Friday, September 30, 2011

Treasured By Pearl: gDiapers

In recent years, having a baby has become an entirely new experience from having a whole world of products available at our fingertips on the internet.  There have been SO many inventions and innovations that making decisions about what you may or may not truly need and then which brands are best is absolutely overwhelming.

This was not the case with the diapers I selected.

Lydia modeling her Gooseberry Purple G.

Because I was going to be staying at home once the baby came, I knew I wanted to use some sort of cloth diaper.  There are many reasons, #1 being that by the time your baby is out of diapers, around 2 years of age, you will spend around $1500 on disposable diapers.  $1500?!?!?  That’s a brand new, top of the line washer and dryer!!!!  That fact alone got me looking into the cloth diaper thing a little more, to say the least.  On one income, that’s more than we could afford (it averages to be about $65 a month.)

Then there’s diaper rash.  The sources I’ve found on the internet say that there’s no difference between cloth and disposables as far as diaper rash goes, but I disagree.   When we came home from the hospital, we had been given a stack of Pampers, and we figured why waste?  We used them up, and Lydia got diaper rash.  (Lydia also has very sensitive skin.)  We put her in her G’s and it went away!  She hasn’t gotten diaper rash since we discovered her dairy allergy and I eliminated it from my diet.

Disposable diapers fill up our landfills and don’t go away.  It is said that a disposable diaper takes around 250-500 years to decompose.  WOW. 

Disposables also contain harmful chemicals (Dioxin & Tributyl-tin (TBT)), said in boys to inhibit sperm production.  The substance in them that absorbs wetness and becomes a gel?  Yeah, that was used at one time (the 80’s) in super-absorbency tampons until they found that it increased the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) in women.

And here’s an interesting and eye-opening tidbit I pulled from the Real Diaper Association (
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 19 million children under four in 2000.  We could probably assume that there are about 9.5 million children under two and therefore in diapers at any one time.  Based on previous studies, we estimate that 5-10% of babies wear cloth diapers at least part time.  We will average these figures to 7.5% of babies in cloth diapers and 92.5% in disposables.  This means that about 8.8 million babies in the U.S. are using 27.4 billion disposable diapers every year13.

Based on these calculations, if we multiply the 8.8 million babies in disposable diapers by an average cost of $800 a year, we find that Americans spend about 7 billion dollars on disposable diapers every year.  If every one of those families switched to home-laundered cloth prefold diapers, they would save more than $6 billion14, enough to feed about 2.5 million American children for an entire year15.  Coincidentally, the 2002 U.S. Census reveals that 2.3 million children under 6 live in poverty16.
My friend, Jenn, the fabulous wellspring of knowledge and information and chiropractor extraordinaire, was the one who told me about gDiapers.  She showed them to me, and they were SO cute!  I told James about them, and he was on board when I relayed all the information I just have told you. 
James with Lydia modeling her Good Fortune Red G.
Here’s how they work:  they have 3 components.  First is the 100% cotton cloth diaper.  It comes in a wide array of colors and even some cute patterns, and has sturdy (though comfortable) velcro tabs to keep them on.  Then there’s the snap-in liner, which holds the absorbent part and is itself breathable.  Then you have 2 options for absorbency, the biodegradable refill or the cloth refill.  We use a combination of both.  For nights and outings, we use the biodegradables (which are flushable, or if you toss them in the trash they biodegrade in 50 days or so, or if you’re into it, you can compost the pee ones and the super absorber is AWESOME at keeping moisture at the roots of your plants!)  For days when I am home (which is most of the time), I use the cloth inserts.  The top layer is soft microfiber and the bottom layer is hemp, which becomes more absorbent each time you wash it. 
They’re user-friendly.  The cloth part and liners only really need to be washed when they get really wet or dirty.  If Lydia has a blowout and she’s wearing a cloth insert, I just toss the whole thing in my diaper “pail” (a medium-sized Tupperware lined with a trash bag) and let the wash do the rest.  If your baby is solely breastfed, there’s no need to rinse b/c the poo is water-soluble.  The pee ones I just put the insert into the same pail.  I requisitioned a pair of long metal tongs from the kitchen that we weren’t using and use those to load everything into the wash.  I do laundry about every 3 days or so, and I just wash the diapers with the whites on hot.
Shopping:  James’ granny gave us $100 to put toward our cloth diapers, and so we got online and went to market!  The best deal I found was on  They give you 20% off for your first 3 months, and so we did our initial order through them.  For $137, we got 1 dozen tiny gDiapers (for brand new babies and fit up to 9 pounds, I think, but Lydia grew out of them more quickly than that.  The tiny G’s also have a snap-down part in the front to keep the diaper out of the way while the umbilicus is healing.), 8 small G’s (for up to 14 pounds, Lydia is still in these, and they give you 4 colors and 2 whites, plus we added on 2 more, one pink, one purple), and 80 biodegradable refills.  (If you think that a newborn goes through about 10 diapers a day, that’s enough for 8 days.  Don’t worry, new mamas, their diaper consumption goes way down after the first couple weeks.)  We also had added on 6 extra snap-in liners.  Then my Aunt Sue sent us $50.  For $47 (or something like that), we got 1 dozen cloth inserts.  (BTW, don’t use cloth in the tiny G’s.  They leak, but that’s why they send you the 80 biodegradables.)
Then we signed up on Amazon Moms via and opted to have the biodegradable refills auto-shipped to us every month (which saves you about 30%), and now we pay roughly $36 a case (160 refills) which last us about 30 days.
There is nothing I don’t like about my G’s.  They are a well-made product, based in Australia, and they sure do make for a cute little butt!  The colors provide coordination for every outfit, and they’re very easy to use.  They fit better than any disposable I’ve come across, and though you pay a little more up front, in the end the monthly cost is doable.  I’d recommend them to any parent and any baby, and even if you don’t get to start them out in cloth it’ll still make a difference in their little lives.
Again, here’s the link to gDiapers:
And here’s where I got my references from:
Have fun, my lovely Mamas!!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Spread the word about this blog!  Here's how it works: you tell a friend about Mother Of Pearl and have them sign up as a follower.  When you see that they are on here, leave a comment on this entry telling me who they are.  Whoever gets the most friends to sign up and start reading within two weeks gets a hand-made (by me) piece of jewelry!  Contest closes October 10th.  Who's going to win??!

Treasured By Pearl: Baby Wise

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to review my favorite products in Babydom.  I will label these “Treasured By Pearl”.  Those of you that know me know how I LOOOOOVE to get on my soapbox about books and products, talking your ear off about their superiority, value, ease of use, or whatever makes me excited about that particular thing.  I was actually going to hold off a while on these, but I’m so pleased and excited that I can’t hold this all in and now seems like a perfect time to write about it!
Frowned upon by some schools of thought, I decided to implement Baby Wise.  On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep is a book and “regimen” of sorts written by Gary Ezzo, M. A. and Robert Bucknam, M. D.  (There is actually a whole series of the –Wise books, but On Becoming Baby Wise is the first.)  The authors are doctors and fathers who live in the Denver/Boulder area of Colorado, and have done much research to back up their theories.
To boil it down, the basic theory behind Baby Wise is that babies thrive on structure.  They call it an “infant management plan that successfully and naturally helps infants synchronize their feeding, waketime, and nighttime sleep cycles”, and it is just that.  I am sure that some of you reading this blog don’t or won’t agree with the principles of Baby Wise, but I am just here to tell you what my experience has been and my opinion on it.

My friend Brittany and I had babies 8 days apart.  We had eerily similar birth experiences, and though we were friends while we were pregnant, since our daughters have exited the womb, we have become each other’s confidants, allies, product recommenders, and the very closest of friends.  We sit around at my house on Saturdays while James is at band practice and talk, nurse, bounce ideas off each other, and compare our gorgeous babes.
Lydia and Amelia in their Bumbo Chairs.

When Lydia was six weeks old, Brittany loaned me the Baby Wise book, having put Amelia, her little girl, on it a few days before.  She had had great success so far and was excited to share this gem.  Rightly so!  I started reading it, and still being crazily hormonal, started crying and getting really upset that I hadn’t thought of putting Lydia on a routine before, and that nobody had told me about the importance of it.  (We had had issues up to that point because of her reflux – baby heartburn – and had troubles with getting that regulated, but I realize now that a major portion of her crankiness came from not sleeping properly and not being on a routine.  She would nap on my chest, nurse erratically, not let me put her down, and was what we would have characterized as a fussy baby.)
The principles in the book fit right in with the style of parenting that James and I had originally envisioned for ourselves, so we got right to it.  With Baby Wise, your child is on a constant rotation of feeding, waketime, sleep, feeding waketime, sleep, etc.  On paper, it seems monotonous and controlling, but there is much room for flexibility and freedom.  Babies seem to do best (especially a sensitive one like Lydia) when they know what to expect next.  Having them on a simple routine makes this possible for them. 
It was hard at first, b/c they recommend that you put them in their own room and their own bed, and then you put them to bed while they are awake.  Being separated from mommy is not something a new born likes very much, especially when they experience the intimacy and closeness of nursing.  But we did it anyway.  It is not something you can commit to lightly.  You must have just as much determination to do sleep training as it takes to begin breastfeeding.
The first week was the hardest.  I admit it: the worst part is listening to her cry.  It’s awful.  (But we also started when she was six weeks and she had become used to life another way.  With the next baby we will start from the get-go.)  We put her in her bassinet in her bedroom on one end of our 1,100 sq. ft. condo, closed the door, and went to our bedroom on the other end of the house, closed the door, turned up a movie as loud as it would go, and tried to ignore the lights flashing red on our little LED monitor (that indicate that she’s crying, or at least making noise). 
The thing that is soooo important to remember though, is that babies cry.  It is okay from them to cry.  It is what babies do.  The normal, healthy baby cries between one and four hours daily.  There is a chapter in Baby Wise on crying that tells all about this, and provides you with the reassurance that, yes, you are listening to her cry now, but it will not always be like this and the long term benefits are so much greater than the frustration that your little family is dealing with now.  You are teaching your newborn to soothe herself to sleep, and not to rely on you as a prop to do it for them. 
Baby Wise worked great for us the first month, and it was such a relief to not have to worry about whether or not we were doing the right thing for her, because we knew we were.  Lydia was sleeping from 9pm til 2am most nights, and some til 4am!  But what works one week does not always work so well the next. 
With my pain during breastfeeding, James hated watching me struggle and so I ended up doing a lot of pumping and bottle feeding, and that messed with her routine.  Then of course, I was given The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by my friend, Jenn, and found out what I did about the importance of actually giving her the breast, and so we swapped off the bottles again.  That messed with her routine yet again, and by then she was hardly sleeping 2-3 hours before she’d wake and want to nurse!  I got so exhausted that I’d end up just bringing her to bed with us, usually around 4am, but occasionally as early as 2am.
She grew out of the bassinet, and we didn’t yet have a crib, so she slept in her pack-n-play for about 3 weeks.  Not surprisingly, she did even worse in there.  (Note to upcoming mamas: pack-n-plays are NOT intended for more than naps, lol!)  She woke even more frequently, and because she was nursing so much in the night, sometimes as much as every hour or two, she was only getting my foremilk and that made her gassy and she’d often be up from 4am-6am or so.  Ugh. 
Anyhow, through another family wanting to bless us, we were given a very nice crib and mattress set!   We got it set up on Saturday, and though she didn’t do so well that night, I hadn’t lost faith.  Then, last night, (Sunday), she went down without a fuss, slept peacefully from 6:45pm-10:30pm, then again til 2:30am, then til 5:40am, and then til 7:30am!!  This may not seem like much to be excited about, but it is for me!  The biggest thing was that I didn’t have to pull her into our bed in the wee hours.  She didn’t even seem to care or miss it at all!  It’s been 2 or more months since she’s slept by herself til it’s time to get up in the morning!
This is the nursery now!  I'm so excited!!
By the way, the crying eventually stops.  It doesn’t take long.  Now, most nights, when I put her down, she just sucks her thumb or fingers til she falls asleep, and doesn’t even cry at all.  Her naps are usually the same way.  When she does cry, it’s more like what I call fuss-crying, and not the crying that is at a fever pitch and evokes tears (both mine and hers).  She can also fall asleep most anywhere. For instance, she slept great when we went to FL in July, and she sleeps on her blanket on the floor at my dad's house when I clean on Tuesdays.  (This doesn't mean, however, that she likes her car seat any more than she used to.  She hates being strapped in to that thing!!) 

Lydia sleeping on the floor at Dad's.
I would recommend Baby Wise to any mama, especially those who are expecting or have just had their first.  (I had also read The Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby by Tracy Hogg, and though she is against methods where you let your baby cry, she had a lot of useful information.  She was all for getting your baby on a routine.  The two methods conflicted, but the end result is the same: get your baby on a routine.  If you’re going to do Baby Wise, read this one anyway, b/c it has great information on decoding your newborn’s cries and determining what type of personality your newborn has, as well as soothing methods and tips for each type.)
Here's a link to their actual site.   babywise250.jpg

Also, there is a mama in Utah, Valerie Plowman, who blogs, and one of her blogs is called Chronicles of a Baby Wise Mom.  Her site is full of SUPER helpful tips and tricks.  She's got quite the archives, as she's been writing it since (I think) 2007.  It's the perfect place to go when you have questions (like I did about Baby Wise and reflux, for instance.)
Here's her link:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Set Up.

Okay, so maybe I was jumping the gun a little, but I was curious.  First, let me say that I am NOT pregnant at this time. 

I booked an appointment with New Dawn, the main midwifery in town, just to see what our options were in the case that we were to get pregnant again.  (We aren't trying, but we also aren't preventing.  Nursing is a form of birth control in itself, called the lactational amnorrheic method if you are interested in more info.) 

The appointment was yesterday, and I was really looking forward to chatting with someone in the field about my birth experience and my future possibilities.  The midwife I met, Alicia, (I think I am remembering her name correctly), was really nice.  She was compassionate as I related my story to her, and understanding when a couple of tears made their way down my cheeks. 
She informed me of some shocking statistics, such as, when a woman is induced for her first labor, her chances of emergency C-section are 60%.  60%?!  She also told me that Mission Hospital’s rate is more like 80%.  WHAT??!  (Also, the national average of C-section births, as I have mentioned before, as about 33%; Mission’s is more like 40%.*)  
Can you imagine how angered I was by this??  I felt absolutely set up.  Surely my OB knows these rates.  I feel almost deceived.  Like a lie of omission.  I was very, very clear on my wishes for a natural birth and as little intervention as possible.  I feel like, knowing these outrageous numbers, she should have informed me of them. 
My hearing that I’d need an emergency delivery after 23 long hours of labor wouldn’t have come as such a shock.  Who knows, I may have opted not to be induced at all.  I can’t tell you what I would have done, but I can tell you that I am super upset.  Should I confront her?  I almost feel like switching doctors.  The thing is, though, that I really like her and I don’t think she intentionally deceived me.  I just feel like this is the kind of information every pregnant mother should know. 
Also, I believe I had said in a previous blog that the delivering OB had told me that my pelvis was too narrow and I wasn’t a candidate for VBAC for our next child…  The midwife looked at me in a way that told me she couldn’t believe what she had just heard.  She said that unless there is an extreme case, like disease or a pelvis that has been broken and wired shut, any woman’s pelvis will open and relax enough to vaginally deliver her baby. 
She also told me that it is best to wait at least 6 months, preferably a year, to try to conceive after having a C-section.  There may be placental attachment issues if enough time has not been given to the incision to heal, and the chances of uterine rupture go way up as well.  She said that their policy is that if a woman becomes pregnant before enough time has elapsed, the baby will automatically be delivered via Cesarean Section, that they don’t risk the “trial of labor”, as a VBAC is referred to in the medical field. 
Huh.  That gives me a lot to think about.  I hope it gives you something to chew on, too.  My next question is: what do we do to inform expectant mothers of this appalling information?  How can we become advocates for those that wish to deliver naturally?  I’m really fired up about this and want to reach out to others.  Any ideas? 

*A bit of good news, though: Mission’s VBAC success rate is somewhere between 60-80%, and New Dawn’s is around 90%.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sentimental Ramblings

I never truly realized just how fragile and precious life was until I had Lydia.  Every time we get in the car, I find myself praying for safety.  I pray over her every night for God to send angels to watch her while I am not able, and also pray to keep her safe from SIDS.  I pray every time James leaves the house that he will come home to me soon.  I hate it when he runs late or does something unexpected and forgets to call me.  It makes me sick with worry.
I love my little family.  I know now that being a wife and mommy is God’s intended purpose for me.  I wasn’t aware how important my role was when I got married, but the Lord has definitely given me insight and proof!  I can’t wait to have another baby or two!  Having Lydia has only brought James and me closer so far, I am eager to see what the future holds. 
I know that life isn’t always as simple or easy as it is right now, but I am definitely enjoying it while it lasts, both with cherishing Lydia for now and reveling in the simplicity of my marriage with only one child in the equation.  I’m just glad that children grow up in stages and aren’t walking right out of the womb b/c childproofing would certainly be interesting, LOL! 
Anyone remember the first time your child(ren) smiled at you?  Lydia started on the 4th of July, while we were at Granny’s (James’ grandma).  She had given us smiles before just as a face that babies make, but that day, she started smiling AT us!  It was enough to make my heart flip!  Tell me your experiences, ya’ll.  <3
This is the first smile I captured on camera.  (Also posted on FB, you may recognize it.)  She was 3 weeks old or so here, doing one of the sleep smiles they do.  Mom says this happens when angels tickle her feet.  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thoughts on Cesarean Section

So the question I want to pose is: why are there so many Cesarean Sections performed in the US now?  The rate for C-sections in the US is now at 33%!  One in three!  According to The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the World Health Organization sees 10-15% an acceptable rate.  So why?
Well, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that doctors are afraid of malpractice suits.  They see all the possible risks and things that could go wrong, instead of relying on the woman’s body (that knows what to do and has since Eve had her first baby).   Now, I understand that things have gone wrong in the past and can happen at any time, with any woman and with any baby.  But these things do not happen every day, nor with every woman or baby.  So why does it seem like all pregnant women who choose to use an OB instead of a midwife are treated like this?  Not every delivery is going to be life-threatening or cause serious debilitation.   
I had originally wanted to utilize the services of a midwife to deliver Lydia, but I got really comfortable with my doctor, who is a Christian, and who I felt would do everything in her power to keep me from having any form of intervention, let alone a C-section.  (Not that I blame my doctor, I blame myself really, for allowing myself to get anxious about getting the baby out of me.)   At 36 weeks I was measuring like I should have been.  Then at 37 weeks, I was measuring like I was at 35 weeks.  Worried, the doctor scheduled an ultrasound for 39 weeks and determined at that time that my placenta was on the decline.  She decided that she was not comfortable letting me carry too much past 40 weeks, if I did, and so we scheduled an induction for 40 weeks and 5 days, just in case.  And of course, you know the rest if you’ve read my previous entries. 
What would someone have done before the time when they had ultrasound?  Would they have induced me back in Bible times or even a hundred years ago?  I think not.  I know that medicine has come a long way since then, but, as my husband says, “they call it the PRACTICE of medicine for a reason”. 
So I am going to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my next baby.  I am going to consult with a couple of the midwiferies in town and discuss my options.  (On a side note, the lady that was my parent’s Lamaze coach and also the person who delivered me at the time of my birth, Beth Korb, is in practice at MAHEC, a branch of our hospital here!  I’m going to try to meet her.)  I hold nothing against my doctor, but I believe it was said best by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein in their documentary “The Business of Being Born”, that obstetricians are surgeons.  They have no business delivering babies.   (By the way, I recommend that any of you ladies thinking of having a baby watch this movie.  It is highly informative and will get you thinking.  Plus, you get to see some babies make their way into this world!)
I have been researching some about VBAC, and WebMD actually recommends that women at least try to have their baby vaginally after having had a C-section, because even a little bit of labor is good for the mother and the baby.  They call it a “trial of labor”, and up to 60% of women have successful VBACs.  Of course there are certain risk factors that make your chances of success go up or down, but that's true with any major medical or bodily occurance.
Something else that I am curious about is that the delivering doctor, who was not my OB, (I had been in labor so long that my doc's 24-hour on-call shift had ended) told me that my pelvis is too narrow and that VBAC would not be a good idea.  Where did this come from all of a sudden?  She was not the doc who examined me weekly and don’t you think that my doctor would have noticed something like a too-narrow pelvis before we started trying to deliver vaginally?  I have my annual on Monday, and I plan on discussing this at length with my doctor. 
Another thing that disappoints me about having the C-section with Lydia is that now I am no longer a candidate for home birth.  This is something that interests me b/c it seems so natural.  Where were babies born before there were hospitals?  Home.  Some people may think that home deliveries are insane, but successful ones happen every day.  It just seems the perfect place to start life out, don’t you think?  At home, where mama is comfortable and surrounded by familiarity.  At home, where you have everything you may need for your newborn.  At home, where you (hopefully) aren't surrounded by bright lights and unfamiliar faces barging in on you at all hours.
Though I am saddened by all this, I won’t let it get the best of me.  I am still capable of bringing babies into this world, and I do plan to.  The Lord has been very good to me and James, and we have been truly blessed with our wonderful daughter.  We are looking forward to the day when we get to bring her siblings into the world, no matter how they come.    
Us with Lydia, who is 3 days old in this photo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cesarean Section and Nursing (for me)

Did you know that women who have a C-Section have a more difficult time bonding with their babies?  I can honestly and without shame say that I experienced this.  I felt a strange disconnect from Lydia for quite some time.  I knew I had gone to the hospital and I knew she was my daughter and that I loved her, but I wasn't just crazy about her the way that my friends were with their babies. 

This is because when you deliver vaginally, immediately after the baby comes out your body begins producing Oxytocin, also referred to commonly as the "love hormone", or the "bonding hormone", which causes several things to happen.  Your uterus begins to contract so as to stop bleeding, for one, and for another, is gives you a rush of affection for the tiny creature that should be lying by now on your stomach or chest.  When a Cesarian is performed, your body doesn't generate its own Oxytocin, but rather it must be administered intravenously in its synthetic form, Pitocin.  I'm sorry, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, but what you make just can't compare to what my body can make! 

Having a C-section also causes challenges with breastfeeding to present themselves.  First and foremost, you are recovering for a major surgery.  Second, having a newborn is just plain overwhelming, no matter how many nurses or family members you've got to lend a hand.  Third, the mechanics of nursing with an incision on your abdomen are rather complicated.  They tell you and try to show you all these positions to nurse and different tips and tricks, but nursing in itself is painful starting out and then your baby wiggles and your incision is throbbing. 

There were only two things that got me through the first 6 or so weeks of nursing: prayer and sheer determination.  I would cry and cry both when I was nursing Lydia and after, and when it came time to do it again, I'd cry b/c I didn't want to go through the pain of feeding her, and then of course I felt guilty b/c I didn't want to feed my child, which made me cry even more!!  What a vicious cycle.

So the nursing hurt.  A lot.  I decided to give by brand new (and totally awesome, might I add) Medela breast pump a whirl and see if it hurt more, less, or the same.  It wasn't as bad as nursing, so I thought I'd pump and just bottle feed her.  That worked really well, except I had to lug around bottles and a thermal bag with ice packs in it all the time.  Plus, there's the inconvenience of having to pump all the time and then when you don't, you get engorged and that sucks, too. 

Let me get off track a little for a second here.  I have a friend, Jen (whom I have nicknamed "The Jenefactor"-- like benefactor) who has been so amazing.  She was very helpful and informative through my pregnancy and also gave me a ton of her daughter Shelby's clothes (Shelby is 8 months older than Lydia).  One of the ladies that works in Jen's office (Jen is a chiropractor) had a family emergency and was going to be out of the office for a while.  I told Jen I'd gladly fill in, and so I did.  Jen is a wellspring of information, constantly giving me advice, references, tips on products, and lots of other useful tidbits.  Anyhow, while I was working in her office, I borrowed a book of hers by La Leche League called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book is AMAZING.  It has everything a woman needs to know about breastfeeding, from pregnancy to weaning.  Anyhow, I read in this book that with breastfeeding, that it's not just important that your baby gets the breastmilk, but also the mechanics of how the baby gets the breastmilk.  When nursing from the breast, a baby's jaw is massaged differently than when fed from a bottle.  The palate is spread differently, and babies that are nursed for at least a year are far less likely to need braces later in life.  Also, the coolest thing I learned is that when a baby nurses, any germs that they may have picked up along the way get "communicated" to the nipple, and the mother's nipple then generates antibodies for those germs that get picked up the next time the baby nurses!  How cool is that??

Anyhow, to get back on track, it is because of this information that I decided to strictly nurse Lydia, not just give her breastmilk from the bottle.  This has caused us to become so much closer...  I have gone from not liking nursing AT ALL to thinking it was okay (when I was pumping and bottle feeding), to now, where I love it and can't imagine my life without it.  It makes my daughter happy and helps me to feel bonded with her.  I feel more now like she is MY baby, not just A baby. 

I don't know if my C-section caused me to have such difficulties nursing or not, but I can't imagine that it made it anny easier.  I can't change the past, but I can move forward with more knowledge, wisdom, and comfort knowing how I want to want to approach the delivery of future babies.

Me and Lydia right after nursing.  She was 2 weeks old here.  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Birth Experience

So now that the initial shock of becoming a mother has worn off, I have some reflections. 

Giving birth is quite an experience!  At 39 weeks, my OB determined that my placenta was on the decline and she didn't feel comfortable letting me carry Lydia too much past 40 weeks.  We set an induction date for Tuesday, May24th (I was 40 weeks and 5 days). 

This didn't really fit in with my plan of having as natural a birth as possible, but the doc was sure that this was the way, so...  We checked in to the hospital and got settled, then they began pumping me full of Pitocin.  Yuck.  Contractions began after a while but the staff wasn't satisfied with my progress, so they decided to break my water in hopes that it might bring on stronger contractions.  That was EXCRUCIATING and exhausting, even though it only took a few seconds.  Things began to increase in intensity, but after several hours, they checked to see if I was any more dilated.  I was not.  I began to get very discouraged...  They kept increasing the Pitocin at regular intervals which made my contractions sooo strong, but I did not want any epidural, so I dealt with it. 

After I had been in labor all day and in to the late night, we got a nurse who I really clicked with.  Her name is Lauren.  She was so compassionate and caring, she was definitely in the right profession.  When we had initially checked in, we had requested one of the garden tub rooms so I could labor in the water, but they were all occupied.  At about midnight, Lauren told us a garden tub room had been vacated and that she was filling the bath for me.  We relocated and I got in.  The tub was AMAZING.  I would recommend laboring in a bath to any expectant mother.  The warm water is so soothing to the joints and it makes you feel light and bouyant, which is nice after carrying a baby so long and feeling like you weigh 9,000 pounds. 

I got out of the tub after a couple hours, and then I labored for quite a while on the birthing ball, which was also nice b/c it allows your pelvis to spread but takes the pressure off the bones at the same time.  Some time around midnight or so, the baby turned over.  She was head down, but facing my front now instead of my back, which they call "sunny-side up", and which put me into back labor.  Back labor was the worst part of my labor for both me and James.  My contractions were a minute apart by now and very strong, and poor James was alternating between pushing on my back as hard as he could to ease my pain and sleeping with his head on my bed when they were not happening. 

I had dilated to about 6 cm and then my body started pushing on its own.  The pushing isn't supposed to happen until you are fully dilated (10 cm), and this caused my cervix to swell.  The pitocin was causing such strong contractions that I couldn't stop the pushing!  (I admit though, the pushing felt good.  It was a relief after all the hours of build up to that point...) 

I finally made it to 9.5 cm at about 6am on the 25th.  (We had checked in to the hospital at 7am the day before, so this was getting to be quite drawn out, and up til this point I had elected to have no epidural or any pain meds at all.)  I was not progressing past this point, so Lauren and James talked and they decided it would be best for us to get some rest, and told me that I needed to get an epidural.  I conceded.  The anesthesiologist came in and got me set up, and said that it could take as long as 15 minutes to kick in, but it was literally only about 10 seconds and I didn't feel a thing.  I was lucid.  It was, admittedly, very nice. 

We laid down to rest, and even though my contractions were still happening every minute, I didn't feel a thing.  The next nurse came in about 9am and checked me, and I was still at 9.5 cm.  She and my OB decided that we should try to push past the last 1/2 cm, and so we got to it.  The next thing I remember is them telling me that they were having a difficult time tracking Lydia's heartbeat, and so they checked me again.  I was 8 cm.  Then I was 7 cm.  Then they checked me again and I was 6 cm.  She had retracted back up into my uterus!  They told us it was time for an emergency C-section.  I asked for a couple minutes with James, and we prayed and I cried.  This was not at all what I had imagined. 

All of a sudden, all these people in scrubs started coming at me, (I think they must have been hiding behind the doors and curtains, just waiting for the cue), they doped me up, painted me with Betadyne (sp?), shaved me, slapped my butt and sent me to the OR.  I couldn't feel a thing from my chest down.  Poor James barely had time to react, they had him running all over trying to stash his work laptop and all our stuff (we'd been advised to bring everything but the kitchen sink with us to the hospital).  From what I understand, he barely made it to the OR before they had to operate.

They put a drape across the top of my belly so we didn't see what was going on.  They had my arms out to my sides (like a cross) and weighted down with heat packs.  With my carpal tunnel syndrome, they fell asleep quickly.  I guess the operating staff don't like to work in silence, so they asked James what kind of Pandora station he thought would be good, and he said Christian Rock or something like that.  A few minutes later, as Casting Crowns' Until the Whole World Hears came on, we heard her cry for the first time!  It was 10:47am.  Everything else is a blur of tears, hormones, and sleep deprivation.  I remember them asking me if I wanted to hold her, but my hands were asleep so I said that James should. 

As we touched her skin and looked at her perfection for the first time, we cried and cried and cried...  What a moment!  She was gorgeous, the mostbeautiful thing I'd ever clapped eyes on.  I will never forget how seeing my daughter at last just seemed to erase the events of the last day: the pain, the frustration, the horror at hearing that a C-section was necessary.  But, as I have said a hundred times since that day, the end result is the same.

Or is it?

Me holding Lydia for the first time!  What a moment...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mommyhood and Marriage

Okay, so if you had told me 5 years ago that before I turned 30 I'd be a wife and mother who loves to cook and clean, I'd have told you you were off your rocker.  But as it turns out, here I am, 29 years old, been married a year and 4ish months, gave birth almost 4 months ago to a gorgeous baby girl (Lydia Pearl) and I just made a killer dinner of spaghetti and meatballs.  Man, how God likes to keep you guessing!  The most I could do in the kitchen was mac n' cheese, and I was somewhat less than a "neat" person, haha...

This is my first blog post!  Yay!  So I guess what blogging is all about is what's going on in your life, right?  Well, then I guess this blog will mainly be about Mommyhood and Marriage.  What I love (so much, duh!), fave products, recipes, and I'm sure my fair share of gripes, worries, questions, etc. 

So I guess, check back?  Follow me?  I'm still figuring out how this all works.  Pointers, anyone?