Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dew Drop...

I spend so much of my time with this little one. That might seem pretty obvious huh, I mean, of course I do since he/she is inside of me after all. There isn't a waking moment that we aren't together. But that not exactly what I mean. There's a big difference between carrying the baby with me 24/7 and spending *time* with the baby. I do EVERYTHING with this child. When I eat, I think of the baby and pay special attention to the subtle but noticeable reactions this little one has. I think of the baby when I dance, sing, play, read, you name it. We connect on a very different level since we don't have the traditional means of communication to rely on. It's one spirit talking to another and the language is that of a gentle hum. This baby, while very much a "Cooke" is also a very unique and precious individual with a personality all his/her own. The more time I spend interacting with this baby the more unfitting it feels to call the baby a love bug! I know that probably sounds weird, I mean who cares anyway right? It's not the baby's real name. It's just a cute little nick name given so that I don't have to spend the pregnancy referring to the baby as "the baby" or "him/her" or the worst one... "it"! I always found that to be very impersonal, and it's difficult to bond with a person who's referred to in such a vague manner.

Anyhow. This baby feels more like a water baby, if that can make any sense at all. When I spend quite time with the baby, I feel a very calm and peaceful presence like that of being on a private island where all you feel is a soft and gentle breeze, where waves of the water lightly sway you back and forth as one might lovingly and gracefully lead their partner across a dance floor. I feel a wise yet playful nature in this child. This is a water baby. I don't have the words to describe it. Not that I could, or would even try. I'm thinking a dolphin would've been a more accurate image to have of this little spirit :-) But for now, while the baby is still a little wee one taking up residence in my body... it'll be *Dew Drop*

This is something I've been feeling for a while now, which explains the recent changes in the overall look of this blog. It feels right.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Switched my prenatals

I've been taking these Sisu Supreme Multi Expecting prenatal vitamins for a couple of years already because if I'm not pregnant, I'm nursing! But for whatever reason they are making me throw up this pregnancy. I can't stand the smell and even if I hold my nose to take them I can still smell them and it reminds me of hamster food, bleh! The worst is, for the rest of the day you burp up the vitamin smell. gag!

After talking to my ND and doing some research I decided to give NEWCHAPTER Organics brand a try. These use to be called "Perfect Prenatal" but are now called "Multi for Two". They're a bit pricey ($50 for a months worth) but they seem to be staying down just fine :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby Blanket All Finished!

I wanted to finish it in time for Christmas and I just made it! I got a little distracted with painting the family room but I was able to finish it all the same :-)

You know... when I was standing in the store looking for yarns I just couldn't bring myself to buy anything girl-y. I suppose I'm much more comfortable putting a girl in blue than I am a boy in pink. MIL says she thinks I'm having a girl, so that just about guarantees I'm carrying a boy since she's been wrong predicting the sex of EVERY ONE of my children!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fuzz Love

Cute name isn't it? Seraphina ALWAYS refers to this baby as Fuzz Love. Even when she talks through the belly she addresses the baby by this name. It's the sweetest thing :-)

So I was trying to think about what a "Fuzz Love" would look like anyway,

Maybe this ?

Or this ?

Or maybe Justus's favorite one...

Who knows! lol

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why I Have Chosen to have a Lotus Birth...

Lotus birth, or Umbilical Nonseverance, is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord unclamped and intact following birth. Rather than intervening upon the normal physiological process of the neonate, Umbilical Nonseverance relies on the Wharton's jelly changes which produce a natural internal clamping within 10-20 minutes postpartum. The umbilical cord then dries to a sinew and naturally detaches from the umbilicus. Detachment generally occurs 2-3 days after birth.

"The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of a unified approach to care of the mother and the baby, and clearly states (in Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997) "Late clamping (or not clamping at all) is the physiological way of treating the cord, and early clamping is an intervention that needs justification.” Furthermore, the physiological process of Nonseverance supports placental transfusion in its purest form, as there is no point at which anyone, other than the baby, decides when the placental transfusion is complete. This will be individual to each baby, based on its physical condition at birth

When Umbilical Nonseverance or Lotus Birth is practiced, rarely in hospitals but more common in birth centers and home births, maternal-neonatal bonding proceeds uninterrupted, which is beneficial for both mother and newborn..."

- Wikipedia

Let me take you back about a year and a half to Justus's unassisted water birth...

After Justus was born we wrapped him up in a towel and put him in bed with us. We placed the intact placenta in a bowl and kept it close to baby. We waited a good 1 - 1.5 hours to tie
(tightly!) and cut the cord, dress the baby and wrap him back up. I needed to use the washroom and Justus had fallen asleep so Ivan helped me go and stayed with me there for a few minutes. He decided to go check on Justus when all of a sudden I hear him call out to me in a very scared and loud voice talking about lots of blood everywhere. He brings the baby to me, and the towel he was wrapped in is now covered in blood. I peel it off and can tell that the blood was coming from the umbilical cord by the trail of blood on his shirt. There was SO MUCH blood. I was really scared. I kept saying out loud, "He's fine, don't worry... he'll be ok", because honestly I couldn't handle the thought of any other possible outcome. I tied the cord tie even tighter but by that time it looked like it had already started to clot and the bleeding had stopped.

All I could think of is WHY? Not so much why did this happen, but why did we need to cut it in the first place? I stay home and birth unassisted to avoid any and all unnecessary interventions and here I was creating one of my own. All of a sudden the cutting of the umbilical cord seemed as much of an intervention as any other, and it now carried with it risks I hadn't considered before.

I secretly vowed to myself (at least at a subconcious level, it seems) that I would never cut an umbilical cord again unless it was absolutely necessary. I didn't realize how strongly I felt about this until last week when Ivan and I were talking about the birth and I mentioned something about leaving the placenta attached. He simply asked, "for how long?" and I got very defensive. It was like that mama bear in me woke up and was ready to attack to protect and preserve the natural order of things. His one little question got me all fired up and I went on and on about how the placenta will be staying intact until it falls off naturally. It belongs to the baby after all. If it was necessary in a "normal" birth (and we all know how many variations of that there are!) to have a severed umbilical cord then it would happen naturally just after the birth, but it doesn't. It takes days.

I do wonder if the approximately 3-7 days that it takes for the placenta to detach is a time that mom and baby should stay in bed, close to each other without much interference. A smooth transition from being in the womb to being outside. A time for mom and baby to rest and bond with each other. In our culture we marvel at women who are up and at it shortly after the baby is born. As if that is some kind of accomplishment to be commended. I've lived that way long enough and this time I plan to do things very differently.

A friends experience...

After the birth of baby Wudi, William and Linda decided to spend the first postpartum month with us. I was overjoyed to be a part of their new experience as parents. As much as they were learning from my experience as a mother, I was also learning from them. William and Linda are from China, where the traditions and practices are a little (sometimes a LOT) different than our own. I was very impressed with the time Linda allowed herself to rest and heal after the birth. For weeks she remained in bed. It was expected of her for the first week of course, but by the second week the "grace" period was starting to wear off, and by the third week she was starting to be viewed as lazy and "unrealistic" about her new role as a mother. I was extremely insulted. Honestly it made my blood boil! This woman just had a baby for crying out loud! I came to her defense each time one of these rediculous and insensitive comments were let out in my presence. Quite frankly, the reason it upset me so much was because I was very envious of Linda's postpartum approach. It was a luxury I had never considered taking for myself or my newborn baby.

This time around I have been treating myself very differently, even throughout the pregnancy. I'm allowing myself to slow down and rest, something I hardly ever do. I'm asking to sit down when I'm tired and eat when I need to. I'm being a lot more sensitive and kind to my needs. And I am doing this all with the confidence that *this* is what makes one a "super woman". It's not the ignoring of our needs in order to prove our strength. That is reserved for those who buckle to the pressure of our culture when they hear comments like those I mentioned above. Not me, not this time. This time I am embracing everything that makes me a woman, including the gentle and vulnerable side.

I fully intend to take advantage of the rest period following the birth of this baby. I will not be having any visitors over prematurely except for the very few close friends that I know will respect my needs and desires. I will not be playing beat the clock to see how quickly I can bounce back into a size zero. Instead, I will welcome the natural flow of my body as it once again performs this miraculous event. I will leave everything alone to unfold in it's inteded time, including the detaching of the placenta from baby. This time... I'm taking care of me, my baby, my birth space, my post-birth space and I'm feeling really good about that!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

10 Reasons Why I Birth Unassisted...

10. Because at NO other time would I dream of allowing anyone other than my husband between my legs. A totally normal function of my body is not a reason for me to spread open for strange eyes and fingers (ew!)

9. Because I don't like starving myself for the one event in my life that requires the most energy! Ice chips anyone? *rolling eyes*

8. Because laying on my back during labor HURTS, how on earth can my pelvis open up like that, ouch! :-S

7. Because there is SO MUCH MORE to birth than "a healthy mom and baby" as a goal.

6. Because I think labor is the perfect time to get naked with my hubby ;-)

5. Because "purple pushing" isn't necessary! (see #8) The term alone is horrible, isn't it! Baby will come out on his/her own (imagine that!)

4. Because I have the "home court advantage"
  • I'm comfortable in my own home
  • My body knows ALL the germs in my house, so the risk of infection is decreased significantly.
  • I can move around from place to place at will
  • I can dim the lights, play my music, light my candles and just be
  • I can allow the placenta to birth at it's own time, decreasing the chance of a maternal hemorrhage
  • I can leave the baby and placenta in tact if I so chose (and I do!)
  • no one is there to take baby away, clean him up, put goop in his eyes and hand him back to me wrapped up like a cocoon. I simply put the baby's bare skin to my own and rest there for as long as we like!
  • There's no drugs to interfere with my energy levels and the natural hormonal response of my body which is designed for mommy baby bonding.
3. Because my children LOVE to be part of the birth. And I love them witnessing it as a natural event.

2. Because no one knows I'm in labor, so there's no pressure to hurry up to give anyone the "news".

1. Because birth WORKS dammit, leave it alone!

Ya know, I could've/should've easily made this a "100 reasons I birth unassisted" but I don't think anyone wants to read that long!


Baby Blanket

My good camera is broken, so I am using my laptops webcam which doesn't do this yarn any justice unfortunately. It's a very cute blend of baby blue, pale green and light brown. I saw it at the store last night and couldn't resist :-)

Yay, project!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So who's the wise guy...

that thinks I'm having TWINS?!!!!

*GASP* Bite your tongue! :-P

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Post From Gloria Lemay's Blog...

One minute class on how “not” to catch a baby

I debated about the title of this post. The other contender was “a one minute advertisement for why women birth unassisted”. I don’t know how to get those nice little TV sets with a google video right on my blog so you’ll have to go to this link to watch the one minute Youtube clip. All offers to teach me how to get Wordpress to show videos gratefully accepted.

Watch it once and then come back and see what’s wrong with that scenario.

1. “chin on chest”–her baby’s coming out, for heaven’s sake, why would she put her chin on her chest? Women are quite capable of knowing how to throw their heads back, forward, sideways or any direction they want. These pushing comments show a practitioner who is not tuned in to what is happening in the moment. She’s simply reciting her schtick that worked once, so let’s apply it to every birth.

2. “good girl!”–again, words have power. If you need to open your mouth and say something when a baby’s head is on the perineum, please, make it something helpful. Even “good woman” would be better than “good girl” but is any of it really helpful? How about urging her to slow down and pant the head out to avoid a tear.

3. “big one”, “PUSH”: see 2 above

4. digging into the mother’s perineum and gripping the top of the baby’s head. Who taught this practitioner to do this? It is counter productive. Hands off the perineum. Only the mother’s own hands should be touching her baby’s head and vulva, if she so chooses. Digging fingers can bruise the blood filled tissue and cause tears. Primum non nocere–it does harm and does no good so don’t do it.

5. pulling on the baby’s head and twisting the neck instead of waiting for the contraction that will rotate the baby’s shoulders spontaneously. Very bad practise. One would never twist on a baby’s head like this after it’s been born so don’t do it at this point either.

6. announce “It’s a boy” -this news does not need to be announced by practitioners. Each family will find it’s own expression of greeting a baby. Learning to keep your mouth shut should be the first class in obstetrics courses.

It’s amazing to me that a one minute video can encapsulate so many errors. Now, go back and watch it a second time and see if you can see these blunders.

To read more of Gloria Lemay's writings, follow this link.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Family...

My Mama:

My Big Sis:

My Lil' Sis:

My Papa & his beautiful wife, Ellie:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What do YOU think the baby will be???

With my last pregnancy everyone had their prediction of whether I was having a boy or a girl. And everyone had their theory backing up their choice, of course. Either we needed a girl to balance out the ratio in our family or we would be following the boy-girl-boy boy-girl-boy pattern. As it turned out... the pattern won. If that trend continues, I'll be welcoming another baby boy! If not, it'll be dresses and bonnets for a precious little princess! I have NO preference, though I do have a feeling. Just for fun I've added a poll to the right hand side of this blog so that you can anonymously vote for what you think I'll be having. It's always fun to listen to all the old wives tales about how high or low I'm carrying and how much I'm breaking out or whatever LOL I might give it a little credit if it wasn't for the fact that I've carried high for ALL 7 pregnancies, my uterus will only change shape if the baby decides to hang out in a transverse position, and I break out a little during each pregnancy. I don't have any cravings though I certainly use pregnancy as an excuse to make out of the ordinary requests (like Wendy's lime punch and MIL's lemon chicken!) :-) Hey, it's my right... right?!!!

So, take a second and vote. I'm leaving it up until the baby arrives and we all find out. JOY :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Beloved, Having Fun With His New Camera...

I can't believe 7 children have called this belly home!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Salad & Dinner Pics

This is a very simple but delicious salad!


Baby Spinach
Iceberg Lettuce
Cucumber Slices
Pine Nuts
Hemp Seeds
Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
Udo's Oil

I needed to take my daily dose of Udo's Oil (Omega 3-6-9) so I came up with this simple salad. This is usually how my meals come to be... I need to get something in, I think up some kinda healthy way to disguise it. Could be worse, right? I could be eating McDonalds :-S

I'm very excited because this Friday I am heading over to my good friend Linda's house and she's going to teach me to prepare veggies Chinese style! They stayed with us for about a month this time last year and I was in heaven with all (ok, MOST) of the food they prepared. It was such a nice change to taste different textures and flavors! I can't wait! Hopefully I can get some good pictures while I'm there.

This was my dinner. It's sorta like a stew I guess, made with black beans, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a thick broth made of water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, dulse and onion powder. It was really delicious, especially with the brown rice!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"What If"

We express many of our fears about birth through the "what if's". Like "What if I bleed to death?" or "What if the baby can't fit through my pelvis?" I've been thinking a lot about how our beliefs truly do shape our births and how our thinking needs to radically shift into the positive in order to create the best possible experience available to us. And I believe EVERYTHING is available to us, if we could just get out of our own way! So I've created my own "What If" list...

What if... my body waits for a quiet and peaceful hour to begin the birth dance.

What if... my house is so clean and organized that my mind can focus on 'Love Bug' and melting in the bliss of motherhood once again.

What if... contractions were called *baby hugs* or something equally endearing so that my mind and body will welcome each and every one.

What if... I feel relaxed enough to allow 'Love Bugs' head to come out slowly and gently.

What if... that actually feels good :-)

What if... I go inward and embrace the birth dance as a spiritual experience.

What if... *I'm* the one who brings baby up and out of the water this time ;-)

What if... I rest after 'Love Bug' arrives and allow myself to be taken care of by people who love me.

What if... People are sensitive to my needs and clean my house or cook for my children!

What if...

What if...

What if...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Somewhere in the middle...

of the pregnancy. :-) So I will share some thoughts...

This pregnancy has been the most fun so far, even with all the sick, yuckie feelings at the beginning. Every woman is a different person each time she becomes pregnant, right?! We are always in a constant state of growth. This time I feel confident, sexy and very relaxed about who I am. I'm loving the skin that I'm in, and it hasn't always been that way. SUCH a different experience. I've bonded with this baby much earlier than I did with the other babies and I think that's mostly because it's taken me a really LONG (over a decade and 6 kids later!) to feel o.k. with showing excitement on the outside. Sounds weird, huh? I've always watched preggie women over the years acting all overjoyed like it was o.k. and I never felt that way. I always kept my excitement a secret to myself, which is probably a reason why most people assume we are still "accidentally" getting pregnant LOL, that and maybe because some people are scared of more than 2 kids. But it's really lonely keeping happiness bottled up. And it certainly takes away from the experience. I don't like people watching me (funny that I keep a blog, huh?). I've been this way since childhood. I was always very sensitive and very easily embarrassed... and now, I don't really care so much what other people think. This time it's all about enjoying each and every precious moment with the baby, and sharing them all with Ivan and the children. Their excitement about this baby keep me feeling safe and relaxed. I don't even mind when the children tell me I'm getting a "fat belly" which has become a daily occurrence! Usually I'll just pull up my shirt and give them a little belly dance which always produces a good dose of the chuckles here.

Pregnancy is having your sexual/sensual nature multiplied by a gazillion. Your hormones are sky rocketing and blood travels so abundantly to all the right places ;-) But we aren't taught to embrace that in our society are we? We are always shown a very different side of pregnancy in our culture (I'm thinking t.v. shows showing the tired, cranky, frumpy preggie lady who can't walk properly, the granny undies and unattractive nursing bras) and for some reason women are all too happy to reproduce what is expected of them, right up to the climactic life threatening birth story where their hero (the doctor, not their hubby) saved the day! You know the other day someone told me I shouldn't be wearing high heels because I'm pregnant? Hold the phone lady, I'm not ready to start buying Dr. Scholls just yet!!! I find it so weird how we come up with the do's and don'ts of pregnancy. This woman has no idea that I am more comfortable in heels than I am in flats and that I can most likely out run her in my stilleto's (I had lots of practice catching the Staten Island Ferry when I worked on Wall Street and refused to wear a nice suit with athletic sneakers on my way to and from work, yes, even when pregnant!) Why do people seem to be so afraid/repulsed by pregnancy and sexuality? I just thank God that my darling husband finds me so attractive when pregnant that I have to spend half the day pushing him away cause someone needs to be supervising the children!

I wonder what would happen if women weren't shown such a deceptive image as if it were "the way". What if the standard was to fully appreciate the bumps and curves of the pregnant form? That her husband was free to explore and enjoy all of the changes taking place in her body from her swollen breasts to her rounded back side, making her feel even more sexy and radiant! What if she understood how the cocktail of love hormones released in labor are meant to be felt and when we use drugs to silence them we also silence that which bonds mother and baby. That she can take full advantage of the fact that her body wants to respond to the tender touch of her hubby... and that a long, deep kiss in a familiar and safe environment can be a very effective and enjoyable way to bring her baby into the world? What if she knew how much power her thoughts, beliefs and ideas about birth will contribute to her experience? Imagine if she trusted her body and it's ability to give birth! What an outrageous concept in a fear based society huh?!

While I have an incredible amount of patience this pregnancy, I also look forward with great anticipation to spring time when it's my turn to engage in the sacred birth dance :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today's Food...

The day started off great. I had one of my favorite breakfast meals... oat bran. I love oat bran because I can sneak so many things into it. I used Xylitol as the sweetener which I wouldn't normally do but I am all out of agave nectar. I'm back to rice milk after trying for a very long time to like almond milk, I just don't. So I also add raw pumpkin seeds, since I don't like eating seeds, Udo's Oil, cinnamon, and ground flax seeds. This was filling, delicious and left me feeling great and full of energy.

After breakfast I took my usual vitamins and supplements. The prenatals always make me nauseous but today I couldn't control it at all. I threw up for the first time this entire pregnancy. It was gross. By the time it happened I had already digested all of my food and there was just stomach acid. Feeling totally disgusted and empty I had a slice of spelt toast with coconut oil for snack. I was still really hungry so I made myself this awesome lunch. Broccoli soup and a veggie mix of broccoli, red peppers and yellow zucchini tossed in a little soy sauce. I couldn't wait to eat it.

I quickly devoured the veggies and then moved on to the soup. I took up a big spoonful and as I swallowed I realized it had gone bad :-/ It was SO NASTY! I ran to the kitchen, got myself some water to drink and washed the bowl out before some unsuspecting child comes along and tries to finish it off.

So, I'm exhausted from the throwing up, feeling grossed out from the bad soup. And feeling totally empty and not in the mood for food.

I tell you... sometimes I really wish I could be fed intravenously and not have to deal with food at all.

The Christmas Banquet...

By the time I got home yesterday there was about 30 minutes left for me to get myself and the children dressed for the banquet so I obviously didn't have time to prepare my own food to bring. How I wish I would've prepared ahead of time. There was just no way to predict the urgent business that had to be taken care of... like the hour we spent waiting in the van for Ivan to buy his new camera and then him taking me to buy new shoes. Oh and let's not forget how I remembered last minute that Seraphina and I needed hair clips or we couldn't possibly go. You know... urgent business :-) So I had a really pretty hair clip and these sexy rockin' leopard print stiletto heels but a stomach ache that lingered well into the night. Lovely. At some point I suppose, I will cut it out and face the fact that I can't eat like everyone else. I didn't even touch the desert table :-S Thank goodness for that little bit of common sense!