Thursday, April 23, 2009

Almost twins...

Haven was only 15 months old when Scarlett was born. She was really still a baby herself! Haven instantly and completley LOVED Scarlett so much! The moment she saw her, she started chanting "babee! Coot babee!" We had a hard time holding her as Haven would not loosen her grip on her new little sister!
They have continued to be close, almost as if they were twins at times. Like twins, they protect and defend one another and know what the other one is thinking/saying. Today, they were playing some game that involved Scarlett fixing Haven's hair (see below picture) and then flossing her teeth (see above) that is love! :)

These picture were when they were helping to bake something. They are both enthusiastic helpers. :) Above is a very "classic" Scarlett expression. Below is a totally "classic" Haven look!

Below is a video I took of the girls the other day. They like to play this game where one of them is the piano teacher and the other one is the kid. Then they switch. The key here, is that the teacher plays the piano and sings a song, the "kid" (hard for them to fill that role...) gets to hold the book open and turn pages. :)

True liberation.

A lot of the choices we make and the ideas that we subscribe to can become blinders that exclude vision, rather than binoculars that help us see further and with greater clarity. We all have blinders to some degree; we are all imperfect humans, making mistakes and learning and growing from them in an on-going process toward our potential. Sometimes what we see in focus is only a very small part of something much larger. It's easy to think the part we see in focus is the whole; that because that part is so clear to us, it is the only part, or that the blurry parts are not worth seeing. Women's Lib. has taught too many women to see only that one, small part...and to see it with blinders on. What a huge disservice to women!

True liberation if freedom. To me, freedom is not found in covering what makes me a woman to try and make me more like a man. How can ignoring our womanhood be freedom? Women and men are different. We are not the same. We think differently, we feel differently, we behave differently. Inertly, we have different talents and abilities that, on the whole, can be attributed to the different genders. How can suppressing the very things that make me a woman be liberation?

In a society that truly respects women's rights and freedoms, women would not have to fight for basic freedoms and rights such as birthing how, when, and where they deem safe and best; breastfeeding their babies whenever and wherever their babies need to be fed; making educated health decisions for herself and her child; raising her own children in her own home without being referred to as "just" a stay-at-home mom; being able to serve and cherish her husband without being labeled "submissive." A society where women were truly "liberated," a woman would be seen as a powerful, beautiful woman no matter what size, shape, color, occupation, or make-up ability; she would be seen for who she really is and not as a sex thing to be objectified by men. In a society that fostered such freedom and rights, women would not be their own worst enemies; they would not grow up feeling like they were worthless if they didn't look like a supermodel; they would not squander their personal virtue to try and gain attention and approval from boys; they would not vilify one another to make themselves feel better.

Do women deserve the same rights and freedoms as men? Of course!...that is a stupid question! Will we ever truly gain the freedom we seek by continuing to try and be like take their place and their role; to make men the "bad guys"; to manipulate and confuse them with our bodies and pretend to be detached and make them feel unnecessary? I doubt it. We are shooting ourselves in the foot every time we do these things. The only way we will truly give ourselves the freedoms and rights we deserve is when we stop trying to take the place of men in our society and instead finally, proudly take our place as WOMAN.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The beautiful homebirth of Brighton Henry Boyd!

So I totally uploaded pictures in the wrong order!! Still getting the hang of this blogging thing!
This is when he was about 1 month old. What a cutie! He is 6 months old now....growing up just happens so quickly!
This is when my sweety muffin was about 2 weeks old. What a doll!! :) I miss those newborn days...for each of the kids. Having a new baby is such a magical, romantic time filled with sweet little curled up baby bodies resting on your shoulder, sweet new baby milk breath, sweet little sleeping body on your lap...soaking in every moment...older siblings just amazed at this new little person you've given them to ooh and aww at and smooch all over...seeing your husband cradle his new baby tenderly in his strong arms....just a great time!! (see why I have 6?!) :)

This was I think about 3 or 5 days postpartum. Our midwife took this picture. She takes pictures of all the new families to post on her office wall. :)

This is Brighton and I at about 2 weeks post partum. Recovering at home ROCKED!!! And having my nice mom here helped soooooo much! She totally took over and did everything for the first week or two. Thanks mom!! :) And isn't Brighton just way too adorable!!??!! :)

Brighton Henry Boyd was born just before midnight on October 7, 2008. When we found out we'd be moving to Colorado Springs when we were just a few months pregnant with Brighton, I immediately researched birthing options. We have had all natural, non-intervention, home birth-like hospital births with our other 5 children and we, of course, wanted that again. After a bit of research, I realized this was not going to be possible in Colorado Springs as the hospitals here have too rigid of rules and regulations. We knew home birth was the way we wanted to go.
I flew to Colorado Springs in May to look for a house to buy. My wonderful mom and sister, Stephanie, met me here to help out! We had so much fun!! I didn't find a house...but it was a blast! And my real estate agent (who is also LDS) told me about a wonderful midwife in her ward!! So once we moved here, I immediately looked up the midwife on the web and loved her site and her philosophy. I met with her for the first time when I was about 7 months pregnant and loved her. I started getting things ready for our impending home birth.
I had two different due dates. One was October 5, the other was about 2 weeks later. I knew that the "real" due date was the 5th, but we kept the later due date on my records as my "real" due date so that I would not have to worry about any pressure to induce. (Our last baby, Scarlett, was exactly 2 weeks late and my Dr was starting to talk about induction...NOT what we wanted!) My mom flew in on about the 5th, I believe. So perfect timing!! Starting first thing in the morning on the 7th, I was having very regular contractions that were definitely "uncomfortable." They came every 3-5 minutes all day long. I went to the grocery store with my mom around 4:30-5pm. We were walking around, casually looking at stuff like we usually due while shopping. After about 20 minutes, I turned to my mom and said "I'd like to go home now!" My contractions had really picked up just since leaving the house and now they were taking my attention to get through. We quickly checked out and drove home.
Once at home, I stood in the kitchen while everyone else ate. I no longer felt like eating. I was starting to really concentrate through each contraction and sway my hips. The kids were excited when my mom told them why I was behaving that way! At about 8pm I called the midwife and told her I was in "early" labor. I told her not to rush. She arrived at our house at about 9pm. She checked mine and the baby's vitals and just observed my labor for awhile. I was almost 100% effaced and about 3 cm dilated. Her assistant arrived shortly there after. Right as we were discussing whether or not she should leave us a lone for awhile and then come back later (she only lives about 5 minutes from us), things started getting a LOT more intense. I was laying on the bed with Dave behind me providing counter pressure on my lower back during each contraction. I was uncontrollably shivering in between contractions (which has never happened to me before and I hope it never does....NOT fun!) and then roasting hot during contractions. As usual, each contraction had multiple peaks. That is not new for me...that is usually how my labors progress...but these seemed even more intense than usual. The midwife decided she needed to stay and that they should start setting up all their gear. I was walking around the end of our bedroom, leaning over Dave or against the wall during contractions. Around 11pm or so I started feeling "pushy" and a lot of pressure. I was only about 6-7 cm dilated. Things were SUPER intense at this point and took everything I had to stay focused and on top of the contractions. I started feeling drown by them and like I was loosing my focus and control. The midwife's assistant was soooooo terrific!! (I think she was a trained doula as well) She really helped me to stay focused and grounded and not be run over by each contraction. She had a freshly cooled cloth to hand me as each contraction began. I was pressing it to my face and neck. The baby's heart rates were doing strange things (going up super high during a contraction) and that was worrying the midwife. She said that if the baby did not come in the next 30 minutes or so, she thought we should transfer to the hospital. NOT what I wanted to hear...I could not even imagine getting up from my kneeling against the bed position, let alone haul myself in and out of a car!! My waters were still intact. I asked Dotti, the midwife, if she could break them. She doesn't like to, of course, as this is an intervention that is mostly unnecessary, but both she and I felt like the baby's head was definitely low and engaged so the danger of pro-lapse was very slim. She tried to break the bag with her fingers and it wouldn't budge. So she had me push while she tried to break the bag and stretch open my cervix. The bag burst and she continued stretching my cervix so I could push the baby's head through. It worked and I felt the baby's head moving down the birth canal with each grunting push. Pushing a baby out is HARD work!! I was definitely "vocalizing" a LOT...the girls were all asleep in bed and the boys were watching some shows on t.v. I regret it now since my mom missed the actual moment of Brighton's birth, but I asked her to go and check on the boys...I was worried they were hearing me and worried about me (silly me...they were well prepared and they are boys...they were into their show!) I was leaning against the foot of my bed, on my knees with the midwife and Dave behind me as I pushed my baby out. As soon as he slithered out just shy of midnight, the midwife passed him to me and I looked at him quickly, held him to my chest, then walked around my bed to sit/lay down with him. That is when Dave took the above picture. Little Brighton is just minutes old!! At the time he took the picture I was like " are taking my picture now!?!" But I am so happy to have this picture!! :) Daddy's know just what to do! :) I ooed and awwed at him (while still reeling from the VERY intense and fast labor) for a few minutes and then I tried to get him to nurse. He was not all that interested. :) We had the boys come in after just a few minutes, as well, and they got to meet their new baby brother while he was still attached to the umbilical cord which was still attached to the placenta which was still inside of me. It was very cool. They thought he was so adorable and sweet. Sebastian kept saying "I didn't expect him to be so cute!" He said this for weeks after he was born. :)
About 20 minutes post-partum I delivered the placenta and the midwife checked it out to make sure it was all intact and healthy and everything. Placentas are so wild and weird looking! They put it in some grocery bags to carry around with the baby. They like to leave the baby attached to the placenta for the first hour or so to make sure the baby gets his/her full blood supply. A few minutes after the placenta was delivered, I handed off the baby to Dave and got up and went to the restroom and got cleaned up a bit and everything. I felt really great. I nursed Brighton again (we knew almost immediately that yes, he was Brighton...a name we've had for about 6 years) and then handed him off to my mom while I went to the restroom again (I had stayed very well hydrated during labor!) I think this is about when my mom cut the umbilical cord. Then, we decided to wake Fiona up to meet her new baby brother (we had told her we would if the baby came in the night). She was so giggly and happy and excited!! :) So sweet! She had a hard time going back to sleep!
Then, at about 1:30am or so, we all sat on the bed while the midwife and her assistant preformed the newborn exam on Brighton at the foot of our bed. They were VERY thorough!! He fussed a bit at being handled and not swaddled...but the midwife was so gentle with him...way more so than I've seen at hospitals.
We dressed Brighton and got him all snuggled up and I nursed him again. This time he was more interested. The midwife discussed some post-partum stuff with me, left me with some other post-partum stuff and then helped her assistant finish packing up their stuff and taking it out to her car. They were so great! The room might've actually been cleaner after they left than before the birth!! :) She left us to go home just shy of 3am, I think. Dave was already asleep in bed next to us!! I snuggled up with my new little one in the crook of my arm and went peacefully to sleep! He nursed a few times before day break.
Just after the sun came up, at about 7am, sweet little Scarlett came bounding into our room to snuggle like she usually does. Only this time there was a sweet new little baby in our bed! She saw him and got the biggest, happiest surprised face ever! She was cooing and oohing over him as she held him for the first time. She was finally a big sister! :) About 20 minutes later, Haven came into our room and got her turn to ooh and aww over her new baby brother! They were both just in heaven! Scarlett was so filled with love that as Haven was holding Brighton, Scarlett was patting and rubbing Haven's back and face....she just had so much love and affection she couldn't help it! :) It was just so much fun! This was one of the greatest parts of the home birth...having brothers and sisters get to spend so much time with their new little sibling. Too sweet!
I stayed in bed for pretty much the first 3-4 days. My mom was amazing and took care of everything! I got tons of rest! Soooooo much more than in the hospital! Another HUGE bonus of having a home birth: actual rest!!
Dave LOVED having us all at home. He just kept saying that he couldn't' imagine ever having a hospital birth again...the home birth was just too awesome! :) I tend to agree with him!
If you have any questions about the safety of home birth, please e-mail me!! I love discussing this type of stuff! :)
FYI: Midwives evaluate every potential home-birther to make sure she is "low-risk". Once a woman has been deemed low-risk (not having any factors that would complicate her pregnancy and/or birth), she is still monitored at every pre-natal visit to make sure that her low-risk status has not changed. Midwives also educate and encourage healthy eating and exercise as well as any supplements that may be needed to ensure a good outcome for mother and baby. (Diet can play a large role in a mother's and baby's risk factors and incidence of complications.) At the birth, midwives have on hand just about all the emergency equipment that a hospital would. They are trained in CPR and infant resuscitation, they carry oxygen, they carry pitocin and methergin in case of hemorrhage. They monitor mother and baby through out labor. Midwives are trained to know when it's time to transfer to the hospital in case of emergencies that they can not handle themselves. My midwife, in the like 15 years she has been doing this with 100's and 100's of births, has mostly only transferred to the hospital when a mother wanted pain relief. Ina May Gaskin (one of the country's leading midwives and the only midwife to have an actual obstetrical procedure named after her...the Gaskin Maneuver for helping release a baby who is stuck due to shoulder distocia) and her fellow midwives on The Farm have delivered over 2,200 babies...with an emergency transport rate of only 1.3%, they have a maternal mortality rate of 0% and infant mortality rate of 0.39%....these 2,200 births have included twin births, breech births, postdates births. Studies that have been done about homebirth have all shown that homebirth is a very safe alternative to a hospital birth and that, actually, for low-risk women, homebirth is actually SAFER than a hospital birth...due mainly to the risk factors that interventions bring to labor and birth. Interventions and that are routinely preformed in a hospital each carry their own risk...and those risks build with every intervention preformed. Restricted movement and positions also can increase risks. Too many women have to fight to have a normal, non-interventive hospital birth when this type of birth should be the norm. I doubt it ever will be the norm, this is why I am so thankful and happy to have such wonderfully trained midwives available to assist women. Sadly, there are a few states who are hostile to homebirth midwives. Hopefully we can all help this to change!
"Marsden Wagner, formerly of the World Health Organization, states that every country in the European Region that has infant mortality rates better than the US uses midwives as the principal and only attendant for at least 70% of the births (Jones 2). He also states that the countries with the lowest perinatal mortality rates in the world have cesarean section rates below 10% (Jones 13). How does this compare with the US rate? Miserably."
"Dr. Mehl did another study comparing 1,046 home births with 1,046 hospital births. The groups were matched for age, risk factors, etc. There was no difference in infant mortality. None! However the hospital births caused more fetal distress, lacerations to the mother, neonatal infections and so on. There was a higher rate of forceps and C-section delivery and nine times as many episiotomies (Jones 110). "
This is really a subject that I feel passionate about (obviously!)...I could go on forever! But, I will spare you, dear reader!! Just check out the new homebirth info to the right! :) And, again, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or concerns! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love Dr. Laura, but today she was wrong...

The above picture was taken in July of 2002 at the Dino museum at Thanksgiving Point (with Rose, Brenna and David in the front, little Sebastian and Elijah in the back.) It's a dark, bad picture...but I am posting it because in this picture, I am nursing sweet litte baby Fiona in the sling. Read on to find out why I needed to post this picture...

Dear Dr. Laura,
I LOVE that each and every time you speak with a prospective or new mommy, you talk about breastfeeding. I LOVE that you have the power to influence so many mothers to choose breast over bottle. I LOVE the way you talk about nurturing babies...snuggling, gazing into their eyes, cooing...rather than talking about "managing" babies. As the woman who almost single-handedly saved my marriage (I did have a small part in that...), I am forever in-debted to you. I LOVE listening to your show every day while I clean the kitchen; it helps me to stay on track, so to speak. Today, however, while listening to your commentary from March 25, I was extremely disapointed.
I agree with your opinion that women should not "let it all hang out" while breast feeding. Modesty is an important and needed virtue in our society. I do, however, think that it is very important to support legislature that protects a woman's right to breastfeed in public. As a breast feeding mother of my sixth child, this is an issue close to my heart. The sad truth is that we NEED this right protected. Even women who cover up with a blanket are asked to leave public places. Too many women feel that they need to leave wherever they are to go and feed their baby in their car, or the restroom! (Gross!) The more that breastfeeding women are made to "hide" what they are doing, the less "normal" breastfeeding is in our culture...and the message that breasts are for men and sex only is reinforced. I sorely hope that you will clarify that a woman does and SHOULD have a right to nurse her baby in public! This shift in our culture would truly make breast feeding the "norm" that it should and ought to be...that every mother and baby deserve it to be!
Thank you for all that you do for children and families...your voice of reason is one that is so needed in our society today and I thank you for being bold and brave enough to share it with us!

My 6 kids' mom and my husbands gal,
Heidi Boyd

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts on this day..

Tonight, Sebastian asked me why I never go to my blog anymore. I said "I do, sometimes." He suggested I change my blog heading to read "New developments popping up every WEEK." (Instead of every DAY.) Nice suggestion. Maybe I'll just start posting more regularly again. :)
Life gets so busy! My mom came to town, my hubby came back from China, people have birthdays to plan and celebrate, children insist on being fed and clothed and read to...then there is always the never ending job of The Kitchen...the very moment it is sparkly clean and neat, another meal or snack time rolls around!! Or someone wants to color or play with play dough or do school work (okay, so I don't have a whole lot of people lined up, begging for that last one...) It is a very wonderful blessing to have so much to do and so many sweet people to care for. It is a wonderful blessing to have a kitchen to clean and food to prepare to get it messy again. Having a full, busy life is a great blessing that I am learning to keep up with. And that's what it's all about...(no, not the hokey poky as previously believed)...It's all about doing better than you have in the past. I am thankful and so happy that I have the chance, each and every day and a billion times within a day, to do better and try fail miserably, to flop, to waiver, to mess up and still have a billion zillion gazillion opportunities to pick myself up, take a deep breath, and try again.
It seems especially befitting to be thinking about this today, Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ came to Earth and suffered for all of our sins...bore every pain, every mistake, every heartache, every infirmity, every disappointment to the point that he literally bled from every pore. He did this willingly for us so that we could make mistakes, repent, and try many times as it takes for us to get it right. There is hope in the Atonement! There is hope in the Resurrection of our Savior! There is hope and joy in striving to better ourselves! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to try again tomorrow...and the next day....and the next...I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows and loves me. I am so thankful for a sweet Savior who was willing to suffer pain and anguish immesurable for me, a sinner. I am so thankful for the hope and joy and peace that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ! Life stomps down and grinds me into the floor sometimes, but even at those times I have a calm reassurance that I am a child of a loving God...I can pick myself up, dust myself off, repent, try again and look to the future with hope! You can too! :)