The Moon & A Woman’s Cycle

I have to get this out, I don’t care if it is short or long or if it even makes sense to alot of you. What matters is that it spoke to me and I choose to share with all of you.

I have been experiencing somewhat of a spiritual awakening these past months. This move to California has brought alot of growth in not only me, but to my whole family, especially my connection to my husband.

Our decision to leave our home state of Montana was not an easy one. It meant leaving our parents and my two siblings over 1000 miles away and familiar, comfortable surroundings and going to a strange, new place. It was going to be an adventure.

For lack of a better phrase, our planning was poor and our circumstances turned out to be just that, poor. We ended up homeless with our four children for what at the time seemed an eternity. Two months. With help from family and friends, we stayed afloat and with help from the state, we got on our feet and my husband secured a job that afforded us the opportunity to stay on our feet.

Our homeless experience truly humbled us in ways we never imagined. And we experienced things we might never have experienced otherwise. They were unfortunate circumstances. But we grew and we changed, for the better. It led us to be more understanding of others and not assume things about other people in the situation we were in not long ago.

Moving forward from that experience, I realized that since our move I had become spiritually stagnant. My intuition became silent. I no longer heard my inner voice speaking to me, reverberating from my spirit into my body. I began to doubt our decision of moving.

When we settled into our new place, my spirit began to settle as well. There was no more static. I felt it as I saw new life born in a birds’ nest outside our window. A symbol of new beginnings.

I began searching for more spiritual enrichment. I wasnt sure where to find it as this place was still so new to us. I felt lost. I stayed up, late nights. Looking at the moon. How ever changing She was. Never the same from one night to the next. Even Her color was different each cycle from the distance She was from the earth and the cloud cover over Her face.

Now I hope you guys don’t mind me getting a little personal here; my menstrual cycles at the time began in the New Moon before, before we settled into this place. My spiritual focus at the time was in growing and I didn’t know what I wanted or where we might end up. For those of you that don’t know, the New Moon is all about drawing things toward you. New things.

When we moved in, my menses were late by 10 days. I, as well as many others thought it was from the stress of moving. It wouldn’t be until tonight that I would truly realize why they had been late.

I started my menses the night of the 28th. The day before this Full Moon. My emotions are usually on an even keel even on my period. But this cycle I felt so out of control of my emotions and I just wasnt sure why. To add onto this, a fatigue I normally don’t have even during my menses and no notable change in sleep patterns. I slept for 4 hours this afternoon.

The Full Moon’s strength peaked at 2:35PM my time. My theory and realization that I feel confident in believing and sharing, is that my body was extremely fatigued from synchronizing with the Moon’s cycle.

The Full Moon is a time to let go of the things that no longer serve us. The same is true for a woman’s menses. The unfertilized egg does not serve the woman’s body and her body releases it. When a woman has her menses during Full Moon it is called Red Moon Cycle.

This is an excerpt from an article I read by Yoga Goddess on this subject and it explains to a T what I am experiencing:
In truth, the Red Moon cycle belonged to the medicine women, to the mid-wives, the magic-makers and the wisdom keepers of the community.  These women were not focusing their feminine energies to give birth to children. Rather their energy was used to empower other women and their communities.”

Until a few days ago, I had long since forgotten my dream of becoming a doula or even a midwife because I couldn’t imagine being on call, away from my babies and especially with no good affordable reliable childcare. I recently connected with an aspiring doula and we both agreed on watching each other’s children when one was on call. So here I am, once again making plans for a future in birth. Empowering women, educating them and no longer focusing on my own fertility.

As soon as I made all of these connections in my mind concerning my emotions, recent and past events and the things to come, I was so overcome that I dissolved into tears. Knowing my body was syncing with not just the moon but the universe because things are coming to fruition and because I am listening to my heart and insticts was so overwhelming.

At first I was unsettled and frustrated with my temperament and mindsets… until I realized why they were changing and feeling so out of control. At that moment I felt so at peace and at ease.

What a beautiful Moon! What a beautiful Earth! What a beautiful Life!

Guest Post by Breastfeeding Mothers Unite: SOMETHING IS STARTING TO SMELL FAMILIAR….WHO IS MEDOLAC?

Naturo-Mommy is happy to have a guest post done by Breastfeeding Mothers Unite! I recently ran across their page and found their current movement very interesting. In this piece, they go into great detail about their movement against Medolac. Thank you for your contribution, Breastfeeding Mothers Unite!

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There is a foul smelling odor emitting in the air. Medolac has started an initiative to increase breastfeeding rates in the African American community of Detroit. Medolac will be offering one dollar per ounce of breast milk to African American women, in turn she will be selling milk to hospitals for seven dollars an ounce. Yes, you read that right. Elena Medo, the CEO of Medolac, will be selling milk to various hospitals and unidentified institutions for a six hundred percent mark-up!

It is a statistical fact that African American women have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the United States. Elena Medo’s stance is that the opportunity of making money from their breast milk will increase breastfeeding rates. Is there any independent studies that back the assertions of Medolac that the for profit enterprise of paying moms for their breast milk will increase breastfeeding duration?

Is Elena Medo implying that money is the only thing motivating African American women to care for their children properly? There are many breastfeeding advocates in Detroit who are proving our Mothers need re-connection and support to breastfeed, not payment.

We see comparisons between what Medolac is trying to do and the conditions faced by African American women during the time of slavery.

How does offering to purchase breast milk from African American mothers compare to slavery? Slavery is a legal or economic system under which people are treated as property. Knowing that, the essence of slavery is using people as property, exploiting a group because of their race, economic status or religion for financial gain. Does that ring a bell for you? Medolac is proposing to collect African American women’s milk from low income areas of Detroit, and sell it to hospitals for seven dollars. That’s a six hundred percent profit made off the backs (or breast in this case) of African American mothers! In the past, coercion, terroristic threats, beatings and lynchings, that resulted in death, were used to ensure that a slave did what they were told. Medolac is asserting that; to ensure that we as African American mothers are able to stay home with our children longer and to ensure our preterm children have a fighting chance, all we need to do is sell them our milk. Is the stench starting to smell familiar to you now?

Why should we be concerned about Medolac coming to Detroit, they sound like they are trying to help? Medolac is an unknown entity. Therefore, before we start selling off our precious resources to this company we have to check them out with a fine toothed comb.

Can you find any hospitals that have agreed to buy this milk from Medolac? According to online sources, this company may have a stockpile of up to 1 million ounces of breast milk that has neither been shared nor sold. Is there any price or reason great enough for women with 2-3 times higher rate of preterm birth and infant mortality to be separated from their milk?

Sign the Open Letter to Medolac Laboratories from Detroit Mothers here:

http://tinyurl.com/askmedolac

Questions That Need to Be Answered

How much of the profit made from the breast of Detroit going to stay in the city to help it grow?

What is Medolac doing with the stockpiled human milk?

What are their plans for the milk collected if it’s not purchased by any hospitals?

They are collecting milk for what reason? (Sounds like a repeat of the Tuskegee experiment to me, racism and research.)

The Tuskegee Experiment was a notorious medical experiment carried out in the United States between 1932 and 1972.

How do we know that Elena Medo is not planning to pick up where Francis Galton left off with the Eugenics movement?

Is there a hidden agenda to continue down the path that Margaret Sanger was on when the attempt was made to determine how to control the reproductive system of African American women?

How can we guarantee the milk collect won’t ever be used for research? (you do understand that once your milk is sold you have no control over what happens to it afterwards, right?) Do we really want a repeat of the Henrietta Lacks situation?

(Cells taken from Henrietta Lack’s body without her knowledge were used to form the HeLa cell line)

Do mothers pay income tax on the money paid for their breast milk? How does this affect Mothers take-home income?

How are they going to ensure that mothers who are donating will not deprive their own children in an effort to earn money?

How are they going to ensure the state will not start cutting assistance from money earned from donations?

Even though we believe every mother wants to do the very best for their child, how do you stop the extreme measures people who are struggling to make ends meet will take just to receive a measly one dollar an ounce? (We can imagine everything from abusive men forcing their women to sell milk against their will, young girls having babies because they see this as an easy way to make money, the state cutting any sort of assistance because they will see every birth as a way to make money, women being kidnapped, impregnated and turned into quick money, the infant mortality rate growing because Mothers are completely depriving their children of a drop of breast milk to make money to buy diapers, pay their water bill or even pay their rent.)

Detroit has the highest infant mortality rate in the USA. Can we really afford to sell away one of our sure fire cures for this problem?

You can help us end the need for anyone to come into a city they know nothing about to “save” them by:

Informing the community about why the selling of breast milk to Medolac is a danger to our existence.
Support all Mothers with their breastfeeding efforts, encourage them to continue feeding their children with species specific human milk and take any extra milk they may have and donate it to someone who is truly struggling within their community or to a milk bank with a compassionate care program that is community based.
Most important, we have written an open letter to the Medolac company and we need everyone in our communities to sign this letter. It’s time for Elena Medo to know she cannot play Savior here without communicating with the people in this community.
Sign the Open Letter to Medolac Laboratories from Detroit Mothers here:

http://tinyurl.com/askmedolac

 

Guest post also posted here at their blog:http://viewfromarack.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/something-is-starting-to-smell-familiar-who-is-medolac/

When I Was A Fraud To The Naturo-Mommy Name

Or felt like a fraud, rather.

I started Naturo-Mommy because I wanted a place where parents that were alike in the natural parenting community to come and mingle and commiserate without judgement and to educate people that were looking to learn more about the natural parenting and birthing world. It has since expanded into natural living as well. And that is when guilt started to settle in.

You see, I started smoking cigarettes off and on (between pregnancies) since I was 18 years old (now 25). These last about 6 months that I had started smoking again were the hardest to quit. THE. HARDEST!!! Here I was, naming myself a natural mother, somewhat of a small icon in the natural parenting community and I was putting something in my body that I knew was killing me slowly and making me eat poorly and in larger quantities. I felt like such a fraud. Finally, I had enough.

One day, I was outside smoking and my 5 year old daughter walked up to me and asked me if cigarettes kill people. Not one to lie to my kiddos, I was honest with her, “Yes, sweetie, if a person smokes enough cigarettes, they can die from them.” I watched as her eyes welled up and she started crying. “But I don’t want you and daddy to die!”(my husband smokes as well and has a New Year’s Resolution to quit)

That was it. Right there. I didn’t have the heart to take another drag. I threw my cigarette in the butt can, wrapped her in a hug and started crying with her and told her I didn’t want to die, either and that I would quit smoking right then. And sure enough. No more cigarettes. It’s been so difficult! At first, before I was truly active, whenever I would get a craving, I would do 15 squats and drink 16 ounces of water.

After about 10 days, I craved less and less and soon I replaced the addiction with an exercise routine. I borrowed Shaun T’s Focus T25 collection from a friend and got to work! I started on December 8th and have already had great results that I am proud of!

I also had an awful addiction to soda. Mountain Dew was the bane of my existence. I was not drinking water before I started this journey! I was drinking milk, coffee and Mountain Dew. You would always see me with one or the other in my hand. Guess what I carry around now?
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A gallon of water. Pretty much the only way I’ve held myself accountable to drinking AT LEAST a gallon a day! I have been averaging a gallon and a half a day if I am active and a gallon if I’m on a rest day. I only drink one to two cups of coffee now instead of drinking coffee ALL DAY. I also take my coffee black, now, whereas before I used to throw in a highly processed “milk derivative creamer” with sugar.

When I finally decided to hop onto the fit and healthy bandwagon, I took some before pictures and cried. This was the biggest I’d been(besides being pregnant) and it was embarrassing to me. I’d let myself get this way. I treated my body like garbage.

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November 9th, 2014 Please excuse the panties lol

I did not want to exercise and work hard for a nice body. I just wanted to be healthier. I wanted to chase my kids again. I didn’t want to be a lazy lump on the couch while they were begging to go to the park or to throw a ball around outside. I wanted to have the energy to keep up with my 3 year old, who is forever making the messes he makes.

So I started Shaun T’s Focus T25 program. It was so hard. I wanted to stop so many times. To quit and say I couldn’t do it. It was too hard. It had to be! But I got through the first, second and third days and I found myself… addicted? HA! Addicted to something I had no will to do before! I loved working out! And I started seeing results even after a week!

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And I kept pushing along and have found my eating habits are changing as well. I eat only when hungry (no more bored eating!) and drink more water in place of unneeded food. It’s evened out our food bill nicely. While I eat less junk, I replace it with healthier food, which in turn costs more, but less junk equals lower food bill.

I am looking forward to finishing T25 in early March. Especially because I get one of these for FREE!

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Everyday, I am one step closer and it feels amazing and I can be Naturo-Mommy and be GUILT FREE because while I’m not perfect, I now practice what I preach and it feels damn amazing!

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#beastmode all the way, baby! This year, I resolute to be the best me I can be and to love the skin I’m in! And to “Keep pushing play!” My new mantra to keep me motivated. All I gotta do is push play. Happy New Year, Naturo-Parents!

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The Art of Bartering: Building Strong Communities

We all know that hard times are upon us. The working class and impoverished families have it harder than ever. This has made more people reliant on government assistance, as they try to make ends meet and more parents spending more time away from their children to work an additional job to put food on the table.

This is where bartering comes in so handy. I’ve just recently dabbled in bartering with people in my community and with our own admin, owner of Hilly’s Naturals for some Amber Necklaces.

Don't mind the low chest clip. I had just buckled her when I took the picture.
Don’t mind the low chest clip. I had just buckled her when I took the picture.

Not only can bartering be a valuable necessity, but it can become addictive. I recently got laying hens and plan on bartering and trading their eggs for things.

Whenever I think of bartering, I think of my friend, Sharon, who started her whole farmstead, based on bartering. She almost never buys anything that’s needed, always finding things for trade. When she needs something, she tries to find someone that needs something she needs to give away. (chopped wood, eggs, etc)

Other things can be bartered as well. For example, providing a free service in exchange for word-of-mouth promotion or an expanded portfolio. This expands the businesses clientele base and brings people of similar interest together. Can you imagine the impact one, two or three shop owners can make if they trade with 5 other people each? It expands exponentially!

I keep looking around my home now, and pondering how much I use it and if someone else might be able to use it more than me, and if whoever takes it has something of equal value to trade with me.

Such an addicting habit! I did this when I was volunteering for a thrift store. There was always something I was swapping out  when I didn’t have money, when I needed something.

Do you barter? What have you traded with people? Do you do this regularly?

Art by Joni Rae is Sponsoring Naturo-Mommy’s Latest…

https://www.smore.com/k29yv

 

GIVEAWAY!!!

That’s right! Art by Joni Rae (a.k.a. Tales of a Kitchen Witch) is sponsoring a giveaway of a print of her amazing art! This piece, to be exact!

This piece happens to have been commissioned by me, while pregnant with my youngest child to inspire me during labor!
This piece happens to have been commissioned by me, in my likeness, while pregnant with my youngest child to inspire me during labor!

It’s been a while since Naturo-Mommy has done a giveaway, so I thought I would link up with a good blogger/artist friend of mine, Joni Rae. She chose this print, which happens to be a best-seller! If you would like to enter, go here and follow the instructions on the photo.

This piece would look beautiful and serene in any midwife office, massage room, or above a mantle during labor for inspiration and strength! Go enter for a chance to win! Entry closes on October 26th!!

If you would like to see more of Joni’s work, head over to her site store! She does coloring books, paintings, and even goddess dolls! Have fun and good luck in the giveaway contest!

IHOP Manager Harrasses Mother For Breastfeeding Without A Cover

Photo used with the permission of https://www.facebook.com/BLP.Photography/timeline
Samantha Copeland pictured above Photo used with the permission of
https://www.facebook.com/BLP.Photography/timeline

When a family goes out to eat, they expect to be treated with friendly service and a smile. That’s what Samantha Copeland thought she would receive when she and the rest of her family decided to dine at a Chesapeake, Virginia IHOP. Well, it seems that an IHOP manager decided to “throw in the towel” on IHOP’s slogan, ‘Come hungry, leave happy.’

Samantha and her family were enjoying their dining experience, when her 3-month-old son, Ryker became fussy and she decided to feed him. This, being part of her everyday life, and being comfortable doing so, Samantha nursed without a cover, while also making sure she wasn’t visible by other guests. A female manager came to her table with a dishrag and placed it over his face. “So people don’t see,” said the manager. Samantha gave her a funny look. “Don’t worry, it’s clean.” And the manager walked away. Not another word, not a chance for Samantha to defend herself or oppose the manager’s actions.

Samantha and her husband were beside themselves and she was so shocked and embarrassed. “I was speechless. I couldn’t believe anybody would do that.” They gathered their check and left soon after.

The franchise owner has since apologized, but is also standing behind their manager’s wrong-doings by stating that isn’t what happened. The manager claims she asked if Samantha would like a cover and that she declined. The mere fact that they are standing behind these wrong-doings and the manager’s lie is a slap in the face and shows that they really did not mean their apology sincerely.

There will be a nurse-in, at the Chesapeake, VA IHOP at the Battlefield Blvd location on October 15th. For more information, go to the event page here. If you are in the area, and are attending, please be mindful of others by not making a scene. This behavior and display of ignorance has to stop. Let’s get IHOP to sincerely apologize and train all of their staff about breastfeeding awareness and that they are to leave breastfeeding mothers alone and accommodate them as best as they can!

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Misty-Dae’s Unassisted Home Waterbirth Story

I know a lot of you have already watched the extended version of the video, but I would just like her story recorded somewhere that won’t be lost in time. My mind will fog over details that I know I will cherish later on.

This pregnancy posed a lot of challenges for me, both emotional and physical. We were not planning a 4th child and were planning a vasectomy when we were hit hard financially in mid-August by a sewer flood in our apartment. It took us until taxes to fully recover. But when we found we were pregnant in late October, it made our struggles seem much larger.

I was also not in good physical condition. Not in the condition I would’ve liked for pregnancy. I was 30 lbs overweight and tired all the time. The constant fatigue during my whole pregnancy really wore on me emotionally. Things got better over time and we came to terms with welcoming another member of the family and we were overjoyed that we would be having another girl. We knew the second we found out it was a girl what we would name her. Misty-Dae Ann.

Misty-Dae was inspired by a character in a show we watched called American Horror Story:The Coven. One of the more intuitive witches, she was a hippie swamp witch that loved Stevie Nicks. Her name was Misty Day. Ann is my middle name as well as my late paternal grandmother’s. She passed just after Christmas, and I wanted her to have her middle name in her memory.

June 20th, I started getting cramps down low. But they were so low that it felt like intestinal blockage. Which only made sense because she was so low and I couldn’t have a bowel movement or pass gas. I thought my uterus was giving me weird irritable contractions because I was constipated and gassy. This wasn’t the case, of course. The gassy-feeling contractions only came every 20 minutes and were uncomfortable but not painful. I could easily sleep through them. By late morning on the 21st, they were every 10 minutes and getting increasingly uncomfortable. I took the opportunity to explain to my 7 year old and 4 year old that when my eyes are closed and I was taking deep breaths to please try to not talk to me because I needed to stay in a deep quiet place. I was still hanging onto the thought that they were from constipation because it just felt so gassy and full. The rest of the day went on like this, still trying to have a bowel movement and pass gas, to no avail.

I went to bed around 11:30pm that night. Hadn’t even meant to fall asleep. I was just so so tired. Hubby got home from work late that night, around 2:30am. I only know this because I was woken up at 3:00am. I didn’t know why I woke up until I started having the gas-like pains again.

Great, I was woken up to be in pain and discomfort when I should be asleep so I can cope with my children later in the morning? Nice.

My husband takes a few hours to unwind from work so we took time together that early morning, watching Wolverine and talking about random things, as usual. I love how we talk. As the sky started to lighten around 5:30am, my discomfort was starting to increase. I still thought it was constipation and I was getting really frustrated that I couldn’t pass anything. My husband went to bed at 6am and I stayed up.

By that time, I figured out that if I was on the couch with my bum in the air, it took pressure off of everything and maybe it would help unblock me. At 7am, I finally had a bowel movement. I did get some relief but I was still having contractions. That’s when I knew I would be having her that day. When I wiped I had my bloody show. So I washed my hands thoroughly and checked my cervix. For the last 3 days, my cervix had been dilated to a 2 and 60% effaced and when I checked myself then, I was 3cm dilated and about 90% effaced. Go time!

I puttered around the house, taking this in, still unsure if this was really it. My 2 year old was awake and I fed him breakfast and talked with members of my birth group, debating wether what was going on was labor or not. Contractions stayed 10 minutes apart the whole morning but still increasing a bit in intensity all throughout. I notified my friend, Darcy, who would be watching the younger two kids and planned for her to pick them up.

Darcy arrived around noon to pick them up and I had a couple awesome contractions while we were buckling the kids into their seats. At 12:30pm, I decided it was time to wake hubby up. 6 hours of sleep should be sufficient, right? Right?! haha He woke up, confused at first because when I roused him, I started having a contraction and didn’t say anything when he asked why I was waking him up. After my contraction was over, he asked if it was time and perked right up in bed, suddenly wide awake.

Just before 1pm, they started coming at 7 minutes apart and we filled the birth pool. We needed a couple things from the store and ran out of hot water, so he and my 7 year old went to hubby’s work to get stock pots and to the store. Everything thankfully went nice and slow while they were gone. In the middle of their trip I started the live stream so people would have the opportunity to log on and see.

They got back not long after, and things really progressed. We got the pots on the stove, heating more water and I became more restless as the contractions became more intense. My husband was the best support ever! He was there for nearly every contraction and I needed him badly. The contractions were all really low in my belly and it made them that much more difficult. With my previous child, my labor was painless and I think it was because my contractions were all over my belly and not in one localized area. Anyway.. He was an AMAZING coach and I just couldn’t have gotten through it without him. We did a lot of kissing and had a sweet moment where we saw her moving between contractions.

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We were watching her move between contractions
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Lovely kisses between contractions

At 2:15, I couldn’t wait to get in the birth pool any longer. I needed relief of some sort. The pots were taking way too long to boil. After I got in, I had an almost 10 minute break in between contractions. That was a very welcome break!

After that, things got a little fast and furious. Last I’d known, I was about 4 cm with a bulging bag of water. I started to feel more pressure and I constantly felt like I had to pee. I got out at about 2:45pm to sit on the toilet to see if I could find relief there. I peed a bit and as I went to wipe I felt a pop and a bit of water went into the toilet. Her head was so low it stopped anymore water from coming out and I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before her arrival.

Got back in the birth pool after changing into dry shorts and my husband did such an awesome job helping me keep it together. My mind kept wandering to the possibilities of an epidural at the hospital, but as soon as I thought about the car ride and the wait to get an epidural I knew that would not be an option. I also knew this irrational thinking must mean I was nearing transition and it gave me hope and strength to push through.

A little later, I sat up and leaned forward with my forehead relaxed on the side of the pool. I felt her turn and seconds later a contraction started that felt different than the others. Then my body started pushing. I still had my shorts on and in my mind I was like “no no no, she can’t come out yet, I still have my shorts on!” As her head started emerging, I wanted to wait out the contraction and hoped it would end when her head was born so I could take off my shorts. But it never ended and as soon as I realized she would be born with my shorts on, I moved the right leg of my shorts to the side so she could come out. She was born after a one minute contraction pushed her out. She was born at 3:14pm.

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As soon as she was born, I picked her up out of the water and I saw her cord her neck. As I went to unwrap her cord, I counted, one, two, THREE. Cord was wrapped three times! I was in awe! I brought her to my chest and leaned back in the pool and started rubbing her back to get her to cry. She was born a little purple. Hearing her cry was the best sound in the world! So much joy and relief came when she cried. We were so over the moon and I was so happy that I got to share that with my husband. We hadn’t gotten that with my previous home birth.

Misty-Dae Ann

7lbs 5oz 20 inches long

3.5 hours of active labor

While I Was Away….

First off, I must apologize for my absence! As most of you know, I had a baby 2 weeks ago, so I have been busy and lazing around, tired and resting at the same time. She is just gorgeous and I love her to pieces!

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What’s been happening these last two weeks while I have been more or less absent:

Oh, goodness, where to start! Of course, I had my little girl 2 Sundays ago. :)

Two days after she was born, I got an appt with our pediatrician and all checked out to be fine. We didn’t get an official weight for her birth, but her weight 2 days later was 7lbs 5oz. and she was 20 inches long. We were thrilled with her clean bill of health. After her appointment, all six of us went to pile into the van and discovered a flat front tire and our spare was flat as well. So we had to shell out $200 for two new tires(both front tires because BOTH were bald). Yeah, that was fun.

My milk came in that night and it was everything I’d been dreading since about halfway through my pregnancy. I have a growth in my right breast, called a fibroadenoma and during my pregnancy had grown to the size of 1.5 golf balls and was becoming sore. I posted about it here and here. As the pregnancy progressed, it grew mostly at the surface of my areola. This caused latch issues because she has a small mouth in general and she couldn’t fit her mouth around the fibroid to get a sufficient latch. We finally figured out that she would get a good enough latch with the football hold because that was the smallest part of the fibroid.

When my milk came in, of course, I was swollen and engorged and everything else you could think of. The fibroadenoma was making it difficult for my milk to flow through the ducts and it was causing a clog and I developed mastitis, just like the last time my milk came in with my 2.5 year old. I was in unimaginable pain with every right side latch, as well as having chills, and having feverish aches and pains for the whole first week.(Yes, guys, I was trying everything that people were telling me to try) I was ready to go in for surgery to get the cyst removed and just nurse on one side until the right side healed but I stuck it through and all is well now, until she’s weaned and I decide I want the fibroadenoma removed.

On the fourth day postpartum, I was very emotional and weepy. My husband had to return to work, I was still healing, still achy and feverish from mastitis and just generally hormonal and not having an easy time juggling three children and a newborn. I had my placenta dehydrated the day before, and I got it all into caps that day. As soon as I got three caps finished, I took them so I could start feeling better. I was encapsulating my placenta through tears. haha

Ever since, I’ve just been juggling being a stay at home mom and wife. It’s been difficult. I have a self-diagnosed minor prolapse(based on my symptoms and position of my cervix and uterus) and I have to be careful about how active I am right now or my bleeding will pick up and my cervix slips back down.

Even though it’s a little difficult, all of it is worth it for this beautiful bundle of joy. She and my other three are my world and it just wouldn’t be complete without her now.

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Stuck Baby, Strong Mother: A Woman’s Harrowing Tale of Progress, Setbacks & Emotional Victory

Here a Naturo-Mommy, we support all births involving informed consent. This mother’s journey is an emotional roller coaster and her determination is commendable beyond measure. This is her story, in her words. Enjoy!

     I had been putting off induction all week slowly. My blood pressure was rising and the protein in my urine was fluctuating on the screening test from .2 to .4 to .3. Monday they wanted to start the process with prepidil or cytotec. I was totally against Cytotec and I asked “Well can we wait until Tuesday morning?” I showed up around noon on Tuesday. I was 50% effaced 2cm dilated and 0 station looking good, so we did the prepidil. My midwife thought I would go into labor easily. I stayed for the 1 hr monitoring and nothing. So I was told to do another prepidil. I told them I wanted to wait until the next morning since it was so late (6pm). but they wanted me to stay in town so I stayed at my Doula’s house down the street.

     I had pressure waves starting and going about 10 min apart from 9pm until I went to bed. I thought I would get woken up by labor but did not. I went in to do another prepidil in the morning 80% effaced, 3cm dialated, -2 station he was no longer engaged but at least otherwise I had progressed. Again they asked to do cytotec and I said no. This time, we were admitted to the hospital instead of doing the treatment at the birth center. My protein the night before was .7, they did another pre-e screening and my protein was only .2 again, which was confusing for all. My blood pressure also looked good. They did the prepidil, again nothing more than pressure waves 10 min apart. I tried everything to get it going but nothing. I asked if we could do the foley balloon. They said it wasn’t worth it since I was already 3cm. I tried everything to get labor going, but the waves were not picking up. I talked to several docs and midwives about cytotec as every single one of them liked it more and brought it up and they had really good outcomes with it, only a couple of times did they have to administer a drug to actually cut down on pressure waves but never anything serious. They thought the serious things were only when it was misused as in, too much. They only gave half a pill there. So by 6pm we had to make a decision about doing piton. I wasn’t looking forward to it and was exhuasted.

     With my protein down and my bp looking good they were questioning whether it was really necessary to induce. They also weren’t sure about the protein test since it was a brand new screening they had only been doing for a couple of weeks. So I talked with the OB and midwife and they decided to let me go home but made me do a 24 hour urine test. So at 6pm I went home. I really needed that, as I was exhuasted. I went to the chiropractor and the acupuncturist and the pressure waves started again. They were 7 min apart for 3 hours. I thought maybe this is it!! I went to sleep so I would be well rested, and well never got woken up by anything stronger. We went to the hospital and arrived about 11am. I gave them my urine and they were like, “Where’s the other bottle?” I said that was it. Ten minutes later, the OB was in. They said, based on the amount of urine I brought in my kidneys were not doing well. I said maybe I didnt drink enough? They said that it was still way too low.

     My protein came back it was 740 the threshhold was 350. They said, you are not leaving here until you have this baby. They checked me and I was back to 1cm but 100% effaced and -3 station. So we were backwards.. I finally gave in to the cytotec. First dose, nothing much again. Pressure waves only 7 min apart. I walked around, sat on the birth ball, did acupuncture… but nothing. So 5 hours later we reevaluated. This time we could do the foley balloon and the cytotec. My doula had gone home since nothing was happening and was planning on coming back in an hour. The balloon went in and 5 min later, (5pm) literally my pressure waves started STRONG and 1-2 min apart. I started listening to the hypnobabies track and my husband was using the relax cue. It was helping, but coping was difficult. My Doula showed up much not later. We did ‘relax, release’, and I was focused. The anesthesia wasnt working but I was coping and I was relaxed. An hour later, we decided to try the tub. It was really nice.

     By 8pm, the bulb fell out and I had finally hit 4cm! We were making good progress, but he still wasnt engaged at all. The pressure waves were still intense and 1-2 min apart. By 11pm I was 8cm but he was not engaged. My midwife suggested breaking my waters. We discussed and decided to go ahead. She poked them and it was slow leak, but he was still not engaged. Then she checked me again. I was now 6cm. We lost progress and he was still not engaged. I started to get frustrated and desperately thought “Why is this taking so long!” My doula, husband, nurse, midwife all helped me through every single pressure wave. I counted to 5 then, down to 1 to get through the intensity and used my hypnobabies tools, went in and out of the tub. It was exhausting mentally and physically, but I was holding it together.

    At 1am, I was 6cm and he was still not engaged. Same thing at 3am. I started to lose it. It had been 10 hours, I couldn’t focus anymore I was breaking down and throwing myself on the ground, wanting to push. I could not cope with the pain. I was screaming “Why is this taking so long, how much longer?” There was no end in sight and I didnt know how much longer I could take it. My doula/midwife/nurse tried to pull me together, but my blood pressure was rising. My midwife said it’s time for the epidural. If I didn’t get it they would have to do a c-section because my blood pressure was getting dangerous… I gave one last shot to pull it together, but just couldn’t. I was spent emotionally and physically… 10 hours of labor, still at 6cm and he still was at -1 station. If I was closer, I am sure I could have held it together, but I wasn’t. I was stuck at 6cm, so I gave in and said “Get me the epidermal.” Once I did that forget it. I was done. I wanted no more pain since I gave in. I was saying, “I am so done, please get me the epideral now. Please hurry!” I was crying, I was in a lot of pain and just lost my focus completely.

     Epideral was in. Now the only pain I felt was in my rectum but it was still intense and it even hurt between pressure waves.. We tried counter pressure and ice, which helped and it was more manageable. It also got my blood pressure back under control and I was now maintained to the bed. The epideral caused my pressure waves to decrease in frequency and intensity and it was continuing a downward trend. They were now only 10 min apart. We waited 90 min and no change, so it was time for pitocin. Pitocin worked and they were back to 1-2 in apart and intense, and I only felt them strongly in my rectum. I was 7cm dilated. Again, I still had to manage every single pressure wave. I didn’t get to rest much at all. One after another, and my team had to be strong so I could stay strong. Upp’ing the epideral did nothing because the pain was all in my rectum. This continued with very slow progress but by 11am, I was finally 9 1/2 cm. But he was posterior. Noon and still no change. I started to get the urge to push with every pressure wave and did give little pushes. The midwife said no it would only stress the baby out. He was strong, and so far no issues at all with this heart rate.

     By 1PM, the midwife decided that she would try to hold back the remaining cusp and try to turn him as I pushed… no luck, then the next one and the next one….then we let a couple go..wait there was a change! I was 10 cm, but now he was OT and stuck!! This was worse then OP…Now the midwife was losing all hope and called the OB in for a second opinion. She said the same. They discussed and decided that a section was imminent. I asked about spinning babies’ exercises, or maybe I can just push hard enough. They said they would let me push as long as baby and I were OK. We tried everything, hands and knees, squatting, side release (seriously we were on google learning how to do these with teh Doula/midwife/ and nurse all helping). Then there was hope! His heart rate was now lower on my abdomen. He moved! So we kept going and going and reevaluated and well my pushing was stellar. The midwife was totally impressed, but his head was not tucked and Occiput Transverse, so only part of his head was going down my pelvis. It was molding but it was still lodged. She tried to help, but there wasn’t much she could do. The OB also agreed. They said the other concern was when they saw a blip with the baby, so he was started to get stressed with his head being crushed with the pushing and my temperature was rising. If it went up any higher he would be in special care for 2 days minimum. The other concern was the strain on my uterus. If there was too much more the OB said there would be other damage which would decrease the chances of any VBAC and increase the risk of any other pregnancy.

     I said give me 30 more minutes, my pressure waves had also slowed down again and the pitocin wasn’t working. An hour before that we turned the pitocin off. So I had them turn it back on and turn off the epidural. The last 30 min I had almost 100% feeling back and full on pressure waves every 1-2 min so my pushes were harder with the help of the pressure waves. They let me we try a couple more positions and exercises and I gave it everything I had and then some. All of us. Rechecked and still the same. So I decided it was time for the section and started crying. I fell apart emotionally again, and that is when again the pain became completely unmanageable, I started screaming, “Please turn back on the epidural now. Please make it stop!! Please I am done I am so done, make it stop!!” The doula tried to pull me together, I was crying. She said you have to stay calm for you and the baby. You can do this. I said I can’t, I can’t. She said yes you can, and she counted with me. A couple more, you can do this. Finally, they gave me something, I said why do I still feel pain, and they said, well it takes a minute. One more… and another. Finally, I was feeling better, and starting to feel really scared.

     Everyone said I was so strong and they had never seen someone fight so hard for a vaginal birth after 20 hours of labor and an additional 4.5 hours of pushing. I talked to the midwife about what I wanted for the c-section. I begged them to delay cord clamping and for immediate skin to skin. Said another hospital did it. Then my husband asked everyone to leave the room for a minute. He wanted a moment alone with his wife. He started crying and said, “You are amazing and so strong and I am zoo sorry!! But we are going to get to meet Luke soon! I love you.” I said I love you too, and I said don’t leave him when they take him to the nursery, promise me and talk to him. He said don’t worry I won’t (Also later found out the nurses and midwives were crying as well, outside the room.) My husband asked if he could take pictures or video and the midwife took the camera and said she would take pictures for us. The midwife stayed with me and held my hand and talked me through everything telling me who everyone was. Husband was in the room. The procedure was pretty quick.

     They pulled him out and brought him to the warmer where they cleaned him up with my husband right there talking to him and I could see him as well. My husband even got to cut the cord. Then they brought him right over to me. We weren’t skin to skin but he was still on me and I could talk to him and see him and caress him with my hands. The midwife was taking pictures the entire time (we even have a shot of his head coming out of my abdoman and you can see the cone head in THE BACK of his head where I was trying to suck it thru). Then, instead of taking him to the nursery they put him back in the bassinet that was in the room and my husband and son stayed right there the entire time while they finished me up.

     Then, instead of bringing me to a recovery room, they brought us back to labor and delivery and my husband got to roll our son in the bassinet right behind me. Neither of them ever left me! This was the first time they ever did it this way. I got a ton more compliments from everyone there about how strong I was and how determined I was. Something they have either not seen, ever or very, very rarely. I felt at peace at the end. I was happy that all of us lived through the experience together. It brought us closer together as a family, and I think the hormones and him going partially down the canal helped in many other ways. So I’m thankful and I had an incredible support team and no regrets. We did what was necessary and at the end we got a healthy baby and I protected my uterus from further damage. Another upside is that afterward, the midwife told me I would be a great candidate for a VBAC and I have a great pelvis for birthing babies.

What an amazing story! And an amazingly strong mother with a wonderful birth team supporting her! Kudos to you, mama!

Feral Cat Finds A Good Home

I just wanted to share a bit with you about a little guy that’s been touching my heart for quite a few weeks. :)

My husband is a manager in the food industry. He’s seen a lot of people come and go. He’s seen a lot of things happen in and around the restaurant he works at and swaps stories with the managers of neighboring restaurants. Most often, the restaurant in the same parking lot as the one he works at. What he didn’t expect to see was a small family of cats move into the parking lot where he works. After seeing glimpses of three or more small cats in the area, he started hearing about a litter that lived nearby. They were feral and they were still in their mother’s care.

The sightings became more frequent as the weather warmed up and they seemed to be looking for scraps around the outsides of the restaurants. The consistent number always being three sibling cats. My husband has a soft spot and a knack for animals. Especially for, it seems, cats.

One of the sibling cats, then about 6-8 months old, was resting out of the summer heat under a vehicle. As the vehicle started and began to leave, the cat didn’t move and was killed immediately.

The other two, who were assumed to both be males stuck together like glue. If you saw one, the other was not far off. One brother, a grey striped cat was bold and confident. He seemed to be the alpha and strangely, the one that sought after the most food for the both of them.

As winter wore on, he was no longer seen with the last and remaining cat. It’s been assumed that he either couldn’t handle nature’s elements or that he was poisoned by a close by establishment where the patrons made several complaints about the cats living outside.

The one remaining cat, now alone, had nothing to do but hunt for scraps himself and sleep in dirty juniper bushes in the subzero freezing temperatures. My husband knew the cat was now alone and felt a tug at his heart. He gave the tabby cat old scraps from the restaurant. The cat wouldn’t come near him at first. At any slight sound, from in or around the restaurant, he’d bolt and be gone for a few hours.

My husband kept feeding him the scraps. Sometimes leaving them out, sometimes tossing pieces out, one by one until the cat got his fill. Every time my husband tossed a small piece of meat, he made sure to toss it a bit closer to himself.

After 6 weeks of patience, and a lot of food scraps, the cat came within arms reach. He’d never been touched by a human before. Surely he’d been kicked at by people that got close because he was a wild cat. It was almost like he ached to be touched. He arched his back and ran his sides along the walls and threw himself down on the ground, exposing his belly. After another week, he touched his nose to my husband’s outreached fingertips.

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A feeling of triumph swept over my husband and as the next couple days wore on, he was lightly and tentatively petting the cat while he ate, careful not to make sudden movements or scare him. After learning of the brother’s demise and that another establishment was poisoning the feral cats in the area, my husband became increasingly concerned for his little friend’s safety. He waited another week to gain his trust even more and lured him into an animal trap with food and brought him home. We named him Tabby.

We were adamant that he would not be an inside cat because that’s not where feral animals belong. He was happy outside and we were happy with him outside. Everything seemed to go well with the transition until the 4th night, after a female went into heat. Another male was prowling the neighborhood and sensed a male. Our male. Tabby was attacked by the male twice in the same two nights, leaving him with a dislocated elbow and an open infection behind his shoulder.

My husband and I were sure that he was just sore from the fight and draining infection. But after a week of him carrying his leg higher and higher, I became suspicious of a break or dislocation. Not expecting to have to pay a vet bill other than having him neutered so he didn’t keep making more ferals, we made payment arrangements with an animal hospital, who have been so kind to us and Tabby.

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He had to stay at the animal hospital overnight for observation and antibiotics because he had a high fever. The vet’s office loved him so much, they put a small handkerchief on him and nicknamed him Puss in Boots

We’ve had to keep him inside while he heals up and until he can have his splint off, but he’s been a rockstar. After about 10 days, you can’t tell he’s feral. He lets you hold him, he begs for petting. He now meows, which is something cats only do around humans and not other cats. He gets his last splint off tomorrow and I bet he’s so ready to be outside again in the fresh air.

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Tabby letting me scratch his belly. Right after this photo, he jumped onto the top of the couch and attacked my hair.

Even though we incurred a vet bill and have cat hair inside now(lol) we earned the love and trust of an animal that was supposed to die of poisoning alone, outside. We saved him and we hope that he knows that. We hope that other people might have more compassion for animals like him, instead of killing them and caging them. They can be spayed/neutered and rehabilitated if it’s done the right way.

Update: Fibroid in Breast and My Ultrasound

I wrote a blog post last week about my upcoming appointments and my worries concerning those appointments, due to a Fibroadenoma that I am very sure had to do with taking hormonal birth control. Just writing to update, after my ultrasound appointment on Friday.

That in and of itself was a bit of a roller coaster ride. I was sent to the hospital’s advanced imaging center, right next to the oncology ward. A reminder of how serious this type of stuff is. The things we put in our bodies, the cancer and illness and concern it causes…

When I found the advanced imaging center, I was greeted by an all-female staff. All warm and friendly. I waited 5 minutes to be checked in and afterwards was led to their secondary waiting area, where I was told about what I needed to do to prepare for the ultrasound. A nurse’s assistant led me to a changing room with a set of locking lockers. I was instructed to disrobe from the waist up (shirt, bra, jewelry), and if I’d put on deodorant handed a wet wipe and instructed to wipe it away.

 

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This is the gown I put on for the ultrasound procedure. It felt more like a flannel, short sleeved kimono and I kept wanting to bring my hands together and bow to the people I greeted.

The gown I put on had one button at the top, and a tie that came together from the side and the front , which would make it discreet and easy access for the procedure. When I was finished changing (and putting a photo on Facebook) I re-entered the secondary waiting area and filled out my family history report for cancer, hospitalizations, heart failure, number of live births, miscarriages, birth control usage, etc.

After I was finished, a nice ultrasound tech came to the waiting room and called me back, into the ultrasound room. Noticing my belly, she helped me ease onto the table and lay back. That was nice. I’d only really had help laying back or getting back up from a care provider twice. Every other provider just watched me struggle to get up. Anyway. She enters in my information for the scan (height, weight, DOB, expecting, etc). Asks if I’m ready for the ultrasound and helps me undo my gown. Puts the warm ultrasound goo on my areola, where the lump is.

The ultrasound starts and I can’t help but get an ominous feeling in my stomach and thoughts swirling in my mind “This is where women get bad news.” “This is where they have follow-ups from previous bad news, and are hoping for good news.” The tech is talking about what she’s seeing on the ultrasound and while I was thinking these things, I could hardly hear her.

After the initial ultrasound, a doctor came in after examining a few ultrasound pictures and examined the fibroid himself under ultrasound. He said the fibroadenoma was the biggest he’s seen. It actually took up two ultrasound frames on the screen to fit it all in. He really wasn’t very nice. I could hear the condescension in his voice when I told him how long I’d had the lump and also mocked for getting pregnant again. But he still yielded good information so I kept an open mind.

His recommendation was to wait for surgery after I have the baby. Because considering where the mass is at, it’s sitting right at an area with a lot of vessels and my milk ducts. They don’t know if they would need to take my milk ducts or not in the procedure. This was news I did not want to hear. The surgeons in this valley won’t perform on a pregnant woman because of the anesthesia. This is understandable. But at the time, I was half-crushed. I was so dead-set on not having to deal with mastitis and infection and clogged ducts this time that it didn’t dawn on me that: if I waited for this procedure, I might develop a clogged duct and mastitis when introducing the breast to my daughter, but I can still get through breastfeeding her with it, even if only for a few months. This would mean I would have a higher chance of breastfeeding her normally, without having to worry about low supply if I had the fibroadenoma taken out before having her.

I was so stuck on this one thought of PREVENTING getting sick that it bogged me down for almost a whole month. It didn’t occur to me to just wait and at least try to stick it out until she’s on solids. My worry wasn’t a total waste. It gave way to relief, when I found there was another way I could go about it all. And how can we know how good happiness or relief feels if we don’t experience sadness or grief, right?

One Thing Women Don’t Think They’ll Have To Worry About….

…until they do.

In this day and age, when everything is a hazard to your health, your health is never an exact guarantee. I believe women in particular are more exposed to more health hazards. We put things in our scalp, on our skin(sometimes SEVERAL different things), put things in and around our vaginas, and ingest things that are said to be good for us by medical establishments, for various reasons.

I am now a victim of commercial and mainstream consumption. I have a mammary fibroid from hormonal birth control. Called a Fibroadenoma. It most often occurs in women 35 years and older, but also in women that take hormonal birth control and once the fibroid is there, it is exacerbated and grows most when pregnant, breastfeeding or during menopause.

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In my case, I noticed a small pea sized lump in my breast in October or November of 2010 a couple months after starting the Ortho Evra birth control patch. It did what it was “supposed to do”, but it also caused an abnormal growth in my right breast. I didn’t think anything of it, until after I became pregnant with my second son in February 2011 and it began to grow. I tentatively asked my nurse practitioner and she said she didn’t know.

When I delivered my son in November 2011, my milk came in 3 days later. Everything happening normally. Until I developed a clogged duct, where the fibroid sat, right at my areola and I developed mastitis. It took a week to resolve itself and until then, it was very painful to breastfeed. Toe-curling pain at every latch.

The fibroid stayed about the same size for the 23 months I nursed my son. But when I became pregnant again in October 2013, it started growing once again rapidly. Now, at 28 weeks pregnant, it is about the size of 1.5 golf balls and I’m very worried about my upcoming breastfeeding relationship with my little girl that will make her appearance in June or July.

Ultrasound image of fibroadenoma
Ultrasound image of fibroadenoma

I had my provider look at the lump and we’ve scheduled a mammary ultrasound for the end of next week and I will see a doctor in the next two days. The future is very uncertain as I know wether it is removed or not there will be a lot of pain in the near future. I am pushing for removal before the baby comes to avoid another clogged duct and an even worse mastitis infection.

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Removed fibroadenoma

Removal might also mean that my milk ducts in my right breast will be severed, as the fibroid is right at the surface of my breast where the areola is. Normally, when they are removed they take extra tissue to ensure they’ve gotten all of the growth. It’s attached to or around a milk gland or duct so I know that will be removed as well, so having it sucked out by a needle isn’t an option.

I’m very unsettled by the thought of needing this removal and not having adequate supply for my daughter and very unsettled by the thought of being turned away for a removal procedure because I know what not removing it will lead to.

What are your experiences with this, if any? One with low supply due to any type of tissue removal?

Just a video of me explaining this whole ordeal:

And a video, showing what a mammary fibroid looks like on the outside:

Why I Chose To Co-sleep/Bedshare

There’s been quite a lot of talk about co-sleeping and bedsharing lately, so I thought I’d share some of my experience and some of the knowledge I picked up along the way.

Well, in all honesty, I didn’t choose bedsharing or cosleeping, my 2nd child made that decision for me. Let’s start there, leading right up to my daughter’s decision that bedsharing would be best for us.

My husband, our brand new daughter(our 2nd child together) got home after two sleepless nights in the hospital.(funny, I thought you were supposed to rest in the hospital) I’d probably gotten about 6 hours in those two nights. First night at home and I was exhausted just wanted to crash out already. It seemed she knew the exact moment I would drift off to sleep as she would start that newborn fuss and cry. This went on until 5am and I was delirious with lack of sleep and oh so frustrated.

We made our way upstairs where I decided to nurse her laying down. “Maybe I can put her to sleep with me beside her and just move her to her bassinet and….*SNORE*” We were both out like lights and sleeping like angels. I woke up 3 hours later, amazed that I hadn’t been woken once with her fusses and she was still sound asleep. I was in awe that my daughter knew exactly what she needed. Though, at the time, I figured it was just something she wanted rather than needed, but my husband and I were both content sharing our bed with her. My husband loved it and had done it with his previous spouse and older daughter.

I never imagined I would be a co-sleeper or bed sharer. Babies didn’t belong in their parent’s beds! What about rollovers! What about SIDS! Bedsharing and co-sleeping are possibly the most beneficial infant sleep practices that can be done when done safely. Key word: safely.

This means:

very little coverings, preferably a light breathable blanket or sheet

minimal pillows

firm surface

no persons under the influence of drugs, alcohol, sedatives or new medications with baby in the bed

Just to name a few. Those are the basics. Mothers that aren’t inhibited by intoxication tend to instinctually know where their babies are within the bed and are aware that their baby is beside them.

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In his article on the benefits of co-sleeping, Dr. Sears says this about co-sleeping:

Babies sleep more peacefully

Keep more regular and stable vitals (heartbeat, breathing, temperature)

Decreases risk of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

Better emotional health

Safer than crib sleeping

Not mentioned in the article, co-sleeping or bedsharing can be a benefit to mothers who breastfeed. Baby and mom don’t have to full wake up during a feed. The mother can respond immediately to her baby’s needs.

Another piece by Dr. Sears and the work he’s done and been included in shows proven scientific evidence that bedsharing and/or co-sleeping is better for baby, especially in the early months of the infant’s life, stating:

“Our study revealed that Lauren breathed better when sleeping next to Martha than when sleeping alone. Her breathing and her heart rate were more regular during shared sleep, and there were fewer “dips,” low points in respiration and blood oxygen from stop-breathing episodes. On the night Lauren slept with Martha, there were no dips in her blood oxygen. On the night Lauren slept alone, there were 132 dips. The results were similar in a second infant, whose parents generously allowed us into their bedroom. We studied Lauren and the other infant again at five months. As expected, the physiological differences between shared and solo sleep were less pronounced at five months than at two months.”

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While co-sleeping can decrease the risk of SIDS, the risk of suffocation when co-sleeping or bedsharing is not done safely is very real. It’s imperative parents are clear-headed and not intoxicated by any type of drug or alcohol when entering the bed with their infant. No heavy coverings may be in the top area of the sleep space, though they may be at or below knee level. The number of pillows are to be kept at a minimum of one per adult, which must be kept at head/neck level. The infant may not use a pillow as this is a suffocation risk.

Parents must take precautions to prevent baby rolling out of bed. Although this is unlikely as baby likes to be next to mom, it can happen. Some parents will take their beds off of the frame to make it closer to the floor, just in case so it’s not as far of a fall.

Try to keep baby on the opposite side of you than your partner. While you are instinctually aware of where your baby is, as a mother, fathers don’t have the luxury of always knowing that baby is right next to them and can roll over on baby.

A large bed is most comfortable. A queen or a kind sized mattress is usually best for a family of three sleeping in the same bed.

Some parents also find it beneficial to have a co-sleeper attached to their bed. They are either manufactured, which is what most parents prefer, or hand made. Pictured here(right side of the picture) is one that was made by a friend’s husband. (This was before their baby arrived, so they still have their large cover on their bed.)

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Some parents may also prefer to side car their infant’s baby crib next to their bed, as another of my friends did with her daughter in this photo.

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The possibilities and benefits of co-sleeping and bedsharing are endless when done safely and mindfully, just like with other parenting choices. Share your co-sleeping experiences or photos with us on our Facebook page!

When You Aren’t Connected To Your Pregnancy

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This discussion is often not talked about and avoided and I wanted to write a post about it to sort of break the silence it’s brought to a lot of mothers and mothers-to-be.

Pregnancy. Expecting a new baby. What could be more exciting than having a little life growing inside of you? What on earth could possibly make a lot of women happier? Well, the reality of it is…… sometimes women aren’t happy or excited to be expecting. This might be an unplanned pregnancy. She might have never pictured herself as a mother. She may have had previous traumatic pregnancy experiences. She may not be in a stable environment. She may have even been raped.

The truth is, not everyone is going to be happy about having conceived a child. And society’s projection onto women is that it’s supposed to be a joyous experience and anything outside of that is not normal. It IS normal to not be excited about a pregnancy or not feel connected. And feel even more alienated when they’re invited out shopping for the baby they’re not excited for.

I know that for me, my last two pregnancies were unplanned and I was not excited. I was on birth control, I was not in an ideal situation and definitely not looking at all to add more children to my life. I had planned on having two children and only two. Nature had other plans and now we have #4 on the way. I remember being very angry when I found out I was expecting my 3rd. And then very sad when I found out about our 4th. Both took a lot of time to get used to. I projected a happy mood and spoke of plans, but on the inside my heart wasn’t in it.

I feel where I lacked in attachment to my pregnancy and growing baby(with #3) I tried to make up for by researching best outcomes and how I could get those outcomes. Which turned out great in the long run. I found my instincts in parenting(attachment parenting), I was very successful at breastfeeding him and bonding with him chemically, I had a natural delivery with him, so I got all of the oxytocin rush and hormone. My not bonding with him during my pregnancy turned into a beautiful thing because I ended up giving him a beautiful first two years of his life.

Mothers are often alienated when they voice feeling this way, as if they’re some sort of monster. “Oh my gosh, how could you just not love your baby?” It’s not that simple. It’s complex and the mother might not even understand why she feels that way. It’s best to just come forward understanding, compassionate and caring. This isn’t easy for her.

Here are some other mothers’ and mothers-to-be’s experiences on the matter.

Heather writes about what helped her quell prenatal detachment:

“Ultrasounds helped with my first. Being able to see her and know she was really in there. Feeling her move and focusing on the idea that there was a baby doing that (which was still kind of an abstract concept to me).”

A mother, who wishes to be anonymous talks about the alienation she feels about her current(3rd pregnancy):

“…With this baby depression has set in early. Its not that i don’t love my kids with all my heart, but I am having a hard time feeling bonding with the baby in me. When people find this out, they assume I didn’t want this baby and immediately assume I was going to abort her or give her up.. Then they go into how i should have been more careful.. It really hurts my feelings because society makes you feel like you should always be excited. But it was the same with Baby H too. Once i actually gave birth to her I immediately felt a bond.”

Have you experienced prenatal detachment? How did you stop it? Did it get better as time went on or did it continue after baby was born at all?

Open Letter To Trolls

About these trolls first:

These are not your normal everyday comment trolls on Facebook or random blogs. These trolls are programmed to “seek and destroy” anyone who doesn’t have it all together.

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Trolls from Trolls With Wooden Spoons are people that really do have a sense of entitlement to pass guiltless judgement on anyone that they happen upon, no matter their situation, no matter their efforts to change the thing that they’re bitching about in the first place. They lurk EVERYWHERE that there might be a natural parenting discussion. They have an aversion to “the woo”, which is what they call crunchy parenting and you often see flame posts and screenshots of their obscene sessions of discrediting and bashing the natural parenting community. They are a parasite!

So this leads me to my letter(and excuse any expletives, if there are any):

Dear Trolls,

I don’t know who you think you are to pass any sort of judgement on people who don’t have their lives in perfect order. While you claim to “only be brutally honest” and “help people out whenever you can” I call BULLSHIT. You are not JUST brutally honest, you twist situations around to make it the person’s fault and tear the person down, and keep them knocked down. How does that help someone? How would you expect anyone to want to want help if that’s the sort of “help” they’re getting?

Not everyone will have their lives perfectly in order and I don’t know any good person that would treat someone this way that has been in the same situation as the person they’re bashing. It’s not just not right, it’s unfair. Wrong on so many levels!

Would you want people saying the same stuff about YOUR daughters? Would you get outraged and call it internet bullying? That’s what I call it. Bringing someone’s past back to haunt them over and over? Tearing them down with insults every chance you get? Yes, that’s cyber bullying. You are all bullies, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, pretending to “just be here to help”. I see no helping in the way you speak about other people WITHOUT their knowledge. How is that “helping”? Claiming to just be there to help people they think are troubled, but yet, most of the people you talk about don’t even know you’re talking about them and how fucked up you think their life is?

Guess what! YOU DON’T KNOW THESE PEOPLE OR THEIR FULL SITUATIONS! Best thing you can do for your sick sad minds is to focus on your own lives because they’re obviously not that great if you can spend so much time being c**ts about people you know nothing about.

Regards and Happy Holidays!

Daughters and Their Fathers

I think about this almost daily, as a now grown female, not having a positive male role model in my life. I think about daughters having a healthy, happy father everyday, as I see my husband play and adore and laugh with my daughter.

I recently read a piece by Joyce McFadden, Psychoanalyst, author of ‘Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women’ and felt compelled to write about my thoughts on the importance of a father or 2nd parenting role model(maybe a 2nd mother? ;) ) in a girl and young woman’s life.

I grew up with an absent/abusive father. When he wasn’t gone driving truck on the road, he was high on drugs. I saw my mom get hurt physically by him, I feared his voice, his hands and his belt. “Wait until your father gets home” was my mother’s mantra when we were children. What a wonderful way to see a father. Someone to be feared, because he ruled with an iron fist…. or belt, what have you. I didn’t cut ties with him until two years ago and it was very freeing. Free of the holds his abuse had over me.

Girls shouldn’t have to endure that. They need to be cherished by their fathers, and as Joyce McFadden mentions in her article “not locked away until she’s 30”. Our girls need to be loved and respected, but they need to be given the freedom to make their own mistakes with the guidance and love of both parenting models.(if both are at her disposal) Young women need to trust their bodies and love the way they look, no matter what. Imagine being ashamed to look good to someone else because that enlisted security precautions by your father. “Lock up your daughter and get a shotgun! She’s got a boyfriend!” No. All you’re teaching her is that you can’t trust her, she shouldn’t trust herself, she can’t trust any boy, and that she is a VICTIM to the world.

Joyce Mcfadden goes on to name 3 things that fathers can do to ensure they are raising a daughter that can trust herself, her father and others she becomes close with. Those three things being:

1) Respecting her body and its capacities.

Meaning: Don’t avoid using correct anatomical terms of her body and don’t be ashamed of her maturing body’s process.(menstruation, etc)

2) Being close isn’t just when she is just a child.

Don’t become absent when she begins to mature into a young woman. It is so tempting for men to shut their eyes, plug their ears and yell “lalalalala” when the mention of their daughter maturing comes to subject. They can’t fathom the loss of their daughter’s innocence after the pre-pubescent years. They can’t imagine that their daughter might become a spectacle of young boys. Fathers remember when they were teenagers themselves. So the first instinct is to lock her away and strictly police any boy they might see near her. (I lovingly call this “shotgun complex”) Your daughter NEEDS to know that you’re by her side, even in the new body she has, that she will have for the rest of her life. Make her feel confident and let her trust herself.

3) She needs to be shown who the right guy is.

Can’t say enough that a young girl or woman will date a guy who is like or resembles her father the most. I was raised by abusive men, and I’ve dated abusive men. Men who remind me alot of my dad. My husband shares my dad’s first name. Pay attention to how you verbally address and view women around her. Or in general. Remember, these other women are also someone else’s daughter.

In conclusion, since it’s nearing 2AM here, I will finish with Joyce’s last paragraph of her article.

*****

“In my research, one of the most common things daughters said about their fathers was they wish they were more communicative. So, take the risk on behalf of your daughter, and open the door for the two of you to talk about sexual matters. Don’t worry if you’re nervous — in fact, cop to it. Tell her you weren’t raised to be comfortable talking about sexuality, but that you’re going to forge ahead because you never want her to ever question your regard for her wellness and happiness. She won’t care if you fumble through it at first. Let her know you understand her sexuality will be an important part of who she is throughout her life and that you want her to always be comfortable in, and proud of, her body.

Let her know she should be treated with the respect she deserves, and that it’s your honor, as the first man in her life, to set that bar high.”

WARNING: OB/GYN’s & *ahem* MED-wives With Attitudes

A compilation of sad and scary quotes from the people we’re supposed to trust with our babies’ and our lives:

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Wouldn’t it be great if people in the maternity field had this sign slapped onto their backs? So many women end up with these “special” OB’s or as I like to call some midwives “MED-wives”(midwives that are just as entitled and medicalized as OB’s). I’ve seen quite a few doozies over the last couple days, of women being ridiculed, put down and some of these providers were just plain stupid! I had fun putting these together and interacting with the people that shared their stories with me. Some of them may be a trigger, so if you see something you don’t like, please scroll past.

Darcy Anne heard this being said to her sister in law:

“I sat there and listened while my Sister In Law’s Ob told her that if she had a homebirth, she and her baby would die. Sister In Law said “So will you let me try a VBAC in the hospital?” OB said no. Sister In Law said “Fine then, I’m having a homebirth. Goodbye.” She had a beautiful VBA2C at home, 12 hours of labor.”

After being told someone else’s pregnancy results, saying she was pregnant, Korie says:

“An OB I saw told me I was selfish and my baby was doomed because I wouldn’t consent to a pap smear.”

At a practice where she was very briefly seen,  Kristyn said that she was told this by an OB/GYN:

“”I LOVE C-sections, I LIVE for C-sections……*pause*……but vaginal birth is nice too.” This was one of the OB’s with the midwife practice at the hospital that I saw briefly.”

Amanda had this said to her when she went to the clinic sick one day:

“This doctor asked me “uhh are you pregnant??” And then said “Do you even know how babies are made??” I wasn’t even pregnant!”

Kelli T was grieving when she heard this:

“I was in the midst of a miscarriage and there was a doctor that was sharing space with my ob/gyn who is a fertility specialist. I was laying on the table crying and she asked me what was wrong. I said that I didn’t want to lose my baby. She proceeded to say that it was God’s way of telling me my baby was going to be retarded. She achieved her goal of stopping the tears but i’m sure she wasn’t ready for the firestorm that followed that stupid statement. Needless to say, she was gone shortly after. I’m still amazed to this day that she thought that that statement was calming.”

Kelli Delgado heard this gem while in labor:

“When I was in labor with my first child, I expressed my concern to the OB that being in the lithotomy position compressed the pelvic inlet, resulting in less room for the baby to pass through (which, by the way, is standard anatomical knowledge). He looked at me and said, “This is why I wish pregnant women wouldn’t try and study up. No, being in the lithotomy position actually widens the pelvic inlet. You just need to stop breathing and push harder.””

Said to a fit and healthy  Kelsey H.  by a MED-wife:

“I need you to log your diet for two weeks so I can make sure that you’re giving adequate nutrition to your baby. Also, you’re due for the flu shot soon so you can keep that baby protected!”

And another from said “med-wife”:

“You really should consider circumcising this baby. After all, your first son is already circumcised and there are many benefits to the procedure.” When my friend questioned the “benefits” she started searching her office for papers (which didn’t turn up) and said, “Oh, there are benefits, trust me. I have some literature on it, I just need to find it. I’ll give it to you at your next appointment.”

Heather was looking to get a c-section when she heard this from her OB:

“Do you want the calender to pick out your csection date?”

Said to Aleta :

“Your baby is going to be too big, so we are going to have to give you a csection.” (Mother refused, baby came when doctor was out of town and no c-section required. Son came earth side 7lbs. 9 oz. At 39 weeks and 4 days)

When Aleta walked into the hospital in active labor and 4 cm dilated, her nurse tried to hang pitocin on the IV rack: “What is that?”
“Oh nothing, just pitocin. It’s standard for first time moms.”

While Terri was receiving an ultrasound, the OB informed her he/she would be using an internal ultrasound for the procedure. When she was apprehensive, her doctor said:

“If you can take a penis, you can take this!”

Said to  Heather A. prior to her required c-section:

“Can you hypnobirth your way through a c-section?”

“Someone like HER is basically guaranteed to have a cesarean section!” – OB to Heather K. when asked what the chances were that a first time mom with no pregnancy issues would need a true emergency cesarean.

This is the state of our maternity care in the U.S. and I know COUNTLESS women who have turned a blind eye because they just don’t believe it could be true that doctors could do that to someone they are supposed to care for. All I can do is present this information in a public place and hope someone who doesn’t know will have an open mind and change their thinking.

What has been said to you by a care provider?

Perineum by Materna Medical

Body by Vi is to fitness as Perineum by Materna Medical is to…. stretched perineum?

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Let me tell you what I mean by this. A company called Materna Medical has come up with a “labor device” to stretch the perineum slowly because they claim that the baby stretches everything too quickly and causes significant damage to the pelvic floor. While it’s true that injury can occur during the birthing process, it is rare that there is irreparable damage or damage that requires actual surgery. Most of it, such as tearing, is natural during birth. Here are some of the injuries they claim is so common in undisturbed vaginal birth.

The OB/GYN or Midwife insert this labor device in the first stage of labor. So they are asking women to come in during the beginning stages of labor for this thing to actually be “useful” in their eyes. Anyone that knows anything about laboring naturally and planning a hospital birth knows to wait as long as they can, so as to avoid interventions. 

This Materna Medical Laboring Device seems to be the new “first” in medical intervention. The first in a slew of more interventions to come, if the doctor convinces mom to have pitocin, an epidural and eventually or most likely a c-section or episiotomy. 

One of the biggest problems I see with this device is that it would NOT be needed if women were off of their backs during labor and during the pushing stage. The lithotomy position is widely used in hospitals because it’s more convenient for doctors to be able to see what is going on during the birthing process. What they fail to acknowledge is that this position closes the pelvic opening by up to 33% and this is what causes more significant damage and could lead to even more intervention, such as vacuum or forceps removal.

Yet another problem I see with this device is that since it is not FDA approved, they are using it on women in other countries to avoid being prosecuted or sued for damages. It says right in the first  paragraph of this page that it is not FDA or TGA(therapeutic goods administration) approved.

Maybe they should use less time and energy by studying normal birth instead of wasting it on devices that will be another lawsuit commercial in the next couple years. If more women were off of their backs in the labor room or weren’t even IN the labor room, we would not see injuries as significant as these. Researchers and doctors would not feel the need to create such absurd “devices” to prevent these injuries.

Women need to be more educated on first their RIGHTS as a patient. She cannot be told what to do or forced to do anything(be on her back) and she should stay home as long as possible and exhaust her other pain management options before consenting to an epidural so she can still birth in other, more natural and effective positions.

Weaning Levi: The Grief and the Relief

I wanted to wait at least a week to write about this, just to make sure Levi was done breastfeeding, but my heart is so full, I need to let it out.

I want to start by saying nursing my almost 21 month old son has been such an enlightening and beautiful journey! I have learned so much from him and from my peers during this time. It would be difficult to include all of it in one post. But I wanted to compile what I documented of our nursing relationship and what I have learned.

I had Levi late November 2011. The first couple days were rough, as he was in the NICU and he was hooked to several cords and wires. I hand expressed colostrum to syringe feed him the first day and the 2nd and 3rd days were spent ensuring he got a wide enough latch. We were discharged on the 3rd day, right after my milk came in, in full force.

My milk came in so strongly that I developed clogged ducts over the next week. It was so painful, I, even as a strong breastfeeding advocate, almost decided to call it quits to avoid the pain of breastfeeding with a clogged duct.

We made it through, of course, and he never had a bottle or drop of formula.

When he was almost 6 weeks old, we helped organize and participated in our local Target Nurse-In.

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My daughter, Casey, at the Target Nurse-In. Levi and I are in the top left corner.

I continued breastfeeding Levi, and advocating women’s rights, working with Michelle Hickman and many many other wonderful women, including Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg from Best For Babes, Jennifer from Family Friendly Business and Paala from her wonderful blog Paa.la and so many more!

This will be a bit pic-heavy, but this is all that I’ve documented of my breastfeeding relationship with Levi.

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This was a little ad campaign that I did around the time of the Target Nurse-In. I think Levi was about 7 weeks here.

Levi at 7 weeks, right before Naturo-Mommy blog/page was born!

Levi at 9 weeks. We struggled with a lazy latch for a time, because he liked to sleep while nursing and my supply was large, but we got over it.

Levi at 3 months. All that chunk was from my breast milk!
Levi at 3 months. All that chunk was from my breast milk!

He loved nursing so much that he would fall asleep with his face buried in my cleavage…

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I loved when he would gaze into my eyes as he’d nurse. Such a deep and powerful connection there.

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Four months old, looking into my eyes
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Eight months old, taking a nursing break from a camping road trip.

While we were pulled over at the gas station, I was almost accosted by a stranger who “didn’t want to see that” but my husband stepped up to the door and started talking to me. So the threw me a dirty look instead.

Nine months old and playing while nursing. I actually got banned from Facebook for a few days for this video.

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Eleven months old, support for a call to action by Breastfeeding Peaches of Georgia to help change legislation.

As soon as Levi turned 11 months, I started to become very nervous about breastfeeding and the holidays. Even more so, because Levi would just be turning one around Thanksgiving and my family is squeamish about full-term breastfeeding. So I wrote about breastfeeding during the holidays, in hopes that it would quell my fears and anxieties and help others that were feeling the same way I was feeling.

Sure enough, when I started nursing Levi after I ate Thanksgiving Dinner, my sister threw a jacket over Levi. To which he threw a fit and then everyone turned to see, when before they didn’t even take notice.

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Christmas marked just over 13 months of us breastfeeding & I was amazed at how far we’d come.

Although I was proud of our accomplishment, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head, egging me on to wean. See, Levi liked both breasts out so he could nurse on one side and twiddle the other. The twiddling drove me so mad that it made me not want to nurse. I tried for 6 solid months to get him to stop. A few months ago, I came to a place where the twiddling hardly bothered me anymore and I enjoyed nursing him again. It was almost as though my body was trying to tell me that this wasn’t going to last much longer, so I needed to embrace what was left of it.

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And since my daughter only saw me feeding a baby with a breast, she would nurse her baby dolls. This made me so proud!

When Levi was almost 15 months, I found a photographer to that would do portraits of me nursing. And I am so glad to have had that opportunity to capture him still as a small child and still breastfeeding.

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There was another call to action in March, when Facebook started going on the fritz with deleting breastfeeding photos again. Several people were banned anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days for these violations. So FB vs. Breastfeeding was created and a nurse-in ensued and at the time, I could only show my support through photos:

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At 16 months, he was most comfortable sitting up and nursing.
At 16 months, he was most comfortable sitting up and nursing.

This is around the time that the twiddling started to not bother me anymore. I’m not sure what happened, but I was very glad because I didn’t want to be done nursing but I didn’t want to feel like I was enduring the sound of nails on a chalkboard, either.

This is also around the time that my camera broke and my cell phone got turned off, so I really didn’t take any pictures after that.

This is the last photo I took of us nursing in late July. He’d just woken up from a nap and needed a little snuggle-milk.

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It’s hard to believe he hasn’t nursed in 3 days. He used to not be able to go more than 5 hours without breastfeeding. I imagined that I would need to help him along with weaning around 2.5-3 years old. He tugged at my shirt and whined and cried whenever I would try to disctract him from the breast if I didn’t want to nurse him at that time. This was happening just a week ago.

My breasts got extremely engorged for the first two days. He was nursing a couple times throughout the day and I always nursed him to sleep for nap time and nighttime, so I still had a considerably large supply at almost 21 months.

The first day, I continued to try to offer the breast in hopes to curb the fullness in my breasts. But he did the same thing every time. Biting and crying. He seemed to be in pain whenever he tried to nurse. He wasn’t the only one crying, though. I was so full that the stretchmarks on my breasts were no longer faded and it was painful to touch my breasts at all. I wouldn’t be able to encourage a letdown until the 2nd day and I started to accept that he may not want to nurse anymore. I put cabbage leaves in my bra to start the drying up process.

Today, I’m not swollen and sore, but I’m struggling with not having that closeness with him anymore. It was so sudden, so painful. While I’m sad, and missing the connection and chemical bond, I am finding relief in his independence. This mix in emotions is so confusing and I wish I had prepared myself more for this. I would like to just be content in his choice to be finished. I am, however, happy with the memories and the knowledge breastfeeding him has given me.

I made it past many milestones and overcame things I didn’t think I could overcome and helped to make a difference in my advocacy work. If it had not been for Levi, I wouldn’t have all of that and I feel so blessed and honored to have had that connection with a little person so special as him.

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