Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Inside the OR: The Other Side to Cesareans.. part 1 of 2

You all know how hard I fought with Asya for a VBAC. How devastated I was to have a c section for Aleks. How I just accepted the inevitable with River. You all know how many articles I have posted coming out against the practice of Routine C Sections. How many life long complications arose from my having multiple c sections. So this article may surprise some of you. I am here to celebrate Cesarean Births.
Both of my children who walk this earth were born via cesarean section. That is a fact. Many if not pretty much all my friends' children were also born this way. All my sisters' children were, as were my first cousin's children. So why is it that we hang our heads in shame? Feeling as though we failed our children, that our bodies failed us.
I spent about an hour searching online for something that would celebrate cesarean births. A doll, a card, a necklace, even an article... and found nothing. I only found article after article about terrifying hospital statistics, court cases fighting for the right to VBAC and instructions on how to recover if you are subjected to one of these "horrible soul crushing" procedures.
Ok here is the thing. Is a c section ideal? No! You are in the OR, you may or may not be allowed to take pictures. You usually may not hold your newborn until you are back in your room. You can not nurse during the procedure. It's cold, you are numb, you are in so much pain afterwards. It is far from ideal. But it is still a birth. This tiny person (or not so tiny in Bug's case) start their days outside your body beginning this day, in this way. They take their first breath. The parents still wait with bated breath to hear that first cry. Tears still stream down their cheeks.
So why do we have this culture in our country that instead of helping to celebrate these births, we vilify them? If anything having a cesarean takes great courage. The courage to undergo serious surgery, to give up your wants, needs and safety to provide the safest birth (meaning something has gone wrong or in cases of a repeat section to prevent a ruptured uterus, not saying that under normal circumstances a c section would be safer) for your baby. It takes great courage to have your child pulled from you, weep over the perfect tiny face and perfect tiny hands and then watch your husband and a nurse walk the baby away from you and out of the OR, knowing it could be hours before you finally hold her or him. It takes great courage to lay there alone while doctors stitch your abdomen back up, knowing that your baby is far away from you right now.
There are also so many beautiful moments to be shared from the OR. Instead of bemoaning how our children come into the world, we should be celebrating it. We should be snapping pictures as they come out, catching every moment of the beauty that it their birth. Showing our children just how beautiful their births were too. So in honor of that I have asked some of my friends to share their OR pics, showing the beauty of birth even inside an OR. I will be sharing those in part two of this post. I will however leave you with a couple that were taken from inside our OR during Aleks' birth. I sadly don't have any of River, as her birth was a bit more rushed and less personal than his was. I do not have any of Aleks coming out because Hubby was too nervous to look but I do have a few of us as a family in the OR, that I would like to share.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Second Time Around

I have to say having a second new baby is so much more rewarding than having a first nb baby was. You may be thinking, why would anyone say such a thing? Well here are the reasons why I am enjoying having a new baby more this time around.
When you first bring home baby number 1, everything is new, and scary. Even the most prepared parent still has a lot to learn. So you second guess yourself and your instincts a lot. Also it's just you and baby... all day long. Those breastfeeding sessions seem a lot longer when the only distraction is PBS and you are constantly staring at baby wondering if you are doing it right. Walks to the park are you talking to a nb baby while people stare at you. Breastfeeding in public... oh boy... scary stuff at first. Diaper changes... in public? No way. Honestly it wasn't until Bug was about 8 months that leaving the house with him became fun, because suddenly he was looking around, crawling, cooing, even saying words and it finally felt like I wasn't just talking to hear myself talk.
Then you bring home baby number 2. If you are like us, your first born is heading off to Kindergarten when you bring home that new baby. Now you are an old pro at not just baby stuff but being a Mom or Dad in general. Now you get to share the ups and downs and fun of a new baby with your older child. You get to see the love blossom in their eyes, knowing they are so in love with this baby. You get to see them grow to be a big brother or sister, not just an only kid. You get to enjoy all the fun of the nb stage all over again but this time instead of with fear or hesitance, with nostalgia, enjoying not only what newbie is doing but remembering what your eldest did when they were that age. Now walks to the park are a 5 year old running around having a blast while you and babykins lay on a blanket by the water. Now breastfeeding and diaper changes in public are easy peasy. I can change a diaper (even cloth prefold with cover) in under 1 min. I can change a toddlers diaper standing up in under 2 mins. ( I also teach preschool so that helps).
Now don't get me wrong, two kids especially a school age kid and a nb baby is twice the trouble, twice the mess, and twice the noise, and twice the work, but it's twice the reward too. The biggest reason why I am enjoying this time around more is less to do with baby number 2 and almost all to do with baby number 1. They suddenly are the big kid. This baby, your baby, the child that was your whole world for 5 years is suddenly a big boy (or girl). They suddenly start doing things on their own, helping change diapers, clean up, make lunch. You see them begin to be a real person and not just a baby. I have loved watching Bug grow and change over the last 8 weeks. He is just becoming such an amazing person. I look forward to watching River do the same.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Thought Popped Into My Head Today

River is now 7 weeks old. That was the age Aleks was when I first decided to start this blog. He was 9 weeks old when I first posted my first post but he was 7 weeks when I started creating it. Now almost 5 years later here I am with a new 7 weeks old baby and both I and this blog have gone through a lot in 5 years. We have had just under 55,000 hits, we have tons of subscribed readers. I have written about countless topics ranging from breastfeeding to compost to gender roles, and everything in between. Now I can look forward to sharing with you all new adventures as the once tiny 7 week old that you all know and love now enters Kindergarten and a new 7 week old is here with all new adventures ahead of her. I hope you all keep reading and I hope I continue to change minds and touch hearts.

Aleks 7 wks
River 7 wks

Love Isn't Always at First Sight

They say that when you meet your baby for the first time it is love at first sight. That holding them in your arms in that instant a bond is formed.
With Aleks that was true. From the day the stick had a blue plus sign on it I was over the moon in love with my perfect little baby. I spent 9 months awaiting him and just so in love with him. I heard them say "He's out", and then held my breath until I heard him cry out. I had tears running down my cheeks as I exhaled and heard them say, "9 lbs 7 ounces, 21.5 inches, healthy baby boy". Then they handed Rob this big bundle of baby and he held him close to my face and I felt my heart break and all the pain and hardness I ever felt just melted away and I felt so much love for this tiny perfect little man. I was pretty scared though as they wheeled him away to the nursery, I hadn't gotten to actually hold him and I wondered if I would still feel that way with him in my arms. When I got to my room, they brought him in to me and placed him in my arms. I was officially in love. I just could not even believe I had spent 26 years of my life without this tiny perfect person and I knew my life was perfect now. Even now that he is almost 5 years old I still feel that way. I still hold him sometimes or just stare at him and think, I love this person so much my heart is going to explode.
With Asya, I knew she was gone before she was born. I knew what to expect or I thought I did. I envisioned a lot of blood and not really being able to tell what was a baby. That it would all be over so fast and I would just feel empty. Instead my water broke. I felt contractions and I pushed. I gave birth to a very very tiny baby in my bathtub. There was no blood, there was no mess just a tiny, perfect 1.5 inch long baby that was resting in the palm of my hand. I had expected to feel sad, I had not expected to feel love. I just stared at her, knowing that in many ways this birth had healed something inside of me that was lost when Bug was born via c section, but that it also had broken something in me, my ability to trust that all would be safe or well or to give my heart so openly. I buried my daughter and wept for her, my heart more guarded now.
With River I spent 9 months waiting for what I felt was the inevitable, the announcement that we had lost another baby. When 14 weeks went by, I began to try to have hope, try to love this new life growing inside of me. When 20 weeks went by and we found out she was a girl, I again tried to feel that love, but my fear was stronger than any love. When 30 weeks, 35, 38... went by I was pretty sure now that I would get to take home my baby girl but I still didn't feel love. I guess worry and anxiety is in itself love, but I didn't feel that warm all over intense love I did for Aleks. When they pulled her out of me in the OR they briefly showed her to me and Rob and then almost instantly both she and Rob were gone leaving me alone for 2.5 hrs while they finished my surgery and I was sent to recovery. Almost 3 hrs after my daughter was born I was finally back in my room and they finally brought her to me and placed her in my arms. I immediately felt love, in that I wanted to protect her, keep her safe. I was still so panicked that something would happen to her. What I didn't feel was affection. I was more than happy to pass her to Rob, friends, family. I just wanted my Bug back. He wasn't allowed in the maternity ward and I missed him so much. I didn't know if I would ever feel for this tiny girl what I felt for Aleks. Yet day by day I started to feel a little more for her. It wasn't instantly, it wasn't at first sight... it was a little here and a little there. It was hard though, we had issues breastfeeding, she preferred her Daddy to me, sometimes it felt as though she didn't need me at all, or I was failing her as a mother. Then a couple of days ago (she is 7 weeks now) she smiled at me. At me.. not at the wall behind me, not at her father or her brother, or the dog, or because she had gas. She saw me, recognized me and SMILED! A big toothless grin. AND I FELT IT! I suddenly felt my heart burst. This baby loved me and after almost 7 weeks I suddenly realized just how much I loved her back.
Sometimes even with your own children, love has to build and grow. It isn't always instant. With Aleks it was instant before he was even born, with Asya my heart was broken before she was even born and with River it took 6 weeks after she was born.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breastfeeding Still Taboo?

Ever since Facebook changed it's policy on breastfeeding pictures many breastfeeding moms have been more bold about posting them. I have had an album up of pictures of me breastfeeding Bug since he was a baby (well before the policy change) and not one had ever been taken down or even reported. I felt safe sharing such an important aspect of what I felt for me was motherhood.
So yesterday I posted a few new breastfeeding pics of River. I got a few likes and people telling me they loved seeing breastfeeding pictures on FB. So I was very shocked when I went back to check my page later and saw this.

I was pretty shocked. My pictures can only be seen by my friends on my friendslist so I was surprised. All my friends are at the very least if not supportive of breastfeeding at least not anti it. Most everyone on my list is very pro breastfeeding. So I really have just no clue who could have reported me. 
However the outpouring of support was nice to see. I think as sad as it was to have a friend do that to me... it got people talking about breastfeeding. 
I guess to me breastfeeding in public is to feed my kid.. I am not trying to be showy or anything... just feed my baby. So why post pictures of it? To me posting pictures is for the same reason I post pictures showing milk I have pumped or my baby taking her first steps. It's to share a moment in motherhood that I am really proud of. I am very proud of overcoming the bumps I have had with River. I am very proud that Bug and I made it to 9 months of breastfeeding. I am hopeful I make it longer than that this time. I am proud of every once I pump and proud that my daughter is already about 10 lbs when she was 6 1/2 when we brought her home. I am proud that my son was 12 lbs by his 1 month appt when he was a little under 9 when we brought him home. I am very very proud that I can sustain them with my body. I do not judge those who can't for whatever reason or choose not to but that does not change the fact that I am very very proud of what my body can do. 
So I post pictures of that pride. I share that part of myself because it is an accomplishment and a moment of pure joy with my baby, captured, no less important than her walking or crawling. 
So I hope that before anyone ever hits report on a picture of a baby simply being fed from it's mother's breast, that you ask yourself the same question we teach our 4 yr old to ask himself before he does something, "will doing this hurt another person?" If the answer is yes, maybe don't  do it. 
So in closing I am going to add a couple of my favorite breastfeeding picture of each of my kids. The first two are of Bug and the last two are of River. I share them with you proudly.

More Surgery?

Yesterday I got the unpleasant news that I absolutely will have to have another surgery, and that it will be no small thing. In 4 years my previously perfect body (perfect in that I had never had a surgery, broken bone, or even cavity in my teeth) has undergone 5 surgeries 4 of which were kind of big. This will be number 6. All have been a side effect of motherhood. The first one was Bug's c section. The second a removal and biopsy of  a mole that had suddenly grown to the size of a dime because of my pregnancy. The third was my D and C after we lost Asya, not to remove her but 17 weeks after she was born sleeping to remove leftover placenta. The 4th was River's c section. The fifth was my tubal ligation.The sixth will be a mesh repair of a massive umbilical hernia and abdominal something... I want to say he said rupture...anyway the basics are that once again this mommy is going under the knife. Once again it will be 6 weeks of recovery. I will have to stay over night and be away from my new born for the first time ever. I am a bit nervous to say the least. Motherhood takes it's mental toll that is for sure but I don't think people realize the physical toll of carrying a child for 9 months, of TTC, or infertility treatments, of miscarrying, of a still birth, of a d and c, of labor, of giving birth, of a c section, of breastfeeding, and the hormonal changes. It is crazy when you really think about what women go through to bring life into this world. What  crazy things we allow to happen to our bodies or do willingly to see that beautiful face at the end of it. Then even afterwards how many women end up with uterus repair surgery, or hysterectomies, or tubal ligation, or gall bladdar removal, or umbilical hernia surgery. What we do to our bodies is the equivalent of playing some truly dangerous sport with no padding or helmet.
The best part though is we don't even think twice. We walk away from the rubble, limping and bloody and we don't even notice the pain. All we see is the baby. All we see is we created life! And you know what?
It's so freaking worth it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Look What I Did!

I promise I have a couple real posts in the making but I had to share this. I pumped 10 ounces today. Little Miss is exclusively breastfed too so this is with feeding her too. I pumped this all in one sitting while she slept. :) I feel so powerful being able to provide this for my baby girl. I am not trying to make any moms who can't breastfeed feel bad by sharing this.. just that I am proud of my body. For me this is a lot of milk to produce in one sitting and I am so proud I can do this. Breastfeeding this time around hasn't been as easy and we have overcome a lot of struggles in the last 7 weeks. So I am really proud.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Day in The Life...

 So my nursling Baby Girl is asleep, my Bug is asleep and Hubby took our furchild for a walk so as I sit here alone I could fold and stuff diapers or I could update my blog. I decided this would be a tad more fun.
So what to write about? How about a day in the life of the Green Mommy? Now that we have a new member of the family it's a whole new daily routine. Now keep in mind this is only our summer routine. When I am working my routine is much more hectic and less fun.

So let's start at about 6 AM: Baby Girl wakes up for a morning feeding. I nurse her while we lay skin to skin in bed. I love this time because it is just newly light out and everyone is still asleep. I usually change her too... usually a prefold and cover since she is just chilling in bed. By 7 AM she is back asleep and so am I.
8 AM: Bug comes bounding in (sometimes he plays until 9 AM and lets me sleep for an extra hour). I get up with him and we head to the kitchen to make coffee, breakfast and load the dishwasher and run it (I hate doing dishes right after dinner so we usually leave them until morning.) I drink my coffee and we eat our breakfast usually while watching the Daily Show and Colbert Report on HULU.
10 AM: By now Baby girl is up and usually Hubby is too so he will bring her out to the kitchen and I will feed and change her again. If he is awake enough he may have even changed her for me. :)
11 AM: (Aprox) I take a shower, saving all my shower water to water the gardens. Then after I get dressed Bug and I gather the water in watering cans and water all the gardens. Then we spend the next hour or so weeding, spraying soapy water for bug repellent, and fertilizing with either compost, urine, or Epsom salts. When the gardens get bigger and are producing we also harvest during this time. I know you are supposed to not water during noon but we often don't have a lot of time because we have to drain the tub before Hubby needs to shower. If I shower at night though I water them before bed.
12 PM: We make lunch... sometimes it's as little as sliced fruit and veggies... in the summer we eat light during the hot parts of the day. I also usually feed Baby again. If it's a diaper washing day usually by now they are washed and ready to be hung on the line. So Bug plays in his sandbox or rides his bikes and trikes around while I hang up the diapers (or laundry depending). If it's a Saturday Bug and I (and Baby Girl) head to the Farmer's Market and spend a few hours picking out fresh veggies, fruit and meats to take home. On other days we often go to the beach, library, park or have playdates. If it's a rainy day or a lazy day we watch movies or clean the house. This is usually most of our afternoon.
4 PM: We start dinner. If I am feeling hot and lazy it is usually something on the grill. Tonight was flounder fillets grilled with butter and lemon and herbs and asparagus roasted on the grill. Bug loved it. I almost always am feeding Baby during dinner and eating with one hand.
6 PM: Usually we relax at the patio table or Hubby and Bug run around the water guns, or we go take a family walk with the dog. Sometimes we mow the lawn or go to the drive-in theater or just stay inside and watch a movie with popcorn. Sometimes friends come over and we get to hang out with adult people for awhile. And of course.... nurse.... and nurse...
8:30 PM: Is Bug's bedtime, which is he goes to bed on time I spend the rest of my evening feeding Baby Girl, folding laundry and watching shows on Netflix. Usually around 12 AM ... sometimes 2 AM I fall asleep with Baby and Hubby comes to bed sometime around then. If I am lucky Baby girl will sleep until 6 AM.
And there you have it.. it's not much... it's a pretty simple life.. nothing exciting or crazy.. we are usually to broke or busy to do anything really wild with the kids but we have a quiet sort of fun. I love my summer days and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Nursing in Bed Day

Well the other night I ended up in the ER. Found out I have a massive hernia and need surgery... but that is aside the point. I had to have a CT scan with contrast (wow was that interesting) which resulted in me having to feed Baby Girl thawed milk from the freezer and pump and dispose for the entire day of the 4th. So by the end of last night she was screaming bloody murder. It wasn't that she missed the milk since she was still getting my milk, but she missed me. Really being with me.
So today I did a nursing in bed day. I slept, nursed, ate, cuddled, played board games and basically just bonded with both my kids. I really must say it's been lovely. We missed the Farmer's Market today but honestly that's not so bad. It was worth it to just be Mommy. I got to watch my Bug write out all our names on a dry erase board, sounding out the letters of the names he didn't know how to spell already.I got to snuggle and read to them and just be there for them. All snuggled up in bed. Daddy even joined us for a game of battleship (which I won lol).
All in all I very much recommend a non sick day in bed with your kids. Especially if you are nursing. Nursing so badly takes it out of you especially before 6 month when you are exclusively breastfeeding. You get dehydrated and hungry and tired, spending a day in bed drinking lemon water and eating cucumber sandwiches can be the thing that makes you feel human again. The being with your kids all day snuggling is just an added bonus. Uh oh.. Nursling is crying... so I must cut this short. Try it out I think you will enjoy.

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