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Wow, I’m finally writing again! I found a few minutes of free time to sit and thought I’d give you a quick update and an awesome find that I ran across online.

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My littlest man is now almost 8 weeks old! Can you believe it? Time has flown. However, he is still a tiny baby. With him being a premie, it has taken him some time to gain weight. I look back now on the pictures we had taken at 3 weeks old and he is so thin and small. He is just now, in the past week, starting to look like what my first child did upon being born. Weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz, he is still all newborn like. Funny, with my first I felt like he grew so fast that I missed his newborn stage. I can’t say that with this one. I am having the time of my life taking care of him being so small. In comparison to my first child, by second is the same weight my first one was at when he was 3 weeks old! So, you can see that I’m definitely experiencing the ‘new born’ phase for a nice extended period of time. This is the time that we usually don’t remember or are rushed through it as so much is happening. Then later you look back and wish you could just hold them as an

infant just one last time. Thank you Universe for giving me extra time with my newborn!

I had set up a photo shoot with our photographer, Jessi Lemay to take pictures both before and after the birth. The day she came to shoot the

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baby was suppose to be the day she was going to shoot my prepregnancy pictures. But since I gave birth 4 weeks early, the shoot was now of a newborn. The pictures turned out fantastic as you can see from the two that I posted on this page. Anyone who lives in Reno I strongly recommend using Jessi for all of your photography needs. She is wonderful with kids and adults alike. As you can see from the photos, she is an excellent photographer and can capture shots that you’ll cherish forever.

When taking pictures you might want to try going to Google and looking for newborn pictures through the images search. That will help you decide on different poses and pictures you might want to have. Not every photographer can read what kind of photos you want. From black and white to colored pictures, to family shots, sibling shots, mother’s hands holding the babies feet, tub shots, and on and on. So many little things you’ll want to capture and looking at others pictures online can help you do just that.

One thing that I’d suggest doing on a photo shoot with your baby is to find a prop that represents your child. For our first child, he didn’t seem like a baby. He seemed more like an old soul. People would tell us the same. So, with his 6 month baby pictures I had him in a sweater and a driving cap along with the traditional photos. Those pictures are some of our best pictures of him. His personality was dead on with the old soul expression and to this day, people love those pictures of him the best. Now with our second child, he instantly appeared like a little elf. Right down to his pointed ear, he is just my little elf. Again, people have commented the same and when Jessi came to our home, I had her take some pictures of him with an elf cap on in a wooden bowl out in our yard. Having just one little prop can make a world of difference in your photos. Yes, do all of the traditional photos, but be creative and find something that makes each child a little different in their photos. Have fun with this!

As I was researching some artwork online I stumbled upon some items on Etsy

FEATURED WWW PARENTS COM - Custom Knit - Funky Newborn Baby Munchkins Hat - Stocking Cap - aqua blue and warm brown taupe stripes with cord and tassle

.com that are created just for newborns as props for photos. From hats to cocoons to hammocks, everything you can imagine is here. I ordered this hat to the right as well as the Christmas hat below. I figured I could get some cute pictures now to use for a Christmas card insert. I also bought the Stork Baby Suspender, which gives you 6 different options of use for picture taking. While these props are a little bit pricey, I figured I could use them again for my next child.

Funky Newborn Baby - CHRISTMAS TOY MAKER HAT- red and lime green striped with white Fuzzy Brim, Tail and Tassle - Knit to Order

At Etsy.com, you can find tons of props for photos by different artists. If you type in ‘elf hats’ you’ll end up with over 12 pages of props for newborns. Look through and see if you like any and like any of the ideas they are showcasing. Also remember to look for cuddly blankets, wooden bowls, giant tea cups etc. that can all be used to place your newborn on or in for the photos. Items like these can really enhance your pictures. The internet is open to thousands of ideas. Use your imagination and be creative!

Over a month into the transition of having a new born and we are still not on the same routine yet. As he was a premie he went from sleeping constantly to now eating every two hours and at the longest he will sleep for four hours at night. Needless, to say I’m tired. No knew news for any post pregnant mother. Now onto fighting the natural changes that occur during pregnancy.

I never use to have any discoloration in my face. After I began using birth control, about 4 years into it, I began to notice the dark brown spots appearing on my face. Then when I got pregnant with my first child the dark spots became more intense. As a female you all know how much changes in our face affect us. I did nothing after my first pregnancy to get rid of the spots, but slowly they all faded away once I stopped nursing. Now at 36 years old, and after my second pregnancy, I have more discernible spots that are bothering me a bit more. I’m now on a hunt for a natural way to speed up the process of riding myself of these spots.

So, what are the dark spots? Melasma generally occurs when estrogen and/or progesterone stimulate pigmentation hormones, causing dark brown or grey, irregular sized patches on the face. The condition, also called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy’… ‘Melasma is primarily seen among women who are pregnant, taking birth control pills or using hormone replacement therapy. In general, the patches on the skin appear over time, and at first may resemble small moles. The patches are located on the cheeks, forehead and nose, and their irregularity in shape indicates the condition. When a pregnancy ends or hormone treatment is discontinued, the patches usually disappear in a few months.”

As my skin is really bothering me, I wanted to find a natural way to help rid myself of my melasma. I began doing some hunting and found several different possible natural cures. The best site I found was a forum of women all discussing what worked for them. Many of them have found MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is an organosulfur compound‘…’It occurs naturally in some primitive plants and is present in small amounts in many foods and beverages and it is marketed as a dietary supplement…”) in combination with Vitamin C, cod liver oil tablets and natural bruise cream can work wonders quickly. As I am nursing I need to research this a bit more as to whether I can use it while nursing. So far, the results from the women are remarkable.

One remedy that I feel is safe to use while nursing is a combination of lemon juice, white vinegar and onion. Here are the explanations below:

Vinegar: Dilute vinegar equally with water, and use to cleanse and rinse your face. Allow to air dry to seal in moisture. Or, use the vinegar/water mixture in place of an astringent or toner. Vinegar is chemically acetic acid, and is capable of whitening and brightening, as well as making skin smoother and more radiant. It has also long been used for a skin softener. Apple cider or other natural vinegars are recommended, though some people use distilled white vinegar.

Onion Juice: To get onion juice, you can finely chop up an onion, or blend it, and squeeze the juice through a cheesecloth. Mix with equal part apple cider vinegar, apply twice daily with a cotton ball and watch for results over the next several weeks. Alternatively, you can cut a slice of onion, dip it in vinegar, and apply it to the pigmentation.

Lemon Juice: Applying the juice of a fresh lemon to the pigmentation has a similar effect to the onion remedy – it is acidic and can safely peel off the top layer of skin, causing spots to fade.

Along with the above natural remedies I also purchased Eminence’s Stone Crop Masque (In Reno you can purchase this at New Spa). It is for pigmented skin and naturally will fade your dark spots. It has many natural ingredients and does contain lemon and vitamin C as listed in some of the other remedies. At night I use the vinegar and lightly cover my dark spots with the masque. Instead of washing off the masque I leave it on for the night. I’ve been doing this routine for about a week now and I think it is slowly working.

Please let me know if any of you have any other natural alternatives for melasma. I’ll keep you updated on my progress and I hope to see a difference within a few months of using the method I’ve described above.

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

It’s been 4 weeks since my second son was born. Keeping up with the blogging is tough right now. Between getting into a new routine, getting enough sleep, working, trying to start a second career and keeping up with a 2 year old, I’m worn out by the time it comes time to type my blog. I am hoping to post at least one blog a week until I get back into a grove. Obviously, I missed last week, but I will try not to continue that even with the impending holiday around the corner. 

As some of you may know, my second child was born just 4 days before my first son’s birthday. Since my son was born at almost midnight on June 2nd we were not released from the hospital until June 4th. My husband wanted to cancel the birthday party, but I told him no. Everything was already set. The bouncy house was to be delivered 15 minutes before the party started, the tables and chairs just needed picked up, the cake was ordered and all I had left to do was the decorating. So, we held the party at our home just 4 days after giving birth. Needless to say, by the time dinner rolled around on Saturday night, I was wondering if I had done the right thing. I was pooped and so was Nick. We both looked beat yet we mustered the strength to carry on.

By Sunday morning, we were still running on adrenaline and racing to finish tying up balloons and setting out the food. 2:00 pm came rather quickly. The party went off without a hitch. It was hot and muggy. We had about 16 kids under the age of 12 running around having a blast.  Soon enough the party was over and we had another birthday under our belt. Not only was it a successful birthday party, but it was a successful non-toxic birthday party. How did we pull that off? Easy.

First, I used an electric squeezer and squeezed a bag of organic lemons for our lemonade. I used filtered water, organic sugar and agave nectar and made a huge jug for our guests. Next, I had pre-ordered cakes from Whole Foods. I had spoken with the baker and confirmed that the cakes would be made with all organic ingredients. They told me that that is their standard practice, but they can’t advertise that they are 100% organic as they do use natural, but non organic ingredients and those might come in contact with the food while baking. I had them only ice the cakes as I would be decorating the cakes myself. Once the cakes were home, I wrapped the outside in wax paper. I had printed a black and white checkerboard print onto card stock paper and cut it to fit the outside of the cake then taped it in place over the wax paper. I had purchased some organic chocolate cookies from Whole Foods and had tossed them into our food processor until they were ground to a fine dust. I then sprinkled that over the tops of both cakes. To make the additional rock formation on the top cake I used extra icing to build it up and then covered it in the cookie dust. To make the cake look more realistic I added almonds and large pieces of chocolate cookies to look like rocks. Parsley was the final touch to hide all of the edges and add height to the cake. I had purchased some cars in Disney that fit perfectly on the cake and found some stickers to place onto the front of the card stock to represent the birthday.

Next, Whole Foods sells perfect little vanilla and chocolate cupcakes that are made with natural ingredients and have no dyes or preservatives. We purchased 24 for the party and I added Cars images on toothpicks to carry over the theme. Lastly, we cut fresh organic apples and veggies with organic dip and almond butter. A 100% all natural, organic and toxin-free birthday party. It was fairly easy to put together and the kids loved it. All I ended up with was a few slices of apple and a couple of broccoli trees left over. The cupcakes were gone and the cake was the biggest thing we had left. The lemonade was the perfect touch for the hot summer day and a pitcher of ice water was also on hand should anyone had not wanted the lemonade.

Don’t be intimidated by others not to try and have a somewhat healthy and natural birthday party. This was very easy to do. You don’t have to have sodas, chips, dyed junk food and preservatives to have a fun party. Kids are seeing more and more veggies at parties and lemonade or natural sodas can be just as fulfilling as colas. You don’t have to load the party with processed sugars, preservatives and dyes to have a fun time. Think outside of the box and create something special for your child. Not only will you feel proud for creating such a great party, but you won’t have to worry about your child being overloaded with toxins and you can feel secure in knowing you didn’t overload any other child in attendance.

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

Last Monday, we took our son for his first check-up. At birth he weighed 5 lb 11 oz and at our first visit he had dropped to 5 lb 3 oz. It is normal for newborns to lose between 7%-10% of their birth weight and regain it within the first two-three weeks. There are several theories as to why this happens. Some say it is due to the baby packing on a few extra pounds while they wait for the mother’s milk to kick in. Some say it is due to the IV fluids that the mother is given while in labor. Some attribute it to the expelling of meconium during the first few days of birth. Anyway you look at it, newborns will lose some weight within in the first few days of birth, which is normal. Watching their weight becomes more of an issue when you add in other factors such as jaundice.

Jaundice is a condition that happens quite frequently and can be dangerous if not paid attention to within the first few days. My first son did not have jaundice, but with my second son being born 4 weeks early we did have to deal with it.

Jaundice refers to the yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Normally, bilirubin passes through the liver and is excreted as bile through the intestines. Jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down and pass it from the body.

Reasons for this include:

  • Newborns make more bilirubin than adults do since they have more turnover of red blood cells.
  • A newborn baby’s still-developing liver may not yet be able to remove adequate bilirubin from the blood.
  • Too large an amount of bilirubin is reabsorbed from the intestines before the baby gets rid of it in the stool.”

Beyond the reasons for jaundice, there are several types of jaundice.

Physiologic jaundice - develops between 1 and 5 days after birth because babies’ organs are not yet able to eliminate excess bilirubin effectively. Whether jaundice is noticeable depends in part on how high blood bilirubin levels reach. (Premature babies, whose organs often are not fully developed, are less able to eliminate bilirubin effectively and are more likely than full-term babies to develop noticeable yellowing related to jaundice.)

After physiological and/or breast-feeding jaundice has resolved (usually by 5 to 7 days), bilirubin levels may rise again during the second week (10 to 14 days) in breast-fed babies. This type of jaundice is likely related to how certain components of breast milk affect bilirubin elimination in the infant.

Breast-feeding jaundice - Breast-feeding jaundice is caused by mild dehydration, which prolongs and intensifies physiologic jaundice. Dehydration contributes to jaundice because it makes removing bilirubin from the body even harder for babies’ immature systems. Breast-feeding jaundice can occur when a baby does not get enough fluids, most often because feedings are spaced too far apart. Mothers usually produce about 0.5 oz to 0.75 oz of colostrum at each feeding in the days before breast milk comes in. Most babies need about 1 oz to 1.5 oz of fluid every 4 hours. Breast-fed babies who are fed every 4 or more hours (as are many formula-fed babies) will gradually become dehydrated, and bilirubin levels in the blood will rise or remain elevated.

Breast milk jaundice

After physiological and/or breast-feeding jaundice has resolved (usually by 5 to 7 days), bilirubin levels may rise again during the second week (10 to 14 days) in breast-fed babies. This type of jaundice is likely related to how certain components of breast milk affect bilirubin elimination in the infant.

Our son is suffering from physiologic jaundice and a little breast-feeding jaundice. On top of this my son is O+ and that was causing some issues, so we were told. I am O+ as well, and the hospital told me that that type of blood type typically has jaundice and was adding to his jaundice. I searched for reasons for this, but couldn’t find anything concrete to include in my blog. I found that babies that are O+ will have issues if the mother has a different blood type, but nothing when the mother and baby both have O+. (On a side note, I also found that pitocin can also raise bilirubin levels in babies, which I did have to jump start my labor. )

Upon testing the jaundice after he was born he tested out with a bilirubin level of 3. As we were in the hospital for over 2 days he was routinely checked and his jaundice level increased to a 7, a 9 and  then when we left the hospital it had risen to 10. Our pediatrician checked him and said that he didn’t need phototherapy and that we just need to keep him in indirect sunlight and to feed him has much as possible to help the bilirubin pass through his system.

Just as described above, his jaundice peaked and then disappeared around the 2 week mark. He had one day of lethargy and didn’t eat much, but then he got into a pattern and was eating on more regular basis. We took him in yesterday for a check-up and the jaundice was a non existent issue. However, he is still low for his birth weight and weighed in at 5 lb 7 oz. That 4 oz increase was good but not great. We have to see the doctor again next Tuesday for a re-weigh to make sure he is still gaining weight. My husband and I agreed that we aren’t concerned over this and we see how much he is sleeping and eating. He is growing and should still be in the womb. We believe his little body is just trying to catch up and needs the sleep as well as the nursing to do this. He was checked by our chiropractor already and he is in perfect alignment, which will also help him in growing and nursing.

The doctor wasn’t alarmed, but does want the re-weigh. I’ll give an update next week on this once we see the doctor. Again, things are fine and the baby is great. We just need to pack on a few more ounces on him and continue to help him through this preemie phase the best we can.

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

Within that first hour of being hooked up to the monitors and thinking about how this couldn’t be happening, my contractions slowly began. By noon the contractions began to regulate and were coming about half strong and in the 80s on the monitor. I was only dialated to roughly 1.5 cm and the baby’s head was not engaged and in the pelvis. I was not permitted to walk or to try different positions to help the baby engage because my water was leaking and there was a fear that the cord or an arm could fall through that tear and we’d be in trouble. So, I was confined to the bed or sitting on the exercise ball.

My doula arrived around 1 pm and was an amazing help. She kept me hydrated with pregnancy and red raspberry leaf tea and chicken bouillon.  She gave my husband breaks to call people and she massaged everything on me that could be massaged. For the next 3 hours I was having contractions successfully every 3 minutes. These contractions are the easy contractions in my opinion; you can still talk through them and walk through them. They don’t kill you. During this time, I was continuing to leak fluid. I was checked around 2:30 pm and was still at a 1.5 cm.

At 3 PM everything stopped. I felt one huge gush of fluid and that was it, no more contractions. I took a nap and listened to my hypnobirthing. My doula worked on my birth story and my husband ran home to check on our two-year-old.

At 5:30 PM, the doctor on call came in and wanted to restart my contractions by giving me pitocin! AHHHH! NO, NOT PITOCIN! I was shocked as I didn’t think about this happening; I figured the contractions would start again. The doctor and the nurses all knew I didn’t want pitocin, but nevertheless they were recommending it; between a leak and the water being broken, there was a danger of infection and problems for the baby. After discussing it with my husband, we agreed that we wanted the best for the baby and so a slow pitocin drip was started at 6 PM with a promise from the doctor that the pitocin would be stopped once things were on a roll. Slowly contractions began again and were in full swing two hours later. The pitocin was then turned off and my contractions were about four minutes apart, continuing to get closer as time passed. By 11 PM I had entered birthing hell. I won’t sugarcoat this and tell you natural labor doesn’t hurt, that it’s just ‘pressure.’ It hurts like hell. I had no drugs to counteract the pain. Contractions are one thing and I can deal with them, but it is another thing entirely when the baby’s head engages in the pelvis and the hips begin to open. It’s by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. By 11:35 I was exhausted and completely overwhelmed with pain. I had been sitting on the exercise ball to help bring the baby down and into position and was checked at 6 cm dilated. I got back on the ball for a few more minutes until they wanted to monitor the baby. Upon getting back on the bed at 11:49 PM I was at my wits’ end.

Pitocin increases the pain level, so keep that in mind when delivering. Just then I felt the need to push, which meant that the baby’s head had passed through the pelvis and I was close to delivering. That was such a relief! I was checked again and had dilated to 10 cm in just 15 minutes. 3 pushes later and at 11:50 PM our little boy was delivered – 5 lb 11 oz and 20 in.

He was checked immediately and his apgar score came back at 9 in the first minute and 9 again at the 5 minute check, and, because he was 4 weeks premature, the high scores suprised everyone. They kept saying he appeared to be a full term baby even though he was early. Then came the next surprise- the placenta didn’t deliver. At my first son’s birth I delivered the placenta right away. After 30 minutes and a painful pelvic exam it was determined that my cervix had already closed and now it couldn’t deliver. I was scheduled for an immediate D and C. Again, we were dealing with things not on my birth plan and I was in an area that I knew nothing about. I was asked what drugs I wanted, if I wanted any, and told what my options were. I knew I didn’t want to go without drugs based on the pelvic exam and the excruciating pain of redilating my cervix and then scraping my uterus. None of that sounded pleasant at all and as the baby was out I opted for the Michael Jackson drug rather than an epidural. I was taken to the OR and my husband went with our baby to the nursery. It was 12:45 PM.

Upon waking up in recovery at about 1:40 PM the doctor came in to tell me the shocking news of what the D and C revealed. She began by telling me that I had a very smart baby-he knew he needed to come out now and not in 4 weeks due to my body and the complications that would have arose if I had gone full term. Apparently, there was an abnormality with the umbilical cord attaching to the placenta. Instead of just attaching to the placenta it also attached to the surrounding membranes, which would’ve caused it to become very weak near the end of the pregnancy. Had I gone full term the umbilical cord could have separated, causing the baby to bleed to death. By the time it would have been discovered I’d likely have lost the baby and I would be bleeding internally, making it a high chance of losing me, as well. So, it was a blessing in disguise that our little miracle baby saved both himself and his mother from a potentially high risk delivery without anyone knowing we even had a problem. Apparently, this is extremely rare and has no way of being determined. Now that we know that this could happen we can try to monitor it on the next pregnancy, but only if certain views of the placenta are obtainable. When I saw my doctor on June 4th he was at a loss for words. I will research this with him when I see him in a few weeks and find out what we can do to monitor this on the next pregnancy, and also what our options are if we find out that the same thing happens again.

After recovery we headed back to our room. I nursed our little boy and discussed baby names. The slew of nurses came in at random times to check vitals and it wasn’t until about 4 AM that we finally got to sleep. It wasn’t until morning that I realized all the little things I’d forgotten to pack, like a hairbrush, and I sent my husband home with a list. We delivered so late on June 2nd that we didn’t leave the hospital until June 4th so they could continue monitoring the baby for 24 hours. That was fine by me. Nick brought dinner and we had some quiet time together before heading home on the 4th.

To wrap this up, be prepared for anything. Even with a birth plan there will be other unexpected factors. I had to deal with an early delivery, pitocin, and a D and C. Go with the flow and know that you can change anything. The birth plan is great to follow…as long as everything goes according to your plan. Obviously for me it worked the first time and then went awry with the second child. I didn’t expect that, but also didn’t freak out when we had to deviate from the plan. Try to ride through the changes and know that there is a reason for everything. Even though I wasn’t ready and fought it in my head for the first few hours I knew there was a reason for the early delivery. It was finally revealed after the D and C, and we are so blessed that our son came early.

While I didn’t get a chance to finish everything I wanted, I’m now looking at things I can do to make up for what I didn’t get at the end of my pregnancy. For example, I’m having pictures taken that will mimic my son being in the womb so that we can have a pre/post baby shot. I’m trying to take more pictures and video of him. I’ve written this blog for him and will add it to our birth story that our doula wrote for us. Think of ways to make it special for your baby. They will appreciate anything you do. Despite my initial disappointment at not finishing everything I would’ve liked in preparation for his birth, I have to let it go. I’m now concentrating on our little blessing and moving forward. There is so much to be grateful for.

May you be blessed with health, love and prosperity.

Holly

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

I apologize for posting this over a week and a half late, but I haven’t exactly had time to post anything at all. My little bundle of joy decided to surprise us by coming 4 weeks early! I did try to write in the hospital believe it or not, but I couldn’t get my husband’s iPad to cooperate with WordPress. So, here’s a rundown of the events leading up to our baby’s birth.

Let’s go back to Tuesday night, right after I made my last post in the wee hours of June 2nd. It was 2 in the morning and I had finished all of my nesting projects and prepping for some of my work for the upcoming month. I posted my blog for Wednesday and headed off to bed feeling quite proud of myself and relieved that I had everything on my list accomplished by midnight on June 1st. My goal was to be done the day before, however, I was happy to settle with finishing one day late. I planned on spending the entire month of June focusing on my hypnobirthing, visualizations, blogging, getting my prebaby belly pictures taken, making a belly cast, taking time with my two-year-old and working on finishing up some of my art projects. I had to finish up a couple of items for work that would allow me to be as productive as normal, just in a lot less time. Upon going to bed, I was excited to begin the next day with all of the items I had been jonesing to do.

I woke from a wonderful sleep at 8 AM. Unlike most pregnant women, as long as my two-year-old didn’t get up I typically slept well, even at 9 months pregnant. I felt refreshed despite getting only five hours of sleep. As I stood up, I felt a small amount of wetness and thought I had peed myself. I changed into my workout attire then went on a hunt to find my husband. Just as I began telling him my plans for the day I felt another small leakage of fluid. This made me stop dead in my tracks and I looked at my husband and said, “I think we have a problem.” His face went white as I explained that I might be leaking amniotic fluid. I headed back to our bedroom to change, still a bit unsure if I was correct in my thinking.

Then a full on gush completely soaked my pants. I believe my exact words were, “Oh $@%*! I’m not ready for this! The baby is too early. $@%*!” While my mouth was running Nick was beginning to freak out as well.

It was 8:42 AM. I went to lay down, hoping to stop some of the water loss. Nick called our next door neighbor who’s a nurse at our hospital in the neonatal unit. She instructed us to go directly to the hospital and if I didn’t have my bag packed she would come down and pack it for me! I got off of the phone and grabbed my laptop to research just what we were in for; it didn’t relieve me one bit. Babies born before 34 weeks are handled one way, while babies 37 weeks and older are handled another. Babies born between 35-36 weeks are in a gray area; they could be older or younger than their estimated gestation date, therefore they might be fine or they might not be as developed as they should be. At 9 AM I called my doctor and they told me the same thing: head to the hospital and they’d send over my information. I couldn’t believe my ears. I sat in shock realizing that my baby was coming 4 weeks early. I didn’t know how to react or handle this news. Nick was already running circles, calling for his mom to come and babysit, feeding the dogs, grabbing cameras and looking for bags to pack our stuff. I called my doula and then hopped into the shower.

With time seemingly flying by and confusion at an ultimate high, an hour and a half later we were packed (or so we thought), and headed to the hospital. We checked in and found that they had a room ready for us as my doctor had already called ahead and faxed them my paperwork. By this time it was roughly 11 AM. Again, I asked if this was it and it was confirmed that I wasn’t leaving until the baby was delivered. We kept looking at one another and saying, “This can’t be happening. We’re too early. We aren’t ready for this. I can’t have the baby yet, I don’t have any prebaby pictures! I didn’t get a chance to do my belly cast. I haven’t studied my hyponbirthing, visualizations or prepped myself mentally for this to be over. I’m being shortchanged on my pregnancy-I love the last month and now I’m not going to have it!” Yes, everything you can think of was running through our minds and my mind was in overdrive. So much that I wanted to do in the last month for my newborn was out the window. I wanted belly pictures with my two-year-old and now wouldn’t have them. I never got my son on video talking to my belly and telling the baby he loved him or her. Little things were now lost forever. We were having a baby whether we liked it or not. This was the first of many surprises that would blow us away that day.

To be continued…

Books for toddlers

If this is your second or third pregnancy you know how important it is to prep your children for the arrival of the newest member of the family. Children need to be included in family talks before the arrival of the baby. As I’ve stated in my past blogs, toddlers and kids of all ages can be affected by the addition of a newcomer, especially when it comes to pheromones. Open discussions prior to the birth is very important; it lets them express their feelings and emotions and allows you to show them you care about them as much as the new baby. You never want them to feel as though the new baby is more important or that you will love them any less. Here are some ways to help prep younger children with the arrival of a newborn:

  • Pick a time daily to have detailed talks about the baby. Our family includes this in our nightly routine prior to going to bed. We pray for the baby and talk about whether it is going to be a boy or a girl (we don’t know the sex).
  • If you know the sex of the baby, tell them. Refer to them as he/she. As our toddler is just turning 2, he knows where the baby currently is and guesses each night as to the sex of the baby.
  • If you have a name for the baby tell them that as well and refer to the baby by name. He also knows the two possible names we have chosen. As he can’t pronounce the names clearly we’ve managed to keep the names a secret.
  • Tell your kids you love them and will still love them once the new arrival comes.
  • Plan one on one time with your kids prior to the birth and do something special with them. You can do this with both parents at the same time or separately. While you are spending time together, again discuss the upcoming changes and how this may affect them and their feelings.
  • For younger kids, gather a collection of books related to babies and read to them, especially during the last month of the pregnancy. The picture above shows the books that I have been reading to my son. I have provided the list below.
  • Explain what the baby will do when it arrives. From sleeping to feeding/nursing to changing.
  • Explain what their job is when the baby is born. The need to be gentle and quiet. Tell them they can help by holding the baby and getting diapers. Find ways to make them feel as though they’ll be responsible for some aspects of the baby’s life.
  • Show your toddler pictures of their own birth and talk to them about how it was when they were a newborn.
  • Have a birth present ready for them at the hospital. When they arrive to visit you and the new baby, make sure they have something they can leave with to take their mind off the fact that you aren’t leaving with them.
  • If you have any friends or relatives with a baby, try to have your child spend time with their baby to help further prep them.
  • Purchase a doll and show your child how to care for the baby. From holding to bathing to feeding, help your child understand appropriate behavior.
  • Explain to your toddler who will be watching them once you’re in the hospital. If it’s someone who doesn’t watch him/her often, have them over so that the two can become familiar with one another.
  • Have your toddler spend more and more time with just daddy. This will help when your hands are full during the first month with the newborn; your toddler will be used to daddy instead of you all the time.
  • Create a Boobie Box to occupy your toddler while you are nursing.
  • Have your toddler hold the baby as much as possible to strengthen the bond. Pheromones are emitted from the baby’s head and will help your toddler love the baby sooner.

There are probably more ideas out there about what else you can do to help prep a toddler. I have included a couple of links that can be helpful, as well as the list of books that I am currently reading to my toddler:

Not Yet Rose

http://babyparenting.about.com

http://www.ivillage.com

http://www.associatedcontent.com

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

My announcement

Birth announcements are something that women tend to think about after the baby is born. I encourage you to pick out 3 options prior to the birth. This’ll make your decisions that much easier once the baby comes and you’re knee deep in poopy diapers, nursing, trying to get on a schedule and dealing with lack of sleep. Shop around beforehand, it’ll be much easier to make a decision about which one to send out once you’ve narrowed down your choices.

Where to begin? Well, there are several places. You can go to an invitations store that customizes in announcements, but this tends to be pricey. Another option is to go to Target or Michael’s Craft Store and purchase birth announcements then put them together yourself. Lastly, you can go online and upload your images and have them shipped to you. I prefer the latter, and it’s what I did for my first pregnancy. As I am a designer I chose to put my money towards fancier announcements, while I designed the layout and took the photos. The announcements turned out beautiful, but were VERY time consuming, especially as I was trying to work, nurse the baby, and function on very little sleep. Only do this if you are as anal as I am about the look of the announcements.

Photo announcement

Online Photo Cards

Online you can find hundreds of places that will allow you to upload images and place them in a template, then all you have to do is customize the text and order. For the most part, these are on photo paper, not card stock. Here are some great places that all vary in price ($0.28 – $2.00 per announcement) and offer some great designs:

http://www.tinyprints.com/shop/baby-birth-announcements.htm

www.shutterfly.com

www.walmart.com

www.vistaprint.com

www.paperculture.com

Custom Cards

If you prefer to order your announcements from a shop you’ll get more help and assistance and may have a lot more choices than the online stores. You’ll get what you pay for; they will be more expensive, but will take on a completely different appearance. These will be printed on card stock, resembling a wedding invitation. They tend to come with bows, velum overlays, and can have custom embedded ink. Here are some places in Reno that offer this type of announcement (pricing can start at $2.00 and can go up to $5.00 per announcement):

Scripts Unlimited Calligraphy and Art – 775-233-0682

Paper Moon – 775-827-9933

Name Droppers – 775-826-7101

The Scrapbook Cottage – 775-829-7749

My Birth Announcement~

Make Your Own Cards

Lastly, you have the option of making your own. This is what I did for my first child, and what I’ll probably do again. As previously mentioned, it’s very time-consuming but worth the effort. I ordered inexpensive announcements online and took pictures myself, then I combined my photos in Photoshop and printed them, along with the text, on velum. I cut the photos to the correct size and assembled every announcement, printing addresses on the envelopes to save some time (handwriting can eat up some time!). All in all they turned out lovely and were inexpensive compared to customized versions, costing about $1.50 per card, including postage. For me, this was the way to go and gave me something to do between my son’s 8 pm and 11 pm feedings. There are several places online to order packages of announcements that include envelopes, inserts, velum and ribbon. I purchased my announcements from the first link:

www.invitationpaper.com

www.Icipaper.com

www.cardsandpockets.com

www.imageshoponline.com

As you can see, there are many options. Take time before the baby comes to determine what you want, then pick some options to save you loads of time after the baby is born. Good luck and happy shopping!

Many mothers have their first baby shower and receive tons of new baby clothes, blankets, onesies, socks, etc. You look at the clothes and admire them, stark and crisp and ready to be worn. Many mothers then immediately hang them up or place them in the drawers, trying hard to keep them as “new” as possible until the baby first wears them. Please do not do this.

Organic Newborn Noonie

I implore you, please wash everything you get. Clothes are loaded with toxins to keep them nice and crisp, ready for retail. Many clothes contain, “residues of pesticides, formaldehyde, chlorine, and synthetic chemical dyes. Chemical residues from the cloth of clothing, along with the chemicals from the detergents used to wash it, are absorbed through the skin throughout the day.” Think about it; you walk into a department store and see hundreds of clothes, most of which are made in China, Thailand and the Philippines. They are made on the other side of the world for a fraction of the sales price, the cost raised considerably once they hit the stores. As I experienced working in retail, we’d receive a large box of clothes; inside, the items would be wrapped individually in plastic. It always fascinated me how crisp the shirts were. Later, we’d steam them to take out the fold marks. Years later, I found out that some manufacturers spray their clothing with chemicals and starch to keep them nice and crisp during shipping. Furthermore, we now know that non-organic cotton is sprayed with pesticides in the fields; these chemicals can still be in clothing upon purchase. Next, add in the synthetic chemical dyes and chlorines. Should you not prewash your clothing, your skin comes into immediate contact with all these toxins. As skin is the largest organ of the body, it absorbs nearly everything; just think of what happens when wearing a toxin laden piece of clothing for 8-10 hours. “Many of these toxins have been linked to numerous health problems including allergies, insomnia, immune disorders, cancer, and more.”

Now think about newborn babies and how vulnerable they are to environmental toxins. Do you really want to place a brand new onesie on them without washing it first? “Did you know that a baby’s skin is more porous and thinner than adults? That means that their skin absorbs things very easily. Johnson and Johnson states on the their website the following about a babies skin: “A baby’s skin is thinner, more fragile and less oily than an adult’s. A baby’s skin also produces less melanin, the substance that helps protect against sunburn. It’s less resistant to bacteria and harmful substances in the environment, especially if it’s irritated. Babies also sweat less efficiently than the rest of us, so it’s harder for them to maintain their inner body temperature.” This means that children are at greater risk for pesticide-related health problems than adults. Lotus Organics states that, “Millions of children in the US receive up to 35% of their estimated lifetime dose of some carcinogenic pesticides by age five through food, contaminated drinking water, household use, and pesticide drift“. It was surprising to hear Johnson and Johnson’s statement, as I will not purchase anything they make due to the high amount of toxins in many of their baby products. You’d think that after making such a statement they would remove dimethicone, fragrance, and all 5 parabens from their baby products. It just goes to show that you must read every ingredient; don’t purchase a product simply because of its marketing.

How about flame retardant pajamas? “Chemicals used on pajamas or pajama fabrics include chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, inorganic flame retardants such as antimony oxides, and phosphate-based compounds. Chlorinated and brominated flame retardants are contaminating the environment and accumulating in the human body. For example, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been linked to doing damage to the nervous and reproductive systems and impairing thyroid function. North Americans have the highest body burden of PBDEs in the world.”

What can you do to protect your newborn from these toxins? There are actually two solutions. The first and the best would be to purchase organic clothing from reputable clothing lines that can confirm the organic authenticity all the way back to the soil the cotton was grown in. “Certified Organic is a title that is given to an item only when strict guidelines, made by The National Organic Standards Board, are met.” There are plenty of new online sites for organic newborn clothing. Yes, they are more expensive to purchase, but isn’t the safety of your child more important than cost?

Your second option is to wash everything you get 1-2 times before your newborn wears them. Use a toxin-free organic detergent to remove most of the chemicals from the clothing. The more you wash, the safer they become. I personally use Biokleen laundry powder, which works great on cloth diapers. Along with that, I use Oxo Brite as an all natural non-chlorinated bleach. Both are natural, safe for the environment and can be purchased at Whole Foods, and the prices are comparable to other popular detergents. They work great on regular clothes…fire retardant clothes are another story. I won’t get into that toxin based product, but should you have any questions, here’s an article about purchasing safe pajamas for your little one. Berkeley also has a forum that’s of help with regards to children’s flame retardant pajamas.

The bottom line is to wash everything that will touch your baby’s skin. From socks, to onesies, to blankets to diapers, wash them all. If possible, try and purchase organic clothing. Keeping the toxins out of your newborn’s life will benefit everyone in the years to come.

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

As explained yesterday, I’m not here to badmouth my first doula. I am here to provide additional information that you might want to consider when searching for a doula. Take this information and use it as you see fit; really look into yourself as to what you need in a doula.

My first experience with a doula didn’t discourage me from getting a doula for my second pregnancy. I want women to use my experience to help find and confirm what they want in a doula. The items I pointed out in Part 1 may or may not be areas of importance to you; heck, you may not even know what you want until after you use a doula and can formulate what you need. If this is your first time, don’t stress or panic. Take a step back and look at yourself, what you personally need, and what your husband may need. My husband wants someone there to be his equal in taking care of me. He wants the pressure taken off of him and to be more of an assistant to me and to have someone more experienced there to whom he can defer all of our questions. He wants someone who will neither be militant nor overly quiet or shy. He wants them to stand up for us and be the middle man to the doctor and help explain any questions we may have.

I now know that I need a doula who is an active participant, but one who will back down and be quiet when I need her to be. She has to be good at reading my body language and offer things to me, as opposed to waiting for me to ask when I may not be in the right mindset. I want her to ask me if I’d like a massage, ask me to go to the bathroom, tell me that another position might help me more. The last thing a pregnant woman wants to do is think of things that might help her during labor; for instance, I don’t want her to wait for me to ask, “Can you massage my back?” That is the doula’s job. Make sure you ask in your interviews if the doula will offer advice and assistance when it is appropriate. You need to connect with your doula and feel comfortable with her.

When I interviewed Penny she had a quality to her that I knew I was looking for. She is older, probably in her 60s, and yet she’s vibrant. She’s a grandmother figure and very warm and inviting. She was different from the other doulas I interviewed in that she wants to get to know my husband and me prior to the birth. She wants to have us over for dinner, ask our goals for the hospital, keep in touch with me weekly until the baby is born, help us once the baby arrives, bring us food, and do anything else to assist us once we return home from the hospital. She’s the whole package. By building a relationship prior to arriving at the hospital, we’ll feel more comfortable during the birthing experience. She is perfect for me. Again, this maybe too much for some women, but this is what I need. I don’t have family in Reno, nor do I have anyone, save for my husband, I feel comfortable bringing into the delivery room. Funny thing: all of the doulas I interviewed agreed that most women do not want their mothers or mother-in-laws in the delivery room, hence why they have doulas. Giving birth is a very personal matter; you must feel comfortable so as not to hinder your child’s delivery and birthing experience.

A doula needs to have passion about the birthing process. They must be experienced and stand up for you, and, should complications arise, know how to communicate with both you and the doctor. They should be well informed on everything you want in your birth plan, so make sure they know your goals. If you are planning an all natural birth but change your mind in the middle of it, make sure they know in advance that your birth plan might deviate. They need to be there to either support you or talk you out of it depending on what you want–that conversation needs to take place prior to going to the hospital. The last thing you want is for a doula to argue with you because you told them to follow the birth plan no matter what. This is why a bit of a relationship should be developed beforehand; they’ll know you and your personality. They’ll do better if they have some idea of who you are. It’s a two-way street between you and your doula. 

Please take this information and talk to other women. Don’t just pick a doula because she is the number one doula or are the easiest to find. More advertising doesn’t always mean the best. Remember, this is a personal time for you and your husband and you want it to be the best. Interview and make sure the connection is there; the better you feel with your doula, the better your experience will be.

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.