It was fun for a day.....

Saturday, March 31, 2012

But I wouldn't want to live this way.

Having a lot of kids is a lot of work. A lot of laundry. But a lot of fun.

Today- except for Henry they went to Grandma and Papa's house.

Yay! Thank heavens for Grandma and Papa right?

It was fun. And quiet. And boring. No people to make me laugh (or drive me nuts). I had no freaking clue what to do with myself.

So I am looking forward to them coming home- yes it will be loud, yes there will be whining, but there will be smiles and laughing, and tickle fights, all of those good things that give my house character and joy.

Being on my own (almost) was fun- for a day- but I would not want to live this way.

High maintenance mama

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I tell people I am really low maintenance- and in a lot of ways I am. I do not put time into my 'look'. I do not wear make up. I do not do mani/pedi's with any regularity. Dirt doesn't bother me. I do not shy away from hard work. I like to get sweaty.

But there are a lot of ways I am high maintenance. I do not like big crowds. I get very anxious- and thus avoid overly crowded places.

I also do not like to drive. I will tolerated it in an area with which I am familiar, and there is parking, but in a strange area where parking is an issue, I will not drive.

Along similar lines, I do not know how to parallel park. So if parking will be of the parallel variety- I'll pass. I also do not drive in the city. There is far too much going on and I just can't deal.

So I am clearly high maintenance just not in the normal way.

It is more than just a healthy baby

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There is more to birth than winding up with a healthy baby and mom- sure this is important but for a lot of women the overall birth and labor experience is important as well.

There is something empowering about birthing a baby. It is a powerful, feminine, natural thing to birth a baby.

A lot of us (women) want to embrace that side of us. The raw side that is instinctual and sensual.

This does not mold well with the medical model for maternity and birthing. I am a bit of an anomaly- as I have high risk pregnancies (clotting issue, asthma)yet I really want a normal birth- ideally at home, no interventions, trusting myself, trusting my baby.

Nearly everything that is thrown at us in the medical model of care is against that. From ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy dating onwards. I agree and acknowledge that interventions and the medical model have their place though.

If I wanted to get a normal birth though, I would either have to go unassisted or lie about my history. Which stinks- because then I either have to approach a pregnancy as a big argument, go with out prenatal care, or cover up my history.

Thankfully, I found a fantastic OB who allowed me to do things my way- for the most part. But there were somethings he couldn't over-ride- like hospital policy. That stinks, but he did encourage me to trust myself and trust my baby.

There is no gold medal at the end of pregnancy to be awarded to say that you did it without drugs, but there is a deep sense of power. Being in labor is intense. It is primal. It is intimate. But it can be very empowering.

It is really hard to change the script that runs through your head though about labor- it is really hard to learn to listen to what your body is telling you. I was told in labor this time that "it looks like my body was telling me to move" yet I was fighting it. Why? For me- I have noticed my instincts are pretty right on, but, they get so buried and so written over by the script of doctors and other books that my the voice of my instincts is muffled. The biggest advice I can give to pregnant woman is to listen to what her body is telling her. Focus on her instincts. Way easier said than done.

Wanting a normal birth had a lot to do with my relationship with my body and myself. The labor and birthing experience is something that is so intimately connected to my journey as a person, as a woman, as a mother, that I wanted to embrace it all.

NICU breastfeeding

Monday, March 26, 2012

I have done the NICU breastfeeding game a few times- each time I have learned a few things and gotten better at it. I have also been astounded really as to how much some lactation consultants and nurses do not know; lactation consultant and nurses who work in a level III NICU.

Here are somethings that I got to teach the NICU Lactation Consultants about:

1- Colostrum Oral Care. This is a big deal especially for infants not orally feeding. It helps protect them from lots of nasty bugs. It is also comforting to them.

2- Avoiding formula- if there ever is a baby who needs breastmilk it is a pre-term infant. A mother's milk changes for her baby's needs. Even for pre-term infants a mothers milk is highly specialized for the baby.

3- Pacifier Use. For a full term infant, pacifiers may cause nipple confusion. For preemies pacifiers can be very useful.

4- Nipple Shields- Again breastfeeding preemies is different than full term infants. Preemies often lack the fat pockets in their cheeks to get a good grip on a mother's nipple, the shield makes it easier to hold on to.

Here are some more outrageous things I have been told about breastfeeding- from NICU lactation consultants:

I have been told that I should not nurse my toddler and my infant from the same side.

I have been told that I cannot breast feed two babies at once.

I have been told that my baby will do better on formula

To say that I was stunned is an understatement. I am stunned and disappointed. What hope to mothers have to breastfeed their pre-term infants successfully if the people who are supposed to help them learn how to breastfeed don't know some key things about breastfeeding a preemie.

If I did not know how to do this on my own, because of previous experience, I doubt that I would have been successful. NICU lactation consultants and RNs should be the best of the best regarding breastfeeding education and support. NICU babies need breastmilk more than almost any other infant.

pictures of baby Henry

Friday, March 23, 2012

AP- Not advanced placement.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I am really glad that Attachment Parenting is getting a lot of press lately.

-Full disclosure- I am not a totally AP parent- I take what works for me and my family and kind of ad lib a bit-

We were not always an attachment parenting family. When I was expecting Princess, I planned on formula feeding, using disposable diapers, sleep training in a crib, etc...

Well that did not feel right. Princess liked to be close and cuddled. Princess to tiny so she needed breastmilk and kangaroo care.

Stinky lived in a sling and the crib we had became a great place to put clothes that kids had out grown.

Peas had a selection of carriers, cute cloth diapers, and I don't think she was ever in a crib- she nurses her babies and has a doll ring sling. She nursed until she was three half.

and on and on....

I was honestly surprised that there was a name for this kind of parenting. We were just doing what felt right. Forcing the kids to do xyz did not feel good. Listening to them cry felt physically painful. Learning to listen to my gut and instincts was the most important things I have ever done. We are a healthier happier group because of it.

Responding to my kids as people- with rights and dignity- respecting their needs- respecting them helps everyone. I have compassionate empathetic kids who have their own personalities that may not have had the chance to grow so much if they were stifled.

The thing is- to be an AP parent you do not need to follow some book you do not need to do it all- all you need to do is to follow your heart do what feels right- learn to trust yourself. For example... We do not do elimination communication- that is just not my thing.

Big Families Rock

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our family is large- 5 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats.

Which means:

There is ALWAYS laundry.
There is ALWAYS some kind of mess
There is ALWAYS someone to play with
There is ALWAYS noise
There is ALWAYS lots of love

Our family may not fit the American norm for demographics- with 2.5 kids and a dog. But really, I would not have it any other way.

My kids are great. They are fun. They are kind. They are loving.

Because there are so many of us we have to cooperate. We have to all pitch in. We have to support each other.

The kids squabble and fight and whine but they also play together help each other and love each other. They are learning how to get along with people, how to negotiate, how to deal. They are learning empathy and compassion. They are learning communication.

These are really important skills.

Our big family means that there are always people around to pitch in there are always people around.

This really eats at me

Monday, March 19, 2012

-- pun intended.

Eating disorders are not caused by playing with Barbies. For the love of G-d and all that is holy.

I played with barbies and yes, I developed at eating disorder, but Barbies do not 'cause' eating disorders. To borrow from Something Fishy, Barbies cause eating disorders the same way playing with baby dolls causes girls to get pregnant too early.

My personal perspective on Barbie is that playing with Barbies may cause or at least contribute to materialism and consumerism in the culture which is a separate issue.

Simply blaming the media or blaming Barbie is foolish. It makes it seem that eating disorders are simplistic, when they are anything but. They are complex manifestations of a persons relationship with her physical, emotional and social self. They are indicative of something much deeper than Barbie.

Media contributes to the lookist culture bombarding consumers with direct messages about weight, beauty, and body shape, but contribution does not equal cause.

These messages may speed up the development of an eating disorder if an individual was already predisposed to developing one.

So what? What can be done? Stop buying Barbies? Dress everyone in paper sacks?

How about teaching kids to be proud of their bodies. To be proud of what they can do? Be proud of the muscles beneath your skin. Be proud of your brain, be proud of the physical, be proud of the emotional, be proud of the whole person. Maybe with encouragement this will allow the next few generations to have a healthier relationship with themselves- the whole self.

Did ya miss me?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Life with five kids is more work than life with four.

Henry (currently taking suggestions for his pseudonym) is obviously pretty easy to care for at the moment, considering he stays put- but the pumping takes time- and lots of it which eats into my time to do anything else, like pee, or brush my teeth.

We are all learning how to exist in our new family of five kids. The kids have to be more independent and patient. I have to adjust too.

It a learning process for everyone. I need to adjust my expectations and figure out a new flow. After each kid I have taken the stance that it may not be neat it may not be tidy, but we will all learn. We will live. So what if things are a little more of a mess for a while we will make it.

Would like to announce

Saturday, March 10, 2012

the arrival of Henry Owen.

He was born on 3-7-2012 at 8:59 pm and welcomed with love.

He is 4 lbs 10 oz and is still in the NICU- hopefully he will be joining us at home soon.

Parenting-things that make you go WTF?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pixie is a silly girl. She is 2 and can try my patience like no other. I keep reminding her that she has the rest of her life to make me insane- there is no rush.

She likes to stuff things in her diaper- random things. Like matchbox cars or crayons. Many times I have gone to change her and been met with some array of toys. Pixie just laughs.

She has started doing the same with her pajamas. Today, I pulled a paint brush out of her pjs to her giggles.

why does she do this?

Sad to see the nuggles go

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Peas has struggled with speech. Recently, she has been improving by leaps and bounds, it is AMAZING to see this little person who would not string three words together burst out with a diatribe on not wanting to do something.

Which is kind of funny because I rarely make my kids do anything.

One thing she has demanded since birth is snuggles. For the as long as I can remember she has been saying it as 'nuggle'. Usually it is phrased "Mama, I want to nuggle you" how can you say no to that? Nuggle me? Of course!

In the past two weeks 'nuggle' has transformed in to 'snuggle'. It is great that she is improving with speech but I am kind of sad to see the 'nuggles' go. That was something that was just her. Something that made me smile.

It is bittersweet to see her give up the 'nuggles'- but I will gladly snuggle her.

What not to say to a pregnant person with an eating disorder

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I have the pleasure of seeing multiple doctors and health care providers pretty frequently during my pregnancies- this one is no different.

At my most recent appointment the nurse commented on my weight gain. Until this appointment, I did not know my weight, and was doing a decent job of living in ignorance with small moments of panic interspersed. The comment implied that I had gained too much weight and that I should be very careful from here on out- well thanks.

I have been open with my doctors and healthcare providers about my eating issues. It is not a secret. It is plain and simple on my chart. Immediately, I called her out on it, telling her that as a person with a prolific eating disorder history these type of comments can easily send me into a tailspin. When my doctor came in- he got an earful too. Funny thing though- is he was not concerned about my weight, he is actually happy that I have continued to gain weight at a steady pace, and has no issues with the overall number.

Regardless, be careful what you say to someone- you may not be aware of what lurks beneath their skin. Without a doubt a few years ago- a comment like that would have sent me into outright panic, and would not have been healthy for the baby or me. Now, it pissed me off a lot, but I am lucky enough to have a support system to help keep my feet on the ground.