Monday, August 18, 2014

More pregnancy self care

In my last pregnancy comfort post I talked about a few things you can do to manage common and sometimes very humbling pregnancy discomforts.
again; I am NOT a medical professional and this is not a substitute for medical advise. Consult your own experts before trying any new herbs, supplements, or exercise. If it feels wrong. Stop! I am writing this post only to be filed under "it worked for me. Read up for yourself and decide."
one; hop on over to spinningbabies and download their daily essential series. Seriously, I cannot emphasis this near enough. keeping your hips and spine limber and supple will ease your discomforts of back, hips, legs, and more. This is a basic inversion. Obviously use care or a spotter if this makes you dizzy. 

Here in a good shot of my inversion. Bum over head. Lots of room for baby to roll into a nice comfy position. I am in a really blessed position to have an excellent webster chiro who is affordable and this is a great supplement to that care.

Two; Ina May suggests 300 squats a day for a shorter healthier labor. I am definitely not there, but I do a few every day and often sit in a supported squat. More about that in this great blog
Three: see that stool again? Hemorrhoids suck. Hydrate. Increase fiber. And when you visit the potty prop your feet. Modern toilets are terrible for your pelvic floor. A simple stool helps you "squat" and have a healthier happier Bm! 
My last post showed yoga ball love. Here is a physio disc. Only about $15 on amazon. Very soothing if you do have a swollen vulva or hemorrhoids. Healthier than a traditional seat for your spine and hips. Bring this on your car trips. I also use when doing a long sewing session. 

This is my bathroom kit. Coconut oil is a basic moisturizer. Great for diluting lavender oil which can be used on a hemorrhoid to soothe. I also add a drop of lavender oil to the back side of my pillowcase for a sweet night's rest when pregnancy insomnia nags. Also pictured are ziplock bags of Epsom salt. Very soothing and a great way to relax and absorb magnesium. Win win. Help with all things that swell. The jar is baking soda which can also be sprinkled in your bath or made into a water paste for hemorrhoids.
finally witch hazel. Great again for a miserable bottom. Here is some great info from Susan Weed on hemorrhoids. 

Six: if I could only afford two pregnancy supplements you're looking at them. 
Calm soothes my pregnancy crazies, helps with leg cramps, helps me fall asleep in the evening, and softens stool for easier bathroom visits.
a good pregnancy tea is invaluable. Toning uterus, helping blood volume expand, and offering vitamins. More from the awesome Susan Weed on herbs in pregnancy.
Seven: here is my whole shabang. Left to right. black strap molasses is an excellent, affordable, nourishing source of iron and cheap! MORE on Molasses in pregnancy HERE
Pink salts! Benefits of pink salts 
Chloroxygen. Expand that blood volume. Keep your energy up! MORE of Chloroxygen in pregnancy here and also here
Calm, if there was a cult I would join. Babycenter talks about magnesium in pregnancy here. 
Pregnancy tea! Don't like it hot? Try it on ice with honey or black strap molasses. Or make badass popsickles. 
In front; rescue remedy. Can't stop crying about that aspca add? Me neither. Good thing rapid cycling hormones are a good sign of baby growth. Try a pastille. BACH on pregnancy And more here.

Check out that molasses. Great iron to kcals. I take 1-2 tbsp a day.

Hope this was fun for you as it was for me. More soon. <3 p="">

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pregnancy comfort.

Pregnancy can be magical, but it can also be miserable. Aching hips and pubic bone, sciatica, swelling of feet, legs, and if you're extra lucky your vulva too! Wooboy.  Here are a few ideas which may offer some much needed comfort. This should be part of an ongoing series. Check back often for new ideas.

As with any idea.. I am NOT a medical professional. If you feel you want to consult a doctor, midwife, or doula first you should. Even if they say "it's fine!" But it feels wrong, stop. Trust yourself. Listen to your body! 

Easy peasy; wrap your hips and gently support your belly with a nice wide scarf, or sarrong or rebozo. This can help with pain from sciatica, spd, aching hips, and so much more.

Two: consider swapping your chair and couch time for a yoga ball. Keep your hips open. Notice you will gently swirl hips, bounce, and shift in healthy natural ways. That is great way to comfort your body and may offer some relief when you experience sciatica, spd, or a swollen vulva. Ouch! 
Three: quick! Buy a good pool ring before your season ends and indulge in a short belly nap. If this feels wrong, stop! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jersey knit pregnancy/labor/nursing/postpartum gown

Ive seen labor/nursing nightgowns online and they looked beyond comfy for pregnancy and newborn nurse-a-thons. They looked way awesome so I tried to find a tutorial but all I was seeing was cute prints on the traditional stiff cotton labor gown. So I made one to share. Grab a nice piece of jersey knit that fits you like an oversized beach towel. Mine was 60x 40 inches. 
 You're going to want to cut four 1" strips from the longer portion of your fabric. 
Not required but i added a quick hem to the whole rectangle. 
Now cut those four 1" pieces in half lengthwise so you have 8 pieces.  Sew three sets to the front. 
And one to to the back so you can close the back which is rather drapey. 
nursing access. Cool. 
Back access. Some labors require good access to your back. Here you go. And your bum stays covered. Huzzah. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moon Ceremony, a mother helps her daughter welcome menstruation

Do you remember the day you first began your cycle? When your daughters began their cycle? I remember being at my friend's house. I called my mom asking to come home. She seemed really annoyed about my period, and later that sentiment changed to pity when she began a tirade about swimming pools being off limits, cramps, headaches, bloating, "and maybe that's why you've been so moody lately!" We got in a huge fight about whether I was permitted to use tampons. She brought home chocolate icecream, but the damage had been done. Those first moments had a lasting impact on how I felt about my cycle, my body, my gender, and my mother for years to come. It is only recently I have entertained the idea that my period was not a horrific curse to endure. I can't tell you how happy I was to see my friend share photos from her daughter's Moon Ceremony. A woman and body positive gathering to welcome her first menses. Thankfully Sheena has agreed to an interview about hosting her daughter's Moon Ceremony. 

Rosie: Was the celebration your idea or your daughters?
Sheena: Mine but i asked her permission

R: What was her reaction?

S: At first I think she was a little... Trepidatious? She's pretty open minded, so I just explained that it was a right of passage and that she deserved to be celebrated, that she would be in full control over the details and besides who doesn't love a good excuse to eat cake?! She couldn't argue with that.

R: Totally! Can you tell me a little about who you invited and why?

S: We invited all the woman and close female friends who had already entered menarche. No men and no young girls, because we were going to be sharing womanly wisdom.
We were also careful to only invite those who would bring good energy, if we didn't think they could come to the celebration without brining in negative views of menstruation they didn't get an invite. It ended up being just my grandma, my mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law
R: Are there any gems of wisdom from the event you would be willing to share?

S: I think the only thing I would have done differently is just being a little more prepared. Paige was 16 and I knew it was getting close, I knew I would want to throw her a party of some sort, but I didn't actually start thinking seriously until the told me she started! Then it was a mad scramble to figure out what I wanted to do for her, some of the ceremonial candles take weeks to make, and I had to order books, all these things took time. With my younger daughters I will have some of that stuff stashed away ready and waiting.R: Can you tell me a little more about what inspired you to want to do an event like this?S: I think it comes mostly from a place of wanting to protect and empower my girls. They are constantly being told that their power is in their beauty, that they have to be perfect and airbrushed. That they are crazy and bitchy because of all those pesky feminine hormones, that menstruation is dirty and gross. I want them to see the flaws in that thinking, how it robs them, and I want them to change it. I want to give them their power back! I want them to know they are NOT crazy, there is a reason for the rhythm. There is a beauty and magic in the ability to give life- and it's not JUST for procreation. Woman are creators. I want them to own themselves and love themselves completely. They are told their power is in their looks, not beauty.
R: That's gorgeous. And so inspiring.

S: And wow. How is that answer for hippy dippy? 
: R: Nope. It's a strong mom answer. Do you ever imagine you would do a coming of age ritual for your son?

S: Yes! I don't know what that will look like just yet. I'm just at the very beginning of my boy mama journey. I was raised by a single mom, with just a sister, so the boy world is completely foreign to me! However, part of instilling feminist ideals will be acknowledging and respecting all that is male, right? I 
mean, at it's core it's really just equality. Boys need to own their own personal brand of magic too.

R: I couldn't agree more! What do you think you enjoyed the most out of the event?

S: I think seeing her excitement. I was worried she was going to think I was weird and was maybe just "letting" me throw her a party. But she seemed to really love it! She got all into it, dressing up in a celestial themed top and flowy skirt. I could tell she FELT special and honored, and that was the whole point. She also has sort of taken to collecting moon themed things, so I know it was an important event in her life. Something that helped define her.

R: Thank you do much for being willing to share this. I am so grateful to have you as a mentor mom.

What about YOU? What was YOUR first cycle like? What do you wish it was like? What do you wish we could do for the next generation of women?

Friday, October 19, 2012

different love.

I was talking to a friend casually about adjusting to life as a family of four. "It's different with the second, isn't it?" She asked with a warm smile. It is different on almost every level imaginable, but some things are easy to explain. I'm not scared anymore. I trust he will live. I don't run out of the shower soaking wet or drop my fork when I hear a single cry. Sometimes it's a single cry. Gas or something. And I can wash the soap out of my hair or finish shoveling down that curry.
Very quickly, quite naturally my friend and I were talking about loving our children differently.
Loving my daughter is an experience in intensity. She always cried. She seemed to be eternally suffering as an infant. A sensitive infant grew into a spirited independent toddler. "She's so funny." I add. Because I feel that every part of her character is like a coin. It is the same stubborn desire that leaves her desperate to get into every pantry and closet to take out every box of cereal and shoe to explore to that drives her to explore every toy and leaf and rock. That same trait I find so maddening I am in hopeless adoration of. The sensitivity that leaves her howling nearly every time I shut her on the other side of the baby gate is the generosity of spirit that inspires to her kiss her baby brother endlessly murmuring "It's okay baby. It's okay." Just as I do with her when she cries.
When Wendy was an infant loving her was like loving a baby bird that had fallen out of a nest. She was tiny and red faced, and often seemed surprised and frightened. I can still hear her colicy cries which I would cry along with. I can still remember feeling flushed and sweaty and anxious as she still screamed the house down at 3 months, and 6 months, and a year, and 18 months. She always seemed to be unhappy, overstimulated, or in pain, and I was powerless to help her. All I could do was try to soothe her, and honestly I had no idea if it made any difference to her. And finally at 20 months... peace. And she began to repeat the utterances I had said to her so many sleepless nights. "Oh, it's okay baby. I know baby I know." Now she says it to me, to her father, to her little brother. Like a testament to patience and endurance in parenting. But I still love her with a ferocity and possessiveness that a situation like that inspires.
In my second pregnancy I was worried at times how I could love another baby as much as I loved Wendy, and then I wondered if I would have a baby who was not quite so high need as Wendy. Would I love them more? How could I live with myself in my own head if I loved one of babies more than the other?
And then came Benji. Loving my son is pure tenderness. I have never encountered a more placid creature. He nurses and naps. He rarely cries mostly cooing and grunting to express his wants. He seems content to wait patiently as needed. He loves a good snuggle and sleeping on my chest. His cries are usually brief and followed by a hilariously juicy sounding fart. I love him like a warm blanket fresh from the dryer. He seems to lower my blood pressure with his snuggles. I love him gently.
I never imagined it would be this simple. Loving them is easy. I love them just like I vowed to love my husband when we married.
"because of who they are and not in spite of it."
And I know them. And I love them. Fiercely. Genuinely. Gently. Always. There is no comparing. It is like asking myself if I love the sun more than the moon. ridiculous.
"It's easier for mothers who can admit they love them differently." She said. I believe her.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

postpartum what the fuck?

If being newly pregnant was a bit overwhelming, being newly UNpregnant is fantastically disorienting. If it were not for this delightful newborn child and my husband having over a month of paternity leave I would be furious with the arrangement.
I believe in nature. It's amazing. My body knows exactly how to grow my children, how to birth them, and how to nurse them. But my faith in my intelligent design gets a little foggy in the postpartum period. I am vulnerable. My emotions are all over the place. I am bleedy, and leaky, and chubby, and my ass hurts. I may never stop using flushable moist wipes, but that ode to wipe deserves it's own post. Happily no one is really looking at me. So if my pad or my breasts spring a leak or I start crying or being really foul most people are happy enough to say "Ohhhh, a cute baby. In a bear suit!" and move right along. Bless their hearts.
But what am I to do with myself?
Well as a bass line. EAT. eat food. nourishing food, comforting food, and my placenta. After I ran out of smoothie-able placenta I thawed the placenta in my freezer from my nearly 2 year old's birth. It didn't seem right to blend something so much older so I've spent the day steaming, slow roasted, and crushing my placenta into a powder. Given the option, if I ever have another placenta I'm inclined to eat I will absolutely put in the a smoothie. Steamed/slow roasted placenta smells exactly like quiche. It will be a very, very, very long time before I want another quiche. To say I'm put off is an understatement. Alternately, a placenta smoothie is ... well like a regular smoothie. I'm deeply suspicious of Jamba Juice these days, because seriously it tastes just the same .. placenta or not.
And emotionally, when I was drinking the placenta shakes I was feeling really well. After I finished them I started feeling like I might expect a new mother of two under two might feel at times.
Occasionally tired, weepy, and sweaty.
Here is hoping the placenta pills work just as well to perk up my spirits. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The birth of Benjamin Joseph

The end of my pregnancy felt familiar. I was tired. Tired in a way I had never thought of being tired. Sometimes I put off going to the bathroom, again, because getting up felt like an involved project. I was scared I'd never feel like myself again. I'd had irregular uncomfortable practice contractions since twenty weeks into my pregnancy, but now they were a constant companion. My contractions were just regular enough to make me terribly anxious to get to 36 weeks and be cleared for a home birth. At 36 weeks exactly my husband went through a trial run setting up our birth tub, and I bobbed in it for awhile. I felt sure I'd be logging some hours in that tub very soon.
At 37 weeks I woke up on a Monday with naggy, achy contractions. I tried to ignore them, but my midback tightened with contractions. I was at a loss. I knew what back labor felt like. For me, back labor felt a vice on my back with every contraction, and it felt hard to breathe. This wasn't that, but it was disagreeable. By Tuesdays morning I called my midwife, Dania for advice and she suggested we bump up our Friday appointment just to be sure. I made an extra appointment with my chiropractor, and the discomfort in my back was all but gone. At my midwife's suggestion Joe set up our birth tub again, and it soothed my lingering back pain. Dania and I decided a cervical check could give us some information of where I was with things. I was at 3 c.m. and contracting regularly, but I was not very uncomfortable and baby was still very high. We made another appointment for next Friday, and I promised to call if things changed.
Contractions were not very painful, but I could not sleep through them. Wednesday and Thursday dragged along uncomfortable and anxious. Contractions were too regular for me really look after my toddler or drive, so Joe called into work. I felt distracted and grouchy. I'd just read Ina May's spiritual midwifery, and I wanted to be happy in my labor. I tried to be present. To enjoy the last moments of pregnancy. But I couldn't stop thinking "this could go on FOREVER." with a sense of dread. I knew I was being irrational, but I had not slept in days.
Thursday night my contractions picked up and required more of my attention. I called my midwife, and she came. I was at 5 c.m. and we called my brother in law and his girlfriend. And then things fizzled out. Contractions went back their same naggy level of intensity, and I knew we still had a ways to go. By Friday at my request we tried a few membrane sweeps and herbal tinctures to try and urge labor along, but it didn't seem to help so that evening I resigned myself to an eternity of sleepless nights and not-too-uncomfortable labor. I sent everyone home, and ate a box of bear claws my mother in law has throughtfully brought over. Saturday was another anxious day. I felt at times like climbing the walls. I tried to be joyful, and then I felt frustrated, and then I started the cycle again. That night I threw up and cleared out my bowels in a fantastic fashion. Now I couldn't hold down food or sleep. I felt good and properly sorry for myself. I cried, and realized that nothing I could do could change anything. No shift in attitude would magically bring my labor on harder. I needed to surrender to this experience.
Sunday was more of the same. Sunday night I talked with Joe. I cried because the world felt very big, and I felt very small. I cried because I was tired. I cried because I wanted my baby to meet people who had died before he was born. I cried because my support people had gone home. I sent Joe to bed to get some rest, and did a few deep squats and circled my hips. I prayed. I told my baby I was on his or her time. That I would lean into my contractions. That I would make it as easy on him or her as I was able. I felt really uncomfortable, and my hips were tired of doing squats.
I distinctly remember thinking, "fuck it. I don't want to be in active labor anyway. I'm too damn tired. I'm going to bed."
And I had a few weird dreams between my naggy contractions. In my half slumber I made plans to visit my chiropractor again. And I woke up with a weird pop sensation. I was reasonably sure I'd peed the bed. I patted the sheets, and indeed.. urine. Labor was so damn humbling. I stumbled to the bathroom, but I hurt all over. I wondered if labor had finally picked up, but I felt so suspicious. I ran the bath without turning on the cold tap. Just boiling water. And it was not easing these contractions. They felt so heavy. I shook Joe awake, telling him he needed to add hotter water to the birth tub. He suggested I call Dania, but I was tired of bothering people with false alarms. I just moaned and moaned. I told my baby they were doing good. I told myself I was having my baby. I told myself I was strong. And then I realized I was having my baby. This was not labor. Not transition. These were honest push contractions. "Call. Dania. Please. Tell her to drive fast?" I'd had a premature urge to push with my first baby that lasted for the better part of a day, and I knew what to do. I crawled out of the tub, because I was starting to feel faint. I was putting so much energy into trying not to push my baby out. I breathed a lot of rapid puffy breaths, and then I heard a really, really, lovely sound. My midwife was coming in. My grunting had woken my bigger baby, and my husband had put on a TV show for our toddler to watch. I could hear the strains over happy music teaching simple morals. "keeeep tryingggg... don't give up! you'll get it right!" I started yelling at my baby in my belly, "Okay, out. out. out. please!" And my midwife said I could push when I was ready. I asked her to check that I really was complete, and I was. I pushed, and my waters broke with a fantastic splash. I only pushed for eight minutes and Benjamin Joseph was born pink, and fat, and completely lovely. I had been just a little anxious I may experience another shoulder dystocia like I had with my daughter, so I chose to push in a hands and knees position again. Benjamin had no dystocia, but my enthusiastic pushing and his hand by his face caused some minor tearing.
BennyJoe is named for my brother in law and my husband- my favorite men in the world. He was quick to nurse, and very mild in temperament. Birthing my placenta was easy and fast. I felt rather light headed afterwards, and spent a while laying on my kitchen floor drinking gatorade, orange juice, and getting some oxygen while Joe snuggled our new baby. Soon I was tucked into bed with my new baby and Joe got our daughter back to bed. She is completely enamored with her little brother, and tandem nursing beautifully.
Recovery has been mildly more challenging with after pains, and keeping after an infant and toddler, but I feel very strong and joyful.
As part of my recovery I've chosen to eat my placenta, something I had only joked about in the past. I tossed small pieces of it raw into a smoothie each day. I feel this has contributed to my quick healing and general sense of well being.
I am overwhelmed with my gratitude for my husband, my midwife Dania, and her assistant Allison.