November 26, 2012

Busted: One Gum Thief

Ever since the incident 10 days ago,
I've been avoiding cutting off
Jocelyn's curls.
Thinking it's not so bad.
Ha ha.

Her hair has never been cut before.
She was a bald baby.
And it took 4 years to grow what she has.
And once those baby curls come off,
They never come back.

This morning I found gum in her hair.
She's been sneaking it out of Mathilde's room.
And rather than try to get it out,
I cut it off.
And tried to fix it.
Jocelyn doesn't like having "boy" hair in back,
But there weren't too many choices...
It's not perfect,
But it'll work for now.
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November 21, 2012

If You Don't Know Me By Now...

To My Friends At The Skeptical OB,

Wow, you are an incredible force en masse. You clicked over to my blog in droves. My stats spiked soon after Bomb Shell Risa commented about my "incredible immaturity" and posted a link to my blog.

I've read through several posts and links about birth on the Skeptical OB site. I think it's safe to say that very few of our birth philosophies will ever line up. And that's okay. There will always be mothers in each camp and that's the way it should be. It keeps us all on our toes.

It felt strange reading about me from the view of someone who has never met me. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. I also appreciate that you did not fill my blog with negative comments.

Some of you were harsh in your judgments. Others gave me the benefit of the doubt. My initial reaction to the first group was not positive. I wanted to tell you all off. How dare you take a snippet from my life and cast stones! To those who defended me, with gratitude I say, thank you. I realize that I, too, am guilty of making quick judgments without having the full story. I hope I can be a person who sees the good in others.

To address some of your comments:

ArmyChick: We'd probably be friends in real life. I'm a patriot and participated in both of Ron Paul's campaigns for president. While your comment on The Skeptical OB blog was not directly aimed at me, I thought I'd address your concern anyway since it was the first in the thread that led readers to me.

In no way would I put my birthing "experience" above the health of my child. This is the primary reason why I choose to birth drug-free, whether I'm in a hospital, birth center or at home. Pain medications cross the maternal/fetal barrier and my comfort is not worth the adverse risks to my baby or a potentially prolonged labor. Both times I delivered babies in the hospital, every medical intervention offered seemed to be done for convenience of the OB's schedule rather than what was best for me and my baby. Interventions themselves increase the likelihood of a c-section. It's crazy that about one third of all US births are c-sections, to the detriment to both mothers and newborns.
Side effects of common labor interventionsCurrent research suggests that some labor interventions make a c-section more likely. For example, labor induction among first-time mothers when the cervix is not soft and ready to open appears to increase the likelihood of cesarean birth. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring has been associated with greater likelihood of a cesarean. Having an epidural early in labor or without a high-dose boost of synthetic oxytocin ("Pitocin") seems to increase the likelihood of a c-section, and epidural analgesia appears to increase the likelihood of cesareans performed in response to "fetal distress."

BombShellRisa: I don't view myself as "incredibly immature". Then again, I don't know anyone who would ever describe themselves that my children. It appears as though you live in the Seattle area and have experience in both midwifery and hospital birth. I'm interested in knowing why you are so opposed to home birth. Perhaps, you'd like to meet one afternoon for lunch.

You do not have enough of my story to judge my apprehension for hospital birth. I didn't start out birthing at home. I birthed my first child with an OB in a hospital. My experience thus far with hospital politics shows that many doctors make decisions based on covering their own back-sides in a potential lawsuit rather than what's best for a mother and her baby.

There were a few unknowns surrounding my daughter's heart defect. The OB who oversaw the ultrasound knew that something was amiss (and asked us if we wanted to see a genetic counselor to discuss possible termination). As soon as she knew I would not choose abortion, we started working on a birth plan. This OB was not qualified to make a birth plan with me. She did not know how the defect the sonographer found would affect my baby at birth. Later, the pediatric cardiologists confirmed with my husband and I that if there was a problem at the birth, it would be one of breathing difficulty.

Unfortunately, I know first hand what happens when a small child has trouble breathing. It's not complicated. It involves equipment my midwife is trained to use, has experience using and has it readily available at all births, whether at home or at her birth center. It is not unreasonable for me to trust an experienced midwife, a woman I've previously trusted with three other births, to administer oxygen to my newborn if she needs it.

Sterrell: Becoming closely acquainted to the divine within yourself is far more empowering than being externally validated in an unjust and unfair world. I'm all for women's rights...most especially the right to experience her own birthing instincts without an OB or nurse telling her when to push and for how long.

I don't have a creative name, AllieP, SkepticalGuest, DirtyOldTown: Thank you for your love and concern. We could never have anticipated Evan's freak accident. We do not blame ourselves nor do we regret buying the bean bag for that reason. We were granted a peaceful moment in the ER that we return to when we contemplate the eternities.We firmly believe Evan's spirit is alive and with us.

Hmmm...putting children in bubbles ... as tempting as that sometimes sounds ... I've never known a bubble that didn't pop.

Box of Salt: Yes, we do have the bean bag. And if our son got stuck by wedging himself under the mattress on our bed, we'd keep it, too. It's not like a swimming pool that you can build a fence around. This is a normal everyday object and a freak accident.

SkepticalGuest: Thank you once again for forming the words to adequately describe my experience. There are no words to describe the devastation my husband and I felt as we left the ER without our son. We looked over the edge of the parking garage and both of us contemplated jumping.

I am much better educated now about life and death than I was in 2008. Back then, all I knew were movies and stories about people who were knocked unconscious or who lived in comas for weeks or months on end. Unconscious or "just" being in a coma did not equate to life threatening. It does now.

Therese: See above. Getting emergency medical care to Evan sooner may or may not have saved his life. He had been without or with very little oxygen for an unspecified period of time. It took my husband a couple of minutes to find him, once he realized he was missing. While I'd rather have a brain-damaged boy than a dead one and I wonder what would have happened if we'd made different choices there is nothing we can do to change the outcome of that day.

TheAdequateMother: Our son was on a mattress on the floor in a mostly empty room. The thing about freak accidents is that you can't predict them...or you could but you'd go crazy trying to do so.

PeggySue, Disgusted, AuntBea, Lena, Wren, Disgusted, BeatlesFan: May you never experience CPS in the same manner that we did.

It took me quite some time to figure out what MDC meant. I've never heard of the site nor visited it before last night. Thanks for the recommendation (ha ha).

We had an incident a couple of months ago where our pre-school aged daughter sneaked out of the house when she was supposed to be in bed. We were gone and the babysitter didn't realize she had left as the entire house was it should be at midnight. One of our neighbors called the police. They knew where she lived and could have brought her home but for whatever reason chose not to. We came home and another neighbor flagged us down and told us our daughter was at another neighbor's house crying. What?! I went over and brought her home. She had left the house to see if she could find us and woke up several neighbors with her crying/calling for us. We had a visit that night from the police. No fuss. Just checking in. CPS came by a day or two later. We weren't home. They left a card. I called back. End of story.

The CPS story with Kira was totally different. Within a few hours of the doctor reporting the broken bone we had two sheriff's deputies and a social worker at our door ready to take our children away from us. They couldn't agree on whether or not to just take Kira or all of them. We never refused to talk to them or to participate fully in their investigation. We only declined submitting our daughter to a test, which drastically increases the chances of childhood cancer. Other than that, we were repeatedly threatened by 3 different individuals within CPS, on the phone and at our home that if we did not do whatever they wanted us to do then they would take our baby away.

Because they realized they'd made a mistake by never investigating Evan's death (the police report shows the CPS lady's name and the date/time of the call), they decided to lump it in with Kira. Then the child protective doctor at Seattle Children's accused us of abusing Evan.

No one would or could help us....lumping in Evan's death could potentially reopen the police case and we could be charged for his death. It was a nightmare that most families will never experience. Unfortunately, the stress it caused me directly affected my confidence as a mother, my milk supply and Kira's the very child their false accusations and deliberate use of misleading information ended up being detrimental to the child they were trying to save.

Since this experience, I never look at families like they are rotten if a child was taken from them, even if they are. It saddens me that the death and abuse rates of children are higher in foster homes than in their families. There are definitely politics involved in CPS and foster care. Those who abuse and break the law should be arrested and stand trial. If convicted, their children should be placed with other family members or in foster care.

Anj Fabian: My 28 hour labor had less to do with the size of my baby or my level of pain and more with being in the hospital and with a midwife whose birthing philosophy was so different from my own. My baby was not hard to push out. The most hellish part of the experience was the anticipation and the unknown.

Thank you Skeptical OB readers for enlightening me with your presence. I was unaware that there were those that feel so strongly against midwives and birth center/home births. Maybe you have other questions or want to continue the conversation. Feel free to leave your comments here or message me.

Kind Regards,
Bridget Johns

November 16, 2012

Beauty School Drop Out

Sweet Jocelyn.
So pleased with yourself...
And yet,
The Beauty School called.
You've been expelled.
They want their scissors back!

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November 12, 2012

Picking Cotton

A memory to enjoy at some point in the future...

Hey JC,
Remember that one time 
You, me and Don
Were driving from Savannah to Atlanta 
Seeing field after field of cotton? 
That was so cool. 
We'd never seen that before.

I needed a picture.
You pulled over.
Couldn't get close enough.
Scaled the fence.
The one with rusty barbed wire.
And prayed it didn't rip our pants.

We took a couple cotton souvenirs.
To show the kids.
Because it's something we hear about.
But have never seen.

Those were good times, Bro. 
Good times.

November 4, 2012

The Natural Life: No Shampoo + Homemade Deodorant

I've done it. No shampoo the entire month of October. My hair is clean thanks to baking soda in the shower. And tangle-free thanks to cutting most of my hair off...oh and rinsing with a touch of vinegar.

35 days with no shampoo...I washed this head of hair yesterday.
I feel a sense of freedom with this change. I don't have to support the shampoo industry any longer. Don't get me wrong. I like the smell of shampoo and working up a good lather. Both of which are not available when simply using baking soda and water. But I don't like the unnecessary chemicals pretty much every brand puts in their products. Who knows, maybe I'll make my own pure shampoo. That lathers. With my essential oils.

Oils? Yes. Oils. I've been into essential oils since this past spring. And I like them. A lot. Not just for personal care products, but for health, too. I put wild orange, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove and rosemary in my family's morning smoothie. It's good for fighting off colds and sore throats and whatever else is going around. I put a combo of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, blue chamomile, helichrysum and osmanthus on Mathilde's sprained ankle 3 weeks ago along with an ice pack and within a couple of hours the swelling and inflammation had gone down enough that she could walk instead of crawl to the bathroom.

I added 10-15 drops of frankincense essential oil to my homemade deodorant (click for recipe). Homemade deodorant? Yes. I know. Slowly but surely, each year my life becomes more natural.

My results after three months of using homemade deodorant? They're good. The first few weeks I couldn't tell if I was less or more stinky. While not really negative, it wasn't really positive, either. BUT in Abu Dhabi, I sweated a bit more than I usually do in Seattle. And the deodorant worked well. Phew! And here I am six weeks later still using and loving it.

What do I love most? Well, it's effective and I can touch it without getting my hand gross. The ingredients are much the same as a lotion with the addition of baking soda and corn starch so it's not a problem if it gets on your hand or clothes or whatever. I also rub a little on a little bump about the size of a pea I have near my shoulder. The bump appeared a few years ago. I was concerned about it but the doctor said not to. Okay. But it wasn't going away...until now. It's smaller. The only change is my deodorant. With frankincense. Beautiful frankincense.
Frankincense oil is linked to the psyche, which in Greek also means "breathing". It deepens and revitalizes the breath and adds to these effects its excellent immunostimulant properties. In skin care, frankincense oil reveals its balsamic nature through its miraculous wound healing properties. Astringent and anti-inflammatory, it is traditionally used to treat scar tissue and skin ulcers, and nourishes dry and prematurely aging skin. Its anti-depressant, euphoric qualities are used in psycho-aromatherapy to treat anxiety & nervous tension.
I have no idea what brought on my bump and why it's stayed for so long. I just really like that it's now a quarter of the size it used to be. I had one on my ankle, too. The color of the bump is still there but the bump under it is gone.

Unless you've been to my house and I've combined some oil concoction for whatever ill you're suffering, you haven't heard me touting the benefits of essential oils. I wasn't sure if I liked them. Or if I liked the idea of them and natural healing. I can now be safely put in the camp of Essential Oil Junkies. 
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