Pre-eclampsia / optimal fetal positioning

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Journey to Homemaker

I apologize to those who are not pregnant right now for all the baby-related stuff, but that's just where I'm at right now. I'll give birth and go back to more normal mom stuff, lol!

I wanted to write about pre-eclampsia because a lot of women don't realize how serious it is. There is a lot of info on preeclampsia.org about it, but you have to take what they say with a grain of salt. Although they are more educated than doctors on the causes and treatments, etc. (docs think there's no known cause and no known cure, and the only treatment is low salt intake and bedrest, which is WRONG) they still hold to the party line that the only cure is delivery of the baby. According to Dr. Brewer's research and experience, with proper diet the risk of pre-eclampsia is virtually non-existent. He did his research in an area of California with low incomes, poor nutrition, and very high ratios of pre-eclampsia in pregnancies. The woman he worked with lowered their risk from 25-30% down to .5%.

His research made a lot of sense to me, and I plan to follow his diet in an effort to avoid developing PE again. I've added his website, www.blueribbonbaby.org, to my links section.

I also added a link to a great site, www.spinningbabies.com. This is GREAT info on things to do to get your baby in the right position for birth. Having a baby in the wrong position greatly adds to the risk of your having a c-section, since doctors are so quick to pronounce that the baby is too big, your pelvis is too small, etc. and just want to cut you open. Less time, less hassle, more money for them. Less risk for them too (in their eyes) because they don't have to worry about possible cord prolapse and other rare emergencies that would cause parents to want to sue. Of course, there's more risk to you, especially down the line, but during a hospital birth, who cares about you?

The spinningbabies website is down at the moment, but hopefully will be up soon. They seem to be having some technical difficulties. Keep checking back, it's worth it. They teach many exercises and techniques for turning baby (that don't involve anyone pushing on your stomach) including using a birthing ball, a rebozo sling, and many other techniques. I highly recommend it.

The Search for a Midwife

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Journey to Homemaker

The search is on...and I'm getting tired of searching! I have decided to have a VBAC at home, after having three prior cesarean sections...thirteen months apart each time. Oh yeah, and my babies are huge. Wonder why I'm still searching?

Most midwives who are licenced or certified are a little hesitant. Particularly in my state, since there aren't many licensed midwives yet. They're worried if anything goes wrong it will hurt the midwife community in our state. Hello people, haven't you read the research? It would be more dangerous for me to continue having c-sections than to have VBACs. The rates of uterine rupture during a VBAC for mothers who are NOT given induction/augmentation drugs is about the same as the risk of having a prolapsed cord or a placental abruption for any mother...about 1% or so. The greatest cause of uterine rupture is not a prior c-section, but the mother receiving those drugs, whether she is a prior c/s or not.

Anyway, I'm going to have to go with a non-certified, or a non-licensed midwife. That's okay by me, a license from the state does not guarantee a good midwife. Some midwives just don't want the hassle from Uncle Sam, or the limitations the government imposes. One midwife I've contacted has 19 years experience, and has done home VBACs, including one for a woman with more c/s than me. The other one doesn't have nearly as much experience, but seems really knowledgable and definitely has strict standards she uses to choose who she will work with. She agrees it would be safer for me in the long run to start having VBACs. The risks to the mother go up with each c/s she has. They're not as bad as the doctors often say (mine has tried to guilt-trip me into a tubal ligation--NOT happening). Of course they don't tell you about these risks with the first two c/s, only when they realize you are serious about having a large family. What is it about these doctors being against large families? Haven't they ever heard of repeat business??

I have found a doula already. I'm really happy with her, she's very nice, I like her personality, and I really feel like we are "on the same page" about many things. She's not certified with DONA (Doulas of North America) yet, but she's done all the book work and workshops, and has attended the birth of several friends already. She's considered a volunteer doula, because she's not charging for her work, she just asks the mother to fill out papers to help her get certified. I'm happy to do that in exchange for the free care, especially since I think she's going to be great. She's also going to do postpartum doula work for me as well, coming to the house after the birth for two hours a couple of times a week, for several weeks. I'm really thrilled about that, since I will have four small children at that point. That will be free as well. She'll hold the baby if I want, watch the kids, do a load of laundry or dishes, tidy up around the house, talk to me, etc. Just having someone there to talk to will be great. I'm also going to talk to another doula about being a back-up in case anything happens with the doula I chose.

Now all I have to do is talk to the last midwife, make a decision, sew a baby sling and other stuff, get all the baby clothes out of boxes and wash them, unpack all the boxes left from moving in, clean the house, find a chiropractor, start doing the spinning babies exercises to get the baby in the right position for birth, buy or sew cloth diapers, find a birthing tub to rent...the list goes on!!

My first birth was a nightmare, ending in a c/s of course. I'll have to tell my birth stories another time, but it was bad, let me tell you. So I hope for this birth to be easier, more peaceful, less stressful, and an overall positive experience. I really think having a midwife is just what I need, plus the birthing tub will be great.

So I'd love people to pray that I have a safe and healthy birth...and quick and not-too-painful would be nice too! ;-)

Money and babies and money

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It must be the nesting thing. I didn't have it too bad with the others, but I feel like I am getting it. I still have 8 weeks to go, and I'm not in a cleaning craze (I wish I was) but I sure am in a buying craze! I can't even go into Baby Depot or Babies R Us, for fear of bankrupting my family! My poor husband is trying to get the bills paid, and I just can't help but get "a few more little things"...which all add up.

I spent money on all the cloth diaper stuff, then I bought a standing cabinet for the kitchen that I'm using as a changing table (I wanted one with doors to keep out the toddlers who'd love to fling clean cloth diapers everywhere). Now it was on clearance for fifty bucks, which was a great deal, but again, it adds up. I'm wanting to get a dining room table, so I can use the card table downstairs for laundry folding and sewing. I have a lot of baby sewing I want to do.

We have so many things to buy, it's not even funny. We've moved a lot, and ended up selling our second hand baby stuff at yard sales. And we've hit a point where there are some things we just don't want to buy second hand anymore, like cribs and baby swings. It seems with cribs especially that either people are asking way too much for them (I mean, you can't sell a two year old crib for more than fifty percent of the original price) or they are several years old, don't have any features on them, and tend to be more rickety than the newer ones. My daughter bangs and rocks in her crib, and she's strong, so a strong crib is a necessity for our family!

I'm trying to find a sleep solution for our baby before she gets here. Usually I co-sleep, but it's gotten to the point that in our queen bed there's barely enough room for us to sleep comfortably as it is, even without a baby. We're both big. Buying a king size isn't possible right now. We've learned the hard way that for us, used beds aren't worth the trouble, it's best to try to save up for a new one. I thought of a co-sleeper or attaching a convertible crib to our bed without the fourth side on it, but we can't do either of these right now. Our mattress is on the floor because we can't fit the queen size box spring up the stairs in our new rental house. Another reason to get a king bed--we can bend a king mattress, and the box spring for a king comes in two pieces. Another possiblity is to get an Amby baby bed, as I mentioned in another post, and keep it next to the bed, bringing her into bed for feeding only. I do have a bassinet, but it's become really rickety with all the moving, and my babies are long so they don't last long in it.

My last resort method may be to use a crib mattress on the floor, butted in between our mattress and the wall. Not the best choice, but probably the only one right now.

It's amazing to me the new inventions they are coming out with now for babies. Some are kind of silly and definitely geared towards yuppies with lots of money to blow on the one baby they plan on having, but a lot of them are so cool. I love the new papasan style Nature's Touch swing from Fisher Price, and the new "bandolier" style baby bags that you can wear across your chest or back. That is great for moms who wear their babies in a sling...ever tried to carry a bulky baby bag, a purse, and a baby in a sling? Something's always falling off your shoulder! I've longed for an easy bag that would work with a sling. This one I would only use when taking just the baby somewhere, but I can transfer my wallet, makeup, and cell phone into it, and can be completely hands free! Other things I'd love to get is the hand-free double breast pump I saw online, and the Breastbottle, which is shaped like a breast. My husband bottle feeds our babies breastmilk once the baby is three months old, when I occassionally want to leave the house for a couple of hours with no one attached to me, lol. I also saw online a quad stroller that was much like a jogging stroller, but fit four. We have a double jogger now, which we love to death, but with four kids, we need another alternative. BUT...four hundred dollars is a little much for a stroller, right now. :-)

Doing okay on the cloth diapering so far, better than the first two times I tried. But I really need more microfleece inserts and some Chinese prefolds. These old Gerber prefolds are so inferior, and not easy to work with. Had a leak today, but I suspect that it was because my husband put the cloth diaper on wrong...I don't think it was snug enough, and it was coming out of the back of the cover. Luckily since he didn't feel like putting on a cloth one the second time, both younger ones did their poop in a disposable, which made my wash easier today! It's still more work than a disposable, but I try to remind myself why we're doing it. If we can get to the point that we have a bunch of Fuzzi Bunz and inserts, I can pre-stuff them and it should streamline the process. Another ten should do it...only another $185! But I can make that back in about two months of cloth diapering. Luckily son number one is doing better on the potty, and often wears underwear when not sleeping. I have a few all in one diapers for him, so if he can stay dry all day, I don't mind if he wets a cloth diaper at night. That will save us some money too.

Cloth Diaper Experiment

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Journey to Homemaker

Okay, call me crazy, but inspired by a poster on a webboard, plus all the nesting hormones I've got going, I've decided to try cloth diapers once again. I tried twice before (also urged on by pregnancy hormones, if I remember correctly, lol) but got frustrated and gave up. I think part of my problem, besides my natural laziness, is that I was going about it all wrong. First, I used cheapo Gerber prefolds from Walmart. They are small, thin, and not too absorbent. Second, I only washed them once before using. Third, I was using cheapo vinyl elasticized pants from Walmart and/or yard sales as covers. Fourth, I was using a wet pail method, which I've read on many sites isn't the best way to do cloth diapers. Also, I have no idea what type of detergent I was using, and it might not have been a good one.

Now, with even more research on my part, I hopefully have addressed these issues in the following ways:

I bought good (supposedly) prefolds from a natural food store. They were called Baby Dreams. They were big and seemed to fluff up well after several washings...however, they started to unravel with each washing, more and more. I returned them and plan to buy some Chinese DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds from a natural baby/toy store. They are $19 a dozen, fairly expensive, but I've heard that Chinese prefolds are the best way to go if you choose prefolds. I have already bought from that store some microfiber inserts that hold an amazing amount of liquid, for my Fuzzi Bunz, which I will describe below. I am loving these microfiber inserts, I'll have to find out what the brand name is.

For covers, I tried a couple of Proraps Classic covers. They have nice leg gussets and Aplix (like Velcro, but better) closures. Haven't used them much yet, but no problems so far. I think they'll fit my kids for a while, so the sizes are a good range. I also FINALLY found a local store that carries Fuzzi Bunz diapers, after hours of online research...the natural toy store I went to happened to have them. From all the reviews I've read online, these are the BEST for overnight leak protection. I've heard they have had quality control issues over the years, and that these have supposedly been addressed. Even those moms who didn't consider FB their favorite diaper still used them at night. These are pocket diapers, in a class of their own. They are not covers, nor AIO's (all in ones). They consist of a waterproof outer layer and a fleece inner layer, with a pocket in between. The opening is along the back edge of the diaper. You put in some kind of insert, like a prefold, a microfiber insert, etc. They need to be washed after each use, unlike a cover, which if not soiled, can be hung to dry between uses, and not washed after each use, but after a few uses. I love the Fuzzi Bunz, they look and feel so comfy, and there has been virtually no leakage problems so far. However, after a couple of washings, one of them has a small bit of stitching coming undone. If this continues to happen, I'll exchange it, and hope it doesn't keep being a problem. FB's are expensive, around fifteen dollars each. They also have fleece and wool covers, but they can be expensive, and will eventually leak if you don't change them often, which I probably wouldn't! There's also Happy Heiny diapers, which are a pocket diaper like FB, but are slightly different and have Aplix closures, which I think might give more flexibility in diaper fit. I'm going to try one. I've heard good reviews of them, but not as good as FB. Same price though.

As for washing the diapers, I've read that you're supposed to wash prefold diapers several times before using. Recommendations vary, but it seems that five times for bleached (white) diapers should do the trick, whereas for natural diapers (unbleached, usually a natural beige or tan in color) must be washed about eight times in order to get all the natural oils out of the diapers, and fluff them up. This is necessary for them to be absorbent enough. They will continue to get more absorbent after the next few washes. You must dry the diapers in between each of these washes. A pain, yes, but better than having leaky diapers and giving up!

For people who hate diaper pins, there's an invention called a Snappi. It's a stretchy plastic thing that grips the corners of the prefolds. Hard to explain, but you'll see if you google it. I've used it once, but it seems to work great. They also nowadays make fitted or contour diapers for those who don't like prefolds. The fitted diapers tend to come with Aplix closures, or sometimes snaps. The contour diapers don't, but you can use pins or a Snappi to hold them closed, then use a cover. In my non-expert opinon, if money was no object, I think I might like to use Fuzzi Bunz with the microfiber inserts, and/or a fitted diaper with a Prorap cover.

As for what pail method to use, I think the wet pail was a mistake for me. Especially when you're just getting started, and mixing cloth with disposables. The diapers can sit in the pail a long time, and folks, they get NASTY. I'm not going to admit how long they got left there the last time, but let's just say after that I gave up on cloth! I've heard adding a little detergent or a few drops of Tea Tree oil helps. But you have to keep the pail locked if you have a mobile baby or other kids, and most pails are not sealed, so even locked a toddler could tip it over and....eewww! Plus you're supposed to change the water every day or two if you're not washing every day. Plus you have to figure out how to dump out the water in the toilet, but not the diapers, and not make a mess. Some people dump it all in the washer and run a spin cycle to get rid of the water. I'm not big on that idea. Many people now advocate the dry pail method. They say the poop won't get dried on. But I tried it. My daughter often passes vegetables or beans not completely broken down...so guess what I had to clean out of my washer? 'nough said!

Now, I could dunk and swish them in the toilet, and they have a plastic invention called the diaper duck for that, but then you have to ring it out, or figure a way to get it to the pail or washer without a mess. And I don't like the idea of rinsing it in the sink. If we had a laundry sink, okay, but not the bathroom sink. Yuck. There is a cool thing called the Mini Shower, a sprayer that attaches to the toilet water supply line and hooks to your toilet tank. It's meant for personal care, but has variable pressure and I've heard rave reviews about it easily rinsing off sticky poop. I've heard it's easy to use this to rinse off FB diapers, because it's easier to rinse poop off of fleece. Then at least the diaper won't be completely dripping. This sounds like the easiest method to me, and I've already ordered one of these babies.

They also have diaper liners. Some stores sell them. They're flushable. You put them inside the diaper, and hopefully it keeps most of the poop off the diaper itself, then you just pull it (and the poop with it) off the diaper and flush it all away. Unless you have a very active wiggly two year old, in which case it will get twisted and most of the poop will end up on the diaper anyway! :-)

So right now I'm just experimenting. I just ran out of disposables for my two youngest, so I have a feeling I'll be getting some good cloth diaper experience in the next few days, and I'll report the results of my "study"!

By the way, I just set up a new diapering "station", maybe I'll post some pics soon. I'm so proud of it! Hey, you gotta do something when you're going to have four in diapers!

Anyone with recent cloth diapering experience is welcome to post a comment with any advice, comments or suggestions...I could use them!

Housework and Homebirth

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Journey to Homemaker

Okay, I have to admit it. I'm slacking off again. Not keeping up with the house, etc. I spent several days doing massive amounts of laundry, and even getting it folded...but then it sat stacked in the living room for a week. I have almost all of it put away now, and have done a couple more loads, which need to be folded.

Our computer room, which is right off the garage, has been piled with boxes. I put most of those away, but then we brought more from our storage unit, and the room's a disaster. *sigh* And the floor in the dining area off the kitchen...well, we just won't talk about that!

I'm trying to unpack all the baby stuff and wash it before the baby is born. I have nine weeks left, but it might take me that long, lol. I think I need to re-read Fascinating Womanhood for more motivation. I've started making a study guide based on her end-of-chapter summaries and assignments, to keep in my household management binder. That way it will be easy to review the FW principles on a daily basis, without investing the time each day to read.

Recently, I have decided to try again for a homebirth. My first birth I planned on a homebirth, but couldn't afford a midwife so I decided to do it myself. But I had horrendous back labor, got scared, and went to the hospital. It was all downhill from there. I ended up with a completely unnecessary c-section, then another one 13 months later, and another 13 months after that. I had looked into a midwife with my last child, but couldn't find one who would do a VBAC at home for me because my births were so close.

I'd pretty much given up hope of a "normal" birth. But I decided to try one more time. I've found three midwives willing to take me in this area. I am really praying it works out, because I feel really "messed up" after all my cesareans. It was so draining emotionally and mentally. I feel that it contributed to my low milk supply, depression, and lack of bonding feeling with my children. I have a lot of anxiety abou the pain, and a lack of confidence in my ability to give birth. I feel "broken".

I think that having a VBAC will really help a lot. Then I finally won't feel like I missed the experience of giving birth. I've done a lot of research, and having a home VBAC is a lot safer than continuing to have even more c-sections. For previous c-section mothers who are NOT given induction/augmentation drugs to induce or speed up labor, the risk of uterine rupture is only .8-.9%, less than the risk of many other birth complications that any mother could have, such as a cord prolapse. THowever, the risk of developing other dangerous complications like placenta accreta or placenta previa (or much worse, both conditions together) increases astronomically with each new cesarean a mother has.

I could really use some prayers that I am able to have a wonderful, safe homebirth experience, and a healthy and content baby. I hope to have a waterbirth, which I think will contribute to a less painful, more relaxed delivery for both me and my baby girl.

Cool baby "bed"

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Journey to Homemaker

I found the coolest baby bed. It's a hammock style bed, called the Amby Baby Hammock. I questioned at first the design, but upon researching it, I decided it's a great idea. I like to co-sleep, but sometimes my back hurts because I can't roll over. If I can scrape together the money, I plan to use it next to the bed for baby's naps and for when mommy needs to sleep alone. It's a really great looking product!

Breastfeeding tips

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Journey to Homemaker

I am very supportive of breastfeeding. It's really important to me. I have come to realize that I am not a good milk producer, however. This is probably why my children are spaced so closely. With my last baby, I found out about Fenugreek, a supplement you can take to improve milk supply. This helped me so much, I wanted to shout the news from the rooftops!

Fenugreek can't be taken if you are pregnant, and you should be careful if you have blood sugar problems...it can lower your blood sugar. Also, some women experience a "maple syrup" smell to their urine or sweat. I think that's probably if you take a higher dose. I never had this problem.

You can find Fenugreek capsules in natural food stores, vitamin shops, and some grocery stores with natural food sections. It's around $8 a bottle, depending on the quality. It is sooooooo worth it. I can't remember how long the bottle lasted. They say that it can take a week to notice a boost in your milk supply. It only took me a day.

Don't forget to drink as much water as you can, and take vitamins. I also highly recommend buying a baby scale for home use. If your baby starts to lose weight, you may not notice it right away, because you see the baby every day. Weighing the baby at least once a week in a dry diaper, preferably more often, will help you keep an eye on the baby's weight. If it goes down, you can monitor it closely, and know there is a problem. The scale is a great investment if you're having more than one child. If you're not, buy it on ebay, and resell it when you're done!

Comment on Fascinating Womanhood and Marital Intimacy

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Journey to Homemaker

A reader asked me in a comment if I knew the writer of Fascinating Womanhood was a Mormon. I'm glad she asked. I do know the writer is a Mormon. I am not. But I personally didn't notice much in the book that I considered to be religion-specific. (Unless I missed something!)

However there was one chapter in the book that I personally didn't agree with. That was the chapter on sex. She said that our bodies are our own, not our husbands. I disagree, based on my religious beliefs. I thought I would let my readers know this, although they may not agree with my beliefs, so they can be aware in case they read it.

My opinion on marital intimacy is that my body DOES belong to my husband as well as me, just as his body belongs both to him and me. We are united in Christ, and the two have become one. I believe that I do not have the right to deny my husband marital intimacy (Wait, read the whole thing before you freak out!) unless I have a serious reason, which I will address further below.

Marital intimacy is also referred to as "the marital debt", because it is a right of marriage and not a priviledge. It is a beautiful and sacred thing, not simply a reward to be trivialized and used for manipulation or withheld as punishment. This applies to both spouses, although I think it is especially important for wives to keep this in mind, because the husband's drive is naturally stronger than hers is. A woman finds happiness primarily through affection, whereas men find it primarily through intimacy. And when a woman feels love and affection from her husband, she is more likely to show her love through intimacy...and vice-versa, a man who is feeling loved through intimacy will be more likely to show his wife more love and affection. So if one spouse denies the other spouses needs, it starts a terrible cycle of witholding what the other spouse needs most, and can be very destructive.

As I said, there are times where I believe a spouse does have the right of refusal. For example, if feeling very ill, if it will adversely affect their health (such as in a particularly fragile pregnancy), if the spouse is being mistreated (truly mistreated, not just being made mad), etc. I'm sure there are many other examples, but those are what comes to mind. Being upset, being just tired (not completely physically exhausted), and wanting to manipulate your spouse are not serious reasons. Let's face it, as parents, aren't we ALWAYS tired?!

Now, if you aren't in the mood, you certainly have a right to let your husband know how you feel. There's nothing wrong with saying "honey, I'm really tired tonight, do you mind taking a raincheck?" If your husband is feeling "frustrated" and feels a strong need, he can always let you know. My husband knows I will always be there if he needs me...although he knows on those occassions that he won't be getting any "frills". Sometimes he feels bad asking again if he knows I'm not in the mood, but I'd rather he let me know than to get cranky. I don't know about you, but after a certain amount of days, my husband gets really cranky. He's not even aware of it, but I can count on my fingers how many days it's been and think "yep, I was right, it's been too long." I'm sure every man is different, but I try to make sure that he doesn't have to go that long. It makes us both happier in the long run.

These rules go both ways. There are times he lets me know he's too tired or not in the mood. I've found that as a woman, I often don't realize my own "needs" until after they've been met, and I chastise myself when I've allowed too much time to pass without intimacy with my husband, because it takes its toll on me too, I just don't realize it as easily as he does.

It surprises me to hear on Dr. Phil how many women there are out there witholding from their husbands...then they're mystified as to what's wrong with their marriage! Often it's because they had a baby and got so tired that they just stopped thinking about their husbands' needs. Sometimes it's because of stress in the marriage, and they are stubbornly holding out until the husband "shapes up". I'm sure the husbands are often in the dark about the whole thing! I mean, do these women want to be right, or do they want to be happy? Some of these poor men have gone a year, even multiple years, and the wives admit that they're "just not interested". Well heck, how about making a sacrifice once a week to show their husbands that they love them?

I thank God for my faith. Because of my beliefs, I think we have a much stronger marriage than most people. We've had some major struggles with things like money, etc. and a lot of couples break up over these things, or at least damage their marriage.

Anyway, this is just what I believe. I just wanted to post about it because I recommended the book, but that one particular section is not something that I personally believe will help a marriage. The rest of the book is great though, and has really helped motivate me as a wife and mother, and is improving our marriage. My husband is a fabulous husband and father, but even he is making improvements in himself because he is so appreciative of my own efforts to improve.