Monday, October 24, 2011

When I grow up...

Women like this make me want to be a Doula/BirthInstructor/Midwife when I "grow up".
I want to help women find the strength and courage to birth without fear of suffering. 

I worry that my labor was too "easy" and that I can't relate to women who are struggling in lengthy labors. From first contraction of real labor to delivery was just over 12 hours and many women labor for 3 times as long.  It was a blessing to have had such and easy labor but people roll their eyes when I tell them it wasn't THAT hard. In a way, it undermines my credibility in many peoples' minds. It's true though. 

I can speak in testimony to the truth of her separating pain from suffering. I never suffered in my labor, not even a little. 
I was uncomfortable. 
I felt pressure. Lots of it.
I was stretched to my limits. 
I pushed only to find some relief. 
I wasn't ready for how much I'd need my abs.
I told my husband I just wanted to get her out and sleep.
I tore too-- 2nd degree and I had stiches too. Even that wasn't bad.
I was kicked harder in the ribs than ever before (Amelia wanted help the process)  
I bruised my head from the position I was in with my head by the faucet. NBD.
All of that was worth being able to feel Amelia being born. 
There is nothing like that sensation. It's amazing. Plus, when her head was delivered, she kicked and turned before I delivered her shoulders. That was amazing, I even giggled a bit.  

No part of her journey through the birth canal felt anything like suffering. It was birth and I experienced it without the fear of pain because of women who educated me on what birth can be. I want to be one of those women for someone else. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get your hankie out...

This is a video my midwife posted and I feel it must be shared.

My husband was such a key part of our daughter's birth that it is hard for me to imagine what it would be like without him.

Ye be warned; you will cry.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding is, in so many ways, a journey. Prior to Amelia's birth, I thought of breastfeeding as a stance. There is so much debate and controversy, I began thinking of it like a plank in my platform of beliefs on birth and parenting. To me, it was a decision you make once and then from then on or you are feeding your precious baby 100% boob juice for 100% kids (please don't sue me, Juicyjuice).

All the research says how beneficial a mother's milk is so in my empirically-wired mind, that is what we should do. Even discussing it with my mother, it was always a rational decision for her. The pros being the convenience of not dealing with bottles and the financial advantage over buying formula. We are both too lazy to bottle feed.

Since the beginning of my journey, I've come to see it all in a new light during the 3+ weeks I've been nursing her.  I have realized that nursing is a choice a mother makes not once, but at every feeding. It is a continual sacrifice of time and energy that a mother makes for her child. At every 3 am feeding, I am faced with the decision. When I'm exhausted and tired of trying to get her to calm down and latch properly, I could mix a bottle and hand her off to Daddy but something deep in me says to continue giving her the breast. Decisions I make every moment, effect her, and effect me in ways that I may not understand for years.

In the beginning (and also during some rough days) I was my wits end with nursing because it is draining to be the only one who can feed a baby. Mostly because babies eat frequently. Don't forget that they aren't very efficient from the start of it, they are just learning how to use that digestive system. I have to remind myself of all the reasons she needs Mama's milk. Slowly it's becoming a joy to feed her but it wasn't always that way.

I hold on to the memories of her smiling after a feeding when she's in a milk buzz. I tuck the image of her waking up in the morning and nuzzling up to me before contently taking the first gulps. These help me get through the rough feedings and the fussy times. I remind myself that someday I will miss this time with her. Someday she will be too big to fit in my lap.

Most of Amelia's life so far as been spent at home, and most of that, in bed with me. In general nursing is simple in that setting.  The choices are more complicated when I decide to go grab coffee and make a run to Wal*Mart.  Nursing while out and about is still less of a hassle than pumping or mixing formula, the way I see it, but it is not without struggles.

The obvious difficulty is how to nurse freely without offending the general population. Unfortunately, the masses find breastfeeding to be inappropriate. While I philosophically and fundamentally believe that nursing is a beautiful and lifegiving activity that no one should be ashamed of, I must be practical.

Breasts are functional and breasts are sexual; the dual nature of them cannot be denied. Breasts attract a man so that we can make babies, then feeds the baby we create. God is very resourceful and intentional in his design of women. I find this to be an empowering thought and I feel even more complete as a woman now, than at any other point in my life.

On one hand, I feel as if I could whip out my boob at any moment that Amelia should need it. This is my duty as her mother; I must give her what she needs, when she needs it. No one should stop me from giving necessary nutrition to my baby just because they are uncomfortable with seeing my body. In that way, I see myself as a "lactivist".

Then on the other hand, I understand that to most people, a breast is a symbol of lust and is not for viewing by strangers. As a generally modest person, I am in support of people who don't want to be bombarded by cleavage on TV ads and magazine covers. People who have known me for several years would accept that as my view and have a hard time imagining me advocating for boobies to be out and about. Being a nursing momma just changes the way I see the world.

Many people suggest to nursing moms that they just cover with a blanket or "hooter hider". I see why this is suggested and how, to someone who isn't part of the breastfeeding relationship, it may seem like a logical answer to my problem of public nudity. However, I make eye contact with my daughter as she feeds and we interact the entire time. Covering her interrupts this exchange.  I am providing not only food, but also love, comfort, and security to her during nursings so taking out the emotional element of our feed, just isn't an option for me. Not to mention that she hates being covered and rips it off leaving me exposed. I found a onesie on that reads "If my breastfeeding bothers you... feel free to put a blanket over your head." Just thought it keenly expressed Amelia's attitude about the topic.

A similar suggestion is to just nurse in the restroom. I am not about to feed my baby where other people are defecating. Sorry, it just ain't gonna go down like that. A recent trip to the local mall landed me in their "Nursing Mother's Room" which was literally a handicapped bathroom with a chair in the corner. I changed her diaper and quickly returned to the food court where she ate her meal with the rest of the people. If you wouldn't take your sandwich in the bathroom with you, please don't suggest I feed her in there.

All this to say that I have successfully feed my baby only breastmilk for her whole life so far but I know it's still a long road ahead. So if you see me out with a baby on my boob, smile and wave, and don't get red in the face, I'm just feeding my precious one. :)

Momma K

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Nursing Mama's Wishlist

I know it isn't anywhere near Christmas but I'm starting my wishlist early this year. I want these nursing necklace. Babygirl is only 3 weeks and her hands are already curious and fidgety. Today she took interest in the inside straps of my nursing bra; had her tiny hand hooked on it the whole time she ate. These necklaces claim many benefits for mama and baby. Plus, they are just so stylish!

Aqua and green makes me feel like a serene and calm mama. I found this one at

These are made by Etno Mama on
She found the organic wood buttons from a local woodworker. My favorite button is the Oak which is the larger square-ish one. In the picture below, it is shown with a red or green bead. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birth Annoucement

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

I (finally) created my baby announcement and used $20 off from Motherhood Maternity Fashions. Targetbaby provided me $20 off that I'm using toward a photo book. :)  Shutterfly is so user friendly and with great coupons it's even better!