Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baby Catch Up Part 3: Attachment What?

So there isn't a book on how to be a good parent. Wait, no, there are a million books, but I don't read any of them. By the time Ember came along I felt like I had found my groove. I've found what does and doesn't work for our family. What I like to do is this:
I nurse my baby. I haven't been as successful with this in the past. So basically, with Ember being my last baby I will die in the process of trying before giving up nursing before 12 months. If we can, I would like to nurse until she's 2. But anything after 12 months I'm okay with. 
This causes a variety of different symptoms. Symptom #1: Emberly won't take a bottle. I hate bottles. I hate the washing, the prep, the whole thing, mostly because I'm lazy. But when I'm needy for just some adult time, this presents the problem of how does the caretaker feed the baby? This has resulted in my not leaving said baby for longer than 4 hours in nearly a year. 
Symptom #2: Emberly sleeps with me at night. Contrary to what people think, this gives everyone more sleep. No waking up to the baby, she nurses on and off throughout the night without any of us ever fully waking. Of course, this also means that I've been sharing my bed with a stomach kicker for the last 10 months. Oh, how I yearn for the fetal position!
Symptom #3: Baby isn't on a strict schedule. Baby eats when she's hungry and sleeps when she's tired. Luckily, she's my only child, so this isn't a problem....

This is where the wonder of wonders comes in: THE BABY CARRIER!
Why did I not have this with my last three children?? The Ergo, or wrap, whichever I choose is amazing! Remember the witching hours between 4 and 7? Gone. Wearing baby allows me to nurse while grocery shopping, prepare dinner and clean the house with happy baby not trying to kill herself, and sleep at anytime she wants, all while be close to mommy. These things are amazing and actually let me do all this super needy stuff for my baby while still taking care of the other three kids and my house and and and...

So a funny thing happened. I thought I was just kinda crazy wanting to raise my baby this way. It seems hard, but it makes me happy and my baby seems REALLY happy. And then I stumbled across a group called Attachment Parenting. It turns out I do just about everything this group does! Without reading a single book or blog or anything I just kinda found my way naturally to this. Here I thought I was making my own way only to find the path well trodden.
So that's me. Crunchy mom, who'd have seen that coming? I'm a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, co-sleeping hippy and proud of it.

Baby Catch Up Part 2: Oh Diaper, How Do I Love Thee!

Yes, I will admit it. I obsess over cloth diapers. I love them! Why can't I go back to my 20 year old self and give her the insight I have now? If I would have known how easy, how wonderful, how fun cloth diapering is I would have done it with all my kids. Behold, the amazing diaper!

This picture makes me laugh! These amazing diapers fit from 8-35 pounds. No pins, no covers. These are one piece. The outside is PUL (polyurethane laminate), the inside is soft, cushy fleece. There is a pocket which holds a micro fiber insert. After they have soiled they go into the diaper pail. I have a special detergent that I use. A Happy Green Life. It's gentle and doesn't cause build up in the diapers. I do a short wash, a regular wash with the detergent and then an extra rinse then hang them to dry or do a light tumble with with wool dryer balls. This is the first of my babies to not experience diaper rash. I have no stinky diapers filling up my trash can each week and did I mention that I'm saving A TON of money???
I can't say enough good things about these, so I'll just post more cute pictures of my kid's fluffy butt.
 These are known as "woolies". They are used as a cover for diapers without PUL.
 A swim diaper. No nasty chemicals, just a diaper without the insert.
 Kickin' it old school
 This isn't what I normally use, but it's an example of the "new" diaper pin. It's called a snappi. Works kinda like an ace bandage fastener. Much safer for all involved.
 Did I mention all the cute colors? Pink fluff all the way!
Last, but not least... who can resist this baby chub?
Yep, I'm obsessed, and I love it! I'll probably cry the day she potty trains!

Baby Catch Up Part 1: The Birth

Has it really been this long? I guess this is what happens when you have baby number four. What an amazing experience this last year has been! I really can't imagine life before our little Emberly Rose. Here's a little snapshot of our sweet baby.
The Birth
I had been in "early labor" for about a month. Contractions that kept me up and feeling like the baby was getting ready to come. I would have put up with it for longer, but on May 15th I started feeling strange. I went in to the hospital and my blood pressure was through the roof. Because of that they ended up keeping me. And so the waiting began. The admitted me because they couldn't let me go with my blood pressure so high, but I still wasn't kicking into active labor.
By the next morning I was still only at a 3 and still not progressing. I asked the midwife if I couldn't just go home and they said that no, I had to stay because of my blood pressure. And this is when I began to start feeling bad. I wish that I had had a doula or someone with me that could have banished these feelings. I thought that because I had a midwife rather than a doctor that I would be "safe" from being pushed into medications, but that wasn't true. I began to feel like I had to hurry up and have my baby because by just sitting there I was wasting everyone's time. I was using up a birthing room and I felt like all the staff had this expectation that I should be doing something besides just sitting there and walking the halls. So I gave in and acquiesced to pictocin. I was on that all day of the 16th and all night. The morning of the 17th I was hardly at a four. They finally took me off of the pictocin, but it was pumping through me. I began to think, "If I don't have this baby soon, they are going to tell me that there is a problem. They are going to give me more medications and then eventually c-section." This probably wasn't all the way true, but I was totally freaking out at this point. Again, if I had had a doula there to help ease my fears I wouldn't have been in such a hurry.
By 2pm I allowed them to break my water, even though I was only at a 4.5 and my baby at a -2. I told them they had about 45 minutes and my baby would be here. They laughed and said that they would check on me in 2 hours. The second that midwife left the room the real contractions started. I delivered the baby at 3:15, not quite an hour from when she had left. I managed the pain on my own in a way that I was happy with, with exception of the last 5 minutes. The fact was, I had so much pictocin in my system that my baby just came to fast. The pain was so intense that there was a moment when I felt that I might not actually make it. Thankfully, that was a fast 5 minutes and the baby came safely out. She was all wrapped up in the cord, and we believe that was the reason that she had been taking so long to descend on her own.
Parts of me wish that I could go back and redo the birth the way that I wanted it done. But I can't. She arrived the way she did and I don't love her any less for it. I wish that I could have had the natural birth that I wanted, but it what it is and I'm still happy about the job that I did. Labor does a strange thing to women. We feel like it should be a certain way and feel badly when it doesn't go the way we envision. I'm not about to fall into that trap. Emberly Rose arrived on May 17th, 2013 at 3:15pm. 8lbs and 6oz, 20" long and she is wonderful!