Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Hannah, Delivered," A Novel About Birth (Book Review)

There are few things better than opening the mail to find a thick book awaiting you.  Brand new, perfect, unblemished, full of potential.  I just love it.  Kind of like getting a new baby.  Well....

The day before "Hannah, Delivered" by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew showed up in my mail I had started a new Jo Nesbo mystery.  If you have ever read Nesbo and you understand my deep love of murder mysteries from countries where the sun never actually comes out, then you would not even need to read the rest of this review.  I opened up "Hannah, Delivered" and PUT DOWN MY JO NESBO book ("Cockroaches") and started reading "Hannah" instead.

That really says it all.  "Hannah, Delivered" was that good.  I couldn't stop reading it.  It sucked me in and kept me glued to it for the next two days until I had devoured the whole thing.

So what is "Hannah, Delivered" about?

Simply put, it is about birth.

Oh, but ladies, we know that birth is so much deeper than just birth, don't we?!  And so is this book.

Quick run down:

Hannah is the main character.  A Midwestern preacher's daughter who is living a pretty ordinary life as a desk jockey in a hospital when her mother dies.  You know, I think that death is sometimes harder when we have unresolved issues with the person who passes than if we love them perfectly, and I felt like this was the case with Hannah.  She loved her mother, but didn't understand her motivations, her passions, or her behaviors.

One busy night in the hospital Hannah gets dragged into a birth with the midwife on duty and witness a primal, natural birth.  And she is hooked.  She heads off to midwifery school in New Mexico to change her life.  She is exposed to things she never experienced before, finishes school and moves home to practice in a state where home birth midwifery is illegal.

The story culminates on two fronts- as Hannah discovers the mysteries and deep impact of her own birth and prepares to assist a mother at home expecting a breech baby.

"Hannah, Delivered" explores so many things.  The deep importance of birth on the baby, the mother, the father and on their entire life together as a family.  Birth is truly a momentous event.  It is said over and over in the book that "The way we are born matters" and when you get down to it, that is what "Hannah, Delivered" is about.  The way we are born matters.  It matters to Hannah and it matters to every woman.

The story also follows Hannah's decision to assist (or not assist) a mother with a previous traumatic birth who is dead set on delivering at home but who is expecting a breech baby.  "Hannah" explores not just the emotional and spiritual impact of how we are born, but the complex and often ugly politics surrounding the choices women have (and don't have) when it comes to birth.

I loved the book.  I hope it does work as a novel that advocates for birth can never really do when we tell people things using statistics and studies and intellectual understanding. Birth is so much more than can be put in a study. You can't quantify the impact of a birth on a woman and her children and her very psyche.  It can't be counted and placed neatly in a double blind study. Those who think so don't really understand it.

"Hannah" tells a fictional but very real story about the depth, the breadth, and the politics that surround how we are all born.  It matters how we come into this world.  It always has and it always will.  Hannah teaches us that our own births and the births of our children, and even the births of those women and mothers around us touch us far more than we will ever know.

Check it out.  You won't regret it.  (Your kids might because you will be busy for a few days, but that is another story.)


Accidental Unassisted Footling Breech with 4X Nuchal Cord (A Birth Story)


  • Wednesday was my guess date and I was feeling really bummed all day that I hadn't gone into labor yet. Both the girls were early (2 and 5 days respectively) and I was ready to be done. Being a doula and a childbirth educator, I know how important it is to wait and let baby come when he's ready, but there comes a point where you're just so tired of being uncomfortable, so tired of not sleeping, and so tired of waiting. Wednesday was that day for me. Luckily for me, I have the most amazing husband in the world who chose Wednesday as the day to have two dozen roses delivered to me for Valentine's Day, and that gave me the lift in spirits I needed to finish out the day.

  • That night at 7:00 was my appointment with my midwife. I really wasn't looking forward to it all that much because what was she going to tell me? "Great blood pressure!" (like always...) or "Your urine looks perfect!" (like always...). I just didn't want another appointment of "no new symptoms, everything looks great". I showed up promptly at 7 and she got to work checking all my vitals. It was time to listen to baby's heartbeat, but instead of finding it in it's usual place, she found it elsewhere. She told me that she suspected he was breech and asked if she could do a vaginal exam to check for sure.

  • Now here's another happy moment for me. Most midwives don't do vaginal exams before you're in labor, and strive to keep them to a minimum while you're in labor. I get that and totally support it. However, being so done, I had to stifle my excitement when she asked if she could check because that would mean she could also tell me if I had dilated at all. I was really hoping for good news.

  • So she checked. Yep. Breech. Not only breech, but footling breech, meaning both his feet were at my cervix instead of his butt. Ideally, she told me, butt-first breech is best (after head-down, of course). The butt acts as the head, opening the way for the rest of the body to come out. The responsible thing is to try to get the baby to turn, but if he doesn't, delivering breech isn't a big deal. We tried this weird Chinese medicine trick called Moxibustion at the suggestion of my midwife's apprentice. It made the baby move like crazy, but he didn't turn. She sent me home with her slant board and with some exercises to do to try to get him to turn. I planned to spend the majority of the next day (Thursday), doing said exercises.

  • She asked, "While I'm down here, do you want me to tell you where your cervix is at?" YES YES YES! "Sure," I said casually. Then, four blissful words, "You're at a three." A THREE?! I was ecstatic! It took me ten whole hours of labor to get dilated to a four with Moriah, and here I was not in labor and already at a three. This was VERY happy news and any signs of the bummed feelings I'd had earlier were completely gone. Even knowing that baby was breech and that it was a real possibility that he would be born that way, I was completely at peace. So I went home, shared the news with Artene, and after getting the kids in bed, we got ourselves in bed at a very late 10:00.

  • 10:45 rolls around and my body decided it needed to get up to pee. Okay, no big deal. Most nights I made it completely through the night without getting up to pee, and other nights I'd go when I get up with Moriah, just because I was already awake and it was convenient. I laid back down, cursing my round ligaments for hurting again (getting in and out of bed made them hurt worse most nights), and promptly fell back asleep. Sometime between 12:15 and 12:45, I was awoken again with the urge to pee. Not unusual, but if I hadn't been half asleep, I would have realized right then I was in labor. I went back to sleep. 1:20 rolls around and again I was woken up, but quickly realized that I was in labor. I woke Artene, told him I was pretty sure I was in labor, but that he should sleep as long as possible (I'm a nice wife like that) so that he could be rested enough to really support me when needed.

  • I went downstairs with my birth ball, snacked on some Aussie Bites from Costco, and spent time on Facebook and reading the news on KSL. I texted our photographer and told her I thought I was in labor and was just letting her know so she could make arrangements for someone to watch her daughter. I started timing contractions almost immediately so that I could have an idea of where I was at. About 2:45 things started picking up and I decided to call the photographer and ask if she could come over. I woke Artene and told him to get dressed since we'd be welcoming the first of many people very soon. I called her about 3:00 and she said she'd be right over.

  • She arrived and I continued laboring downstairs for a little while, but things were steadily picking up, so I decided to head upstairs and ask Artene if we could start filling the pool which was kept in our room. He jumped right on it.

  • Since I was dilated to a 3 already, we knew labor would be quick, but we weren't exactly prepared for how quickly it would go. It took a little over an hour to fill the pool since we drained our water heater twice. Artene had a moment of genius and filled both my water bath canner and my pressure canner with water and had them hot on the stove waiting to be added to the pool whenever it started cooling off. When the pool was full, I hesitated to get in it because I didn't want to get too relaxed and have my labor slowed down, but I decided to just do it. That was probably around 4:30. Artene texted his mom sometime around here to ask if she could make it to our house before the girls woke up so that someone would be here to tend to them. She never answered, even after a phone call. So we decided to put a pin in it and get back with her later.

  • The pool felt heavenly! The warm water was so soothing, and that element of weightlessness really took the edge off the more painful contractions. After I got in the pool, things really started picking up. Contractions were coming closer together and were getting more and more intense. I wasn't in the tub too long when I started needing Artene to put some counter-pressure on my hips during every contraction. Leaning up on the side of the pool made the contractions worse, so I would get on my hands and knees for each contraction, then sit back against the wall of the pool to rest until the next one.

  • What was most interesting to me was that my contractions never got closer together than 3 minutes. This was part of the reason we held off calling the midwife because both Artene and I thought we still had quite a bit of time left to go. About 5:45 the contractions started making me a little nauseous and I told Artene we needed to call the midwife. He was hesitant because my water hadn't broken yet, so he assumed it was going to be several more hours at least. For me, being nauseous is a sure sign of transition, but being in the throws of contractions, I couldn't argue too much. He said, "Let's just get through 4 or 5 more contractions first and then we'll call her." I didn't argue. On the next contraction, I started feeling even more nauseous and changed my mind about waiting to call the midwife. Artene left me to get my phone and call her.

  • And then I puked. Several times. It was really great (sarcasm). In the throws of puking and while Artene was on the phone with the midwife, my water broke. I knew at that point that he was going to come fast and I started to get a little worried. He hung up with the midwife and I can only imagine the panic she felt as she rushed to get ready and make the 10 minute journey to our house. On the next contraction, Joseph's first foot popped out and I was completely shocked. I didn't even feel him coming down the birth canal since, you know, feet are so much smaller and more slender than a gigantic HEAD, so the foot was a total shock to me. I said, "ARTENE! I think his foot just came out!!" He checked and responded in the affirmative, and almost immediately after, his second foot arrived.

  • At this point, I was starting to lose my concentration. The reality of what was happening was hitting me all at once. This baby was breech. He was coming NOW. My midwife wasn't going to make it. And Artene would be delivering him. Before I got any further into that thought process, the next contraction hit and his butt and hips were born. At this point, I started losing my cool. Not openly, but I was starting to be really worried that his arms would get stuck and he'd have a dislocated shoulder, or that his head would get stuck and I'd tear really badly. Luckily for me, my body decided to take a little break at this point. I started vocalizing my concerns but before I could get very far, Artene calmly reassured me that everything would be fine. The midwife was on her way, and he was confident that he could deliver the baby just fine (and I totally believed him and still do). He reminded me of all the preparations we'd made and, most importantly, that this child was a gift from God and that we had the divine help we needed.

  • There I was, leaning over the side of the pool, and Artene standing off to the side behind me supporting the baby as he's just hanging out there. It was easily 5 minutes before the next contraction came. While my body was resting, Artene asked our photographer to grab my phone and call the midwife again to let her know what was going on. The midwife started asking her all sorts of questions and she did the best she could to answer them (if I had been more aware, I think it probably would have made me laugh). While she was talking to the midwife, the next contraction hit. On his own, his arms popped out one after the other, elbows first, and then his head (which was very small, thankfully) slid right out with Artene's intuitive hands guiding him. I quickly checked the clock. 6:19AM. I was only awake and in labor for 5 hours.

  • The cord was wrapped around Joseph's neck about 4 times, so Artene quickly freed him and placed him on my chest so I could keep him warm. A mere 60 seconds later, the midwife and her assistant bounded through the door and up the stairs to our room with the most shocked of expressions on their faces. Nobody was expecting things to go so quickly, and we were all in a state of mutual disbelief. Immediately she checked out the baby to make sure he was doing alright and when she found that he was, she was able to relax a little and get right into the groove of things.

  • I could NOT believe what had just happened. We had planned a home birth and everything was perfect. Then, in less than 12 hours, we found out he was breech, I went into labor, and we birthed a breech baby at home without our midwife there (which is known in the birthing world as an "unassisted" birth). Woah. I can't even imagine what was going through our photographer's mind because I don't think she's ever even really seen or read about home birth before. I was over the moon that he was born so smoothly and that my midwife was only 60 seconds late getting there. I was utterly shocked that things happened so quickly. I was even more proud of Artene for juggling all that he did: physically and emotionally supporting me, delivering the baby, making sure the midwife got contacted (both times), and having all the supplies nearby and at the ready. He was seriously a rockstar.

  • It took Joseph a little longer to start crying that I remember with the girls, but I wasn't terribly worried. He was still connected to the cord, so he was getting enough oxygen for the time being. After rubbing his back and tickling his feet, he started crying and hacking up the fluid in his lungs. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Artene ran downstairs and grabbed the canner full of hot water to heat up the pool water some more, and the midwife, her assistant, and her apprentice got to work getting our room ready for me to move to the bed. A short time later, the placenta was born.

After that, the rest of the morning was kind of a blur. I was in such a euphoric state that everything was just happening around me in super speed. You know what I mean, like in the movies when someone is just standing still and life goes on around them rushing at ten times it's normal pace? Yeah, that was my morning. The midwife sat down and for record-keeping purposes talked through the entire labor and delivery with us to make sure she got the right times for everything, and she began the post-partum care for baby and myself talk. Her apprentice and assistant had plenty to do as well. They cleaned everything up, and I do mean everything! They drained the pool, threw out all the soiled plastic, gathered up soiled towels, made me some post partum healing pads...etc etc etc. It was amazing to watch them work, and was so grateful to have them there.

  • Long story short (well, shorter), things went splendidly. Artene took the baby long enough for me to get on the bed and be checked out. I didn't tear one single bit. Not even a skid mark. Baby nursed almost immediately and without any problems. He pinked up really quickly, and we left him connected to the placenta long enough for the cord to almost completely drain the blood back into him. Artene cut the cord, we weighed and measured him, and he came out a hearty 8 pounds 5 ounces, and 21 1/4 inches long. His head was tiny, I forget the exact size, but it was around the 23 percentile, and I was thanking God profusely for that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dear Pinewood Derby-


Dear Pinewood Derby-

How I hate thee.  Let me count the ways.

You seem innocent enough, with your little wooden squares and "family learning time fun," that is until men get involved.  Then things just get all crazy.

Sometimes I sit and contemplate how many marriages have ended in ruin because of the Pinewood Derby...
Too many sisters, too many.

I dared say something to the husband about how maybe he should just let the boy make the friggin' car by himself. Wow. That ended badly. Like, EPIC bad.

Well, three cars later we (and by "we" I mean, my husband) finally had a winner.  Sure there had been an unholy amount of money spent on tungsten weight (it is denser dumba$$!) and trued wheels and precision bored holes for the above wheels and paint and who knows what else.  (I accidentally ran across ONE of the receipts today and almost choked on my tongue.)  It is pretty much time I got a new pair of shoes. I feel totally justified in that now.

I saw this movie once about the Pinewood Derby.  It was called "Down and Derby."  It is actually kind of a funny movie about three dads who totally take over their son's car making and end up losing their jobs and wives and all self respect.  It is kind of a funny movie until you are actually the wife in the scenario and then it is no longer funny.  Then it is just a very bad joke.  Kind of like when I heard somebody ask Roseanne Cash how she liked that movie, "Walk The Line", about her father's life and she said something about how it wasn't actually enjoyable to watch your parent's divorce played out again many years later in a movie theater. Blech.

I have spent a little time wondering what the HELL is wrong with men when it comes to the Pinewood Derby.  Why do they all seem to resent the fact that their own father's took over and controlled and freaked out over their own cars as children, yet they grow up and do the same thing to their children?  Why can't they bring themselves to not care?  Is it really going to kill a kid if he doesn't come in first place?  I realize the stupidity of our current "everybody is a winner" culture, but would it really ruin childhood to lose every now and again?

Upon deeper reflection I have realized that the Pinewood Derby is to men what a wedding day is to women. You know, like when you get married your mom takes over, freaks out, and ends up controlling the entire shebang.  (Sorry mom, but that is totally what happened.  I forgive you, especially since you paid for it so it was really more your party than mine.)

Then, when you get older and have your own kid you get to do the same thing to them, thereby finally getting to plan the perfect wedding that you were too smitten and broke to plan when you were twenty. (Apparently there is this new thing happening where women get married when they are thirty and they plan it themselves, but I got married two months after I turned twenty and I had about 40 bucks and a Geo Prizm, so my mom planned my wedding and I shut up.)

So, I guess that men are just as irrational as women when it comes to getting things "just right" so that the kid can "enjoy that day and have it be perfect" when in fact they are actually kind of having a panic attack spread out over an entire week during which time they also cause irreversible harm to their significant other who will never be the same emotionally again.

The good news is that the car won!  It was incredibly fast.  People were trying to figure out the "secret" to its winning power.  The boy was very pleased.  He did get to participate in the building of it (some) and was really excited to be a winner.  I guess being a winner is nice sometimes.

I would show you a picture of him holding his winning car but I can't because:
A) You could be some freak who would then share a picture of my son, and
B) He wasn't actually allowed to touch the car once it was finished for fear of breaking the perfection.  (I am over exaggerating this just a tiny bit.  Kind of.)

The good news is that in approximately 9 years I will no longer have to worry about the Pinewood Derby and I only have one son so this won't be repeated with numerous children.

The bad news is that I have three daughters whose wedding I will someday get to plan for them while I secretly freak out about them soon being legally bound to some jerk who will later be a wack job when it comes to the Pinewood Derby.

Also bad news, I probably am not helping my relationship with this post, but after the week I just had, I am sort of OK with this passive-aggressive display of very public sarcasm.

Eat that derby car!

PS- I would be happy to give you the secrets to the perfect, winning, super-fast, Pinewood Derby car. I am shameless that way.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Break + 4 Kids = Something Very Different Than They Show On MTV

I don't actually know this guy (his name is Andew) but I sure didn't want to show you a picture of me eating (ahem) two doughnuts today. And for the record, I am a fan of old fashioned only, so I chose an iced old-fashioned and a maple old-fashioned and they were fabulous.

Do they even HAVE MTV anymore?  Because I seriously don't know.  When I was young it actually had music on it, so that was a long time ago.

Anyway.

Spring break for the kiddos.  Did I mention that it is finally raining here in NorCal where we really need it? This means that even though I have four kids and I can't take them to the park for an entire week, I am not actually allowed to complain about the rain because, as you know, we need it.  (Without rain then people can't grow their dope and then what would happen?  Lots of stressed out Baby Boomers, THAT'S what! And we don't want that. They already hate Costco and crap like that, we wouldn't want them to get really ticked.)

It was a crappy day.  I actually went in my room at one point wasted time on Facebook, such was my desire to escape. Hiding in my room isn't actually my style.  Normally I am so overcome with guilt for being lazy that I don't allow it.  (I am Mormon, so this is kind of a thing we do- feel guilty, work ourselves to death.)

I also at a lot of cookies, two donuts (the guy told me that I should buy one more to make it an even six, and was I supposed to tell him no?!  He said it was a good deal!  Doughnut guys do not lie.) Then I made more cookies.  I also decided that I was sad because I needed more Yerba Mate, so I drank some of that. Obviously I have some kind of chemical imbalance caused by rain, doughnuts and children.  (I had NO IDEA that doughnut was spelled this way. Who says you can't learn stuff from the internet?)

One of the children actually DISLOCATED their elbow.  (I swear this was not my fault.  We were walking down the hallway holding hands and then she started screaming.  I did not yank!  I am a very C- kind of mom but I did not yank.)  The good news was my hubby saved the day because he learned in chiropractic college how to fix that so- that 200,000 we spent on his doctorate degree was totally worth it today.

Back to my day.

I remember in college when I traveled for spring break. Me and a couple girlfriends drove from UNM to the City of Angels (which reminds me of my favorite Chili Peppers song.  You know you are getting up there when the people you listened to in high school are washed up enough to play the Super Bowl)  to go to Disneyland.  We had a good time.  We saw Titanic on the big screen (did I mention that I am old? Yeah, I am.  Leonardo hadn't even finished puberty at that point.  If you don't believe me, then just go watch that movie.  Seriously- low on testosterone.  No offense Leo- you have really filled out in the last 15 years.)

I know I should be writing about important things like the c-section rate or if I don't want to write about those things then I should be taking pictures of myself in full make-up building chicken coops in my backyard after I gave the dog a haircut and unschooled my kids (gently and while respecting their inner spirit).  But I don't do any of those things.  I am busy. Crying in my bed at noon.  Also, I write about c-sections all the time and I am pretty sure you would rather KNOW that somebody out there is a way crappier mom than you.

I actually really love my kids and I want to be a good mom who is sane and makes yummy dinners and doesn't ever say "get it yourself" or "clean that up NOW".  But instead I am this gal and I spend more time hoping they will forget these things that I do than actually planning menus.

To remedy the problem that was this day I am doing some things differently.  1) We are leaving the house. 2) I am going to not eat so many doughnuts and 3) I am out of ideas.

Have a great spring break.

The good news is I won't have embarrassing videos popping up on the internet of me twerking on MTV. The bad news is, I don't think MTV even has dance shows anymore.

Photo credit: dusty_pen / Foter / CC BY-NC

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Divergent" - The Mom Review

Last Friday night the hubby and I went to see "Divergent". The movie, probably better suited for the teenage sitters that stayed home and watched my four children, was pretty good.  And I am not just saying that because of this:
http://trisandfour.com/new-divergent-photo-featuring-theo-james-as-four/
I am much too old and mature to be interested in that.

The movie is about the future.  It must be the future because the naked girl from Titanic is now all grown up and striving for cold-blooded world domination rather than trying to get Leonardo to take his shirt off.  (And now I officially feel REALLY old because I was already in college when that movie came out. Always a shocker when the beautiful girls of my youth are no longer leading ladies but mean matriarchs.)

Back to the plot-

Something about the future.  A bunch of tribes.  Special tests.  Fear.  Lame clothes.  Etc.

Main girl, "Triss" becomes a warrior and meets the man ABOVE.  For some reason she seems interested in him and his rugged, "I jump out of planes for breakfast and then go skeet shooting in the frigid rain without gloves on," exterior.

"Must.  Meet.  Him."  thinks Triss.

Then FINALLY, about 2 hours in the movie she asks him to take his shirt off.

Pardon me, she doesn't actually do that directly, because she is like 16 and not that direct yet.  Triss asks him very politely if she can "see his tattoo."

This was definitely my favorite part of the movie and I am sure it will be yours too.  However- I couldn't help but imagine how this would have went down if the movie was actually about people like myself, who have four kids and less patience than this sweet girl.

There is an expectation that the more kids you have, the more patience you acquire.  Like it grows with your stretchmarks or something.  Not true.  Truth is, the more kids you have the LESS patience you actually have because you have more cooking and laundry to do with each additional pair of feet.

So if a mother of four (not me, I am not a pervert) was in a movie like this and met a guy like that (see picture above) then she would not wait until two hours in to politely ask to "see his tattoo".  No.  She has other stuff going on.

Five minutes after their first meeting she would have put on her "mom voice" (this is the one she uses when people need to get in their beds and also when she has to yell at kids at the skate park for liberal use of the F-bomb in front of her four year old) and she would say,
"I need you to take your shirt off.  Make it snappy because sweetheart, I have something in the oven and I need to get this truck unloaded."
Boy named Four responds,
"Whaaa....?"
Mature Triss:
"Let me help you.  Maybe you aren't that verbal.  That is fine.  I'll walk you through this."  
Then she would see this:

GOOD. NIGHT. NURSE.

I mean seriously, is that even legal?

After that there isn't really much need for a movie, but because we can't in good conscience go out to the show just to see that, we will surround it with 2 hours of plot twists and dialogue.

Basically, it was a great movie.  That is my review.  If you would like to read a real one, you can find them everywhere.

Peace out!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Looking Back, I Wish I Had Appreciated My Babies

Watched the most incredible birth video tonight.  Beautiful, moving birth in which there is a scare at the end when baby doesn't breathe right away.  Midwives get to work.  You can hear the mom and dad praying over the baby and then the miracle happens- breath.

As I watched I thought of my own four babies.  I was blessed with healthy children, good births, pleasant memories.

And after all that, I am ashamed to admit that I never really appreciated all of it.

The tiny hands, the funny way they breathe in, the flimsy nails, the wrinkles in the fresh skin.  The total lack of inhibition that every baby has- just yawning and farting and smiling at will without a thought about being appropriate or sucking in their tummy or offending anybody.  Gah- what incredible creatures babies are! Obviously human, but without all the baggage and ugliness.

I am ashamed to admit (and you probably already noticed if you ever read this blog) that I however was never much of a fan of babies.

I felt overwhelmingly overwhelmed with each of them.  I did my best and trudged through it, but being a mom of a baby was always hard for me.  The lack of sleep, yes- that is what everyone complains about- that was difficult.  But it was more than that for me.  Feeling helpless is something I find crushing.  And raising a baby feels so helpless sometimes.  I didn't know what they were thinking, at least not with my first.  I wasn't a "natural" mother who just intuitively know how to hold, nurse, rock, and comfort my baby.  I just made stuff up.

I don't know what it all was exactly, but I don't think I am a very good mom of babies and I know I didn't inhale every moment with gusto and gratitude.  I felt useless a lot of the time and kind of...like I was waiting for this moment to pass so they could be more independent so I could get more "stuff done".

What a tragic way to spend their babyhood!  Feeling guilty about dirty floors and all the things I never accomplished (world travel, advanced degrees, pure awesomeness) before I had kids.  Instead of noticing the miracle I was living, I was watching the clock.

Still sadder, I think I am still doing the same thing, with every phase, every moment, every year that passes.

It is hard to raise kids.  To teach them to read, to watch them struggle, to never be finished with chores, to be pulled in a million directions and give them what they need (without giving so much they end up bratty) and giving yourself what you need (without giving so much that your kids end up damaged by your selfishness).  At least, all this is hard for me.  I hope it is easier for you.

Here I am, my last baby almost three, looking back on those little souls that I could hold in one hand and wishing I had appreciated it more and savored it and just smelled their heads and drank it in and sighed and realized how truly wonderful it is.  And I am still doing the same thing.  Looking at the clock, counting the minutes till the finally fall asleep, telling them I need a minute to get my crap together.

I don't know when I will figure it out.  I haven't yet.  I have a table that needs to be wiped and I lack the emotional strength to get up and do it.  I have a dog that wants to come inside that I just wish would be smaller and smell better and stop demanding so much from me.  I still don't appreciate things and they are just ticking by, one day at a time, while I try to escape from a reality that one day I will look back on and wish I had appreciated.

What a depressing post this is.  How sad that I am admitting what an awful, ungrateful person I am on the big fat internet for all the world to see.

Maybe I will do better.  Maybe my patience will last a little longer and I will raise them a little better and become a person that I can look back on and say, "She was all right.  She did her best.  She had fun.  She was good to be around."

Let's hope I figure it out before the time runs out and all I have are regrets for the feelings I should have cherished and the moments I should have savored.
Look- my very first selfie!  Now that I finally did one, they will go out of style.  Notice the messy desk in the background, my red couch (I love my red couch.  A lot.) and my total inability to understand even the most basic things about lighting.  I now feel like a total narcissist.  Ta-da!  (PS, why am I glowing red?!  Is something wrong with me!?)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jack Newman and Intuition


I have been writing a lot lately, just not here.  I am busy with the Birth Boot Camp blog and writing on Mothering.com and with Speak Mom and various other articles and guest posts that I try to do each month. I love writing and it is kind of surreal that I get to do it for "work" these days.  (Not to mention trying to figure out how to only put ONE space after a period.  This is a really dumb new rule that is jacking thing up for this old lady who learned typing back in 95 and can't change her ways. )

But by the time I am ready to rest, I am pretty tired of writing and don't put anything down here, nor do I have any time for more research or heavy stuff that you might find illuminating or intelligent.  Instead all that is left is stories of vomit and leftover mom frustrations.

Sorry this blog doesn't have much content or depth anymore.  I am just wrung out by the time I make it over here.

I had a cool week though and I wanted to share it with you.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to go listen to Dr Jack Newman.  The local First 5, WIC, Tribal Health and the hospital here got some money together and flew the man out to the po-dunk world of Ukiah, CA.

This really blew my mind that he came all this way.  If you haven't been to Ukiah, it is about 15,000 people and lies about 2 1/2 to 3 hours away from a major airport.  We drive an hour for Costco and Target and other things that city slickers couldn't live without.

In fact, Dr Newman actually spoke in Redwood Valley (my REAL hometown) which houses about 2,000 people, most of them trying to escape the hustle and bustle or the feds (or both).  But I digress...

But Dr Newman came here!  Famous Canadian, man of the breast, author and what not, spoke to a full house of hippies and midwives about breastfeeding.

My mom asked me what a man could know about breastfeeding.  "Has he ever breastfed?" she asked me. Good question mom.  It is official, you are totally related to me and I to you, because that sounds like something I would say.  Turns out he did know a few things about breastfeeding.

It was a good time and I took copious notes (which I will manufacture into numerous "intelligent" blog posts.) Some of my favorite things about the day were not the pictures and the studies and the proof.  My favorite parts were his passion- for nursing, against formula companies, even Medela (which is apparently "the Devil". Who knew?!) He even made fun of doctors, studies, kale, coconut oil, marketing campaigns, vitamin D supplementation, and all things that are held holy by those who know more than the rest of us.  I always enjoy a good laugh at the self-righteous, don't you?  (Of course, I don't enjoy this laugh at myself.  It is kind of a one way street, this mocking thing.  Ya know?)

I think my favorite thing that he said was when he was talking about latching a baby on to the breast who has never been on the breast.  Dr Newman has a breastfeeding clinic in Toronto and it certainly sounds like they get some tough cases.  They successfully are able to help women latch babies who are sometimes months old and have never nursed at the breast.  Ever.  And then they do. At two weeks or two months, at four weeks or four  months- truly incredible and much of it on video.

Dr Newman has a technique that they use for this, he calls it asymmetric nursing.  There are other tools and techniques that they use to get a baby on.  What I loved though was that when he talked about figuring out what would work for each mom he said something to the effect of, "You just have to use your intuition."

Yes, a doctor, a respected physician, a world traveler, writer of books and studies and man of letters said that you just have to feel what will work, what will be right in each individual situation, and do that.  Some people (lactation consultants) have a feel for it.  It takes time to figure it out.  To understand how to "feel" that.

This made me think that this man who has never breastfed does know a thing or two about breastfeeding that many women have forgotten.  Sometimes you do need to tune in to what is happening and tune out the noise and feel your way in a situation in order to figure out what will work.

Sometimes all the words just get in the way.

Love it.

Peace out ladies, until next time!

Photo credit: Alexander Tundakov / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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