Archive | September 2014

Are You Truly Helping?

I once heard it said that you aren’t truly helping someone unless it is an inconvenience for you. At first that sounded so ridiculous to me. Why can’t I be helping someone if I benefit from it as well? It just didn’t make sense. But the more I think about that statement, the more it starts to ring true.

We live in a world that places such great emphasis on self. What’s in it for me? How will this benefit me? Me, me, me. We are conditioned to place the greatest value on ourselves and to place everyone else second. Sure, we are willing to lend a hand to someone in need, as long as it’s not going to be a burden of our time or finances. Or as long as it will make us feel good. But it isn’t about us. It’s about the person in need and making them feel good.

The world tells us to look out for #1. But as a Christian, I have a different example to follow. Jesus Christ tells us to look out for others. To place the needs of our neighbors above our own. He showed us in His life how we are to do that. Do you think that going to the cross and paying for your sins wasn’t an inconvenience for Him? Jesus left His home in Heaven and came to earth for the sole purpose of dying for you and I. He gave us the ultimate example of how to help.

So next time someone needs us, let’s ask how we can help instead of make excuses for why we can’t. Even if it will be an inconvenience. Let’s be a blessing and help others with their burdens, even when we get nothing in return.

Reasons I’m Choosing a Home Birth-Part 1

First, let me give you some background. This will be my fifth baby. My previous 4 were all born in hospitals, the last 3 were actually born in the same room at our local hospital. While none of my experiences have been downright horrible, only one, my second birth, was actually a really good experience. Bringing a baby into the world is a miraculous event. Shouldn’t they all be good experiences? So with that said, here are my reasons for choosing to have a home birth this time around.

  1. I don’t want to be rushed! - If you’ve ever given birth in a hospital, you know that doctors have a time frame. Some doctors may be more lenient than others, but if you’re not progressing in what is their idea of an acceptable time frame, they will want to start with the interventions. My first birth wasn’t progressing fast enough, so I was given pitocin to augment my labor. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me at the time, but looking back I don’t know what the doctors were thinking. From my arrival to the hospital until my daughter was born was less than 16 hours. At what point during that did they think that 16 hours wasn’t good time for a first birth? My fourth birth was induced due to gestational diabetes (more on that in the next reason) and because the pitocin wasn’t working fast enough, they broke my water. Breaking a woman’s water in labor is a common practice but it comes with many risks. If the baby’s head isn’t low enough, the cord could prolapse (come out before the head) and then get compressed during a contraction, cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply. It also increases risk of infection for mom and baby. Because of the increased risk of infection, another time frame is put on labor and this time if the baby isn’t born in time, they will perform a c-section.
  2. I don’t want unnecessary interventions! - As you can see from the previous reason, just by putting birth on a time frame you are opening it up to a whole plethora of unnecessary interventions. At least they would be unnecessary if birth were allowed to progress on its own. When I was pregnant with my fourth I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was put on insulin and had to give myself 4 shots a day. While I acknowledge the fact that gestational diabetes is a serious issue and should be treated as such, I have since come to question whether insulin was the right course of action. My blood sugar levels were usually lower than 145, although they wanted me to be below 120. And they didn’t get me in to see a nutritionist for 4 months! I’m sure it could have been controlled with diet and exercise had I been given better support. Instead I got insulin. Which led to induction and more interventions.
  3. I don’t want to be manipulated! - Because I had gestational diabetes with my last baby, the team of doctors I was seeing were constantly using fear tactics to try to get me to just go along with whatever course of action they wanted to take. The first doctor told me that I HAD to schedule a c-section at 38 weeks because my baby would be too big (due to the diabetes) to be born naturally. That didn’t fly with me because baby #2 was 9 pounds, 12 ounces and baby #3 was 10 pounds, 7 ounces. And they were both fast labors with no pain medicine. I am 6 feet tall, my body can handle big babies, thank you very much. So I changed doctors. My second doctor wanted me to induce at 39 weeks, which I wasn’t comfortable with. I did agree to go twice a week into the hospital so they could monitor the baby’s heartbeat and my vitals, and there was never any cause for alarm. Still, she kept insisting I get induced and told me that if I went over 40 weeks my placenta would deteriorate and my baby would die. Just like that. Even though my bi-weekly checks were showing everything was fine. If my placenta were really deteriorating, there would have been signs. My baby would have been stressed. But because I didn’t do my research and she kept up with the death talk, I agreed and went in on my due date for an induction. I knew it was wrong and I was crying as they hooked up the pitocin drip. Luckily my baby girl was alright, but it was the hardest and longest birth because she just wasn’t ready. And she was only 8 pounds, way lighter than my previous two.
  4. I hate epidurals! - I know, some of you moms are wondering how I could say such a thing. But I just do. I have had two epidurals, with my first and my fourth, so I know how great the pain relief can be. But I am always so paranoid that I will be that one in a million (or whatever the stats are) that end up paralyzed for life because the guy stuck the needle in the wrong way. Also, I hate catheters. They really gross me out, and you have to have one with the epidural. And, in my experience, it is much harder to push that baby out when you have to lay on your back and can’t even feel what’s going on. It is so much more tiring than being able to move around and work with gravity and your body’s sensations to get the baby out. Still, I know that in the heat of the moment, I will be asking for the epidural if I know it’s available. So better for me to stay home and not have it available.  I have to add-having a drug free birth makes you feel truly alive. You can feel the full power of your body and what it is capable of. And the second your baby is out, the pain really does disappear. God made our bodies to do this, ladies! And it’s a beautiful thing!

Whether you choose to give birth at home or in a hospital, each life is special and is meant to be celebrated. These are just my thoughts based on my research and experiences. What do you think? Have you ever or would you ever consider a home birth? Why or why not?

In Part 2 I will give a more personal reason for choosing a home birth with this pregnancy. I hope you will check it out.

linked up at Good Morning Mondays

May We Never Forget

9/11 WTC Photo

I was a young, 17 year-old mom on the morning of September 11, 2001.  I got up like any other morning and got my baby girl her breakfast and then sat down on the couch with her and turned on the television. What I saw had my mouth hanging open and my eyes wide. Were they saying that our country had been attacked? It all seemed so unreal to me as I saw a news reporter in New York stating that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. And then the other one. What happened next was chaos. People jumping from the top of the towers to their deaths. I can’t even imagine what would have been going through their minds, how fearful they must have been in their last moments. The family members screaming outside the place where their loved ones were working, hoping against hope that they would make it out alive. And the heroic police and firemen who gave their lives so others could live. It is a day that should never be forgotten by anyone in our country.

And not only should we never forget the day, we should never forget the patriotism, love, and pride for our country that followed. I can still feel the sense of camaraderie that prevailed everywhere over the next few months. One particularly small event has stuck in my mind for all these years. A day or two after 9/11, I was in line at the store and when I got to the counter I realized I forgot my wallet. I was turning to go when a stranger behind me paid for my things. It was just a few dollars and such a small gesture but looking in his eyes and the eyes of the other people in line I could sense the unspoken-We will stick together, no matter what.

We as American’s prayed for our country like never before during that time. We fought for our country. We fought for our liberties and freedoms, so that we would not become like the cowards that attacked us on our soil. Let us remember how it felt to want to protect our country so fiercely. Let us remember how proud we were of our citizens. Let us remember how grateful we were for our freedoms and how we weren’t going to let anyone take that away from us. Let us remember to pray for our great nation like we did back then. Let us never forget.

picture credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/911pics/7835973648/in/photostream/

The Dreaded “F” Word

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Failure. Yep I said it. That dreaded F word that everyone is so afraid of. I have been so afraid to fail in my life that I have missed opportunities and held myself back from some amazing experiences. I know I’m not the only one. Our society is so success oriented, especially now with all the various social media platforms where our successes can be broadcast for everyone to see.  It is only natural to want the world to see how great we are doing in this or that, but let’s face it, this constant barrage of success stories just isn’t realistic. You aren’t going to succeed at everything the first time you try it. Maybe not even the fifth or the fifteenth time. Shoot, there may be some things you just are never good at. But that is no reason to throw in the towel before you even start.

I am talking to myself here more than anyone. I have been wanting to start a blog for 2 years. Yep, 2 years! And my fear of failure has held me back. I have convinced myself that it would be too hard and it might not even be worth it. I have come up with so many scenarios where I utterly fail and am horribly embarrassed by my efforts. Truly I have been my own worst enemy. And I’ve wasted 2 whole years just thinking about something when I should have been doing it!

Not anymore! Maybe it’s because I turned 30 this year (gasp!) or maybe I just finally got tired of hearing my own excuses, but here I am. Staring failure in the face. Who knows? Maybe I will still fail, but at least in a year from now I can look back on my experience and be proud of myself for trying and working towards a dream. I’m here to tell failure that I am not afraid anymore! Failure has no power over me. After all, the only way to truly fail is to never try.