Monday, October 17, 2011

Birth {and life!} at 90mph

Oh how I have missed this birth blog! I'm so excited to finally have a moment to get back on here and share a little of what has been going on this past year.

Most importantly, we had our baby!! A beautiful baby boy we named Kaden. He is awesome! A very happy, easy going little man who has blessed our life in so many ways. He also has a very cool birth story, my husband likes to call it, "Birth at 90mph." You can read it here and see why! I also feel like we're living life at 90mph right now as well. But, that's the cool part about raising little ones, never a dull moment!

I've also started a brand new card shop called District Nine Design!

Most of them right now are birth announcements, but the shop is quickly growing and expanding. But I thought, how great would it be to offer my Human Pacifier readers a sweet discount on their purchases? I figured all you birth junkies could probably use some cute birth announcements :)

So, in honor of all my birth buddies, here is a coupon code for 20% off any your entire purchase!


It's super easy, just add the coupon code at checkout and it's automatically applied to your total (excludes print packages).

I'm looking forward to posting more on here soon. Expect to see a cool post on dyi placenta encapsulation!!

Blessings to you!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello Belly!!

16 Weeks!!!

16 Weeks!!!

Just a quick illustration of why this is the first belly picture I've gotten in four months of pregnancy! (Oh and excuse the rats nest of what is my hair. I took these today just after we got back from a picnic in the park with our lovely friends the Longs. And anything outdoors always involves a whole lotta' running around after Levi!).

Anyway, Photo one...starting off well, a semi-acceptable belly shot in some good light. Photo, even a front shot, I'm on a roll today! And finally, photo three...the reason why hardly any belly pictures happen this pregnancy...a two and four year old at my feet!

I have gotten a couple of cute shots earlier on this pregnancy, but seriously, in every one there's either Levi's head, Dakota's finger in my belly button, or a vital body part cut off.

This belly popped out literally over night. I've had a little bump since about 12 weeks, but from the beginning of 15 weeks to the end of the week, I would have to say it went from barely noticeable to a beautiful, full moon round belly! This is my third pregnancy and every single time I am astonished at how quickly this happens. Over the weekend I got my first and second, "When are you due?" questions. And my first, "You're glowing!" compliment. That is always music to a mama's ears. Especially coming out of a horrifically hard first trimester when I only felt like I looked like death itself and felt physically even worse.

The really awesome part of this time of pregnancy; the movements! I've been feeling this baby since 10.5 weeks. Just like my son. And just like my son, this one is a very calm mover. I feel him or her maybe once or twice a day and most everytime they are very quiet, fluid movements. Whenever he or she moves, it reminds me of a ballet dancer; soft and gentle. Completely unlike my daughter who was a major squirmer from the beginning!

I commemorated the "arrival of the belly" with something that always makes my heart sing...a shopping trip to Anthropologie!!! And I've got to say, I am thoroughly enjoying dressing this belly up. I consider this era the "fun part" of pregnancy. Not so little that no one knows you're pregnant, but not so big that you can barely fit through the door! Just right.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Intact is "In"

Yaaay!!! Intactivists and newborn American males rejoice! The latest findings from the CDC conclude that U.S. circumcision rates have seen a sharp decline this decade.

CDC Reports Steep Decline in U.S. Circumcision Rates

"The CDC has reported that circumcision rates in the US have fallen sharply
over the last decade—from 56% of newborn boys circumcised in 2006, to 33% in
2009. Declines are being attributed to the American Academy of Pediatrics
statement in 1999 that "existing data [was] not sufficient to recommend routine
newborn male circumcision" and reduced insurance coverage of the surgery—among
other factors."

This is AWESOME news for our baby boys. But it also brings a lot of interesting thoughts to mind for me...

The one that stood out most in my mind when I read the percentages...from 56% in 2006 to 33% in 2009 was this....Thirty-three percent. That means that the number of intact males has now surpassed the number of circumcised males. To me, that's a big deal for our society because it means that the main argument I've heard from mostly all parents I've talked to about no longer valid. Most parents start by explaining that it's healthier, cleaner, etc. But when slightly challenged on those views back away from them quickly because there is really no valid evidence to support them. The next reason most parents site for circumcising their son (sadly) is so that he doesn't look "different". Different from his father, different from other boys, different from society.

If our circumcision rates have fallen to 33%, this means that circumcised penis' have now become the "different". Which is really the way it's always been (speaking in a worldwide sense). Only now, it's right in our backyard.

There's a HUGE delusion in our society that an intact penis is strange, or different, or the "other". It's a completely false assumption. An assumption that has developed here in the U.S. when it was true back in the 50's and 60's, and unfortunately has lingered on into present day. Now, I'm hopeful and confident that that assumption will begin to dissipate with the CDC's new findings, and more and more of our baby boys will be keeping the vital body parts they were born with.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Toddlers at Birth...Awesome or Insane?

Ummm...has it really been almost 6 months since I posted on here? *Oi*! That's pretty bad. Actually, it's not so bad. I've spent the better portion of this year totally revamping my and my kids life; putting things in perspective, ordering priorities, etc. I set aside what was on it's way to becoming a pretty lucrative photography business. It was completely necessary for me to do if I wanted to FULLY embrace my kids childhood while it is still here. I also have been researching and debating over homeschooling/private schooling like a MAD WOMAN. And....something I've wanted to share with the beloved birth community out here....we're expecting baby #3!!! I'm almost 13 weeks and due in the middle of February :D We're super stoked. And so is Dakota. Levi has no idea what's going on. I guess a two year old boy doesn't usually "get" things of this calibre.

My first prenatal appointment was on Wednesday and it was the longest appointment of my life. Three hours. I'm not kidding. Lots of paperwork and LOTS of giggling and fun. I took my very dear friend, Rochelle, with me and she always makes for a good time like that. But also just spending time bonding with my midwife, Lori, and her apprentice, Becky. I will never tire of saying it, I LOVE MY MIDWIFE!

It's looking as though this may be our first birth center birth. Something different after having our first two at home. We're in the process of selling our house and I'm pretty sure we'll be right smack in the middle of moving when this baby is born. I feel blessed to have the option of a birth center. Our midwife just moved into a new, HUGE birth center and it's great! So I'm comfortable with the idea.

Now for the question I would love to hear all of your input on...for those of you who have had birth center births, or even homebirths, did you bring your other children for the birth? Or, did you opt to leave them at home or in the care of others?

What was your experience like either way?

I've watched many natural births on youtube, and seen a lot of births where the other toddlers are present, and mostly all of the mama's are so peaceful and serene with their kids being...well, kids. Hmmm. Am I the only one who thinks my kids might really bug me during birth??? I guess "bug me" isn't really the right phraseology. What I mean is, will I be okay mentally with the little things that toddlers normally do...cry, play, laugh, make noises. I mean, I'm not even taking them to my prenatal appointments. I feel like I want to enjoy this time with this new baby and listen to what my midwife is talking about and be able to concentrate. If I feel that way about appointments, I'm thinking that's a pretty big sign as to whether I should have my kids at the birth or not. But at the same time, I feel like we're a family. Families stick together no matter how young or old and I really feel strange excluding my own children.

Here are a few key points I've been pondering...

*How will my kids react/feel to seeing me in obvious and varrying states of pain/discomfort at times.
*Will my husband be able to be fully present for the birth if our two and four year old are present (even considering grandma will be there to tend to them).
*Would I rather have grandma tending to the kids? Or to me?

Anyway, back to the question. I would love to hear all of your experiences!! Hearing other women's testimonies and stories is the oldest and wisest method of learning when it comes to childbirth!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nursing Our Future

Nursing Our Future

A huge thanks to my dear friend Emily for passing this video along to me. For all nursing moms, okay, all women, okay, all PEOPLE...this is a must watch.

I feel like nursing when and where we need to is SO important. Not only biologically and health wise, but socially.

The video brought me to relive my own "nursing outloud" (aka: nursing where we are, when we need to!) adventures...

On a 747.....with mother-in-law looking on.

While cooking dinner...

On a busy summer day at Disneyland.....

Sitting at the lake, seven months pregnant...

And laying down...

During a photo shoot.....

At a family reunion.....

We nurse....

...Because it's natural.

Because it's normal.

Because it's love.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Are women responsible for unnecessary, non-religious circumcision of male infants in America?

I found this article (via HealthMad) by way of Jim over at No Circumcision, and sadly I agree with it...

Are women responsible for unnecessary, non-religious circumcision of male infants in America?

I didn’t know how the majority of women in America (mothers, wifes, girlfriends) view the foreskin and male circumcision until I happened to come across a heated discussion about whether infant male circumcision was child abuse in one of the message boards I frequent. It was an eye opener to me because I didn’t know American women think the way they do about the foreskin. I will come to the specific opinions these women had later in this article. First, I’d like to touch upon circumcision of male infants.

Circumcision of male infants happens mostly for religious reasons around the world, but in America, you have parents choosing to have their male child circumcised for non-religious reasons, specifically “hygienic” reasons. Now, the “hygiene” theory is highly suspect and I don’t know of any medical association that says that you need to circumcise male children due to “hygienic” reasons. In fact, routine male circumcision is not recommended by doctors in general. Also, do the propagators of the “hygienic” theory mean to say that most of the men around the world are unhygienic?

Most European men don’t get circumcised and by far the majority of men around the world aren’t – does that make them “dirty?” If an uncircumcised penis was so susceptible to infections, then all these men would be queuing up to get circumcised, but they aren’t. They are living just as normal as anyone else. Also, animals don’t get circumcised and they don’t seem to have any problems with infection.

It does make one wonder as to how the “hygienic” argument came about in the first place. Some believe that Dr. John Kellogg (of the cereal fame) was responsible for propagating this idea of “hygiene.” Apparently, this man advocated circumcising young boys to check/curb masturbation. This is what he said about the subject – to quote him.

“A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.”

Its plausible that Dr. Kellog and his peers propagated this Victorian idea of hygiene to justify routine male circumcision. It probably caught on and came to be viewed as a must-doThere are risks to circumcision that most parents aren’t aware of or choose to dismiss, but they need to be considered. Some of the risks are.

1. Risk of fatal infections/uncontrollable bleeding.

2. Unintended snipping of the glans or part of the glans during the procedure.

3. Risk of burn and scarring during electrocautery.

These are just some of the risk factors circumcision entails.

Most supporters of male circumcision put forward the idea that the foreskin is a useless piece of skin. Well, its far from useless. It has many uses. I’d list some of them here.

1. Protects the delicate glans (soft tip of the penis) from injury and keeps the glans moist and sensitive. Its function is similar to that of an eyelid in its protective nature.

2. The foreskin is as sensitive as the tips of your fingers or the lips of your mouth. It contains over 3 feet of arteries, veins and capillaries and thousands of nerve endings (above 10,000).

3. Facilitates smooth and gentle motion between the mucosal surfaces of partners during sexual intercourse.

4. Prevents the desensitization of the glans due to constant exposure of the glans to clothing and other material.

Most parents in America don’t seem to understand the uses of the foreskin and that men can live normally with the foreskin intact. By circumcising their male children, they are taking away the right to decide on this irreversible procedure. Its also curious that while there is so much outrage towards female circumcision – the same outrage is absent when it comes to male circumcision. The reason given ostensibly is that female circumcision affects the pleasure factor significantly, whereas in men that isn’t the case. Well, chopping away the most sensitive part of the penis with all of its veins, arteries and capillaries and erogenic functions takes away from pleasure for men as well. So – shouldn’t people feel just as outraged? The reason they don’t is because they’ve been conditioned to accept male circumcision as opposed to female circumcision.

Talking about women, I think they are one of the main reasons why infant males continue getting circumcised in modern America. These American women (who are mothers, wives, girlfriends, etc) have drilled it into themselves that the foreskin is “ugly,” “dirty,” “disgusting,” etc. Here are some messages from the message board I mentioned earlier in the article. It was an eye opener to me. I am quoting them verbatim.

“It’s only a teeny weeny piece of skin, for heaven’s sake, get real!”

“An uncircumcised penis reminds me of a dog penis.”

“don’t forget the smegma smell – guess that’s why the French stink.”

“but they look GROSSSSS EWWW – i would never saddle my child with it.”

“the stigma of being an uncircumcized male!!!! I have only been with 1 man that was not and boy howdy does that thing look scary. Needless to say it didn’t last!!!!”

“he may not be so thankful to you once he starts dating…” (in response to a woman who chose not to circumcise her kid)

“My husband was not circumcised and says he was teased b/c of it in gym class and was adamant about our boys being circ’ed.”

“It is a little piece of skin”

“with the foreskin ON, they stink even more”

“men don’t want an ugly uncircumsized penis, so get over it and do your boy a favor. Not to mention all the health reasons. Sheesh!”

These are the enlightened American women who make the decisions for their male infants. For them, its just a “piece of skin” and its no big deal. Well, it is a big deal for some men. They wouldn’t be so matter-of-fact and callous if the topic was female circumcision, but they are just so dismissive of male circumcision. Not a surprise that – is it? I think its high time these women read up on male circumcision and the facts about male circumcision. Instead of treating the foreskin as an “ugly piece of skin” and wanting to do circumcision for cosmetic or hygienic reasons – perhaps they should educate themselves a little better. Isn’t it surprising that most Americans have been brainwashed so thoroughly into believing that the foreskin is “ugly,” “abnormal,” “unnecessary,” etc.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Placenta Power

*Foreword: If you get all squeamish at the sight of a placenta, don't bother reading any further. However, if you're like me and find them intriguing and beautiful (or if you just have a healthy curiosity to see one), then by all means, happily read (view) on!*

Placenta's to me are one of the most amazing parts of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. I kept both of my children's placenta's. Our daughter's was kept for quite a long time, in our freezer, just waiting for the right time to be planted, which turned out to be after the birth of our son two years later. We planted both placenta's on the same day at my mother's house, which was extremely special. I love that we did it this way.

There was something truly special, and almost magical about my mother and I planting my children's placenta's together. I had no idea it would be as emotional of an event as it was for me. I actually was choking back tears almost the entire time. From the time we lay the placenta's on the rocks, ready to be covered with earth, to the time the planting was complete, and I felt the strong sense of closure. My son's placenta planting I have to say was the more emotional, because the birth was so much closer in time. I still felt that gnawing sense of "apartness" you feel from your baby just after giving birth. So planting his placenta was in a way, heart-wrenching to me. But afterward, I felt free. It was something I don't think I had really felt before.

Here, the fetal side of Levi's placenta...

I am so glad that I took photos of my children's placenta's before they were planted. They amaze me everytime I look at them. The fact that the placenta is both 50% your own cells, and 50% your babies cells, makes it' something extrememly special, to me like a shooting star or snowflake. Something so unique and beautiful and awe-inspiring. It's both of you, together forever. No wonder there is such a strong mother/child bond. Also, the simple anatomy of it, the super-highway of life that sprawls out like a blanket over it's walls. Just beautiful.

One the left, Dakota's Plum tree. On the right, Levi's Camphor tree.

I love the idea of planting your child's placenta, and it has been a tradition among many cultures for many years (Navajo, Cambodia, Hawaii, New Zealand Maori). But I also love the idea of consuming the placenta. To me it's the logical and natural thing to do. And again, to many cultures for many years, it has been the logical and natural thing to do.

But our culture is just beginning to understand the awesome powers of the placenta. Placenta encapsulating is becoming increasingly popular. Placenta consumption has been known to help ward off the onset of postpartum depression, as well as facilitate milk production.

The next baby we have, we plan on cutting the placenta in half; planting one half under a tree, and dehydrating, grinding, and encapsulating the other half.