Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Tracey's Birth Story

Today we have a HypnoBirth story from Tracey ofNatural Childbirth World. This is the amazing story of the birth of her baby girl Honey.

Here it is in her own words:

“HypnoBirthing was so much more than just learning how to have a natural & comfortable birth -

It’s a skill that changed my life forever!

HypnoBirthing has taught me COMMUNICATION … with my body, my partner and my baby “Honey”

Birthing her was the most amazing experience I ever thought possible and I’m looking forward to doing it again, which is not the impression I get from many of my friends who have had children.

Often, I feel guilty when I’m sharing my experience because it’s so different from many of the horror stories I hear.

Anyway … Honey decided she’d like to come into this world early on Sunday the 13th of April … 10 days earlier than expected, but I felt totally calm because I was prepared physically and mentally.

I spent the next few hours cruising around the house painting my nails and making sure I had my bag packed and the way to the hospital we even stopped at McDonalds … I figured hubby would be a better support partner with a full stomach!

On arrival … I had to convince staff I was actually in labor … their comments were “you can’t be in labor, you don’t look like you’re in pain” … but that’s simply because I wasn’t in pain at all! They suggested I should go home for a while and when I refused two midwives and a doctor tried to convince me to be induced. Again i refused … saying “she’s coming today …. and could you get that bath ready?”

After it was established i was actually in labor, “Team Honey” was able to set up the room for our Hypnobirthing experience. My mum and husband dimmed the lights, put on relaxing music and made sure all interruptions were kept to a minimum so i could birth our baby girl in the water in peace.

Using the Hypnobirthing techniques I put myself into a “dream-like” state … I felt extremely relaxed and could have gone to sleep a few times if I wasn’t so excited. It was an amazing feeling to literally push any pain away by simply tapping into my bodies natural resources … I felt very strong and empowered.

During the final stages of my labor I had to really concentrate, because I was so eager to birth her … I was getting disappointed when the surges (contractions) would stop because it meant I had to wait, and because they didn’t hurt I was actually looking forward to the next one! And then … she arrived! … shooting out like a fish in the water. The midwife scooped her up and held her out to me, but for a minute I just stared almost forgetting that after the whole experience of labor, I actually got a prize at the end. And what a prize!!!!

Honey is amazing! … My husband and I believe she is so calm because she’s a HypnoBirthing Baby! And we are better parents because of Hypnobirthing!

Tracey Rose, Australia”

Tracey, thank you so much for sharing your amazing experience using HypnoBirthing

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Baby B #2: Breastfeeding

Today we get to Baby B #2, Breastfeeding.  There is SO much involved in breastfeeding (benefits. how-to, solving common problems, etc.) that if I covered it all here I would probably end up with a whole book! So, I will only discuss breastfeeding as it directly relates to Attachment Parenting.

Breastfeeding as we all know is extremely beneficial to baby's (and mommy's) health, but how does it assist you in parenting your child?

Breastfeeding makes you an expert on your baby.  A breastfeeding mother feeds her baby on demand, not on a schedule. This means that she is always looking for those little faces, sounds, and movements that her baby makes when he/she is hungry.  By always observing you baby you learn all of your baby's signals.  You know if your baby is hungry, tired, needs to be changed, is tired, or just wants attention simply by reading your baby's little signs.  This means that a breastfeeding mother will better be able to react according to the baby's actual needs instead of guessing and causing mom and baby to become frustrated.  This is where we come full circle, as an extremely upset baby is very difficult to nurse and a stressed out mom can start to have issues with milk production. 

Breastfeeding also makes for a more empathetic parent.  Breastfeeding requires that you are always following your baby's cues and looking at life through his/her eyes.  This ability is very important to an Attachment Parent because an empathetic parent is more likely to react to baby's needs with sensitivity and caring.  This ability, again, can only serve to further assist in breastfeeding success because you will end with a happier baby and a less stressed out mommy.

If you formula feed or are an exclusive pumper that DOES NOT mean you can't learn these same Attachment habits!

Here are 3 simple things you can do if you bottle-feed:

1. Feed On Demand- Follow your baby's cues and feed your baby when he/she asks for it.  However, tempting it may be, do not put your baby on a schedule.

2. Simulate Breastfeeding- Hold your baby in similar positions to those in which your would nurse him/her.  Don't ignore your baby either.  Give him/her the same attention you would if your were nursing.  Touch your baby, make eye contact with your baby, talk to your baby.

3. DO NOT PROP THE BOTTLE EVER!!!  Not only is bottle propping neglectful, but is bad for your baby's teeth and VERY DANGEROUS!

Source: Attachment Parenting by Martha and Willam Sears

Come back for the next Baby B: Babywearing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Kelsey's Story

This is the birth story of Kelsey from the blog Letters to Olivia.  She is the mother to beautiful little Olivia.

Here is here birth story, in her own words,

"After working in a chiropractic office focused on natural health for 2 years I knew I’d want an all natural birth from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to avoid a hospital birth if at all possible, and luckily one of our patients owned a birth center nearby. After meeting the staff and midwives my husband Thomas and I knew that was where we wanted to bring our baby into the world.

The midwives recommended taking Bradley classes and got me in touch with an instructor. I think taking Bradley Method may end up being one of the best decisions of my life! I could not have made it through labor without the knowledge I acquired in class.

When people ask how my labor went the first thing I say is, “loooong”. We had gone over many different scenarios during class so I knew there was no use in trying to plan every little detail and I knew I’d probably have to be flexible. I did write out a birth plan for my mid-wife, but left the details pretty vague. It’s a good thing too because nothing could have ever prepared me completely for the way labor went. I think the easiest way to tell the story is to say what I expected followed by what ended up actually happening.

I expected to go past my due date since this was my first pregnancy, but didn’t think it would be almost 42 weeks (41 weeks and 4 days to be exact). I wasn’t completely miserable surprisingly, but being on a time crunch (the birth center has to legally transfer moms that go over 42 weeks) was making me pretty nervous

I expected to be in labor for quite a while. My birth plan questionnaire asked what my ideal time would be and my response was “anything under 24 hours would be great”. Due to scar tissue preventing me from dilating, active labor ended up lasting about 41 hours. After about 30 hours and only dilating to a 2, my midwife became worried that my uterus may become too exhausted and just give out. If I had been at a hospital I know that would have been the end of my natural labor and I would have been either sent into surgery for a cesarean or given who knows how many drugs to “help”.

I expected to be 100% drug free, but due to the length of labor I did except a shot of Nubain to help me get some rest.

I expected for contractions and transition to be the worst part of labor. I was way wrong on that one. As I said above, I had some scar tissue on my cervix from a micro-cryo surgery I had for abnormal cells. The midwife thought she could push it aside and break it up, but the tissue was not giving way. We went back and forth to the birth center 4 times and each time they tried to break up the tissue. It became more painful every time and made the contractions a piece of cake to deal with. The exhaustion was another big factor in my comfort I believe. For the first 24 hours or so I was able to breathe and relax through my contraction. However, the last 5 hours we’re not as easy. I did lose focus for a while, did the typical “I can’t do this”, and cried and yelled. Of course I was able to do it and got a huge adrenaline rush that kept me up for another 8 hours.

I expected I might throw up around the time I hit the transition phase, and was actually looking forward to it as a sign that my baby girl would soon be here. I did not expect to start throwing up Wednesday night during a contraction, throw up 4 or 5 times throughout Thursday, and by Friday be throwing up every time I sat on the toilet and on about every 3rd contraction. Even the midwife was confused as to what was going on.

I expected my contractions to follow a pattern. I was waiting for the 3-1-1 to hit before we called the midwife the first time, but it’s a good thing we didn’t wait because we never got into a 3-1-1 rhythm. Thomas was timing the contractions and keeping track on paper for a while. When I asked him how far apart they were I was not happy when he responded, “oh anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes”. I figured it just wasn’t time to go yet, but after over 4 hours they still weren’t regular at all. I never had more than a 5 minute break, but their length and time between varied every contraction. This was the most confusing thing to me the whole labor because it was the one thing I felt was guaranteed to happen, but I guess there really are no guarantees when having a baby.

In my birth plan I said I did not want to be checked very often and did not want to know about dilation until it was time to push. That went out the door once we found out how difficult my scar tissue was being.

Thomas and I had discussed what we would do in an emergency or if we had to be transferred, but I did think we’d actually be faced with a very big possibility of a transfer. At 11:00 on Friday September 23rd our midwife said that was it; we’d be admitted to the birth center, I’d take red raspberry and cohosh for an hour, break my water at noon if there was no progress and at 3:00 if I had not dilated more I’d be transferred to the hospital. I didn’t want to do any of that and luckily at 11:30 my water broke on its own and things began to progress.

I expected to have the overwhelming urge to push, to push for a long time, to feel the “ring of fire”, be in the birth tub, and to be in a squatting position or on my hand and knees in the tub. NO! 2nd stage went more like this…I got in the tub to relax after finding out I was 6cm, my midwife asked if I wanted to be checked again, I felt like nothing had changed so we waited a while, I got out to be checked, laid on back, and was shocked when I heard “oh wow your baby’s practically crowing”. Right then another contraction hit and she told me to try pushing. Less than 10 minutes later I had my baby in my arms. The easy pushing and birth definitely made up for the long labor and pain of the scar tissue.

It might not have gone according to plan or the “text book” but I still had a wonderful birth. My favorite part was when I heard my midwife say to her birth assistant, “look at her sitting up with her legs crossed. Can’t even tell she just had a baby” If I had not taken Bradley Method classes I’m sure I would have been stuck in a hospital bed instead of sitting up eating lunch and laughing as Thomas tried to dress Olivia for the first time. Olivia was born at 3:13 (we were home by 7:00) weighing in at 8 lbs 1 oz and was 20 ½ inches long. Oh and just an interesting fact, she was born with a true knot in her umbilical cord! Everyone was amazed at how alert and responsive she was. All I could say is “see that’s what babies are supposed to be like, but most are too drugged out to stay awake”.

I love sharing my birth story, but it irritates me when people say “I could never do that! You must have a really high pain tolerance”. I want to help more women have successful births and show them you don’t have to be wonder woman to get through labor. "

Kelsey, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with all of us!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Baby B #1: Birth Bonding

Birth Bonding is so important to the success of all of the other Baby B's. In the moments, days, and months immediately following your baby's birth you will build a connection with your baby that will get stronger with time.  This connection will help you with breastfeeding and will lead to a better knowledge and understanding of your child. 

3 Keys to Establishing the Bond:

1. Skin to skin and Touching
This is one of the most important things you can do with your baby and should be done (if medically possible) immediately after your baby is born.  Laying with your baby on your chest not only helps your baby to learn to regulate its body temperature, but also calms your baby because of soothing sounds of your heartbeat and breathing.  Skin to skin is also crucial for breastfeeding success as it helps to release the hormones that assist in lactation and nursing.  Touch and stroke your baby's skin.  It is calming and feels good, but it also stimulates your baby to breath regularly.

2. Talk to your baby and Make eye contact
Baby's can already distinguish Mommy's voice from others and the sound of her voice is calming and reassuring.  When you talk to your baby make eye contact with him/her.  "Your newborn can see best at a distance of about ten inches, which, incidentally, is the approximate distance from a mother's nipple to her eyes." (Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears)

3.  Delay Separation and get some Privacy
In the moments immediately following the birth of your baby it is common practice that the baby is whisked away and weighed, measured, given eye drops, cleaned up, etc.  Ask that this be put off until AFTER you have had a chance to spend some time with your baby. After all, right after your baby is born is the best time to try breastfeeding for the first time. There will plenty of time to get all of those routine procedures out of the way after you've met your little one.  Then, once everything has been taken care of, ask that you be left alone for a while so you can devote all of your attention to your baby.

3 Keys to Keeping the Bond:

1. Take Maternity Leave
The weeks immediately following your baby's birth are when you will really establish the bond.  You will spend hours holding, nursing, and getting to know each other.  Taking this time off of work and other responsibilities give you the chance to focus ONLY on your baby. 

2. Ask for help and Company
You can't do everything yourself (and you shouldn't have to). Remember, your are recovering from giving birth and should be taking it easy (at least as easy as you can with a new baby).  Let Daddy help out, or ask the grandparents to help out with chores or meals.  Right now it is more important that you spend time with your baby than worry about the housekeeping.  It is also important that you have people around helping out so that you don't start to feel isolated.  Those first weeks with a baby can be very stressful and having some company can keep you from feeling all alone.

3. Ban All Baby Trainers
I cannot stress this one enough!  These first days and weeks are when you are learning about your child and how to react to his/her sounds and expressions.  You should be following your instincts and doing what YOU feel is best for your particular baby.  You should NOT be following some strict set of guidelines, routines, and schedules. 

If you aren't able to bond with your baby immediately after birth for medical reasons there are still things you can do.  If you end up with a c-section you may worry about not being able to bond immediately with your baby, but don't worry in most cases you will be able to be back with your baby in no time at all and can just pick up from there. In some more serious cases you may be separated from your baby if, for example, your baby ends up in the NICU. 

If this is the case you can:
Do "Kangaroo Care".  This is what they call skin to skin in most NICUs. When you visit with your baby you can still have skin to skin time with a blanket over baby's back.

Breastfeed.  If you are able to breastfeed, do it as much as you can.  If for some reason this is not a possibility you can still provide your baby with expressed milk.

Once you return home have LOTS of skin to skin time.

Remember! Daddy can do all of these things too! (Well, other than breastfeeding)
Make sure Daddy get in his fair share of skin to skin, touching, and talking with baby.

Come back for the next Baby B: Breastfeeding!

Source: Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Attachment Parenting and the Baby B's

Normally I focus more on childbirth issues, but I am going to shift my focus for awhile over to parenting issues.  As many of you who follow already know, I believe very strongly in Attachment Parenting.

What is Attachment Parenting?

"The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.

The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.

Attachment Parenting isn't new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children." ~ Taken from Attachement Parenting International's website
The "Baby B's" as outlined in Attachment Parenting: A Common Sense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by Martha and William Sears do an excellent job of illustrating these "areas that are key to the optimal development of children". 

The Baby B's:
Birth Bonding
Bedding Close to Baby
Belief in Baby's Cry
Balance and Boundaries
Beware of Baby Trainers

I will address each of these in a different post where I plan to discuss the How-tos for both Mommy and Daddy, overcoming obtacles, the benefits, and the science behind them all. 

If you are interested in learning more about attachment parenting I would highly reommend reading Attachment Parenting: A Commen Sense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by Martha and William Sears.