Saturday, January 7, 2012

No One Warned Me...

No one warned me of the conflicting emotions I would feel in the final days before welcoming my second daughter to the world. Of course, I am elated. I hesitated to write this post because I do not want to seem in any way ungrateful or unloving. We wanted and planned for this baby just as we wanted and planned for her sister.

But part of me is also sad. I am sad that our days as a threesome are coming to a close. I am sad that every ounce of my parental love and affection will now be split instead of funneled directly and constantly onto one child. I am fearful that I will not be as loving or effective as a parent with two little ones with very different but equally important needs. I am terrified that Alexandra is going to feel sadness, resentment, or any other sort of negative feelings when her sister arrives.

I have wrestled with these emotions off and on for many weeks, but they have really boiled over in the past 24 hours. Tonight when I laid down to put Alexandra to bed, I couldn't help but cry and wonder if it was the last night I would have the luxury of spending 45 minutes beside her--only her, just waiting for her to go to sleep.

Luke, the youngest of five siblings, sees the situation differently. He reminds me of the fun the girls will have together, the games they will play, the beautfy of having a built-in best friend for life. He says that we are giving Alexandra a gift, and I know this is true. This child is a gift to all of us, but my anxiety still swells at unexpected moments. And then guilt follows--I think of all the families who would kill for one child and here I am crying over my family that is expanding. I feel like the poor little rich girl of reproduction.

I know that there are going to be ups and downs. I know that worrying over changes and reactions will not change anything later, and I know that my sadness and fear may not be the best emotional energy expenditures at this juncture. But this place--this clove in our lives when we are on the brink of something extraordinarily new--is just too overwhelming not to face honestly.

I can't control how Alexandra will respond to her sister's arrival. I can't predict all of the small and big ways that things will change. I can, however, promise to do my best and be my best and love my girls--my two precious blessings. And in my heart, I know that one day I will look out the window and watch seven year old Alexandra playing with her sister (and maybe other sibilings!) and know that everything happened the way it should have and that everyone is okay and loved and happy, after all.

Did you deal with competing emotions before welcoming siblings into the mix? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Birth Plan

My birth plan with Alexandra was to arrive at the hospital and immediately request an epidural, just in case there was a line for the anesthesiologist.

Since our goal is to have a natural, Hynobabies birth this time around, we have carefully constructed a birth plan that we feel will help us reach our goal.

I'm sharing our current birth plan below. In constructing this plan, we used Hypnobabies materials, some Hypnobirthing materials, and I also browsed the web and other blogs to help me find adaquate wording to express our wishes.

After the baby arrives, I'll create a post and let you know how our plan was implemented!


Birth Preferences

Dear Birthing Team,
Below is a list of our birth preferences. We have given careful consideration to each request in the plan, and we feel that they best represent our wishes at this time. We switched midwives mid-pregnancy to experience our second daughter’s birth at St. Mary’s, so please know that we want to be here because of YOU!

Our goal is to have a peaceful and natural birth. In the event of an emergency, we trust the judgment of our midwives, although we expect to be kept fully informed and be given full explanations should deviations need to be made to our birth plan.

We have been using the Hypnobabies program to prepare for our daughter’s birth. We prefer to use terms such as pressure instead of pain and pressure wave instead of contraction. We would appreciate it if you would join us in avoiding references to pain, hurt, work, hard work, etc. Please do not offer pain medication, unless requested.

Pre-Admission Requests:
To consider artificial initiation of labor only if labor is unusually delayed and there is a medical urgency

To delay artificial induction of labor for a reasonably period after the release of membranes if mother and baby show no signs of infection

Hospital Admission Requests:
To be assigned a nurse who is partial to natural birthing, if possible

To self-hydrate and decline routine IV prep upon admission (HepLock preferred)

Artificial inducement only in case of medical emergency

Peaceful, calm birthing room—subdued lights, music, voices

To have intermittent monitoring (EFM) of FHR after the initial 20 minute strip

No phone calls allowed to come into the room

No visitors—only husband Luke in birthing room until after baby arrives

First Stage of Labor:
Only necessary hospital staff, please

To be free of blood-pressure cuff between readings

Continued intermittent monitoring of FHR, given the initial test strip is normal

Internal monitoring only in the event of medical emergency

Nutritional snacking if labor is prolonged

Freedom to walk and move

Freedom to change positions

Minimal number of vaginal exams (ultimately up to midwives, but we don’t want to get obsessive about numbers and “progress” or “lack of progress”)

That labor be allowed to take its natural course without references to “moving things along” or “augmenting labor”

No artificial rupture of membranes unless discussed and medically necessary

To be fully apprised and consulted before the introduction of any medical procedure

To use labor/tub shower if water has not broken

During Birthing:
We prefer Mother-Directed breathing/breathing baby down instead of coached pushing

Use of Hypnobabies techniques

To assume birth position of choice

Episiotomy only if necessary and only after discussion

Use of topic anesthetic for episiotomy

Immediately After Birth:
Kids fashion blogger to assist in receiving/”catching” baby, if possible (Luke may want to help, as well)

Immediate skin-to-skin contact before baby is wrapped/swaddled/wiped down

Cord to be clamped after pulsation has ended

Wait for natural placenta delivery and avoid traction

Placenta to be kept for us

For Baby:
For baby to stay with Kids fashion blogger/Luke as long as possible after birth before being taken to nursery for check-up (preferably until after big sister Alexandra has had a chance to visit)

Luke to accompany baby to nursery

Breastfeeding only—no bottles, formula, pacifier, artificial nipples of any kind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Softer Side of the Brawny Man

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to
the end to find a list of links to the other carnival


My husband, Luke, might as well be the Brawny man. You know, the guy on the paper towels who wears plaid and carries a hatchet? Luke is the type of guy who builds things and enjoys welding. He chops wood incessantly during the cooler months and he spends the warm season fishing. He even wears a lot of plaid shirts. And he clears brush with a machete. I think you get the point.

At night time, though, this brawny, burly man sleeps a large portion of the night with our two-year-old in the crook of his arm. Since I often stay up after they have gone to sleep, I frequently stumble into the bedroom to find the two of them nestled together like puzzle pieces that fit together just right. In the past few months, they have been joined by no less than 3 stuffed animals and 2 dolls. Her sippy cup of water is wedged between the wall and his pillow so that he can get her water quickly should she wake up thirsty.

These are the tenderest of moments. These are the times that I realize how lucky I am—to have a husband who cherishes his child and is not afraid to love her. These are also the times that I realize how lucky we are that we listened to our instincts and decided to share our bed with our daughter.

When we brought Alexandra home from the hospital, we had a bassinet set up in the bedroom. I fought every fiber of my being and intuition and tried placing her in the bassinet. My pediatrician told me co-sleeping was not safe, after all. The bassinet seemed like the best compromise. At the end of the day, however, we followed our instincts and put Alexandra between us in our queen-sized bed. Now, two years later, we have upgraded to a king-sized bed, and as we prepare for the arrival of our second daughter in January, we are preparing to side-car a single bed in order to create enough space for the entire family to share sleep.

For our family, co-sleeping has meant security and comfort for all parties. It means that we are there when Alexandra wakes up crying or needs water or her stuffed dog, Charlie. It has meant that bedtime is filled with love and hugs—not tears and isolation. It means that when I slip into bed late at night, I can catch a glimpse of the two people I love most in the world dreaming sweet dreams side by side.

Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!