Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We wore RED for LOVE

Yesterday, we wore red for love. We live in time and age that our country seems to believe that there is a limitation to love. To them, love have boundaries, and rules, which is something I do not understand, and believe in. You know the secret? The real love, I mean, true profound love, really does not come with any preconceived meanings, and hidden agendas. It just is. Love doesn't discriminate. Love doesn't test, manipulate, and twist things. Love is not even complicated. It is quite simple. So frighteningly simple that it scares some individuals. 

Love is not blind. Love knows. 

Falling in love just happens. It swells, and swells, and swells to such impossible magnitude that it can be overwhelming. It can be scary. Then it becomes exhilarating, and beautiful. Suddenly, it becomes something you have to stand up for, and fight for. On contrary to the popular belief, love is not blind. It does not randomly selects. Love hits you out of nowhere. 

Maybe love is that handsome dark-skinned man sitting across the room, looking at you with his brown eyes, and  the fact that your skin is a different color does not frazzle him. 

Maybe love is that very moment when you birthed your first child; your little squirmy baby screaming, and crying as she is being placed on your heaving chest, and you look up at your partner with an awe, silently thinking, we are family now.

Maybe love is your very best friend laughing, and holding you around your shoulders, and not caring about how you dress, how you talk, how you look simply because you are her best friend. 

Maybe love is when a friend comes over after your failed IVF treatment, cleans the house without any prompting from you, cooks you dinner, and listens to you while you are crying for a child you have yet to conceived, wondering what is wrong with your body, whether if your husband still loves you, and what to do next. 

Maybe love is the act of letting go of someone. It hurts you so deeply to let go, but you know it is for the best especially for the person you love. 

Maybe love is when you realize that the person standing just inches away from you is beautiful, and you want to be with him, and the fact that you are a man does not scare him either. 

Maybe love is standing up to a big play-yard bully for a person, who is constantly being picked on, and you really don't know that person that well...matter of fact, maybe that person is a stranger to you, yet you just have to stand up for that person. 

Maybe love is when you fall in love with someone, marry, and still treat her/his children as your own. 

Maybe love is when you reveal your sexual orientation to someone you care, you are feeling very vulnerable and scared, and then only to discover that person really don't care about your sexuality because that is only a small part of who you are, still love you for you, and still wants to be your close friend. 

Maybe love is rescuing an old dog at the pound, knowing that her years may be numbered, but that is okay because you just want to give her a good home for those remaining few years. 

Maybe love is in the act of teaching even though you work long thankless hours at end for not enough pay, even if the kids are unruly, and unappreciative, even when sometimes some parents give you a hard time, and struggling with ever-changing politics that impacts your job. 

Maybe love is when you, while what is happening may not align with your beliefs, show love, and tolerance toward someone else who may be different from you. 

Maybe love is you learning someone else's language simply because you want to get know that person a bit better. 

Maybe love is holding your terminally ill wife's hand, and whispering in her ear how much you love her while you are desperately wishing to have more time with her, and staying with her until the very end so she won't be afraid. 

Yes, that's love. There are many different types of love, and there is no specific way to love. It just is. This is why it makes me sad to have my son to live in such place where someone tries to dictate what love is.

I do not want to have to be the one to sit down with my son one day, and tell him that there are laws in place that prevents him from loving whoever he desires to. I do not want him to grow up thinking it is okay to have those laws in the place. I do not want him to question why it is okay to be married for 72 hours, then have the marriage to be annulled, or it is okay to be married for ten years, and get divorced, yet it is not okay to marry someone who happens to be the same sex as you are. I do not want to have to continue fight twenty years from now to change a law dictating marriage. 

I want my son to be able to open the history book, and see the day when Marriage Equality Act is put in the place, then shake his head, and say, "I'm glad that it is not the problem we have today. Those people back then...what were they thinking?" 

Just like how I used to look at my history textbook, and shake my head at the fact that interracial marriage was once unacceptable because it was ridiculous, and no-brainer that everybody should be with everybody that they loved.

I won't be posting until next week. We are heading up north to Farm to celebrate Easter, and I'm going to take advantage of this time to "unplug" from life. I'll be back before you know it! Have a great Easter! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sleep Training: Your Kid Will be Messed Up No Matter What

Crying it Out method can elicit a variety of responses from parents. It is disrespectful to your baby, does not solve any underlying sleep problems, causes more stress than good, damage the baby's self-esteem, and ruins the trust. Or it is a life-saver for you as a parent by giving you much-needed relief, teaches the baby to self-soothe, the baby sleeps longer at the night, and go to bed easier after being sleep-trained.

If you aren't doing CIO, then you must be a weak, soft-hearted, and wimpy parent who can't handle hearing her/his baby cry. If you are doing CIO, then you must be a cruel, cold-hearted, and cruel parent who does not care for her/his baby. There's no win-win situation in pleasing anyone when it comes to sleep training your baby.

When Forrest was 4 and half months old, we transitioned him to his crib in the nursery for naps, and bedtime. We had no clue how to establish a bedtime routine for Forrest. For some reason, nap time was easy. Forrest had no problem sleeping in his crib for his naps. As for bed, I figured I was going to wing it somehow, and see how it went. I placed him in his crib while he was sleeping from being nursed, and I took a step back. Wow, that was easy. Not even half hour later, a screaming cry came from his nursery! I went back to check on him, and rocked him to sleep. Then I silently tiptoed to his crib, put him down, and snuck out of his nursery. Forrest must had a little sensory radar in his brain because the minute I stepped out, he started crying which quickly escalated into a screaming fit. Guilt quickly set in. Perhaps I was being too rash with transitioning him to the crib? 

Stu, and I really tried to stuck it out the first night. After nearly 5 hours of Forrest crying, and screaming, and checking on him to assure him that he was fine; we were exhausted, and wanted some sleep. We ended up returning Forrest to our bedroom to co-sleep with us. So much for consistency.

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The reaction I had gotten from mommies was crazy. I was told that I was too wimpy. Not consistent enough. We should have stuck it out. Or I got "I told you so" from mommies, who were anti-cry it out method, and they snatched my situation to use it as an example why it was so vile to attempt sleep training. I rolled my eyes at the reactions. No matter what we will do, we will mess up our kid somehow.......

A week later after traveling for Christmas, we attempted it again with Forrest, and it was miserable especially so for me. I ended up sleeping with Forrest in my arms in a rocking chair for many nights in a row. My neck was stiff. My back was sore. I worried that Forrest was going to end up burrowing against my chest, and get suffocated. I envied Stu for sleeping in our cozy bed, and resented him a bit for not holding Forrest at the night in order to have him to sleep. It was ludicrous, I know. He was working full-time, and I was just a stay at home mom. I had a bit more flexibility than he did. Besides, he was more than willing to jump in help if I had cried help. 

Sleep deprived, and exhausted; I began to research on methods to sleep train Forrest, and decided to do this step-by-step. We were planning on staying up late anyway, so it might as well be a good time as any to do it once again. It was difficult that night. My monitor went off, and shook with building intensity timing with Forrest's screaming cries. I checked on him every subsequent five minutes to assure him, and gave him kisses then left the room. He finally settled down around eleven pm, and we tucked ourselves in the bed for the night.

Sleep training Forrest was easy. He cried a lot initially, and we checked on him every subsequent 5 minutes to assure him. He quickly learned that if he was crying for sake of crying then we were not coming. Forrest was able to teach himself how to self-soothe, and it became easier for all of us. I finally got to sleep in my own bed! The bedtime got pushed back half hour every night until we hit 7 pm. We decided 7 pm was a great time for him to go to bed. It took us maybe a full week for Forrest to get used to going bed, and learning that crying was for necessity instead of attention.

For about 2 months, I didn't sleep well because I was checking on Forrest frequently.  I really missed having my little guy next to our bed.  Forrest was also going through four-month sleep regression, growth spurt, and an adjustment period. I woke up with jolt in the middle night while panicking to not see Forrest next to me or the monitor went off, and it startled me for a moment. I had to get used to relying on the monitor, and put faith in the Man Upstairs that everything was well with Forrest.

Gradually, it became easier for all of us, and I found that I began sleeping much better once Forrest got through his adjustment period. While I loved to co-sleep with Forrest, I really did not get much rest because I was always conscious of him being near. I didn't get that deep sleep, and a part of my brain was always awake. Once Forrest was in his nursery, that part of my brain finally shut off, and I was able to sleep.

In past month or so, our bedtime routine looks very much like this:

6:30 pm: Diaper change, massage, read a story, and jammies being put on.
6:40 pm: Nurse
6:55 pm: Bed time

Forrest goes to sleep with no problem these days for bed/naps. He knows that once I turn on the music, it means nap time, and I am very consistent with his sleeping schedule.Very rarely, I will change his sleeping schedule, and plan the day around his naps/bedtime.

At bed time, I do not ignore his cries, or wait 5 minutes to check on him anymore because Forrest goes to sleep right away. These days, he only cries when he needs a diaper change, is hungry, or is in pain. So, I go in and see what is the problem then fix it, and make sure Forrest is comfortable before leaving the room.  I rely on my monitor to see whether he's crying, or just tossing and turning. Most of the time, 1-2 vibrations means he is just tossing and turning. More than 2-3 vibrations, he is crying, and needs me.

Occasionally, Forrest does cry a lot for nap time, and won't settle; I usually let him cry to sleep after making sure he was clean, and warm. I know he is just super overtired, and is fighting sleep very hard. If I go in and check on him too much while he is doing this then it will make his crying worse. So I blog, and wait. Then I go in, usually ten minutes later, and I find him fast asleep.

Crying it out method has worked for us. I do plan on using this for our future kids. I don't find that it is harmful at all. We do it properly, and wisely. We do not "abandon" Forrest. We love him, and take a very good care of him. In no way that I am damaging him. Forrest is a happy boy, and is well adjusted baby. For any judgment that is being passed on to me, I know no matter what I do; I will mess up my kid somehow. You know why? Here's a little chart for giggles: 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cloth Diapering Friday: Prepping & Getting Started

We've been cloth diapering for some time now. I am really happy that we made the switch! I absolutely love Charlie Banana line. It is soft to touch, and is not super bulky at all. My little guy has little butt, and tiny waist, but chubby thighs so it can make it a bit difficult to find quite exact fit. Charlie Banana diapers fit really well, and is comfortable for Forrest. I also like Bumgenius 4.0, but I find it is a bit annoying to have fold the large insert to make it fit inside the pocket. So those two are my to go pocket diapers. I still definitely do not like AIO Thiristies (same one as pictured down below). It is just pain; yes it is easier to just slap it on without stuffing or laying down the insert inside the cover, but it is bulky, and takes FOR-EVER to dry. 

The prep work was a lot of work, I won't lie. I washed my diaper covers once with Rock N Green detergent, then hung them up to dry. I preferred it to be dried on a drying rack instead of throwing it in the dryer. Technically, I could have if I wanted to as long as it was tumbled on very low setting, and I didn't want to risk ruining the PUL (waterproof fabric that you find on the cloth diapers). It took half day to dry the pocket diapers, and about a day and half for AIO. 

Keep in the mind. I live in Wisconsin. It is cold outside--about average between 20 to 30 degrees, and it plays a factor in drying the cloth diapers, okay. In the summer, I hope to hang the covers, and inserts outside on the line. Then I can tell you how long it gets them dry during Wisconsin summers. 

For the inserts, I washed them accordingly the direction on Charlie Banana website, which was to wash them in cold water, and dry the inserts on low in the drying machine. I did this six times! It was to open up the pores inside them, and help them to enhance their absorbency. It was honestly not that bad because I knew pre-washing, and prepping them was only one-time thing. 

It was a bit awkward at first because I was so new to it. I was not sure when Forrest needed to be changed. His poop didn't smell as bad in cloth diapers. I was struggling a bit to put everything together, and put it on Forrest. Once I got a hang of it, it became easier, and I was able to do it with an ease. I checked Forrest when I felt he needed to be changed. Blow-outs were easily contained, and did not leak out. Trust me, that guy had a lot of poop quality ever since he started eating solid purees 2x a day! I was pleasantly impressed at how well the diaper contained the poop. It was not even bad to remove the soiled diaper off Forrest. I simply ran water on the soiled diaper to get excess off, and threw it in the wet bag for the washing day. 

I already saw an immediate difference from using disposables, and cloth diapers. Forrest's bum appeared to be less irritated, and he didn't fight or wiggle like crazy when I put a cloth diaper on him yet when I use disposables (at night); Forrest's bum turned red, and he fought to have it put on him. 

The stash I had was not enough to last us two days. I only had 10 cloth diapers on the hand to test, and experiment with. I didn't want to buy specific brand in a bulk to only find that I hated them. Fortunately, I did end up loving Charlie Banana line, and planned on buying more of them!

I'm really glad that we made the switch. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

7 months old!

Dear Forrest, 

You are now seven  months old. Mama can't believe that you are rapidly approaching your first birthday. It brings tears to her eyes just because Mama is a big sap like that. She still can remember the day she delivered you, then held you in her arms, and how your eyes met Mama's eyes for the very first time. 

Mama is already brainstorming for ideas to do for your first birthday! She is hoping that she can secure a wonderful photographer, the very same one who did your newborn photo shoot, to do your first birthday pictures. She is collecting ideas for picture poses, cute outfits, and suggestions for your pictures. Mama is probably way too excited about your first birthday more than you are. 

At your six month check-up, you were measured to be at 26 and half inches long, and that put you in the 44 percentile among your peers. You grew only an inch since your last doctor visit in January. Even so, you were still pretty tall for your age! Mama was so sure that you had to be in 20-pound range given with how her arms have been feeling these days by carrying you. She was surprised to learn that you were only 19 pounds! You were put in 68% among your peers in weight, and height other words, you were a bit bigger than average! The biggest surprise of all was your head measurement. Now, Mama has never been that focused on your head measurement, yet this one threw a curve at her. Your head was measured to be at 45.5 CM...and get this, Dr. Johnson put you in 87 percentile. When Daddy read the report chart after Mama handed it over to him, he burst out laughing, and replied, "Our boy is short, stocky, and has a big head!" 

You are now eating twice a day! Once in mid-morning between 10:00 to 11:00 am, and once in the evening between 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Sweet Potato is still your favorite. You are still hating on pears even if they are mixed with rice cereal that Mama made from scratch. You are not crazy about rice cereal, and prefer oatmeal. You absolutely love yogurt! You pig out on that with every chance you get! You even try to grasp on the spoon, and feed yourself every time Mama feeds you. What Mr. Independent you are. You definitely DO NOT like carrots. You make faces, and spit them out or obligingly eat it while pouting.  Mama continues to experiment by making new food for you to try, and sample!

Despite trying new food, your favorite source of food continues to be boob milk, and you start nursing less especially at the night. You are able to sleep from 6:45-7 pm until 5 am with one nursing session in the between. It is really  nice especially for your parents! During the day, you nurse every 4 hours instead of 2-3. It continues to be Mama's favorite time because she gets to spend quiet time with you for 10 minutes at most. You are definitely a distracted nurser because you have to check out everything around you, and it can make nursing sessions a bit difficult! Fortunately Mama has a trick up her sleeve; she wears fun necklace for you to pull and grab at so you can focus on eating. Mama can't believe that she has made to 7 months with you. It is making the year goal much more feasible now!

You are able to sit up unassisted longer and longer each time. You are able to sit up for half hour before toppling over, or lose interest in it and crawl instead.  You are able to army crawl now!  You are beginning to drag yourself by your elbows. Your grand-aunt, Ro, has decided to call you a seal because you look absolutely like a seal flopping on the land. You are still trying to figure out how to work your legs. Sometimes, you stick your booty in the air, and shake it, but to no avail. You give up, and drag yourself by your elbows. Even so, crawling may come to you early! While this may be all exciting and fun to you to be able to crawl, mama is dreading it because she will be chasing after you everywhere, and who needs a gym to work out when mama has you?

Mama, and you visited her family. You saw Grandpa Dave, and even helped to pat the bread loaves! You loved Grandpa Dave's scratchy chin, and his silly antics to make you laugh. Grandpa Dave said that he could not wait for you to get older so he could play Killer Squirrel with you--yes, the very same game that he used to play with Mama and your uncle when they were kids! Jess, and one of Grandpa's Dave friends, Lisa, knitted you beautiful blankets. You sure loved snuggling with the blankets during your nap time, and bed time. You were spoiled rotten by your Grand-Aunt Ro, and Memaw. You were doted on by few of Mama's friends. It was a lovely trip, and you definitely missed Daddy. You hung on him like a monkey the whole afternoon after we returned home!

There is still no sign of any tooth. You still drool like crazy, and gnaw on anything you can put your mouth to. Mama is told that you are chronically teething. Acute teething occurs when a tooth breaks through, and that's when it won't be pleasant for everybody involved especially you. Mama hopes that toothing monster won't make his appearance anytime soon, but if he does then she is armed and ready!

You have started wearing cloth diapers! So far, it has been pretty good for you, and Mama. Your bum looks, and feels much better. Mama is looking forward to this journey of cloth diapering with you! 

You are Mr. Explorer these days. You definitely love putting your hands on everything you can find, and put it in your mouth! Mama has to baby-proof the entire play area, which happens to be the living room, so you cannot put your chub fingers on dangerous things! You are definitely keeping Mama on her toes, and Mama would not trade this for anything else in the world. It is fun to watch you explore, and learn the world around you. 

Mama and Daddy loves you so, so, very much. They look forward to what this month has to bring to you, and them!

Mama & Daddy

*Side note: Family and friends; I have been asked about pictures, and why they are watermarked. The reason why I have watermark on my pictures especially of Forrest is to protect thief, taking photos without my permission, and misuse of my photos that I post on my blog. If you want any photos you see, then feel free to contact me, and I will be more than happy to e-mail you any non-watermarked pictures you like!*

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mommy Wars: What Is The Right Way To Feed Your Baby?

I am crunchy mama. This means breastfeeding is one of those things that I am an advocate for. I believe that there is so many benefits that comes from breastfeeding, and it is something I can't imagine NOT doing for my child. Feeding Forrest a formula has never crossed my mind until I hit a major roadblock.

It was not until that very moment when I began to sympathize, and understand the need for formula.

I have gone through H.E.L.L. to make breastfeeding work because it is something I really wanted to work out for Forrest, and me. I really struggled. All the issues I had with breastfeeding really sucked: Love and Hate. Clogged ducts, and cracked nipple became frustrating.Then boom, I was hit with Mastitis. That was it. I was about to throw in the towel. I made it this far with Forrest, and six months was my ultimate goal. I made it. So why continue? I was done with dealing with never-ending problems, and started thinking about giving Forrest formula. I felt a bit guilty at this thought, and wondered if I was being selfish for even considering about formula.

A friend of mine finally sat me down, and said, "You went through hell in past 6 months to breastfeed Forrest. You did deal with a crummy set of cards. But here is my thought. What if Mastitis is the very last problem you'll ever have from now on? Would you be content with thinking what if after you quit or want to give this one more shot?" 

I realized that I did not want to give up. It helped to voice my frustration, and wishful thinking to have an easy breastfeeding relationship. It was what I really needed; to release all of my frustrations instead of pending them up, and feeling pressured that I was already a natural at this while suffering with all the problems on the sly.

I no longer felt tied down to breastfeeding. It even came to that I loved being able to breastfeed, and give Forrest what he needed in order to thrive. It had to do a lot with my confidence, and finally getting over the hurdles.

It is something I would imagine a bottle-feeding mama has to go through as well. She has to find the right bottle, right type of formula, and establish right measurements to feed her baby. After she masters this, she no longer feels tied down. Confidence is the secret.

This made me wonder what other mothers' experiences were like. I asked around on a mommy thread about choices to feed the babies. I was surprised to learn new things among with reasons I already knew, and understood. The top few reasons were milk supply drying up, baby's health, returning to work, and discomfort with breastfeeding. Were they wrong to switch to formula? No.

The judgment that was passed among both parties in the public; breastfeeding mamas, and bottle-feeding mamas were lubricious. Why did it matter as long as their babies were getting what they needed?

What mamas need from each other is support, and understanding. While I do encourage breastfeeding because of its many benefits, I do not pass judgment toward a mother for choosing a bottle over breastfeeding her baby because I do not know her story.

If your baby is healthy, happy, and achieving milestones at given time, then I don't see any difference between formula, and breastfed babies.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Ever Happened to the Ugly Vampires?

At the butt crack of the dawn, I either come up with profound meaningful thought, or completely random offbeat insight that I normally don't get during my normal waking hours. 

This was the latter. 

The other day, I was woken up at 4 am to nurse Forrest, and I turned TV on. To my glee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was on. It was an O-M-G slash nostalgic moment, and definitely took me back to my teenage years. While watching Buffy, Angel appeared, and transformed into a vampire. I thought to myself, what an ugly vampire....then the second thought appeared shortly a real vampire should be. Shall I present you a picture example of Angel....

It got me thinking about ugly vampires that I grew up with. Now, that was REAL vampire should be, in my humble opinion. They are supposed to be scary!

The Lost Boys:

The Fright Night (Original): 

Dracula with Gary Oldman:

Then we sort of evolved from ugly vampires to pretty vampires. I kind of blame it on Interview with the Vampire. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Antonio Banderas pretty much ruined it for the ugly, scary looking vampires. We went from fearing them to finding them sexy. Great. 

*In case if you didn't notice, the last word I typed was in pure sarcasm* 

Ever since, I don't remember seeing unattractive vampires anymore. Vampire Diaries, Underworld, True Blood, Blood Ties, Blade, Daybreakers, and so many more....only villains are hideous, and heros/heroines are undeadly attractive. I have gotten so used to seeing nice-looking vampires that I forgot all about unattractive vampires. 

After seeing Angel on Buffy...I have to question something. 

How did we go from ugly vampires then to pretty vampires....and finally to this????

 So, at 4 am, after a long sigh, some eye rolling, and a shake of my head, my final thought, after I put Forrest down back to sleep, and snuggling under my bed covers, was exactly this:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eating Solids

We got a green light by our doctor to put Forrest on rice cereal when he was four months old. The result was disastrous. Forrest developed a reaction to the cereal. We stopped giving him Gerber rice cereal, and held off on pureed food until Forrest was five and half months old. 

Wheat, and grains are normally harder for exclusively breastfed babies to process because breast milk is a thin substance that is easily passed through the system. Matter of fact, boob milk acts like laxative. It does not come as a great surprise that breastfed babies often struggle adapting to solids since it does not carry laxative-like properties. Formula-fed babies adapt faster since their stomachs are already accustomed to heavier formula mixture, and it stays in their stomachs longer which gives them an advantage over breastfed babies. 

Well, I didn't know that until very recently. I had been comparing my breastfed baby's food developmental milestones to formula-fed babies all along, and it had not been helpful at all. Matter of fact, I started to worry that Forrest was slower than his peers when it came to food. When I found out among breastfed babies' mamas that Forrest was just right on the track for breastfed babies, it lifted worry off my mind, and reset confidence for me. 

At 5.5 months old, I started giving Forrest pureed food over the course of a month; sweet potatoes, avocados, pears, peas, and bananas. Forrest had no reaction to any food I had given to him. Matter of fact, he enjoyed this so much that he came up with little baby wiggly dance every time food was presented in front of him! I loved making food from the scratch for Forrest, and knowing what went into his food. Baby Bullet was one of the best baby gifts I have gotten. 

Love Baby bullet storage bins. It stores up to 4 TBSP of baby food.

Sweet Potato (yellow on left) for supper and Pears (gray on right) for midday meal. 

I love this because it is freezer storage for baby food. It lasts up to a month.  

It is not until very recently when I re-introduced rice cereal back in Forrest's diet. The catch is that this time around, I MADE rice cereal from the scratch, and it was much better because I knew what went into it. Forrest still expressed very little interest in rice cereal. Matter of fact,he made faces the whole time, even if it was mixed with his favorite, peas. Just like his mama...very picky with texture of the food.  At least he had no reaction to them this time! I decided that I wanted to make an oatmeal instead next time, and see how Forrest liked them. 

Rice cereal (made out of milled brown rice)

For supper; I mix sweet potato with rice cereal. 
I love baby bullet. Seriously. I'm not trying to advertise the product, I promise. It is just that I find it so worthy because I am able to make baby food from scratch, and store them in neat little containers. It is quick and easy to clean up after them as well! Like I said, one of the best baby gifts I have gotten. 

I'm hoping to get two meals a day routine down once Forrest, and I return home from our trip! 

What is your favorite baby product, and why??

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To Get or Not To Get: That's the Question

I enjoy reading mommy threads through pregnancy forums even though I am no longer pregnant. It seems that getting medical intervention during labor is a hot topic among pregnant women. When a pregnant woman decides that she wants to go without an epidural, she often gets criticized for wanting to try, and deliver without a medical intervention. Why the criticism? It is the mother's personal choice. 

When I was pregnant with Forrest, I knew I wanted to forego an epidural during my labor because of several reasons.  While watching a video about pain management during a child-birth education class that Stu and I participated during my pregnancy; the epidural was discussed along with its benefits and risks, and among the risks was a potential paralysis from being inserted improperly. As a Deaf person, I just didn't want to gamble the loss of use for my hands. The idea of having a needle being inserted into less than 3 mm cord just inches away from spinal cord sent shivers up up my back. That freaked me out. And not to mention that Stu nearly passed out while watching an epidural procedure. It was not worth getting one done in order to alleviate some labor pain. Besides, I was told by some women that sometimes an epidural didn't work, or worked only on certain parts of the body. Then there was just a huge disconnection between my body, and myself if I had taken an epidural. I didn't like being so disconnected from my body. I wanted to feel everything. Yes, everything. I wanted to feel my body work to deliver my son. I was concerned that if I had obtained an epidural then there was a chance of slowing down my labor, and thus leading to a potential c-section. Lastly, I wanted to breastfeed immediately after delivering my baby, and did not want my baby to be born slightly drugged. Being slightly drugged could affect latch-on for breastfeeding.

As you could see, I did a lot of research about not wanting to get an epidural or any pain management during labor. I was not flying into this blind. Yet when I notify people when I planned on having no pain management for my labor, I either was told that I was not going to be able to do it because it was going to be one of the most painful experience of my life, and I was most likely going to give in or people gave that look as if I had grown two heads! You know, that look of oh sure, really, you say that now.....but wait and see. 

Not very many of them supported the notion that giving birth was possible without a pain management. Fortunately, one of my traits was stubbornness. I allowed the doubts to fall off my back, and kept plodding through with my wants for birth plan. I talked with people who were pro-natural birth, and read encouraging stories about birth. Giving birth suddenly did not seem that scary to me. I prepared myself for a lot of pain ahead of me, but that pain had a reward. My baby

Being in labor was hard especially with Pitocin (the drug that induces mother to have contractions). For those who have not experienced Pitocin during labor; the contractions are usually longer, stronger, and closer together than those of a natural labor. I handled the pain pretty well until I hit 5 cm. My contractions got more intense after that. It hurt. The hurting part, I could handle, and the fact that contractions kept getting closer and closer together was tiring. I had no break in between my contractions. It was very intense. It was when I understood why women opted for an epidural. When I thought I could not handle the sensation anymore, I did request for an epidural because my labor became very intense and overwhelming. Suddenly, it was when I realized that the baby was now.  My nurse checked me, and sure enough; it was time to deliver my son. That meant no epidural...there wasn't just time. 

I felt everything from the baby descending to the ring of fire. That was very unpleasant, yet bearable. I wept the whole time. It was just an overwhelming experience to have my body take over the control, and I was just going along for the ride. At the same time, it was beautiful, and just the way I wanted it. I was so in tune with my body. I was connected. The end result? My beautiful baby boy. 

Having gone through this experience  I know what transition feels like, and how intense it can be without any pain management; I feel more prepared for my next pregnancy and labor/delivery. I know what to expect for next time. Because of this, I feel more confident to trust my body, and to go along with the ride. I hope that I will be able to go completely naturally next time without needing Pictocin.

It is okay to not want epidural. It is okay to want an epidural. It is okay to not know until the labor begins. It is okay to want to try, and end up getting an epidural. In the end, it all matters that you are a mama to a beautiful baby in your arms. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cloth Diapering Friday: Building Up My Stash

I am pretty excited to be expanding my stash...slowly but surely! I recently found cloth diapers at Target, which happen to be one of my favorite places to shop, called Charlie Banana. My stash is one size (newborn to 35 pounds). The last two cloth diapers on the far left are not through Charlie Banana. The green one is Bumgenius Pocket 4.0, and the owl cloth diaper is AIO.

It's a bit pricey for just 6 diapers, and the good thing is that the profit goes to Operation Smile. It is for children with cleft plates. So your money is used for good cause. Think about it. Your profit goes for surgery fees, and you're helping the environment by not using icky disposable diapers. Charlie Banana is very much into Climate Action and reducing carbon footprints. Their company philosophy is pretty neat. Check it out if you have time.

I'm hoping that Charlie Banana will be our "it" brand because I am really liking them. Basically, you stuff an insert in the pocket then lay on the liner on the top to prevent solids from smearing on the diaper itself. The liner is bamboo covering that you can lay on top of the cloth diaper, and tuck it inside. The urine goes through it, and is absorbed by the reusable insert. Then you just pick off the liner, and flush it down the toilet! If there's poop on it, then just wrap it up, and flush. How convenient, right?  If you are not into that then it's okay too. You can use either brush to scrap poo off, or diaper sprayer that is attached to the toilet, and spray poo off that way. Up to you. I may be using liners at first until I buy diaper sprayer.

If you are traveling, and don't have any washing machines nearby then you can use disposable inserts. You put it on the top instead of stuffing it in the pocket. Once it is soiled, then you just throw it away. This company values eco-friendliness so the disposables are biodegradable, and free of chemicals such as chlorine and plastic. The material is made out of wood pulp! Nice, right?


My CB (Charlie Banana) stash is one-sized diapers. One size diapers come with bra strap, I can't think of right word to call that, inside, and you can adjust from small to medium to large in one step. It is neatly tucked away inside so it won't irritate your baby's bum. I almost could not find it at first! Geez, of course, only me. Anyway, it is good because then it won't stick out and be annoying like that. I'm hoping it will benefit us in a long run. 

I'm really excited to try them out. I will be washing the diapers, and inserts today. The inserts have to be washed 4-6 times in order to open up the pores. I am going to use Rocking Green detergent sample, and see if I like it. There are many different cloth diaper detergent you can use. Some are more expensive, and some cheaper. As long as it is made for cloth diapers, then you are fine. 

My wet bags are finally sent out in the mail! I am eagerly waiting for them. Once I get them, then we can really get into cloth diapering! And if Charlie Banana works for us, then I will be investing more in them, and I plan on getting some Flips too.