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If two people got into a fight, who would win?  One person is very spiritual.  They study their theology and philosophy, feel comfortable and sure in their beliefs.  They are at peace with their existence.  One person is very physical.  They train their body and have achieved the best physical condition they can.  They are very sure of their physical capabilities.  The two prepare to face off and the bets are being placed.  Who will win?

The answer isn’t as easy as you would think.  The obvious answer is the person who is most physically strong.  We take it for granted that strength comes from physical ability.  But, the answer would be the one who was well fed.  The winner would be the one who could outlast the other.  The one who was more sure of the end and confident in his/her winning.  The one who is filled and fulfilled, not lacking in any area he/she longs for.

We see this scenario play out in many stories, legends, and slices of life.  Take for instance David and Goliath.  David knew he had the living God on his side.  With God for him, who could stand against him.  Another example is Jack and the Giant he faces in many Jack Tales.  He always outsmarts the giant who could out do him physically.  Then, from life we see this reality so often in childbirth.  A prepared and supported woman can birth successfully without pain medication in any environment she chooses barring any medically necessary procedure.  Those unprepared will almost always fail and fall prey to medical intervention.  That is a physical and mental preparation.  Aside from birth we see it in death.  Those who die “well”.  Those living with terminal illnesses and achieving more than any well person we know.

Our approach to life should not be one sided.  We should approach life holistically to achieve the best life possible.  Motherhood/Parenting should be approached the same way.  If we are not fed as the parent in our personal lives, how can we ever hope to feed and nurture our children.  In thinking about the fight, I believe it would be a toss up.  The spiritual person could be full spiritually, but weak physically because he/she has neglected to care for the vessel they were given for earthly dwelling.  The physical person could have all the strength in the world, but without spirituality will fail because they lack mental peace.  I believe as well that spirituality and physicality would look different for each of us and is dependent upon our situations.

At this moment in my life, I’m fed well physically and am fairly strong there.  Spiritually I’m lacking.  I find stress eating at me.  It in turn makes me weak physically.  In my mothering it reveals itself as impatience.  It leaves me seeking.  Without God’s (my spiritual anchor) help, I will sink and drown.  I can’t do it alone for I am only human.  I’ve been reminded of that recently.  As an Appalachian woman, it is ingrained in us to be strong and not complain when we feel weak.  We are to push through it without a fuss even if it kills us.  The duality of this quality is one that brings us great courage and a capacity to do for ourselves, but also can be detrimental to our spirit, because it can leave us feeling alone and reluctant to ask for communal help get things accomplished.

I’m hoping as mothers and parents we can remind each other that wellness is a holistic endeavor.  Our physical strength is nothing without spiritual backing and vice versa.

-Thanks to Pastor Ruby Couch for getting me thinking on that one.  It was a much needed thought.

There are times in mothering when you do things because you know they are best, but you aren’t sure how accepting your child is of it.  Then, you question if without acceptance is it really good for your child.  With an infant, sometimes enjoying something and tolerating it because there isn’t a much better choice, can look like the same thing.  I’ve wondered often if my Ivy really likes being carried in our mei-tai carrier.  We use the carrier everyday.  She has only been in a stroller one time in her life.  Strollers just aren’t practical off-grid.

Anytime she wants to be held and I have to do physical work, I put her in the pack.  More recently, she has started back riding.  It is convenient and allows her to be close to me when she wants to be.  It makes shopping so much easier when she is tired or cranky.  I’ve read that it is a soothing thing.  But, I’ve always wondered if it was just a fact of life for her or something she truly enjoyed.  It was Saturday that I got my answer.

Ivy will be celebrating her first birthday at the end of the month, and is becoming more and more able to express herself in a way that we all readily understand.  It is so sweet to watch.  Saturday, I got the mei-tai and started strapping it on my waist.  John and I were going to check on one of the cabins down the creek to make sure it would be ready for our landlord’s upcoming visit.  We were walking down as it was a sunny day and something to do.  When Ivy saw me preparing the mei-tai she got excited.  She clapped her hands and made joyful “uh-uh” sounds.  She was leaning toward me from her daddy’s arms before I even had the first knot tied.  It felt great to see a cute smile on her sick little face.

She really does like it!  She not only likes it – she loves it.  Ivy has had the croup the last 4 days and I know now that being worn is comfortable for her.  Not just tolerated, but a nurturing thing.  It feels good to do something right.

You can find mei-tai carriers at the following websites:

Baby Hawk – www.babyhawk.com

Two Hearts Carriers – www.two-hearts-carrier.com

Ebay – www.ebay.com

In a local newspaper, The Mountain Eagle, they have a page they call Speak Your Piece.  Anyone can call or email and say anything on their mind and it is published within reason.  Recently, a 78 year old woman spoke about public breastfeeding and how she was offended by it.  In the next issue a local nurse practioner wrote a wonderful letter to the editor explaining why breastfeeding was the best and healthiest choice for a mother to make for her infant.  Now, in this Wednesday’s paper, a woman complains again about public breastfeeding, but this time equates it with sex in public.  Not only did she do this, but she also refers to breastfeeding women as being similar to a sow or mother hippo.  She spoke of how her husband couldn’t stop staring at a breastfeeding woman in a Hardees and her huge breasts.  The “gross milk” dripping down her child’s chin.  Oh, and God forbid, the child had to have been over two years old.

I’m sick of hearing these kinds of remarks!  If you want to equate me with a sow, that’s fine and dandy.  Her teets and mine serve the same purpose.  When you equate my breastfeeding my child with a sex act, then I get infruiated.  Are we that influenced by an over sexed media that we can’t let go of a brought on picture of what breasts are for long enough to realize they have a higher purpose than to sexually attract a potential mate?  For those who might believe in natural selection and the like, why do you think a man might be attracted to breasts?  Duh, it means the female is able to feed his offspring.  Then, to incinuate that breastfeeding is actually a sexual thing is beyond perverted.  My breasts aren’t much more to me than a functional appendage.  Yes, they are dag gone beautiful too, because they can feed my daughters.  But, what about feeding a baby is sexual?  Nasty people get your mind out of the gutter!  I will breastfeed rightfully whereever I like, and I am able to do so modestly.  If you can’t seem to stop staring at my feeding my child, because you feel it is sexual, I’d be very concerned about your perverted mind.

I have mentioned this statistic in another post on the topic of breastfeeding, but I have to say it again.  There is something horribly wrong when Kentucky ranks 49th in the US for mothers initiating breastfeeding.  Even more wrong is that in some eastern Kentucky counties only 1 in 5 newborns leave the hospital having been offered the breast.  Why is that horrible?  It tells me our healthcare system is failing to educate us on the appropriate nourishment for our babies.  It tells me mothers considering nursing are not offered the support they need to succeed.  That is a sad, sad thing.  We as a people deserve more than that.

I hope more mothers step out to defend their right to breastfeed and do so in public.  I have never seen a mother breastfeed in public here.  I’m glad someone else did.  It’s good to know I’m not the only one.  I hope more mothers breastfeed in public so the people like this woman will begin to realize that breastfeeding is eating, not sex.

Okay, off the soapbox and on to bed.

*Please keep us in mind today.  Deladis is ill again with fever.  Thanks.

This day did not start a good day.  A few days alone with the girls always intimidates me.  I wonder if I can be as patient as I need to be, if I can get everything done, if I will wear myself out before they are wore out.  With John gone (as his work often lends itself to necessary travel) to play a square dance in Knoxville, I faced a day and a half alone.  There would be no adult conversation.  No one to hold Ivy while I helped Deladis potty, or no one to help Deladis put her shoes on while I strap Ivy into the carseat.  I began the day amazed at the work single mothers and fathers face everyday.

Then, there were tantrums.  Who said twos were terrible?  Let’s try horrendous threes.  Deladis drops a piece of candy that I gave in and let her have, and squalls like someone pinched her.  I raise my voice, “Stop!” I say loud, over and over.  I want to stop myself, but I don’t know how to help her gain control and realize it’s not the end of the world.  The bomb hasn’t been dropped yet.

Ivy refuses to take a nap, but she is so tired and miserable doing anything else.  I rock her to sleep and five minutes later she is awake again, crying.  I try again to no avail.  I take a deep breath, and strap her to my back in the mei-tai baby carrier.  She rides my back while I sweep and clear the kitchen table.  She is content, and I am content.  I begin to wonder why I get so worked up over little things.

Ivy falls asleep and I am able to lay her down to nap.  Deladis plays quietly and I mop the kitchen.  I finish the mopping and am surprised Ivy is not awake.  I begin cleaning the mold off of our cabin walls that collected there over the winter with all the condensation inside.  I’ve wanted to do it for forever, but have never had enough of a chance to even begin.  I finish the kitchen.  Relief comes to me, and I’m hungry.  I eat.  Ivy wakes.

I have to bring food to church tomorrow.  We are having a Titus 2 Women’s Meeting and I volunteered to bring something before I knew John would be gone.  I kicked myself in the rear, but realized – I can do it.  I want to do it.  I get the girls ready and we go to Family Dollar and Save-A-Lot.  Deladis runs all over the Family Dollar getting stuff off of shelves, hiding in clothes, being a kid.  She wants to ride the mechanical horse outside.  I give her a quarter to put in her pocket.  If she is good in the grocery, she can ride.  She is good.  Both the girls get to ride.  Deladis loves wrapping her arms around Ivy, and Ivy loves the ride.  Relief comes again in joy.

Back home I decide to garden.  We’ve gotten the first small break from rain in days and I want to take advantage of it.  Deladis wants so to help.  She has already memorized a gardening book my Aunt Sharon sent us a few days ago.  She reads it to herself now.  We do a few of the potatoes that were left and try to do some onions, but the ground is so soggy the dirt just clumps.  I decide it’s best to get some indoor starts going on our Beefsteak Tomatoes.  Ivy tries her best to get hold of the tiny seeds, and turn over our little pots of dirt.  I say “no,no” several times.  She says it back and starts walking around and around a cooler that sits on the porch.  Deladis makes indentions in the dirt for the seeds.  I hold her little finger and help her nudge dirt over the seeds.  She is pleased when she gently can do it herself.

I so want to work in our garden, but really can’t see anything I can do at present.  I resign to playing.  I resign to let the girls get as dirty as they need to get.  I won’t worry about stains on clothes, dirty fingernails.  Ivy is putting her hands in the dirt for the first time in her life this Spring.  I sit on the porch steps and watch them play in their playhouse.  Content.  No tantrums or crying.  Free from the sterility of winter cold and indoors.  We practice getting dirty.   We throw stick for Lars, our Dalmatian.

Lars - age 10

Lars - age 10

I help the girls teeter-totter and slide.  Ivy hums and Deladis laughs.  They smile.  My heart is light.  It’s a perfect moment in an imperfect world and I am there.  I am there and not hoping to be somewhere else, with anyone else, doing anything else.

I write now after their bath.  The frogs are chirping outside.  The girls are sleeping at a decent hour.  I look forward to more warm days outside.  I’ll write on the porch steps while the girls play getting dirty from head to toe, and it’ll be fabulous because we’ll have no where to go.

playhouse1

1st flowers on the creek

1st flowers on the creek

Monday is Deladis’s procedures.  The Lord willing I’ll be back to writing and mothering two healthy little girls by Tuesday.  All who do that sort of thing, send prayer and good thoughts the way of my little one.  We’ll greatly appreciate it.  Until then, these flowers will be my words.

We are going to the hospital this afternoon for the first of the four tests on Ro. She will be getting a renal ultrasound today. Though I don’t look forward to doctor visits, I am looking forward to getting my sweet little girl better. She is looking forward to it too as she isn’t dreading seeing the doctor, and she knows why she needs to go. That is making things a little easier. I’m also thankful that I have been able to avoid the long term antibiotic as of now. I’m working hard at rebuilding her gut flora. It’s very important to have that good bacteria for optimal digestion and to aid her in her fight with environmental allergies. Hopefully, I’ll find that I won’t have to give them at all. We only have a week to go before the biggies. I’ve decided not to over explain things to her about the anesthesia. I’m just going to hold her hand and let her know that things will be fine. I’m not freaking out near as much now. Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts, good vibes, and advice. It means so much. I’ll update when we get back.

Update:  We’re home again.  Things went well.  Actually, the waiting was the hardest part.  We waited over an hour and a half after we registered.  The techinician said she couldn’t disclosed whether things looked off or normal, so we will have to wait for the doctor’s report.  Ro did great.  She was really still and enjoyed seeing the pictures on the screen.  The easy part is over!

Update 2 – Got the results today!  Though her left kidney is a bit large, it is functioning normally as is the right!  This brings us one step closer to ruling out the worst case scenario!

Yesterday evening, I received the paperwork and instructions for Ro’s urological tests. This as the worst symptoms are rearing their heads again, and it makes it more real and necessary. As bad as I hate to admit it, I need a doctor’s help with this one. After much thought and prayer, I’m finding myself more at peace with the necessity part of all this. What I’m still not comfortable with is the anesthesia and her being on Bactrim everyday until the procedures. The antibiotics will reverse anything I’ve done to heal her gut after having Rocephin in the hospital.

She is first having a renal ultrasound next Tuesday. Then, she will have a cystoscopy, a retrograde x-ray, and a cystogram the next week. It struck me while reading the paperwork that only today do I have the proper names for the tests they are going to be running. When I was pursuing a VBAC, I armed myself with as much medical information as I could. I felt like it was a fight. With this, I feel like the fight is already over. My baby will be put under. I have to start giving Ro the Bactrim. I have to rely on western medicine to take care of my little one.

It is hard to accept this. But, maybe I’m lame and overreacting. I have only been put under once and that as an adult to have my wisdom teeth removed. They asked me to count backwards from ten. I tried my best to stay awake, just to see if I could. I know I didn’t make it to one. I rarely went to the doctor as a child. I didn’t take many antibiotics.  I was a healthy child. I don’t see doctors now until it is absolutely necessary. Like an, I can’t take it anymore, someone please take me to a doctor type of situation.

Ro has had troubles since birth, including her birth. She’s seen several different types of doctors – pediatrician, family doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, orthopedist, allergist, and urologist. She has severe eczema, food and environmental allergies. We fought over a year and a half to find out how to control that. I did everything natural that I could think of and find doing research before seeing the allergist. Now, it is better, sometimes. She takes two medicines for that, a steroid cream and a mild nerve medicine called Atarax. I only use those when she has flare ups. I treat it naturally continuously.

Now, she will go at three where I didn’t even fathom going until adulthood. I hope that we’ll get answers like we did when we saw the allergist. I just want to know what is happening. I need a diagnosis so I’ll know how to inform myself and help her heal.

I’m preparing her as best I can through diet and supplements. She eats traditional foods as we do. She takes a multi-vitamin, DHA and Omega 3, and L. Reuteri probiotic. Those supplements really help with her eczema too. I’ve been getting her outdoors as much as I can.

It is funny how she has changed since all of this. Since, her stay in the hospital, she hasn’t been very active. She wants to watch TV (we don’t have cable, but she has some DVDs) and not eat much. She is craving sweets (which are very limited in our home), and she has become a crier. Horribly whiny. Today in the grocery store she said, “Mommy, I can’t have this (holding a huge lollipop). Sweets makes you puke.” Somehow, she started equating her nausea and vomiting with too many sweets. That’s a fine though, but at other times she begs relentlessly for it.

I lack a lot of patience, so this has been hard. She said to me today, “Mommy, you’re talking nice to me.” My heart hurt when she said that because I know I’ve quarreled too much. I want to be her foundation. Her go-to mommy. I long to get this past us so we can move on. Break bad habits, and live healthily. I want to mother her – well.

Wrasslin' with the Devil - 2008

Wrasslin' with the Devil - 2008

My husband titled a painting Wrasslin’ with the Devil (www.haywoodart.com) last year. It depicted a snake handling preacher with snake in hands looking oddly fearful and brave at the same time. I feel like I’m that preacher. Ro is going to have a procedure done to check her urinary tract and bladder and some problems she has been having. It’s gotten bad enough that she doesn’t drink enough to keep herself hydrated as she doesn’t want to go to the bathroom. This was enough to land her in the hospital for four days after she caught a stomach virus that everyone had had and recovered quickly from. The problem is that I am having to trust a doctor to treat her properly. She will be under anesthesia, and more than likely I won’t be in the room.

The devil in this situation is many things – me dealing with past, me dealing with fear, me second guessing. Ro’s birth was an unnecessary c-section that happened because I was too trusting that another woman doctor would treat me ethically. Since, it has been hard for me to trust a doctor even with minor things. So, in turn I second guess whether Ro needs the procedure or not. I think what if some of the behaviors are habits now, left over from a problem now healed, not indicative of a larger problem. I wonder if the procedure is necessary. I wonder all this despite the fact that the symptoms are still around and no better. It is the scar that is in my face everyday that is the problem, and I’m trying to protect my child from being affected by that scar any further.

The thought of a child as young as her being put under anesthesia frightens me. I hate the thought of her feeling that loss of control before you slip under. I’m thankful for it too because she won’t remember anything after – the procedure itself – which is the point. I’m still thinking I might request that I be in the room while it is done. It is in the hospital though, so I’m not sure that will fly.

Ro had her first antibiotics ever just last month. I’m adamant about taking pharmaceuticals only when clearly necessary. Then, I’m told by one doctor that he thinks the type of antibiotic used was overkill. She has had to see three different doctors. So, then, I think, overkill, who can I trust not pull an overkill on my baby. I want to say, “You’re not in the practice of playing let’s see how much of what I know I can actually use, but in the practice of assisting the human body in healing itself.” Why is that so hard?

We live off-grid and unfortunately (though improving) the access to quality healthcare is slim. To see most types of specialists one would have to travel at least three hours. I do believe we have a fairly local urologist with good intentions for my child in my head. Now, it’s time to make my heart believe it and make the best decision for my baby.

The vomiting happened again last night and I soon realized where the bravery in the preacher’s eyes came from.  He felt called to handle snakes.  I am called to protect and nurture my child.  In order for him to handle the poisonous snake he had to let go and let God.  In this instance, I have to look beyond my past experiences, and let go and let God.

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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.

November 2022
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