Friday, February 27, 2009

11 Months

It's still so hard to believe we've reached 11 months on this cold and snowy Friday, February 27th. Our baby boy is looking more and more like a little boy and less and less like an infant. :sniff, sniff: I'm sure I'll always be astonished by the overnight transformation.

Brighton Lee now has 6 teeth and it looks like 2 more may be coming in any day. We had our very first introduction to solids, but we don't care for "baby" food. We pretty much jumped right into finger foods--banana, carrots, crackers, etc.

If you missed the post earlier this month, was also our very first unassisted walking across the room. But I have to also say that we went straight to running. This kid is lightening fast and fearless, like his older brother. If you missed the first video of him walking, be sure to check out a very short video clip HERE. It's short, but you can at least see how excited he is about walking.

Brighton loves to race us up the stairs. If he ever catches us having forgotten to put the gate up, he makes a run for it. But since he can hardly contain his giggles, we figure it out quickly and the race is on with him squealing and laughing up each step.

He also loves to play with cars, bang pots and pans, and sing. Yes, I said SING. Just wait 'til I catch it on video. It's astonishing!

These days he mimics our every word, so it's hard to tell when he's actually talking to us or just repeating the phonemes he's heard and rehearsed. Either way, it's "talk" and he knows it. He can say just about any word if he hears us say it first. Amazing! The words he regularly says, though, are "daddy," "play," "yeah," and "Hey!" But I cannot count the number of other words he's said this month. He babbles on unbelievably. I'll try to catch it on video this month.

Brighton is a dancer, too. He loves to dance to music whenever it comes on, but he also just dances when he gets in the mood. He has amazing control of his leg muscles and if there's no music, again, he'll just sing. He's magnificent to watch!

We are oh so blessed by this little toot. It's wonderful to witness our three "babies" play together each and every day. Brandon and Brayla are both still fascinated by their little brother and they love that he's now learning how to play WITH them. And, of course, now Brayla is talking about me "pushing out another baby" just as soon as possible. :deep breath: ...don't know that we're ready for THAT yet! LOL

I'll put a "10 month" collage below that you can click on to see each image larger. I'll also upload a video clip below the collage of Brighton playing with a car this month. It's short, but so telling. :)

Thanks for visiting and be sure to leave a comment for Brighton's baby book!

And now for the car video clip:

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans

TIME Magazine published an article by the above titled post just yesterday. What a wonderful article to wake up to! I am beyond thrilled to finally see a mainstream news outlet cover such an important topic and present a few facts on the issue. It's time that moms HEAR, loud and clear, that there are PLENTY risks you impose on yourself and your baby (and future babies) by undergoing major surgery unnecessarily. If you haven't read it yet, please go HERE to see the full article.

Just a few quotes:

International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), a grass-roots group, recently called 2,850 hospitals that have labor and delivery wards and found that 28% of them don't allow VBACs, up from 10% in its previous survey, in 2004. ICAN's latest findings note that another 21% of hospitals have what it calls "de facto bans," i.e., the hospitals have no official policies against VBAC, but no obstetricians will perform them.

With each repeat cesarean, a mother's risk of heavy bleeding, infection and infertility, among other complications, goes up. Perhaps most alarming, repeat C-sections increase a woman's chances of developing life-threatening placental abnormalities that can cause hemorrhaging during childbirth. The rate of placenta accreta--in which the placenta attaches abnormally to the uterine wall--has increased thirtyfold in the past 30 years. "The problem is only beginning to mushroom," says ACOG's Zelop.

Dr. Stuart Fischbein, an ob-gyn whose Camarillo, Calif., hospital won't allow the procedure, is concerned that women are getting "skewed" information about the risks of a VBAC "that leads them down the path that the doctor or hospital wants them to follow, as opposed to medical information that helps them make the best decision." According to a nationwide survey by Childbirth Connection, a 91-year-old maternal-care advocacy group based in New York City, 57% of C-section veterans who gave birth in 2005 were interested in a VBAC but were denied the option of having one.

[Zelop] says, "I don't know whether we can get back to a higher number of VBACs, because doctors are afraid and hospitals are afraid." So how to reverse the trend? For one thing, patients and doctors need to be as aware of the risks of multiple cesareans as they are of those of VBACs. That is certain to be on the agenda when the NIH holds its first conference on VBACs next year. But Zelop fears that the obstetrical C-change may come too late: "When the problems with multiple C-sections start to mount, we're going to look back and say, 'Oh, does anyone still know how to do VBAC?'"

For my new (and silent) readers, I'll re-cap our birthing history:

Having had two unnecessary cesareans (first for FTP and second fear-induced), for our third baby we wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and our local hospital refused it. So we went to a hospital TWO hours away having heard they were pro-VBAC, but they refused us, too. Our OB was supposedly on our side, but said the hospital wouldn't "allow" him to let this birth happen. So we took control of our birth and hired a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) for an out-of-hospital birth. Just after paying our CNM birthing fees and buying our home birth kit, the hospital finally consented--saying they couldn't "force a c-section" on me if I was adamant about a "TRIAL" of labor. This definitely wasn't a VBAC-supportive environment.

Because of our oppressive hospitals and ridiculous state laws on home birth (visit HERE to see where you can write letters to help change the law this spring), we had to drive FOUR hours and cross TWO state lines while in labor to get our out-of-hospital VBA2C. And folks, it was still worth every single mile.

Considering all of the fear, fear, fear I got from the hospital (about VBAC), the statistics on VBAC safety are shocking. I'm glad c-sections are available for the truly emergent situation, but truly emergent c-sections are very rare. Many moms who consent to a c-section THINK it's an emergency simply because they aren't fully informed by their provider during their labor. With a cesarean, we must be aware that we are subjected to multiple risks: risk of infection, increased blood loss, decreased bowel function, deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, risk of additional surgery, increased risk of postpartum depression, placenta and uterine problems in future pregnancies, risk of hysterectomy, increased the risk of premature birth complications, diabetes for baby, breathing problems for baby, injury during the surgery, risk of asthma, breastfeeding complications, death to mom/baby, and more...

I've known both the "fairly easy" c-section experience and the horrid "dear-lord-please-let-me-die" c-section experience--our VBAC birth (which was our largest baby, yet) was at LEAST a thousand times better than our easiest c-section. I've now walked through the valley of the shadow of death--and you know what? There was perfection on the other side. Recovery was bliss. "Birth" is WAY too small a word to encompass the natural act of bringing life into the world. I am so impressed with how perfect my body was made to do this normal, human thing.

Moms, it's really YOUR decision how you give birth, so take ownership of that decision. Don't let unnecessary fear guide you on either side. For us--we'd stay home again in a heartbeat if I was told, yet again, that I couldn't birth my baby without my stomach, layers of muscle, and uterus unnecessarily being sliced open and pieced back together with stitches and staples. It's far more complicated than most providers will admit.

Thank you, TIME, for bringing this topic to light. Although it is a fairly short piece, I'm hopeful that more moms will, over time, come to understand the magnitude of their birthing decisions. Everything from labor position to induction medications to epidurals to your support staff can affect whether you end up on the road to unnecessary cesarean. And once you're there, that may become your only future birthing choice at your local hospital.

Also from TIME was THIS article last month on early cesareans (prior to labor starting naturally). It's really worth a read if you are facing an upcoming cesarean!

For more information about repeat cesarean and VBAC, please visit Jen's website HERE. It provides a great overview on the topic.

Further, please visit ICAN if you haven't already. They have a WORLD of information on cesareans, VBACs, and all sorts of other birth-related things. National Cesarean Awareness Month is coming up this April and ICAN could sure use our support in birth advocacy--let's spread the news together!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ♥ My First

Brayla, the artist.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Maternity Clothes Giveaway

I've been telling a few friends that I would be getting rid of some maternity clothes. Even as of two days ago, I had NO idea exactly what that meant other than it would be a lot of clothes. Shockingly, it was probably quadruple what I thought it would be. The picture above is even missing a box I decided to keep, another box of stuff to give away, and a few more hanging items I uncovered last night! Wanna hear the saga?

A small batch of my maternity clothes have been hanging in my closet for almost a year, now. Yes, my 3rd baby was born last MARCH, but I've simply been too busy (and overwhelmed) to pack them back away. This week, while my beloved was out of town, I decided to sort them and prepare a stash that I was "done" with. I started removing all the hanging items, then went through my dresser drawers and found more. Then I went to our spare closet and there were a lot more. OY! I headed down to the basement to make sure my summer maternity clothes weren't down there and I found three more very large boxes FULL of maternity clothing. I also lugged up my "non-maternity" marked boxes so that I could re-fill my closets with my regular clothing--only problem was, when I opened those boxes, about half of them were filled with...

more maternity clothing!

At first this adventure was funny, but then it really wasn't. Not at all. I had no idea I had this much maternity stuff (having a basement makes "stuff" hide) until yesterday. With each new pregnancy came more clothes: More friends offered me their old clothing, I found more at garage sales, at Goodwill, and odds and ends on Ebay. Having both summer and winter pregnancies also grew my collection, quickly. I hardly looked through what I had before finding another few pieces. This freak show is now actually a bit depressing and downright embarrassing. Consumerism in all its glory. Somebody PLEASE put me out of my misery!

Okay, so I want to give it away--this is one glutinous mess I do not wish to profit from (as I used to think I would). I have almost every brand imaginable in this stash--Gap, Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity, Zero 2 Nine, In Due Time, Take 9, Honors Maternity, Kathy Ireland, Old Navy, Duo Maternity, Dividends, Oh Mamma!, New Addition Maternity, IM, Words Out, Tomorrow's Mother, JouJou, Liz Lange, Baby and Me... They cover all seasons and range from Medium to Large to X-Large--a little something for almost everyone. Some are well worn, many I've never worn, and I've found price tags STILL ON some of the items!!!! At last count, I had over 50 pair of maternity pants and plenty of shirts, some sweaters, dresses, jumpers, jackets and some VERY nice two piece professional outfits I acquired to wear to work during my first pregnancy. If you KNOW of anyone in the area in need of maternity clothing, please let me know. By Saturday afternoon, I want it all gone. That gives you barely three days to speak up. :)

Now, goodness sakes, this post is NOT to say there's anything wrong with having a nice selection of maternity clothing. For those who like to dress up--I'm sure it's just as fun when you're pregnant. I, admittedly, had some fun as a working professional sporting all sorts of patterns and textures. But seriously, this is beyond normal. LOL

Oh my, there are some beautiful memories wrapped up in some of these items. For example:

I fondly remember clothes shopping with my friend, Carla, during my first pregnancy--laughing over soup and sandwiches at Mimi's Cafe and picking out maternity bras and jumpers at Motherhood Maternity. She also found some lovely pieces for me on Ebay and, much to my delight, sneakily shipped a box to my doorstep and another package to my place of work one day (I wore these probably more than most of what I purchased).

I also remember the shirt I wore home from the hospital (my first baby). It was one my mother loved as it reminded her of my great grandmother, Sarah (Sadie) Jane (whom my daughter, Brayla Jane, happened to be named after). In the hospital, like many moms who birth in hospitals, I recall having difficulty getting my daughter to nurse on one side (my left). The lactation consultants were pushing and prodding and threatening to use formula. But as soon as we got home, I unbuttoned this particular shirt and she latched right on--she just needed some privacy. I can't help but run my hands over the beautifully-stitched flowers whenever I see it and recall the fullness of those sweet early days as a brand new mommy--watching my own mother delight in her first grand baby.

A number of items that I wore daily were once Kori's, a childhood friend of mine. We were BFFs (remember that?) in Jr. High School and lost touch in late High School and College. At the age of 30 we surprisingly discovered that we lived just two miles from each other--THREE hours away from where we went to school together. We were both pregnant with our daughters at that time (her 3rd, my 1st) which was SO much fun. Since she gave birth 5 months before me, I inherited her entire stash of maternity wear. And BOY did I wear it out during my first three pregnancies!

Another outfit I was sentimental over was from the year I was still teaching, while pregnant. During the final days of that school year, we had a pie throwing contest at Lone Star Elementary School. I was covered from head to toe with whipped-cream while standing on stage for all to see. Under the thick, sticky white, I was sporting my comfy purple shirt and black denim pants. It took forever to get the whipped cream out of that shirt. I just almost gave up. Heehee! (By the way, thanks Dirk, Garrett, Cooper and everyone else who were part of that surprising event!).

I could go on and on with the memories. At one point I thought I wanted to make a quilt out of these lovely pieces. But I know, in my heart, that it's time to let it all go. Thankfully, I've been in the right state of mind to approach this project--the state that allows me to see past all the touching memories (for the most part) and on to what it will be like to simplify my life and bless another's.

In closing...

I am grateful for my wonderful pregnancies.

I am grateful that I was provided for while growing babies.

I am grateful to all those who helped make that possible.

I am grateful for my beautiful babies.

And today, I am grateful to be able to bless someone else.

Oh my...look at all those free hangers.

One question for the local moms: Where would you suggest I donate the left-overs NOT spoken for? Please let me know when you have a free moment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear Nebraskan HHS Committee

February 10, 2009

Health and Human Services Committee
c/o Senator Tim Gay, Chairperson
State Capitol, Room 1402
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509

Dear Members of the Health & Human Services Committee:

REGARDING: LB 481 Support

I am writing as an invested Nebraskan consumer. LB 481 is tentatively scheduled for a hearing on March 6th and I am asking that you vote in favor of it. Please add my letter to the written testimony.

In 2005, our family relocated to Nebraska from Texas. After our previous hospital birth experiences, we desired a safe and gentle home birth in 2008. We were surprised to discover that we would be required to birth completely unassisted if we chose to home birth in Nebraska. Our birthing options were already limited because we live in a fairly secluded area of the state. Fortunately, we found a very capable and experienced Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) willing to assist our out-of-hospital birth if we could handle extreme travel arrangements during my labor. Despite the fact that my family qualified for 100% Medicaid coverage for a hospital birth, we quickly found all necessary funds to cover my prenatal care, the birth, newborn care, and post partum treatment with a home birth CNM. It was, by far, the best care I’ve received to date.

Though our journey was complicated, the birth was simple. On March 27, 2008 my water broke around midnight. We woke our children, loaded the car, drove 4 hours, in the heavy snow on ice-covered roads, crossed two state lines (South Dakota and Wyoming), and arrived at a rental home at 4am. Shortly thereafter, my baby was welcomed into this world in the most peaceful and non-threatening environment, surrounded only by my family and two care providers. This birth couldn’t have been more perfect considering our legal constraints and lack of in-state options. In fact, the liberating story will be published in a national magazine this March. However, should we be blessed with another bundle in the coming months, we do not plan to leave our own Nebraskan home to give birth. Not again.

Nebraska is one of only two states that still restrict Certified Nurse-Midwives from attending home births. After experiencing the attentive, lower-cost care of a Certified Nurse-Midwife, I am now more than frustrated by the prohibitive and oppressive laws of our state. In fact, it’s no surprise that birthing choice is quickly becoming a human rights issue all across our country. I am a grown, home owning, taxpaying adult. Studies here and abroad fully indicate that for low-risk pregnancies, home birth is just as safe as hospital birth. I will not be “treated” for my normal, healthy pregnancy by someone who is less conversant with the relevant research than I am. The bottom line: if mothers labor at home, their bodies are created to give birth with or without help. It seems only prudent to have the option of an invested care provider to watch for potential warning signs in case an unlikely emergency presents itself.

Please vote YES to move LB 481 out of committee and on to the floor of the legislature. This bill would strike the restriction on CNMs attending home births and greatly improve the quality of life and access to care for childbearing families in Nebraska.


Shaye Miller
Chadron, Nebraska
teachertools (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, February 8, 2009

He Walks!

I just couldn't wait to announce it! At 1:30pm today, just 15 minutes ago, Brighton Lee stood up by himself and took his first unassisted steps across the room. He's been cruising for a long time (holding on to things to walk) so we knew this was coming.

I was working on the dishes at the time, but when I spun around, there he was making his way across the kitchen floor as if he'd been doing it forever.

I ran to grab the camera and caught the following video just minutes later. I didn't catch much walking...but you can at least tell how excited he is about it. I guess we're in big trouble, now! Oh man, my baby is growing up. *sniff, sniff*

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dana!
Happy 10 Months, Brighton!

This first picture is of Brighton talking to his great grandfather: Dana. This weekend happened to be his Dana's 88th birthday so we're going to celebrate two milestones at the same time in this post. :)

We've had a wonderful last month and have seen so many changes in Brighton. He's growing like crazy. I can't say exactly how tall he is, but he looks huge and is getting into 18 month clothing these days and a few 24 month items. He's still cruising, but slowly letting go of things and attempting to stand for short periods of time without holding on to anything.

The first thing Brighton does in the morning (or after naptime) is look for his siblings. I ask him if he wants to go see his brother and sister and he starts kicking ferociously. His face spreads into this HUGE smile as soon as they come into sight. I love to see how he follows them about and attempts to play with and talk to them all day.

Brighton loves taking baths. LOVES them! I start the water and he begins dancing and screeching. Once in the water he splashes and splashes. Sometimes he'll stand up and hold onto the side. I'll ask, "Brighton, do you want to get out or play some more?" He responds by immediately letting go of the side and sitting back down. Smart kid, that one! We often do a short bath in the morning and another at night, just for fun.

Now that Brighton is 10 months, we will slowly begin introducing cereal and a few other fruits and vegetables (he's only had breast milk thus far). We'll be watching for any food sensitivities, as usual.

Brighton is still saying, "Mama" and he's experimenting with many other words. One we've been hearing clearly is: "play." He is such a dancer, like his older brother. Music comes on TV and he gets up and starts boogy-ing. And if any of us begin singing, he's all over that--wailing at the top of his lungs in a sing-song manner. It's absolutely hilarious. He's also become very aware of all sorts of things from how we use the telephone to how we use a remote control to finding buttons on anything that's electronic. We're amazed at his awareness.

Brighton hasn't enjoyed being in his car seat since our long, long, long drive to Texas. I have to continually remind him that it'll only take a few minutes to get to our next stop.

It's been a wonderful 10 months...he's growing up so quickly!

And now, for a short video clip. And don't forget you can click on the collage to see the images bigger. Enjoy!

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