Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reviewing My Birth Story

I wasn't sure if this was a post I wanted to or would be able to write.  I hope that it will help other women and families to understand their choices.

I have been avoiding rereading my birth story (you can read it HERE) for quite awhile now. Today, I decided that it need to be done. I cried. I shook my head at the things I wrote and thought were ok. The International Cesarean Awareness Network calls this the 18 Month Cry. Since Etta Mae's birth, I have grown even more passionate about helping other women with their birth experiences.  This has led me to do a lot of reading and research about pregnancy and birth options.  I recently read an incredible piece that applies to all women, regardless of the type of birth they desire.  Read it HERE

Let me start by saying that there are a lot of amazing OBs and midwives out there. They respect birth and make sure to inform mothers about their options. Medical interventions have saved many lives, and we are lucky to live in a country where they are readily available. 

Here are a few of the things I have learned and come to believe. Note that there are links to resources about birth within many of my points.

  • Your birth experience matters! You will vividly remember that experience for the rest of your life. Healthy baby is not the ONLY thing that matters. I know without a doubt that my traumatic birth experience contributed to my milk not coming in for 6 days, trouble breastfeeding, and subsequent post partum despression and anxiety. 
  • Every woman should take childbirth classes, even if she is planning to get an epidural or have a cesarean birth. It is important to know what is going on in your body and the benefits and trade offs of any interventions you consider.
  • Doctors and hospitals have certain routines that they are comfortable with.  This DOES NOT mean that those procedures are best for every woman or that they are supported by evidence.
  • You have the right to ask for more information about anything that is being done to your body.  If you don't feel like a procedure is best for you or your baby, you can say I DO NOT CONSENT. You do not HAVE to do anything. Remember that you are paying the hospital for a service.
  • It is our responsibility to to make choices for ourselves and our babies and take back our birth experiences. I feel like I was bullied to be induced.  The on-call OB's exact words were "YOU AND YOUR BABY COULD DIE." Who says that to a pregnant woman????? Unfortunately, these scare tactics are far too common.
  • Please, please, please inform yourself about your options during labor and after birth. There are some great resources out there.  I highly recommend reading books like The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, watching movies such as The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth (yes, I said orgasmic), and looking over websites like Improving Birth and Evidence Based Birth.
  • If you have had a traumatic birth experience that led to a cesarean birth, seek out a local ICAN chapter.  It can be very healing to talk to other mamas who have been through similar experiences.
I love Etta Mae.  She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  But, it took us a long time to truly bond.  I think this is the direct result of her birth.  I hope that other women can find my experience helpful and have a truly wonderful birth.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Catching WAY Up

So, the last time I blogged was when Etta Mae was 7 months old.  She is now 14 months old which means I have a lot of catching up to do. And, a lot has happened in the past 7 months! I guess I'll start with a quick recap of Etta Mae's last few months.

8 Months
At 8 Months, Etta Mae: loves clapping, pushing things across the floor, pulling up on everything, eating finger foods, and can go from standing to sitting without holding anything.  She also started crawling shortly after I posted last.

9 Months
At 9 Months, Etta Mae: Loves to wave and push buttons, stands unassisted for a few seconds, shakes things and bangs them together, climbs into any basket or container she can fit into, pretends to hand stuff to you then pulls it back, loves to make the "duck face"

10 Months
At 10 Months, Etta Mae: tries to stack things, cruises along furniture, 'reads' books by turning pages and babbling, tips up bottles like she's drinking from them, opens and closes doors, hugs and pats her baby dolls, twirls her hair and sucks her thumb when she's sleepy.

11 Months
At 11 Months, Etta Mae: tries to snap her fingers, chases Samson, loves rocking in chairs or on the floor, WALKS!

12 Months
At 12 Months, Etta Mae: Signs "more", "eat", "drink"; can point to her eyes, nose, and mouth when asked; holds up her foot when it's time to put on her shoes, "rolls the dough" when playing patty cake, dances to music, knocks on doors, says "hi", "uh oh", "ow", "dog", "shoes"

At 13 Months, Etta Mae: Loves to spin around in circles and walk on her tip toes, points to the iPod when she wants to listen to music, runs when you chase her, can climb on the couch, loves playing outside in the grass, holds everything up to her ear like a phone, semi-successfully uses a fork and spoon, swipes the screen on the iPhone and iPad, opens her mouth and says "aaahh" when brushing her teeth, says "down/done", "diaper" (da-dum), "bath", "hair", "baby", and "hello"

We've had some big family changes, as well.  Jason accepted a position with LSU as the Director of Fan Experience, so we moved to Baton Rouge at the end of April.  We love it so far! The parks are beautiful, and we're really looking forward to the mild winters! Jason is really enjoying his new job and getting used to wearing purple. And, Etta Mae loves visiting Mike the Tiger.

Etta Mae took swim lessons!

We took an amazing vacation to Navarre Beach with my mom, Dave, aunt Margaret, Melissa, Sophie and Maya. At first, Etta Mae wasn't sure about the sand and the ocean, but she loved walking along the beach by the time we left.

We also had some awesome family pictures taken by Jessica Whittle Photography!

When we got home, we had a birthday party for Etta Mae.  Uncle Tyler and Courtney came, and we were so excited to hang out with them. And one thing is for sure, Etta Mae LOVES cake!

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with Etta Mae since we moved. I recently decided to pursue a career that I've been interested in since I was pregnant.  I completed a DONA Doula workshop and have been working on setting up my business! Have no idea what a doula is or does? You can find lots of info on my Facebook and Website! I can't wait to start helping mamas!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the last few months: