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Mouth Wide Open (aka Part 2)

November 30, 2010

I told you all the things I didn’t say…and I also told you we had a good conversation. (Which still totally baffles me because, really, who is able to have a good conversation with someone while their mouth is wide open? But, I swear, we always have good conversations while she cleans my teeth. Strange – and cool. For obvious reasons.)

So, here’s what I DID say:

1. Having a baby without an epidural isn’t that bad. Yep, I said it. (Remind me of that next time I’m going through transition, ok?) Anyway, I’m totally serious. It’s painful, yes, but not painful like if you dislocated your elbow (which I’ve never done, but do whole-heartedly assume it would be incredibly painful). More than being painful, labor is just SUPER intense. It’s good pain. It’s for a purpose. It’s what your body is supposed to be doing. Work with it, not against it. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Really.

2. Having an awesome support person with you while you’re laboring is KEY. I was so glad to hear that Anna’s sister, who has had three natural births, is going to be with her when she’s having her baby. Most women don’t have the opportunity to have a close family member or friend with them that has actually experienced birth without drugs. I can say, with confidence, that it’s important to have another woman with you who has been through it and/or firmly believes in your decision. For us it meant hiring a wonderful doula. Additionally, I was unexpectedly blessed to have my mom with me when I was laboring with my second born child. (She lives far away and through a set of truly Blessed circumstances she was with us when I went into labor.) My mom fully understands my reasons for wanting a natural birth (Lord knows I’ve bored her to tears droning on and on about it for the last 3.5 years). She has also had two natural births of her own. She didn’t say much while I was laboring but just knowing she was there was a huge comfort. And I’ll never forget one of the (few) things she said to me, as I was going through transition, “Christy, you could teach a class on this. You are handling it so well.” Seriously, doesn’t everyone need a woman in their corner, telling them something like that?

3. Parenting YOUR baby is much different from watching others parent theirs. You think you have it all figured out because you’ve been around so many babies. You don’t. I didn’t just think I had it all figured out, I was CONVINCED I did. Baby was going to fit nicely into the cute little life we had created for ourselves. I wouldn’t miss a beat. I dreamed of taking baby to Barnes & Noble with us on date night. Baby would sleep peacefully in his or her car seat or stroller as we sipped our Starbucks and flipped through magazines, just like we did pre-baby. Oh, how your world is changed when you have a child of your own. (I’m not saying it changes for the worse, just that it changes.) It’s pretty easy to tune out the crying of a niece or nephew. Not so with your own flesh and blood. Your heart will beat more rapidly than you thought possible and you’ll be sweating, not because you’re hot or exercising, but because that precious crying baby (YOUR crying baby) will not go to sleep – or won’t sleep longer than 15 minutes before waking. It’s hard. (Ok, here’s another thing I didn’t say – I ran out of time…You are not going to be a perfect parent. It’s impossible. You’re going to mess up. For the majority of us, it’s not going to matter. If you let your baby cry a little too long or if baby is still sleeping in your bed when he is four years old, you’re not going to scar them for life. We make the best decisions we can, with the information we have and we HAVE to leave the rest up to God or we’ll drive ourselves crazy – believe me I know – it took me two years and two kids to figure that out.)

What are some things you find yourself saying to all the pregnant women (or new moms) you know?

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What I didn’t say…

November 29, 2010

I was at the dentist last week for one of my every-six-month cleanings. The hygienist (whom I’ve gotten to know fairly well over the past couple of years) calls me back and to my surprise (kind of) she’s beautifully pregnant.

This sounds kind of crazy, but just that morning I had been thinking about her and had the random thought that if she had gotten pregnant around the time of my last appointment that she would be six months pregnant now – and, physically, obviously pregnant. You can imagine my reaction when I saw her beautiful round belly (she’s due in January).

Somehow, despite me having my mouth wide open for the next hour, we had quite a good conversation, all while she made my teeth look like new. But there were definitely things I didn’t say, that I would have liked to, if we were in another setting, say, having coffee at Starbucks (White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha anyone?).

So, here’s what I didn’t say . . .

1. You don’t want to be induced, really. You may be uncomfortable now but taking care of a newborn is no picnic. As a first-time mom, being induced greatly increases your risk of delivering by cesarean section. Most pregnant women do not want to have a c-section, for a reason.

2. Not all women who are diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes will grow a baby too large for them to birth vaginally. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states, “When the mother’s glucose level is high throughout pregnancy, the baby can receive too much glucose. As a result, the baby can grow too large. A large baby may make vaginal delivery difficult.” If your sugars are well-controlled, the chances of having a very large baby are diminished. Besides that, MANY women are able to successfully birth large babies. Do just a bit of reading to educate yourself on how you can increase your chances of delivering a large baby vaginally. I highly suggest picking up The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.

3. Practitioners are not able to predict a baby’s size with any degree of accuracy via ultrasound. And inducing because of a suspected large baby isn’t even advocated by ACOG.

4. 37 weeks is not full-term for ALL babies. It’s full-term for SOME babies. If your baby is born before he or she is ready there is a good chance they will have some kind of health issue and may even require a stay in the NICU. You do not want a baby in the NICU. How do you know if your baby is ready to be born? You let your baby start your labor, not a doctor or midwife. In addition, if your due date is off at all (which is entirely possible as not all women ovulate on day 14 of a 28 day cycle) you could end up with a very premature baby, ensuring a stay in the NICU or worse. Not something you want to mess with if you don’t have to. If you want more information about inductions go check out THIS article at Nurtured Moms.

5. Don’t just ‘try’ to go without the drugs. Prepare for it. If you’re not willing to prepare for an unmedicated birth then you probably don’t REALLY care if you get one and you probably WON’T have one. It gets tough. Really tough. If you’re in a hospital, laying in bed, tethered to monitors, it’s going to be tougher. If you really want to try, then read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. The birth stories will totally inspire you (if they don’t, then just chuck the whole idea of a natural birth and sign up for the epidural now). Figure out why you don’t want the drugs and stick to your guns (there are more reasons than just wanting the elusive ‘medal’). I’ve written lots on natural birth and you can find more resources HERE.

6. Breastfeeding can be hard, especially in a society that seeks convenience and self first. You need to have knowledge, perseverance and support. I have lots of resources listed above; just click the Breastfeeding Resources link up there (or HERE). Do you really want to breastfeed your baby? Why? You should know the answer now so that when things get hard, you will know why you’re doing it. Do you know other women who have breastfed (or are breastfeeding currently)? Tell them you want all the help they can give. If you don’t know anyone who could help you, then seek out a Lactation Consultant and/or your local La Leche League now. Get to know them so you feel comfortable calling if things get tough and you feel like giving up. Breast really is best. You can do it!

Find out what I did say HERE in Part 2.

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In A Nutshell

November 23, 2010

Back to the party! Wondering where (the heck) I’ve been?! Well, I’ve been . . .

  • busy reading everyone else’s blogs. Some of my favorites ~ Passionate HomemakingSortaCrunchyInspired to ActionAll Things Hendrick (The story of one family in HAITI)Nothings and Notions from my Noodle, to name a few.
  • reading a ton of books, like all those listed on the right side of this page (yeah, over there —> go down a bit)
  • having my world rocked and heart changed as I read through Radical (which I might add is only $5.50 at Amazon right now).
  • trying to be a more competent homemaker. I’m Maximizing My Mornings, keeping my house cleaner and neater than ever before and ensuring we eat more Real Food (which has meant more cooking in the last month than I’ve done in the last four years combined – probably).
  • giving my kids more attention which has involved chasing around a newly-upwardly-mobile-one-year-old (and saving him from disastrous falls off numerous pieces of furniture) and figuring out how to parent a child who is MUCH different from my extremely laid-back firstborn. I’m not saying the ‘s’ word yet but I’m pretty sure that’s the path we’re headed down. What’s the ‘s’ word? I can’t say it. So for now we’ll just call him ‘determined’. I haven’t opened Grace Based Parenting yet but am hopeful that I will find some answers in there.
  • working on my marriage. Having two young kids is challenging, isn’t it? They take all my emotional energy and I find myself with not much left for my wonderful (beyond-wonderful) husband. So, I’m making a concerted effort to not only be a better mom, but be a better wife. Watching the movie Fireproof was a beautiful (new) start for us.
  • thinking about a million different topics to blog about and starting but never finishing several new posts. Stay tuned because I’m going to start blogging (again) about all-things-motherhood-related tomorrow when you can eaves drop on a conversation I had with my dental hygienist (yes, you read that right) about pregnancy, birth and babies.
  • and I’ve been busy on the pureMotherhood Facebook page too. If you haven’t joined our community of almost 500! head over there now.

So, what have you been up to?

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Six Things I’d Tell A New Mom-To-Be

October 18, 2010

These are not listed in any particular order of importance, just some thoughts I’ve had floating around in my head. I would love the opportunity to tell these things to every new mom-to-be that I know. If I don’t get the opportunity, well, here they are. Maybe they’ll just read my blog. 😉

1. Watch The Business of Being Born and read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Why? Because (most likely) everything you know about birth has been greatly influenced by pop culture. Tell the truth, how many times have you watched The Baby Story? How many movies or TV shows have you watched that showed a woman freaking out while in labor?

The movie will help you explore your options in childbirth and give you a better, more realistic understanding of birth. The first half of Ina May’s book is filled with beautiful stories of women giving birth naturally. I honestly didn’t know it was possible to actually enjoy or look forward to your birth experience before I read this book. It taught me that birth doesn’t have to be a major life event that is filled with fear. I hope it does the same for you. (There are other books about childbirth that I love as well; check them all out here.)

If you’re on the fence about this one or think it doesn’t matter, please go read this blog post!

2. Learn all you can about breastfeeding now. Watch this video from Dr. Jack Newman. Actually seeing a woman breastfeed her child is INVALUABLE. Spend the thirty bucks. Get the video. Flip through The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This book will be a great resource for you as you begin your breastfeeding relationship. Poke around some of the breastfeeding websites I link to on the Breastfeeding Resources page. Even go to a La Leche League meeting as you near the end of your pregnancy so you can get to know some moms who can support you later if you need it.

3. You can read all the books you want on parenting, sleep, birth and breastfeeding however, you won’t truly ‘get it’ until you actually are having your own baby and experiencing all of this with your own flesh and blood. Believe me, I know this to be true. We were the last of our friends and family to have children. I had taken care of children (including babies) for YEARS before I had my own. I read more books than any soon-to-be mom should ever read. I had it all figured out. Yeah. Not. So. Much. Your baby is unique and so are you. Your baby may not sleep peacefully in his little bassinet beside your bed. He may scream the second you put him in there and not quiet down until someone (Daddy) is holding him on his chest. And this may last WEEKS.

4. On that note, read one book on infant sleep. I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block (there’s also a DVD). You’ll find some great tips on getting your baby to sleep without going crazy. Yes, you will need tips on getting baby to sleep. They don’t just sleep all the time. They reach a point where they are much more interested in their surroundings than sleeping, even when they’re very tired and terribly cranky. (I do NOT recommend any books by Gary Ezzo. I haven’t personally blogged about this yet but Megan at SortaCrunchy has and I really appreciate her posts, so head over there for more info.)

5. Do your homework. Don’t do things just because you think that’s the way it’s supposed to be done or that’s all you know. Know the reasons behind your actions. Make educated choices for you and for your kiddo(s). What does this apply to? Birthing choices, breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations, diapering, parenting . . . the list could go on and on.

6. Your life is not ending because you’re having a baby. I remember saying to my husband, a few months after I became pregnant, that I wasn’t sure I was ready for ‘this’. He politely told me it was a little too late. Ha! Life as you know it IS coming to an end (take advantage of all that free time now). However, your life is about to get richer and fuller than you ever imagined. Yes, it will be hard, but it’s so unbelievably rewarding.

What things do you wish someone had told you when you were newly pregnant?

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Similac, Old Navy and Breastfeeding. Huh?

September 28, 2010

In light of the recent news on the Similac recall and Old Navy’s decision to sell a ‘Formula Powered’ onesie, I thought we should chat about breastfeeding today.

I’m not going to bash formula-feeding moms. There are many reasons why a mom would feed her baby formula instead of breastmilk. In a society where formula companies spend BIG MONEY to promote their products, it’s easy to see why so many moms do not breastfeed. They make formula-feeding seem normal and just as good as breastfeeding, even though it’s not.

And they clearly spend more money on advertising and promoting their products through doctors and hospitals than they do on quality control with their products. Did you know that powdered infant formula is not pasteurized and of the various forms of formula available, are the most often recalled, primarily for bacterial contamination? It is nearly impossible to create a sterile powdered formula. If you MUST give your child formula, there is much less risk in giving them premixed formula.

I like what Dr. Thomas, Pediatrician at the Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic, wrote on the subject, “Breastfeeding is normal. It’s what babies are hardwired to do . . . Breastfeeding isn’t special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion. It’s not ‘best.’ It’s normal. Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant. And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.”

Formula (when it’s not contaminated with beetles or beetle larvae) is a wonderful option for moms that absolutely cannot breastfeed. But that woman is few and far between. Most moms CAN breastfeed (statistically, at least 95% of them). How sad that our society has made it so difficult to choose to breastfeed.

And that’s where Old Navy comes in. Seriously, I thought this had to be a hoax when I saw it. I was appalled to find out it wasn’t.

You know what I think is even worse? They didn’t put out any piece of clothing that says anything about breastfeeding! Really Old Navy?

Who is working in that marketing department? On the other hand, maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe their market research shows that the majority of their mom shoppers feed their babies formula. Well, of course they do. The CDC’s statistics show that. Ok, so kudos to the marketing department. I’m sure they sold a heck of a lot of those onesies.

But SHAME ON Old Navy for perpetuating the idea that formula is just as good as breastmilk. Like women need one more reason to believe that formula is a wonderful substitute.

So, Old Navy, how about a shirt for breastfed babies? Something like, “I’m A Boob Man” or “Booby Baby” or “I Eat at Mom’s Diner” or “Powered By Mom”.

I’m betting money there won’t be a onesie with any of those sayings, or anything that supports breastfeeding. With only 13% of moms exclusively breastfeeding their babies through six months of age (as recommended by the AAP), there’s just not enough money in it.

What do you think?

Frogmama Giveaway – CLOSED

September 27, 2010


I’m so excited to bring you all an AWESOME giveaway from Frogmama! I was blessed to find Frogmama just about a year ago. I was desperate for a baby carrier for my 6 week old. He got to that stage where babies decide it’s much more interesting to be awake than asleep even though they’re incredibly tired. Oh-so-fun. I needed a solution ASAP. Frogmama was recommended over and over.

I made my way over there and found a FANTASTIC deal on a Beco Butterfly II (sold as a second but in perfect condition). I tried numerous baby carriers with big E and never found one that worked well for us. The Beco was perfect. Still is, as I happily carry Preston around in it when he’s fussier than normal and I really need to get stuff done (like make dinner). It’s also worked great for trips to the zoo. I LOVE to have two hands free (so I can wrangle the preschooler) and still hold my baby.

Sometime last spring I also found a love for Ring Slings. I have a linen ring sling that works well for me because it slips on and off so easily, is light-weight and breathable. I get hot very easily (and sweaty – ick, I know).  The Ring Sling was my sanity-saver while we were in Disney World a few weeks ago.

I was surprised that I only saw two or three other parents wearing their children the whole time we were there. It was the perfect solution for us and I felt so lucky that I had it with me every time I passed a mom or dad carrying a sleeping child (which was WAY more than I ever expected).

So now I get to share the Babywearing LOVE with you! If you’re unfamiliar with babywearing there are a few sites you should check out. Some moms (and dads) babywear nearly full-time, whether at home or not. I choose to babywear when we’re out and about – not always, but it is often the most convenient option for me. It’s the perfect solution when we’re shopping at Target or a grocery store. I pop big E in the cart and carry little P. Everyone’s happy. Ok, big E’s not terribly happy, because, really, he’d rather be out of the cart. But that’s not going to happen for a long time because I’m not a huge fan of playing chase with a 3-year-old in public. I digress.

If you need help choosing the carrier that’s right for you, Lorene (the fabulous WAHM behind Frogmama) would be happy to help. This is directly from her site:

I have tried out all these types of carriers myself with my children and am happy to try to help you find one that will work out for you in the long haul. One of the most common questions I get is “which carrier is the best?”  I have heard of someone else answering this question by asking “well which shoes are the best?” There are obviously lots of variables to take into account. Your size, your babies age, what you plan to use it for, quick trips or long hikes, what fabrics you like, will you want to breastfeed in it and more. Most carriers I sell will work well for most people. I will also be glad to help you try to find a good fit, but like a good shoe many times you just need to try it out and break it in to get it to work well for you. Click here to email me now.

So, are you wondering why in the world a website selling baby carriers is called Frogmama? I was too. Here’s the answer: “Frogmama came to be from an acronym for F.R.O.G that I came across years ago. It stands for Fully Rely On God. In my life I continually realize that God is faithful to provide if I just rely on Him.” Isn’t that awesome?!

And are you wondering what you could win from Frogmama and pureMotherhood?! Wait no more. We are giving away any one baby carrier up to $100 in value from Frogmama or you can choose a $100 gift certificate good toward any one baby carrier in the Frogmama store!

Here are the details.

Leave a comment here (at the blog) for EACH entry.

Mandatory Entries ~

1. Head over to Frogmama and browse thru the Baby Carriers, then come back here and let me know which one you would love to have (don’t forget the Sale & Clearance Section).

2. Subscribe to the pureMotherhood Blog via email or RSS (you MUST confirm your subscription). If you already subscribe, leave a thoughtful and appropriate comment on any blog post other than giveaway posts.

Extra Entries ~

3. ‘Like’ Frogmama on Facebook. If you already do, post a thoughtful and appropriate comment on the Frogmama page.

4. ‘Like’ pureMotherhood on Facebook. If you already do, post a thoughtful and appropriate comment on the pureMotherhood page.

5. Post a comment/status update on your Facebook page and include a link to the Frogmama Website. You may do this once a day. Please enter a comment here each time.

6. Post a comment/status update on your Facebook page and include a link to the pureMotherhood blog. You may do this once a day. Please enter a comment here each time.

Winner will be chosen via on Monday, 10/4/2010 at Noon Eastern Time (9am Pacific Time).

Memories – WDW with Young Children

September 25, 2010

I’m not taking my kids to Disney World until they’re old enough to remember it. Yep, I said it. More than once. That was then, this is now.

The Lion King Show at Animal Kingdom

One of mine and my husband’s favorite vacations was a four-night trip to Walt Disney World, back in May of honestly-I-don’t-remember. Probably 6-7 years ago or so, way before kids. I remember feeling like a kid again the moment we walked on to Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I remember seeing other kids have the time of their life and thinking that I couldn’t wait to share this magical experience with my (future) children.

But I wanted them to remember it so we wouldn’t be going until they were all older.

And then my mom called. She got an email about a great Disney deal in September. She and my step-dad were already planning to be visiting us (they live in CA, we live in IN). And we were happily planning a trip with them to the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, TN). She thought we wouldn’t want to go with small children. But who can resist a magical vacation to Walt Disney World (especially when your parents offer to foot a large part of the bill)?! We started planning.

Who cares if the kids wouldn’t remember? They would have fun regardless. And WE would remember their joy and excitement! I likened it to a First Birthday party. You go all out for that first party, knowing full-well your little one-year-old will never remember it. You do it for your memories, not theirs. We do all kinds of things for our kids before they’ll remember it. We don’t just set them in a locked, padded room with food and water and hope for the best. Everything we do with them builds who they are.

Little P with Grandma at The Lion King Show

And you should have seen my little one-year-old! He had the time of his little life. I’ll never forget watching him watch The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom. I’m pretty sure I missed most of the show because I was enchanted with my little boy’s reaction. He was clapping and waving his arms in the air and smiling the whole time. I don’t care if he doesn’t remember that. I will. I’ll be able to tell him about it and show him pictures. Though he won’t remember it, it makes me happy to know that he was so joyful.

What kinds of things have you done with your kids to build memories or just to see them happy?

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