Green Baby, Earthy Momma

Trying to make sense of it all to make educated parenting decisions that are right for us and baby.

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Potty Training: Day 2

We had lots of fun peeing all over the floor today. I don’t think we got even one drop in the toilet. But that’s not the goal… or is it? ;)

My favorite moment today was when Jameson started to poop and then promptly straddled his balance bike. He not only smeared poop all over the seat, but he ran over the turd on the floor with the back wheel a couple times for good measure. I did still catch him at half poop, and we got 2 little poops in the potty while I tried to contain the bike “tracks.” haha Brother…

What we did accomplish today was a whole lot less stress. We stopped forcing him to stay on the toilet, but just placed him on every 30 minutes. As long as he actually SAT on the toilet, I just let him get back off and run around. We started to use it as a reminder that if Jameson has to go, the toilet is there waiting.

Every time he had an accident on the floor, he would sit on the potty and try to go some more, while mommy cleaned up the mess. If he got up early, I made him help clean it up (which he is very capable at doing). 

This ended our day with a much more calm mommy and daddy, and a Jameson who eagerly ran to the toilet to sit (and promptly run back off) more times than not at the end of the day. Hoping he makes a correlation soon!!

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Potty training: Day 1 (part two)

We had a nap.

Then I placed him promptly back on the potty. At first it was met with sleepy wails of refute. But we just hugged, while he sat until he calmed down.

We had snack on the potty.

We sang songs.

We danced.

We practiced pointing at all of our body parts (and laughing at the silly sounding ones).

And when he stood up - he had peed in the potty! SUCCESS!

The hour clock is ticking until we try again. (I wonder where he’ll pee this time.)

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Potty training: Day 1

We woke up this morning to a surprise for Jameson on our doorstep - a new potty chair! YAY JAMESON!

We opened it up, promptly stripped him from the waist down and attempted to sit him on it of course to “try it out.” My little man stiffened his legs straight out and gave a cry of refusal. What an omen!

So we did what any rational parent would do (haha)- we sat on our BIG potty and tried to lure him into sitting him on his LITTLE potty. And when that didn’t work, we sat on the LITTLE potty and tried to get him to sit on the BIG potty. And when THAT didn’t work, we sat on the BIG potty, and ignored him to see if he would explore the LITTLE potty… until he peed all over the floor. >.<

Time for phase 2. We moved the little potty into the living room. We played around it and over it and finally in it. We made up a pee pee in the potty song. Then we let it be until it was time for him to try to sit on it again. He promptly stiffened his legs and gave another cry of refusal. After all, why would any irrational little person WANT to pee on a potty? Most of the big irrational people I work with don’t want to pee on a potty. And thus, another puddle on the floor. At least he cleans them up like a champ!

I set my watch for another hour and we go back to playing. Not 10 minutes later, Stephen smells a smell. Jameson has pooped on the kitchen chair he’s standing on. We do not get him to the evil potty chair before he’s finished. So the poop goes from the kitchen chair to the little potty chair to the big potty before it’s life cycle is finished and flushed. *insert faintly enthusiastic “yay” here*

So I reset my hour, and back we go to our routine. 10 minutes later, he promptly finishes peeing on the floor. He seems perturbed. What IS this pee all over me? We sit him on the potty chair and he sits for a few minutes before getting off of the chair and sitting himself back on.

Little victories. Score - Jameson 4 Us 0.5 (at least he sat on it!)

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Attachment parenting vs. working mom

This week marks my second week back at work. A lot of my SAHM friends have been asking how I’m managing, and when asked, I’m always filled with guilt.

I’m doing great actually. Fantastic. After the first day (which was hard on daddy, J and myself), we’ve all begun to settle into a routine. Daddy has been working hard to balance housework and baby care to take the pressure off of me, and I’m enjoying my 48 hours a week away from the pressures of domesticity. Now, don’t get me wrong - I totally call to check in two and even sometimes three times a day to make sure everyone at home is doing well. However, my job is demanding and requires all of my attention. I have to throw all of myself into it in order to make it through the day. Having J at home with daddy means I don’t have to worry (and I feel so fortunate we’re able to make it work), and I can focus on my day.

Then - once I come home, wash up and change, I throw myself back into mommyhood and soak up my precious time with J, while daddy makes dinner and does his own thing for the night. Having to be gone all day makes this time even more valuable to me, and even when he’s screaming bloody murder at me for being gone, I can calmly comfort and nurse him.

So if I’m enjoying my new routine so much, why the guilt? I mean, we’re all doing great. Why can’t I let my relief at being out of the house shine? I think it’s because I understand that I’m acting outside of the norm. I think I expected myself to go through the heart wrenching goodbye process before I found peace with my role as breadwinner. I listen to other working moms talk about how hard it was for them to go back to work, and their struggle with leaving their children for the day. I was indoctrinated from the moment of conception that it would be a miserable process, and that maybe I would “change my mind” when the time came. I mean, I’m the mom. I’m supposed to have the lioness protectiveness over my child. I’m supposed to want to be with my child every moment, for every milestone. Right?

I think for me, I’ve just adapted to the fact that I can be a lioness and hunt for my pride too. With daddy at home with J, I didn’t have to transition him to the strange environment of daycare, and I know he’s safe and tended to. I know his cues are being met. I know he’s being snuggled and worn and that my parenting strategies are being respected.

But does it make me less of a mom that I’m not broken while I’m away?

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What kind of mom am I?

We’ve made it almost to four weeks old, and things are starting to regulate a little bit. Not to say we have a schedule of any kind (most days are like a choose your own adventure book, and James is in control), but I’m beginning to learn his cues and personality.

It seems like this time is also marking a significant plateauing of my hormones, which was met with relief by all three of us. I had a significant amount of post-partum depression that sprouted up with a vengeance shortly after the birth. It all came on so quickly. One moment I was holding him on my chest crying with relief and overwhelming awe then hours later I woke up feeling completely disconnected.

The first week wasn’t so horrible. I just didn’t feel like I was bonding. I didn’t really melt down that often, but I say that knowing that the moms were here so I basically let them do everything for the baby. I only melted down every time I had the baby and anything unexpected happened (which was every time I had the baby). Even so, at least one of the moms would come running before I went off the emotional deep end, and everything would be as it should be.

Once it was just us, the moms back home and daddy at work, things got a little more complicated. I made it through each day task by task feeling largely numb towards my little miracle. By the time my husband would get home from work, I was a ticking time bomb - exhausted from the day and on hormonal haywire. Inevitably, the minute he walked away from us the baby would start to cry and I would meltdown. He would come back to find two sobbing messes.

I didn’t feel like I could talk to him about how I was feeling because I didn’t want him to worry while he was at work (and we really needed the income). I would just scream at him and shove the baby into his arms - pushing them both away emotionally. Because I was judging myself so harshly, I was unwilling to let any of my “mom friends” close enough to see the poison creeping through me. After the first two weeks, the situation was clearly breaking me emotionally and destroying my relationship with my husband. I had no support because I was unwilling to let anyone in. Things were a mess and the mud was piling up quickly to pull me under.

Every time I would recover, I would ask myself, “What kind of mom AM I?” How could I be so detached? How could I be so resentful? How could I be so angry and insecure? I felt like such a bad mother. I felt like I should’ve never been allowed to have this child. I questioned everything.

At our two week appointment with the midwife, she asked how things were going to which I responded, “fine…” before promptly exploding into tears. While explaining to her what I was going through, she was able to translate to my husband the situation and the normalcy of what was happening with me. He felt helpless because I would snap so quickly that he couldn’t diffuse the situation before it escalated, and he couldn’t understand how I could feel that way about my son. For the first time since my son was born, we talked and found solid ground again. My midwife helped us develop a plan to help me find peace and support. She also gave me some recommendations on supplements that might help with the hormones until they stabilized.

The next two weeks were rocky, but we worked through it together. After my husband got home from work I had 30-60 minutes alone, while he took the baby. I could shower, watch tv, do nothing or just cry if I needed to. I spent some days counting the minutes until he got home so I could have this reprieve and other days it was just a nice gift to have a small break. Sometimes I just enjoyed watching him with our son and feeding off his love and excitement. We also rearranged our family bed, and instead of our DS sleeping in the middle, we moved his cosleeper to one side, me in the middle and my husband on the other side. This gave us more opportunity for cuddling and the intimacy we were both honestly starving for during this fragile time. I talked to my friends and found a support net that was strong and available. I got out of the house more. I made plans.

Most importantly, I realized I so was not alone and as I surfaced from the gloom, I had a whole new outlook on all those moms I was quick to judge before. Sure, I had the weepies, but I had a new understanding on how easy it would’ve been to drown in the depression - to hurt themselves or their children - a scary reality that brings me great sadness. I look back at the last couple of weeks and realize how blessed I am to have the support that I do. Without it, I think it might’ve been a much different story.

Now I’m spending my time “catching up.” Delighting in his small expressions and sounds, enjoying his existence - how it’s changed our whole family, bonding. I’m falling so deeply in love that it seems impossible. I’m having a hard time remembering what it was like before he existed. Everything seems so normal and good.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still those frustrating moments - trying to decipher just what it is he needs from me. I just don’t have that switch anymore. I don’t feel suddenly like I’m drowning and nothing will ever save me in time. I don’t cry anymore. I just feel frustrated and motivated to puzzle out a solution - like any problem that I encounter. Most of all, I feel at peace with my role and where I am.

And who can ask for more than that?

And the answer to my question is: I’m a mom, just like every other mom.

Filed under post partum depression

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Jameson’s birth story

It’s been one week. Hard to believe that over 41 weeks of cell division and development culminated in 3 days of primal labor to bring my baby into this world. And now, looking back, I’m struggling to put words to any of it. The hormones have diluted the intensity of my experience and I’m left with a foggy timeline, second hand accounts and an overwhelming amount of emotions.

It all started the way natural births usually seem to - with mention of intervention. For many it takes induction, but for me the thought of a NST did the trick. My midwife appointment was on Wednesday afternoon, and she wanted a NST done Friday if nothing had changed just to make sure my placenta was still healthy and the baby was doing well. My husband and I enjoyed a date night after the appointment and when we got home that evening my mucus plug started to drain. After 3-4 weeks of ineffective contractions and several false starts, I was thrilled for something different to finally begin. I texted my midwife and headed to bed per her advice to get what sleep I could before labor began.

My contractions woke me early Thursday morning. It took me forever to convince my husband that this was finally it! He was planning on going to work! He had called in to work previously a couple times for what turned out to be false labor so was more than skeptical. I convinced him that he needed to be at home with me, and when he called his manager, she jokingly asked if this was a recording. I had to reassure him several times throughout the weekend that we would have a baby soon. Both his mother and my mother were also here to support us. Throughout Thursday my contractions were about 5-10 minutes apart, and mild. I cleaned and napped throughout the day, trying to stay active and encourage the contractions. Thursday evening for an hour they sped up to 3 minutes apart but didn’t really intensify, and after I had talked to my midwife, they slowed down again so I decided to continue laboring without her. I was able to sleep again that night, but the contractions continued to wake me keeping my husband and I both from getting any actual rest.

By Friday, the contractions had intensified, but still my water had not broken. Although I kept my midwife updated, I was hesitant for her to come because I didn’t feel like I was progressing since the mucus plug. My midwife suggested I take benedryl to get a nap since I had already labored actively for over a day, and see if that helped my body progress into a more active labor (keep my contractions under 5 minutes apart). My husband and I laid down and the benedryl totally knocked me out. Apparently, I was contracting just as frequently (keeping my husband awake), but I would get through one and immediately fall back to sleep - snoring! I woke up ravenous and ate a big meal, and then called my midwife. We had progressed to 2.5-3 minutes apart again, and I was sustaining there.

My midwife arrived around 11pm with my birth photographer in tow. We visited between contractions, and she did an assessment. I asked if she would check to see how far dilated I was, and she agreed to. Let me preface this by saying that my biggest fear for this labor was that I wouldn’t be able to progress and that I would be at 2 cm. My goal was to be at least 4 cm at this point, and when she checked me, I was dilated to 5 cm. I was ecstatic! Because I had been laboring on my ball, the toilet and sitting mainly, she convinced me to try the birth pool. I agreed and while my husband and I changed into our suits, the others prepared the pool.

Up to this point, I had been hesitant about using the pool despite initially wanting to labor through transition in the pool and have a water birth. Getting in certain positions was extremely uncomfortable during contractions, and when I would get in a position that would make the contraction unbearable, I was stuck until after it was over. This had already happened to me several times - especially in lying positions. I was nervous about getting into the pool and being unable to move fast enough into different positions or to be able to get out period if I needed to.

As I lowered myself into the water, I immediately exhaled in relief. It was WONDERFUL. I moved in the water frequently - so much so that my husband ended up sitting outside the pool stroking my hands on the handles during contractions as he talked me through them. I adopted most often a back bend, crab-walk like posture during contractions, and they continued to get stronger and stronger. My midwife had to continue to encourage me to get out of the water to go to the bathroom frequently because I didn’t want to leave the pool and would contract during the short distance to the toilet. I spent a few hours in the pool, but my husband - exhausted - took a break to nap leaving me with my mother. When he left, I got out shortly after and my midwife recommended I lay down for a little while as well - predicting I’d have the baby around sunrise.

Laying down was horrible and I quickly switched back to my birth ball, resting my head at the edge of the bed. I switched between that position and the toilet frequently, unable to find a position that felt effective. My contractions were intense and close, and while I continued to labor, everyone in the house had fallen asleep. I woke my husband around 8 am on Saturday to rub my back while I was on the ball. I had somehow maneuvered chuck pads over the floor because I felt so much pressure that I thought my water would break while I was on the ball. My midwife woke shortly after (around 9am) and came in to check on me - surprised at the time. I was growing increasingly restless, frustrated and tired. She offered to check me again to see where I had progressed; I was 10 cm. Unfortunately, the baby was still high in my pelvis and was not descending. She did not want to break my water due to the risk of cord prolapse so suggested I labor in lying positions despite the pain to move the baby down. Since I had mainly been laboring upright, the change might help progress things.

I labored first on my left side, then on my right. I labored on my hands and knees. The midwife assistant had arrived sometime after I had gotten out of the pool and came in at this point to massage my back with peppermint and lavender essential oils. They propped me with pillows, and turned me from one position to the next every 20 minutes or so. Finally around 11am, I had the urge to push while I stood at the edge of the bed - coming back from a trip to the bathroom. I was hesitant but as each contraction came it was harder and harder to resist. My midwife encouraged me to trust my body.

Pushing on my left side felt the most effective, and I pushed like that for awhile. My husband had been resting, and came in around this time to lay behind me. He put pressure on my lower back as I pushed, and I held up my right leg as I pushed through contractions. They were becoming grueling, but again, the excitement of progress helped to motivate me. After some time, my midwife encouraged me to go back to the toilet - this time sitting on it backwards with a pillow on the tank. I pushed like this for awhile as well, still making very little progress. She suggested walking the stairs, and I moved to doing some lunges using the toilet seat to no avail.

By this time, we were reaching the late afternoon on Saturday. I remember the frustration setting in, and the looming hopelessness that followed on its heels. My midwife offered to break my water, and although I refused at first because I felt the pressure, I eventually agreed after an hour of pushing fruitlessly. My bag had been bulging since my midwife had checked me earlier and the baby’s head had moved into a better position. She waited for a contraction and merely plucked the bag and guided the head into position. Because I had so much fluid, we were hoping that removing that cushion would move things along; but even with the bag out of the way, I still struggled to make progress pushing.

At some point in the early evening, our mothers left to get pizza for everyone and I had moved out to a chair in the livingroom. My midwife squatted in front of me and gave me the no-nonsense talk, which implied (or more accurately, stated) no more mrs. nice girl. She said she was going to help me push and get the baby down, but that it would be uncomfortable. We positioned me at the edge of the chair and with each contraction, she would press her fingers down inside me and coach me to focus my pushes in that spot. I remember her asking me if I could feel the difference in where I was pushing, but I couldn’t, which frustrated me more. The only thing that signaled to me I was pushing from the right place was a small gush of amniotic fluid sporadically, and my midwife’s encouraging words when I got it right (or her determined coaching when I didn’t).

I moved back to the bed, and my midwife continued to coach me where to push - using her fingers off and on to focus me. At one point I moved to my hands and knees, sitting back on my haunches during the contractions to push. This time my midwife inserted her fingers and started to massage the lip of cervix that the baby’s head was caught on out of the way. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. I remember just screaming, “Get out! Get out! Get out!” Even after the contraction subsided, the pain of the cervical manipulation and frustration of hours of pushing made me snap. I didn’t realize that the baby was posterior, that it was hung up on the cervix, what the midwife was doing or why it hurt so badly. I was furious.

It was at this point that we all began to talk about options. My contractions were less intense/effective and growing further apart. My body was exhausted and psychologically I was exhausted too. I could either transport to the hospital or try a tincture that would speed my contractions and allow my midwife to manipulate the cervix to help baby’s head enter the vaginal canal. She had already discussed with me the need for pitocin post-partum because of the long labor, and had started an IV with fluids. After 3 days of labor and almost 12 hours of pushing, my first thought was to transport, get an epidural and get some rest! I was exhausted to the point of tears and didn’t know how much longer I could keep going. The exhaustion fed my fear that I wasn’t capable of giving birth to this baby.

Stephen and I moved back into the bathroom, and as I labored there, we discussed what to do. My mom talked to the midwives and they assured her that I had plenty of room for the baby to come down into my pelvis and be born naturally. She played mediator going back and forth between the midwife and myself, trying to help me get the information I needed to make a decision. Although I admit that my first thought was, “Oh God, get me an epidural,” I had some real concerns about continuing the labor at home. Because I was so exhausted, I was barely making it through three pushes per contraction, and I think I was most afraid that if we sped up the contractions or made them any stronger that I would completely shut down and be unable to do anything. This reduced my chances of having a vaginal birth at home or in the hospital. I knew if I showed up at the hospital completely exhausted that I would end up with a c-section. That was what I most wanted to avoid. Everyone verbalized that they would support me no matter what I decided, but after discussing the situation and getting all of the information, I just felt more frustrated because I didn’t know what to do.

I think it was a combination of things that made me decide not to transfer. The most obvious was that I was committed to having my home birth. I don’t want this misconstrued as a pride issue - that I had to have my home birth no matter the cost. Having a home birth was my dream since forever; like little girls who dream about their wedding days, I knew I wanted this if I ever had a child. Giving up and going to the hospital would’ve felt like walking down the aisle in the wrong dress. It’s all the same in the end - you’re still married - but it wouldn’t have felt right. I knew that going to the hospital meant me giving up a lot of control - not only through my birth but afterwards. There was no guarantee that I would show up to the hospital and get an epidural. However, there was definitely going to be manual manipulation of my cervix either way and likely pitocin and other interventions. At least with the midwife, I felt like when I needed her to stop for that contraction she would, and that she would be working with me instead of on me. At the hospital, much less likely. Then there’s the fight about interventions with the baby, bathing, vaccinations, delivery position, getting the first hour alone, nursing immediately, etc. However, even as all of this ran through my head, I was fairly committed to going to the hospital. In the end, I think it came down to the fact that I did not want to get into a car, my mom’s and midwife’s assurances that I could do it if I committed myself to it (and that I only had to try another hour to make progress), my mom telling me that my mother-in-law had been through a similar situation and had delivered vaginally, my husband’s unending support no matter what decision I made and downright anger.

When I marched out of the bathroom, I was full of anger. Anger at my birth for taking so long. Anger at myself for feeling like I couldn’t give birth naturally. Anger at everyone’s constant stream of suggestions (I felt like I would begin to try one thing and someone would be telling me to do something completely different). Anger at feeling like no one was listening to what I needed. Anger that I didn’t know what was the right decision.

I entered my bedroom where my midwife sat on the bed in what felt like a whirlwind, but what probably closer resembled a trembling summer breeze. I announced my decision to go forward, and everyone immediately went to work. My midwife helped me into a more favorable position for her to help manipulate my cervix. Unfortunately, that position was mostly on my back. My husband sat behind me in bed, and I laid back against him, legs splayed and bent at the knee, hands gripping my thighs. The IV fluids my midwife had started gave me a little boost of energy and I had largely breathed through the contractions in the bathroom. I took a dose of the foul tasting tincture and went to work with everything I had in me. My first contraction I pushed with all the energy I had recuperated from my break. My midwife manipulated the cervix and for the first time we were making real progress.

With each contraction, I pushed to the encouragement of my midwife with all the determination I had and yelled with all the anger I could muster. Sometimes my midwife manipulated the cervix. Other times, she coached me forward. Every so often I would get another (reluctantly accepted) dose of the cohosh tincture. My labia and clitoris ached and were swollen; during the short periods between contractions, I held cold washcloths to them to relieve the pain. During contractions, pain would shoot through my groin causing me to lose focus on my push and cry out. I just rallied and started another push when I could.

All I could think of was how I thought it would never end. I kept asking if I was getting anywhere and my midwife would answer with vague, “You are further than where you were” responses. This frustrated me even further, and I just fed it into the anger that was fueling my pushing. I couldn’t afford to waste any bit of energy. They moved my husband out from behind me and laid me flat to facilitate progress. I kept thinking that this was the worst way to give birth - on my back. My midwife would ask if I could feel the baby move down, but like before, I couldn’t feel the difference in the push. I was still dependent on her to tell me if I was pushing in the right place and if I was making any progress. I remember focusing on my push willing the small gush of amniotic fluid that signaled I was pushing correctly and the assistant urging me to tuck my chin. She said it would help, but her coaching just frustrated me. Everything outside of my midwife’s voice annoyed me. The doppler and cool gel to hear the baby’s heartbeat was especially annoying. I just wanted to focus on one thing and push, push, push.

Eventually, I demanded a change in position and moved to my left side. I remembered this position feeling really good earlier when I had started pushing. My mom was at my side and I latched onto her as I pushed. It only took a contraction, maybe two before I felt the baby begin to move into the canal. The rush of that feeling and the change in quality of pain fed the force of my pushes, and my body began to take over the process. I remember a contraction coming, and I would barely begin to push and my body would grab that meager force and amplify it tenfold. It was painful, but felt so good - relieving somehow. During every contraction, I was so focused on my mom - now in front of me. I held onto her as if she was the only thing holding me to the earth and pushed. I remember the heat of my mom’s body, the strength in her grasp, our sweat mingling and the steady rhythm of her breaths. I remember hearing my midwife exclaim over my progress and try to show me the distance between the baby’s head and the opening with the tips of her fingers, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be done. I just wanted it to be over.

As the baby crowned, they encouraged me to reach down and touch - to feel how far I had come. I responded with a yell to “Get it out of me.” They wanted to take my blood pressure, and I yelled that it wasn’t the time for that. I couldn’t focus on anything else but the contraction, and the push, and the relief. I remember looking up and asking for Stephen, worried he would miss the birth after all of the work we had been through together. I was largely unaware of anyone but my mom, midwife and midwife assistant in the room, but I know my birth photographer and mother-in-law were there as well. The anticipation was electric. As the head emerged, my midwife encouraged me to slow my pushing, but I felt like my body wasn’t having any of it. In my head, I knew what I needed to do, and tried to make myself do the tiny pushes to prevent from tearing; but my body took over and pushed with an even greater vengeance.

As the baby fell out of me and into my husband’s hands, I only remember feeling relief. I don’t remember hearing his cry though it’s there on the fuzzy edge of my memory. I think he even sneezed a few times. I don’t remember the shot of pitocin in my thigh for my tired uterus. I don’t even remember my husband moving to where my mom stood only moments before to set the baby on my chest. I don’t remember the mothers joyfully embracing in exhausted and relieved tears. I just remember the weight of the slippery body on my chest, and the realization that it was over. It took a minute before I even realized I was holding my baby, and began to cry. It was minutes after that even before I realized I didn’t even know if it was a girl or a boy. They moved me onto my back, and I just clutched the baby to me and sobbed for a little while. Stephen cut the cord, and my placenta passed without incident a few moments later.

My beautiful son was born at 12:19 am on Sunday, March 25, 2012 after 3 days of active labor and almost 14 hours of pushing. His APGAR was 9/9 and he came into the world with a strong cry at home in my bed to the faces of his family. I ended up with a small first degree tear and some shearing, but had no issue with bleeding or vitals. Everyone was healthy and doing well.

When the midwife and assistant were assured that everyone was stable, my husband, and I were left alone to bond with the baby. We did a lot of skin to skin holding and I put the baby to my breast. After about an hour, my midwife came in to re-assess me and stitch my laceration. The baby was cleaned off, assessed, weighed and measured. He was a healthy eight pounds and two ounces, twenty-one inches long. My midwife helped me to the bathroom to clean up. It didn’t seem long before everyone left for the night, but it was already around 3 am. We were made comfortable, and the mothers went to bed for some much deserved sleep.

Even looking back and knowing that my birth experience was traumatic and discouraging at times - exhausting to say the least, having a homebirth is a decision I celebrate every day that I look at my son. My midwife and her assistant were excellent and I could not have asked for more excellent care pre, ante and post-partum. I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to give birth naturally and offer my son a peaceful start to life amongst those who love him so dearly. We are truly so blessed…

Filed under birth story

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How much is too much?

Every week on my days off, I try to register for a baby item. As I’ve been going down the list, I start to wonder which items are we really going to be using and how much is too much? Since we’ve largely been in the “closet” about our pregnancy until the last couple weeks, I haven’t had an opportunity to consult other moms. However, I think it’s hard to determine how their experiences will match up to ours when everyone’s parenting is largely individual.

Obviously, there are certain things we’ll want to have right away - things like a breast pump, and the car seat, etc. But what things can we wait to purchase down the road? Would it be that bad if we didn’t buy the highchair until we actually needed it? And if we’re willing to wait, why register for it now when there are other things we actually need right away?

Because we plan on co-sleeping and keeping our guest bedroom for our always welcome guests, the practicality issue of getting separate items is also becoming apparent. We won’t have a separate room for everything baby so we really need to focus on what we need and where we’re going to put it. Do we really need a changing table AND a pack-n-play if I can get a pack-n-play with bassinet AND changing table combined? Where is it practical to cut corners now and not regret it later?

Maybe I’m over complicating it, but I can see how easy it is to get caught up buying all of these items. I can find a million reasons to buy every single little cute baby piece of equipment; but in the end, I wonder how much of it will be taking up space, and how much I’ll be thinking, “Thank GOD we got one of these.”

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Car seats

We’ve finally decided on a car seat. Once I got my husband involved, we were able to really “buckle” down and agree on something together. We used a couple articles to help us decide.

Since safety was our number one concern, we started by looking at what features we should be looking (or not looking) for. We thought did a great job going over the features and explaining what they are and what they do.

Of course the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has great information on inspection places, reviews on ease of installation for the safest use on car seats by brand, and other great information.

What are the differences between starting with an infant car seat over a convertible? We felt Karen Plomp did a great job outlining the pros and cons in her article here: Because we’ve decided to do a lot of attachment parenting (read slings, carriers, etc.), the infant car seat just sounded like more of a hassle in the beginning.

Ultimately to decide, we looked at some review sites like and to decide on brand.

Once we had decided on the Britax, we read more reviews and visited their website to decide on the model we wanted. We visited a lot of forums as well to read other mom’s opinions, which really helped us decide if our model would mainly fit in our compact car (among other useful opinions on features I wouldn’t have thought of). For us, it came down to safety, ease of installation and making adjustments. Ultimately, once it’s in the car - we will hopefully NOT be taking it out again for a couple years.

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Baby Paraphenalia

It’s hard not to feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of STUFF babies require. And it’s not just the expense (isn’t it a rule that baby takes every penny you have after bills?), but just making the choices that is daunting. I mean there are 15+ types of everything, and for every type, there are 100 brands to choose from. How do you decide?

I want an unbiased phone number I can call and through a list of questions have them narrow down my decision for me. Take car seats for example:

What age are you shopping for? Newborn, something that will grow with baby if possible.

Biggest concern? Safety. I want to buy from the top ranked brand for safety in the last 5 years.

Any features you’d like to include? Removable cover for easy cleaning. Also, something that fits in a travel system if possible. I’d like it to be easy to use and lightweight.

Okay ma’am. We’ve lowered it down to these car seats that meet your needs. Customer reviews are included with each to let you know what other parents thought.


Unfortunately, there isn’t anything like this. Even when shopping, you can filter your results aesthetically (color, brand) and even by age, but I haven’t found any website that ranks safety rating by brand. As a first time parent, I’m lost! And not just in car seat world, but also strollers, and breastfeeding pumps, cribs, etc. For every purchase we will make before the baby comes, there are a million companies vying for us to buy their product, but no place that helps us make sense of the chaos.

I feel completely unqualified to be a parent.

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Pregnant in America

This year, I am one of the 4 million women.

My husband and I are pregnant with our first, and are anywhere from 8-17 weeks along. Thanks to some irregular ovulation patterns, we have a bit of a discrepancy in our dates. Hopefully, we’ll glean some more information from an ultrasound in a few weeks, and have a clearer EDD based on baby’s growth. For now, it’s a mystery - like many of life’s big adventures.

As we decided to “take the next step” and embark on the conception process, I had a vague notion of what was to come. While many women are obsessing over their weddings, I was always more interested in birth. Honestly, I’ve always been a “birthzilla” in that I want certain things for myself and my baby that have never been a compromise. For instance, I made the decision to have a homebirth long before I met my now husband. This decision was clear to me, much like another woman might tell you “I want an epidural.” But it’s definitely not “my way or the highway.” My husband’s very supportive, and we make all of the big decisions together.

What blows me away is my sheer underestimation of the decisions that have to be made before baby gets here. There is so much information available from so many sources on everything imaginable from pregnancy, birth to baby. It’s just hard to keep it all straight. I want to compile the information I find helpful here, and that way just maybe, we’ll have come to some conclusions before baby enters the world.

In the meantime, I watched Pregnant in America today and found it to be a little overzealous. I REALLY enjoyed the Rikki Lake documentary, which did a little demonizing of its own. However, the Pregnant in America documentary continued to criticize medical intervention even after they decided to seek it out. I just find it important to recognize that, even though we are choosing to birth at home naturally, I am so grateful that (should we need it) the medical system is there to do their job if an emergency or unplanned situation does occur. That’s what they’re there for. And THANK GOD for that. What makes them so ineffective at birth is the constant anticipation that something WILL go wrong, and the constant interventions are one of the reasons we are so high in infant/maternal death in the world right now. Did I enjoy the film? Yes. But take it with a grain of salt. I think it could put off a lot of people that aren’t necessarily sold on the whole natural birth thing; however, some of the information is FANTASTICALLY presented, and it’s stuff you can’t find in similar films (i.e. Business of being Born).