Saturday, June 18, 2011

For the love of cloth ;-)

about three months ago, we switched to cloth diapers and fell in love.... that started a chain reaction in the way we as a household view our "disposable" lives.

Have you ever thought about it? I know we hadn't until we switched, but practically everything we use is disposable, convenience based, the "easy" way.... but what all are we sacrificing?

we have also changed over to flannel family cloth wipes instead of using toilet paper. A decision which raised many eyebrows amongst our friends and family....

*Cheaper - we bought old flannel sheets from thrift stores to cut into squares, sewn together into "two-ply" cloth wipes
*Softer!!- especially using old flannel so it's already 'broken in'
*Cleaner- tiny crumbly bits of tp left in inconvenient places anyone? *ew*
*Easy use- so easy the 8 year old drama queen can do it!

oh and for what everyone thinks would be the worst part, I wash them every couple of days or so (as needed, when the dirty ones fill up the wet bag) and all I have to do is dump the contents of the bag into my washer. I never touch them until they are clean. So easy!! In fact, my husband has even been known to wash them :-)

We use kitchen towels instead of paper towels too, and are in the process of making mama cloth for menstrual use instead of paper maxi pads. I also use cloth nursing pads which I love alot more than the paper ones I had bought to start with, and they're alot more cost effective too!

no poo update

after a few more weeks, here's what I have discovered about the no poo transition...

vinegar makes my hair too oily, that's right I said oily! My hair was horrible when I used the bs & acv so I tried using the bs paste and then a lemon juice rinse instead, which seems to be having much better results for me.

Also, I cheated.

About a week ago I was in a rush to get ready and used my daughter's suave for kids shampoo (watermelon flavor). It worked really well and eliminated the grease ball I was still harboring on the back of my head lol since then I have been using the lemon juice instead of vinegar and I think that will be the solution for me.

But considering how oily my hair is naturally, it may be required to actually wash it with shampoo once in a while *sigh* even though I was really excited about the prospect of never having to buy shampoo again lol

Also, saw a snippet on another blog about washing without soap, which has me very intrigued so I'm researching that now too, we'll see how it goes

I no longer want to shave my head, but I am considering a hair cut because it's just so darn long!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emma's Birth (I was a good little sheep)

with my first pregnancy/childbirth/mommyhood experience, my world was completely different and I was a different person in it....

I married at 18 because I was 12 weeks pregnant, no one forced me to, I just felt that was the best decision to make for myself, as a child of divorce I wanted my kids to have both parents in the house. Anyway, we got married and a week later I experienced my first miscarriage..... but that's a whole different post....

anyway, he was an abusive ass and he never deserved to be a part of my life or that of my daughter's for that matter....

at age 20, I got pregnant again, and proceeded down the path led by my well meaning family and in laws..... I visited my OB regularly, bought bottles, stroller, infant bucket car seat, crib, etc etc etc.... I knew in my heart that I wanted a natural birth, but I had no idea how to achieve it and absolutely zero support in getting the information or actually going through with it, as my mother-in-law was a "high risk" emergency delivery and was unconscious for the first 24 hours of her son's life, and I have no idea what my mom or grandmother's birth experiences were like because good girls just don't talk about things like that...

So here I am, 20 years old and beaten into a shell of myself. I felt in my heart that I could do it, but I just didn't have the tools to make it real....

We went to the childbirth classes at our local hospital, and it was essentially a joke... very little of actual importance was discussed, but it was better than nothing I guess... at least I learned to write down anything that I even thought was a contraction into a little notebook. A habit that came in very handy around 30 weeks when my mother-in-law asked if I was having any contractions and I was able to simply produce my notebook. They don't hurt I explained to her, they just feel like my stomach gets really hard and tight for a bit and then they relax. She didn't know what contractions were either, but had been watching every available episode of the baby story and deliver me that she could and she felt that I was having way too many maybe contractions to let it go.....

At her encouragement I spoke to my OB, and dismissively produced my little notebook filled with scratched down times/dates.... He looked it over and said, oh well we had best just check to see if they're actually doing anything...

And guess what?! they were in fact actual labor contractions... I was at 3 cm and 75% effaced that afternoon in his office, he instructed me to go home and put me on bed rest. He filled out the paperwork for my leave at work starting immediately and off to the house I went. Later that night, contractions started again and off to the hospital we went. Upon arrival there I was at 4 cm and 85% effaced and immediately put on assorted drugs to stop labor. I was also given steroids to strengthen my baby's lungs just in case we could not get it stopped.

The magnesium drip is what did it, and I must say that for anyone who has to experience it, my sympathies are with you. That is one of the worst things I've ever been through quite frankly. It lit my world on fire, literally. I felt like my body was burning from the inside out. Nothing seemed to help, it was really horrible.

Finally, labor was stopped. It took about 8 hours to stop my labor and I remained in the hospital for two more days (merry christmas to me lol) Released on STRICT bed rest

At 37 weeks, my regular OB appointment occurs and I have absolutely lost my ever lovin mind. I am stir crazy, having swelling all over that is causing great concern amongst myself and the ob (they kept strict watch for toxemia) and I basically beg my doctor to help me jump start my labor

He agrees to strip my membranes and see what happens. It worked in just a few hours and off to the hospital we went again. I was nearly 5 cm and 90% on arrival, and within two hours my OB arrived to say okay we're going to break your water now and once we do that your labor will probably go very quickly, so this is your last chance for that epidural.

I didn't eat the entire time I was there. I wore the horrible hospital gown that I assumed was standard issue. I had already been on IV fluids the whole time, and with the numbness in my legs caused by all the swelling, I hadn't felt safe walking so why the heck not get the epidural? I agreed.

After the epi, my labor still progressed quickly and within another 3 hours the nurses checked again and hey guess what it's time to push. I couldn't feel a damn thing. I couldn't feel them moving my legs, or the contractions at all. I had no concept of when I was actually having a contraction so how was I to know when to push?

The nurses had to tell me when to push. Geez. No wonder I ended up with an episiotomy. No wonder it took FOREVER for my body to get back to normal.

I interrupted the natural process of labor and birth. I short circuited my body's coping mechanisms and basically confused the heck out of them. My body didn't know what to do with all this damage that was forced onto it....

I didn't know any of that then, I simply did exactly what I was told was best, like a good little sheep

I am ever so grateful that I had a fantastic OB who really did what he thought was best, and if I had been more vocal with him, he would have been very supportive of my natural birth ideals and this story would have gone very differently. I know that now because he's the head of the closest birth center and does waterbirths etc all the time.

But I didn't know that then.

I was a good, quiet little sheep and listened to all the experts.

They know so much better than me, because they have been there before and they made all the right decisions the first time.

Like I said before, I lived in a different world then and I was a different person in it.

This is the story of my daughter Emma's birth. She is beautiful and amazing and I would not take anything in the world for her. But I wonder sometimes if our reality as a mother/daughter team would be different if I had not been such a good little sheep.

If I had let my body do it's amazing work during labor and birth, how different would our first years have been? How much easier would my first years of motherhood have managed to be?

Emma was born in Jan 2003
She is an amazing, precious soul and I am so grateful to have her in my life. I love her as the little drama queen she is, and I am learning to parent her without pulling my hair out or sounding crazy all the time lol

The "no poo" transition

About three weeks ago, I came across the idea of 'no poo' which essentially means washing your hair without using shampoo... this idea appealed to me greatly, because 1. it's cheaper than buying shampoo all the time 2. I *hate* plastic bottles and generally speaking, it is better for my hair as well as the environment, a nice plus in my book

Now the method by which a person should 'no poo' their hair is a topic worthy of much discussion, as I discovered while trolling the message boards and assorted blogs in research. Basically, there is no one single correct way to do this, and I just have to jump in and see what happens (this could get interesting lol)

I chose to use the baking soda paste and apple cider vinegar rinse method.

Basically, I put baking soda into a reusable container, add water and stir until it's a thick cake batter consistency. I have also been adding a few drops of tea tree oil and sometimes an essential oil for fragrance (although I haven't really noticed my hair smelling fragrant after)
Maybe it just makes me feel better?

Three weeks in, here's what I know for sure:

My hair is in transition, big time

I was NOT using enough baking soda mixture

I know these things because my hair has become this very interesting, terrifying oil ball on my head. Ick.

Seriously, the amount of oil that my head has been producing while I was essentially stripping it bare with shampoo for all these years is quite impressive. That's basically my understanding of the transition phase, for those who aren't familiar (as I wasn't). From what I can tell, transitioning refers to your hair adjusting to a normal oil production now that it isn't being stripped with harsh chemicals all the time.

Who knew that the oily-ness of my hair was in direct supply-demand response to the stripping I was doing by using all those wonderful chemicals in my shampoo?

I certainly did not, but let me say that myself and my husband will be staying away from shampoo, and I am currently researching no poo methods for the kids too.


My hair is in transition, big time, and there's a lot of hair on my head, and it's getting a little terrifying..... I have high hopes for this, now that I have discovered I was using way too little baking soda, and probably not getting much accomplished with that tiny amount. We'll see.

If this doesn't work, I will either be shaving my head or learning about how to care for dreadlocks.

For anyone interested in where I found some of the information I used to get started, I'm providing some links here: lots of good information about no poo the failings of a no poo attempt