Monday, March 8, 2010

VBAC

Everyone seems to be blogging about VBAC lately, so I thought I'd jump on the band wagon. But, why? Why blog about it when so many others (great ones no less!) have done so before? Because VBAC is important. Last year ICAN called nearly every hospital in the United States. There was approximately at 40% VBAC ban. Today, that number is up to 48%.

That number is absolutely ridiculous. Almost half of the hospitals in the United States don't allow women to VBAC. Just so you know, the most common problem during a VBAC, in my opinion, is having another cesarean. But, that rate is just about the same as if a it was a first baby (about a 70% c-section rate in both first-time moms and in women attempting VBAC).

The most common problem is not uterine rupture. if a woman has had only one c-section, her risk of UR is only about 0.5%. The rate of adverse outcomes after a uterine rupture is lower. VBAC is safe. VBAC should not be considered an alternative to repeat c-section. Repeat c-sections should be considered an alternative to VBAC.

VBAC should be the norm. Check out ICAN if you don't believe me! www.ican-online.org

Friday, March 5, 2010

Extended Breastfeeding

In my last post, I briefly mentioned my breastfeeding history. So, I thought I'd tell my entire breastfeeding story here!

Of course, you can't have breastfeeding without birth and that's really where my story starts. I didn't exactly have the birth I'd dreamed of. In fact, nothing that happened was what I had envisioned. I felt so out of control in my daughter's birth. I will rarely call it "my birth", because I really feel like I did not give birth. It is my daughter's birthday. She was birthed on that day, but I did not give birth. It happened to me.

Because of that extreme feeling of disappointment and failure, I vowed to not give up. Okay, I didn't make that vow right away. I really thought breastfeeding was going to be just like birth -- easy. I thought it was going to be natural. When I left the hospital I really wasn't sure I would continue breastfeeding. I was struggling with milk supply and sore nipples. For the next few days, I pumped, breastfed, and bottle-fed (combo of formula and expressed milk). I suffered from extremely low milk supply. I had nearly every single risk factor for decreased and delayed milk supply. Here's what I had:

- low hemoglobin (I did eventaully get 4 units of blood. I think my hemoglobin was 4 or something. It was low. It sucked! It really affected my milk supply.)

- I was induced (none of MY hormones to stimulate labor, none to stimulate milk!)

- I was on Magnesium Sulfate -- it just slowed everything down

- epidural -- they most definitely affect milk supply and breastfeeding, even in seemingly normal births

- c-section -- there are NUMEROUS reasons why c-sections affect breastfeeding -- delayed contact, blood loss, hormones, etc (most are above)

So, from the second my daughter was born, the deck was stacked against our breastfeeding relationship.

There are a few things that actually helped us. Here they are:

- Immediate skin-to-skin contact -- well, immediate for a c-section. Within one hour of my daughter's birth, she was on my bare chest. Granted, I was bleeding a great deal at this time, but our most awesome nurse put our baby on my chest and let her go to town! Thank you!

- My doctor, Dr. S. She is AMAZING! I basically asked for her to tell me it was okay to quit breastfeeding. She wouldn't. She told me to keep going. That's when I realized I had to keep going! She helped with a Reglan prescription. She was the one who introduced me to my favorite herb of all time: FENUGREEK.

Somewhere amidst all the trouble, I decided my birth sucked, so my breastfeeding relationship would not. For TWO months, I struggled. We used formula and breastfed. I remember the last formula bottle my daughter ever got -- it was 4th of July weekend 2007. She was 2 months old. I sat crying with my husband as I bottle fed her at my parent's lake house. I knew I just needed to relax. I knew something had to change. From that day forward, I made her food. I let my body do the work -- still trying to regain my confidence in my body.

Now, 2 years 10 months later, I'm still making my daughter's milk! I never, in a million years, imagined I would breastfeed for almost 3 years. I'm so proud of what I've done. I'm so amazed that body DOES work! I'm so astonished I can nourish, fully and completely, a human being.

Would I do it again? I would be lying if I said I never fantasized about my husband being able to help more. I thought about how wonderful it would be if I could just sleep through a feeding. I have thought about how awesome it would be for my husband to be able to put my child to sleep. But, there is nothing like knowing I have done what I have done for my child. It has been an incredible experience. We have a bond like no other. For that, I will always be grateful!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Radical Parenting

Last night the Discovery Health Channel aired a show called Radical Parenting. I knew about the show because I follow the Feminist Breeder (here's her blog http://thefeministbreeder.com/) on Twitter.

So, I thought I'd just throw in my two cents about "radical parenting." Here are some of the "things" they discussed:

(1) Unschooling -- Don't we all unschool kids prior to putting them in school? If you don't take advantage of opportunities, you're just being lazy. Now, my husband and I have discussed unschooling. I really like more structure that unschooling allows, so it's probably not a good option for us. Well, that and the fact I'll probably be working full-time when our daughter starts school. Sure, though, if unschooling is for you, go for it. Do you really need to go sit in a classroom to be smart? No. I bet unschooled kids know more real-life things than other kids.

(2) No hierarchies -- The kids sleep wherever, eat whatever and whenever, etc. This lifestyle goes very well with unschooling...and everyone else. No discipline, etc. We have some hierarchies, but not in a very traditional sort of way. We listen to our daughter. We learn from her too (probably a lot more than she learns from us).

(3) Elimination Communication -- I do think this is a bit radical. I have heard it can work. And, I guess in a way we started EC with our daughter...but not until 18 months old. And we definitely still used diapers. We just put a potty in the bathroom and made peeing "no big deal." In reality, EC starts at birth. I'm not too convinved a 3 month old looks any different when they're about to pee, but I'm not the expert!

(4) Attachment Parenting -- I'm pretty sure all the parents featured on the show practice attachment parenting. If listening to your kids is radical, so be it. AP is pretty normal to me.

(5) Extended breastfeedinfg -- Three years ago I would have thought anyone who breastfed for 3 years was breastfeeding for way too long. But, that was 3 years ago. I now believe in and have practiced child-led weaning. Yes, I am breastfeeding a child over the age of 2. I think a lot of people do it. I think a lot of people just don't talk about extended breastfeeding.

(6) Baby-wearing -- Not radical. Get over it if you don't like it. It's normal and it's super easy. If you haven't tried it, you're radical, you're weird, and you're different.

(7) Gender neutral parenting -- I first learned about this concept from the best sociology professor ever (Dr. Hope, I think her name was, at OU about 10 years ago!). You basically let your kids lead the way when deciding their favorite colors, toys, etc. Is that such a bad thing? I love the fact boys are being raised this way. I love the fact my daughter might actually have a chance at living in an equal household. Trust me, my husband is way better than my dad, but I think my daughter will have it even better.

Okay, there are the radical parenting concepts with my 2 cents!