Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Certified Childbirth Educator

It's pretty much been decided at this point, so might as well share: I'm pursuing my certification as a childbirth educator with (drum roll please) ...CAPPA
(Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association).

The CAPPA Vision:
Imagine a world…
Where women are encouraged to trust their bodies. Where myths about pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, and breastfeeding are dispelled.

Imagine a world…
Where women are given the tools they need to make informed decisions about their pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and breastfeeding experiences.

Imagine a world…
Where education does not use guilt as a motivator but instead encourages families to make intuitive and informed decisions.

Imagine a world…
Where women are surrounded by caring, compassionate support throughout the perinatal period.

Imagine a world…
Where families are equipped to embrace parenthood with confidence.

Imagine a world…
Where there is mutual respect amongst support professionals and medical professionals, all working together as colleagues to give the best care for families.

Imagine an organization …
That strives every day to make this world a reality.

I've already read some of the required reading, but will have to read 4 books, plus the CAPPA educator course material and the HUG Your Baby series, plus pay some fees, organize my curriculum and business legal stuff etc. ...and then I will be all set to start helping pregnant couples!
I am SO excited!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Music for Labor

In case anyone is curious what we actually ended up using for relaxation during labor with my second baby: I tried to choose only things that put me into a relaxed trance, which is a very different set of music than what I enjoy on a daily basis.

  • Nature Sounds for Pregnancy and Birth
  • A mix playlist I created myself
I Surrender All - Jadon Lavik
Into the West - Howard Shore (Lord of The Rings)
For the Beauty of the Earth - Laura Jewel & Steve Ivey
Beyond the Veil - Clyde Bawden
For the Beauty of the Earth - The Lower Lights (yes, two versions of this song)
Consider the Lilies - Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Calling All Angels - The Wailin' Jennys
Redeemer - Darla Day
At Last - Etta James
Dream a Little Dream of Me - Michael Buble
Seascapes - Paul Brooks
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

  • Hypnobirthing (this isn't music, but rather a spoken word CD that comes with Marie Mongan's book)
I used these during the months leading up to the birth as well as during labor. I'd encourage moms to make their own, and if you don't end up using it, you'll still have something to relax to after baby arrives!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Baby Won't Nurse!

Refusal to nurse is a common problem breastfeeding moms will face with their little ones. Babies wail or fuss at the breast. They push away or arch their backs. I've encountered it dozens of times with my little ones, and it's enough to make a mom want to throw in the towel (or burp cloth) on breastfeeding. To date, I have more than 24 months of breastfeeding experience under my belt, but only because I refused to give up. Most often, waiting it out seemed to be the key. I thought I should share some of the reasons why babies may fuss at the breast:
  • Needing to burp: If baby's been nursing just fine for five minutes or so, then suddenly refuses to continue, the most common explanation is the need to burp.
  • Simply not hungry: Young babies will generally need to eat every two to four hours. If you suspect your baby might not be hungry, try again in another 30 to 60 minutes. Don't wait for your baby to become overly-hungry, though.
  • Indigestion: The foods a mother eats change the content and flavor of her milk. Babies may get some indigestion from certain foods or simply not like the flavor of the milk after mom had something spicy.
  • A cold: If your baby has a stuffy nose, she may not be able to breathe very easily when she sucks in milk. Try a little bit of baby nasal saline solution followed by a nasal bulb before nursing.
  • An ear infection or teething: If this is the case, the action of nursing can sometimes be painful for some babies. If you suspect teething, give your baby a teething toy. Wait an hour or so, and keep trying. If you suspect an ear infection, use an otoscope to check your baby's ear for redness, or see your child's pediatrician.
  • Too tired to nurse: Occasionally, babies are just too tired to want to do the work of eating. Sometimes a difficult afternoon or a busy day full of new experiences makes babies overstimulated. Put baby down to nap.
  • Distractions: A room full of other people or sounds can be distracting or overwhelming, especially for babies about six months old or older. Do your best to dim the lights and find someplace quiet for just the two of you.
  • Bowel movement: My children would refuse to nurse if they were trying to poop, no matter how hungry I thought they must be (especially as very young babies). As soon as they were done and in a fresh diaper, everything would be fine.
  • A sore shoulder or neck: There was an instance with my son when simply the act of placing him in a side-lying posture seemed to set him off. I realized I had been repeatedly holding him wrong. If you haven't been diligent about how you position your baby's spine, neck and shoulders, your baby could develop sore muscles. (Baby's ear, shoulder and hip should be aligned). Try making her as comfortable as possible, possibly placing her atop a soft pillow or nursing in a different position than usual. The problem should remedy itself in a day or so.
  • Other explanations can include colic, thrush, a food sensitivity, milk flow (too fast or slow) or hyperlactation syndrome. And sometimes babies go on a nursing strike for reasons we don't understand.

Even if you cannot determine the reason your baby won't eat, there are things you can do.
  • First and foremost, soothe your baby and wait for him to be calm before trying again. You don't want him to associate frustration with the breast.
  • Propping baby's head and torso in a more upright position. I found this to be especially effective if I could hold the baby in such a way to nurse while walking around and gently bouncing.
  • Keep trying. If you've tried a few times and aren't making progress, give it an hour. Keep trying! In the mean time, use a breast pump every two or three hours to relieve engorgement and keep your milk supply.
  • Try giving a bottle, just for one or two feedings. Sometimes babies who are refusing to nurse will take a bottle. Try breastfeeding again later in the day.
  • Call a support person: a lactation consultant, an experienced mom, a pediatrician, or just a friend who will help you relax.
If all else fails, be sure to see your doctor and don't feel guilty or ashamed if you aren't able to continue breastfeeding. You need to what's best for baby AND you.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fear in Childbirth

For the Mommies-to-be: Are you afraid of giving birth, maybe just a little?
...Pretty sure you share that sentiment with about every other female in the U.S., so you're not alone. But, take heart! There's really very little reason to be! Today I want to share with you something very personal that I hope will be encouraging.

I'll start by saying that in the old days, a girl would have learned everything she knew about birth from firsthand experience. She would have witnessed her mother or sister or aunt or cousin giving birth. She probably would have seen farm animals giving birth to their babies. Today, we've removed ourselves from all of this. Few things irritate me more than how the media has portrayed labor in movies and TV...and basically ruined childbirth for us. I promise you it is not like how they show it on TV! (Well, at least not for most of the moms I've heard from). If that's the only videos you ever watch of a woman giving birth, then of course you will be terrified! It's not all screaming and flailing around on your back. Watch some REAL videos of women giving birth. And there are things you can  do to try to make it an empowering, spiritual experience.

I have been meaning to do this for some time, but I realized some of my friends are due to have their babies very soon and might benefit from this, so I have to stop procrastinating. Below, I have scanned and posted the little documents that I created during my pregnancy with my daughter. I meditated on them daily through the last few months of that pregnancy. I had learned about the "sphincter law" and began to think up ways to allay my fears so that I could have a better chance at the birth experience I hoped for. I prayed, read books, talked to friends, and scoured the internet: every time I came across encouraging words and images, I collected them.

These are my personal words of encouragement and images that I needed to meditate on each day to psych myself up to give birth. I included images of things from the happy moments in my life, my husband, my son, a blooming flower, and art by Amy Swagman (among others). There are scriptures and song lyrics. This is one small part of what made me feel totally at peace about the whole process (you can read about the rest here). I encourage future mommies to make a list of everything you're afraid of about giving birth, and to pray about those things. Then, you can make your very own collection of encouraging words to meditate on throughout your pregnancy.
(I have transcribed everything at the bottom of this post for you)

I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and peace of heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. - John 14.27

To everything a season
A time for every purpose under Heaven...
...A time to be born
- Ecclesiastes 3.1

I prayed for this child and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD. - 1Samuel 1:27 & 28

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour; for if they fall, one will lift up his companion. ...again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm...Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. A threefold cord cannot be broken. Ecclesiastes 4.9-12

...you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. - Isaiah 58.11

Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." - Matthew 11.28-30

...perfect love drives out fear... 1John 4.18

Let your eyes look straight ahead.
Fix your gaze directly before you.
- Proverbs 4.25

...And the Lord God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person....And the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him..." "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone!"....This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one."

Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble. - Psalm 119.165

And Eve said, "With the Lord's help, I have brought forth a man!" - Genesis 4.1

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of Grace, that way we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4.16

But when we ask, we must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about by the wind. - James 1.6

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. - Hebrews 11.1

They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking, I will go ahead and answer their needs. Isaiah 65.23-24

Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Psalm 119.37

I tell you the Truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. - Mark 11.23-24

You will keep her in peace, perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You; because she trusts in You. - Isaiah 26.3 (modified)

for God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, of love, and of self-control. - 2Timothy 1.7

Stand still and consider all the wondrous works of God. - Job 37.14

I sought the LORD and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. - Psalm 34.4

The Lord is my deliverer!
Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead! - 1Peter 1.16

Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion!... - Philippians 1.6

Children are a blessing from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. - Psalm 127.3

Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you. - 1Peter 5.7

...I will sustain you and I will rescue you. - Isaiah 46.4

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!...Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" - Luke 1.42-45

My Grace is sufficient for you. My power works best in your weakness. - 2Corinthians 12.9

I am your God; I will strengthen and help you!

I will uphold you with my righteous hand. - Isaiah 41.10

For you formed my inward parts; You covered my in my mother's womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and [that] my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, [And] skillfully wrought in the lowest parts...Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when [as yet they were] none of them. - Psalm 139.13-16

Seek his path in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3.6

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. - Psalm 16.9

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. - Romans 8.37

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. - 2Samual 22.33

By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise [shall be] continually of you. - Psalm 71.6

The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women (God-fearing women) are not like Egyptian women, they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." - Exodus 1.19

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. - 1Corinthians 6.19-20

...[Jesus said] whoever receives one such child in my name receives me...  - Matthew 18.1-5

...How joyful are those who fear the Lord--all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home...That is the Lord's reward for those who fear Him. - Psalm 128.1-6

Surrender, wait Patiently on the Lord

It is well with my soul

May the hope of God fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15.13

For you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. - Revelation 4.11

...Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth. Genesis 9.1

"May I always see, Lord, in every waking hour, your majesty and grace in this delicate flower."