Friday, February 27, 2009

Finding Myself

I recently decided to take yoga classes outside of my home. Up until now I've been doing yoga in my bedroom with a DVD. Doing the DVD was certainly better than nothing but what I have noticed, now that I'm in a class, is that the DVD was merely a means to benefit physically from yoga poses since I couldn't reap any other benefits like relaxation (kids still running around outside the door needing me every 10-15 minutes) or self awareness (my attention was everywhere from what I could be doing instead since there's always something needing to be done here, to will I have enough time to finish? which made me feel rushed). At the yoga class, I am able to really let go and be present because there is nothing else for me to do! There is no one there to interrupt me, no pressure to rush and finish, no DVD rushing a pose even. The perfectionist in me would view the DVD and try to master the way the pose looked and focus little on how my body actually felt in it. Not the case in my class. There are no mirrors around for me to look at and get distracted with. Just me and my body.

If there is any one thing that I would say is benefiting me and preparing me the most right now emotionally, physically, and spiritually for pregnancy and labor it is this class. Every time I go I feel so much closer to my true self. I am getting to know myself in ways I have never even tried before. Life has a way of keeping us floating in the superficial layer of business where negative emotions run rampant. It's been such a transforming experience to be able to turn inward and not only get to know myself, but learn to love myself.

Last night at my class I was able to let go of so much of the heaviness I was feeling about my mother. I came to the realization that a lot of the emotions I was experiencing had little to nothing to do with my mother, she is simply what my mind attaches to when that emotion comes up for me. It felt good to let it all go. It a healing process, but I am aware now of what needs healing so I can work on it :-)

Going out to this class has been about healing, self love, and connectedness.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is it....

about missing my mother when I'm pregnant?! Each and every pregnancy seemed to have it's moment or moments where I get overcome with grief and sadness that my mother isn't with me. Even when I lived close enough to visit I would sit at home all big bellied and cry, mourning her absence even though she was only a bus ride away! She isn't anymore of course, we're in different countries now and living worlds apart. It seems to strange the way it hits me all of a sudden, you know. It's like a wave of sad just comes over me and if I even think of her my throat tightens up painfully and the tears try to force themselves out (or I'm trying to force them to stay in, one or the other). What a weird follow up post to the last one I just wrote when I was on cloud 9, huh?

I honestly wonder if this is one of the reasons many women seek out a midwife. It makes sense to me that this tugg on the heart for maternal affection could cause someone to seek out a substitute mother during such a vulnerable time in ones life. What a mistake it is to think that anyone could fill a gaping hole in your heart that only your mother could fill.

Sometimes I just wish I could go back to being a little girl and crawl up next to my mother and play with her hair again. I wish I could go back to all those times I was trying to run away from her and instead take advantage of the small window of opportunity I had to be with her. Who could've known that season would end so prematurely?... and then nothing... no phone calls, no emails, no visits, nothing.

I think I would die inside if any of my children grow up and feel the way I do.

I feel so selfish to even have these feelings. I know she has a life of her own and things that are troubling and greiving her as well. I'm not the center of the universe, but I guess the little girl inside of me wishes I was, at least in my mothers world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reflections and Ponderings

I've been reflecting on how I've spent this pregnancy so far and I can joyfully say that I have no regrets! What an amazing feeling that is. I haven't been able to say that about any other pregnancy so far. Each one carried some form of compromise based on fear or impatience that I was soon to regret and had to make peace with later on. This pregnancy began with a simple knowing (that I think we all have as women) and no need or desire for confirmation via peeing on a stick or anything else. Why would I? It wouldn't make the pregnancy any more real unless I believed that it would. Many of my choices stem from a deep desire I have to come out from any thinking or belief system that supports the need to validate everything externally when the answers are within. I am not perfect, nor have a arrived, but I am on a journey and this pregnancy has been one of many changes and lots of personal growth. I did not have any desire what-so-ever to see a midwife in order to have the security of "care" should I get in trouble with the authorities (a somewhat irrational fear since I'm doing nothing illegal!) This alone has allowed me to enjoy a pregnancy without any fears instilled by something like a doppler that couldn't pick up a heartbeat early on, or a midwife with her own birth fears, doubts and legal restrictions. I have not had to lay down and let someone painfully palpate to figure out if baby is breech at a point in the pregnancy when it makes absolutely no difference at all (honestly, I am not at all afraid of a breech birth after having faced that challenge in my mind with Justus's birth when I mistakenly thought I was touching a bumm and had a little moment of panic and shot him out in one contraction LOL) and I have not had to sign any papers saying I take resposibility if my child dies since I refuse to follow medical advice (nice!).

I do see a Naturopath for digestion issues and did request blood work from her at the beginning of the pregnancy to check my iron levels as I knew they were really low. I wanted to know exactly what was going on with my body and why I wasn't able to fully absorb the good amount of iron I consume. Turns out there's a lot more to iron deficiency than just knowing your deficient. It's important to know *why* so you can work with your body to increase the levels. For example, in my case it wasn't a lack of iron sources in my foods or supplements, it was a lack of my body's ability to extract nutrients and make use of them. So instead of doing what all of my other doctors/midwives have done in the past, which was to increase my iron intake, my naturopath supplied me with specific cell salts to help my body absorb the iron I'm taking, and we also agreed on weekly, then monthly injections of b-12 as I was insanely low and apparently that was the root cause of my terrible morning sickness and the lethargic state I associate with the first trimester. After we began the injections my energy levels shot right up and I've been feeling great ever since. This all still falls under general care as far as I'm concerned and I don't in any way regard it as "prenatal care" and neither does she. It's been wonderful to have a natural doctor who is completely supportive of an unassisted pregnancy and unassisted birth. It's allowed me the ability to peek in on what's going on in my blood on *my* terms for my own reasons. Could I have survived the pregnancy without the blood work... of course. I would've likely been super tired throughout and chalked it up to being "old" (32 HA!) and pregnant! I say that because I remember my mother being pregnant with my younger sister at exactly my age and she would often say how tired she was and how pregnancy was best handled by the body at 21 yrs old. So without having insight into what's actually happening I might have simply continued in a belief that wasn't at all true. Perhaps maybe my mom was b-12 deficient and low in iron? Who knows. I will not be checking my iron levels again this pregnancy because as you get further along your blood volume increases and sort of dilutes the amount of iron. So I will likely see lower numbers in spite of all of my efforts based on that alone and I don't want to cause myself needless worry. I will continue with my supplements, healthy eating and regular exercise and as long as I'm feeling fine, it's all good.

Oh and best of all... I've not bothered getting on a scale! How liberating as a woman to not give a crap how much or little I've gained!!! We focus so much on weight in our culture, it's amazing how many people feel the need to ask a pregnant woman, "So how much have you gained so far?". The woman might either feel fat for gaining more than what some pregnancy book told her to, or she might even feel proud of low weight gain that might just be the result of poor eating habits in an effort to stay thin. Who CARES about weight? Not me :-) I tell you, I walk past the mirror several times a day and marvel at the curves my body produces when pregnant! My butt has never been so plump and round. My breasts are feeling full and heavy with milk and that sexy feeling seems to increase the further along I go. I deflate to a size 0-1 at some point in between pregnancies and so does my butt and breasts. It's awesome to be able to enjoy body parts changing without having to go under a knife! I wonder how that must feel for hubby's? Always having a variety without ever having to leave his marriage bed ;-) I gotta ask about that one!

Some other things that have radically changed resulting in a different experience is my willingness to think outside of the boxes I've trapped myself in over the course of my life. Everything from religion, spirituality, thoughts, emotions, reactions, close mindedness, stubbornness, negativity, auto-responses, poverty mentality, etc. I've really come out of all titles in my life to allow myself the freedom to just *be*. This is something that has absolutely terrified my since calling myself a Christian. There was this constant fear of being in rebellion towards God if i asked too many questions and even more frighteningly, finding answers that were not written in a book! It's hard to explain exactly what I'm talking about. I need to live in Love, and having so many religious fears was not allowing me to even experience Love in it's true sense. Of course religion was not the only thing I used to stuff myself tightly into a box, but it played a HUGE part. I feel a tremendous weight lifted since I decided to step away from it all. I should clarify that religion and spirituality are NOT the same thing. Religion is what man tells me to believe and spirituality is what exists (for me) when I let go and just be. Now I am free.

So what does the rest of this journey have in store for me? I do not know. But I am LOVING the ride :-) This pregnancy has been one of giving and receiving. I've embraced the side of me that desires luxury and comfort without guilt. I have let go of worrying about what people will think if I do "abc" or think "xyz". I'm doing EXACTLY what I want and giving myself EXACTLY what I need and it seems to be benefiting everyone around me. Imagine that! Am I making everyone happy? Of course not, but that's not my responsibility is it?!

I am really looking forward to the coming weeks of practical preparations like getting all of what I want and need for the birth, getting everything together for the baby, spending time focusing on the kind of birth I desire and eventually shutting off the outside world for a bit to enjoy a silent pause before baby arrives. These are exciting times and I have never been so at peace and so happy (seperate and often in spite of external circumstances) in all of my life. I feel like I can breathe!!! Limmited lung space and all... I can finally BREATHE!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kid's Bathroom

Don't pay attention to the quality of the pictures because a MUCH better camera took the before pictures. I'm still stuck with this webcam for my after shots which really sux!

Here is a picture of what their bathroom looked like a while ago, I had painted it a medium gray in between to match the lighter "Ash White" in the hallway but it was really dark and dreary looking, and I forgot to take pictures of that. Since I'm repainting the hallways (NOT happy with the "Ash White") I figure I may as well brighten up their space :-)

After pictures:
I chose to do it in a pure white and it really looks so much bigger and cleaner! It matches the tiles and cabinets and more importantly, the kids love it :-)

I plan to put some kind of cabinet above their toilet because I need a place to keep their toilet paper, soaps, bath toys, etc. without it being in Justus's reach. Even Seraphina still has her moments when she feels like washing her hands with half a bottle of organic, expensive kiddie shampoo and I'm hoping putting things a little higher will stop that from happening.

I have simple white curtains to hang and am thinking that's about it for decorating.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Master Bedroom

I'm attempting to put up some before and after pictures though I think in both pictures it's a little hard to tell the colors.



Obviously we've not done much in the way of decorating. Mostly that's because we decided when we moved in that we weren't going to put things up just because. Whatever we put up has to be something we love. Sometimes that means waiting for the right pieces :-)

Tomorrow I'll try to get pictures of my bathroom and the family room.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unassisted Water Birth

I love this video. Look how alert the mom is. THAT is what it's like to not have any drugs interfering with the natural hormonal process of birth. People often ask me, "Who delivers your babies?" because the image they have of a woman being so out of it she can barely look at her baby no less pick it up is what their imagining is happening to me at home in my bedroom without drugs. Most people assume mom needs to basically collapse after birth and that's NOT the case at all. Call it a "birth high" or whatever you want but your body naturally kicks in some serious mama juices after baby comes out. It doesn't make me super-woman to be alert immediately after birth, it just means I'm experiencing what was naturally intended :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Should My Baby be Sleeping Through the Night?

I get asked pretty often about where Justus (21 months... I think) sleeps and how often he wakes up. I'd say 90% of the time it's asked by people who *know* I'm the co-sleeping kind and pretty much just want to show me their shocked reaction to my answers. I love sleeping with my babies, I cherish the time they spend in our 'family bed' and miss it when they transition to their own space. There seems to be such a tremendous amount of pressure in our culture for babies to be sleeping on their own and straight through the night as soon as possible. I believe this stems from the selfish nature of the parents to get their routine back and not be "manipulated" by their child who was obviously born programmed to sabotage their sleep LOL Sounds awful silly but this is so true it's painful. How were we convinced that our children are an enemy we need to control or be controlled by? Anyway, I'm trailing off with a million thoughts based on the irrational mainstream parental mumbo-jumbo I'm exposed to on a regular basis when I'm preggers.

On to the reason for this post. There are a few very well meaning people who ask me because they are truly curious about how long it should take before baby is sleeping through the night and whether or not night waking is a sign of the baby needing heavier food before bedtime or stricter crib rules or whatever. Here is an article discussing these very issues.

Should My Baby be Sleeping Through the Night?
by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

It's so common for mothers to worry when their babies don't sleep through the night. After all, everyone knows they're "supposed to." Some doctors recommend nighttime weaning and "cry it out" methods if your baby is not sleeping through the night by 6 months or even earlier. Even when the mom herself has no problems with baby nursing at night, she still worries that this is a problem, since American society seem to consider it one. There are books all over the bookstores with advice on solving so-called "sleep problems."

First, please ignore what everyone else says about your baby's sleep habits and what is "normal." These people are not living with you or your baby. Unless your doctor sleeps in the next room and your baby is keeping him awake every night, he has no reason to question a healthy baby's sleep habits. If you and your baby enjoy nighttime feedings, then why not continue? It's a great way to have time with her, particularly if you are apart during the day.

Every baby is different, and some sleep through the night earlier than others (schedules or food usually have nothing to do with this). Your baby may be hungry (keep in mind that breastmilk digests in less than 2 hours) or she may just want time with you. Babies whose mothers work during the week often nurse more at night and on weekends, perhaps to reconnect with Mom.

Doctors tend to look at night nursing only from a nutritional standpoint, but this is only part of the story. After the first few months, your baby will begin to associate the breast with far more than just a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It becomes a place of comfort, security, warmth, closeness, and familiarity. The act of nursing is not just nourishing; it is nurturing. Keep in mind that these needs are every bit as real as baby's physical ones, and having them met is every bit as needful to baby's overall development.

If the amount that your child sleeps and nurses at night isn't a major problem for you, then there's no reason to try to change anything. You are not doing a bad thing by nursing on demand; you are doing a wonderful thing for your baby. When you comfort baby at night, you are not teaching her a bad habit: you are teaching her that you are there for her when she needs you. Is security a bad habit?

What is normal when it comes to baby's sleep?

It is common for breastfed babies to not sleep through the night for a long period of time. On the other hand, some breastfed babies start sleeping through the night when a few months old.

Both of my children nursed once (occasionally more) at night through their second year. Since this doesn't bother me, I did doing nothing to change it. We co-sleep, and neither my baby nor I generally wake up completely when she nurses. Both started sleeping through the night on their own, when they were ready.

Your baby will begin to comfort herself and to sleep for longer stretches at her own developmental pace. If your baby wants to nurse at night, it is because she does need this, whether it's because she is hungry or because she wants to be close to Mom. Sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone - like walking or toilet training - that your baby will reach when she is ready to. Trying to force or coax baby to reach this before her time may result in other problems later on.

If you can try to take a more relaxed approach and trust that it will come in time, you'll see your baby eventually become a good sleeper. You'll be able to rest peacefully in your heart and mind knowing that she reached this in her own time when she felt secure enough to do so, not because she had no other choice but to quiet herself because no one would come.

Probably one of the main reasons that night-waking babies are such a big issue is that parents don't have realistic expectations of the sleep patterns of babies. We are bombarded with magazine articles and books that perpetuate the myth that babies should not have nighttime needs. Babies were designed to wake up often at night to feed and cuddle, and keep in mind that many adults wake during the night, too. If our expectations for babies were not so different from our babies' expectations for themselves, much of this "problem" might disappear.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

End of Day Two...

This may very well be one of the most difficult days I've had in years! It's rare that I say that but anything that could have gone wrong, DID! And you know it might not have seemed so bad if Ivan were here, but with him gone everything seemed to be magnified to the 100th degree. First, my washing machine decides it's not going to work anymore, of course there is a saturated load of my clothes in there when this happens and now I am stuck spending tomorrow wringing out the heaviest load of laundry ever! Not to mention I won't be able to wash anything until Ivan gets back and figures out what happened :-/ Ok, that's pretty monumental on it's own considering we accumulate about a load and a half daily and I was already several loads behind... and oh yeah... what will I do with my soiled cloth diapers now?!?!?! GRRRRR

Then, Justus disappears for about ten minutes and each of us thinks someone else is watching him so by the time I found him he was covered in paint (yes, even one of his new pocket diapers!) and so were my walls AND carpet! I have to wait till my company leaves (because heaven forbid I be a bad hostess and take care of the disaster in my bedroom instead of entertaining) and of course by that time the paint had set in and now I have painted carpet, MESSY painted carpet :-/ We're really on a roll here for good news to give hubby when he returns. Anyone have a really large area rug?!?!?!

Last week I paid for 8 weeks of yoga classes to be taken on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and with all that going on I forgot to call and cancel for this week and ask if I could make it up at the end. So irresponsible of me.

It was one of those days where you give 100% to doing your best and the results turn out to be less than zero. So very frustrating :-(

Here I am at the end of the night, totally and completely exhausted from all of today's damage control, and oddly enough it would seem as though the universe decided to balance things out for me, and perhaps even tip the scales in my favor. My dear friends William and Linda brought me a gift today. It wasn't just any gift, but a very very special gift that melted my heart. About a week ago we went shopping together and I saw the most comfortable and beautiful rocking chair. I couldn't resist sitting my very pregnant self in it, cradling the air while rocking and envisioning some sweet moment in the future when I'm holding this precious little one at my breast. I made a quick comment about that being my dream :-) Well when they arrived at my door today, William was carrying this BIG box and an even BIGGER smile on his face. Totally confused, and still a little annoyed by that creepy guy who rang my bell a couple minutes before insisting I let him take a look at my water heater (excuse me?!), I asked him (William, not the creepy guy) what was in the box. Still smiling from ear to ear my dear friend replied, "It's your dream!" Huh? What on earth is he talking about? What dream? I have a dream? lol

Oh yeah... this one :):):)

I tell you, this was enough to brighten my day right back up :-) How wonderfully sweet and unexpected. I was totally shocked and blown away by their generosity and thoughtfulness. It certainly helped to put all that had gone wrong today into proper perspective and bring me back to *me*

Thank you my friends :-) I can't wait to hold the baby in my arms and sing sweet songs in my new chair. It means so much to me that it came from you guys, and that you care about me so much!

~I still hope that tomorrow has a bit less drama than today~

Nighty Night

Day Two

So yesterday was the first day with hubby gone. I didn't really get anything done except for painting the closet area in the master bedroom. I took a couple of pictures but it's really hard to see the right colors with this webcam :-/ The new color is called Pecan Sandie, it's a neutral tan/beige color. It looks really good so far! I can't wait to get to the rest of the bedroom but I still have more cleaning to do before the room is ready.

You can see the purple color behind my belly cast and the new color in the little room behind it.

Here's another attempt to catch the color but it's just not right.

So far today I've gotten the kitchen done. Seems like a small enough task, and compared to last time it was, but the floors were pretty bad. Everything sticks to those tiles to the point where it's like scraping cement off of them. So it was sweep, mop, scrape, sweep mop. My hands HURT especially the space between the thumb and other fingers, OUCH! So much for taking it easy :-/ lol I also cleaned the front hall and swept (no vacuum, still) the upstairs hallway and staircase.

Still to do: clean and prep my bedroom so I can at least start to paint. Ivan was suppose to pull out our VERY heavy king size sleigh bed so I could paint behind it but with all the getting him ready we really didn't have a chance. So I'll have to wait until I can get a hold of at least one or two men before I'll be able to finish this room. Anyone up for moving the heaviest bed on earth?!?! :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

This Week...

My beloved has gone away for another week in California. This time I plan to take it A LOT easier while he's gone. Last time, I was all swollen and in pain by the time he came home because I did so much so fast. I don't think I'll be doing that again.

This time the only project requiring physical labor is painting the master bedroom and our closet area. I've been dying to get this done, especially since this will be my birth space and I want it to feel peaceful and inviting. I really don't like the color on the walls right now, it's some sort of pale lilac that's not very easy on the eyes. It's gonna feel really good when it's all done :-) I'll post some before and after pics.

Other than that, my intention is to continue learning how to knit and work on little Dewdrop's afghan. This is beyond exciting for me :-) Knitting is something I've always wanted to know how to do but never knew of anyone with the time or patience to teach me. My friend Meg, who happens to be a VERY talented knitter (check out her blog!) is teaching me the ropes. With her help and the tutorials on YouTube I am actually knitting, YAY! Thanks Meg!!!

This is where I'm at so far...

I'm proud of those couple inches :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Salma Hayek Breastfeeding an African Baby Boy

I just LOVE this story about Salma Hayek breastfeeding a little boy on her trip to Africa. People are so weirded out by the very idea of women breastfeeding a baby that isn't theirs but that seems so ridiculous to me for a million and one reasons. Human milk is meant for humans, yet we are not at all weirded out by giving our child the milk intended for a baby calf :-S GO SALMA, you're an inspiration to us all!

I had the unforgettable experience of helping a friend with her baby by taking over a couple of nursing sessions a day while she worked with a qualified lactation consultant to figure out a bad latch. It was a very special time that I hold dear because it was the one time in my life where I really felt like I was helping in a meaningful and practical way. That baby is over a year old now and still continues to nurse at his loving (and determined) mothers breast. I received quite a bit of criticism for nursing her baby, I heard everything from, "She needs to do it herself!" to "That's something *I* could never do!" but you know what??? Is it not better that this mother was willing to allow me to help her, which resulted in a positive outcome btw, rather than her resorting to formula and giving up as so many do?! What incredible strength on her part to not give in to everyone and thier mother instilling seeds of doubt about whether or not she could produce enough milk!

Apparently in China it is not uncommon at all for babies to be breastfed by several different mothers. I imagine there is an incredible amount of support and trust that those women feel for each other when they have their babies and share this responsibility. Personally, I would not feel at all comfortable allowing another mother to nurse my child if I was physically present and able to do it myself (I'm very mama-bear when it comes to my little ones). But if I was faced with a situation where I couldn't be with my child, like when I had my appendix removed 8 weeks after my first child was born, I would certainly prefer a nursing mother help me through it rather than give my child formula. It just seems totally logical to me that this would protect my ability to breastfeed as much as possible as well as provide the best food for baby.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Case for Cloth Diapers

For a while now I've been trying to figure out the issue with Justus and diapers. It seemed that when in cloth, he would wind up all red and irritated. It never looked like the diaper rashes my disposable-wearing babies had on occasion which took creams and several changes to heal. This is more just a red, irritated and sometimes even puffy reaction that would go away if left to air dry for a good amount of time. It was bothering me so much to see this happening to him and to know that it was uncomfortable for him so I put him in "Seventh Generation" disposable diapers for a little while until I could figure out the issue and try to resolve it.

When Justus was born, I decided to practice EC (elimination communication) with him. It was working out wonderfully for a while and then there began to be times when it felt inconvenient and overwhelming. I've never been one to leave my children in a pee or poo diaper, so it wasn't (and isn't) a huge deal to me to have a diapered baby. I got very lazy with it (the EC'ing) and let it go long enough that Justus started refusing the potty and still does. I honestly wish I would've been more diligent in providing him with "pottytunities" and continuing with EC full time. All lessons I will be taking with me on my journey with this little one. Anyway, I mention the EC'ing because obviously that was a period of time where diaper redness was a non-issue because even when I did have him in a cloth diaper I rarely had him in a cover. It's only since there is ALWAYS a cover on him that the redness thing has been an issue. I find it so much harder now that he is running around all over the house, upstairs and downstairs, to leave him without a cover. He's climbing all over everything (including everyone's beds) so I can't really leave him to be wet without me there to change him and I simply cannot be there every single moment. So I'm feeling a little torn and obviously I still have much to learn from seasoned ECer's.

Using the disposable diapers, even the non-bleached-supposedly-healthier ones was REALLY bugging me. There is NO indication on the packaging that there isn't plastic used in the diaper and it's obvious to me there is. It's also obvious to me that with their slim fitting shape they must contain some kind of chemical(s) for absorbancy. So if there are still chemicals against his skin (even though it's not as many as say... Pampers brand has) and it still has plastic so it'll be sitting in a landfill forever, then where is the huge benefit?! It's still expensive and wasteful.

Considering Justus's reluctance to using a toilet/potty and my determination to stay away from disposables and use cloth WITHOUT him getting irritated, I decided to give pocket diapers a try. Pocket diapers have a fleece inner layer that effectively wicks moisture away from baby's skin which keeps baby feeling drier. They are also pretty expensive and a full supply would probably cost about $600. Hard to justify that price when your child is already 20 months old and the desire is to get them OUT of diapers rather than invest in them staying in them! I bought 2 FuzzyBunz and used them at night time to see how well Justus's skin did in them. Sure enough, he felt dry and his skin had no signs of irritation. I was very pleased, but still needed a day time solution.

As luck would have it, I found a somewhat local mama selling off her entire pocket diaper stash (22 diapers!) for only half of what I would pay retail for them. Coincidence?! :-) We picked them up last week and it's been working out amazing since! I'm so happy :):):) Justus LOVES them because they are a variety of bright colors and I let him pick which he wants to wear next. So no more disposables (YEAH!) and all is well in my 'crunchy' world again :-)


Hidden Danger's of Disposable Diapers

The Environmental Issue

There are those who claim that disposable diapers are better for the environment because no water, energy or soap is wasted on washing or drying them as with cloth diapers. The question is: how did the disposables get manufactured in the first place? Certainly a fair amount of water and energy were needed to produce them, not to mention valuable raw materials like wood and oil. And who walks to the store to buy their disposable diapers? Certainly not people pressed for time, which is the main argument against cloth diapers -- that they take up too much time. And what about waste disposal costs? Also, did you know that in the U.S., it is illegal to put human fecal matter in residential garbage? Which person pressed for time shakes the poop out of his or her disposable diaper before disposing of it? Did you also know that experts speculate that a disposable diaper can take anywhere from 100-500 years to biodegrade in a landfill? This means that EVERY SINGLE disposable diaper ever used is still out there decomposing somewhere!

Even the argument that the soaps used in laundering cloth diapers are harmful and eventually end up in our ground water are exaggerated. Most people who choose cloth diapers also choose an environmentally friendly soap, and then the waste water from laundering a load of cloth diapers is benign. Take in comparison the impact of the waste water from the manufacture of disposable diapers which often contains dioxins, solvents, biocides and even heavy metals; and then a little environmentally friendly soap seems harmless.

What is better for your baby?

Even though disposable diaper manufacturers spend millions of dollars every year on advertizing that their diapers feel "drier", no scientific evidence indicates that diaper rash occurs more often with cloth diapers than with disposables. In fact, because disposables feel drier, many parents postpone diaper changes too long and the bacteria from the urine remains in longer contact with the baby's skin causing redness and irritation. In addition, because the plastic in disposable diapers prevents the proper circulation of air, ammonia from the bacterial-breakdown of urine is unable to escape causing further irritation; whereas cloth diapers with a wool or micro-fiber cover allow the baby's skin to breathe, thereby eliminating this source of irritation. The best way to prevent diaper rash, however, is frequent diaper changes, regardless of which kind of diaper one uses.

What is most frightening about disposable diapers is the unknown or passively ignored presence of toxic chemicals. One such chemical is dioxin, a highly toxic by-product of the bleaching process. Secondly, sodium polyacrylate, the clear gel-like substance you often find on your baby's genitals after a diaper change, gives disposable diapers their super absorbant characteristic. Its use in tampons was banned in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome. And most recently, TBT or Tributylin was found in disposable diapers in Europe. TBT is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most toxic substances in use in consumer products in the world today. It is a biocide and is used in killing or preventing the growth of bacteria. And although the WHO has also revealed that the amount of TBT found in disposable diapers poses no threat to the health of a baby, the question still arises: Why is such a toxic substance needed in a diaper? And furthermore, even though the TBT in diapers does not adversely effect those wearing the diapers, what about the safety of ground water from decomposing diapers in landfills?

What's more, new scientific studies have linked disposable diapers and their harsh perfumes and toxic substances to the increase of asthma in today's society. Laboratory rats exposed to disposable diapers straight out of the package have suffered increased eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as bronchioconstriction similar to that of an asthma attack (according to Rosalind C. Anderson, lead author of the report "Acute Respiratory Effects of Diaper Emissions", Archives of Environmental Health, 54, October 1999).

The Convenience Issue

Admittedly, disposable diapers do have the appearance of being more convenient. Those who claim that disposables are more convenient and time-saving, however, seem to forget that someone has to go out to the store to buy them, carry them home, and take out the trash can when they are used up. And although you do have to wash cloth diapers, the few minutes it takes to start up a load of laundry (which you have to do more often with small children in the house anyway) is much less than the effort it takes to acquire and dispose of disposable diapers.

What's The Hype?

You ask yourself. My child wears disposable diapers and does not have asthma, nor do I notice any harmful side-effects from all the toxic substances. That may very well be true, but you should also ask yourself if the alleged "convenience" of disposable diapers is worth the cost to the environment and to the health of your child. Each purchase of disposable diapers is an economic incentive for disposable diaper companies to continue producing products found to be extremely harmful not only to our children, but also to our environment.

Environmentally Friendly Disposables

Such a creature does exist: Moltex Öko Disposable Diapers. They are rated by the German Öko-Test (Heft 28/99) Consumer Product Testing publication as "Empfehlenswert" or Recommendable. In America, look for the brand Tushies: they have been bleached via a non-toxic method and contain no polyacrylate granules. They are a good compromise when traveling. Who wants to lug around a suitcase full of moist, stinking cloth diapers?

Cloth Diapering -- Getting Started

Cloth diapers are not what they used to be! No one has to use pins or spend hours folding square pieces of cotton into complex origami-type contraptions anymore. The cloth diapers my family uses (from Mother-ease) are pre-formed, completely adjustable to fit babies from 3-18 kilograms, and are fastened via snaps and/or velcro tabs. A micro-fiber cover goes over the top to keep the moisture in, but at the same time, allows the baby's skin to breathe. In addition to a cloth inlay for extra absorbancy, there is a paper inlay, which is then flushed down the toilet and with it, most of the fecal matter. Soiled diapers are rinsed out and stored in a diaper pail. Every other day, the diapers are washed with the rest of the baby laundry and voilá!

We use non-bleached, organic cotton diapers and inlays (that way we support sustainable cotton agriculture and are assured that no harmful pesticides or dioxins are present in our diapers). The paper inlays are also from organic raw materials and are bleached via non-toxic methods. We use a phosphate-free detergent, specially designed for washing at a lower temperature (Vollwaschmittel from the store, Spinnrad); and we hang our diapers out to dry. What's more, we have the peace of mind, knowing that we are offering our babies the best possible diaper care, as well as doing our part in protecting our environment.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Classic!

This video is funny no matter how many times I see it LOL Don't forget to shut the music off before you start the video!

Enjoying the Ride

I'm currently reading 3 different books at the moment. Depending on my mood or time I will pick one up over the other, and sometimes it's just which ever one is closest to me when I want to read a little.

"Painless Childbirth" ~Giuditta Tornetta
"Nonviolent Communication" ~Marshall Rosenberg
"Unconditional Parenting" ~Alfie Kohn

This is my first time through Painless Childbirth and Unconditional Parenting but my second time through Nonviolent Communication. What I find interesting is that all three books seem to be complimenting each other perfectly using different words and experiences to communicate the same ideas. I also find it interesting that I would have chosen these books and somehow read them as much or as little as it would take for each idea to surface at just the right moment to compliment one another. Awfully coincidental :-) Or perhaps it is has something to do with the clarity I have about who it is I am and where it is I want to go that is drawing towards me the necessary tools to bridge that gap (law of attraction). Whatever the case, I believe what's made the biggest impact is my realizing that my life will not change by simply wishing or hoping it will. We are not to sit still and wait for ideal circumstances to fall onto our laps so that we can live the life we truly want. We are to be active participants in our own personal journey, present in every moment, having awareness of our thoughts, our actions and reactions in order to take responsibility and own the results of our life. Everything comes down to choices. We chose what we want, we act on it, we get it. Some people want to be victims, some people want to think they aren't even choosing anything at all, some people leave it for others to choose for them. I know I've done all of that in the past and have gotten predictable results. I want different results, I'm after a different kind of life. I feel incredibly blessed to be going through so many changes while carrying this precious little child and taking him/her along with me for the ride. It's been the sweetest journey. I know I will not be coming away from this pregnancy the same person I was going into it, and what a wonderful thing that is!

I'm probably not making much sense right now because I don't have the time to go into specific details about everything. I didn't even intend to say all that I did, but that's the way blogging goes sometimes. It's just such a mind blowing ride for those willing to sit in the drivers seat, kwim?!!! :-)

Music Widgets

I've added some of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, Portishead, to this blog. I've been listening to them since before I became a mommy :-) If you would rather not listen to it, simply click the pause button and it will stop.

If you would rather listen to some of my favorite Spanish tunes (YEAH!) stop the top player, scroll down a little and play the other one ;-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ideal Breastfeeding Kit...

Rixa, over on "Stand and Deliver", formerly "The True Face of Birth", posted an excellent blog about Enfamil's Breastfeeding (sabotage) Kit. It's so upsetting to me that the formula companies invest SO much in making sure your breastfeeding experience ends in you formula feeding your baby and then thanking them for all the help :-/ Go visit her blog and read what they're up to. Doesn't it anger anyone that a HUGE business is HARD at work against all of your intended efforts to breastfeed right from the start?!?! Are we really that disconnected and oblivious to the mile long list of reasons formula is a very VERY distant second to mama's milk and should only be used for the (rare) instances when a mom trully cannot breastfeed?!?!

Anyway, Rixa asks what your ideal breastfeeding kit would include, so here's mine:

1. The book, "So That's What They're For!", I've skimmed through a friends version and found the little that I read to be quite funny. I love to read while I'm nursing a little one

2. A stylish nursing necklace, like this one.

3. Some Lansinoh 100% Pure Lanolin, for those first few days of sensitive skin. It can also be used as a lip balm, and for lanolizing wool diaper covers.

4. A half dozen organic cotton (reusable) nursing pads.

5. A Bravado Basic Bra (in medium if your curious ;)). Okay so this is something most people wouldn't ask for but I don't care about silly little things like that. My first successful nursing relationship (baby #3) was full of uncomfortableness due to the fact that I didn't have any nursing-friendly attire. I was wearing underwire Victoria's Secret bra's with shirts that were difficult to nurse in. It wasn't until a friend talked to me about considering breastfeeding my profession, and wearing the proper uniform to make it more of a pleasant experience, that I realized the importance of embracing my role as a nursing mama. Especially with all the young and hip bra's available these days, no one has to look like they borrowed grandma's undies!

I already have a sling/pouch/wrap, and "Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding" as well as La Leche League's "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" otherwise I would've added these to my list as well. And I agree with Rixa on having a good stainless steel water bottle to keep mama hydrated :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Day

Every once in a while on my old blog I would have pictures taken of me throughout the day to show what a typical day of mine looks like, not all that exciting, but it's fun for me :) So today will be that day. We're pretty silly and like to have fun with everything so I'm sure you'll see that coming through in the pictures.

Here's my cuddly little sweetie pie wanting to be right next to mommy while she eats her breakfast :) He's my little darlin. We bought that (very expensive!) throw for the family room and Justus has adopted it as his "bankie" and wants to be wrapped up in it pretty much all day long.

Here I am enjoying my *favorite* breakfast, Oatbran, white pomelo and tea.

My tea is a mix of Chamomile, Raspberry Leaf and Nettle with added lemon juice. I usually make a big jug of iced tea out of this and mark the jug "Preggie Tea" so no one drinks it.
Today I'm just having it hot.

And this is my oatbran and everything I put in it. It's taken me a while to get use to the organic oatbran because it doesn't cook as quickly as the cheapy one. I've started soaking it overnight in rice milk and this seems to do the trick, it's probably better for digestion as well. So once it's cooked I add Udo's oil (omega fatty acids), Salba, raw pumpkin seeds, agave nectar and cinnamon.

On to our HONEY POMELO. If you've never had one of these wonderful fruits you MUST give it a try. I get them at Zehrs for about $2.99 each. Honey pomelo's are very nutritious and with health benefits for the lungs, throat and blood circulation. They taste like a grapefruit without any of the grapfruit bitterness. Eric wanted pictures of the how-to-eat-a-pomelo process so here it is...

There he is with the wrapper on his head LOL

So first you cut around the outer skin in a circle.

Then you begin peeling it down until that half of the shell comes off in one piece.

Then, when we've done that, the littles will play with the shells for the rest of the morning! They love making hats and bowls out of them. The smell coming off of the shells is so delicious. I often leave them out in the kitchen so the smell can freshen up the room.

Now it's ready to be eaten. It looks just like a grapefruit inside and the skin is really hard and bitter so you have to remove and eat the fleshy inside and discard the skin.


Time to take my morning vitamins and supplements. I'll be doing this 2 more times today but won't take pictures.

Time for 10 minutes on the treadmill. I know I won't have time everyday to fit in a long workout so I try to at LEAST get 10 minutes of walking/jogging. Feels so good to get that heart rate up :)

I was just gonna do my yoga when Justus came in with a stinky diaper. What would my life be really if it weren't for all the poopy breaks LOL And, yeah, we really didn't need a picture of this, but oh well.

Ok, he's all changed and Eric is watching him in his room so I'm gonna get to my yoga with the cutest little partner one could ask for :)

She just loves to move those hips! A true Puerto Rican ;-)

This is my favorite picture of the day. We had just finished doing kegels. How many women do kegels with their little girl? So cute. She giggled the whole time as she tried to concentrate on her vagina. Then she looks to me to make sure she is doing the right thing with her hands. Namaste, Seraphina.

Lunch time! Today I ate vegetable kamut rotini pasta with a tomato basil sauce, garlic and artichoke hearts. I am really NOT a fan of pasta sauces but it's alright once in a while. For snack I'm having a pink lady apple (my favorite!) and maybe an english cucumber a little later. At dinner time I'll need to make up for the lack of veggies eaten so far.

After lunch we all got ready and went out to run some errands. I found a good bowl to use for the placenta, $1 at Goodwill. :) This month I plan to start filling my birth bin. SO EXCITING!

We got home just in time to start dinner. Here's what I had.

I made a HUGE pot of brown rice with pigeon peas seasoned with oregano, turmeric, sea salt, garlic and pepper. I also had portabella mushrooms cooked in a sauce made of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin coconut oil and crushed garlic. For veggies, I steamed baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. YUM!

Here's Julianne gettin' some good Papa lovin'

Waiting patiently to be served.

We promised them a movie after dinner. So once all after meal chores were taken care of we all gathered in the family room and spent some time together watching a movie none of us had seen before. They were so tired afterward they walked themselves right up to bed, no fussing :) Lovely.

So that's it. Nothing majorly exciting. Tomorrow I'll have to catch up on some chores because as you can see I didn't get any laundry or anything done today. But for now... I'm off to read another chapter in "Painless Childbirth" and write some thoughts, intentions and commitments in my birth binder. Then, BED!