Tuesday, January 31, 2012

He's Human Too

One of the best things that I have learned as a new mom is that babies are people too. They have feelings and emotions just like adults. I think as nice as it would be to have Samuel on a perfect schedule, that I am no where near to a perfect schedule. I don't sleep, eat, play, cry, etc at an exact time of the day, so how can I expect Samuel to as well. It's pretty amazing that as I continue to remember this, life gets to be just a *little* bit easier.

I think the next time I'm asked to give advice to a new mom, I'm definitely going to say with a smile, "remember, they're human too."

P.S. we're sleeping longer stretches at this house this past week :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101

Years before I got pregnant, I learned about cloth diapering and decided it was what I was going to use on my children. I had decided I was going to use all of the same diaper to keep things consistent and easy. The diapers of choice were the snap Bum Genius 4.0. These diapers are referred to as pocket diapers, meaning that the covers are similar to a pocket that you put the absorbant insert in. I chose to use snap after talking to several friends who cloth and use BG diapers because the velcro wears out and the snaps don't. We plan to use the diapers we purchased for 2 children, so they need to last.

Some of you may be asking yourself, "why would anyone in their right mind cloth diaper when there are disposables!?!" I'll tell you...
1. You save SO much money using cloth... don't believe me? We paid a whopping $311 for all 24 of our cloth diapers that will last from about 6 weeks to potty training with at least 2 children.
2. Did you know that disposable diapers NEVER break down in the landfill? That's right, your diapers, your parents diapers, etc are still sitting in the landfill. Gross!
3. Cloth is better for babies bums. We are yet to experience diaper rash using cloth.

We started Samuel in cloth diapers after we moved into our new home. The BG 4.0's don't fit newborns, and I didn't want to deal with cloth in the midst of moving. I actually put Samuel in his first cloth diaper on his blessing day. I didn't want a blowout, and knew I was safe with a cloth diaper. He has been in cloth ever since. A lot of women in my parents generation insisted that I would want to use disposables while I am out and about. I nodded my head to them, and knew that wouldn't be the case. The odd time that Samuel is in a disposable diaper is if we are traveling a long distance in the car (like our trip to Utah for Christmas), or when we are going to be staying someplace without a washing facility. We still clothed over our Christmas holiday, just not on the drive. Here are some pictures of how it all works.
I put the dirty diapers in this Planet Wise wet bag that holds all the smell in.
Once the bag is full, I pull the inserts out of the diapers and set the cycle on a cold rinse and spin. Once that cycle is finished, I use a dye and fracrance free detergent and use half as much as I use on a regular load, and set my washer on a hot, heavy duty cycle with an extra rinse. When the load is done, I put the inserts in the dryer, and the covers are not supposed to be dried, so here they are drying after being washed.

Here are the inserts being put in the pocket

... and the stack of clean diapers.
The questions I get the most are:
Q: You have a high efficiency washer, does it really get them clean?
a: Yep, that heavy duty cycle on my washer does the trick.
Q: So, you just put a new insert into the cover?
a: Nope, I get a clean diaper with a clean insert every time.
Q: What do you do with your dirty diapers when you are out?
a: I have small wetbags that hold up to 3 diapers that hold the smell in, and get washed with the diapers
Q: What do you do about the poop?
a: We've just started on solids, so it's still water soluble and comes out in the wash. As things start to get more solid, I have bought flushable liners. We are also going to install a diaper sprayer into the toilet line. I'll let you know how it goes and what method we like best.
Q: What do you use for wipes?
a: I have bought terry towel and planned to cut, serge, and use as wipes. We bought a big stash of wipes for the early days while we were using disposables. We are just getting to the end of those, and the plan was to use the terry towel. When we went down over Christmas, my coupon queen mom and sister had got a smokin' deal on wipes and we're stocked. I'm not sure if I'll switch to wash cloths or not this time around. I'm not such a fan of used wipes in the bathroom garbage... yet again, I'll let you know.
Q: What do you do for overnight diapers?
a: I put and extra liner in the pocket and it works like a charm.

So there you have it, cloth diapering at our house.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Friday

It's FRIDAY!!!!!

Fact: We cloth diaper at this house... I am in the midst of putting together a cloth diapering post, but I was out late last night, still need to take more photos in the next couple of days. Monday will be our post on cloth diapering. So since we all love a good picture of a cute baby, here you go. We are working on a Valentine surprise for his grandparents, hence the kiss marks.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Midwifery Revisited

I have shared how I feel about my midwives here and here prior, but I can't say enough about them. I can honestly say I love and have nothing but admiration and gratitude to the ladies who took care of Samuel and I. The following article puts so plainly how I feel about midwives. In purple are my comments to each topic.

Midwives are experts.

In Canada, midwives are the only health care professionals trained exclusively for the care of childbearing women. The education standard is a four-year university degree.

One of my midwives was a labour and delivery nurse for 11 years before becoming a midwife and has now assisted in over 2000 births! Another worked as an EMT for years prior to becoming a midwife. These ladies know where it's at! (not to mention, they can put an IV in that is painfree after the initial poke. That's seriously impressive).

Midwives promote the health of women and babies.

Women who receive the extra support provided by midwives are less likely to have cesarean sections or other interventions, and are more likely to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding was already in my plans, but being GBS positive, having my water break prior to labour starting, and being in labour for over 37 hours weren't. Typical hospital procedure is once your water is broken, you have 12 hours to have your baby prior to cesarean. The fact that I had GBS made me even more "high risk" in labour, and thankfully being with midwives who are educated and have faith in women, I was able to let my body labour on it's own, and was not limited in time. Midwives RARELY induce or bring intervention into the picture unless completely necessary. Babies need lots of time to "cook," and a mothers body knows what the perfect "cooking" time for her baby is. Midwives believe that and support it. I love this about them.

Midwifery is family-centered.

Midwives work together with women and their families, building a relationship based on respect for each womans health, social and personal needs.

One of the first things I was told after I was accepted into midwifery care was that I could have whomever present at the birth that I wanted. Choosing to have a home birth meant whomever could be present for my birth, but at the Foothills Hospital, you are restricted to the father of your child, and 1 birth support person during delivery. Once in recover, only grandparents are allowed to visit. I planned to have the midwives, Shane, and my doula, so it didn't matter to me, but the fact that I had "options" made it exciting. Shane and any other family member was invited to come to my appointments with the midwives and they were happy to answer any question that arose from family. Not to mention, many small children accompany their mommies to their appointments, and they have an AWESOME play area. Yep, they are family oriented! I'm excited for the day I'm expecting, and Samuel can be excited to hear his next siblings heartbeat, and the midwives to be ok with it.

Midwifery is safe.

The safest way to give birth is with a trained and skilled attendant. Doctors and midwives are both trained to deliver babies and the research shows that both options are equally safe.

True, both are equally trained, but a midwife will be at your side 24/7 when labour kicks in, cheering your on, where as a doctor is in and out, and you aren't even guaranteed "your" doctor for delivery.

Midwives offer personalized care.

Midwives provide continuous support throughout pregnancy, birth and for six weeks after the birth. Women feel reassured that someone who knows them well will attend their birth, and will be available for support and advice after the baby arrives.

I wish I could count the number of times I was told "if you have any questions, call the pager." I did when my water broke, during my labour, and with questions during my recovery. During each of my appointments I had time to ask questions and had someone to ease to my fears. I was visited at home nearly every day at my home by one of my midwives the first week after Sam was born. These visits weren't just to take my pulse and see if Samuels biliruben levels had come down. They wanted to see mentally how I was doing, and were more than willing to give feedback about my labour. It was like having a friend with all the answers come and visit, not a doctor.

Midwives are flexible and accessible.

Midwives are trained to attend births in hospitals, in birth centres, or at home. They are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and often make home visits.

Yep, I called and was helped in the middle of the night, while one was out to dinner, and had one of my midwives with me straight for 17 hours. Wendy stayed with me all night, 10pm- 6:30am. They never complain, they are never too busy, they are never "put out." It takes a certain woman to be a midwife

Midwives are part of the health care team.

Midwives work together with nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals to provide women with the highest standard of care.

I wanted a natural birth, but didn't quite get that. You can read what actually happened here. Midwives have been granted hospital access and therefore are generally not bothered by doctors or nurses. When the decision was made to transfer into the hospital, Wendy phoned and said she needed a room. I was assigned a room, and was only bothered by the anesthesiologist, and once when the nurse came to start my pitocin (but I was already in la la land and didn't even see her). The midwives did send my information over to my family doctor after we were discharged from their care. If need be, midwives stand right beside the doctors and nurses if a cesarean is necessary. My favourite part about delivering with the midwives was being able to go home 2 hours after having Samuel.

Midwifery care is a choice more families are making.

Midwifery is becoming a popular choice for families in provinces where it is regulated and funded. Each year in Ontario, more than 10,000 babies are born with the help of midwives!

Many of my friends are seeing midwives for their care and the care of their babies. I very much look forward to seeing Carol, Wendy, and Luba on a regular basis again (but not too soon). Standard procedure after your baby is born is to have a mom and baby 2 week check up with the midwives at their clinic, and again a 6 week check up for baby at the clinic, at which point you are "discharged" from the midwives. Each woman I have talked to about their 6 week appointment says how much they will miss seeing their midwives. There is a true bond between a mother and her caregivers. The keyword being CARE, which they do a lot!

* Adapted from Ten Reasons Why We Need
Midwifery in Nova Scotia, Midwifery Coalition
of Nova Scotia

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What We Did About Cord Clamping, and My Placenta

**this post is a bit graphic, and not for the faint of heart.**

We made the decision to delay clamping Samuel's umbilical cord until after it had stopped pulsing. Research has shown that immediate cord clamp can reduce the red blood cells an infant receives by 50%. Whereas, a delayed clamping results in shifting an average of 80 ml. of blood from the placenta to the baby, increasing the iron stores and reducing the frequency of iron deficiency anemia later in infancy. In our minds, we wanted our little man to have as much blood as was already made for him in the placenta.

Samuel had a thick umbilical cord, and large placenta. During my pregnancy, a friend who had suffered postpartum depression with her last baby talked about getting her placenta encapsulated with her next. I was grossed out, and quickly dismissed her suggestion of having that done to mine. I toyed with the idea of planting a tree in our new backyard and burying my placenta underneath it. As time went on, I had more time to think about ingesting my placenta. Many times it made me shiver, but as I weighed out the pro's and con's, researched more about the benefits, and spoke to more people who had, or were planning to have it done, I decided I was going to do it.

After I had made my decision, I phoned Susan Stewart Laforest, of pure birth, and asked what arrangements I needed to make prior to delivery. She said to phone her after the baby was born and she would come by and pick my placenta up. After the third stage of my labour, we put my placenta in a bag, put it on ice, and brought it home in a plastic hospital tote. Shortly after arriving home, I phoned Susan, and she came and picked up my placenta.

Less than 24 hours after picking it up, Susan arranged a time to come by and drop off my placenta pills.
This photo is take from Susan's website. We opted not get any salve (silver tin).

She asked if we had a delayed cord clamp, and said there was hardly any blood in Samuel's side of the placenta. This made my heart happy with the decision we had made to delay clamping. She had made a tincture for Samuel, 217 pills for me, Sam's dried umbilical cord in a swirl, and a bag of "broth" for my use. I was a bit freaked out by all of this. All I wanted out of the $175 dollars I paid her was for the pills, nothing more. The broth went in the toilet that night, I was not about to use it. As I look back now, I'm grateful to have his cord (strange, I know), but am still a bit apprehensive about the tincture for Samuel. Honestly, I don't know where my little bag with the cord and tincture even are after our move. The pills look like crushed brown herbs, no resemblance to what was delivered. I started taking the pills as soon as I received them. I truly feel like they helped to boost my iron supply, and help my milk to come in/ supply (although I wasn't worried about that). I was still a teary mess, still took weeks to recover from labour, bled for longer than anyone I know, and thanks to the 7 doses of penicillin during labour, took 4+months to get my body back in balance. I stopped taking my placenta about 3 weeks after having Samuel because you aren't supposed to take them if you are experiencing an infection or sickness of any kind. (I had yeast forever, remember). I am however, very glad for my decision to encapsulate my placenta.

I recently started taking my placenta again last week and strangely started feeling crampy. I'm thinking my cycle is trying to come back, and wonder if the hormones in my special pills are encouraging that. I enjoyed the energy I had. It's too soon to say if the hormones have been a good or a bad thing (we haven't had much sleep around these parts thanks to teething and a growth spurt). I'll post again once I'm done taking my pills with a final report.

YES, most women are done taking their placenta approximately a month after taking it. And YES, depending on the size of your placenta, depends on how many pills you will get.

If you have any questions about all of this, please feel free to message me. If you're not comfortable messaging publicly, email me:

**I was going to post pictures relating to this post, but they are bloody, graphic, and I figured you'd rather not see them. If you're really interested in what a placenta looks like, yet again email me, I'll share.**

Monday, January 23, 2012

Doula Jenny

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first people I told was my dear friend Jenny. She had just finished her doula course and I wanted her on my birth team. In my early pregnancy I knew I wanted a natural birth, was convinced there was no hope of getting in with midwives, and knew I was going to need some support to bring the baby I was carrying into this world.

Jenny came and did a consultation with us, asking what we did and didn't want in our birth. Some of the options I hadn't even thought of. I was so overwhelmed with just how much goes on, and she was able to calm my fears and get me excited about bringing our baby into the world.

I was a bit apprehensive about having a doula. I didn't want Shane's position to be replaced, nor did I want to feel pressured into any decision. This all became even more complex because of the friendship that was already in place. Was I ever so wrong!!!

Fast forward about 7 months and it was several hours after my water had broken. It was early in the morning and I let Jenny know what was going on. I honestly don't think I have ever received a quicker text response than in that instance. She wanted to know when we wanted her, etc. She came and gave me a hug as I was off to the hospital to get my IV started. She came and sat with me when I woke up from my nap and talked me through everything. She cheered me on, held my hand, breathed with me, reassured me, and supported Shane. She helped me to the bathroom with my awesome legs after my epidural, and sat with me for some time telling me that the pushy feeling I had was a good thing. I am grateful to have the photos of Samuel's birth that she took. I am more grateful that she was there for me to hold things together.

This is the only photo that I have with Jenny in it (she's on the right). She documented everything and was out of the way to let us enjoy our new family and the whole process. Do I have Jenny lined up for my next birth... you bet I do!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It blows my mind that 6 months ago, this was the scene at our home, and I had been in labour for nearly an entire day. I knew I was about to become a mother, but I had no idea how drastically my life was going to change.

Once a week I babysit for a friend who has 3 little boys, D who is 2 1/2, and K & M who are 18 months. It is a pretty busy day with 4 under the age of 3. Today in the midst of it all I had the thought life is all about what kind of an attitude you have towards it. Being a mother completely shapes who you are, and it's up to you to decide whether you are going to love it, or not.

Tonight I watched my sweet littly boy kick and play in the tub. He has grown and changed so much, and so has his mama. All of those labouring hours 6 months ago were worth it, every bit!

**tomorrow is Samuel's 6 month Birthday. Since right after having a baby I was a bit "overwhelmed" with all that was going on, I'm going to post for about a week on birth/ baby stuff... stay tuned

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bath Surprise

While this looks like some innocent fun...

Sam decided to leave his first "present" in the tub tonight.

I have to admit, I laughed and thought it was funny/ no big deal. Shane on the other hand, not so much.

Time Lag

I feel like I am a few months behind, always. Honestly, I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. Just like that, our tree is at the recycling depot, and our house is back to it's bare walls. I can say that I gladly embrace this new year. This past week for the first time since 2010 I feel like we are just living. "Just Living" you might think to yourself? Yes, last year was a hard year for so many reasons for me. There were so many new changes and so much of "when this happens, then __________." I am enjoying it, now if I can just take a moment and get some things on the walls...

With the pace 2012 has brought, I don't thik it'll take too long.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Apples Anyone?

Tonight at dinner Samuel reached over the side of his Bumbo to the bowl of fruit that sits on the table. He was infatuated by the green apples. I pulled one of them out of the bowl, he wanted both! I put them on his tray and as you would know it, this picture happened.

Needless to say, I think he's ready for solids? Just a few more days son!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Holiday In Pictures

I really shouldn't be sitting down and blogging because my kitchen floor needs to be swept, the counters need to be wiped down, the laundry monster is continuously growing and needs to be folded, I still haven't unpacked from our trip to Utah, I haven't gotten dressed or put makeup on yet today, and the Valentine wreath that I started making last night is sitting half way done on my craft table...

Well, as life would have it, I'm down with another cold/sore throat, and am exhausted! Not to mention Samuel and I have our friends the Wiebe's coming over soon, but it's ok, Jenny loves me whether I have a clean house, am dressed, or am wearing makeup... and I managed to get the dishes done :)

I wanted to do a Gallup Christmas Holiday Recap:


We had a lot of fun to say the least!