Monday, July 29, 2013

What I wished I Had Known: Labor & Delivery

Here's PART ONE if you had missed the first segment about Pregnancy. 




Attempts to go into labor. 

I did everything to naturally induce when I hit 38 weeks. Guess what? Nothing worked. Looking back, I do wish I did not put so much effort in trying to naturally induce myself to have Forrest, and enjoy the remaining final weeks. My life changed completely after Forrest arrived. My advice? Try your best to relax. If people are bothering you, especially if you go overdue, then simply turn off your phone, and computer. Your baby will come when your baby is ready. 

Castor oil does NOT induce labour!! I was told by many doctors at the hospital that it makes you vomit and that's all it will do. -Johanna


Birth Plan.

I had a perfect birth plan written up. I researched the crap out of everything to make sure I understood what ramifications came with this or that during labor, and delivery. I had a fantasy in my mind how the birth will go. I rewrote my birth plan at least five times. I declared that I wanted a natural birth with no help from any drugs. Well, as it had turned out at my 39 weeks check up; I had to be induced, and I was pretty disappointed. My doctor gave us an option to induce that week or the following week, and made no mention of allowing me to go naturally since sweeping my membranes from a week before had failed. Stu jumped to the date that was offered, and said let's do it on this date! Then we went in to be induced. I was hooked up to Pitocin drug which sucked, and at one point, I even wanted an epidural (I had no epidural request on my birth plan). I ended up not getting one anyway! But the truth was? My birth plan was thrown out of the window. While I was a bit bummed about missing out on a completely natural labor experience, I was still pleased with how everything had turned out because despite having this perfect fantasy of what I wanted, I still kept a low expectation about the whole experience. 

The best advice I recieved and now pass on is not to have a plan that is set in concrete. If you do, it can seem like everything is going "wrong". It's not wrong. It is just different than you had planned. If you keep an open mind about how labor and delivery will go, it will be less stressful. Be educated, but not narrow-minded. -Kara P. 

When I went to my birthing class, they put so much emphasis on having a "birth plan", but after talking to my doctor, I realized a plan would just put more stress on me (and probably my husband too). Instead, I spent a lot of time educating myself on everything that would be and could be happening, so I can make informed decisions without stressing about following a perfect plan. -Theresa S. 

Checks during labor. 

My first experience of being checked for dilation was on July 4th when I had a scare. It was AWFUL. The doctor was rough, and not gentle. Also, I've heard that it was not always good to be constantly checked because it could introduce infection, and discourage women in labor if they are not progressing fast enough. Because of that, I knew I did not want to be checked very frequently during my labor. The hospital I delivered Forrest was amazing. The nurse I had for my labor was also wonderful. I was only checked twice. Once to have my water broken, and other time to see how far I've progressed (I was 5 CM at that time). The last time I was "looked at", Forrest was already right there to be born, and I obviously didn't need to be checked! 

You can laugh or make fun of me on this one, but an honest to god confession, that maybe anatomy class failed me or I just watch too many hollywood movies about childbirth, but I seriously didn't realize that they have to put their hand up there to check for dilation. I seriously thought they could just look up and tell. At least it is how they make it look like on movies, the doctor just looks for a second, and knows how far she has dilated. Needless to say I was really shocked and surprised when the doctor stuck the entire hand (or felt that way at least) to check for dilation. It made me dread when they check because of how uncomfortable it felt. Not a pleasant feeling! -Megan S.

Don't worry about being modest or shy. After a couple hours of doctors, and nurses coming to check on you, you'll get over it, and not give crap about who sees what. -Kristin L.

Contractions. 


Contractions is a part of labor. Basically, what it does is that it helps to evict the baby out of your body. It is very hard to describe a contraction to someone, who has no idea what labor is like, because it varies from one woman to another. Contractions felt very much like bad period cramp. It was right at the bottom of my belly, and it was fairly mild for me in the early stages of labor. It was easy for me because I had plenty of break in the between contractions where it hurt then stopped hurting. Soon, the waves got closer, and closer together as I approached the transition (right before when you start pushing). I had no break in the between, and that was the hardest part to deal with. It made me very nauseous  and caused me to cry a bit because the pain was ridiculous--what can I say, I'm a crier when I am in pain. The contractions stopped hurting/bothering me when I started pushing. Once the placenta was delivered, all of the contractions stopped, and it was like oh, whoa, that's it! For some women, contractions can be in the back (back labor). Some women says contractions start bothering them early on, and some later on. It depends on their level of pain tolerance, and the baby's position during the labor.

Contractions feel like a combination of nasty period cramps, and horrible bowel movement cramps at the same time. It started everywhere at the same time for me. -Maddy

My contractions with my second pregnancy were completely different from my first. With my first, they were the textbook example of a contraction. The pain started at my sides, and worked its way to middle of my stomach. They started out like mild menstruation pain, then became completely unbearable. For my second, I suffered from pubic symphysis dysfunction, and all of my contractions started in my lower back, and moved into the front into my pubic bone. They were quite severe. -Bri

I had an irritable uterus contractions. It was terrible, and made my labor more difficult. -Jackie C. 

Vaginal Birth, & Pushing

I had no idea what to expect during delivery as a first-time mom. I went into the whole experience with an open mind, and that really helped me to stay focused. My labor was fairly short, and quick. I came in with 2 CM, went on Piction drip, and progressed very quickly after my water was broken. I went from 5 CM to being fully dilated within half hour. What was the hardest for me was dealing with transition. I had NO IDEA how much it was going to hurt. I did know I was going to be in the world of pain. I had a very high tolerance for pain, but holy lord, it hurt. Really hurt. Then boom, Forrest was right there, and I knew it was time to push. What I did not prepare for was that your body really takes over completely, and you are going along for a ride. That was overwhelming for me. I didn't know what ring of fire was until a few months after I had delivered Forrest. When I found out what it was, and I was like AHA. At that time, I thought my doctor was intentionally doing it to me, and I was mad at her! No, it was the baby, ha ha. I did end up with a second degree tear from having a quick birth. It healed fairly well, and did continue to give me some pain even to this day. Fortunately, it became less noticeable as time went on. My recovery was fairly easy despite my blood pressure crashing after delivering Forrest. 

I had no idea how fast a birth can change rapidly from your first to your second. My son was born within 13 hours, then my daughter was born within 3.5 hours. -Lauren S. 

You can go backwards with pushing. With my son, he kept going back in. It took me three hours to push him out. -Stacy H. 

We took a birthing class and talked about the average length of labor being 12-24 hours. We talked about being not average, and going really quickly! But we never even considered going LONGER than 24 hours. That was something that was really the hardest on my husband because he couldn't help me. I was exhausted, sure, but it was just a job for me to do,and I stayed focused. For my husband, it was terrible. -Ashley H.

Ring of fire, you want to know what it is? Just google Johnny Cash's song. That's what it is. -Lauren S.

Widen your mouth as wide as you can, and hold it. Now, put your fingers in the corners of your mouth, and pull your mouth wider until you feel stretching or burning. Now, imagine that at your hoo-ha. That's how it freaking feels like. -Shaylee M. 

You will obviously deliver a baby. Ta-da, done. Right? Nope. You still have to deliver placenta. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to half hour to get it done. -Loren B. 

As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect, and I felt like I was a part of the culture where we expect the provider to do what is the best for us, and the baby. I went in wanting a natural birth with my first, but I was too eager, and wanted to get birth going. At my 37 week appointment, I was 4 CM, and my provider said I was having the baby today. Contractions measured on the monitor, but for all I know, those were just practice contractions (early labor). She sent me to the hospital and started me on the pitocin drip. I didn't have the natural birth I wanted. Almost didn't even have the vaginal birth. The piction caused so many problems from unbearable pain, needing an epidural, to my heart rate skyrocketing, and feeling sick, almost passed out, but I had him vaginally. For my second, it was a natural water birth. I was progressing on my own, and I followed the cues that my body was giving to me. The water helped me to relax, and I did not need pain meds because I was able to manage. -Sarah S. 

I loved being pregnant & labor, & delivery...the empowerment of it all. #3 out of my 4 was an emergency c-section due to rapid heart rate drop, that was scary & I kinda felt less accomplished because they just numbed me & cut me open. I didn't get to experience the pushing (I know I'm nuts). #1, #2, & #4 were all natural labors with no drugs (#4 being VBAC). -Michelle S. 

With Ethan, they didn't realize how big he was (9 pounds 3 oz), and how little I was (145, 5 foot 2) so he got stuck during delivery. They lost his heartbeat as well. He was too far down the birth canal to do an emergency cesarean. They tried using vacuum, and it didn't stick to Ethan's head. They turned to using forceps  and told me to stop pushing as they literally pulled him out. They pulled so hard that it was lifting my bottom off the bed. NICU was called as they didn't think he would make it, and they thought they broke one or both of his collarbones to get him out. Thankfully everything turned out great. No broken bones. Perfectly healthy. But for any of my future children, I'll need scheduled cesarean for them -Ellie T. 

Epidural and Spinal 

I had in my mind that I was going to have a medical-free labor. I talked for my whole pregnancy about not getting an epidural. While I did prepare mentally for the pain; I was surprised by how much it really hurt to have contractions during transition stage, and I was afraid I'd be stuck in so much pain for next few hours at 5 CM. I did ask for an epidural because of my fear of being stuck at 5 cm, and having to deal with an extreme pain. What I did not realize that I was in transition. A few minutes after I tapped in for an epidural request, I immediately knew Forrest was coming, and ended up being looked at, then be told that it was time to push! Having come from this experience, I realized I now knew what transition felt like, and felt more prepared for the future not to need an epidural. 

The epidural caused me not to feel anything when I needed to push, and I had 3rd degree tearing. I took a couple months to heal completely. -Sarah S. 

The epidural doesn't always work. -Casey T.

I wished that someone had told me that at 8 CM dilated, getting an epidural was not a good idea, because it would have saved me from a lot of issues. -Lauren S. 

I had to remain in magnesium for 2 days, which makes you feel extremely intoxicated. -Ashley A. 

You can throw up from the spinal you get for c-section. -Kristin R.

I was NOT prepared for the spinal tap-related headache, and needing another procedure done to take the blood from my arm to be placed in my spinal area because it was a bitch way worse than actually get the spinal done itself. I was also not prepared for mind over matter thing; my head kept telling my legs to move, but obviously they wouldn't due to spinal for my c-section, and I freaked myself out, and started to have a panic attack, and needed an oxygen mask. -Ashley E. 

I had no idea how much between epidural, and the spinal I had would affect me (being a first time mom). I missed out on several first hours between the drugs, and Logan's blood sugar not stabilizing. Liam's delivery was much easier to handle since I had an idea what would be happening. -Jessica MB.

C-Section.

I did not have a c-section so I asked for ladies, who have gone through this, to help me with this section! Here are their answers: 

For C-section, my feet swelled so big and stayed that way for days. They would "jiggle" when I walked, and I couldn't get any of my shoes on. They said it happens during the surgery. I wish someone would have told me because it was very hard to walk, and it was very uncomfortable. -Nikki

If you go in with the mindset for c-section that it is not going to hurt that bad, and I'm going to do great, and not need many pain pills. It pays off. -Kristin R.

With my C-section, I didn't even get to see my daughter right away. They took her straight from the surgery suite to the attached nursery. There were no complications, and I was really upset. I did get to hold her for a couple minutes before I was taken to recovery for an hour. I had her at 8 pm, and it was almost 10 pm before I can really bond with her. My birth experience was so drastically different than I imagined, and a lot of decisions that were made for me was not what I wanted. Next time, I'll have a Douala to advocate for me. -Athenais P. 

One thing I did not know about after having a c-section was having to wear those things on my legs to prevent from getting any blood clots after having the baby. I wasn't also prepared for the amount of blood that I lost after I went to take my first PP shower. Totally thought I would only bleed like that from a vaginal birth. -Ashley E.

I had wanted a natural birth for my first child, and ended up with a c-section. Initially, I felt like I had failed, and had a sense of loss. I learned later that it's a common reaction for women who have had unplanned c-sections. -Kristina G.

Babies.

Call me silly, but I had no idea that Forrest was going to be born with a misshaped head! I knew he was going to be covered in goo, blood, and junk. The head? I had no idea that babies' head are very pliable in order to fit through the birth canal. It took Forrest about 5 months to finally have nice dome of head. To this day, he still has a small bump on where his head! 

Babies aren't pretty after being delivered. -Casey T. 

My husband was shocked by how much blood came out with the baby. -Sarah 

Babies aren't born pink, and clean. They are born covered in goo, blood, and junk. -Dave N. 

I was surprised at how warped my daughter's head was. I thought a baby would be born with perfect dome. Not my kid. She was a conehead. -Brandon J. 

My husband learned in the birthing class that babies were born purple, and he was freaked out. -Yasmina


Stay tuned for Part 3: Recovery

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 on 7: July


I enjoyed doing 7 on 7 in June so much that I decided I would love to do it again for this month, and hopefully do this once per month! This post is picture heavy so for some of you, the pictures may upload slowly on your computer, and be patient. Enjoy! 














Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I wished I knew: Pregnancy

It has been nearly a year since I delivered Forrest. I remember my pregnancy very fondly. I am one of those ladies who really loved being pregnant, and would gladly be pregnant again! While there are a lot of great things about the whole experience; there are a lot of things I wish that I had known about the whole process: Being pregnant, labor & delivery, and recovery. Because of this, I put a lot of thought, and work into this segment. With help from so many wonderful ladies, who have contributed to my segments, I decided to divide this post into four parts: Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum Depression. 

What I Wished I Had Known About Pregnancy 



You'll transform into a frat boy. 

Seriously. I interacted with a bunch of frat boys during my college years. I dealt with some really crazy stuff in that house! There were smelly, disgusting farts, burping, and belching. Throw in uncontrollably peeing, leaks, and vomiting. Your inner fraternity boy will bloom during your pregnancy!

Morning Sickness. 

While I was very fortunate not to have deal with this while pregnant, I did combat awful migraine headaches, and feeling queasy all day from week 6 until week 13-14. What I was most surprised about was the fact that I had awful headaches. I had anticipated to feel queasy, and maybe throwing up, but never in million years, I would have expected to be seriously debilitated by headaches. 95% of the time, headaches caused me to feel so nauseous, cranky, and tired.   

Morning sickness can last longer than the first trimester and prenatals can make you sick. -Casey T. 

Morning sickness can come back anytime. -Kristin P.

Morning sickness isn't only for the beginning of your pregnancy. It can last the whole pregnancy, and if you can not handle it, tell your doctor. They will be able to help you. Pregnancy suckers don't help (it might for some, but did not for me) with your morning sickness. Figure out what you can eat, and stick to it otherwise you'd throw up all of the time. I was unable to eat any meats til very end of my pregnancy. I had a severe morning sickness for the first six months, and then until month 8, it was every other day. -Ginger A. 

I never realized with morning sickness, you literally felt like shit all the time. I knew it wasn't just in the morning. I knew it could happen at any point through the day/all day, but I guess I thought you'd just throw up without all of the horrible non-stop nausea. -Anonymous

Leaks.

When Forrest became bigger in my womb, his head pressed against my lower abdomen, and it caused awful pressure on my bladder.  I had to learn in a very fast way that if I needed to pee, then I better go right there otherwise I would have dribbled, or spilled all over my pants. There was even some instances where I lost control of my bladder, and peed all over myself! This became increasingly worse as I approached the final few weeks. I finally understood the importance of kegel exercise! 

I had no idea that it would be so hard to control my bladder even before the baby got very big! -Anonymous 

You can leak. Not just pee. Not just water breaking. But any other normal vag fluids. Panty liners help! -Casey T.

You might end up peeing when you throw up. -Kristin P.

I was shocked that my boobs started leaking around month 7. I was prepared for my boobs to leak after I gave birth, but nobody told me that it could START before you deliver your baby! -Anonymous


Exercising. 

My pregnancy with Forrest, I was very active until a week before I gave birth to Forrest, and I was quite glad I remained active for several reasons. It helped me to deal with a lot of bodily aches because exercising encouraged my muscles to loosen up instead of stiffening up. I gained weight slowly, and healthily. I also lost weight quicker after delivery because of my maintenance work-out. I was NO exercise guru. I did not go crazy with work-outs. Actually, I just walked A LOT, and swam laps during the hot summer days.

I was never really told how important it was to exercise during pregnancy. Everyone always made sure I wasn't "overdoing" things so that added to less physical activity. If I were to become pregnant for a third time, I would stay more fit. It is really difficult to work on losing the baby fat afterwards. -Sarah S. 

Round Ligament Pain.

This started very early on for me. I was about 8 weeks along when I started experiencing a lot of shooting, and cramping sensation in my lower abdomen. I worried that it was a bad sign, and later learned that it was a good sign! It meant Forrest was growing! RLP was the worst in first, and third trimesters for me. However, what was even harder than RLP was the rib pain. Forrest's foot/heel was in my ribs the whole time from week 22 until delivery. 

Everyone goes on about glowing whilst pregnant, and etc, but I was so sick in the beginning, then had RLS, and because I had a short torso; I couldn't breath, and eat well. It was terrible. -Yasmina 


Mood Swings.


Oh man, I wished someone HAD cautioned me about rage. The funny thing was, I prepared to become an emotional basketcase from all stories I've heard from others, read, and watched on TV/movies. I was NOT prepared for rage. It hit me in first trimester BEFORE I knew I was expecting. Everything pissed.me.off.badly. Non-pregnant me would have brushed it off, and moved on. Pregnant me? Forget it, I was fuming pissed. Everything set me off. Stu was such a saint to put up with me because everything he did, or said pissed me off! The crazy rage finally did subside as I went further along with my pregnancy, but it did not go away completely. I had NO sympathy for anybody when they came to me with their sob stories. I went from being very calm to raging mad in a second. It was insane

Hormonal rage does exist because I always wanted to bitch slap my doctor for being dumb about my pregnancy. -Sarah

From my husband's perspective, he was shocked at how emotional I became whilst pregnant, and how much of a physical toll my pregnancy took on my body. -Yasmina 

Pregnancy insomnia. 

What annoyed me the most was that people kept telling me that I needed to get all rest I can before Forrest came. Oh really? Like I was not struggling with sleep already???! My huge belly was in the way. I had to get up every to pee or to drink or eat. I felt restless. I was uncomfortable, and hot. Every morning between 2-4 am, Forrest kicked up a storm. Then when it was close for me to deliver Forrest, I was anxious, and lost a lot of sleep that way. Because of this experience, I learned not to ever say "Get all rest you can" to any pregnant woman! 

How are you meant to get a lot of rest before the arrival if you can't sleep to begin with! -Yasmina


Body Changes.

As a pregnant woman, I had so much fun watching my body change. I loved watching my belly grow. I felt beautiful, amazing, and wonderful. It was a humbling experience. However, I did not realize HOW MUCH my body had changed. One of the weirdest changes I had seen was that one of my mole literally grew with my pregnancy. I asked my doctor about it, and she laughed! She explained to me that it was absolutely normal, and it should return to its size after I delivered. It did. I watched my belly button go from being an innie to being very flat. I saw a dark vertical line appear on my belly (called Liner Nigra), and that didn't go away until I was nearly 11 months postpartum. My hair was fabulous! I loved my hair. My skin, oh it glowed, and I looked great. Unfortunately, my hair became brittle, dull, and lost its shine after pregnancy. My skin was like a crazed teen girl breaking out for good four-five months after delivery. It did get better though! 

Your nipples change colors. -Anonymous 

Your belly gets hairy! That was embarrassing!! -Anonymous

How uncomfortable it gets toward the end of pregnancy -Jess

I never knew that you can get itchy nipples. They drove me up the wall during my first trimester. The only thing that helped was using a lotion. -Gracie


Expect your breasts to GROOOOOOOOOOOOW. They may only grow one cup size or they may grow 4, but expect a serious change, and dont' expect them to return to the size they were before. They may shrink, but the shape will be changed. -Patrice 


Doctors don't always know everything. 


Even if you are the first time mom, you know your body the best, and do what is right for you. I had a pretty scary moment over July of 4th while I was pregnant with Forrest. I had not felt him move for 5 hours, and called the hotline through my OB-GYN office. The doctor on the phone was somewhat dismissive, and had very little concern. I ended up telling Stu that I wanted to go in to be checked. Well, as it had turned out, I was contracting, and that caused Forrest not to move as much! I was dehydrated, and needed more fluids. Even though Forrest was doing great, I was glad I went in to be looked at anyway. 

 I wish from the beginning I would have been watched more closely. In hindsight all the concerns and thing I was worried about lead to a lot of complications in the end. Every complaint I had was always written up as 'oh that's just twins pregnancy'. In the end my concerns (my inconsistent blood levels, weird rashes, early contractions that at times were timely, swollen legs, very low weight gain) and a very quick ultra sound given by a tech that seemed preoccupied lead my baby girl going into growth restrictions and causing per term labor at 28 weeks. After being rushed to GB hospital and put on magnesium they were able to stop labor and found that Haven was being growth restricted. So sometime between my last good ultra sound and the ultra sound that left me uneasy which was just days before per term labor something had happened and she had stopped growing. I had ultra sounds every 4 weeks because of multiples. Both babies continued to be monitored 24 hours a day while I was completely bed ridden. At that point they allowed me to go home but with 24 hour supervision and coming back for testing every 3 days. Both babies continued to be active and everything seemed fine but they couldn't do a growth test for 3 weeks to truly know if the twins would need to be delivered or continue carrying. If Haven did not grow significantly they would deliver without choice at 31 weeks. At 31 weeks elaborate testing revealed that Haven completely bounced back, I remained on bedrest to keep them cooking. -Ashley A. 


Stay tuned for Part Two: Labor & Delivery!!! 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

11 Months Old

Dear Forrest,





You are 11 months old! Time has blazed by in the past month. So much changes occurred in you! You have four teeth; two on the bottom, and two on the top! Daddy likes to tease you by calling you Bucky because you have beaver teeth. Fear not, Mama and Daddy still think you look absolutely handsome. You enjoy running your tongue over your teeth as much as you can even though Mama is sure that your tongue is probably feeling a bit rough around the edge these days. You are absolutely fascinated by your new teeth. However, when it is time to show off your teeth, and you suddenly go shy. You won't open your mouth! Silly you, dear boy. Alas, you are currently working on your lateral incisor teeth. They look like they may appear anytime in next two to three weeks!


You are sleeping through the night like a champ! You started doing this around the end of your ninth month, but went back to waking once a night. At first, Mama was not sure why, then your little teeth started erupting through your gums. That was why. Aside from waking once a night from pain, you barely fussed much, and did not appear to be bothered by cutting teeth. You were definitely an amazing teether. Once your teeth broke through, you were back to sleeping through the night. Recently, you begun waking up once a night which signaled that your teeth were on its way to being erupted.

The summer has taken a hot turn. You had to stop taking your naps in your crib upstairs. It was just too hot upstairs. You started napping in the dining room in your playpen where it was cool. Daddy has seen to buying a brand-new AC, and it keeps the entire first floor cool, which was great, because Mama can finally cook on the stove once again.  At the night, you slept in your bedroom just in your diaper with a fan blowing you. All of this worked out until the dreadful heat wave passed. Once it was over, you resumed sleeping in your crib for naps, and sleeping at night without needing fan so close to you. We all survived the crazy heat wave, didn't we?

You sign MORE MORE MORE MORE all of the time. You also know how to sign milk, but doesn't use that sign very often. You know EAT, MAMA, CHANGE, and SLEEP. Mama has been working hard to teach you more signs, and you have not shown much interest in reciprocating yet even though you understand signs very well.


You are still in cloth diapers. You love them, and show preference to them over disposables. Mama loves them too. At the night, you do use disposable (Huggie Overnight 12 hours). You do not mind this as long as it does its job.

You love food! You are exposed to so many different foods that Mama has lost track of what new you've tried this month. You love honeydew melon that Grandpa Dave gave to you recently. You can eat pretty much everything. Your favorite food is sweet potatoes puffs, blueberries, french fries (Mama doesn't give it to you very often, but it doesn't surprise you because it was what she ate a lot while pregnant with you), and blueberries. You have not found a food that you do not like yet. Banana is now back on your menu--you used not to like them, and had a choking episode on it once which scared the wits out of Mama (because you stuffed your face without chewing them, silly boy), and you like them. Mama feels confident you won't stuff your face too much with bananas. You even like taking a bite out of the whole banana that Daddy shares with you. You are not a big vegetable person, but you love string beans, broccoli, and squash. You eat A LOT for a little boy.



You celebrated your first July of 4th, which happened to be Daddy's favorite holiday, and you handled the parade like a perfect little gent. You did not mind the noises very much. What bugged you was the spraying water. You did not like the cold water splashing all over you. Daddy had to shelter you from spraying water. You loved the fireworks! You kicked your little legs, and giggled while you were seated between Uncle Spencer, and Daddy. Then you were baptized on a Sunday. Gosh, you were a ham of the show! You waved, and smiled at the congregation. 

Mama had you enrolled in a swim class called Shrimp Swim Class. You took to the water like a fish. You kicked your legs, and splashed your arms in the water. You loved seeing other babies in the class. You especially so loved all the fun songs that was sung during the class. You smiled, and laughed the whole time. It was a decision well-made to enroll you for the summer swim class (for the month of July).

It will be sad once your swim class ends this upcoming week because you do enjoy water so much, and interacting with other babies.


You are still crawling like a lightning! There is no interest to walk yet. Mama and Daddy have tried prompting you to walk by holding your hands. The first thing you do, when you are in this position, is to plump on your butt, and crawl away as fast as possible! Matter of fact, it is not until yesterday when you finally showed some interest in walking!



You have so much personality. You love to play Peek-A-Boo game with anyone. You enjoy waving your hand. You laugh nasally at anything that amuses you. You enjoy tormenting Turkey, the Basset, on a daily basis, and feeding her your food even though you are not supposed to do this! You throw tantrums when Mama or Daddy tells you no. You love riding in your little car at your Grand-Aunt's house, and you take to water like a little fish. Your favorite book is "Farts in the Wild" given by your cousins this past Christmas! It is your frequent request to read during the day. You clap your hands at everything that amuses you. It is amazing to watch your personality emerge, and getting to know who you are.



Mama has begun weaning you from nursing since you are down to 4 nursing sessions a day, and 4 am nursing session. Mama has done a lot of talking, and researching about weaning. She has decided that supplementing you with formula is going to be the most effective way to gradually drop her milk supply, and to introduce cow's milk to you. It is a work in progress because you are not a big fan of formula, and prefer to be nursed instead. Granted, you've only begun drinking very little of formula this recent week. Mama is looking into ways to make this process easier on you, and herself. She is hoping that you'll be down to just two nursing sessions by your first birthday.

You are starting to look more and more like a boy instead of a baby. It is amazing to see you grow. Mama and Daddy stands over your crib at the night while you're sleeping, and marvels at how big you've gotten. Time goes way too quickly for their liking, but time does fly while you are having fun.

Your first birthday is coming up. Mama is eager for your one year old pictures, and has been stocking up on cute outfits you can wear! The theme is farming! Mama has been practicing on making a smash cake for you. She thinks it is more meaningful that way if she made you a cake. The first cake she made turned out pretty good! The second cake tasted as equally good, but the icing remained to be a tough one to work with!


Mama and Daddy are planning for your first birthday party which will be a low-key event at home. It is hard to believe that you will be a year old in a month from today. Mama still remembers the day when you were born. You are an incredible blessing, and have changed your parents' lives for so much better.

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Love,
Mama & Daddy


Friday, July 19, 2013

Is Calling a Deaf Person a Hearing Impaired Offensive?

I came across to a great conversation recently about using terms that are thought to be acceptable when it is not. It amazed me how so many hearing folks viewed using this term, hearing impaired, to describe a Deaf person, to be acceptable. However, I did not blame them. Hearing people did not know it was an offensive term. They sincerely thought that since it was a politically correct term then it was acceptable to call a Deaf person hearing impaired. 

Well, folks, let me tell you. 



Calling a Deaf person hearing impaired is offensive. It is a slur. It is as bad as calling a black person a nigger. 

Huh? Why? Doctors, audiologists, and those in professional fields do use the term hearing impaired to describe a Deaf/HOH person. You even see that term showing up in the closed captioning at the end of the film, and even on some DVDs menu list for subtitles feature. You may have met some folks, with a hearing loss, referring themselves as hearing impaired. It confuses you to learn that hearing impaired is considered a slur in the Deaf world. 

The medical field uses the term, hearing impaired, very loosely. It is a generalization to slump all degrees of hearing loss into one large group. A hearing loss is a hearing loss to the professionals in the medical field. They do not view a hearing loss as a cultural thing. They view it as a condition to be examined, to be fixed, and to be cured. Unfortunately, this translates into an attitude that something is wrong with a Deaf/HOH person. 

Since the medical field uses hearing impairment as a generalization, the society unknowingly adopts the term without really understanding the implication that lies within the term, and applies to the everyday living situations. It should not have happened this way....but it did. That was why you saw the term, hearing impaired, to describe a Deaf or a HOH person. Sometimes, it showed up in the endorsement for captioning at the end of the film or on the DVD subtitle menu. 

Then there are some people, with hearing loss, that does call themselves hearing impaired. They are often people, who became Deaf or obtain hearing loss at later time in their lives. They are the elderly, adults, or even older teenagers. Sometimes, you'll meet some Deaf people that calls themselves hearing impaired. They come from backgrounds that does not promote confidence with their hearing loss, and does not view Deafness as cultural. They don't see anything wrong with using the term, hearing impaired, to reference to themselves. While it is not their fault, and certainly their choice to want label themselves this way; it does also promote the society to continue to use the term to apply to those who DOES not want to label themselves as hearing impaired. Many hearing people use hearing impaired because they have not met or does not know any Deaf person, who happens to be culturally Deaf. 

More often than not, I am the only Deaf person that many of my hearing friends know. I am pretty sure that many hearing folks do not know anybody who is culturally Deaf, and they are more likely to know someone with a hearing loss. Hence, they use the term, hearing impaired, unknowingly. 

When someone comes up to me, and says, oh you're hearing impaired? I internally cringe, and withhold a loud sigh. I try not to lash out or be rude because I know the person is, 95% of the time,  making a honest mistake without any intention to be a jerk. I correct the person by explaining it is better to say DEAF or Hard of Hearing or simply just ask first! 

Hearing Impaired is a vile term because it indicates that we have a problem. The thing is, us Deaf and HOH people don't view our hearing loss as a problem. We never have. We are proud. We are happy. We are content with the fact that we do not hear. It may seem strange to a hearing person. After all, who doesn't want to hear? There are barriers in a life of a Deaf/HOH person. Why be proud of that? By focusing on that, the hearing person is missing out on the bigger picture. 



Sure, we do wonder what it is like to hear or for some of us, to be able to hear or have a normal hearing again. Yes, we are sick of barriers, and obstacles in our lives. But, our hearing loss is a blessing. We have a rich, beautiful, and dynamic culture. We have our language. We have our arts, music, and theater. We have our norms. We have our rules. We have our set of culture obligations that we appreciate, and love. 

There is nothing better than meeting someone that says, hey, you're Deaf? Me too! The connection we have among our people is beautiful, and amazing. I get emails all of the time from other Deaf and HOH folks or even interpreters, or CODA/SODA, and so many more telling me that they appreciate this connection that Deaf world have. 

Yes, we feel that we do not have a problem. 

And using the term, Hearing Impaired, says that we do. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Busy July Thus Far


It has been a busy July for us thus far. It feels like we have not had a weekend at home yet! Whew. The first weekend was a holiday, and we were gone. Then this past weekend, we went down to my hometown to visit my side of the family. It was a really good visit--one of those visits that you had so much fun that you just forgot about your camera because you were too busy living in the moment, and before you knew it, it was time to go home. 

Forrest had so much fun riding in the little car, playing on his slide, and chilling in the kiddie pool. It was nice to have family together to spend time, and hang out. Matter of fact, Alex (my brother), and Stu conspired to pull a trick on me. Alex took Forrest out of the kiddie pool, and Stu threw me into it fully clothed. Ha ha ha. Very funny. Luckily for me, my other brother, Luke, came out blazing with water gun, and avenged me. Good time. 

We also spent time with Dad, and Jess. I loved our downtime with them, and just talk. Forrest was such a ham, and loved being with Grandpa Dave. I ended up getting a great book from Jess about canning. So excited about that! My goal was to can something this summer, and darn it, I was going to do it! It was really awesome seeing Dad's garden that Dad and Jess worked so hard on especially the grapes! It was very cool to see the grape arbor, and seeing tiny buds of green growing on the vine. It made me look forward to having some of their grape jelly, and some other delicious cans of fruits and vegetables this coming fall!

The weather has gotten a turn to being very hot, and humid. It is hard to believe that just a week ago, it looked like this:


This was taken at our local Pick N Save food store! It was a really crazy moment because the rain just poured out of nowhere, and before we knew it, the roads were flooded! Forrest, and I had to patiently ride the storm out, and waited until it stopped lightning outside before we were able to tread through the lake to get into the food store. By the time we got out of the food store, the water was gone, and everything was cleared to go for driving. It was a dream. Thank goodness for this picture from my phone otherwise I would not have believed that this ever happened!

Our house is not equipped with a central air, and we haven't gotten a window unit AC. We are living just in front of fans, and trying to stay cool. Poor Layla literally melts onto the ground, and is spending all of her free time laying on tile floor. I feel bad for her. As for us humans, we are getting by just fine, and we are realizing that we can't just "wing it" anymore. We will have to end up getting AC soon. It looks like we will be battling yet another hot summer this year. 

It is kind of funny because back in May, I was wishing feverishly that we would have hot weather because I was jealous of all my south buddies that were enjoying beautiful warm weather, and now I was like...ugh, this hot weather can go away. 

Forrest will be turning 11 months old on Sunday. I can't believe that my little bug will be a year old so soon. I'm not ready for this!!! I will make up for my sadness by shopping online for a little straw farmer hat, and bow tie with the suspenders. Ha ha. Nothing that little retail therapy can't fix. I am really excited though. Forrest is going to have his year old picture taken by Michelle, the very same person who took pictures of Forrest when he was 2 weeks old, and it will be fantastic! I plan on doing a trial run this weekend to make a smash cake for Forrest. I'm hoping it will turn out okay. I am usually a great baker. So we will see!

August will be a crazy busy month for us as well. We have a family reunion on the first Sunday of August, then Forrest's pictures on Monday afternoon-evening. Stu will be starting football coach job the following week, I believe, and then we are having Forrest's first birthday bash party on the 17th of August! After that, Stu will be going back to school to teach. It feels like this summer is going way too fast. I'm glad we are able to do some things on the bucket list. There are a couple that I have not done yet, but the summer isn't quite over yet. So I have time. 

Well, I better get going and tidy up the place a bit before Mary-Kay consultant comes over! I'm getting a free facial this afternoon! Rock on!!! SO I leave you with a cute picture of Forrest from Bay Beach Amusement Park that we went last Wednesday to meet up with other Deaf mommies for the day! 



Thursday, July 11, 2013

TMI, Oversharing?



In the hearing world, we cringe when we read Facebook statues that shared too much, we roll our eyes when someone divulges a piece of information to us that we really don't need to know, and we sigh exasperatedly when someone blogs about a personal tidbit in depth. 

In the Deaf world, it is perfectly acceptable to share things that may not normally shared in the hearing world, and to some, it can be a shock. I can count more than fingers on my hands how many times a Deaf person or even myself share things in depth. We talk about anything ranging from mild insignificant thing to very detailed story that can cause a blush on a nun's face. 

Because I grew up in the hearing world, and later became involved with the Deaf world, I find it amusing when I sit back, and talk with my Deaf friends in a company with some hearing friends because I like seeing reaction on the hearing friends' faces especially if they are not exposed to Deaf culture. Sometimes, they are surprised at how outrageous things can become in a conversation. Actually, to us, it's not that outrageous. 

Hearing Conversation: 

Hearing Person #1: I am so unhappy with my boss.
Hearing person #2: Why?
HP #1: He made me stay for the late shift to clean up. I was tired, and just wanted to go home. There was a huge mess everywhere. I don't get it why my boss didn't ask my co-worker to do it? I was about to take off. My co-worker was still working, and he could have done it.  
HP #2: Oooh, that's too bad.

 Deaf conversation: 

Deaf Person #1: I am so pissed at my boss. He's such an ass! 
Deaf person #2: Why is he an ass?
DP #1: I had to stay late last night to clean up. There was chunky green vomit everywhere in the bathroom. Man, it stunk in there. I was tired. I worked hard all day, and I just wanted to go home. My time was up. My co-worker was still on clock so why didn't my boss ask him? 
DP #2: That really blew. Why was vomit everywhere?
DP #1: Someone must have gotten drunk and didn't make it to the toilet on time. I had to rinse out of that mop full of vomit. Damn. That reminded me of the time when we went out, and you got really sick. Remember that? 
DP #2: Oh yes!!! I threw up everywhere. Ha ha ha ha! 
DP #1: That! 
DP #2: Damn, I feel bad for you. Your boss is an ass for sure. 

There you go. Deaf people have a tendency to add stories within the stories. It is a part of our communication style. We are not the only culture that does this. Matter of fact, Black culture does the same thing. I can't speak for other cultures because I am not sure if they do this as well. Anyway, it adds depth and richness to what we are talking about. 

Stu, my husband, when he first met me; he did struggle a bit with this because I can go off the track talking about other things that are somewhat pertaining to the situation I described in the first place, then I will eventually tie up the story to the current situation I am talking about, and it can take awhile to finish! Stu asked me once why I felt a need to do this, and I explained to him that it was not a need that I needed to do, but rather it was to bring more content to the story. It was why Deaf people could easily lose track of time, and talk for hours at end. Nothing was really held back. Everything was said, and shared. 

It is funny because like I mentioned earlier, I grew up in the hearing world so I adopted a lot of hearing attitude, and norms then I was all of the sudden put in the Deaf world. I thought to myself that Deaf people had no social filter, and did not know how to share information appropriately. I was embarrassed for them. Ah, how silly I was. In fact, I should have been embarrassed for myself for feeling this way! 

Now I understand how both worlds work, and I find it interesting how social filter boundaries change in both cultures. In Deaf culture, the boundary is a lot looser to bring more content to the story while hearing people are more simplistic with what they have to say especially to people they don't know well, and the hearing people are more prone to share more information with people they trust. Deaf people can be completely strangers, and have met for the first time, and share everything right there.

For example, yesterday I was at Deaf mom group gathering, and I was talking about breastfeeding struggles I had with a woman whom I have just met that day! Would have I done this with a hearing person if I had not known that person well? Most definitely no. 

Why? Because the boundaries are different. The norms are different. The attitude is different. If I had talked about my struggles with breastfeeding with a hearing woman, whom I have just met, and is a stranger to me then you can bet that woman will be eyeballing at me like What..The...? 

Yet...if this hearing woman is my friend, whom I have known for awhile, and I am talking to her about this same topic then it's fine. 

Yet with a Deaf person, we are having a conversation, and the topic can be about anything. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. It doesn't matter if the person is someone I have just met 5 minutes ago, or someone I've known for years, and years. 

Sometimes, the rules can be confusing especially to someone, who is very culturally Deaf and isn't exposed very much to the hearing world, and this Deaf person may come across as being very abrasive and inappropriate. In reality, she/he is just operating from Deaf culture values when it comes to sharing information. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

July of 4th Weekend


We had a really big weekend recently over the 4th! We attended a friend's cookout on the 4th, and met their beautiful baby. Their baby was so tiny. It threw me back to those days from when Forrest was a baby, and I marveled at how tiny newborns were. I had forgotten how small  newborn babies were. It had been a long time since Forrest was that small. It definitely tugged at my heart a bit to see their beautiful baby. It was a time enjoyed by all at the cookout. After the cookout, we drove up north to the Farm for the weekend. Forrest slept for the most part, which was awesome, and we arrived late in the night. Forrest was full of piss and vinegar, despite the late hour, and entertained his grandparents for awhile before going to a very late bed time. 


Friday was a day to just relax, and enjoy the moment, which was something I needed. I took several snapshots of the farm while Forrest, and I walked around the farm with Stu. Later that evening, Stu helped his mom (Grandma B) around the yard. Soon, everybody pitched in to clean up the yard for the brunch on Sunday. The day was ended by relaxing in front of a pit-fire, and eating S'Mores. It was something hypnotizing to watch fire pop, crackle, and roar as the dusk slowly slipped into the darkness. I could feel stress literally melt away with the darkening sky, and breathed in the aroma of melting marshmallows roasting over the fire. 


Saturday morning was met with bushy-eyed folks gearing up for a run/walk 5K race. Forrest was strapped up in his running stroller as his parents prepped for a run, and he was great the whole time! And no, he did not lose his sock this time around (Back story: At our first 5K run-walk event, Forrest chucked his sock over his shoulder, and we missed it. Fortunately, Ripon College mailed it to us, and the sock was back in our hands!). I jogged evenly with Stu's pace, and we were in a perfect concord. The sun slowly came out, and boy, the heat was getting to me. The first 5K we did was on a cloudy cool day so it was not hard to deal with the weather factor. This time around was difficult because of the heat, and sun, but with Stu's support, and Forrest cheering us on; I was able to overcome the heat exhaustion, and kept running. I did pretty well for an inexperienced runner. I kept putting one foot over other, and stubbornly chugged on until we crossed the finished line! I did it with help from Stu, and Forrest! 


After 5K run, we returned to the Farm to quickly wash up, cool down, and hydrate ourselves while our little guy napped. Once he was up, we went to the downtown to watch the Parade. Before it began, we had to
pick up yummy home-made salt and vinegar fries (so good, yum yum), and Forrest even had some. He loved it! We checked out a local market happening nearby, and we were prompted to try Virgin tomato juice. I loved it so much that I had to buy a jar of tomato juice from the vendor. Suddenly, it was time to join our family, taking a shelter from the heat in the shade, and watch the parade! We rooted on Grandpa Mike while he marched with his fellow legion, ahhed over cool old-time cars, and ducked away from spraying water (Forrest didn't like to be sprayed on very much). 




After the parade was over, Forrest took yet another quick nap with his Mama (I was tired), and felt refreshed enough to join rest of our family at the Pig Roast for Spankerel Fest! The pig was great, and the company was even better. After a fun-filled evening, we put Forrest down for yet another quick nap--he was such a trooper with all the crazy sleeping, and waking schedule that day--and woke him up around 9 pm to watch the fireworks! Forrest had fun watching the fireworks, and kicked his little chub legs while he sat with his Daddy, and Uncle Spencer. I was really proud of Forrest for doing so well--he got a bit fussy toward the end, but it was as to be expected seeing it was nearly 10:30 pm! It was the latest he had ever been up in his whole life! 




On Sunday, we got up for Forrest's baptism. Forrest did great, and was a ham of the show. Everybody loved seeing him. Forrest was hilarious! As soon as we went up on the platform, Forrest began waving at the congregation, and laughed as people reacted at him waving. It was so precious. I wish someone had taken a video of him waving because it was his newest trick of the week--to wave at people, and snort in his nasal way of laughter. Pastor Lin did a great job performing Baptism, and Forrest was remarkably good. We were so proud of our little guy! 




After Baptism, we had a brunch, and enjoyed great food.  We were thankful for a wonderful company who came out to see Forrest, and spent time with us. Grandma B did a great job of prepping food. It was a great way to conclude our long, busy, and fun-filled weekend! After the brunch was done, we packed up my Jeep, and headed home. The traffic was a bit snarly so it took us awhile to get home. On the way down, Stu, and I looked at each other, and silently spoke through our eyes that it was a really wonderful weekend. 


Monday, July 1, 2013

What We Have Been Up to These Days


I got this great cloth diaper from http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarrotTopBottoms

It has been quiet around here. Time simply got away from me. Stu attended a conference for his work, and it left me playing a single mother for a few days. Forrest was a great kid, like always, and it was a joy being with him. While Forrest was easy to take care of, I still ended up exhausted at the end of the day from not being able to sit down much, and when I sat down, I was not relaxing. I was busy doing something. After a thousandth If You are happy, and You know it, Clap your Hands song,It made me appreciate Stu's help around the house, and even more, I appreciated single mothers out there. I commend them, and their hard work raising their children. 

Before Stu left for the conference, I decided to try my luck once again through Craiglist to find a running stroller, and was armed not to find any new advertisements. The last attempt was a bust. Because of that, I expected the second time around to be a bust as well. Lady Luck was on my side, and I found three potential running strollers. I liked two out of three, but I contacted all three sellers, and only two got back to me. I only liked one of the two running strollers, and I had really hoped to get the one I liked. The other option was a bit flimsy. With Stu's approval, I negotiated the price, and finally got it down to the price we could afford. Stu contacted the seller, and agreed to meet with him on the way up to the conference to pick it up. I was really excited! And just in time for July 4th 5k race too!

I spent my time sewing, and watching the Lord of the Rings movies (I need to go back to the book, and finish it for once and all, geez) during Forrest's nap times, and his bedtime. Then I started Harry Potter series. I didn't feel like blogging, or being on the computer very much during this time period. I needed a break from technology. Sometimes, we need that, don't we? 

We were so happy when Stu got back. We missed him! We decided to check out the Alumni events at Ripon College, and decided to spontaneously  sign up for 5k race for the following day. It was not very often that we did something so spontaneously. It was fun. 5K run/walk race was fun. I felt very accomplished even though my butt was not happy. It was so sore, dang it. Who knew that muscles in the places you didn't know exist would be hurting so much! I loved the running stroller. Forrest was kind of small in it so we had to tighten the straps all way in for him to be secure. He did not complain at all. The running stroller moved smoothly, and in concord with our pace. The only bad thing about it was that maneuvering the stroller for turning was harder than the regular stroller due to its front wheel being locked. It was not a big deal though. At least, it prepared us to know what to do for our July of 4th 5k race. 



Stu, and I finally finished the Big Love, and the ending was rather unexpected, but it was a good closure to the series. Now we had Lost, Tudors, and Big Love out of the way, we decided that we would like to start Son of Anarchy, and go from there

Watching TV series always has been our thing ever since we started living together. If you have a great TV series to recommend then feel free to share with me. We are always looking for good TV series to add to our queue on Netflix. 

June has really flown by. It's crazy. I can't believe that July of 4th is this week. Wow. It will be a fun weekend for us. We are planning on going up north. Hopefully, I will get a chance to meet up with one of my friends while she is visiting the area up there as well. It will be Forrest's first parade and fireworks! Let's hope the weather cooperates. Then Forrest will be getting his first haircut with a courtesy of Grandma B. Then he will get baptized on Sunday. It should be nice. On next Monday, we are starting our first swim class through Y! I'm really excited for Forrest to start swimming because I started around at his age as well! 

I am already planning Forrest's first birthday bash. We are going to have a low-key event with family, and friends. It should be fun. Forrest is doing great despite growing teeth. He is starting to have a set of chompers already! Because of this, he has not been sleeping the best lately, and we are hoping that teething pain will eases up to give Forrest some relief. He has been a trooper though, and rarely cries. He amazes me. 

I am not sure if I will have a chance to blog before we go up north for July of 4th. I will try to sneak in a post before the holiday!