here's my hippie-ish lifestyle and natural approach
Quotes I Love
"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong."
Laura Stavoe Harm
Labor is love.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone
His Words Lead Me
Not growing weary for Christ Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Living for Christ James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Today was our first time to go to the doctor, for Silver's two week checkup. She was poked and prodded and moved around, yet no tears! She's my happy, easy going baby. And she's already gained over a pound! She now weighs 9 pounds, 5 ounces and is in the 75th percentile. And she's longer too! 21 1/2 inches - the 90th percentile! A healthy, growing girl.
Silver had her newborn pictures done today with Angel Porch. Silver was a little bit fussy for a while - she sure does let us know when we're doing something she doesn't like! I was afraid we weren't going to get any good pictures because the photo shoot was totally not going at all how I had it planned in my head... We thought it would be a good idea to have Silver sleep in the car on the way there, but then she was wide awake and wondering what we were trying to do to her for the majority of the pictures. And totally ticked! Ah... well. I'm sure I just need to start letting go of things like that now. :) But she did somehow manage to not leave any poopies on the floor (or me!) when we did the pictures with her diaper off. That's something! Good job, Little Miss!
Today is Silver's first day to be in cloth diapers (we had to wait for the meconium to pass before we could use them)! We are absolutely loving them. And T.J. was so cute when he put Silver into her first diaper. It was lime green - to match the outfit he picked out for her! :) She was so adorable, and even more so because she was dressed with love!
It took us a little bit to get on board with cloth. From what we had researched at first it sounded like such a hassle and mess that neither of us thought we could handle... But it's not going to be so difficult after all! A friend referred us to The Changing Table, an amazing new cloth diapering company here in Oklahoma. They had a great cloth diaper crash course meeting we attended, where we learned using cloth is a lot easier than we thought it would be!
People always want to know, 'what do you do with the poop?' (That's what we were worried about too!) For breastfed babies, the poop is water soluble so you just throw it into the washer as is and it goes away. Then, when Silver starts eating solids someday, they have rice paper liners that you just flush. No way could I be shaking out some diapers in the toilet and dunking them or spraying them and all that... Well, maybe I could if I had to, but I'm really looking forward to the rice paper. :)
We're very excited to have Silver in cloth. Better for her butt (no chemicals), better for our wallets, and better for the planet! A win win win. :)
AND God is so good, we're getting almost all of our diapers for free. Well, no not really free, but they are a newer company that was in need of a logo and some other products, so I designed them some things, and we're doing a trade! What a huge blessing!!! Here's what the final logo looked like. And we definitely recommend them - they're great girls!
Today Silver had her first bath. We got off to a very funny start... First I changed her diaper, then she decided she needed to go again. So daddy changed her diaper. Shortly thereafter we put her in the bath and she went AGAIN! It was all over the tub! And all over her! We didn't know what to do... It was a very funny mess. We got both her and the bathtub cleaned up and then got her back into place. She really didn't like it the second time around (because now the tub was wet). And I don't blame her! It was cold and bright and it made me sad to see how pitiful she looked... But she smells so pretty! And her hair is so soft! :) We did have a mommy/daddy fail though and got her umbilical cord wet... The first of many fails to come I'm sure. But, we got it good with alcohol when we were done.
Today was Silver's first playdate! Bethany came over with Silver's best friend, Tylee (she's three weeks older). They were so cute! And they somehow actually managed to be on the same schedule! They came over and they were both hungry so we fed them. Then they fell asleep together. Then, they woke up and we them on a blanket so we could get some pics of them "playing" together. They were both facing each other and squirming around and it was just precious. Then they both fell asleep again! They have so much in common! :)
People used to look at me like I was crazy when I told them the plan was to have a natural, drug free childbirth. That, or they would just kind of small and nod, as if to say, "yeah, okay... we'll see how that turns out." But, I was determined to have it be so! My mom did it naturally with my brother and me and I knew I was capable of doing it as well. After all, people have been doing it for hundreds of years! Pain is relative and I never really dwelled on the thought of birth and simply believed it was a natural process that would just eventually play out.
As our due date approached, however, anxiety began to mount. When I was about 8 months along, we watched the documentary 'The Business of Being Born.' The film reveals that 'there is much to distrust behind hospital doors... Should most births should be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?' I've never been one to like hospitals, or even doctors, whom I generally distrust for that matter, and this documentary pretty much made hospitals out to be the devil...
Welcome our search for a doula. A doula is a “trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.” Basically, their main focus is on you and your comfort - they work as your advocate, consultant, and coach throughout the entire birth process.
We were referred to the company Birth Matters from a friend. There we learned about all of the support a doula could provide, decided it was exactly what we needed, and met with doula Joy Moore. After our first interview with her, we knew she was the one! We loved her! But were our childbirth classes enough? The ones that our doctor's office provided seemed too extremely basic. As in, they expected you to get the epidural (what 90% of women do), or end up with a c-section, and that's just how it would be. We didn't even really do any pain management techniques! After talking to Joy, we decided we would take a second round of childbirth classes at Birth Matters. After all, knowledge is power. That's when we met Chris Cleary, the owner. She was incredible! We learned a million times more than we had in our previous classes and felt so much more in control of the situation. Our resolves were strengthened with further knowledge of why we wanted to have and should have a natural childbirth. We were ready.
And then our due date came and went...
Ten days post due, on July 4, 2010, I woke up with contractions at about three o'clock in the morning. I wasn't sure if they were real, "go time", contractions or not, so I decided to wait a little bit before waking up T.J. We were supposed to go help with a Fourth of July cookout that afternoon at church, but God had something else planned for us! I got our childbirth book out and re-read about the early signs of labor and at about three thirty, I decided that yes, it was time to wake up T.J. This was it! We had been waiting and waiting (Silver's due date was June 24), and it was finally go time!
We waited through some more contractions and eventually started timing them. At 3:48 in the morning we decided it really was for sure "go time" so we called our doula, Joy (we didn't want to wake her so early if it was false or very early labor!)
T.J. started cleaning the house up a bit and making sure our hospital bags were ready to go while I took and shower and waited through some more contractions. Then T.J. posted on Facebook, "I have a feeling that I will really get to know the movie "Born on the 4th of July" pretty well over time. Rhiannon woke me up 20 min ago and put the iPhone in my hand to start officially measuring contractions."
-Sunday at 3:57am via Facebook for iPhone
At 4:22 in the morning, my mom called T.J. I thought she must have had ESP! She couldn't sleep and had gotten on Facebook and seen T.J.'s post. She wanted to know what the plan was, but I told her it would be a long time before Silver would get here and she should try to get some more sleep. Yeah, right! She was way too excited. She said to just keep her updated on what was going on and to let her know when we were going to the hospital.
At 5:20, Joy arrived at our house to help us. We timed some contractions and knew that we had a while to wait, so she suggested we watch a movie. I picked the Goonies because it's so funny and our copy was new and needed to be seen! :) We watched the movie and I walked through some contractions and also used a birth ball to help get through some of the contractions. After the movie was over, the contractions started getting really strong. We were going to put on another movie, Willy Wonka (apparently I was in need of some feel good, happy, kid movies!), but by then, the contractions were so intense, we just worked through them in silence. T.J. and Joy were so incredibly awesome! Joy helped T.J. to be the best birth coach on the planet! They had such a great system down. My lower back was where I was feeling all of the labor, so they took turns putting pressure on it to make it feel better. Joy suggested different positions to try. I spent most of my time in the living room leaning against the wall or against the couch with their hands on my back. It made such a huge difference; the pain was much more bearable. They would switch every once in a while because I'm sure their hands got tired. They both kept telling me what a great job I was doing, and I was starting to wonder if I could go all the way without any pain medicine because it was getting to be pretty difficult. I could definitely see why people would opt for the epidural. I had no idea how dilated I was or how much further I had to go... What if I was only at a 3?!
Around 9:15 am, we wondered if it was finally time to go to the hospital. My contractions were close together and getting stronger. I didn't know for sure if we should go yet or not because we wanted to spend as little time as possible at the hospital, but I was also getting a little anxious because I was starting to feel like I wanted to push... So, we packed up and hit the road!
We made it to the hospital and got checked in (thank goodness we had pre-admitted because by this point I could hardly talk and was bent over the counter while the admin nurse foolishly asked why we were there...). We got to triage where the nurses tried to see how dilated I was but 'couldn't be sure' so they went to get another nurse, Nikki. She came in and examined me and said, "Yeah, she's about a nine or ten!" I couldn't believe it! I sighed, "God is good!" I had made it through the hardest part (transition) while being at home which is exactly what we had hoped to do! It was wonderful! And such a relief. It was just too good to be true. I really believe that God won't give you more than you can handle.
We still had a little ways to go though, so I rested and labored some more while on a birth ball at the hospital. T.J. was so wonderful - he really was the best birth coach that ever was. He fed me ice chips, held a fan to my face to keep me cool, and kept telling me what a great job I was doing. After getting some rest, it was finally time to start pushing.
T.J. went out into the hall for a second to update our moms that everything was going well. While he was out there he heard a popping noise and heard me say I was sorry. He thought I knocked something over. But, no! My water had broken while I was pushing! And, it accidentally got all over poor nurse Nikki... Oh my gosh, I felt terrible! But she was actually excited because it meant we had made some great progress! That's someone who really loves what they do. :)
I pushed and pushed while T.J. kept counting to ten over and over again. That wasn't in our birth plan, but the on-call doctor was trying to rush us (more on that later). After a little while, Nurse Nikki said that she could see some hair! Oh my gosh! T.J. and I were both bald when we were born. I couldn't believe it. Silver was almost here... and she had hair! Nikki asked me if I wanted a mirror and I said, yes, thank you. I do! That wasn't part of our original birth plan either, but I wanted to see her hair too. I was glad we got the mirror because it really helped me know how much further I had to go.
And then after a bit more pushing, at 1:25 pm, she was here! Silver Elizabeth weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Such a healthy girl! And she was 19 1/4 inches long.
Labor is love... Looking back on everything I know we were so incredibly blessed to have such a healthy pregnancy and delivery. And I so love and appreciate that Silver's birth was drug and intervention free, exactly how we desired it to be. Was it difficult? Yes! Did it hurt? Of course! But I would certainly do it all over again. Thank you God!!!
Back to the on-call doctor... Well, we will definitely be going with a midwife next time. The doctor was absolutely terrible, and I am so glad we had nurse Nikki there with us. She was incredible and very much supported our desire to have a natural birth, whereas the doctor just didn't seem to have the patience for it, or the fact that I wasn't laying still in bed with the heart monitor on Silver. The good news is, after he came in and was incredibly rude to Joy and tried scaring us into getting the process to move along more quickly, Nikki, who did not like the doctor either, did not call him back in until Silver's head was pretty much out! Which was great, because he really caused some unneeded stress. Rest assured that I handled it in typical Rhiannon style and wrote a formal letter of complaint to all the doctors in his practice.
Sure I have maybe always had some hippie tendencies, but my pregnancy with our sweet daughter, Silver, breathed new life into how decisions are made - kicking my hippiesh nature into overdrive. Instead of automatically following practices that have become the "norm", we question, research, discuss and negotiate. It started out with the desire to use cloth diapers and have a natural, drug-free childbirth, and has evolved into babywearing, researching natural remedies, buying cool foods you can only find at the health food store, and awesome (though not as widely known) things like baby led weaning. I get asked questions and I know some of you wonder (or just think I'm crazy) why I do some of the things I do. So, here's my hippie-ish lifestyle and natural approach to mothering...