One Big Sister’s Perspective on Home Birth (This is really a hoot!!)

“The Middle Wife’      by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I’ve been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best “birth” story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. I believe it helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. ‘This is Luke, my baby brother, and I’m going to tell you about his birthday. “First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom’s stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord. ” She’s standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

“Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!’ Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. “She walked around the house for, like an hour, “Oh, oh, oh!’ (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.) “My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car like the Domino’s man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.’ (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall) “And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!” (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

“Then the middle wife starts saying “Push, push” and. “Breathe, breathe’,” They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom’s play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.”

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat I’m sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it’s show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another ‘Middle Wife’ comes along.

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How To Survive the Heat: You and Baby #3 Take it Easy!!!

In general, warmer climates tend to enjoy a slower pace of life.  This is due to necessity. For those of us accustomed to doing what we want when we want to at breakneck speed, the heat throws a kink in our plans.  Having baby on board forces us to reevaluate our days, goals, and activities.  This is a good thing!  The heat accentuates our need to slow down and smell the roses!  Plan outings either early in the morning or after the sun has gone down.  Avoid going out if you are able.  Live a more relaxed lifestyle.  Stock up on cool drinks, popsicles, and easy meals.  Stay home and learn to enjoy relaxing.  For many of us this is an entirely new concept!  It can be a little scary.

This period of your life will pass more quickly than you can imagine.  Make the decision to enjoy it!  So you don’t get to the mall this instant….you will survive.  Being at home and comfortable is so worth it!!!  If home is unbearably hot find a cooler place.  It may be the mall, Ha!  Ha!  My obstetrician suggested “long walks in air conditioned malls” for my later months of pregnancy.  Breastfeeding moms tend to overheat too.  Another suggestion:  Wear your newborn in the carrier of your choice and go watch a movie in an air conditioned movie theater.  Newborns sleep well.  If you need to breastfeed it is dark and no one will know anyway!!  Look for outdoor locations with lots of shade. Turn the hose on outside for your older children.  Find another mom in your phase of life and share ideas.  There are many great suggestions for escaping the heat!  Please send me yours!!

Cut yourself come slack!  Accept the help and suggestions of others.  SLOW DOWN!!! The heat will pass and you will be the better for it!  All you have learned in the process will be available the next time it is hot, and you will be able to provide suggestions to others too!

How To Survive the Heat: You and Baby #2 Stay Dry!!!

2.  Stay as dry as possible!!!

For Breastfeeding Mommies:  When it is especially muggy be careful of plastic covered breast pads.  Use only cotton fabric or cotton paper pads.  These will breath allowing your nipples to remain dry and comfortable.  Use lanolin or other lotions frugally, the goal is to stay as dry as possible.  The heat will pass and you can reinstate your previous favorites.

For Baby:  Avoid plastic and nylon clothing, blankets, and diapers.  Baby can not tell you whether or not she is sweating.  Pay special attention to baby’s skin.  If she is at all wet with sweat remove her clothing and let her air dry.  If there is a safe place on the floor let her lie on a soft towel or cotton blanket.  This may sound crazy, but under the coffee table is safe from older siblings and falling objects.  My eldest son was 15 months old when baby #2 arrived.  He would never have injured his baby. My concern was he would pull #2 off the sofa or bed in an effort to help.  Thus, I left #2 out of traffic lanes on the floor.  There were lots of full body hugs but no bumps or bruises!

For all family members:  Stay dry and wear cotton.  Have cotton towels available to sit on, rather than leather or slick surfaces on which sweat will accumulate.  As much as possible reduce your activity level.  Read books, watch an educational video, nap!!  For rashes and moisture related skin issues I recommend Caldesene Powder. Photo included.  This medicated powder is like magic for everything from diaper rash to adult moisture related skin issues!  If your little ones have a rash in their arm pits, some one has jock itch, or diaper rash, lightly dust with Caldesene.  Use sparingly. Any recommendation comes with the disclaimer that every family, mama, & baby are different.  This powder works wonders for us, I hope it will do the same for you!!

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How to Survive the Heat: You and Baby #1 Hydrate!!!

At the end of the summer heat is difficult.  We are accustomed to sea breezes and very tolerable weather.  When it gets hot and humid we are not only uncomfortable but suffer with heat rash, overheating, and all around misery!  What can we do to make ourselves and our babies more comfortable?  In order of importance…..

  1.  Hydrate!!!!
    • For breastfeeding mommies:  Drink more cold water than you ever  thought possible!!!  The goal is to keep you comfortable and healthy.    Your body needs liquid to function (run your lungs, liver, etc.);  your  body needs liquid for the process of making breastmilk; your body  needs liquid for the actual milk.  It would be pretty much impossible to  drink more than you can use.  It is especially important to be aware of  this when it is hotter than usual.  Gatorade has lots of sugar but can do  in a pinch, other flavored waters may make drinking more easier for you.  I went through August during my second pregnancy.  I literally spent the  month outdoors in the kiddy pool with the running hose in one hand and  a Popsicle in the other!!!  Do whatever it takes to be comfortable.  One  of my favorite obstetricians, Dr. Tin, encouraged me to “take long walks  in air conditioned malls”.
    • For infants under the age of two:  Babies are at your mercy for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Most of them can not tell you they are too hot or thirsty.  Be very aware of their clothing, blankets, and sleep area in the heat.  Soft thin cotton T-shirts and a diaper may be all they need.  If it is really hot forget the shirt, allow them to lay on a soft blanket with just a diaper.  If they are are mobile look for cooling opportunities: a hose on the grass, a squirt gun, an air conditioned anything.  We all tend to over dress babies, be aware of this!  For breastfeeding babies offer the breast more often than usual.  A day or two will not start a bad habit, but it will help you be sure baby has all the liquid he needs,  For older infants add an extra bottle of watered down juice or a Popsicle outdoors.  You can make your own or purchase a myriad of healthy pops.
    • For the rest of your family:  Make their favorite liquids available in mass.  You know what they like: fruit cups, water bottles, Popsicles, juices, watermelon and so on.  Avoid sodas, caffeine, and large amounts of tea as they act as diuretics, causing our bodies to slough off the liquid we so desperately need at this time.  Pay special attention to what each of them ingests.  If they are very active they will not think about it, but will need it even more!

Enjoy the wonderful days at the end of the summer!  More soon on other hints to avoid summer rashes!  Keep cool!!!  Judy