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Eating Babies Eating Boobies

I can’t believe my little girl, who was just born yesterday according to my sense of time, is so active.  She’s already standing up on her own, hands-free.  She took a step the other day!  Zack had to catch her before she fell on her face, but my goodness the bravery on that one.

I never got this far nursing Gwenna.  She weaned at 3 months, while we fought with thrush and bottle preference (curse you Tommee Tippee!).  I never got to these sweet moments, when she actually crawls over to me and reaches out her arms and tries to get to the boob herself!

I am super grateful for the ability to nurse her through hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, and pregnancy (and miscarriage).  I had mastitis in the beginning, cracked nipples, blisters, a necessity for a complete elimination diet (I went Paleo), and a really frustrating time with waking up every 45 minutes- hour and a half at night before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  But we’ve made it, and I have to say, it’s worth it.  More every day!

It’s difficult to explain the feeling a mom gets when she nurses her baby, but let me try.  Do you know that unexplainable urge you get to just squeeze a baby?  To give hugs and kisses and raspberries and tickles?  How you can never get enough?  That feeling, I believe, is meant to be paired with nursing.  I can nom on Clover all day long and never feel satisfied that I’ve loved on her enough, but when we’re nursing, and she’s looking at me with her big half moon eyes, that’s the feeling of absolute peace, happiness, and love that can fill anyone up.  The inexplicable desire to pinch those rolls is somehow fulfilled through an act that nourishes the baby and the mommy.Image

Pretty smart of evolution there, huh?

And that is why I think we always want to “eat” the babies!

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The Next Step

I’m always trying to move from one point to the next, hopefully forging ahead in a helpful direction, and at the very least distracting myself from discomfort.  Looking back on my laboring style, that was a huge problem.  Moving around constantly, trying to stay on top of the contractions, breaking out in complete panic when I could no longer do that.  I had an anxiety attack and needed oxygen and you know, was just a mess in general.  I do that in life too.  I stay on top of my emotions and always move around, trying to shake them off or escape them.  This is a very harmful thing…

So the next step is to stand still. 

I have a lovely friend who had a stillborn.  Incredibly heartbreaking and nearly inconceivable for most, this experience was something she experienced with the most grace you can imagine.  She honored the baby, made a scrap book for him, grieved his loss, and even corrected family members who felt the experience was too uncomfortable to speak about.  “Moving on” looked like child’s play compared to the way she bravely faced the heartbreaking reality and emotions.

She has inspired me today to try and give myself time to process and grieve, and to honor this little lost life.  To not place such value in getting away, moving on, feeling less.

All we have of the pregnancy is an ultrasound photo, taken after the loss, but it’s something.  Zack and I picked out a name.  Blaine- we thought this was a great unisex name, and unique and trendy enough to be in a family with a Gwenna and a Clover.  I think I will make a scrapbook page with Zack and Gwenna, and this will be a good opportunity to explain to her that the baby in mommy’s belly is not going to grow big and come out the way Clover did.  We still haven’t told her.

We are experiencing an outpouring of kindness and support from friends and family, and that has been so valuable.  I appreciate every kind word and prayer.  Although my relationship with God has been very complicated and confusing lately, I like to think there is a heaven where the little one will be able to exist as she was meant to be, have all of the happiness she was meant to have.  And be able to see we all miss her.

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A Loss

Long story short, I’m miscarrying.

Monday night I had bleeding and cramping, and when I woke up the next morning I was fine.  Out of confusion, I went to Dr. DuTreil, a very charming and knowledgeable doctor.  The examinations told me that the development of the pregnancy was at least a week behind our calculated dates- dates that there was really no way around.  After this news and scheduling an appointment for next week for a follow-up, the bleeding started heavier.

Even as most signs confirm the miscarriage, pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and light nausea are still hanging around.  Even getting a little more defined.  I’m told this is normal as well, as the body hasn’t completely registered the loss.  Insult to injury, to have the symptoms but no baby.

The process has yet to reach the level of physical discomfort I know it will have, and sometimes these things take way more time than they should be allowed.  I guess that’s why doctors do D&Cs.  Dr. DuTreil talked about options with me, and his tone was most hopeful when he mentioned “just do nothing.”  As I was beginning to plan a homebirth, I can certainly appreciate the idea of letting my body do its own thing.

My first miscarriage happened before I knew there were other options.  It was very early, and even then, the physical aspect of the experience was unforgiving.  This also happened at a time when my entire life was in a state of turmoil- sick family, a breakup, a move.  I think the hormones that were present allowed me to feel the emotions of grief that would have otherwise been too overwhelming in that situation.

Since then, I’ve become much better at avoiding feelings.  So much so that when I am given condolences, I have to adjust to the level of emotion apparent in the giver’s message.  Strange to think that even the doctor is hurting more than I am.  But that’s just the surface of things- it’s not the reality.  This realization prompted me to consider…

Just a few days ago, I was speaking to my daughter’s nanny, explaining that both of my daughters were very specific people who “happened” at a very specific time, and we’d be at such a loss if they hadn’t happened just then, and been just who they are.  Of course this is true for all children.  Who would this baby have been?  The little one would have been very close to Clover in age.  So close that they wouldn’t be able to help their bond.  Irish twins.  This baby was going to surprise us at the birth with whether it was a boy or a girl.  A girl, I think.  As Clover was different from Gwenna in so many ways, even from the very beginning, I imagine this girl as the sleeper we haven’t yet had- the one who sleeps from the night practically from day one.  Maybe she’s slower in reaching her milestones because her sisters spent so much time awake, working on these things, that she is not as intensely interested in.  She is a wind whisper in a hurricane house, and balances our family.  As the baby, she looks up to her sisters and when they cry, maybe because I said we couldn’t go to the zoo immediately, she brings them pretend tea.  Hugs and kisses.

This baby will not ever be that person, or any other.  What the baby is, though, is a reminder that we have two lovely miracles.  A chance for me to cry, and reconsider all the things I do to “get ahead” instead of getting dirty playing.  A chance to look at how distant I’ve been with everyone I love, and compare that person with the one with all these emotions right now… and strive to be this person when my two year old is too tired to do anything but whine in a pitch so high it’s unregistered to all but dog ears, when my husband is distracted by the TV and I need to repeat myself 3 times, when Clover is teething and needs to be held all day.

It seems impossible… but you will be missed.

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You Mad?

The 33 shares on Facebook for my last post means it was controversial.  And that’s the point.  Sometimes we say things other people don’t want to hear.  I was really cranky yesterday after twisting my knee and seeing a mommy blogger apologize for her voice which has helped so many people, so I’m sure the message was rough around the edges. The point was that natural parents who present their beliefs to the world- that breast is best, that corporal punishment is harmful, and other things- should continue to present this helpful information without being concerned with avoiding hurting feelings.  If I do something wrong, I feel bad for it.  I understand the mechanism of hurt feelings.  I also understand compassion and empathy and not wanting other moms to hurt.  Yes, we are all connected.

But they’ll get over it and maybe be better for it  Hey, they were reading your blog in the first place- which means they were probably looking for that information that may have hurt their feelings.  You can help remind them that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Then we learn from them.

Bottom line: psychologists wouldn’t be so plentiful and successful if we were not a society trained in avoiding emotion.  Avoiding emotion does not get my vote for best idea ever.  So speak, sisters.

P.S.  I’ll take the opportunity here to point out that I am on my THIRD child, have certainly not lived up to my original AP intentions, and still believe strongly in the principles that have guided the formation of those ideals.  Still- superior, bully, whatever you want to call it- I am not that.

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Disclaimer: Since many people have a hard time identifying sarcasm, irony, and the likes through text, please be advised that I do practice AP, I do not identify with the AP Crowd, and I am being quite sarcastic below.  But I am better than you.  Just kidding… the whole point of this post is actually the opposite of that.  I am not better than you, but I did benefit greatly from those who wanted to help me be better than a previous version of me.  

So this happened today.

This isn’t the first time one of my favorite mommy bloggers backed off her stance of whatever it was because she realized the internet is actually a large network of real people she didn’t actually want to offend.  I understand that.  In this world, there are people who just naturally get along.  Other people like them.  They don’t like conflict.

Natural parenting attracts a lot of conflict.  I’ll tell you why: in the same manner the Church is known for not representing literal Christian values, the AP crowd is known for their own sort of hypocrisy and hyperbole.  There happen to be seven Baby B’s of Attachment Parenting.  You probably know of breastfeeding, birthing naturally, babywearing, and maybe a few more.  I bet you didn’t know “Balance” is in fact one of the backbone principles of these popular parenting guidelines.  Yeah, if I read one more blog about not “forcing” a child to say “thank you” to strangers who compliment or help them, I might forget it myself.  Here is where I simply mention that I believe “Balance” includes a healthy understanding of basic social interactions, even though they might make a child uncomfortable, among other things.  And back to the topic at hand.

So the Church of AP is a bunch of in-group bullies, and that’s obviously an exaggeration, but bear with me.  You, you disposable-diapering, formula-feeding, non-co-sleeping, epidural-getting, time-out-using old hags, you are the outgroup.  Ahem, we are the outgroup.  (I’m not owning up to all of those, but I’ll admit to falling short of my Sears ideals.)  And I understand that there has been a lot of bullying because honestly, the folks who are reading up on Attachment Parenting are the folks who probably hate their own parents for screwing them up and needed to find a road map to anywhere that wasn’t where their own parents ended up.  Maybe they need to feel better about themselves because mom was kind of mean, and that might mean bullying (which is not okay- it’s just kind of obvious to put together).

That’s almost what happened to me.  I ate the stuff up.  At 20 years old, I’d already come up with a birth plan and a few weekly meal plans for toddlers and picked out a great preschool… maybe it wasn’t that intense, but maybe it was.  AP was my Bible.  The families I nannied for were my preachers.  I’d found my calling in life, and I was great at this caring-for-kids-in-the-superior-way stuff.  I could have been a total jerk, but then I had the ultimate humbling experience: children.

But I didn’t care that AP was supposed to be superior to other people’s ways.  I cared that it was often the best for the children.  I cared that breastfeeding, and my support of breastfeeding mothers, could mean fewer illnesses for those children.  I cared that getting on their level and listening to them helped them learn to value their voices and emotions.  I cared that wearing an infant would help her feel emotionally secure when she was off playing by herself.  I was, and am, so grateful for the information that doctors, psychologists, and mommy bloggers put out there for me to devour. Truly, I was never into searching out formula feeding moms and “educating” them- just really stuck to hanging out with people who saw things kind of the way I did.  That’s what people do in general, anyway.

I can’t imagine being apologetic for believing in what I believe or apologizing for the facts that helped form my beliefs.

“It made me realize that telling people to not let facts hurt them, was like expecting the rainfall to never touch a single body.” – Two Degrees of Suburbia

But you’re not giving the facts to just people.  You’re giving the facts to parents.  We shouldn’t be so concerned about hurting people’s feelings when we can educate large numbers of people.  We can change a person’s journey on a destructive path by simply linking a few articles on Facebook.  That’s worth a few defensive reactions, in my opinion.

And you know what?  When you believe something, don’t be chicken and say it isn’t worth believing in because a few of your friends don’t like it.

For instance: I have a couple of really wonderful hard core Christian friends.  But I’ll tell them to their faces that gay rights are important, I don’t see any logical way to continue to deny them, and I’ll back that up with facts.  Christians love their Jesus!  I have loved Jesus.  They might get their feelings hurt in that conversation, but it’s right.  I love those ladies, but the issue of civil rights is bigger than avoiding an uncomfortable conversation with a couple of really great friends.  In any case, they’ll still be my friends at the end of the day, because I think we all realize that differing opinions don’t mean you should cut someone out of your life.

Loving and advocating for children and families should be bigger than avoiding uncomfortable conversations with a couple of really great friends.

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WOW.

Hokay, so, here’s the news:

Baby #3 is on the way.

Clover is only 6 months and nursing around the clock, so it was a bit of a surprise.  The more the merrier!  Except after 3- 3 is my limit. 

I’ve been MIA for about 6 months now, so I would apologize here, but it’s against some sort of rule to apologize for not blogging while you’re blogging.  So just “hi again”, I guess.

Quick update for this week’s post:

-Gwenna is turning 3 at the end of the summer.  The madness of birthday party planning is about to begin.

-Clover is 6 months- nearly 7- and pulling up on things and walking with her walker and being an all around badass.  She heard that rumor that younger siblings could be slower reaching milestones than their older siblings, and smashed that whole notion. 

-Baby #3 is going to move us in the winter to a bigger home and to get a bigger car and that means

-My business must GROW FASTER THAN THIS BELLY.

-And oh yeah, thyroid stuff.  I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to that one.

Talk at ya next week!

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Happy New Year!

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Oh my.  I haven’t blogged in quite some time, huh?  WELL, I have some positive things to share:

Every now and then I get 3-4 hour stretches of sleep, so I resemble a zombie much less now.  Clover is growing well- 15 pounds at 10 weeks old!

I am well on my way to getting back in shape (Paleo diet, back to teaching, resistance training, and soon, WEIGHTS!)

The fall semester plopped me right down onto the Dean’s List (things that also happened last semester: a hurricane, birth, kidney stones, running a business, mothering a toddler, running a home, teaching Zumba three times a week. I can’t be stopped, y’all.)

The agency is taking off.  I’m a little shocked at how well we’re doing.  We went from modest start-up to- dare I say it?- successful overnight.

I’m back in school this semester, and classes start Monday.  Gwenna is also off to Montessori pre-school on Monday, so I may very well have more time to flood this blog with pictures of Paleo food and recipes!  Get ready!