Archive for April, 2011

April 25, 2011

New Address!

Hi Friends! I have switched from to which lets me do fancy stuff. Just in case I ever learn how to do fancy stuff!! I realized that my subscriber buddies may not be getting the new post updates because you are subscribed to this address instead of the new one, . Wondering if you would be so kind as to click over and resubscribe?  I promise, no more moving after this!!!  Thank you for reading!

April 16, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

You aren’t going to believe this.  I have found the happiest place on earth and it is located somewhere in fairly rural Pennsylvania!

Foliage Farm Plants for Sale

Having driven by this Elysium on several occasions, my husband and I decided to finally stop and take a peek yesterday.  I am so happy to report that it was every bit as perfect as I imagined it would be.

Rows and rows of every kind of flowering tree, shrubs, exotic trees, perennials, and beautiful pottery pots (for very little money!) delighted us at this heavenly little place called Foliage Farm.  We had this initial thought that since we were far from home, we wouldn’t actually be able to buy anything.  We left our wallets in the car and thought we would just explore a little to see what was there.  From the road it appears to be an enormous expanse of living things.  And it is.  Of course as soon as we stumbled upon these, we had to revise our plan and grab our wallets!

Foliage Farm Pots

In total we ended up with 6 of these beauties.  Even my husband was visibly giddy over the extremely low prices on the pots!  A pot like this at the evil box store (which will remain nameless) cost us $20 a few weeks back.  These pots were bigger, prettier, and way less expensive!

Once we had broken the seal, it was all down hill.  First a picked up a couple innocent little perennials.  A cute scabiosa.  Then a wallflower which I had heard from @4bratz2luv look great in the front yard and attract lots of butterflies and bees.  Then the cutest little dianthus in ruby red with great grassy-looking foliage.  Oh and bit by bit I ended up with 10.  It was a beautiful sunny day (on cloud 9) surrounded by living, green, springy things!  What a difference 1 zone makes. We are still without green grass or anything blooming.

Before we checked out we contemplated the many beautiful flowering trees.  There were several we would have brought home had we a slightly bigger vehicle.  The gorgeous yellow butterfly magnolia would be at the absolute top of my list. Its delicate blossoms looked like orchids perched on its slender branches.  Alas, too big.  We ended up with a star magnolia in the backseat all the way home and it is precious.  It is our first tree together.  My husband immediately felt protective of our little one and ask me all the way home, “how’s he doing? is he too bendy? is he OK back there???” and we mentally rearranged our yard several times to imagine the perfect spot for him.

Of all the ways to spend a sunny Friday afternoon, that has to be the best.  I seriously think it was a strong 9 on a 1-10 scale and about as close to perfection as a day on this earth could be.  How lucky I am in this life to have love, abundance, and a star magnolia.

April 11, 2011

One of Our Own: Thoughts on Birth

My son was an emergency c-section.  He was born at 42 weeks and was an undiagnosed footling breech when I went into labor.  I had planned a home birth in water and was greatly looking forward to it, having had such a great home birth experience with my daughter several years prior.  At around 41 1/2 weeks one of my backup doctors had a “weird feeling” and actually called me at home to request that I stop in.  He was concerned and I was very resistant as I had lots of birth courage from my 1st birth (a very positive, empowering experience).  I put him off and then finally agreed to go in. A midwife in their office felt for the baby and noticed right away that the baby was not head down.  An ultrasound confirmed that baby was a footling breech.  My doctor agreed to do an external version the next day at the hospital and even agreed to get the room with the big bathtub.  I had had two external versions already and greatly preferred the one that began with a long warm bath.  That one was less painful.

My backup doctors & midwife realized he was breech midday and very shortly thereafter I went into labor.  I was an hour from home when I went into labor and knew I would have to drive home, get stuff, and return to the hospital.  Also, my mom was with me.  Since telling her before we were home would have put her in a panic, I kept the contractions to myself and didn’t mention it until we were driving up our street.  I told her we would have to very quickly pack a bag, grab something to eat (I am such a rebel, I know this), and make arrangements for my daughter (then 3).  At the house I admit, I dawdled.  I made myself dinner to eat in the car.  I packed up an assortment of adorable baby clothes and blankets, I brought my own diapers.  And reluctantly, I got into the car and headed back to the hospital.

Somehow, my crazy mind still harbored the hope that I would be able to change this situation to go my way.  I held out hope to the very last second, that I would be spare this c-section because I had a home birth! I was a vehement, educated, read-everything-Ina May-every-wrote, natural birth fanatic.  There was no way I could even entertain the idea of having a c-section.  And then I had one.  Even my midwife/doula friend told me it was unsafe to attempt an external version while in labor at 42 weeks.  So I had the c-section.  It is almost 6 years later and I still can’t believe that it happened to me.  It was one of the worst days of my whole life.  Not exactly what a Mama wants to feel when she is welcoming her darling baby into the world.

I was, however, very happy to have the chance to labor even as I begged and pleaded for any outcome other than surgery.  I lost that, and many other in-the-hospital-related battles.  I got my healthy baby, yes, but I had to endure a whole lot of misery, discomfort, & outright terror (surgery carries many many many risks, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) in order to get him.  Six years later it still hurts me to think about that day, to think about the birth I really wanted, to read stories about vaginal breeches, or to hear about the c-sections being forced upon women through fear and intimidation.  I have made it my mission to help educate friends and relatives about the cascade of interventions so that they might be spared.  It seems like all of us who are passionate about birth do this, and rightfully so when we are doing it to help protect the Mamas we know and love.

An unfortunate side effect of my passion and zeal is that sometimes, I might not realize that the Mama I am talking to is one of our own.  And I might, inadvertently say things that could cause one of our own to feel badly about an unavoidable c-section.

We who are passionate natural birth advocates have to find a way to educate those who are not aware of the risks of the medical model of birth while being careful not to hurt each other should we stumble upon one of our own.  Most c-sections are the result of too many interventions & doctors trying to control mother nature.  But between a medical community which no longer knows how to deliver (nor will allow the delivery of) breeches, twins, VBACs, etc and true emergency situations, there are Mamas who know about birth, don’t want a c-section, and need our support.

Knowing what we know about the joy & empowerment of natural birth, how can we create a simulation of that empowerment and sacred feeling of birthing for someone who didn’t get the birth she wanted?

This post is dedicated to Carmen (@granolamom). I truly hope that this 3rd and final birth is joyful, fun, exciting, and sacred.  To send Carmen sweet baby-welcoming blessings, please tweet using the hashtag #mothersblessing.  Love to all who have experienced a disappointing or painful birth.
April 10, 2011

Baby Carrying in a Rural Ecuadorian Community

Here are some pictures I grabbed when my daughter and I were travelling in Ecuador last year. This was a community we visited in a very isolated, rural area at a very high elevation (we had some elevation sickness while we were there!!) My daughter did some fundraising for this school as they were a fairly poor community with very few supplies at their school. Some kids from a Quito school were visiting the same day we were, and doing some activities with the kids.  But I thought you all would enjoy seeing these:

April 9, 2011

Baby Carrier Fashion Show. Link Up!!

Well after a little twitter chat about how many carriers @FreeChildhood has, it became apparent (pun intended) that we need to do a little show and tell to compare our favorites! Please dig out your favorite photos of you or a friend with a little one in a couple of your all time favorite carriers and post your link here!  Can’t wait to see the variety of colors and styles!  How many different kinds of carriers do you think we can amass in one location? This is fun. 🙂

Ok, Here is mine:

Nursing at the top of Vrooman's Nose Wearing the Baby Bundler

With both my kids, though I was huge on carriers, I didn’t have the massive collection that a lot of mamas have.  Next time I will know better and stock up early! I only had a backpack, a bjorn (which I almost never used past the newborn phase), a Maya Wrap, and my absolute favorite (shown here) a Baby Bundler.  I haven’t heard a lot of people mention the bundler, but I used it constantly and loved it. I carried my kids even as older toddlers in this carrier as it was so soft, stretchy, and supportive and spread the weight of them all over so I didn’t get sore.  I could probably carry my son in it now, if I wanted to and he is 5!  It came in handy plenty of times for other things too, having it with us all the time gave us something to sit on and something to cover baby up with in the chilly evening when we were out and about.  I got so attached to it, in fact, that I seem to have missed out on all the other amazing, colorful, comfortable carriers out there! We are remedying that right now!  Enjoy!

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April 9, 2011

Home, At Last!

A Cute House on A Cute Street, Much like ours

We did it.  We have our own house.

Getting to this point (for me) has been a long, arduous, expedition.

Post high school wrap up: After trying out an assortment of colleges, moving all around (Virginia, LA, Massachusetts, VT, my hometown), two kids, a failed marriage, several failed attempts at a graduate degree (first in hocus pocus, then in teaching), and many, many years of intergenerational living (a fancy way to say I gave up and moved back home), it is SO nice to feel the success of completion.  The last 14 years have been very, very hard! Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of fun and joy throughout those hard years. All the patience (aka endless procrastination) has finally paid off.

After 4 undergrad colleges, I got a BA.  After 3 graduate schools (all in different subjects, lol) I got an MBA! After a failed marriage and roughly 50 books about relationships, knowing the self, improving the self, personality theories, finding the one, being a good dater, and aspects of good marriages, I found myself a mate.

He was at grad school too.  Of course I didn’t decide to like him until we were almost completely finished with our 3 years of being in class together, being partners in our classes, and rearranging our schedules to take classes together (so we could work on projects together instead of taking our chances with whatever random partner we would get otherwise)… So we dated for almost a year (heck we didn’t realize we had already been dating for 3!) and then eloped.  After 11.5 months of careful saving and planning, we were able to buy a house!!!

At long last, I have everything I could have ever hoped for: a perfect-for-me husband, 2 great kids, an education, and a beautiful home. (#gratitude)

I recently read a tweet which referred to an article and some work being done about c-section babies and how it can be hard for us to feel effectual.  Um… yes! I really liked this article because it gave me a handy reason for why it has taken me so very long to get my act together.  The author’s main premise is that because a fetus’ goal is to get the heck out of the womb (at the right time) and that it is a baby-driven (with the help of some hormones) initiative, the interruption of this process for a cesarean (necessary or not, emergency or not) creates a feeling of disempowerment for the baby (read: and the child, and the adult if not treated).  The three main symptoms cited by Dr. Emerson are “stuck & unable to move,” “giving up,” “intruded upon & misunderstood,” and “rescue fantasies.”  I can certainly relate to the “stuck & unable to move” and the “intruded upon/misunderstood” symptoms as well as the tactile issues he mentions elsewhere in the article.

I am a bit of a sucker for any kind of psychological explanation.  I almost always have some type of psychology-themed paperback in hand (or three or four, which gives my husband ample fodder for teasing).  But you know what, for all the excuses people make in life (myself especially) it is nice to have a reason, WHY.  Having a reason WHY makes it possible to strive to create better conditions for next time, or for others…

My son was born through emergency c-section.  I certainly don’t want him to take 14 years to become a grown up! (Unless it takes 14 years because he is having a wonderful time traveling the world, surfing, and exploring his passions.  That would be fine with me.)  I want him to feel empowered, effective, in control of his destiny, happy.

I don’t know if my “failure to launch” was influenced by my birth, my muddled path, or just plain chance.  I do know that finally graduating from that weird purgatory of in-between is about as heavenly as anything I have ever experienced!  And now that I have this mild obsession with home-ifying our new house, subsequent posts will likely address the myriad joys of painting, repairing, and beautifying.  Stay tuned!