Monday, October 19, 2009

Pregnancy ~ a True Blessing

I love this photo here where I am pregnant with #2 Jasmine Milan

Yes here I am , gonna write about that ole pregnancy thang ;-) I thought yesterday to myself how pregnancy to me as a woman what is this ? I am a woman , I have the right to speak for women . I was a pregnant unwed teen I have the right to speak for them . I although a granny have had 5 homebirths I have the right to speak , in fact wow I was forerunner and one of those out cast when lay midwifery was real here in Canada and one did not need certification to be real . One 's credit came from ones community in which one belonged . A community which supported each other in life & death and all the inbetween . My midwife is my dear girl friend as well . I know her life her ups and downs as a real person . She is not God as some doctors seem to have become . As well as some now legalized midwives. She did in fact become legal . Yes the woman scourned is now teaching midwifery hired by our own gov. to do so . I beleive in the accredation of midwifery it leaves the door open for it being a profession rather than a calling . It leaves the door open for people to be unreliable midwives just as we have unreliable teachers or doctors . In lay midwifery a community midwife was exactly whom she was because this is her true being , her calling . Not all women within a community would have been midwives .

I have to say I honestly would be afraid to be pregant these days here in our province and have a homebirth with any midwife .I may invite my friend as a friend but I've a feeling we'd go it alone with family and friends .

Anyway I am now a granny and have not given birth in over 8 yrs ! Yes my baby is 8yo ! So this post I wish to be solely on pregnancy as birth will be a whole other post . Let me say I have been pregnant a total of 16 times so I am momma to 16 children . However I have had 6 healthy full term pregnancies and miscarriage shall be another post. Yes all of our 6 children were carried thru healthy pregnancy . I must say I have only experienced mild morning sickness which was usually aliviated with soda crakers . During pregnancy I believe there are so many aspects in which fall under the title of health . Being one who feels we connect with our child upon conception and perhaps who knows when does conception begin ,the conception of a soul I mean ;-)

So out from the beginning , creation , conception and before conception we must keep babies health in mind . Health shall be nutritional , spiritual , emotional , physical . Is it not so amazing and so true this is Mum and baby because we are one but also let us not push Dad aside . The health of Pop is a must too . Relationship with our partner being one as well is not to be taken lightly . Pregnancy is a shared experience for all involved ;-)

My dh read all the pregnancy books I did and in fact with his scientific mind I felt very much at eaze on a medical front with him present and involved . Beacuse of who I am I tend to view pregnancy from the more spiritual instinctive angle ;-)

In regards to nutrition I had a few books I truely loved as I mentioned in my previous post . I used herbs as part of that nutrition before conception , pregnancy and during the breastfeeding yrs. herbs such as red raspberry & red clover to strengthen uterus , stinging nettle to provide vitK , false unicorn & lobelia to prevent miscarriage and many more . I also discovered nutritional yeast when reading Birth by Raven Lang 2 T of this has apparently as much protein in it as a chunk of meat . I am not one who enjoys the grassy tasting teas so I often dilute them with my fav juices . I also drink liquid chlorophyll

I also trust the internal instinct very very much as well. Holy spirit guiding , perhaps ;-) during my 3rd pregnancy we were on a limited budget and struggling very much . I began having odd cravings . One was chewing ice constantly . It became a concern to me so I asked my midwife . She told me often women who are in need of iron or other minerals crave ice . So I made an effort to eat more iron rich foods. Cook more in our cast iron pans and , yes craving gone ! The other craving I had drove me crazy for about a week because I could not quite figure it out . I was craving earth ! Chalk perhaps ? Then it came to me one day kitty litter ! No I was not craving cat litter lol . It was clay ! kitty litter had the same scent and in fact is just a type of dried out form of clay . I told my midwife that my mother said she'd bring me some clay from her place . My midwife said she saw no reason why I couldn't try it . My mother brought me the clay and I dried it and would eat small little pieces . I also thought perhaps this was a lack of minerals again so began supplmenting . I later when traveling in Guatelmala discovered that in the markets there they sell mini crosses made out of clay . These are not decorations they are in fact made for people to purchase and eat . I also read later of women in others countries who eat earth or clay while pregnant . There is also the thought I also know in western medicine that this is somehow a phsycological disfunction . Which I think western medicine tends to label when they cannot accpet instinctual , primative practices which may actually be good for us ;-) anyway I think a woman in tune with her body will always be the best source of knowledge . I think I was once again just ahead of my time here because clay is poping up in the natural health industry all over the place .

Physically keeping ones body healthy is a must as well . Take nice walks ,cross country ski , do yoga , basically if you've been doing it already continue your practice . I've a cousin who is a taekwondo instructor . She practiced this throughout her pregnancies now I am aware vigorous exercise is not reccommned and one may need to modify your regular routine it is not nessecary to stop altogether . I really enjoyed in my early yrs of motherhood being with other preganant women and perhaps you would like to try joining a group of like minded mums . I loved the prenatal exercises I learned while in lamaze class with my first pregnancy .

How about that body ! lets talk stretch marks ! I have a confession . I never had them . Nope , not after a pregnancy . I have a few now however due to wieght gain from the peri faze ;-) My wieght gain during pregancy never ever exceeded 27lbs so I truely feel that had a big impact on skin stretching . I never have been an over eater . Keeping ones meals and small healthy snacks in balance helps . I also must say I began in my first pregancy to oil my body . This was out of instinct too . I used olive oil or coconut oil . Just oiling myself once out of the tub or shower . I think the art of massage also helps our skin .Our biggest organ stay healthy . Know of course I oil myself also with infused oils which also help my body heal. I also of course was planning to breastfeed all my babies. I began preparing for this as well beforehand by putting pure lanolin on my nipples during pregnancy . I don't know if this helped but I think it does because I've a friend who breastfed and she suffered terrible sore breasts .She did nothing during her pregnancies regarding nutrition or breasts etc. she suffered terrible wieght gain , horrid stretch marks etc. We all have our choices .What is most important we have healthy babies and they are loved but we cannot deny our part in our health .If we suffer poorly we need to be honest about our choices in diet etc.

It is beautiful how all these aspects fit together is it not . I was thinking of the physical and the oil massage how it in fact helped my body so much during pregnancy but it also played a huge role in the spiritual . While pregnant with our second child I would often have my first born help give me massage during the pergnancy . We had been using infant massage since her birth and as she grew continued this practice . I can honestly say as she was a very active beautiful child .Massage was a wonderful way to help calm her spirit especially for naps ;-) While we planned for baby to arrive we'd sit together on our family bed during the evening . We'd often have our story time . Pull out a deck of cards and she would help me massage my belly . We'd talk about pregnancy , birth and baby . I beleive having all family members connect with baby during the pregnancy is a must .

When Darlene our midwife would visit my dd would always take a listen with the fetoscope . Relationship with ones midwife is so important . Darlene often would stay for up to two hrs chatting having tea. She was always a friend not just a midwife and a member of our community . Our children would often play with hers when she'd visit and we grew to know her dh as well .I feel so blessed that Our Lord gave us such beautiful friends whom we connected with via the homebirth community .

Ok lets talk nesting ! Who cannot love nesting ! Is this not one the most wonderful spiritual & emotional helps for pregy ladies ;-) Preparing for the birth is fun and serious at the same time . We purchase a few items for mum like pads , drinks , make popcicles etc. We stock up on dettol for sterlizing the tub . preparing for a birth is a personal thing . Your may want candles , music , a camera etc. Each and every expereince will be different . I like to have these items avaliable so that they are easy to access if need be . A great tip for a plastic sheet under your sheets for the birth is to use your shower curatin or a vynal table cloth you can by those super cheap at the dollar store . Of course I absolutely love to prepare the items for baby . making new cloth diapers , buying diaper covers . Finding those real metal diaper pins ;-) . I never purchase already made recieving blankets but make our own . I like them to be big so I can wrap baby up tightly . Also you can find such amazing beautiful flannel patterns out there . I always preferred the little flannel nighteies as well instead of a sleeper for a new born , especially until the cord has fallen off. Being a fan of flannel I also like to have a nice clean flannel sheet ready for our family bed after the birth .This is just warmer for the new babe ;-) Little cotton baby socks are a must as well as a little cotton cap . Do not forget to have a good bar of laundry soap handy for those first few new born poops !

A big part of preparing for the birth is to also keep in mind our families. How to keep those other siblings involved and entertained . Having a list for friends to help deliver supers or take kids out for playdates really helps . I also always try and have a new gift for each sibling to celebrate the official Birthday . One yr a dear friend dropped off craft baskets for our older children .I thought this was a wonderful thought and could keep little hands busy while mum napped etc. Having older children is such a blessing our last baby was and still is an early riser to this day . It was such a gift when our eldest ds then 13yo would offer to take the new baby downstairs for an hour while we continued to sleep . Our then 17yo dd played with her 5yo brother the whole time during my labour .

I do not wish to write more about birth right now as that is a whole other wonderful post on its own .I hope to help in someway women know pregnancy never was nor is a burden like the lie often given and portrayed by our society . It is truely not . It is a blessing and a gift . Many blessings and gifts are work , can be difficult etc. however never a negative or a bad thing . I hope I've helped to portray the posative & good , how this is a beautiful and natural part of life to be cherished a beautiful blessing .

Later For now I must go tend to two beautiful boys who wish to start super with thier Mum .

My eldest dd took this picture she was 5yo and so excited about the new baby to come .

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's Talk Baby

Baby Jasmine August 1986

That would be as in having , caring for ,raising those cute little sweetie pies ;-) I just could not resist posting a pic either of one of our own . She is now 23yo and has her very own sweetie pie . This pictuire was taken on our camping trip out west . It was late summer and mornings were cool already . My dear friend Sunshine had given me this beautiful wool sweater and cap for Jasmine . The bunny was a gift from her big sister and when I gave birth to another girl I knew she needed a Raggedy Anne dolly just like her big sister too .

Pregnant with our #6

I grew up believing a baby is a gift . A treasure so naturally when we began having our own I cherished this time in our lives. I have been blessed with very healthy pregnancies and children . I'm not sure if there is one reason for the " Why " we chose homebirth etc. For myself personally I think it is a combo of I always exposed to the natural via my mother and grandmother . I also came from a family which was always a part of the medical system . One of my major abusive people in my life " helped " women give birth . This person had a hatred for life , children and women so I cannot discount that being one of my major examples influenced my outlook on birth etc. and what not to do ;-)

I was quite young when I became pregnant at 17yo . Yet right from the start this baby was wanted , needed and loved . I had a friend who suggested a midwife . This concept seemed so foriegn to me . Yet my mother told me stories of her cousins etc. all born at home . Many women in the community helped with birthing by my Great Grandmother & aunties . My mother told me how my own grandmother almost lost her life while in hospital after giving birth to my mother . Hospitals have always been places to house the sick and back then one did not wish to stay long for a stay . My grandmother recieved an infection and was in hospital over 3 weeks .

A seed was planted in my head at 17yo to look for the best possible care for my child . My mother whom I was living with found a doctor who indeed helped with homebirths . Yet he said only for the second child . We then learned via his office that his patients could have access to what was called a birthing room . My mother also discoverd a group which was teaching something called Lamaze birthing method . I over the yrs became far closer to my own birthing style but for a 17yo it was a great exposure . To learn how my body was working , how baby was growing , and those exerices still helped me through all my pregnancies ;-) .

I will not post my dd whole birth story now as that can come another day saved just for that . I did have an extremly healthy pregnancy , short and quick delivery without any drugs . Back then IV was not manditory either so I drank a ton of cranberry juice & water . I also learned from my lamaze class that breastfeeding was my main & only option ;-)

I will say when she was born my mother placed a blanket over us so the light was not shining on her eyes . She opened her eyes up so wide . That first time I held one of my own I think will always be one of the most special days in my life .

My dd Natasha was born in spring and a lovely warm spring it was . It gave me plenty of opportunity to walk throughout our nieghbourhood discovering our world together . We lived in what was dubbed the " Granola belt " of the city . It is now so trendy etc. we can't affrod to live there but back then it had immigrant families , young low income families , hippies etc. My friend from school her mother had started up a food co-op for local and organic products to be sold . It was of course meant to help low income people have access to good healthy alternatives . It is now such a trendy expensive organic store no low income person could shop there . It is also no longer a co-op either .

Anyway within my little area there was a bookstore . Prairie Sky books . This has been there since I was a young teenager . I'd go in to browse buy incense etc. I then found a section on Birth / Parenting ! I bought my very first parenting book there at 18yo ! It was titled simply Birth by Raven Lang . It is still by far my most fav birthing book of all time . I also bought two other books that day which would help guide my parenting perspective etc. for the yrs to come . These books were Fredrick Leboyer 's Loving Hands a book on east Indian infant massage & a yoga for children book titled Be a Frog , a Bird , or a Tree

These books & people may seem so simple but I am so glad and know how blessed I am to have had this posative exposure at such a young age . I know so many teen young mums who are bossed around , told they have no options , no choice , control taken over by others etc. I know many welfare mums would no longer be if they were just given the message mothering is good and being a mother as a posative rather than a negative your bad attitude . Don't get me wrong all my mum friends were actually welfare mums at one time in thier lives . Only one remains all the rest never were drug users , all are highly intelligent , all have higher educations , all are working people, had homebirths , breastfed etc. In the end I always have been a simple plain person with extradordinary blessings ;-)

When my dh and I began our journey as new parents together it was pretty much a given we'd go the homebirth route . I and he had friends who had just had homebirth and with my first being such a quick wonderful labour I felt ready to try the expereince . Most of all as parents we felt this to be the most bestest safest choice health wise , spiritually , emotionally etc. for our baby . We also wanted the experience of pregnancy , birth & child rearing to be a posative one for the little blessings we already had . We felt it very importnat childen truely have a role in being a part of forming a relationship with thier sibling long before the birth .

So we got the ph. number of a wonderful lay midwife who of course 24 yrs later is my dear friend . This opened up a whole new world for us in regards to community , areas of health , nutrition , homeschooling etc. it was and is wonderful . I was referred to a book titled Spiritual Midwifery . This book is wonderful . Full of stories etc. but why I chose to read it for each and every pregnancy is for the medical references . It is a great refresher course for us in preparation of the birth .

I of course via friends found other materials to read and enjoy herbal books , parenting ,diet & pregnancy . There were many alternative mothering mags out there but my fav was of course The Compleat Mother . I began corresponding with the founder and editor Catherine Young and had several articles published . I still have many of the posters etc. she sent and have passed on all my teasured copies to my own dd who became a mother 4 yrs ago .

Breastfeeding was a given and yes I did and have tandumed nursed . I was even a mum who did not have to roll over to nurse with either breast ;-) We of course co-slept and wore our babies long before the term attachment parenting emerged . I always carried my babies from the time my mother gave me a scarf to strap my firstborn babe onto my body ;-) later on in MX I'd fit right in wearing a rebozo ;-)

This winter I hope to write posts specific to the topics of birth etc. but for now I thought this would be a nice taste of the possibilities to come .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

O Lemon Balm O Lemon Balm

I haven't a clue why but when I say lemon balm o tannenbaum comes into my head lol . Lemon balm is one herb I remember as a child . Must have been my Grandmother who used it because my mother certainly didn't use many herbs as remedies . This spring I ordered seeds to begin growing lemon balm . It did indeed grow ! One plant that is . We had a terrible ditructive spring and summer . Cold , cold and rain , rain plus slugs . I used the small plant for seasonbing fish actually . This was not my intended purpose however for growing the plant . No I wished to try it as an herbal remedy for cold/flue season . So in august I replanted lemon balm seeds and many came up . So I've now about 12 mini little plants growing under the plant light in the basement . I will have to purchase the dried variety for this winter I guess , I would like to try lemon balm as tea but also was thinking it'd also make a nice rub as well . I've never made a homemade rub for chest cold before . So this is an adventure I think is worth stepping into . I'm already ahead of myself thinking I want to order wintergreen plants as well come spring ;-)
Seems lemon balm is also used as a calming herb as well . This makes even more sence now to try it during these winter months cooped up inside we need things to calm the nerves at times