Saturday, December 29, 2012

MyFertilityMD App Review

I reviewed the MyFertilityMD iphone app and was a little unsure exactly where to go with this post because I don't have anything negative to say about it. And that tends to make a review look as if it's an advertisement. When in reality, I was not approached or compensated by the developers. I was simply scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed one day when I noticed a friend talking about the app, and promptly said I was interested in learning more.

The aesthetics are very pleasing to the eye and this app definitely carries a professional feel to it, with smooth colors and easy to read font.

Those who like to hear from the experts will be pleased to find a tab that allows you to directly send information and questions to actual doctors. You don't have to leave the app to email. There is also a table of FAQs, a forum, videos and a photo library.

When you open the app, you can go right to daily charting. And you can toggle over to an interactive calendar to review your cycles.

More than that, though, is a program that will store all of your data right in the device you use most often and are most likely to have on you at any given time during the day. This might be a trivial point to some, but if you're like me, it's fantastic.

Before I stopped charting my fertility, I was pretty disorganized. This is partly personality, partly the reality of being a busy mama. I had started a Fertility Series on my blog and wanted to review a variety of gadgets and NFP methods for the crunchy mama community. So I had my paper charts hanging out on the bathroom shelf. Then I had a charting account on a website to plot things online and share w/ others. Then I was looking at the ovacue and ovacue II. And on top of it all, I was entering info into the marquette website.

This app can consolidate all of that and in such a way that you're unlikely to forget to chart a symptom. It's broad enough that you can place all of your information from various methods into one place, but detailed enough to stay organized. It also has a great feature: the app will send a push notification to your phone reminding you to chart for the day.

If you have integrated your smartphone into your schedule and use it for scheduling your day, this app will streamline your charting. It brings NFP into your technological world.

Get the app here:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Midwifery Play Kits

What you'll need to make one kit:

2 pieces of felt for the placenta
Thick yarn for the umbilical cord
A hot glue gun and glue sticks
Various exam tools, supplement bottles/boxes or whatever you desire to go into the kit
A bag or box to hold it, and decorating supplies if desired

So, this was a last minute project. I wasn't as prepared as I'd hoped, and as time goes by, I'll probably replace the plastic, pre-owned toys with real toys and include other materials such as a measuring tape. But I managed to finish them before Christmas at least! :)

1. Use a hot glue gun and glue two pieces of felt together, stuffing
a tad bit of fluff inside them before closing up the final hole. (You could probably sew, too, but this way eliminates stitching). Take the thick yarn and either use it as-is or braid/twist it to make a thick umbilical cord. Then cut a tiny hole and poke the cord into, and glue around it. You can insert the umbilical cord (yarn) anywhere you desire, so that would make for a great educational toy to show off different cord insertions to older children. 

2. Decorate your bags or containers as desired. I used iron-on transfers.

DD uses this as a "fish scale" to weigh her dolls.

You can pack in some empty, non-hazardous mama and baby supplements.

Add any other tools such as a stethoscope and measuring tape and they're ready for aspiring midwives and doulas!

My total cost for one kit:

I owned the scissors and glue gun.
Glue sticks: $3
Felt: $1 a piece, two per placenta
Yarn: I bought a nice, "natural" form for $4 and have tons leftover
Filling: just borrowed a few handfuls from a quilting friend; it doesn't take much
Bags: 4 for $10
Medical tools: $1 for a little plastic set at Toys R Us
Boxes/bottles of "supplements" free from my own stash

= Cheap and tons of fun!

All of the kids who received one of these are in love w/ it. Ranging in age from 2-10 years. I also later bought some glue-on velcro dots at Walmart ($3) and added them to the end of the cord and the end of some of their dolls so they could attach and detach the cord. My daughter also expanded the idea with her imagination, and has used her placenta to "birth" baby kittens for her mama cat lol.

Formula and Pacifier Refusal Form (Breastfeeding)

This form is provided here as an example on how to be concise, yet specific, and firm yet not hostile. This form is not intended to replace legal advice and you should always consult your own legal assistant if you have questions or concerns.

 Formula and Pacifier Refusal Form

Attention: Staff, Physicians, Nurses and other personnel at:

Facility Name:__________________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________

This is a formal refusal to consent to infant formula, glucose water or any other forms of artificial feeding. You are hereby notified that our child, _____, is NOT to be offered any of the above mentioned options.

This also serves as a formal refusal to consent to the use of pacifiers, fingers or other objects for suckling comfort. Bring the child, ____, to the parents for milk and comfort.

If complications arise requiring additional assistance, the mother, ____, will work with a lactation consultant to create a specific health plan and that plan will be shared with staff immediately.


Mother: _________
Father: __________


Note that the magic words in the medical setting are: I refuse to consent. We refuse consent. I do not consent. Those are the words that work for the lawyers and the ones they are trained to hear.

Anything that is open to interpretation or that turns your stance into an opinion should be avoided. Avoid words such as: Prefer, wish, desire, want, like, hoping, counting on, interested in, etc.

If your consent will change based on circumstances, then specifically mention those circumstances. Avoid phrases such as, "Unless medically necessary" or "Except in emergencies" because those are open to interpretation and represent your automatic approval instead of requiring them to come to you in that moment.

Additionally, if you remain concerned about the behavior of the staff or you are receiving harassment, consider placing a card in the baby's isolette with a summary of the above.

"Hi, my name is _______. My parents refuse to consent to formula, sugar water and pacifiers for me. If you have questions, refer them to my mother in room: _____ and father at: ________." 

You can also consider screenprinting a basic baby onesie with something loud and simple such as, "BREASTFEEDING ONLY" or "NO PACIFIERS OR BOTTLES."
Here are some cute stickers I found on zazzle:

Circumcision Refusal Form:

Circumcision Refusal Form

This form is provided here as an example on how to be concise, yet specific, and firm yet not hostile. This form is not intended to replace legal advice and you should always consult your own legal assistant if you have questions or concerns.

 Circumcision Refusal Form 

Attention: Staff, Physicians, Nurses and other personnel at:

Facility Name:__________________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________

This is a formal refusal to consent to routine infant circumcision. You are hereby notified that our child, _____, is NOT to be circumcised.

This also serves as a formal refusal to consent to retraction, stretching or any other manipulation of the prepuce (foreskin on males and clitoral hood on females) of our child, ____.

Solicitation or discussion of routine circumcision and prepuce retraction is unnecessary, as we the parents have refused to consent to these procedures.


Mother: _________
Father: __________


Note that the magic words in the medical setting are: I refuse to consent. We refuse consent. I do not consent. Those are the words that work for the lawyers and the ones they are trained to hear.

Anything that is open to interpretation or that turns your stance into an opinion should be avoided. Avoid words such as: Prefer, wish, desire, want, like, hoping, counting on, interested in, etc.

If your consent will change based on circumstances, then specifically mention those circumstances. Avoid phrases such as, "Unless medically necessary" or "Except in emergencies" because those are open to interpretation and represent your automatic approval instead of requiring them to come to you in that moment.

Additionally, if you remain concerned about the behavior of the staff or you are receiving harassment, consider placing a card in the baby's isolette with a summary of the above.

"Hi, my name is _______. My parents refuse to consent to circumcision and retraction for me. If you have questions, refer them to my mother in room: _____ and father at: ________." 

 You can also consider screenprinting a basic baby onesie with something loud and simple such as, "DO NOT CIRCUMCISE" and "DO NOT RETRACT."
Some might even find this necessary, although
this is more wisely saved for hostile situations.

Related posts:
If your son was mistreated (retracted, circumcised) please read this post:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holidayitis of Pregnancy

Holidayitis is a social infection that attacks your birth system — your baby, your body and your pregnancy.

Holidayitis, most commonly known as Noone Wants to Miss The Holiday, is not the same as the Dead Baby Card Attack or Big Babyenza. Holidayitis and its implications can be serious.

People at higher risk of experiencing complications include:

  • Pregnant women 
  • Pre-born babies 
  • Partners 

Your best defense against Holidayitis is to research all information carefully to avoid pressure and scare tactics.

Initially, Holidayitis may seem like a common complication with worried eyes, sighing and additional testing. But common complications usually develop slowly, whereas Holidayitis tends to come on suddenly. 

Common signs and symptoms of Holidayitis may or may not include:

  • Occurs 1-2 weeks before a major holiday
  • Vague, undefined concerns
  • Pre-pre-diagnoses
  • Random, broad testing
  • Additional ultrasounds
  • Pressure to induce or schedule a c-section
  • Jokes about holiday babies
  • References to an upcoming vacation or party

Factors that may increase your risk of Holidayitis or its complications include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Birthing in a hospital or birth center
  • Birthing with a medical assistant
  • Birthing around a holiday

Pregnant women are more likely to develop Holidayitis complications, particularly in the third trimester.

If you're young, healthy and very informed, Holidayitis usually isn't serious. Although you may feel miserable from the symptoms, Holidayitis usually goes away after the holidays.

But if the infection spreads, pregnant women and babies may develop complications such as:

From Pitocin:
  • Fetal heart abnormalities (slow heart beat, PVCs and arrhythmias) 
  • Low APGAR scores 
  • Neonatal jaundice 
  • Neonatal retinal hemorrhage 
  • Permanent central nervous system or brain damage 
  • Fetal death 
From epidural analgesic:
  • Low blood pressure
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Fetal bradycardia
  • Low APGAR scores
  • Difficulty bonding
  • Breastfeeding interference
From cesarean surgery:
  • Infection
  • Hemorrhage
  • Organ injury
  • Adhesions
  • Low APGAR scores
  • Fetal injury

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:
If you do get Holidayitis, these measures may help ease your symptoms:

  • Drink fluids, but not enough to cause electrolyte imbalance.
  • Rest, but research the risks of bedrest, too.
  • Understand the correct symptoms required for diagnosis of any potential complications.
  • Request additional testing and examination to thoroughly rule out or confirm any issues.
  • Ask for a second opinion.
  • Consider a different kind of birth or different kind of provider. It's never too late.
  • Take a warm epsom salt bath to relax.
  • Get plenty of restful sleep.

Controlling the spread of Holidayitis requires confidence, research and a supportive team. The homebirth vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, so it's also important to take measures to reduce the spread of Holidayitis to your homebirth:

  • Take responsibility for your birth and birth outcome.
  • Research any potential concerns and make decisions from within, not from external pressure.
  • Interview your potential medical employees and specifically ask them about vacation and holiday plans.
  • Verbally confirm you are going to wait for your body and baby to decide the birth day regardless of holidays.
  • Be prepared to change your birth location or birth provider to protect your body and baby from Holidayitis.
Holidayitis can turn into a nasty infection that leaves lasting damage to you and/or your baby. With the appropriate prevention and treatment techniques, you can nip this infection in the bud and go on to have a healthy, happy birth of your choice on the day your baby chooses. This is a common infection that strikes many people in all birth locations, so do not feel you are alone.

Related resources:

Is your estimated due date hot or not? Pay attention especially to Thanksgiving and Christmas:

The Pit of Despair:

Childbirth myths:

The lack of evidence for post-date induction:

6 Things to Never Say to a Mama Processing Birth

If a mama you know shares her feelings about her birth experience with you, what do you say? What do you do? What we say and do when mamas share their pain with us should be about acknowledging, supporting, encouraging, empathizing and loving others. Remember that it shouldn't involve us, our discomfort, our judgment or our opinions on the matter.

Mama friends build up, support and accept each other.

1. "At least you have a healthy/live/normal baby." The top cliche in our culture, this statement simultaneously tells the mom she doesn't matter and that whatever happened to her and her baby is justified, even if the things they experienced during birth were abusive and illegal. If a mama shares something with you that makes you feel uncomfortable and gives you an urge to be positive, try something with acceptance in it. "It's okay to feel that way about your birth. You have a happy baby who loves you and needs you to process these things. Thanks for sharing your story."

2. "You're exaggerating things. It seems that way but it wasn't/didn't happen/it's all in your imagination." When a mama is reeling with shock and pain after birth, telling her that she can't rely on her own perception and emotions is crippling. You also aren't the judge and jury and she's most likely sharing with you out of a desperate need for support and a listening ear. If her experience sounds crazy to you, imagine how it must feel to her. Instead of doubting her and accusing her of lying or looking for attention, encourage her to write down her memories so that the details don't become blurred or lost over time. Encourage her to document names, times and any medical info she can recall. If you feel uncomfortable, reframe it. Your job is not to judge, but to listen and acknowledge her. "That sounds really serious. Would you like me to write any of this down for you?"

3. "That's it? Susie's birth was way worse! Be thankful for what you got, it could have been worse!" This statement is a common response in grief interactions. It's called grief hierarchy and is actually a form of judgment, where you judge how bad the other person is allowed to feel in comparison to other forms of trauma or loss. There is nothing productive or compassionate about a grief hierarchy. It doesn't help the mama who bravely shared her pain and it doesn't help "Susie" or the other people used in your comparison It also isn't reasonable, because everyone reacts to trauma in different ways. Additionally, the mama might not be sharing all the details at this point. If you feel what she experienced was trivial, instead of measuring and judging her experience and emotions, focus on acknowledging her feelings and validating her as a person. "I'm sorry to hear that happened. I hear that you feel hurt and upset. It's okay to feel disappointed."

4. "You're always so angry/sad about your birth! Maybe you have a mental illness." First, it is important to offer support and to encourage mamas to be aware of symptoms that might need additional assistance. PPD, PPP, PTSD, anxiety and more can all occur after any birth and mamas deserve support in those cases. But here's something really important to remember: whether the mama has a case of depression or not, she still has feelings about her birth. And in fact, her birth experience might be contributing to depression and anxiety. If you are truly concerned about a potential medical or mental condition, certainly share this with her gently. But never use a label as a reason to dismiss her feelings or invalidate her. "I'm really worried for you. Your birth experience was really hard on you. Have you considered talking to a therapist or getting a second opinion? You deserve to feel better."

5. "You can always try again/have another baby/heal after another birth." First, this one might carry a heavy blow. For many women, they can't try again. Never assume you are aware of all the details. Some mamas experience emergency hysterectomies after their births. Or they might have decided it was too dangerous or otherwise not right for them to have more babies and have ended their fertility. Or the physical results (scarring, complications) might have risked them out of a basic midwife-homebirth or other natural birth options. Second, it goes without saying that having another baby won't erase the first experience. You can't erase or replace tangible life experiences. Third, even if you or others you know have experienced healing with subsequent births, that's not a guarantee. Fourth, a mama who is trying hard to process her grief and pain over her current birth experience is not in any place to consider another birth down the road, nor will that help her here and now. Fifth, babies are human beings, each of them unique, who come into this world with their own birth stories. It's not their job as siblings to take on the task of replacing previous birth experiences. What can you do in this situation? There isn't a replacement statement. Never talk about future births or future babies, replacements or trying again. And this includes later on, if/when the mama announces another pregnancy.

6. "It was God's Will." "God wanted it to happen this way. "God must have a plan." "Don't complain; God's Will, not your will." These are also all judgments, although they attempt to use religion to ease their way past the mama's defenses. Only the mama can decide how she feels about her faith when it comes to her birth experiences. Those statements are things she can decide on in her own time and way. It is not your place to tell them to her, nor will they bring comfort for the vast majority of people, regardless of their religions. The only thing these statements represent is your discomfort with the situation. If you feel uncomfortable or unable to make sense of what's happened to your mama friend, just say that. "I'm so sorry. I don't understand why that happened to you. I don't have the answers. It's not fair. I'm here for you. I'll keep you in my prayers/thoughts."

And sometimes all a mama needs is a true hug. 
Photo credit: Jason Johannessen


A list of links on post partum depression and related issues:

A post about healthy babies:

A story and resources on birth trauma:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

You DO Make a Difference!

Little Teddy received the best care from his mama:
personalized, informed care! 

"My third little boy, Teddy, was born on November 26th at 10:41pm by emergency c-section. He was a footling breech presentation and had the cord wrapped twice around his ankle. This birth went very differently from what was going to be my first and only planned homebirth.

But I wanted to share something important. During pregnancy, I researched and learned many new things. Because of this, despite his necessary intervention, Teddy and I experienced as peaceful a birth as possible with delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin (and we stayed that way all night!)

Teddy is my first son to remain intact (meaning, he is not circumcised). He is happy, we are settled into a good rhythm and he is breastfeeding like a champ. I also had my placenta encapsulated, which has helped my healing, milk supply and emotions in ways I didn't even know were possible before!

So no matter what birth experience you have, the decisions you are left to make do make a difference! Thank you for all that you do! XOXO" ~Sar Dutton

In our previous post about birth (here), we discussed the necessary and healthy acknowledgment about our births, the way they turn out and healing from any perceived trauma or abuse. What comes next?

This mama's message exemplifies the next step for processing our birth experiences. Recognizing the choices we do have and every bit of kindness and goodness we have given to our children and ourselves is a great practice when processing birth experiences.

Once you are done with your journey of grief and anger (and you decide when you are done) then moving on to the empowering aspects can be very fruitful. That's when we forgive ourselves and perhaps forgive others, too. That's when we begin to see our strength. That's when we realize how much we've given to our children and how much we love them, no matter what. 

Have you found this place on your journey? You are welcome to share in the comments below or you can send your story to my email for publishing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

One Size Does NOT Fit All

In the use of general medicine, we assume that the medication prescribed or taken OTC is administered in a customized dosage, based on age and weight and after learning about the patient's history and individual risks. Often, people consent to lab tests and genetic tests to confirm their individual needs and risks.

But when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and post partum interventions, they have a common thread:

They are all the same.

Think about it. Every body is different, right? Women: your breasts are different from your sister's, and your mother's, and your friend's right? Your breasts began growing at an age right for you, at a pace right for you, and reached their own size in their own time, different from any one else.

But every single baby boy receives the same circumcision at roughly the same time after birth, in roughly the same way with the same methods. We don't know how big his penis is going to grow, or how fast, or when. Your baby gets one size fits all surgery, regardless of penis size, foreskin size, and amount of pain receptors.

If your bra fit is important, what about his surgery fit?
Think about it. Babies come in all different sizes and weights, right? If you have several children, they most likely all measured and weighed differently after birth. Some babies are born very light, and gain quickly. Some babies are born very heavy and gain slowly, and everything in between.

But every single baby receives the same dosage of synthetic vitamin K. Every single baby receives the same dosage of vaccines. One baby born weighing 6 pounds will get the same dosage in his shots as the next baby weighing 10 pounds. Your baby gets one size fits all injections, regardless of family history, genetic polymorphisms, and individual health risks.

The baby on the left is 3 weeks and 2 days older than
the baby on the right. They are expected to get the same injections.
Think about it. Every baby arrives at a different time, right? Some babies arrive right on the dot of their estimated due date, a big accomplishment since studies indicate only 5% of babies do this! Some babies arrive very early and some babies arrive only after testing their mothers’ patience for weeks. Science shows us that brain development moves quickly week to week in the last stage of pregnancy. A baby born at 37 weeks has a very different brain from a baby born at 41 weeks. They are at different stages of development, even indicated by a difference in brain size.

But every single baby gets the same exposure to Pitocin or to other birth drugs. Every baby will have his or her brain washed in the same amounts of these drugs and at roughly the same intervals in birth as most hospitals have a routine way of progressing pregnancy. And even for those babies who don’t receive augmented or induced exposure to Pitocin, almost all babies will be exposed when the mother is routinely injected with Pitocin at the end. Your baby gets one size fits all hormonal/chemical exposure, regardless of heart health (the preservative in Pitocin damages heart muscle), brain development and neural health.

Avery was born at 23 weeks weighing 1lb, 5oz. Does she need
the same medication, injections, dosages as...
Ava, born at 33 weeks weighing 5lbs, 10oz?
Or Kassie, born weighing 7lbs, 14oz?
Or Alexander, born weighing 9lbs, 6oz?
Think about it. Every body has a different kind of stomach and different way of being hungry. Everyone is hungry at different times and for different things, and for different amounts. Additionally, babies all have tiny stomachs at birth. In their own tiny way.

I'm not kidding about tiny. Now, think about the size of those "newborn
ready to feed" bottles. See the issue?
But babies given formula will receive a routinely whopping amount. They will all receive the same kind of formula, made in the same way, with the same mix of synthetic vitamins from the same animal in the same amount. Your baby gets one size fits all food, regardless of genetics, gut flora and nutritional needs.

Born at 35 weeks weighing 4lbs, 12oz.
Do you think Tamara's and Kendra's babies need the same
kind and amount of nutrition?
You see, when it comes to routine interventions, every baby will get the same number of injections, the same kind of antibiotic in the eyes, the same surgery, the same pain medication (if any), the same birth drugs, the same formula and more. Even if mamas want to breastfeed, they will be encouraged to nurse their children the same way, for the same time on each side.

Think about the contrast with this example. Tommy, born at 28 weeks weighing 3lbs with a midline defect that indicates a potential genetic polymorphism, will get the same Pitocin, the same vitamin K, the same eye antibiotics, the same vaccines and the same circumcision as Jimmy, born at 42 weeks weighing 11lbs without any indication of underlying genetic conditions.

Question routine interventions. They are not evidence-based. They are not customized to the needs and risks of your individual children.

Why are you taking the time to carefully measure out a weight-based dosage of Tylenol for your baby before she goes in for 10 vaccines that are all the same?
Why are you carefully measuring out a spoonful of formula containing a completely homogenous set of synthetic nutrients and milk from the same animal species?
Why are you focused on timing contractions created by the same dosage of Pitocin?
Why do you pay so much attention to the size and growth of your son, but consent to circumcision on a newborn penis?

This is your baby, who has an individual body with individual health needs and individual family history and genetics. Demand evidence-based, individual care. Your baby deserves it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Healthy Family is all that Matters!

I know I've discussed this before, but it's always worth mentioning again and again.

You know that common scene where a mama has made herself vulnerable and shared something negative about her birthing experience? Perhaps she questions what was really necessary, or is still experiencing pain (physically or emotionally) from the experience. Maybe she's suffering from PTSD, depression or anxiety. Maybe she has a permanent injury. Whatever it is, she's stepped out onto a limb and shared her feelings with other women.

But what do they say? Do they hug her? Do they tell her it's okay to feel this way? Do they offer suggestions on how to get medical records or encourage more healing?

Hopefully, yes. But more often than not what the mother hears is a chide. A singsong voice rings out, "Oh, but remember! A healthy baby is all that matters! At least you have a healthy baby, Dearie. Don't fret about those other things."

Wow. Pow to the stomach, eh? And yet our entire culture supports this repressive way of thinking, especially when it comes to childbirth. In any other situation, a person who is violated, traumatized, abused, harassed, neglected or even who just experiences something painful is supported and encouraged to grieve and heal. A woman after childbirth? Suck it up buttercup, at least your child is alive!

And that's the point, isn't it? When people say, "At least you have a healthy baby" they aren't really talking about health. Let's get accurate here. What they really mean is, "At least your baby survived." Gee, thanks, what a cup of cheer. It almost sounds like those rude statements surrounding domestic abuse and rape. "Hey, chin up! At least you survived. What's the big deal anyways? I don't want to hear about what he did to you."

A truly healthy baby means more than arriving alive. It means more than managing to survive trauma, abuse, deprivation or other assaults.  Healthy for us is not a medical term. It refers to the holistic balance of a person who is embraced unconditionally, no part of his or her body, mind and spirit ignored or injured. It's time to take back the "healthy baby" slogan. And it's time to expand that slogan to include all the people involved in the birth.

When it comes to true health, a healthy baby, healthy mama and healthy father ARE all that matters. On this, I completely agree. The doctor's philosophy doesn't matter more than the family. A holiday schedule or vacation or superbowl party, none of those matter more than the family. Pride, arrogance, ego, none of those matter more than the family. Profit, insurance, convenience, none of those matter more than the family. The family is all that matters.

Well, get your glasses checked if you only see one person in this photo.
Not only do we have a mama and papa here, but we have TWO babies.
And all of these people matter.

Mamas, remember that you matter. You are important, too. You are in fact, vital to the health and wellbeing of your baby. Fathers, remember that you matter. You are important, too. You are in fact, vital to the health and wellbeing of your baby. A healthy family matters.

 YOU are important. YOU MATTER.
Hi, fathers out there...this one's for you. You're there and you matter.
Your baby knows this. Your partner knows this. Time for you to believe it.

YOU MATTER. You have a right to feel the way you do about your birth. You have a right to be upset about trauma, abuse or neglect. You have a right to question what others did to you or said to you. You have a right to process your birth experience for as long as you have to and you have a right to grieve and a right to rejoice in your own way on your own time.

You are the parent, and your baby MATTERS to you. Of course you are feeling upset, angry, hurt, betrayed, fearful, traumatized or anything else. This is YOUR BABY and YOUR BIRTH we're talking about here. That's all that matters to you and we know it. Keep sharing, keep processing, keep healing, growing, loving and learning. You DO matter, most of all to your precious baby.

The next time someone tries to dismiss your experience, remember
that your baby needs YOU and that to your baby, you ARE all that
matters. Take care of yourselves. Your baby deserves you.

Related posts

A list of links on PPD/PTSD/anxiety and also birth trauma:

A mama shares how she feels even when "nothing really bad" happened. This post also has a list of birth trauma links and additional stories:

Follow up discussion

Several readers shared input that I thought was important enough to share here. They made great points from various personal experiences:

Keely B adds: "I just want to say also that it's horrifying for a mother who has gone through birth trauma, and also what is considered assault and battery under the law, to hear, "Well, at least he is alive" when your child was injured due to negligent and incompetent doctors or a failure to be patient. For the rest of HIS life, my "healthy baby" will have to live with a brain injury that disabled him due to a doctor who didn't know the guidelines whatsoever for a healthy vacuum delivery, starting with consent from the mother!"

Marie F adds: "And THEN after all of that, the bill arrives. Even if your insurance covers it, which most still have a large co-pay, you will get that bill in the mail and know someone paid the doctor for what he did to you."

Kate T adds: "My friend was in a restaurant and two women seated nearby were discussing the birth of a baby. One of the women used that line, "at least the baby was healthy." My friend couldn't help overhearing the conversation at the next table, and was hurt by those seemingly well-meaning words. See, my friend has cerebral palsy. When my friend recounted the situation to me, she told me that when people use the "healthy baby" phrase they forget that babies who are born with a health problem or a disability are just as worthy as "normal" babies. She said it's like a slap in the face the way that phrase is used, as though the baby's perfect physical condition is all that matters. And somehow, if the baby isn't perfectly healthy, it's not even the least-best situation. Of course everyone wants to have a healthy baby, but my friend advocates placing the emphasis on happy instead of healthy. Just food for thought..."

And I wanted to add to Kate's thoughts...I completely agree! Respecting the family during their birth experience is an absolutely vital thing to do even when the baby is not "perfect" by societal standards, and even when the baby is not going to survive! This alone should help exemplify why caring for the parents is important, too. For parents who are birthing babies that will die soon, they will live with that birth experience for the rest of their lives.

Take, for example, the birth of Baby London. He was diagnosed early in pregnancy with a severe midline defect. For these babies, it is a miracle if they survive the birth at all. Every moment of this pregnancy and birth was precious to London's parents. They experienced something immensely important. London died, but that birth MATTERED to this family. You can read more about London and see more photos by clicking on the image below:

Birth MATTERS for ALL babies and ALL families in all situations.

One of our own dear readers, Virginia Ward, also birthed her precious baby earthside with the same complication. You can read more about her daughter, Eden Marie at her page. Virginia is now a strong advocate for educating parents about MTHFR, folate supplementation and the dangers of folic acid. Click on the image below for more info:

And for more info on MTHFR, visit our Facebook page:

Read more about our culture of "a healthy baby" with this fantastic article!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Q&A: How do I Heal Teeth? Is Fluoride Toxic?

"I took my child to the dentist to have her teeth cleaned. When it was done it left white lines along the gum line. The dentist said that she HAD to switch to toothpaste containing fluoride and give her fluoride pills since we don't have it in our water here. Are there natural things I can give her or do to heal her teeth besides fluoride?"

Yes, the natural oral health option is called remineralizing. This is not crazy talk; current researchers are attempting to learn new ways to remineralize the teeth since previous theories such as drilling away the damaged portion are not a true solution. Additionally, mainstream dentistry does offer chemical options to remineralize that might or might not be of interest to you. (Remember, we oppose routine and unnecessary interventions, but support medically indicated ones when made as informed and necessary decisions).

But first, natural options for remineralization include a variety of options that are not chemicals, and that are beneficial to the whole body. Consider researching supplies such as bentonite clay, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, butter oil (k2), cell salts, probiotics and xylitol. Also, removing systemic fluoride, avoiding lead and other heavy metals, removing potential allergens such as grains and dairy, healing the gut, etc all assist the body in healing the teeth.

Here's the thing. Topical application of fluoride does work, in a way, because it forms a chemical bond on the teeth. Note that it doesn't heal the underlying problem, though. That's not necessarily *wrong* but it isn't really the right way of thinking, especially when wanting to give our children the best start during their developmental years. And anyways, that means fluoride is only useful as a topical application. Ingesting it simply exposes the internal organs to a chemical that has been noted as toxic, can pass the blood brain barrier and can accumulate in vital organs including the brain and liver.

Here is Pat's natural healing support group: 

 Here is Rami's page on curing decay:

Here is Rami's book available as a kindle download now:

Here is my original post discussing the danger of too much fluoride, genetic predisposition and other points:

Here is my MTHFR/nutrition page on Facebook:

Here are my own before and after photos that show when I identified what my body needed and provided it, my teeth healed themselves:

If you have a story to share about you or your child's journey of teeth healing, or any photos related to it, please PM me on Facebook or email me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Born into Hands of Love (Photo)

Wow, this photo from Jackie Askvig really touched my heart. For me, it symbolizes what I love about birth...look at that precious baby arriving earthside, circled by hands of love from her mama and daddy. So beautiful and poignant! To the couples on a journey of pregnancy right now, PLEASE, please, if you are not managing a complication, think about choosing the birth location and assistant (if any) that will protect this moment, this culmination of your unity.


CDC Breastfeeding Report Card

You can look at the percentages of breastfed children by state and see figures at different intervals, with or without EBF (exclusive nursing):

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Real Feminists Protect Sons from Circumcision

© 2012 Sanfis Daly

Sanfis chimes in on what he finds to be feminist hypocrisy.

"You left the snip snip up to your husband? You're a woman so it's not your decision? Your husband wants to circumcise your son? You feel bad about it, but it's not your place to disagree? You got him to agree to the birth of your desire, so he gets a penis of his desire?

What the fuck is this, the 1500s? Do you also let him get a prostitute when you're on the rag? And you don't wear pants or talk unless given permission to, right? And while we're at it, don't forget that you're not allowed to go to school, have a job or step into church.

You women want the right to vote, to drive, to wear pants, to get equal pay but then suddenly you aren't able to protect your sons from being mutilated? Which one is it now? Last time I checked, you're the one pushing him out of your vagina and raising him for the next 18 plus years.

What if hubby wants incest in the family? Not your place to disagree? Matching tats are a-okay? Taking Underage Timmy to the gentleman's club is all about fatherly bonding? Going to dye his hair a matching color, too?

Fuck me, get over it. Be a mother. Protect your son from horrible, unacceptable, illegal torture of his genitals. Your husband isn't a male lion ruling over a pride of females who can snap the necks of his cubs. I don't care how short his penis is from his circumcision, it's not his right to hurt innocent babies, especially YOURS.

And people say it's not this simple. Why, yes it is that simple. When the father, the doctor or any other family member begins to recommend hacking at her son's penis, she should then say FUCK NO to them.

Then, every time people try to recommend it, as soon as they open their mouths, she should shout FUCK NO. She can vary it up a little.


She should do this in an interrupting way.


I just think... "NO WE DO NOT CUT BABIES!"


If you would just... "NO! STAY AWAY! FUCK OFF!"

Let me ask you this: If you stepped into a room and saw your newborn tied to a table and your husband holding a knife above him, what would you do? What would you do?


Sanfis, an American circumcised male, encourages other circumcised males to stop the cycle of abuse and to keep ALL their children intact. He runs a page "Circumcised Fathers, Intact Sons" and periodically writes when inspiration (or frustration) strikes him.

More from Sanfis:

Questioning circumcision?

A circumcised man speaks out:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Purple Sister's Help

For November, I have been participating in the "30 days of thanks" movement. I turned it into a Gratitude Project, where each day for November, I post one photo showing gratitude for something/someone. You can view the album here. 

Today's photo is about Purple Sister. See, Purple Sister has done so much for me, that really it's difficult to pin all those things down into a blog post. But I felt one photo wasn't enough.

Here's an interesting tidbit. Purple Sister is responsible for my marriage. Yeah! I had known Sanfis as an acquaintance for several years as we were both in the same homeschool group. But she was the one, at the zoo one day, to encourage us both to begin talking to each other on a deeper level.

So I guess you could say, if not for Purple Sister, I wouldn't have taken the time to get to know Sanfis better and I wouldn't have come to cherish him, and I wouldn't have married him, which means I wouldn't have my kids. And really, I wouldn't be here, blogging and posting on Facebook.

Life is funny like that.

And Purple Sister was there for me during each of my births. She picked up supplies for us each time, because somehow no matter how much I prepared for birth, I ended up needing something while in labor. She helped to clean up afterwards and to hold and cherish my babies while I was being stitched up, too.

Don't you ever wish you could do something for those special people in your life who have given you so much, you could never repay them?

I hope, someday, that I have the honor of helping Purple Sister in some way that shows her how much she means to me.

Until then, I guess all I can do is post a photo:

I mean, look at that! As a toddler, I treated her like this:

And she is still being nice to me and talking to me and whatnot. In fact, I had to share what she told me today:

"He's not getting circumcised and we aren't pumping him full of vaccines. I've already expressed all of this with my care providers. I am not just relying on all the wonderful people who I am sure love their jobs and want nothing more than my baby to come out in glitter." Ba---zing. LOL

Oh, Purple Sister. Where would I be today without you?

Confessions of a Mama Looking Back at Birth

2012 Anonymous by request.

This mama shares the confusing in between place of feeling happy about her son, of perhaps having avoided any of the consequences or trauma of routine interventions, but at the same time, looking back, she sees what else might have been. In these cases, we might not feel regret, and indeed, regret might not even be appropriate. But we still acknowledge the contrasts of what was then and what is now.

"My son is a little over 18 months but this is the first time I've written his birth story. I have pictures in his baby book, but I never wrote a story. And now I feel as if I don’t even know how to begin. It was one of the best days of my life, of course. But looking at all the new things I've learned since that day, I feel as if it should have been a better day, a more special day. Please keep this anonymous for now.

So do I write the birth story with all the hearts and rainbows, or do I write it with the blunt truth that makes me wish everyone would plan for a natural birth? Maybe a little bit of both? Either way, hopefully my story will encourage someone to become educated on all the options available.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was 21, about to be 22 in a couple of months. I was taking college classes, not married, and living with my boyfriend. I was too scared to tell any of my family members so most of them either got an email or a text. And even though I was concerned about what they would say, I made sure they knew that my boyfriend and I had made the decision see the journey as an exciting one and we were also going to make sure that our child was born into a loving world surrounded by supportive people.

If anyone acted negative about the situation, they were no longer welcome in our lives. (Luckily everyone decided to make it an exciting journey). There were no complications during my pregnancy. I went in for all of my check ups and all of my ultra sounds. I also did an extra one because I was “small” so they wanted to make sure baby was still growing well.

I did everything the doctors said to do while pregnant. That’s how I was raised and that’s how my boyfriend was raised. Oh, and I found out the baby was a boy in the ER with a very painful bladder infection, that I didn't recognize as such.

Still, it was an exciting time like we wanted. (I totally knew he was a boy!) Although I’m one of those rare people that didn’t enjoy being pregnant, it was still such a joy bonding with my son for those months. I went in for one of my last checkups and my doctor decided we’d wait another week and then I’d go in to be induced. I can’t quite remember the exact date or how many weeks I was at that point, but the estimated due date was May 24.

By the way, the whole pregnancy, I never considered not getting an epidural. I’m scared of pain, I don’t deal with it well, and I knew the epidural would prevent the pain, so I went with that. Anyways, I continued about my week until one afternoon, Wednesday, May 18, 2011, I started having contractions. I called the doctor and she told me to go in to get checked. I did and they sent me home but the contractions didn’t stop and progressively got worse throughout the night.

The entire night of my horrible pain, my boyfriend was peacefully sleeping. I finally woke him up around 5am and told him I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Once we were both dressed and in the car, he asked me if he could go make some coffee real quick. (Really? Who could think about coffee right now??) “NO!! You can NOT go make coffee! This hurts!” He went back inside to make coffee anyways! (We still joke about it.)

We drove the 45 minutes from our house to the hospital with my boyfriend speeding the entire time, I knew it was pointless but he did it anyways. We got to the hospital, the nurse checked me and I was only 1 cm dilated! She suggested I walk around for an hour and they’d check me again. I walked around for almost an hour before the pain was just too uncomfortable and I went back to the room to lay down for the rest of the hour. She checked me again and I was 1.5 cm dilated!

I started crying because I wanted the whole thing to be over, including the pain, and to hold my baby. The nurse called my doctor and she said they could go ahead and give me an epidural and then some pitocin. It was about mid morning at this point and my boyfriend’s mom was on her way from Austin to make the 3 hour drive to Houston.

At some point before my epidural, I do remember throwing up, a sign of transition. I waited impatiently for the anesthesiologist to arrive to give me my epidural. I was absolutely terrified but also in a lot of pain. It turned out not to be so bad. They hooked me up to the pitocin and inserted a catheter since I wouldn’t be able to get up and walk to the restroom. Once that was done and my boyfriend’s mom got there, we just hung out and watched TV the rest of the day waiting on baby boy. I was completely pain free and couldn’t feel a thing. In the evening my doctor came in to check me again and was shocked to see the baby was ready to come out. I had no idea. I couldn’t feel a thing.

I panicked at that moment because my doctor and the nurses started rushing around. Honestly, it was kind of uncomfortable with so many people in the room, including my boyfriend’s mom. I pushed when the doctor and nurse told me I was having contractions and I can’t even remember how many pushes it took, but it wasn’t very long. At 6:10 pm, out came my 7 pounds 7 ounces little boy at 20.5 inches long. When the nurse laid him on my chest, it was a wonderful moment I will never forget.

In between contractions, my doctor and nurse kept playing with baby boy’s hair commenting on how much there was and how dark it was. Most people think that’s gross when I tell them but it still makes me smile and it’s another cute part of the story for me. My boyfriend cut the cord when the doctor said too and after a minute or so of baby boy on my chest, he was taken away for all the standard routine newborn care in a hospital.

It was almost hard to be excited when all of that was going on because I was laying in bed getting stitched up while the nurses took care of my baby during his first moments into the world. I don’t really even know where to end this birth story. The day I got to hold my son when he first made his entrance was one of the happiest days of my life. A head full of soft, dark hair just like mine when I was born. Family came to visit. It truly was a happy and joyful time. Nonetheless, I can not wait until we decide to have baby number 2 so I can plan for a water birth without the interruption and interventions from others."

Beyond the Bris: Questioning Jewish Circumcision: Eight Reasons Why an Intact Penis Is Better Than a...

Beyond the Bris: Questioning Jewish Circumcision: Eight Reasons Why an Intact Penis Is Better Than a...: By ERAN SADEH Shalom.

"Shalom. I’m Israeli, I’m Jewish and I’m an Intactivist, which means I strive to end male circumcision performed on infants and children in Israel and around the world. My journey to Intactivism began seven years ago when my son was born."

Monday, November 26, 2012

What World Scares You?

I chimed in on a discussion where a lady had been accused of ruining society for her gentle parenting methods. And suddenly I saw it!

Think about how those who vaccinate point their fingers and shout, "It's those anti-vaccine quacks! They don't vaccinate! They are dirty, germy and spreading disease!" Well, last time I checked, those who choose to remain 100% vaccine free constitute 0.5%-1% of the population (according to the CDC). So, no. The thousands of people out there contracting and then spreading disease are primarily vaccinated.

For example, during this chickenpox outbreak, only 3 of the 92 infected children were vaccine-free

Learn more about vaccines here:

Think about how those who circumcise scrunch up their noses and whine that "uncircumcised men" are spreading HIV and other STIs around. Oh really? Except until just a few years ago, the majority of American men were circumcised routinely at birth, and that's been going on for most of the century. And we have the highest HIV rate in the developed world.

In fact, when you do the math on a recent article about HIV rates, you discover that circumcised men have an increased risk:

Learn more about circumcision here:

Think about how those who CIO, and/or wean forcefully and/or dismiss babywearing, and/or support bottle propping, etc roll their eyes and claim that those who co-sleep, continue to nurse, practice attached bottle feeding and babywear have raised selfish, impatient, lazy brats who are out ruining the country. Then turn to the statistics, which show a minority of women who begin breastfeeding after birth actually makes it past one year of breastfeeding! And not just a minority, but a smidgen! Take it to 2 years of breastfeeding and you drop below 6%! Take a look at the million strollers on the market, the bottle holders, bouncy seats, swings, playpens and more all completely embraced (and overused) in our culture. The majority are not "babying" their children.

Take a look at the percentages for breastfeeding as an example:

Learn more about nursing past modern minimums here:

Finally, think about those sarcastic memes circulating on here that say things such as, "The reason our country is ruined is because parents don't smack their children" or, "I remember the good ole days where parents were allowed to thump their children. Now everyone is selfish and lazy." Um, except all you have to do is take a look at any study, pro or anti spanking, to discover that the majority of parents hit their children regularly and the majority of parents practice other punitive methods such as yelling and time outs. And, even if you didn't believe that most people are still spanking, the current generation of "selfish/lazy/bratty" young adults...WERE spanked.

"The researchers noted that spanking has declined in the United States since 1975, but corporal punishment is still used to discipline nearly 80 percent of preschool children."

Learn more about spanking here:

These people need to walk up to a mirror and study what they find in it. Blaming the minority for attempting to get out of the huge mess of violence and violation isn't fooling anyone. If you find yourself pointing your finger at methods that promote respect, peace, patience, kindness, forgiveness and unconditional love, then I encourage you to take heart.

You can stop the cycle of abuse.

YOU, yes, YOU are strong enough, good enough and smart enough to take a stand. You can break the cycle. You can stand up tall and say that the continuation of an abusive culture will not ripple through your family any longer. Wherever you are, whatever you have done up to this point, it is not more than your inner will to change.

Do you miss the good ole days? Do you think our country is going to hell in a hand basket? Do you think the world is filled with hateful, uncaring, detached, selfish, apathetic, lazy, perhaps even evil people? Do you long for children peacefully playing at the park and adults smiling, caring about each other and filled with joy?

Then look in the mirror. Set aside the blaming finger. And lift up arms of service to your children. Raise a voice of forgiveness to your teens. Step forward in excitement with your toddlers. Raise a help stop the cycle.

Today's Links on Cancer Alternatives

I managed to squeeze in one last mini-line up before Advent begins! :)

Have you watched the documentary? Available on Netflix and online for free:

"This is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines."

Study author, Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt commented "Our study certainly supports the idea that diet can impact the progression of colon cancer, and that patients and their doctors should consider this when making post-treatment plans."

A Glioblastoma brain cancer patient who just started Antineoplastons, MRI shows after the first 6 weeks of ANP therapy—a 33% reduction of her tumor (MRIs are done every 6 weeks during the first few months of ANP therapy).

What's behind the pink?

A new lease on life?

More on Gerson therapy:

Pomegranate Juice May Inhibit Metastatic Breast Cancer: A new preclinical study has just shown that pomegranate juice inhibits both cell adhesion and cell migration for two types of breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 (ER(-)) and MCF7 (ER(+)) as well as inhibiting key chemical messengers which attract the cancer cells to bones. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines were significantly reduced by these treatments. Researchers said that pomegranate may therefore be a "very effective" treatment to prevent cancer progression.

Magensium for Preventing Colon Cancer: This latest meta-study including over 338,000 people showed that those with the highest intake of magnesium had 19% less colon cancer and 6% less rectal cancer risk. It was also seen that every extra 50 mg daily intake of magnesium led to a 7% reduction of colon and rectal cancer risk. This puts new emphasis on the proper supply of magnesium in the diet as many americans (of all ages) don't get enough.

Those who choose the Gerson Therapy trust their body’s own healing mechanism. They are people who take responsibility for their own healing. They are self-empowered and this in itself can help to activate their healer within.

Why is junk cheaper than healthy food?

What do you think?

8760 glasses of juice
2920 coffee enemas
1460 baked potatoes
1460 bowls of Hippocrates soup
33580 supplements
174 shots of castor oil

Whole grains? Unfermented/gmo soy? Lowfat? Agave syrup? Have you fallen for any unhealthy-health foods?

Remember: BABY STEPS! Don't get overwhelmed or burned out. Join us at Mission Crunchable for small steps to health.

One sausage a day and you won't keep the cancer away:

Hmm interesting. Reminds me of vaccines:

Oh, here's an article written today!

Well, it's foxnews. But still.

Dismissed, hmm, interesting:

thehealthyhomeeconomist writes on the event:

"These data showed that dietary GFE induced significant growth inhibition of MDA-MB-468 cells in vitro and in vivo through a mechanism involving the EGFR/ERK signaling pathway, suggesting that GFE may have a protective effect for women against EGFR-overexpressing BC."