Some things…

just never change. I have personally changed and grown SO much over the past…errr…. couple of decades…. that is is always a surprise to me that change is so difficult for some. A few of my children really struggle with it, but I personally and invigorated by NEW THINGS. What is really spectacular is when someone “NEW” turns out to be something “old”… and it’s better than what is “current”!!! I recently stubbled onto an old article on the importance of SALT for pregnant women. This particular article was an advertisement, endorsed by a physician, written in the 20’s. He was seeing so much swelling and lethargy that he posted the ad in his own name and on his own dime. His solution came from a long family history of farming, where lack of real salt is a common factor is preterm birth, lack of appetite and the general downturn in a female animals productivity.

Certainly, female HUMANS aren’t exactly the same as other female mammals from a physiological (or ethical) perspective. However, a woman’s basic need for trace minerals (found in sea/real salt) & potassium (also found in real salt) increase during the childbearing year. Swelling is your body’s way of screaming for more fluid and in all but the rare cases of true eclampsia can be “cured” by the liberal use of real salt and the removal of the commercially available fake kind.

Here is an “advertisement” (and I apologize for that) for Real Salt (the brand). There is just so much good information here on why real salt is important that I’m linking to the entire file. Enjoy the reading!

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Touching me touching you…

“Our culture may be changing, but our evolutionary need for touch remains the same. Babies’ brains are designed to expect closeness and proximity — to be held for their safety, psychological growth, physical growth, mental growth, to aid and stabilize their physiological processes and keep their immune systems strong. Touch is not an emotional fringe benefit. It’s as necessary as the air we breathe.”
~James McKenna

I was at a family event yesterday and saw two mothers. One mama carried her baby in a Moby Wrap, tucked safely inside, sweet and snug as a bug. She had a diaper bag on one shoulder, and her toddlers hand held on the other side. They both looked content and happy. The other mother carried her baby in one of those big bulky infant carrier/carseats. Neither looked happy or content. Baby was screaming loudly, mom’s posture was twisted to one side – loaded down with diaper bag on one side and carseat+baby on the other.

I can’t say enough about how different the mother’s AND baby’s appearance and demeanor are when using a carrier versus a carseat. Try it! The benefits of wearing your baby are far-reaching, both physically and emotionally, developmentally and relational.

Rant or Rave?

I just have to put this out there – to the universe, families I serve, etc. etc.

BIRTH BELONGS TO WOMEN and FAMILIES. It does not belong to midwives, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, etc. etc. etc. I get so tired of hearing about all the hoops pregnant and birthing mothers are made to jump through – “You must do XYZ at weeks 1, 2 and 3. And of course an ultrasound at 20 weeks to confirm dates and make sure baby is ok. Oh, and the quad screen. Of course you’ll want that.” FEAR, fear… FEAR.

Poor mother is sitting  there stunned, shocked, frightened, bullied… certainly with a continual onslaught of emotional and physical affronts during her pregnancy she will experience some – SOME – hiccup in her labor or birth. If we treated animals this way while pregnant entire species would die out and become extinct.

Sigh. Remember Mama: you are the ONLY PERSON ultimately responsible for your womb-baby. You carry her, you feed and nourish him. You ALONE birth this person into the outside world. Choose carefully those whom you would invite on your journey.

Gunnarr’s Blanket

(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)

I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.

Well.

It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.

I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going! 🙂

And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.

Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. 🙂 He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.

6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt.  A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.

Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”

Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it. 🙂

Salt in pregnancy

I’ve been recently compiling a few more resources on salt intake during pregnancy. There simply is no science to support the idea that REAL, WHOLE salt should be reduced or eliminated during pregnancy NOR that doing so will decrease swelling.

Here is a great handout on SALT in pregnancy (not to techy). It is from the UK with some US sources.

MidwiferyServices.org has a lovely section on salt to this tune:

What’s Up With Salt?

Sodium is an extremely important component in your diet and yet many women still get misguided advice to not eat salt while pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stopped recommending salt-restriction to pregnant women in 1974, when it was finally acknowledged that this was not only not beneficial, but was potentially harmful!

Sodium works together with protein (albumin) to maintain a normal circulating blood volume. A pregnant woman needs additional sodium to help support her expanding blood volume. Additional sodium goes to the baby and to the expanding breast and uterine tissues also.

Commonly, friends and family will offer advice to cut back on salt if you are experiencing swelling. This is not a healthy solution to this problem (if it really is a problem) and can in fact cause problems. The correct response to swelling is to increase protein and fluid intake. You may even need additional salt if it has been hot or you have experienced increased perspiration. The general rule of thumb is: Salt your food to taste.

And this is my all-time favorite article on the salt-myth because it includes some discussion (often lacking) about the importance of the TYPE of salt you use. Thank you Maryn!!!

It’s all in the packaging!

 

Modern media has proven that you can wrap up just about anything and people will like it: IF the wrapper catches your eye!

Well, wrapping your baby isn’t a marketing ploy – and the cute factor is what’s INSIDE your baby wrap! There are many reasons to wear your baby. I love this website’s list. I can’t vouch for the items they have for sale as I’ve never purchased a wrap or sling. They are too easy to just make yourself!!!

Seriously though, you don’t have to spend $50 – $100 on a good baby carrier. My favorite to-date is a lovely length of fabric I purchased from the $1/yard table! No sewing required!!!

If you are new to mothering, you simply must give wearing your baby a shot. It will quickly become your favorite accessory. 🙂

Here are a few more links to get you started:
The Baby Wearer
Rebozo Way
Ask Dr. Sears

My favorite with sewing instructions:
Wear Your Baby

And if you need to “see” how to use a wrap, thank goodness for YouTube!
You Tube Wrap Videos

Like butter on a hot skillet…

some babies just slide right out. 🙂 And it really has nothing to do with their size.

Ok, MOST babies slide right out. The position of the baby & the mother work synergistically to produce the optimal size/shape/orientation of the pelvic outlet: that will maximize the opening while minimizing trauma to the mama/baby duo. I just love how it works… so beautifully. When left ALONE to labor/birth, mama with instinctively move into the best position for pain relief and opening up… it’s a beautiful thing.

I’ll admit, it is sometimes tempting to do “just one little thing” to help things along, and when mama wants us to that is exactly what we should do. But midwives are woman-SERVANTS not woman-MASTERS and I do not believe the midwife should control the birth space or dictate what happens there in any way. She guards/she watches… she HOLDS THE SPACE while the mama/baby do their dance, daddy in the wings, and witnesses the beauty.

On this lovely day I was witness to just such a dance. And it WAS beautiful. 🙂

Touching me… touching you…

Sweet caroline…. good times never seemed so good…. I’ve been inclined to believe it never would… -Neil Diamond. Only a midwife could pull a birth analogy from a Neil Diamond song. 🙂 “Peri-natal psychologists and midwives I’ve talked to have … Continue reading

Boy oh boy…. CASTOR OIL

Of all my posts on this blog, the one that has stirred the most controversy is the one on Castor Oil for Induction. The article I posted wasn’t even a blog post, but a short synopsis of the research I did to support MY POSITION on the effectiveness of castor oil as an induction method.

Just today I received a rather snarky response to the article claiming that I “didn’t effectively research” and was “one-sided” putting women who might read it and “not do their own research” at risk. Oh, and that I cited an article/study that was irrelevant to the use of CO as it relates to induction. I cited many articles, many more than one, and AGAIN: I was writing this article as an assignment. I had to SUPPORT my position. And I did just that.

Geesh. I’ll approve the comment, of course, all in fairness, but I think the author went a BIT too far in her umm…. criticism? of my post.

Listen, it’s a free world out there. I post my thoughts and positions relating to birth on this blog ‘cuz it’s mine. 🙂 You are free to comment, critique, whatever. Just be fair. And remember that is IS my blog, and as such I can post MY thoughts and positions on it.

SO I will say again: I do not believe castor oil is safe for use on a scarred uterus (ie: VBAC), and may cause some really funky labor patterns in any woman’s uterus. Bottom line: I believe that induction disrupts that wonderful chemical symphony that the body (and the baby) creates to begin labor WHEN IT IS TIME. So whether it’s castor oil, prostaglandins, Cytotec, WHATEVER, fundamentally I believe it changes the energy that surrounds a birth when compared to one that begins spontaneously.  And ***I*** believe it changes it for the worst, not the better.

And again, I’m a US citizen and am entitled to post just that: my beliefs. And for the record, they are based on MOUNTAINS of research, not a “whim” and certainly not without a great deal of care and thought as to the possible implications my beliefs might have on others who read them.

I will be quite transparent: I do not believe induction is safe, healthy, natural or any of the other commonly used adjectives that commonly surround it. I believe induction is sometimes warranted, but within very limited parameters and with VERY careful consideration given to the implications of that decision. I do believe a woman has the right to choose it, but also believe she should be fully informed.

And since “anyone can google castor oil induction” and find out how to do it with little information provided on the risks, I thought a balanced response to that information was in order. 🙂

So… hit delete, or whatever you want to do – that’s cool (free country after all) but don’t accuse me of being cavalier with information that just might save someone’s life and the life of their baby. Because I certainly am not.

Share the truth lately?

I just read this awesome article on IndieBirth.com . In it Maryn explores the possibility that women are mostly making that decision based on emotion. That or they simply haven’t heard that homebirth has come to the 21st century. In spades. 🙂

Many women are making the decision to deliver in the hospital because of fear. And that’s not ok. And it’s not ok because fear does not usually serve us well. Respect the process? Yes. Fear it? Not exactly. I wish there was a way to overcome this… BELIEF SYSTEM… that says we should FEAR BIRTH. Some of it has to do with education, yes. But with the internet and television (Thank you Ricki Lake!) most women in the US have at least “heard about” someone having a homebirth, and that it went well for them.

The problem seems to me that our community connectedness is gone… thanks to the TV and internet (Sorry Ricki). We have to really work at being connected to other moms who are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant.

Given one, real hand account of a homebirth from a women that I am friends with – whom I trust – and that outweighs MUCH of what I hear, read, or see from other sources. Kindof like a referral to a great hair stylist? 🙂 You can see the ads, clip the coupons and be disatisfied until you BFF tells you about this “fab stylist” at such-and-such street.

So, as a storykeeper, I encourage ALL mothers who’ve had a homebirth to SHARE THEIR STORIES. When someone walks up to you and admires your baby, tell them, “Yes, he was born at home. It was wonderful.” or something like that. Tell the truth! There is nothing illegal about homebirth, and other than a few snubbed noses you’re not likely to encounter anything threatening at making your announcement.

It’s especially meaningful to share these stories at your MOPS meetings, Sunday school, homeschool coops, etc. etc. with women WHO KNOW YOU. Because I’m betting you’re a cool gal and that they trust you. Share the trust one can have in birth and help dispell the FEAR!!!