Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Birth of Judith Marigold

My entire pregnancy with my third child was a world beyond humbling. I had wanted another child, but had not intentionally become pregnant. I was living in a brand new city, and had just begun working as a doula which I adored. Our tiny apartment, overstretched budget and exciting changes did not lend themselves naturally to another baby yet. But this was happening. My husband handled the situation with a lot of grace. I was a mess. When I felt joyful, I felt guilty. When I felt miserable, I felt guilty. 
I had hyperemesis with every baby. Constant nausea. Months of vomiting. This one took the cake. I vomited constantly well into the third trimester. I was exhausted. My emotions were raw. My pubic bone separated early on and as the first trimester ended and every step, rolling over, bending down, putting on pants. It all became quite impossible. It was all met with a feeling my bones were breaking. 
Despite all the discomforts my baby was obviously thriving, and thankfully I felt movements very early. This was my comfort and joy in a dark and painful time. I felt deeply connected with this new life, that had obviously taken great care to choose me to mother them. 
Having had two uncomfortable but uneventful pregnancies and joyful out of hospital births having another homebirth was the most natural choice for me. 
I met midwives. Some were lovely. Some were decidedly not right for us, and in the end after very serious consideration I decided to do my own prenatal care and not seek a midwife for the birth. 
I felt I had a good understanding of complications of pregnancy and when to ask for help. The more I thought about an unhindered and undirected birth the safer and more attractive it was. I knew when to ask wise women and medical professionals for guidance, and until then I simply rested and waited. Whether I had a three day labor like with my daughter, or a 45 minute labor like with my son I felt I could cope and cope well. I ate as well as I could. I played with my children. My family went to disneyland and the beach as often as we could. 
I chose not to seek any prenatal testing beyond a routine blood work. I talked to my baby. I had a clearer intuition that I had with previous pregnancies. I had another daughter coming. I felt quite sure. 
Early into my third trimester prodromal labor began. I always felt as though I was on the verge of true labor. Constant contractions. I was exhausted beyond words. 
Croup came. And our baby wisely waited. Our building was fumigated. And we had to stay in a hotel for a few days. And our baby wisely waited. I had the worst flu of my life. The entire family did. And she waited... mostly. 
I went to bed on the 20th feeling deeply sorry for myself. I even pooped the bed in the middle of the night. Not something that comes up for me much as an adult. My son came to bed and wanted a cuddle in the early a.m. I spooned him, but around 9:30 I noticed some VERY difficult contractions. 
The children got up with Joe and I got in the bath. "Are you okay?" Joe asked. "Contractions.. bad ones." 
I was really begging and reasoning. How could I cope with a long labor when I hadn't eaten in days? I knew baby was moving well with good heart tones, but I felt miserable just the night before. 
Contractions quickly became impossible to think clearly through. I asked Joe for the birth tub. I got in and thought, "this is amazing. why everyone should labor in water. everyone should get the chance. this is perfection."
two or three contractions later.. "this isn't warm enough, or sturdy enough. I'm getting out of here." Thank you Joe, you're a wonderful sport. 
I got in the shower and felt it against my back. It felt amazing. Back labor was really bothering me. Contractions that would wrap around my back and linger a little. I dried off and did some contractions of the toilet afraid I might poop again, wishing I could pee. Anything to relieve this intense pressure. I tried gently lifting my belly with my hands during about three contractions. I tried a couple lunges alternating lifting a leg on the potty. I felt exhausted. The back pain was almost completely gone, but the contractions were SO intense. I tried sitting on the potty, but the pressure was AWFUL. 
Joe offered I might like the birth ball and got me some ice water. He briefly brought in our four year old daughter to say hello, and then our two year old son in his arms. It was so affirmative to see them. Joe was so sweet as he tried to bring my sounds nice and low. I was kind of squeeking and saying "ah, ah, ah" loosening my lips and saying "mmm" or "ohh" would really help, but somehow I couldn't, and I couldn't be touched gently. "please stop" and "Shhhh" I asked him. He didn't seem at all offended which I'n very grateful for. 
I leaned on my birth ball hands and knees and rested my chest on it between contractions. I had no idea "where" I was in labor and begging my baby aloud, "please. lets work together. I'm tired. lets go fast." And with every contraction I howled, "Oh baby, baby, baby, baby, baby." 
"open, open, open, open, down down down owww owww oww baby." 
I had plenty of darker thoughts at this point. My inner monologue chattered "this is why folks get epidurals." A siren went by and I thought of a rather famous birth professional who talks about her homebirth and how she hears a siren and thinks "theres my ride." I laughed a bit, knew for sure I did not want a cathater inbetween my spine or to go anywhere. I also accepted I was probably in transition, but felt a flicker of doubt about that. 
At this point I heard Joe saying, "You're doing amazing. You're perfect. You're safe here." All while holding our little boy. And I knew. "I know." I said, and I felt strong again. Joe put my blessingway necklace with all the beads friends and family had sent on the cabinet and I felt the love wash over me. His thoughtfulness to bring that just then. Contractions continued to come and the pressure in my pubic bones was tremendous. I felt my body pushing all on it's own, and it felt amazing, but a little unsafe. "What if I'm not complete?" I wondered. I heard my own sounds changing even from baby to... "Baby.. baby.. baby.. Arrrggghhhhhhhump baby I love you!" 
"WHY AM I PUSHING!?" I asked Joe, he responded reasonably, "I don't know do you want me to call our friend for advice?" We had a few wise women who said we could call. 
"Uhm ARHHHHHH yeah. please. No wait.. just..."
I remembered I could check my cervix, no need I put my hand down my vulva and felt my babies head descend into it instantly. I said something about the baby coming and asked for him to take pictures.
My body pushed a few more times and I squeeked a little, "heeelp" my baby slid out in one wet water bag bursting move. I had wanted a little perineum support, but had literally wedged myself into a corner not even Joe could get to and I couldn't make coherent requests anyway. I reached down and pulled my baby up. I looked quickly, but I knew. "OH HELLO DAUGHTER! HELLO JUDI JUDI JUDI. YOU DID SO GOOD." 
*it was 11:30 a.m. at this point. another very quick labor. 
Joe started to cry and told Wendy and Benji they had a sister. We spent awhile figuring out how I could turn over from hands and knees and then I rested against a yoga ball. Admiring this delightful, fat, soaked in vernix baby. Who did a few quick "I'm doing fabulous" cries and then just seemed dreamy as if to say, "actually I was napping thanks." 
Birthing the placenta was easy. We called our wise woman friend to say all was great and I took a few drops of motherwort tincture. I thanked the placenta for it's hard work. And with it's birth... 
hypermesis and it's CONSTANT nausea and frequent vomiting is like the ocean. Sometimes a quiet tide sometimes a raging storm sometimes a roar, but always there. Always sick. And then it was just gone. 
I leaned against the birth ball in the hallway about an hour and then felt I would be ready to move to bed. I felt GOOD. strong. Happy. peaceful. overwhelmed with gratitude. Judi seemed to like her placenta so we left her attached to it for another couple hours, and when the very cold limp cord seemed to be bothering her to tied it off and cut it. Judith Marigold Wiklund is an excellent nurser and pooped and peed many times before we wanted to bother and weigh her. At 24 hours she weighed 7 lbs and 11 oz, had a 14" head, and was 21" long. 
Though we declined any routine tests of pregnancy we knew her guess date was either December 6th or January 6th. She looks quite perfectly like a 38 week gestation baby, and probably shared a guess gate with her nearly four year old sister Wendy who was due January 6th in 2011. I know she was meant to be here however humbling the process, and she is an overwhelming joy to our entire family. More joy than we ever imagined possible. 
I am continually amazed by how many times this pregnancy I was forced to accept my limitations, ask for help, realize I couldn't doula myself, and connect to wise women and men for guidance and love. Judith has already made me a better person I am sure of it.

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.