Monday, July 29, 2013

How Pain Made My Labour Easier

This is going to sound completely crazy, but it took me over 3 years to realize.

A few weeks ago I was attending an amazing Empowered Birth Workshop at my midwifery clinic.  During our discussion, we talked about things that slow down the progress of labour.  Epidurals, inductions... the typical things were mentioned.  Of course, stress and anxiety were also mentioned.  If you are giving birth in an environment that's stressful to you, or you have people around that stress you out, or if you are having anxiety, it can actually delay the progress of your labour.

 The first time I heard about this, I was still pregnant with Aias.  The mere thought of it (ironically) stressed me out. And gave me anxiety! You see, the whole time I was pregnant with Aias, I was anxious and stressed out about everything!  I don't think there was a single moment that went by that I didn't worry about something.  So naturally I was very worried (anxious! stressed!) that I would have anxiety and stress during my labour and it would slow everything down.

I did have anxiety and stress my whole pregnancy... until I started having contractions.  You see, contractions hurt like a bitch.  They feel like you are having the worst period cramps you've ever had, combined with the feeling of being badly constipated.  And once you've gotten over the pain of one, you start having another one.

I was so distracted by the contractions and the feeling of actually giving birth, that it's like my brain forgot to worry.  I didn't have time to be stressed. I didn't have time to be anxious.

Things went fast, and before I knew it, I was holding my baby.

When friends and family asked me later if I had been anxious during the birth, I honestly said "Nope! Not at all!"  For possibly the ONLY time in my 30 years on this planet, I wasn't worried!  Of course, once he was out I picked up where I left off with my worrying, but that's another story.  

Sitting in that Empowered Birth Workshop, we were asked to things that would distract us during labour, of course, they meant distract us from the pain.  Strangely enough, what I think I will need to do during my upcoming birth, is focus on the pain.  Through focusing on the pain, I seem to be able to push my natural tendency to stress and worry about everything aside.

I guess the pain of labour can serve a strange purpose after all.  I can't imagine how stressed out and anxious I would have been if I'd have had a needle in my back and the time to think about it.

Pain, get it?

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Green Faux-Pas I Don't Feel One Bit Sorry About

We try really hard to be "green" in our family whenever possible.  We got rid of our car, we recycle, we don't use chemicals to clean, we buy organic meat and produce, we cloth diapered, I use re-usable cloth plastic snack bags, you get the idea. 

But here's the thing.

I'm both a stay-at-home AND work-at-home mom, and after years of trying effortlessly to be 100% green, I've decided to throw in the towel on a few things in an effort to make my daily life easier.  For the past 6 months, I've actually gotten a little less green in a few ways.  The worst part is, I don't even feel bad.

Get ready to count my sins: 

1.  Paper Towels

I'm not lying when I say I didn't use a single paper towel in my home for at least 8 years.  When we moved into this apartment in the summer of 2011, we hired someone to clean our old apartment.  She gave us a list of supplies she needed, and on that list was paper towels. 

She used one of the rolls, and the other roll ended up in our new apartment in the cleaning supply closet.  6 months ago, I discovered it.  I figured, I may as well use these, right?

Oh. My. GOD.   From the first time I sprayed cleaner on my bathroom mirror and wiped it off, and THREW THE TOWEL AWAY... I was hooked. The whole roll of paper towels was glorious.  It created no laundry.  I didn't have to think about the dirt every again, it was GONE.  It was then that I decided I wanted paper towels back in my life.

Now paper towels have been in my life again for 6 months, and it has made everything way less torturous to clean.  I am allowed 1 roll max per week, and they have to be recycled, and that's that. 

2. Bottled Water

I feel like this is my dirtiest of non-green sins.  Despite the fact that we have an ample supply of stainless steal reusable water bottles, I greatly prefer bottled water.

I know, it's from some tap in New Jersey.
I know, the bottles are made of plastic.
I know, BPA/etc/etc.

You know what? I don't even care.  I like to have it in my bag, drink it, refill it if I need to, and then recycle it when I'm done.  I like that I don't have to write my name on it and I don't have to worry about losing it. I like that until I open it, I don't have to worry what was in the bottle before.

Best of all? I know the bottle is clean.  The thing I hate about those stainless steal bottles is that I'm always wondering... does this smell weird?  Is this really clean inside? Is there a clump of something disgusting hiding in the part of the bottle that is unviewable to the naked eye?  Did I get all the soap out... am I tasting soap!?!

I try to make myself feel better about it by putting the empties in a bag and hanging them on the dumpster in the back alley to stimulate the street economy.  Surely that can be my good deed for the day sometimes.

3. Disposable Menstrual Pads

Cloth pads are really popular nowadays, and it seems like more and more sewing masters and work-at-home moms are making more beautiful and comfortable options every day.  From 2004 - 2005 I used Luna Pads.  I shelled out a few hundred dollars for a full 5-day set that served me well.  The only problem was, I was sort of terrible about using them.

Take these two situations for example:

-  The time I lost one in the backseat of my car after it fell out of my gym bag.  It proceeded to go unnoticed for at least a month, and since I only used the car once every few weeks, by the time I found it well.. everyone in the car would have known it was there.

-  The time I was fishing my wallet out of my bag and dropped a used Luna pad on a counter top at the grocery store.

- The time my male landlord left a tattered one on top of the machine because it had gotten stuck inside of and jammed one of the laundry machines. Ooops, should have had it in a washing bag I guess.


Not typical situations by any means, but between these things happening and my constant worrying about WHERE my used menstrual pads were being stored at all times got to me, so I decided unbleached disposable paper pads were the way to go.

That being said, I'm going to get myself some nice, cozy, flannel mama-cloth for postpartum!

4.  Baby Wipes

I. Love. Baby Wipes.  We cloth diapered Aias and used cloth baby wipes with homemade cleaning solution.  It worked well and served us well for at least 18 months.

Then we went on vacation, and didn't want to deal with cloth wipes.  It was then that I learned how amazing baby wipes are.

I LOVE BABY WIPES! Did I say that already?  You can wipe disgusting things like snot and poop away, without having to worry about ever dealing with that mess again.  I also liked how I could throw them in the washing machine and re-use them if I wanted (most are fabric, not paper).

I have to admit, after I switched to disposable baby wipes, I started to feel a little bit like the father-in-law on My Big Fat Greek Wedding who used Windex for everything.  It turns out there are many uses for baby wipes.

So there you have it, folks.  At least I know if I ever feel pressured to be more green, there's room for improvement in at least 4 areas of my life.

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