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Home Birthing: An Absolutely Awesome or Awful Experience?

The first I heard about the new wave of home birthing was from a friend of mine who opted to have her first baby at home.  All went so well that she had her next three babies at home as well.  In fact, all the joyous details can be read in her best- selling Christian book.

I too wanted to deliver my children in the warmth of my own home.  I began checking into it but somewhere along the way, I became so confident and comfortable with my obstetrician, when he discouraged home birthing, I decided to follow his advice and had my son in the hospital instead.  Good thing as after thirty-five hours of intense labor, I had an emergency Cesarean section.

Some years later, my niece became pregnant and set plans in motion for a home birth.  She was an athletic, extremely healthy, very head-strong girl so I had no doubt she would, as my friend had done, have a picture-perfect deliver in the comfort of her lovely home.  She saw the mid-wife throughout her pregnancy and they shared the save fondness for alternative solutions such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.

During the last few weeks of my niece’s pregnancy, the mid-wife’s father was diagnosed with cancer.  She flew to be by his side, leaving my niece in the care of her associate.  Looking back, there were some red flags but excitement was in the air and they were easily overlooked.

Long story short, the home birthing experience was an absolute nightmare and a near fatal disaster for both mother and child.  Once she did finally go to the hospital, against the wishes of the attending mid-wife as well as the one who was away, the emergency staff could not believe the condition she was in.  Her blood pressure was over the roof, her urine protein levels confirmed she had had advanced preeclampsia (along with many other symptoms which should not have been missed).  Her water had broken four days prior which, of course, was extremely dangerous for the baby to still be in the womb.

Thankfully, the baby was born and although she had some issues that were cared for, it was a miracle she was even alive.  My niece had some issues as well but was stabilized too.  There were many errors that went on during end pregnancy as well as in labor.  With a new baby to care for, my niece filed minor complaints but did not take matters to the limit as she easily could have.  She just wanted to forget the ugly parts and get on with the beautiful life of motherhood.  Fortunately, she had that option.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not against home birthing at all.  I think it would be an amazing event to deliver in the comfort of your own home.  I was so in love with the idea, I almost opted to do it myself.

If you, or someone you know, are considering home birthing, I sincerely hope that it is an incredible experience that adds a glorious milestone in your life just like the four times my friend delivered in her home.  Please, please, please do your research though and in your reading, include not only success stories but those that give accounts of when it has gone array.  The story of your birthing experience should be one that is written as a wonderful chapter in the book of your life, not one written to the medical board of complaints.

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Toilet Training Time

I love the commercial where the cute little boy says, “Mom, mom, I went potty!” Mom smiles and is pretty pleased until she asks, “where?” The little angel points to the tub that he has just handed her and the next image is a giant bottle of Clorox slapped down on the bathroom tiles. It kind of represents what toilet training is all about. There are hits and misses along the way to success. But you better get with it because many nursery or pre-schools require this milestone before a child can enrol.

With a new baby, you probably aren’t thinking that far ahead, but it doesn’t hurt to read up on the subject while the infant is taking one of their infrequent naps. At, or before, age one, a toddler starts to recognize the need to go “potty” and as the months go by, he or she will want to do what you tell him or her on their own. They often fail, but they do like to imitate other kids, so use them when you can.

As they respond to the urge to eliminate, and they become old enough to comprehend basic language, you can discuss what is expected of them. Euphemism of course are welcome. Hence all the silly words for the natural processes. Sphincter control comes between 18 and 24 months. That is a happy acquisition for mom! Real toilet training can now ensue. As always, the kid wants to “do it myself.” Such independence comes earlier than you think!

At two and older, a potty routine should be in place. Children feel good when praised for their newfound competence. They begin to see gender differences and understand more about this vital all day function. They can graduate from their potty to the family toilet. Don’t punish a child for accidents and bedwetting as this can be traumatic. Discuss issues with your paediatrician if you feel your little one is not on schedule.

By three, the memory is growing and the bathroom routine is more ingrained. By five, you should expect bedwetting to be well over. Accidents happen when a child is distracted, so focusing on the need to go is already, even if it disrupts another activity. At preschool, peer pressure also encourages regular bathroom attendance. It is fine for parents and teachers to reward toddlers and young children for their efforts.

It should go smoothly and, believe me, everyone has to go through it. We all learned and survived all the constant fussing. Let it happen naturally and don’t force anything the child is not ready to do. If it takes a long time, so be it. Go with the flow, pun intended. You must give good instructions and be sure the child has the agility to undress themselves when approaching a toilet, junior size or regular. Boys, by the way, train a little more slowly than girls, another one of their many differences. There is nothing better than patience and humor to ease the way. You will have to devise night training as well to cover all the bases. There are things called plastic sheets for you newbies out there. All in all, if you foster a routine and good habits, everything will go as planned.

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Baby Proofing 101

You get panicky with the first baby and scurry around trying to baby proof everything you can think of. Right? It’s actually a wise idea and really a necessity, but you don’t have to go crazy day one. You can start slowly at birth and by the time the frisky tot is crawling about and getting into trouble, you are more than ready. Checklists are readily available on line, but in a nutshell, you must take care of:

  • electrical outlets, especially near the floor
  • cabinets and cupboards
  • areas such as under the sink in the kitchen and bathroom containing dangerous chemicals as in cleaning products (a tip, go green now and stop worrying)
  • wires and cables from lamps, TVs, computers, etc.
  • anything chewable or small enough to put in a tiny mouth
  • the fireplace (it absolutely must have a protective screen)
  • the swimming pool and/or Jacuzzi (the law mandates a safety fence). Even a portable pool can be deadly
  • the garage: it is an accident waiting to happen
  • the yard: look for tools lying around, sharp objects like parts of fences, weed killer, etc.

Toddlers are adventurous and will explore their environment, and well beyond it, at a very young age. Put yourself in their shoes (or should I say bare feet). They love household items that wouldn’t attract an older child. You need to put the entire family on alert, especially the first time when everyone is unfamiliar with the whole child raising enterprise. You can even get the dog into the act. I know that the smarter ones can be trained to watch out for peril when it comes to babies. You don’t have to go that far, however, but it is a big plus.

So, go out and buy those electrical outlet covers, door latches and safety catches, put away the cleaning supplies, and get real about the power of tiny feet. They can propel a lightweight around the house in no time flat. You can’t be too safe. Better to overdo it when in doubt. Get down on the ground at their eye level. What do you see? Can anything fall on a wee head like a stack of books or a tottering ashtray? Is the vacuum cleaner easy to engage? It is all potential for mayhem. Use safety gates to prohibit entry into rooms you can’t de-clutter. Recycle the ones for the dog if you like. Forget about the nice winter blaze from a wood stove. If you are a real worrywart, get a carbon monoxide detector and a couple of smoke alarms. Actually, you should have them already, new baby or not. Never, but never, leave prescription drugs around on a low table, even in a purse. Kids love to explore and colorful little pills are real eye catchers.

Now you have the basic recipe for practical baby proofing. If you think you have passed baby proofing 101, you can relax and enjoy the new family member in the refurbished context of a safe home.

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Third Time’s a Charm: The Hectic and Wonderful Life of a Mother of Three

Mother of 3 kids

I remember, oh so well, when my first child was born.  I had every baby gismo and gadget that had ever been made.  Everything was sterilized.  I even ironed his baby clothes and never took him out that he wasn’t dressed to the nines.

I was a cardholding member to every mommy club and blog site there was.  I attended La Leche League meetings, a gathering for nursing mothers.  I read countless books on motherhood and kept up with every new finding in the area of babies’ health and wellness in both traditional and alternative areas.  I also knew every recall and warning on every baby product and had my own list of products I thought they should check into.

I live in a rural town so to have portraits made professionally is a three hour trip and that is one way, providing there is no snow and you can usually count on snow for eight of the twelve months.  Still, my husband and I religiously took our firstborn to have his pictures made every three months.

Boy, how things change.  I gave birth to my second son three years later.  By then, I had discarded of half of the baby things I had.  I had learned what ones I liked and what ones just took up space.  The swing was a must.  The stroller had to go and a double Bob stroller was now in order.  As for the rest of the gadgets and gismos, if they babysat for me, fine…they stayed.  Anything that required too much of my time or too many batteries, went to the nearest Goodwill station.

We still kept up with portraits, somewhat.  Every three months turned in to every six but my husband and I prided ourselves on taking them at all.  Each time we embarked on the journey, inevitably one, if not both, boys would get car sick and throw up.  Good thing the portrait studio was inside a department store because we were forever buying new picture clothes for them once we finally got there.

Life was busy.  I remember how challenging it was to catch a quick shower while both boys were napping at the same time or when my husband was home and could keep an eye on them.  I once got one leg shaved only to hear my young son howling.  Of course I had to cut my shower short to see what the matter was.  It was a week later before I found time to shave my other leg.

I have recently had my third child…a girl!  Everything is pink and rosy.  Well, maybe not rosy…but everything is pink.  I have not yet had time to sterilize everything.  She will probably be in college by the time I get time to do that.

My daughter is six weeks old and we haven’t made it to get portraits yet.  We tried once but our middle son woke up sick that morning.  We opted to take our own the following week-end.  I am sure we will make it to town to get professional ones made.  I hope my daughter is not grown and married by the time we do.

Just the other day I laid her on the bed in the room I was cleaning.  I was thinking, “Thank goodness she can’t roll over yet.”  I had to laugh, remembering how ecstatic I was when my firstborn rolled over.  I was excited, yet not ecstatic when my second born did so and now, I was almost dreading the day my third born would.

My daughter has a ton of adorable little outfits.  I have yet to iron any of them though.  As for shaving both legs at the same time, I figure I will get the waxed when I have time.  I do good just to get a shower these days.

The boys are very excited to have a little sister and though life with three children is a challenge, to say the least, I would not give for a minute of it.Each pregnancy was different as is my motherhood experience with each child but one thing will always be the same and that is the way in which I love them with all of my heart…legs shaved or not.