Saturday, November 28, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Has Led to Miscarriage

Vaccinations can be a difficult topic, especially among moms and moms-to-be. There are very strong opinions out there and who's to tell another mother, no matter what her choice is, that she is endangering her child? Each one believes she is protecting her child.

About eleven years ago, I first heard about the controversies of vaccinating. Until then, I didn't understand the right to choose to or not to vaccinate. Over the years, I have done a lot of research for myself and that is how I have come to my own personal decisions and beliefs about vaccinations for myself and my family.

I am almost 12 weeks pregnant now and have been getting a lot of questions about whether or not I have gotten the flu and H1N1 vaccinations yet. I have no intention of getting either vaccination. Although, I do not go into great detail unless I am probed, I believe that it is too great of a health risk to me and my baby to be subjected to the ingredients of these vaccinations. In addition, in the short time it has come onto the market, the H1N1 vaccination has not been properly tested for the adverse reactions and side effects it could have on pregnant women.

Last night I had a dream that I was being forced to get a flu shot against my will. Strangely enough, I woke up to discover I had an email from Dr. Mercola about the side effects involved with receiving the flu and H1N1 vaccine during pregnancy. I have attached the article here. After reading short article at the top, click on Organic Health November 11, 2009 at the bottom of the article. This will link you to a site where you can read stories that women have shared about the devastating miscarriages they had not long after receiving the H1N1 or flu vaccine.

Natural Preventative Measures to Avoid the Flu While Pregnant:
  • wash hands frequently
  • avoid large crowds
  • avoid being around people who have recently been sick
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • keep your house clean and tidy to avoid unwanted germs
  • if possible, avoid air travel during flu season
  • take your vitamins
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • keep the rooms in your home properly ventilated
  • dress appropriately for the temperatures outside
  • drink plenty of fluids
My only hope in sharing this is to help educate you to make an informed decision. Ultimately, as a parent, you have to decide what is the best choice for you and your family.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

FuzziBunz Giveaway

Blog readers - thanks for hanging in there with the giveaways until I get back to research and blogging on pregnancy and birth related topics.


Until then, click here for a cloth diaper giveaway!

There are so many reasons for cloth diapering. It is better for the environment and your baby! Tine, at Bloom Spokane, just wrote a fantastic article on her blog about why cloth diapering is a better choice. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Onesie Wonderland Winner

Congratulations to ANNE C! She is the winner of the very cute and fashionable onesie from Onesie Wonderland!

Thanks again to Karilyn for her adorable contribution to my celebration giveaway!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Celebration Giveaway!

I would like to thank all of my readers and followers. Many of you know of my story of losing a baby to an ectopic pregnancy and trying to conceive once again. If you have not read it and are interested, the link is at the top right of this blog.

This week, I would like to offer a contest in celebration of my new pregnancy! Thanks to all your love, care, prayers, and support, we are finally expecting our first baby in June.

Onesie Wonderland has offered a beautifully and uniquely designed custom onesie to the winner of this celebration giveaway! Karilyn, the creator of Onesie Wonderland, designs these adorable onesies for boys and girls from newborn to 18 months.


HOW TO ENTER THIS CELEBRATION GIVEAWAY:

  • Browse Onesie Wonderland and leave a comment about your favorite design. - 1 entry
  • Leave me some advice...I need all the help and support I can get in this first trimester and beyond into this journey of motherhood! - 2 entries

Contest ends on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009.

*Photo copyright Heaven's Eye Photography 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Sign in a Doctor's Office

*I just reread this post. It made no sense. I was a bit under the weather. It is fixed now!

This sign is up at a obstetrician's office in Provo, UT. The physicians seem to get mixed reviews from the research I have done on them. They either love the practice or really dislike it. Overall, I get the feeling they opt to subject their own agenda on their patients. Obviously, they do not advocate three very important aspects of birth that have been shown to improve outcomes have a positive affect on babies and birth - doulas, birth plans, and natural birth methods.


In case you can't read it, it says:

"Because the Physicians at Aspen's Women's Center care about the quality of their patients deliveries and are very concerned about the welfare and health of your unborn child, we will not participate in: a "Birth Contract", a Doulah Assisted, or Bradley Method delivery. For those patients who are interested in such methods, please notify the nurse so we may arrange transfer of your care."

Well, at least they are honest. Too bad they can't spell Doula.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Giveaway - Gift Card to Whole Foods

Check out Dr. Cindy Haggerton's blog. She is a local chiropractor and has a giveaway for a gift card to Whole Foods!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Laugh and Learn" DVD Set Giveaway

Jump on over to Bliss Tree for a great giveaway!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tea For Two

I love Organic Traditional Medicinal teas!


They have a wonderful line of teas that support health and wellness. I would like to share a few that I recommend for women's health, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.



Organic Raspberry Leaf tea supports the female system. It aids in healthy menstruation as well as tones the uterus. Many traditional healers will recommend raspberry leaf to women with irregular menstruation, menstrual cramps, and for pregnancy.



Organic Pregnancy Tea also supports the female system by toning the uterus and preparing the womb for childbirth. It has a pleasant blend of herbs as well as raspberry leaf as its primary ingredient.


Organic Mother's Milk Tea supports healthy lactation and can be used to increase milk production. Lactation consultants and medicinal healers recommend this tea for its traditional combination of anise, fennel, and coriander promote lactation.


All of these teas are caffeine free and perfect for any time of day!


Visit the Traditional Medicinals website for more information about their products.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping is waiting until the cord stops pulsing to clamp and cut it.

In my research, I have been finding that delayed cord clamping is helpful to the baby and provides the baby with healthy placental blood.

At a recent birth, I was taken back when a doctor made a very negative comment about delayed cord clamping saying "I am not going to injure a baby for some idiotic idea." His explanation was that the cord blood can provide too much blood to the baby making the red blood cell count too high or not enough blood and can make the baby anemic.

I had no idea that this was out there. Most practitioners (OB's and Midwives) I have worked with are very open to delayed cord clamping.

Looks like I will be doing a little more research on this so that I am more familiar with both sides of the study. Although, I still believe that delayed cord clamping has a positive result for the baby.

Anyone out there have thoughts on this?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Your Birth People

Pregnant? Now what?

Whether you know it or not, your birth can be dramatically different depending on the caregiver you choose and place you decide to birth. Will you pick an OB or Certified Nurse Midwife and have you baby at the hospital? Or perhaps you would like to have your baby at home with a direct-entry midwife and a doula by your side.

I hope this post will help you understand the differences and debunk any myths you have about "unsafe" birth choices.

OBSTETRICIANS
OB's or OB/GYN's have completed medical school and four years of obstetric and gynecology residency. They have received specific instruction in gynecological surgery, women's health care, prenatal care, treatment for complicated pregnancies, vaginal delivery, and cesarean sections. The focus of an OB is to ensure you and your baby have come out healthy after the birth. They are not necessarily helping you to have a "birth experience". Many women choose an OB because of their high level of education and their ability to handle complications* should they arise.

*Please note that serious complications can occur due to procedures such as a medical induction, medications given during birth, and cesarean section, just to name a few.

FAMILY DOCTORS
Family doctors have also completed medical school where they learn to provide care for children, adults, and how to deliver babies. FD usually work with uncomplicated pregnancies and will consult and OB should a complication arise. Unless you live in a rural area or smaller town, you would most likely have access to an OB, but if not, a Family Doctor may be your only choice within a reasonable traveling distance.

CERTIFIED NURSE-MIDWIVES
CNM's are advanced-practice nurses who have two to three years of education in a nursing program. They have training in prenatal care, women's reproductive health, and childbirth. They care for women with uncomplicated pregnancies and will collaborate with an OB should a problem arise. Many CNM's are interested in helping women have a "birth experience" they desire. They work in hospitals or birthing centers.

CERTIFIED MIDWIVES
CM's have must pass the same national certifying exams as CNM's, but they are not nurses. They may have other medical training or a degree in a health-related field. They are for uncomplicated pregnancies and attend mostly hospital births. Only a few states recognize CM's. For more information about CM's in your state, contact your state health department.

DIRECT-ENTRY MIDWIVES
DEM's have midwifery training, but are not nurses. Their education varies and many of these midwives train with other established midwives who attend home births or work from a free standing birth center. They are familiar with the unique process of out-of-hospital births and are skilled to care for you and your baby during birth.

There are three kinds of Direct Entry Midwives:
  • Licensed Midwife: attended a direct entry midwifery school and passed a state exam. Many licensed midwives will take payment from your health insurance provider. They care for uncomplicated pregnancies and attend out-of-hospital births. Many of them have a recognized relationship with a physician should a complication develop prenatally or during labor.
  • Lay Midwife: trained by apprenticing with an experienced midwife. She attends home births and may or may not have a back up physician. She is not regulated or certified by the state, so you must do your own research into her skills and background.
  • Certified Professional Midwife: is a licensed midwife and recognized nationally for her certification. She undergoes a lengthy process of establishing her experience and demonstrating her skills. She must keep her certification current by completing continuing education every three years.
REGISTERED NURSES
When you choose to birth at the hospital, you will be assigned a nurse for your labor. She may have one to three patients that she is monitoring at once depending on the staffing and number of patients that day. Nurses vary in their interests and experience. Some may be very supportive of natural birth and others may be more comfortable with medicating and high-tech monitoring.

DOULAS
A doula, or professional labor assistant, is trained to emotionally and physically support a laboring woman and her partner. Doulas know a variety of comfort measures such as massage, positioning for comfort, visualizations, and relaxation techniques. A doula can help you to have the "birth experience" you desire. She can also help you in understanding what may come during birth and give you the information you need to make informed choices about your birth.

~~~~~~~

Of course, there are many other types of people that I recommend to have the ultimate pregnancy and birth you want such as: yoga instructors, childbirth educators, nutritionists, fitness instructors, chiropractors, lactation consultant, and acupuncturists.

Hoping you have a wonderful pregnancy, birth, and beyond!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Raw and Organic Foods

Lately, I have been inspired to take a hard look at the foods I am eating. My husband and I eat the same things but probably should not. He physically trains hard to build lean muscle and gain weight. I am looking to be healthy and prepare my body to grow a baby. Thankfully, he is open to eating anything I fix...as long as it has enough protein. And for him, getting enough protein (at least 200 grams daily) is way more than I am looking to get myself. He prefers to get his protein from eggs, whey, and meat, where I like eggs, lean meats, pea protein shakes, and veggies such as organic leafy greens. I do not prepare red meats or pork in my kitchen. We eat lean organic meats like fish (salmon and tilapia), turkey, and chicken.

Although I am not a big recipe person, I refer to many books for ideas to make my own "creations". The Complete Book of Raw Food is one book I like to refer to for raw recipes. Raw (or living) food is a type of vegetarian cuisine that is plant or animal food that has not been heated above 115 degrees. When heated above this temperature, vital enzymes are destroyed and denatured and cannot provide the same nutritive value. Some raw foodists who take it to the extreme do not eat any meat or animal byproducts such as honey, eggs, or dairy. This is considered vegan.

When eating raw foods, or any foods really, I suggest eating organic. Why? Growing and raising organic products helps in conserving our soil for future generations and enhances the environment. Organic meat, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that have been given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers make with synthetic ingredients and sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. The USDA has set organic standards for the foods that we eat in order to keep us safe.

Organic foods are defined on may levels. Below is the break down:
  • One hundred percent certified-organic products can be labeled 100% Organic.
  • Products with 95% or more organic ingredients can be called organic on the primary product label.
  • Products with 75% to 95% organic ingredients can be described as made with organic ingredients, and up to three organic ingredients can be listed.
  • Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may use the term organic only on the ingredient information panel.
Happy Eating!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My First VBAC

About a week and a half ago I got a call from a mom to be who was due in three days. She had a previous cesarean birth with her son and after much reading and discussing with her husband they thought that a doula would be very helpful for them for the VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) birth they desired to have with their daughter. Usually I get weeks to prepare with clients, but these were special circumstances because we were so close to the due date.

In her eighth month of her pregnancy she changed care providers from her doctor to a group of midwives who practice at a local hospital. (Side note: changing care providers late in pregnancy is always an option if you are not satisfied. As long as the baby is still inside of you, you have choices. Get the kind of care and birth that you desire!) So, after she changed groups, she decided to look into a doula. Thanks to a referral from a previous client, she was led to me.

As her "due date" came and went, she was visiting the midwives to assure that her pregnancy was still going well and that she and baby were fine. Of course, everything checked out and she was given 14 days past her "due date" before they would do any sort of medical intervention.

On Friday, six days past her "due date", she had an appointment with the midwives for stress testing. Her cervix was dilated to a four, but she and baby were fine and she was not in active labor so she went home. I went over to her house to work with her. She had taken Castor oil, been walking, and was ready for anything more at that point. I arrived early in the afternoon and worked with her for several hours doing acupressure and labor enhancing massage techniques. She was having contractions and things were seeming to move forward, but when the evening approached, I felt it best to let her rest and try and get a good nights sleep in case labor did come on. I did not want her to be too tired for what was ahead of her.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to find I had not received a call in the night. When I called her that morning, she told me she had gotten a good nights rest and that she felt that things had progressed in the night. I told her I would come later that afternoon to work with her more unless her labor started before then. At about 4:00 that afternoon, I went back over to work with her some more. This time not much was happening. The contractions were few and far between and she did not feel as though they were as productive as they had been the day before. Her mother and sister arrived at about 8:00pm. Again, I decided that it would be best for her to rest and at 9:00pm I left them for the evening with instructions for she and her husband to take a walk and relax.

On Sunday morning at 2:24am, I received a call from her husband telling me that contractions had picked up. I didn't get much information other than they were coming on stronger than ever, but told them I would head over to help them labor at home, and it was their call on whether to head to the hospital at that point. It took me about 10 minutes get dressed and head out the door. I said many prayers on the way. I was unusually calm as I drove down the road in the middle of the night. The streets were bare and the rain was falling. I had a good feeling that this was going to be okay. Just as I approached the highway to turn left toward their home, he called and told me they were headed to the hospital. I could tell there was no time for talking and I told them I would see them there. I took a right onto the highway instead of a left and headed to the hospital downtown. I parked in the parking garage, which can be kind of scary at that time of night. My birth bag was in the trunk and I wasn't sure what to take out of it or take the whole thing in. I popped the trunk, hurried out of my car, grabbed the bag and got back in my car and locked the doors. I searched for a couple of minutes through my bag before deciding just to take the whole thing in. After all, there is no telling how long these births can last. With my cell phone in hand and my purse and birth bag tucked tightly against me, I headed for the parking garage elevators down to the ground level and into the hospital. I was greeted by a security guard. He asked me who I was coming to see. I said "I am a doula, and I need to get to maternal observation." "A doula?" he replied. Well, once we got that all straightened out, I was off to meet them on the maternity floor. I waited in maternal observation. When I saw the dad behind the double doors I got my things and went on back. He rushed past and told me he was headed to the restroom and she was in room 4. I thought I heard room 4, but then I second guessed what I had heard when I got down the hall. Then I heard the moans of a woman in labor and he nurses in the room calling her name. I knocked on the door and two nurses suddenly yelled at me to move the wheel chair in the hall out of the way and that the baby was crowning. They were telling my client not to push as they rushed her in the bed down the hall to labor and delivery. I ran with her, leaving her husband behind. I wasn't really sure what to do, but felt she needed someone with her, so it was with her that I stayed. As she approached L&D the nurses rolling her bed were shouting, "she is crowning!" About six nurses rushed into her room and I moved off to the side while they got her squared away. They pulled up her gown and I could see the baby's head. Her mom and her husband got to the room and we all squeezed past nurses to get up next to her as she began to push.

At 3:24am, just one hour after I received the phone call, they were holding their baby girl in their arms. She did it! She had a VBAC! It was a success for them and for me, as now I can say that I had my first VBAC and it was successful doulaing experience and they can go on to have many more children vaginally as they plan to.

When we all settled down after the birth to admire the baby, I sat on the sofa next to my unopened birth bag. You just never know.

Castor Oil Induction

It is not uncommon to hear much talk of "induction" among pregnant and soon to be birthing mothers. Induction methods can include using medication like Pitocin to bring on labor or other techniques such as stripping of membranes or manually rupturing the bag of waters by the caregiver.

When I have a client who is hoping and preparing for a natural (unmedicated) birth and she finds herself in a "post due" situation, I often like to suggest to begin natural methods of induction in the couple of days prior to the scheduled medical induction. In addition to many other things I recommend, Castor oil is one of them.

Castor oil acts as a laxative to clean out the bowels which in turn can stimulate the onset of labor about 2-6 hours after ingesting it. Its effects are so great that I recommend it high on the list of methods to begin trying first. It is, however, not the most palatable of tastes and can have some uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. But, when taken with a juice cocktail or with crackers, it is manageable for many women.

Here is a recipe that you can try:
  • 2 oz. Castor Oil mixed with 2 oz. Orange Juice and 1 tsp. Baking Soda
*Please note that I do not recommend this to anyone who has not reached 41 weeks of pregnancy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Broken Promises

I cried yesterday. I promised my baby that I wouldn't cry anymore, and I did. I know there are many women (and men) out there that can relate to the frustration and sadness of trying to conceive. A term that I have become quite familiar with and many of "us" abbreviate to is TTC.

The two week window is suspenseful enough, and then when that unwanted period arrives it can really wreck havoc on the emotions. Month after month goes by with no positive result. I know there are some of you that are reading this that can completely relate. I can absolutely say that I have a new understanding for families who have experienced a loss through miscarriage or have been TTC for some time with no positive result. My heart and prayers are with you.

I think for me, it is difficult to understand what is truly going on. Sometimes I wonder why my body is not working with me. Other times, I don't understand why my husband doesn't feel the same emotions as I do about TTC. But, then again, he isn't the one who gets the period....again....instead of the two lines on the stick. I can't blame him. He loves and cares for me and feels sad when I am sad. But, I put too much pressure and blame on myself each month, even knowing that stress can hinder getting pregnant. It is one thing to have people tell you to just not worry about it anymore and just not think about it and it will just happen. Easier said than done folks.

In May, I began to take oral Progesterone capsules that were prescribed by a doctor. It was really a last resort for painful, unbearable periods that I have as a result from scar tissue buildup from the surgery for the ectopic pregnancy I had last year. It turn, I have many side effects from this drug such as tiredness, bloating, cramps, worry, irritability, and the worst....BREAST SWELLING AND TENDERNESS. After four months of trading two painful days on my period for two weeks of side effects every month, I have decided to discontinue the drugs. This is a difficult decision for me because they were given to me based on a diagnosis of very slight endometriosis. Endometriosis can be tricky when trying to become pregnant. The lining of the uterus often does not allow implantation to occur correctly, if at all. I just feel that my body, if given the proper nutrition and TLC, will allow me to eventually conceive on my own like I did before. AND, I am trusting in my decision to stop the medication and have a peace about it. When the time is right, we will blessed with a baby.

So, this is where I am...me being raw about the real things that I am going through will we continue our efforts to conceive a child.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Who's Pregnant?

There can be many signs and symptoms early on in pregnancy. Things like just having that feeling, implantation spotting, positive pregnancy tests, nausea, missed period, and the list goes on.

Does anyone out there care to share the story of how you found out or had a hunch your were pregnant?

Who did you tell first?

How did you tell your spouse? Family? Friends?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nutrition: This for That

Start thinking about how to eat differently in order to maintain your health and the health of your growing baby even before you become pregnant. It is really important to prepare your body ahead of time to allow for the best environment for your growing baby and so that you feel your best while pregnant. Changing your bad eating habits can even increase fertility.

Below are just a few foods and ingredients that are a little more healthful than the usual. Of course, I recommend organic as much as possible, especially during pregnancy.

*Honey or Agave Nectar for Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
*Ground Turkey for Beef
*Juiced Frozen Mango Puree or a Fruit Smoothie for Ice Cream
*Brown Rice for White Rice
*Spelt, Whole Wheat, or Brown Rice Pasta for Regular Pasta
*Rice Crackers or Brown Rice Cakes for Chips and Crackers
*Whole Grain Carrot or Zucchini Muffins, Cookies, and Bread for Cookies, Cakes, and Bakery Items
*Avocado Dip, Hummus, Salsa for Dressings and Rich, Creamy Dips
*Plain Yogurt with Nuts/Dried Fruit/Granola and Sweetened with Agave Nectar for Ice Cream
*Garlic Cloves, Pepper, Lemon or Lime Juice, and other low sodium spices and herbs for Salt

PLUS LOTS OF:
Veggies (raw and steamed) and Fruits (raw and dried): carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, raw dark leafy greens, beets, cabbage, apples, bananas, plums, pineapple, mango, peaches, blueberries, apricots, grapes, oranges, pears, and grapefruits. EAT THE RAINBOW!

Protein: beans, lean meats such as wild caught tilapia and salmon, turkey, and chicken, and yogurt.

Grains/Carbohydrates: brown rice, spelt, whole wheat, and multi whole grains.

Fats: avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

And....drink Water! Water! Water! Try for a gallon a day while pregnant, especially during the hot, summer months. A gallon will be drinking about 1 liter every 2 hours during a 12 hour day. It will also be important to limit, if not totally eliminate, caffeine while pregnant and trying to conceive. That includes: coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks.

Frequent small meals are important during pregnancy. Planning ahead and packing healthful snacks for on the go or at work is key to maintaining your appetite and energy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the Winner is.....

Congrats to Ceecee Blogger at www.ceeceeblogger.blogspot.com!!!

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments and advice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I laughed. I cried. I recommend.

I love to watch a good movie or get so into a book that I don't want the end to come. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent was one of those books. I could not put it down. It was sad, hilarious, and deeply gripping. I highly recommend this book about Peggy's journey as a midwife. The birth stories that she shares are incredible and she sure had some amazing experiences during her tenure as a home birth midwife. Love this book!

Tomorrow is the last day to enter the contest to win some amazing organic body care products. Comment on the post below to enter!

Friday, August 28, 2009

100th Post Giveaway

It's my 100th post!

Thanks to all of my dedicated readers. I have so many ideas about women's health, childbirth, pregnancy, fertility, etc. I am happy that you have joined me in my journey!

"Enjoy this time with your husband...you will have kids for the rest of your life." - This is the a great piece of advise I hear from all my friends and family who have children.

TO ENTER THE CONTEST:
1. I want to hear the advise you have gotten as a mom or mom-to-be. Leave me a comment on this post. 1 entry

2. Tell your friends and readers about my contest on your blog. 1 entry


And, in honor of my 100th post, Lusa Organics has offered to help me out with a give away. Lusa Organics makes a line of handmade, body, baby, and mama products. Click here to visit the Lusa Organics website for more information. Great products!!!

The
fantastic prize package includes: Booty Balm, Citrus Lip Balm, and a Lavender Sugar Scrub.



Winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday September 2nd!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ignorance is 'Not' Bliss

Remember the 1991 movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? Evelyn Couch, played by Kathy Bates, goes to a class where at one point the women are given mirrors and asked to take down their panties and explore their vaginas. Evelyn gets so uncomfortable that she has a break down and leaves class in tears.

Ladies.....ignorance is not bliss.

When I was in 8th grade, two years after starting my menstrual cycle, I was convinced I had a yeast infection and asked my mother to get me an OTC medication for it. Oh. Oh. Oh. Little did I know. It wasn't a yeast infection, it had been normal vaginal cervical fluid! But, it wasn't until 12 years later that I would know what cervical fluid would be all about. I know a lot of young girls and even women see "stuff" coming out down there and probably freak out like I did. This is normal ladies! Most likely you do not have an infection unless it has a bad odor or is discolored. (By the way, I treat my yeast infections with apple cider vinegar, pau d' arco tea, and plain yogurt these days...but that is for another post.)

By now, you know that I chart my cycles. I chart because I want to to know my body. Sure, it may seem overwhelming to get the hang of it at first, but it gets easy and hassle free eventually. I started charting in 2006. I began charting because I did not want to introduce anything "unnatural", such as "the pill", into my body. I wish I had started charting much earlier, but I didn't think to do it for maintenance and detection of infections or abnormal issues during the cycle because I was always normal and regular. I thought fertility charting was just a method of birth control so I studied up on it just before we got married. In actuality, fertility charting can help you understand if there are things going on that just aren't quite right.

I say all of this because I believe it is important to know what is going on "down there". If you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, or if you are a women from puberty and beyond, I think it is important to look at your anatomy. Terms like vaginal opening, perineum and labia will come up during pregnancy and birth. Do you know where they are? In addition, after birth, you will want to take a look again. If you had a episiotomy or tearing, you may want observe the healing and the ongoing changes that will take place as you body repairs. Ladies, take a mirror and look. Don't be an Evelyn Couch!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Basics of Charting Your Fertility

Fertility charting can be used by those who want to use a natural form of birth control and determining the optimal time to achieve pregnancy. You will need to chart your own cycle to find what your most fertile days will be. These are very basic charts and simplified for the specific needs of this woman. By reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, you will be able to detail a chart that is specific to you. I recommend charting for a few cycles in order to understand your body enough to use this as a form of birth control. Charting is also a great tool for women who have irregular periods, women who have been told they are infertile and still want to try to conceive naturally, those who have gynecological issues or are prone to infections in order to be diagnosed more easily by a physician, and many other needs.

This method has worked as a form of birth control for us for several years and for pregnancy achievement when we desired. Once you get the hang of charting, it becomes very easy! You get to know your body very well. And, in some cases, you can determine when "things just aren't quite right" with your body and you can seek further care.

Refer to the charts below:

1. Chart the cycle you are on (in this case, she is on #11), your age, the length of the cycle (first day of period to first day of the next), and the date your cycle started.

2. Then, chart the cycle day starting with "1" as the first day you see blood. The "date" is the day of the month, the day of the week.

3. Each day you will take your waking temperature at the same time each morning. Your temperature will be low until after you ovulate. The day after your most fertile day of ovulation (peak day), your temperature will rise and you are safe for intercourse without protection. It will drop again when you begin your period. If it does not lower again on the day you expect your period, and you have 18 days of high temperatures in a row after ovulation, you can expect to see a positive pregnancy test!

4. Check the days you have intercourse and be sure that you are especially noting your most fertile time which is shown below in this example highlighted in yellow. You will need to abstain or use a protective barrier method, such a condoms, when having intercourse on your fertile days if you are not wanting to become pregnant. If you do want to become pregnant, you will want to chart your fertile days carefully and plan intercourse on those days.

5. Your cervical fluids are the indication of fertility. If you are not on your period, you will be dry, creamy, sticky, or have fertile egg white cervical fluids. Click here for a website that has a great representation of the cervix and fluids.

6. Notes can be taken on travel, moods, stress, PMS, illness, exercise, etc....

Chart #1: This women did not want to become pregnant on this cycle
and did not. She started her period again after her 28 day cycle.



Chart #2: This women wanted to become pregnant on this cycle
and did. Her temperature remained high after her 28 day cycle.


These charts are only examples and this is a very simplified review of charting. If you have questions or are interested in using this method, I encourage you to read up on it and ask questions on how it can be used by you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vaccination Exemption in Texas

In addition to medical and religious reasons, I recently learned that Texas and Arkansas have been added to the list of 20 states that allow for "philosophical" exemptions from vaccinations. By stating that you are opposed to vaccinations based on your philosophies, your children can be exempt from getting any or all vaccinations. It is not necessary to state your philosophical reasons when you complete the proper forms for exemption. Remember that it is important to apply early to avoid the backlog and possibly delays for school deadlines.

There has been a lot of publicity on the evening news this week about vaccinations. Parents are being advised to vaccinate their children to go back to school. And, there have been a few local cases of severe reactions to Gardasil, the HPV vaccination.

According to the poll on my blog, about 42% of my readers have chosen not to get all of the recommended for some or all of their children. Because many doctors and hospital staff are presenting vaccinating as "the law" most parents are vaccinating their children without the proper education and information. Be aware that it is "the law" that they offer your tiny new baby the vaccines, but you are able to waive any and all of these vaccination given at birth.

If you decide to vaccinate, I recommend that parents wait until their children are at least two years old before doing any vaccinating. As far as school aged children go, I would strongly urge doing a lot of research before getting all of the vaccinations recommended by your pediatrician. Many vaccines are still so new and do not have long term, double-blind placebo test studies done on them. A chiropractor friend of mine recently informed me that longer studies have been done on shampoo than on vaccines. Hmm......

Click here to find a vaccine friendly doctor near you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Newborn Crawl to Initiate Breastfeeding

I love the video of a newborn crawling up it mother to feed. I wish the poor baby was a bit more dried off and had a hat on, but overall, it is a great demonstration.

video

Evidence shows that 22% of all deaths among babies in developing countries may be prevented by early breastfeeding initiation.

The breast crawl is natural and instinctive for babies. This does not guarantee successful establishment of breastfeeding for every mother and baby, but it can have some great advantages if it is achieved. The skin to skin contact with the newborn baby has many amazing affects on the mother and baby as well, including bonding and warmth.

Advantages to the mother and baby for the breast crawl and early breastfeeding initiation include:
  • Skin to skin contact which keeps the baby warm
  • Leads to fast and effective achievement of feeding skills by the baby
  • The first feeding of colostrum has a high concentration of antibodies. It is the babies first immunization. The baby will get bacterial flora from the mother that protects against infection and ultimately leads to the baby's survival
  • Promotes uterine contractions for better birth of the placenta
  • It can prevent maternal blood loss and anemia
  • Leads to better sugar levels and other biochemical parameters in the first few hours after birth
  • Promotes earlier passage of meconium and decreases the potential of newborn jaundice
  • Early and long term breastfeeding success
  • Better mother-infant bonding
Information gathered from http://breastcrawl.org

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Up For Discussion

Thanks to all my faithful readers! I want to hear from you. Vote for the topics you want to know more about on my new poll to the right. Or, if there is something else you want to read up on, leave a comment or send me an email.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Current Read: Making Babies

Making Babies: The Science of Pregnancy by David Bainbridge

The cover really grabbed me! This book is a bit over my head, but has some fascinating, scientific information about how sex and pregnancy has evolved over the last several hundred years and really since the beginning of time. It is amazing how much we were not able to know and discover without simple objects such as microscopes. I am about halfway through and have found some interesting information that pertain to my own journey with trying to become pregnant. Not sure if I recommend this one yet as a good source for your own library, but I will let you know.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Seduction of Induction

As a doula, I have to be up to date on all the statistics, findings, pros, cons, and all the other information out there on induction of labor. According to statistics, induction of labor accounts for42% of all births (research done by www.solaceformothers.org). I think it is important to point out that in most cases their is no evidence of better maternal or neonatal outcomes with induction of a normal, healthy mother and baby.

The most common methods of inducing of labor are done by introducing a synthetic hormone called Pitocin into the bloodstream through a continuous IV drip or by inserting a prostaglandin suppository into your vagina for cervical ripening. Each of these methods is usually followed by the artificial rupture of membranes. If you are scheduled for an induction, I recommend that you do all of the research you possibly can about what is involved. In most cases, many other interventions will follow that you may not understand or wish you knew more about.

Note: The decision to have an induction could be the last decision you make about your birth.

In her talk, Penny Simkin raised the question, "Are there repercussions from interrupting normal pregnancy and bypassing the normal birthing process?"

ACOG (American College of Gynecology) states that induction is okay for the purpose of medical reasons such as illness, oligohydraminios (low amniotic fluid), post dates, prolonged PROM (premature rupture of membranes), IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), and *M.D. decision on a case by case bases. ACOG is now silent on induction of "big baby" as of 2009.

*I personally feel that this leads to a wide variety of interpretation by doctors and their patients.

Now on to Macrosomia or better known as the "big baby" theory. How many of you have been told were going to have a large baby, only to give birth and find out they were overestimating by pounds? A "big baby" is classified as being suspected to weigh 8.5 lbs. or larger. I say "big baby" with quotes because there is truly no way to tell how much a baby weighs while in utereo and the ultra sound can be off by as much as 10%. "Big baby" is a relative term. Often times there is fear associated with inducing for a suspected "big baby" such as shoulder dystocia or further baby weight gain throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Shoulder dystocia occurs in only about 30% of babies over 8.5 lbs. and it is also important to know that SD can occur in babies of all weight and size. Furthermore, induction for "BB" does not prevent a cesarean delivery, nor does it improved the outcome of mother and/or baby.

The reasons for induction vary across the board. I do not advocate all of these. In fact, I am highly opposed to many of these. But, I am not opposed to induction as a medically necessary procedure when absolutely necessary. Here is a list of reasons. I will let you decide what sounds like a "good" reason for induction.
  • A mother is between herpes outbreaks
  • She had a previous rapid labor
  • She and her partner are a long distance from their birth place
  • The father/partner must leave home for an extended period of time (i.e. military)
  • The mother is at or near term. Why not go ahead and just induce?
  • She wants her caregiver to be the one to deliver her baby
  • They are scheduling her induction to ensure adequate hospital staff
  • The parents want to choose to avoid or coincide with a specific date
  • Suspected "big baby"
  • The baby is post due
  • The mother has an illness
  • There is low amniotic fluid and the baby is at risk
  • There is prolonged PROM (premature rupture of membranes)
  • The baby growth is being restricted by an unpreventable cause IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction)
  • M.D. decision on a case by case bases.
Remember: You are the consumer. The illusion of control can be very alluring.

Because induction of labor is so widely practiced now, and you may have many friends who have had an induction, it is important to understand the issues involved and how to have a conversation with your caregiver regarding this topic. Many women are not aware that induction, in a majority of cases, is an elective procedure. You need to understand the difference between a medically indicated and an elective induction. It can be very difficult to resist the offer of an induction to the "ninth month woman". Induction becomes a "hurry up and wait" process. You will be restricted from food and drink, possibly for many, many hours during this process. Also note that when you choose an induction, you are also choosing to have an IV and continuous fetal monitoring because of the risks involved to you and the baby. And, you may be told to call ahead of your scheduled induction because the unit is too busy to take you on until later that day or the next. This can be very unsettling and emotional for the women who has been told that her induction is "medically necessary". Here are some suggestions to ask your caregiver when deciding on an induction.
  • Is there a problem? How serious is it? How urgent is it that we induce? What are the next steps if we hold off on the induction?
  • Describe the induction procedure. (Often times they will give you a hand out that explains it all. I highly recommend you get it straight from the mouth of the caregiver.)
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • What if my induction fails?
Because I love what I do, I work with women who have inductions. It is part of today's birth world. Again, my main focus is getting my clients educated and informed about making decisions that are right for them at the place where they are.

Thought: I agree with Penny Simkin, birth should be seen like the weather.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can You Relate?

First of all, I want to say thanks for all the great comments on the Attachment Parenting post below. I think that the diversity in parenting is great. I do not have children yet, so I have not tried any parenting techniques. I will be curious to see what we pick and choose to use to form our own style.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many of you know that we lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy a year ago. I love to read all the blogs of women and families who are trying to conceive a child. It is a challenge and very difficult emotionally, spiritually, physically..... I don't feel alone in the journey. Today/tomorrow is a year since it all happened and I have this on my heart......

Dear Baby,

It's your mom here. It has been a year since I found out about you and lost you all in the same hazy moment. I think about you all the time. I am thankful for your short presence because it truly did change me. I know that sounds so cliche, but it did. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if you had decided to really come and live in this world. I tease you that you wanted to be big and muscly like your daddy and that is why you didn't make it all the way down the tube. That gives us a bit of comic relief. But, if you were here, I wonder what you would look like. Were you going to be a boy or a girl? What would your personality be like? All these things I want to know about you.

When I say I think about you all the time, I really do. I know your time here inside of me had a purpose. You weren't meant to make it and sometimes I wonder why? I kind of know better, but still I ask why? God placed you inside of me for a reason and I guess I don't need to know all the whys right this moment. I know enough.

We really want you back though. I take it a lot harder than your daddy does. I wonder when I will see you again. Will you come back or will it be another? I try and tell myself not to take the tests...that I am only setting myself up for disappointment when they only have one line instead of two. Sometimes I beat myself up and wish I had been a more observant mother. If I had, then my tube would not have gone with you, or maybe it still would have, I don't know. Saying or thinking that won't change what is though.

So, baby, I want you to know that we are waiting for you. You are very much anticipated and being prayed for constantly. I will be a good mommy and your daddy is amazing. We can't wait to meet you. I know that you are waiting for just the perfect moment and that is really okay. We will do our best to be wait patiently. I will try not to cry the tears of sorrow any longer. It makes your daddy sad when I cry for you. You just come when you are ready.

I love you baby.

Love,
Mom

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Attachment Parenting: The Science Behind the Style

Okay, attachment parenting it is!

Attachment Parenting is the special bond between you and your baby. It means the mother (and father) are in harmony with the needs of the baby. It usually refers to the mother more because the mother-infant attachment can be stronger than that with the father mostly due to breastfeeding and the care given to the baby. Not to exclude the father, but the mother is often more attached with the newborn. Attached children play better with peers, are better lovers, better students, better parents, have higher IQ's and faster motor skills, and they are more resilient. There are 7 B's to attachment parenting as formed by Dr. Robert Sears that I have outlined below. Click here for more information at Dr. Sears' website.

1. BIRTH BONDING
The mindset of attachment parenting starts at birth. In the initial hours following the birth, it is suggested to avoid separation to allow the initial bonding with both parents. Healthy, normally birthed babies (without special needs directly after birth) should be placed on the mother's chest immediately after birth until the first feeding is finished. The first exam may be done on the mother's chest. Ideally, the baby should stay with the parents throughout the recovery period until the parents go home. In order to ensure this happens, it is suggested that the parents visit with the caregivers prior to the birth.

2. BREASTFEEDING
If a baby achieves breastfeeding in the first hour of life, he/she will be more likely to exclusively breastfeed for longer. Breastfeeding helps you read your baby's cues and understand his/her body language. Breastfeeding provides the hormones to give you a "mothering boost".

3. BABYWEARING
This lets you develop your own instincts with your baby. Babies in slings are more attached to their mothers that those in baby seats. More attached babies become more independent children. Playpen babies have been shown to develop skills at a slower rate. Babies carried in 3-D (side, back, front) cry less and their brains grow faster.

4. BEDSHARING (CO-SLEEPING)
Sleeping with your babies and children in your "safe" adult bed has been shown to promote more attached, independent, and secure children. Three times as many babies die in cribs as die in adult beds. Bedsharing is safe. Half of Americans co-sleep with their babies and children about half of the time. Bedsharing actually decreases the rate of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing to lower the rate of SIDS (except if one or both of the parents are smokers or abuse alcohol, which increases SIDS if room sharing by 25 times!) Solo sleepers or babies who sleep alone are shown to startle more often, have higher anxiety, have increased heart rates, and have interfered sleep. SIDS is lowest in countries that routinely practice co-sleeping. When you have small children in your bed, you should take your bed off the frame, have no cracks, no water beds, take no sedatives, and have no really soft, cushy linens. And, if you do not want to bedshare, don't do it. It has to be something you want or you will become resentful of sharing your bed. *When bedsharing, it is important to note that newborns/infants and small children should not be in the same beds.

5. BELIEVE YOUR BABY'S CRIES
Your child's development is most importantly influenced by the mother's response to the cry. When you respond to the babies cries, you meet his needs and he will know he is loved. "Crying it out" babies are shown to cry more and more annoyingly because they are insecure. The more babies cry, the more stress hormones circulate which suppress growth and immune function.

6. BEWARE OF BABY TRAINERS
Watch out for rigid, extreme parenting styles that suggest schedules and watching the clock. This promotes a short-term gain and long-term loss and Dr. Sears suggest it is not a wise investment.

7. BALANCE
Your marriage is still very important. Figure out and gain the wisdom of when to say "yes" and when to say "no".

Attachment Parenting is NOT:
Ignoring your marriage, ignoring your health, self-sacrificing, being critical of others, or insisting your way is best.

For more information see www.askdrsears.com.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What Do You Want?

Hello Friends!

I have missed you. I just returned from a DONA (Doulas of North America) conference in Atlanta. It was a packed three days of much information that I cannot wait to share with you. We had speakers who are well known to the field and are authors, educators, and professionals such as Dr. Robert Sears, Penny Simkin, Marshall and Phyllis Klaus, and many others. These amazing people have written many of the books that I now have in my library for expectant mothers.

I am eager to start posting all about the things I have learned. I would like your feedback on where to begin. Here are some of the topics that I am now a bit more knowledgeable on:
  • SOLACE - Ongoing care and support for the mother who has had a "traumatic" birth experience
  • Vaccinations - As per Dr. Robert Sears and The Vaccine Book
  • Kangaroo Care - Immediate skin to skin care for preemies to full term babies
  • Attachment Parenting - Attachment ideas for new families versus schedules for new babies
  • Teen Mothers - Helping support pregnant and birthing teens as they become new parents
  • Hospital Birthing - How to efficiently and effectively work with the hospital staff and parents. There are some great ideas for negotiating and having an amazing birth in the hospital setting.
  • Seduction of Induction - Penny Simkin's talk on the lure of induction in today's society and the outcomes of such
  • Attachment for the Laboring Mother - How to effectively help a mother by attuning and attaching to her during birth for better infant and maternal outcomes
  • Eco-Friendly Birthing - What are we coming to by taking the natural, normal, spontaneous, birthing process away from the mothers and manipulating it into a convenient package

Ok, let's start there. Anyone want to suggest the first post from those ideas?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FAM "Miss-Conception"

Natural methods of birth control have kind of gotten a bad reputation. I hear women say "I got pregnant using those methods". If used correctly, this will not happen. But, FAM and NFP are often confused with the rhythm method. The rhythm method is an unreliable method of family planning in which the fertile phase of the cycle is calculated according to the lengths of the previous menstrual cycles. Because of its reliance on regular menstrual cycles and long periods of abstinence, it is neither effective nor widely accepted as a modern method of natural family planning. In addition, the rhythm method technique is known to use information based on a 28 day cycle. This is just simply not what all women experience. If you were to tell your caregiver that you use the rhythm method as a form of birth control they would most likely scoff and tell you it is an ineffective method, which it is because of what I just mentioned above. However, their calculations for pregnancy and "due dates" are based on a 28 day cycle wheel. Something is missing here.

I believe that if you are wanting to conceive and especially if you are having difficulty, it is crucial that you begin to document and chart your cycles. And, if you are wanting to avoid induction you must chart!

A quick story:

Dana was a 25-year-old women who had recently come off the Pill, so her cycles had not yet returned to normal. Because she and her husband wanted to get pregnant, they practiced Fertility Awareness to determine her fertile phase. After she became pregnant, he doctor asked her the date of her last menstrual period to apply the standard pregnancy wheel. Dana mentioned that the pregnancy wheel would be inaccurate in her particular case since it assumes ovulation on day 14. She explained that she practiced FAM and knew that she didn't ovulate until day 37, so it would inaccurately predict her due date a full three weeks earlier than it really should be.

You can imagine Dana's surprise when the doctor not only did not give her credence to her charts, but actually expressed great concern when his pelvic exam revealed that the fetus was "extremely small for dates." Had this women not been practicing Fertility Awareness, she would have been distressed to be told by the doctor that something was wrong with her fetus, all because he was basing her cycles on the average women's day of ovulation, rather than her own. As if that wasn't enough, he actually red-flagged her chart with a "medical alert" tag, indicating that her pregnancy was high risk and needed to be followed carefully.

I believe this story is also a classic example of the importance of charting not only to know the exact day of conception, but also to avoid a possible risky induction. Had she not been charting and instead relying only on the date of her last period, she would most likely be induced before the actual 40 week mark and never even know it. Her baby would not even be 40 weeks when they would possibly induce at 10 days past her "due date" according to her doctors calculation based on the pregnancy wheel.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why I am a FAM girl

FAM - Fertility Awareness Method and NFP - Natural Family Planning Methods

I often use the description of birth control like this. Men are fertile every single day of their lives from the age they hit puberty until the day they die. Women are fertile 12-24 hours of each month. So, to me, the idea that birth control methods that fall completely on the responsibility of the woman seems a bit unrealistic.

Although I do not use all of the ideas in FAM, such as feeling my cervix for softness or hardness, I am aware of my fertile cervical fluid, which is the most important aspect of using FAM as birth control and for pregnancy achievement. What makes this method so great is that you and your spouse can become very aware and knowledgeable of her body and the changes it goes through during her cycle. He can be an active part of helping chart and staying informed on fertile days for pregnancy and "safe" days for prevention. Fertile days, when trying to avoid pregnancy, can be spent SPICE-ing it up. Spiritual - Physical - Iintellectual - Communicative - Emotional

The basics of FAM and NFP are charting your cervical mucous. As I described in my previous post, your "peak day" is the day you are most fertile. This means that you will best be able to conceive on this day. All of us use the restroom several times a day. Each time you use the restroom, you check for cervical mucous. With a tissue, you wipe the area (front to back) before and after using the restroom. Cervical mucous is described as sticky, creamy, or eggwhite. In the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, cervical mucous is described in great detail, so I won't go too much into it in this post. The most important cervical mucous you need to be aware of is the eggwhite mucous that looks very similar to the eggwhites of an egg. It is very stretchy and slippery. Estrogen peaks the day before ovulation and creates the most fertile fluid. Sperm can live in this very fertile cervical mucous for 3-5 days. With the absence of eggwhite mucous, sperm will die within hours.

I know that some people believe that you can get pregnant at any time during the month. This is simply not true. If you diligently chart your cervical fluid, you will know what days you are most fertile and what days you are not fertile for pregnancy. These methods, FAM and NFP, when used properly are very effective (99%) in preventing and achieving pregnancy. I strongly suggest you look into it. This method is totally free. With the exception of buying the book of your choice to read up on the method, you will only be using pencil and paper for charting. Birth control pills, condoms, and other contraceptive methods have an initial or ongoing cost. This can be difficult to manage if you do not have health insurance or the means to keep replenishing your methods.

Charting your cycles can also be effective in determining if you have specific reproductive issues such as endometrieosis, low progesterone, or even cancer. If you are having spotting between periods, spotting during pregnancy, history of miscarriage, missed periods with no pregnancy or more, then charting could be very essential to knowing what to tell your caregivers.

Some more facts:
* Spotting or miscarriage during the 1st trimester of pregnancy could mean an issue with low progesterone.
* When checking for cervical mucous, you use the 3 C's, color, consistency, change, and sensation.
* After birth you are fertile for 56 days if you are breastfeeding.
* "The Pill" does not prevent pregnancy. It keeps the uterine lining so thin to you will miscarry and abort the baby if you do indeed become pregnant while using the pill. You will most likely never know you were even pregnant when you miscarry.
* From fertilization to implantation it takes nine days. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect HCG levels. HCG is produced by implantation. It is recommended to not take a pregnancy test until 16 days following your peak day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Earth Mama Angel Baby Giveaway

"Organic Baby Products 101" Blog is having an Earth Mama Angel Baby product giveaway! These are amazing, sustainable, organic products for mommy and baby. I love all of their products and recommend them to my clients. Winner will be selected in August 2nd, so hurry and enter. Click here for contest details.

Here is what you are eligible to win:

Happy Mama Spray


The Angel Baby Kit



The Angel Baby Kit includes:

Angel Baby Bath Blossoms, 42 g.(1.5 oz.), Angel Baby Bottom Balm, 30 ml.(1 oz.), Angel Baby Lotion, 60 ml.(2 oz.), Angel Baby Oil, 30 ml.(1 oz.), Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, 50 ml (1.67 fl. oz.), Angel Baby Sleep CD

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sneak "Peak" on Fertility

Remember my post on Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement? If you are trying to conceive (or not), it is nice to be aware of your most fertile or "peak" day of fertility. If you already chart your cycles, you are aware of how this works. If not, the following information may be very helpful.

Charting the Most Fertile Day of Your Cycle


Your peak day, as the name suggests, is the day that your fertility peaks and the best time to get pregnant. If you are charting you can determine your peak day by checking your cervical mucous. After you have ovulated your cervical mucous will begin to dry up. This is one way to confirm that you have ovulated. Your peak day is the last day of fertile cervical mucous. You won’t be able to identify your peak day until after it occurs, when you notice your cervical mucous has become dry. Mark your peak day on your chart with a P.

Charting your Peak Day

You will want to look for your peak day when you are charting. You will know it is your peak day by the days that follow it. Once you see the shift from wet fertile cervical mucous to dry cervical mucous you will know that your peak day has occurred. Mark your chart with a P on the last day you see fertile cervical mucous. Then mark the following four days of dry cervical mucous with 1, 2, 3, 4. Once you have seen four dry days you can assume you are no longer fertile.

Peak Day and avoiding pregnancy

If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, do not have intercourse until four days after your peak day. Your peak day usually occurs the day before ovulation or the day of ovulation. Since your egg can survive for about 24 hours you will not want to have sex until around four days after your peak day to avoid pregnancy.

Peak Day and trying to conceive

If you are trying to conceive you will want to start having intercourse before your peak day. After your period ends you will notice an increase in cervical mucous. The typical pattern is tacky cervical mucous, that turns to creamy, that changes to clear stretchy egg white looking cervical mucous. While it is true that you are looking for egg white slippery cervical mucous to indicate ovulation, it is a good idea to start having intercourse before you see this. The reason behind this is that sperm can last up to five days and your egg can only last 24 hours. If you wait until the day you see slippery egg white mucous, you only give yourself a one day opportunity to get pregnant. If you have sex prior to ovulating as well you will increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kickin' It

My bad habit that is.

Caffeine

I have had a hunch that is been affecting my fertility. When we conceived last summer, I was not drinking caffeine. But, because of my work schedule these days, I have been drinking more coffee in the past several months. I would say that I drink an average of 12 oz. per day. That isn't a lot compared to the intake of many, but it is more that I feel I should be having.

After about seven months of trying to conceive with no positive outcome, I have decided to take a good look at my diet. Caffeine is the first to go and here is why. Some studies have shown the link of caffeine consumption and the ability to conceive. For example, one study showed that women who have an intake or 300mg of caffeine per day have a 27 percent less chance of conceiving compared to those who do not have caffeine. So now it will be herbal tea for me.

What will be the next nutritional change? I am not sure. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blog Facelift

Ok, I know it is a little hard to read, but I am trying out my new skills with "paint". A program that I have decided I do not like. So, enjoy for now and I will pretty it up later!

A Conversation on Birth Choices

It's inevitable. You get a group of women together and childbirth will most likely come up. Especially if anyone of them is pregnant. It seems like this topic has come up a lot lately in discussions I have been a part of. There are so many different ideas out there on caregivers, childbirth classes, where to have your baby, breastfeeding, and the list goes on an on.

I must begin by saying that I have not had the experience of any of this yet, so I am the bystander on many of these conversations. Of course, as a doula, natural birth advocate, and breastfeeding supporter, I do often find myself wanting to advocate more than I should. I also know that natural childbirth advocates can often times get categorized as "radicals", not willing to hear any other side.

But, it makes me really think after these gatherings and such discussions with these women. I am glad to be a part of such a diverse group of friends who have different ideas and opinions. By now, you all know that I do, however, feel that it is important to be educated and informed on all aspects of childbirth if you are a mother (or father) or plan on becoming one soon.

I understand that when you are pregnant that you get all kinds of advice, solicited or not. But, if you say to me "I am not brave enough to have a natural birth" or "I need the epidural before I even go into labor", then you are going to get a few probing questions from me. I would ask you, "What makes you feel that way?" "Do you know you have a 1 in 2 chance of having a cesarean section if you birth in a hospital?" "Do you understand the repercussions of an induction?" Sometimes just talking it out with them helps bring the topic into a whole new light. Maybe they have heard horror stories about other births and feel the hospital and drugs are the safest route for them. Maybe they aren't fully educated on how the drugs may effect the mother and baby during and after birth. Maybe they want the process to be easier for their husband/support person so he/she doesn't have to "worry" about her as much or get too tired while she is in labor (a doula would help, but that is for another post).

Many people have gotten their view of childbirth from television and movies. You know, the shows that all depict childbirth as an "emergency situation". The media has truly misrepresented the intimate, calming, loving nature of birth. They have created birth to be a fearful, stressful situation that it does not have to be. Besides the media, I often wonder what really makes women feel fearful of childbirth. Is it the pain? Is it the "what if" factor? It is all the unknowns? Does she feel unprepared?

As women, we have the right to choose whatever kind of birth we want to have. It is, after all, our body and our birth. So, whether you choose to have a natural (unmedicated) birth or a medicated birth, please understand why you made that choice. That choice could affect you and your baby for the rest of your lives.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Breast is Best

Breastfeeding Facts

Breastmilk is the best food for infants and small children:
  • Reduces the risk of allergic reations and asthma
  • Provides babies with the most easily digested food
  • Promotes healthy growth and development
  • Studies indicate a higher I.Q. among breastfed babies
  • Protects against cancer and diabetes
  • Transmits mother's immunities
  • Leads to fewer ear and respiratory infections
  • May protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Yields health benefits that last a lifetime
  • Reduces crying and colic
  • Reduces cause of abuse and abandonment
  • Allows mom time to cuddle and nurture her baby
  • Mother's milk changes throughout the duration of nursing to meet the baby's specific needs at a given time
  • Diapers have less offensive odor
  • Mother's milk is the safest food for infants in any emergency
Breastfeeding is best for mothers:
  • Releases prolactin: the calming, "mothering" hormone
  • May delay ovulation and menstruation
  • Protects against breast and ovulation cancer
  • Helps uterus get back to pre-pregnancy size and shape
  • Allows mothers to miss fewer work or school days because baby is sick less often
  • Creates a special time for mother-baby bonding
  • Less time preparing bottles
  • Permits mothers to get more sleep at night (if baby shares bed)
Breastfeeding is best for families:
  • Saves money in formula and health care costs
  • Leads to healthier baby and mother
  • Allows mother to spend more time with entire family
  • Can offer a special bonding tie for siblings and fathers, too
  • Makes for easier traveling
  • Makes comforting baby easier - less crying
Breastfeeding is best for the world:
  • Uses a natural resource
  • Protects the environment: no packaging, no plastics, no waste
  • Yields healthier work force for the future
  • Requires no storage
  • Saves tax dollars by decreasing health care costs
Information provided by: 2007 Department of State Health Services

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Organic Product Suggestions?

I am looking for more suggestions on great, organic mommy and baby items or products. Anyone have anything they recommend...can't live without?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Homebirth: Not Just for the Crunchy, Country Folks

Recently, I have had many women comment about their "normal" friends birthing at home. Many people are under the misconception that only "weird" people have babies at home. I can tell you that growing up I may have been guilty to think that only certain types of people had babies at home. I now know differently.

I grew up in a rural community in Kansas. If you were to ask me as a teen what I thought about homebirth?" I would probably have told you that I am sure that the local Mennonite community was maybe the only group that would birth at home. My mother had five natural, unmedicated, hospital births, but I don't think I even knew there were any other options.

When my sister and her husband got pregnant with their first child in 2005, they decided to have a home birth. They live in Northwest Arkansas where they have access to midwives that would come to their home for prenatal visits and then for the birth. They don't have birthing
centers in their immediate area.

I recently sat down with my sister to ask her specific questions about her homebirth experience and the choices they made surrounding their pregnancy and birth. "I don't like drugs or pressure," she told me when asked why they decided to have their children at home. After interviewing local midwives, they made their choice based on the openness of the midwives, their loving spirit, and their passion for birth. (*Pictured is my sister with her daughter who was born at home in August 2008.)

She went on to say she had a positive, interested reaction from friends and family. No one ever made them feel bad or guilty for having a home birth. They got asked many questions that they could easily answer because of their comfort level with birthing at home. Her only concern with homebirth was "the worst case scenario" option which, in their mind, they were believing that they weren't going to have. And, they never did with either birth.

They loved both of their experiences with having babies at home. The intimate, safe, calm, peaceful atmosphere is what they desired for the baby and themselves and it was perfect for them. She believes the safest place to have a baby is where a mother and her support feel most comfortable. She read that during her first pregnancy and tells that to anyone asking advice.

"It is awesome," is her response to having a homebirth, "the love and care you get at home and the approach to labor and newborn care is refreshing and reassuring." She would tell anyone on the fence to keep doing research. If one of the parents is not in agreement with the other, continue to get educated. Read books, watch documentaries on birth, talk to friends who have had a homebirth experience, and talk to midwives, natural childbirth educators, and doulas. Make a final decision based on education, not fear.

Homebirth is safe. Midwives come fully prepared for anything that could happen during and after birth. I wouldn't say that homebirth is for every couple, but certainly I believe that it is a glorious option for every low-risk, healthy mother and baby.