Thursday, February 28, 2008

It works for us

I tandem nursed all of my children, even though I had really never heard of such a thing, once I got pregnant with Mickey, I couldn't really imagine not nursing Greta all of a sudden, and so we just continued on....Because my children were/are all between 26 and 37 months apart, there really wasn't very much of actual, literal, two-at-a-time on the boobies, but much more like me nursing the little baby all the time, and the toddler in the morning, at nap, and before bed...or for night wakings....(or for the times when they ran smack dab into a wall, or fell off the couch, or kitty scratched them, and they ran to me crying for nursey) works for us and at times it has been a true lifesaver when dealing with toddlers and their many, many daily woes, (like the utter disruption of a new sibling!!!! To know that Mama will *still* nurse you, too, must be so relieving to the poor dear darlings!)

Here is one of many many cool articles about breastfeeding 'older' babies, thought I would share it with you all tonight :) I have read lots of this stuff through the years but I liked this one alot. Its not for every mother, but it is nice to read when this is what I have been doing for over a decade now! (Whens that magical weight loss part gonna kick in? LOLOLOLOL)

My, how we change

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that there truly was no one person more AGAINST the practice of finding out the gender of a baby before it was born. Both my husband and I thought it was the weirdest, wrongest, most terrible anti-climactic thing we had ever heard of. Strangers would ask me "do you know what you're having?" and more recently, "are you having a boy or a girl?" I was looked at like some kind of throwback alien when I told them all "we NEVER find out!"...

the response was almost always the same, across the board: Something along the lines of Oh, wow, I just had to know. You are more patient than I am. I never knew what to say. Childbirth, to me, was this amazing life experience, after hours and hours of excruciating hard work, you got to hear ITS A BOY! or ITS A GIRL!-- that whole thing was just the part of the whole thing to me! You cried with happiness either way, boy or girl, and you laughed, and you reveled, and the little lists you made of Henry, Felix, Andre, Bella, Katriona, Violet suddenly became 50% abbreviated, and well, I just thought finding out what kind of baby you had in there was tantamount to opening every Christmas present early for yourself, your family, and everyone you knew. But worse!

Well, this time, this pregnancy, this year, this place we are at in our lives and our world, things change. It happened one afternoon, around a month ago. the three little boys, near the tail-end of our bout of sickness, were being particularly horrible. Jumping, beating each other, screaming...and I looked over at my husband and said "I swear to God, if we are gonna have 4 of these creatures, I think I want to find out now." TOTALLY KIDDING. and he says to me, "I know, I think I wanna find out too this time"...and my daughter, who has been through 3 pregnancies with me, waiting for her baby sister to materialize somehow, some way, says to me "I wanna find out SO bad! Oh please you guys, lets find out!".........and we all shared this look, surprising ourselves with the giggly idea of this all. "FIND OUT??? US??

I couldn't stop thinking about it. What would it be like, to have some cold and nonchalant technician casually ruin life's biggest surprise to me one random afternoon? Would I be depressed, full of regret? Would we tell anyone else that we knew, or would secrecy verge on some burdensome lying thing? How dare I think that is all that could be revealed on an ultrasound scan, what if the baby was less than perfect, what if I had a placenta problem, a heart defect, kidney failure, chromosomal disorder, conjoined twin, what if the baby --gulp--wasn't alive? Last pregnancy, I didn't even get an ultrasound, didn't want one--was that insane, or was that "right"? Arggggggggg!!!!

The ultrasound was scheduled, and I went in by myself. My friend watched the children, as the hospital had a policy that no one under age 12 could be there without their own adult guardian who was not the mom. My husband goes to work extremely sick, there was no way he could get the time off, it is just that kind of a job. So I went alone. It was peaceful. I was nervous about the baby's health, and got even nervous-er wondering if this was all my 'intuition' or what. I still didn't have to go through with it--the ultrasound, the finding out, none of it. I could go hide out at Starbucks, reschedule the whole thing, or do what I have done in the past, tell them DO NOT NOT NOT tell me what it is, PLEASE.......But I did go. I signed in, and my hands were shaking- I couldn't believe I was this nervous! Maybe the whole OB-Hospital thing was freaking me out, did any of these people know that I was theoretically against all of this stuff? Sigh.... I told the receptionist the whole thing, how we NEVER find out, that we had 1 girl and then 3 boys, yadda yadda yadda and me and her hit it off so well that she made me promise to come back through that way and tell her what happened! Again, I was thinking about me crying, finding out that the baby was not well, and maybe not telling pessimistic! Sigh sigh sigh....

So in I went, and the technician was very very cool and nice! What a surprise! I told her all about my story and she was so cool, also a mom. Then she started the scan.....I know enough about these things through my own experiences and TV that she didn't have to keep reassuring me when she was quiet. The baby was very thoroughly scanned, she spent a long long time on the brain, the heart, the spine, the cord....and then she said that the baby was in a weird position, breech, crosslegged, and I told her that I simply could not leave without knowing the sex, too much anxiety and pressure and so many friends now all waiting to find out...I offered to jog around a bit, to jump up and down, and she said "Oh, ok, it looks like you are having a little girl!"

All the years of imagining what this would be like, swirling around in my head, was this my imagination, too? All the night before I tried to picture its a boy, its a girl, and what I would think, what it would be like, etc. ITS A GIRL??!?! Was it possible? Did me and Steve still make those?? (haha) I asked her if she was sure, sure, sure and she showed me everything I needed to concur. And the baby is totally healthy and I really could have floated out of there...I think I did.

I did remember to go back and tell the receptionist, and she cried! Maybe because I was crying! It was so surreal, all of it. So wonderfully, wonderfully neat-o.

I do NOT think it is weird, knowing what the baby is this time. It wasn't anti-climactic, it was really really climactic. This time, this was what we wanted, and this pregnancy is so different from the others, it really just fit perfectly with all that is going on in this crazy unpredictable life. Who woulda thunk?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The name game!

I stumbled across this blog today and was intrigued by the subject matter. I left a comment but it didn't show up, so I don't know if it will or not.

We are not going to tell anyone our baby's name until the baby is born. It is my in-laws who have had the biggest issue with our names, citing such bizarre reasons why each name is wrong that we have been left with no choice but to pretend we don't have one picked.

Greta was greeted with a snort by half of the family, approved of by the other half of the family, and she was called "Gretchen" or "Gretchum" for the first few weeks of her life. I was going to name her Eva-Kate but was told "they will call her Evil Kate". Apparantly this "they" that dominated the playgrounds of the 1950's going on rhyming rampages and destroying young lives via slight alterations of the first name into something unflattering is still a real worry for folks of a certain generation. Nowadays being given a nickname is the least of childrens worries, and frankly, it just isnt done anymore.

Mickey was a mini-scandal because of MICKEY MOUSE, (an apparently relevant 1930's cartoon character.) And for not being Michael, but "just Mickey". He will never be a president, I have been told, or a lawyer I think was the other one. (Dare I say boo-hiss to those job suggestions?!)

Casey was my husband's dog's name, but not my problem. I have needed to name a child Casey since I was about 7 years old. After being there with me for our homebirth, I really could have named him Mailbox and my husband would have just stared at me with stars in his eyes and agreed to it. (There was a brief "you are so freakin' amazing" honeymoon period for the first few days after he was born, hee hee)

Charlie is a very normal name and sometimes I still can't believe something so normal got picked by us! I was co-erced under Morphine immediately after surgery to name him "Charles" after an unknown family member and I regret it alot but try not to worry about it too much. He is such a Charlie that we love the name now, but I do not like that it is "really" Charles and am not sure what to do about it, if anything.

Our new baby will have the coolest name ever, haha, but there is an extremely select group of folks who will get to hear it...namely one or two close friends whose own beautiful babies' names were scoffed at while still In Utero. I hope this doesn't happen to any of my readers, but please share your own experiences with this subject matter...

Monday, February 11, 2008

reframing and acceptance

This post by NavelGazing Midwife is very very helpful, (especially to the people who are having such a hard time understanding and supporting mothers who are going through these processes.)

I am happy to say that I am at re-framing and acceptance, and I couldnt have done so without KneelingWoman being back in my life. I'll never forget when I told her my tearful story of Charlie's birth at what is now our favorite Thai restaurant, (along with all of the angry wording, the blaming of anyone,anything, myself, the streaming tears) and she simply said, "sometimes the babies just don't line up, no matter what you or anyone do or don't do. I'm so sorry."

This was so new to me, being immersed for years in both (radical) realms of on-line cesarean mourning/doctor blaming/self-blaming and my real-life people whose overall chant seemed quite stuck in the "let go of your anger! you're too angry! anger is so bad! let it go! Be glad your baby is fine!"....what was this new logical calm factual unemotionally-charged idea of (to massively paraphrase) Shit Happens and It sucks But You Dont Suck, and There Really Really Is a Good Chance That That Baby Was Not Gonna Come Out Your Vagina And Thats Just The Way It Sometimes Goes???? I didnt even know what to think or say right away, but it was so new, so non-blamey, that my stomach unraveled and I enjoyed my meal in a way that I really dont think could have been possible after so recently discussing my birth story of Charlie!

From someone who knows. From someone who knows about helping women with grief, from someone who has had cesareans and losses far worse than mine, from someone who has caught one of my own babies, with no strings attached about me needing to buck up or me needing to really do or be anything other than Joy who had another C section and it started me on the fast track to ReFraming and Acceptance.

My entire attitudes about homebirth, unnassisted birth, and what birthing for me and my body and my future might be have been changed over the last few months. There has been a trend in the midwife blogs that I frequent of discussing stuff that can go wrong, discussing reality, and discussing where we go from here. Its all cosmic karmic amazing timing for me, being pregnant and starting my apprenticeship in midwifery.....Im in a very different place than I was last year, 2 years ago, and yet there is no blog entry that I would "take back". Every step of the way on this journey has been raw and real and important to me, even if my thoughts are totally different now.

I still believe with all of my heart that home is a fine and safe place to give birth for many many women.
I still beleive with all of my heart that the "habits", I will call them, of many many OB practices of popping everyone on the pitocin as a part of their late-pregnancy "care", or using ultrasound to determine that our babies are "too big" is a terrible idea.
I still believe with all of my heart that far too many women have no idea that they have other options, and I now believe that being completely realistic is, for me, my only way of being a Sage woman.

I have been through alot with my births, and I have been quietly coming to realize how much of my upset has absolutely nothing to do with what hole the baby came through. With time, I hope that the people who are still way back in the earlier stages that are outlined so eloquently by NavelGazing Midwife can get to where I am and where I am going to.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Keeping on keeping on

Good Morning!

After a much better nights sleep, 4 hours in row (seriously, a victory!!!) Here is what I have to say:

I love writing about birth and breastfeeding and midwifery and my pregnancy and all things of this nature. I have spent my entire adult life trying to unentangle myself from other people's problems which I cannot control, to realize that there will always be folks who dont understand me, dont approve of me, and if I shut down my blog or go into hiding, this problem will not go away. I am sure that lots of authors throughout history had nay sayers and thats part of life, one that is actually very miniscule in importance in comparison to the big picture. I have a child who couldnt get oxygen, I have friends with children in the hospitals and in the grave, I have a mom and a grandmother with cancer, I have friends and accquaintences going through divorce and abuse....if my blog even falls somewhere in there it is about the size of an atom, but it is MY atom and I enjoy it and will continue to do so.

So, happy to say I will continue on. Tons of love to everyone who wrote to me, but going "invite only" really really will decrease my readership and it is not the route I want to go.

In pregnancy news.....I totally feel the baby kick now, but I am quite convinced it is a girl because my boys were SO wild in the belly and Greta just did alot of rolls and swishes....could be wishful thinking, haha, but I think it is a girl as of now....very gentle tippy tappy little kicks....

I AM still going to be taking a break from the blogging for a week or so to go get my life in order...the cleanup from an entire family being 24/7 sick for 2 weeks is gonna be a looong slow process, but still looking forward to it of course.

Sorry for the scare, thank you for the support, not going to do anything different, Love to all, MamaJoy

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Well wishes very much needed

Please keep Kneelingwoman and her entire family in your thoughts and prayers. Her dear son is extremely sick in the hospital. I don't know too much more right now but send any well wishes her way, please!


Hey-- have you ever had such a bad cough that you almost peed your pants? Have you ever had such a bad cough that you almost threw up?

Well...take away the almost part and you will be one step closer to the sexy sensations experienced by bronchitis during your fifth pregnancy.

Still sick, went from a stomach flu that landed me in the hospital directly to a sinus/bronchial thing that I am probabaly going to be fighting for much much longer than the average bear. All four kids have it now, and I am at least well enough to take care of them all day-- even made up a chart of who had their motrin/tylenol/antihistamine/cough syrup when and how much....between running back and forth getting their drinks and snacks, I am returning to work tonight to hack germs all over everyone (and start my constant weepy/confused/edgey sleep deprivation cycle again in earnest.)

8 more weeks of work and then the season is over and I can be a full time mother and wife again. As soon as I get my household and personality back I will probably miss the extra money ; D such is life, right?

Everyone please be extra careful and safe, scary scary stuff out there, truly.