Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jacky's Breastfeeding Story

Reposted with Permission; http://www.mummiesnummies.com/2011/02/my-story.html

In the past couple of weeks, some people have asked me what my breastfeeding story was. Seeing how I have not really battled too much with Kit Kat...... the story that comes to mind is what we went through with Pooker. One of our readers even published the following story on her blog.

So I thought I would share my story with all of you. Just proves that breastfeeding is not always easy..... but can be achieved.

My story is probably one of thousands out there, filled with heartache and joy. For me breastfeeding was a goal that I thought would be easy to achieve.

Sadly, with my first born, I was wrong.

When my oldest (Pooker) was born, in April 2008, it was a day of miracles. She was our third pregnancy in 11 months. We went through 2 miscarriages before having her and we were just so ecstatic to finally have our baby in our arms. She had problems in the beginning with nursing. She was more interested in sleeping, had almost no ability to suck or latch on, and we had a horrible lactation consultant at the hospital. She told us to give her formula and left us alone. But we were still determined not to give up, we were just so happy to be holding her in our arms.

Last picture taken of Pooker before being taken to the ER

Last Picture taken of Pooker before ending up in the ER

But on the third day of her life, everything changed. I was nursing her at home, when I looked down at her I noticed something was wrong. When my mind caught up with what my eyes were seeing, I lost it. My daughter was blue. Dark blue.... everything. Her lips, cheeks, nose.... her whole face. I yelled for my husband (who luckily was sitting right next to me) and he saw it too. He jumped up just as I sat her up in my arms. The second I sat her up, her color began to return to normal and she opened her eyes. Within seconds, it was like nothing had happened.

We put a call into her pediatrician (whom she had not even seen yet) and waited all day to hear back. We kept a close eye on her the whole day and it did not happen again. Hours later, the doctor called us back and told us to take her to the ER where she was born. From there on........ our world shattered.

While at the ER, she had another episode. I began calling them "blue episodes" and it happened while she was nursing again. At this point they had already informed us that they would be transporting her to Scottish Rite (Childcare's Health Care of Atlanta). I had to hold my crying baby down on a cold table while they did x rays. It took both my husband and myself to keep her still. To hold your baby this way is very heart breaking. She was so small... only being 3 days old. Then they were throwing words like "Spinal Tap and Meningitis" at us. The nurses and staff seemed to be very concerned.... which only scared us even more. When she stopped breathing at the ER, my husband rushed out and yelled for help. The number of staff that came running in was so scary. They took her from me and laid her on the bed. They immediately began doing a catheter and prepping her for the ambulance ride.

She was admitted into Scottish Rite where she had another Blue Episode, this time while she was being given Zantac. Once again the room was filled with nurses giving our miracle air and checking her vitals... all the while my husband and I were left hanging onto each other in the corner watching our little girl suffer. This episode was different. This time, she did not turn blue, she turned bright red and her arms and legs began flailing around like stiff boards. She was clearly in distress and this time she could tell.

While at Scottish Rite, they did a Spinal Tap, a dozen or more x rays, brain scans, heart scans, blood tests, RSV tests, and a Barium Swallow. This little baby had a dozen wires sticking out of her body 24/7 and the crib was like a jail cell. Cold, metal bars on all sides. I was convinced that she would spend as little time in that crib as possible. In my mind..... if we were going to lose our baby.... she was not going to die in the crib. She would die in our arms. Looking back...... my heart still races. To have to even think that thought as a parent........but if we had to lose her.... she was going to leave us in the arms of the people who loved her. My husband and I took turns holding her and we never left her side.

After four days, she was diagnosed with Silent Reflux and Breath Apnea. The whole time I either pumped or nursed her. When I say pumped.... I mean I was up every two hours pumping what I could and giving it to her in a bottle. I was like a clock...... I would pump, give the nurses what I got and then ask for what milk I pumped 2 hours before and I fed her that. After a couple of days I had this whole process down to an hour. Then I would have about another hour where I could nap before I started it all over again. I finally got the courage to breastfeed her, with the help of an amazing Lactation Consultant! I thought I was the reason she was turning blue, as it all started while she was nursing. So you can imagine my fear of actual breastfeeding.

So our miracle was not going to die.... with the help of an Apnea Monitor that she wore for 24 hours a day (minus bath time) and some serious over protecting on our part. She had some major problems with pain form her reflux, and I began to see the warning signs when she was having another Blue Episode. I learned that she would begin to turn gray before she turned blue and that she would make a slight gurgling noise as well. These signs were very slight but the mommy instinct in me kicked in and I was one of the few people to notice these changes. But we prevailed with the breastfeeding. Our little fighter made it through medication side effects, poor weight gain, latching problems, I had a breast milk imbalance, apnea spells, poor sucking ability and a traumatizing first week of her life. But I am happy to say that she nursed for 11 months. It was not until she was 6 months old did she really get the hang of breastfeeding.....so to say that my first experience was easy.....well that is so far from the truth.

Why did we stop breastfeeding at 11 months? Because I was pregnant with our second miracle. I am happy to say that her breastfeeding experience has been much better.... still plagued with the horrid reflux.... but not nearly as bad as her older sister's. My current Nummie Lover (Kit Kat) is 15 months old and still going strong! My daughters are the reason I started Mummies Nummies.

I knew I was not the only mummie who had problems to overcome!

Breastfeeding can be very hard....but if you are strong willed...... it can become a beautiful experience.

www.mummiesnummies.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

Early Breastfeeding Obstacles Part 7: Confidence



When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I knew I was going to breastfeed. But I still bought formula just in case. What if I didn't make milk? What if I couldn't figure it out? What if...what if...what if...


Confidence. That word is a part of our lives as women. When we walk into a room and there is another woman who is skinnier, or blonder, or has straighter teeth, how do we feel? Our confidence drops a few points...or many points, perhaps. When we start a new job or a new hobby or join a new play group. Anything new or different affects our confidence, so of course breastfeeding would have the same affect, especially on new moms!


As new moms, most of us intend on breastfeeding. We have every intention of giving what we know is the best thing for babies to our baby. Then we have our baby and we're in the hospital and they give us the new breastfeeding mothers package with that cute little reusable bag....and formula. Wait a second. Why did they give me formula, you think to yourself. I plan on breastfeeding my baby! If you're brave enough to ask, they tell you it's just in case. If you're even braver and say you don't need it, they tell you to take it because it's free. The second a new mom runs into any issues with breastfeeding, most doctors and nurses will push formula on them. You get home and it's day 5. Your mother in law is over and your baby wants to eat for the third time that hour. She tells you that you must not be making enough milk and you'd better give that baby some formula or s/he'll starve (see Cluster Feeding and Growth Spurts). You open your mail and you're overwhelmed with formula samples. We are set up to fail from the beginning due to "well meaning" family members and the formula companies who seem to be EVERYWHERE. All kinds of hurdles present themselves in your path and it can really shake a new moms confidence.


It's important to stay focused. Find yourself a support group, online or local. La Leche League meetings are great for support. Arm yourself with information and facts and present them to "well meaning" family members and doctors when they try to push formula on you. Heck, let them know ahead of time that you don't want to hear it! And always remember what we and countless other breastfeeding resources will continuously repeat over and over again: if baby is having wet diapers and gaining well, baby is just fine and getting enough to eat!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Irrelevance of Time

Last year a 'note' was passed around Facebook with the following letter. No credit was given and I have no idea where it came from. But it's awesome and I wanted to share it here. The link from Facebook no longer works. If anyone knows who wrote this let me know!

In The Jungle Mom

As a midwife, I am often asked about how to help labor begin. Women get tired of being pregnant and look for all sorts of ways to get un-pregnant, some natural, others not-so-natural. One of a midwife’s duties is to encourage women when they are struggling with the aches and pains of late pregnancy. I wrote this piece for a client of mine who was really quite tired of carrying around a very pregnant belly. Of course, this article is for normal pregnancies and does not speak to medically difficult or very post-dates women. If you have questions about your own pregnancy, be sure to ask your care provider.

Imagine you are a woman living in the jungle. You have no clocks; only seasons. You know the stars and the tides, but they are a part of you more than a conscious thought.

Your baby grows within and you never even had to read a book about the different phases of your pregnancy. The baby has zero concept of time. Is it time to grow a toenail? Time for that thirtieth hair on her head? No study has to be done to calculate the correctness of her growth. It just happens.

In this jungle (or desert or forest), you live your life. You pay passing notice to the increased weight on your joints or the frequency of having to go to the bathroom, but it does not keep you from living your life. You harvest the food, or make the bowls, or clean the hut, or build the house, or skin the animals or clean the clothes in the river with your other sisters, pregnant and not. You do not have the luxury of sitting still and wondering about your body. No television jeopardizes your time. No refrigerator stands full a few feet from your resting place.

Pre-labor contractions touch your body, but things need to be done. You know from experience that when your labor is enough to slow you down it will be time to seclude yourself. No one in the tribe even has a word for "Braxton-Hicks Contractions" or "prodromal labor" because the women have too much to do to stop and think about twinges (strong or not). The elders steal quick glances as you lean over again and again while you hang the clothes to dry, but no one mentions anything. You have “enough” inside yourself to do this work. And they all believe.

Once labor begins, depending on the culture, you might labor alone or with another woman or several women in attendance. Labor knows no time. There is no watch. No clock ticking on the wall. No one says, "You've been four centimeters for six hours now, time for pitocin." Labor is allowed to unfold in its own way. The women around you merely witness, remind you of your strength, press cold cloths to your face and hot ones to your lower back. And they all believe.

When it is time to push the baby out, it is the same thing... no clocks timing how long to push... none of that counting-to-ten three times for each push. It would seem absurd to our jungle woman! You push when you feel the need to do so. No one touches your cervix to feel if you are "complete." You are complete. Without anyone checking anything. Your completeness is simply a part of your existence.

When I was a new mom nursing at night, I nearly went crazy because of how often my son wanted (needed) to nurse. I would grind my teeth as I looked at the clock and saw he had "just nursed" forty-five minutes earlier and now I was awake for longer than I had been asleep. It bred so much anger and resentment.

When my second child was born, I learned to cover the clock, or better yet, remove it from the room. When she wanted to nurse, I was there, present, nursing my baby who, in the wilds of the world, would have clung to me for survival. It is the instinct she was born with.

That same inner knowledge that caused her to grow to health and wholeness... that did not trigger my labor until her lungs were fully ready to be born... that did not know that I was tired when she was
ready to come out (and did not care)... knew how to keep me going so I could tend to my child. In pregnancy and nursing, and eventual continuous mothering, I was there for her. She did not have to worry about any clocks or schedules. She needed me; I was there.

As a midwife, I encourage women to let go of time. Grow your babies. Feel those tightenings. Embrace the beauty of your heartburn, your frequent urinating, your insomnia, your separated pubic bones, your weight gain... and your baby's movements under your flesh, your child's inner hiccups, your 100% safe-from-the-difficulties-of-this-world child.

Time, as trite as it sounds, is so fleeting. I pine for those aches and pains. My youngest is now twenty-four years old! I am sorry for wishing those moments of difficulty away. I speak so you might take a deep and grounding breath, say a prayer or incantation if that is your way, and stay in the moment with your child. It is the only time ever you two will be alone.

As your baby grows without guidance and conscious thought, so too, begins labor and birth.

And we all believe.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guide to Understanding Attachment Parenting Style for People Who Don't AP - Part One

This was/is intended to be something you can provide to nay-sayers in your life if you are an Attachment Parent who is struggling with judgement and unsolicited advise.

Guide to Understanding Attachment Parenting Style for People Who Don't AP - Part One

You have been given this booklet in the hopes to enlighten you on a parenting style that ___________________________________________________________ have chosen. First off let us clarify that there are many types of parenting styles and that no one is wrong or right. Every family has the right to choose how their offspring will be raised, so long as it does not violate any governing state or federal laws. The intended purpose of this booklet is to have you better understand attachment-parenting (AP) principles, give situational examples and helpful responses, and help maintain a strong relationship between you and the attachment parents. The choice to follow attachment-parenting style is in no way a judgment on how you chose to raise your children. You did what worked best for you and your family; we are just trying to do the same for ours.

Not all attachment parents follow all these principles, but I wanted to cover all the basics and I suggest that the AP’s highlight ones that they intend to follow. There are Eight Principles of Parenting as outlined by API (Attachment Parenting International). I'm going over the principles that I most strongly believe in and ones that are often questioned by others.

Co-Sleeping

Breastfeeding & Extended Breastfeeding

Baby Wearing

Responding with sensitivity

Positive Discipline

Nurturing Touch

Co-Sleeping:

Co-sleeping has been done since the dawn of time, yet for many people it seems like a foreign concept. Often media reports of infant deaths due to co-sleeping, but typically there are extreme circumstances when really the co-sleeping factor was not the cause of the death. Also, these stories tend to fail to compare just now shockingly many children die in cribs. As with any parenting choice, we could all go find some experts that sight our side of things, countless studies & books to support our side – but really it is up to the parents of that child to live with the decisions they’ve made.

Aside from safety, the other issue that arises with co-sleeping is dependence. Often people question how a child could possible learn to sleep on their own if they are being raised in a family bed. There is actually a paradoxical effect from co-sleeping in that children feel so secure that their independence is inevitable. We believe that a child who feels secure 24-hours a day is going to grow into a strong independent individual.

When done appropriately there is nothing physically dangerous or mentally damaging about co-sleeping with a child of any age.

A time will come with the AP’s will complain about being tired. Before jumping in with advice about how they should just put the baby in a separate room and let him/her just “cry it out,” think of this; #1 have you ever come across parents of an infant who are not tired? And, #2 Would you ever give the advice to non-co-sleeping parents who complain about being tired that they should bring the baby in bed with them? Advising someone to do the opposite of their parenting style will end up leading to resentment and frustration. If you are unable to think up solutions that parallel the parenting style, suggest that they find like-minded families in person or online who will be able to off up advice. All babies eventually find their way to sleeping through the night. It is an epic journey/battle that all parents go through, and being judged or ridiculed doesn’t help anyone.

Breastfeeding & Extended Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a personal choice. For some women it comes easily, and for others it is a struggle. The best thing you can do is support whatever the mother wants to do. Pushing the AP’s to do the opposite of their wishes will only alienate your relationship with them, especially if your advice is repeated and unsolicited. For a mother who is having difficulty with breastfeeding, the best advice you can give is that she connects with other mothers who have successfully breastfed. Just to name a few, such mothers can be found at the Le Leche League, online, hospital support groups, friends, etc. It is very easy to create doubt in a first time mother who is trying to figure out breastfeeding. They have enough to worry about, and sometimes something that is seemingly “natural” does not always happen without a lot of practice and support. Suggesting that she give up and switch to formula should be a last resort. There is one sure fact, and that is that breast is best.

For those who are successfully able to breastfeed, there comes a time shortly after that monumental first birthday that the general public tends to think that it is time for the baby to get off that boob. There are just as many studies/books out there claiming it is harmful as there are studies/books that will say it is beneficial. That being said, making judgmental comments will only damage your relationship with the parents. Breastmilk does not expire at 12 months of age, nor does it suddenly become void of nutrients. When to end breastfeeding is a choice for baby and parents to make together. Women all over the world allow the child to self-wean, if the AP family you know have chosen to do this negative comments from anyone are not going to stop them.

Baby Wearing

Baby wearing is used as a gateway between womb and the outside world. Babies are used to being confined, and they are actually generally more comfortable being in such an environment. Transitioning them to a sling where they can get a glimpse of the outside world in small doses just feels like the right thing to do.

When done with an appropriate sling there is no pain for parent or baby, and they are less complicated than you think. It is often recommended that the baby always be facing inward so as to maintain eye contact with parent at all times. For extended use it is not recommended that any device be used where the child is dangling with their full body weight on their hips (this being forward facing slings, Johnny jumpers, entertainment saucers, swings, etc).

Babies will fuss in a sling, just as they will in a carseat or stroller. Often times it is just those few precious moments when they are fighting the sandman. They will squirm and fuss and in the blink of an eye they are sound asleep.

Responding with Sensitivity

The art of responding with sensitivity is learning to read your child's cues and acting quickly and appropriately to answer their needs. By responding to the child's needs a trust is being built. AP’s do not believe that responding to requests from the child will lead them to be spoiled or co-dependent. Instead, by consistently responding to the needs of the baby they feel that a bond is being created, which leads the children to become confident in themselves and therefore able to operate independently.

So, truth be told... I wrote this about 18 months ago in defense of my girlfriend who was constantly being harassed by her in-laws and then I had major writers block so I never really finished. I've looked back on it several times... but just can't seem to find the words to finish off the last few principles. Have any ideas for me? Want to help out? Email to: thegoodletdown [at] gmail [dot] com - Part Two just might show up someday with your help.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Crankiest Baby on the Block


That, my friends, is the story. of. my. LIFE. Ella cries. All. The. TIME. Okay, not all the time, but far more often then the normal baby. I remember before Ella was born I would always say, I"ll let her comfort nurse, she'll be such a happy baby. {SNORT} Yes, she comfort nurses...but that doesn't stop the screaming. There have been times, mostly in my pre-zoloft days, when I couldn't stand to even TOUCH her let alone nurse her, so yes, this personality definitely affected our nursing relationship. I DID nurse her, of course, but it was extremely difficult. I looked at the different things it could be and consulted with my girlfriends. Reflux? But she doesn't spit up (it could still be reflux apparently, but not as likely). Colic? Seriously...what is colic? A crying baby? Okay, sure it's colic, now what the EFF do I do about it? Gas? Hunger? Too hot? Too cold? ......... You get my point.

I tried everything. EV-ER-Y-TH-ING. Pacifiers, bouncey chairs, swings, baths, bathing with her, wearing her in different types of carriers/slings, rocking, bouncing, shushing, swaddling, white noise...you get my drift. Nothing worked consistently. Sometimes I could nurse her into stopping screaming. Sometimes I could sing to her. Sometimes I could rock her. But for the most part, the screaming would go on and on for hours.

I have been distrustful of pediatricians because our last pediatrician was a complete and total idiot so I didn't bring it up to the pediatrician. I figured she'd tell me it was colic or that she needed formula. Wasn't about to happen. Today we went to the pediatrician and I broke down and told her what was going on. It had been like this every single day since Ella came home. Completely miserable. She asked the normal questions, the word "colic" did come up (of course) and she mentioned that a probiotic might help. Then she mentioned, hesitantly (she knows me) a lactose free formula that could be tried (then said she was hesitant because of how well Ella is thriving on breast milk...12 lbs 5 oz, thank you VERY much!) and I said, "well, couldn't I just cut all dairy out of my diet?" "Yes! You could do that." So with a heavy heart, I decided to cut dairy out of my diet...after I finished my $5 Caribou latte of course.

On the way home I was thinking about it and I figured at this point, I had 3 new things to try. Probiotics, dairy elimination or a chiropractor. I'd heard good things about chiropractors for babies and had been saying I was going to bring her but hadn't gotten around to it yet (I'm such a bad procrastinator). Well after much discussion with myself and on my favored facebook groups, I decided to try the chiropractor first and made an appointment for tomorrow. HOPEFULLY, that's the issue and I don't have to do an elimination diet but I WILL do it before formula will pass those sweet little rose bud lips.


While I love all the faces of Ella, this is my favorite and I'd like to see it way more often then the first picture (which, unfortunately, I see pretty constantly). I'd like to avoid cutting out dairy because, let's face it, I like butter. I like it A LOT. And sour cream. And ice cream. And milk chocolate. And cheese. Those are all staples in my diet (Yes I know that's why my pre pregnancy jeans don't fit). I will do it though if necessary because as much as I like butter, I like my boobie baby even more. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Standing up to medical professionals


A few weeks ago, Ella came down to human metapneumovirus and had a partially collapsed lung. She was hospitalized for 10 days and I spent the entire time there with her so I could nurse her, be there for her while she was sick and make sure she was held and comforted as much as she needed and wanted while she was so sick. About a week into our stay, I could tell that Ella was on the brink of a developmental milestone. I knew she was trying to laugh and I figured there might be one other thing. She was cluster feeding during the evening, as is normal with babies during growth spurts and milestones. Her nurse came in while she was nursing and probably about a half hour later, she came in again and we were nursing again on the other side. The nurse said to me, "Is she nursing AGAIN??" with complete dismay in her voice. I said, "Um, yes." Then she proceeds to tell me that she had HEARD that babies need to breastfeed less often and eat more at once or their stomach's won't grow. She told me I was nursing her TOO often and that she needed to feel hungry.

I'm pretty sure my brain instantly exploded. I was immediately on the defense and mama bear jumped out of my skin. 

I told the nurse, Ella nurses on demand, and nurses as much as she needs. Furthermore, she is not only comfort nursing because she's sick but she's also in the middle of a growth spurt and is nursing frequently because of that. 

So at this point, what should the nurse have done? It was pretty obvious that I was extremely irritated so you would think that she'd back off. Nope. No such luck. She actually argued with me. She had no proof of what she said, simply said that she had "heard" that was the case. Okay, we obviously know that that's untrue. Babies stomachs will grow and they should nurse on demand. We know this is fact. I don't know where she got this information. Furthermore, I don't know where she got off sharing information that was obviously completely false. Even if she didn't know it was false, I can't understand how she thought it was okay to share information with a nursing mom that she wasn't able to back up with facts. Saying she "heard" something is true ...? Again, with the brain explosion.

Having spent 74 days in the NICU, then another 10 days in the hospital with a respiratory virus, I've had experiences with every type of nurse there is. Old, young, black, white, female, male, ones with lactation training, ones without, traditional nurses, etc etc etc. I've had very few bad experiences and I truly believe that nurses are the backbone of healthcare. However, when I have had bad experiences, and I HAVE had a few, usually regarding breastfeeding (I had two run ins with nurses while Ella was in the NICU). Each time I've been as nice as I could but I've also been firm and stood up for myself. It's shockingly difficult to stand up to medical professionals but when it comes to something I'm as passionate about as breastfeeding and mix it in with my children...mama bear comes out.

We always like to believe that our nurses and doctors know best. I wish that were true but too often, we receive misinformation from them but especially breastfeeding. If you receive information about breastfeeding that makes you uncomfortable, or heck, if anyone tells you you have to supplement, or stop, question it. Contact a lactation consultant, a breastfeeding board, La Leche League. Do NOT be afraid to question medical professionals and stand up to make your voice heard if you feel it is necessary.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: Epi-c Failure

Although the three of us gals are natural childbirth junkies, I think we all respect a moms right to make an informed decision. Medicated or natural pain relief is probably one of the most common questions when it comes to the birth of a baby. Something that I like to advocate is that no matter what your choice is, you should know some natural pain relieve techniques going into labor. Wanna know why? Well, epidurals only work 80-85% of the time. And on top of that, sometimes your baby is coming so fast they don't have time to get the epi in or the anesthesiologists are too busy and don't get to you in time. That's why. How much would it suck to go into birth with zero training or thoughts on natural childbirth (NCB), just banking on the numbing action of an epidural... only to have it fail leaving you completely thrust into the intense situation of labor and pushing that baby out? Yeah, that would suck. I've seen videos of it, and it ain't pretty.


Did you know that the epidural failure rate is 5%? That is 1 out of every 20 epidurals. Not to mention there is 15% additional failure just in that the epidural is "patchy" and only works on one side of the body. Outside of that 5-20% action is the group that probably isn't easily tracked, the ones where the epi just didn't make it in time. To be fair, some of the failed epi's are able to try again and succeed, but planning on an epidural is not a fool proof pain free plan in all cases. Nothing is fool proof! Even if you plan on an epi and take my advice by knowing some NCB techniques, all of it could fail and leave you disliking your birth. But let's face it, if all that went wrong you were probably doomed no matter what happened.

So, my advice... take some natural childbirth education classes... read some books... learn some techniques... hire a doula... and just make medicated pain relief be Plan B. If you aren't cut out for natural childbirth and end up ordering an epidural, so be it. But if that epi fails or doesn't make it in time, atleast you are armed with some information to help you make the birth be as smooth as possible. Who knows, you just might enjoy natural and become a junkie like us!

Here are some testimonials from moms who experienced a failed epidural:

“I knew that I wanted to get an epi going into the birth, so I only took a one day crash course in Lamaze because I felt like I "had to" even if I didn't need it. They didn't teach any of the breathing exercises because it was so short; they focused on various birth positions and the mechanics of birth instead. I felt like it was a waste of time because with the epi I wouldn't be able to use those positions anyway and I knew the birth facts already thanks to my OBGYN and some books. Boy, I really regret not taking a more intensive natural labor class. When my epi failed I had no way of coping with the pain. I was completely winging it at the improvised coaching of my well-meaning husband and various nurses. Had I been more prepared I probably would have been able to handle the birth without panicking so much. (I had an asthma attack due to the stress of the labor.) If I could say anything to all those women who are going for an epi, I would tell them to definitely educate themselves in as many birthing techniques as possible. As a friend of mine said, "birth is chaos," and you just never know what is going to happen.”

“hmmmmmmm, they DO fail, for me anyway, every time! An epidural does not mean you will have a pain free delivery, as a lot of people are led to think... it may ease the pain for some, but even when it does work, it is not like the relief of a spinal, which I think expectant moms get confused about. Pregnant women absolutely need to learn NCB techniques whether or not they decide on an epidural, because it is only one of many possible pain relief options. I think women should have as much information as they can ahead of time, so that when the time comes, they can make informed decisions and be flexible with whatever their birth experience is. I was more successful the second time around because I had more reasonable expectations of what could be, and all the variables. Expectation is half the battle. It will be beautiful, it will hurt, it will be worth it.”

“I am a FTM, and figured if I said I wanted an epidural, as soon as it was safe, I would feel no pain. I saw many shows (baby story, etc.) where the mom looked so relaxed and pain-free during delivery, and I wanted that badly! I wanted to appreciate every moment without being in so much pain. Well, I asked for the epidural as planned, and without going into a big long story, it failed. It failed miserably. During delivery, I felt absolutely everything, including my 4th degree tear. Unfortunately, being an ignorant FTM, figuring the epi would take care of it all, I didn't take ANY prenatal classes. (bfing was also very painful and didn't work out as I thought, which is a whole other story. I wish I took a class in that too.) I remember the nurse telling me that my screaming was making it harder, and to try to breathe and stop screaming. Since I didn't know what I was doing, I couldn't. The pain was unbearable. I tell people it was like having a natural childbirth without the glory (because I can't tell people that I didn't have an epi, even though it failed). I am terrified of giving birth again.”

“Mine only worked on one side of my body and by the time I was pushing it had almost wore off...needless to say I felt it all!”

“I didn't get one. I asked for one but the guy never came to give it to me. I wished I would've been more prepared for a natural birth. I was sure I was gunna get the epi and it was gunna be a breeze... wrong.”

Mine failed! BIG TIME! The only thing it did was numb my left leg so I could not hold it up. The nurses had to hold it for me while I pushed and I could not walk on my own for 12 hours after! They injected me over and over and over and still all that happened was my leg going numb. I felt EVERY contraction! Should have just went natural! I felt all the pain anyway”

Image from http://www.theunnecesarean.com/

Granted, about 80% of epidural planning mamas have nothing to worry about (as far as having it work or not) - but you never know what side of the percentage line you are going to fall on, so might as well plan for natural just incase - call it Natural Childbirth by Default. I want you to have as much information in your pocket as you can to have a pleasant birth experience - any way you like it. Don't just take some random bloggers word for it, as with anything ask your healthcare professional and do your own research. I will have to say... if your healthcare professional says it "never happens" I'd have to call foul and tell you to submit their answer to "My OB said what?!?" because you can go to any birth board on the planet and hear more than enough testimonials like the ones I posted above to know that it does indeed happen. And Natural Childbirth isn't laying in bed screaming in agony - atleast it doesn't have to be. You have options, take the time to learn about them and you'll thank me later. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Congratulations!" Now What?

When you learn that a friend is pregnant, what can you do to help spark that breastfeeding relationship? Or better yet... what about those distant connections like the wife of someone you were in 2nd grade with and because of Facebook you hear about their expected bundle of joy. How do you make yourself available without sounding pushy?

In my two years of being a parent, most of the people I learn are pregnant are on subsequent pregnancies... and most of the time people just do whatever worked the first time around (formula or breastfeeding). I have yet to have the opportunity to get someone on the first time around... but I'd like to think I'd be a lot of help to that new mom.

Generally Facebook is the place where I learn that distant acquaintances have just had a baby. They'll toss up birth announcement and newborn photos that get my attention. I usually drop a "congratulations, let me know if you/she needs any help with breastfeeding. I have lots of resources and experience" on their wall. I have yet to have any takers, and I don't know how many of these people have chosen to feed their baby. I'd like to get some confirmed success stories under my belt... so let's start getting proactive.

Perhaps a generic email is a good place to start. Having an already written up email would make it easy to give a "heads up" for support and tips to even the most random parent you know. For people closer to you, it would be easy to edit in some personal information. Having an email ready to go would be helpful in our busy lives, because as soon as you get wind that anyone is expecting - you can copy, paste, send and move on with your day.

Baby Showers is another place to take a step towards supporting this new mother-to-be. Giving a nice basket with nursing pads, LLL information, books etc.

What ideas do you have? What has worked for you in the past?