Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Richard's Job

Richard works for the city as a water and sewer operator and as such gets to drive a cool "work truck" and do all sorts of interesting things. The kids LOVE to hear about his job, especially Moses, who thinks his Papa has the best job EVER. (After all, he drives a truck with lights that's full of tools, including a chainsaw. Can you get much cooler than that?!)

Thanks to the sweetness of Richard's new iPhone, the kids were recently able to watch some video of Papa at work, going up and down in a boom truck. I'd like to share, for your viewing pleasure, Richard at Work:

Monday, September 28, 2009

36 Week Prenatal Visit

We had our "home visit" with our wonderful midwife last week in preparation for our upcoming homebirth. She did my prenatal visit and toured the house (of course she has delivered a baby here before, but that was 19 months ago!) and checked all our supplies to make sure we have everything ready for the birth.

She also went over with Richard what to do if I have a precipitous (i.e. extremely fast!) birth where the baby is coming before the midwives get here. The midwife who is assisting ours at our birth lives less than 10 minutes away, so even if I deliver quickly the chances of us being alone are slim. Still, you never know when it comes to babies! So Richard got the crash course and I feel confident that he would be able to handle a precip delivery. :)

Our midwife also helped us figure out where and how to set up our birth pool, how to keep things dry and comfortable, and how to organize our small space to the best advantage! She then made sure she knew things like where the food and dishes are in the kitchen (everyone needs to eat during and after labor!) and where the laundry room is so she can do the laundry after the baby is born! Aren't midwives awesome!? They help deliver your baby, then they feed you and start your laundry before they leave. Now that's the kind of maternity care I like!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My First Nieces

My very first nieces are arriving today! In about an hour, Richard's brother Dusty and his girlfriend Megan will be welcoming twin girls via c-section. I'm excited to be an auntie again so soon! Please pray for healthy girls (they are about 35 weeks gestation) and for Megan's recovery. Pray for lots of support for these two parents as they enter into the joys and struggles of parenthood!

[Update: Welcome Avery Victoria Novak (5lbs 6oz) and Alexis Jo-Ann Novak(4lbs 2oz)! Born at 9:15 and 9:16am, September 25th 2009.]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's So Scary About Homebirth?

Is homebirth the risky, elitist, fashionable and fringe "extreme" way to give birth, or is it safe for low-risk women and a legitimate alternative to hospital birth? The statistics and studies will tell you one thing, and the Today Show will tell you another.

Watch this segment on "The Perils of Homebirth" and then read this great response by Amie Newman entitled, "What's So Scary About Homebirth?" The video will certainly tug at your heartstrings and leave you with a distinct impression about the safety of homebirth, but it won't inform you of very many facts. The story of a couple whose baby died after being born at home is certainly tragic and heartbreaking. But,

As Alison Cole, midwife-in-training, notes in her RH Reality Check reader diary on the segment, "My heart aches for this family, but their experience does not shed light on the safety of birthing at home, just as the story of one family mourning the loss of a hospital-born baby is not evidence that all births should be removed from the hospital."

After citing safety, satisfaction and cost-effectiveness of homebirth, Amie concludes her article by saying:

What is most important to highlight, ultimately, is that women in the United States are increasingly seeking alternatives to hospital birth for a variety of excellent reasons. For some women it's a desire to experience their low-risk, healthy pregnancy not as a medical condition but as a natural state - a healthy state - with a provider who encourages them to trust their bodies. Maybe a woman doesn't wish to expose herself to potentially unnecessary medical interventions, but wishes to create an environment and experience that speaks to the ways in which she and her family envision welcoming their baby into the world - in a way that seems most compatible with midwifery and out-of-hospital care. Other women are distrustful of our health care system's tendency to treat pregnant women (or any seeker of health care) as merely a consumer or a number without a name, on the receiving end of depersonalized care. Some women view the mainstream medical establishment as patriarchal and demeaning, in general, and reject the idea that "doctor knows best" in any and all situations regarding pregnancy and childbirth. This is not say that ob-gyns cannot be excellent, loving and responsive care providers. There are millions of us out there who are indebted to these kinds of ob-gyns, undoubtedly. Midwives understand the value and importance of a trusted, respectful physician as a partner in a woman's care, should she need it.

The midwifery model of care may be an appealing option for many women because it starts from a place of empowerment - if you can envision it, you can do it. Start with an intention of the kind of birth you wish to have, my midwife and doula told me, and we'll go from there. ... Or maybe you'll plan for the homebirth you've been expecting and midway through your pregnancy, or after hours of labor, your midwife tells you you'll need an emergency cesearean section, in a hospital. Birth doesn't always go the way we plan - no matter where or with whom we choose to birth. The issue at hand, however, is not that we can possibly know exactly how it will end up but why we wouldn't think that we deserve to do everything we can to experience pregnancy, childbirth and the days and weeks postpartum in a way that feels best and right for us - most importantly, winding up with a healthy newborn warm against our chest, asleep next to our body. The Today Show may present homebirth as an option to be feared but that's only because the unknown is often times a scary venture. If you look at the evidence and listen to women's experiences, it doesn't have to be that way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

35 weeks

Here's what our baby looks like right now! How cool is that? I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone. I remember when my baby ticker had over 100 days on it!

When I consider that this might very well be our last baby, it makes me sad to have it almost be over. I really do enjoy pregnancy and am blessed with no morning sickness and good health. There is nothing quite like feeling a baby move around inside your body. I will miss feeling that unique sensation.

I am starting to gear up for our birth, buying and collecting birth supplies (everything has to be assembled by 36 weeks), getting our birth pool (I am SO excited for a waterbirth!!!) and scheduling our home visit with our midwife. Baby clothes have been washed and folded, blankets and diapers inventoried and put in drawers. We received a nice big-kid car seat for Judah as a gift, so the baby will have Judah's convertible car seat. I've been going through my fabric stash, thinking about making another sling... (do I really need another one? Yes! How dare you ask.)

All this preparation at times makes me nervous, because I'm aware that nothing guarantees us a living, breathing baby at the end of 5 or 6 weeks, and then all this preparation will feel so pointless. Matthias' death has made me so much more aware of the fragility of life and has kept me from putting all my eggs in the "healthy, living baby" basket.

It's hard for me to feel totally comfortable preparing for and expecting a baby. Sometimes I think that I shouldn't let myself imagine a new baby wearing these little clothes and cloth diapers or being wrapped in these blankets. What if our baby dies? How much more painful will it be to have already pictured him or her in my arms?

But then I know it's right to be looking forward to this baby's arrival, and to be imagining how wonderful it will be to hold him or her for the first time. That's part of the bonding and loving that a mother does with her baby even before birth, and I don't want to take that away from this child! Somehow making preparations without letting my heart be affected would be taking something special and important away from this baby. So I let my heart be fully vested and totally in love with the baby inside me, cherishing his or her little life, come what may. I don't want to keep my heart aloof from love in order to somehow keep it safe from pain.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photo Contest Winner!

My little Moses has won a place in the 2009 Real Diapers, Real Babies Photo Contest! This means that he will be featured in their 2010 Calendar, available for purchase in October. You can go here to see all the winners.

The Real Diaper Association is a non-profit organization which provides support and education to parents all across the U.S. for the use of simple, reusable cloth diapers. The goal of the Real Diaper Association is to put more U.S. babies in cloth diapers. To do this they aim to create a cultural shift in understanding cloth diapers-their environmental impact, their ease of use, their accessibility, and their acceptability. The Association will help parents understand that cloth diapers are real diapers.

We have never regretted using cloth and many is the time I've put a freshly laundered cloth diaper up to my face and enjoyed the thought of putting something so fresh and natural on my baby's bum. We started out using them with Moses, used the same diapers with Judah, have loaned them out a couple times, and now are getting ready to use them with our newest baby. What a great investment!

You can read my previous post about cloth diapers if you're interested in learning more about them, or check out the Real Diaper Association Resource Center!

If We Have a Girl...

Many of you know what our girl name is already.... but in case you haven't heard, here's a clue: