Wednesday, June 8, 2011

what i learned about...part 1

had our first child been a boy, he would have been a circumcision (i think).  i did not do a lot of research about anything before our first child was born and since my husband is (like 95% of the boys in the mid-west) so would have been our first child.

thank GOD we had a girl.

i don't think i had ever really thought about it until i became facebook friends with the talented mrs guggie daly

(thank you)

all of a sudden, i was seeing lots of articles, personal stories and medical journal articles and websites and videos saying that circumcision is bad.  whaaaat??

so i started to read.  and watch.  with horror.

look, i watch a lot of scary movies, lots of zombies and people getting blown up.  i am used to that.  this.  this is by far the worse thing i have ever heard or seen in my life.   and this is real.  it happened to these babies and it happens to newborn babies all over north america every single day.

you know, a lot of people claim that it doesn't hurt the babies.  if that is the case, before you circumcise him, can i go and pinch your baby's foreskin?  would you let me?  no?  possibly, because...that would hurt?  okay, now imagine that instead of pinch, i meant take a metal clamp which will crush your baby's foreskin.  and then i will take an instrument and insert it into the area that is fused to the glans, tear it apart and then slice off the skin.  is this okay?

lots of people think it's okay.  i do not.  here is why:

the top ten things i learned about routine infant circumcision and why i think you should take your WHOLE baby home

1.  that foreskin serves a function.  whether you believe God made you or that you evolved, baby boys are BORN with a foreskin.  it is meant to be there and serves protective and sexual functions.

2.  the baby's right to have their whole body.  many parents say that it is their right to have a part of their son's body removed.  i disagree.  unless you have ownership of that little body (and you don't - that child is yours to protect from harm and to love and to care for, only) you have no right to take a part of his body by force.  would you do it to your 10 year old?  a 17 year old?  i am sure they would object.  those cries in the first video above sound like objection to me. 

3.  the faulty STD claims.  circumcision supporters always reference the Africa studies.  well, here is what we know about the Africa studies - in half of them, there were some positive results and in the other half, negative results.  and then the scientists examining the data decided the info was all faulty!  but sweep that aside and lets look closer to home.  if circumcision is the way to prevent HIV, then why, in the country with the highest percentage of circumcised men, does the USA have also the highest rate of HIV in the developed world?  why is the rate of HIV so low in european countries - where the men are mostly intact?  the only thing that will prevent the transmission of HIV is a condom or abstinence.  to say otherwise is irresponsible. 

4.  the need to have your child's genitals look like your genitals.  for the record, i never compared my vulva with my mother's vulva and i really doubt that boys compare their penis' with their father's.  if they do notice it looks different, all you have to tell them is that daddy had a surgery, but you don't need it.  if your husband is missing a finger, should we chop off the baby's finger, too?  so they match?  no. and for those that say it should be left to the husband to decide, i really think it ought to be left to the one who HAS all their genitals, not the parent that is missing parts of theirs.

5.  baby boys deserve the same protection that baby girls get.  FGM is illegal in north america.  all types, including type 4 FGM which is a tiny pinprick to the clitoris to get a single drop of blood.  male circumcision is far more severe than that.  all children deserve to have all of the genitalia that they were born with.  FGM is culturally accepted in many african countries.  just because MGM is culturally accepted in our society does not make it okay.

6.  it's cleaner to circumcise, right?  it's nothing a little soap and water can't handle.  in infancy, the intact penis only needs to be wiped, like a finger.  do not retract the foreskin as this will cause damage to the membranes that are fusing the foreskin to the glans.  the membranes will detach on their own as the child matures, commonly in early puberty.  at this point, you would show the child how to retract, give a little soap and water and be done.  i have a baby girl and i find it difficult to get into the folds of her vulva to keep it all clean - taking care of girl baby parts is far more difficult than keeping an intact baby boy's penis clean.  (keep in mind that if you circumcise your child, you will have to deal with ten days of urine and feces getting on an open wound (which is painful on it's own).  as far as UTI's are concerned, yes there is a slight increase in the chance of an intact boy getting a UTI.  that said, girls will still get significantly more UTI's than an intact boy ever will.  really, just watch this, it says it all:

7.  circumcision interferes with breastfeeding.  it does.  there is no doubt in my mind that there is a correlation between the low breastfeeding rates in north america and the high circumcision rate.  it's not impossible to breastfeed a circumcised baby, but it does make it more difficult.  also, it should be noted that what ever benefit to UTI's a circumcision may have is, it is trumped by simply breastfeeding. 

8.  the psychological impact.  in my infant cognitive perception class, i learned how everything tiny thing alters the hard wiring of an infant's brain in the first few months of life.

9.  "i'm a christian/catholic/jew and my religion requires me to do it."  actually no, it does not. when Jesus died on the cross, the old covenant was broken, Jesus' blood was shed so that yours (and your son's) did not have to be shed.  the new testament is riddled with verses that say the exact opposite of "you must circumcise."  the catholic catechism (item 2297: respect for bodily integrity) says:

... Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilation­s, and sterilizat­ions performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.

Pope Pius XII said "From a moral point of view, circumcision is permissibl­e if, in accordance with therapeuti­c principles­, it prevents a disease that cannot be countered in any other way." 

even the jewish circumcision of old was a slit in the foreskin, not an amputation like it is done today.

10.  mommas.  listen to me.  you have carried that baby in your womb for nine months.  everyday you told that baby you loved him, that you couldn't wait to meet him and that you had great hopes for him.  the minute that baby is placed in your arms, you will fall in love.  you will tell him he is perfect and that you will always protect him.  he IS perfect, just the way nature and God intended.  when they come to take your baby away for what will likely be the most painful and psychologically brain altering procedure he will ever have; when every cell in your body is screaming to not let them take him away because as his mother, you know, YOU KNOW this is going to hurt him and you will have broken promises to him in his first hours of life; when this happens, mommas, just say no.  say no because that intense desire to protect your baby is also from God and nature.  you are designed to want to protect your baby from harm.  don`t go against nature and your instincts - they are there for a reason.

circumcision rates are falling in north america - about 32% in the USA and 10% in Canada.  it is estimated that 80-90% of all men on earth are intact.  not one medical association in the world recommends routine infant circumcision.  educate yourself on the procedure, make an informed choice.

when we know better, we do better - Maya Angelou 

for more information: (Penn and Teller Episode)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

my pregnancy and birth story

my daughter is 8 months old now and i STILL have not written out her birth story.  in fact, i am pretty sure that there will be some gaping holes because i just do not remember certain details (one which causes me much grief).  but, from what i remember...

i subconsciously suspected being pregnant within two days of conceiving.  i had a work conference in florida and i remember spending half the time crying and feeling sorry for myself and the other half of the time not eating steak dinners and breakfast buffets (if you know me at all, you would understand that passing up a steak means something is clearly "wrong").  a few weeks later, i was back in florida for a wedding and passing up on champagne toasts on a hunch.  mickey, always the practical one, said for me to not get all worked up about it until we knew for sure.  i would have to wait until i actually missed my period.  while we were in florida, i got a text from one of my best friends.  she was pregnant.  it was a surprise and she was already 4 months along.  i was thrilled and hoped even more that i would actually be pregnant.  my period was late, i peed on some sticks.  the results were...inconclusive.  on our 3 year anniversary, i went to the doctor.  i was pregnant!  we ate thai food to celebrate and decided to wait to tell people until we were 12 weeks along (of course, i told my already pregnant friend, my sister and my bestbest friend.  honestly, did you really expect me to keep it a secret?).

i don't believe that my pregnancy was all that difficult, no not now.  however, i think during my pregnancy, i was a pretty miserable person to be around.  morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness prevailed from about 2 months until 6 months.  i had swollen ankles, fingers, etc. my job had me standing 8 hours a day on concrete floors.  i hated my job.  sciatica.  i'm sure there was more, but not really worth remembering.  the only health concerns where some bleeding i had at about 9 weeks and some weird loss of peripheral vision for half an hour at 14 weeks .  my blood pressure was perfect, but i gained too much weight (working so close to the mall food court was pretty bad on my hamburger intake).

because of conditions at work, i started maternity leave as soon as the government allows, which is 8 weeks before expected due date.  everyone told me not to - that i would be giving up that extra time with my child - but honestly, i could barely fit into shoes.  oh yes, also i hated my job and wasn't going back there anyway.  we had planned on moving a few weeks after the baby was born so i had packing to do anyway.  i took the first three weeks of my leave to just chill on the couch with my feet up, packing a box here and there.  i remember distinctly, on friday, may 14th, talking to my mom on the phone and telling her that i really needed to start packing.  a few more minutes into that conversation, i peed.  in my pants.  or so i thought - i hung up with my mom, not telling her what was going on.  i went to the bathroom and i continued to pee.  i went to the computer, looked up "how do you know if your water broke".  it seemed like it had.  i'd like to say that i was overjoyed but i wasn't.  i wasn't ready.  in fact, i was terrified - this was far too early!  mickey was at work, on the night shift. i called my friend, nina (the one who had given birth 2.5 months earlier and invited me along to the birth) and asked her to describe what broken water felt like.  she reminded me that her's had been broken at her induction, but she seemed to think mine had indeed broken.  she asked if i wanted to go to the hospital and i said, in a small, teary voice "yes".

i did not have my bag pack, but for some reason, i thought i had better do the dishes and that's what i was doing when nina, her husband al and their little bubs edie arrived 15 minutes later.  nina asked if i had called mickey, i had not.  where he works, they give them beepers when your wife is nearing due date. well, this was too early and actually, he had not told anyone his wife was pregnant!  while al finished my dishes and i packed a bag, nina called mickey at work.  mickey is pulled from the line by one of his team leaders and asks "is your wife pregnant???"  mickey drives from woodstock to london in about 20 minutes and meets us at the hospital.

i am checked and i am 2cm dilated and my waters were definitely broken.  my family doctor, who was supposed to deliver my baby comes to see me but she has to refer me to an OB, as this is now outside her scope of practice.  my water broke 5 weeks and 6 days before my expected due date.  i am told that they will be keeping me at the hospital until the baby is born, but that they will be trying to delay the birth and that every day counts.  as horrified as i was at the potential of being in hospital for 6 weeks on be rest, i knew that it was best for baby.  i was sent to antenatal with an iv and three women who would go often for smoke breaks, even though they were there for pregnancy complications.  again, i knew i had to be there until it was safe for the baby to come, but i didn't know how i was going to keep my mouth shut about that one.

my water broke at 9pm on friday, by 4am on saturday, i was having fairly regular contractions.  i told my nurse who hooked me up to the contraction monitor and told me, nope, i was not having contractions, that my uterus was just irritable from my water breaking early.  at around 8am, i started timing them.  for the most part, about 6 minutes apart, except for the occasional 15 or 10 minute.  i showed the nurse, she hooked me up again and said, nope, not contractions.  by that evening, they gave me morphine. 7am on saturday morning, they gave me more morphine.  still "no contractions". at around 10am, the sent a resident to check me.  5cm!!  everything went really fast...i called mickey, he was there in about 15 minutes and by that time i had already been moved to my labour room.

unfortunately, this is where i asked for an epidural.  in retrospect, i wish i had not gotten it for two reasons - significant studies that show that babies born with epidurals are more sluggish and have a harder time breastfeeding (which we did) among other potential complications and because by the time they actually administered the epidural, i was almost 9cm dilated.  i had already laboured by myself for 32 hours, half of that with no support (and really, no one even believing me that i was having contractions!) and i wish i had just finished off without it.  oh well, next time!

they wheeled me down to one of the scary rooms that they do c-sections in, as i was now considered high risk and they needed to be near the "warm room" to check the baby over.  about 5 minutes after i got there, i felt the urge to push.  i told the nurse and she said i could try to push.  i did and even with the epidural,  i felt my wee one travel down the birth canal - what a thrilling experience!  i told mickey, he looked terrified!  the nurse looked at me and said, um, stop pushing!  she called the doctors - we had the OB on call, a resident and a medical student attending, as well as nurse mary.  i put my hand down and i could feel her wrinkly head - by this point i was absolutely thrilled.  i pushed maybe 4 times all together and out she came about 20 minutes after arriving in the delivery room.  at mickey's request, i cut the cord (even though i had wanted to leave it pulsating for at least 5 minutes, they would not allow it because of her prematurity).   i remember turning to mickey saying "lets do that again!!"

moxxie elizabeth scott was born at 130pm on sunday, may 16th, 2010, 5 weeks and 3 days early.

they held her up for me to look at for a moment and then they whisked her away and mickey followed.  after a minute, i heard a little cry from the room next door and they brought her back out to me so i could hold her, wrapped in a blanket, for a few minutes before they took her to the nicu.  she was only 4lbs and 12 oz.  they took about half an hour to stitch me up (starburst tear) and then the wheeled me to the nicu so i could look at her again.   yes, i could only look.

i was wheeled to my recovery room and this is where things get a little fuzzy.  i honestly do not remember that i held her again that day.  we took a lot of pictures while at the hospital and there are no pictures of me holding her in the facebook album of day 1.  this is something that really grieves me, the possibility that i may not have held my daughter on the first day of her life.  i could touch her, there are pictures of that, but i am certain that i did not hold her skin to skin or try to breastfeed her the day she was born.  there is no doubt in my mind that this contributed to our breastfeeding issues and the length of time it took us to bond.  i think i realize now, that this could have been the reason i was so weepy for the first month of her life.

they gave her formula through a tube and i started pumping.  i would feed her, with a bottle, any breastmilk that i could get (which was very little, my milk took about 9 days to come in), and then supplement with formula.  i wish i had known then that there are mothers that would have donated breastmilk for her to drink!

moxxie stayed in the nicu for 24 hours and then they moved her to a progressive care unit (still hooked up to monitors and constantly watched by nurses, but not in incubators).  she was in progressive care for 24 hours and then they moved us to "care by parent" which is a unit with 4 little private rooms with 1 nurse on duty at all times.  here, the baby stays in your room.  you can leave the baby in the room if you tell the nurses (they hook them up to monitors if you leave).  they kept us here for three days.  my beautiful moxxie, the love of my life, came home with us on friday, in the hospital for less than a week, weighing her birth weight of 4 lbs 12 oz.

i believe that having a birth plan and having informed choice about your birth is extremely vital for the tone you want to set for your baby's entrance earth side.  that said, i think it is equally important to be able to be flexible when the situation calls for it, for example, in the case of prematurity.  am i disappointed that i didn't get everything i wanted for us?  absolutely, for both of our sakes.  can i let it go?  yes, and i have. well, almost all of it - the fact that we did not breastfeed or have skin to skin contact for about 18 hours still causes a deep sadness in my heart and i regularly have to remind myself NOT to question whether my daughter loves me.  if i could choose one thing to have been different, it would have been that. only time will allow me to let it go - when i'm ready.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


many years ago, i maintained a deadjournal for the express purpose of whining and lamenting lost loves and other things that seem very important as a single, childless, early twentysomething-year-old woman.  i slowly stopped blogging while planning my wedding and by the time we came back from our honeymoon, i had no need to whine, so i stopped blogging.  that was four years ago.

six and a half months ago, my husband and i had a beautiful baby girl.  she was almost six weeks early and we were completely unprepared - not only because of her early arrival but because we had not done nearly enough research on birthing and parenting as we should have.  it wasn't until joining the local la leche league and meeting some experienced moms that i realized we had no idea what we were doing.  don't get me wrong, we could provide our little one with all of her basic needs but as far as a parenting style or methods or ideas, we were completely blank. people would ask us about discipline and sleep training and we just said "i don't know".  i remember after my third or fourth LLL meeting, leaving with annoyance.  why all the talk about co-sleeping and baby wearing and ECing?  i had never even heard these terms before, surely they were some sort of crunchy ideas that most normal parents did not participate in.  my husband said i didn't have to go if i didn't want to.  i was pretty sure i would stop attending LLL (for the record, LLL is about breastfeeding only, really - the ideas discussed at my local LLL were those of the participants and not LLL - and i ADORE my LLL group now!).

but, they started to add me as facebook friends.  i accepted.  i read what they posted, what they shared and what they believed in and it started to make sense.  A LOT of sense.  i became friends with their friends and all of a sudden and quite by accident, a whole new world opened up to me - the world of attachment parenting.

(this blog will not be 100% about AP.  some will be about my daughter.  some will be ideas that fall outside the realm of AP but into my realm of parenting like vaccination, healthy eating, naturopathy, etc).

i'm not going to define AP right here, i am hoping it will become evident in what i write and in the links to articles and other blogs that i will share.  many of you will disagree with what i write and share and i am okay with that.  do i think this is the best way to parent?  of course i do!  when i believe in something, i stand by my convictions and because of that i will never on this blog say "to each their own".  we spend so much time telling each other that everything we do as parents is okay as long as it works for you - and it may be okay - but is it the best you can provide for your baby?  that is what i want to explore with this blog.  that is what i want to learn as i write this blog.  my husband and i are by no means perfect parents, but we strive to be through attachment parenting and i invite you to learn along with us (or teach us!).

parenting, no matter what style you prescribe too, will always be a lifelong journey.  this is mine and my husbands.  read, share, disagree but please, learn!