 6 of these (and hope to add more to my stash!)  This is another sized diaper, not an OS.  It does not use the leg gussets because it is a completely different design.  The AIO insert is sewn along the sides and legs but is left open at the front and rear.  This allows for efficient cleaning and the ability to double stuff for added absorbency. The down side is that this design takes quite a while longer to dry than any other AIO I own.  What I like the most about this diaper is how trim it fits between the legs.  This diaper has the least amount of bulk so I feel it is more comfortable for my newly walking toddler.   
The Fab Fitted is the Duo AIO design in a fitted.  Great for overnight use (I stuff it with an extra hemp insert for long term absorbency)

Made by a company called Sloomb, this is a high quality diaper company.  Not the most economical, but worth every penny.  I use the snapless-multi fitted at night and it is glorious!  It fits wonderfully.  Very trim, minimal bulk, soft and stretchy and completely absorbant.  My little man sleeps so well in this diaper, he is obviously very comfortable.  This diaper has no built in fastner system (snaps, aplix, etc.) so the use of a safety pin, snappi or boingo is necessary.  Covered with a Wool completes this soft, comfy bedtime option.  I have also ordered an overnight bamboo fleece fitted and am anxious to try it.  It has built in snaps, so it should go on faster and have a more consistent fit.

Wool:  The use of a lanolized wool cover creates a waterproof diaper system that is more natural and comfortable option for covering your fitted diapers, flats or prefolds.  Wool covers are available as "Longies" (wool pants) "shorties" (wool shorts) and "wool covers" (wool underpants).  By washing these in wool wash then soaking in a lanolin solution, you can create a waterproof barrier that makes your fitted diaper leak proof.  Wool can be quite expensive but I believe they are worth it.

Every day is a learning experience in cloth diaries, but we are happy and excited to complete this journey in T man's life.  He won't be in diapers forever, but add long as he is, I'm going to make sure they are cute, comfy, eco friendly cloth diapers  :-) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

But what does it FEEL like?!?

One of my biggest pet peeves while I was prego, was when I would ask about something and the only answer I got was "oh, don't worry, you'll know"

Hmpf.  Yeah, that's not what I asked!

So here's some honest answers to some of the questions I asked (but were never really answered)

1.What does it feel like when my baby first begins to move?
** I remember the very first time I felt T man move.  I was lying in bed one night, waiting for hubby to get out of the shower.  Suddenly, my lower left abdomen began to "pop" and rumble like a bag of popcorn popping!  I thought I was having a violent case of gas =) I was reading online (don't I always) a few days later when another soon to be mom mentioned the exact same feeling.  Being a 2nd time mom, she knew this was the early feelings of baby movement.  Who knew!! =)  I was expecting a "fluttering" sensation (I was told it felt like butterflies) or some very distinct "punching" feeling.  But instead I got an exploding bag of microwave popcorn =)

2. what do Braxton hicks contractions feel like?
** As my due date got closer and closer people kept asking me if I was having any BH contractions.  No ... I don't think so ... what do they feel like? "oh, you'll know!"  Really?  I'm just gonna know that these random pregnancy pains are contractions?  Well guess what, I was having BH and I had NO IDEA!  I was talking with my SIL one day and she began explaining what her BH felt like & I was like "OH! wait .... That's BH contraction?!? well heck! I've been having that pain for weeks now!"  So, what did they feel like?  Well, for me and my SIL, the contractions came on as a sharp, quick, back spasm.  It would happen suddenly and feel like a hard cramp in my back muscles.  Because I had experienced a variety of back pain during my pregnancy, I never dreamed that this was a contraction.  But that's exactly what it was.

3. what do real contractions feel like?
** On Thursday October 25th at 8:00pm, my BH contractions suddenly became very different, very real!  I was sitting on the sofa, watching TV with hubby, enduring my endless waves of BH when suddenly BAM! I was overwhelmed with a swelling, full body pain that forced me to stop everything and focus.  That's the big difference.  BH are irritating and annoying, but really nothing to cry about.  Real contractions though will stop you in your tracks.  You stop moving, you stop walking, you stop talking.  You just breathe.  My labor contractions (I had back labor) would start in my lower back just like the BH did, but then the pain would swell like a balloon being blown up.  Very quickly, the pain would grow in my back, reaching around my sides, into my abdomen, like 2 strong arms wrapping around my torso.  When the roller coaster of pain finally reached the top, the pain came crashing down through my entire mid-body, stretching out to my knees and pressing out through my pelvis and vagina.  Then, just as quickly as it came, the tide rolled back out and I was pain free again (for a few minutes at least)

4. how will I know when to push?
**Even with the epidural, I still felt quite a lot of sensations "down there".  At one point, just before noon, I told the nurse " ... um ... I feel something!  I don't think it hurts, but I can DEFINATELY feeeeeel something!!!!"  She suggested I go ahead and try pushing, and low and behold! the sensation disappeared =)  The feeling that came over me can only be compared to restless leg syndrome.  If you've ever suffered from RLS you know what I mean when I say you have to move.  There is absolutely no ignoring the feeling that is growing in your muscles.  I began to feel this heavy, pressing, swelling sensation from my belly to my thighs that was impossible to ignore.  The only way to relieve this feeling was to push.  I want to give you a tip on pushing.  The urge to push is so intense that I didn't focus my pushing.  Instead, I pushed my whole body.  After several (several!) pushes with no progress, I finally figured out how to visualize my target (baby in the birth canal) and focus my efforts into a productive push.  You need to figure out how to push so that only your "birthing muscles" are activated, instead of just pushing away that RLS feeling.  I know that sounds weird, but once you're in this situation, you will understand.  I promise =)

5. what does breastfeeding feel like?
** "BFing shouldn't hurt.  If it does, check your latch"  >=[  blah blah blah.  I'm sorry ladies, but it hurts!  At least it will for the first 2 weeks or so.  It's going to take a while for your body too get used to this new feeling and "toughen up" a bit.  The best description I can give you for how BFing feels during those early days is this:  imagine taking a wooden clothes pin and clamping it onto your nipple.  Now, imagine tugging, twisting and pulling that clothes pin.  Yep, that's just about what it feels like.  All you can do is curl your toes and breathe thru it.  Give it about 20-30 seconds and the pain will subside, then you can focus on your baby instead of the discomfort.  I promise you, this pain does NOT last forever.  You and your baby will become so comfortable with BFing that you won't even feel it any more :-)

6. what am I going to feel like afterwards?
** Now, I can't tell you a thing about healing from a CS, but I can at least give you some insight into what you can expect from a vaginal birth recovery.  My first "whoa" moment after giving birth was when I decided to go pee by myself. (the nurse assisted me immediately post birth)  The moment that I pulled down those big ole mesh panties, blood just started pouring out of me.  It was like I was peeing blood and couldn't stop it.  That's when I first realized how completely exhausting childbirth is for every part of your body.  My vaginal muscles were as good as dead right then.  As for my physical pain level, that is really a 2 parter. First, you may or may not tear while your LO is coming out, so you might require some stitches.  They don't require any special treatment, except to avoid pulling on them or stretching the skin while it's healing, but naturally, having stitches is going to increase your pain sensitivity down south.  I felt like someone had beat me with a baseball bat between the legs, repeatedly!  I was unable to sit on anything harder than a pillow for at least 4 days.  The second part of my physical pain was my muscles being strained from all that pushing.  It took me a couple of days to figure out why I felt like I had just done 500 push ups LOL It takes your whole body to push out a baby, not just your vagina.  My arms ached from grabbing and bracing myself, my legs ached from being up in the stir ups, my shoulders ached from holding myself up off the bed, etc.  I felt as though I had spent the day at the gym instead of the hospital! :-)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Acronyms for maternity & parenting

It came to my attention recently that I speak (or rather type) in acronyms quite often.  So here's a list of common acronyms that you may encounter during your pregnancy & child raising journey.  Most of these will be used on many online forums as well as blogs and other websites.

General use:
DH - dear husband (or darling husband)
DD - dear daughter
DS - dear son
** there are several variations on these such as ODS (oldest dear son) and DSS  (dear stepson) etc.
MIL - mother in law
FIL - father in law
** you get the idea
SO - significant other
LO -little one 

Pregnacy / Maternity
PG - pregnant or pregnancy
PP - post partum
AF - aunt flow (your period)
DTD - do the deed
HPT - home pregnancy test
BFP or BFN - big fat positive or negative (refering to your HPT results)
POAS - pee on a stick
TTC - trying to concieve
IVF - invitro fertilization
MC - miscarriage
US - ultra sound (commonly called sonogram)
NST - non stress test
EDD - estimated due date
FTM -first time mom
BTDTM - been there done that mom 
CS - cesarean section
VBAC - vaginal birth after cesarean
L&D - labor and delivery

Breastfeeding / Babies / Post Partum
BF - breastfeed or breastfed (can add an "ing" to make it BFing)
BM - breastmilk
EBF - exclusivly BF
EP - exclusivly pumping
FF - formula feed or formula fed (add "ing" for FFing)
CD - cloth diaper
PUL - polyurethane liner (used in CDs)
AP - attachment parenting
PPD / PPA - post partum depression or anxiety
SAHM - stay at home mom
WAHM - work at home mom
** and a new one I'm using for myself is BAWM - baby at work mom (T man comes with me to my job everyday) 
Circ - circumcision
ML - maternity leave
CIO - cry it out
STTN - sleep through the night

I'm sure there's lots more our even some variations on what I have here, but this is what I use and how I use them.  So if you catch me using acronyms, this will help you decipher what I'm saying =) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Support local businesses & SAHM's

I am a big time supporter of local products, family owned & operated  businesses and "craft" businesses.  Hubby & I both work with his family at the family business so we know all too well what it means to have the support of our local community.  I also know a lot of stay at home moms (SAHM's) who depend on their craft business to help put food on the table or gas in the car. 

Check out  to find a whole community of online crafting businesses.  Also, check your cities local business charter for family owned and operated stores in your area.  Farmers markets are a wonderful place to not only support your community but you can find some of the most delicious and fresh produce grown right here in your home town. 

Here's some wonderful products and services that I can personally recommend.  (FYI some are here in KC but some aren't)

Yarn Creations (crochet & knitting)
I know a LOT of yarners =)




Moments in Time Photography : (Jax FL area)

Baby Bunz Diapers : (cloth diapers and misc)
** Baby Bunz Diapers and The Baby Born Lactivist have joined together
 to offer readers/customers a discount on purchases. 
Mention this blog post & receive 20% off your first order at BabyBunzDiapers
The Lactating Loon : (cloth diapers and misc)
Thurman's : (baby quilts, taggie toys, etc.)

If we don't support each other, we will all suffer financially and economically.
Support local, buy local. Support America, buy American. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

products I use, brands I love

There's so many pregnancy and baby products out there that picking the "right" ones can be nerve wracking.  So here's a few items that I use and which brand I prefer.


prenatal vitamins:  these will vary depending on your tolerance and nutritional needs.  Some women find that the vitamins upset their stomach, but fortunately I didn't experience any discomfort (I still take my prenatal vitamins today) my favorite prenatal is Nature's Bounty "your life multi prenatal" because it has the dha and the vitamin together in one tablet instead of 2 separate tablets. 

nipple ointment: during the early weeks of nursing, you want to keep your nipples lubed up to ease the discomfort and reduce the risk of cracked nipples.  There are lots of options, but really there's 2 main brands out there.  Medela is by far the very best.  It's so smooth, silky and creamy, it goes on like melted butter =) an absolute must when you're nips feel raw and sore.  The other popular brand is Lansinoh.  I won't use this stuff, not even now.  It's very thick and stiff and no matter how much you rub it between your fingers (to warm and soften it) it still pulls at the skin when applying =( ouch!


diaper rash cream: this will depend on cloth vs disposable diapers

>> cloth diapers:  you can NOT use any creams that contain petroleum, beeswax or cod liver oil.  These ingredients will leave a water resistant barrier on your diapers causing them to no longer absorb your baby's pee and then the diapers will leak.  Creams that are safe for cloth are:

My personal favorite, coconut oil.  Yep, just coconut oil.  Make sure it is organic, virgin, unrefined and preferably cold pressed.  You can add some vitamin E, a little lavender oil, chamomile oil and some tea tree oil if you want to add a little oompfh to it.

Store bought creams include:

Northern Essence Better Butt(er) Cream, Northern Essence Diaper Rash Salve, Grandma El's Diaper Rash Cream, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream or Magic Stick Ointment

>> disposable diapers: there are no restrictions with disposable diapers because you are just throwing it away anyway, so you can use anything you like.  My personal favorites though are:

Bordeaux's Butt Paste - this is a zinc oxide and works to heal the rash quickly.  Smooth creamy texture, pleasant smell and cleans up easily.  * Not all zinc oxides are made the same. The Desitin zinc oxide creams are nasty!  They have a very strong chemical smell and they are a mess to clean up. I avoid these at all cost.  Desitin does make a very nice petroleum ointment though »»

Desitin Multi Purpose Ointment - this is their petroleum based ointment with extra oils and ingredients added to increase the soothing relief.  It is smooth and creamy and glides  onto the skin very easily without pulling or dragging the skin. I call this"petroleum plus" =) *note, I don't care for the Aquafor petroleum plus because it is thicker and stiff, so it drags across the skin when applying. (Remember your nipple cream?)

A&D ointment: this is exactly what it says it is.  An ointment that contains vitamin A & Vitamin D.  I've never used this ointment on T man's diaper area, but I do use it for my tattoos =) I've found that the name brand vs store brand all appear to be the same as far as consistency and odor.

Petroleum Jelly: store brand or name brand, it doesn't much matter.  Fragrances can burn on a diaper rash, so just make sure you buy unscented.  (I didn't even know they made scented until I accidentally bought some)

Diaper pails:  I like the Munchkin by Arm and Hammer.  It has the easiest and cheapest to use refill bags and it does not require a special kind of deoderizor.  Just refill the lid with baking soda. 

Wipe Warmer: this product gets a lot of crap from some mothers, but I love mine. I buy my wipes in bulk, so I have to have some sort of container to put them in, what better than a warmer?  I use the DexBaby space saver.  It holds about 2-3 inches of wipes and has a night light on the front.  I love it.

Play Yard: I have 2 of these, One at home and one at work.  The one at home is an Evenflo while the one at work is a Graco.  The Graco is far superior for newborns and infants.  If you plan on using the play yard while you're baby is still young (naps, diaper changes, etc.) then I definitely recommend the Graco first.  The "bassinet" insert is raised higher for easier access and it has a firm floor.  My Evenflo infant insert was saggy and droopy.  It sagged in the middle so badly that T man was only able to lay in it for a few minutes before crying in frustration.  Now that he's a"big kid" and sits, stands, crawls, etc. either one works just fine because he is on the bottom.

Assisted seating: when you're baby is ready to start learning how to sit upright, you may be interested in a floor seat.  The Bumbo is the original of these seats.  It's a soft foam seat with deep leg pockets and a high back. We started with this seat because T man is very small.  If your baby is a chunker though, I would recommend the Summer Super Seat.  This seat is wider with larger leg openings.  We also liked using this one because it had an activity tray that attaches to it.  T man spent hours and hours playing in his.