Saturday, May 23, 2009

Car seat safety

I was actually working on a post on car seat safety, but then realized that one of my favorite bloggers already has it covered. If you are a parent, PLEASE head over to MckMama's blog and read this post. It's long, but its so important.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God, family, natural childbirth (warning: this is long!)

There is not much that gets me super fired up (meaning heart-pumping, emotional, about to come out of my seat fired-up). Some things that do: Authentic worship. I could sing praises to God for hours and hours. Its one of my favorite ways to communicate with God. I sing at the top of my lungs and don't really care who is listening. Next: My family. Of course, most people understand me when I say that. When it comes to your family, ain't nobody better be messin' with 'em!!

Last: Natural Childbirth. Okay, I know this is a touchy subject and I know there will be people who don't agree. I'm really okay with that, but this is my blog and I get to say what I want, right? ;)

My absolute DREAM job is to be a doula (a labor support person). I have started the certification and slowly plan to finish it. If I could support women in labor every day, I would be happy as a lark. I would be even happier if the majority of those women chose natural childbirth and the incredible rewards that come with it!

How in the world did I become so passionate about this?

Well, my own childbirth experience. Chloe was born completely naturally, but not without a big 'ol fight. I won't go into the whole story (maybe I will save that for another post...I know you all are just chomping at the bit for that one!), but I will tell you that I never should have had to fight so much opposition from people and even more imporantly from my doctors.

I truly do not understand why this country can not get it together when it comes to childbirth. Natural is safest. period. Why on EARTH do we have a national c-section rate of over 30%, when evidence shows that 5-10% is optimal. C-sections are a SERIOUS surgery! We are 41st on the list of mortality of mothers giving birth in the world? Really? In the land of the free and the brave? It's astounding to me!

I'll tell you why we are failing childbirthing mothers: because our labors have so many interventions that lead to more interventions that lead to more interventions that lead to c-sections. So many women are induced for whatever reason (there are MANY and most of them absolutely ridiculous), which leads to harder stronger contractions, which then leads to an epidural because the woman can't handle the pain of the unnatural contractions, many times the epidural then slows down the labor progress (which happens to be 1cm every 2 hours...that's 20 hours, people!), so we kick up the pitocin and suddenly the baby is in distress....time for a c-section!

Listen, I completely understand that these interventions (drugs, c-sections, etc.) are there for good reason. SOME women do need these things because the labor isn't going how it should. I get that! I'm not saying no woman should ever be induced or have a c-section, what I am saying is that the number should be WAY less!

Here are some very important reasons why natural childbirth really IS best for mom and baby (some information from Natural Mothers Radio Talk):

There won’t be any reactions to drugs. Even though a large percentage of people do not experience serious side effects to drugs, there are still many mothers who do. These drugs can cause complications with the delivery and even afterwards - both for mom and baby. Babies exposed to drugs in labor also sometimes have difficulty learning to breastfeed.

Natural childbirth without medication helps to keep mom aware and functioning at high levels during her birth. Using numbing drugs that paralyze her from the waist down can mean the birth process lasts for much longer and mom and baby can get tired, leading to the possibility of a c-section. Anesthesia also tends to cause a “slippery slope” of intervention that can lead to induction and again, unnecessary c-section.

Statistics show that reduced medical intervention mean fewer difficulties during birth. This includes pitocin to induce contractions, breaking the water to start labor and even a planned cesarean.

Medical intervention tends to cause stress in the mother (sometimes without her being aware of it) and can cause labor to slow or stall out completely. Although some women report that anesthesia during labor helps them relax you so you can dilate better, other times it slows down the whole process putting you and the baby through a lot more work than is needed.

Since medical intervention often interferes with the normal birthing process it also raises the statistic for cesareans. Doctors only want you to birth so long, they say you get too tired and you can’t handle it, etc. Many times they could be more worried about getting it over with so they can get back to their families. This is another reason so many people have planned cesareans. **Don't try to tell me this one isn't ever true because my doctor DID this!!**

Interestingly, in other developed nations where home birth and natural birth are more common, outcomes are better and there is much lower infant mortality.

Our bodies were designed to deliver babies! God made women so that the birthing process could happen naturally. It's not an "injury" or something that needs to be fixed. It's a rite of passage for women and as women, we shouldn't take it lightly. I can't even explain the empowerment that came from having Chloe naturally. It was one of the most incredible, proud moments of my life!

My opinion (and really its backed by research) is that natural childbirth is safest for mom and baby. I am not going to tell you that you are stupid and wrong for choosing a hospital birth where you are most likely going to encounter most if not all of the interventions I talked about. My MAIN concern is that women are not educating themselves. Doctors aren't telling you these things, trust me! So, if the doctors aren't going to step up and educate their patients as they should be, then who is? So, my biggest advice if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant....EDUCATE yourself! Learn how your body works and the amazing capabilities it has!

Here are some really great resources:

Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (my hero!)

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a better Birth by Henci Goer

The Business of Being Born (DVD)

I know this is a touchy subject, so I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! There is nothing I love more than a dialogue about childbirth! And yes, I realize you may think I'm a crazy hippie. I'm okay with that ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A post on Submission? I must be crazy!

Anyone who knows me knows that I like things my way. Do I dare admit this? I often tend to try to control situations. Sometimes I'm super aggressive about it, stating exactly how I want things done. Sometimes I'm passive aggressive, stating exactly what I want and then quickly adding "but maybe I'm wrong" (although deep down I know I'm not!). It's one thing I really don't like about myself, but I'm a work in progress, right?

One area of my life that tends to be the easiest for me to fall into this trap is my marriage. I think the reason I do this is because in our almost 4 years of marriage I have relied on Justin to make me happy. I need him to make me feel worthy, to make me feel needed, to make me feel like the most amazing wife and mother in the world. Ha!

Spiritually speaking for quite a while I had oh-so-sweetly demanded that Justin be the leader of our household. He never lived up to my expectations. He wasn't close enough to God, he wasn't reading his bible enough, he wasn't praying enough, so of course I needed to take over! I was obviously the stronger believer and if he wasn't going to do it then move over buddy, I'll take the reigns. I had nagged reminded him enough times that surely God wanted me to take over by now! Wrong!

Surprisingly, at one point in the very beginning of our marriage (in the middle of my nagging, controlling, non-submissive tirades) I did submit to God's design and the outcome has been incredible.

Justin and I got married the summer after I left MU. While at MU, I attended an amazing church that really showed me what church/community was suppose to look like. Justin had never experienced that with me, so I came back feeling like the super-christian and like I needed to make sure he knew exactly how we were suppose to be living as Believers. I told him that we needed to change churches because the one we attended growing up just wasn't what we needed. He wasn't comfortable leaving and initially I was ticked. He liked the comfort of our childhood church and that even made me more mad. Comfort? Are we suppose to be seeking comfort as Believers?! I thought he was so wrong!! Slowly, and only with God's help, I decided to let Justin make the decision about where we would go to church. All the while secretly waiting for him to realize I was right all along!

We attended our childhood church for about 3 1/2 years. To my surprise, we were growing as a couple and individually as believers. Justin became a stronger, more confident leader in our household. I was slowing allowing God to show me that His way is best.

About 2 months ago, Justin and I decided together that it was time for us to move on to a different church. He was ready to find a place that would allow us to spread our wings a little more and that had more couples our age to connect with. This is what I wanted from the very beginning, but God needed time to work in both of our hearts before He decided it was time for us to move on. We are now attending a church that we both LOVE and are getting to know lots of new awesome friends. God is working to deepen our relationship with Him and with others.

I don't know what would have happened had we changed churches when I wanted to. I think, quite honestly, it could have been disastrous to our spiritual walks as well as our marriage. By giving up control, God has blessed me and our family immensely. By submitting to my husband and allowing God's design to work, our relationships with the Father are stronger than ever and getting stronger every day.

As I have been thinking about this lately, God is really showing me that His ways are best ALL the time. He didn't implement standards to make things worse for us. He has always had our best interests at heart. He wants nothing but the best for us. Why so many times do I allow my flesh to lead and ultimately cause me so much more pain than if I were to just be obedient the first time?

I am trying my very best to submit to God's timing daily in regards to our second child. I know God wants to do what is best for us, so I'm holding tight to that.

Is there something in your life that you need to submit to God? My advice: Just do it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chloe Singing

Chloe decided to put on a concert for us tonight so I thought I would share.

The one song that you may not recognize is called the Unicorn Song and its only part of it, but Chloe loves to do the actions. The words are:

There were green alligators
and long-necked geese
Humpty back camels
and chimpanzees,
Cats (meow) and Rats (Hissss)
and Elephants
and as sure as your born,
but the loveliest of all is the unicorn

Enjoy! :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

The present

Lately I feel like I have been on a roller coaster. One minute of the day I am rejoicing, the next minute I am so sad I can barely hold my head up.

Justin and I are in the process of buying a house. We couldn't be more excited!! It is perfect for us. Last night we sat and "planned out" our living room. It was so fun :) We had no intentions of buying. We had a duplex we were ready to sign a lease on. This house is owned by a family friend who is selling it to us for much less than its worth and our house payments will be the same or less than our rent payments would have been. In a time of "economic crisis", God has blessed us beyond what we deserve. I continually thank Him for the way He takes care of us.

I praise God every day for my sweet Chloe. She is such a joy in our lives. This age is SO much fun! She is seriously one of the funniest people I know. She has recently started making up stories. She has an imaginary snake and loves to ask you if you want to pet her. It cracks me up!

We are still struggling to get pregnant. I am all over the place about this. Most often I am at peace with God's timing, but there are definitely moments of abundant sadness. I have always known we would have several children. I had hoped the majority of them would come from my own womb, but more and more I am beginning to question that. I think God placed adoption on my heart a long time ago, but I just don't feel ready for that yet. I'm praying for the Lord to open my womb and allow me to carry another child. Will you join me in this, please? I think the hardest part of this is that I feel so alone. Justin knows I am hurting, but as a man, he just doesn't "get it". My close friends are amazing, but don't have children so its hard to explain exactly what I am feeling. I am trying to find refuge in God, but sometimes I just need a human shoulder.

I was reading another blog and came across the following devotion:

"There is no randomness about your life. Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived. They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures subject to the limitations of time and place. They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present.

"Every moment is alive with My glorious Presence, to those whose hearts are intimately connected with Mine. As you give yourself more and more to a lifetime of constant communion with Me, you will find that you simply have no time for worry. Thus, you are freed to let My Spirit direct your steps, enabling you to walk along the path of Peace."
Luke 12:25-26, Luke 1:79

Oh, Lord please help me to live in the present. I want to live my fullest life RIGHT NOW. I want to give up my dreams for yours. I don't want to let these precious moments slip through my fingers. Oh, God work in my heart so I may fully surrender to your plan for me and our family. Amen.