Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sugar, boobies, penises, and insanity.

When you've just given birth to a beautiful new human being, the last thing you want is to see them in pain.  Alas, it sometimes has to happen anyway.  A couple days after Charlotte was born, we had to spend one awful night in the ER, where no one apparently knew how to take blood from a newborn.  Then more blood tests the next day as well.  The hospital staff wanted to give her glucose water during the pokes.  It is known to help with the pain.  When I refused, they looked at me like I was a monster and said "What, you don't want to lessen your baby's pain?!"  What the hell kind of question is that anyway?  Of COURSE I do, but I have BOOBS!  TITS, BREASTICLES, MILK BAGS!  She doesn't need sugar water, when she has mommy's warm arms and body, and sweet milk.  Back then, I had never read anything about it, but it just seemed logical to me that nursing would be the most comforting thing possible.

Now, thanks to a fabulous facebook buddy sending it my way, I've got proof.

You know what makes me sad though?  That they even needed a study to prove this.  But, oh well.  Let's take a little look at what it says, just for kicks and giggles.

"What is already known on this topic
Current pharmacological treatments are not appropriate for pain relief during minor procedures like venepuncture or heel prick in newborn infants

Oral sweet solutions, non-nutritive sucking, and skin to skin contact reduce procedural pain in newborn infants

What this study adds
Breast feeding during a painful procedure effectively reduces the response to pain in newborn infants

The analgesic properties of breast feeding are at least as potent as the combination of sweet solutions and a pacifier"

Ummm... DUH.  Instead of carting these poor babies off to a bright nursery and giving them sugar water from a plastic nipple, those babies should be held in the comfort of moms arms and NURSED.  Why did they ever think they could trump nature on this one?  -headdesk- 

Some other things they say here really get me going on a totally different tangent!

"Evidence shows that neonates do feel pain1 and may even have increased sensitivity to pain and to its long term effects compared with older infants.2"

Let that sink in... babies DO feel pain, and they are probably MORE sensitive to pain and can even be impacted long term by it.  Even a heel prick or blood draw causes enough pain for them to insist that babies deserve some relief. 

How, HOW can anyone think that there is little to no pain associated with circumcision?  If even the trauma of a blood test can have long-term impact, how much worse is the impact of cutting off a large and nerve-dense organ?  Most circumcisions are still done without any pain relief, or with inadequate pain relief. 

"Up to 96 percent of the babies in the United States and Canada receive no anesthesia when they are circumcised"

"The researchers discovered that for those circumcised without anesthesia there was not only severe pain, but also an increased risk of choking and difficulty breathing."

"Researchers found that while topical anesthetics may help initially, they are woefully inadequate during foreskin separation and incision"

"In fact, they found the results so compelling that they took the unusual step of stopping the study before it was scheduled to end rather than subjecting any more babies to circumcision without anesthesia"

How are we THIS screwed up?  Yeah, babies have extra sensitive heels and veins, but their penises feel nothing?  Only the brain-dead would buy that.  So... roughly half of America.

Even worse, I think it's safe to say that blood tests are usually/always done for a medical reason.  Circumcisions, however, are almost NEVER necessary.  Especially on a newborn baby.  Many parents claim they can't bear to be there while it is done to their child.  If just SEEING it would tramatize an adult, how do you think a baby feels?

Do some of you people somehow have this sick idea that males can "handle the pain"?  No, this sick cycle must end.  I don't care what your husband's penis looks like.  I don't care about your perverted ideas about how "gross", "dirty", or "ugly" the foreskin is.  Look at your perfect healthy baby boy, and bring his ENTIRE body home.  Circumcision HURTS.  Not just for a minute, or a week, but for a lifetime.  

It was "reported in 1997 that baby boys who are circumcised with inadequate anesthesia exhibit behavior changes at six months of age that are suggestive of "an infant analogue of post traumatic stress disorder."27 Porter et al. report increasingly strong behavioral and physiologic responses as the invasiveness of the procedure increases.30 Circumcision is classified as a highly invasive procedure."  (source)

"Fitzgerald reports that excessive activity (pain sensations) in the developing and still plastic neural pathways of the newborn are likely to cause permanent changes in structure." (source)

"Lander's study67 was terminated after several infants circumcised without anesthesia experienced apparent life threatening breathing difficulties, including choking and apnea. The shock of circumcision without anesthesia and extremely vigorous crying can produce additional dangerous complications including heart injury41, pneumothorax42 and gastric rupture43."  (source)

"The pain and stress of the circumcision experience is intensely traumatic. Taddio et al. have documented behavior suggestive of post-circumcision traumatic stress disorder in infants at the age of six months.24,27 Rhinehart has documented PTSD from neonatal circumcision in middle-aged men.31 Anand and Scalzo suggest that early adverse experiences may result in stress disorders, hyperactivity, and self-destructive behavior.32
For more information on the long-lasting effects of the psycho-trauma of circumcision see Psychological Impacts of Circumcision."  (source)

"Over a dozen studies confirm the extreme pain of circumcision. It has been described as “among the most painful [procedures] performed in neonatal medicine.”( 2) In one study, researchers concluded that the pain was “severe and persistent.”( 3) Increases in heart rate of 55 beats per minute have been recorded, about a 50 percent increase over the baseline.( 4) After circumcision, the level of blood cortisol increased by a factor of three to four times the level prior to circumcision.( 5) Investigators reported, “This level of pain would not be tolerated by older patients.” (source)

"Some studies found differences in sleep patterns and more irritability among circumcised infants.( 17) In addition, changes in infant-maternal interaction were observed during the first twenty-four hours after circumcision.( 18) For example, breast- and bottle-fed infants’ feeding behavior has been shown to deteriorate after circumcision.( 19) Other behavior differences have been noted on the day following the procedure" (source)

"In one of the most important studies, the behavior of nearly 90 percent of circumcised infants significantly changed after the circumcision.( 23) Some became more active, and some became less active. The quality of the change generally was associated with whether they were crying or quiet respectively at the start of the circumcision. This suggests the use of different coping styles by infants when they are subjected to extreme pain. In addition, the researchers observed that circumcised infants had lessened ability to comfort themselves or to be comforted by others." (source)

An EXCELLENT look at cut vs. intact outcome statistics, a MUST read for anyone considering circumcision: LINK


Monday, January 25, 2010

Ecstatic Birth

This story was shared with me and I just about shattered into pieces of joy while reading it.  I was so very touched by the tenderness, and inspired by the instinct.  Thank you to Jenelle for sharing her beautiful story.  In her words, "There is a very negative connotation about orgasmic birth and I'd love for more to learn that it's not a gross thing but amazing".  I thoroughly agree!  You can follow Jenelle's blog here:

On October 19th, my midwives came over to check on me at about 7 pm. I was having fairly strong contractions that were about 7 minutes apart and they stayed until about 11 pm watching me. We all realized that I was going nowhere fast and it would be best for us all to rest. After numerous days of prodomal labor I figured it was just more of that. So we went to bed (after I helped myself to some berry cobbler and a glass of milk). I woke up at about 3 am and had stronger contractions every 30 minutes but nothing more than that and was able to sleep in between. They petered off at about 6 am. MY midwives were back over at about 9:30 am and that’s when my contractions returned stronger than ever, I couldn’t walk or talk through them. These contractions were in my back and I was using my yoga ball at first to try to relieve the pressure in my back to no avail. So my midwives helped position me on the floor on my hands and knees and applied pressure on my back and hips (something I believe they call doula hulaing? or hula douling? can’t remember). I could tell when the baby flipped because my contractions would get timable to about 5 minutes apart and were no longer in my back. Pretty soon every time I had a contraction I felt the need to pee and as I would sit on the toilet I would get another contraction. This proceeded till about 11 am and then the pressure in my back returned and the contractions petered off to about every 15-20 minutes. I was starting to get frustrated at this point by the lack of rhythm in my labor, thinking it was another false alarm. My DH ordered some Mountain Mike's pizza; we ate it and then took a walk for about 45 minutes. The contractions were still random and still didn’t return to every 5 minutes. I asked my midwives to check me, as I was starting to wonder what was up. By this point I was at a 5 I believe but they confirmed my fear of the baby being posterior. We did some more positioning to try to get her to flip. Then my midwives suggested just me and DH go into my room and focus on labor. My mom was there along with my dd who is 2 and I seemed to be so focused on entertaining everyone and taking care of dd that it seemed to be slowing down my labor. While I was getting checked my midwife showed me how to properly breath all the way down to my uterus and to focus on the contraction. This seemed to be the key once we got the baby to flip. So DH and I closed the door, turned off the lights, lit some raspberry candles and turned on my favorite cd of Enigma's greatest hits. Now my contractions were finally back to every 5 minutes and while they were incredibly intense I was amazed at how breathing and making quiet sounds enabled me to get through them and enjoy the power of them. I was even cracking jokes with DH and getting a few kisses between contractions. We cuddled on the bed and he spooned me with every contraction whispering in my ear how much he loved me, how strong and amazing I was, and how I could do this. We joked that this was the most romantic thing we had done in 2 plus years. I remember asking him to make sure that a specific song was played when I got into the pushing stage and he said “anything my love”. These moments we shared I will treasure until the day I die as it was the first time I ever allowed him to be in control and I just let go (I’m a total control freak).
By this point it was about 6 or 7 pm, not sure as I lost track of time. DH’s tummy was starting to grumble and I remember telling him to go get himself some dinner before we ran out of time. Contractions were much longer, stronger, and closer together but we had quit timing them by this point. I was still in disbelief that I was in true labor as it really was not painful or unbearable! DH went out to get some food and my midwife came in and sat by my side while I continued to labor. I continued to crack jokes in between contractions and was in a great mood. I was so amazed that this was how wonderful labor could be. My midwife told me that the contractions wouldn’t get 4 times harder either, that I could do it, and that I was doing it! I continued to get up and pee every 10 minutes as I was consuming tons and tons of water and popsicles.At one point I was on the bed and they had checked me and I was at 8 cm (I requested the check) they asked me if I wanted them to break my water, which they hoped would quit cushioning the baby and allow her to flip into the proper position for good and therefore help my labor progress. I agreed though DH was nervous, as I was ready and really wanting to be holding her in my arms. The exhaustion and back labor was starting to really get to me. They broke my water and suddenly that’s when labor became the most painful. By about 8 pm I remember getting up to go to pee and feeling like I had to poop. My midwives told me to go ahead, it was really hard but I knew I needed to. So I did (such fun details lol) which was difficult since I think my contractions were about 3 minutes apart by this point. After I had to stand up and move to get through a contraction, but that wasn’t helping either. I started to feel like a caged animal and the contractions were in my back again. They started filling the tub with water and I got the chills. I started shaking and knew I was in transition. I had a lot of bloody show at this point and suddenly it clicked that I was truly in labor.
I had a little freak out moment because suddenly I flashed back to my last dd's birth in the hospital, being on pitocen and feeling completely helpless and out of control as the back labor wracked my body to its own will. I remember the forced epidural after four hours of the pitocen doing nothing, the breaking of my water without permission, the fear and complete disbelief in my body that every single nurse and Doctor instilled in me that day. I remember the months of horrific recovery, from an un-needed episiotomy; I remember the pain of walking until my DD was 9 months old. I remember why I never wanted to have another child again, and I got scared. My birth-rape came up and reared its ugly head, trying to scare me out of the homebirth I believed in and knew I deserved. I had never worked through any of it, and as transition came upon me my mind would no longer let me ignore the things that had been done to me with the last birth.
DH and the midwives reassured me that this was different and I could do this and hurried me into the tub. That helped calm me and provided immediate relief. I got on my hands and knees & that seemed to get her in the right position as suddenly the contractions were solely in my uterus and were much more bearable. DD came in & started playing in the water & splashing & like a switch I knew the baby had flipped posterior again. So my midwives being able to read my body language sent dd back out into the living room after a kiss from me, to hang out with grammie. The contractions continued to hit and suddenly my back felt like it had never felt before. I went through a few contractions in the water and started crying, thinking my serene water birth was going to be a dream. It wasn’t going to happen because I was incapable of birthing like other women and should have known better because of my first birth.
DH asked what I needed and I told him I needed him in with me to help me. Bless his heart, he climbed in right then and there fully clothed and got behind me reassuring me and whispering sweet nothings in my ear. The contractions became so intense I truly felt I was going to die, but only because of the pain in my back and the fear in my brain which told me to not let go of the control I was so desperately trying to hold on to. By this point I started embarrassing myself by saying that I couldn’t do it and was doubting myself and panicking. I kept saying “owww” and “I can’t do this” everyone reassured me that I could. And told me to say “ohhhhh and I can do this” then I stood up and had to get out of the water. I could not be in that water and had to be on my bed, but I don’t know why. It’s just a feeling I had.So I got on the bed, asked my midwives to check because something didn’t feel right. She checked, I was at 8, almost 9 cm and she kept getting stuck on the lip of my cervix because she was still posterior. They tried a few things; I don’t much remember too many details by this point because the back labor was so profound. I begged them to stop and to please help me, her trying to turn the baby was more painful than the back labor. (I am revealing what a wimp I truly am)I was frustrated because I still hadn’t felt the urge to push yet or any pressure in my rectal area. Just pain (though later I’d realize it was all mental anguish). They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said no, but I thought there had to be something to get her out.
My midwives left the room for a minute to get something (but I didn’t know it) and I turned around looked at my hubby and asked him to please make it stop and to make her come out. The look of pure love and pain in his eyes that he clearly felt at my suffering left a brand on my heart that I will remember forever. He asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, get poked and prodded, have another bad epidural, and a bad recovery and have this child’s birthright and my right to birth stolen from us? I turned around and realized we were all alone. I don’t know if my brain clicked that “hey, you're on your own here and no one is going to do this for you” or that I realized I was fully capable of doing this, but suddenly I was on my hands and knees in a flash and I become completely quiet and the pain all went away suddenly.
I remember DH saying “I see the head” the door opening and the midwives rushing in and suddenly I had the urge to push. I felt as if I was out of my body watching a scene from the front of my head. I was not doing anything or telling my body to do a thing, it was just happening. My body and baby pushed and it was the best feeling I had ever felt in my entire life. It was comparable to an orgasm but 100 times better. I heard them say “Slow down Jenelle, slow down”, “Put your hands down there and feel her.” I reached down and felt the top of her wrinkly tiny head, but had to put my hand back down on the bed to support myself as I was on hands and knees and pushing. And I remember someone saying grab the video camera, but it was too late she was out with that one push and it was the best feeling ever. No pain, no burning, but complete and utter ecstasy. DH caught her turned her over (she came out posterior with a nuchal hand) and slid her under my belly into one of my arms. It’s like we were talking to each other without words and I somehow knew he'd catch her and be handing her to me. I took her and somehow rolled over and put her on my chest. She was born at 9:58 pm (October 20th, my EDD) I remember saying “It's ok Kayleigh momma's got you”. We had not agreed 100% on a name, but the moment I saw her I knew she was Kayleigh Grace. The same Kayleigh I had dreamt about, with a head full of hair and coloring like her momma! And I knew that her birth was the biggest gift of Grace I had ever been given in my life, I had been given the grace of a 2nd chance. I had been given the grace of the birth I was capable of and deserved. I had experienced an ecstatic birth. The rest is truly a blur. She was on my chest, & DH was crying great big sobs and saying a prayer of thanks over me and the baby. The placenta was born within the next 15 minutes, the cord cut after it stopped pulsating. I remember her crying and being amazed at how much hair she had as dd had been born bald. I remember saying how tiny she was and that she had to be smaller than her sister. We were shocked that she weighed the exact amount as her sister 8 lbs 2 ounces. But the reason she looked so small was she was 21 &3/4 inches long, a full inch and 3/4 longer then her sis! I couldn’t get over how she looked just like me (her sis looks just like DH). And I couldn’t believe that it was over. The end happened so quickly I was in shock. And I was a little embarrassed to be upset that I hadn’t had a water birth and that I had been such a wimp during transition and that I had allowed past fears to stop an enjoyable and pain free labor for about 2 hours.I am still in shock at how our bodies work. And how somehow I knew instinctively that Kayleigh would not be coming out unless on hands and knees. I am amazed that she was born with her hand next to her face & posterior and that she is intact and healthy! I am amazed at what a wonderful, fulfilling, and amazing experience homebirth is! I would not trade any of it for a medicated or hospital birth, as I feel more of a woman, closer to God, and better equipped as a wife and mother from the moments I shared with my DH during this labor. I realized for the first time in my life that it’s ok to be out of control, it’s ok to let others take the lead. It’s ok to let my DH speak for me and to be in control of situations, because when I do, things turn out amazingly wonderful! I am more in love with my DH and 2 daughters’ than I ever thought possible and am amazed at the depth of this feeling I feel every waking moment!

Breastfeeding, Dr Seuss style!

This is awesome.  I'm now fairly sure that this was written by the Moms Online group.  If anyone has the original source, feel free to link it, thank you :-)

Would you nurse him in a park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse her in the park.
I would nurse him in the dark.
I'd nurse with or without a boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk til dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her til she's full.

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy's milk is the best start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.
As for those who protest lactation,
I have a perfect explanation.
Mommy milk is tailor made
It's perfect food, you need no aid.
Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.

To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast's the perfect food.
I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would never be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk's the perfect food!

We make the right amount we need,
The perfect temp for every feed.
There's no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can't be beat.
I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I'll meet her needs, I'll always try.
It's not about what's good for you,
It's best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads, leave me be ma'am
I will nurse her, MOM I am.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Living dead girl- Surviving HG

Yes, the blog title is a reference to the Rob Zombie song.  Whether that makes me awesome or a freak is up for debate.

There is a time in my life that I can't often bear to speak of.  If I do, it is usually to describe it as hell, which doesn't even come close to how I really feel about it.  If I can help even one person understand though, it will be worth it.

I'm terrified of becoming pregnant again.  I have beautiful, healthy, amazing daughters that I absoultey adore.  I have a husband that loves and supports us.  We used to talk about having four children.  Aside from the fact that it would be financially rather difficult for us at this time, I am deeply, profoundly fearful of being pregnant again. 

There aren't many people that can understand why I feel this way.  Not even the closest people in the world to me.  Perhaps just my mother, because she was even worse off than I was.  She nearly died in her pregnancy with me, and she also witnessed the living corpse I was for months.

I was 19 years old when we discovered that I was expecting our first child.  It wasn't planned, but we grasped eachother's hands tightly and dove into our future as parents.  Soon the sickness started.  It was unrelenting.  Morning sickness is a joke.  I was sick around the clock.  I worked at Starbucks and my manager would berate me for being so sick and weak.  I was constantly having to run to the dirty public restroom to throw up, with the humilation of customers often hearing me.  The big store manager even called me in to his office once to chastise me for not giving 110% to my job.  I told them I really needed to be able to eat every couple of hours, or the nausea and vomiting would overtake me.  They said it was against policy for me to have food behind the counter.  I was reduced to hopeless tears.  Even worse, I was on a shift where I was the only worker, with no one to relieve me for my law-required breaks every 2 hours. 

There were several times that I ended up throwing up right next to my car as I left for the day, but the worst was when it hit me once suddenly while driving.  There wasn't a few seconds of warning as usual, just sudden and violent vomiting all over myself and my car.  I nearly wrecked while trying to pull over to a safe place.  Then I had to drive home covered in it.  I was only on my lunch break, and my boss was a witch yet again when I had to call and say that myself and my car were covered in puke and there was no way I'd make it back in time. 

Eventually, they cut me down to just 8 hours of work a week, which was a relief to my body, but meant we were under even more financial strain.  Aside from the insensitive cow that I worked for, I LOVED my job, and hated going from the best at it, to the worst. 

People tended to write off how I felt.  "Oh, just eat some crackers".  Believe me, I tried everything.  Some people tried to suggest that it was in my head.  That I didn't want my baby.  She may not have been planned, but I have known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to be a mother above all else in life.  The emotional wounds just added to the ridiculousness of what I was going through.  I vomited 10-30 times a day for 7 months of that pregnancy.  One of my back teeth became infected and required emergency oral surgery.  Fortunately, I was able to hold down food.  In fact, the more I ate, the better.  I managed to gain plenty of weight, because eating a little bit every 2 hours was the only thing that would keep the sickness at bay sometimes.  I threw up a LOT, but kept down enough to function, although I was incredibly tired and weak.  Little did I know then, compared to my next pregnancy, this one was bliss.

Our second pregnancy was planned.  I had deluded myself into thinking that my previous sickness had just been stress-related, and it would surely be a thousand times better this time around.  I thought I was prepared.  How very wrong I was.

This time, the fatigue was all-consuming.  The nausea and vomiting hit me like a brick wall.  I tried all the "morning sickness" tricks and natural remedies that I'd read about and that others recommended.  This time, I could not even hold down a sip of water.  Often, I could not even make myself swallow.  A minuscule nibble of cracker would instantly come up, along with stomach acid.  Sometimes all that would come up was what looked like snot.  Sometimes I'd retch and retch for eternity, with nothing left in me to come up.

I would go days without a bite to eat.  Once or twice a week, I would be able to hold down maybe one meal worth of food.  I don't know how I could have lived otherwise.  My sense of smell was unbearably strong.  I could smell deodorant on people, the chemicals in a disposable diaper, clean laundry from across the room, dirty dishes in another room.  Things that were supposed to smell nice made me sick.  Gross smells made me even sicker.  Even just the clean smell on my husband after he got out of the shower would make me vomit.

My husband dragged me into urgent care several times, where all they'd do was basically say "yep, you're sick and dehydrated, eat, drink, and, it should be over soon".  They prescribed pills once, but they only made me throw up more.  When I got my past medical records for my midwife, I discovered that I had been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in my previous pregnancy, and they had NEVER said a word about it to me. 

It wasn't long before I was almost completely confined to bed due to extreme weakness and dizziness.  If I tried to get up and use the restroom, I'd get the sensation of almost passing out, but not quite.  My vision would shrink down and go black, so I could only see a tiny blurry circle.  I'd lost almost all control of my muscles, but would manage to get to the floor before I fell.  My husband had to buy me a shower chair, and help me wash my hair and body because my arms were so weak.  My mom would come over and try to get foods and liquids into me.  She'd help out a little bit with my little girl, but ultimately, she was a busy career woman and she couldn't be my nurse around the clock.

When I had to get blood drawn, I warned them that I was dehydrated and dizzy.  The nurse just looked at me like I was a wimp and sat me on a high stool to take my blood.  The room slowly started to disappear.  I was still present in my thoughts, but I no longer had control.  When I was able to open my eyes, I was on the floor with people all around me.  One said "You passed out because you're dehydrated".  You think?  Another asked me if I had a fear of blood or needles.  Of course not, I had plenty of experience with those things from my first pregnancy.  I was even a blood donor.  She still looked at me like I was a wimp.

I spent an awful lot of time on my bathroom floor.  My little girl was 2 at that time, and she'd toddle in, pat me gently on the back or head, and say "Are you okay mommy?  I love you".  She'd put her little arms around me, and I'd try not to weep in front of her.  My husband was working 2 full-time jobs at this time, and my little girl and I were alone most of the day.  The house was filthy.  My precious little girl had to just play alone most of the day while I laid there and desperately longed to be the mommy she deserved.  I had to take breaks just walking to the fridge to get her food.  I couldn't change a diaper without a least one break to vomit.  I can hardly bear to think of how traumatic and confusing it must have been to her.  I wasn't even able to care for my own needs, let alone the house or my child, and my husband was so stressed that he would just come home and hide in his computer games to escape this sick reality.  We were both drained, in very different ways. 

Sometimes I wondered if our marriage would survive, despite how very committed I was/am to him.  He didn't understand what I was going through.  He couldn't bear the thought of me truly being as sick as I looked.  He preferred to think that I was being somewhat lazy and milking it.  I had been very sick before, but had managed to still be up and around and at least fake being a normal human being.  He couldn't see how this time was so different, and I didn't understand it either.  I felt betrayed by my own body, and let down by the one person I was counting on the most.  My own brothers would talk about how their wives had experienced morning sickness too, but had managed to lead normal lives.  They couldn't see how it could be so different for me.  My aunt was convinced that walking a mile a day would do me some good. 

No one knew how DESPERATELY I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy.  How could anyone think I was enjoying this?  I was in HELL.  I was trapped in bed.  I was starving and weak.  My whole body hurt so bad that I could not sleep.  I had this really odd and uncomfortable sensation constantly like my limbs did not have enough blood in them.  My lips were so dry and cracked that over 2 years later, they are still not the same.  I cried more in those months than I did in the rest of my life combined.  I felt trapped in my body.  I felt like I'd lose my mind.  Sometimes I wondered if I already had.  I WANTED to clean my house, and play with my little girl, and just be a normal human being.  I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy in the way I hadn't been able to before.  Instead, I felt like a corpse.  I felt like I'd die if something didn't change, and no one would see it coming because they were convinced it was just "morning sickness" that I was milking.  But of course even thinking like that meant I was being "dramatic", and I'd get further depressed over my inability to be happy.  What a sick cycle.

I lost over 10% of my body weight in one month.  At 4 months pregnant, I was the size I had been when I was 16.  Instead of growing into maternity clothes, even my skinny jeans were hanging off of me.  I looked like hell.  One of my brothers saw me once, and was so taken aback that he choked up and left my house.

My midwife was a doll.  My husband came home and found me on the bathroom floor, unable to respond to him with more than a quiet moan.  Debbie came and brought me preggie pops and a host of other things for me to try.  Some things seemed to work once, but would fail after that.  Even though she wasn't able to fix me, she was the only person that never doubted me.

I was humiliated once when a friend came in to my disaster of a house, and found me in nothing but a t-shirt on the bathroom floor, hair greasy, legs unshaven for weeks, and probably looking like a sunken-faced drug addict.  She took one look at me and gasped over how thin my legs were. She couldn't believe that I was pregnant.

I would BEG to be taken into the hospital again.  "Please, please, if they can just give me IV fluids, at least I won't hurt so much anymore".  My mom and husband brushed me off, and just tried to get me to eat Pedialyte popsicles, which are DISGUSTING, especially when your sense of taste and smell happen to be over-active at the time.  They just came right back up anyway. 

I was terribly depressed.  I was afraid of losing my baby.  I was afraid of losing my husband.  I was CRUSHED at the lack of understanding.  I didn't want to be babyed, I just wanted them to stop doubting me.  I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy.  In Hyperemesis Gravidarum forums, there are women who suffered so much that they resorted to aborting babies that they had desperately wanted and tried hard to conceive.  There are some that considered suicide, or even attempted it.  I must say, that if I didn't have some very important reasons to live, and a baby inside me counting on me, I would have wanted to die too.  Instead, I just sometimes fantasized about it, logically knowing it was wrong, but still wishing for escape nonetheless.

I can still only scratch the surface of sharing with you what it was like to have HG, but I hope that if someone you know is ever unfortunate enough to experience this, you will never invalidate them or suggest that it is all in their head.  You'd never doubt a cancer patient's pain, please dont minimize or doubt ours.  It is real.  Too real.  We would do ANYTHING to escape this suffering, no one would ever choose it.

We are fortunate in that our daughters were born without any complications other than being a little early (3 weeks, and 4 weeks).  I still worry about the impact of a stressful pregnancy on them, and I can only hope to counteract that as much as possible through lots of love, lots of mama milk, and peaceful childhoods.

So many moms like me are afraid to ever try for another baby.  Although we love our children dearly, there is a constant fear that another pregnancy will bring more hell with it, for mom and the entire family.  There's a strong possibility of experiencing HG even WORSE with future pregnancies, and that thought can be so terrifying, that people would rather adopt, use a surrogate, or stop trying, than even think about going through that again.  How can one even care for the children they have when they're trapped in bed, on the bathroom floor, or in the hospital?

To be at a time in your life when you should be able to be happy and glowing, and to instead find yourself facing death or even begging for it, can rip your soul right apart.  After it is all said and done, we have to pick up the pieces or our lives and our sanity, and raise the beautiful little gifts that literally sucked the life right out of us.  Yes, of course they were worth it all, but I can't bear the thought of enduring it again.  You, like many others, may think I'm just being melodramatic, but if you could have stepped into my shoes for even one hour, you'd understand.

I'm grateful that the Hyperemesis Education and Reseach Foundation exists, because they've shown me that I'm not alone in my experiences and feelings.  Some of these women express things I still can't bring myself to say.

The Voices of HG from Around the World
All around the globe, HG women are speaking out

"I weighed 96 lbs at one point and looked like walking death. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."

"I made it only to the 7th week, then I ended it.  I was violently ill. like nothing I had ever experienced before, I had very low blood pressure, 59/39 at one point, a uterine hemorrhage, and a kidney infection, and vomiting 15-20 times a day.  I was on 6 different anti-nausea drugs, and they did nothing.  I still can't believe how sick I was."

"My muscles have broken down from being unable to walk without vomiting, I fractured a rib, tore my esophagus, damaged my eyes and need ten root canals."

"I was in pain from the dehydration and bawling and pleading for some relief. I went 4 weeks without eating one bite of food."

"I lived on my bathroom floor with my down comforter over me or in the hospital getting an IV...  My life turned upside down...  I went from a vibrant, happy, loving, spontaneous, career driver type A personality to essentially - nothing." CR - Mill Valley, CA

"[She] has been bedridden in darkness - with no TV, no ability to read, barely able to talk, for the last 7 weeks.  A steady and heartbreaking moan can be heard coming from her room. she hangs on, because she knows if she terminates, she will never have the courage/strength to try again." Gail, NJ

"I felt that during my pregnancy my body had betrayed me and that I would never have the family I dreamed of." C. H., Colorado Springs, CO

"Some family members and friends. said that I had an eating disorder because I could not control the sickness." Kristie R. "I now have arthritis and some "minor" bone density loss. I have lost most of my hair during pregnancies due to malnutrition. This is with nutritional IV treatments." C. H., Colorado Springs, CO

"I would sleep on the floor of the bathroom most nights. My husband didn't understand what was happening at all and got very irritated with me. I would just cry all by myself and other times I was too sick to even react to anything at all. I have never felt so alone in my entire life." M

"I'm on short term disability but I'm waiting to be fired at any moment. This of course just adds to the stress. Friends and family try to understand but they think I have just a case of morning sickness" "I wanted this baby but it's been so long since I felt that because I've been so sick that I can't even bond with it."

"There just wasn't any point in trying anymore. No one could comprehend the sheer hell I was going through. I felt so guilty because I actually wanted a miscarriage even though this child was planned and wanted. This condition is very expensive and my insurance company actually called me at my home on several occasions to ask me when I would be getting better, as if I knew!"

"With no family or support, we reluctantly put our daughter into daycare because I was unable to care for her." Danielle O., Knoxville, TN

"I went through several different emotions... I hated myself, the pregnancy, my life. I had panic/anxiety attacks because I felt so trapped in my own body. I felt like I was going to lose my mind." Danielle O., Knoxville, TN

"People stop calling, they stop coming around, they just don't understand and that's when depression sinks in." LJ, Australia

"I speak with my husband and think about having another child everyday... Others say often, "it's only 9 ½ months" but if they could have seen me, or what those surrounding me went through then, maybe just maybe they would understand. The experience is so raw and scary and yes the outcome is glorious but the journey almost killed me." CR - Mill Valley, CA

"My best friend (24 years old) died from what I believe was HG. She died over a year ago and her condition went 7 months undiagnosed before she died. Serpil

"I was constantly worried about the baby. Why wasn't my doctor prescribing IV fluids. I hadn't gained a pound. the resentment of my ob/gyn fueled me to change doctors, throw away the useless prescriptions and aggressively take my health and my baby's health into my own hands. However, it was too late. I suffered a 20 week loss of my son. I think we desperately need to expose this issue, so that suffers aren't misdiagnosed and mistreated by family and friends, doctors are more informed and more remedies are developed to help the women who endure this illness.." Cynthia T., Baltimore, MD

"My 19 year old daughter died on March 19 2002. She was 13 weeks pregnant. and had been to the hospital twice the week before and diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum."

More information on HG from the H.E.R Foundation:


Friday, January 22, 2010

Fruit of the boob

My friend Melissa recently bought a new home, and I drove out to go visit and see it.  We grabbed a cup of tea and sat down in front of the beautiful picture window facing her back yard.  I immediately noticed that there were gorgeous fruit trees growing out there, along with some wild raspberries along the fence.  How lovely!  I smiled and commented with enthusiasm about how much they must enjoy having that lovely fruit out there for them to enjoy any time.  How much her children must enjoy snagging a fresh snack while they play!

Melissa frowned.  "Oh, we don't eat it"  Oh dear!  I asked if there was a bug problem or something.  She mumbled some vague things about how hard they are to take care of, she just doesn't know how, store-bought is so much easier.  Plus, they put extra vitamins in those boxed fruit snacks and stuff, so why bother with the stuff growing out there.  How strange, I thought!  I told her I had some experience with growing things, and would be happy to lend a hand, but she just brushed me off, and repeated that she was just unable.  Unable, or unwilling?  Surely, there are plenty of people, books, or websites she could have turned to for some help if she was really having a hard time knowing how to care for the trees. 

Melissa had sun and rain provided by nature, an able body, and even a shed with some yard tools.  What was her problem?  Was she that lazy?  Was she just assuming it was more work than it really was?  Sure, there might be some weeds or bugs now and then, but surely all that lovely natural fruit out there was worth a little trouble!  How many people would love to have that for their family to enjoy!  I sighed over the waste, and tried not to cringe when she tossed her kids some packs of squishy fruit snacks.

How many other women waste the beautiful, natural food they were given to bless their children with?  Instead of choosing fruit snacks over fresh fruit, many choose formula over breast milk.  So many claim that they were unable.  Unable, or unwilling?  If your garden has some weeds or bugs, it does not mean you are completely unable to garden!  Some people have gardens plagued with rocks, weeds, and bugs, and they still manage to overcome.  Put your gloves on, dig in, and make it happen!  Research and ask for help if necessary.  The rewards will be reaped for a long time.

It hurts my heart when people waste their beautiful and natural abilities.  We wouldn't want our children to give up on something important, so why give up so quickly on feeding them in the way that God/Nature gave you and your precious child?  It sends a silent message saying "You're just not worth the effort".  Although most parents deeply love their children and wouldn't intentionally say that to their child, not giving breastfeeding a true effort IS suggesting that you feel that way.  What other areas of parenting will you do half-heartedly?  How many other ways will you give up on your child when they really need you to persevere? 

Please, if there are a few bugs in your trees, or weeds in your garden, don't give up.  Don't just let that beautiful fruit rot away.  A fresh homegrown apple beats fruit snacks any day!  Apples and breasts are not "better" than fruit snacks and formula.  They are natural and normal.  Anything else is artificial and deficient.  Put your mind to it, get some help if you need it, and know that you and your child will be richly blessed for that effort in the end. 

(I'm sure that some people are bound to gripe and complain that they are in the 2% of women that are truly unable to breastfeed.  Obviously, those with a valid reason are not being attacked here.  I do believe there are far more people claiming to be "incapable" than there really are.  Whether or not you are one of those people is for you to examine in your own heart.  If you really did try your best and were still unable, then there's nothing to feel bad about)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The birth of change

(talks briefly of a lost baby, and touches on past negative birth experience, you may want to avoid this if you are sensitive to those things)

My first birth was NOT super.  We were 19, unprepared, and just trying to survive in a whirlwind of family judgment, and financial strain.  Our little surprise blessing was born 3 weeks "early"after 38 hours, drugs that made me unbearably itchy, epidural, a vacuum extraction, tearing and cutting, and more stitches than my doctor cared to count.  We were of course thrilled to have our beautiful little girl, but aside from her, the only good thing I walked away from that experience with was a longing for something better for all of us.

After about a year, we got the internet and I met some amazing women online that I'm still friends with today.  They challenged me to think beyond the norm, and I spent an unfathomable amount of time learning everything I could about breastfeeding and parenting in general.  Then one day I found a brochure for a midwife in our local area and a light bulb came on!  I hadn't even thought such an option would be available here!  Then it was on to furious learning about birth, although I wasn't even pregnant again or even trying yet!

We planned to have a home birth.  I learned deep relaxation techniques using Hypnobabies.  The knowledge and experiences I found online blessed my heart every day and I felt like we were moving in a really positive direction.

We finally decided to try for baby #2, and were successful on the 2nd month after having my IUD out.  Baby was due around the same time our first little girl would turn 3.  We were THRILLED.  Then, Hyperemesis hit me.  I'd had it the first time too, but this was considerably worse.  As the infamous Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce would say, "It sucked and then I cried".  Anyway, I survived that hell with my sanity barely intact.

Later in my pregnancy, a dear friend of ours moved in with us briefly as she was between homes.  She had lost a full-term son right before I found out I was pregnant.  Despite my fears that it would be too hard for her to be around me pregant, she was the epitome of a perfect friend, and I loved that time with her.  We spent a lot of time crying and laughing together.  One day, we all sat in the living room, and I commented on how unusually active baby was being that day.   My friend said that baby was bound to come at any time!  I said "Nahh, I'm only 36 weeks, baby has to finish baking".  That night, I put plastic down under our sheet, just in case, not anticipating putting it to use for some time.  I had felt all along that baby would be "early" like my first, but I was still hoping I was wrong!

I guess there is something to be said for intuition!  My water broke in bed the next morning.  I said to my husband "Wake up!  But don't roll over!"  He mumbled grumpily, and of course rolled right into the enormous puddle.  I had leaped out of bed, and still continued to gush shocking amounts of water onto the floor.  HOW was there that much inside me?!  Hmmm... no contractions.  I hopped in the shower while my husband got things together and called Debbie, my midwife.  She came over and we had some things to discuss.

Group B Strep (GBS) had shown up in a very early pregnancy urine test.  This meant I was "highly colonized" at that time.  I had also tested positive for it in my first pregnancy, and the early breaking of my waters with no contractions was another warning sign for GBS.  All these things together meant I was "high risk" for GBS.  She had me swab myself so we could send off for the results and at least get them back after the birth so we'd know whether to watch baby for signs of it.  In addition to all this, I was also 4 weeks "early", AND Rh negative (risk of blood incompatibility junk).   Since our local hospital SUCKS and is now a student hospital to top it off, I decided there was no way I wanted to count on those people to take care of a serious problem if need be, or to even handle a few little tests or something afterwards if it was needed.  On top of that, I was plagued with memories of my own first birth there, years of my grandpa being in that hospital, AND being there with my friend as she had to birth her angel baby.  I REALLY wanted to be as far as possible from there.

We made the decision to go to the free standing birthing center in a bigger city about 45 minutes away.  My midwife volunteered there, and it was right near a good hospital.  As my labor had not even begun, we figured the long drive would be no biggie.

The birthing center was amazing.  It was just like a great big house, and we had the top floor to ourselves.  A "family area" which was just a big living room and kitchen.  My room was just like an actual bedroom with a big bed in it.  Nothing was "clinical" feeling at all.  It was really comfortable.  There was an incredible big tub too.  I was in HEAVEN!!!


We had hoped our daughter could be there for the birth if she wanted, but since we didnt even know when labor was going to START, we let her go stay with her favorite aunt who was right there in town.  Then we waited.  I was still losing a lot of water any time I sat for a while and then stood up.  I had forgotten the small detail that the water never stops being produced, lol.  Messy!

I rocked on a birth ball, I walked all over the neighborhood, I went up and down the stairs over and over... NO labor.  Just a few weenie contractions.  They wondered if my Hypnobabies training was SO effective that I was in labor and just not realizing it, lol.  I didn't think so.  I opened myself up to feeling anything, and there was nothing.  Then I tried some homeopathic stuff my midwife had (gasp!  I know, an "intervention!").  Everyone was loving and supportive.  Nothing was done without me fully understanding and wanting it, and that made all the difference in the world to me.  Still... no labor.  We even locked ourselves in the bedroom for a few hours and tried nipple and clitoral stimulation (all scrubbed up of course).  I got to have some fun, heehee, but still... no labor! 

Boy was I glad to not be in a hospital, because they would have given me a c-section after 24 hours, because of my broken water and the "risk of infection".  I took some immune boosting herbs every few hours, and did rinses with grapefruit seed extract in water every time i peed, to cut down my risk of infection.  Our vitals were monitored closely, and I didn't have even a hint of a fever or anything, so I said that as long as we were both doing perfectly well, we’d stay at the birthing center.  I felt very at peace and in-tune with baby.

My husband was a doll.  I asked for some food from the grocery store, and he returned with about a week's worth of groceries, lol.  He said he just wanted to make sure I had everything I could possibly crave.

Finally, after 43 hours of being STUPID and wearing myself out trying to get things going,  I asked if we should do an internal exam to see if there was something we could discover.  So Debbie (my midwife) and I scrubbed up really good.  I was still only at 2 or 3 cm after all that time, but VERY stretchy.  The problem was, my baby was posterior, and her head wasn't down in the right way to get my cervix to open up.  Turns out, my cervix was also pointing way towards my back.  She could feel the baby moving her head and trying to get into place.  My wimpy and sporadic contractions were totally ineffective of course.

I decided to have Debbie try to manually dilate me, and BOY was I glad for my Hypnobabies training then!  I got down on my knees and supported my front on a birthing ball, because she couldn't even reach my cervix with me laying down.  Over the next 6 hours, she managed to dialate me to 8 cm, turn the baby’s head, and pull my cervix forward.  I'd have hard contractions then, but every time I got up to pee and come back, everything would be back to the way it was.  Cervix at 2-ish and posertior, and baby was again posterior too.   We went though this several times.  I used my "deepening" cd for hypnosis to keep me under.  It was incredible.  I didn't feel a thing, and I had no sense of how much time was passing.  I was able to support myself on that ball that whole time without even moving.  They said my legs started to shudder a little from exhaustion, but I didn't feel that either.

FINALLY, things got in place and stayed that way!  My contractions hit fast and furious.  Instead of begging for an epidural, I found myself begging for a nap, lol.  I was so exhausted from spending all that time walking, going up and down stairs, using the birthing ball, doing pelvic rocks, and all that jazz.  I got into the tub.  My mom was a HUGE help, and my poor husband was at this point useless and just trying not to pass out.  I had practiced my hypnobabies in complete silence, so when my birthing time came, every little sound was distracting me.  Oops!  A contraction would come, and I’d start to fight it, then my mom would put her hand on my shoulder and say "release!!!", and BAM!  I’d go as limp as a noodle.  They had to keep the water shallow because I’d shut TOTALLY off and just sink way down.

Then suddenly, I was pushing without even meaning to!  It was such an amazing feeling!  I hadn't been able to feel that when I gave birth to Brooklyn.  They had to TELL me to push with her.  This time it was "well, apparently I’m at 10, because my body is pushing without me!"

I ended up having to get out of the tub to finish birthing her.  My body was too tired to support myself well enough.  They also lost her heart beat with their little hand-held doppler and said I had to get her out ASAP.  So... she was actually starting to crown WHILE I got out of the tub and moved to the bed.  It turns out that my scarring from my last birth was so deep that it wasn't allowing me to stretch very well.  It was a tad scary in that time, because they still didn't have a heartbeat on her, and I was having trouble stretching enough.  My midwife used her hands to help push me over baby's head, and at 8:45 am on the 13th of March, it FINALLY happened.

She came out perfect and screaming.  All was well.  My darling husband, mom, and grandma all cried.  My husband told me that it was a girl (we hadn't known), and then promptly had to call and tell everyone, lol.  My grandma cut the umbilical cord after a while when it was done giving our baby all her blood.  Having my baby girl placed in my arms was so amazing.  Its such a different experience to not be doped up.  It was the high of a lifetime!  I would never do it the other way again.  All in all, it was about 49 hours of waiting and only about one hour of real labor and birth.

I just needed 3 little stitches from tearing, no biggie.  Hubby, baby, and I all curled up in the bed for a little nap.

Debbie brought us some incredible Thai food.  Once I had eaten and rested a bit, I was up and around and feeling fantastic beyond belief!  When I talked to people on the phone, they joked about how much drugs I must be on, but it was pure birth bliss.  I think most of them were under the impression that a birthing center is just like a hospital, lol, when in reality it was just a beautiful house.  We went home that SAME afternoon.  We even stopped to briefly visit my in-laws and let them meet our still vernix-covered baby. 

Alas, our adventure was still not over.

The next day, baby was starting to look a little yellow.  By that night, when Debbie came over to our house to check on us, she was looking REALLY yellow.  It was a bit unusual for jaundice to show up so early.  Since I’m a negative blood type, and baby is a positive one, we had to make sure that it wasn't an issue with blood incompatibility.  We decided that we shouldn't even wait til morning, so we took her in to the hospital to get it checked out.  That ended up being a total nightmare.  It was my mom, Debbie, and I with the baby, and they tried to tell us there couldn't be that many people with her, but I promptly told them to bite me.  It certainly wasn't hurting anyone for us to just be sitting in a room with her.

They spent 3 HOURS just trying to get enough blood out of her for the tests.  They couldn't use a heel poke as they do for some other tests, this particular blood had to be straight from the vein.  They were all confused as to why there was a newborn coming in to them at all.  Shouldn't we have been up in the maternity ward where they are used to this sort of thing?  -sigh-  It had to be the worst 3 hours of my life.  It was after 8 in the morning before we finally got to go to the maternity ward.  We’d spent all night in the ER.  They put my mom and I in a room WITH the baby (I’d have liked to see them try and tell me she had to be in the nursery), and got her set up with the special lights for her jaundice.  They had ruled out blood issues, and determined it was just normal jaundice, so that was a relief.

My mom and I spent 2 nights in the hospital with her, until her levels were down "enough".  Our insurance wouldn't cover having the lights machine at home like they had for our first daughter.  Forrest had to stay home to be with Brooklyn.  I missed him a lot, but we decided it was better to keep things as normal for Brooklyn as possible, instead of sending her to be with someone else so Forrest could be with me.  It was so hard to be away from them, but hey, at least I didnt have to cook.

Despite being 4 weeks early, baby was well baked, lol.  6 pounds 14 ounces.  She nursed like a champ too!  The hospital said she might have problems with that, and offered formula.  I promptly told them to screw right off.  They didn't even ASK how nursing was going, just threw out that assumption.  Any time she had to get her heel poked for the jaundice test, they wanted to just cart her off to the nursery with out me.  That was another big hell no.  I would hold her the entire time, or they weren't allowed to touch her.  Then they looked at me like I was the meaneset mom in the world for refusing to give her sugar water before and during the poke.  "What, you don't want to lessen your baby's pain?!"  HELLOOO.. I have BOOBS.  Duh.

All this time, our baby was still without a name.  We jokingly called her "Bob 2", as we had jokingly called our first daughter "Bob" while waiting 3 days to settle on her name.  While I had been pregnant, my beloved grandpa, Charles, had passed away.  My husband had chosen the name Gabriel Charles if our baby was to be a boy, but I had nothing chosen for a girl.  I felt I needed to meet her first.  My grandmother had jokingly suggested "Charlene", as it is a feminine version of "Charles", and we didn't feel it suited her.  When I looked it up in the baby name book, I saw that Charlotte was another feminine version of Charles.  Still, we didn't settle on it at that time.  When we came home from the hospital, hubby and I talked and realized we had both gotten Charlotte stuck in our heads and had begun to think of her as that.  So we finally named her Charlotte Annalee. 

Anyway, those couple of days were long, but we finally began our lives as a family of 4.  It wasn't the simple "mom births baby in a pool of water with candles lit, and that is that" kind of experience, but it was still something I treasure.  I would highly recommend considering a midwife and Hypnobabies to anyone planning on having a baby.  It makes all the difference in the world to at least understand what your body is supposed to do, and not fear it.

Bless you all!  Please feel free to ask questions and share your own stories.  If you've hung in through this crazy long story, at least drop me a short comment to say hi :-)

Why choose a midwife?

Great video!  I think this pretty much speaks for itself.  Discuss!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Confessions of a sex goddess turned co-sleeper

Once upon a time, I was all about lingerie.   Black lace, high heels, and thigh highs.  Two kids later... I'm all about diapers, slobbery kisses... AND lingerie!  :-)  Not at the same time of course, lol.  The truth is, I may be an attached mama that loves to breastfeed and co-sleep, but my inner sex goddes is NOT dead!  Some people wonder how we can possibly share our bed with a rambunctious toddler and occasionally our 4 year old too, and still have a sex life worth speaking of.  To that I say, we're creative!

If you come over to our house, please try not to think about how many times we've gotten dirty on that couch cushion you're sitting on!  I also hope you don't notice the butt print on the shower door.  I'm pretty sure I erased all evidence of shenanigans from the kitchen counter. 

Come on, you don't just do it in bed, do you?  Just because we have kids doesn't mean we can't have fun!

Honestly, I don't think that co-sleeping impacts our sex life at all.  If anything does it, it is just parenting and life in general, and we overcome that too.  The location of your sleeping child is irrelevant.  In fact, we happen to have a king size bed, and have no qualms about scooting baby to one far corner of it so we can make good use of the other end. Yes, seriously!  That's like 5 feet away on a bed that size, lol.  She sleeps right through it, I promise.  I know we're not the only ones, either :-P

Anyhoooooo....  *nervous laugh*... we do get the bed to ourselves as well.  The little meatloaf often just falls peacefully asleep on the couch, and we jump on the chance to have some freedom in our own bed.  She can come snuggle up with us after the mayhem has died down.  I'll admit there have been a few times she's woken up out there and I've had to nurse her back to sleep whilst wearing sexy (and itchy) things, or nothing at all!  I'm sure it would look awkward to an outsider, but I've mastered the ability to switch from mommy mode to sex goddess mode and back seamlessly.  The bigger meatloaf sleeps like a hibernating bear in her own room, so she's no trouble (so much for the myth that the kids will never leave your bed, eh?)

My mother and grandmother have tried telling me that I'm not being "fair" to my husband.  *snicker*  He loves co-sleeping just as much as the kids and I do.  It's a win-win for him!  He still gets nookie from the wifey, AND the joys of bed sharing with his adorable little squirts.  What's not to love?  It's just a matter of being flexible and understanding.

Sometimes we do get too tired.  We'll flash a "how you doin" kind of look at eachother across the bed, then laugh because we realize we're both too worn out at the moment.  Like I said though, that's just life and parenting.  We make a point of making it happen other times.  This time in our children's lives is so brief in the broad scheme of things, anyway.  Someday we'll have more than enough time on our hands, lol.  Don't assume that co-sleeping families are chaste and boring.  We're forced to be more creative, and
if anything, that gives us a BETTER sex life.

So, my fellow co-sleeping mommies, come clean!  How do YOU balance your mommy side and sex goddess side?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sweet Milk, Sweet Memories

Breastfeeding a toddler or older child can sure be an adventure!  My nursling is almost 2, and sometimes I feel like a combination jungle gym/vending machine!  Most people in our lives don't understand it, and I could rattle on about the WHO recommendation of at least 2 years, I could list all the many ways that it benefits her body and mind... but all health reasons for full-term breastfeeding aside, I'm still so glad for this special experience, despite how others may degrade it in their minds.

The way my little one exclaims "Beebees!" with such utter glee, the way she smiles while nursing and pats my breast, the way she can slow down her crazy little life and have a peaceful moment with me now and then, the way she giggles and pushes my husband away if he teases her and starts going after my boob... It's all so silly, special, comforting, and yes, occasionally irritating, lol.  I wouldn't trade this for the world.  Even when I feel literally drained, just seeing how incredibly happy and healthy she is rejuvenates and blesses me like nothing else! 

I hope that by sharing this post, moms that are "still" breastfeeding will be able to relate, and hopefully get a smile or giggle from it too.  I hope that this may also help others realize that full-term nursing isn't just something done by "natives" or "hippies" (terms I've actually heard people use to describe people who nurse beyond a year, ugh)!  It isn't something we do just for the sake of being weird.  It isn't something that becomes perverted just because your child passes their first birthday.  It is still just as healthy and comforting to them as it was when they were little babies, and we do it just because it is NORMAL.  I hope you enjoy the following quotes, and please feel free to add your own in a comment!  Big thank you to everyone that contributed to this post :-)

My eldest son, who self-weaned at about nearly 3, came into my bedroom about 6 months later while I was dressing. He saw me with no shirt and exclaimed, "THERE'S my boobies!!!"

My 3 year old said," mmm, tastes like HONEY!"

My 21 month old son who is still nursing recently called me "mama cup" while patting my chest.  Also, when i asked him what my milk tasted like, he said "chotat" which I think meant chocolate! Nursing has been such a blessing for us.

My 5yo sister has called nursing "ump" since she was a baby. When she was old enough to talk, we asked her why. She said, "Oh, that's how I used to say bumps when I was little."

My 3 year old tells me all the time he wants to give me booby kisses like sister HayLee does.. :)

I can remember my mother nursing me on demand, and I was at least three, possibly even four. Knowing she was there for me to snuggle up to and comfort nurse was the most... safe... feeling, and it's almost impossible to recreate as an adult. ♥ Thank you, mom.

My 2.5 yr old just weaned 2 months ago. Sitting on the potty the other day she said "I'm a big girl, I go potty, no more Momma's milk for me, bye, bye momma's milk". So sweet....

My daughter is 5; she self weaned at 37 months. The other day as she watched her little brothers nurse, she said to me "I loved mama milk. It was so warm and sweet."

My 3yo son and I were in a fabric store and when I picked him up, he put his hand on my breast and said, "I like your boob. I like your milk. I like you."

My son when he was just over 2-ish, would go up to strangers who had a young crying baby and tell them "that baby need boob. give that baby boob." lol

My daughter called it "her sleepy drink" one night...that made me remember how comforting it was to her to nurse to sleep.

My, at the time, almost 3 yo son was nursing and he pulled off my breast, he looked at me and said I want booby. I am thinking you were just having that. He says with great expression "The Big Booby right there". He meant the one he hadn't already deflated. He would constantly tell me that he loves booby and he still

Morgan talks about it all the time, lol. She says "Your milkies taste like ice-cream, Ethan and Abby are lucky".

This morning my 3 yrs & 5 mths old daughter spontaneously said to me " Mummy, I like to kiss you sooo much and I like your milky all the time because I love you soooo much."

"Mom if i knew the milk would go away if i stopped, i would have never stopped!" my son nursed until he was 4, and apparently would have nursed longer had he known he was in charge of the milk supply.

Awhile back my 4 y/o daughter took my bra and smelled it (LOL). I asked her what she was doing and she said, "This smells like your milk and I miss nursing." Unfortunately our bf'ing journey came to a short end, but I'm still nursing my 19 month old and there is no sight of him self-weaning :)

According to my 2 year old, my milk tastes like chocolate milk!

My 2.5 y/o daughter says "mommy milk tastes like ice cream". We also goof around with each other and I will say "my boobies" and she responds "No, my boobies!"

My 3yo (then 2.5), who was planning to tandem nurse, would tell me when I was pregnant, "I have to SHARE the breastmilk. First the baby, then me."

I'm tandem nursing my 23 month old and newborn. The 23 month old doesn't say many quotable things yet but if the baby starts to cry she says "baby nine" (her version of nurse).  She'll also try to wake the baby because she knows if I'm nursing the baby I'll probably let her nurse. 

Sometimes when I am nursing JoAnna (18 months), her older brother asks if he can try again...just to see what's it like. I asked him if he remembers what it was like. (He is 10 now). Nope, he don't remember breast feeding, well, he remembers doing it, but not the taste. He acts like he misses it and so he lays down beside me while I nurse JoAnna. He has always been very close to me. I had nursed Jay for 2 1/2 years. He would be still nursing today if I would let him. LOL

Daniel says ''boobie is my best friend'' he hugs my boobie, then latches on. It's so cute, he also says he want to go booby night night. 

Elyse still is mainly talking in one-two word sentences but she has patted my boob before and said "love".  When I was going through some hormonal pain while nursing and I explained how mommy needed a break she said "boo boos" and kissed my breast.  Yesterday she was at the doctor's office and there were a lot of newborns there.  She was pointing them out to my husband and telling him how the babies need "bubbas" (her word for nursing).  She was also saying, "milk milk, yum" with a big smile on her face.

My daughter used to call it "Yummy juice", but now she only wants me to nurse her baby brother, because, you know, she can eat pizza and stuff. ;)

Sophie has always said such sweet things about it, both when she was still nursing, and now that she has weaned.  :)  Some of my favorites:  "I want milk.  I love your milk.", "I love your boobies.  They smell like honey!"  After latching on for a moment recently:  "I'm done nursing!" and walking off happily!
Regarding Cherise:  "She needs you to nurse her!"  "Aww Sewise!  You having your milk??  It's yummy!" 

Just this morning, my 3yo said, "Mamma, is the baby sister in your belly having mommy milk yet?" "Not yet, honey." "Kai (my 1.5yo) and I love your mommy milk. But, I'm not a baby anymore. So, I'll share mine with baby sister and then when she's asleep I'll drink the rest all up."

My two year old in the morning (he was recently night weaned): "Is the milk still sleeping?" He also often says, "The milk was yummy" after nursing. If he gets hurt, "I want some milk to make me feel better."

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