Monday, August 18, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
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.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.