Monday, October 31, 2011

Saving Your Placenta

Do you plan to save your placenta after your baby is born?  Well, I would highly recommend it.

I know, I know, it's sounds crazy and even disgusting.  I had the exact same opinion before my baby was born, but since then I have done some research on the topic.  I had heard of it, but just wrote it off as something that only the "crunchy" moms do (and although I had a natural birth and make my own baby food, I am pretty far from being "crunchy"). I never knew about all of the benefits of "reusing" your placenta.  now that I know, I truly regret that I wasted such a precious resource and plan to save mine the next time around.  I know I sound like a nut to a lot of you now, but it really isn't as gross as it sounds.

Did you know that you can get the placenta encapsulated and take it as a pill everyday right along with your prenatal and DHA (which you continue taking while you're still breastfeeding). The placenta is packed with nutrients, iron, vitamins, protein and hormones that help with Postpartum Depression, lessens postnatal bleeding, balances hormones, enhances milk, and combats fatigue and  increases energy.

In the first few weeks following my pregnancy I had some "baby blues".  I was crying a lot and getting frustrated with myself because baby and I just couldn't get the knack the nursing thing.  I was blaming myself a lot for the struggles, which made it worse.  I was lucky and the depression didn't get worse and I very shortly got back to feeling normal again.  If I had known that this could have been helped, or avoided all together, I would never have laughed at the thought of saving my placenta. 

Please, at least consider using this NATURAL and benefit packed resource after your baby is born. I know that next time I am not wasting it!

I want to say a special thanks to The Placenta Lady for helping me with the research for this post.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Follow Up Friday- Example Birth Plan

Since Monday's post was just me complaining, lol, I don't have a follow up to it. So, here is another follow up to last weeks posts about birth plans. 

This is an example birth plan that you can use as a guide to outline one of your own. I just used the checklist style birth plan from The Bump and then put it into an outline format.  Most pregnancy websites have forms your can use, I just chose to make mine an outline because I felt it was easier to follow.

When I was finished with it I made three copies, one for my OBGYN, one was sent to my birth center, and I kept one. 

Here are the resources I used (and few I've found since then) to help make my plan:

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/naturaldeliverytechniques.html

http://www.bradleybirth.com/

http://www.mothernaturally.com/

http://www.mybestbirth.com/

http://www.lamaze.org/

http://www.hypnobirthing.com/

http://www.alexandertechnique.com/

http://www.alexandertech.org/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/labor-pain/PR00065

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/labor-and-delivery/PR00105

American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth 1-800-423-2397

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon

Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger

Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel, Phd



Birth Plan
Patient Name:                                                   

Patient Due Date:                                                       

Hospital:                                                             

Patient's Doctor:                                                          

Partner's Name:                                                   

Wishes for First Stage of Labor:

I would like my husband present during the entire labor.

During labor I'd like:
Lights dimmed
Room as quiet as possible
As few interruptions as possible
As few exams as possible
To wear my own clothes
To be able to eat and drink 
To be able to play music
My husband to be allowed to take pictures
To have the freedom to move around as I please

I do NOT want:
A catheter
An IV or medication of any kind

I prefer that fetal monitoring be:
Intermittent
External

For pain management I would like:
No medications of any kind ~Please do NOT offer me any pain medications
To use only natural methods
Wishes for Second Stage of Labor (delivery):

During pushing I would like to:
Be in a sitting squat on the bed
Be in a full squat using the bed and my partner for support
Have the freedom to change positions if uncomfortable
Push without time limits, as long as baby and I are not at risk

I do NOT want an episiotomy, I would prefer to use:
Perineal massage
Warm Compresses
Positioning

As the baby is being delivered, I would like:
To use a mirror to see baby crown
To touch the head as the baby crowns
Help catch the baby
Please do NOT:
Use forceps
Use vacuum extraction

Wishes for after delivery:

Immediately after delivery I would like:
The umbilical cord to be cut only after it stops pulsating
Myself or my partner to be able to cut the umbilical cord
To hold the baby
To breastfeed the baby to stimulate spontaneous delivery of the placenta
To see the placenta before it is discarded
NOT to be given pitocin/oxytocin

Please do NOT give my baby:
Silver Nitrate antibiotic eye treatment (erythromycin OK)
Hep B vaccine
Sugar water
Formula
A pacifier

If I have a boy I would like a circumcision performed as soon as possible in the hospital with local anesthesia.

I would like baby's medical exam:
To be given in my husband and my presence
To be given after we have bonded
To include a hearing screening test

Other requests:
I would like baby's first bath to be given by my husband and me.

I would like the help of a lactation consultant.

I would like the baby to be left in the room at all times.

I would like my husband to sleep in my room.


Special circumstances:

If a c-section is necessary, I would like:
A second opinion
To be sure all other options have been exhausted 
To stay conscious
My partner to remain with me the entire time
A mirror so I can see the baby come out
My hands left free so I can touch the baby
The surgery explained as it happens
My partner to hold the baby as soon as possible
To breastfeed in the recovery room
If the baby is not well, I would like:
My partner and I to accompany baby to the NICU or other facility
To breastfeed or provide pumped breast milk
To hold the baby whenever possible

Visitors:
I would like visitors to join me in the room only after I have cleaned and dressed.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's New Wednesday: Parenting Philosophy

October is Attachment Parenting Month and that got me wondering if any of you subscribe to a particular parenting philosophy.  I would say that my husband and I are fall pretty much under the attachment parenting title.  We were co-sleepers until my son turned 6 months old, feeding time is a very important cuddling and bonding time for us, and we don't believe in letting our baby "cry it out".  He is still a little guy so we haven't gotten into how to handle punishments yet, but I'm sure we'll go with timeouts and positive reinforcement.  I never really went into parenting saying "I am going to be an attachment parent".  I didn't even know I was until I saw that it was Attachment Parenting month on the website attachment parenting.org, read their philosophy, and thought "Hmmm, that sounds a lot like how my husband and I do things". 

What would you say is your parenting philosophy?

Do you subscribe to any of these:

Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well being. Less sensitive and emotionally available parenting or neglect of the child's needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems. In extreme and rare conditions the child may not form an attachment at all and may suffer from reactive attachment disorder as defined in DSM-IV and ICD-10. Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of child's secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_parenting

Consensual Living, CL, is a philosophy derived from the principles of consensus decision-making which advocates a consent-based approach to conflict resolution. The process of finding solutions in this model usually includes the communication of individual needs and the brainstorming of possible solution which will successfully address the needs of all parties, based on finding a common preference. [1]
CL adopts the democratic principle of equality by which the wants and needs of everyone involved are considered equally in the process of problem solving, regardless of an individual’s age or position. Because of this stance, CL is sometimes regarded as a parenting philosophy, where children are considered to have an equal say in family decision making.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensual_living

Continuum Parenting According to Jean Liedloff, the continuum concept is the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings — especially babies — require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution. For an infant, these include such experiences as...
  • constant physical contact with his mother (or another familiar caregiver as needed) from birth;
  • sleeping in his parents' bed, in constant physical contact, until he leaves of his own volition;
  • breastfeeding "on cue" — nursing in response to his own body's signals;
  • being constantly carried in arms or otherwise in contact with someone, usually his mother, and allowed to observe (or nurse, or sleep) while the person carrying him goes about his or her business — until the infant begins creeping, then crawling on his own impulse, usually at six to eight months;
  • having caregivers immediately respond to his signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of his needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making him the constant center of attention;
  • sensing (and fulfilling) his elders' expectations that he is innately social and cooperative and has strong self-preservation instincts, and that he is welcome and worthy.  http://www.continuum-concept.org/cc_defined.html
Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. There are some who find it controversial.[1] Unschooling encourages exploration of activities, often initiated by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling

Equally Shared Parenting The purposeful practice of two parents sharing equally in the domains of childraising, housework, breadwinning, and time for self
http://equallysharedparenting.com/WhatIs.htm
For more information on each style:
http://www.attachmentparenting.org/
http://consensual-living.com/
http://www.continuum-concept.org/
http://anunschoolinglife.com/why-whole-life-unschooling/
http://equallysharedparenting.com/

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bad Parents

WARNING: Today is bit of a rant!


I'm not saying I'm God's gift to parenting or anything, but there are some seriously questionable parents out there! I'm sure you've all been in some situation where someone says something that makes you think "Are you kidding me?!" You know that parent who lets the TV babysit, or they give their child whiskey for teething.  Or, worse yet, have ever been in a situation where a parent starts going on and on about not wanting to be around their baby?

I was recently in situation like this.  This "parent", to use the phrase loosely, was going on and on about how she just can't stand being around her baby and how she didn't even want the baby to begin with.  I'm not crazy, I know sometimes we need a break from our children, but this was over the top and, to be honest, I was a little concerned for the baby's safety.  If you need a break, say you need a break. Bringing up the fact that you didn't want your baby seems completely unecessary to me.  Unless, of course, you're still questioning whether want your baby, which really concerns me about this child's future.  Is he going to be neglected and resented in that house?

I've also recently come across another rather disgusting display of "parenting", young mothers discussing how much they can get out off the state for assistance.  Look, I know there are mothers out there who legitimitely need this help, and for them I am glad it exists.  My problem is when I hear women talking about how to get around loopholes, like how to get things paid for that normally shoudn't be, or how to make sure the money doesn't stop when you get a job.  One of the worst discussions I've recently heard was a mom who said she had her second and third children to make sure she continued to get money.  Why are these hillbillies allowed to reproduce?!  It makes me sick when I see people who abuse the system like this, they are the ones who ruin it for others. I know a young lady who needs help from the state and doesn't want to get it and wants off as soon as possible.  Isn't that what it was meant for?  To help women until they can help themselves. When this is the image that so many people are giving to state assistance, of course there are women out there who trully need it and don't want to take it because they don't want to be portrayed this way. 

BTW, most of these cases were witnessed in the wasteland that is Facebook.  Maybe, Facebook isn't the place to go in search of quality parenting?

How many of you have come across situations like this?  When you hear a horribe parent talking do you say something or bite your tongue?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Follow-Up Friday: Know Your Options

If you follow this blog, you'll quickly discover that I am a huge proponent of Natural Birth.  However, you will also learn that I am an even bigger proponent of being educated and knowing exactly what kind of birth you want, whether medicated or natural.  I think it is so important that you go into your birthing experience knowing what to expect and how you want to handle every stage of the process.  If you want a natural birth, how will you manage the pain? If you want a medicated birth, what medications do you want to use? Which do you not want?  Are you okay using medication to induce labor, or would you prefer to let nature takes its course?  Theses things (and many more) are things that you would address in your birth plan (see last week's post), but how can you make your birth plan if you don't know your options.

There are so many different things to decide for your labor (pain management techniques, your view on induction, your view on episiotomy, pushing position, will you save the cord blood, when to clamp the cord, will you save your placenta, what will you wear, who will be in the room, and on and on and on ...). Once you are in labor it isn't going to be easy to make decisions, so make them before you are in the middle of all the madness that is childbirth  It is important to remember that even if you do opt for the epidural, you will experience pain at some point in labor, it woukd be a good idea to have a plan for how  to handle it.  Here is the outline from The Bump that I used to create my birth plan: http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-tools/articles/tool-birth-plan.aspx
You'll see when you go over the list just how many things there are to think about when planning for the exact experience you want.  Start researching everything now and by the time you are ready to have that baby you will ready to handle any situation that comes your way.

Here are some great resources for Natural Birth methods:
http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/naturaldeliverytechniques.html
http://www.bradleybirth.com/
American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth 1-800-423-2397
http://www.lamaze.org/
http://www.hypnobirthing.com/
http://www.alexandertechnique.com/
http://www.alexandertech.org/
Here are some articles from Mayo Clinic that help to explain the different medicinal options to manage pain:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/labor-pain/PR00065
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/labor-and-delivery/PR00105

Now, your homework is to go out and prepare your birth plans!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's New Wednesday- Evangeline Lilly has Natural Homebirth

Okay, here are just two of the many articles I found on this topic:

http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/844267/evangeline-lilly-endured-30-hours-of-natural-childbirth

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10758551

Reading these articles, I was able to take some positive and some negative from them.   Let's start positive...

After I read them and heard the excerpts from interviews Lilly gave, I realized that despite thirty hours of labor she had a very good experience.  She didn't seem to be complaining at all and even said she wants to have more children.  This really wasn't that much of a surprise to me though.  I would say that probably 90% of women who have planned natural births had the same, or even better, experiences.

That said, let's get to the negative...

Okay, let's be honest, how often do you really read more than just the headlines of online articles?  Not often.  That's where the problems are.  If you read just the headline of these articles you would have a very negative opinion of what she went through: "Evangeline Lilly Endured 30 hours of Natural Childbirth", "Hobbit Star's Horror 30 Hour Birth"  At what point did she say anything about experiencing horror or enduring through it?  This is just more of the negativity the mainstream has towards Natural Birth.  You may not want one, but you cannot deny that the majority of people who have one have nothing but good things to say about it.  You also cannot deny that there is a lot more risk involved when you add any kind of medical intervention into the birthing process.  So, why on Earth to people continue to look at natural birth like it is a horrible thing.  Giving birth is not a medical emergency, but a natural process in life. Women's bodies are made to give birth, your body knows what to do.

Do a little experiment for me, ask the women you know who have had a medicated birth to describe their pain.  Then, find someone who has a had a natural birth and ask them to do the same.  I think you might be surprised by what you find out!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Do You Have a Birth Plan?

You may be thinking that you don't need one because you aren't having some crazy natural birth, but I disagree.  I believe everyone should have a birth plan, no matter what kind of birth they want to have.  Most people these days go in to birth with the thought, "The Dr. knows what he's doing, I'll just leave everything up to him".  This thought process is flawed because an obstetrician is not trained well for the normal, natural birth.  They are trained as surgeons.  Did you know that the overwhelming majority of obstetricians have never even seen a completely unassisted birth?  So, what does this mean for 98% of perfectly healthy normal births? It means that if you can't tell the Dr. exactly what you want (and don't want) they are going to do exactly what they know and is easiest for them.  That means medical interventions. 
So how can a birth plan help you? It allows you to specify what you do and don't want for your birth.  Just because you want an epidural it doesn't mean you are okay with getting Pitocin.  Or, Maybe you don't want the epidural, but instead you want some other form of pain relief (there are other options out there).  A birth plan gives you the power in your delivery.  If you go into your birth with a plan and an outline of how you want it to go, you are much more likely to walk away with a positive experience, instead of unnecessary risks, pain, and/or suffering.  (The C-section rate in this country in 2007 was 32%, up from about 5% in 1965. The maternal mortality rate has also risen dramatically in this time. Coincidence,  I doubt it!)  Of course, emergencies can happen, but why should a low risk pregnancy be treated the same way as a high risk one?  If you have no serious medical problems associated with your pregnancy you should have the EXACT birth experience you want.

Bottom line:  If you go in to you birth not knowing what you want from it, you may end up with a birth experience you aren't happy with.  So, get educated, decide exactly what you want, and put it in writing. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Welcome!

This blog is not just a place for my thoughts, but is also intended to be a resource to moms everywhere.  My posts will discuss hot topics in the world of childbirth and parenting.  I will also frequently provide links to important and relevant sites and articles.  Please follow my blog and join the discussion!