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It has been a healing weekend –  very uneventful.  I got some good news on my own health struggles and have dealt with a little minor blech.  But, we visited family and spent quiet days with each other, eating good food and watching the girls play.

Children are the most interesting creatures.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading in Waldorf educational philosophy as prep to teach and better understand my girls.  Most of the reading is on preschool development, and it has given me so much understanding as to why the girls act and react the way they do to things.  I hope it helps me to orchestrate our days.  The reading has made Ivy’s new accomplishments of the last few days even more exciting.  She has worked diligently on expanding her vocabulary.  Our big activity this weekend was to answer her question, “what’s that?”, a million times over.  Before this weekend, Ivy had around ten words that were regulars and a few more she chose to utter here and there.  As of today, she has added the following to her list.

  • ball
  • bear
  • bird
  • banana
  • burp
  • pee pee
  • Elmo

I’m not even sure if I’ve lost track and forgot a few there.  I thought she was on a pattern of Bs until she came out with “pee pee” and then added “Elmo” during a diaper change with her Mamaw this evening.  With “pee pee” and “burp” in her arsenal she’ll be working hard at catching up with her sister’s new love for the word “poop”.  You have to love the preschool potty talk.  Ivy is so proud of herself and has been the happiest baby.  I love watching the girls learn and create their lives.  I stood for a long time and looked at their newborn pictures today.  It is miraculous how quickly they go from completely vulnerable to such learned little things.

The girls and I went on a nature walk Friday.  The late summer wildflowers are blooming and we collected some for an arrangement.  Fortunately, we found a vase under our front porch.

wildflowersDeladis felt pleased with the arrangement and glad to have helped.  There are some red clover, goldenrod (our state flower), jewel weed, Queen Anne’s lace, and some daisies.  I have no idea what the deep purple flowers or the little pink ones are, but they are gorgeous.  I’ll have to see if I can find a book to help me better identify the herbs and plants around the cabin.  They do make for a beautiful sight.  They are my sign that autumn is more near to us everyday.

It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I was that confident, pregnant school teacher waiting for her miracle to be born.  I had all the faith in the world that everything would be right, and though the experience of my first birth left me physically and mentally scarred, things were just right.  The little miracle born that day has taught me so very much about myself and the world.  It pinches somewhere deep inside that these four years have passed so quickly.  I know the coming years will race by me with equal speed.  Before I know it, I will be looking into the face of a woman.  A woman that I raised from the very beginning.  Some things I will do and have done very right, and other things I will do and have done very wrong, but right or wrong isn’t the point of it all.  The point is always our motives.  I’m motivate by truth and love.  I love you Deladis.  Happy Birthday and God Bless you my little one.

10 months old

10 months old

15 months old

15 months old

18 months old

18 months old

Almost Three

Almost Three

Four

Four

I have had a bum couple of days.  I’m feeling out of balance and forgetting things like passwords to my email and bank account – things I use almost daily.  Hormones or something is amiss with me, but I’m pushing onward.  I am trying to prepare for the birthday celebration that I am having for Deladis on Saturday.  Her fourth birthday is coming up, and I want our friends and family to celebrate it here with us.  We don’t get many visitors, even family members, because of the creek being the road.  I always hold an open invitation though.  I’m looking forward to them all having a good reason to come see our place.

With that comes the food and home preparation.  I am preparing a “real” foods menu, including the cake and beverages.  I wholly believe on the benefits of eating a diet based on whole, traditionally prepared foods and I want to share a meal prepared in that way with those I love.  I’m hoping it initiates some conversation and thought as well.  I am trying so hard to keep up with the housework.  It is a never ending thing with two little people following you around and undoing all that you just did.  I’ve decided I’ll give it a good cleaning on Friday, and then spot check until the party.  I know to some of the people we love and who love us immensely, our lifestyle is a bit odd as is our choices.  I’m hoping coming into our world to celebrate the birth of one of the greatest beings of all time – Deladis – will help them to understand and know we aren’t quite “weird” –  just happily different. 🙂

I enjoy hosting gatherings as much as I am a loner.  I like it when people eat my food, sit on my couch, play in my yard, and sample from my garden.  The party isn’t going to be this big organized event.  The kids will be turned loose to play in the yard and have a big time, while the adults talk and watch them play.  I want the people Deladis loves to be there.  I’ve asked for no gifts, or for those who would like to bring something I’ve given specific ideas.  It’s going to be good.

I ordered our gifts to Deladis from Etsy – the Ebay type site for handmade items.  One day I let Deladis look through the various toys and choose the things that interested her the most.  In the final pick, she chose wooden super heroes and a sweet little lamb.  I can’t wait to give them to her.  I also bought her a kitchen helper’s baking set with cookie cutters in the shape of a horse, dog, and bear at Yoder’s Bulk Foods.  I’ve already given her those, and I hope we get to make some cookies together for her party.

I wish I were having better days on the eve of four years as a mother.  It is hard to find motivation to get things ready when feeling off kilter.  I long to do something, just me and Deladis.  I’ve been remembering when it was long days of only the two of us.  I was such a different mother, then.  A really good one too.

My sister, Ariana came to the mountains today with my neice and nephews.  I’m so looking forward to seeing her and them.  I hope it will bring me back around.

I wrote yesterday a little bit about my finding my way to yoga.  I’ve been toying with yoga for about ten years.  I’ve never really had what I would call a “serious” practice in that time period.  That is if the criteria for “serious” is incorporating all eight limbs of yoga.  I practiced more as another variation on the word “exercise”.  The closest I ever came to really doing yoga was during my pregnancies with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Shiva Rea DVDs along with some studio classes.  I was more about tuning in with my little beans than tuning in with God or my inner self at that time.

I really enjoyed the Gurmukh DVDs during my pregnancy, and when I realized that the type of exercise I was doing (high intensity aerobics) was exacerbating my health issues (thyroid, stress, and exhaustion), I started with her.  The type of yoga she teaches is called Kundalini yoga.  Kundalini yoga is the most ancient form of yoga and was introduced to the west by Yogi Bhajan in 1968.  Kundalini yoga suits me very well because while I need restorative exercise, I really like to exert myself.  Kundalini yoga allows for both.  It is appropriate for all people in all types of conditions and age ranges.

I’ve been exploring the different aspects of yoga and doing Kundalini and Vinyasa styles.  In my search for an authentic, traditional life, I place great emphasis on doing things the way they were meant to be done.  I have been researching the “real” way to practice yoga.  I have found that it stand aside from religion, and I have found it extremely helpful in reconnecting me with my own spirituality.  I’ve been using my yoga time as prayer time.  I am a Christian, and the original mantras work so well for me.  My favorite right now is Sat Nam – truth is my name.  It is such an uplifting thing to repeat as praise, a reminder, or a prayer.

I have bred in me an unrest.  I see impatience in many members of my family.  The impatience leads to worry and stress.  It has really affected my mothering.  I am so impatient with the girls.  For over a year now, I’ve been trying to beat this troublesome attribute with not much success.  Yoga is teaching me how to go about ridding myself of it.  Many of our problems come from alienating the various parts of ourselves.  We think of physical, mental, and spiritual parts of our being as different and often conflicting.  Yet, one part can’t work properly without the other.  We can’t know our full potential in this life without working to connect them all.  We can’t rely totally on ourselves either.  There is much more to life than us.

Gurmukh says something that I used as my mantra during my savasana time today.  “Let go and let God.”  As I heard John caring for our girls in the background, instead of wishing for peace and quiet, I embraced what was going on.  I let go of that impatience and I let God take care of me.  I can tell you right now, I was in much better hands.

* Update: I wish I could let it go everyday.  That will be a never ending goal.  Today has been a trial.

The following picture and words were created by my Aunt Sharon (Hansel) Sexton.  She is my daddy’s sister and has always been an inspiration to me.  Having no “human” children of her own, she has become like a second mother to my cousins and I.  She is one of the wisest people I know and extremely qualified in speaking on motherhood.  I hope you enjoy her outlook.

wren“I am sending you a picture I took this morning of a Carolina wren that has moved into one of my bird houses.  As I sit on the porch in the mornings reading my Bible, I have enjoyed watching this new mom.  She is so dedicated and watchful over her babies.  She works all day flitting back and forth bringing food to her little ones.  I have only seen a small head, so I don’t know how many babies there are.  As I sit and observe, I have noticed she never tires, and works so hard.  She is so small, but is mighty as a lion if you get too close!    God knows just what to give to moms to give them the knowledge to take care of their little ones… even the tiniest of birds.” -Sharon Sexton

Most of the relationships I have with other mothers are online.  I wish often that mothers in the mountains were more organized with one another for playgroups and those sorts of things.  It would be helpful to all of us.

When I converse with other mothers no matter where they are from, or what beliefs they hold fast too, it is obvious we are all given this extra sense – a sixth sense that was born when we became mothers.  There are strong feelings that come forth in times of great struggle and happiness that lets a mother know the right and wrong decisions for parenting her young ones.  In modern society, I find that often we are living contrary to what that intuition is telling us is right.  It has made mothers second guess that inner knowledge that all mothers in the animal kingdom have.  We are told by pediatricians, researchers, and child psychologists many times to go against those feelings, because those feelings lead us astray from what is healthy for our children.  I have been guilty of listening to those voices instead of that inner voice myself, and though not always, it has come back to bite me too many times.  I want to let all new mamas and those questioning their abilities that what is right for your family, may not be right for the next.  There is so much information out there that you can be fully informed before making any critical decisions for your family.  Empower yourself with knowledge and trust that if it feels right, there is a great chance it is.

By Marge Fulton

http://hazardgal.blogspot.com

www.hazardgal.com

Our family may seem like Green Acres, the sequel. We moved from city to country. In many ways, this gives us amazing tools for coping and sustaining life. When we moved to the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky from midtown Memphis, some thought we’d flown the coop.

Actually the pocket of Memphis where we lived was a haven for college professors and creative folks. One of our neighbors got us involved in an Ozark Mountain food co-op. Every month we went to a member’s home and divided up the goods. I did some of the paperwork too. Our three children were always happy to see our order come home. Whole wheat graham crackers, big buckets of peanut butter, organic carrots, carob for brownies, yogurt; it hit the spot.  They wore cloth diapers too. I loved folding those massive gauze diapers, but eventually found some Velcro wonders. It became second nature to use them.

Back to basics can be tough. I had a teaching degree but due to difficulties finding good child care, I decided to stay home. Actually, we found two great babysitters; one opted out when I had another son and the other was a dream but it got expensive. The notion of staying home to raise my kids gave rise to an idea. I ran a family day care and became a food provider with USDA.

My natural foods were our lifeline. As a provider, the local agency could drop in anytime. The only time that happened was one day that I took everyone to McDonalds. After I got them down for a nap, she knocked softly. I passed the test.  Anyway, I always had to keep menus and we got commodities. Those along with my coop foods kept us going.

Now my children range from 23 to 29. They grew up healthy if you don’t count the weird illnesses picked up from other kids in my family day care. We saw Hoof and Mouth disease from a little boy from Australia and later Roseola. Other than those flukes and chicken pox, they were off to a good start. We ate many a bowl of mac and cheese made from scratch and even more spinach casserole. There were things like Soysage and tofu burgers after the day care kids left. I am allergic to soy so that had to stop! During the day we had traditional foods.

So, they had a good foundation. Food co-ops are vital in a big city. Here we can get many whole foods homegrown and at the bulk foods store in Hindman. A natural foods store appears to have opened up in Hazard catering to sports enthusiasts.  However you fill the void, feed your family basic goodness. Years later, you will find enormous pride in them and your choices from the start.    www.hazardgal.blogspot.com

I was a victim of an unnecessary c-section in August 2005 as was my first born little girl.  We have suffered the consequences of that event in both our physical and emotional health.  Since that time, I have been an advocate for pregnant and birthing mothers and their right to chose a practitioner and healthcare model that will provide them with the safest outcome.

For my second birth, I chose to birth at home.  In the state of Kentucky, as with many states in our country, it is illegal for any midwife certified or not to attend a homebirth.  It is not illegal for a mother to chose homebirth and/or deliver her baby at home.  Unfortunately, in order to serve women and provide them with the option of a safe birthing environment our midwives are often putting their own personal lives at risk of prosecution.  It is shameful that a trained professional cannot offer their services to a paying and educated client.  It is a shame that if needed doctors and hospitals are not supportive of these midwives.

Why do I feel this way?  The c-section rate in the United States stands at 31.8% of all births.  The state of Kentucky stands at 34.6%.  The World Health Organization recommends a rate of between 10-15% nationwide for the safety of both mothers and their babies, and believes that over half of all c-sections performed in the United States are unnecessary.  That means that doctors are performing surgeries on women for no other reason than speculations, convenience of both mother and doctor (they don’t have to wait on labor), and the spiraling out of control of labor inductions and augmentation.  What doctors often fail to tell women is that a c-section is considered a major abdominal surgery.  The mortality rate in the US for mothers is also alarming.

It is an outrage that in a country where we are supposedly medically advanced that obstetricians and the companies that insure them are ignoring the fact that a woman is more likely to have a successful vaginal birth and/or natural birth under the care of the midwifery model at a location where the mother feels safe.  It is upsetting that they ignore the fact that a vaginal birth after c-section is safer than a repeat surgery.  It is shameful that trained and educated midwives can’t provide their services to women without the risk of prosecution.

This needs to be changed!  As women we should insist that our births shouldn’t be looked at as dollar signs or illnesses but one of the biggest events of the lives of the baby and its family.  We deserve to be treated holistically and ethically.  Yes, hospitals are great, as are obstetricians, when a medical emergency arises, but when choosing doctors who are trained to respond to emergencies it makes us subject to them viewing our pregnancies as an illness to be treated rather than a fact of life to be supported.

What can we do?  Tomorrow May 21st there will be a DC birth briefing on Capital Hill.  Let your congress people know that you support midwives and a woman’s option to chose homebirth. Tell 10 friends to do the same.  Visit The Big Push for Midwives to find out more.  In the state of Kentucky, visit The Kentucky Midwifery Taskforce to find out how you can help.

My second birth was attended by a homebirth midwife who gave me the best healthcare I have ever received in my life.  Ultimately, she had to transfer me to the hospital where I eventually recieved another c-section.  A necessary one this time.  The doctor performing the c-section badmouthed midwives to me while he was removing my baby from my womb.  At no time were either myself or my baby in any danger under the care of my midwife.  That doctor was unprofessional and condescending at a time when I needed his expertise to have a healthy birth.  But, it was inconveniencing him.  How did my midwife respond to my needing a doctor’s services?  By recognizing within a healthy time frame that my birth was not proceeding normally and was one she needed a doctor’s assistance with, and trusting that that doctor would take good care of me.  She never left me alone.  She talked to me while I grieved the choice I was having to make and assured me that I was making the right decision for myself and my baby.  Now, tell me who is professional and offered the best healthcare.

shoes

cheeseI began yesterday as any other day.  I blogged, did Taebo, set out 4 rows of onions, and two rows of carrots.  But, when John returned home from Pick and Bow, we began our own simple celebration of the birth of a child I never thought I’d have.  First, her daddy gave her her present – a tiny sock monkey (Handmade by Leniavell Trivette) he bought while at Merlefest.  It is gorgeous and Ivy loved it, kissing it.  Then, her daddy put her new swing her Papaw and Mamaw Hansel bought her on the swingset.  She thought it was so funny to be able to swing by herself and she laughed.  Later, she nearly fell asleep swinging with her sock monkey.

For supper, I made Beef Tarjne and it was a hit – I think.  Deladis ate it good.  I liked it.  Ivy ate some baked potato with sour cream and butter.  That is one of her favorite foods.  Then, since I could not find the recipe for the peanut butter balls :(, we decided to go to Dairy Queen to buy the girls a treat.

icecreamIvy had her very first ice cream.  She liked it much better than chocolate cake!

slushDeladis loved her cherry Artic Rush.  You can see her enjoyment all over her face.

Sitting in the dark at the DQ.

Sitting in the dark at the DQ.

Ivy enjoyed it being dark.  A warm breeze was blowing in some rain and it felt good on our skin.  Ivy liked watching the headlights and taillights on all the cars going by.  We decided to let her play a bit.

partyhardyAbout 9:30pm we headed back toward the holler.  I think we all had glad hearts.  It may not have been a birthday bash spectacular, but I think it was one that celebrated the moment appropriately.

Today is Ivy Pearl’s birthday.  Actually, 2:12am this morning was.  She is officially 1 year today.  I am officially no longer the mother of an infant.  I approach this day with celebration and trepidation.  I am so happy to have a healthy, rambunctious little girl who is full of fight and fun.  I am excited about her being a toddler.  Even more excited about not having a big birthday bash for her like we tried with Deladis for the last three years.  We are having a simple celebration with just the four of us.  I’m going to make peanut butter balls for an after dinner treat.  We had a chocolate cake that I made at mom’s for them to eat.  Ivy didn’t like cake.

At first she thought it looked like fun!

At first she thought it looked like fun!

I am apprehensive about my feelings surrounding her birth.  It was this time last year that my water broke with no labor.  Then, I went through every stage of labor, but didn’t dilate.  It was this time last year that I waited for nearly 2 days to birth triumphantly, and birthed through cesarean a second time.  I am not actively grieving anymore, but I am still full of fire about spreading the word on cesarean births.  I tried a separate blog for that, but it didn’t seem to be working.  I am planning to include a few posts in the next few weeks on the topic here.  I can say that I feel having homebirth as a viable legal option should be a mainstay in every state.  Homebirth midwives are birth heroes in my eyes, and the reason that Ivy’s birth was as good as it was.

I am also sad that I will never have the chance at VBAC again.  It’s not that I want to parent another child, nor is it that I don’t.  I simply don’t believe it is right for me, right now.  I will never know how it feels to birth fully – birth true.  I’ve come to terms with that, but it doesn’t take away the desire to know the feeling.

I look at Ivy today and am happy for her and me.  We came through a year’s journey that was full and fulfilling.  I look at Ivy today and I am glad we are back in our holler, together as a family.  My girls make home a very unlonely place.  I look at Ivy today and I see her potential.  Full of spunk, spark – life.  I wonder what she will be.  I wonder who I will be when I look into a woman’s eyes and see my baby Ivy in there.  Happy Birthday Ivy Pearl.

Ivy Pearl: born 11 pounds – 22 inches (The journey began at 5pm on April 26th and ended at 2:12am April 28th.)

Birthday

Birthday

Ivy Pearl: Birthday + 1 – 19 pounds and 30 inches

ivy-b-day

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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