Monday, November 30, 2009

As a newly wed couple we had to adjust to being on a budget. Finances were not always easy. I had given up my job as an assistant nurse and my husband who was a prison guard was working 16 hour shifts and most off days. He did this just for me. Just so that I could stay home and take care of my pregnant self.

Truthfully sometimes it was quiet a challenge. I was facing pregnancy and childbirth virtually alone. So I had a conversation one morning with my husband and we agreed to give breast feeding a try. Little did we know then.

I was inspired to breast feed after a family member had her baby and had breast fed exclusively. I was already about six months pregnant and didn't bother to "research" about the benefits of breast milk, I did in contrary research about latching on and breast engorgement. I was very selective about what I would read.

So when our daughter was born we devoted to breast feeding because of the almost non-existing costs. And thankfully our little girl took to the breast like a pro!

It was till much later when she was almost two months old was when I had attended my first mother support group. It was here that I started to understand how important breast feeding really is to an infant/toddler. I then realized that I would breast feed until she was ready to leave it behind.

And so I got pregnant again just after her first birthday. She breast fed all through out my pregnancy and up until her baby brother was six months old. It was wonderful. I would never have imagined that I would make the decision to breast feed.

I used to even make muffins and pancakes with my milk just to avoid using cow's milk. I decided that they would have breast milk as long as I was producing it. After my son weaned himself just after his first birthday my doctor, with good intentions, offered me a pill to "dry up my milk". I declined. I knew that nature would take care of itself. So I still had breast milk when my son turned three.

I then found out that I was pregnant, yet again. We were not planning for more children but knew that we would breast feed. I always say "we" because along the way my husband has become a breast feeding enthusiast along with me. So here we are to the present.

Our baby is now three months old. And it is now that scientists are finding out why the saying "the breast is best" is true to the word. And just how precious each drop is to baby's development. And just how it helps and supports baby's immune system.

It is also now that I too understand the priceless benefit of my first naive decision to breast feed.
The research being done has already stated that breast milk has stem cells. Here is the news feed that explains all the research being done and what has so far been discovered about the hidden benefits of breast milk.

"More you, less Moo" the benefits are priceless and life long

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Insipre me

When my first child was born it was easy. Easy in the sense that I just carried her every where, she was always with me in my arms. I used my arms and just carried her. And then I had the "fashionable" Baby Bjorn carrier and used it a lot. That is until she hit the 15 pound mark. That's when the shoulder and back pain started. It was unbearable. I am already large chested and had the added weight of milk. And then a heavy baby strapped to my body, I was in very much pain.

I did what I thought was good for my baby and breastfed on demand and co-slept due to necessity. As she grew and started to walk I still sometimes would carry her around. She was quit a chubby baby and weighed about 25 pounds at one year. I then found out that I was expecting our second child. I decided to do the same as with my daughter.

When my son was born I still carried my daughter around from time to time. And had my son at all times in my arms with me. I told myself this is why I have two arms: one for each. He was much lighter than she ever was so I was able to carry him with less pain. I didn't use the Baby Bjorn carrier this time though, I gave it gladly to a friend.

So we had two kids growing healthy and happy. We were just fine with where our life was. Then I started feeling sick. Feeling like I was getting food poisoning. It was just after the Christmas season and for some reason I thought I had bad Christmas turkey or something. My husband just casually suggested one day that I should take a pregnancy test. Did not see the need but agreed to do it anyway. Imagine my shock when it came out positive!

So there I was, test in hand, panicking. The first thing I thought was what will happen when I go shopping or something like that. I only have two hands. How am I going to be able to hold my baby and hold my kids hands to cross the street safely? They are still babies in my eyes, after all they are only 6 and 4 years old. I still need to hold them. Where and how am I going to get an extra hand?

So I searched the internet. I had no concept of how much baby carriers there was out there. I just knew that I would never use the Baby Bjorn ever again.

Then when my third child (second son) was about six weeks old we had the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge '09. And it was here I got my inspiration! I was amazed. I met this girl and she used this pretty print fabric and slung her 1+ year old daughter on her hip and was using both hands to organize things! I remember seeing this style baby sling on the internet but didn't feel that it was safe. Well I saw and I believed. I was inspired! And she wasn't the only mom there with one. I then took a good look around and saw more moms using the sling.

I had the opportunity to talk to her and ask her about this sling. She helped me and allowed me to try at different occasions different style slings. She had a pouch sling and a Maya ring sling. I love it! And more important my baby loves it! And I could have him close "in my arms" and still take care of my first two. The need and want to be able to have him with me and still have my hands free for my childrens needs was all the motivation that led me to become a "baby wearing mama".

written by:
Angilea Angela-Geerman

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First pregnancy and birth

We just returned from our honeymoon. We had discussed to wait to have kids. We already had a history together, after all we had dated for just over six years before we decided to get married. We wanted to spend time together as a married couple before "looking" for kids. But we did not use any method of birth control or better said we didn't get the opportunity to. We found out the month after our honeymoon that I was pregnant. Already just about seven weeks along.

This was the best news we could ever get in our life. Morning sickness was the worst experience for me. I got sick by just moving my head. Nothing helped. And it did not go away easily. I was sightly already overweight so I researched all I could not to gain too much weight. I ended up gaining just about 15 lbs total from start to end. In the first 5 months I actually lost weight, a total of just 7 lbs! All was due to the morning sickness in the first months. So I gained the 7 lbs back and an additional 8 for the 15 total.

Well my due date came and went. And each additional day that went by seemed like an eternity. I started to feel anxious and worry if I would ever go into labor. The wait was unbearable. I even had my membranes stripped. So when they suggested to me that maybe they would induce labor I felt relieved. I wish I knew what I know now then.

I arrived as planned 6:30 am at the hospital the day of the induction. The ob/gyn admitted me and the prostaglandin gel was inserted. And so began the wait. After about an hour I finally felt the first of many contractions. I felt finally relieved to feel the contractions. It was a sour sweet moment. I knew that it would be hard and long.

And so I labored ans the contractions grew steadily closer together and stronger. And I labored but could not get comfortable. The hospital was not the ideal place for me. I am a petite woman and so everything was either too high or too low for me to lean on. And oh how I wanted to lean against something. My husband is a very tall man and so I was not comfortable with him either. I was feeling panicky and at a lost. I just wanted to shut everything out and lean! But the nurses were in and out of the room checking my progress and good meaning family members were also in and out of the room. It was driving me crazy.

After many hours of labor and trying to maintain my sanity the doctor came to asses me. I started praying for me to have at least some progress. Anything valuable so that I wouldn't need a c-section. And then I saw the doctors face and my heart sank. I knew it, I just knew it. I was just barely 3 cm dilated. I was only still at the starting line. I started thinking "Lord help me get the strength to make it through the next 7 cm still to go!" That's when I heard the words I didn't want to hear in my life time: if when I come back to see her by 9 pm and there is no progress I will do a c-section. That is when I really panicked and became very serious.

I labored with an avenge! I walked all around the room, I squatted and changed position and tried everything I could remember seeing and/or reading about. But still the panic wouldn't leave me. For some reason the thought wouldn't go away.

Then came the hour of truth. At this point I was kind of already begging for some pain relief. I was panicking and that was making it more painful. my husband was trying all his best to try and stay calm through all of this. He was nervous, very nervous of something going wrong and losing me. The doctor checked my progress and conformed that I had not dilated much beyond 3 cm. Well my sentence was served. C-section it was then. Couldn't turn back, no hopes. Induction, who came with this crazy idea? Why had I done it? Why couldn't or wouldn't I wait? I couldn't remember anymore at this point.

So I was prepped and rolled away to the OR. And there I was sitting on the edge of the operating table wondering how did it come to this. And then I was helped to lie on the table and so the surgery started. I had a reaction from the spinal and started to feel very sick. I felt like I couldn't breath and I wanted to throw up. It was the most horrific sensation I have ever felt. All I wanted at that point was for my husband to be there to hold my hand. But due to the policy of the hospital he was not allowed into the OR with me.

And then all my discomfort left my body: I heard that precious first cry. It was amazing! It was a girl. I was a mom. It definitely wasn't the birth I wanted but I was now officially a mom.

The c-section route is not one that I wanted to go down again, but did happen two more times after. Both for different reasons. Now my advice is if you really want natural birth do try by all means to achieve it. I did. I did try to VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean), which is very hard to do here where I live. But again was condemned as "failure to progress" and ended up with my most recent c-section. And at this point I'm not sure if I would be able to try next time (if it came) to VBAMC (vaginal birth after multiple cesarean).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First days home

The hospital birth has become the norm of modern marvels. Just decades ago this was not the case. Home births were attended to by midwives. Due to the fact that obstetrics has improved so greatly over the years mothers now find themselves willing to forgo midwives and let themselves be attended to by an ob/gyn.

Just in recent years there is a change that is growing. More and more women are making the choice to be attended to by a midwife at their birth. They also now are more educated on home births. But still some women find themselves unable to make the choice whether to birth at home or in hospital.

The women that find themselves birthing in hospital can sometimes fall into a "trust" feeling. They are more at ease knowing that if anything arises that they feel they can't handle they just need to press the buzzer and a nurse will be along to help. This act thou can sometimes inhibit the empowerment a new mom can feel, especially with young moms.

When you finally can take baby home you feel at a lost. There is no buzzer to press now and no one will come running to help. Only if you have a family member that will be there 24/7 would you feel assured.
Thou it is not every young mom or mom in general that could experience this feeling.

The first days after your babies birth are precious. And the calmer you are and stay the calmer and easier your baby will be. You shouldn't be afraid to hold your baby, you can not spoil your baby by showing him/her that you love him/her. The first days are very important because the bonding takes place, not only for mommy but also for daddy. This could inevitably set the tone on how your baby learns to respond to the world around him/her.

To help your baby bonding go smoothly you can cuddle with baby bare to your skin, take a relaxing shower together, co-sleep or share a family bed and wear your baby. All of these things will help with the bonding process and more. You will be so in-tuned to your baby that you would be able to tell what s/he needs even before a sound is made. You would evidently have a very quite and secure baby.

written by: Angie Angela-Geerman