Hait or BUST!!!!

It is now one month and 2 days before I leave for Haiti by way of Kansas City then Florida. Signs say I will be taking a PRIVATE plane from Florida into Haiti itself… more on that later. I have MANY things complete for this journey, and many things still to do. Who knew I’d have to work for 3 months to go somewhere for 2 weeks!? [I’ll also admit to being nearly giddy with excitement as my very own PASSPORT showed up in the mail!]

The support I’ve received from our local homeschool group, my church, people I’ve NEVER EVEN MET… well, it’s been nothing less than staggering. Humbled? Why, yes, I am. I have to CONTINUALLY remind myself that they aren’t giving to “me” but to Haiti. It feels so artificial for me (Mrs. Independent) to accept offerings from people I love and care about. Let alone strangers.

In the interim I’m so happy ton ave Robin here (my new apprentice). You can read her biography on the “Our Team” page. Look for more updates to this website soon, as it’s on my list of “MUST COMPLETE BEFORE HAITI”. To come: Placenta encapsulation, independent childbirth classes coming to your town, a better way to pediatric care, and an ONLINE STORE! At last! You don’t have to wait on me to get stuff shipped to you anymore! So excited to have this very very close to completion.

I am still a few hundred dollars short of my needed funds to serve in Haiti – please consider a donation. Every tiny bit helps. Paypal to psalms66@gmail.com as a “GIFT” and I won’t be charged any fees. Blessings to you all – love and hope only the best for you all.

Stay tuned for more!

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!

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!!!

Finding culture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget about fancy French boarding schools or etiquette classes… turns out you can BUY it! Cultures that is.

From kombucha to kefir to yogurt and sourdough, LIVE food is quickly experiencing a renaissance due to the enormity of the health benefits it brings along. This time eating healthy actually TASTES GOOD, unlike a decade ago when “no-fat” was all the rage. You’ve not tasted fresh bread until you have tasted fresh sourdough bread with cultured butter on top and a glass of raspberry kombucha to wash it down with.

We’ve all seen the Activia commercials… “beneficial intestinal flora” is now something that many American’s have at least heard of. Better than yogurt or acidophilus powder in a capsule, real – living – cultured food contains more probiotics than can be counted!

Benefits of Cultured Foods
If you are wondering how in the world to get your CHILDREN to try fermented foods, here’s a great place to start.
My favorite place for purchasing your starter cultures is Cultures for Health.
And lastly, here is a great jumping-off point for creating traditional food fare.

This return to traditional food doesn’t begin OR end with cultures though… think grass-fed beef, home-grown vegetables and sprouts, fresh ground grains for bread, soaked grains for cereals and granola, free-range eggs and raw dairy. The list is endless.

You might be feeling overwhelmed with the BIG-GIANT-ENORMOUS makeover your recipe book likely needs if you’re going to try for this changeover, but don’t give up. Think:

SIMPLE. PLAIN. OLD-FASHIONED. TRADITIONAL.

Start there and implement cultured foods into your daily menus. Once you have a system down for creating old-world cuisine in your thoroughly modern kitchen, it’s SO simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

And if you’re wondering what culture has to do with birth… Midwifery Today published an article on GBS (group B strep) infections and lacto-fermented foods. Though there is no established protocol for using fermented foods to prevent GBS infections, the logic there holds thrilling possibilities for preventing this serious (but rare) complication of birth.

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

Lest I forget…

I am writing this post in order to accomplish 2 things. 1) to release the beast (ie: whine a little bit) and 2) to remind myself to have compassion on women in my care who are in their last few days of pregnancy.

Because they suck.

  • My feet are swollen, despite drinking gallons of water, taking my supplements and going for walks.
  • My legs feel heavy, thick and … well.. more like tree trunks than appendages.
  • My fingers are also swollen and my left hand aches from pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.
  • My husband and I are at that stage when only one position will work. And it’s getting old. Fast. “But I need to ripen my cervix!” so we press on. Takes the fun right out of it.
  • Baby is moving less which makes me swing between “Oh no.. I haven’t felt the baby move in X# of hours.” to “Thank the Lord he’s quieted down some. My ribs were killing me.”
  • My emotions have placed my mental stability somewhere in the realm of Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
  • I’m forgetful and moody,  with energy levels ranging from a Speed Boat to those crustaceans that grow on her hull.
  • I’m Hot. All. The. Flipping. Time. My poor husband’s sinuses may never be the same from having a fan on full blast and the thermostat at 60 degrees in our bedroom all summer long.
  • My hips and back hurt all the time too. Chiropractor Dan gives me WONDERFUL relief, but I’m at the stage of needing to go 3 or 4 times a week to keep my poor pelvis somewhat aligned (a childhood injury left me with a tilted, crooked pelvis resulting in posterior babies).
  • My main breakdowns occur over well-meaning family and friends (who love me and I them!) texting, emailing and calling to “See if I’ve had that baby yet!” I want to scream at them: “Yep! Had it a couple days ago but we’re storing it in the closet ’til we decide to tell anyone it came out.” To quote a recently famous red-neck comedian: “Here’s yer sign.”
  • The children have stopped asking if today might be the day, and have begun to walk out of the room slowly and without making eye contact. Sorry kids. Your REAL Mama will come back some day soon.
  • I’ve always been able to shave my legs while pregnant. WELL….. hhmm….. yeah. It’s a real contortionist act at this point for some reason (I’m really tall with long legs and this hasn’t ever been an issue before).
  • And I have threatened my husband bodily harm if he ever puts me in this condition again. LOL as if he tied me down! LOL To which he replies, “Oh no. This is enough. No worries.” to which I reply, “What do you mean? You don’t WANT to have any more babies with me?” and run from the room crying.
  • Contractions start and stop… toying with me… “Is this it?” “No… it’s not.”
  • Bodily secretions have become more attention holding than that cool cable TV show I’ve recently become attached to.
  • And I deplore television.
  • The “Before Baby Comes” list has grown from simple things like “Wash, dry put away baby clothes.” to “Get new tile laid in the master bathroom.” and “Repaint the living room ASAP.”
  • Yeah. It ain’t pretty, folks.

So when sister midwives tell me I need to take into consideration a woman’s emotional state when I maintain my position of “inductions do not belong at home and are risky elsewhere”, I say, “You bet your booty I’m taking that into consideration!!! Does the above description sound like a woman able to make an informed decision that carries multiple risks to herself and her baby?!?!”

Seriously though, I’m glad I have a midwife who is of the same mind as I am on this, because BOY am I tempted to “help things along”, etc. etc. just to release myself from the prison this pregnancy has become.

So what will I do instead?

Probably draw a cool bath, turn on my ipod (loud so i can’t hear anyone knocking on the bathroom door), and pour myself a glass of red wine. I’ll put in a few cups of Epsom salts to help the swelling, do some aromatherapy while I’m in there (my oil of choice at the moment is called “Potential”) and hope the children and husband have eaten by the time I emerge to say good-nights. [Note to self: This man deserves a trophy or something for being so darned level headed and KIND during this last phase of pregnancy. I am considering a gift for the dad’s on the 24 hours pp visit along with the muffins I generally bring along for Mom.]

Then I’ll fall asleep wrapped up in hubby’s strong arms, smelling him in, remembering the days when I could reach all the way around him, and hoping TOMORROW is the day I get to do that again.

And I will dream again that I am holding this baby at last and have blissfully forgotten the struggle of these last days.

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!!!

Sonogram: The New Crystal Ball?

I am So frustrated at the amount of misinformation put out there as FACT soley for the convenience of the provider! Grrrr!!!!! Some OB’s do it, some GP’s do it, some midwives do it, heck as far my experience shows some DENTISTS do it.

There was recently a comment made on my Castor Oil post from a woman who was told she was too small and couldn’t go to 38 weeks or her “uterus would rip open”. Baby was just TOO TOO big. Even if the poster got some of the semantics wrong (probably is her pelvis they are talking about not her uterus) the arguments for induction just amaze me. Of course I did not offer he any advice as to induction.

My local hospital routinely does inductions at 37 weeks. 37 WEEKS! Yeah. Ludicrous.

The main reason given to women for inductions and even cesareans is the “big baby” argument. And we have these wonderful things called sonograms to “prove” they are too big to “fit” through your pelvis. Please. Do they think we are stupid? Ignorant perhaps, but we are not STUPID.

Here is a lovely blog post by the fantastic “Unnecessarian” on sonograms and estimated size and due dates. Sonograms can be off as much as a pound either way and 2 weeks +/- for due date predictions! So if the sonogram says you are ok for an induction at 37 weeks (by the sonogram) and you induce and it’s off by 2 weeks guess whatcha get? A baby at 35 weeks with respiratory issues, breastfeeding challenges, and a myriad of other psychological implications the likes of which we have NO CLUE about yet.

And the weight predictions are just fantastical. The stuff of Harry Potter and traveling circus acts. There is some science there – just enough to be dangerous. Sure. Gaze into the sonogram screen and see your future: induction + pitocin + epidural = surgical birth.

And let me tell ya from experience: a 2nd degree tear is alot easier to heal from than a 10″ wound on your belly complete with scar tissue and a spinal headache for dessert.

Canadian study supports safety of planned homebirth

This ia really exciting. The study found HERE compares not only planned homebirth vs. planned hospital birth but also throws in planned hospital birth with both physician AND midwife. I often hear, “Well, I had a midwife in the hospital. That’s about the same as a homebirth.” No, it isn’t and here is the support for that position.

Not only are the planned homebirth outcomes better ACROSS THE BOARD, but they are bett with a homebirth midwife vs. a hospital midwife. Really cool info to have when asking or arguing for the safety of planned homebirth. (This booklet from Molly also has some great talking points in it!)

🙂

This just made my day. The canadian system has it’s caveats, no doubt, but the overall theme is that planned homebirth is SAFE with a trained midwife. I could do without the “registered” midwife thrown in there because I think it undervalues the work and safety of trained midwives who refuse to register (and there are many many GOOD reasons to not register). Of course they could not participate in the study and I doubt they were asked to. Afterall, who are they and WHERE are they? That, of course, is a question for another day. 🙂