Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Prayers are Answered

Doctrince and Covenants 19:38 "Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing"

Since I have become a member of the church there are many times I have wondered "Where are the women like me?"  Why can't I find women I can truly relate to and learn from?  Yes, we can learn something from everyone and I do get along with women generally.  What I am talking about are the deeper connections to women.  You know, those women who come into your life and it seems like you must have known them in the pre-existence or something and almost everything seems to click. 

I have a hard time relating to women.  Once people find out I cloth diaper, don't circumcise, exclusively breastfeed, tandem nurse (I don't mention that in public), use herbs, don't go to the doctor with every illness...the list goes on, it sometimes seems like that's where the friendship doesn't progress any more.  That doesn't mean we aren't nice and polite, but it never seems to get any deeper.  Each ward I have lived in I have been able to make at least one "deeper" friendship and I am so happy to have those women in my life.  Women I can talk to and not be judged.  Women I learn SO much from and make me re-question things and give me a drive to be healthier and give my boys a healthier life. 

There have been a few times that I have broken down to J about this and wondered why I haven't been able to find women to connect with, why aren't there any women that are on the same page?  We are all different, I get that.  Why aren't we more outspoken about the things that are passionate to us?  With these women I can be passionate.  I can cry about my boys' births and all of the many decisions that J and I have made while raising them.  I can raise my voice with the frustration I feel about the way our country is headed and they know it isn't directed at them.

If you haven't found anyone around you that thinks the way you do.  Think again and pray.  The Lord will bring them into your life right when you need them.  I hope this blog will help you know you are not alone in your thoughts.  There are women like you--we just don't live in the same ward.

Weekly Montessori Work

Each week we have our one "scheduled" play date.  I don't really like "play dates" that don't have a purpose.  I like to know what the reason is for getting together with people (if it is just so the mom and I can chat, then just playing is great!).  Anyway, each week we get together with a mother friend of mine, she has two kids.  We both try to embrace the Montessori way of life as much as we can--among other things.  We only have so much money and so much space.  If I had a huge home, I could have spaces dedicated to Montessori, but we live in a townhome--i.e. limited space.  Every other week I plan an activitiy that somehow focuses on some type of Montessori principles. We also try to add grace and courtesy lessons (with a 3 year old, 2 yr old and 19 month old, it isn't the most smooth thing) but sometimes things stick.  I just love having something for the kids to do while my mom friend and I can talk and learn from each other.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Mother's Perspective: Sorting the Political Laundry

This was originally published at LDS Liberty.  

“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”  1 Nephi 4:6
One of the hardest things in this life for me to understand is how best to parent.  My greatest source of strength is having the influence of the Holy Ghost and knowing that Heavenly Father will direct me towards the path he wants for my family, if I allow.

Allowing the Lord to dictate what I should be studying is a very enlightening task.  Not long after my husband and I were married I had a strong prompting to prepare to be a stay-at-home mother.  That prompting was later followed by another which led me to pursue a natural birth (which was successful, as was the birth of our second son).  I then became interested in herbs and other forms of natural medicine.  I am now preparing to homeschool our children.  In addition to all these things, my husband and I have a renewed interest in politics and we are educating ourselves on the different infringements of rights that are occurring in our country.  We have found that some of our former values and beliefs were not quite in line with the gospel.

We did not know what it meant to be true, active participants in politics.  Yes, we voted.  Yes, we studied who we wanted to vote for; but those votes were misguided.  They were significantly influenced by the personalities of talk radio and other conservative media, rather than by study and prayer.  D&C 98: 10 states: “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil”.

Can we continue to ignore the Lord once we have read the above verse?  Can we continue to act lazily in our political lives when our Constitution is indeed “hanging by a thread?”  As my sons grow up, I want to be able to say I was a diligent mom and did my best to elect honest men; thus, allowing my sons the opportunity to grow up in a prosperous nation where they may achieve their goals without government restraint.

We are commanded to seek wise men diligently.  It is my view that this presidential election is one of the most hopeful elections we have ever had.  At this time, we have the opportunity to elect a man who stands for liberty.  He is a man who loves this country and has voted to uphold its Constitution throughout his years as a congressman.  He stands for the ideals of the gospel and he is the wise man that we, if we have been doing our duty, have been searching for.  Ron Paul is the only man in this presidential race that is willing to be peculiar.  He stands out from the rest because his principles are sound.

We should cast our vote for the one man who stands for liberty and this man is Ron Paul.  The following are just three reasons why I believe Ron Paul supports liberty and is the honest and wise man we have been searching for.

Ron Paul will protect my right to homeschool my children.  He not only voted for legislation that supports homeschoolers by giving tax breaks, he also strongly supports giving the control of education back to parents.  Private schooling is too expensive when the majority of children attend state-run schools.  If the Department of Education were to be dissolved (which Ron Paul is highly in favor of) it would allow for more competition between schools which would create an affordable education alternative for those who choose not to homeschool.  Past prophets have stated that we should not support “free” education through taxation.  Brigham Young said, “I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it.”  By supporting Ron Paul we may soon be able to do as we have been counseled.

Ron Paul also supports the elimination of the income tax.  This may sound foolish to some people, but who does our money belong to?  The scriptures do not teach that we should be in bondage to our government; rather, they provide examples of leaders who have been deemed as “wicked” who enslave their people through taxation.  Mosiah 19:15 states: “Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year.”   Our money first belongs to the Lord and then to ourselves.  When the government unconstitutionally takes money from us it burdens our lives.  As an example, we had to pay out of pocket for both of the births of our sons.  Although the midwives were less expensive than the hospital, it was still more than we could afford.  The extra money that we paid in taxes, Social Security, and Medicare would have covered the cost with money to spare.  If the income tax was eliminated and Social Security and Medicare were optional programs (or eliminated altogether), this would place money back into the market which would greatly improve our struggling economy.

I am ashamed to say that when my husband and I were first married, we relied upon the words of Glenn Beck and other talk radio hosts more than we relied upon the scriptures and the spirit.  We thought they knew what was best for our country and we supported the senseless wars that the United States is continually involved in.  However, we have been inspired to recognize that their beliefs are not in harmony with the following law given from our Lord.  D&C 98: 33–36: “And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.  And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue; And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord; Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.”  Ron Paul has stated that he will not go to war with any nation without the consent of congress as is stated in the Constitution.  We know that our Constitution was divinely created and it is Ron Paul who has tried to maintain it throughout his years as a congressman.  It is Ron Paul who will not carelessly deploy our military for any agenda other than the protection of American citizens, and only then, with permission from congress.

Now it is your turn to study the candidates for yourself.  It is your turn to be diligent and use the Holy Ghost to guide you as you research the candidates.  We are commanded to uphold the Constitution and our vote for President gives us the opportunity to do just that.  For the sake of our children and the world they face, it is our responsibility to seek out the most wise and honest candidate for President.

Deddy's Birth

Yes, he came home in girl pajamas.
 On Saturday morning (early morning, 1am early) I woke up with contractions.  I had a couple before we went to bed that night too.  I didn't get too excited but laid there and timed them for awhile.  After about an hour I let J know that they were happening about every 8-10 minutes.  J started timing them and we decided that we had better give his sister a heads up.  She was planning on coming up from Utah to help for a couple of days if I happened to have the baby early (my parents weren't planning on being here until the 17th).  J tried calling her cell phone 8 times; he called his brother's phone too, which was off; he called the house phone several times and then finally called his other sister, who lives up the street, who answered on the first ring and she went down to wake the other sister up.  Her phone had been on silent and after she and J talked it was agreed that she'd leave around 5:30am.  Second labors are usually half the time of first labors, so that would mean this one would be 15hrs, which would put us at about 1pm.

Anyway, after talking they both got online and looked at the roads and they were terrible.  There was no way we were going to ask her to drive in bad weather.  Around 6am, the contractions were getting closer together and at about 8 we were going to call the midwives but decided to call my dad and step-mom first and have them come and take Rico.  After they left, the contractions stopped.  I had sporadic ones throughout the day but nothing great and we were confused.  We had also let my mom and step-dad know earlier in the morning and Mom got on a flight that day and was here at 2pm.

J and I spent the day alone, which we haven't really done sinceRico was born--ok, more than "haven't really" we truly have not spent the entire day alone together since he was born.  It was a great day, he had me haul hay to the trash can which sped up the contractions for a minute.  He is a slave driving birth partner. :)  We also went a bought a Christmas tree since we had planned to go cut our tree that day.  It is a very pretty tree, but it is sad we couldn't keep the tradition going.  I guess labor is a good excuse though.  

That night was another night of contractions and just when the sun came up they stopped again.  We were exhausted and confused again and decided to call the midwives (the same one from Rico's birth).  She said that it was pre-labor.  Some women go through it for days or even weeks before actual labor begins.  We were both tired and sad that it wasn't real labor and that it could continue for weeks.  The little relief we got was that that night we could sleep and I was told to take a Benadryl to sleep through the contractions which helped us relax a little more.  I hadn't taken a single pill while being pregnant with Deddy, but I was exhausted and after talking to the midwife I felt fine about it.  We went for a long walk, had a good dinner and went to bed.  I woke up at 1am again with contractions and started timing them and they were about 8 minutes apart.  I let J sleep until 2 and then we started timing them because they were more intense than the previous nights and when I got out of bed they didn't stop.

We called the midwives at about 3:30 when they were about 5 minutes apart and she told us to call when we felt like coming in--at about 3-5 minutes apart.  That way, we could also be a little more sure that I really was in labor.  About 30 minutes later we called and let them know we were coming in.  My contractions had sped up quickly--unlike the Rico's birth.  It took us 15 minutes to get's so nice to drive at 4 in the morning...but the roads seem to have a lot more bumps.

When we got there one of the midwives checked me and I was 5cm dialated and she could "safely say" I was in active labor.  I paced the room, sat on the birth ball and listened to music for quite awhile.  Then the contractions started getting a lot longer and I couldn't hold back the tears.  I wasn't crying for pain.  In fact, I'm not sure why I was crying.  At that point J was holding me through each one and that helped immensely.  It seemed to make them much more bearable.  We were standing swaying together to the music and I was just able to fall into him and he carried my weight.  I love him as my birth partner.

I decided to get checked once more to see how far along I was because I had had a few contractions that made me want to push.  I wasn't quite ready for that (only 8cm) so I got in the tub.  The water helped much more this time and J held my hand the whole time.  I cried for what seemed like a really long time as the midwives came and went a couple of times.  The baby was sounding great--I sounded like a woman in transition.  I also finally reached the point that if I were to have a girl, I would love her and show her that I wanted her.  Throughout my pregnancy I never felt like it was a girl and I was somewhat detached.  It was a horrible feeling and I vowed, during transition, that I would make up for that. After that I got on the birth stool and it was about time to push but my cervix had a little lip on it.  I laid on the bed and cried some more, then finally I was given the ok to try pushing.  Each time I pushed, Heather* (who delivered Cedrik) would push the cervix back over her head.  Then, when the contraction would be over it would come right back down.  I decided during one of the contractions that I was tired of it and gave a very big push and my cervix stayed put after that.  A couple of contractions later and I "decided" I was ready for my water to break and to get him out...and it broke.  It wasn't very long after that J had to move from being my support to the catching position.  Julie* took his spot behind me and although I can't stand for anyone but J and Rico in that close of a proximity to my face, it was so nice to have her behind me and I felt so incredibly supported.

I don't know how to describe this part other than to say that I didn't notice anything really that was going on around me.  I kept saying, "I don't want to suck her back in" because it felt like every time the contraction was done she went back up.  This is how it is supposed to happen, but during that moment I forgot.  Then, I could no longer hold back and I just had to keep pushing.  It felt like I was tearing and I kept saying that over and over but Heather assured me I wasn't.  I didn't believe her.  Then I was hearing "push the rest of your baby out."  It didn't seem like it was time for that but after her head was out I was worried for a milisecond that I wouldn't be able to get the body out...then it came out and J caught her.  He handed her to me very quickly and all the midwives were talking about "her."  Calm, cool, and collected J had the bright idea to check and make sure she was a she and found out otherwise.  Then he said "It's not a girl.  It's a boy!"  We both looked at each other and said" we knew it!"  It was such a wonderful moment to realize that our feelings that it was a boy were true and after thinking about it since, were probably promptings from the Holy Ghost...we just didn't care to listen I guess.

Total labor time: 8hrs
6lbs 6oz
Pushing time: 30 min
Born at 9: 02am

Rico's labor time: 30 hrs
8lbs 1oz
Pushing time: 2 hrs

This birth was about the same spiritually was Rico's birth was.  Although, during transition the only thing I could think about was The Atonement and that was probably what got me through.  J had given me a blessing of health, protection and that I would deliver the baby as I had prepared to.  It is so amazing to have a husband who can give me blessings and say them in exactly the way I need to hear them.  It is so comforting to have those promises--especially to a laboring woman.

* names have been changed

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Birth of Rico

A Mairy in the making.
Hopefully people will realize that Rico is not really our son's name.  Both J and I feel funny enough having their pictures out for everyone to, most likely, none of our names will be posted.

This happened in June of 2010:

On Thursday morning, the day after J got home from being in Blackfoot for 4 days, around 1 am, I woke up for the usual bathroom break and noticed that I was feeling a little crampy. I didn't think too much of it, as I had been having random pains (not really pains, but discomfort) for a couple of weeks. I then woke up every hour until morning and noticed that the pains weren't going away. It took a lot to not wake J up and let him know what was going on, but I decided that if I was in labor, that he was going to need his sleep for the next night and if I wasn't in labor I didn't want to get excited over nothing. When we woke up he timed three of them and they were happening about every 8 to 10 minutes.

I took Beabs (the dog--a nickname as well--not for the sake of the blog, just because I like it) for a walk and got ready for the day. I did a little bit of laundry and just kind of hung out. To be honest, we didn't really think I was in labor until about 6pm that night--this would have been the perfect time to start my list of early labor projects! My "Godfather", Larry, was randomly in town to visit his brother and he stopped by for about an hour to visit. After, I laid down to rest and time some more contractions while J went out for an hour to work. The contractions were steady at 8 minutes apart.

Larry took us to Outback and I had an amazing steak and J's chicken looked pretty good too! During each contraction at dinner I was pressing my lower back into my fist against the booth. Larry had no idea that anything was going on. When we were walking out of the restaurant it started getting very uncomfortable and I was walking quite a bit slower. We had to stop by J's co-worker's house to drop something off to him and while he was inside I had to get out of the truck and stand up because the pain was getting steadily worse. His co-worker couldn't believe that he was dragging me around town while in labor--tough stuff.

We got home and got set up to watch a movie. It was at this point that we realized I was really in labor and that our little boy was going to be joining us soon. Making some brownies for the midwives was going to be an early labor project, but by the time we got home the contractions were about 6 minutes apart and there was no way that making brownies was going to take my mind off of that. We watched a dumb movie, Dear John and J just tried to help me relax. I took a shower hoping that would help my hip pain, and it did for a minute.

When my contractions were at about 5 minutes apart, we called the midwife, and she said to call back when they were 2 1/2-3 minutes apart and that we'd need to come in then.

About an hour later my contractions were at 4 minutes and weren't going anywhere. They stayed that way for about an hour and J suggested that if I wanted this baby to come out tonight I was going to have to start moving because I wasn't progressing any more. So, I started doing side lunges down the hall. SIDE LUNGES DOWN THE HALL. Also, I must point out that because my hips were hurting so badly, J couldn't do the double hip squeeze or the sacral pushing because it put me into more pain. (I think my hips hurt so badly because of the hip displasia that I had as a baby. I can't squat like a normal person and they give me trouble some times.) During each contraction I would hold onto the wall and he put a heat pack on my lower back. That seemed to help. Finally, after an HOUR of these side lunges, we were at 3 minutes. I told him to call our midwife because I was done being at home.

She told us to come in.  After a priesthood blessing, and as soon as we were in the truck, I for some reason felt a lot more comfortable making noises. I realized that this was going to be my only pain coping technique. We made it to the midwives in 10 minutes--no traffic at 2:30am and once we got there I cried for a minute just being happy that we were there and had a little more support and also knowing that he was going to be coming out soon.  I also distinctly remember feeling the Spirit very strongly and was sure that we were meant to be there.  I was 6cm and was totally elated that all this pain wasn't for nothing.  There was one other woman there, and I would hear her randomly throughout the night through her contractions, but for some reason hearing her scream didn't scare me like I thought it would.

I got into the tub and tried to find a good position but like I said, I couldn't put pressure on my back during contractions otherwise it hurt too much and being on all fours pulled my back too much.  I lasted for almost an hour in the tub and they had me lie on my side on the bed for about another hour.  After each contraction I would pass out for a minute. We tried the birthing stool and did a few "trial" pushes.  I wasn't quite ready, so back to the bed.  J sat there with me and held my hand as that was about all he could do.  Then...I needed to throw up. I did and that was probably the best contraction of them all as I didn't think about the pain one bit. J had the gross task of holding the bucket but he didn't flinch. I did some pushes on the bed and then it was time. Well, we thought it was close to being time because they could see his head in the birth canal. J said he thought once he saw his head and how much I was moving him with each contraction he was going to be out in about 20 minutes. Well...he was wrong.  I forgot that we had learned in our birthing class that during the pushing stage, the baby moves down and then back up a little.  Think, two steps forward, one back.  As a laboring woman, I didn't remember this. Total pushing time was 2 hrs (about 30 minutes when all the breaks are taken out). Everyone in the room fell asleep for a few minutes after each contraction. We didn't know our bodies were able to fall asleep that quickly and then be so alert a few minutes later.

Finally his head was out and he was blue. During the next push, they pulled him out quickly and got him over to the bed to clear his lungs. His heart was beating but he wasn't taking any breaths. He was breathing in about a minute and all was well. The midwives expertise was amazing and while I was sitting there I was completely calm, I knew he was just fine. 

J already had his name picked out and we were able to hold him and I was able to nurse him, which was tough because all he wanted to do was sleep.  After a long time they came in and weighed him, rubbed in most of the vernix and wiped off a little "birth" all the while being as gentle as possible.  They handled my baby the way I did.  After about 5 or 6 hours we went home.

For anyone interested in a Natural Birth, or even having an inkling that they may be headed that way here are some books/movies:

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin--Beware of naked women and with a touch of "granola" sprinkled in-ok, more than a touch, but this book is by far my favorite positive birthing book and a must read.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and The Newborn, Janet Whalley--This was the book I turned to almost every day for the first few weeks after Rico was born.  It has everything you need to know about aftercare.  It will also tell you all the stages of labor, hospital procedures, drugs, side effects, breastfeeding (how do we make milk anyway?) vs formula...almost anything you TRULY need to know.
Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin--if you just want even more great birth stories.
The Natural Pregnancy Book, Aviva Jill Romm--good overview again as well has some holistic approaches to pregnancy including using herbs.

The Business of Being Born
Pregnant in America