Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve

I just finished a beautiful batch of Peppermint Meltaway Cookies. *My sister-in-law's blog. View, comment and follow!*

The only thing I did differently with this recipe was roll the balls of cookie dough in my hands with additional loose flour. This seemed to help keep them from flattening in the oven. I have no idea if it really did, but my second batch came out much better than the first when doing so. :)

We're heading out to go to Christmas Vigil, so I only have time to post a yummy picture.

Definitely a favorite the season. :) Enjoy! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Churchgoers
I'm convinced my church is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. After my husband and I got married and moved into our home, we "shopped around" at the churches nearby. It wasn't a hard decision to pick one and become parishioners there. One of the reasons we chose OLV was because it is absolutely gorgeous, and I wanted my kids to have something aesthetically pleasing to look at every week, especially when they are too young to grasp what's going on.

Another reason I wanted to go here was the size - it's huge! Not just physically, but the attendance as well. A part of me wanted to belong to a Church where everyone didn't know each others' business. Where we could just go to Mass and focus on our family. And not worry about people checking up on us. Because, as we all know, once you start going to the noon Mass, everyone expects to see you there and thinks ill of you if you don't show. God forbid you catch an earlier or later time. Or the vigil (oooh the horror!).

But that's not my focus here. My observance today (at the Noon Mass, by the way. Where were YOU?) was the humor in people's attitudes. I heard a saying that people behave like Christians, but only on Sundays. And even then, only until they try to leave the parking lot. But I'd go a step further and say:

Ain't it the truth, though?

Though we live very close to the church, I insist on leaving early to grab a "good seat" - which for us, with a one year old, means near the back. The seats in the back fill up the fastest, especially the ones near the aisles. People claim those seats and hand them down to their descendants in their wills. My husband always teases me about sitting there, but that's because he has never had to carry a squirming child down the main aisle in front of hundreds of people. We just duck in the back and save ourselves a lot of embarrassment. It's a shame we even have to feel this way. I mean, you'd think people attending Mass would be the most understanding when it comes to issues like this. The child's being restless? Oh, well the parents are doing their best and at least they're bringing the kid to church. Nope...instead it's, dirty look here, loud sigh there, and evil stare...evil stare...

Before we had her, we did sit in the middle and/or would be be happy to move in near the middle if people came in after us. Nobody has (yet) asked us to move in recently, probably because they see us with a baby. They usually glance ahead at the pews in front. That's where the comedy starts. The church-goers already in their pews suddenly become very territorial over the 18 inches of wood their little duppas are sitting upon. They become very focussed on anything else...If I don't see you, you won't see me. 

Sometimes it works, sometimes not...and when they are asked to share their, the nerve. Silently though visibly annoyed, they scoop up their purse, their missalette, and their bulletin that they were clearly reading, and move down another 18 inches. It's absolutely horrible. Now they're stuck. Till the end of Mass, or whenever this new person's ready to go. Heaven forbid this new person tries to exit the parking lot first. Now things really have gone too far. Know your place. 

Of course I'm dramatizing things, but if you've ever witnessed this, you know there's not much need for exaggeration. As far as finding the positive in this weekly occurrence, I suppose it calls for a dose of patience and humility. We've probably all been late to church at least once in our lives, and we've all been annoying as well. We can try to be more understanding and kind when other people aren't perfect. Especially in church. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eggs and Bacon...sweet style

I love Christmas cookies...eating them, that is. I wish I was more of a baker to be honest. But it's no fun baking alone. However, I can't just go around eating everyone's cookies; I need something to bring places this holiday season. Just a little tin to pass around at parties and gatherings. So the other day, I made this quick and delicious recipe for that very reason. Unfortunately, since they are that good, I practically ate all of them it's time for another batch!

Eggs and Bacon

You will need:
Tiny stick pretzels
White chocolate disks
Yellow M&M's or Yellow Reese Pieces
An oven or microwave

First, lay out two pretzel sticks, side by side, on a cookie sheet. If you're doing this in the microwave, you should use a plate. Since I am against microwaves, I did this using my oven. Now, place the vanilla/white chocolate disks on top of the pretzels. It's important to keep your sticks close together; otherwise, the chocolate will melt and fall in the middle. Not what we want.

Fail rolled off your pretzels.

Then, place your cookie sheet in the oven. You'll have to be careful doing this because those sticks will roll a bit and the chocolate will fall off.  I set my oven temp on "Keep Warm" because all we want to do is melt the chocolate a little. When the sides of the chocolate start to drape over the pretzels, it's done. Carefully remove from oven.

Then, take your yellow candy and place them into the centers of the melted chocolate. This is why keeping your pretzels close together is important. The yellow candy just sags into the middle...and it looks bloopy.

And voila! You're done! Let them cool before trying to remove them from the sheet. They make a perfect,  pop in your mouth little treat. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010


We got a puppy yesterday! Here he is...the adorable little guy. He's pretty tiny right now...only a few pounds, 11 weeks old, and 1/3 the size of our cat. Our cat is a little pudgy. 

He's very cute. Not overly hyper or obnoxious. Loves to cuddle and fall asleep in our laps. Whined all night long for us, even though he was in the same room...ya know, all that kind of stuff.

I'm really happy he's here with us. He's good with Little Olive, which is the best news. I'm sure he'll cause lots of trouble with her, and on his own, but for right now, we're just soaking up the cute moments. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

So here's the deal...

I have an announcement. When I started blogging back in July, I was bursting with ideas and topics. I had (and still have) strong opinions about certain issues. But I started to slow down after a couple months with the whole blog thing. Not because I burned out...I actually have 14 posts that I started to write; they're just sitting in my blog waiting to be published. So why didn't I ever click "publish"? Because some of my posts are pretty personal, and I don't always feel comfortable with everyone reading them. But I miss writing. I kept a journal throughout my teenage years and just because I'm in my 20s doesn't mean I have to stop.

So, I'm going to change something... (and yep, it might be the name of my blog - again! Stay tuned.)
Inspired by a few friends/family who keep wonderful blogs - specifically the tumblr crew - I'm going to

1) Try to write more often
2) Write about things other than babies, parenting, breastfeeding, etc. (But no promises...those things are kind of a big deal to me right now)
3) Try to find the positive in whatever I'm writing about

 There is just so much negativity already in the world. We don't need another blog concentrated about it!

So with this note, I shall leave you, my friends.

This is a quote I have on my facebook right now. I think it's awesome...and true. We can do nothing without Him, and with Him, all things are possible.
(Wish I could take credit for that...but no, tis from the Bible.)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Malley's Birth Story

In honor of Malley's birthday today, I wanted to post the story of how she came into the world.

*A pre-warning to all: this is a long, somewhat descriptive account of a baby being born.  You have a choice to continue reading or not, so I don't want to hear anyone complaining. This was a planned homebirth/waterbirth.* :)

Our first child was due Tues. December 8th, 2009. She was actually born three weeks early on Tues. November 17th, 2009. 

On Monday, November 16th, I woke up very early from my sleep with cramping. They didn't hurt, but they were uncomfortable and also accompanied by back pain. When they stopped a couple hours later, I went on with my daily activities and finished thank you notes from my baby shower the day before. But all day I just felt a little "off". For dinner, we went out to eat with my husband's parents for his step-dad's birthday. We were joking that the baby would be born that night since she was going to be named after her grandpa. It would be cool for them to have the same birthday!

When we got home around 8:00pm, I had my first bloody show of all pregnancy, and I wondered if I had just lost my mucus plug. The cramping came back. They were not time-able at all, just a constant  dull feeling. I was nervous and excited, so my husband suggested we call Jen (our midwife) to fill her in. I was in denial that it was actual labor since I wasn't due for weeks, so when Jen said, "It sounds like things are getting started" I couldn't believe it! She advised me to practice my breathing and just relax, maybe take a bath. Afterwards, Ian and I began getting the house ready - just in case. I called my mom to tell her, because she was actually 4 hours away visiting my brother’s family, and I wanted her to be at the birth. She made arrangements to come home sooner. Two hours later, I called Jen. Nothing had progressed or changed, so we decided to check in with each other the next day. 

That night, I was up with uncomfortable cramping. Ian and I went outside to watch the meteor shower around was really fun to be distracted and out in the fresh, cold air! I didn't get much sleep that night, but the next day started off very calm regardless. I had plans to go grocery shopping and stop into my chiropractor for a quick adjustment. But instead I stayed home and did laundry...I just felt different. My husband and I decided to play each part of his day by ear. He went to his class in the morning, then came home. He stayed with me for a couple hours, then went to work. I said I'd call him if I needed him. This was 2:40pm.

I laid down to get some sleep, as I was exhausted from the night before. Around 3:15pm, I felt this sudden "drop" inside me. I bolted out of bed and felt trickling of fluid. It came and went, but something changed inside of me - I began to feel surges. Not cramps, but the real deal contractions. Even though I had never felt anything like that in my life, I just knew what it was. 

I called Jen and left a message telling her about this. I also tried to get ahold of my husband, my mom, and my sister. I reached their voicemails every time - and my surges started to get very strong. Despite me trying to stay relaxed and breathe, I got very scared. I didn't want to be alone, and I couldn't get through to anyone! Finally around 4:00 I managed to talk to everyone! Jen told me to try to time the surges as she was just finishing up with another birth. Ian started on his way home immediately, and my mom and sister said they'd head over. Within no time, I was able to say my surges were exactly four minutes apart. I texted Jen to tell her the time. I'll admit it, I had begun crying and couldn't talk.  I was so uncomfortable; I drew myself a bath to force myself to relax.

I had practiced HypnoBirthing for months, but looking back, I should have practiced more. I found it very difficult; all I could do was breathe out and in as slowly as I could. I knew I was not as relaxed as I should be. Those videos made it look so easy! :)

Within 20 minutes, Ian, my mom, and my sister Marie were all at the house with me. I felt safer immediately and knew everything would be okay. Ian stayed by my side from that moment on. I took to the couch where I was still able to "go into myself" for each surge. Sometimes I would hug Ian and breathe during it, then I could relax and talk with everyone when it was over. I was feeling tired at that point, so it was nice to close my eyes and breathe deeply. It was almost like I could rest a little. Twice, I tried laying down with my husband, but we learned right away that position was horrible - it increased the discomfort and a couple times I would begin crying. I finally settled with sitting up as it made breathing and talking easier. My mom and sister started to heat up pots of water for my birthing pool. 

By the time Jen arrived around 6:00pm, it was intense. I was so happy to see her! Hearing her voice guide me through a few surges made such a difference. By that time it had gotten easy for me to forget small relaxation tips - she reminded me to start with my face, which truly made all the difference. Jen pointed out that I was being very quiet, and offered the suggestion of making a little noise with each surge, such as humming low during my exhale or even saying "ow!" if I needed to. I hadn't thought of that before, but once I began, it seemed to help! 

My right leg/hip would cramp up during every contraction. It was frustrating because the pain kept distracting me from breathing the right way. I was constantly looking over to check if the pool was ready - I wanted to get in so badly. Finally after a small snack of pears, I was able to get in the water. It was a godsend! The heat and feel of the water immediately brought relief to my surges. My entire tummy was immersed under the water, and for a few minutes, my pain was almost completely alleviated. But my body must have become accustomed to the atmosphere, and the surges felt intense again. Suddenly, what must have been the heat from the pool and any other reason of labor, I leaned over the pool and threw up. I apologized, but Jen assured me it was completely normal. 

The next few hours were tiring and difficult. I sat in the pool and rocked side to side, with my eyes closed. Ian was behind me every moment, holding my hand, lightly massaging my arms, and offering words of support. My mom and sister were baking a cake for our baby's arrival, and when that was done, they stayed by the pool with me. Jen was there to get me through some very difficult moments, pouring cups of warm water over my belly, and other times she would simply be close by, letting my family guide me. By this point, my surges were continuous, with a high peak during each one. Sometimes I would feel that part coming and cover my face, ready to cry. Either Ian and or my mom would remind me (a little firmly, but lovingly) to just breathe. I would be able to focus myself again. It helped so much to have them there. My mom suggested blowing out through my surge, and she said the words, "Blow it away..." to help me. It gave me a great visualization of saying goodbye to each surge!

I had to pee a lot, and I found that getting in and out of the pool for bathroom breaks was a nice change for my surges because I loved getting back in the water! So I made a point to play "games" like that with myself to pass the time. The lights were low all throughout the house, and everyone kept a very quiet, respectful atmosphere. I had made a playlist of music and that was playing in the background. 

Around 9:00, Heather (Jen's assistant) arrived, and somehow I knew that was a great sign...the end must be coming! I was relieved to see her, and she came by the pool to help me along. Not only did her presence encourage me, but she also said just the right things that made me comfortable with how I was handling the pain. As a matter of fact, every one was like that. I loved having them around; I felt totally safe and supported. 

Throughout the night, Jen would listen to the baby's heartbeat to monitor. Every time I heard that sound, I would be reminded of why I was going through this - I'd be holding that baby soon! Not once did Jen check my cervix, though, and I loved that. I didn't want to know how many centimeters I was. I knew that when my body was ready, I would be able to push. 

Around 11:00, in some ways, the surges seemed to stop. My mind became so alert, and I announced I thought I had to "go" to the bathroom (if you catch my drift). Jen said it was perfectly okay and that it would have to come out before the baby.  I got up and went into the bathroom. Well, as soon as I tried to go, I let out a yell, because I could feel this insane pressure coming down. I knew right away the baby was there! Ian helped me back in the pool where I barely made it to my knees before I had to bear down. Before birth, I had been uncomfortable with the thought of me yelling, but at the time, it didn't seem weird to me. I just squeezed Ian's hands and pushed. And yelled.

The tone of the room changed - everyone became excited! Jen and Heather began setting up for the arrival, and for the next half hour, I pushed slowly. It was really great. If my whole labor had been how pushing was, *wave of the hand* I could say it was fun! I was able to talk and even managed a couple jokes with everyone in between each surge. When I felt one coming, I would say, "Okay here's another," and grab Ian's hands. I’d say rather loudly during each one, “Oh my gosh!” but then it would be over quickly. After a few pushes, Jen asked me if I could feel our baby's head yet, so I reached down. My eyes got wide as my fingers hit something hard - I was so excited! I made Ian feel too, and the look on his face was incredible! Everyone was encouraging me to push harder as her head slowly came out, but I refrained from popping my eyes out. I knew the slower, the better, as it would allow everything down there to stretch as it should. Everything burned as her head was coming out, and I said, "I don't think I can stretch much more." Jen told me I'd be surprised - and I was! She suggested getting into a squatting position, and when I did I could feel things opening up more. And finally, her head was completely out! I felt her face and was shocked at all the details. "Oh my gosh, her nose... I can feel her little nose!" 

When the next surge came, with the guidance of Jen and a big push, Malley was born into our hands! Jen and I lifted her out of the water, and that memory is in my brain like slow motion. I held her out in front of me for a moment, as utter joy filled me and I started to cry a little. Jen told me to bring her right to my chest, otherwise I might have stared at my baby like that for ever. I'll never forget that feeling - I was holding my baby! She was warm, plump, and sticky from the vernix - I kissed her anyways! It was 11:37pm.
I had asked beforehand that if Malley didn't cry right away, that we let her slowly adjust by herself instead of rousing her to cry. I was so happy we did. Malley's eyes were opening and little noises came from her, and she did whimper a little before letting out a single cry. We also let her cord stop pulsating (maybe about five minutes) before Ian cut it. 

I had been exhausted during my 8 hours of labor, but now I was on such a love high. :) I hadn't torn at all, but I had some hemorrhaging going on, so I was moved to my bedroom where I could lay down. I wasn't scared or worried, because Jen and Heather took excellent care of me. I was able to hold Malley the entire time. Already, most of her vernix was absorbed into her skin (which felt like velvet, by the way).  After a while and after taking a few doses of medicine, I seemed to be "stable", so Jen and Heather left Ian and I to be with our baby while they cleaned up the pool and everything in the living room.

Malley was weighed and measured. 8lbs, 4oz. and 20.5 inches long. Just perfect. I had help from my Mom, Jen, and Heather when it was time to nurse. Though it wasn't as easy as some moms make it look, it did happen! 

Everyone left around 2:30am, except Jen who took Malley on the couch for about 1.5 hours so Ian and I could sleep. But when she started fussing for me, Malley was brought back to me, and then Jen went home after making sure we were all okay. 

It was the most amazing first birth experience I could have asked for. It wasn't easy; as a matter of fact, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I can really see how some women would want drugs! But I will never want to do it another way. Nothing has replaced the bliss I felt when Malley was born, and I'll never forget it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Follow Your Heart

At my baby shower a year ago, all the women were asked to write down a piece of advice for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them when I got home. Some of them made me laugh out loud...some of them made me tear up a little...and some of them were just perfect.

But my all-time favorite was from my mom. (Awww...) She said, "In the end, follow your heart."At first, it might seem so cliche, but I think any mother can fully appreciate and understand the power of those words. A mother's intuition is very strong; women should never doubt it! After searching for the right answer, weighing my pros and cons, and researching, in the end, I trust my heart when making decisions for my baby. When it didn't feel right to see my baby cry in someone else's arms, I took her back. When I felt uneasy at the idea of leaving her with someone, I just took her with me. When it seemed silly to put her in another room, in the dark, away from me at night, I listened to my heart and just kept her beside me.

She's pretty adorable
Wow, those things were so long ago! She's getting bigger now, and I've had to start the whole discipline thing a lot sooner than I expected. Sometimes she thinks it's a game; sometimes she even repeats me like a little stinker, "No no," or "Stah!" (her version of "stop"). And while half of me is trying to hold back a smile because she's so dang cute, the other half knows that this early, consistent, and fair discipline/redirection is 100% necessary. It might be easier for me to let her get away with everything, but that's not what's best for her - or our family. I'm continuing to follow my heart...just now at a different stage.

And that's also why I don't write as much on my blog as I thought I would! She comes first - always. So before she wakes from her nap, I'll say goodbye now! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shutterfly: Sharing joys of the Christmas season!

I know, I know. It's not even Halloween yet and I'm already talking about Christmas! I can't help it. Christmas is, and has always been, my favorite holiday ever! This year, I plan on sending out Christmas cards - for the first time! I planned on doing it last year; my first Christmas out on my own, being married, in our own, little home, so special!  But after Little Olive was born, we were too busy to focus on cards. - Not that I'm complaining! - But this year, we are totally doing it! 

I absolutely love Shutterfly's designs (, so I think I'm going with them. They have a lovely selection for Hanukkah too, which I think is cool (, because everyone can celebrate their beautiful holidays without having to be vague, "Seasons Greetings." 

I'm not saying generic cards aren't okay, but for me, I love the ones that focus on the birth of Christ. Because for Catholics, Christmas is a Holy Feast Day. So naturally, my choice will be from the following page,, if only I could decide on just one! I love the blue "Three Wise Men", but since one of my favorite songs is "Angels We Have Heard On High," I'm loving this one. That would look really cute with a family picture too. :)

If you see any that you like, now's a great time to order. Shutterfly is offering 20% off all holiday cards: If you were already thinking of doing it, well now you can save some money! :)

Alright, that's all. :) Have a great Halloween! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The No-Cry Sleep Solution

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the NightAt the time of reading this book, I was questioning my bedtime and sleep methods.  I would always hold my baby, or lay next to her, and nurse her until she fell fast asleep. I started to wonder if I was creating bad habits. It was also frustrating because any time I would try to break her latch, she would wake up. I knew I was doing the right thing by being attentive to her needs and by creating such a strong attachment with her (because, as we all know, babies need attachments!), but I was beyond discouraged over this hour-long (sometimes longer) process.

That's why this book was a great comfort. Elizabeth Pentley writes with gentleness and common sense, both traits I highly admire. The one message that spoke directly to me was when she said, (and I'm paraphrasing) There's no easy fix, so be patient and expect this process to take a while. That is why she recommends keeping a "journal" of the bedtime routines. Parents need to see that their efforts are making a difference, and seeing that record of direct correlations is very encouraging.

I love this because it respected the baby and respected the parent for cuddling, loving, and giving that baby warmth and affection. It then also gives gentle, effective ways that will help you put your baby to sleep in a very peaceful way. As long as you stick with it! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Design time

If you've stopped by recently you might have noticed some frequent changes in design (if not, lucky for you)!

I think the "look and feel" of a blog is very important. Too busy and it hurts your eyes. Too boring and it's uninviting. The current design right now is pretty okay with me. We'll see if it lasts.

BY THE WAY - I just discovered that I have readers from Ireland and the Philipines! I was so excited to see this. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Ciao, my amigotes!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cloth Diapers: Why We Use Them

We're a very frugal family, my husband and I. We love shopping clearance racks, thrift stores, and enjoy hand-me-downs. We ask ourselves from time to time, "What can we do without?" and cut it out of our lives to have some extra cash. I actually get very excited when I save money. So when I made the decision to cloth diaper my child, my first motivation was the cost. I contacted a local diapering service and asked if they sold their "seconds" at a discounted price. Seconds are cloth diapers that have been stained or are just a little worn and can't be used in their business anymore. I was able to purchase 40 diapers at $0.50 a piece!

I also bought a few Snappies. What are "snappies" you may ask? Everyone who cloth diapers should have one! These are awesome, inexpensive alternatives to pins! Its "T" shape fasteners have sharp claws that catch the material in the front of the diaper. They're easily adjustable and keep the diaper securely in place.

This is probably my favorite part of cloth diapering. Just be careful your little one doesn't grab it during a diaper change - the grippers are sharp!

Diaper covers are a bit more expensive. At first I just wanted to use those Gerber plastic/vinyl ones. For about $6.00, you can get a packet of three. What a great deal, I thought. Not! They are not very durable and eventually tear, thin out, and the elastic frays.

Instead, I've used and been very happy with the Thirsties covers. They come in four different sizes and many different colors. They're waterproof and super easy to use. However, they are pricey - though worth it. There have been no leaks or soaks whenever I use them.

I've also been attempting to make my own covers. This is fun but a lot more complicated than I thought! I hope to perfect a pattern and get my own tutorial up for anyone to follow. But for now, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Besides cost (as if that isn't motivation enough!), there is another great reason to use cloth. They're very environmental. Disposable diapers are full of chemicals and go straight into the garbage can after only a couple hours of use. Cloth can be used over and over until they become rags. They can be re-used by all the children in your family and even given away after being used.

"But what about washing them? That's going to cost you AND you have to buy more detergent."

Actually, having my baby in cloth diapers only gives me about two extra loads of laundry a week (sometimes three if she has a very poopy week). I let them soak in the diaper pail in a small amount of water mixed with Borax (just enough to keep a fresh smell). After washing them, they can be hung to dry out in the sun if you want to save on electricity/gas/energy. If you want to be really awesome, you can make your own laundry detergent. That's what I do - it's super easy and doesn't take long at all. I love this recipe and visual guide. I use Fels Naptha soap and Baking Soda for mine. Sometimes I'll do an extra rinse in the washer with vinegar...but you'll know when that's needed. My diapers are so white and smell fresh!

 If anyone would like to share their diapering tips or products, feel free!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Co-Sleeping: Why I Love It

Telling everyone I was expecting Little Olive was absolutely thrilling. But after the exciting "Congratulations" came pouring in, then did the teases. "Enjoy the peace and quiet now" or "Get your sleep while you can". I'm not going to lie: I love my sleep. The longer, the better. The later the time when I have to get up, the happier I'll be. I knew having a baby would change my sleeping habits, but I wanted to minimize this as much as possible. I think God took pity on us...because I say we got pretty lucky.

When my daughter was born, there was no question about where she would sleep. The very night of her birth, she came right into the bed with us. Knowing she was right beside us should she fuss or need anything gave my husband and me such peace of mind. But there is definite controversy and concerns about sharing the bed with your baby. Time and time again, I hear people saying, "It's dangerous to sleep with your baby" or "Crib is safest" or "To prevent SIDS, do not sleep with your child." (For that specific concern, I'd like to share with you a great article about that topic: ).

There are many ways to safely co-sleep with your baby, and it's important for everyone to be aware of these necessary steps. I'm not going into them here because they are listed in the above article. I am, however, going to focus on why I love sharing the bed with my baby.

As I've said before, I nurse on demand - I have from the very beginning and continue to do so as my baby is almost 10 months old. Having her in the bed made that possible 24/7. For the first month of her new life, Little Olive was mostly nocturnal, and the lack of sleep was rough. But once she hit 1 month, she got on a great rhythm and slept "through the night". And especially after mastering the laying down technique for nursing, things were smooth sailing!

The most awesome thing is that because I am right beside her, Little Olive has never had to fully wake up when she needs to nurse. She hardly ever cries to tell me what she needs. I first hear/feel her movement, and then she makes a couple whimpering sounds as she nuzzles up against me. I roll over, pop her on, get my arm comfy, and doze back off. As we became more comfortable with latching on, sometimes I wouldn't have to open my eyes. And most mornings I would wake up and feel as though I hadn't even been disrupted.

Another amazing thing is that our sleep cycles coincide with each other's. Sometimes I will wake up and wonder why. Several seconds go by and Little Olive begins to stir for me. It's really beautiful.

I have this book on my night stand and go through it occasionally to refresh my memory on great tips for mothers, fathers, and their families. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing not only are my ways supported by a great, well-known, and respected doctor, but they are also backed up by scientific evidence, common sense, and many other moms who are following their heart and pursuing a natural, peaceful way to parent - like me.

On the other side of things, there have been a couple issues which arose from co-sleeping. Sometimes she wakes up at ungodly hours and since mommy and daddy are right there, thinks it's time to play! Since beginning to crawl, she has (yes, I'm going to admit it) fallen off the bed. And not only has she has claimed the bed after falling asleep for the night, but has also made it very clear she's in no hurry to have siblings. :P

But it's perfectly okay. Our lives are forever changed since having her. Adjustments and accommodations will be made her entire life. She's a great sleeper, and it's one thing to be thankful for.


Monday, August 16, 2010

I took a vacation...from my problems

It has been a while since I wrote here! I've not been lazy, just preoccupied. The first thing that happened was the screen on our computer started to break. It actually started to many months ago. We finally had to take it into the shop. I was nervous because we have a Mac, and I could only imagine what a repair was going to cost. Guess how much it ended up being? $0.00. Yep, Apple took care of everything! Yay. :)

So we were without a computer for five days. Unlike what you may think, I did not freak out. lol. I told myself I wasn't going to be pathetic and mourn the absence of my computer. True, I missed having the internet, e-mail, youtube, facebook, itunes, bejeweled, etc. But I filled every moment with my baby, husband, AND I read a whole book ( a big book ) in two days! Go me.

The day we got our computer back, I started feeling so sick. It started as an achey flu, turned into a crazy cold, I sort of lost my voice, sounded like a caveman, couldn't taste anything, just wanted to be alone...yes, miserable. This lasted for another five days.

Now that I'm feeling great, and the busy weekend is over, my baby is cutting her first tooth, is fussy, too hot, and purposely (yes, purposely, she's very advanced) keeping me away from anything computer related. But it's okay. She comes first, and I'm able to steal a few minutes as she nurses herself to sleep in my arms. Hope everyone's having a great Monday. :)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Breastfeeding in Public - revisited

Inspiration (or shall I say, a kick in the booty) for today's post comes from an amazing article (click here) I read from Mothering. I strongly encourage everyone to take a few moments and read it.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts of breastfeeding in public. In it I stressed both the importance of putting your child first and not being afraid of feeding her/him in a public place, and also the importance of keeping the act of breastfeeding beautiful by not flashing people in an obnoxious way.

I stand corrected. Upon much reflection and soul-searching, I want to focus on the latter and clear things up. Actually, clarity isn't the issue here. Changing my own point of view, however, is.

You see...I think while trying to emphasize the necessity of maintaining respect for our bodies, I might have come across as saying we need to hide. I don't think this was accidental or me not being clear. But rather, I think this came from a subconscious feeling of me still not being 100% comfortable to breastfeed my own child in front of everyone.

Yes, unfortunately, I think that's it. I'm frustrated about how I feel. I promote breastfeeding and encourage others to do the same. But a part of me still feels inhibited while doing it out of my own home. Is it because I'm afraid someone will approach and embarrass me? (Even with the law and stubbornness on my side, I still freeze during confrontations.) Is it because I was raised to always be very modest and cover myself?

Don't get me wrong. I don't cover up all the time when nursing. Actually, I hardly do...only at the pool or a wedding where nursing would have meant exposing my entire upper body - and I'm sorry but I don't feel comfortable with that (maybe some people do. More power to them :P).

I guess, in closing, I just want to apologize if I came across as one of those people who thinks breastfeeding needs to be hidden. I don't at all! Maybe I need to overcome my fear of offending people or being approached. Maybe? I think yes!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toys: Less is More

Fancy toys, remote-controlled toys, battery-operated toys, character toys, light up toys, singing toys - make your brain go crazy toys!

We've all seen it: at a birthday party or Christmas time, a young child has piles of gifts and opens them all up. The parents ooh and ahh over the latest action figure, the cutest doll, the most ornate "speak and spell" on the market. "Which one should we play with first?" The child doesn't need to answer...he's already happily ripping apart a piece of torn wrapping paper. "No no, don't do that. Here, it's a car for you to drive in! Let's get some batteries to make it go fast!"

The little boy sees the cardboard box instead. And he's quite content with that!

When it comes to toys, less is more! I mean quantity as well as quality, in a way. By that I'm advocating simpler toys in smaller amounts.

At day care, 11 month old Michael would walk into the play area as soon as his mother dropped him off. He searched immediately for the red spoon rattle. Once he found it, he had it all day. Sure, he'd play with the other toys, but this was his favorite. I have tons of stories like this. Even my own daughter will be happily content playing with a toothbrush for hours.

It's true that eventually kids will get bored with toys. But we don't remedy that by putting out hundreds of different toys in the beginning. That's over stimulating. I make a point to rotate my baby's toys about once a week so she only has a few in the living room at a time. It's a) less messy, and b) more peaceful!

Going along with this, I am a firm believer that toys should not do all the work for kids. You know the toys I'm talking press one button and a circus erupts in front of their little faces. What does that teach them? Nothing really.

I love simple toys. Or things that aren't toys at all. Things that inspire creativity and require imagination and thinking from children. That's why blocks are so great! They teach problem solving skills, trial and error, "math", sharing, communication, longer attention spans, cause and effect, etc. I love being able to give my daughter simple, yellow shape toys and watch her study them for the longest time.

Maxim Natural Wood Blocks, 100-PiecesI also prefer wooden toys over plastic any day. But that can be very costly. However, if I have a choice, I pick simple, natural, and thought-provoking toys.

And I know, I know...when my child gets older and Toy Story 5 is out, she's probably going to want the Buzz Lightyear action man that lights up, talks, and rolls on wheels. Am I going to cave in? Most likely. I'm wouldn't want to deprive her of those special toys. But at the same time, I'm also not about to cheat her out of the necessary skills she needs to develop. The trick is finding the balance! Time will tell. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marrying an Italian Girl

I'm proud of my heritage...I'm 62.5% Italian. (Yeah, we even have the .5 down.) This was sent by my mom. Enjoy!

If you marry an Italian girl

The first man married a nice girl from Poland.  He told her that she was to do the dishes and the house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a sweet woman from England.  He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking.  The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a gorgeous girl from Italy.  He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal.  He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything. But by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye. His arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.  He still has some difficulty when he pees.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breastfeeding: Why I Love It (continued)

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

While I was expecting, my mother gave me this book. Except it didn't quite look like this. Her copy was older, worn, and the pages were wrinkled and dog-eared; it was easy to see it had been an important reference for her during the years she breastfed her nine children. (Yes, that's right...all nine of us!)

I promised to give more reasons for why I love breastfeeding, so here they are! Some are personal, some are factual. But they're all true! :)

1) Breastmilk is perfect for newborns. Colostrum, or what some people call "liquid gold," is produced for the baby and contains priceless antibodies that protect their young immune systems. These antibodies fight illnesses and keep a newborn as healthy as possible.

2) If your baby is born premature, the breastmilk automatically adjusts to accommodate the baby's nutritional needs. The protein, fat, and calorie count is higher when the baby is younger. What infant formula does that?

3) Breastfeeding is linked with the hormone, prolactin, which is related to ovulation and fertility. Whenever the baby nurses, ovulation is suppressed. This is God's beautiful and natural way to let us enjoy our baby and let the mother's body be fully there for her child. As the nursings become less frequent and prolactin levels return to normal, fertility will return.

4) Breastfeeding is the most natural, effective, and safe way to lose that baby weight! When we're pregnant, areas of our bodies that we're always concerned about looking too big definitely become too big. But...they are too big for a reason! Once a woman begins breastfeeding, all the fat her body has stored for nine months starts being used. Breastmilk has a very high fat content, and guess where that fat comes from? Yep, our derrieres. :P Thanks to our little liposuction machines - I mean, our babies.

5) Since breastmilk is 88% water, there is no need to supplement with water, juice, or milk to prevent dehydration. As a matter of fact, it can be harmful to the baby to give water rather than breastmilk, as it deprives the baby of the nutrients, fat, and antibodies. In the summer months, as long as the baby is breastfeeding frequently enough, the only person needing to drink water is the mother. The body prioritizes for the baby, so us mothers need to take care of ourselves!

6) It protects your baby and reduces the risk of allergies, ear infections, obesity, diabetes, leukemia, and SIDS.

7) It works on a supply-and-demand system. The more you nurse, the more milk will be produced. During those vital growth spurts, as long as the baby nurses whenever she needs it, she will always have the right amount.

8) With breastfeeding, you learn the cues of your baby's hunger. There is no need of measuring or keeping track of ounces or making sure a bottle is finished. If your baby needs just one side of nursing, that's okay (as long as she's properly gaining weight). If she needs more, there's always the other side. It's very laid back. We like that chilled way of life. :)

9) It is easily digestible and therefore, very rarely does a baby become constipated while breastfeeding. (Of course, once table foods are introduced things may change.)

10) It's all right there. No fancy formula, no imitation trying to be as good as the real thing. Just the real thing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happiest Baby on the Block

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer
Ah, yes, if only we could all claim our baby was the happiest on the block. I know mine is. (My child is very advanced. Ha Ha :P) But there were a couple nights when Little Olive was a newborn where she would cry and cry for hours. It would be the early AM hours, and I felt exhausted, overwhelmed, and lost. I held her, cuddled, and nursed, but it didn't work right away. We purchased gripe water for fear that she was a colic baby. Nooo....that dreaded word! But the gripe water didn't make any difference. Eventually everything got better, but I wish I had had a solution to make those nights more doable.

My midwife told me about this book and I wish I had read it before Mal was born. It is phenomenal. Its most important message is the 'fourth trimester' - this means that the first three months of the baby's life should mimic the womb. He believes that babies spend nine months in the womb being held and pampered in their perfect home, and that's why they cry outside. He says he has the cure for colic, and he explains it by using the Five S's:

1) Swaddle - very important and effective!
2) Side/stomach - get the baby off her back
3) Swing -  resembling the gentle sway of movement in the womb
4) Shhhh - loud shushing sounds right in the baby's ear
5) Sucking - stimulates the calming reflex

He says if you do all these things, preferably in this order, the baby will stop crying.

This book really helped us. I have to say the swaddle was the most helpful addition to our lives. After teaching my husband how to do it (the book shows a super tight way to do this), we started to swaddle our baby every night. She slept amazingly well - almost too well as I wanted her to still nurse 2 - 3 times per night. (I know, what a horrible problem to have!)

I would highly recommend this book to any new parent. Some of it is repetitive, so you can skip those parts. But overall, Dr. Karp enlightens us in a sensitive and loving way. I admire books that encourage parents to hold their babies as much as possible. It just makes sense!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Breastfeeding in Public

For the past eight months (yes, my baby is exactly 8 months old today! I'm going to sound like everyone else, but where does time go?), I have breastfed my baby whenever she needs it. Whether it be at a park, at a coffee shop, or at Target, she is never denied food just because we're in a public place. While I don't see any reason why breastfeeding in public should cause controversy, it does! Women are given looks, that raised eye brow, and even told to go somewhere else to "do that."

Thankfully, I have been spared anything embarrassing except a look here or there. I always feel very confident in my decision to put my baby's needs first. Even though I don't think breastfeeding is dirty, indecent, or offensive, I still take precautions to make every feeding session with my baby as discreet as possible so that others are comfortable. Not to boast or anything about how amazing my people-sensing skills are (haha), but I can tell when people are uncomfortable, and it then makes me uncomfortable. But if I know I'm doing everything I can to help the situation, then it's simply their turn to deal with it.

For example, when I'm around others and anytime I'm outside my home, I am very careful to cover up as much as possible. I do not think it's necessary to show extra skin and justify it by, "Well, I'm breastfeeding so it's okay!" If breastfeeding mothers want respect, we should behave respectfully. Breastfeeding is not a sexual display or use of our bodies. It is natural and beautiful. But we can only convey that message if we do it in a beautiful, and not an obnoxious, way.

When I first began, I would watch myself in a mirror to see what everyone else could see. I quickly mastered the whole process so that what everyone saw was...close to nothing! I'm not saying we should be ashamed of breastfeeding and try to hide it. But the sacredness of our bodies should be carefully kept. :)

We always hear stories about mothers who are told to "go somewhere else" to breastfeed their baby. Let's make a point to do the opposite! If you see a mom breastfeeding, approach her and say how awesome it is that she's doing it! She might see you coming and prepare a defense in her head, but I'm sure she'd appreciate the support once you give it! :)

*I just want to add that I don't think only mothers who show absolutely no skin should be the ones breastfeeding in public. I do it because that is just the way I feel comfortable. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things are rarely as they seem...

This is more of a personal post rather than a "topic" but feel free to read anyways.

Last June, my husband and I adopted two cats from the SPCA. He picked a male kitten, totally adorable (as every kitten is). Black, with white paws. His name was Calvin. We weren't planning on getting two cats, but then I saw an all black, female cat...her name was Hazel. She was small and pretty, and we decided to bring her home too. It wasn't that Calvin was only Ian's, and Hazel was all mine, but over the year, they seemed to know who picked them. Calvin loves my husband...everything he does, it's about Ian.

Hazel never really went by Ian; she focussed her attention on me...but not in the way you'd expect. She was never a cuddler, nor did she ever want to be held. She mostly kept to herself and tried escaping out the front  door at every chance she got. Eventually, we stopped trying to keep her inside. She would come and go as she pleased. But when she did want attention, she would pick the most difficult times. She'd be all in my face while I tried doing laundry, or while washing the dishes, or while cooking on the hot stove. When my baby was born, she added a few other times to her list: when I bathed our baby, or tried laying down with her for sleep. She also seemed to know almost the exact time when our baby would be almost asleep. Then she would rush over and lick her face. (A crabby baby and a frustrated me would be the result!) Ian said she was trying to be a momma kitty and do all the momma things with me. It was cute...but not really.

The day things really turned south for Hazel was when she tried biting my baby's head. Little Olive was crying, and Hazel came right onto the couch and (I kid you not) opened her mouth onto my child, baring her teeth and all. I couldn't believe it. She tried two other times after that, but I stared at her till she went away.

I threatened to give her away, find her a new home, or surrender her to the SPCA. Sometimes she just drove me crazy! Well, as horrible as it turns out, she has a new home now. Yesterday morning, we found Hazel dead in the street right in front of our house.

I didn't know how to react at first. I tried helping my husband bury her, but he kept telling me, "Don't look at her, darling. It's really sad." After a while, I did get a look at her, and it really broke my heart. Her eyes were all gross and her body was so sad and stiff.

After she was buried, Ian and I were very upset. I cried and felt so bad for her. No matter if she was a crazy snot cat, she shouldn't have gone that way. It might have seemed at first that I didn't care about her, but I truly am sad about losing her.

Processing this grief is harder than I thought. Some people might say, "Oh, they're only cats." But those who have had to say goodbye, or never had the chance to do so, will understand.

I'm going to go take some ignatia now (thanks to the suggestion of my mom). Maybe Hazel, Mr.  Tumnus and Padme are all in cat heaven together.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pacifiers: To Use or Not To Use

Before my child was born, I was deadset against pacifiers. At the daycares, babies would drop them, spit them out, lose them, throw them, and even steal them from each other.  Worst of all, some would still cry with the pacifiers in their mouths. I used to think, What is the point of these things? The babies just want their mommas.

So I told myself and others I didn't want my baby having one. Besides, I was planning on breastfeeding and didn't want there to be nipple confusion or any replacement when she might need to eat. I decided I would be the one to pacify her whenever needed. This worked really well for nearly two months. But then... as she grew out of the newborn age, she stopped sleeping all the time. This included not sleeping in the car. And we found out she didn't particularly like the car. And boy, did she scream.

My husband and I used to take turns reaching back and letting her suck on our pinky finger. We said, though I don't know why we thought it made sense, "It's better than a pacifier!"

Well, after a few days of sore shoulders and one-hand driving, I realized maybe I was being silly. I had three choices. 1) I could let her scream and stick to my guns about not using a pacifier. This would mean risking my attention as a driver and somehow keeping myself from becoming upset, or 2) I could continue to reach back, still putting us all at risk in that awkward position, or 3) I could give her the pacifier and be done with it.

So we did. I have to admit, it was great. It also called for an ounce of humility as some people gloated over us "caving in." But I learned that I couldn't always be there to scoop her up and nurse her, as I had thought before she was born. I learned that sometimes you need to be flexible. For me, it's was not worth the bragging rights of, "We never use a pacifier for our child" when that child was screaming bloody murder in the back seat. She's not happy, I'm not happy, so what's the point?

Since then, the pacifier use has grown a bit more. (I'll go into that more in a few posts about sleep/naptime.) Sometimes I worry about her getting too attached to it or weaning her from it, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. At this age, my baby doesn't always need pacifier in the car. She'll talk to herself, play with it, wave it around, etc. It gives me a little hope that she's only using it when she needs it. It hasn't become associated with being in the car. For now, it's helping us maintain peace and happiness...and at this time in our lives, why wouldn't we want that?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why the "Cry It Out" method is stupid.

If there's one thing I don't understand, it's when people advocate "cry it out". I don't just mean at bedtime; I mean anytime my baby cries. "Oh, she's fine. She'll learn. She's okay. She doesn't need anything." Drives me crazy! Here is why I don't ever let my baby cry it out:

When I was going to school for Early Childhood, we learned about Erikson's developmental stages. Our teachers made us realize how important these were. For infants, there is the stage of Trust vs Mistrust. It means that babies should be held, responded to, and comforted as much as possible to learn that their caretakers, their environment, and their world are worthy of trust. Babies who are respected and responded to are secure and view their world as dependable and reliable. 

I've had experience in day cares since I was 17 years old, and I worked as a teacher in several infant rooms since then. Time and time again, it was obvious that the rooms where the teachers were affectionate, responsive, and sensitive, the babies were happier. In NYS, the ratio of babies to teachers is 4:1, so unfortunately, yes, they still cried. But only when they had to. 

Probably the biggest reason I cannot let my baby cry it out is because of my years spent in day cares. There were many times where I had no choice but to let babies cry while I fed or held another. It tore at my heart. They would be on the ground or in the crib looking around, crying, waiting for someone to hold them. Unfortunately, there were days when I had to make myself not care. Just to get through the day and stay sane. But like I said, I had no choice...sometimes I would be alone with four babies. Othertimes, there would be a teacher with me, and we'd have eight babies! 

Now I'm a mother of one child, and I'm so blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. I consider this my full-time job, so I try to do it well. When my baby was first born, I held her all the time. People would say, "She'll never want you to put her down." (Just a side note - she is almost 8 months now and loves to play on the ground with her toys. She can entertain herself for a very long time. Sometimes she even wants me to put her down because she'd rather be independent.)

Other people would say, "Sometimes you just have to let them cry." This made me so sad. Why, when I have nothing else to do, when this is my job, when I want to pick her up, would I ever let her sit there (or lay there) by herself, crying? Some people said, "It's good for their lungs." ...But what about their little brains? What about all the stress hormone, cortisol, that floods their brains when they're crying? What about their elevated body temperature and increased heart rate? What about the sad or scared look on their faces when no one picks them up? 

Now, I understand sometimes you have no choice. There are times when my husband isn't home and I just need to shower. Sometimes she cries. There are times when I have to put her down while I switch the laundry, drain the noodles, put on my make-up, brush my teeth, whatever. And there have even been times when we're both exhausted at the end of the night and all I can do is lay down and cuddle with her while she cries. 

But that's different. I'm not trying to "train" her...which is what I feel the whole "cry it out" method wants to do. "Show her who's boss. You be the one in control. She can learn. She's fine. She's okay."  

No, I'll show you who's boss. I'm the mom. I'm in charge. She's my baby. Now let me have her back. Thank you!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Breastfeeding: Why I Love It

There are so many reasons why I love to breast feed. Where do I even start? I'll start with five.

1) It's inexpensive! I priced Enfamil formula at $23 per container. There are 29 servings in each. Considering that a young baby needs (approximately) 6-8 feedings a day, that container will last (again, approximately) only 3-4 days. That's about $60 per week, and $240 per month. After the first year of a child's life, formula will have cost you over $2,800. Now, of course, feedings become less frequent as the child grows older, and there are generic brands at about half the price. So you spend only $1,400. Phew...I could take a nice vacation with that money. ;)

2) It's always warm, always ready, always right there. No matter where I am or how busy things are, if my baby is hungry, she can eat. Nursings are not only used to fill her tummy, but to calm her down too. The sucking sensation immediately can calm a cranky moment or soothe away the pain of a bump.

3) It makes me relax. Sometimes when the laundry's piled up, the dishes need to be done, and I should be getting dinner ready - I get stressed out. And on top of that, my baby is growing bored with her toys and rubbing her eyes. Taking her in my arms and nursing her gives me no choice but to take a moment and relax. Then the hormones kick in...that amazing bonding hormone, oxytocin. I feel so loving and protective over my baby. I don't mind that other duties are calling my stress goes away and my baby is happy!

4) I have always fed my baby when she needs it. Some people call this "on demand" but that makes it sound like you have no control and your child is this headstrong, little tyrant. Instead, when people asked me, "Is she on a schedule?" I liked saying, "Yes, whenever she needs it." This way, I'm not looking at the clock and counting the ounces and worrying about when she last ate. Some parents feel very strongly about scheduling and keep their babies strictly to it. While I think that's silly and stressful, I understand that they have their reasons for it. I just hope that when they get a little hungry and want a snack, their spouse tells them, "Nope! You just ate - wait two more hours and then you can eat a full meal."

4a) Oh - why I like feeding my baby whenever she needs it: because it makes sense! If she cries, I can calm her by nursing. A simple feeding can make her happy once again, put her to sleep if she is a little tired, but above all, it's gentle, responsive parenting. In the womb, babies never have to worry about being hungry or asking to be fed. They just are. When they're born, it seems so cruel to me to withhold a little (or big) feeding just because we think they shouldn't be hungry again.

5) I think most mothers who breastfeed understand just the absolute love of it. Feeling their babies close to them, playing with their fingers, touching their hair, talking to them, reading them a book, cleaning their ears (hey, I do it sometimes, haha), and just cherishing those moments. My baby girl has started to reach up and touch my face when she nurses. At night when we're in bed, she'll run her fingers up and down my arms. It tickles and it's so adorable.

I'll write more reasons later!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fear of Childbirth, Fear of Nature

When I was expecting, people always asked me, "So - are you getting nervous?" My answer was always, No. Not yet. In the beginning, I figured this confidence would diminish as time went by. Maybe the fact that birth was so far away made it simpler to be positive about. But as I began reading about pregnancy, childbirth, and the natural way, I realized there honestly wasn't anything to be nervous about!

Birth without ViolenceThe first book I ever read when starting my own research was "Birth Without Violence" by Frederick Leboyer. This was an incredible read. His beautiful, poetic, style of writing opened my eyes to a different view of birth: from the baby's perspective. It helped me imagine what I wanted my baby to experience her first few minutes after being born. I didn't want her to be spanked or jostled so she would cry. I didn't want her to be wiped or suctioned right away. I didn't want her handled by several different people before coming to my arms. It also showed me the importance of cord blood and how premature clamping might do more harm than help.

It was here I decided it was possible to bring a child into this world peacefully and calmly. We can let children be born in a way we would want to be welcomed into this world. If we simply slowed down and treated this event with sensitivity, then we would be respecting this baby as a human being, not just a 'thing'.

"We are all so quick to blame Nature, 
when actually she's so full of love and wisdom, 
and it is only we who are too blind to see." 
- F. Leboyer