Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who has "Been There, Done That"

Below is a guest post submitted by Candice.

"I post the things I post in hopes that it will reach someone out there because when I had my kids I wish there was someone who would have taught me, not to say "you suck at what you are doing." 

There is a huge difference in doing something that is unsafe for your child because you genuinely do not know and doing something unsafe because you refuse to be educated and you use the defense, "I know what's best for my child."  This is coming from someone who screwed up A LOT during her first 5 years of child-rearing.  I try to help people learn from my mistakes.  Most of my opinions come from personal experience.

These are my opinions and yes, like I said, we can "agree to disagree" on some of them (like vaccines) and as long as you are doing your research and believe that you've made the best choice, I commend you either way.  




Epidurals- Sure you may think you can't handle the pain, but believe me, once you have that baby in your arms, that pain will be a distant memory. These are some of the risks and side effects of an epidural:

Maternal Risks
§                                 Hypotension (Drop in blood pressure)
§                                 Urinary Retention and Postpartum Bladder Dysfunction
§                                 Uncontrollable Shivering
§                                 Itching of the face, neck and throat
§                                 Nausea and Vomiting
§                                 Postpartum Backache
§                                 Maternal Fever
§                                 Spinal Headache
§                                 Uneven, incomplete or nonexistent pain relief
§                                 Feelings of Emotional detachment
§                                 Postpartum feelings of regret or loss of autonomy
§                                 Inability to move about freely on your own
§                                 Loss of perineal sensation and sexual function
§                                 Convulsions
§                                 Respitory paralysis
§                                 Cardiac arrest
§                                 Allergic shock
§                                 Nerve injury
§                                 Epidural abscess
§                                 Maternal death

Labor Side Effects
§                                 Prolonged First Stage of Labor
§                                 Increase of malpresentation of baby's head
§                                 Increased need for Pitocin augmentation
§                                 Prolonged Second Stage of Labor
§                                 Decrease in the ability to push effectively
§                                 Increased liklihood of forceps or vacuum extraction delivery
§                                 Increased likelihood of needing an episiotomy
§                                 Increase in cesarean section

Baby Side Effects
§                                 Fetal distress; abnormal fetal heart rate
§                                 Drowsiness at birth; poor sucking reflex
§                                 Poor muscle strength and tone in the first hours.
The pain can be helped with counter pressure, meditation etc (more on effective drug-free pain relief at another time)
This is a great link about epidurals and how they can actually make the birth more painful for your baby.  Is it worth the pain of your child for you to be a little more comfortable?http://www.drmomma.org/2010/09/truth-about-epidurals.html

Epidurals and me:
When I had Avery, I knew I wanted to experience some of the pain first and then get an epidural.  I had a labor that lasted over 72 hours and I waited until the pain was unbearable (or so I thought) before I got one.  With Kye, I had the shortest labor ever.  My contractions were stacked right on top of another and I was in excruciating pain.  When they finally admitted me, I screamed for MY epidural (haha as if it's a right of passage)...but it was too late by the time they believed me that the baby was coming...and I had him without one.  After that, I knew that the pain was normal and if I'd done it once, I could do it again. 

When I was induced with Kaylee (more on induction later), I told the nurses before any of the pain started that I was set on doing it naturally and I did not want them to ask me if I wanted any pain meds.  I told them that if I needed anything, I would ask because I know when you are in that much pain, if someone offers it, it's going to be too hard to say no.  

A few minutes before Kaylee was born, I was told I was only dilated to a 6 and she was having a hard time getting into position and was facing the wrong direction, causing HORRIBLE back pain (I thought I was going to die),  I begged for an epidural, deep down knowing that I really didn't want one, but I kept saying I couldn't do it anymore.  However, I wasn't at a 6, I was completely dilated, and the pain I was experiencing was just her transitioning.  She came out seconds later.  If/when we have another baby, I want a homebirth (go ahead and call me crazy), I don't want pain meds to be an option because I know that I don't need them, and I want the birth to be as peaceful as possible. 


Routine Inductions:
Routine/elective inductions are simply when a mom decides she's been pregnant too long or a doctor is ready for you to have your baby on his 8-5 schedule so that he doesn't have to be waken up at 3am on a Saturday night.  The drug most commonly used is pitocin and these are some of the side effects:

Anaphylactic reaction
 Premature ventricular contractions
Postpartum hemorrhage
 Pelvic hematoma
Cardiac arrhythmia
Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Fatal afibrinogenemia
Hypertensive episodes
Nausea Rupture of the uterus
Vomiting
Excessive dosage or hypersensitivity to the drug may result in uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction, or rupture of the uterus.
The possibility of increased blood loss and afibrinogenemia should be kept in mind when administering the drug.
Severe water intoxication with convulsions and coma has occurred, associated with a slow oxytocin infusion over a 24-hour period. Maternal death due to oxytocin-induced water intoxication has been reported.
The following adverse reactions have been reported in the fetus:
Bradycardia  
Low Apgar scores at five minutes
Premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias  
Jaundice
Permanent CNS or brain damage
Neonatal retinal hemorrhage
Fetal DEATH  
Neonatal seizures

Keep in mind, nobody knows when a baby is ready to be born except that baby.  Full term is considered anywhere from 37-42 weeks.  That means even though you are past your ESTIMATED due date, you are not post term until you hit 42 weeks and 1 day.  Don't rush the process, let the baby develop on his/her own schedule, they will come when they are ready. 

When you get discouraged, just remember that nobody has ever been pregnant forever and 43-44 weeks is considered completely normal! Women have been doing this since the beginning of man, you'll survive 40+ weeks.

Inductions and me:
I was induced at 40 weeks with Kaylee. My doctor had been telling me since about half way through my pregnancy that we were going to need to induce between 38-39 weeks because if I let Kaylee get too big, I would likely tear and hemorrhage to death.  Doctors know everything right?  So I agreed, we planned a tentative induction date, made plans for Dan's mom to come out for the birth etc. 

At about 38 weeks, I started doing some research on it (better late than never) and realized there were hundreds of women I had the privilege of speaking with who had been told the same thing.  I started thinking that maybe the doctor was wrong, how exactly could she predict the future anyway?

 I had big babies before, yes I hemorrhaged but I didn't die! And if the doctor knows that you have a higher chance of it happening, they know what to look for after the birth.  I really did not want to force my baby out when she wasn't ready to be earthside yet and only she knew when that time would come. 

But hearing it time after time at the doctor's appointment that 39 weeks was the latest I could go, I began doubting myself.  In the end, I put it off until 40 weeks and Kaylee (over 9lbs) came out completely fine without a tear or cut.  I wish I would have waited for labor to start on it's own, pitocin makes contractions hurt so much worse and who knows if Kaylee wasn't completely ready to be delivered and possibly needed another week or 2.  Of course, I will never know, but I do know that if we have another, labor will begin naturally like it did for Avery and Kye.

C-sections:
I thankfully have never had to deal with this but like everything else, I do have an opinion.  C-sections are performed all too often, numerous times because of complications that arise from the two aforementioned medical interventions.  A very small percentage of women actually need a c-section, but a lot of "needs" are misdiagnosed and the women could have easily gone on to have a vaginal birth.  Even breech babies do not need to be born by c-section all of the time.


Formula-

Simply put, cows milk is for cows and human milk is for humans.  You hear all the time stories of people who couldn't breastfeed.  Some of them I truly believe couldn't do it, but it's a very small percentage.  We were created to be able to feed our children this way.  Formula is constantly recalled, has been sitting on the shelf for longer than your baby has been alive, and tastes and smells nasty.  Breastfeeding is proven to be better for immunity, development and can never be completely duplicated so there is much ignorance in the statement that "formula is just as good."  Even the formula companies say, "breast is best."

Formula and me:

Avery and Kye were both on formula after the first month because of overproduction issues (too much to explain right now).  I didn't have any resources and my doctor encouraged me to quit because formula was just as good...so I did.  I feel awful that I didn't know what I know now, because of the lack of internet.  With Kaylee, I was able to correct my issues and she's nearly 4 months and going strong :)

Vaccines:

This will be a short one.  I believe that God gave my children and myself a natural immunity and I trust Him more than I trust some money-hungry vaccine company in regards to keeping my family safe.  I don't agree with all of the disgusting ingredients they want me to shoot my children up with.  I don't like that they may have caused Kye's allergies, asthma, and eczema. 

And in short, I do not believe and have never seen any proof that they work. All of my 3 years of research has shown that the decline of all of these diseases had already begun many years before the vaccine was produced, and the most logical explanation was better, cleaner, standards of living.

If you are interested in a list of ingredients: http://www.informedchoice.info/cocktail.html
Did you know that we vaccinate our children 3 1/2 times more often than when we were growing up?http://www.drmomma.org/2011/01/cdc-mandatory-vaccine-schedule-1983-vs.html

Vaccines and me:
Avery and Kye were both vaccinated on schedule until Kye was in and out of the hospital the first two years of life with allergic reactions, allergy induced eczema, which had to be controlled by steroids, and in turn created mrsa infections ( a very vicious cycle). Every time he would get his shots, any progress he had made changed for the worse and we were back to square one. 

His immune system wasn't functioning at all.  Anyone who has ever taken their kids for shots knows that they can't get them if they are sick.  Well, Kye was very sick so he missed his 18 month shots.  Shortly after, he seemed to be getting progressively better and his allergist and dermatologist blamed the vaccines for causing all of his health issues. 

So when it came time to reschedule, I held off...did some research and was surprised at everything I had found out about it.  I decided not to vaccinate anymore and have stuck to that.  He is now EXTREMELY healthy.  Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it. Avery still goes to public school *gasp* and my precious little baby has not had one vaccine in her life :)

Circumcision:

Circumcision and me:
This is a really touchy subject for me, as I did it to Kye because that's what I was made to believe is normal and it's one of my biggest regrets.  It's far from normal, it is completely inhumane, painful, can cause so many complications and/or death, and had absolutely NO medical necessity in 99.99999% of baby boys. Teach your little boys to wash themselves and they will be fine.

Out of 100 Circumcised boys:
75 will not readily breastfeed post-op

55 will have adverse reactions from the surgery

35 will have post-op hemorrhaging to one degree or another

31 will develop meatal ulcers

10 will need to have the circumcision surgery repeated to fix prior surgical problems/error
8 will suffer infection at the surgical site

3 will develop post-operative phimosis

2 will have a more serious complication (seizure, heart attack, stroke, loss of penis, death)

1 will require additional immediate surgery and sutures to stop hemorrhage

1 will develop fibrosis

1 will develop phimosis

1 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (urinary tract infection)

1 will be treated with antibiotics for surgical site infection

Of those who do receive pain medication for the surgery (about 4% of those boys undergoing circumcision in the U.S.) some will have adverse reactions to the pain medication injected

Out of 100 Intact boys:

2 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted)

1 will be told to get cut later in life for one reason or another (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted)
Statistics speak for themselves.  You wouldn't circumcise your daughter, why do it to your son?

  
CIO (crying it out) and co-sleeping

With Dan in the military, I see it all the time. Deployments come around and the insomnia kicks in. I dare you to ask any military wife why they have such a hard time sleeping when their husband is gone and you'll get an answer along the lines of "the bed feels too empy"  "it's too cold"  "I need his arm around me to sleep" etc.  What makes you think a baby is any different? 

They just spend 9-10 months dependent on your warmth, your comfort, being "held" and now they are out and you throw them in a cold lonely crib to fend for themselves.  Yes, they are going to cry!  They need you; they don't need to be "trained."  They aren't your pet, and they need to be able to trust you.  You may think about it as "well I'm going to put them in their bed, then I will be right outside the door til they fall asleep, they are completely safe." 

Now how does a baby that has absolutely no time concept think?  "Mommy left me and won't answer my cries and is never coming back.  Yes, they will eventually go to sleep.  Does this mean that you "won?"  No, it means they've given up on you. And I'm sure after a few nights of doing it, the crying will lessen, but this isn't a victory, all it says is that they don't trust you, they know that you don't care and you aren't coming back.  Think about this.  Something happens and you get upset, your husband walks in crying, tells you "you'll be alright" and leaves the room...maybe he comes back a few minutes later, does the same thing and eventually you just give up on him caring about you. 

I don't know about you, but my husband would never hear the end of it.  They are there for comfort, and sometimes you just need to be held.  Not to mention, new studies show that crying it out can cause brain damage.  

Even the man who created this method (Ferber) has recanted his previous statements and said if he had the chance to do it all over again, he would not recommend it at all.  But the damage has been done.  What used to be considered child abuse is now the norm amongst many in society. 


So what other alternatives are there?  You can rock your baby to sleep like they are used to, or you can co-sleep (my preference).

The benefits of co-sleeping are endless, but here are a few:

Both mom and baby sleep better, makes for easier breastfeeding: "Not only does sleep sharing benefit baby as a result of the touch, stimulation and relaxation that comes from the security of knowing mom is close, but her milk supply is also regulated through hormones when she sleeps within an arm's reach of her baby," it reduces the risk of SIDS.


I co-slept with Avery and was made to feel like a bad mom as if I was spoiling her.  Let me tell you this, babies can not be spoiled by being held when they cry, by being loved, or by being able to sleep in your bed.  Those are ridiculous claims!  I didn't co-sleep with Kye (until he got really sick around 9mo) because of all of the flack I got for it with Avery and I regret it (I've come to realize I have a lot of regrets with him lol).

Ironically, he still wakes up in the middle of night and comes to my bed and Avery doesn't.  Kaylee has slept in our bed or right next to it (2 times) every single night since she was born.  I love it and won't let anyone influence my decision.  As for crying, Kaylee doesn't ever experience "controlled crying." 

A lot of well-meaning advice-givers tell you "just let them cry, it won't kill them, all babies do it” but the way I see it, if she's crying, something is wrong.  She doesn't cry just to be heard. She could be tired, hungry, wet...or maybe she just needs to be close to mommy, or wants a change of position.  Babies cry for a reason and EVERY single time Kaylee has cried since birth, she has been attended to...yes, EVERY time.  I do not let her cry and because of this, I believe she has a lot of trust in me.

Car seats and extended rear facing:

First and foremost, the law for babies to be kept rear facing is at least 1yr and 20lbs in every state...some are more strict than others and the AAP recommends keeping toddlers rear facing to at least 2 years or as long as humanly possible.  So when I hear people say "I know what's best for my baby" and are turning the forward facing at 6 months, yes I get upset.  I am what you would call a car seat nazi. I have heard so many excuses about why people can't rear face.  So this is my own little version of mythbusters

#1 No, your child is not too big to be rear facing.


That would be a 3-year-old rear facing

...
And there's another


And yet another


And this link here has a 4 and 5 year old :)


Still have doubts?  There has never been a documented case of a child breaking their legs because they were rear facing (it's actually safer for their legs). 

There have, however, been plenty of cases where the child died or suffered internal decapitation because they were forward facing too early.  A child's spinal column is not fused to their skull until after 2 years old.  And surprisingly, the more your child weighs at this point in life, the more likely they would be to suffer irreversible damage because they are more violently thrusted forward in a wreck. 

#2 My baby pitches a fit if they are rear facing and distracted driving is worse than forward facing. 
Oh really? So tell me this, what exactly did you do for the first 12 months of life when your child would cry? Don't try telling me that they never made a peep until they were 12 months.  You've dealt with distracted driving this long, it's no different...and not to mention I have 2 kids forward facing, and they still distract me regardless of the way they are sitting.  There is no excuse, give them a toy, give them a snack, turn on the radio...something, you have so many options.

#3 But my baby doesn't like not being able to see me
Yeah, who cares what your baby "likes."  My 5 year old wants ice cream for dinner, does that mean she gets it?  She wants to play outside in her underwear...yeah, not happening.  You're the parent, act like it.  I definitely don't understand the skewed logic with this excuse.

* 80% of carseats are used or installed improperly
* toddlers who are rear facing have been PROVEN to be FIVE TIMES SAFER than forward facing toddlers. This has been proven multiple times, and now its also been proven by the American Academy of Pediatrics
* the AAP recommends extended rear facing
* when a 20 lb infant is in a 30 mph crash, 600 lbs of force is exerted right onto the neck when forward facing, when rear facing this force is spread out evenly on the body by the cradling effect, which is MUCH less devastating to their tiny body. The heavier the child, the more force. The faster the wreck, the more force.
* a toddler's spine is NOT fused to their skull until at least 2 years old. (Hence why its rec. to ERF until 2)
* In the United States during 2005, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 184,000 were injured. That’s an average of 4 deaths and 504 injuries each day

 Like I said at the beginning of this note, I don't fault people for not knowing, it's refusing to change once someone has presented facts to you or you've done the research. THAT is ignorant parenting, and doing things for your own convenience instead of the safety of your child.  Remember me saying I'm not perfect? At the end of this section, you will find a collage of my own car seat pictures before I knew what I was doing.  Looking at them, I can say that my children are lucky to be alive.  Here are the descriptions of each:

#1 We were about to get out of the car (I had just unbuckled him). Halloween 2007, making my son 9 months and FF
#2 My daughter at 2 1/2 with her "belly" clip
#3 My son at 2yr 5mo with his "belly" clip
#4 *shudders* twisted straps, not even tight enough to stay up on his shoulders...at 2yr7mo
#5 My 4yr4mo girl in a backless booster (in our spare vehicle so we didn't have to move seats back and forth)
#6 My 2 1/2 year old in a high back booster (in spare vehicle)
#7 My 4yr4mo daughter in a belt-positioning booster
#8 recent pic of my son at 4years and 2 months, tight straps with no slack, chest clip up to his armpits
#9 recent pic of my 3 month old, no slack whatsoever, you can barely put half of your finger between her and the strap, after market strap covers have had the "compression test" and without adjusting the straps, the car seat fits the same both way (we are looking for baby trend covers to go with it but we HAVE to keep these on for now because the last time we didn't the strap actually cut into her neck from her turning her head back and forth)

Don't have a recent pic of my almost 6 year old but you get the picture lol
Both of my oldest two were switched back to a 5point harness and will stay there until they no longer fit. Kaylee will be rearfacing past 2.

Spanking
   
I don't have too much to say on this.  I think it is abuse.  I used to spank and realized that's not how I want my kids to grow up.   There is a fine line between spanking and beating and I resented my mother growing up for how she raised us (there is still a bit of resentment there). 

Kids don't need punishment and discipline (this isn't the army). They need positive reinforcement.  Kids that are hit grow up to be hitters, as proven in domestic abuse cases.

Putting cereal in a bottle/feeding solids too early

Most simply, having solids too early increases the risk of food allergies exponentially.  Babies' digestive systems aren't developed enough to handle more than milk.  Putting cereal in a baby's bottle is extremely dangerous and there is no reason to do so (unless you are given instructions due to reflux).


#1. You can cause your child's allergies. . .
While no one agrees completely on what it is that actually causes allergies, we do have enough research to see certain connections. One, very well documented connection to serious allergies is when a baby has been exposed to the allergen too early. Putting cereal in your baby's bottle, even rice cereal, can cause allergies.

#2. Choking hazard
Some infants do not fully have their swallowing reflex fully developed at birth. Sucking cereal from a bottle can cause a choking hazard and babies have actually died this way. Choking on cereal from a bottle certainly isn't a common cause of death, but why do it when it is linked to something like choking?
#3. Digestive Issues
There is a connection between babies who have solids too early and digestive problems. The fact of the matter is that baby tummies are designed to take in breast milk. When you can't breastfeed, there's formula, which mimics breast milk. Baby tummies are not designed to take in solids, and it's not surprising that they malfunction when forced to do what they're not designed to do.

#4. Obesity
One key factor in obesity is infant feeding. Infants are born with a self regulatory ability to take in only what they need. By feeding on demand and following a baby's cues, you are essentially helping them form habits of eating when hungry and eating until they feel full. This sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. But when you add cereal to a bottle, it bypasses their system and essentially they take in more calories than they need.

#5. It Doesn't Work!!!
There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that baby's sleep better with cereal in their bottles. The truth is, babies are designed to wake frequently at night. Dealing with sleep deprivation is part of the parenting package."

9 comments:

  1. Thank you! I am the mother of five children. Our oldest is 14yo. Our youngest is 8.5 months old. Regrettably, I am only recently beginning to learn the TRUTH. I spent so many years making so many mistakes because I just didn't know better. I am doing all I can at this point to educate myself and get informed so I can make better choices for our family. Better late than never! Your article here hit so many topics in such a reasonable and logical way. Thank you for confirming some things I have recently learned (like vaccines and cosleeping/CIO) and opening my eyes to some new things I didn't know yet (like male circumcision and rear facing car seats through the second year and beyond and baby cereal.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You sound like you are an extremist ranting in the majority of your ...well...rants. Most the information you speak seems like it comes from "googling" as opposed to actual credentials to back this stuff up. Maybe a little college would do yu good lass. Just a suggestion. Although you will probably avoid it and stay home ranting, on the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Dr. Caleb! Please post any information you have and the cited research you use. Thanks for participating!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have 24 years as a pediatric physician under my belt ma'am. Although I am sure you will retort something along the lines of prestigious medical schools teach jibberish ;). Other than internet sites ma'am do you have valid research under this? Even so much as a minor degree in your area of self-placed "expertise?" I think blogs and sharing information like you are doing is a positive cause, do not get me wrong, although I also believe that people should speak to their doctors and get second and third opinions before being such a "radical" and "extremist" as you seem to have become. I understand this is an opinion blog with internet only research as it seems, and that is fine, as long as the reader doesn't take it all as facts set in stone before speaking to an educated individual on the area of study. Children under such hardcore parenting tactics often times experience a harder adult life, although I am not making such assumptions on how you parent for I have not been in your home ma'am. Please take this opportunity as an outside view only and enjoy your 'blogging' and internet, this is entertainment after all(after all I do look at blogs, so I enjoy the entertainment as well). I will not be returning to see your retort.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dr. Caleb, it sounds as if you don't have any evidence-based research to share with us. Ad homs are fallacies and don't do anything to change minds. You haven't presented an outside view at all. I'm sorry you won't be returning to share information with parents.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You know I believe it is truth enough to say he had no "medical" or statics to give, because he had no evidence to supports his own side of the argument, besides years of experience, not to mention it sounded as he was ranting just ranting about someone ranting. FYI I have gone to college, and have access to thousands of medical journals, and there are just as many that show both sides of most of these arguments. Especially studies from Great Britain, there is great information on nutrition coming from there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've noticed that, too! Lots of good stuff coming from over the pond! I read more international headlines than American ones these days lol.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL I agree with the actual doctor. :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. You would do well to consider who is the doctor here. :) Some people do not feel the need to advertise their credentials. They prefer to meet people eye to eye instead of using the fallacy plea to authority.

    ReplyDelete