Friday, April 29, 2011

Reevaluating the first birth: A midwife's perspective

If you are currently planning a birth, I recommend either not reading this for the negative thoughts contained within, or reading it all the way through so you get to the resolution. It could be triggering for birth fears, so take care of your own emotional state.

The first birthing stone Sam chose for me from the beach

As I said, yesterday I went over our birth plan and experiences with Mikko's homebirth-turned-hospital transfer in preparation for preparing our homebirth preferences for this time around.

There were a couple elements of our birth last time that made us consider, in hindsight, that perhaps transferring to the hospital had been the safest option — that the outcome would, in fact, have been worse if we had remained at home.

Our conversation yesterday with our current midwife turned that idea on its head.

It was both cathartic for Sam and me to relive the experiences with Mikko, and frustrating beyond imagining. To know now that likely our successful birth was sabotaged is a heavy load to bear. The good news is that we have new plans in place for this birth.

My biggest plan? Stay home.

When in doubt, stay home.

And, after that — stay home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birth plan redux: The original vs. homebirth

We have a midwife appointment today and were told to bring our birth plan.

I'm not entirely clear if it's supposed to be a formalized sort of contract as you would take to a hospital, or simply a list of our preferences. The midwife put out the suggestion that we decide whether or not Sam wished to catch the baby, for instance.

It prompted me, when sorting through our home birthing supplies, to keep out the birth plan we wrote for Mikko's birth, to see what we could adapt.

Inspired by Missy at a work in progress…, I thought I'd post our original birth plan here, along with notes on how we did or didn't follow it.

And then I'll speculate as to what we'd like to change this time around.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Easter & birthday weekend

Three-year-old dyeing Easter egg yellow

Decorated Easter eggs taped together saying Mama and Baby
He wrote his name on two and his dad's on one, then had me write Mama and Baby and taped them all together. Of course.

Dyed Easter eggs on a plate

mom and three-year-old son eating birthday ice cream cones together
It's best to celebrate 35 with the Most Immature Ice Cream Cone Ever: green apple and grape sherbet embedded with actual Pop Rocks in a purple-sprinkle-dipped cone. My three-year-old goes for vanilla.

trying out children's bicycles at the toy store
Hey, isn't it my birthday? Why does the kid get a bike?

Note to fellow preggos: The shelving in the bike section is spacious and sturdy enough to sit down for a spell. You learn these things when you need to.

pregnant silhouette 35 weeks maternity belly pic
35 weeks at 35 years

rose bouquet for birthday
Sam took Mikko out and came home with roses, cupcakes, a necklace, and a handmade card from each of them that said "I love you" (Mikko's first time writing it out). Aw. And then there was a surprise party the next day. Don't sniff me — I'm spoiled.

pregnant belly being used as flannelgraph for church stickers
Pregnant bellies make good flannelgraphs. These were stickers in the kids' bulletin that were supposed to keep him quiet during the Easter service. They marginally worked.

swirling three year old in egg hunt at church
Egg hunt is on!

dad holding eggs in hand basket
We forgot to bring a basket, so dad hands will do. Several socially confident young ones came up to beg eggs from him, though — this is a risk when you're to all appearances an adult hoarding eggs at a children's egg hunt.

Easter dinner of ham with deviled egg sauce and mashed sweet potatoes
Easter dinner with Sam's newest creation — deviled egg
sauce — and my sister-in-law's holiday standby of mashed sweet potatoes. I asked Sam for his recipe so I could share it with you, and it turns out he just wings it. Oh, well. It's awesome.

three-year-old scrutinizing Peep marshmallow chick
Easter basket! Mikko is not sure about the Peeps. (Freak.)

three-year-old eating chocolate bunny
But chocolate bunnies he can get into.

sign for no dinosaurs allowed
Most random Easter photo yet — the signs Mikko had us draw together to proclaim "No Dinosaurs Allowed." Indeed.

Hope you had a happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Calling for submissions for the May Carnival of Natural Parenting!

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in May! (Check out January, February, March, April, and the full list of 2010 posts if you missed them.)

Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Lauren at Hobo Mama.

Here are the submission details for May 2011:

baby toddler boy helping water garden with a green watering can

Theme: Growing in the outdoors: As a way of connecting with nature, a lot of us like to dig in the dirt — growing gardens, window boxes, or maybe just a couple house plants. How do you encourage your children to produce the food they eat or the natural elements they enjoy?

Deadline: Tuesday, May 3. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CodeNameMama {at} and mail {at}

Saturday, April 23, 2011

You say it's your birthday, plus Extreme Nesting

Well, folks, I am officially 35 years old.

This is me living it up on my last day of being 34. You'd better believe I made the servers sing to me. For Mikko, who insisted, and then was a tad overwhelmed by the attention.

Yesterday is when I realized — holy crap! The baby could be here in just a little over TWO WEEKS.

(Did I emphasize "two weeks" enough? I'm not sure.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Write a chapter for the NPN cloth diapering book!

toddler in wool diaper coverWe need your high-quality and informative writing for the upcoming Natural Parents Network book, The Natural Parent's Guide to Cloth Diapering!

Submissions are due April 30.

We hope this book will be like a Cloth Diapers 101 class for anyone interested in finding out more about the subject — as well as an advanced course for those with particular questions and troubleshooting needs.

We invite you to submit one or more chapters having to do with any aspect of cloth diapering.

Please, as you're submitting, remember that this will be a chapter in a printed book. We want your best writing — please edit any blog posts to fit into a book's format and style, and please be thorough in what information you give. We want NPN's guide to be the "last word" in cloth diapering, and we will be judging submissions based on quality of writing and completeness of information.

Available Chapters

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mother's Day Giveaway: Sacred Rose Matri Tea = 4 winners! $18 ARV {5.12; US/Can} CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed. Please stay tuned for the announcement of the winners. Thank you all for entering!

This is a joint giveaway cross-posted on Hobo Mama, Hobo Mama Reviews, and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.

Sacred Rose Tea boxes stackedIn honor of Mother's Day, Sacred Rose is offering our readers a box of the hand-blended, organic herbal tea Matri: Tea of the Mother to FOUR winners!

I had the opportunity to review four blends of Sacred Rose tea, and Matri intrigued me as being one of the most herbally pertinent for my life right now.

Matri is called "Tea of the Mother" because it contains herbs that have been used traditionally for centuries to bring women through their childbearing years and to prepare their bodies for childbirth. As the website puts it:

"Matri was blended to breathe women in birth in the most high and loving way."

As I enter my ninth month of pregnancy, I appreciate any tea that can do that!

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing & pregnant

I made a mei tai! I keep meaning to post the progress pictures, but here's the finished carrier being tested out by my 44-pound 3-year-old. I like how he looks like a little gnome in this photo.

I was 23 weeks pregnant here. If you're someone who's heard me complain about my pelvic pain, you're now thinking, "Well, there's your problem."

When I was 31 weeks pregnant, Mikko asked for a "back ride" in the ERGO. I couldn't find the waist extender so had to buckle the waist strap high-high-high over my bump.

The cool dude is checking you out.

He approves.

On our way to the beach!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Favorite posts from our Natural Parents Network volunteers

Visit Natural Parents NetworkNatural Parents Network has a strong volunteer base of mentors, authors, moderators, and editors, many of whom maintain their own writing as well.

I'm so pleased today to share with you some of the best posts from their own parenting blogs. (If you're not yet familiar with them, this is a wonderful group of blogs to subscribe to.) Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quick hits

Random inanity for your Monday pleasure.

The other night, Mikko said he had to go get a drink of water. (This is a bedtime stalling tactic that is so universal it has become cliché. How did Mikko pick up on it?) We said, Sure, and let him roam out of the bedroom. We heard him call to us from the sink: "Which one is cold, on the right or on the left?"

"The right," Sam called back, and we waited expectantly through the pause.

Little voice calling from the hallway: "Which one is the right?" Yeah, thought so.

My current view in the mirror.

My stretch marks have angry red dots at the top (which you can't see so well in this picture — I didn't do any retouching, but I put the photo through a filter that washed it out a bit), where the skin is stretching again — and further this time. I was wondering if I'd get new stretchmarks or expand the ones I've got, and now I've got half my answer. We'll see what transpires in the next few weeks. My one concern? That they will zip all the way up to my armpits.

I've been having those vivid pregnancy dreams. My mom still likes to recount her own. I wonder if they're more vivid than usual, or if we just wake up more than usual in the third trimester so get to remember them.

I had a dream that my baby was born unassisted at home but premature, brown, and flat as a pancake, weighing about a pound, with small dark eyes on the front of his squished face. I wasn't concerned. Because his mouth (it was a he, despite not having any genitalia) was too small to suck, I squirted breastmilk over his face so some would drip into his mouth and then debated taking him to a doctor or not. Yes, debated. And decided against it.

Later on, the sweetness of the breastmilk attracted flies, and I felt bad.

Oh, and then he was stolen from me and put out for adoption. That sucked. Then again, I hadn't really proved my mothering credentials, huh?

Speaking of waking up a lot in the third trimester, do you think it's trying to jar you into a life of catnaps? Because you always get that advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps," but it's hard to follow if you're used to being up all day and then getting a straight eight or so hours at night.

I'm a total catnapper now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Surf: Post-tax hibernation

Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

Taxes are filed. Is that why I'm lethargic? Or is it this parasite … er, fetus … that's draining all my energy?

33 weeks pregnant with a popped bellybutton belly pic
Said parasite has forced my bellybutton inside out.

Here are a couple links, anyway!

  • "Why I No Longer Have Birth Regret" from Mamas and Babies: Moving beyond blaming others and herself for her birth experiences -- a lovely story of 5 different types of births.
  • "Not Really Breastfeeding" from The Practical Dilettante: On how the language we use as advocates should be inclusive instead of unintentionally critical of those who have different experiences.
  • And speaking of breastfeeding older children, check out this lovely FAQ "What is it like to breastfeed an older child?" from Dulce de Leche: I love how straightforward this is and how it makes nursing older and multiple children sound just as normal as it in fact is.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding

    Welcome to the April Carnival of Breastfeeding on the topic of "Extended Breastfeeding" hosted by Blacktating and The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog. Read to the end for links to the other participants' posts.

    When I started breastfeeding, I planned to go as long as my baby wanted to … but I sort of thought it would be shorter than it's turned out.

    At six months, I was staunch. How silly to stop breastfeeding just because my little one might technically be ready for solids (which he wasn't really, but that's another matter).

    At a year, I was determined. Why did I have to stop just because my infant was becoming a toddler or starting to speak? (Which, again, he wasn't yet, but he's caught up since…)

    At a year and a half, I started feeling squeamish about nursing in public — but continued since he still needed so many frequent nummy breaks.

    At two years, I started to wonder. How long exactly would he keep going? But it didn't matter. He still wanted it, and he was still a baby to me.

    At three years, I was undeterred and unsurprised. It wasn't as if he had flipped a switch overnight, after all, just because he'd had a party and some cake. He still loved nummies, all day but, thankfully, increasingly less often during the night. How could I expect him to know three years old was beyond the pale of what most of his fellow citizens would consider too old to nurse?

    And then I got pregnant. I had assumed, with our plans of wide spacing between our children, that I would have weaned long before I became pregnant again. And it was a long, hard decision to go ahead and try to conceive, knowing my pregnancy might affect my milk supply, my physical comfort, and therefore Mikko's ability to find comfort and nourishment at the breast.

    And it has been hard — both harder and easier than I expected. I'm in my third trimester now, and breastfeeding throughout this entire pregnancy has hurt a lot more than I was bargaining for. I lost my milk early on as well — and with it, that easy supply of calories, nutrients, and antibodies it was supplying my growing and picky boy.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Hobo Mama Giveaway: 3 parenting poetry books = 2 winners! $12-$26 {4.30; Worldwide} CLOSED

    This giveaway is now closed. Stay tuned for the winner announcement. Thank you all so much for entering!

    Note: I'm now allowed to post giveaways on Hobo Mama, so I'm cross-posting this giveaway from here. It's the same entry form at each, so enter at either site. Thanks!

    Big Poetry Giveaway 2011

    I am happy to be giving away three books of poetry in honor of National Poetry Month to two winners.

    Both winners will receive a copy of my own book, Poetry of a Hobo Mama, by Lauren Wayne, which focuses on the realities of attachment parenting, and the grand prize winner will also receive Mother Love, a collection of poems on the mother-daughter relationship, by Rita Dove.

    The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011 is hosted by Kelli Russell Agodon of Book of Kells, and I am happy to be participating! The idea is to give away at least one book of your own poetry and one book from a favorite poet.

    Read more about each of my selections below, and then enter to win by leaving a simple comment in a Google form! (See the Win It! section for details.)

    (By the way, I have a sister giveaway happening at Natural Parents Network, featuring Poetry of a Hobo Mama and Rose, by Li-Young Lee, and you can enter at both sites to increase your chance of winning some fabulous poetry.)

    Authority and taxes

    pay county taxes sign with arrow

    I am busy as a bee on our business taxes — but not in quite the same fashion, because then they'd be sticky with bee goop (aka honey) and harder to file. Especially electronically.

    But I took a slight break yesterday to post this fabulous (fabulous! yes! believe it!) article on "Blogging and taxes" at

    If you ever had questions like the following (or never did but if you will now), pop on over for my (inexpert) answers:

    • Is my blog even a business at all?
    • Do I have to report income if I make only a weensy bit?
    • Do I have to report giveaway wins as income?
    • What about items for product reviews, or barters of services in exchange for blogging?
    • How should I structure my business?
    • Do I need a business license?
    • Do I have to collect sales tax if I sell products?

    And more!

    While I was looking through my archives for other things I'd written about taxes, I found this article from three years ago, "The voice of authority."

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday: Family of (almost) four

    My sister-in-law came over this past weekend and helped us out with a family maternity shoot on the beach. Mikko was doing his best impression of a whirlwind, but Natalie gamely kept snapping away, so we were able to get some good ones after all!

    son and mama — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    Mama and son (and ?)

    piggyback on pregnant mama — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    He insisted on the piggyback pose — Sam and I each got a turn.

    swinging big boy — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    Trying to convince him photo shoots are
    not boring.

    pregnant couple — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    Might as well take advantage of the fact that Mikko had run away at this point.

    sweet pregnancy peekaboo — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    And…he's back! Aw. This is my favorite of the four(ish) of us.

    older sibling touching the pregnant baby belly — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    Touching the baby.

    older sibling hugging the baby — family maternity photo shoot on the beach
    Tackling the baby. A glimpse of things to come, I'm sure!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Compassionate advocacy: Compelling without repelling

    Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    The cutest know-it-all ever

    Recently, I was raiding my family's personal blog for some of the pictures we put up during my pregnancy and birth with Mikko. I had a thought I could post my birth story with him on Hobo Mama as well, since I strangely never have.

    So I was glancing down the birth story I'd published and sent out to all my friends and family a couple months after Mikko's birth, and I almost choked. There at the end was a list of "tips" for birthing and new parents.

    They were obnoxious.

    I seriously wanted to reach through time and the computer screen and slap myself.

    It wasn't the subject matter: They were about natural birth and breastfeeding and staying home for most of the labor (if not all), and I still agree with myself on all the points. It was my way of presenting it, like a snotty backseat driver who had just gotten her license two months before. There was this air that I knew better than everyone else, despite not knowing their stories, their struggles, their particular guilts and regrets and the forces working for or against them.

    For instance, the one person who sprang to mind when I was rereading my assertive condemnation of formula feeding as inadequate was my cousin, who recently adopted two sweet boys after a long bout with infertility. I know she babywears, so it's quite possible she would have breastfed if possible. I'm ashamed to think she read my words and now feels like I think she's inadequate for feeding her babies formula, when human milk donation and — heaven forbid — cross-nursing is still extremely uncommon in this culture. Because: I don't.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Sunday Surf: The taxman cometh

    Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

    Sam and I have been spending time with our heads in the books … the accounting books. It's that time of year again!

    Generally speaking, I absolutely love being in business for ourselves, but at tax time I have to admit to envying all those of you with a simple W-2 and the option of using the free filing. Sigh.

    Before I get back to my multiple Schedule Cs and trying to locate my unfortunately misplaced mileage log (gah!), I will share some reading for those of you with more time on your hands:

    • Up, Down & Natural is hosting a fabulous blog carnival called IF We Believe! The Stories & Faces of Infertility. You're invited to post on your own blog (or submit guest posts for Arpita to post) your stories, experiences, heartache and hope. Have you been going through infertility, or do you have a history of struggling to conceive? Or maybe you can share a story from a friend or loved one. The first carnival will take place during National Infertility Awareness Week, April 24-30, so see the post for details.
    • That WW post shares my poem "Hindsight," from my book, Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years. And I am so very pleased to share this fabulous review (my very first!) from Dreaming Aloud:
      Poetry of a Hobo Mama
      "Some of the shortest poems are the most touching, and will stay with me a long time. The images and words from others now frame my own experiences. She has a compelling poetic voice. Mothers, all mothers will recognise their lives, their hopes, fears, longing, frustrations and deepest love writ large in these poems."
    • Thank you so much, Lucy!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Birth poetry

    Let's call it Wordful Wednesday for this week, ok?

    The week's theme at Natural Parents Network is Parenting in Poetry and Prose, so for Wordless Wednesday over there we're sharing our poetic and prosy pictures.

    I quoted part of this poem from my parenting poetry book, Poetry of a Hobo Mama, at NPN — here's the whole poem, with some extra pictures as well.


    Did we make the right choice?
    The drive in the car,
    contractions bucking me off the back seat,
    buckle untethered around my bulk,
    pressing with all my might onto my own fist
    at the small of my back.

    Parking in the illegal spot in back
    and wheeling in through the automatic door,
    the smells hitting, that smell,
    that hospital smell,
    of stale and clean, boxy and blank.
    The smell of empty,
    the smell of bright.

    The voices began,
    not like the murmur of midwives,
    but questions lobbing and pencils scratching
    and orders barking, to me, to themselves,
    and my voice ignored
    like a whine by a child in the dark.

    But out you came,
    for out you were coming,

    and I grieve for you,
    that you did not have the birth I wanted,
    the peace I would have wrapped for you with a bow,

    the hands that would have been gentle,
    the voices that would have been hushed,
    the lights that would have been dim,

    and the you who would have snuggled to my breast,
    unaware still of that bright sterile world

    beyond the calm
    beyond the womb
    beyond the pressure of one heartbeat
    one body
    who loves you.