Sunday, June 1, 2014

Goodbye Blog

I have debated whether or not I should delete this blog, but I don't want all my posts to erase, so I have decided to make it private. I won't be writing on here again, and if I ever get pregnant again, I will post about it on my family blog. After finding my blog on a few pregnancy forums, I knew it was time to erase it. I guess I'm not as open as a person as I thought. I love pregnancy and want to share it with others, but I'm not sure I want to share it with strangers. I also don't want to share my thoughts or personal beliefs of pregnancy, breast feeding and delivery. It is such a controversial subject, and the last thing I want to do is hurt people's feelings.

The forums I read were eye-opening for me. People talked about my pregnant belly and the kind of person they thought I was. It was good to read. Really good to read. I will never stop loving pregnancy and birth, but I won't be so public about it. I won't push my views on others, and I will also be open to the views of other people. Reading pages and pages of thoughts centered around this blog was therapeutic and also very informative. I shed some tears, but I also got to see pregnancy from a different perspective. Heck, maybe one day I will even have a home birth! When I take pictures of my belly, it is not a way for me to brag, but I understand if I have made people feel that way. The last thing I want to do is hurt people or make them feel inferior, and that is why this blog must become private.

It has been fun, and I hope anyone visiting from a pregnancy forum (babyandbump) can read my apology and know that I never meant to hurt anyone. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Birthing Experience Vs.Birthing Safety

There is one phrase that I hear that makes me cringe, "My birth experience wasn't what I wanted." And although I sympathize with more extreme cases, I don't sympathize with those that complain over "unnecessary medical intervention," and include getting an IV and having the baby monitored as "unnecessary". Sometimes having a baby isn't about the mom, in fact it is always about the baby.

 I just watched "The Business of Being Born," and within ten minutes of hearing statistics, I was ready to chuck something at the TV. The moment it mentioned "midwives" in the US vs. the rest of the world, I knew I was in for an hour of untruths. I hate the term midwife. Why? Well certified midwives in the US don't have to go to school. They attend some training and call it a day. Certified NURSE midwives are completely different and have at least a masters degree and typically work in doctor's offices or hospital birthing centers. The rest of the world only uses the term "midwife" for those who go to extensive school/training like our NURSE midwives. Make sense? We already have highly-educated nurse midwives, and I simply don't understand using a second-class midwife.

Do not mix up the two. The homebirths you see are done by a midwife who hasn't ever worked in a hospital and seen first-hand "real" life-threatening births. So when a life-threatening birth happens, how is she suppose to spot it before it is too late? Midwives here are more like doulas, which are great to have for support, as a spokesperson, and someone to help you through the labor. When it comes to having a completely normal and safe birth, then yes homebirths with a midwife are probably the best experience ever. The midwife has learned all the techniques to deal with the pain and delivered countless babies. But, and this is a big BUT, what if something does go wrong? Is this beautiful homebirth experience worth the risk?

I'm guessing you can tell I am against homebirths? I am all about having a good birthing experience without an epidural, prolonged cord-cutting, and birthing in the water. I am not for homebirths--unless you don't make it to the hospital in time. The statistics you read can be confusing, and pro-homebirthers love to claim that homebirths are as safe or safer than hospital births. This is not true.

For starters, most people who have homebirths have gone through a screening to ensure they are a good candidates for safely birthing at home. This takes out any high-risk labors, previous C-sections, multiples, and women with pre-existing medical conditions. So the hospital pool is a combination of everyone, while homebirths are the ideal safe births. This immediately throws off the statistics.

Secondly, if a home-birth goes wrong and baby is transferred to the hospital, the hospital gets to add that "homebirth" into their numbers. This also includes babies born at home but pass-away in the ambulance or at the hospital.

Thirdly, studies that truly reflect low-risk women in a hospital setting vs. homebirth, show that homebirths are two to three times more likely to end in death.

Fourthly, The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) has never released the honest data of homebirths risks to the public. If they showed homebirths were safer, you can be dang sure they would share the data.

So yes, I think homebirths are a risk. I understand why women want them. They sound amazing, but I will never tell a women to have one. In the end it is the mom's choice, and I definitely respect that, but knowing all the facts before making a final decision is a must. This doesn't me rushing to a certified midwife and asking for her thoughts.

As for delivering in a hospital, I say go for whatever you want! You want your doula there? Do it. You want to labor at home? Go for it. You want to labor in the tub and walk around? Then do. I think before writing out a birth plan, it is always proactive to ask yourself, "Is this <insert detail> really going to affect my birth experience or is it safer for the baby?" While we all envision how we want our labor and delivery to go, it really can take us anywhere. Yes, I do believe that C-sections are overdone, and many women feel like they were robbed of an experience when they are rushed to surgery, but all doctors aren't quick to cut. I was in labor with Lincoln for 12 hours and his heart rate was insane, and guess what? When it dropped to 40 and the nurse panicked for a C-section, the doctor calmly said, "give it a few seconds," and then helped me push my son out.

While I love reading birth stories, it saddens me to hear people disappointed in holding their baby for the first time; too caught up on their missed vision, they forget to embrace the miracle happening right in front of them. Being prepared, but open to "interventions" will help you appreciate the gift of creating a baby inside you for nine full months, even if it is done with medicine. I am so blessed and thankful to live in the world we do. One hundred years ago 7% of women died in childbirth, and now that number is below 1%. How miraculous! I will always put birthing safety above my birthing experience.

For more information, statistics, and truths about homebirths check out this doctor's website. I found it very interesting, especially since I was looking at delivering our next baby at a birthing center. After learning more about midwives and talking to Scott, I realized it wasn't for me. I don't have a problem with birthing centers though, as they have strict regulations and fast transportation to hospitals.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing a Birth Plan

Birth plans are an excellent way to prepare yourself for labor. Although I don't think they are necessary to bring with you to the hospital, I definitely recommend writing one at home. I didn't have one written out for my first son, but I had one mentally in place without even realizing it. It was experiencing labor the first time, that helped me write out what I wanted the next time. Everyone has ideas of what they want to have happen in the delivery room, and whether your birth is all natural, a C-section, or at home, you can still have a birth plan in place.

My first Birth Plan Was Something Like This
-Go to hospital at first signs of Labor
-Get epidural when I start to feel pain
- Labor pain free
-Push Baby Out
-Scott cuts cord

When I decided to get induced, my birth plan went like this instead
-Arrive at hospital at 7:00
-Have my water broken
-Get Pitocin if my labor does not progress
-Receive epidural when I am dilated to a 5
-Have baby
-Scott cuts cord
-Breast Feed

With Maverick my Birth Plan Was This
-Do not get induced until 41 weeks
-Have membranes stripped at 38 weeks
-No Pitocin unless necessary
-Go to hospital when contractions hurt and are 3-5 minutes apart
-Get epidural
-Scott cuts cord
-Breast feed immediately after delivery
-No binkies
-No formula
-No bottles
-Lots of stool softener!

As you can see, my birth plan was focused on having success at breastfeeding, and it took Lincoln's birth to help me create it. I did not bring it with me to the hospital, as I knew what I wanted and also knew my hospital supported breastfeeding. The most important thing you can do before writing a birth plan is to visit your hospital to get a complete feel for it. Most things that are on birth plans are already done anyways. Other things are not an option, so know your hospital beforehand. Nurses respect birth plans, but writing one that is realistic will help your nurse follow it exactly how you want.

Most Hospitals:
-Offer the partner to cut the cord
-Do not give formula to a baby unless instructed to
-Place the baby on the mom's chest immediately after birth
-Require you to get an IV in case you need to be rushed to surgery
-Do not take the baby to the nursery, but place baby in bed next to yours
-Require baby to be monitored during labor (this can be done with a portable device so you can still walk around during labor).
-Do not give the baby a bottle unless instructed to
-Ask if students can observe, and you can say no
-Respect your decision to go without pain medication
-Will perform a C-section only if the life of the baby is in danger

The best birth plans are short and simple, but writing a long one is a great way to start and prepare yourself. If you want to give the nurses your birth plan, make it a short list. Create a longer one for you including everything from visitors, what to wear, pictures, medication, breastfeeding, and what you want to happen at home.

Your birth plan might not go exactly as planned, but this is what makes labor and delivery so much fun! The unknown is what keeps you on edge, helps you get through the pain, and gets you through the last pushes. No matter where your birth takes you, keeping a positive attitude will ensure you an experience you'll remember with a smile. If you refuse to except that you might have to get an IV or have baby suctioned out, then you might be a little disappointed in your birth.

Lincoln's birth did not go how I planned, but it was one of the happiest days of my life and I treasure the entire labor experience. He had a hole in his heart and was whisked away to the NICU before I could breastfeed him. After delivery, I didn't get to hold him again for two hours. A part of me is glad that I didn't have this huge birth plan with expectations written out. You might say "ignorance is bliss." I have read way too many birth stories about how a mom was "traumatized" by her hospital experience because she had to have an epidural, Pitocin, and couldn't eat. Those things shouldn't make your birth experience any less special or amazing. Be prepared, be open, and enjoy it because not everyone is blessed to give birth. I can't wait to experience labor again, and I am sure the next time around my birth plan will be the longest yet! I am already planning to go natural for my third. We will see! Hopefully in two years.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Breastfeeding Vs. Formula

I am not really sure why I have never blogged about this, but breastfeeding is a topic that is very intriguing to me. It fascinates me how passionate and defensive moms can be. I have read countless articles on why “Breast is Best!” Then the article lists several reasons on how your baby will be smarter and better bonded to you if you choose to breastfeed. These same articles argue how many moms give up too early and don’t try hard enough. If moms tried a little harder than they could do it.  It makes me angry. I am one of those moms! I didn’t breastfeed my oldest son after his first month; I must be a failure!

People often group moms into two different categories; breastfeeding moms and formula-feeding moms. While some moms argue that breastfeeding is the only way, formula moms try to defend their reasons for using formula. The problem with these two categories is there is another four groups of moms. Yes, I said four more. I will do the math for you, six categories of feeding moms!

The thing is, breastfeeding is not so black and white. It is complicated and full of surprises and many different challenges. I have been apart of four of these groups, and I feel this is a subject that can be very sensitive to many moms. No matter how your baby is fed, there is no wrong or right way. What matters most is your baby being loved and taken care of.

Breastfeeding is incredibly healthy and can provide many benefits to both mom and baby. But before you start judging the mom shaking a bottle filled with water and formula, you need to understand why. Let me start with the six categories, and then I will share my personal feelings and experience with breastfeeding.

1. Strictly Breastfeeding

This is the first category and is when an infant is breastfed until at least one year and given no formula or bottles.

2. Strictly Formula

This is when an infant is strictly given formula and never any amount of breast milk from day one.

3. Pumping breast milk

This is for moms who struggle to get their baby to latch or work away from home. Unable to breastfeed, they pump milk several times throughout the day. In my opinion it is the most exhausting of them all as it is double the work.

4. Breastfeeding with formula supplements

Some women for many unknown reasons cannot produce enough milk to feed their babies efficiently. While nursing their child, they also use formula to make sure baby is getting the nutrients to grow and develop safely.

5. Breastfeeding and then Formula

Many moms begin breastfeeding for a couple of months, but switch to formula sometime between the first month and the first year. It may be for work, convenience, latching struggles, or emotional reasons.

6. Moms who can’t breastfeed but want to

This is the last and the hardest category. This is the category that often gets overlooked. Some moms want so badly to be in category #1, but for whatever reason, they cannot breastfeed.

If you read through these categories you might find yourself in one that you never thought of before. Or maybe you are in another one not listed, or maybe in several categories. I have been in  #1, #3, #6, and shortly in #5.

I strongly support breastfeeding and believe that it holds more nutrients for an infant. Actually I don’t just believe it is more nutritious, I know that it is. Natural food is always healthier, but it is not always better. Those two statements might seem contradictory, but it is this confliction that separates us from animals and makes us human. While looking at breastfeeding factually, it would always be the better option. If you add in human mental, physical, environmental, or emotional health then it really depends.

Some women cannot breastfeed because of medications they are on that can be absorbed into their breast milk. Some women cannot breastfeed because the baby cannot latch. Some women cannot emotionally deal with the stress or pain that often accompanies breastfeeding in the first month. Some women work and the struggle to pump milk can physically exhaust them. Some women don’t have a choice. Before you make any judgments about a women’s decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed, you must remember that all good moms only want what is best for their child.

Before I had my first son, I was 100% for breastfeeding. It was what I would do, and mom’s who couldn’t do it were failures. I am more than thankful that I got to experience what it feels like to attempt breastfeeding and completely fail. It was this failure that made me a more open and understanding woman. It was formula feeding my son for a complete 11 months that made me realize that in the end, it doesn’t really matter. My son is incredibly smart. He is four and can read at a first grade level. He is social and has many friends. We have an amazing relationship and bonded quickly when I decided to quit breastfeeding. Yes, it was when I quit breastfeeding that we could bond. The frustration of trying to get him to latch accompanied by a feeling of being a bad mom, made it very hard to bond. When I stopped worrying about doing what the world told me was best and started doing what was best for us, I was able to relax and take care of my son. The most important thing to a child is to have a loving parent who cares for them. My second son I was able to breastfeed for ten months, and it was a wonderful experience that was completely different than with my first. Whatever you choose to do, it is always important to do what is mentally and emotionally healthy for both baby and mom.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pregnant Hungry

I haven't found the need to blog here for a long time. It has been 18 months since I had Maverick and life has flown by. While I enjoy blogging about pregnancy, I felt silly blogging when I am not actually pregnant, but then I started getting pregnant-hungry! it seemed this was the best place to share my feelings. I want to be pregnant! The crazy part is I don't want a baby. Sounds absolutely insane! Who wants to endure morning sickness, stretch marks, weight gain, and awful hormones?  Well throw me in the crazy box, because this girl loves being pregnant. While it is hard, it always makes me feel so alive and aware of the things that really matter.

I have been browsing the Internet, reading stories and researching facts about pregnancy and birth. I have come across things that have shocked me and reinforced my beliefs in modern medicine during pregnancy, labor, and post-birth. I want to start spewing it all out now, but there is far too much to talk about. I will say that I am so thankful for the world I live in, and when you research birthing options you need to look at ALL the sides.

I never posted Maverick's Birth Story, but there it is!

Here is to posting randomly about any thoughts and feelings I have on pregnancy!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

I should have my body back right?

Ever feel like after baby is no longer a newborn, people expect you to look as good(or better) as the day you got pregnant? Well I do! Maybe it's me being hyper sensitive and slightly dramatic but I feel this pressure that I need to be completely back to normal.

I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that it has only been two-and-a-half months since having Maverick and I'm not going to be super model slim, have a six pack and a rockin,toned butt (not that I had these before, haha).

After my last post, I could not lose ANY weight! Like none! I was stuck at 125 for weeks. At six weeks I began running three or four times a week and I was seeing no results. After three weeks and the scale would not change, I gave up and decided to just be happy with that weight. I was feeling so frustrated and fat that I knew I needed to stop worrying about a stupid number on a stupid scale. I almost deleted this blog I was so annoyed by thoughts of weight loss (which I'm still debating about deleting since I have another blog and I am trying to figure out why to continue this blog when I'm not pregnant). I picked up yoga instead, a story for another post.

And then I went the other extreme. I have ate worse these past two weeks than I have in a long time. I'm talking a giant bowl of icecream with lots of chocolate syrup before bed, cookies for lunch and bags of candy, bought from WINCO candy bins, for snacking. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. And then guess what happened over these last two weeks of the worst diet ever?

I lost FOUR freaking pounds!

Like what the heck?!? I don't even know what to do with myself now. A part of me wants to rush to the store and buy every kind of candy I can think of, cause this diet is totally working! But another part of me(a very small but smart part) wants to buy broccoli and bananas in hopes of fixing what I've done to my heart and arteries.

I'm happy about losing those four pounds but I wanted it to be something I can be proud of instead of, "hey, I totally lost four pounds from eating garbage. Awesome right?".

Well here's to another six pounds that I hope to lose a little healthier.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Little on Bonding and Depression

One of my big fears, and most moms', was that I wouldn't bond with Maverick because how could I ever love someone as much as Lincoln?

When Maverick was born I was overwhelmed with complete love. The three years of falling more in love with Lincoln every day was immediately felt for Maverick. I didn't need "time" to have my love for him match the love for Lincoln. The second night in the hospital, while Scott was at home with Lincoln, I held Maverick and began crying. I immediately began praying to my Heavenly Father. I thanked him repeatedly for sending me my precious gift, for trusting me as a mom and loving me so much that he would let me raise one of his children. I still thank him throughout the day for sending Maverick to our home where I know he will be loved and cared for. The next week after having Maverick I was on cloud nine. I kept thinking, "this is what life is about, this is what matters" and it was the first time, in months, where I wasn't thinking about bills or the worldly things I wanted.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I began to get depressed. Depression is something I never have and this monster was so new to me that I knew it was not normal. I've definitely felt "depressed" in my life but this was not situational, it was the real deal. I would cry all the time and overreact to the smallest things. I kept telling Scott I was depressed but I never did anything about it. I never blogged about it, never told my doctor and definitely never told friends or family because I was completely embarassed by it. I've always believed you could overcome sad feelings if you had the right attitude but I couldn't shake these feelings! In my mind I was a failure!

As I was dealing with depression, I became terrified that I would get post-partum depression and not bond with my baby or even worse, hurt my baby! I was positive I would fall into worse depression after having Maverick.

To my complete amazement, the exact opposite happened. Instead of depression, I felt positively joyous! Bonding was not even a thought, it was instant and natural. All those "sad feelings" vanished and I stopped crying (except when I was so constipated my insides were ripping apart!). I wish I would have talked more honestly on this blog, but I was too worried about people judging me. Having Maverick was the best thing to happen to me, I suddenly felt that I was "good enough" and that God did love me and knew I was a good person and a good mom. It's amazing what depression can do to your self-esteem! If you are suffering from depression, I urge you to speak to your doctor. I wish I would have, even if it was just for an understanding ear, it would have helped. Pregnancy hormones DO exist and they also go away.

Maverick is such a blessing and I know he came at the perfect time for our family. Every single time I look at him, my entire heart swells. I can't get enough of him!

Why did God bless me with two beautiful boys?
I guess I will never know, but I will trust his judgment.