Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Don't tell me how to raise my children!"

"Don't tell me how to raise my own children!"
    I have heard it said multiple times from frustrated, criticized parents.  It seems that for the most part the criticizing is coming from close friends or family members.  A person might feel the right to impose their thoughts on their loved one's parenting styles.  I'm sure it isn't meant to be a negative thing… look at it as constructive criticism right?  While there are tactful ways of giving advice to parents that could be helpful, many times they aren't utilized, and it is taken the wrong way.  On the other hand, sometimes advice is rudely offered that is not really helpful or validated.  Lately I have become victim of this and quite honestly it is beginning to really bug me.  I am very open to advice about most things.  Especially easier ways for potty training, which is what I'm currently struggling through with my son.  However, I am not very open to criticism that I view as either completely off base or just down right insulting!
    I had a visitor not long ago that I rarely see, and has only actually seen me parent on two or three occasions.  My son will be two next month, so I'm going on two years of parenting now.  I know this doesn't seem like a long time, but when you are with your child every single day all day long for the whole two years of their life you become quite good at what you do!  You know what I mean moms!  Anyway, I interact with my child regularly and treat him like the human being that he is.  If I am asked to  help look for a toy in a polite way I will very willingly help.  As my son and I were digging through the toy box looking for his lost sheep, my visitor said nonchalantly, "Just leave him alone.  He will either find it eventually on his own, or he will give up."  I looked at him quizzically and said, "Does it bother you that I'm helping him?"  Did I honestly need that advice?  No, definitely not because I really don't agree with it.  I was asked politely to help, and why wouldn't I?  My son helps me when I ask for help finding my phone or the remote.  He probably learned that helpful skill from me helping him in the first place!  Would I help him if he rudely demanded my help?  No, definitely not!
   I also run into this issue with a doctor I have seen a few times.  She is my back up doctor that I use when my children's pediatric office is not open.  She usually bosses me around the whole time I'm there. She is quite a bit older, and it is like she sees me as a young naive mother.  Yes, I am young and feeling my way through motherhood, but trust me I know my children better than you do!  She constantly is trying to talk me through every interaction.  I had him on my lap up on the table and he was wiggling trying to get down.  We were almost done, and he kept messing with the drawers after I told him no repeatedly.  This was my silent way of putting him in time out.  He knew exactly what I was doing, but then the doctor said, "oh let him down, he doesn't have to sit up there."  I replied, "I know he doesn't, but I told him not to get in the drawers and he isn't listening."  She then said, "He isn't hurting anything.  You can let him down."  I know she was just trying to be nice to Brayve, but it was very bossy toward me, and I had a reason for what I was doing!  He was listening to our conversation of course, and realized that she was on his side, so he began to act out more.  I already knew my son had an ear infection when I walked in that office.  I knew that he had the same virus that all of his cousins had.  I also knew that I couldn't prescribe him medicine for his ear infection, so I had to go to the doctor for it.  I am very thankful for that doctor because the office is open hours that most offices aren't, but I dread going there because of the criticism I always receive.
   I have been told I am over protective, too strict, impatient.  I honestly think about things like that when I hear them.  I look back to my parenting style and really analyze my actions.  Sometimes I see where improvement can be made, and I try harder.  I am then thankful for the advice I receive or the comment that is made, but it is definitely harder for me to take it when it is given rudely.  I do not run to my children every time they cry.  I know what they are crying about usually and most of the time it isn't a big deal.  I don't pick them up every time they fall because I know when they are really hurt and then I am the first one there.  I don't fly off the handle every time they do something that they shouldn't be doing because I know a lot of times it is being done out of curiosity and they just need it explained.  I don't walk around my house screaming all day long (usually) :)
    I have been told to just let my 11 month old walk down the stairs, "He will learn when he hits his head the first time not to do it that way!"  When I very sternly said, "NO, I will show him how to back down the stairs the safer way so that I don't have to take him to the emergency room!"  Then I was told that I am too overprotective!  No, I don't let my two year old drink pop.  Does that mean he has never taken a drink of it before?  Of course he has tried it!  Luckily he didn't like it!  I was told I was being too restrictive, and that he would resent me for it.  If he resents me for watching out for his health then so be it!  I do not drink pop myself for dietary reasons, so why would I have my child do it?  This does not mean that later in life he will not be drinking the occasional pop after his baseball games or at a birthday party, but I will not be buying it to keep in my house.  That is my choice as a parent so keep your comments to yourself!  I say no when he asks for his third cookie.  Not because I don't want him to enjoy things, but because I know his tummy is going to hurt!
   A child needs stability in life, so parenting in a consistent way is what I believe is best!  A good parent does what they think is best for their children.  Being a parent is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year job.  We could be so much more helpful to each other by encouraging and praising good parenting!  (sounds a lot like parenting a child huh? ;p)

A few of my favorite pregnancy resources!

Videos to watch:
The Business of Being Born (yes its the one with Ricki Lake but its informative)

Pregnant in America (you can watch this one instantly on Netflix)

Books to Read:
-Ina May's guide to Childbirth
-Ina May's guide to Breastfeeding
-Spiritual Midwifery is another book by Ina May that I have heard a lot of good stuff about.  It has information about homebirth, and it will be the book I'm reading next!
-Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent  (I absolutely loved this book!  It has lots of birth stories in it!)
-The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and all other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin
-The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin
-Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean by Nancy Wainer Cohen
AND if you want to read something funny but not necessarily the most informative
Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy

The book that I absolutely DO NOT recommend is the book What to Expect When You're Expecting.  It will help you very little and will probably leave you confused.

My ultimate favorite website is
I also enjoy reading (there is also a FB page called Birth Without Fear which is great for discussions!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Talk to your children, no matter the age

      My husband gave me some very wise advice over the phone yesterday.  I felt like all I was doing was yelling at Brayve all day long, and telling him no.  Alex called me after he got off work, and I told him how guilty I felt about the way Brayve and I had been interacting all day.  Normally I am pretty laid back about him wanting to help me with the dishes, making dinner, or whatever it may be.  Yesterday though, I felt like I had no patience and he just wanted to keep making messes!  Alex told me that I should just talk to our son, and let him know that mommy is sorry for yelling all day and that I just wasn't feeling like my normal self.  Then he suggested that I let him help me finish the dishes, and not to worry about the water on the floor.  Oh, and also if he decided to lick the soap on the dish wand that I shouldn't freak out, but instead offer my knowledge about its bad taste and he could proceed with the taste of soap as a consequence.
      I did just what he said, and had a talk with Brayve.  He listened to me for the most part, and then grabbed the chair and pulled it to the sink.  He was very excited about the invitation to help with the dishes!  When we finished the dishes, we made a homemade pizza together.  When he took a huge handful of cheese out of the bag that never made it to the pizza I cringed, but then he looked at me with this surprised look and I could tell it was an accident.  I smiled and asked him to help me clean it up which he was more than willing to do because he decided to eat the cheese that was on the chair.  Then he opened his arms wide and jumped at me with a big hug.  When he does this he always says, "momma!" in the most loving way.  Alex's advice worked and I felt so much better!
     I since have used this with Glory who is 7 months old.  She was nonstop whining for over an hour and it was driving me nuts!  I sat her on my lap and had a talk with her.  It stopped her whining for only about 10 minutes, but at least I got some time to see her smile and I snuck in some kisses. :)

   My point to this post is that some days we might not be using our best parenting skills for whatever reason, but taking a second to step back and look at the situation can be a big help.  Our babies, no matter what the age, are people too and deserve to be treated with respect.  They may not give it back all the time… or maybe not even often, but they will learn by example eventually.  Keep on trucking moms and dads!  This is what life is all about. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doulas Making a Difference

   A Doula is_______________________.  Were you able to fill in the blank?  Many people aren't able to do this.  I had no idea that a such thing as a 'doula' existed until I became pregnant for the second time.  Then through research I read that having a doula at birth can significantly decrease your chances of having medical interventions.  I knew at that moment that I had to find one.
DONA International describes a doula as such:
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

I was reading an article in my International Doula magazine and it was called, Making a Real Difference, by Alison Langley.  The article talked about a woman who had read a negative birth story online and was scared that her hopes for a natural labor with her first child might not come true.  She was worried that something would happen like the story she read that would make her want an epidural or even have to have a cesarean.  In this situation there are many things I could tell a woman to help calm her fears.  One main thing a person has to think about though is, who is posting about their birth story online?  I'm sure their are women out there that had a fairly, what people would call 'normal', birth that might want to post about it, but for the most part if a person has a very negative experience or on the other hand a very positive experience they may be more likely to post.  I think it is great to read birth stories… a lot of them actually.  A woman can learn a lot from other women's experiences, but take the education with you and leave the fear of the, 'what if that happens to me.'  Worrying and being fearful of something is normal, but a person has to accept those feelings and then let them pass.  It does no good to hold those negative feelings over your head.

NOW, about getting a doula.  Throughout my training I have learned a great deal.  I feel very confident in my ability to help a family through pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding(if thats their choice) as a doula.  I'm actually extremely excited about this great beginning!  However, I believe that there is a 'right' or multiple 'rights' doula for everyone.  A person should definitely interview a doula before hiring, and the same goes for the care provider whether its an OB, Family Practitioner, or Midwife.

I learned this the hard way.  After my first birth I had lost a lot of trust in the medical world (not that they were necessarily at fault for anything), but I became afraid and didn't agree with the 'rules' of the hospital.  When I hired my doula I made a mistake.  I didn't realize how medically based she actually was.  A doula is supposed to be on the same page as the momma, but in this case we weren't.  I'm not saying she is a bad doula, or that she wouldn't be perfect for somebody else.  We didn't fit though for various reasons.  For example, I needed somebody that I could tell my real plans to, and when I did instead of listening she balked at my ideas and agreed with the hospital rules.  Simple things like sneaking in a few bites of food here and there, and not going to the hospital as soon as my care provider wanted me to were not acceptable to her.  I wanted to play by my own rules and I think she was afraid of getting in trouble.  I needed a doula who had no attachment to the hospital or the medical world.  I needed a woman who was simply there to help me achieve my goals, and who cared almost as much as I did!

I believe every woman should have a doula.  If not a certified, hired doula, then a really good friend or family member to give 100% support to the mom.  A doula isn't just for a woman wanting a natural birth either.  It is for any pregnant mom, or sometimes mom's even hire them to be with children who might be attending the birth.  That way the mom knows the child's needs are being met, everything is being explained to them, and the doula can take the child out if it becomes too much for them.  I have also heard about a woman who was having twins delivered by cesarean who hired a doula for each twin, so that when they were delivered, the husband could stay with his wife and they could still be confident that there wishes were being carried out for their babies when they left the room.

I wanted to add one more thing before I end this post.  You may be wondering exactly what a doula does by now?  I once again am pulling this off the Dona International Website, but here is a great explanation!

A Birth Doula
  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

Friday, June 10, 2011

Momma's use all their senses! Women's bodies are AMAZING!

       I was thinking today about my nephew because my sister had to take him to the doctor today to make sure his little incision site wasn't infected.  He is a week and a half old now, and when he was 3 days old he had surgery to repair a hernia.  She called me last night to ask if I thought what she was seeing was an infection, and I told her to smell it.  This morning I was wondering if she thought I was weird for saying that.  That led me to the conclusion that mother's instincts are AWESOME!  I realized that we use all of our senses to take care of our children and that is probably why nature gives us the hormones that heighten our senses when we enter motherhood.
       I was actually in the shower when I was thinking all of this because I usually shower when I put Glory down for her first nap of the day.  I leave the door open so I can listen for crying or loud noises in case Brayve gets uninterested in the show I put on for him.  In the absence of my sight of them when I'm in the shower I use my ability to hear a potential problem.  Glory was crying for the first few minutes of my shower but by the sound of it I knew she was just fussy and would fall asleep soon.  If I would have heard a shrill scream come from her then I would know that either Brayve had crawled in her crib and landed on her (which is usually accompanied by the little footsteps I hear in the hallway before he enters their room) or she has somehow gotten hurt by herself in her crib.
       This also worked last week when I was watching my niece, Bella, while my sister was in the hospital with Fynlee.  She usually hangs out around the bathroom when I shower while Brayve watches the show I put on for him.  I heard her whine outside of the bathroom door and I figured the dogs were doing something she didn't like since their kennel is right around the corner.  I said, "Don't whine Bella."  Then proceeded to listen for any other problems.  She whined again so I decided to check just in case her fingers were stuck in the kennel.  When I looked I saw Brayve standing there staring in the kennel innocently and Bella pretty much doing the same thing.  I figured it wasn't an emergency and I would finish my shower.  When I got out I saw that she had actually crawled into the dog kennel and threw up in there!  There was last night's dinner sitting in a small pile in the cage.  It freaked her out a little which is why she was whining.
      Now for smelling things.  I really caught onto this great sense a couple weeks ago when I caught an ear infection in my daughter by smelling it!  It was actually a coincidence because I was kissing her under her jaw (she giggles because it tickles), and my nose just happened to be pretty much in her ear.  That is when I smelled infection.  When my son got ear infections he always got a fever, but Glory never got that.  She wasn't pulling at her ears, or really acting more fussy then she already does.  I took her in the next morning and sure enough she had an ear infection in her left ear.  Had I not smelled that she might have gone another week until her 6 month appointment until it was noticed.  Then I thought back to all the other times my question of sickness came back to the smell of Brayve's breath.  When he gets a cold or sinus infection my wonder if he was sick or not always was confirmed by the smell of his breath.  If he seemed like he had a runny nose his breath would not smell if it was just allergies.  By the way, I never have had a good sense of smell.  I have such bad allergies that I actually barely even breathe out of my nose ever because its hard to get a full breath.  After I had Brayve my sense of smell became heightened and I haven't had any problems since!  
      Now, our sense of touch.  I am to the point where I can guess about what their temperature is if they have a fever by feeling their head, back, and stomach.  This is especially useful when I don't have a thermometer or one that works at the time anyway. (I have 4 or 5 different ones but don't trust any of them completely!)  This can also go for an infection.  If there is an infected cut or something on your child's leg or wherever it might be, not only will it probably be swollen and red, it will probably also feel warm.
       Then I got down to taste, and I thought… I never really use that one.  I'm obviously not going to taste something that I might feel would be an infection! YUCK  Then my mind left the thought of infection and I realized that I do taste the kids food if I'm not too sure about it.  For example I bought some organic bananas to puree and freeze to feed Glory.  Yesterday I took it out and before feeding her realized that it was kind of brown.  I know that could be normal because once oxygen is introduced to it, it is like an apple.  It will turn brown rather quickly, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't edible.  I still didn't feel comfortable though, and decided to taste it to see if it tasted funny.  It didn't really taste bad, but it kind of had a fermenty zing to it.  Although it was probably ok to feed it to her, I decided against it because I wasn't 100% sure about that zing I tasted.  From now on I will be mashing up her bananas and feeding them to her fresh….just in case.
       This kind of also goes with the temperature of food.  I do realize that it probably falls along the lines of sense of touch a little more, but I do not just touch food when I'm afraid its too hot.  I make sure I touch it to my tongue to make sure its not too hot for their mouth.  The feeling of hotness is different on your finger or arm then it could be in your mouth.  If it is even remotely uncomfortable for me then it needs a lot more time to cool for them.

My conclusion to all of this is that a woman's body is EVEN more amazing than I thought before!  How proud I am to be a mother and a woman is unexplainable!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tips for the CBAC mommas

This post is for women who want ideas on what to put into a birth plan for a cesarean, or just are interested in requests that they can make for the delivery.  I compiled this list with information from reading that I have done, my own wishes, or advice that I have gotten from women that I know who have had cesareans (thanks ladies ;p).

Here are some suggestions:
Before surgery
-have anesthesia administered before the catheter is inserted
-have doctor go over what will be done for prep and during surgery
-remind the staff of your birth plan or a few of your most important requests

During surgery
-arms not strapped down or at least released immediately after the baby is born so that you can touch him
-drape lowered as the baby is born so the birth can be witnessed by the mother
-baby put on mom's chest immediately after delivery
-double sutures used to close the uterus incision if possible
-have doctors and nurses keep their personal life conversations to a minimum during the surgery
-request to not be given a sedative immediately following the birth

After surgery
-if breastfeeding, request to do this as soon as you are moved to recovery
-have baby bathed and evaluated in mom's presence
-have a designated person (husband, doula, labor partner etc.) accompany the baby to the recovery room, and/or nursery for any further evaluations
-baby room in with mom as opposed to being taken to the nursery for care
-catheter and iv removed as soon as possible to regain mobility

Remember if you are writing up a birth plan make sure to put a short paragraph in the beginning stating that you understand there can be other circumstances that may change certain aspects of your birth plan, but if at all possible stick to your requests.