Singing through the electrons from The Compleat Mother Magazine http://www.compleatmother.com
January 21, 2002
//-- Featured Post -- //
"The Evolution of a Compleat Mother"
~ Yvonne Cryns
//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//
~ Tongue Tie ~ Dehydrated Baby ~ Floppy Boy ~ Flat Nipples, Large, Soft Breasts ~ Underwater Birth (removed)
//-- Reader Letters --//
//-- Humor -- //
//-- FEATURED POST --//
~The Evolution of a Compleat Mother~
Teen years: oblivious to pregnancy concerns, childbirth, and all other related issues. Mostly concerned with having a date for the big dance and wondering if that zit will be gone by then.
Newly married: Not thinking about having kids yet -- having fun with husband, getting used to sleeping in the same bed with someone who steals the blankets and hogs the bed. Some friends have friends who gave birth in a teepee in the desert. I think homebirth is for nuts. Are they crazy?
Surprise!! I'm pregnant!! Excited but have 24/7 morning sickness. Go to the clinic at the local hospital. At one visit, receive educational about what will happen to me during labor. Nurse states, ".And then you'll get your IV, your episiotomy.." She made it sound like this was a gift. I'm out of there. I know this is not what I want to have happen to my body. My husband happened to run into someone who had a homebirth with a midwife. We're making a lot of phone calls to find out about this.
We're parents!! The birth went just fine. I always knew I could do it without drugs, stirrups, stitches, etc. Baby always with me, nursing whenever. I am told if I want my son circumcised, I will have to make a special appointment. My husband and I had never thought about circumcision. Grandmother's undress baby and notice he is not circumcised-they both comment on how neither Grandfather is! I can't imagine how anyone could allow a doctor to amputate their baby boy's penis.
6 months later . Grandparents want to know when I'm going to feed him real food and how long am I going to breastfeed anyway?
Baby 1 year old: He's eating at the table, some of what we eat. Nurses often, too. No playpen-I had read babies who spend time in playpens were at greater risk of spending time behind bars as adults.
Baby 15 months old: #2 is on the way. Pregnancy going well, but terrible morning sickness again. We manage. Baby#2 is welcomed by big brother who surrounds him with little people toys and tucks some under his T-shirt. Nursing both boys. Grandparent's look the other way and roll their eyes at each other. Lots of cloth diapers.fortunately I finally got a washing machine.
A few years later: Family and friends think we are nuts. Don't we know about over-population? Don't we know how expensive it is to raise a child? We know we love each other and love our children, and that seems right.
And so it goes . for a few more years, a few more babies, till we have seven children. And somehow we have managed to do this without a large salary, huge medical bills or a single can of formula!
-Yvonne Cryns email: [email protected]
Very interesting dolls... Midwife Mary http://www.compleatmother.com/midwifemary.htm The Doula Doll http://www.compleatmother.com/douladoll.htm
//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//
by Nicole Miller, Toronto, Ontario
I had my first child in New Zealand.
My pregnancy was difficult near the end, and preeclampsia forced an induction by prostaglandins at 39 weeks. My son was a healthy, seven pound baby with a tongue tie. (His septum holds his tongue down and he is unable to project his tongue out of his mouth.)
I had great difficulty and pain during the first few days. My son was not latching on properly, and he was suckling towards the edge of my nipple instead of taking it into his throat. This caused bleeding, and chapped nipples that hurt so much that I cried when he sucked.
At four days old we went to the maternity annex birthing center, where my son vomited a huge amount of blood. Bronwyn, my midwife, knew immediately that the blood was not a terminal disease, but was indeed milk and blood from my breasts. For the next two weeks she came to my house every day, and helped me position him far back on my breast, by basically shoving my whole nipple into his open mouth. My breasts healed and felt fine. The support I was given was invaluable and I was never told to 'give up' or that I didn't have the ability to breastfeed my child.
It was a real shock to me to return home to Canada and find the enormity of pressure (from the large multinational baby formula companies) to quit breastfeeding within a 'reasonable' amount of time, and follow on with their inferior product. The attitude seems to stem from the notion that our breasts are playthings for men. Even within my family I find pressure to 'hurry up and wean that kid.' I find it sad.
Today I nurse my 14-month-old son, and wait the arrival of his brother or sister due in two weeks. Despite many dire warnings, I still have milk for him and he still loves nursing. It is an amazing comfort for him and gives us 15 minutes of quiet, together time at least twice a day. What could be more nurturing and relaxing?
by Susan Schubert, Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania
My second child, Chase, was born in a birthing center, three years after his sister. I went home five hours later. He was a sleepy baby but I knew to wake him to feed, through my previous experience and from La Leche League meetings.
I knew something was not right, because he wasn't wetting six diapers a day like he should, and there were uric acid crystals in his urine. My milk wasn't coming in like it did with his sister Emma either. Soon, my son's skin began to look pinched and wrinkled. I realized he was dehydrating, and I had to do something.
I kept nursing, pumped, and using an eyedropper, fed my colostrum when he wouldn't suck. I called the birth center and they advised me to keep nursing and give an ounce of water, which I did.
I needed to do this for about four days until he seemed to wake up and nurse for longer periods without falling asleep at my breast.
He continued to nurse for 1 1/2 years.
by Catherine Young
When Zak was almost a year old, he caught something gross, probably from a hotel carpet. He had never had a bottle, and had been a very healthy, breastfed child up to then. Suddenly, I had a kid who wanted only to sleep, too tuckered out even to nurse, who had few wet diapers.
The doctor said give him water, and wait it out. I had not bottles or even an eyedropper, but I borrowed one, boiled it and dripped water into my floppy boy. Within minutes he seemed to be a little happier and soon could nurse a wee bit. Within the week he was up again, his old self. The doc said he could have caught something much worse if he was hospitalized for simple dehydration.
~~Flat Nipples, Large, Soft Breasts~~
Anonymous Mother, Ottawa, Ontario
Jessica had problems with sucking and latching, and compounded with my having flat nipples and very large, soft breasts, I was not successful in nursing her. I tried for eight days; I went to hell and back.
Before I was pregnant I went to my first La Leche League meeting, I was so determined to nurse.
When Jeremy was born, I had the same awkward difficulties with positioning and latching on. It was just impossible. I persevered. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, and no books were of much help. Thatwas the problem. I was trying to follow the book, the correct way to latch and position my baby and it just wasn't going to work for me. A wonderful League Leader told me to find some way that worked and I did.
I basically needed three hands. I needed to hold my breast, the babies head and hold the baby. I could not just hold him in the crook of my arm and have the other arm free; I needed to hold up my breast.
For positioning I used two pillows consistently for the first eight months. Without them was awful. Lying down worked well. I used the football hold for my right breast, and held my breast always with my left hand. For the left breast, I would slide him over on the pillows, hold his head with my right hand and my breast with my left. His body was being held up by pillows.
Because my nipples weren't "perky", I had to hold up my breast and kind of turn my nipples upward, and "sandwich" the nipple, and put as much of my breast into my mouth, as I could. It wasn't the "correct" way to nurse, but sometimes you have to be unconventional.
Before I discovered our successful way to nurse, My nipples had become a mess. They were festering wounds; they would get a "bead" of skin, and it would fall off in chunks. I tried air, sun, breastmilk, antibiotic cream because there was pus, and the thing that finally worked was a combination of improving the latch and warm sea salt water.
I have huge areola, the brown part around the nipple. I couldn't possibly put all that in my babe's mouth. My League Leader pointed out that all women are built differently and that guide wouldn't be appropriate for me to try to follow.
I am grateful to La Leche League and I am so proud of myself for persevering, with basically no support from family, friends who didn't nurse and even from friends who did nurse but had no difficulties.
Jeremy nursed for almost two years, without problems after the first six weeks. I look forward to having another child; I know I can overcome anything now.
Not nursing my first born did something to my self esteem; I found the courage to fight, and that was half the battle.
//-- Reader Letters --//
I was a teenager in 1985 I first picked up a copy of "The Compleat Mother" at Queen Street Natural Foods in the Beach in Toronto. This magazine influenced my whole life and educated me about homebirth and breastfeeding at a very impressionable age. I often wonder if I ever would have gone in the directions I have and learned what I know without "The Mother."
Therefore, when I got pregnant in 1998 one of the first people I called was Catherine to subscribe to "The Mother." I told her I had waited a long time to be a pregnant mom receiving my own personal copy of "The Mother". It was a big deal for me and I remember everything about that phone call very vividly. I especially remember how warm, supportive and thrilled Catherine was for me. After all her contact with mothers & babies she had obviously never lost her sense of awe at the prospect of a new life entering the world. She had such great compassion & respect for pregnant woman and the art of motherhood.
You will be missed Catherine. I wish you light & peace on your journey. Yours was a life well lived in the service of humankind.
Sincerely, Nancy Gauthier
You don't have to print this, but I needed to write it and I hope you can print it.
I just got off the phone with a friend who told me her brother (also a friend of mine) & his wife decided to circumcise their 6 day old son. The father of the baby was not circumcised as an infant (his parents are Italian, and as we all know circumcision is not routine in Europe and the UK) but he was circumcised at age 19 after a preventable problem with his foreskin. I remember him recounting the pain & agony he went through after this procedure.
Therefore, I couldn't believe he would do this to his new born son. His thinking apparently was that he wanted to save his son the pain he went through!
Save him! This child could have grown up a healthy intact male without any problems.
I wept when my friend told me. How can people continue to do this without any medical or religious requirement? How can people be so unthinking, unfeeling & cruel to their baby sons. To top it off his wife decided the same day the child was mutilated that: "breastfeeding is not for her." So this innocent little one didn't even have the breast to comfort him.
Please send your love and prayers to beautiful little baby "Jack", it sounds like he is really going to need them. As I write this my husband is bathing my three-year-old uncircumcised, still breastfeeding, unvaccinated son. This situation helps to re-affirm my commitment to stop this torture of innocent male children. I can't help but wonder if Jack's parents saw the contraption they would tie their son to and then handed him over anyway. I feel sick.
"When will they ever learn. When will they ever learn".
Sincerely, Nancy Gauthier
Just a quick note in response to the article about the two women contracting the "flesh-eating disease" after their births. At the time I was pregnant I was going back and forth between the option of a homebirth and a hospital birth, and regardless of amount of reading of factual information I did on either subject, the deciding factor in my decision for a homebirth was that during my pregnancy a mother died 2 or 3 days after the birth of her baby by contracting the disease after a seemingly normal birth in a local hospital.
It may not have been the most "educated" catalyst for my decision, but it was the right decision for me. Besides, it confirmed all I had read about homebirths actually being a safer birth for mother and child.
Have a great day,
<Editor's note: You can find the article mentioned here: http://www.compleatmother.com/bacteria.htm >
Dear Compleat Mother
Just a quickie (i have to grab these moments when i can!) to say that i have just (7 weeks ago) given amazing birth to my second daughter, Indigo Persephone Jackson. She was born at home on the livfing room floor in just over 3 hours, and it was a deeply moving and transformational experience. It was also very healing for both myself and my partner, as my first birth was like a rape: induced, given a drip, contractions for 36 hours before epidural, stirrups etc. My beautiful firstborn, Ruby, was taken to special care for 24 hours to be given extra oxygen (I believe her breathing was laboured due to the pethidine i was given when left alone - my husband was sent home as it was 'after visiting hours' - for one whole night in the post natal ward with no support - the antenatal ward was closed due to understaffing),
I worked very closely with my doula, Pat during the pregnancy and she was with me during the early stages of labour to the end. The midwife only came 15 mins before Indigo was born!!
I read your magazine avidly and also a few of your books which detailed positive home birth stories......i read so many birth stories! But i am saying a BIG THANK YOU as i just know that your stuff inspired me so much and touched that inner part of me that went on to birth my child with confidence and power. This birth has truly changed me, and my life!
Your work is so important, and i feel sure that it will go on and on in dear Catherine's absence.
Sophie Bashford Jackson
England Ps. i need to renew my subscription i know! i will get round to it soon!
I am interested in finding out more information about home births. If I am pregnant, this will be my fifth child. I will be 40 in May of this year. Any thing you could contribute would be very helpful.
Thank you, Patty Pugh
"Doctors Re-examine Circumcision" is an excellent resource covering circumcision and Genital Integrity. Because it is written by physicians, it is ideal to give to other physicians, nurses, midwives, parents, family, friends, students, libraries, attorneys, the media, etc. They make excellent baby shower gifts. Even if you own the original "Say No", you'll want to add this latest edition to your personal library because of the updated material.
Link for this book: http://www.compleatmother.com/motherbooks.htm
//-- HUMOR --//
Top l0 reasons to have a homebirth ~by Gloria Lemay
To test the theory that "Not even the most doting mother can stand the voice of her two year old at 8 centimeters dilation".
To enjoy the sounds of an electric air compressor inflating the fishy pool at 3 a.m.
To make all your girlfriends jealous when you tell them you made love to your hubby as soon as the midwives left.
To avoid having to jam those puffy feet into a pair of street shoes in order to go to the hospital.
Because you are a selfish, fanatical woman who only wants to have a big orgasm and you don't really give a damn about your baby!
Because you want to see if it's true what your homebirth friend told you that it would feel like your butt is splitting in two when that little forehead passes over the anus. (You've always been the curious type).
You want to see if those smart aleck midwives will really be able to keep your white eiderdown stain-free.
To prove to your mother-in-law that you are more stubborn and determined than she has ever been, and she better not mess with you anymore.
Because you take a perverse delight in other people running around with flashlights at 2 a.m. looking for addresses, while you stay cozy and warm waiting for them.
AND, THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO HAVE A HOMEBIRTH IS:
To throw a monkey wrench into the billing dept of the HMOs so they have to come up with new billing codes for something they thought went out of style with the horse and buggy.
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