Friday, April 27, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Christina's Story Pt. 2

Here is Part-Two of Christina's Story:

"On Saturday, two days after my membranes were stripped, nine days after my due date, one day before my next scheduled midwife appointment, and two days before my deadline to have a homebirth, I started having contractions. They were real contractions this time. Only I didn’t know it – didn’t believe it – didn’t want to get excited in case they were *just* Braxton-Hicks….again. There had been periods in the past few weeks where the contractions had been fairly regular – just never progressed. And each time, I would wonder, ‘is this it’? Only – it never was.

This day, however, I started contracting early on. I remember waking up wondering – ‘is this it’ and thought maybe I should take it easy today, just in case. I think I even took a late morning nap – just in case . The contractions were no more intense or regular than they had been. I guess the only difference is that they kept coming – all day long.

As evening commenced, I asked Scott to go for a walk with me. I think we managed 3 laps in 30 minutes. We came home and my Mom gave me a reflexology massage on my feet. When it was time for Rebecca to go to bed, I layed down with her and thought – ‘hmmm, these are coming a bit more regularly and a bit stronger, hmmmm’ . When I came back downstairs, I thought maybe I should keep record to see what’s really happening. This was about 9:30pm and by 10:30pm, they were anywhere between 3 – 5 minutes apart. But still – I refused to believe it was really happening. They weren’t very intense, I was managing just fine by myself, breathing easily. I called Jo and Faith to let them know it may happen and then texted Emma. Just in case.

I took a shower and tried to sleep. I couldn’t sleep. Everyone else was sleeping.

So I got up, got out the birthing ball, sat myself down and watched TV. I remembered that Emma had left her TENS machine with me, so I found it and attached it to my back. That actually helped relieve some of the pain. At 1:00am, instinct kicked in and I must have realized that this was real. I woke up my Mom, told her we needed to call Emma. Apparently – I was past the point of doing it myself – Mom took one look at me and realized we also needed to call Jo and Faith. She woke Scott up, who woke up Rebecca and a mad dash ensued. We had to pack the car and get over to Faith’s house. Thankfully she lives 5 minutes away. During this whole time, I sat motionless on the birthing ball – focusing on the contractions that were suddenly intense and very real. I remember Scott telling me it was okay to moan or groan through them and realizing that was very comforting and helpful. He says when he called Jo at this point, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart.

All of a sudden, the car was packed with homebirth essentials like towels, sheets, shower curtains (for waterproofing), cameras, baby essentials, labor necklace and book, etc. Mom and Rebecca were also in the car waiting. Scott was running through the house making sure he got everything and then when he was done, he came over to me while I was in the middle of a contraction and said, “Okay, that’s enough! We have got to go!” I could not believe he said that to me – I was furious. Later- he would say he meant that was enough stuff to pack and take with us – where I thought he meant that was enough of me sitting through contractions.

Faith met us at the door – I felt so bad waking her and Todd up – but she was happy and so excited. I promptly found my spot on the birthing ball in the living room. Everyone else was flitting around, unpacking, getting settled – I was only focused on the increasingly intense contractions. Shortly after we got there, Emma and then Jo arrived. I was relieved to see Emma. As it was, I was unable to listen to anyone else who tried to help me through each contraction. She was able to come to me, get close and talk quietly and gently, reminding me to breathe through each contraction. I was nauseous, so she took some peppermint oil, put some drops on a napkin, and left it under the straps of my shirt. I remember that helping some – and being thankful for it.

The next couple hours are all a blur – Jo arrived and only intervened when I was unable to relax. She was the stronger voice telling me to get a grip when I was forgetting to breathe and relax. However – on a sidenote – for me, at that point, it was impossible to relax! I remember bits and pieces of happenings: Rebecca coming in to check on me, leaving as I was having a contraction, Faith’s perfect presence and prayers relaxing me during the height of a contraction, Scott trying to have a normal conversation on the couch with Faith, and me telling him to ‘shut up’. I didn’t mean it maliciously, but it was all I could muster at the moment. At the time, all of my senses were so heightened, that I couldn’t handle anything extra coming into my presence. While still pregnant, I remember talking to Emma, my mom, Faith, and Scott about what I would like during labor: music, massages, etc. – but what happened was I needed silence, no touching me at all (Emma was able to help me from time to time by helping me relax my shoulders) and darkness – I could barely manage to open my eyes. I wasn’t hungry at all and barely wanted anything to drink. Anything extra in the room I was in was too much for me to handle. Scott carrying on a normal conversation – as if he was oblivious to my pain – while I was in the middle of labor – most likely transition – was unbearable.



Where I sat - in one hand is the TENS Machine, the other is my Zune - which was never attached to my ears.

During all this time – everyone was attempting to get the birthing pool ready. Jo had brought it in and it was blown up – but a liner had to be put in it and it had to be filled. My mom, Scott, Todd, Rebecca, and maybe at times, Jo and Faith – all helped put it together. Originally, there was an issue with finding the proper liner and how to put it on. And then, it was an issue filling it up. There was not a dual hot/water nozzle that fit the hose – so they had to use the separate hot and cold water from the laundry room sink. So – the water was at first too hot, then too cold, then too full, then they ended up removing some water with buckets and reheating water on the stove to make it warm again. I kept asking Jo when I could get in the pool and she said it wasn’t ready or it was too cold. I told her at one point that I was okay if it was cold, b/c at the time, I was awfully hot and thought the cool water would soothe me. She replied that it wasn’t safe for the baby and would be too much of a shock for him if he was birthed into cool water. I understood, but I was frustrated.



Helping set up the pool

About this time, I had all these internal thoughts going on…I was really frustrated I couldn’t get in the birthing pool, I was very frustrated and angry about how intense and immensely painful the contractions were. I had read in a lot of books that some women were surprised at how painful and intense labor was, and I guess I was surprised, too. I had been living with a certain level of pain all day – and it was completely manageable. I had contractions with Rebecca and didn’t even realize it. Also – I had an epidural with Rebecca at about 6 or so cm – so I these transition contractions were all very new to me.

At any rate, I remember thinking, ‘oh my – how much worse can this get? I am so glad I am not in a hospital b/c I would be asking for an epidural right about now. How much longer is this going to take?’ The more the contractions came, the more frustrated and angrier I got. There was nothing that was helping- I was only comfortable on the birthing ball – sitting still. I could not rock, or get on all fours – I was just uncomfortable anywhere else. Emma tried though – thinking it would help me – I did for one contraction, lean over the couch – but that was worse. And I did try rocking/swaying on the ball, but that didn’t help either.

They kept asking me where my pain was – which I thought was a funny question – in my uterus, of course! The pain was constant in my lower abdomen – thankfully, I had no back labor-whatsoever- the entire labor. This was another prayer God answered. I had thought all along I could handle anything except back labor – I had that with Rebecca and remembered it so well. This time, I didn’t have a single back contraction. I was so grateful for that. Still am, actually.

All this time, the TENS Machine was still hooked up to my back. I guess it was helping – after a while, I forgot it was there. If anything, in the beginning, it helped mask the pain and kept my focus off of the contraction and more on the electrical pulses on my lower back. It came with a nifty button so that when a contraction started, I would press the button and the electricity would go from a flowing current to a more pulsating current. Generally – it feels like ants crawling around on my back – but I could alter the amount and make it stronger, which helped move my focus some.

Every once in a while, I would have fairly long breaks between contractions – perhaps 5 minutes or more – and these were such a nice respite for me. I would sit quietly, eyes closed, and just breathe deeply – reconnecting with my body and baby and wondering when they would start up again.

Around 3:30am – I felt like I had to pee. I had last peed when we got to Faith’s house, which was around 2:00am. Emma encouraged me to try since I kept complaining and also b/c she said it may help with the pressure I was feeling. So – I mustered to get up and went into the toilet. While I sat there – waiting while nothing happened – all of a sudden my body spontaneously pushed. I was like, ‘whoa!’ And promptly got up and went back into the living room where I told Emma and Jo that I was pushing while on the toilet. Jo didn’t seem surprised – but I was b/c I wasn’t feeling this unbearable pushy feeling I had read so much about.

Jo asked if she could examine me so she could make sure I was past 5 cm and ready to get in the pool. (Uh – hello! I was pushing while on the toilet!) This meant having to lie down on the floor – which I was totally adamant against, at the time, b/c as I said – the only comfortable position I could get in was on the ball. But I relented and got down on the floor – but as I did and as my back touched the ground, the pressure on the TENS pads started to shoot insanely intense electrical pulses into my back. I freaked and had them take them off of me! Once they were removed and I was laying down, the contractions started coming one after the other and were extremely hardcore. I was also uncomfortable and frustrated being in this position b/c it reminded me of being in the hospital bed with Rebecca. I couldn’t lay still and kept rolling over to try to alleviate the pain. It was during this time that I lost control – and Emma and Jo had a hard time reeling me back in – but eventually I was able to gain composure and Jo palpitated my stomach and then examined me. While she did this, my water broke – I had completely forgotten that it hadn’t yet broke – and the cervix was gone and Jo could feel the baby’s head come down. I was really glad my water had not broken yet – thinking that the contractions would’ve been more intense if my waters had already gone – but at the same time, was nervous wondering if there was any meconium present. Jo was unsure and quickly took the pad the water had broken on and left to examine it under the bright kitchen lights. She came back and said that yes, there was some present, but it was too late to call for an ambulance or to try to transport to the hospital. I remember being vaguely concerned – as there was quite a bit of thick meconium present with Rebecca – but I couldn’t dwell on that just yet. I had just been given the ‘okay’ to get into the birthing pool.

Once up on my feet – I made it to the dining room where the pool was set up. I climbed in and immediately fell to my knees. I leaned over one edge and held onto Emma’s and Scott’s hands. And then I took a breath. The water was cool, but it did feel good. And as soon as I got into position, it was as if the contractions stopped and I was at peace. I didn’t feel any more pain here on out. I started pushing – not necessarily b/c I felt this strong urge, but simply because I could and because I knew there was a baby on the other end. For one brief moment, I became fearful about not being able to do this part – b/c I wasn’t able to do it with Rebecca and forceps were used – but that moment passed and I carried on with the business at hand.



Only a few minutes left...

While pushing, I all of a sudden realized that I had not been given Gas and Air – In England, an alternative pain measure, that is allowed for homebirthing, is 50% nitrus and 50% oxygen. And so, b/c I had been told I could have it, I asked for it! Jo laughed and said it was too late, I was already pushing! At the time, I realize it was funny – and I didn’t need it anyway – but I felt duped b/c I did need it just a little while ago. I wish someone had reminded me that I could’ve tried it out during the most painful and hard contractions.

Another funny – while I was pushing Jacob out – I think his head was out, or mostly out, I asked Jo why she wasn’t pulling him out. Again, this was b/c of my experience with Rebecca and having a hospital/medicated birth. Jo laughed again and reminded me we weren’t in a hospital, she wasn’t going to pull him out, I had to push him out. Alrighty then – back to business.

The whole time it took to push Jacob into this world – which was all of 10 minutes – it was perfectly serene in there. The lights were dim, it was very quiet, I could feel everything and loved it. Jo, Rebecca, my Mom, and Faith were all behind me watching Jacob being born. Scott and Emma were in front of me being my support system. Emma would later say she was glad of Scott being there b/c I was pulling so hard on her alone that she was afraid she was going to end up in the pool with me. With Scott there – he helped balance out my pulling while I was pushing to keep her and him on the outside!

Jacob’s head emerged and I could hear them say so – I could feel that part – but it was nice hearing them comment on his nose and eyes and then his mouth. Then they exclaimed about how quickly he turned – and then it was time for his shoulders to emerge as well as the rest of his body. All of a sudden Jo was saying, “Pick up your baby, Christina! Pick up your baby!” And I was shocked that it was over – I leaned back while Jo pushed him forward and grabbed him to my chest. Beautiful.



I remember this - it was as if Jacob was reaching for me.



Beautiful baby boy



Rebecca greeting Jacob



Fresh baby face

Those first few moments are some I hope to never forget. So sweet. He was awake and alert and quiet – we all were quiet. There was a ton of vernex still on him which I thought lovely. We were able to gaze at each others eyes. And it was amazing. Bliss.

A few minutes later, Jo asked if we were ready to cut the cord. She said it had run clear – so we said yes. Rebecca wanted to do this – so Scott and her participated together in this special moment. I loved that Rebecca was there for the whole thing – that she was able to witness what a natural, unmedicated, healthy birth is like, that she is old enough to remember it all, and that she was able to be an active participant in it all. Lately, she has asked me to tell her this story – and at times, I have heard her tell Jacob his own story. This makes my heart smile.



I absolutely love this picture.

Jo took Jacob for a moment to give him a quick once over and then helped me out of the pool. I was moved to a reclining chair and given Jacob back – he latched on perfectly – and stayed that way for a good long while. I had opted for a shot of something like pitocin to birth my placenta. It was a good thing – as I started to gush blood. At first, Jo didn’t seem too concerned, but then it gushed again. And ultimately, she gave me another shot to help stop the bleeding. The placenta birthed and she took it to examine it. She assured me it was fine, all there, with a bit of tears in it – nothing to worry about. When she returned, she mentioned I did tear some, and could use stitches, but she would be quite happy to let it heal on its own – which I agreed with. Later that week, after I mentioned how wore out and tired I was, she would remind me how much blood I lost – and if it continued, I could go to the hospital to see if it warranted a blood transfusion. Interestingly enough, I began to immediately feel better.



Father and Son



Grandmother and Grandson



Sister and Brother

Jacob was born Sunday morning at 4:13am on November 14, 2010 and weighed in at 9lbs 11.5 oz and 22 inches long. Originally – we thought he was 23 inches – but we were wrong. The English don’t do length measurements, so we were left to our own devices…A week ago – at one month of age, he weighed 12 lbs 5 oz. Amazing. He scored a 9/10/10 on his Apgar – a striking difference in comparison to Rebeccca.

So – my fears of revisiting a similar birth like I had with Rebecca were washed away. I was fearful of meconium – hers was thick and very present, his was barely there. I was fearful of the cord being wrapped around his neck – it wasn’t. I was afraid I couldn’t push him out – I did. I was concerned about bleeding heavily and tearing immensely – the bleeding was a lot, but under control, the tear wasn’t an issue. Lastly – I was fearful of the GBS presenting. So far – he appeared a very healthy baby. Jo didn’t seem concerned at all. Regardless – she wanted us to hang out at Faith’s house until around noon – so she could come back, give us another once over and then send us on our merry way home.

During this time, I showered and tried to nap. Tried to get Rebecca to nap. That lasted for 30 minutes. Then we got up and I ate some groaning cake muffins that I had prepared earlier. They were so good!! I resumed my position on the reclining chair and continued to nurse Jacob – it seemed it was all he wanted to do! Scott napped on the couch – Faith’s girls woke up and entertained Rebecca. They were smitten with Jacob and amazed I had him in their dining room while they slept. Sweet.



At least somebody got some sleep.



A baby's first food...

Jo returned as was expected – and Jacob and I were both doing well. No fevers, normal pulse and BPs. My blood pressures – coincidentally – were normal the entire pregnancy except for my last OB visit at the NHS hospital. Even then it was only 130/80 – but besides that, it never got more than 120/78. Seems I just might have a touch of ‘white coat syndrome’. At this point Jo released’ us to go home. We packed up and shipped out – a mere 12 hours since I woke my Mom up and said it was time to go.

Life is good.

Jo came to visit us each day that week – on Day 1 (Monday) she noticed he had a touch of Jaundice and said we should take him in right away. Jaundice isn’t necessarily a dangerous thing – but when it happens before day 3 of a newborns life, it can indicate a medical jaundice which is a bit more serious. Usually – this occurs with an O+ mother whose blood has cross-contaminated with her babies. And as it happened – this was our case.

We did take Jacob in to the hospital that day – I was unable to get him an appointment with the pediatrician because it was a down day at our base hospital. Our only option was to take him into the ER there – so we did. But because he wasn’t born on base, he hadn’t been input into their ‘system’ so they couldn’t see him. Not for lack of trying though – they tried to put him in the ‘system’ but couldn’t get past a certain point. So – not wanting my 1 day old son hanging out in the ER, we left and said we’d try again tomorrow when the rest of the hospital was open. Which we did – and Jacob had a series of bloods done, one being a bilirubin check – his numbers were high so they called for a DAT test, which indicated that my blood had cross-contaminated with his and that my antibodies were attacking his. Sounds awful. I felt horrible – as if it were all my fault. When I asked the pediatrician why and how this happened, he indicated that it was because I was 0+ and Jacob was not and that it probably happened through some tears in the placenta. Hmmm….Jo had mentioned tears in the placenta.

Regardless, on day 2 of Jacob’s life – we received a call at 7:30pm from the on-call Pediatrician saying Jacob needed to be admitted into the hospital for bilirubin light therapy. I was frightened – really scared about leaving Rebecca – wondering how long he would need to be there and how long it would take to determine if it was working. As it turned out – the hospital staff, nurses and Pediatrician were amazing. They allowed all of us to stay the night with Jacob. All of us. My mom, Scott, me, Rebecca – all of us. Rebecca and I shared the twin bed, Scott sat in the chair all night long, and my Mom stayed in the break room. Soon – my fears eased – and by morning when his bloods were drawn again his bilirubin had decreased by 4 points, the Doctor was releasing us at noon after a few more hours of therapy.

On a side note – the Pediatrician was a bit alarmed when he learned that Rebecca was a GBS+ baby and I hadn’t received routine antibiotics during labor for Jacob. On his own, he had extra blood tests done and was happy to tell me that Jacob didn’t have GBS. I knew that already – but it was still nice to see it on paper.

So – for 15 hours, we all crashed at the hospital. It was actually kinda nice and relaxing. Jacob was perfect the whole time and slept beautifully. The rest of the week we would go back and forth for routine bili checks – he continued to improve and at the end of the week the jaundice was no longer a concern. Praise God!!

As I write this – Jacob is now 5 weeks and 1 day old and he sleeps soundly attached to me in a Moby Wrap. His legs are now too long for him to sit in the fetal position – so they are hanging out. Sweet – but wow, he’s growing so fast!! My Mom left to go back home last week and we are all mourning her departure…it’s sad to think about Rebecca and Jacob growing and living without her and the rest of our family nearby. We all enjoy the daily activity of having extended family close in proximity and in our hearts.

I feel more complete now – having two children – and have been blessed beyond my imagination to be able to achieve the birth I had desired with Jacob. From the very beginning I poured out to God the desires of my heart – and our story is God’s most merciful and loving answer to my prayers.



Precious

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:5-7a, NIV)."


Christina, thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey with all of us!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Christina's Story Pt. 1

This week is a two-part birth story from Christina. She is the mother of two beautiful children with two very different births.  The birth of Christina's first child did not turn out the way she had planned, but through spiritual guidance and determination she gained control back the second time around.

These are the birth stories of her children, Rebecca and Jacob.

This is Christina's story in her own words:

"While pregnant with Rebecca – I knew in my heart that I wanted a natural birth. I also knew that would be hard to come by in a hospital setting – but I was naive enough to believe it was possible. And indeed – a natural birth is possible in a hospital – but just not for me. I read all the right books – fell in love with Ina May Gaskin and her book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and really thought that I could do it.

Have my baby unmedicated, naturally, in a hospital – I believed I could do that.

What happened though, in reality, was not at all what I had dreamt. Things started to go downhill the last week or so of my pregnancy with Rebecca. I was led to believe that my blood pressure was high – and indeed – it was high for me but I didn’t have pre-eclampsia. I didn’t have anything as a matter of fact, except a need to have a baby.

Regardless – at 40w5d I was scheduled for an induction. Miraculously, I went into labor on my own the night prior – my water broke at 11:30pm. Unfortunately, it was full of thick meconium. And thus began our trials….

Upon entering the hospital, our natural birth plan that we had gone over with our *midwife* was figuratively thrown out the window. I was placed in a bed, strapped to an external fetal monitor that was later exchanged for an internal fetal monitor, had an amniotic infusion, IV (b/c it was hospital policy – whether it was needed or not) asked repeatedly if I wanted an epidural, and then given Pitocin without my consent.

Rebecca was born 9 1/2 hours later – I was unable to push her out since I was lying on my back, numb from an epidural, and her unfavorable OP position. She was taken by forceps and when she finally arrived, we saw the cord was wrapped around her neck twice – tightly. Her initial apgar was 0/1, they nearly intubated her – thankfully, it was unsuccessful, b/c an intubated baby would be transferred to the nearest NICU which was an hour away. She did go through a bunch of blood tests, which we would find out 36 hours later, she was GBS+.

This resulted in a 10 day treatment of IV antibiotics.

The next week and a half of our lives was the most difficult and trying time Scott and I have ever lived through. Only by the grace of God did we survive it…only then, we didn’t know it.

I couldn’t fathom leaving the hospital without her. It was excruciating.

On day 5 we were forced to leave her under nursery care for 24 hours – at that point, God intervened and we were allowed to room-in with Rebecca the rest of her days in the hospital.

It was at this point I started to breathe again.

And now – nearly 6 years later – the memories are fading as are the IV scars on Rebecca’s hands, feet, and head…God has worked hard on me to bring me to a place of healing and I believe I reached it last year, on her fifth birthday, when I wrote this.

This is why we did things differently with Jacob. I believed with my whole heart that birth could be different. That it could be safe and gratifying. That it could be done unmedicated and naturally and produce a healthy baby.

When we found out I was pregnant early this year – Scott and I were both concerned about how it would all end up, would the baby be healthy, would we be home with it before it was 10 days old, where would I give birth?

The answer started in January of this year before I was pregnant….I met Jo, my midwife, at TLF on base – she and I were both saying good-bye to a dear friend. Jo was also her midwife and we were introduced and I was able to question her about midwifery in England and what it was like for us living on base that desired a homebirth. At this point, I was just curious about it all as I had become very aware of what it was like back home. I had no intentions of actually needing this information.

However, it was then I learned that Tricare (our insurance through the military) will pay for 100% of midwifery care and a homebirth, while they won’t in the states. I also learned that we are not allowed to birth at home if we live on the military installation.

Which we do.

(I asked ‘why’ once to an OB Nurse, and she about flipped out when she realized I was planning a homebirth even though I live on base. She said I couldn’t do that!! I assured her I wasn’t – we had made alternative plans, but regardless, I wanted to know why. To which she replied that the Commander wouldn’t agree, it was very dangerous, and that ACOG doesn’t support homebirths. I think she would’ve continued, but I quickly excused myself.)

We hadn’t always lived on base, but had felt led to move on base and it was a good decision for us. Until now – until I became pregnant and knew that a homebirth was our best bet at having a healthy baby and gratifying delivery for all involved.

But Jo mentioned something that I had never thought of – just because we lived on base, I could still have a homebirth – I would just have to go to a friends’ house. At the time, it sounded insane to me. All of it…not being allowed to birth on base at our home, and then if I wanted it bad enough, I would have to find a friend willing to open their home to me at a moments notice.

At the time, it didn’t pose that much of an issue. I wasn’t pregnant.

But I was a month later.

And when I contacted Jo to find out what my options were, if she could take me on, she was very encouraging about me having a hospital birth at the NHS hospital since she wasn’t taking any women on during the last few months of the year – and I was due November 4th. While I was disappointed, I didn’t think all that much about it b/c Scott and I were still nervous about having a homebirth – as it was, I didn’t have a place to have a homebirth, anyway. So we planned on a waterbith at the local NHS hospital. I would still receive midwifery care – and be able to go home 6 hours after the birth. It would work – it had to…our other option was having the baby at the base hospital. And we had been there, done that, and didn’t want to do it again.

Actually, I remember saying that God closed the homebirth door to us…and I was fine with that. He knew what He was doing…and for whatever reason, He desired a hospital birth for us.

So – I signed on with the NHS, had my initial appointment in our home with our midwife at the end of my 1st trimester, and was thrilled that I didn’t have to see her again until I was 28 weeks along. Time passed – everything was going well – my 1st trimester passed along quickly and beautifully. I was exhausted, but was also while pregnant with Rebecca so I didn’t think much of it. But I didn’t have all that much morning sickness…which I did with Rebecca, even though I never vomited, I was often nauseous. This worried me at times, b/c I knew that morning sickness indicated there was good pregnancy hormone levels, and a lack of could lead to a miscarriage. But one day, I heard God say to me to just accept this blessing of His for me to have a healthy pregnancy without nausea. So I did – as long as I could.

It didn’t last too long.

In May, I was just entering my 2nd trimester, and flew home to be with my family in New Hampshire. At that point, I was getting a lot of motion sickness – in cars – which I always had. But this particular day I participated in a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to the airport, a 9 hour flight, and then another 1 1/2 hour ride to my Aunt’s house. Oh, we were so close to home….so close…and then, unbeknownst to everyone, including me, I projectile vomited all from the back seat into the front seat!! All over everyone – myself, my daughter, my cousin, my grandmother – all over.

And thus the 2nd trimester sickness ensued. The lack of morning sickness I felt in the 1st trimester was made up in the 2nd trimester.

The entire 2nd trimester. Fun stuff.

At 20 weeks pregnant, the NHS requires an anomaly scan of the baby – we also could find out the sex at this point. So – we gladly went. Scott and I kind of had a feeling what it would be. Rebecca was praying for and holding out for a baby sister. And when we were told it was a boy – “see his little willy there on the screen” the only one surprised was Rebecca – she nearly cried – and I nearly cried for her. I can only imagine how badly she wanted a sister sibling…another little girl to chat with, to dress up with and play dolls with, have tea and scones with.

To help her embrace having a boy sibling, we promptly took her shopping for big sister clothes and baby brother outfits. She smiled.

At 28 weeks, we started having routine midwifery appointments at the local clinic. We didn’t have home visits anymore b/c the midwife found it too cumbersome to visit us on base, even though she was an ID card holder. I didn’t think too much of it. Regardless, what we ultimately wanted was a healthy baby and safe delivery. And we believed we could get it the NHS hospital. The appointments were quick and to the point. I was measured, listened to the heartbeat, BP taken, and urine tested. Our midwife would let Rebecca help with the measurements and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Rebecca loved that.

A few weeks into my 3rd trimester, however, I was told that I would have to see an English OB b/c of my previous delivery with Rebecca, specifically, b/c of the tear I received as a result of the forceps. Why was never really explained to me – I also was told I would need to take a Glucose Tolerance Test. I was not in agreement with doing a GTT b/c I had one with Rebecca, and it was so negative, that my last glucose level 47. Obviously, I didn’t feel well at the end of that test. Neither did my baby – I am sure.

So I tried discussing it with the Midwife and the OB at why I didn’t want to take it. They didn’t seem to hear me. Instead, I recorded my food intake and my blood glucose levels for one week before my next MW appointment (my GTT wasn’t scheduled for another few weeks). As far as I could tell, my blood levels were right on. However, my MW, when shown the records, acted as if I was insane for doing this. She even refused to look at my records. She kept asking my ‘why would you do this’ and I tried explaining that this was a better indicator of whether or not I had gestational diabetes, that if I did have it, I would have to do this anyway – she just didn’t get it though and actually told me that all I was thinking about was myself and not my unborn baby. Wow.

At this same appointment, I asked her if she thought it would be possible for me to have a homebirth. She indicated that she didn’t think so b/c that would be too much to ask of their midwives, especially having to get on base if they weren’t ID card holders. They could be signed on to base, but she thought that would be too much for them to have to go through for me to have a homebirth. So then I asked if Rebecca would be allowed to be a part of my labor and delivery. My mom would be here and would keep an eye on her, but Rebecca really wanted to be a part of it and Scott and I thought that was appropriate. We don’t hide much from her – she knew where the baby was coming from – and obviously, she would be removed if things went array. However, the midwife said most definitely not – hospital policies – birth could be very scary for a little girl – why did I want her there anyway, again indicating that I was only thinking of myself and not my child.

(Just a sidenote – when my Doula came to visit after Jacob was born, Rebecca said, “Hey Mom, remember when I used to watch those baby shows while you were in the shower when we lived in Florida? Well they really paid off, because they really prepared me for watching you….with Jacob, because I wasn’t scared one bit.”)

I felt my options were very limited now – I felt the NHS system was just as medical as our own healthcare system – and I was at a crossroads. Scott and I felt very jaded, and both of us contemplated going back to the base to have our baby thinking it may just be better there. Perhaps we should give them another chance.

All along – I had been praying. God and I had been doing a lot of talking and I really felt his hand on us, and on this pregnancy. I just had to stay open to hearing Him. I also had to use discernment, which I was not all that good at.

God spoke to me through these verses during this time:

Matthew 6:34

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

and

Philippians 4:6-9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

So – for the time being, my plan was to be a good pregnant patient, do what I was told, not ask questions, and just go with the flow.

Then one day everything changed.

I knew Jo advertised on Lakenheath Yard Sales and so I thought to check on there for a Doula. I knew that having a Doula would increase my chances for a safe, healthy delivery – especially at a hospital. So – as God would have it – a Doula had advertised on there. I contacted her and while she was still in training, she would be willing to take me on, if I would be willing to have her as my Doula. Immediately I knew I did. We met at my home when I was 35+ weeks pregnant. We discussed a bit of history, a bit of what I wanted from her, my expectations, etc. And then Emma described what it would be like for me to give birth at the NHS hospital. While they are very natural and women friendly, they are not at all family friendly. There are no waiting areas, there is no way Rebecca would be able to be with me during labor, only Emma and Scott would be allowed with me until the baby was born. And then – and then – if I had the baby after visiting hours, no one – NO ONE – would be able to stay with me and the baby. Mom and Rebecca wouldn’t even be allowed to see us for a moment. Oh – and I’d be put in a room with 4 other women and their newborns.

This was not what I had signed up for.

I had mentioned to Emma that I had contacted Jo, the local Independent Midwife, but that she wasn’t taking any women on. To which Emma replied that things had changed and that, ‘why yes- she is still seeing women at the moment’.

When Emma left, I was sick stomached – according to the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative, there are 10 steps for a hospital, birth centre, or home birth service to take to become Mother Friendly. The first listed? Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice – husband, family, children, friends, etc.

I immediately emailed Jo – told her my situation – and asked if she would be willing to take me on so late in the game.

I was flipping out internally – emotionally – I was a wreck. I prayed and waited…prayed and waited. What was God’s answer going to be? How was I going to handle a hospital birth without my family but encouraged to give birth naturally? How was I going to handle a hospital birth with my family present but encouraged to take an epidural and pitocin? What about a homebirth? Where could that take place?

I remembered that about a month prior a friend had offered her home to me. I had blown her off – thinking a homebirth was impossible at that point. But now – I was reaching, grasping for anything. I emailed her too – and waited.

The weekend passed and I had some answers. My friend said ‘of course’ and Jo said we needed to meet and discuss some things. So – we met, at home, on a Wednesday, and Jo looked over my history, heard my concerns, and agreed that a homebirth was most definitely possible. Some things with Rebecca – like my elevated blood pressure, my GBS status, my PPH, all made me delivering at home a bit more risky – but worth trying. And Jo wasn’t too concerned about anything – except maybe the GBS, and requested a urine test to see what my status was at that point. (It was negative – of course) and I opted to use the Hibiclens protocol instead of antibiotics to stop any GBS transmission that might occur.

The only thing, Jo said, was that she had a full November month as it was, and if someone else was delivering when I went into labor, she would have to go with them, since I signed on last. Fair enough, I thought.

We were all relieved and very excited. All of us – Scott, Rebecca, my Mom, me….

God was shining on us. God had heard the desires of my heart and was answering my prayers.

The next few weeks flew by – I had weekly visits at home with Jo – she did her best to prepare me and educate me for what would happen, what it would be like, birthing in a pool (which I desired)

At about 38 weeks – things changed again. I heard God calling on me to switch homes where I was going to birth at. And He was pointing me to Faith – the friend who had thrown my Blessingway.

Faith had initially offered me her home early on in the pregnancy – probably about the same time she offered to give me my blessingway. But I had disregarded her offer too quickly I guess. First – I never thought I would be comfortable enough to give birth at someone else’s house . Second – Scott and I weren’t completely sold on a homebirth. Third – I had already signed up for a hospital birth with the NHS. Fourth – I didn’t want to bother her or her beautiful family. So – I never really thought about it again. Until now, months later, when God was nudging me.

So I called Faith and humbly asked her if the offer still stood. She would have to check with her husband first – but didn’t think it would be an issue. However – they were moving on November 15th, onto base housing, so I would have to have the baby by then, or else. No problem – I thought. Of course I would have the baby by then!! I was due on the 4th as it was anyway.

38 weeks pregnant and things were all lined up.

Midwife – check.

Doula – check.

Home – check.

For two weeks, things were smooth. I had started having Braxton-Hicks pretty regularly, had started having pelvic floor pain, and the baby had seemed to drop (something Rebecca never did) I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and ready (also something I never felt with Rebecca) Everyone just knew I was going to have this baby soon. I knew it was going to take some extra time. I never anticipated having the baby before my due date – always anticipated having him late….just not so late.

These next two verses were key to me staying focused and to stop listening to the lies/the tapes being played in my head about the ‘reality’ of the situation. Like – who was I to have a homebirth? I couldn’t handle it anyway – my baby was going to be born sick, I was going to have to be subjected to a miserable hospital birth, this was all for naught. But God persevered:

Romans 8:31

31What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]

And then I was led to Psalm 27:1-3

1THE LORD is my Light and my Salvation–whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?2When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.

40 weeks came and went. I continued living life as normal. But inside I was dying…the looks I would get from people who thought I should’ve had the baby by then, the comments on facebook – was just too much to handle. Eventually at 41 weeks, I turned off from the world. I stopped getting on facebook and stopped taking phone calls. I tried as hard as I could to relax.

God was encouraging me to stay strong, to stay hopeful in Him – to allow him to finish what he had started, to fulfill his promises. The more I worried, the more I was saying to Him that I didn’t believe he would do this for us. I needed to step aside and allow him to do his good work.

Isaiah 40:31

31But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

And then I just love what my commentary has to say about this:

Hoping in the Lord is expecting that his promise of strength will help us to rise above life’s distractions and difficulties. It also means trusting in God. Trusting helps us to be prepared when he speaks to us. Then we will be patient when he asks us to wait and expect him to fulfill his promises found in the Word.

Hebrews 12

1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(A)

3Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

Jo was beginning to get nervous. She had to tell me the chances I was taking having a baby after due date – the risks involved. At 41 weeks, I agreed to stripping my membranes – but was so nervous because that was done with Rebecca – and was concerned about the increased risk of GBS with more interventions. When Jo checked me and stripped my membranes, the good news was that my cervix was low, I was somewhat dilated, but the bad news was I wasn’t effaced at all. Jo seemed discouraged and didn’t think that birth was imminent. That was a sad MW appointment – my doula had also showed and we were all pretty down.

Because, ultimately, I was on a pretty tight timeline now. First – I had to have the baby by Monday, or else I was without a home to deliver at. Secondly – if I was going to have an induction, I would need to choose hospitals. We had chosen our local base hospital – but they weren’t in agreement with me using them as my back-up hospital b/c we had already opted out of their healthcare. If I was going to have the baby there, I would have to re-enroll with them, so to speak. Third – the later I went, the more chance that I would overlap with another laboring Mom in Jo’s schedule. There was so much….life was so overwhelming…I was not handling anything well at all.

And thenI received this message in my inbox from the Tammy Trent newsletter – spoke directly to me and what I was going through. Divine intervention.

“May you take heart in knowing that God is preparing you for what He has already prepared for you! There is a new season that is already waiting for you. As you allow yourself to take on the fullness of God’s processing in your life, He is doing a work in you already, even if you can’t see it, so that you will be ready for the day when God opens up all the doors and allows you to walk into that new place. Maybe it’s time to “clean house” so you can be fully ready for it. Don’t let anything or any person hold you back from God’s perfect will in your life right now.

I don’t believe God gives us impossible dreams or unreachable desires. He gently takes us through life step by step so that when we face each new opportunity or challenge, we are ready in faith to choose to keep moving forward, always towards truth.

Your challenge right now is not to ask God why things around you are changing, in transition or falling apart, but rather perhaps to ask, “What’s next? What can I learn from this?” There’s a reason and purpose in our struggles or time of difficulties. The thing is, we have to find out what that is and begin to see our difficult time in perspective and how God is using it to prepare us. Search my friend. Search. The answers aren’t all that far away. Some times we just like to keep circling the questions hoping we’ll land on the “right answer” WE were hoping for. Trust God in this moment, that HE is STILL in control of your next season.

As true believers, we must never forget that God does not send “bad things” but He certainly uses them. And wow, do I sure understand and know that for my own life.

I did everything I knew to do to encourage labor: reflexology, rose and clary sage oil, evening primrose oil, accupressure points, walking, sex (seems everyone knows that one b/c everyone told us to do it!), membrane stripping…

I was really grappling with all the potentials that was happening. I was trying to wrap my head around either having a baby to hold at home in a few days, or scheduling an induction. I knew that going into a hospital was not going to end up the way I wanted it to – but I also knew that I was running out of options. My membranes were stripped on Thursday – Jo was due to come back Sunday to do it again – and then on Monday, my time was up as Faith was moving. I was talking to God constantly – praying for God to give me the desires of my heart, but for His will to be done ultimately. I wondered why He would bring me this far just to take it all away. I wondered why I couldn’t have had Jo from the very beginning, instead of having to wait until I was 36 weeks. Why would that door close early on just to be opened late in the game, and then closed again at the very end? Whatever was going to happen, I knew that I would continue to love Him. Regardless.

I didn’t want a hospital birth. I didn’t want a sick baby that would need IV treatment. And I really didn’t think that God would give that to me for a second time – but as it was – I didn’t know what was in store for us. I didn’t really know what God was saying.

For the longest time, I had heard God tell me to just wait, to just ‘tary on the Lord’ and wait. Be patient. Be hopeful and faithful. But then, as time got closer and my world became hectic and my mind was chaotic, God began speaking very directly to me – as I need Him to. I have often prayed for Him to be very direct and clear, as I said earlier, the gift of discernment I have not.

On Wednesday, the day before my membranes were stripped, Rebecca and I were at church helping prepare for Bible Study. Usually, when the Praise and Worship takes place, I listen in the narthex, instead of going into the sanctuary so that I can still greet women as they come in. However, this day, Rebecca was urging me to go into the sanctuary and participate with her. I had a friend helping out at the welcome table, so I felt comfortable leaving my station – I went in with Rebecca. Lo and behold, God had words to speak to me – and I was moved to tears as I heard Him through this song.

And then – the morning I had my membranes stripped, I awoke to God saying this to me loud and clear:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God will be with you!” Joshua 1:9

Two days later, I went into labor."



Come back tomorrow for Part Two of Christina's Story!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby B #6: Balance and Boundaries

Baby B #6: Balance and Boundaries is all about keeping yourself sane. You CANNOT be the mommy your baby needs if you are burned out.  AP parents tend to feel that Attachment Parenting is all or nothing and if they give their baby one bottle, put their baby in a stroller instead of the carrier for an outing, or get angry and speak a little too harshly to their child on occasion they will lose their "AP Parenting Card".

If you keep these in mind when dealing with your children, you should be just fine:
Dr. Sears' Eleven Commandments for Balanced Attachment Parenting
1. Thou shalt take care of thyself
2. Thou shalt honor thy husband with his share of the Attachment Parenting
3. Thou shalt avoid the prophets of bad baby advice
4. Thou shalt surround thyself with helpful and supportive friends
5. Thou shalt have help at home
6. Thou shalt get to know thy baby
7. Thou shalt give children what they need, not what they want
8. Thou shalt sleep when baby sleeps
9. Thou shalt groom and adorn thyself
10. Thou shalt heal thy past
11. Thou shalt realize thou art not perfect!

Here are the three best tips I can give to any parent:

1. Set Aside Some "Me Time": Find a hobby you love, read a book, go for a walk, work out, take a long bubble bath, or just TAKE A NAP! Whatever you want to do to relax, do it.  Take an hour, half-hour, or even just 15 minutes and let Daddy take care of baby while you take a break.  Afterwards, you can return to your SUPER-MOM self feeling refreshed and ready to face the next 24hr marathon that is a day in the life of a busy mommy!

2. Ignore "Baby Trainers": You know who the baby trainers are in your life.  The ones who are constantly over your shoulder with comments like "You shouldn't hold him so much, you'll spoil him and he'll never learn to walk", "You're STILL nursing, just give her a bottle already", "He's fine, sometimes babies just need to cry", and so on and so on.  Don't worry about these people, let them raise their children and you raise yours.  Keep following your instincts and loving your baby and eventually they will grow into a happy, well-adjusted, independent child and adult.  (We'll talk more about "Baby Trainers in the next Baby B post!)

3Attachment Parenting is NOT all or nothing: I am of the firm belief that you can still be a wonderful attachment parent and not follow EVERY single aspect of AP.  I was only able to nurse my son for a few months and since then he has always received expressed milk from a bottle.  Did I lose my AP card when I gave my baby that bottle? Sure, some moms may answer yes, but I am not one of them.  To me, Attachment Parenting is about a lot more than Breastfeeding and Babywearing.  It is about GENTLE parenting and about a connection that you work to build with your children. 
So, while breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, etc. are all ENCOURAGED and practiced by MOST Attachment Parents, they are NOT REQUIRED.  What IS required of all Attachment Parents is "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 International.

Come back next time to discuss Baby B #7: Beware of Baby Trainers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby B #5: Bedding Close to Baby

Today we are getting back to Dr. Sears' Baby B's. We are on Baby B #5, Bedding Close to Baby. 

This is a topic that I feel VERY strongly about. I feel that it is so important to have your baby nearby when you are sleeping, especially in those early months of baby's life.

Here are the SCIENTIFIC benefits to co-sleeping according to AskDrSears.com

Sleep more peacefully Research shows that co-sleeping infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying 1. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety. 
Stable physiology
Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures 2, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone 3. This means baby sleeps physiologically safer. 
Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest (and even unheard of) in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Babies who sleep either in or next to their parents’ bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS 10. Co-sleeping babies actually spend more time sleeping on their back or side 1 which decreases the risk of SIDS. Further research shows that the carbon dioxide exhaled by a parent actually works to stimulate baby’s breathing 11
Long term emotional health
Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school 12, and are more comfortable with affection 13. They also have less psychiatric problems 14
Safer than crib sleeping
The Consumer Product Safety Commission published data that described infant fatalities in adult beds. These same data, however, showed more than 3 times as many crib related infant fatalities compared to adult bed accidents 15. Another recent large study concluded that bed sharing did NOT increase the risk of SIDS, unless the mom was a smoker or abused alcohol 16.
  1. McKenna, J., et al, "Experimental studies of infant-parent co-sleeping: Mutual physiological and behavioral influences and their relevance to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)." Early Human Development 38 (1994)187-201.
  2. C. Richard et al., “Sleeping Position, Orientation, and Proximity in Bedsharing Infants and Mothers,” Sleep 19 (1996): 667-684.
  3. Touch in Early Development, T. Field, ed. (Mahway, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum and Assoc., 1995).
  4. “SIDS Global Task Force Child Care Study” E.A.S. Nelson et al., Early Human Development 62 (2001): 43-55
  5. A. H. Sankaran et al., “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Infant Care Practices in Saskatchewan, Canada,” Program and Abstracts, Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, February 8-11, 2000.
  6. D. P. Davies, “Cot Death In Hong Kong: A Rare Problem?” The Lancet 2 (1985): 1346-1348.
  7. N. P. Lee et al., “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Hong Kong: Confirmation of Low Incidence,” British Medical Journal 298 (1999): 72.
  8. S. Fukai and F. Hiroshi, “1999 Annual Report, Japan SIDS Family Association,” Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 2000.
  9. E. A. S. Nelson et al., “International Child Care Practice Study: Infant Sleeping Environment,” Early Human Development 62 (2001): 43-55.
  10. P. S. Blair, P. J. Fleming, D. Bensley, et al., “Where Should Babies Sleep – Along or With Parents? Factors Influencing the Risk Of SIDS in the CESDI Study,” British Medical Journal 319 (1999): 1457-1462.
  11. SIDS book, page 227, #162
  12. P. Heron, “Non-Reactive Cosleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep All Night, Every Night,” Master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol, 1994.
  13. M. Crawford, “Parenting Practices in the Basque Country: Implications of Infant and Childhood Sleeping Location for Personality Development” Ethos 22, no 1 (1994): 42-82.
  14. J. F. Forbes et al., “The Cosleeping Habits of Military Children,” Military Medicine 157 (1992): 196-200.
  15. D. A. Drago and A. L. Dannenberg, “Infant Mechanical Suffocation Deaths in the United States, 1980-1997,” Pediatrics 103, no. 5 (1999): e59.
  16. R. G. Carpenter et al., “Sudden Unexplained Infant Death in 20 Regions in Europe: Case Control Study,” Lancet 2004; 363: 185-191.
 Co-sleeping is so beneficial to your baby and IS NOT dangerous when done correctly, yet the media is constantly attacking the practice.  Here is a very important statistic for you to keep in mind the next time you read an article about the dangers of co-sleeping: 

"The CPSC sleep study estimated that 64 deaths per year occurred in infants sleeping with parents... Around 5,000 babies die from SIDS annually in the United States." from Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears.

That is just 1% of all babies who die from SIDS each year.   This leads me to the logical conclusion that 99% of SIDS deaths occur in CRIBS! So, should we vilify cribs?

As I'm writing this I realize that I am getting quite heated over this topic instead of giving you useful information on HOW to safely co-sleep. So, I will give you one last quote and move on.

CPSC study by Mark Vonnegut in the October 24, 1999. Boston Globe article 'Beware of Bad Science'

Now, let's talk about co-sleeping and how to do it safely...

First, it is important to understand the difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing.  Bed-sharing is co-sleeping, but not all co-sleeping is bed-sharing.  Bed-sharing is exactly what it sounds like, you share your bed with your baby/child.  Co-sleeping is when your baby sleeps with you in a shared space, like in a crib or bassinet in YOUR bedroom. 

There are a lot of great products out there now to help parents co-sleep safely.

Bassinets and Cradles: Bassinets are great because they are small and space-saving as compared to a crib, so they are great to use in smaller rooms that don't have the space for a large crib.  Many are portable so you can take it from room to room during the day and pull it right up next to your bed at night.  They won't last forever though, they are usually only safe up to 15lbs.

Sidecar Co-Sleepers: These are similar to bassinets, but they have only three sides and are level with adult beds.  When they are pulled up to mommy and daddy's bed it gives the feel of sharing a bed. These are usually safe up to around 25lbs.

In-Bed Sleepers:  These are similar to Moses baskets.  They have a firm sleeping surface for baby and they lay right in the middle of your bed.  They come in fours sided and three sided options.  These are a great way to ensure safe bed-sharing. The only down-side is that they take up a lot of real-estate in mommy and daddy's sleeping space.

Travel Cribs:  These are great option for those who don't want a full size crib in their room, but want to keep baby close after he/she has grown out of their bassinet.  It is VERY important to note that travel cribs are NOT approved to be used for unsupervised sleeping.  Once your baby can roll over on his/her own do not put them to sleep in a travel crib overnight.

If you prefer good, old-fashioned bed-sharing just be sure you are doing it safely.

~Don't sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of any drug (prescription or otherwise) that affects your sleep or consciousness or that makes you less aware of baby's presence.

~Avoid sleeping with your baby if you are extremely obese. Obesity can affect mother's sleep patterns, making her less aware of baby.

~Do not allow baby-sitters to sleep with baby.

~Don't allow older siblings to sleep with babies under nine months old.

~Don't sleep with baby on a couch, water bed, or other "sinky" surface where baby can be easily buried or wedged in cushions or crevices.

~Don't wear dangling jewelry or lingerie with strings.

~Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes that can irritate or clog your baby's nasal passages.

~Put baby to sleep on his/her back.

~Dress your baby appropriately.  Adult bodies generate plenty of warmth so don't overdress your baby or use heavy sleep sacks.

~Make room for baby.  Keep your baby's bed space clear of fluffy pillows and comforters.

~ NEVER smoke where baby sleeps!
Source: Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears


Now, I will leave you with these words of wisdom...

"Co-sleepers do it in the kitchen"


 Come back next time for Baby B #6: Balance and Boundaries!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Motherlove More Milk Plus Capsules Giveaway

Here is one more giveaway to celebrate my little man's first year!

This giveaway is brought to us thanks to Motherlove .   I have been using More Milk Plus Capsules for a few weeks now and absolutely love the results.  I have noticed an increase in my supply, nothing dramatic, but definitely noticable. I also love that it is easier and tastes MUCH better than the herbal teas I usually drink to keep my milk production up. 

More Milk Plus Capsules are great product, but there are a ton of other great items for pregnancy, birth, nursing, and baby. Check them out now!


Enter to win Motherlove More Milk Plus Capsules!