Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Birth Planning-Part Three

Guest post by Julia of A Little Bit of All of It on the ins and outs of planning for a birth center birth experience.

For the birth of my baby girl my husband and I decided, after much thought and consideration, to use a birth center.Having said that, I still felt it would be beneficial to us as a couple and to our midwives to have a set birth plan. After discussions with the midwives and reading over materials from the birth center, I knew that most of my requests were a matter of course. I determined it was best to go ahead and still have those things in the birth plan (even though they were standard procedure at the birth center) in case of a hospital transfer. That is a good thing to point out; don't feel that just because things are the norm at the center you don't need a birth plan. You never know what may happen that may alter where you end up giving birth or whether an emergency caesarean is required. I made sure to also include my wishes for caesarean in the plan as well.

Once I had a set idea of what was most important to me and reviewed with my husband his expectations for the birth of our child, I started making my list. I used Pregnancy Today to help me compile the list with the items I had already predetermined.

Our detailed birth plan appears below. After the plan, I'll detail how things actually played out and my thoughts for our next birth if we are blessed with another child.


Birth Preferences - Julia Middle Name Last Name
Due Date: 03/22/2009
Patient of Midwives Names— Name of Birth Center
To those attending my birth:
Thank you so much for being a part of our birth and for helping us have the birth we desire. My support people are my husband and mother and I would like them to be present during labor and delivery.


I wish to be able to move around (including walking) and change position at will throughout labor.
I would prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
I do not want a hep-loc.
I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring. Intermittent checks are preferred.
I do not wish to have my membranes ruptured.
I would prefer to be allowed to try changing position and other natural methods (walking, nipple stimulation, etc.) if the labor seems to stall.
I have been educated on the available pain medications. I'll ask for them if I need them. Please do not offer.
I do not want an episiotomy. I prefer to tear.
I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch and, if possible, would like to use perineal massage to help reduce tearing. DELIVERY

I would like to be allowed to choose the position in which I give birth and would prefer not to birth lying on my back.
I would appreciate having the room lights turned low and having the room as quiet as possible for the actual delivery.
I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.


My husband does not wish to cut the cord. I would prefer that the umbilical cord stop pulsating before it is cut.
I plan to keep the baby near me following birth and would appreciate if the evaluation of the baby can be done with the baby on my abdomen, with both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.
If the baby must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, my husband or my mother will accompany the baby at all times.
I do not want a routine injection of Pitocin.
I do not want eye medication or the Hep B shot administered to my baby.
Please delay the Vitamin K shot until the baby is sleeping.
I would like to hold the baby for at least 1 hour before (he/she) is examined.
In case of emergency, please do not cut the cord during resuscitation.
Please do not bathe the baby. We will take care of that when we get home.
Please do not administer the PKU test. We will have the baby tested at a later time.
I do not wish to be separated from my baby. Please discuss with us first if required for health reasons.


I plan to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth.
I do not want the baby to be given a pacifier.
I do not wish to have any bottles given to the baby (including glucose water or plain water). CESAREAN

If a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process.
I would like my husband present at all times if the baby requires a Cesarean delivery.
If the baby is not in distress, the baby should be placed on my stomach/chest immediately after birth. If this isn’t possible, I would like the baby skin to skin on my husband.
If the baby is in distress, I would like my husband to accompany the baby at all times and my mother be allowed to stay with me.


Now I'll go through how everything actually happened . I'll preface this by first saying that I had a truly beautiful, wonderful birth experience. I was able to have the water birth I hoped for and was able to use relaxation to cope with the contractions. My support partners (my husband and mom) were fantastic as were the midwives and nurse practitioner that attended my birth at the center. In spite of all that, there were definitely unexpected things that occurred after the birth that I was not prepared for. Without going into all the details because that is not what this post is about, I will say that I required an emergency transport a little over an hour after the birth for postpartum hemorrhage. I ended up needing 2 pints of blood and was not able to leave the hospital until the next day. My daughter was perfectly healthy in every way and never needed to be admitted.

Because of my situation, I can tell you what happens when the birth plan was put to the test so to speak. All of the items under labor and delivery were followed with no problem. Like I said at the beginning, mostly those were standard procedure at the center. Under Immediately After Delivery, I did get Pitocin injections since I did not stop bleeding. It was discussed with the midwives ahead of time that it would be used only in case of emergency, which was my case.

Our baby was taken from us both when I was rushed to the hospital and, to my knowledge, this was not discussed with either of us. (I had a seizure and passed out and the EMT's were called at this point.) Unfortunately my mom had left the center as things were fine when she left so that aspect of the plan could not be carried out. Instead, our baby was given to my in-laws and neither one of us saw her again for an hour or two. In talking to my husband afterwards about the fact that we had listed that he remain with the baby in case of an emergency with me, he said that he was not going to leave my side and would do it the same way again. He felt that our daughter was fine, that I was not, and that she was with family that loved her. I have mixed feelings on this to this day but it is what it is.

Under breastfeeding, we were able to initiate breastfeeding within that first hour. However, we were not able to again for quite awhile as I was separated from my daughter.

Looking back, one thing I wish we had done was to talk over and review our birth plan with my in-laws. I think that would have really been helpful in a lot of ways. This is important no matter where you choose to give birth but especially if the way you plan on giving birth is different from what is traditionally done. I think had we given them time to read through it, we could have discussed things they had questions about and had a chance to explain the reasons. As it was, there were several things they had a hard time with and were upset about, and obviously after the birth/during the birth was not the time to discuss things. Anyone that will be there for the birth or with you during recovery should see your birth plan and have time to discuss it with you to reduce the amount of concerns/questions, etc. at the time of birth and after when emotions are running high.

I hope this was helpful in understanding some of the advantages to having a birth plan and that it highlighted some of the ways that things may go differently than anticipated as well. I know I plan on having some discussions with my midwives and family members after my experience and will now know what to add in my birth plan for the next time.

Julia is mom to Marcella, a just turned 2 year old and blogs at A Little Bit of All of It on a variety of topics. You'll find product reviews and book reviews along with her take on babies, parenting and childbirth. Posts on food, Christianity and daily life round out the blog. Guest writers are regularly featured and there is also the occasional giveaway. She also volunteers at Natural Parents Network. You can find her on Facebook as well. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Proceed with Caution

Dear Delilah,

I recently read an article about letting kids develop at their own pace, rather than pushing them to meet certain milestones by a certain age and panicking if those milestones are delayed (in the absence of true medical problems). There was some controversy surrounding some of the statements made in that article, but the spirit behind it resonated with and comforted me.

Just over a week ago, you took your first independent steps, at a little over 16 months old. To this day, you have never crawled in the traditional sense, and with how well you've perfected your butt scoot, I doubt you ever will. According to most developmental charts, you've been on the late end for many of the physical milestones. It's something that your father and I have gone back and forth between fretting about and reassuring each other that you will walk in your own time, when you're good and ready for it. Our doctor has been the one who has been the most reassuring, insisting that your two legs work just fine, that the progress you are making is right on track, and that there is no cause for alarm or intervention.

When I read Mayim Bialik's account of her own children's development, which occurred at a slower rate than yours, and resulted in children who are happy and healthy, it felt like a breath of fresh air. So many mothers compare their children to others in infancy and toddlerhood; comparing notes about when, where, what, and how much they eat, sleep, poop, talk, and walk. My guess is that this tendency to compare transitions as children do, moving on to comparing their academic achievements and participation in extra-curricular activities, and eventually to their careers, marriages, and families of their own, when we get to start comparing our grandchildren to one another!

Each child is unique and develops at a different pace, focusing on different aspects of growth. While other babies your age were crawling, you were perfecting the art of feeding yourself with a spoon. While other babies were pulling up and cruising, you were saying your own 3-syllable name clearly. This makes you no better or worse than any other baby. Eventually, it all evens out, and most people end up walking, talking, eating, and sleeping just fine.

Image Source:
I've started to notice that what some might call delays in development are actually part of the development of your personality. You are a cautious individual. You prefer to look before you leap. You seem to want to make sure that you have a way out of a situation before you figure out how to get into it. Before you were started pulling up, you taught yourself how to sit from standing. Before you started seating yourself, you perfected laying down from a seated position. You've never tried to climb up onto the couch, bed, or chair, but have put concerted efforts into carefully climbing off of them. Now that you've taken a few tentative steps; you've shifted your focus to perfecting your fall (we've seen far fewer bruises since you learned the art of breaking your fall with your hands, rather than your head).

As you continue to grow and develop; it will be interesting to see whether this characteristic cautiousness sticks with you, and if so, how it comes to serve you in your endeavors. Giving forethought to new experiences is not a problem to be solved. Taking steps to determine your exit strategy before entering is likely to prevent both injury and heartache as you proceed through life. This isn't to say that risk-taking is without its benefits, and I hope that you'll come to enjoy the thrill of the unknown in due time.

Before I know it, you'll be running, climbing, and jumping all over the place; and I'll look back and be grateful at how gradually you eased me into the trials of toddlerhood!


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Friday, March 25, 2011

An Unusual Gripe with Bebe Gloton

Yesterday after arriving home from class, feeding Delilah lunch, and getting her down for a nap, something very unusual for a Thursday afternoon happened. I turned on the television. As the screen sprang to life, I was presented with a program I'd not seen before, likely due to the rarity of the TV being on during the day in our home. The program was "The Talk", which seems to be a bit of a copy of "The View". The topic of their discussion? Bebe Gloton, the infamous "breastfeeding doll".

I felt myself start to tense up, bracing myself for all of the anti-breastfeeding rhetoric I was certain was about to be unleashed. As it turned out, the consensus was that the hosts were supportive of breast-feeding. The requisite debating of "how long is too long" got under my skin a bit, but even then the guest host admitted to breastfeeding her children until age 3 (an admission that was met with a collective horrified gasp by the audience), and Sarah Gilbert spoke out in support of extended breastfeeding, citing the fact that human milk changes to meet the needs of growing toddlers, and that breast milk doesn't stop being nutritious for us. If I didn't love Sarah Gilbert before (I did) I definitely love her now.

The most vocal opposition to Bebe Gloton came from Leah Remini, and her complaints are consistent with the current uproar over this doll. Her main complaint was that breastfeeding is something done by grown women with mature breasts, and that she finds it inappropriate for young girls to imitate the act. She further complained that it would be inappropriate for a young girl to pretend to breastfeed her doll in public, hinting at a general disapproval for nursing in public. Once again, Sarah Gilbert, my hero of the hour argued that many dolls are packaged with bottles, and that she saw nothing wrong with a doll promoting breastfeeding as the natural, default feeding method.

So where do I stand on the issue? I think it's fantastic that there are dolls that promote breastfeeding. I don't see a young girl imitating breastfeeding as any more inappropriate than a young girl imitating bottle feeding, whether at home or in public. As a lactivist through and through; I, personally, would not purchase a doll that came with a bottle attached for my own daughter.

What, then, is my gripe about this doll? It's the same gripe I have about any doll, period. Not so much the dolls, but what they symbolize, and the messages they send. Before anyone gets their hackles up, no, I don't and won't forbid Delilah from playing with dolls. She has two dolls that she's received as gifts, both are beautiful, high-quality, made from organic materials, and bottle free. In fact, it was my own knee-jerk reaction to her playing with one of her dolls one day that solidified this position in my mind, and has made me much more mindful of the messages I send surrounding her play with dolls.

What happened? Upon seeing Delilah gleefully toss "her baby" on the floor, and handing it back to her only to see her toss it again, I said "No no honey, we don't throw our babies; we LOVE our babies." No biggie, right? But what message was I sending? What gender roles was I unconsciously imparting? I essentially told her that the way she was playing with her doll was incorrect; that the purpose of the doll was to teach her how to nurture and care for a child; buying into the idea that the primary purpose of the female sex is to make use of our reproductive organs to bear and then lovingly raise children. If she prefers to use her dolls to explore complex concepts like gravity, rather than hugging, feeding, and diapering, then who am I to stop her? What sort of feminist am I if I insist that she mother her dolls, setting up the expectation that becoming a mother is her fate, a fate that might, if left unmet, become a source of disappointment for her own mother?

Am I reading too much into this? Perhaps. Maybe the advanced study of second-wave feminist theory that I'm currently undertaking while completing my Women's Studies minor is making me hyper-vigilant about the gendered messages that have been so deeply ingrained in myself that I unconsciously pass them on to my daughter. Is that a bad thing? I would argue that it isn't. As a feminist who is also a mother, and the mother of a daughter at that, one of my priorities is ensuring that my daughter knows that she is not limited by her gender, and that she is under no circumstances required to comply with our society's perception of what constitutes a "real woman".

In short, I am not opposed to my daughter playing with dolls, so long as she chooses the manner in which she plays with them. I am certainly not opposed to her imitating breastfeeding, if she is moved to do so, but you won't find me spending upward of $100 on a doll designed specifically for that purpose.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Birth Planning-Part Two

For last week's "What's What Wednesday", I shared my original hospital birth plan. As I mentioned in that post, complications late in my pregnancy prompted me to devise an alternate birth plan, in case of cesarean birth. There is a misconception that cesarean births are completely out of the mothers' hands, and that mothers who give birth surgically are at the mercy of the surgical staff. Having a cesarean birth plan allowed me to feel empowered and to retain some control over my birth experience.

When I arrived at the hospital the morning that I went into labor, the on-call OB had read my birth plan prior to coming in to meet me. She went over everything with me, explaining what might prevent certain wishes from being carried out, and reassuring me that the entire OR staff would look over my birth plan prior to the birth and follow it as closely as possible.

While I was disappointed that I didn't have the un-medicated water birth I'd been hoping for, I truly believe that overall, my cesarean birth was the most gentle, empowered birth I could have had, given our situation. If you find yourself facing the possibility of a cesarean birth, don't give up the hope for an empowered, gentle birth. While I did not have a doula, I would absolutely recommend hiring one to help ensure that your birth plan is carried out as closely as possible. Every birth, surgical or otherwise, should be focused on the joyous occasion that it is.

Without further ado, my Cesarean Birth Plan:

Modified Wishes for Childbirth
*In case of Caesarean Birth*

Mother’s Name: Joella [Last Name]
Father’s Name: Tyler (Ty) [Last Name]
Baby’s Name: Delilah [Last Name]
Our Family’s Primary Doctor: Dr. [First/Last Name]

Please Note:
Our original birth plan was for a natural, gentle waterbirth. In the event a Caesarean birth becomes necessary, please be sensitive to this fact and patient in answering all our questions and helping us to make the process of caesarean birth as gentle on mom and baby as possible.

We realize that cesareans and other surgeries are a common event at hospitals.   However, we ask that the staff respect that this individual surgery is a unique event in the life of our family. For us, it is neither common nor routine, but rather is an event that will have effects lasting a lifetime. It is our goal that should a cesarean become necessary for this birth, that the entire process be treated as the joyful, celebratory, respectful event that birth is meant to be.

The health and safety of mom and baby are of utmost importance to us. All wishes in this birth plan are assuming no immediate danger to mother or baby. We will be flexible as necessary in the event of clear and imminent danger or emergency.

We would prefer to avoid the use of the terms “caesarean section”, “c-section”, or “section”. Instead, please use terms such as “caesarean birth” or “caesarean delivery”.

Wishes for Caesarean birth:
Joella would prefer epidural anesthesia.  I do not consent to sedatives, tranquilizers, or amnesiac drugs at any time.

Joella would prefer that the catheter not be placed until the epidural has begun to take effect.

Joella does not want her arms restrained during the surgery. If this cannot be granted Joella would like the restraints removed as soon as the baby has been delivered so she may touch (and if possible, hold) her.

We would like every step of the process explained to us before/while it happens.

We would like to be introduced to everyone in the OR and to be explained what their role in the procedure is.

We do not wish for medical students or interns to be present or involved in the birth.

Joella would prefer the drape be lowered in order for her to view the baby’s delivery.

Please use a double layer suture to close my uterus. Please use sutures rather than staples to close my skin layer. Please take all steps possible to ensure the possibility of future vaginal births.

Tyler should not be separated from Joella at any time. The only exception is that he should accompany the baby at all times if she must be removed from Joella’s presence.

We do not consent to a Hepatitis B Vaccination or eye ointment.

We would like any non-urgent routine procedures (weighing, footprints, etc.) delayed until skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding have been initiated.

We would prefer Vitamin K be administered orally rather than by injection.

Bathing should be delayed until skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding have been initiated. Tyler (and if possible, Joella) should participate in the baby’s first bath.

I would prefer the baby to be on my chest or in my arms throughout suturing, recovery, etc. If this is not possible, we would like the baby to have skin-to-skin contact with Tyler until it is possible with Joella.

We intend to keep the placenta.

We plan to breastfeed and do not want artificial nipples used at any time without our prior knowledge and consent. If NICU becomes necessary, I would like to attempt to put the baby to the breast as often and as soon as possible, and to initiate pumping as soon as possible. In the event supplementation is required, the use of formula should be a last resort only and should be administered using a non-nipple feeding method. First preference is to do all supplementation by SNS.

Tune in next Wednesday for a guest post on planning for home birth! If you are interested in writing a guest post for this series, please contact me at delilahfineandfair (at) gmail (dot) com. Possible topics include birth planning for birth center, VBAC, or HBAC births.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Want to Ride it Where I Like

Dear Delilah,

Last summer, I couldn't wait for this year, when you'd be big enough to ride in the bicycle trailer so we could go on family bike rides. One of the first things I purchased while hitting up garage sales while I was pregnant was a gently used bicycle trailer. I was hardly even showing yet, but I was imagining beautiful spring days, fresh air, and your father and I bringing you along on our bike rides. That was nearly two years ago, and this past weekend, that image was realized:

On Friday evening, we headed out to a local bicycle shop in search of  helmet for you. The owner hadn't replenished his stock since the season for biking is just getting underway, so he didn't think he'd have one that would fit you. Lo and behold, he had ONE toddler-sized helmet remaining, and even though I'm not a huge fan of pink, it fit you perfectly, so I couldn't pass it up. I wasn't sure how you'd react to having the helmet on your head, since you can be picky about that sort of thing (you've made it clear that the battle to get you to wear sunglasses will carry over into this year), but you actually seem to like wearing it!

The weather on Saturday was perfect for trying out the bike trailer, so we got everything situated and set off to cruise around our neighborhood. The joyful sounds of your laughter, happy squeals, oooooohs, and aaaaaahs provided the soundtrack for our first family bike ride.

On that warm, sunny day, pregnant and bargaining at that garage sale, I had no idea just what was in store for me. I look forward to getting lots of use out of that trailer and helmet. I will treasure these times, for before I know it, we'll be teaching you to pedal a bicycle of your very own!



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Monday, March 21, 2011

Fine and Fair Favorites

You may have noticed that things have been more quiet than usual on Fine and Fair lately. Well, in addition to all of my regular responsibilities, I've been making some changes behind the scenes!

It's my honor to present to you Fine and Fair Favorites!

Fine and Fair Favorites will be the new location for all of my product reviews and giveaways. This allows me to keep the personal feel I've always aimed for on Fine and Fair while offering readers who are interested in doing so a place to read my recommendations for products, books, services, and businesses that I know, trust, and love.

All of my "Featured Item Friday" reviews have been moved to the new site, and all future reviews and giveaways will appear there. I'm kicking it off with a giveaway, so go check it out!

Links to both blogs (Fine and Fair and Fine and Fair Favorites) will be shared via the Fine and Fair Twitter and Facebook accounts.

If you have any feedback or suggestions regarding these changes, please comment to let me know! I'm also happy to entertain suggestions for a theme to replace "Featured Item Friday"...maybe "Foodie Friday"? ;)

If you like this blog, and haven't done so lately, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on 
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pride in Parents

Dear Delilah,

Delilah and Grandma Bev, Thanksgiving 2010
Photo by Grandma Laurel
Yesterday as we were getting ready to start our day, your Grandma Bev called to let me know that she was going to be on TV discussing one of her community service projects. I put the TV on the appropriate channel while you played and I finished getting dressed. The moment your grandma's voice filled the room, you whipped your head around to see where it was coming from, mesmerized that Grandma was "in" the TV!

As I watched my mother answering questions about the community outreach work she does with confidence and grace, I got a little bit choked up. I was confused by the emotion welling up in my chest and throat. What was this feeling bringing tears to my eyes as I watched my mother humbly explain a well-deserved recent award, crediting the trials of her childhood for her commitment to serving others, and explaining the value of diversity within her community?

It was pride. I was proud of my mother. It felt strange, not because she hasn't done many things to be proud of, but because I suppose I've been trained to think that proud is something that parents feel of their children, and not the other way around. When I called to let her know how impressed I was with the interview, I stumbled over whether or not to say "I'm proud of you, mom." Would it sound condescending, coming from her daughter?

That's when it occurred to me that one of my own missions as a parent is to be a mother who you can be proud of. I hope to follow her example of service to others and of accepting praise in a gracious and humble manner. I hope that one day, I'll get a phone call from you, my dear daughter, and that you won't be afraid to tell me you're proud of me, if you're moved to do so. My feeling of pride in my mother is evidence of parenting well done. It means that she did an effective job of instilling her values in me so well that I am able to recognize and honor them in others. I am proud to be her daughter, just as I am proud to be your mother, and just as I strive to live in such a way that one day, you too can say you are proud of your mother.



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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Planning Birth-Part One

Photo by Bella Photography by Nicole Aarstad
One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant with Delilah was to start developing a birth plan. I heard all sorts of mixed messages about birth plans. Some said that hospitals were annoyed by them and wouldn't even read them. Others described wonderful experiences in which the hospital staff was receptive to and supportive of birth plans. Some say that birth plans are too rigid, and that developing a specific birth plan can lead to disappointment if everything doesn't go according to it.

I found birth planning to be extremely helpful. Considering all of the different options and acquainting myself with the different stages of labor, birth, and all that comes after helped me to get a feel for what was important to me. My care provider enthusiastically looked over my birth plan, placed it in my chart, and was optimistic that it could be carried out to the letter, barring any complications.

When I ended up in the hospital due to some complications at 35 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised that several of the hospital staff we dealt with had read my birth plan before approaching me. The events of that weekend lead to the drafting of an alternate "In Case of Cesarean" birth plan, which ended up being the plan we relied on, and which I will share next week.

In my experience, birth planning was beneficial. My suggestion to every pregnant woman who plans on giving birth in a hospital setting is to develop two birth plans: one for herself and one for the hospital. The birth plan for herself should be comprehensive and include every last tiny little detail and be as long as she wants it to be. The version the hospital sees should fit on one typed page. If it doesn't, the chance that they'll just skim it or ignore it all together increases. The hospital version should be concise and include the most important factors. Both mother and father (and doula or other birth attendant, if you have one) should be well-versed in the personal, comprehensive birth plan, to ensure that wishes that were left out of the version the hospital received are tended to.

Keep in mind that if you are giving birth in an environment other than a hospital, such as at home or at a birth center, it is much more likely that a more comprehensive birth plan will be respected, and even appreciated. Regardless of the birth setting, it is important to remember that while it is helpful to have a plan, you won't be able to control every last detail, and if complications arise that require deviating from the plan, it does not make you a failure, nor does it make your birth plan worthless.

I will leave you now with my original birth plan, to provide a framework and to give an idea what a birth plan looks like. Next week, I'll share my Cesarean Birth plan. If anyone is interested in writing a guest post on home birth or birth center birth plans, I'd love to hear from you! Send and e-mail to delilahfineandfair (at) gmail (dot) com if interested!

My original birth plan:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Too Too Cute

I recently won a giveaway on The Creative Adventures of Kat, an adorable crafting-related blog written by a creative stay-at-home-mom of three. I've been enjoying the creative projects and ideas that she shared, and was thrilled to win one of her hand-made tutus and the coordinating purse she threw in as an added bonus!

I'm usually not a huge fan of frilly girly stuff, but even I can't resist this tutu. The color palette (lavender, sage green, and chocolate brown) is right up my alley, and the way the tutu is constructed, Delilah can enjoy years of dress up fun with it! She's a bit young to fully appreciate her very first purse, but played contentedly while wearing it with her miniature sock monkey in it like a sling for an entire afternoon!

If you are even remotely interested in crafty endeavors, check out The Creative Adventures of Kat for innovative ideas, tips and tricks, and tutorials on lots of crafts and projects!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Worlds Collide

Dear Delilah,

A day and a half ago, Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami. I was just watching some footage of the tsunami destroying everything in it's path, entire cities and villages gone. This footage was set to music, and the juxtaposition of the the catastrophic images against the back drop of gentle and serene music was haunting.

I found myself overcome by the realization of how not only the world as you know it, but your perception of it, will grow and change as you do. You are blissfully unaware of tragedy. You have no concept of the awesome power of nature to both sustain life and destroy it in an instant. You know nothing of the dangers of compromised nuclear energy. You can't count to 5, much less understand the magnitude of the loss of life in a disaster like this.

As you grow more and more aware of your surroundings, the questions will come. You will look to me and your father to explain, to make sense of tragedy and sadness. Will it shatter your world? Will your curiosity turn to fear, your zeal for life to apathy? At times, when I let myself think of how big this job is, the job of parenting and raising you to adulthood as resilient and well-rounded as possible, I start to doubt myself. How will I manage it, when teething pain and having to wear socks when you don't want to are no longer the worst traumas you have to face or make sense of?

Just when I couldn't follow this train of thought any longer, when my eyes filled with tears as the images on the screen in front of me became more than I could bear, I glanced over at where you were playing on the floor with your toys. My sorrowful eyes were met with your smile and the vision of you swaying gently to the beautiful music. You couldn't see what I was seeing; you simply heard lovely, rich tones filling the air; moving you in a joyful manner.

While I don't have all the answers today, and I won't have them tomorrow; I don't have to. For now, I can simultaneously feel heartbroken at the calamity facing so many and overjoyed to experience the world as you see it, a safe, happy place filled with love, laughter, and music.



Note to Readers:

For a simple way to contribute to the relief efforts in Japan, text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to relief efforts in Japan. The donation will be billed directly to your cell phone bill.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It Comes With Interchangeable Attachments: Attachment Parenting with Twins [What's What Wednesday Guest Post]

Mama's note: I recently asked Lea Grover at Becoming SuperMommy to write a guest post about her experience of raising twins with attachment parenting ideals. Here's what she has to say on the matter!

The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry…
I had such plans for my motherhood.  I was going to be a perfect Attached Parent.  I was going to have unmedicated deliveries, breastfeed publicly and proudly into my kids’ toddlerhood, and generally uphold all of the crunchy ideals I’d been cultivating since my own hippie-dippy parents started teaching me to question societal norms.  That was before reality struck.
My husband was going through chemotherapy when we decided to have children.  For those of you who don’t know, chemotherapy is VERY BAD for making babies.  It results in all sorts of horrific genetic mutations.  And the effects of chemotherapy on your genetic material can be permanent.  So when we decided to have children, we had to forego our naturalistic ideals and head into the lab.  We used IVF.
There is absolutely nothing natural about getting pregnant this way.  First of all, getting pregnant is supposed to be… well… fun.  This certainly wasn’t.  In fact, while going through the pre-IVF fertility treatments, you have to maintain strict abstinence.  Don’t want to mess up the whole process by accidentally getting pregnant, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Celebrating Women

Dear Delilah,

Today is International Women's Day, an occasion that One Wee Voice is celebrating by asking others to recognize a woman in their life.

Well, I couldn't narrow it down to just one, so I'm celebrating two. Your grandmother and your aunt. My mother and my sister. The two women who have been there to love, support, and challenge me through the ups and downs of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Left to Right: Aunt Janelle, Grandma Bev, Mama
Photo by DMB Photography
Last week, I called your grandmother to make sure she knew how much I love and appreciate her as a mother. I had been reflecting on my childhood, and noticed that the memories that stood out were not of the hard times, but of the resilience that got us through them and all of the good times we had together. I'm not making all of the same choices that my own mother did in the way I parent you, but still her example of motherhood shines through in my own mothering.

What stands out the most about the mother-daughter relationship that your grandma and I share is that I always felt comfortable coming to her with my troubles. She was always open and honest with me, and she never judged me. There was nothing I couldn't talk to her about; nothing I couldn't trust with her. She taught me the importance of honesty and trust. She taught me, by her example, not to tolerate disrespect or mistreatment. She taught me to be grateful for my blessings, and to serve those who are less fortunate than I am.

Your aunt, my beautiful little sister, my alternating partner and crime and arch nemesis throughout childhood, has become one of my very best friends. I have always been protective of her, and when the tables turned and I found myself in need of sisterly protection, she jumped into that role seamlessly and proudly. She has supported me throughout some of the most painful experiences I've endured.

These are the two women with whom I've shared the most laughter and the most tears. They are there to celebrate my achievements, to pick me up when I've fallen, and to take me down a few pegs if I get too big for my britches. They challenge me to be the best person I can be. My relationships with these two women were my foundation, my home base in life, from which all three of us have blossomed. Despite our differences, we come from a place of understanding and respect when regarding each others' choices.

I hope that one day, when you look back on your childhood and the way I mothered you, it will be with as much love and appreciation as I look upon my own mother with. I hope that you will share with any sibling that may come your way the bond of love, support, and friendship that I share with my own sister. I hope that you will have no shortage of women who inspire you, who teach you, who challenge you, and who support you in all of your endeavors, and above all, I hope to be one of them.



This post is in contribution to the One Wee Voice International Women's Day Celebration.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Takin' Time for Mama

Dear Delilah,

This week is Spring Break, a week during which many of my classmates take off for warmer climates, embark on service trips, or just generally kick back and relax. It didn't take me long to decide that I'd still go ahead and drop you off at daycare today for the couple of hours you're normally there while I'm at class, but deciding what to do with my two precious hours of free time took some major deliberation.

My goal was to spend it doing something productive. I had visions of sparkling fixtures in the bathroom, a floor clean enough for you to eat off of (well, you eat off of the floor anyway, but I had visions of not pulling dog hairs out of your mouth afterward), and toys organized in something other than a haphazard fashion. I thought perhaps I could spend some time writing and scheduling letters and posts for this blog, which has taken a bit of a backseat lately. Maybe I'd make progress on one or another of my big papers or projects due later this semester, or get caught up on some paperwork for my job.

Then I remembered that when I pledged to participate in the March of Kindness, I promised to direct most of my random acts of kindness at myself. With that in mind, after we had breakfast together, I dropped you off and returned home and treated myself to yoga and a long, hot, luxurious shower.

Yoga and a shower? Doesn't sound like much, does it? It was just what I needed. I've neglected my yoga practice, and this morning was a reminder of why it so important to make time for it. Even after a brief 30 minutes of basic Sun Salutations like I did this morning, I feel energized, rejuvenated, and in touch with my body-mind connection. And the shower? Sure, we're at the point when you'll happily play in your crib for 10 minutes so I can get clean, but a nice long luxurious shower without the baby monitor turned up full blast lest you become distressed is hard to come by. I even shaved my legs! Perhaps I can count that as a random act of kindness toward your father today.

By taking some time to just care for myself and be mindful of the need for "me time", I'm feeling more relaxed and present as a parent, partner, and human being. I'd certainly call that productive. Speaking of being productive, I best wrap this up and use the rest of your nap time to make something other than my attitude sparkle.



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Friday, March 4, 2011

Featured Item Friday: Raz-A-Dazzle Toothbrush

I recently posted a DITL photo project, and got a couple of questions about Delilah's toothbrush.

This review has moved! You can find it HERE at Fine and Fair's Favorites!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Public Pathology

Photo from
I generally ignore celebrity gossip and can hardly believe that the name of a celebrity is going to appear on my blog, but here we go.

Charlie Sheen.


And no, I'm not talking about his recent antics, although they could easily be termed 'ridiculous', I'm talking about the media circus surrounding him and the perceived entertainment value of exploiting what is pretty clearly a mental health crisis.

I'm not going to join the flurry of psych-related bloggers attempting to diagnose him based on television interviews and calls into radio shows. I'm not qualified to make mental health diagnoses beyond those related to substance use problems, and even if I were, I certainly wouldn't be comfortable making them based on a few snippets of video or audio. Maybe he's bipolar, maybe he's not, but the level of grandiosity and narcissism he's displaying are clearly indicative of some level of pathology.

And that's...funny?

No, I don't think so.

I've never been a fan of Charlie Sheen. He reminds me all too much of someone who I won't go into detail about here, and I haven't much cared for the misogynist characters he tends to play. Still, it makes my blood boil to witness people pointing and laughing at someone having a public mental meltdown. It infuriates me that various 'entertainment' media outlets are profiting by exploiting someone in the midst of a mental health crisis, whether or not that person realizes it at the moment.

There is already so much stigma associated with mental health issues, and the media frenzy surrounding this situation does not help. Mental health issues are not a joke, nor a punchline, nor entertainment. They are serious matters requiring professional attention. If someone I loved were behaving in the manner Charlie Sheen has as of late, I wouldn't be pointing and laughing, I'd be doing everything in my power to encourage that person to seek the help he or she so desperately needed.

Mental Illness is no laughing matter, and it knows no boundaries of race, class, gender, or celebrity status.

What does this have to with my wee little mommy blog? I suppose it serves as a reminder of the importance of modeling compassion toward all human beings. Even human beings who are acting strangely. Even human beings who I don't particularly care for. Even celebrities with entitlement complexes. No one deserves to be mocked or exploited in the midst of a mental breakdown. No one.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March of Kindness

Dear Delilah,

When I happened upon Codename: Mama's call for a March of Kindness, I knew right away that I wanted to do my best to join in the collective effort to perform one random act of kindness each day in March. Given how hectic our lives are right now, I felt a little overwhelmed by the prospect of making sure I had the opportunity to spread kindness to others every day. 

That's when I realized two things:

1-Small acts of kindness can be every bit as powerful as big ones.
2-I needn't look far for people needing kindness. They are all around me. They ARE me!

March of Kindness

That's right. I'm going to take a bit of a selfish route with the March of Kindness, and I'm going to direct most of my kind gestures to myself and to your father. We both work hard to maintain our life and home and to ensure a secure future for our family. We both deserve to be appreciated for that hard work.

Of course, being kind to myself (and my husband) isn't entirely selfish. Extending kindness to myself will serve to make me a more refreshed and well-rounded parent, wife, student, and person. Extending kindness to my husband will make him happier, which in turn makes me happier. (Okay, so that one's still on the selfish side.) I have no doubt that kind acts toward myself will inspire me to extend kindness to others.

My focus this month is to do something, anything, just a little bit above and beyond for myself and my husband each day. I look forward to see just how those effects ripple outward, beyond our marriage and family.



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