Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mama Baby Haiti

I know that birth is a topic very important to myself and many of you.  We often talk about how bad we have it here in America, but we certainly aren't the only ones.  The maternal, fetal, and neonatal death rate in Haiti is the highest in the western hemisphere, and an amazing group of midwives and naturopathic doctors are working to help change that.  

Right now, they are working to build a Birth Center in Haiti.  An auction is going to be held at the North Portland Andaluz Birth Center in Portland Oregon on August 21st.  If you are a business owner, crafter, artist, etc., and would like to donate an item to their auction to help raise funds for their cause, please email Veronica at kandrinchae@hotmail.com with the subject line as "Donation" or "Mama Baby Haiti".  If you do so, please also contact me on my personal facebook (here) with the details so I can link to your website in a future post as a thank you to all of my readers who donate.  Hopefully I'll also have details on how the auction went!  These moms and babies really deserve this.

Check out the Mama Baby Haiti website for more details about who they are and what they do:  http://www.mamababyhaiti.org/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dear Lisa: FU from WU (and "Dear Lactivists 2")

According to Lisa from the Russ and Lisa Show, breastfeeding mothers need to take their hippie granola nonsense to the bathroom.  

Maybe you've heard about this piece of work online already, but for those who haven't, here is a transcript thanks to "Code Name: Mama" from the broadcast about seeing a mother discreetly nursing in a Chick-Fil-A, and how Lisa felt about it.  And here are a few excerpts if you're not up for reading the whole thing.  Try not to have a stroke.

"Could she not have done this in the car? I mean, she was on the way here, couldn’t she have, you know, while they were driving there, just breastfeed the baby?”

(Yeah, breastfeeding in a moving car is a brilliant idea  >.< )

"I hate it. I just don’t understand why in a public place you want to – and she was covered by the baby’s head, you know her shirt was partially – I just, to me it was sorta just in such bad taste"

(Even nursing covered isn't enough for Lisa.  I guess we should all just hole up in our homes until our children are off the boob.  Lisa, your face offends me.  Go home)

"You know you could have sat there for five or ten or however many minutes it takes to do so in the privacy of your vehicle. And then I thought also, it is 100 dadgum degrees."

(Who needs Chick-Fil-A when you can have fried baby?)

"Why is this not indecent exposure? And I don’t mean that she had her breast out and that you could really see it, but it was just I don’t know, it sorta made me, well I was gonna say lose my appetite but I won’t go that far."

(You, lose your appetite?  Of course not!)

"I think you should be discreet and stay at home"

(I think you should STFU and eat yer damn chicken!)

"And I think there should be indecency laws about that, because I don’t want to see it in a public place.  You know go to the ladies room, go somewhere, go to your car, pump your breastmilk, but I don’t want to see it in public, sorry."

(*headdesk* times infinity)

"It’s just bad manners as far as I’m concerned to hike your blouse up and have a baby’s head underneath, even if you’re not exposing yourself."

(I think it's bad manners to nosh on some fast food but expect an infant to be denied HEALTHY food)

"I don’t see anything wrong with going into a restroom if you don’t see a specific nursing area and sitting on the toilet seat. If you gotta do it I guess you gotta do it. But to me there’s just no excuse for not being prepared enough to have nursed your baby before you left, in an emergency situation having some prepared bottles or something ready to go. I just find it objectionable."

(I think I may have developed a stress-related eye twitch now.  Thanks Lisa)

(There was more, including Lisa’s opinion that even covering up the baby with a blanket it not “discreet” enough – she wants it to be completely out of her sight.  She went on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea)

During another show, she was getting call ins about it and lots of response on their facebook.  Lisa dug herself a deeper hole (emphasis mine): 

"If you decide to go to McDonalds today, pump yourself and take it with you, that's all I'm saying. Sit in the car. Have the air conditioning on. Listen to Rush Limbaugh. And breastfeed" 

"She was being very discreet. I saw nothing. Didn't even know she was doing so until after she had started, you know I just dont see why you would want to expose yourself to any sort of attention like that in public. There is a time and place for everything and quite frankly a fast food place is not the time for it. Just my opinion."

"An email from Holly: Lisa you're my hero. I 100% agree with you. Those kind of women are freakin nuts (Lisa laughs). They need to take their HIPPY GRANOLA NONSENSE TO THE BATHROOM (more laughing), cuz I don't want to see it. Stay strong Lisa, PS; Lactating Loonies is the funniest thing I've heard all year long on the air.

Holly, thank you, I really don't mean to be a name caller. But you know, when I've been taken on like I have been by this throng, this COVEN, you know, of WITCHES behavior, you know I just can't believe. Just because we disagree, you know"


Before you ask, YES, people are organizing peaceful nurse-ins in response to this.  Drop by their facebook page here for info.  You can also write a letter to the program director and even to Lisa herself and use this example if you wish.  The actual broadcasts of this show used to be online, but the station has taken them down.  I heard much of it live myself, and she truly is as awful as the quotes make her sound, and then some.  It is incredibly saddening that people like her have the public's ear.  I sincerely hope that no women were listening to her and were impacted in a way that would harm their current or future breastfeeding.  Imagine a new mom staying shut in her home for fear of bitches like Lisa, or maybe even never nursing at all!

Here is a piece from one of my readers, written as a satire like the original "Dear Lactivist":

"Dear Lactivists 2" by Michelle Hottya

Dear Lactivists,

I’m writing to you again because I don’t think you got the message from my last letter, when I tried to explain how my children are just fine for not being breastfed. Because this week, you had the audacity to attack me for my innocent and true remarks about breastfeeding in fast food establishments. 

Let me explain this again: I think breastfeeding where people can see, with their own eyes, that a baby is latched onto your breast and sucking on it, is disgusting and distasteful. You don’t have any shame, do you, Lactivists? Because I see you everywhere, with your babies peeking out at me from under your shirts, threatening with every twitch of their head to release, turn around and let your hanging breast show itself to the whole world. Not that I’ve ever seen that happen, of course – but it COULD.

Lactivists, do you think everyone in the world wants to be imagining what is going on under your shirt? Or even under that thin little blanket or cover-up? Even if I can’t see it, I can hear it. All that slurping, swallowing, humming and babbling is so distracting while I’m just trying to eat my fried chicken in peace. I can’t enjoy my meal if that little (and sometimes not little) child is so obviously enjoying his. GROSS!

And then when I said something about it, innocently just expressing my opinion and hoping to get the public to condemn your indiscreet behavior, you had the nerve to tell your friends! People who weren’t even in the restaurant at the time! How dare you! Now I have people sending me emails and calling me on the phone to say that I am uptight and mean to mothers and babies. I am not mean or uptight – I just think that if you’re going to breastfeed, you should do it at home or in your car on your way to the restaurant. Or just stay home all the time. If you really have to go out, you should just pump your breastmilk and put it in a bottle. 

That’s another thing – I don’t buy all this talk that it’s not so easy as pumping and carrying a bottle. I mean, what does that really take? Isn’t it just like milking a cow? Where you hook up the machine and out comes gallons and gallons? You say you can’t pump much but your baby gets enough? If you can’t pump it out, you must be doing something you’re not telling us, like feeding him straight butter, because look at those huge thighs he has. I fed my kids solids by three months – don’t try to make me believe you don’t give any food before six months! What a crock!

I’m starting to think this is a conspiracy by a bunch of crackpots that go around to fast-food restaurants, or museums, or swimming pools, or churches (for heaven’s sake!) to nurse babies out in the open just to get all the rest of polite society all riled up for your uncouth behavior. Then you all show up in droves to protest when someone calls you out on it. You Lactivists must all be a pack of liberals – I know this because every time there is an “issue,” all the lefties show up with signs and get themselves arrested just to get on the news. 

I feel really sorry for you all, I really do. You don’t realize what you’re teaching your children. Well, as long as we have the First Amendment, I guess you have as much right to say your opinion as I do mine, but don’t you dare show up with insults and name-calling because I will sic my minions on you and out-chant, out-protest, out-misspell and out-argue you with as many non-sequiturs and red herrings as we can devise. You’ll regret it, you will.

Just Another Opinionated Radio-Host Mom  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to be a Clean Hippie

Sometimes my husband affectionately refers to me as a "dirty hippie" (which is fine, since he's a dirty redneck), and I suppose that in comparison to the general population of our small town, I am indeed a bit crunchy.  Stick me next to a real "hippie" though, and they'll probably implode from the pain of seeing my giant suburban, Wal Mart clothes, and brightly dyed hair.  But hey, if I'm a "hippie" by some people's standards, I'll take it!  I suppose most of my cruchtasticness tends to be more about mothering than about my life in general, but I have gone more natural in personal and home care lately too.  I'm still learning, but I thought I'd throw out some of the ideas I've been using.  I should also add that I am a *poor* hippie, so these are all pretty cheap things to use, BONUS!  I hope that those of you who are more experienced will chime in with your suggestions too, and forgive me while I continue to cling tightly to my deodorant, dye, and make up :-P

Going "Poo-free": 

I never thought I'd be able to ditch shampoo and conditioner, but then I came across info to the contrary online.  Meh, why not try it, right?  If it sucked, I'd go back to my nasty poo-ish ways, no biggie.  First, I was a wimp and started with using a herbal shampoo bar and a vinegar rinse.  That was pretty great, but when it ran out, I went hardcore and started using just baking soda to wash and continued with the vinegar rinse.  My hair looks pretty dang fabulous if I do say so myself!  And no more of the nasty build-up that was one of the reasons for my desire to switch in the first place!  Google "going poo free" for info. It's easy and CHEAP.

Natural and Inexpensive Laundry:

You can make your own laundry soap for super duper cheap as well.  This site includes the recipe,and even breaks down the price difference between their method and store-bought Tide.  In addition, I put white vinegar in a Downy ball (can be found in the laundry aisle, also very cheap), so it releases during the rinse cycle.  This has eliminated our use of fabric softeners and dryer sheets.  White vinegar quite frankly ROCKS for a lot of things!  Check out the uses for it in laundry here.  You can also use diluted essential oil in a spray bottle, and spritz over your laundry when you're putting it into the dryer, or just put a bit on a cloth or your wool dryer balls and toss it in.

Simple and Natural Cleaning:

Cleaning has become so easy now!  For a while, I just used diluted white vinegar in a spray bottle on everything.  It definitely works well (and is cheap!  Can you tell I love things that are?), but now I used diluted lavender essential oil instead.  Works like a charm, smells lovely, and I don't worry about using chemicals around my kids now!  Essential oils are also great for when you need to disinfect.  Lemon, baking soda, and other essential oils can be used for cleaning too.

Cleaning with white vinegar
Cleaning with baking soda
Cleaning with essential oils
Cleaning with lemons

There are a lot more resources if you google around :-)

Natural Skin Care:

I recently got myself some virgin coconut oil, and omg... LOVE!  It is wonderful as a skin, scalp, and hair moisturizer.  It is solid in a jar, but I just fill my sink up with warm water and let it sit in there while I shower so it liquefies.  Then when I get out, I slather some on.  Extra awesome because I love the smell of coconut!  Do a bit of reading on it, and you'll find that it is really great for you.  I have even used it on my face despite my problem skin, and have actually seen improvement despite the usual thought that oily things are to be avoided on the face. When I feel like exfoliating my face or body, just a bit of sugar and honey does the trick.  Instead of body wash, I now use all natural hand made soaps that I find on Etsy.  I'm currently experimenting with lavender essential oil on my occasional acne.  I've read some good testimonials about it.  It should also be noted that other essential oils can NOT be used undiluted on the skin, but lavender can.

What do YOU do to be a clean hippie?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Inspiring Willing Participation.

(A guest post by B. Nikalee Rath)

About a year ago, for a few weeks, my (then) three year old refused to brush her teeth. Enter nightly power struggle. And of course we were right to try to force her to brush her teeth, right? Oral hygiene is essential. After a while though, it was not just exhausting, but, honestly, traumatizing. How could we expect our three year old to learn that her body is hers and hers alone, that noone else has the right to touch her without her permission, how can we expect to instill in her the confidence to say "no" to someone threatening, when we, her parents, responsible for protecting her, weren't even respecting her cries of no. So we stopped. For three days we said nothing to her about brushing her teeth. We said, "oh! Look Honey," to eachother, "it's time to brush our teeth," and my husband and I would head for our toothbrushes, then go lay down on the bed with the nightly stack of picture books. On the fourth day, she joined us, and with few exceptions, has every night since.

Between my children and children I've cared for, I've found myself in this type of situation many times. If I command they do something, they might do it. If I start doing it and ask them to join me they're a little more likely to. If I do it, willingly and joyfully, because I want it done, because I will feel better when it is done, and my children witness this, then they will not only join when requested, but will often just jump in, or ask me if they can or if I'd like them to. Sometimes all it takes is saying, "hey, let's do [insert task] together. I'll start." They don't feel as though they are my little servants, as though I am a tyrant dictating they do the undesirable work so that I will not have to suffer the drudgery of it. They don't feel like I'm valuing my own preferences and desires over theirs, and trying to force them to accommodate me. I might have to willingly, joyfully do it myself multiple times before they jump in, but generally, they will. I try to remember to be willing and cheerful about the tasks that are generally seen as "mine" too, as my attitude directly teaches them how they should approach "their" tasks. If I can't be willing and cheerful about it, and it's not a matter of extreme importance (life, death, or a dirty diaper), than I do something else until I can again appreciate that task. Most of the time, I don't see much point in grumbling about things that "have to" be done, like changing dirty diapers. Diaper time is belly button raspberries and toe tickling time. 

The younger your child is when you adopt this approach, the easier it will likely be to adjust. You must give your child ample opportunity to be social, to participate in accepted, valued activities that encourage development, even when it's not convenient, not the task you wanted them to do or they are not yet able to do it to the same extent you are. It is essential that you do not hover while they do these tasks, as it would likely give them the impression that you do not believe them capable of these things. Do something else, nearby, keeping busy and watching only peripherally if you feel supervision is necessary.

If your children are older, it may take longer for them to start willingly participating, unasked. Any change in discipline is going to require an adjustment period, (sometimes much longer than we'd like), dedication, and a belief that you are doing something beneficial for yourself, your children, and society in general. Children are often resistant to change. They may test you in unexpected ways. They may simply refuse your invitations to join in tasks for a long time, or they may ask "you're not going to make me do it?" They may ask, "what do I get if I help you." My response would be, "I can't make you do anything. It's your choice," then whistle my way through the task at hand; or for requests for rewards, a smile and "I'll take care of it," or should suffice. I don't know about you, but my head is always full of ideas and thoughts that could use more sorting, and what better than some repetitive, mundane, but useful, task to give me time to meditate on them?

This might all seem blissfully, ignorantly, optimistic. No, it isn't always easy, but neither is screaming, threatening, punishing, arguing, or bribing.

I suggest that you evaluate your own reactions to events, and attitude toward tasks. See if you can identify any of the same behaviors and attitudes that are frustrating you in your children. Ask why you resent or dislike the task at hand, why you are reluctant to do it. Could it be that you were never given the chance to do it just because you wanted to? That you were never given the opportunity to grow up in an environment of obvious unconditional love and acceptance, whether or not you did your chores. That you feel like these are things you have to do, rather than things you choose to do? Could it be that it was taught to you, probably unintentionally, that these are tasks that 'normal,' socially accepted people grumble about and try to avoid, pawn off on others, or do only because there is no way around it? Do you complain about your job or about all the work you do around the house, or about how hard it is to do anything with your crew of wild children, your uncooperative rebels? Do you then expect them to do differently, to go to "work" (school, tasks, etc) willingly, without complaint, and to be anything other than the whiny, wild, uncooperative rebels you've labeled them?

(B. Nikalee Rath) About me; I was born, raised and still reside near Anchorage, Alaska. I'm a married mother of two, and I am a birth and and postpartum doula. I have strong fondness for childrens books, yarn, and hula hoops. I believe if we want to change the world, we have to change ourselves. We have to be better parents. To be better parents, we have to be better people. We have to be the people we want our children to be

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giveaway WINNERS

WINNERS: I will be notifying the companies of who you are, so please keep an eye out in your email for a message from them so they can get your shipping address from you!  Be sure to check your spam box too, just in case it ends up there.

Please note that if you entered from a country that was specified to NOT be eligible for the giveaway you entered, another winner will be chosen. If you didn’t win, there will be more giveaways coming on Friday, so keep an eye out!  I also linked to each giver’s website below if you’re interested in their amazing stuff.

(any person/company wishing to donate for an up-coming Freebie Friday, please leave me a comment with your email and I’ll write you, or you can contact me via Facebook)

The winner is:  Alex, leopardchik16@aol.com

Reusable sandwich bag from My Sunshine Designs
The winner is:  Kristin, kristin.fn@gmail.com

Custom soaker or shorties from Bitsy Knitsy
The winner is:  Misty, mistymichellesims at gmail dot com

Potty decals from IceeMudd
The winner is:  sharon, dearanxiety@gmail.com

Wool mattress pad from Natural Mystik Mama
The winner is:  Kelly, kellysilver@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Time wasted on fools...

I was listening to the radio in the car today, and they were talking a bit about how sometimes total strangers or even people you know will randomly come up and criticize your parenting.  "You're feeding that baby wrong", "You've got to get him sleeping on schedule", "Why isn't she wearing a hat in this weather?" et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.  

They asked for the biblical perspective on how to respond in these type of situations.  I usually refrain from bringing up religion, but hopefully whatever your personal beliefs may be, you can acknowledge there is *some* wisdom to be found in the Bible.  *end disclaimer*

A verse they quoted was this: 

"Do not rebuke a fool or he will hate you;
       rebuke a wise man and he will love you."

I like how the Message version of the Bible elaborates on this:

"If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you'll get slapped in the face;
   confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don't waste your time on a scoffer;
   all you'll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
   that's different—they'll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they'll be wiser for it;
   tell good people what you know—they'll profit from it."

I can especially relate to this in the world of Facebook and blogging.  There are some people that are truly impossible to reason and communicate with.  

They talked about how we need to consider the type of person we are talking with in the situation.  There are times when we can just politely (or not, lol) blow a person off because they would never hear us through their ignorance anyway, and other times when we may be able to say "Thanks for your concern, but actually here's what we do and why..." and be met with understanding and respect by a wise person.  There are some fools though, that no matter what you say and do, will always find a way to hate on you for it.  They may even dig their heels into their foolish ways even more just to spite you for daring to disagree.  An example would be the mothers on facebook discussion boards I've seen say things like "I can't wait to circumcise my kid just to piss people like you off".  Yeah.  Those discussions are definitely time wasted on fools.  Especially after a few hundred mind-numbing pages of their idiocy, lol.

Anyhoo, just some scattered late night thoughts, and I'd love to hear yours :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Giveaway Index (Freebie Friday)

The following giveaways are open until 12am Wednesday June  30th (pacific time)
The winners will be announced here, so bookmark it and come back and check just in case the winner notification email ends up in your spam!

Do NOT leave your entries on this post, click the link under each item to enter to win.
Enjoy, and good luck!

An Island in the Sun Children's book
Enter to win (HERE)

Reusable sandwich bag, your print choice
Enter to win (HERE)

Custom soaker or shorties
Enter to win (HERE)

Humorous potty decal, your choice
Enter to win (HERE)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Well, Thursday was a fantastic day :-)  Not only did I turn the big 25 (with carrot cake brought to me in bed, yum!), but I got to celebrate the Saving Penises benefit auction ending with the highest bids totaling $1,057.25!!!  

Come on, do a happy dance with me!!!

That's enough to fund 81 info packs, assuming every one follows through with their bids.  SP is getting more and more requests all the time, so this was very much needed!  I was so nervous that my idea would bomb terribly, but this just goes to show how very awesome my fellow intactivists are!!!  A huge thank you to Lauren J. of K.N.O.W  for putting together the website and all the posts for the auction, and of course to Danelle Frisbie of DrMomma.org for being the genius and ultimate giving heart that started the distribution of the info packs in the first place!  

(note: if you were a winning bidder, you have been sent an email from me, so please check your inbox, or your spam in case it ended up there.  If we don't hear back from you within 3 days, the item will have to go to the next highest bidder)

None of this would have been possible without so many businesses and individuals stepping up and donating their items.  I'd like to send up a big THANK YOU to all of them!  I encourage you to check out their sites.  Who better to buy from than a business that supports such a great cause?!

If you'd like to donate an item to next month's auction, please email Auctions4sp@gmail.com


Veronica Lacquement

Also a big thank you to all the bidders!  Not sure how you all feel about having your names shared here, so just know that we really REALLY appreciate you :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Children at Birth

Something important we had to ask ourselves when pregnant with our 2nd child was whether we'd have our first child (newly 3 years old when baby was "due") present for the birth.  We sat down and discussed it with our midwife who has 8 children of her own and a few grandchildren.  All of them,except the youngest of course, had seen the births of their younger siblings and the experiences had all been positive.  As a midwife, she had also attended countless births with children present.  She talked about how she believes it eases the transition, and made it more real for the children to see that baby was truly part of mommy, not just something they picked up at a store!  It had been my gut instinct to want our whole little family together for it if possible, and it was nice to hear that so many others had positive experiences with it.

I watched a LOT of home and water births online and my daughter was often right there with me, always watching raptly and responding with an "awww, pretty baby!" as soon as the tiny little messes made their way into the world.  I loved how she could see past all the goo and sometimes screaming, and just see the beauty of what was happening.  When we first watched one where the mother was making some intense birthing noises, I explained to her that was because she was working hard. I had her pick up something kind of heavy, and when she made a little grunt, I pointed it out to her.  I said "see, sometimes we make noises when we work hard.  Mommies work VERY hard to get the babies out, so that is why sometimes the noises are loud".  I told her that the blood wasn't the same kind of blood from "owies".  It didn't mean the mommy and baby were hurt.  She told me she knew that already.  How silly of me, lol.  She watched all those videos with me like it was the most normal thing in the world, which it is, but I was surprised at how none of it ever seemed to alarm or confuse her.  I just let her see all the realities of birth in those videos and she just took her cues from me and stayed calm but interested and often even deeply touched.  I wanted her first exposures to birth to be "real", and not Hollywood horror-stories.  

Our plan was to follow her cues and let her be present when/if she was comfortable.  We had a family member who was prepared to come to us when it was time, and be our daughter's "partner" through it all.  She'd be cared for so we could focus, and her partner would be there to answer questions, or take her elsewhere if she wanted to.  She would be free to come in and out as she felt comfortable, unless I ended up needing my space and some quiet time, then she could be taken to the park or to a family member's house.

Unfortunately, some things didn't go as planned.  My premature and prolonged rupture of membranes without contractions, and subsequent decision to birth with my midwife at the center instead of our home threw things off a bit.  Since my labor wasn't starting after my waters broke, we had no idea how long it would take, so our daughter was taken to her aunt's house nearby so she could eat/sleep/play/etc.  It ended up taking a couple of days, and when labor finally started it went too quickly for them to get our daughter out of bed and to the birthing center.  Alas!  We were sad she missed the opportunity, but we went home soon after birth and she got to meet her baby sister when she was still fairly fresh ;-)

I myself missed my baby brother's birth by just a minute!  I was 8 at the time, and my mother had him in just one contraction!  My grandmother and I made it to the door just in time to hear his first cries.  I have yet to be physically present for any birth but my own, but my best friend has invited me to be at hers, so I may finally get the chance soon!  I toss around the idea of being a doula when my children are older, but I suppose I won't know for sure until the time comes.

Anyhoo, I hope that having your older child/ren present for your future births is something you would consider if circumstances allow.  I hope our future generations can grow up understanding birth instead of fearing it as the media and doctors seem to want us to, and knowing the unique experience of seeing how their siblings enter the world.  I think it may also give them a whole new respect for mommy and what she does ;-)

Here are a few stories and photos shared by my readers.  Enjoy and feel free to add your own in the comments section!  

(click photos to enlarge)

"My daughter was born at home in October and my son was there for all of it. It was all a fairly low key affair. I was doing hypnobabies so it was very quiet.  We had a friend come over to hang out with West. I went into labor around 5:30 pm and my son just played as normal until it was time for his bed time, which was around 8 pm. It was weird, normally he can be very clingy to mommy and daddy, but on this day it was like he sensed something profound was happening and gave both me and my husband some space. At 7:50 pm my husband left me in the birthing tub to go help with putting West.... we thought we still had hours to go, as labor had not gotten even remotely hard yet, and John didn't want to miss out of West's bedtime routine. At 8 pm my husband came back to the birth tub and 2 mins later Mabel was born... two very intense non-pushing contractions and bam she was out. Since West wasn't yet asleep we got him out of bed and brought him downstairs to meet his sister just 10 mins after she was born." -Kimberly

"My daughter was 25 months old when my son was born at home. We wanted her to see him come out because both my husband and I thought it must be strange for kids for siblings just to appear one day. We prepared by watching every baby show on TLC (so she knows all about c-sections now too) and homebirth on YouTube. She now says "Baby come!" when she hears the sounds of a laboring woman on TV. I wanted to make sure my moans and screams wouldn't scare her--that she would associate it with happiness.
I knew I wouldn't be able to handle her being around during labor though, so we planned for my parents to be in charge of her for those hours. Luckily, I ended up laboring from midnight to 7am, so she slept the entire time. When the head was (finally) visible, we called for my parents to bring her in. I like a party for the actual birth! They held her as she watched me push him out. We still dealt with jealousy, but she knew we couldn't put him back!"  -Aimee, http://delilahlou.blogspot.com/

"My then 3 year old was present for his little brother's birth in August '09. It was great. We had talked a lot about how I was going to probably holler and that he baby would come out of my hoo hoo and that he was welcome to be there but if he didn't want to he could go somewhere with Grandma or Grandpa (I gave birth at their house) in the end, my water broke at 5 am ish, so he was woken up by the commotion and he was just super excited about being woken up in the middle of the night. He hung around for most of it, I guess for a little bit he watched cartoons with grandpa in the next room, but I remember him being there through the thick of it and only once did he look a little concerned - I smiled and told him it was OK I was just yelling 'cause it made me feel better, and he smiled and was totally relieved. He was there as Boone came out. I think it went great. He isn't too freaked out by that kind of stuff though, I can see how other kids might be more sensitive and upset by the whole thing. I think just playing it by ear and having somebody available to take them away from it if they want to get away is the best way to go. "
-Dylan Branson

"My son was four when my daughter was born.  I decided to have a water birth at home with my daughter, so this obviously meant my son would be there.  We prepared him for what he would see by talking to him about birth, explaining all the noises mommies make when they are in labor and giving birth and just what to expect in general.  He also attended all of the prenatal visits with our midwife and she always included him.  Also, we showed him a lot of water birth videos so he could see for himself what was going to happen.  It was very important to us that he think of everything as normal and natural, and not fear mommy was sick or something was wrong.  I went into labor around 2:00 in the morning, my doula got there around 3:00 am and my midwife around 4 am.  I'm guessing my son probably woke up somewhere around 6 am and he just watched quietly as the process unfolded.  He sat at the side of the tub and wasn't scared and knew he would be greeting his baby sister soon.  My daughter was born at 8:24 am and he was right there to greet her along with my husband.  It was very nice to have our entire family immediately there, going through that process together, and I do feel it caused a deeper bond between them.  After she was born my son always referred to her as "my baby."  The other benefit of this?  Since my son has seen, from a very early age, normal birth not treated like a sickness or something to be ashamed of he looks at it as a natural part of every day life.  He can tell you many things about pregnancy and birth that a good percentage of adult males could not.  If he ever grows up to get married and / or have a baby, he will already be informed and won't be one of those guys going, "Ewww, this is gross!! What if I pass out?  Yuck, is that amniotic fluid?"  In my career, working in labor and delivery, I deal with men like that all the time and am always grateful some poor woman will never have to put up with that from my son!"  -Tatum

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