Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Home Birth Experience

As we woke up on Sunday morning, just a typical morning like all others since I went past 40 weeks pregnant, never thought a whole lot of it until I started having some slight contractions around 4pm or so. At this point, I was at 41 weeks and 2 days, just past my due date. Needless to say, I was getting a little concerned as we could not wait around forever before Ronin decided to make his entrance into the world, also there are health risks involved that I was not willing to take, but we just waited it out. Home birth was our decision and we wanted to stick to that.

After hearing from a few people say nipple stimulation works to induce labor and I was getting desperate, I figured why not, nothing else did! So around 730pm that night, I tried it for about 10 minutes and again around 10pm. Well, after 7 minutes I had to stop the second time around because these contractions were not stopping and they were STRONG and felt a whole lot like real contractions (not Braxton hicks). After maybe an hour of these not stopping and getting stronger and closer together I texted my midwife Stephanie, who lives in Elgin (same city we are in at the time) letting her know that the contractions are starting and are getting stronger but I would not continue to bother her anymore unless they got worse. Well, sure enough around 12am CT they got worse so I sent her another message, good thing I decided to call after no answer too because the message never went through the second time around. I believe her and Karen showed up around 145-2am CT and the contractions were still coming, harder and stronger still. I went to sit in a warm bath just because it was hurting to the point I felt like I was dying! Alex kept trying to rub my back and asking if I was still having strong contractions as I sat in the bath tub rolling around like a beached whale. There was no comfort to be had at this point.

We left the bathroom, went back down stairs, and laid on the couch with my butt up in the air and my face pushed up against the arm rest. I think I got loud at some point because Stephanie came in when I started crying saying I can not do this anymore it hurts so bad. She assured me that I could. For some strange reason, I believed her! Well, she was right! Not too much after this, I said I think its about time to push, and the pool needs to be filled.

Alex and his mom went to go fill the tub but only got it filled about a 3rd of the way because things were happening so quickly at this point. When I started pushing around I believe 345am CT, it felt like a TON of relief! There was no more real pain anymore. After pushing for what seemed like a long time, we went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet pushing some more. These were some pretty intense contractions and a lot of really hard pushing, enough to where my water broke. Alex was still pushing on my back and that was the only relief I felt for quite a while!

This became my next position. Except when I ended up actually having him, my knees were up and I was holding on to my legs (as well as Alex). Eventually, in this position, his head finally started to come out and Karen told me to feel my baby. I was a little turned off by this, but did it anyway, what the heck, why not! How awesome! He was right there! Only a few more pushes and he was completely out and in the world!

Finally, at 603 am CT on Dec. 5th 2011, my baby boy was here! He was placed promptly into my arms and not taken away for over an hour. It was amazing! Truly the best thing we as a couple has ever experienced is the blessing of our two children being born and without any complications.

Ronin Alexander weighed in at 9 lbs 14 oz and he is 21.5 inches long. Yes, much larger than I had ever thought! Still perfect in every single way! He started off nursing like a pro and has continued ever since. We had a long time of skin to skin contact which was awesome. This is definitely something women do not get enough of in the hospital.

Its been 11 days since Ronin was born and each day that goes by makes me think of his birth and how amazing it really was. As a friend said, it was healing after having a hospital birth. My midwife Stephanie and nurse Karen were fabulous. Hopefully some day we will be able to do this again. 

My Loves!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Parenting: Typical Job or Amazing new Life

Over the past 10 months I have noticed how my methods of parenting are vastly different than that of others. At first when I had my daughter I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to expect. As the days and months went on, everything seemed to just fall into place. My methods along with a few good friends are totally different than the "typical" style of raising a child. Some seem to think raising children is a job. Almost to the point of coming off with the attitude that it is really not a job they particularly like doing. I am not saying my way is better, just different.

I would like to point out the differences between an "alternative" parenting style and a "typical" parenting style. Perhaps we will start by defining each. An "alternative" parenting style would include things like cloth diapering, co-sleeping, baby wearing, extended breastfeeding (past 6 months), selecting vaccines more cautiously, and parenting in a more peaceful way. Now, in a "typical" parenting style, children are placed in a crib right after birth, cry it out methods are used, disposable diapers, feeding on a schedule, breastfeeding until 6 weeks than onto formula, and getting all the shots at the doctors office.

From the day my daughter was born, we co-slept. She has been breastfed up to this point, we use cloth diapers, I make her baby food, I do research on the vaccines she receives, I wear her as long as it does not break my back, and there is no way in the world I would let her cry for an extended period of time. To me crying is a sign something is wrong or the baby simply wants to be comforted. Perhaps my ideas are wrong, I am a new mother after all...

Parents need a baby sitter every now and then, that is a given. My husband and I rearranged our entire work schedules so we did not use a daycare or a babysitter. My thinking is why pay a babysitter or daycare to watch my child? I went part time and Alex goes to work 2 hours after I get home.

"Typical" parents use a babysitter any time they go out. Taking the kids out to eat is just too much of a hassle. Again, like a job or something that is a major inconvenience.

Co-sleeping makes children more comfortable and secure because they know they are loved. Baby wearing also makes children seem more secure.

I try to observe other parents and how they raise their children. Some do a fantastic job as "typical" parents, others I question why they have children if those kids are such a burden.

When I hear people say I was up all day with the kids and I am sleep deprived, I need a baby sitter so I can take a nap. It really kind of irritates me. My husband is with my daughter while I am at work, and after that, I am with her. I like my free time, but I certainly would rather be around my daughter a lot more than I value my time alone. She is my life! I love her and my husband more than anything.

What sense does it make to let a child sit there and cry because a parent is cleaning? There are so many different types of wraps and carriers one can use to carry that child around with them, which would probably make the kid happy to begin with.

Making our children happy and confident will make them do better later in life! From my time as a mother, I have done the very best I could for my daughter and I feel everything we have done to this point has been nothing more than natural and the best for her.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our life in 2011- Day 26

Not really feeling the best today, I think we all have colds coming on. After bath time we took a nap!

Our life in 2011- Day 25

Not a good pic, but she looks so funny! She had my shirt on and decided to go play around.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our life in 2011- Day 17

Yes, this is exactly how she fell asleep on me a few minutes ago!

Our life in 2011- Day 16

Learning how to cruise around in her walker toy!

Instinct Parenting

It all started early in the morning of September 4th 2009. I woke up after having a dream about my 17 year old sister getting pregnant and have twins. Wow, what a scary thought! She is too young for that. In the dream, I was holding both of these babies and wondered as I woke up abruptly at 5:20am if this was a sign. My husband Alex and I were trying to have a baby, and had been for roughly 6 months to no avail. When I woke up, I promptly lit a cigarette, smoked it, which turned out to be my last, and went to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test. Three minutes later, what a shock! It was POSITIVE!

 I ran all the way through the house and told Alex, GET UP, LOOK! Before he had put on his glasses to see the test, I had already shoved it in his face (yes, after it had just been peed on) and said Do you see what it says?!?! Needless to say, we were both up for the day about 5:30am. After I cried a little, because I was scared, the first child I got pregnant with ended in a miscarriage. Immediately, I went into panic mode and stayed that way for quite some time. Rightfully so in fact, we got a doctor's appointment for a week and a half later and an ultrasound. My doctor told me my progesterone levels were low and I needed to be put on a supplement to increase my progesterone levels in order to maintain my pregnancy. I could have lost my baby. The first time I could not do anything because no doctor would see me sooner than 8 weeks. This time, I was going to do whatever it took to have my beautiful baby I had been wanting for so long.

As the weeks went by, we made it through the first trimester and what a relief, kind of. I was not convinced everything was going to be alright until I had this baby sitting in my arms. We did get a fetal heart monitor to listen to our baby's heartbeat. It was just one more way to give me peace of mind, which was definitely needed. Around my 18th week of pregnancy we got another ultrasound. This whole time I thought my baby would be a boy. WRONG! To my surprise, we were having a girl! What an exciting moment! I was not disappointed in the least, this meant I get to dress my baby in PINK! 
While I was pregnant, I assumed my parenting style would be just as everyone else. We would breastfeed until I went back to work, and than on to formula for this little girl. Vaccines, well, what does it matter, they worked for me and I turned out fine. Co-sleeping? Are you nuts?  There was no way in the world I would give up my bed. However, we did get a pack and play so she would be next to us. Cloth diapering? Ha! No way! Baby wearing? Well, that was a great idea in theory, but I have a lot of back problems so carrying around extra weight would probably hurt a lot. At 29 weeks, we elected to get a 3-D ultrasound which we brought my dad and mother in law to. Seeing this little girls beautiful face brought tears to my eyes. Again, the first time was seeing her heartbeat. Second was hearing it, and third was seeing just how beautiful she was and how real all of this was turning out to be!

Around the same time, we found out I had gestational diabetes, which was supposed to mean Kaylin Jayde (yes, we named her!) would be much larger. After pricking my finger four times everyday and listening to the advice of some lady, I had to eat a lot of bland foods to keep my blood sugar levels lower. Well, after a couple weeks of doing this and gaining 6 lbs, I decided to stop listening to these people. I know my body, it is mine, been living in it for YEARS! So, the next appointment I only gained 2 lbs so, HA, I was right! Now we had to go to each weeks appointment and do a non stress test to make sure everything was going alright. One doctor who I did not care for at all told me because Kaylin was sleeping and not moving around a ton, it meant something was wrong. At this point, I did not want the stress of some man who was rude to begin with giving me advice, even though he was the doctor. This was also the last appointment I had. My induction was scheduled for 3 days from that Friday. Yes, I said it, I was induced with my baby. Not one of the things I am proud of, but it happened.

The day had come, May 3rd, what an adventure it had been so far. We were going to see this beautiful little girl from the ultrasounds. The one who kicked me, and moved all over! I was so happy! For some who said, I cannot wait to meet her, they may remember how I would never say that. I was too scared to jinx something. So, around 8pm May 3rd, in went the Cervidil and here comes the contractions! After 12 hours of this stuff and all the contractions, I had hoped to at least be dilated, some! Nope, my cervix had just softened. After getting my shower, I was placed on Pitocin, and taken off it because I was contracting on my own and it was stressing Kaylin out. Around 3:30pm, May 4th, I felt this pin prick feeling in my belly. Than I felt a gush. Once I stood up, I knew what that meant, finally my water had broken! Good deal, or so I thought. Now, I was wondering, what is all this black stuff. Oh, its meconium, which means Kaylin had pooped due to the stress and now there was a bigger risk of something to happen. Again, I got scared. At 8pm we had the doctor come in and give me an epidural. The only reason I would ever get an epidural again with another pregnancy is because I hated being "checked", it was NOT fun. Around 1am, May 5th, I started having this desire to push. It was STRONG. I could feel my legs too which I thought was a little off. Epidural did not work too well. Guess we were going to do this the hard way! Within 20 minutes of pushing, she was here! My little baby girl was finally out! And seeing her, wow, you just cannot get anymore perfect than this!

Instantly, everything we had waited for changed. Here was this perfect little angel! We hated being in the hospital so we decided to take her home exactly 24 hours after she was born. Yes, that happened!

We did supplement formula for the first week until my milk came in, which I did not want to do, I was totally against the idea, but again, I was a new mom and I wanted to make sure she was getting enough. When my milk came in, we finally got a good latch and this began a wonderful adventure into breastfeeding.

As you can see, this is not a 6 week old baby. She was around 4 months in this picture. I decided since taking the best care of her that I possibly could was the most important thing for me, we were going to breastfeed at least until 6 months. Baby steps right? I did not want to make any unrealistic goals, so we are going by every 6 months. This decision was the easiest I could have ever made. It was natural and it was a beautiful bond I could share with my daughter and nobody else could take that feeling away.

Next decision I made regarding parenting is baby wearing. Remember how I said it would not be possible because of my back? Well, that went out the window. Yes, my back is bothered by it, but I do not care. No pain, no gain! If it makes her comfortable and gives her comfort, the pain is the least of my concern. Plus she loves being in her Moby!

The next decision, well, one of the first actually, was co-sleeping. I said no at first, and from the first week she was born, guess where she slept? You guessed it, right with us in our bed. Normally she will sleep in between us, or lay on me to fall asleep. This to me gives her a sense of security. Which if she feels secure, chances are she is going to be more independent later on in life. She already seems to be very independent as it is, so hopefully with the instinctive parenting steps we are taking, she will have a lot of confidence too!
Yes, she uses my comforter as well. No fancy blankets, we sleep side by side, she has our blanket around her, and everything has been working out thus far! We have had several people say things like, she should not be sleeping in your bed, she will fall off, some extreme statements were I am a bad mom. Well, as with everything, I took what I heard and let it go in one ear and out the other. I know what is best for Kaylin.

Baby food out of a jar? Well, that was a thought to begin with too. I did not see what it would hurt. Rice cereal on a schedule too? No way, I was not about to listen when told to feed her solids at 4 months old. She simply was not ready. I did try, she did not like it so we did not continue feeding solids until 6 months. She got what she needed from me! Which made me happy. I still love the time I get with her where nobody can interfere. We make our own food, I do not see the point in feeding her something out of a jar because it has so many preservatives in it. At least the food we make has a shelf life that is not longer than I will be alive!  

When she was 3 months old, I decided to stop spending money on diaper rash cream and just give in after talking to my friend Tanya about cloth diapers. Well, cloth diapers were not even a big deal. Why people make such a fuss about using them is beyond me! I love the three brands we have used. They are just as absorbent, we do not have to use diaper rash cream anymore, and they are much cheaper. At first, I knew I was not going to use diapers from Pampers with Dry Max, we had heard it gives babies chemical burns. After hearing this, I made the practical decision to find other means of diapers because at size 3 the Pampers sensitive come with Dry Max too. Do you see why this seems counter-productive? I sure do. Got comments on this decision too, most were, are you nuts? Well, no of course we aren't, we were just willing to try what most people said was not a good solution. Tell me I can't and I will show you I can.

To this point, everything we have done has been different than what we expected. Trust your instincts when you raise kids. It does not take a village, it takes a strong person to do the best for their kids. Nothing about my daughter is gross, nothing about parenting is hard (maybe if you have a lot of kids it would be!) nobody can make choices for your children except for you and your spouse. So, why not make the best of it? Expand your horizons, be different than the norm! Our future generations depend on the positive decisions we make. My daughter certainly changed my life and my views on parenting. One more thing I forgot to mention, the whole cry it out method, sucks. If my daughter cries, she needs me and I am there. I do not care who says she will start manipulating me, she will only be young once, and I do not have anything that is more important to do than to take care of my baby.

I would like to learn more about vaccines, some of them are not necessary from what I am hearing. This will be my challenge for Kaylin in the future and any other children we have. My baby is my everything and I want to protect her where I can!

For future pregnancies, I will also look into water birth as an alternative to typical hospital birth. Definitely will not be using an epidural again!