Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Boys

"Make sure you hold Jacob's head Ben".

***Photo's by Verity Anne Dokter

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Au Natural

"There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity".
- Washington Irving

I had an induced delivery with Ben, I also did not have any drugs for pain with this experience. This is not common as by all accounts, personal and professional they are more intense, painful and unnatural contractions. I did not choose this route because I am especially brave; three cities over could hear about my desire for pain relief at the time, however I had refused last call before the anesthesiologist went to surgery and lost my opportunity.
The nurse, in trying to convince me to get the epidural before I couldn't, explained that in pain studies done, this degree of pain is rated one of the highest. I would regret not getting the epidural.

I was stubborn.

I regretted it.

I don't know at the time why I was so committed to not having any pain relief. In the final moments however before Benjamin was born when I realized in full force as contraction after excruciating contraction fell in continuous waves over me and I begged for something, anything that would end it. I could not do this. This was impossible to bear for one more moment. Of course, the situation being what it was- there was no turning back.

I had to do this.

Somewhere deep in myself, there lay untapped strength and perseverance.

There are very few times in a woman's life that these stores needed to be called on. Inherited from all the woman who had gone before. It needed to be called on. Now was one of those times. This was asking the impossible. I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it.

I had to do this.

The nurse grabbed my shoulders firmly. Inches from my face she looked intently at me-
"You CAN do this"!

And I did.

It was an indescribable feeling. I did the impossible. It was agonizing, torturous and amazing. I was holding the product of what I was capable of. The proof in his 9 pound body. There is no feeling comparable to the moments after such a delivery in my mind; a high constructed of a concoction of hormones not easily replicated. I wanted to hold this baby above my head and yell at top of my lungs-


It was incredible.
I walked out of the hospital a new woman. Literally and instantly transformed by a profound birth experience. I had a foundation of motherhood build on previously untapped strength and power. I had the confidence to enter this new and terrifying phase of life and womanhood with a knowledge of what lay inside me in the moments I needed it most. I was a Mother, I was a Woman and I could do this, because I had just done what I knew I could not. If I could do this, I could do anything.

When I told other woman of my experience many stared, shocked at my choice. But "WHY?" they asked. It is not common to find woman who had not received pain relief, I was in the minority, if only by accident.

I felt like I had a secret to be shared; Don't give away this experience. It can be spectacular!

Not all births allow for this of course, but if at all possible I wanted to encourage those who had the choice to embrace it. Welcome this unique experience which is exactly as it is suppose to be. There is nothing that requires more strength; emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually than becoming a mother. I was grateful for my condensed introduction into the strength needed on every level and my ability to overcome it, regardless of how unappealing it may have seemed to those in wittiness to it.
I couldn't wait to do it again.

shocking, I know.

I was blessed again with this choice. I was able to be more present for Jacob's completly drug free birth and relished the moment where that strength is summoned. You are never more in the moment than this, where nothing else matters but this life being welcomed through a process that is just as it is for so many reasons. This pain is important. It is, my Mother calls is; an "exquisite agony" necessary for the transition between one person and two.

In a safe environment surrounded by those I trusted I was free to let my body do what it needed to. I trusted absolutely that it could complete the final lap of this miraculous 9 months with little intervention from me or anyone else.

In that final moment as my body grieved his exit I found that strength again. With that incomparable rush I held my new son delivered immediately onto my chest tightly with shaking arms. The exhilaration returned.


The opportunity for natural birth is not always possible and with that we are grateful for life saving technologies that can intervene when a perfect process that has significance in every moment is tainted by an imperfect world and circumstance. For these Mothers it is sadly not a choice, but the priority is outcome over process then. This though is not the norm. For those who do have the choice for natural birth I would urge them to take it. This is not to say that a birth resulting from intervention or pain releif is any less of an achomplishment or experiance than one without, it is simply to say that we are capable of it all, it was a revealing insight into the depth of my capabilities and one I wouldn't want to assume I couldn't handle before trying.

It is an experience to be cherished.

***Photo by Verity Anne Dokter

Our Beautiful Jacob

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Birth

January 20th 2010


Jenn- "I think I feel something...?"
Jon- "You just want a foot massage."
Jenn- Probably.


Jenn- "No that was really SOMETHING I think..."
Jon- "Maybe you should just go to bed and see if it stops?"
Jenn- "You just want to play xbox"
Jon- "Probably."

January 21 2010


Jenn (to self...) "I am not in labor...I am not in labor...I am not in labor...."


Jenn (to self...) "I am not in labor...I am not in labor...OH crap...I think I am in labor!"

Jon gets up.

Jenn- "I think I should call the midwives..."
Jon- "You're sure?"
Jenn- "no."


Jenn (to midwife)- "I might be in labor".
Midwife- "Hi Jenn...give me a second to wake up okay"?
Jenn (to self)- "'s 3 am...I BETTER be in labor..."
Midwife- "okay, can you tell me what you are feeling?"
Jenn- "I just feel strange and a bit crampy and...I don't know really..."
Midwife- "Okay do you want me to come over and check you"

Suddenly the "funny cramping" gets to be really painful and regular cramping...

Jenn- "No, I think we will just meet you at the hospital if you don't mind...I have a feeling this is it".
Midwife-"Are they regular, like you could time them?"
Jenn- (looking at the $4.99 IPHONE application we were really happy we sprung for that times duration and length between contractions) "um sort of they are..."
Midwife- "and you can talk through them?"
Jenn- (wondering if she is going to believe me)- "ya I have had a few now".
midwife- "okay I will meet you at the hospital in an hour- are you sure you don't want a homebirth"? (We had planned on a homebirth tentitivly...I always said I would decide when I was in labor what I wanted to homebirth kit was next to my hospital bag and the day before we had discussed a possible cord prolapse risk becuase my pelvis was large enough for the baby's head to move around in...that made us lean towards hospital over home).
Jenn- "I am not really sure of anything right now..."

Jon called his mom to come over and I still had contractions..however irregular and not very painfully. Since I had never gone into labor on my own before I didn't know what my body's contractions felt like...but I had "a feeling"...


Jon's mom arrives


Arrive at the hospital

4:15 find our way to L&D to meet midwives.

I have not had another contraction since I left our driveway.
I have been swearing in my head for most of the ride the hospital. I am hoping that my husband, two midwives and Mother in law can find humor in this early morning trial run.


Admitting nurse looks at me suspiciously while I try to tell her I am in labor. My midwife comes over and says they have a room ready for me...nurse says maybe I should be in triage first...I realize I seem a little too pleasant for a room. I grimace in attempted labor fashion.


Both Midwives are looking at me sympathetically now...

Midwife- "Well, lets check you and see if maybe you don't need another day or so"...

This is how they let you down gently...while they curse the most awful hour of the day to be awake.

Midwife- "It's okay Jenn, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between- Oh! I would say you are about 6 centimeters dilated actually. You ARE in labor"!

They looked at each other out of the corner of their eyes...I wondered who won the bet.


We get into the room and they prepare to break my water. It took 3 tries because apparently I have "thick" membranes...which is potentially why contractions weren't picking up, his head wouldn't engage until my water was broken.


AHHHHHH... Labor starts.


Contaction...contraction...contraction...breath breath breath...a few games of interrupted IPHONE boggle...

Heart rate drops very low during a check...I had to lay very uncomfortably on my side until it came up. It did.




Jenn- "I am pushing"!
Midwife (student)- "Just breath through a few, your not 10 centimeters yet".
Primary midwife (The most relaxed person ever...) "It's okay...she can push if she wants to, no birth is ever textbook...just let her listen to her says push, she can push...
Jenn's body- "PUSH"

Jenn's mouth- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!(I really did completely scream my head off...)


Gabriel- WAAAAAAA!

And there he was.

Jenn- "He's so perfect, and beautiful and...he doesn't really look like a Gabriel..."
Jon- "No he doesn't"...

Jacob- "waaaaaaa- suck suck suck..." (I believe that was representative of his name approval.


Midwife- "he was born sunny side up- that was a surprise- usually labor is not that quick, it also explains the heart rate dropping- it is hard to come out in that position (she was telling me???). Despite the bruising on his face he is still the most beautiful baby I have ever seen or delivered in my 12 years experiance (She said this. I swear...).


On our way home! (The addmitting nurse did raise her eyebows as I smiled at her...carrying the carseat....guess I needed that room afterall...)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

"He's My Brodder"

Ben loves Jacob.

Jacob Loves Ben.

... I am going to be a busy Mommy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

One Night

Jacob has two hemotoma's on his head where fluid and blood has accumulated from unexpectedly showing up in the posterior (face up) position when he was born and getting stuck on my pelvic bones. This condition also leaves him jaundiced as his liver works harder. I called the midwife to come check his swelling head Thursday evening and she said it was still in the range of normal but to keep an eye on this, the jaundice and the fluid he was trying to get out of his lungs, which remained as a result of his quick birth.

This was a lot of things to "keep an eye on".

So, I did. For nine straight hours.

From 11 pm to 7 am Thursday evening Jacob and I lay on the couch by the fire.

I got to know my son.

For nine straight hours I studied every tiny, perfect (albeit swollen) part of him. The little wrinkles on his toes, the dimple in his chin, the way he pouts his full lips as he sleeps. Imprinting these newborn details into my mind and heart.

This tiny person was just a sensation of flutters and jabs, an accumulation of dreams and hopes only a few hours earlier. Now he layed in my arms.

You are my son.

I am your Mother.

You are my son.

I am your Mother.

The weight of this new reality sank in as the minutes turned into hours.

My exhaustion turned to elation, into joy; into adoration...into Love.

Each little movement, expression and reflex melted my heart as he showed more of himself to me. I could, once I was so attuned to him, sense the sweetness of him. He was so calm and at peace in my arms.

He stirred suddenly and jerked himself into my chest, gasping as he came out of deep sleep Jacob caught my scent and immediately relaxed again. He knew me.

The intensity of my feelings for him continued to grow and before long I couldn't remember being a Mother without him.

We watched the sun rise and marked the 24Th hour of his life with a new day and a sealed bond.

Friday, January 22, 2010


He is beautiful
He is miraculous
He is HERE!

Jacob Jonathan (It turns out that he doesn't look like a Gabriel after all...whoops!)
January 21 2010
6:54 am
8 pounds 7 ounces
21 1/4 inches

Three hours of labor...three pushes! Worth the wait!!!

We are busy falling in love...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

5 Days Past Due Notice

Dearest Young Sir,

We are very saddened to see that you have rejected the incentive package prepared for you. It is unfortunate for all parties that you do not want to vacate on your own accord. I am saddened to have to inform you of the impending induction. You will be placed on a waiting list this 22nd day of January 2010. Please be advised this is your 48 hour warning.

I sincerely hope you chose to reconsider your position.

Your loving Landlord,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Notice of Impending Final Notice

Dearest Young Sir,

At your refusal to vacate the premises on good terms with management I feel compelled to attempt a different strategy before more forceful methods are introduced. We have prepared an incentive package we hope you will find enticing.

We are prepared to offer you;

Banana cake

Your Brother was offered cupcakes on his due date however since that time we have become a dairy, egg, nut, and glutton free family. Banana cake is what is now being offered in predigested liquid form lui of these changes.

Never Before Seen...

This will not take effect immediately as your vison will be limited upon your exit however in store for you we have such things as; snowmen, mud puddles, puppies, bubbles and trains among many others.


You will be welcomed into a family who want very much to meet you. Please don't let the unique octave range of your brother factor into your decision to join us but please be advised that it gets louder without the buffer of the Five Star Uterus Lining and ample padding that has been provided to you.


This is a word that until now you may only be able to associate with swallowing amniotic fluid, finger sucking and leg stretching. When you leave the FSU however you will be greeted with many more possibilities. Yesterday alone Your father and Brother went for a bunny hunt in the forest, made popcorn, ate watermelon, played hungry tiger, read a bin of books, and made up three songs...about you. You and I unfortunately were excluded from these activities due to our collective currant state.

Continued five star service

I realize I may have acted in haste when I suggested you leave without having any future resources established to meet your needs. In consideration of this fact, we apologize for overlooking, I am prepared to meet your needs in the same caliber you have grown accustomed to. Included but not limited to this are; 24 hour on call diaper, swaddle and food services, unlimited gushing, cuddling and kissing.

We hope this incentive package is to your liking.

Lovingly your landlord,


Sunday, January 17, 2010

2 Days Past Due Notice

Dearest Young Sir,

Please consider this your second past due notice. Evidently you are not complying with the agreed on terms and I have to take action. I realise at the Five Star Uterus your tastes run high. Perhaps I have made it too comfortable to expect a co operative exit. Please be advised that the greens, whole grains and imported prenatal vitamins are a thing of the past. As well do not continue to expect 9 hours of sleep and regular callundulum cream massages. Avoidance of over the counter headache relief and bright red toenail polish will no longer be listed as priority. Please be warned that intervals on a mini re bounder may ensue in the short term.

Lovingly as always,

Your Landlord.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Past Due Notice

Dearest young sir,

Please excuse my frank approach with this matter, however a few things need to be said. In order to vacate the premises you will have to follow a difficult and at times unpleasant path. I am fully aware of this fact and am deeply sympathetic in your reluctance to initiate departure. Please be advised however this is not a picnic in the park for me either. My sincerest hope is that you are agreeable to the terms agreed to. I assure you the best scenario is to exit willingly. I do not want to have to introduce you to the hellish substance that is Pitocin, however that is the threat that is looming. If you want this to be worse for you and I both you will continue to ignore your eviction.

Your always loving landlord,


The Bedtime Adventures of "Noah" and Ben

When Ben goes down dutifully for his afternoon nap he usually plays in his crib (which he still doesn't want to get out of...) which turns into a plane, boat, tent, or rocket as soon as I shut the door. I can hear him playing on the baby monitor and find listening to the scenario's he creates with a few blankets and some stuffed animals endlessly entertaining.

Yesterday he got quiet. A little too quiet.

I went up about 40 minutes after I originally put him down and discovered a totally naked boy, a totally naked Noah's ark doll, a soaking wet bed (that he was dancing on while drops sprayed around him)and two empty bottles.

He stared at me and hid naked Noah behind his back. Then he grinned.

"Beeeeeeeeeen, what are you doing?" I asked carefully.

" me and Noah's dust fwimming".

well of course they were...

"Beeeeen...where did all this water come from?"

upon closer inspection there was ALOT of water in the bed. I assumed he had emptied out his bottles.

"Ohhhh! It came from da PEEEEEEEE-NIS"!

He beamed at me and held out naked Noah as a wittiness.

"ALL of it?!"


Some things are just too funny to get angry at...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Count Your Blessings

I stopped reading the newspapers when Ben was born, and then the nightly news and then anything that proved too much for the weakened Mother's heart that now filled my chest. Most commercials became too much even and now I rarely turn the television on at all. I did not roll our from under a remote rock to give birth when I became a Mother. I knew full well the kind of world I was bringing a child into. It terrified me.

Today as I prepared to welcome another child to this paradox I forced myself to read through the morning newspaper which I have not done in so long. I allowed myself to cry over the photojournalism that captured some of the worst of this world in it's pages this week. The magnitude too much to imagine, or even almost absorb. In a woman's eyes, much blacker than mine, I saw the anguish she felt; in a close up photograph of her that landed on my doorstep, a world away. My heart goes out to those in Haiti, and swells in desperate gratitude for a life so far from there. We will welcome our baby at the same time so many bury theirs. I cannot quite begin to wrap my mind around the depth of this injustice but I will continue to cling to my blessings.

Our family will be donating to;

Doctors without borders


International Red Cross

In the name of our children; who were born into a different life where their mother is spared their suffering. For that I am grateful every moment of every day.

"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required"
Luke 12:48

D Day

Dear Young Sir

Thank you for your tenancy. I do however regret to inform you at this time that your 40 weeks of contracted lease space concludes today, this fifteenth day of January 2010 at 11:59 pm.

Please be advised the following complaints filed against you;

-permanent markings on the outer residence.
-expansion outside of contracted space without license.
-gas leakage resulting from unlicensed expansion.

I am prepared to waive the penalty for these infractions if you vacate the premises by the agreed on time.

Regrettably you have ten days past due to exit without leaving further evidence of your stay before I reserve the right to have you forcibly removed.

Please enjoy the remainder of your stay at the the Five Star Uterus.

Your loving landlord,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hit and Miss- Reflections of Motherhood so Far...

***This post is dedicated to our little guinea pig.

I am really looking forward to my "second chance" baby. Really I did the best I could with Ben(and yes he is two, all is not lost...) but such as it is with most things, live and learn. I know so much more now than when I was first handed my howling little bundle of joy. I feel like I have found my parenting groove and the confidence to follow my intuition, regardless in some instances of what others around me are saying and doing, which I found caused me initially to second guess myself.

There are a few things that did not prove successful that I resolved to not do again;

Newborn Jeans

-cruel and unusual punishment for both mother and baby. Those tiny legs fight the effort it takes to stretch out to allow the inflexible material (we all know they are only comfortable by day 3...) to fit over mini legs. Cute factor not worth the effort.

More sleepers less outfits

-I will likely move away from the 7 piece ensemble outfits that Ben wore in his first few months to more one piece deals. I think these are more practical, comfortable and will cause me less stress when he spits up on only the bib and the pants but than must require as my type A personality dictates a full change of multi piece outfit because otherwise it wouldn't even almost match. I do have daytime sleepers which are one piece outfits and generally footless- not to be confused with pyjama sleepers...maybe by the third baby I will lower my ideal to whatever is clean and generally fits (I imagine the ink on the size tags will be worn off by then so it is anyone's guess).

No little shoes

-I always put Ben in shoes, from day one. I can't for the life of me remember why I felt this to be important but again, part of the 7 piece ensemble...he had matching shoes for most outfits (also a sign of too much wasted money and misspent energy). He would inevitably kick one off whenever we were out and I always had to have one eye on his shoes. Forget it. Both eyes are accounted for this time. I do have a pet peeve about babies and toddlers outside the month of July who have no footwear on so I will re embrace the magic of the Robeez- the little leatherette slipper with the perfect amount of elastic tension to keep bootie on but not cut off circulation. Genius.

No tummy Time

- What the heck is this? I think it it something for new mothers to busy themselves with since newborns are a little dull at times in terms of interest and activity. You have nothing better to do than schedule this activity into the day between feeding number 4 and poop number 7. It is also an opportunity to practice tough love since NO NEWBORN enjoys this...I have never seen a newborn be placed on his stomach on the floor and not lose his mind while bobbing his little head around screaming to be released from this useless torture. "He enjoyed Tummy time for 17 seconds longer today than yesterday" I could proudly report to Jon. I am sure the only reason he is able to walk upright today is as a result of this early exercise. No. Not even a little bit true. I am absolutely positive now that if newborns are kept swaddled and held securely in a cradled position to enjoy the duration of their newborn hood in natural womblike comfort they will still develop the exact muscle strength of their tummy time superstar counterparts...and they will cry less, which will release less stress hormone which will allow for more opportunity for positive brain growth which means he may even fare better.
I hate "Tummy Time".

Slow down

I was much too concerned with "the next stage" with Ben. When he could roll I wanted him to sit, when he could sit I wanted him to crawl, when he could crawl I wanted him to run, when he learned the alphabet I wanted him to count...and now...I want him to do whatever the heck he wants to. I realized that my pushing had very little to do with the natural progression of his development. In fact by rushing these stages perhaps I was even doing some harm. Infants and toddlers go through generally the same developmental phases all over the world despite huge differences in cultural parenting styles. Some babies (In Moracco...) are kept tightly swaddled until they are ready to crawl and then...ta da! They just do. They didn't crawl because their parents got on all fours each evening in dutiful YUPPIE parent fashion....they did it because it is the natural progression of development, and an important one at that. So baby two get ready to be left to your own devices. I don't care if says "your baby could be starting to roll this month" and I won't lose sleep over the fact that you aren't and blame lack of tummy time on your "delay"...(because in this house, we hate tummy time...did I mention that?)

Baby him more

Protecting children from elements of the adult world that will undoubtably come in due time is being described with the buzz phrase "helicopter parenting" of which there is a proudly beaming picture of yours truly next to the definition.

Yes I hover and I protect and I whirl around like a small helicopter scoping out any potential danger or corruption coming his way. Our culture has a way of systematically breaking down innocence until our children's childhoods are prematurely robbed from them. I don't think encouraging difficult situations or unnecessary hardship during this time are necessary for them to grow into a competent, confident men...I would rather devote energy and experience to helping them gain the tools; emotionally, physically and socially with softer methods that will ready them for these experiences later on. I don't have to throw them into the lions den to do it. I don’t think it makes sense to expect from a baby or toddler the kind of self control or foresight it can be easy to assume they should possess when many adults with fully formed brains do not. It is my job to lesson life’s consequences for them in order to teach them…I will put him off the bed after telling him 3 times to stop jumping on it rather than let him fall off and learn the hard way. A broken collar bone is not really what I had in mind when teaching consequence. If children weren’t given parents to protect them than why are we here?

I think I have found the balance in this now and if I could rewind I would have babied Ben more in his infancy rather than worry about creating bad habits and spoiling him. In helicopter parenting fashion then, I will hover over baby two and pick him up at the first sign of distress, rock him and hold him while he sleeps...until he won't let me anymore. Ben is evidence that in creating a solid foundation of trust and support he has found confidence to test his abilities without being a Wussy Pussy Mommy Suck. Thank you very much.

Don’t be too preoccupied about the post baby bod...or lack of.

Shortly after I gave birth to Ben I was ready to get up and have a shower and put some real clothes on (the size 8 jeans of my pre pregnancy body tucked naively into my hospital bag). Jon looked at me, trying to disguise the slight horror in his expression.
"where are you going?"
"I'm going to have a shower..."
"uuummmm maybe you want to wait?"
The concern was for the large mirror I would have to pass on my way to the shower...I would have to see myself in all my post delivery, burst capillaries, back rashed, swollen IV fluid face, saggy stretch marked stomach and elephant ankled glory...not to mention the rat's nest of hair on my head. Oh and I was fat. Really fat. There was no baby bump to disguise this fact or make it glowing in any respect. I stuffed my face for 42 weeks, and now I was 90 pounds heavier. I skipped the shower and begrudgingly reached for my now ill fitting maternity pants I walked in with...the size 8 jeans would stay in that bag for the next 10 months.

I vowed this time that I would not find myself in this situation again.

Whoops. Turns out I am fat again. Not quite AS fat (so there is something...) but I am under no delusions this time. My goal is to be out of elastic waist bottoms by spring. Additionally I am not obsessing or crying over the state of my body this time. I wasted too much time and emotional energy caring about the scale after Ben was born and it did no good. For six weeks I will concentrate on nothing but the baby and breastfeeding this time, eating whatever I can get on the table while I get the hang of two young children and only two arms. And out...size 8's I am coming for you...maybe...dare I say...size 4?! Hey a girl (currently the size of a beached killer whale) can dream can't she?! In all seriousness though I am much more aware and appreciative this time of what my body has just accomplished. I am proud of it, grateful for it and loving every little (or not so little) dimpled part of it at the moment. This is not the time to attack it...I am embracing it...really I am!

Sleep training

Ohhhh the controversy... Is it the key to a happy mommy/baby relationship as advocates report? or does the attachment parenting perspective of Dr. Sears that it can cause irreversible brain damage and create insecure attachment in babies hold the truth?
I think it is a bit of both. Young babies do not have the emotional maturity to calm themselves down out of panicked and terrified hysterics. When a newborn screams for hours without being comforted I do agree with Dr. Sears that he does not learn tools for emotional control when he stops. He has simply given up hope that his mother will come. If there is anything I want my children to know it is that I will never ever leave them when they need me. This practice in its extremity is not conducive to that message. We tried this extreme method with Ben at 4 months at the promoting of many people who swore by it's success. twenty LONG minutes later I felt as though my chest was on fire, every nerve in my body stripped raw and an anxiety building that would not allow my conscious mind to keep me from rescuing my sobbing baby for one more second. It took him a long time to overcome the shaking hiccupping sobs that literally broke a piece of my heart clear off that night. It seemed that was the most unnatural answer to teaching sleep I could imagine. We will never subject another child to that. To get over my guilt I have to believe that first borns arrive with an extra dose of resiliency and I don't think I caused permanent damage.
When Ben was 9 months old however he had still rarely slept for more than an hour on his own...24 hours a day. The issue arose again because his mother was now risking permanent brain damage...we had to try something. The happy medium that we found was putting (the five month older) Ben down and going in every 5-10 minutes to pat his back and offer assurance that we were still there. He never reached hysterics, only yelled out his annoyance occasionally until he finally fell asleep. A week later he was sleeping 12 hours a night and 4 hours in the afternoon. A pattern that continues today. Take that Ferber. We will create some sleep boundaries this time...this is one issue I will fight on, because I see that a happier family results BUT I will not shut the door and throw away the key again, the ol ticker can't take it.

Cloth diapers

I really wanted to use cloth diapers with Ben. It didn't work. He had such bad rashes all the time, bleeding horrible can't sit down kind of rashes. I tried different detergents, creams, liners, air drying, sun bleaching. Nothing worked. I will try again with number two but not sweat about it nearly as much if our boys just have sensitive tushies cut out for Huggies.

Then there are general things that first time moms do (yes me...) to try to override their clueless guilt like ironing receiving blankets but I am not even going there...I don't need to prove my parenting competence anymore with co coordinating soother clips and brand name bottles, these things are not making a comeback this time around. The first piece of evidence being we bought a double GRACO stroller. The old me would never have been caught at the playground with my Bob's revolution/bugaboo/philandted's/costs the same amount to feed a small village for three months stroller- worthy baby in a GRACO! this time however practicality, budget and the dissipating need to use my child as social collateral and don't really give a crap anymore with confidence second time around mother stepped up.

Some things I got right... This is the pat on the back, toot my own horn section...

Breast feeding

I am proud of the perseverance and determination I put into continuing to breast feed Ben even when it seemed the lactation Gods were totally against our plight. From pain, bad latching, poor milk supply and endless pumping and supplementing it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. There is not very much you can do as a parent really to protect your children. This was something I really wanted to give him, as one of the only things I could. I will do the same again.

Discovering the "Warrior Mother" within

Being the parent of a child who requires special consideration for a condition that not many truly understand the implications and risks of I had to learn to speak up for his safety and rights. This was not always easy. I hurt feelings, offended, rejected invitations, had to engage in uncomfortable conversations with others about how they were putting him in jeopardy and had to sound like a broken record time and time again in doling out reminders. I have dealt with ignorance, a surprising lack of compassion at times and even lost friends over the "inconvenience" being around us (ie his helicopter mother) can entail. I have learned so much from this experience and have found myself grateful for the situation in some respects because it has taught me so much about myself and about others. We were (and are for the most part) flying by the seat of our pants where this is concerned. We have never done this before, we don't know a better way. All we know is that we have to keep Ben safe until he can learn what he needs to be responsible for himself. I accept the judgement that those not in our position can so easily give out and find confidence in the fact that Ben has never been hospitalized or suffered another life threatening reaction since his diagnosis, which is not the norm. We have to do some things DIFFERENTLY but I am proud of the degree of normalcy his young life has had, by no shortage of effort on our part and the dedication we have to keeping him safe. In this I feel we have got one thing right on the mark...


I was truly shocked at the power and intensity of love I felt for Ben from the moment I touched him. This has not dissipated for even a moment. It continues to grow stronger and deeper. I am looking forward to a double dose of this....and finding a way to put it in a bottle...and sell it...

Have You No Shame

If you were once a shy, modest, squeamish or naive woman...have a baby and you will never again describe yourself in these terms.

Upon discovering your condition, your body and personal life become, according to the general public just that. Strangers think nothing of jumping right through the otherwise respected norm of personal space to rub your protruding abdomen. If I had any intention of being self conscious it was overcome around week 30 when it can no longer be avoided. Those (usually in the grocery store...) procreation enthusiasts will sometimes ask AS they touch your belly if you mind...followed by a small moment of opportunity to cut them off before you hear about their birth stories...usually involving an abundance of drama and trauma.

It also amazes me how much unsolicited advice I receive from total strangers (am I just particularly approachable?!) including the awkward advice from a woman at least three times my age on the only tried and true method of labor induction...with eh hem ... great detail. On the same topic my very cute (SUPER HOT) chiropractor told me, when I asked if he had any tricks for labor, that unfortunately he didn't offer THOSE types of services at his clinic but imagined there was someone close to me who could. I had very innocently heard about a series of adjustments to the pelvis that could better align baby, better preparing him for delivery. Did he think I was soliciting him??? Yes. I will be going unadjusted for quite some time now...until the blood drains from my cheeks at the very least.

Acquaintances begin to ask about the state of my cervix as though they are talking about the weather and friends regale you with a repeat of their birth stories, in case you had forgotten any detail.

This was in preparation for my final midwife appointment.

Today I had a "stretch and sweep" (and am blogging about it...??? I clearly don't know where social appropriatness lies any longer...) it is a gross as it sounds...I am not sure what the clinical name is but this is what I was told we were doing, my midwife looked very excited about this prospect and so I didn't feel any need to be nervous, nor did I think too deeply about what it may entail becuase I got stuck on "we have really good results with this"... well we BETTER Have really good results with this becuase I DO NOT want to do it again on Monday!!! Then we talked about bowel movement freuquency...becuase why not?

All this and I haven't even reached the big event. If there was any "squimish" left at this point I think it is safe to say I am officially jadded.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Five Star Uterus

Dear young Sir,

As much as I have enjoyed your stay I regret to inform you of an upcoming eviction notice. Because you have been a very respectful tenant thus far I will give you warning before your final notice, followed regrettably by force able removal from the premises.

Please be advised of your upcoming due date of January 15th 2010.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Like Water and Vinagar

Ben is pretty portable...pretty easy going...pretty interested in new situations so I didn't think it totally insane to have him tag along with me to my first ever acupuncture appointment with a well known Asian Acupuncture Doctor yesterday. Her English wasn't good but the look of horror she shot me as I came through the office door with my toddler was affective cross culturally; it came through loud and clear. I smiled nervously. I had a diaper bag full of treats and he was strapped in his stroller like a straight jacket, it would be fine, he would be fine.

"He be good?!"

"Oh yes he is a good boy". I reassured.

Unknown to us both at that moment upon hearing the magic words that jinx the universe with the Murphy's law of toddlers my small sweet boy began sprouting small devil horns right above his hairline.

This small but powerfully intimidating woman led us into an office with the temperature set to "sauna". She motioned for me to lay down and I parked Ben (strapped in with his big winter coat on) and his stroller beside me. There was no questions and certainly no explanation as she quickly and expertly pinged the small needles in various points in my body to the endless narrative.

"Mommy what dat lady doing"?
"Mommy dat hurt ya?"
"Mommy what dat now?"
"Mommy I have snack now?"

Each time he spoke (which until that moment I hadn't realized NEVER lets up) she raised a suspicious eyebrow at him.

"You lay still, no move." She looked at me
"You be quite, no talk to mommy". Her gaze rested on Ben who looked back at her intently. I didn't miss the small glint in his eye.

I lay still with my eyes closed imagining a beach, and waves and all things quiet, peaceful and calming to induce the flow of my "chi" and ultimately my labor.

Nothing. Maybe he will think I am asleep.
I had one more chance...I knew this.
I asked for that.
"Yes Ben"?
"Mommy, you sleeping?"
"Yes Ben".
"Mommy wake up now!"

I looked at him, sweat was pouring down his forehead. crap. I had forgotten to take off his winter coat. There is no quicker way to make him crankier, he is hot at the best of times and won't even keep socks on in the dead of winter. He was starting to squirm around in his seat and lunging back towards my diaper bag...which I also forgot to take snacks out of before I lay down.

"Mommy? I want snack now".

The Doctors words rung in my ears...I wasn't to move...but what would be worse, my very limited movement or Ben's screaming. As I took a moment too long to wonder, I noticed Ben had become absorbed in something...a small needle... in his hand.

"BEN"! I hissed
"Where did you get that???"
"Right der". He pointed to my elbow closest to him where a small red dot lay in evidence.

I shoved it back in my elbow. She wouldn't notice right?!

I moved very carefully to an upright position (awkward at the best of times at the moment...) careful not to disturb any more needles. I reached to the diaper bag on the back of the stroller and passed Ben a Tupperware of crackers, corn snacks and kiwi and quickly unzipped his coat.

I closed my eyes again to his rhythmic chewing.

"Mommy? I eating kiwi".
"Mommy? Now I eating crackers, mmm I WUV crackers"... and the commentary began once again.

"Ben let's close our eyes and our mouths for a minute okay?"

"uuuuuuuuum...NO FANKS!"

Of course it wouldn't be that easy.

He jabbered on loudly and my chi turned negative quickly.

"Ben! Look at Mommy, you NEED to be quite! That means close your mouth for a little while okay? No more talking."

He glared at me.



and with that his horns grew an inch and he whipped his snack across the room. Kiwi flying over me and corn snacks popping against the walls.

"AHHHHHHHHHHH" he shrieked at me. Sweat beading on his forehead, outraged at me for being so unfair as to expect something so completely impossible from him and being disappointed with him for it.

You're right... I're right. What was I thinking??? Lesson learned, but the corn snacks weren't picking themselves up. I hoisted myself up once again and as quickly as I could picked up all the rogue snacks and stuffed them back into the container, striped off his coat and sweatshirt and stuffed a lolly pop into his clammy hand in hopes he would stop glaring at me.

I lay down just as she entered into the room.

Her eyes widened.


"Hmmm?" I decided to plead ignorance.

"You move! I say no move!"

"Oh uh yes, well I had to um adjust a little bit. Did it still work?"

"I don't know... the angle all wrong, angle have to be juussss wite!"


$60.00 later we were thankfully out the door. I was exhausted and my thumb was throbbing. I was imagining all the things I messed up in my body by ruining the angle of the thumb needle when Ben decided to go in for one last bit of payback by arching his back at superhuman angles to avoid at all costs being strapped into his car seat.

"Benjamin! PLEASE! Mommy has NO MORE patience right now!"

Fortunately he knows my breaking point and flashed me a toothy grin as his horns simultaneously vanished again.

"Dat's okay Mommy, you can buy more at the grocery store"!

A simple solution

One of Ben's favorite treats are the Motts 100% fruit freezies available only in the summer (between Grandma and I we stocked up for the winter). It was a sad November day when this treat that has the ability to instantly make Ben smile had him in tears with shaking hands. Being an innovative child however he made his way over to the winter clothes basket in the entry way and rectified the problem. I know he is ready for a freezie when he approaches with his mittens on.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Wow this decade has flown by. It has been a perfect decade! Since the millennium, which I rang in while still in high school I have done so much, so much in fact that I am not sure the 0-teens (what are we calling this next decade??? is there a conscious?) can top the two thousand's (hmmmm okay we have to come together on that one too...). I do make resolutions every year...I don't keep them every year but at least I start out the year with intent and that is really half the battle. I like goals because I figure if you only ever meet them half way you are still better off than you were when you started!

How's that for logic.

This year, at the start of a new decade Jon and I have made some family resolutions. Some are obvious... and boringly financially based; build savings, stay out of debt, stay on budget...blah blah blah. But the exciting and challenging one is in a lifestyle overhaul. In light of being in a perpetual state of feeling unwell for the last 6 weeks I realized this is the worst way of possibly living. I usually feel very good for the most part and am happy to leave most of those "symptom" boxes on new patient forms empty. Of course I am in my twenty's...they are the forgiving years but both J and I can see a difference in your early twenty;s and your eh-hem...late(r) twenties. HOWEVER after seeing a new doctor last week I was happy to let go of my denial and accept her suspicion that I am prediabetic and need to make some real changes or I will pay for it. After talking at length over these last couple of months about the importance of maintaining good, if not great health to get the most out of...everything...we are going to try to achieve a goal of super health for ourselves, our children and our quality of life. So this preventative health goal encompasses a lot of goals really... working out every day, eating a diet rich in whole, superfoods (those are buzz words in the super health community...I use them so I feel like I know what I am talking about...really it means you don't eat anything processed, with additives, chemicals or refined sugar. Green is going to be our new favorite color...and organic farmers are our new best friends), detoxing (I will have to wait until I am done nursing for that one...I know tsk four and I am already finding excuses...but really I don't want to donate my body of toxins to the baby...and its not even really day 1 despite the date, technically because we are cleaning out the kitchen ang getting groceries tonight...there is no hard and fast rule that you HAVE to start resolutions on the first is there?) and generally becoming those annoying people at a dinner party asking you to hold the butter and where's the hummus...I picture myself wearing a lot more yoga pants (not only because they are SO comfortable...and after 9 months of elastic waisted pants it is hard to go back to buttons) because I need to be ready for when the urge to work out hits me, it could be at any time! We are going to embrace activity, real food, and all things that better ourselves on the whole. We are NEVER eating fast food our entire lives, we pinky swore on it so you know, its a done deal now.
Oh and I have to have a baby, I will feel 75% less crappy with that alone...I can't wait for my ribs and intestines to drop a foot and a half, what will they even do with all that freed up space?!

Anyway wish us, our mission and our Vita Mix the best of luck...don't be afraid of us, I will not lecture (although you do know that Lysol is on the top five list of most carcenogenic items in your home...right?) but may turn down your offer of pie (my ultamate test of commitment)or allow Jon to pry it out of my hands, whatever.

Happy and healthy 2010 to you!
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