I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Nursery or is there more to it?

Last Year I Wrote the following:
The thought that I need to push Ellie away to nursery into an environment that she is not ready for and doesn't need, seems wrong makes me feel….how does it make me feel……wrong

At that age, I’d rather she spend the time with people in her own family creating a connection and a bond to family rather than with a stranger who has no connection to me.

I’d rather she spend that time with someone who understands her needs and abilities and has the time and effort to allow her to develop at her own rate and I don’t think a nursery setting has the facilities or the capacity to enable that. The guidance used in a group setting of that many children of that age is not one I am comfortable with and I would hate to think that Ellie would have to compromise herself just to fit in. 

This nursery starting did not work out, she did not want to be there, she was not ready to settle and not be without me.  We decided to leave it for a while, which turned out to be almost another year.

A Year Later I am writing:
This is now our second attempt with introducing Ellie to nursery and whilst she seemingly has a great time when she is there, she now does not want me to leave the room and she now definitely does not want me to leave the building.  This has been a downward progression from the previous weeks, where I had managed to leave the building and sit in my car and then on another day leave the building and go home for an hour or so.
I have always tried to honour my children's needs and their wants as much as is possible in our day to day lives.   I let her know the night before we are going to nursery the next day and she says 'I don't want to go'  I let her know that I will not leave until she feels ready and is ok with me leaving she always says 'I will never want you to leave'.  The next morning, I gently encourage her to get there ( come on hurry up lets go we are going to be late!) and once there if she wants me in the room I stay and after a while if she is ok with me going to a different room, I leave.   I have to feed Maia in a different room (don't get me started) so often I say I am going to the staff room, she used to be non-plussed by this but recently she has not wanted me to go and wants to go with me.  Other times I have gone to an empty room and played alone with Maia.  At some point, I then let her know I am going to go home and will be back soon, I did this once last week.  This week she has been freaking out and pleading with me saying she doesn't want me to go.

Ellie is used to being able to choose what she wants to do at any given moment, I have watched her struggle with having to do what everyone else is doing but I have also watched her emphatically let them know that she does not want to do what they are suggesting. I have also watched her assert herself enough to be able to do it.   My worry  is that over time she will lose this ability to listen to herself. My other fear is of her being labelled disruptive.  I was once told by another mother that 'they all have to learn to conform eventually'. I may have visibly shuddered.

Ellie is used to being listened to and taken into regard with things and I don't believe that is fully possible in a group nursery setting. I have heard her repeating herself because they dont hear her and seen the confused expression on her face. She often repeats herself at home, but she is ALWAYS heard in the end. I have explained to her that she needs to be loud and clear when speaking to the teachers because they are so busy doing so many things, they might not hear. Often times, it is like they are just not expecting someone to voice an opinion

I have listened to the staff tell me that they want to build a bond with Ellie and they cant do that if I am there because she will always want to come to me..I have told them I am not prepared to leave the place if she is crying and becoming distressed.  Building that bond of trust can take a long time in some children.  Ellie took nearly two years to feel comfortable taking the hand of someone else in a group we go to twice a week.  Maia, well she was off playing with the stuff happy as larry....maybe because she had no conceivable idea that I would leave her...why would she?

I have listened to the staff say they are happy to have Ellie clinging to their leg for as long as it takes for her to feel secure. I am wondering when that became an ok way to be? If you knew your child was feeling so insecure and scared that they were literally clinging to a leg...wouldn't you want it to be yours?

I have listened to the staff offer to do something with her to entice her out of the staffroom, away from me and into the nursery setting, only to turn round, just when she was about to go with them, and say 'oh I can't I need to talk to these new parents having a look round'.  

I have listened to the staff say that pretty much EVERY child goes through this and if after 10-15minutes, they had not managed to calm them down, they would call me. I told them I would not let Ellie be in that state for more than 1 minute!  I cant help wonder how many children are crying their hearts out, feeling not listened to and have had yet another chink of trust broken off.  I also admit that one minute may have been an over-reaction on my part at the shock of hearing them say 15minutes later (of what hysterical freaking out or silent whimpering) and THEN they would call me.

I have listened to the staff tell me that every parent feels like this and I can't help wondering when we stopped listening to our instincts and felt we *had* to do this? I know some people need to, its a necessity,  but right now I don't need to.  Sure I would make the most of it and Maia would love the mummymaia time, but not at Ellie's expense.

I have listened to staff tell me that last year Ellie definitely wasn't ready for nursery but this year, they see a difference.  I have also heard staff say 'Ellie is not herself today' when she would not let me out of her sight. I have also heard Ellie say to me EVERY day I don't want to go to nursery AND I have heard another mother tell me their child did this twice.  She settled in once, then after the holidays needed to 'settle in' again.  What does this tell me?

I have listened to the staff tell me she will have to learn eventually because when she goes to school it will be harder for her and I can't help thinking that 1) I want to homeschool and  2) If I don't homeschool, she would be older still and more open to the separation and 3) she will learn eventually but I would rather it was in her own time and not being pushed by me.

Finally, I have listened to all of this, why is no-one listening to Ellie or me?

Meltdowns -  on the verge all morning
Losing the Plot - well its leaving me very emotional and stressed
Breastfeeding - away from other children incase g-d forbid a father walked in

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lack of connection begets Lack of connection response to Mother Madness

I think what bothers me most in Erica Jongs article is the vilification of attachment parenting, i just cannot conceive how something with the word attachment in it could be perceived as something negative, unless it was the term, 'negative attachment'! or 'attachment disorder'

I guess she did what she felt was right....i just don't imagine ever being able to 'leave' my kids at such a young age and i don't believe it is healthy either. As her daughter says, she was in a fortunate position, (from her point of view) to be able to provide a baby nanny and a pony and private schools.. personally i would have used the money to *stay* with my kids.

Her daughter also says "I could never have raised kids and made money"  and I totally agree here and here is where I am in the position that Erica Jong wasn't in or chose not to be in, in that we have structured our lives in order for me to be able to stay at home and attach to my kids..i can totally see though why her mother felt she had to work...I sometimes wonder how we have managed it so far!!

I am willing to bet Erica Jong wasn't breastfed for long (if at all)...and the assertion that *her* daughter hated breastfeeding is ridiculous and clearly based on misinformation and lack of breastfeeding advice and support

We all love our children and want what's best for them, and here is the kicker..... "She was a million times better a mother to me than her mother had been to her" and  so and so and so....eventually the cycle will be broken......well thats my plan and it ain't perfect by any means!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Maia's Birth Story and how I am now more informed

It has been over two years and I am finally deciding I can write Maia's birth story, aside from the obvious no time, energy and brain power to formulate my thoughts, there was also the trauma of the actual event to process.  The pregnancy went by really fast with a 1yr old in tow and my due date was suddenly really near.  My first was born at 36+3, so we were ready for an early home birth. We'd started perineum massage and I started my raspberry tincture which in hindsight, I think these are possibly what induced braxton hicks but they were quite painful and so knowing I was early with my first, we went down to the hospital for investigations.  Next time, I am going nowhere, I am better informed.

Whilst having an internal to check for dilation after some particularly painful contractions  (I was on a monitor) and I was before 36weeks,  they swabbed WITHOUT my consent for GBS. This caused a whole world of problems and hassle for me and my preferred home birth.  REMEMBER LADIES: If you do have an internal check, make sure you SAY NO to a swab.  Next time, I say no thanks, I am better informed.

The midwives immediately started telling me I would have to take antibiotics during labour and so I could not have my homebirth as planned.  We of course having been through a homebirth with our first knew that NHS word is not gospel and we had to do our own research.  So after extensively researching all areas of GBS,  we decided the risk was minimal and that we would not be having antibiotics during labour and a home birth would be the safer option for us.  We informed the midwife team and could feel the weight of disapproval instantly.  We were told in many different ways how we would be putting our baby at risk, we could kill our baby etc.  We even had a drive by leafleting whereby someone, possibly a midwife, drove by in a dark car, dropped a leaflet through our letterbox with NHS guidelines and information about the dangers of GBS in labour and with a handwritten message urging us to think about our unborn child (because we hadn't done that so far obviously).

We then were 'ordered' to a meeting with the consultant to discuss our options.  We had already had experience of the consultants with our first birth and knew we had to be prepared for their doom and gloom and worst case scenario outlook.  I was already feeling pressure and stress from the constant hassle so decided not to go to the meeting and let my husband go alone. It turned out to be a lecture on the risks and possible deathly situation we were putting our baby in.  We formulated a strong letter indicating our wishes and that we had decided on a home birth and prepared it to give to our midwife at the next meeting.

By this time I was really started to feel anxiety from the mounting harrassement, that coupled with the knowledge of the hassle we got after my last birth I just knew in my head that I was not ready to give birth.  

Of course my baby had other ideas and so at at 37+4 during a rousing and resonating organ rendition for my husbands graduation , Maia turned around in my tummy and made her way down!

That evening at 10.30pm, just as hubby was about to go for graduation drinks (his first night out in a looong time)  my waters broke.  

I did not realise that Maia had turned and so my labour did not progress that well and was causing me a lot of back pain.  The midwives arrived around 4am and let me labour in peace.  After 6hours my contractions were slowing and they wanted me out of the hot tub. At this time, I was in a lot of back pain and did not know what was going on.  As I lay on my makeshift bed, the midwife examined me and it became clear that the problem was a back to back baby.  I tried side stair climbing, and as Ellie was awake by this point, we tried breastfeeding to see if it would restart the contractions.  I sensed the urgency and trepidation in the room from the midwives and this in turn caused me to be fearful and anxious, which of course made my contractions slow even more.  After 12 hours, in my tired, emotional and vulnerable state the midwives persuaded me to transfer to the hospital.  The ambulance ride was HELL on a gurney.  The driver was driving like a loony, possibly due to my screaming because the road was SO bumpy and twisty or the driver was driving like a loony.  Next time,  I know back to back birthing is possible, I am better informed. 

Once inside the hospital I was subjected to a whole new level of pressure and fear whereby I was threatened with caesarean.  Being the obstinate and strong woman that I am I determined myself into position, standing over the bed, legs slightly bent and pledged to have this baby without medical intervention.  By now, Maia was making her presence known and then retreating back into the safety of my womb as if to say "What? Where's my homebirth, where is my subtle light and warm pool?".    

By this time I was convinced I could not do it, she was not coming out and could not believe she kept going back inside. I was obviously in transition by this point as I was beyond my coping yet still I carried on. I moved onto the floor and onto my knees.

Before 12pm, Maia's head emerged, but only the top part and there she sat, stuck.  Behind me I heard a midwife threaten me with the fact that the Dr's were outside the door right now and if I did not deliver this baby, they were coming in to get it out.  Wow...that's encouraging, thanks for that...a great dose of fear in my last final pushes, just what I needed.

At 12.05am Maia finally made her emergence into the world.  She was not breathing and they whipped her away into the incubator to resuscitate her.  In hindsight and if I had had my wits about me (!), I would have insisted that this could have been done with the umbilical chord still attached.  Instead, they severed the chord so abruptly that I actually felt the disconnection physically and mentally.  It was an horrific feeling and minutes later there was a massive gush of blood onto the floor and I almost fainted.  Next time, I will be better informed on the possibilities of still being attached whilst resuscitating. I am sure it's possible.

Maia was resuscitated and with no problems and I insisted she was given back to me straight away. They left me alone and the bonding began.

We insisted that we leave the hospital that day and went home to begin our babymoon.  However due to Maia being stuck, their fear over GBS and over cautionary midwife who looked at a birthmark and though it was a bruise,  they insisted we go back into hospital for Maia to be checked.  Whilst there, they discovered her billyrubin levels (jaundice) were through the roof and so she had to stay for light therapy.  Unbelievably they wanted me to go to the ward, on a different floor, and leave Maia in the SCBU.  HA!!! Just how uninformed did they think I was???   I refused and was given a chair in her room where I refused to allow her off me the whole time we were there.  They organised one of the new lightjackets, so I could hold her and she could get treatment at the same time.  She slept on me whilst I slept on this armchair/bed for a week and a half.  Much to my disappointment I allowed Maia to have antibiotics again through fear and intimidation which I am convinced contributed to her stomach problems and intolerances, but that is another story.  The staff in the hospital were polite and professionally nice to the 'wierd' mum and I gave them a print-out of some Continuum Concept/Attachment Parenting information just so they understood my intention.

Once home, the fun began and my informed mind keeps growing thanks to my amazingly informed FB friends!

(Please note these links are not exclusive) 

Propolus can be taken daily, either in capsules or tincture, 3 to 4
times daily.

Echinacea root (Augustofloria) can be taken either as a tea or 
tincure, 3 times daily. To make the tea, use 1 oz of the root to 1
pint of boiling water and steep for 6 to 8 hours. Echinacea root is
specific to staph and strep infections. It stimulates the body's
defense mechanisms as well. A strong tea may also be diluted and used 
as a douche. When douching in pregnancy, extra care must be taken to
avoid forcing water up into the uterus, causing infection and other

Safe Douching During Pregnancy
Fill douche bag with cooled tea, attach cleaned vaginal tip. 
Hang bag 10 inches or less from the floor.
Lay in the bathtub and gently insert the nozzle into the vagina no
more than half way in.
Very gently release the hose clamp and allow tea to run in and out of
the vagina, do NOT attempt to retain water in the vagina in pregnancy. 
When finished, clean the equipment thoroughly.
Douching should never be attempted if there is any question that
cervical dilation, placenta previa or prematurely ruptured membranes
are present.

Using Essential Oils 
It's imparative that the oils are of highest quality.
Put the following in a Double "O" gelatin or vegetable capsule:
5 drops Lemon Essential oil
3 drops Oregano Essential oil
5 drops Mountain Savory Essential oil 
Take one capsule 3 times daily.

Additionally do the following:
Soak an ORGANIC tampon or sea sponge in...
15 drops Lemon Essential oil
9 drops Oregeno Essential oil
15 drops Mountain Savory Essential oil 
1 tsp carrier (V-6) oil (see below) or any of the 6 listed below
Leave soaked tampon in overnight. Insist on being retested. Do this
daily for the last six weeks of pregnancy.

V-6 Vegetable Mixing Oil:
V-6 Mixing Oil combines food-grade vegetable oils for mixing with
essential oils to create blends, formulas and massage oils. Grape seed
oil, wheat germ oil and vitamin E are nurturing to the skin as natural
antioxidants. V-6 is also excellent for cooking and making salad 
dressings. Blendi 15-30 drops of an essential oil to 1 oz. mixing oil.
V-6 is good for mixing massage oils, creating your own blends and
formulas, for cooking and making salad dressings, etc. The ingredients
of V-6 Mixing Oil are sesame seed oil, grape seed oil, almond oil,
wheat germ oil, sunflower seed oil and vitamin E.

Take 500 mg Vitamin C every 4 waking hours.
1 acidophilus (4 billion micro-organisms or higher) capsule every 4 
waking hours.
 vitamin C and acidophilus daily for the last six weeks.

Insert an small ORGANIC tampon, or cotton ball, whichever is more
comfortable, soaked in a combination of 10 drops of tea tree essential 
oil and Olive oil. Leave the tampon in for 4 hours each day for 6

cut or crush a whole, peeled garlic clove and sew a string through for
easier retrieval (crushed works better but is more difficult to insert 
and retrieve). insert overnight and repeat for 8 nights around week
36. the garlic cannot get lost as it cannot enter into through the
cervix but sometimes it gets hidden between the vaginal wall and the
cervix. you can usually taste the garlic once it is inserted so as 
long as you can taste it, it's still there. if the skin in your vagina
is damaged in anyway, the garlic will produce a stiinging sensation,
which is uncomfortable but won't do any harm, so i guess it depends 
how much it stings!

More suggestions for GBS:
EHB by NF Formulas given over a 10 day period (6 caps per day) (E.H.B.
by NF Formulas, Inc.), and Tea tree oil vaginal suppositories 3 to 4 x
daily for that time (see above). This mom was re-tested at two weeks 
after positive culture (3 to 4 days after last EHB taken), two weeks
after that (2 1/2 weeks after first positive culture), and on one
occasion was tested again 2 1/2 weeks later (5 weeks after positive
culture) because of a prolonged ROM with no labor. 

Then insist on retesting to see if the GBS has gone away. Midwives
have seen heavy colonization completely cleared with these treatments,
although there is no scientific study to support it.

Another midwife had a case of a mom's GBS culture at 36 weeks yielded 
a result of 2+ colonization, which was the same at 38 weeks. She had
her take 500mg Vitamin C every 4 waking hours, 1 EHB (NF Formulas)
capsule every 4 waking hours, Propolis 4x daily, and she inserted a
tampon soaked in 2% Tea Tree oil solution (2% Tea Tree essential oil, 
98% Olive oil). She left the tampon in for 4 hours each day for 6
days. Culture at 39 weeks was negative for GBS. She had a long labor,
a high leak for 72 hours, then a rapid active phase and 2nd stage,
healthy baby, normal placenta, and normal recovery. The midwife has 
become a believer in Tea Tree oil for a variety of infections, though
in this case she believes it acted synergistically with the other
natural therapies the mother used. She has used it as a spray on
throat infections, as well as for vaginal yeast, trichomonas, and 
gardnerella, all with great success. Not much is seen about Tea Tree
oil in midwifery literature, but it may well be worth a try for other
GBS+ moms who are averse to standard antibiotic therapy.

Another recommendation for GBS: 
1. Boost Vitamin C in your diet, such as eating 2 grapefruit per day.
Other good sources of Vit C: red peppers, oranges, kiwi fruit.

2. Drink a cup of Echinacea tea or take 2 capsules of echinacea every day

3. Get extra sleep before midnight. Slow down your schedule. Take it
easy and eat well. Follow a nutritious Pregnancy Diet.

4. Take 3 teaspoons of Colloidal Silver per day. Take it between
meals. Hold the liquid in your mouth a few minutes before swallowing. 
Colloidal Silver can be purchased in most health food stores. It is
silver suspended in water. It is antibiotic in nature and safe in

5. Plan ahead for extra warmth after the birth for both you and baby. 
Hot water bottles, heating pads, hot packs, big towels dried in a hot
dryer during the pushing phase--will all help you and baby keep extra
toasty after birth and reduce stress. Have a friend or family member
assigned to be in charge of the "Mother/baby warmth team".

6. The colostrum from your breasts is the best antibiotic treatment
your baby could ever get. The colostrum is very important for your
baby. Breastfeeding your baby is the best thing you can do to keep 
your baby healthy since you pass on your immunities to your baby
through the breastmilk.

7. Other good prevention tips: Keep vaginal exams to a minimum--0 is
best. Do not permit artificial rupture of the membranes. After the 
membranes have broke, keep vaginal exams to a minimum, again 0 is best
if possible. If not possible, use extreme care and sterile technique
if an exam is absolutely necessary. Any exam has the possibility of
introducing GBS into the cervix of the mother if she has a positive
GBS test result. Do not allow children of other families to visit the
new baby for the first 3 weeks. Keep your older kids healthy so they
are not sneezing and coughing on new baby.  

Me? Sentimental? Yes I cried at Charlene and Scott's wedding

If you ever get the chance to see this little shortfilm (22mins)..it really is wonderful...I may be a sentimental continuum-parenting old fool but this spoke to the mother in me to be there as much as possible right to the end...this film also spoke to me about the need for connection and attachment.  I know from, personal experience, that in times of grief that connection is more needed than at most other times and if it was not not there to begin with then it can lead to all kinds of emotional disasters....so ellie and maia...listen up....i'm your mum...get over it!!! (i'll pay for therapy bills if you so desire)

Meltdowns - none...for me anyway
Losing the Plot - none...so far
Breastfeeding - a few times BEFORE THEY ALL WENT OUT!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Because That's What Mum Does

When I am feeling sadistic and narcissistic and I want to know the truth..about me...I think about an interaction with my children that did not go according to plan..the plan being minimal emotional and physical pain for all involved ie all get along

I face the truth about me everyday when I interact with my children.  

Tonight Ellie said 'thats what mum does' in response to Barry saying 'i think she has gone outside' after Maia was becoming upset and asking where i had gone after I got up out of bed and went downstairs without saying anything.  Although thinking about it after, I felt I was saying plenty.  Maybe no-one was listening? Maybe they were listening too well.

I had been lying prostrate on the bed with Ellie on one arm and Maia on the other (our usual method for the final sleeping part, after the story poart, the talking part, the questions about our day part and the milk part, but tonight it was too painful) and I had tried to move my position saying that it was hurting me and I did not want to do it anymore.  Maia literally grabbed my arm and would not let go obviously believing she had that strength (if she had been a monkey she would have...but we evolved supposedly: and if I'd been a monkey I probably wouldn't have chronic pain and I'd live off bananas and leaves and live in trees in a hot climate...sounds idyllic...anyway i digress)...she was holding tight. Ellie became upset that I would not lie in this position but I persevered and changed position.  She began kicking me and pushing me away saying i don't want you here, meaning her space, because I moved into a more comfortable position that meant her legs touched me ...i responded several times with 'ow thats really sore, stop that' or words to that (in)effect(ual).  When, eventually, I felt that nothing I was saying or doing was working, I got up and walked out.

When Barry told me what Ellie had said 'That's what mum does' I responded with 'yes that's what mum does when she is lying in pain and is not happy with the situation and feels nothing is working she walks away in case she becomes default shouty mummy'

In recounting this story I realise now that to my children it looked like yes I was saying plenty but not effectively and the time when I should have said something I, in effect 'walked out' which I believe they see as a form of love withdrawal.  

If I get to that 'walking out' stage, which is less than I used to thankfully.  (I recognize it as the flounce, a common family trait), I work harder to communicate first and if I still feel helpless its not working, I make a special effort to  leave with a breezy comment about needing to do something houseworky, there is always something houseworky needs doing because I don't spent my entire days doing housework, not anymore.  It gives me time to breathe and re-asses my words.  

Maia dealt with it all by being upset and eventually coming downstairs then falling asleep on me.  Ellie dealt with it by being upset but staying upstairs with Barry and falling asleep (she may have been too tired to come down)...later when Barry took her for her night time pee, she refused to get back into bed and sat screeching in a sleepy state at the top of the bed and would not go back to sleep.  I came up saying what's going on to which Barry replied I have no idea.  She did not know whether to push me away or cuddle me and she did not calm down until she folded herself into me (if I had touched her first she would have screeched more) and I whispered in her ear 'its ok, I love you Ellie' over and over .

She finally relaxed into a lying down (on my arm incidentally) position and fell asleep.

Now could the initial incident have been avoided? Possibly not.  Maybe I could have let them know i was uncomfortable..oh wait i did..ok maybe I could also have acknowledged their need for me to be in that position and that yes I know you are very upset but I am just cannot continue being in pain.  Maybe in that moment words were pointless or maybe a simple 'I love you very much but my arms hurt I need to move' might have worked.

I don't know but if you asked me what I would say if I did know, I would probably tell you 'I could have handled it better and I am glad I got another chance' because 'thats what my kids do' - give me another chance to handle it better.

Meltdowns - sleepily
Losing the Plot - silently
Breastfeeding - in a restaurant no less (yes we went out for cheapy dinner, no less! and there were fireworks involved)