Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hotmilk nursing bras

Part I: The Confession

I have a confession to make:

I am a woman of boring underwear. Until this past year, I have owned a grand total of two non-white bras. I've always gone for plain, white, and practical.

I couldn't stand it any more. When I had Ivy, I went crazy and bought several nursing bras in...hold it...ivory, nude, and pale pink.

Yes, I know, I might have gone overboard with the pale pink. And don't even ask about my knickers...

When Hotmilk Lingerie asked me to review one of their nursing bras, I said yes faster than a new mother's letdown. And I chose the opposite of plain and white: the Show Off in black & pink.

Hot Milk Show Off maternity full cup bra

I love the names of the nursing bras: Serenity, Mystery, Her Desire Was Dangerous, Devoted, Her Tangled Wed Tantalised, One & Only...

Hotmilk nursing bras start in D cups and run all the way to H. Band sizes range from 10/32 to 16/38. With free international shipping, anyone can enjoy a Hotmilk bra. They also sell maternity bras, regular bras, knickers, sleepwear, and more.

pssst...right now, all nursing bras come with a free pair of knickers!

Part II: The Bra

The Show Off is well-made with metal sliding rings & fastening hooks, lovely details in the trim & edging, and lush fabric. I am a solid 36D, and the sizing was spot-on. My bra band has triple hooks--necessary for supporting a fuller bust. The band is less stretchy than other brands I have worn and thus needs to be worn more snugly.

Part III: The Hack

This is by far the nicest bra I have ever owned both in construction and appearance. My only critique is that none of the nursing bras come with underwire. I MUST have underwire. Without it, I end up with a saggy uniboob. Yes, unfortunately, even with the Show Off.

But I didn't let that stop me! Armed with an old, stretched-out nursing bra and a pair of scissors, I extracted the underwire, cut a small slit in the inside channel of my Show Off, and inserted the wire. I secured the ends with a bit of black bias tape; this reinforces the fabric and keeps the ends from poking through. Voilà! Instant underwire bra.

Part IV: The Seduction

After Eric and I finished putting the kids to bed, I said, "Hey Eric, I just got a new nursing bra. How do you like it?"

...An hour later, he rolled over and murmured, "Any time you want to buy a new sexy nursing bra, I fully approve."

"I didn't buy this one--Hotmilk sent it to me to review."

"Even better."

Part V: The Verdict

I love my Hotmilk Show Off nursing bra. I would love it even more if they made an underwire option.

Part VI: Ivy Approves

What is more fun than sitting backwards on a potty playing with your mama's bra?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Update on breech mama

Remember the mama looking for an in-hospital breech catcher? Here's the rest of her story...Thanks to everyone who offered advice and suggestions! 

The Intown Midwifery group in Atlantic ended up being the ones who seemed most comfortable with breech babies, and also were willing to accept me as a very late transfer. I didn't investigate providers west of the Mississippi much ;). Several others whose names you turned up were friendly and kind enough to speak with me, but either would not accepted a late transfer or would not accept a complete breech.

So we went down to Atlanta and met with Dr. Bootstaylor, the perinatologist who supports the midwives. He was extremely kind and relaxed. We did try a second cephalic version with him, also to no avail. He explained that in his opinion the studies showing successful vaginal deliveries for complete breech are skewed, and the results are actually worse but people don't report that. However, he was a willing to support me trying, with the understanding that we wanted to see steady progress, and that if she dropped into footling in labor that would mean a c section.

As it turned out, most of this never applied. My water broke early in the morning two days after my due date. We went in immediately, as they were concerned about the potential for cord prolapse. Dr. Bootstaylor came in and did an ultrasound which showed no sign of the cord underneath her. So we tried to get labor going, but it wasn't until after midnight that I really started having contractions. I continued for maybe five hours, and was dilating, but the baby's heart rate was in the 160s and losing variability. Since my water had been broken for more than 24 hours at this point, there was concern for chorioamnionitis, and we decided to go ahead with a c section. I was pretty far out of it by that point, but my husband was doing a great job of asking questions and standing up for me, so I do believe the c section was necessary. Oddly, after all that, the c section wasn't actually for breech, but for complication of prolonged rupture of membranes.

Her Apgars were 3 and 8, and she spent several minutes getting suctioned and stimulated before she was stable enough to be put on my chest. However, she had no respiratory problems after that, so I think that was just the usual "slow to get started" of a breech baby.

She then proceeded to get admitted to NICU because some screening blood work was concerning for neonatal sepsis and she "needed" iv antibiotics. I was really unhappy about not having her with me, but the test showed a high risk of a serious infection, and we didn't want to gamble with that. Somewhere in here, though, the breastfeeding got very messed up. She will barely latch at all, so I'm pumping, supplementing due to low supply, and finger feeding this to her. Plus my incision got infected and is a bit of a mess. So basically all the short term complications of a c section...

However; my little girl is beautiful, and I am working on enjoying her, in between all the chaos. Next time, I am thinking seriously about HBAC. Despite the best efforts and intentions of our providers, my husband and I both feel like we definitely got swept down the slippery slope of interventions, especially as far as our daughter was concerned, and would like to avoid getting started on that road in future. Also, next time, a doula. ;) I definitely overestimated my ability to cope with labor and also deal with medical providers, as well as my husband's ability to intuit what would be helpful to me.

Anyway. Thank you again for your help. Despite how things turned out, I am very glad that I had the option to try, and that we pursued it. As conflicted as I feel about the whole chain of events, I would be even more unhappy if I hadn't tried to avoid the c section.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breech Birth Online Workshop by Maggie Banks

New Zealand midwife Dr. Maggie Banks is offering an online breech birth workshop. I reviewed her book Breech Birth, Woman-Wise here. More information below!


Breech Birth Online Workshop

5th – 25th May 2014

Breech presentation is the 4th most commonly reported indication for caesarean section, and previous caesarean section the first. Breech presentation can be seen, therefore, as a major contributor to the caesarean section rate, both in current and future pregnancies.

Publication in 2000 of the Term Breech Trial, which recommended caesarean section with breech presentation at term, accelerated the loss of breech skills as caesarean became universal and, to all intents and purposes, mandatory as vaginal birth became no longer offered. The discrediting of the Term Breech Trial did not halt the move to routine caesarean but there has been a gradual reclaiming of breech skills over the last decade or so.

The workshop addresses 3 aspects of vaginal breech birth:
  1. The vaginal breech birth option: Breech literature and guidelines are examined, and we explore the various options available (or not) to women and how these affect the woman and her baby.
  2. Physiological breech birth: The ‘what and how’ of breech birth when support, rather than ‘delivery techniques’, is used.
  3. Preventing and/or dealing with problems during vaginal breech birth: Appropriate care, timely recognition of problems, adept handling and engaging in collaborative  conversations and care strategies are the focus of this aspect.
This 3 week online workshop (see Workshop Calendar) is run on Birthspirit Moodle, and is designed as a fully interactive course for those who wish to engage in the thoughtful exchange of knowledge and skills about vaginal breech birth with other maternity caregivers. It is taught using videoed lectures, live classrooms, slides, videos, posted readings and discussion forums. (You can test your basic computer system requirements and internet speed here to make sure you can successfully participate in live classrooms before you register.)

Course material is available online from the start of each week to enable participants to set their own timetables for learning. Live classrooms pertaining to the focus of the week are held on Thursdays at 8.00am and 3.00pm (NZST). (You can check a world clock here as to which time – 8.00am OR 3.00pm – is best for you to attend each week). If participants are unable to attend the live session this will be available for viewing the following day but energetic connecting with each other in real time can be a powerful accelerant to our learning and understanding, so participants are encouraged to attend these at scheduled times.


Dr Maggie Banks (PhD, RM, RGON) has worked in a variety of practice settings, first as a nurse (from 1972) primarily in women’s health and neonatal intensive care, then as midwife (from 1987). A self-employed midwife in home birth practice since 1989, Maggie has combined the role of midwifery educator with practice since 1998. She has regularly taught throughout Australasia, as well as having been a guest speaker at conferences held in the Australia, US and Canada. She has a particular interest in breech presentation and birth as women commonly report their control of birthing is overridden, despite their opting for vaginal breech birth. Maggie is the author of Breech Birth Woman-Wise, and is known for her activism in ensuring that women giving birth vaginally are cared for by their known and trusted caregivers, that is, midwives.

Cost NZ$150.00

Register for the Workshop now.

This Workshop has been sent to Midwifery Council of New Zealand for points allocation.
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Monday, April 07, 2014

Ivy shows off her skills for LLL

Guess who's the new face of La Leche League of Indiana?


Photos by M.E.G. Photograpy

Interview with Meg Gregory here

More pictures from our photoshoot here
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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Breech birth stories

Breaking news . . . Ottawa midwives can now remain the primary care providers for planned breech births. Monfort Hospital is the first to no longer mandate a transfer of care to an obstetrician when a midwife's client has a breech baby. Midwives experienced in vaginal breech birth can now remain the woman's primary care provider, calling in an OB only when needed.

“The Montfort Hospital completely supports midwives working within their full scope of practice, as midwives are regulated by their own College,” says Ann Salvador, the administrative director of the Family Birthing Centre at the hospital. “The College of Midwives of Ontario standards recommend a consultation in labour, not a transfer. Midwifery clients appreciate having their primary care provider retain care.”

Read the rest of the article here.

And now for lots of breech birth stories...

Breech babies are born in hospitals!

Hospital breech birth plan: A UK woman originally planning a home birth shares her hospital birth plan for her vaginal breech birth.

Midwife-assisted footling breech birth: A UK mom plans a hospital birth for her frank breech baby, but everyone is surprised when feet emerge first.

I owned my birth: A mom has to change her home birth plans when her baby is breech. She faces a lot of negativity from friends, family, and the L&D nurses, but she gets through it with support from her midwives, husband, and OB.

Take note, America: A vaginal breech birth with yoga, meditation, and visualization. The mom chose the NHS over the American military hospital.
The next hour was a little less zen than the four hours that preceded it, but no less miraculous: Matilda Jane, 5lbs 12 oz and who knows how long because they don’t measure them in England.

The secondary miracle is that an OB caught my breech baby. In a hospital. On purpose. As an American, I still can hardly believe it. He cried when I explained how it is in the States and how blessed I felt to have the team of providers that we had with us in that room.

This was the mainstream medicine approach. We didn’t do anything sneaky or even unconventional. I walked into the emergency room with preterm labor and walked out of the hospital a few days later without so much as a single stitch, carrying a perfectly healthy baby girl. Take note, America.

Breech babies are born at home!

Breech/breech twins: Mallie's birth story and photos of breech/breech twins born at home attended by a doctor and a midwife. Look at this amazing picture by My Story Birth Photography of the first baby on the mom's belly and the second baby emerging:

Breech twins: In this (archived) podcast, Mallie Shirk tells of her twins' birth. If you'd like to listen to this episode, email maternallyyoursradio at gmail dot com. Her story starts around 8:00 of the podcast and goes through most of the hour.

My healing birth: A breech home VBAC

Miriam's breech homebirth: Lovely redheaded mama and an amazing photo of mama on H&K with the baby's body emerging.

Kolton Elias' special delivery: A powerful story and great pictures of the baby emerging. 

Jemma's breech homebirth: professional photographer + home birth = lovely!

Taylor's Natural Breech Birth:

And the mom tells the story of Taylor's birth in this video:

Breech babies are born in strange locations and at bad times!

At the side of the highway: This mom had planned a cesarean, but her baby had other plans and was born en route to the hospital.

On Utah's barren salt flats: premature breech twins born 100 miles from a hospital...that would give me some gray hairs.

Premature unplanned breech birth at home: Mom has a history of fast labors, and this baby followed the trend, coming breech and 9 weeks early.

People love to talk about breech birth!

Shawn Walker, Breech Specialist midwife at James Paget University NHS Trust, talks about the breech education days last April.

Dr. Dennis Hartung, an OB/GYN in the Twin Cities area who attends vaginal breech births, weighs in on the noble lie of childbirth.
I believe that women need “saving” from childbirth only rarely. Cesarean birth can be good – sometimes. Epidurals can be helpful – sometimes, as can pitocin, etc.  But, I believe we trivialize the experience of childbirth for each woman, her partner, her growing family, society and the global community when we disempower  her from the most powerful and difficult thing she will ever do.  Too much unnecessary intervention not only affects her, it affects our community adversely.  Once a woman has given birth, she knows what she is made of. Let’s not let the “Lie” lead us away from the real truth of childbirth.  Most of time she CAN DO IT.  As a mother, she can then help others through it.  She can lead our community and her family better.  She can withstand practically anything.  She is empowered.  She can change the world.

And just because it's awesome...

A vaginal birth of (head-down) triplets!
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ivy is 1 year old!

...and my post is a day late, typical. You learn to roll with the punches when you have 4 kids.

We celebrated today since Eric and I had a dinner event up on campus yesterday.

I wanted to do a white cake with ombre green inside and green ivy leaves. But I didn't have oil-based or powder food dyes to tint the white chocolate. So I reversed the scheme:

We painted real ivy leaves with melted white chocolate, then peeled the leaves off once the chocolate had hardened. It worked really well!

According to Ivy's birth certificate, she supposedly born today, March 26, not yesterday, March 25. I'm not sure who messed it up, but I'd like to get her passport and have been waiting almost 2 weeks for her birth certificate to be corrected.

Her passport photo:

What is Ivy up to?
  • Walking!
  • She can say papa, dog, tweet tweet as well as imitate several other sounds
  • She can sign dog, bird, and nurse
  • Being one of the pack with her siblings
  • Clinging to me or Eric much of the day...if I even move a few inches away, she sobs and crawls after me. 

Ivy still prefers her papa over anyone else, hands down. It's endearing, if a bit strange, to have a baby who prefers him over me. But I'm not complaining! I like that I can pass her off to him.

She's a happy, spunky, wiggly child

She's still waking twice at night to nurse. Nothing much changed since last month on sleep. I'm dealing with it and hoping that she'll transition to once-nightly nursing soon. Of course, I'm partly to blame since I get to bed about an hour too late every night...

If you haven't yet, read Ivy's birth story, see her birth photos, and watch her birth video.

Happy birthday Ivy Claire! 
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

To pump or not to pump?

I've been pumping and donating since Ivy was 2 weeks old. Every night, I hook myself up to the pump, settle back into the couch, and pump a cup of liquid gold for my donor family. Sometimes I would be so tired when it came time to pump. I just want to go to bed...maybe I'll do it in the morning...but still every night I would sit down, plug in, and pump.

I love nursing my children, and I would be devastated if I were unable to breastfeed. That's why I pump, even when I don't feel like it.

I've wondered how long I could continue pumping after I was done nursing my last baby...months? years? decades? Some wet nurses continued to nurse babies into their 70s and 80s, so I suppose there is no absolute upper limit on lacatation.

With our upcoming move to France, however, I knew my pumping days would likely end. I don't have a 240V pump and our new apartment doesn't have a proper freezer. Two strikes, you're out. When I realized this, I was excited at the thought of freedom from pumping. When I'm tired, I can just go to bed!

My visit to Seattle two weeks ago might have answered my dilemma about when to stop pumping. I didn't bring a pump. I figured Ivy would take care of the extra milk if I gave her more opportunities to nurse. I did get a little engorged, but not uncomfortably so. I tried my sister's single manual pump (Isis Avent) and that thing is worthless! I easily express 8+ ounces with my double electric pump, but only got a half an ounce with the manual pump.

When I came home from Seattle, I didn't pump the first night...or the next...or the next.

I think I am done.

I've been working on saying no to more things. Even though I could do them, I choose not to. I'm a little wistful because this might be my last opportunity to donate. But I'm also ready to move on and enjoy a few more minutes of sleep every night, a few more minutes not tied down to a machine, a few more minutes when my body is mine and no one else's. 

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

She walks!

After a week of walking around the house holding onto one of our fingers, Ivy decided to stand up and walk today!

Inga loves to take Ivy walking around the house, holding onto both of Ivy's hands and laughing all the while.

I'm going to miss having a baby in the house...

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Glow jars

We like making glow jars for Christmas and birthday presents. For the best effect, you need the right paint. Strontium aluminate based glow-in-the-dark paints are far brighter than the kinds you can find in most local craft or hardware stores.

You can buy ready-made paints or glow powder to mix into a transparent paint or glaze. I bought a sampler of 6 paints from Glonation. If you search "strontium aluminate glow paint," you'll find several glow paint companies.

Glonation's paints are water-based and become rubbery and stretchy rather quickly. If you're working with stencils--say, for a painting on a wall or ceiling--you have to remove the pattern almost immediately, otherwise the paint will peel off with the pattern.

The green is the brightest and longest-lasting color, followed by aqua. If you only can buy two colors, go with these two. The blue and the violet are also nice. On the other hand, the white and orange hardly show up at all.

We bought an assortment of glass jars and pots at a thrift store. Dab thick dots of paint onto the inside of the container, and you're done! I found that you get plumper beads of paint if you use a wooden barbeque skewer rather than a paintbrush to apply the paint. 

I'd LOVE to paint my bike like this night bike!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My visit to Seattle

We're back from a fun & busy visit to Seattle! Remind me that only having one baby is easy, but crossing 3 time zones and spending a full day traveling each way with a baby is rather tiring. Especially when your baby wants to wake up at 4 am, because it's 7 am in her head!

Eric came to attend the AWP Conference and to interview candidates for his sabbatical replacement. My mom was free that week, so I decided to come along and spend time with my youngest sister, who moved to Seattle about a year ago.

We arrived on Tuesday evening and crashed at my sister's house in Ballard. Eric didn't have any conference obligations on Wednesday except for registering, so we spent the day together with my sister and her two little children. I had breakfast at Señor Moose Café with Sharon Muza and Kim James, the founder of Doula Match. Great food, lovely women, fantastic conversation. While I was breakfasting, Eric toured downtown Ballard with my sister.

Then we met up to visit the Ballard (Chittenden) locks. I visited Seattle when I was about 10 years old, and the locks are one of the few things I can recall.

We picked up some amazing sandwiches at Paseo for lunch. On my sister's recommendation, I chose spice level #3 but I think I could easily have gone up to a 4 or 5 (out of 5). I like it hot!

After naps for my sister's toddler, we went to Golden Gardens Park, a lovely beachfront park and playground. Ivy napped while we enjoyed amazing weather: mid-50s and sunny.

Once the children were covered in sand and (hopefully) tired out, we headed home and caught the bus downtown. Because Eric was also interviewing candidates for his sabbatical replacement, we were able to stay at a very nice hotel, the Fairmont Olympic. We spent an hour in the pool and hottub before it was Ivy's bedtime.

I nursed Ivy and ran off to meet some birth people at Café Presse in Capitol Hill. Dr. Elias Kass of One Sky Family Medicine, a recent CNM graduate (and IBCLC), and a long-time blog reader met me for a wonderful evening of conversation. I was going to walk to and from the hotel, but Elias kindly gave me rides. Thanks!!

We discovered that our "suite" at the Fairmont wasn't really a suite at all, since the 4 French doors between the bedroom and living room had no glass...just large open panels covered with sheer curtains.

If there's no door, no sound control, and no light control, it's not really a suite.

Eric had to sit with the lights off and make no noise to keep Ivy from waking up. After one night of this, I decided to put Ivy to bed at my sister's house and stay until my bedtime. It's only a 12 minute drive from her house to downtown when the traffic is light.

Another gorgeous day: mid-50s and sunny. Seattle, what's up? My sister met me at the hotel for swimming, then we explored Pike Place Market and the surrounding shops, including Beecher's Handmade Cheese. Lots of delicious food samples....mmmm....oh, we saw the gum wall (eewwww) and walked past the original Starbucks.

Home for lunch and naps, then back outside to Carkeek Park. It overlooks the Puget Sound and has a little pedestrian bridge that crosses over train tracks down to the beach. Ivy took another outdoor nap--what a lovely thing--while we entertained the other little ones. I was eager to see a bit more of downtown Ballard, so we walked around and visited Classic Consignment. Several lovely shirts & sweaters later, I emerged. I also found an amazing antique chair but had to pass it up...sigh...Dinner was Thai takeout from Pestle Rock.

Yet another day of gorgeous sunny weather! We spent the morning at the City Center playing in several of the fountains, including the musical fountain with jets that spray to the music and an empty fountain that looks more like an ocean floor than a fountain.

We also toured the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor's Center. Amazing interactive displays on alleviating poverty, improving sanitation and clean water supplies, reversing malnutrition, and improving the quality of life for all people.

We took this picture...and then it showed up on the wall behind us!

A rural Nepalese midwife's birth kit...plastic sheets, soap, string, and basic instructions. Amazing that something so simple can make such a difference in birth outcomes.

Lunch was takeout pho...I could eat it every day. Yum. After naps, we headed to the Woodland Park Zoo. I was finally able to meet a longtime friend, colleague, and blog reader Jenne after 7+ years of correspondence. I love being able to make these connections!

Later that evening, my sister hosted a last-minute Feminist Mormon Housewives get-together. It was small, but the conversation was great. I love tackling big issues of faith, doubt, feminism, and activism.

My sister brought her whole family for swimming on Saturday morning. Seattle decided to show its true colors, so we had cooler temperatures and rain. My sister stayed behind to take the Seattle Underground Tour with Ivy and me and Eric. The sights were mildly interesting, but the tour itself was fascinating. I love well-done entertaining history.

I finally was able to spend some time in the afternoon with Eric at the AWP Bookfair. He'd been tied up all day and most evenings going to conference sessions, while my days were full sightseeing with my sister. We checked out of the hotel and spent our last night at my sister's house again.

Saturday ended on a fantastic note with dinner at The Whale Wins. We had to wait almost and hour and a half for a table, but it was worth it. Amazing flavors and unusual combinations of ingredients. My only complaint was that the restaurant was pretty chilly. I dressed up but had to keep my coat on the whole time, and I still wasn't quite warm enough!


Sunday was spent traveling from 7 am PST to 11 pm EST. But at least we got home in one day--another big storm system blew through and threatened to cancel flights.

Observations about Seattle
There's a definite urban-outdoorsy vibe in Seattle. I saw lots of yoga pants + running shoes, practical leather boots, down jackets, closely trimmed beards, and knitted hats & scarves. My sister says that Seattle women don't often "do" their hair, since it rains so much.

The AWP conference was full of uber-hipsters. What a collection of skinny jeans, funky glasses, asymmetrical haircuts, facial hair, and artistically draped hand-knit shawls!

Why do expensive hotels offer fewer amenities than cheap hotels? At the Fairmont, you get the privilege of paying for wifi. Breakfast is $20/person. At Motel 6/Super 8/etc, you get free wifi, free breakfast, and sometimes even free dinner. Weird. 

Of course, the best entertainment at the Fairmont was free: shredding toilet paper.

I've never lived in a big urban area, so Seattle's real estate prices were shocking. There's something fundamentally wrong with such expensive housing. I kept wondering the whole time, "How do real people with regular jobs even survive here?" In my town, some of the cheaper houses are the same price as a car. (Granted, they are not usually very nice at this price, but still...) How do those of you living in big cities make it work?
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ivy is 11 months old!

Eric, Ivy and I just arrived in Seattle last night to visit my sister and to go to the AWP conference, while my mom watches the other kids. It's the first time we've left our children and gone somewhere together. I'm looking forward to good food, warmer (if wetter) weather, lots of fun sight-seeing, and best of all one-on-one time with Ivy during the day. Thanks to all my blog readers who sent in suggestions of things to do!

She does this funny scrunchy thing with her face when she smiles

Having only one child is SO EASY in comparison to four. Only one little person to get dressed and feed and clean up after and buckle into carseats/strollers and get in and out of the car...

Ivy's fourth tooth popped through yesterday, right in time for turning 11 months. She hasn't been cranky or drooly, so it took us by surprise.

Ivy's new tricks this month:
  • She says "papa" and we're pretty sure it's intentional
  • She grinds her upper tooth with her lower 2 teeth and it sounds like she's chewing on rocks. All my kids have done this
  • She says "psssss" when I bring her to the potty or make the potty sign. She's still a bit hesitant to go pee, though. When it comes out, she startles and stops peeing and look around as if to say, "uh oh, I don't think I was supposed to do that!" 
  • She can turn around and climb down the stairs by herself
  • She loves music and starts dancing any time she hears a tune or a beat
  • Her favorite thing to carry around is a tube of chapstick. Not sure why, but you'll always see one in her hand. 
  • When she's done eating, she starts throwing her food onto the floor. Then she lifts up the tray of her high chair and throws that down, too. 
  • Sleeping in her own room
Look who got into the cocoa powder and was eating it by the fistful...

I was about to say that she's sleeping pretty well. She wakes up twice a night, usually, around 2 am and 5 am. But then I realized that I'm still getting up every 2-3 hours and that's not much of an improvement over a newborn! She does have that first long stretch, but I don't really benefit from it. Ah well...some day she will sleep all night long and I will feel amazing. Some day, right?

She's tricky to get back to sleep when I nurse her at night. I usually have to nurse for a good 30 minutes or more to get her tired enough. Even then, she often wakes up and cries when I leave the room. I may be the only parent who does this, but I often crawl out of the room so she can't see me as I leave. Yeah, the things you do when you have a baby...

Ivy's other "mama" Leilani--she and her family stayed with us for 3 months

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Saturday, February 22, 2014


Are there any Stand and Deliver readers in Seattle? If so, please send me an email :)
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

First-time mom looking for in-hospital breech catcher

I received a request from a first-time mom looking for a CNM or OB willing to attend a vaginal breech birth. She lives in Pittsburgh but is willing to relocate, if necessary, if her baby remains breech at term. Please email me if you have any recommendations!


I am 33 weeks pregnant (first child), and the baby has been breech since 23/24 weeks. I'm doing all of the spinning babies exercises, and planning to do acupuncture, as well as seeing an OB whom my midwives referred me to to discuss an external version. (I am seeing a group of CNMs with a freestanding birth center, but they don't deliver breech or VBAC, and neither does anyone else in the city do breech deliveries voluntarily, as far as I can tell.)

However. This baby is stubborn. Nothing has made an impact on him/her so far, and I'm concerned that it will continue to be breech. I'm hoping that you can point me towards some providers who will accept a primip trying to have a breech vaginal delivery. I live in Pittsburgh, but my husband and I would drive or fly virtually anywhere and stay there as long as necessary if the external version fails. I just don't want to find myself at 38 weeks (especially not *in labor* at 38 weeks), and have no option other than to go to the OBs, who will insist on a C-section.

I'm especially looking for CNMs who can deliver in a hospital, or OBs who are ok with breech, as I'm concerned enough about the risks of the situation that I don't really want an out of hospital birth at this point. (At least for the first one; subsequent ones, I'll be much more cheerful about "accidentally" waiting too long. ;)

I would deeply appreciate any information you can give me.
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

We do it just to ruin your day

We lactating mothers just can't wait to bare it all. Because we're all exhibitionists at heart. And we want to ruin your day.

Sparrow-Folk have a go at breastfeeding in public in this song  "Ruin Your Day" from their debut album The Fox and the Lark.

About Sparrow-Folk:

Jules and Catherine first performed together in an improvised show and went on to play a fully improvised gig at a Chalk Board Tent in The Canberra Folk Festival in 2012. It was there the dream was hatched to start Sparrow-Folk. They began performing in backyards, at family events and even had a couple of small appearances at local venues like the Hellenic Club, and Smith’s Alternative Bookshop.

Recently, Sparrow-Folk was named the ACT winner of the ABC Exhumed competition for 2013, after playing to a packed crowd of 300+ at the Woden Southern Cross Club. They played live on 666ABC Canberra radio, and their songs have also been played on Triple J, though their premiere performance was under southern stars and a Hills Hoist.

Sparrow-Folk are passionate about music, women, fun and of course their fans, the ‘Nesties’. Their quirky style is aimed at bringing a smile through songs and commentary on the world around them.

Sparrow-Folk’s experience of the world comes through in their music; they bring whimsy, giggles, fun and sunshine through the ability to laugh at themselves and provide a real commentary on what it’s like to be women in 2013. They are both ridiculously serious, and seriously ridiculous.

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Birth in the caul

I want to share these two stunning photographs of babies being born in the caul. The first is from a twin birth by photographer Leilani Rogers of www.photosbylei.com.*

The second photo was taken during a cesarean section and shared by Greek obstetrician Aris Tsigris.

I feel such a sense of awe and mystery when I look at these pictures. Even though I've had four children, I still wonder how they folded up inside. Seeing a baby born, yet not fully emerged, gives me a fleeting glimpse into the hidden life of the unborn baby.

This is me trying to figure out how Inga managed to fit inside of me.

*You may share this photo if you give credit and include a link to Leilani Roger's website www.photosbylei.com. 
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Friday, January 31, 2014

Things I didn't expect (when I was expecting) by Monica Dux

I caught a nasty bug yesterday and have been stuck in bed (or lying prone on the floor with 4 children climbing all over me). I started reading Monica Dux's recent book Things I Didn't Expect (When I Was Expecting) to keep my mind off the fever and chills and racking cough.

This book is hilarious. I laughed out loud every other page. I gave up highlighting my favorite passages, because about about half the book would have been marked. Not only is Monica Dux spunky, irreverent, and witty, her observations about all the crazy s*** pregnant women put up with are also spot-on. (Yes, there is an entire chapter about poo. It's fantastic.)

I've been searching long and wide for a book about pregnancy and birth that actually says something new/interesting/useful. This is the book. Here's a synopsis:

Pregnancy is natural, healthy and fun, right? Sure it is, if you're lucky. For others, it's an adventure in physical discomfort, unachievable ideals, kooky classes and meddling experts.

When Monica Dux found herself pregnant with her first child, she was dismayed to find she belonged firmly in the second category. For her, pregnancy could only be described as a medium-level catastrophe. So, three years later and about to birth her second child, Monica went on a quest: to figure out what's really going on when we incubate.

Monica explores the aspects of baby-making that we all want to talk about, but which are too embarrassing, unsettling or downright confronting. She also looks at the powerful forces that shape women's experiences of being pregnant in the west, the exploitative industries, and the medical and physical realities behind it all.

Along the way, she fends off sadistic maternal health nurses, attempts to expand then contract her vagina, and struggles to keep her baby's placenta off her hippy brother's lunch menu.

Available in Australia at MUP and Random House. and Amazon(Australia). Readers outside Australia can purchase ebook versions, including Kindle, Kobo, ibooks, GooglePlay, and more. It is definitely worth purchasing.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ivy is 10 months old!

Ivy turned 9 months on Christmas, and that seems like just last week! Wow. Ever since we came home at the end of that terrible cold spell affecting much of the US and Canada, I've been preoccupied keeping our house and our rental properties warm and dry. We've had several frozen and burst water pipes, despite taking every precaution to prevent them. I've had to call our HVAC guy close to 10 times for various things. We've been outside multiple times in below zero (-20 C and colder) weather thawing frozen air intake pipes to our boiler. I am so ready for this cold weather to end!!! We have another cold wave hitting tonight through Wednesday.

Ivy got her first hairdo today...the kids were so excited. Dio proudly wore a matching topknot to church until the elastic fell out.

New developments this month:
  • Clapping her hands
  • Making fish lips
  • Mimicking everything we do
  • Learning to laugh when she's being tickled, rather than just squirm and grunt
  • Clicking her tongue
  • Blowing raspberries on my chest or belly...she loves to do this when she's done nursing
  • Sitting on her knees (well, she's been doing this for about 2 months now). She still doesn't ever sit down on her bottom. 
  • 2 bottom teeth! We had a rough time with the second tooth. She had a fever for 5 days. The tooth came through after the first night, but she still slept horribly all 5 nights. I had to keep her in bed with me in order for us to get any sleep...and now she's cosleeping much of the night. I never, ever thought she'd be back in bed with us. But I'm being pretty Zen about it. I love cuddling with her--even though half the time it's more like pinning her down so she'll stop wiggling or crawling in her sleep--and I know this time will pass too quickly.On the up side, this past week she's slept nice long stretches at first, from 7 pm - 2 or 3 am. Then she's up quite frequently and mostly in bed with me. 

Ivy is a little jokester. She loves to be in on the action when her siblings are laughing about something. She'll join in and do something funny to get them to laugh at her.

She loves to be with her papa. More than me, often. If I'm holding her and he leaves the room, she cries and throws herself towards him.

She spends hours pulling books off the bookshelf and then reading them.

And I love this picture of Inga.

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