Elias James – A HBAC birth story

Given that today is E’s 1st Birthday I figured I would finally get around to writing out his birth story.

It was a snowy day, I was thrilled. We really don’t get much snow here on the West Coast. It just rains a LOT, there are many types of rain and I was wanting more of the frozen fluffy variety. I had visions of have the baby by the Christmas tree with snow falling softly in the background. I really didn’t think today was going to be the day, I had hoped the baby would arrive 5 days earlier on the 15, just to give a bit more distance from Christmas.

In the morning my Grandma had gone outside to shovel the front walk, and the older three were helping her. I stood watching from the upper floor window. thinking I should go help but knowing that my pregnant body would not hold up to it.1476211_10152067370925042_1113720901_n

I continued to wander around the house trying to figure out a way to keep myself busy. I decided the best course of action was to go out side and get some pictures of the kids in our rare snow day. I bundled my self up as much as I could and headed out. Taking pictures of course turned into a snowball fight and making snow angels

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We of course had to get a picture of my rounded self. Not knowing it would be one of the last ones of me pregnant.

After some snow fun we had some lunch and then it was time for a nap as both C and I were tired. I know Grandma went down for a nap as well. The bigger boys headed downstairs to watch some TV.  Here is when things began to get started.

I remember about 2pm waking up to a sudden though of  “GET OUT OF THE BED NOW!” I got up and rushed to the bathroom as fast as my waddley self could go. Once I got the en suite toilet I knew something didn’t feel quite right. I drooped my pants as fast as I couldDSCF2208 and assumed the position. GUSH Yup there she goes, a bust of amniotic fluid. My plug had gone a day or two before so there was no surprise here. I was pretty sure things were going to go into gear from here. I didn’t want to wake the sleeping house though so I called my Doula and let her know what was going on. After talking we had decided to see how things are progressing and she would get her affairs in order so that she could head over. I then sent my hubby probably the most interesting text. Thankfully he actually was on high alert and checking his phone at this time. ( He doesn’t most of the time)

The text- Are you committed to working the rest of your day? Really who asks their husband that? Clearly I was kinda going into my birth space at this point because that is just not a normal thing to ask, when your waters have release and you are having regular birthing waves. Alas that is the question I asked.  His response was one to question what I was talking about and to quickly call me. I explained that my waters had released about 45 minutes prior and things were kinda getting started. I then asked him again if he wanted to come home. He naturally made the wise choice to cancel the rest of his day and was home in about 7 minutes.

When he arrived I still hadn’t told anyone in the house that things had started. Grandma was still having her nap and none the wiser. With David’s arrival it was clear that something was going on to the everyone else, because why else would he be home 4 -5 hours early. David came to the bedroom to find me where I was still keeping things together for the most part but things were definitely getting more intense. I had him start getting the pool ready as we were having a waterbirth at home with this baby.  Now here the exact series of events get kinda hazy I’m pretty sure David had the pool set up before I had him me to the living room so I could start listening to my birthing time hypnobabies soundtrack. He may have been doing that while I was listening but those details don’t really matter. I know by about 4 or 4:30 David had called our doula back to know that things were definitely going and she needed to get here quickly. I just know she showed up at one point.  Remember being glad that she was there because I was getting done with listening to my track and I wanted her to tell me I could stop doing it now. ( Our doula was also our hypnobabies instructor)

Shortly after she arrived I remember something being decided that i needed to go to the bathroom. I hadn’t been since my water release a few hours previous. I’m pretty sure my hallways was longer than it had ever been, they tricked me somehow and took me through a fun house maze maybe. But either way we got there and whoa doodle movement made things get moving. I’m not sure how long we were there it may have been 10 minutes or longer. I felt like a long time but not at the same time. It is crazy how your perception is so wonked out when you are in the moment.  Anyways after that experience I then wanted back in the living room. I wanted to see my Christmas tree and see if things were the way I liked it. I couldn’t walk by myself at this point because things were so intense. My hubby and doula then got me all set up with my ball and a chair for support. That way I didn’t fall off the ball. Which is something I do when I am in fully control of my body, let’s not take chances while my primal self is in control.

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At one point C brought me some rubber duckies to hold. They were really the best things for me because I could squeeze them with every wave.

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On our way back to the living room I had asked David to start getting the water in the tub because I was ready to get in.  This is where a series of funny little events happened. I sat there watching David get the water filled and I saw that he had forgotten to put the liner in. It took me awhile to put together the words to tell him that he had forgotten it. By the time I did there was an inch or so of water in the bottom of the pool. so cue dumping water and getting a liner in place 🙂

After awhile I asked when I could get in thing were really starting to feel very intense. I don’t tend to be super vocal and the environment was very peaceful. I was calm but I was starting to doubt myself. ( which should have been a clear indicator that we were almost done)

When It was finally time for me to get into the pool it was quite the process. Both David and our doula had to help up to standing, which prompted another release of waters.  then out of the clothes I was wearing. Two steps another birthing wave and then another two to get me to the pool. I was then assisted into the pool. The water felt lovely. I often use baths for a method of relaxation and this was so wonderful.

Things happened very fast at this point. I had a birthing wave but it was not the same intensity as they had previously been. I relaxed back into the pool edge, sinking into a level of peaceful bliss. I was aware of things going on around me  but they didn’t simply matter at all. I’m pretty sure something could have been burning down and I would have smiled in peace. Speaking of burning, next came a slight burning sensation, I thought to myself. “huh? this just maybe the ring of fire the people speak of “. The thought that followed was ” how do I know I am dilated enough?” Oh had I forgot to mention there was no midwife in attendance? Yeah we weren’t really into that sort of thing this time around. More on that later. Or you can go back to last year and see the issues surrounding that. 🙂

So back to the topic at hand. as I lay there contemplating how my body was actually doing its job in birthing a baby. I decided I should let everyone in on what was happening. As the next wave hit I rolled to my side and announced that the baby was coming.  There was a flurry of activity, as the bigger boys were downstairs and had expressed that they wanted to be present for the birth. The video camera was on and children were called. D wanted to video the birth C DSCF2234thought he should as well, thus a fight had to ensue. My rock awesome doula came up with a solution and had a little battery-powered candle that C  got to hold for mommy.  I was hearing most of the goings on but was pretty much numb to it.  I really had my own thing going on.

I remember telling Dave that I think the baby is coming and that the head was there. He checked and then I am pretty sure I told him to not touch the baby. One more wave and out he came. David assisted me in getting the baby as I was up on my knees and wanted to sit back. Out he came from the water and he was a healthy screaming baby boy. WOW 4 boys for us. How blessed are we 🙂 He was born about 7:10 pm, 5 hours after my waters had released and 3 1/2 hours after the birthing waves really began to kick in. DSCF2256

We then decided to call the midwives now that the baby was born and the birth couldn’t be interfered with. I snuggled my sweet baby boy in the water for quite some time after. He latched and started nursing within about 5 minutes of his birth.  after about 20 or so minutes it was decided that I needed to get out of the pool. I had tried but was unable to move. I think my body was pretty exhausted from the butt whooping that it just got from a very fast birthing time. I had David pretty much pick me and the baby up out of the pool and we headed to the bedroom where I then birthed the placenta 20 is minutes later and I could rest.

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The baby and I remained connected until the placenta delivery and then after we separated him from the placenta. Mostly just because I was worried about the older boys knocking it over and making a mess. I was then able to lay back and rest a bit. My wonderful doula kept my hydrated and nourished with water and dates all they time. It was like she knew I needed stuff before I did. It was wonderful to have such a help.

Unfortunately my body it had scar tissue from my first two births and I torn again so that needed to be fixed. I think that is why I felt the need to have the midwife in attendance. The stitching was a very interesting and educational component for little boys who  felt that they had to be part of everything. There were some things said and statements that made everyone laugh. Needless to say I don’t think they will be shocked when their future wives have babies of their own. Thankfully it was an easy one and she was able to get things done right there.  We then weighed our little monkey. 8 pounds! Bigger than his last brother but smaller than the biggest two

DSCF2294After all was said and done The midwife was present for maybe about 2 hours most of it being paperwork. My doula left after about 2 hours post birth I think. Then it was time to settle everyone down for rest for the night.  I stayed in bed and life was really quite wonderful no one moving disturbing me or anything. I just got to relax in the comfort of my own home after my baby.

For the record my Doula was Gina Snyder of Truly Pure Birth. If you live in the GVRD and are having a homebirth you should use her.

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It is a Challenge

Weightloss is no easy feat. It is hard work, lots of hard work. it is something you have to commit to. Every day you need to make an honest effort to stick to a proper diet, and exercise  even when you see all the ymumy things you could be eating.

Right now is the season of excess and gorging. So many people eat way more food then they should at fancy parties and get togethers. They drink way too much as well! Did you know that alcohol can contribute to weight gain and well and stalling a weightloss? Yes it is a sad truth for some who are on this journey to be brush with extra challenges, but you need to push through.

For those who have hit their goals and gotten to where they want to be. Now is not the time to lose it! Keep going don’t get lax. Often people will put on 5- 10  or more pounds through the holiday season. To some that may not seem like a lot but to someone who has been struggling with weightloss it can seem like a ton.

For me it seems so hard to get anywhere. When I’m at a party and there is yummy amazing food, yes I want to eat it. I get to eat real food without having to share. I get a dessert for ME! It is really easy to quickly go to far.

There is good news though!

You can still keep up with you goals. Eat smart and be conscious about what is going into your body.  Now still don’t go gorging at the parties. But you may be able to have a small treat, or a drink.

Keeping you healthy in this time of excess is very important. It can lead to less sicknesses which means not having to miss out

Rock on Pink

I love PINK, I think her music is awesome and inspiring. Something about a lot of her music really resonates with me. Whether it is to rock or or get serious, I don’t think I have come across a song of hers I haven’t liked. I admit when a star I like names crosses headlines, I read it. Well this headline caught my attention on many levels Rocker Mom Pink almost starts fight over rude breastfeeding remark. Now that caught my attention. 1. Love Pink 2. Support Breastfeeding. I had to read it. Going through the article, I smiled. All I could think is “Rock on Pink”.
What Pink was doing, is perfectly natural, and she was even using a cover according to the article. Now I usually don’t encourage fighting with others, but people need to get rid of their idea that breastfeeding should stay behind closed doors. I had always wondered if Pink was a bit more of a breastfeeding advocate, and now I know. I think it is great the celebrities that are out and about breastfeeding it makes us “normal” people look less strange for doing it. Rock on Pink, rock on.

 There is a part in this video that I love where they are feeding a cow human milk…. makes about as much sense as feeding a human cow milk… just saying!

Sharing the milk ~~ My story

Have you heard the saying ” Sharing is Caring”? Most of us learned this saying at a very young age, usually even before we start school. While this lovely mantra has been ingrained into our brains, many use it now with a mocking tone. This is unfortunate but sharing something with someone is a wonderful way to show how you care. There are many thing we can share in this world, but what would you say if I said you could share a gift of amazing nutrition with another? Most people would jump at the opportunity to share nutrition with someone, even more so for a baby.  Would you be shocked if I told you that people simply don’t do it. They don’t share with the babies, at least not many. They used to, but with the medical system we have been scared out of it. I’m talking about breast milk, it is a life supporting freely flowing source that comes out of almost every women, to one extent or another. Some women produce large amounts, some produce less. I was very fortunate to be a women who produced excessive milk. So much milk I needed to pump off for comfort reasons. with my first two I saved the milk. We used some of it eventually, but a lot just got old an went into the garbage. This saddened me but I had no idea what to use it for. It was never enough for milk banks, and I felt fundamentally opposed to the sale of my breast milk when I gave it to them for free. About two years ago, I heard about a wonderful Idea I hadn’t ever though of, giving the milk to a mom in need!  That way I could give what I had and she could use it, no matter how much or how little I had. This made my heart fill with so much happiness. I at the time didn’t have any milk to donate, due to being pregnant, but I loved watching the milky love flow.

Cael at 16 days

After I had Cael once again I had a surplus of milk. So I did what I had been doing with the previous two, I pumped. I didn’t pump all that often but I still had a pretty good storage in my freezer.  When Cael was 15 days old my friend had a baby, he ended up being a very big surprise. R was born with Downs Syndrome, He was a tiny little guy that had a whole world to conquer. We soon found out that he had a heart issue and feeding at the breast was exhausting for him, it took too much work and was strenuous. My friend then planned on pumping but between R and his older brother there just never seemed to be enough hours in a day. I spoke with her and asked what their plans were, she expressed frustration to me that she felt like she had no options. They couldn’t afford the milk bank but she wasn’t able to pump. She knew with all his health issue being on breast milk was going to be what would be best but it just seemed like it wouldn’t work. I took a deep breathe and offered she all I could. I told her I would give R my milk if she would have it. I really wasn’t sure what the response was going to be, we hadn’t ever talked about milk sharing before, in any real depth. What was just a few short seconds felt like forever. She said sure, she wanted to clear it with her hubby first but she would be more than happy to accept my gift.I breathed a sigh of relief, because what I was offering was something very unusual to many people After that I also sourced donors for her using the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Facebook groups.

milky brothers Left is R. right is Cael

Having breast milk turned out to be the greatest gift for R. after surgeries he has recovered much better then he did when he was having formula. His mom said she really noticed a difference in him when he is on breast milk or formula. He would gain weight and maintain better when he was having breastmilk, R would thrive with his momma milk. Time has passed and he is now reaching 18 months and my heart still smile thinking how we were able to help just one little guy. I know that he is doing better due to the nutrition I and several other moms were able to give. Not to mention the money we helped them save 🙂

This week is the 2nd Annual World MilkSharing Week. It is due to moms reaching out and helping on another that many many many babies have been able to have the nutrition they needed for their start in life. They were able to be fed from another mom when circumstances prevented their own mother from fully providing milk. With full disclosure and trust women are able to share this gift with others all around the world. I think this is truly amazing. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, why not use the village to feed the child as well.

Steak for babies?!?!

Just this week Health Canada released a new guideline for feeding babies. You can read the CBC report on it here. So now Health Canada is saying that babies can be served meat as a first food, as opposed to the iron fortified infant cereal. I really laughed when I saw this post. There were so many sides on this, everything from horror to people saying ” wow Health Canada finally got on board with the rest of the world”.

 No purees or mashed up stuff for this guy

This is not something new or amazing. Babies all around the world tend to be feed food, real food, as first foods. This is commonly referred to as Baby  Led Weaning.Where your child has no solid food till they are ready to eat real food, no purees no blending just real food from the plate just like what you and I eat.  Now for those first few months you are to be exclusivity breastfeeding your child with no need for other food. This is a very different concept to what has been suggested by health professional for many years. I even remember when Damian was little I was told that I could start him on rice cereal at 3 months. I trusted my elders and did it. He survived but I have no idea what damage was done to his intestinal track at that age. I find it amazing the things were are learning, about how our bodies work and process. The thing I find the funniest is most traditional cultures have used this method for hundreds of thousands of years. This is not a new concept!
I am very glad that Health Canada is getting on board, with what the body needs. Iron rich, real foods are so much better than anything that is fortified. Your body will better absorb it and use the nutrients for proper body functions.

So let them have steak! Or chicken, avocado, even liver, it’s good for your baby. Do supervise you baby while they are eating and make sure that the meat is tender and cut up into appropriate sized pieces in order for  baby to chew. Teeth are not necessary to chew, just so you know. I personally wouldn’t suggest begining solids till your baby is ready. They may be at 6 months it may take a few months more. follow your child they are really intelligent beings.

Some readiness signs are

  • able to sit unassisted
  • reaching for food
  • no tongue thrust
  • beginning chewing movements

All of this and more can be found in the Baby Led Weaning book

Why the boobies are RAD!!!

So in case you didn’t know today winds up World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7th. You may have noticed a few people talking about it, you may not have.

I wanted to tell you a few reason why I think breastfeeding is RAD.  Some of these reasons are totally selfish, but great none the less.

Super Powers. Quite simply amazing stuff in breast milk. There are so many things breast milk can do because it is just awesome. Small things like pink eye and ear infection, to some say helping the healing  in sick kids. Who know but it does support little humans in major growth and development.

No Flow Some women are so extremely privileged that their cycles don’t return while they are breastfeeding. This is pretty awesome thing to not have to worry about.

Natural Birth Control Those of us lucky mama’s who do not ovulate while breastfeeding means no surprise babies. This can be a great thing if you are wanting to not go with hormonal birth control or use condoms. I for one Simply can not seem to get pregnant without my cycle.

Skinny Minnie Some extremely lucky moms, of I am not one of, lose baby weight like crazy. I have watch mamas just have pounds drop with breastfeeding. Luck ladies!

Escape Clause I swear you can get out of almost anything with needing to feed the baby. Want to get away from the weird relative? Time to feed the baby Want to stop the awkward conversation? Time to feed the baby.  While I support and encourage opening breastfeeding anywhere any time, it can be a great escape.

Daddy Bonding Time There are so many ways daddy can bond with the baby. Like changing the diaper before he bring the baby for something to eat. Or bathing the baby while you have a nap. The feeding is mama’s job there are many more for daddy to do. ( that mama doesn’t want to to shhhhhh )

Extreme Boobage Okay pregnancy boobs are cool but nursing boobs are AMAZING! Seriously I went from a C/D to a  F when my milk showed up. Bound to make baby and daddy happy.

So rock the boobs. Embrace this stage of life, you get to nourish human beings. Support moms in their quest to breastfeed.

I breastfeed because I’m lazy

Yup if it involves little works I’m all over it. Really once we have figured out latch how much more effort does it take to breastfeed?
Get up to feed the baby in the middle of the night ? Nope roll over and breastfeed. This is where co-sleeping helps out
Prep bottles? Nope Always ready, always with me. I would never pack enough either I forget things
Clean and sanitize? Nope, it would really hurt to sanitize my breasts, ouch. It is always ready and perfect for baby.
Worry about running of formula? No. I never have to stress about having enough milk. We work on a supply and demand system. He wants it and I supply it!
Worry about the grocery budget? No extra cost of formula really save money. Damian had some when he was a baby and oh man that stuff is pricey. Also I don’t eat that much more breastfeeding than I do not. Extra good snacks I should be having any ways to keep my body healthy.
Worry about weaning? Nope, he will stop we he is done. Extended breastfeeding has many advantages

I nurse my babies. I’m proud of my ability to nurse my babies, and for a long time. I nurse my babies until they self wean. Why? Also because I am lazy, I really have no desire to take something away from my child that brings them nourishment and comfort. Most of the time I love nursing my babies, even my toddlers. Nursing toddlers brings it’s own level of amusement, but all in all it works really well and we enjoy our time together.

I don’t understand how people can possibly insist it is easier to bottle feed, it sounds like way too much work. All the cleaning and preparing and buying. I love breastfeeding my children and I will continue to do it till they are done with that aspect of our relationship.

YEA BREASTFEEDING!!!!

This would be one of those interesting moments, Cael wanted some milk with his cookie. He often nurses and works on a snack at the same time.

The BREAST of New York

Wow it seems like I keep coming across boobs in New York today. You know what I fully support it too!

Have you heard of Moira Johnston? She is a topless dancer in New York who bares her breasts during the day for activism. You can read the official story here on the Huffington Post. To sum it up, she wants women to know that they don’t have to hide their breasts. It is legal in quite a few places actually for women to bare their breasts. I know where we live there is quite a controversy about it. There is a topless lady in our town, but she is not nearly perceived as well as Moira, might have to do that she is significantly older than New York’s top less wonder.
Now some people really have an issue with topless women. I really don’t understand the issue that so many have. They just simply are breasts, women just happen to have larger mammory glands therefor generally larger breast then men.  Most of the reason is the high sexualization on breasts. Women, especially their breast, are seen as sexual objects for a mans pleasure. Not really cool with that line of thinking. So many womens get all up in arms about ” My Body My Choice” but still keep stigma going. Seriously people they are just boobs. They are used to feed and nourish our young, that really is their primary function. The fun is secondary. Which nicely leads into the next story I keep seeing.

Have you heard about the new breastfeeding stir in New York Hospitals? Mayor Bloomberg has gone breastfeeding friendly, but it is with opposition. You can read the actual press release here. I really applaud Mayor Bloomberg for his actions. I do believe that the formula advertising should be taken out of the hospitals. I don’t believe in goodie bags of formula given to breastfeeding moms. It sets them up for failure. How do I think it sets them up for failure? When you have something else that you can feed your baby when you are exhausted and little support most will turn to the formula. Or just you need a few minutes so Daddy can feed the baby. Now there are so many things that other people can do for you and to help you with breastfeeding but giving you formula is not helping. It is not helping a mom when she says she is having troubles to just hand her a bottle of formula.
The formula companies are ruthless with their advertising, and I don’t agree with it. I fully support Mayor Bloomberg’s stance on we need to focus on breastfeeding it is what is designed for babies. Breast is what is best for them, breast is normal.

So there you have it New York and their concerns about breast, bare them and share them!

Wanting to add….

We want to grow our family by another baby. Yes that would put us up to four children. I don’t know when this next baby is going to come. I’m hoping spring/summer of next year, but that seems like it might not be in the design of things at the moment.

I suppose I am one of those fortunate women who while breastfeeding I don’t ovulate. It has been nearly 17 months and still nothing. I know our next baby is waiting and will come in time. I know that the timing will be right for our family. It may not be what I want when I want but it will be what is needed.

I get a LOT of people asking me if we are going for the girl? For some reason people seem to think that because I have all boys, that the only reason to have another child is to have the other gender. It’s not we want to add to our family. We love our children each and everyone of them. This is not because they are boys, it is because they are wonderful individuals. I love each of them for who they are. Sure a girl might be fun but so would another boys. I’m not really particular on which I get. I will love my child regard less. Hopefully next year we can welcome a new addition. I will do random posts on our Trying To Conceive ( TTC) adventure.

How I became and AP mom?

You know it is funny? When I looked towards my parenting life while I was pregnant with Damian Attachment Parenting(AP) wasn’t even on my radar. I hadn’t even heard of it honestly. I did not come from an AP background, so it wasn’t a style I was even familiar with. I knew a few things that I wanted. I wanted to breastfeed my child and I had no desire for surgery or a giant needle in my back. Now it seems to be everywhere, papers, magazine and the talk of the mommy world. If you have never heard of AP, you can read about it on Attachment Parenting International. They have 8 basic principles.-Prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
-Feed with love and respect
-Respond with sensitivity
-Use nurturing touch
-Ensure safe sleep, emotionally and physically
-Provide consistent and loving care
-Practice positive discipline
-Strive for balance in personal and family life.

Now coming to this mind set came pretty easily to me. Damian’s birth was pretty good and it ended up going okay.Ainsley’s was amazing for me. Cael’s was a difficult birth but I prepared for it as best I could.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed my son. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, including his awful latch. I had the milk we just needed to figure it out. It came in time and we had a great nursing relationship till  he chose to wean. I continue to have a nursing relationahip with Bobo and lil Squish, and it will continue till they are done or it is no longer mutually desireable.
Safe sleep for us is a combination of co-sleeping and bed sharing. We have an open bed policy for our older children as they are in their own beds now. Damian and Ainsley share a bedroom  with each other and up until recently would share a bed. They expressed interest in having their own little beds. They do share a bed when we travel and do well with it. I find it keeps them happier when they are kept together, they seem to have less stress in new situations which is a big thing for Ainsley.
When dealing with our children we try very hard to always be loving and sensitive. they are bundles of emotions and feelings, they need guidance on how to deal with everything going on. Now it is definitely not always easy to be loving and sensitive when dealing with issues, but it is doable. When we falter and are harsh , we will apologize to our children. Apologizing to your child allows them to see that you too make mistakes, and that is okay. It is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of strength.
When it comes to positive discipline this is an on going work for us. I know I don’t want to be the kind of parent that my child feared. I wanted love and understanding in my home. Now getting here is coming along. We reall try to refrain from using physical punishment with the boys. We are not always perfect and we do think that there are times when a swat on the rear has happened. I hate  this maybe it’s the way we were raised, I just don’t know what to do sometimes. This is my major failing point.
I look for balance in my life. I seek methods to give balance just sometimes it is so hard to do. Mostly it is my personal life that suffers. I keep putting into my family that I do nothing for me and I breakdown. This is not a good thing. I still need to find balance. but I am working on it.

So honestly I kinda fell into the AP thing I had these ideas and then I found out that there were others like me. I still am different from some AP moms, but I really think different is good. My kids don’t suffer from me learning different ways to care for them. I always am looking to improve my parenting skills. I want my kids to be the most functional people they can be. I want them to think I want them to ask questions. I don’t don’t want them to live in fear. I want them to know they are loved.