Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stop giving bad advice!

Dear parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and friends of new parents,
Stop giving them bad advice!


But seriously, stop it. I can honestly say that the majority of advice I have been given since the very first time I got pregnant was bad advice.

Stop telling new mums to give their baby rice cereal in a bottle because they wont sleep through the night. Stop telling them to start solids earlier than the age recommended by their doctor.
Stop saying that they will sleep through the night if they have a full belly.
Stop telling them to lay their babies on their belly or sides to sleep (I understand that in some cases, like with a gassy/colicky baby, this can help them, but I'm talking about in general).
Stop telling them to put whiskey on their teething baby's gums.
Stop telling them that it is okay to balance their infant car seat on top of a shopping cart/trolley (it's really not).
Stop telling them to loosen the car seat straps, or that they should be able to fit 2/3/4/5 fingers or a whole elephant between the straps and baby.

This is all outdated advice and I could seriously add so much more to that list.
But it gets worse. The well meaning people who are giving this bad advice, back it up by saying things like "Well I did this with my kids and they turned out fine" or "They are always changing what you should and shouldn't do, they will probably change it again in a year or two anyway"
To the people who say these things: do you freaking hear yourselves?! You are telling new parents, who are probably feeling a little unsure and maybe even a little vulnerable, to go against what medical professionals say is best/safest.
Yes, you did this with your kids and they probably turned out okay, but that doesn't mean it's the safest option.
Now before you get insulted, defensive or just plain jump down my throat, I want to reiterate that I am not attacking your parenting choices. I do not doubt that you did what you knew at the time was best for your children and that's fantastic. I have no doubt that the majority of people who are giving this advice are/were great parents, but the fact is, knowledge has grown.
Research and technology have shown us that there are increased risks of diseases and other health problems when you feed your baby anything other than breast milk or formula before 6 months.
It has shown that putting your baby to sleep on their back significantly decreases the chance of SIDS. And no, a baby is not going to choke on their own spit up and die if they are sleeping on their back, so stop telling new moms that.
And don't get me started on putting whiskey on a baby's gums, seriously?
The one that really gets to me, though, is the car seat issue. the straps should NOT be loose enough to fit two fingers between the straps and baby, they should be snug. No, a child is not going to choke or suffocate from having the straps on their car seat done up correctly. So what if your kid survived having loose straps on their car seat, or if they survived not being in a car seat at all? The fact is, if a child or infant is not in the correct car seat for their age and size, with the harness done up correctly, their risk of being seriously injured or even killed in the event of a car accident significantly increases, same with putting your kids in expired car seats (yes, car seats expire and it's not just a gimmick). Why would I ever risk that?!

Oh and FYI: Doctors/the AAP don't change recommendations just for fun, they change it because knowledge grows and they have a responsibility to recommend what they know at the time to be best/healthiest/safest for your children. Stop telling people that it is okay to risk their child's health or safety by not doing what we now know to be best.

The same goes for pregnancy, I don't care if you chose to eat or do the things that we are warned by our doctors not to do during pregnancy and your kid turned out just fine, that doesn't mean I should do those things, so stop telling pregnant women that "just a little bit is okay" because sometimes just that little bit of whatever it is can make the world of difference in the health of the baby. I WILL NOT RISK MY BABY'S HEALTH FOR A PIECE OF HAM OR DELICIOUS RAW SUSHI.

The whole point of doctors making recommendations about what to feed your baby and when, about what to avoid eating or doing during pregnancy, about what position to put your baby in to sleep, or any other important recommendations, is NOT because they think that everybody that goes against these recommendations will experience the adverse effects. No not at all, the point is that doing these things that are not recommended significantly INCREASES the risk of the adverse effects. I am not going to knowingly put my children at risk just because your children turned out fine.

SO please, I don't care who you are, or how many kids you have, if you find yourself in conversation with a parent of a young child and you find yourself thinking  that you did things differently with your kids, remember this post.

Stop saying that you did [insert no longer recommended thing here] with your children and they turned out fine.
Stop saying that doctors are always changing what you should and shouldn't do, or that they will just change it again anyway.
Stop telling parents to go against what research has shown is best for their kids.
and most importantly:
Stop getting defensive or taking it as people are saying you are/were a bad parent for doing those things, because that is just plain not true.

Oh and before I step off my soapbox, I want to add:
Stop telling new parents that their choices are wrong. As long as they are not putting their child in danger, who cares if they breastfeed or bottle feed? Who cares if they use cloth or disposable diapers? Who cares if they put their kid in a stroller or baby carrier? Who cares if they pick up their baby when they cry or do controlled crying? Who cares if they choose to have an epidural, elective c-section or unmedicated natural birth? Who cares if they give their baby store bought baby food or make their own? Who cares if they choose to let the baby sleep in their room or if they put them in their own room from the day they come home? You may not agree with some of these decisions for whatever reason, but as long as their kids are safe, let them parent the way they feel is best, don't tell them that they are "wrong" and if you really cant help but judge them, keep it to yourself. We parents need to love and support each other to keep these precious babes safe!

***Please remember that there are some doctors who chose not to keep up to date with the AAP recommendations and still recommend things like feeding baby at 4-6 months, rather than 6 months. Parents, remember to do your own research as well***

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kennen's Story

Since I last posted, our family has grown by another perfect baby boy!

We found out in July last year that we were expecting our rainbow baby, after miscarrying not even 6 weeks earlier. Obviously it was a little bit of a scary pregnancy, being so soon after a loss, but thankfully I had a lot of emotional support throughout from my wonderful family and friends, you know who you are.
Thankfully, apart from the morning sickness, a few small incidences of spotting and slightly high blood pressure, baby boy and I were both healthy and feeling good by the end of my pregnancy!
We decided to try for a different type of birth with this baby and chose a wonderful midwife and a birth centre, rather than a regular hospital birth.
To deliver at the birth centre, you have to be between 37 and 41 weeks pregnant so I was nervous by around 36 weeks, when the baby was sitting super low, putting a lot of pressure on my cervix and one of the midwives said that she estimated it would be "about a week, maybe two" before I delivered. Of course, this freaked me out a little, especially because I So desperately wanted Mum to be there for the birth and she wasn't due to arrive until March 5th, 12 days before my due date.
37 weeks came and went and I was thankfully still pregnant and praying that baby would hold on until after his Nanna got here from Australia.
I had been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions with this pregnancy from about 35 weeks, which was something I didn't really experience with Lachlan, but by about March 1st, they had stopped.
Then on March 3rd, I was chatting on the phone to my friend, Amber, when Lachlan climbed up on me and fell asleep. It was only about 7pm which was super early for him, his bedtime isn't until 9:30, so I let him Lay on me for a little while, then put him in bed and kept chatting to Amber. at about 8pm I realised that I was still having "cramps", which had started right when Lachie fell asleep on me. I casually said to Amber "um so I've been having contractions for the past hour..." 
She told me I was crazy and to call my midwife etc. so we got off the phone, and I called the labour line. The contractions were super mild, and inconsistent, so much so that I couldn't tell when they started and ended, but the midwives had been telling me at my appointments to call and give a heads up if I noticed anything. My midwife, Jennie ended up texting me and saying to drink some chamomile tea and take a warm bath then try to get some sleep in case this was it.
Ant was at school, so I called him and got him to pick up some chamomile tea on the way home and just relaxed in the bath until he got here. By this time the contractions/cramps had stopped and had been gone for a while, but I was tired, so I relaxed for a bit and went to bed. Literally the minute I got into bed, I was hit with a strong contraction. I figured I would time it on my phone and the next hit 7 minutes later, then another 6 minutes after that. okay so maybe this was it, but 6-7 minutes apart meant it would probably be a while. oh wait, the next one decided to come two minutes after that, then another one two minutes after that one. And these weren't just mild contractions, I'm talking the kind of contractions that made my whole body tense up and made me curl into a ball.
I called Jennie back and she said that because the real contractions had only just started, to try and get some sleep and call her back if I felt like I needed to go in. Then she suggested that I call my mother in law, Karen, and tell her to make her way over, seeing as she was almost two hours away and we needed her to watch Lachie for us.
So I called her, thankfully she was still awake, then she called my friend Stephanie, who had kindly offered to be my doula, and they got on the road.
Poor Anthony had been up for about 30 hours at this point, because of his busy work and school schedule, so I told him to try to take a nap before we had to go in. 
By this time, Lachlan had woken up and was full of energy, and as I scrambled to get the rest of my labour bag together between contractions, he followed me around the apartment, pulling everything out of the bag and laughing at me and copying every time a contraction hit and I squatted to try and handle the pain.
By about 1:45am, Karen and Stephanie had called me what felt like about a thousand times and because my contractions were so close together, they were starting to freak out a little, and said that they would just meet us at the birth centre, rather than coming to our apartment, so I called Jennie and said that it was time to head in and went to wake Anthony. He had been asleep less than an hour and thought i was crazy for going in so early, but got his stuff together anyway.
As I was getting ready to leave, I decided to go to the bathroom and pee and ended up throwing up all over the bathroom and myself. I knew this usually meant that a woman was in transition, but seeing as it had only been about 2 1/2 hours, I figured there was no way I could be that far along. Then I remembered an article I had read about something called the "purple line" which was apparently an alternate, much less invasive way of checking how far dilated a woman was during labour. I went back into the bathroom and checked in the mirror, and sure enough there was a purple line and it was pretty long! 
So after changing into clean pjs and cleaning up myself and the bathroom, we were out the door. let me tell you, a 28 minute drive is NO fun when you are having intense contractions every 2 minutes!
we finally arrived at the birth centre at 2:29 and Jennie was waiting outside for us, with Karen and Stephanie.
Karen had brought some labour snacks and offered me some yogurt, which I promptly turned down, there was no way I could think about food by this stage! Jennie gave me a look like she knew I would be pretty far progressed, so she checked me and I was 7cm dilated! 

She filled the birthing pool, because I was hoping for a water birth, and I got in. Let me tell you, labouring in the water was absolute bliss! I wouldn't say it took away the pain of the contractions, but it definitely eased the back pain that I was experiencing in between the contractions, and it helped me to relax my entire body.
having a doula to talk me through each contraction and to tell Anthony what to do to help me with the pain was absolutely the best help I could have had at that point in time.
The whole atmosphere of the birth centre was so peaceful and relaxing and Jennie even let us facetime my family in Australia when I was in the tub, the cool part was, they were all together (except for my eldest sister, who lives in a different state) for a family dinner at mum and Dad's place, because mum was leaving to come see us for 5 weeks the very next morning. 
facetime with my family
after what felt like hours, Jennie and literally 2 seconds after she checked me, my waters broke! For a second, I thought that she hit me in the crotch, then I realised that the weird popping feeling was my waters breaking. She let me labour for a few minutes longer and checked me again because my body was taking over and starting to push. By this point, I was fully dilated with a slight lip on my cervix, so she suggested I get out of the water and walk around for a minute. As Ant and Stephanie were helping we out of the tub, I had another contraction, so Jennie asked me to lay on my side on the bed so she could check me again. By this point, He was on his way out, I couldn't stop my body from pushing, so she said to go for it, I pushed once and his head came out, then on the second push he was born!
 after the birth, i asked Jennie what time he was born and she said it was 3:34am! I was in complete disbelief, it had felt like I was in that tub for hours, but in reality, we had only been at the birth centre for an hour and I had been in actual labour for just four hours!
Just like Lachlan, I felt no pain during the actual birth, but this time, I got through it without absolutely no tearing whatsoever!
It was so amazing to be able to bring our son into the world in such a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere, and Lachlan was actually able to be in the room as well, so that was pretty special, even if he didn't take any notice of what was going on.
Literally the second they put our beautiful baby boy on my chest, I asked Ant to call my mum on facetime, we had wanted to facetime her during the actual birth, but it all happened so quickly that it just didnt happen, but my parents and siblings were able to meet our little boy at just a few seconds old, so that was super special!
kennen meeting his Aussie family on facetime
We chose to delay cord clamping, so he was put on my chest the moment he was born and was able to breastfeed and snuggle until after all the blood from the placenta had finished pumping through the unbilical cord and the colour difference in his skin was amazing, by the time Anthony cut the cord, he was glowing with this beautiful, healthy, bright pink colour.
Just like we did with Lachlan, we had decided to wait until we held him to choose his name, we had a list of a few names and two possible middle names, but the minute we held him, we knew his name was meant to be Kennen Gregory Mojica. Kennen after my dad and Gregory after Anthony's dad.

Kennen weighed 7lb 1oz and measured 21 inches long (with a measuring tape), although when he was measured on the actual baby measuring device at the pediatrician a few days later, he was only 19 inches long.

Within two hours of his birth, I had showered, eaten breakfast and was asking Jennie if I could go home. We had to fill out some papers, but as soon as that was done and Anthony had a little nap, we were out of there and were home by 8am. It was so nice to be able to recover in the comfort of my own home, rather than in a stark, cold hospital.

The boys napping - having a baby is exhausting!

The irony of the whole situation: Kennen was born just a half a day before my mum got on the plane from Australia to come be here with us, which is exactly what Lachlan did to us just two years earlier! 
Kennen on top and Lachlan on the bottom, both in the same outfit, same age, on the way to pick Nanna up from the airport!
Meeting Mum at the airport

Overall, I would have to say that a birth centre birth compared to a natural hospital birth is like night and day. It was such a warm, loving, peaceful environment and I will definitely be choosing to deliver at a birth centre, with a midwife and a doula for all of our future babies, and hopefully we will be able to have Jennie as our midwife again, because she is absolutely one in a million!
Jennie Joseph, our wonderful midwife!