sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

 Warning: I am going to share my personal experiences with immunity, natural birth, breastfeeding, natural health and unschooling.  Who knows, maybe I will get really crazy and talk about mental health issues, or more aptly described as brain disorders. Because the last time I looked in the mirror, my brain was attached to my body.

Why? Because I am “that person”, the one who speaks up and thinks for herself.  The person who has  chosen to stop living in fear of what other people will think of me and chosen to stop worrying about offending someone because to not speak my truth is to keep myself in a bubble of fear and invisibility. I lived that life for far too long.

 When I turned 45, a year and a half ago, I told myself no more.  No more worrying about what other people think and trying to be a nice person all the time.  Life has taught me that no matter how nice I am, there will be people who don’t like me and that is ok.  I am not here on this earth to get people to like me.  (I have had to learn this the hard way, you know because I attended public school for 13 years.) I am here to  speak my truth and be who the person I am deep down in my soul.  I am a spiritual being having a human experience.  It’s time my spiritual self emerges from the confines of my human body. 

On my usual early morning wake up, I was scrolling Facebook and found this post:

Pediatrics Journal says to stop calling breastfeeding natural

I had to respond, because, well, I am Gina. Here is my response:

Holy cow. Can you say big pharma $ runs the pediatric journal?
How scary- my last child was born at home and we homeschool all our kids- even worse, we Unschool and we use homeopathy. Have you met my children? They are a threat to humanity… At least a threat to the stays quo and listening to agencies run by big pharma like the AMA.
Let me tell you a story about how our immune systems are supposed to work: when my older children were age 2 and 6, we went to a “chicken poxparty” – it was 2 good friends of mine. My 2 year old got chicken pox, the mild childhood disease that it is and was sad when her “dots” we’re gone. My 6 year old never showed any clinical signs of chicken pox. We had him tested years later when he was a pre- teen and guess what people: he had immunity to chicken pox! he was also nursed until natural weaning at age 6, as did my other children nurse until natural weaning at ages 6 and 5 1/2. FACT: breastmilk has benefits for as long as they continue to nurse.

Then I realized that my Facebook response was not enough. It is time I stop just responding on Facebook and focus on my blogs. If I am going to wake up in the wee morning hours not able to fall back asleep, I might as well get my lap top and write, really write. 

I am going to copy most of the article here because you are not going to believe some of the things they said. I have enlarged the text from the article (because I can’t figure out how to change the font here in WordPress) to differentiate it from my comments:

“A new article in the journal Pediatrics is calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural, arguing that doing so gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier. The authors have started a public campaign to end the positive use of the word natural, claiming that it is associated with such “problematic” practices as home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods, and that natural parenting movements are interfering with vaccination efforts.”

Where do I begin with this paragraph?

When I read it, I just shake my head and say, “are you serious?”

Since you, my dear reader, don’t live in my head, I will share a piece of my world with you.

“Problematic Practices” Part I: Homebirth

My first child was born in the hospital with an OB/ GYN doctor.  It was 1997.  I had a slow high leak ,which is something me and the nurse learned after she inserted the internal monitor on my in- utero son’s head and fully ruptured my water, unexpectedly showering herself; and the leak was on just the outer sac; did you know there were two layers?  I did not until after I went to Bradley classes for my second child.

Because I described “water breaking” over the phone to the doctor on call, I was put on the time clock of you must deliver in 24 hours.  Yet, I remember telling them “I think it broke but it is trickling out. Not big gush of water.”  I bet that nurse who got flooded wish they had listened to me better.

Because I was put in bed with many monitors, I never went into active labor on  my own, and so they insisted on pitocin because, you know, the clock: if your water breaks you have 24 hours to give birth or its “dangerous”.  I had gone into this birth, wanting a natural birth and certainly wanting to avoid a c-section unless it was necessary for the life of my baby.  I was on a pitocin drip for many hours (or that is how I remember it) and then I got up to go the bathroom and Baam!- contractions!

Instant labor:  0-60 in less than a minute with severe contractions that had me doubled over barely able to breathe.  I said no to the epidural at first, but 5 minutes later was agreeing to it because, the intensity of the contractions was unbearable.

It was around 10pm when my third nurse of this experience that had begun about 3am, told me she overheard the doctor talking about prepping for a c-section.  Hell, no! I thought quietly to myself because even in labor, I was too nice to speak  up.  I was 28 years old.

I remember at some point earlier, the nurses having a conversation about how if you don’t feel the urge to push then it is not time to push or worthless to try pushing.  Somewhere around 10:30 the doctor told me I was “9 cm dilated and it was time to push”.  They had stopped the pitocin but I still had no feeling and no sensation to push.  And continued to have no sensation or urge to push throughout the birth, thus Harrison was sucked out of me with a vacuum suction at 11:10pm. A baby boy!  The doctor went off shift at midnight.  I must say I am glad he was born before midnight because the doctor from the practice who came on duty at midnight was the one doctor in the practice who I really disliked.

I also remember the nurse leaving the room and telling me to put my nursing bra on to nurse my baby.  I was like, seriously?  I am a size “nearly B”- why the hell to I need a bra on to nurse my baby?  I may have said something like that to my husband, but not to the nurse, because I am too nice to be rude to a health care professional even just after giving birth.

So it was not easy to get my son to latch on to nurse and when I finally did, the nurse came in and told me I had to move rooms or be charged more money.  Back then, you labored and delivered in one room, then moved to another for recovery.  I was mad. My baby had just latched on and they wanted me to move.  did I speak up? To my husband only.  Later, I wished I could go back in time and tell them: “charge me extra, I am fine with that! My baby just latched on to nurse and this is more important than moving rooms”

I did as I was told, I was a new mom and wanted what was best for my baby and trusting the health care professionals who specialize in birth.  They took my baby from me to bring him to the nursery to get cleaned up because babies are in need of a both when they are born- did you know that? They live in a sterile environment for 9 months and come out into the world and must be subject to chemicals like soap and city water because somehow they are in need of a bath.   Then they weighed him and we watched through the window, video tapping, because we had forgotten to take out the video camera until that point. We watched our son scream and cry as he was handled gently but more like a glass football then a baby.  They shipped me off to my room, promising to bring him to me as soon as he woke to nurse.  They brought him like 4 hours later.  Maybe he did sleep that long from trauma of birth, or maybe they just felt my sleep was more important than my baby nursing.  All I know, is when I looked back on it after we got home, it all felt so wrong.

My second child was born after attending Bradley Natural Child-Birth classes with my husband. I switched to a practice with nurse midwives, one recommended by my NP who I saw at my OB\/ GYN office, a woman I trusted but a woman who couldn’t attend deliveries because she was just a Nurse Practioner. I later switched to the other practice with nurse midwives, also recommended by my NP, because I found out the other hospital where only this other practice went to, was the better more natural place to give birth. The place where the room is a labor, delivery and recovery room all in one. And where they have a nursery for only when necessary but babies do not have to go to the nursery but can remain in the room with mom and even be bathed and seen by the Pediatrician in the room with mom (if the pediatrician agrees to that.

I had a written birth plan, something also encouraged by this hospital and my nurse midwives.

I woke up about 2am on February 6, 2002 with some mild contractions.  I went downstairs and finished my paperwork for my part-time job as a Home Health Occupational Therapist.I also got something to eat.  (one thing that I remember most from my first birth was how incredibly hungry I was after giving birth and because it was after 11pm when he was born, there were only silly little snacks for me to eat!)  If my memory serves me right, I then went back to bed.  I believe it was about 4am that I awoke with stronger contractions and went in the shower to see if it would slow them.  I did not wake my husband for at least an hour, the contractions were maybe 10 minutes apart by this time.  I knew from my new education and prior experience, that I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I found leaning over a stack of pillows brought me much relief from the contractions.  I was calm and the contractions were doable when I could lean forward on my pillows.

I had met people who had home births before my second child was born and was immersed in the natural patenting community. But because I did not know what normal labor felt like, I did not know what normal contractions felt like and the urge to push, I felt more comfortable having my natural birth in the hospital.  Deep inside, there was a part of me that really wanted a home birth.  We got to the hospital about 6am, meeting a good friend whose job was to stay with our 4-year-old son and then my parents arrived as well because I had invited them to attend my daughter’s birth. Why? Because my father had never been allowed to attend his children’s births in the 1960s in NJ and 1972 in Canton, Ohio.  I knew that birth is a beautiful miracle and something amazing to witness! I also choose to have my 4 year old son present for the birth.  Our good friend, his godmother, kept him busy outside my room until it was time for me to push.

I got checked into my room and because I had a birth plan, I told them I did not want to be hooked to a monitor that would keep me in bed and I choose to first labor standing next to and leaning over the bed.  At about 8am, things got very uncomfortable and so the nurse midwife suggested I lay on my side. At this point, I went into transition, when you are fully dilated and it is almost time to push.  this was the only painful part of my labor. And it was 8am and the nurse midwives were changing shifts and I remember then standing in my room talking about traffic while I lay on my side thinking, this is not comfortable and I want to be out of this bed! But, once again, at age 32, I was too nice to say that to them. I did finally say, I can’t push on my side because that just felt all wrong and they had me turn over into the usual stir up position propped up like in a chair but still dealing with gravity.  I had no pain medications in me, no epidural this time. I vividly remember that last half hour and thinking to myself, “there is no way this baby is coming out of there!”  Then they told me to look because the baby had a lot of hair” and somehow I remembered there was a baby inside me and I pushed through.

It’s a baby girl!

Abby was born at 8:30 am.  Don laughed because just like in the Bradley video we watched, my reaction to her birth was, “Oh, wow, a baby!”  and just like the video, they set her on my stomach and she crawled her way up to my breast to latch on while her unbilical cord was  still attached to the placenta, because, you know, crazy me had this radical idea that if umbilical blood is so valuable, maybe my baby needs it and maybe we should wait to cut the cord until it stops pulsing.  She nursed like a pro and to be honest, after nursing a child through age 4, her nursing felt like a fluttering butterfly.

The nurse s told me they could show me how to bathe her in the large tub in my room, but that never happened, she never left my side. Oh no!  She had no bath until she was like a week old! We went home the next day.  I can save the experience of my 4-year-old attending the birth for another post, but know this, he called her “our baby” and was sad when he had to go home and mommy had to remain in the hospital for the night but he loved his little sister so much already.

Guess where this is going? Have you figured it out?

I like to try new things and improve upon prior challenges.  The hardest part about my labor with Abby was the 30 minute drive to the hospital.

Now that I knew what natural birth felt like, with a big shout out to NURSE MIDWIVES!, I was ready for a home birth.  I was motivated to have a home birth because I was not a high risk and had no serious complications with either births in hospital.  I was looking forward to being able to stand to push so I was not fighting gravity like I felt I was doing even with my second birth.  I wanted to be home and not hve to worry about driving to the hospital nor having to stay in a hospital with food I can’t really eat anyway with my gluten and dairy issues.

I contacted my fellow radical friends in the natural parent community and found the names of two lay midwives. I interviewed both of them before making my decision. One of them was a referral from many people I knew who had used her for thier home birth and the other was newer to the area.  I also went to my family practice doctor when I first found out I was pregant and got checked out.  I had excellent prenatal care from my lay midwife.  She saw me as frequently as any doctor or nurse midwife would have and spent more time with me each visit. She did everything done in a typical

 

The authors are especially concerned that promoting natural practices such as breastfeeding will harm vaccination rates, since many parents who follow natural parenting practices also delay or decline vaccines for their children. Thy also cite other examples of the “fallacy” that natural choices are intrinsically better, including the rejection of GMO foods, the preference for organic over conventionally grown foods and concerns over water fluoridation.

Apparently the risk of giving the impression that natural choices can ever be positive choices is so great, that the authors conclude that the word natural should not be used in a positive context even if it means undermining breastfeeding. They wrote:”We should think twice before referencing the “natural” in breastfeeding promotion, even if it motivates women to breastfeed.”

In a separate guest commentary at Philly Voice, the authors expanded on the dangers of natural parenting choices.They wrote:

“It doesn’t take much internet digging to find some of the potentially problematic implications for a public health campaign built around an argument that ‘natural’ is better. A search for ‘natural living’ turns up a variety of sites devoted to natural parenting. Parenting blogs and natural news sites often discuss practices and ideas ranging from home-birth and consuming the placenta after birth to homeschooling, breastfeeding, and homeopathy. But these are also spaces where one might expect to run across writers and commenters expressing concerns about the necessity and safety of childhood vaccinations and the promotion of immunity through ‘natural’ disease and healing processes.”

They went on to warn:

“Studies have shown that anti-vaccination sentiment tends to overlap with reliance on and interest in complementary and alternative medicine, skepticism of institutional authority, and a strong commitment and interest in health knowledge, autonomy and healthy living practices.”

 

 

 

And I must add the rest of the article because even the AAP spoke out against this article:

Pediatrics’ own breastfeeding committee condemned the message of the article, however. In a commentaryon the article’s journal page, the AAP Section on Breastfeeding Leadership stated:

“Let us state clearly that breastfeeding is the normative standard for infant feeding, and other feeding methods put mothers and children at risk for both short and long-term adverse health outcomes.”

To be clear, breastfeeding is indisputably natural. The definition of natural, according to Merriam Webster is:

“: existing in nature and not made or caused by people : coming from nature

: not having any extra substances or chemicals added : not containing anything artificial

: usual or expected”

By all three counts, breastfeeding is natural. It is ludicrous to suggest otherwise. Breastfeeding is also undeniably the best food for babies.

Natural practices are often best for our children and ourselves. The authors of this paper are researchers who purport to specialize in medical ethics. To suggest that we should campaign to vilify all natural practices in an attempt to influence parents to accept vaccines or GMOs is the epitome of unethical advice.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: