Thursday, April 29, 2010

How some stories can imprint on the soul...

This has to be one of the most beautiful birth stories I have ever read. And I have read thousands. The entire website is dedicated to the story. You should go through each tab on the left side, as the story starts with "before the birth" and then ends at "after the birth". You are not simply reading another birth story, you feel as though you are on a journey with this family. Their son comes into this world at home and outside. Just a warning to the squeamish, this story contains graphic birth images.
"Suddenly I felt incredibly vindicated. I knew that no one, not even medical science "authorities" like the doctor who shot through me with fear after Sage's birth, has the power to name or describe the capability of my body but me. My bones moved, I opened up as wide as I needed to birth my big gorgeous son. I've never felt more powerful and sacred and immense."
A lovely photo of the couple with there new son as he enjoys his first meal.
 God bless them!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to provide the best thing possible for your baby...

    I have been thinking lately about the benefits of breastfeeding compared to those of bottle/baby formula feeding. Personally, I do not see how breastfeeding could be so "inconvenient" to some mothers.First of all, my babies food is ALWAYS: made, warmed, the perfect amount, sterile and contains everything he needs to thrive. I cannot imagine how irritating it must be to have to wake up, make a bottle, warm it up and then sit there while feeding your baby. I would have never gotten sleep if I didn't practice safe co-sleeping and side-lying nursing.
   One of the best things about breastfeeding is that it is FREE. Yes, you heard me right, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on bottles, nipples, warmers, bottle brushes, formula...etc. And when you factor in the benefits to baby and mom, there really is NO comparison.
Here are a few (not even close to all) of the benefits of breastfeeding:

For Baby:
  • Babies receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients & antibodies
  • Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets
  • Reduced risk of childhood diabetes
  • Protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicemia (blood poisoning), 
  • Protection against allergies,   asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease
  • Reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) Statistics reveal that for every 87 deaths from SIDS, only 3 are breastfed.
  • Breastfed infants develop higher IQ's, and have improved brain and nervous system development
  • Breastfeeding plays an important role in the emotional and spiritual  development of babies 
  • Breastfed babies enjoy a special warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mothers 
  • Are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life
  • Decreased risk for acute appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, inguinal hernia, pyloric stenosis
  • There are factors in human milk that destroy E coli, salmonella, shigella, streptococcus, pneumococcus....and many others
  • Less risk of childhood obesity. 
  • I could add 100 more things...
For Mom:

  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers
  • Reduced risk of anemia
  • Protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life
  • Helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies
  • Develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child
  • Breastfed babies are sick less thus reducing health care costs to family in Doctor office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medicine purchases, and hospitalizations
  • Helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding
  • Breastfeeding saves moms about 7 hours a week off their feet.
  • It's the only time you can ever lose weight without dieting or exercise!
  • Breastfed babies smell great....spit ups don't stain, or smell, and poopie diapers are not offensive...(until solids are introduced)
  • The strong bond developed with nursing is much more intense.
  • Breastfeeding requires the use of only one can do other things while breastfeeding, (except cooking and driving)
  • Many, many more benefits, too much to list!
  I realize that breastfeeding can be difficult at first, and it really is something that mom and baby must take time to learn to do. But when you read these benefits, don't you agree that it is worth it? In our society, women are misled everyday to believe that formula is a reasonable replacement for breast milk. When in reality, it could never measure up. So please, give breastfeeding everything you've got. Call for help. There are many many wonderful friends, Doulas, Lactation consultants and more that are more than willing to help you! Come get support at your local La Leche League meeting. Not to mention the plethora of information here on the internet. 

KellyMom is a great source.
La Leche League International
Breastfeeding Basics

You and your baby both deserve the best.

(Some of this was pulled from this source . Thank you so much!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to save thousands of dollars on toys...

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million."  ~Walt Streightiff

Friday, April 23, 2010

How television is ruining the beauty of birth...

   I recently was reading that TLC's 'Baby Story' will soon be airing a sequence of episodes documenting home births. This is great news. I am thrilled.
   It got me thinking however, about the shows more commonly known story. The hospital birth. In most episodes of 'Baby Story', it ends up becoming the same pattern or cascade of intervention. The mom starts contracting and everyone panics, they grabbed the bags and head to the hospital, they check mom she is a couple cm dilated, they admit mom to L&D, she gets an epidural, lays flat on her back, the doctor comes to check her, shes not progressing, cue the pitocin, Contractions get really intense and hard, mom isn't dilating fast enough and baby goes into distress, they all suit up and race to the OR. Then the parents get a couple glimpses of their newborn and they take him or her to the nursery while the doctor explains that they did "all they could" and at the end of the day "this is what needed to happen to save you and the baby..." I know, I know, this isn't always what happens, but wouldn't you agree, this is what happens on average in the American hospital, every day?
     No wonder American women have such a skewed idea of what normal birth should look like. This is what has become "the norm" in our culture. Interventions for normal healthy births, rushing the labor process and a 30% cesarean rate. It really saddens me. It makes me want to scream off a mountain to the American pregnant women "You can do this! This is what YOUR body is made to do and you CAN have a beautiful, natural and amazing experience!"
   Why has it gotten to this? Well my theory is that doctors like the control, they like that they can take the unpredictability out of birth and do it on their terms. "But that isn't right!" you say... Well it isn't!  Women need to take back the power and fight to get the birth they want nowadays. How horrible of a thought is that. We have to fight for a human right!
  Anyway, back to my original thoughts. I am so pleased to hear that normal birth, (home birth or not) is going to be shown on this show. In my opinion, for this show, this is a very rare occurrence. I am glad that people who are ignorant about home birth will be able to see that it is not a scary, dirty, and risky thing. I hope this will soften the minds of many and fuel many more to give birth themselves in the comfort and safety of home.
Photo (c) S. Meeuwissen

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Do What You Love

    As most of you know, I recently discovered that my calling is to help pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It did not take me long to come to this conclusion. Anyone who knows me well enough knows how passionate I am about it. I have enrolled in Childbirth International to become certified as a Birth Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor. For those of you who do not know what a Doula is, I will give you a quick quote from the website... "A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information."
     There is a list of things one must complete in order to obtain certification. These things include, A communication reflective paper, A series of physiology tests (multiple choice tests that examine your knowledge of the physiological processes of pregnancy, labor, birth and the early postpartum period), Practical skills, Evaluations of attending real births and providing support to nursing mothers, and one must also read a number of books off of the CBI required reading list and then submit a book review. Whew, sounds like a lot huh? Well, CBI is one of the most comprehensive Doula training programs in my opinion. Something that makes all of this easier to swallow is that you go at your own pace and the time limit to finish, which is a whopping 3 years I believe. It will not take me that long.
  I purchased some of the books off of the required reading list ahead of time and have been flipping through them. I cannot decide which to read first! I am sure glad I love to read so much, or this could be an extremely daunting task. I also love studying and doing the work in the online classroom, it is so convenient!(And the crunchy tree hugger side of me is super pleased that they have an option of online workbooks). I thoroughly enjoy learning every little bit of information I can grab onto. I am for the first time in my life hungry to learn and excited for the future of my career. I just have to remind myself sometimes to slow down, take a deep breath and take each step slowly, so I don't end up tripping myself. 

And just for fun, here is a cute picture of Ceaghan with watermelon all over his face. What can I say, I love him just as much covered in sticky juice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Face of Birth - documentary teaser

A new documentary is said to be released soon. The Face of Birth is "a documentary about pregnancy, childbirth and the power of choice." The documentary is going to expose the issues that women all around the world are facing when it comes to their births.

It struck something within me when one woman in this teaser clip stated.."People say "Oh my God, you had a home birth you are so brave"...the reality nowadays... especially once you said the word obstetrician...that's brave.." She is so right. When someone tells me that they are going to birth their child at the hospital under the care of an obstetrician, my mind immediately cringes and the thought of how hard they are going to have to fight for what they desire for their own birth. In most cases that is. And I get quite the opposite feeling when told about an impending home birth. I think "that is great!" and I automatically assume their birth will be a beautiful fulfilling experience. I find it sad that I must feel this way. Don't get me wrong, I will support many women within my future Doula services who will birth within hospital walls and that is okay. It is however obvious to me that anyone who chooses to or is forced into birthing at a hospital will have to fight hard and demand not be thrown into their cycle of interventions and time restraints.
I have hope. I have a feeling that things might change soon in the years to come. I have to believe that or I might just lose it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ceaghan plays with Demoh

I captured Ceaghan playing with our dog Demoh. They were having so much fun! You can hear Ceaghan giggling in the video! Please excuse the clutter in the video, I had so many packages delivered that day I didnt know where else to put them. Haha. Well I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. You've got to love when the kids play together... right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Skindeep challenge & Everyday Minerals Review

One day I came across the website SkinDeep and I am making it a personal mission to remove all of my current hazardous chemical filled junk with all natural and/or organic products that work. That is the key, I want products that work. But is it possible to find natural products that produce the same results as their toxic counterparts? We will see.

The first thing I decided to change was my foundation. I was using CoverGirl Clean Makeup in Ivory 105.
This product scores a shocking 7 on The Skin Deep cosmetic databases' scale. I knew it was going to be hard to measure up to this as it has been my favorite and what I have used for 5 years. I do not have horrible skin, however I feel most comfortable in a makeup with a fair amount of coverage. I looked through my options and it became increasingly obvious that I needed to try Mineral Makeup. Believe me, I was as skeptical as anyone would be. How can a POWDER provide any coverage without looking cakey and disgusting?
 I decided to give it a shot anyway and spent hours going through different brands of mineral makeups' reviews on various websites. Finally I decided to try Everyday Minerals.
  Everyday minerals stood out to me because they are animal friendly, make it themselves and their products do not contain Bismuth Oxychloride  which can cause allergic reactions in some people. I was pleased to find on their site that you can order 1 gram sample jars with just the cost of shipping !
So I ordered sample jars of 5 different shades of foundation (there are MANY shades to choose from as there are multiple undertones to choose from)  I knew I didn't have pink undertones like most but I had no clue if I had buf, beige, olive, or warm. I also got 2 sample jars of concealers, 4 different finishing powders, 1 eyeshadow and 3 blushes. I also received a free full size bronzer! 
Don't these little jars look adorable or is it just me?

One of the tricks I learned when using mineral makeup is that it is extremely important to clense and properly moisturize before use. Otherwise you will get that cakey dry look that I was talking about earlier.
I have been using this makeup since I received them a week or so ago. I have to say so far I am impressed! It  goes on smooth and comfortably.
It stays put way better than my liquid ever did.
It feels light.
I still haven't picked which one is the best color for me but I am set on their matte formula. None of that preteen shimmer looking shimmer for me.
I am so glad that I found this, it is much cheaper than other mineral makeups ($12 for a full size jar that will last roughly 6 months) and I am going to continue using this.  I am about to order my full size jars now. The samples are so generous I still am using them up!
Overall I say this makeup is great! I will update my thoughts on it as I go along but I am thinking it is a keeper!

Here is a photo of me wearing it (this is after 5 hours of wear):
 Please excuse the silly face and that I just pulled my hair back that day...

Look for my next reviews on face cleaser and moisturizer.

Sharp drop in Maternal Deaths Worldwide...

According to this yahoo news post the number of women dying in childbirth worldwide has dropped dramatically since 28 years ago. I do think this is great news if its true, however at the same time I see those numbers and think that it is still not even close to being low enough. Between 350,000 to 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year. I know that even with modern medicine we cannot expect to prevent ALL deaths related to childbirth but I think that these are scary numbers and it needs to still drop dramatically..
   The united states has an extremely high rate of Maternal deaths. Why is this? Is it due to poor choices by the American woman? Like poor nutrition, drug abuse, etc. Think about how a fast food and candy filled diet can lead to hypertension and diabetes. Or could this be caused by our soaring Cesarean section and intervention rates? I am a firm believer that women are capable of natural and intervention free birth. I also believe birth should not occur in the hospital unless mother and child are at serious risk and the need is really there. Don't get me wrong, interventions can be wonderful when used properly.. All I know is that you can see a trend between low maternal mortality rates and the use of midwifes and home-birth in certain countries. Maybe its a little of both problems, maybe it is something else entirely.  Well I just wanted to share this news piece on here. I think it proves nothing and doesn't change how anyone is feeling about the state of our current birth crisis.

And then my blog was born...

This is my first blog and soon this will be rather obvious to you. Lets learn together as I make spelling and grammatical errors, babble on forever and talk freely about my opinions as if they were fact.
What's with the title? Well it pretty much describes me, even if there is more crunch than class. I am a wife, a mother, an aspiring Doula, a future breastfeeding counselor, birth and lactation activist, and general birth, baby and all things natural obsessed individual. We are vegetarians and attachment parents. We planned our pregnancy after we got married. I don't drink or do drugs and I am the strongest willed and most optimistic person I know.
Oh and I happen to be 19 years old. Shocked? Most are. Who knew that a "teen" could be as mature and responsible as most 30 year olds'.
All of this said, this is my life and who I am. I don't claim to be anything else. I will write down any thoughts that I wish and hope deep back in the edges of my mind that someone else out there might someday take a glimpse at it and enjoy or learn from something I have written.
Here is to a blog about my life, my career, and doing it all with nothing less than crunch and class.