Tuesday, December 26, 2006


While we were sitting around the dinner table on Christmas Eve, we got onto the topic of my blog. My siblings have read it and commented occasionally, but I don’t think my mom has ever read my blog. When I had asked her why not, she made comments like, “I don’t like blogs.” But that evening, she told me the real reason why she hasn’t read it—she thinks that the pictures I posted are inappropriate. She is ashamed that I have made them public and refuses to look at my blog because she can’t stand the thought of others seeing things that should be “private and sacred.” Another person at the table remarked that “anyone could take those pictures and put them on a porn site.”

Those pictures. What are they referring to, anyway? I they assume mean the picture of me and Zari immediately after the birth, and the three nursing pictures I have posted.

I agree that birth is a very private, sacred event. That’s exactly why I chose to give birth with no one but my husband in attendance, and even he remained in the other room until I called him in at the very end. But sharing my experiences does not detract from the beauty of the experience. I want others to read my story and know why I chose this path.

In addition, I find the picture of me holding my freshly-born daughter incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Whenever I look at it, I feel the elation and joy all over again. To say that this picture is degrading—simply because there is nudity—is like equating Michelangelo’s “David” or Mary Cassatt’s “Mother and Child” with an x-rated video or centerfold. Nudity does not pornography make.

For being completely naked, I expose remarkably little in that picture. All you can really see is one breast, camouflaged by blood smears. Everything else is covered by the baby or in shadow.

And don’t even get me started on breastfeeding being considered objectionable!

I am sad that my mom cannot see beyond the images. I don’t think she has ever read my birth story, and I wonder if she ever will. This blog contains intimate, heartfelt posts about things that are the most important to me--things that are part of my core identity as a woman and a mother.

So, dear readers, would you be ashamed if your own daughter posted similar pictures? Please share your thoughts.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Get your pens out

On the topic of breastfeeding, You Tube just removed my video because of "inappropriate content" or other such nonsense. Yep, seeing a baby latch on is considered sexually explicit content. I am going to petition the decision, but I don't know if I'll get anywhere. Grrrrrr....

Here is what the You Tube website says about videos that are removed: "When a video gets flagged as inappropriate, we review the video to determine whether it violates our Terms of Use—flagged videos are not automatically taken down by the system. If we remove your video after reviewing it, you can assume that we removed it purposefully, and you should take our warning notification seriously."

I will of course be writing them a very eloquent letter explaining why breastfeeding is NOT sexually explicit and should be allowed on their site.

FYI, here are the standards for posting videos on You Tube:
  • it can't show pornography or sexually explicit content
  • it can't show a dangerous or illegal act, or real violence
  • it's not a shock site (like showing dead bodies, war footage, etc)
  • it can't post copyrighted material
  • no hate speech, predatory behavior, stalking, threats, etc...
Did my video violate any of these standards?? I don't think so!

So, if you have a spare moment, write to You Tube and ask them to reinstate my video. It's called "Latching On" and my username is rixaf.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Latching on

Speaking of nursing, here's a video of Zari latching on when she was around 3 weeks old. She still likes to get her hands in the way!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Nurse Here Now

I just came across the Nurse Here Now site. I would like to add a resounding "AMEN!"

I breastfeed openly whenever Zari needs to eat. So far, I have nursed:
  • In the hospital lobby waiting to get her PKU test done
  • On a display couch in World Market. When I said I was going to nurse her, Eric said, "But what if they ask you to leave?" I said, "Then they better be prepared for a nurse-in and national publicity about kicking a breastfeeding mother out of their store." Fortunately I got no hassles there. I give the couch an A+ after its test run. It was very comfortable.
  • While watching Casino Royale at the movie theater. She was an angel!
  • At the annual holiday dinner for the liberal arts college where Eric works
  • At a humanities division social
  • In the pews during our church's sacrament meeting
  • In the lobby of our church during the meeting (she was being loud and fussy) and after church, when everyone was milling around
  • During our church's Christmas party & dinner, while I was eating. Talk about multi-tasking, eh?
  • At various church youth functions (I am involved with the teenaged girls)
When I was shopping at the mall a few days ago, I saw those leather massage recliners you pay to use. I soooo wanted to nurse there, but Zari wasn't hungry. Maybe next time.

It's fine if women want to cover up, but I don't and I won't. Sorry Mom, but I will not force my daughter to endure the indiginity of eating with a blanket over her head. My mom is a big proponent of breastfeeding, but thinks that women ought to cover up while in public.

By the way, I really really really want this Breastfeeding Goddess Calendar. Hint hint for you procrastinators out there! Also, here are links to more of her breastfeeding and cesarean artwork.
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Wish-I-Had and Glad-I-Did

Things I wish I had done differently during this pregnancy and birth:

1. I wish I had done my bellycasting sooner. I had everything on hand and had planned on doing the bellycast some time during the 38th week. Well, that obviously did not happen!

2. Ditto on taking artistic pregnancy pictures. I have weekly pictures of my growing belly, but nothing more aesthetic.

3. Next time, I will be more pro-active in treating my perineum and vaginal area after the birth. I had some pretty serious swelling and pain, and I realize now I should have started ice packs and warm herbal baths right away. I didn’t do any of these things until the fourth day after the birth.

4. Made sure our camera was on the right setting (5 megapixels). It was on a very low resolution when Eric snapped the picture of me and Zari immediately after she was born. I am sad because it is too grainy for anything but a very small print. I don’t suppose there’s a magic way to remedy this...anyone?

Things I am very glad I did:

1. Read Jack Newman’s Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers about 2 times from cover to cover, and watched several video clips on his website. I firmly believe that educating myself before the birth enabled breastfeeding go without a hitch. Knowing exactly what a good latch looks and feels like, and how to get it right, made all the difference.

2. Bought a fetoscope. Eric and I enjoyed listening to the baby’s heart beat, and when I had occasional “hmmmm, I haven’t felt the baby move in a while” moments, I could reassure myself that the baby was fine. The best $13 I ever spent. I didn’t use it all during labor though, nor was I planning to. The thought crossed my mind once, but as the intensity mounted, I didn’t think of it again.

3. Had a 12-day "babymoon" before I allowed any visitors (my mom) to come. It was a magical time, with just me, Eric, and the new baby. We spent most of the time upstairs in our master suite. Eric brought the laptop up, and we ate our meals on my sewing table. Church members supplied most of our dinners during that time, so Eric only had minimal cooking duties. Then, right when I was starting to feel a little stir-crazy, my mom arrived. It was perfect.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Many Faces of Zari

Our laptop is back! Here are several pictures of Zari I took over the past week:

This one makes me laugh every time I see it

At night we bundle her up in a blanket (aka her "baby burrito") and a hat.

She had her hand up by her chin, like Rodin's "Thinker," but she moved before I could take the picture.

She always nurses with her hands up by her face. Cute, but those hands are sure pesky when I'm trying to get her to latch on!

Zoned Out
Showering with her dad


Zonked Out
My mom calls this her "cello player" pose.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Technical difficulties

Holding a sleeping baby and typing one-handed...

Our laptop is in for repairs so I have limited internet access. Expect posts to resume in 1-2 weeks.
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


At 5 weeks old, Zari has grown between 2-3" (it's hard to get an exact measurement on babies) and gained 2 1/2 pounds. All on her mama's milk! Her current measurements:

22" long
9 1/2 pounds

She also has quite a few zits on her face right now. I guess it's her "teenage phase," just a tad early.
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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Souviens-toi, mon enfant (Remember, My Child)

This is a song from the French LDS hymnal--it is my favorite. I am not sure why our English version does not have it. It is sung to the melody from Dvorak's "New World Symphony." The English translation is courtesy of yours truly.

Souviens-toi, mon enfant
Souviens-toi, mon enfant: Tes parents divins
te serraient dans leurs bras, ce temps ne’st pas loin.
Aujourd’hui, tu es là, présent merveilleux,
ton regard brille encore du reflet des cieux.
Parle-moi, mon enfant, de ces lieux bénis
car pour toi est léger le voile d’oubli.

Souviens-toi, mon enfant des bois, des cités.
Pouvons-nous ici-bas les imaginer?
Et le ciel jusqu’au soir, est-il rose ou gris ?
Le soleil attend-il la neige ou la pluie?
Conte-moi, mon enfant, la couleur des prés
et le chant des oiseaux d’un monde oublié.

Souviens-toi, mon enfant : A l’aube des temps,
nous étions des amis jouant dans le vent.
Puis un jour, dans la joie nous avons choisi
d’accepter du Seigneur le grand plan de vie.
Ce soir-là, mon enfant, nous avons promis
par l’amour, par la foi, d’être réunis.

Remember, My Child
Remember, my child : not long ago,
your divine parents held you in their arms.
Today you are here, marvelously present.
Your gaze still shines with the reflection of heaven.
Talk to me, my child, about that blessed place,
because for you the veil is still thin.

Remember, my child, the forests, the cities.
Can we down here imagine them?
And the night sky, is it rosy or gray?
Is the sun waiting for snow or rain?
Describe to me, my child, the color of the meadows
and the birdsongs of a forgotten world.

Remember, my child: at the dawn of time,
we were friends playing in the wind.
Then one day in joy we chose to accept
the Lord’s grand plan of life.
That night, my child, we promised through love,
and through faith, to be reunited.

To those who are unfamiliar with LDS (Latter-Day Saint, aka Mormon) theology, I'll briefly explain a few things that this hymn mentions:
1: Pre-mortal existence: we believe that we are eternal beings and that we existed before earth life. We chose to come to earth to obtain physical bodies, to gain experience and knowledge, and to prove to God whether or not we would remain true to the things we had accepted in our premortal existence. Hence the references to knowing our earthly children before this life and the wistful yearning for the world in which we used to live.
2: Heavenly Parents: unlike other Christian faiths, we believe that we also have a Heavenly Mother, that God does not exist without a Goddess alongside him. Eliza R. Snow, one of the most well-known LDS poets, penned these lines that summarize our idea of a Heavenly Mother. (The poem was later set to music and included in the LDS hymnal):
“In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare.
Truth is reason, truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a Mother there.”
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Friday, December 01, 2006

A Father's Perspective

This is what Eric wrote in his journal the day Zari was born:

So. I am a father. As of 11:23 this morning, I have earthly posterity, a beautiful daughter. We haven’t named her yet, probably won’t until we find something that suits her. What an experience! I think this calls for exclamation points! Rixa woke me up around 6:30 this morning saying that she had been having regular contractions since about 1:30. She told me to cancel my classes, which I did. And take out Zeke, which I did. After a brisk run, Rixa continued to have regular contractions and they got stronger and stronger until about 9:30 when she started pushing.

Pushing took much longer than she thought it would—the baby’s head took a while to mold and move down the birth canal. I did my part by giving Rixa a blessing when she needed it and basically by staying out of the way and helping only when she needed it. She really was amazing. Rixa spent most of her time on the toilet but she also went on the floor and used the birth ball for stability or she went in the tub. I was sitting in the bedroom most of the time, trying not to focus too much on the loud vocalizing that Rixa was doing. Like from the belly of the beast. They were about a minute apart for most of it and when she got close to the end I thought labor was stalling. She wasn’t making as much noise but breathing heavily. Then I heard, “OK, the head is out” and I came in to help catch the baby. She came out smooth and slick, bright pink with a full set of lungs. She cried for about a minute or so but calmed right down when we put her on Rixa. Her head was very molded from the birth but already it looks round and normal. She has a full head of hair and the little Freeze nose crinkle. She looks very much like Freeze babies usually do. Same eyes and forehead going on. Still, it is hard to distinguish characteristics from newborns.

After she was born we took pictures and a couple videos. Rixa went probably prematurely to the bed because it took her a couple hours to get the placenta out. She continued to have strong contractions like she did during labor, but these were for the placenta which stubbornly would not come out. Rixa didn’t want to force it because that could cause unnecessary hemorrhaging so we waited it out. We decided to cut the cord and then Rixa went to the bathroom to labor and get it out, which she did after a short prayer. She even had a small chunk of it to chew on to help stop the bleeding, etc. She really felt great, looks great, and has been recovering nicely. We had Bernice over at the end to help stitch Rixa up and do some blood work. It was very nice to have her just to verify that we did everything right (which we did). Rixa has had pretty minimal bleeding and she can walk, etc. Very functional for a woman who just gave birth.

We put pictures on the family site and we had phone calls all afternoon and evening. We’re dead tired. Right now it’s about 10:45 p.m. and we’re sitting with the girl (still not sure what to call her—Jezebel was the winning vote on the family site and that isn’t going to cut it for long) and changing her diaper. She has already had a couple good meconium poops. Slick and black as fresh tar. We’re just so happy that everything went so smoothly. I gave Rixa a couple blessings that helped both of us feel comfortable and happy about going forward. She is such a beautiful baby and her whole body turns beet red whenever she cries. Now all we need is a name. A NAME! Bonne nuit.

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