Our choice to birth at home was not an easy decision. We did extensive research. We had countless discussions. We did more research. We knew the many benefits; but we also knew the potential risks. It was difficult to make a decision that others (and even sometimes we) might view as crazy, even irresponsible. Would we be putting our lives at risk? What if something went wrong? Could we live with ourselves and our decision? But what if we went to the hospital and something went wrong there? Could we live with ourselves then?
For us, the decision was not about location. It was a conscious debate about whether or not to birth in the current American hospital maternity system. It was not a rash or selfish decision but one based on research, evidence based care and lack of other choices. Read more
I read a lot of online posts and very rarely feel compelled to join the conversation. The drama, judgement and bantering that typically follows is never worth it. But every once in a great while, I think a comment warrants a response. This week I came across such a post. It sparked something in me. It sparked in me a desire to inform, educate, and empower others to do more research and really think critically. It made me realize that the information most readily available on birth is flawed and sub par. It made me want to advocate for change.
Under a post about the midwifery bill currently in legislature a woman posted “I simply do not understand why one has to have a baby at home. Just go to the hospital. It’s not 1890.”
With near zero temperatures today, my car wouldn’t start. Thankfully we were only stuck in our driveway. But I could have been anywhere. It was a great reminder to always be prepared and dressed warm in winter months.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when keeping children warm in the car: Read more
So what is with this “new” headline that wipes cause skin rashes? Well the truth is this isn’t new information. It is just new to the U.S.
When I was registering for baby care products during pregnancy I was really picky. I wanted to reduce the chemicals I’d be exposing J to. Some people told me I was overreacting and that any baby product would do. But I knew in my gut all the chemicals couldn’t be good. I did more research and discovered that Europe banned over 1,000 chemicals from health and skin care products because they are known toxins and carcinogens. The U.S. FDA has banned less than a dozen. That is hundreds of known toxic chemicals that we expose ourselves to daily in soap, shampoo, make-up, lotion, etc. Knowing this, I made an effort to select more natural skin care choices for my family.
But it is everywhere. So what can we do about it? Read more
Want to make your own wipes? It is fast and easy. I like to make a large batch and save the extra solution for next time, but you can adjust the recipe to meet your needs. Read more
Consider reading part one, two, and three of my birth story first.
After a tranquil labor it was finally time to meet our baby! I was most comfortable laboring in the bathroom on the toilet, so everyone piled in to our very small, under construction bathroom. I didn’t know how close I was to delivering my baby and didn’t even realize that I was well into the second stage of labor. My body had been pushing my baby down, though I didn’t feel the urge to push. After the delivery, the midwives said it was so cool to watch my uterus contract and stomach tighten down, clearly helping my baby descend while I remained a “passive” yet active participant – moving and letting my body do the work without adding force.
Consider reading part one and two of my birth story first.
After a leisurely morning of wondering and waiting labor finally seemed real. Contractions were more regular and rhythmic. We had prepared the house for birth – making our bed as the midwives instructed. Our midwife, Carol, had stopped by to check in and leave her bags. I was laboring well and didn’t feel I needed support yet. Carol agreed but before leaving had a “side-bar” with my husband, Mike. While I was comfortable and doing well, they thought I was pretty far along and would progress quickly after she left. She told him to call her back as soon as we felt we needed her, even if she barely got out of the driveway.
Consider reading part one of my birth story first.
Everyone asks, “How long was your labor?” But how does one define labor? Among many wise things, our amazing childbirth educator told us, “You know it was labor when you have a baby in your arms.” I wouldn’t say it took that long to know I was really in labor but it definitely took a while to sink in that, after months of preparing, it was finally time to meet our baby.
I told my husband that I was almost done writing my birth story. He corrected me and said that to really tell my story, I had to first tell all the preparation that went into the birth. From before we even conceived I knew I wanted a certified nurse midwife to oversee my care. I even picked my insurance to make sure my hospital and midwife of choice would be covered. January 3, 2013 we found out we were expecting. We were ecstatic. I called the midwives and made an appointment. The next few months were typical with regular appointments, ultrasounds and lots of peeing in a cup – you know the drill. Read more
We’ve all heard it…
Attachment- Gentle- Evolutionary- Biological- Permissive- Helicopter- Nurturant- Spiritual- Authoritative- Instinctive-
The more I hear about “types” of parenting, the more I feel left out. I get it. Well-intentioned mamas categorize their parenting to form a comradery with other like-minded mamas. The only problem is I don’t fit in any one category, and I bet you don’t either. Sure I do a lot of things associated with attachment parenting but not everything. I consider myself a gentle parent, but sometimes I lose my cool and feel a little too touched out to snuggle (Thank God for husbands!). I attempt to parent instinctively, to follow my gut, but I still call my mom when my son coughs to see if it’s time to call the doctor. I certainly don’t fit any one category perfectly. So the most frustrating part of labeling parenting is that at the first mention of doing something that is *not* associated with said parenting type the judgement starts.
We’ve all heard it…
Judgement. Criticism. Snide remarks. Debates. Combative tones.
Just for parenting differently than someone else. For not subscribing to a one size fits all approach.
So I’m doing it. I’m returning to the stone ages before labels and books and competition took over parenting (ok, not really!) But I am unlabeling parenting. I am doing away with judgement. I am simplifying. I am parenting intentionally. This is just the beginning of my parenting journey in this crazy world and I’m choosing my path carefully.
- to parent without labels – accepting whatever style works in the moment
- to parent instinctively – following my gut to do what comes naturally
- to parent intentionally – making every decision out of love and respect
- to make the best decision for my family with the information I have at the time, even if it turns out to be the wrong choice – no regrets
- to accept that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone – respecting that armed with the exact same information, people will make very different decisions in the best interest of their family
- to support others in their journey – even if they are on a different path
- to educate myself on the latest research so I can make informed choices – and pass it along so others can make informed choices
- to be aware that the choices I make today affect the world tomorrow – living consciously and intentionally
So here it goes. This is my journey in parenting and living as it comes…naturally. Join me on the venture.
Intentionally parenting, living, and loving,
Cave Mama Stephanie