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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Placenta Diaries

I first heard about ingesting the placenta from a friend who was trying to get pregnant.  She had been trying to conceive and was informed about the benefits of placenta encapsulation.  She contacted a good friend and obtained this friend's placenta for encapsulation.  She ingested this friend's placenta pills and true enough - eventually naturally conceived her first born.
I had been toying with the idea of encapsulating my placenta and already contacted several specialists before I gave birth.  However, when I brought up the idea with my doctor, she told me that she was unsure of the hospital policy about it.  Further inquiries made by myself and my doula had no results.  We could not find out whether the hospital where I was going to give birth at allowed the release of placentas. I then decided not to book an encapsulation specialist until I could get my hands on my placenta.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My learnings from Erik's Birth

Want to read Erik's Birth Story? Click here.

My learnings from his birth:
Nurses make a difference!
As I mentioned, the LDR was quite busy during the day I came in so I was seen by 4 different nurses.  To my bad luck, the nurse in charge of me was quite against natural delivery.  She was very skeptical when I said I wanted to do natural.  Then when I asked to use a birthing ball, she immediately said no because I was on pitocin and she had seen moms crack their heads open on the birthing ball! My doula and I looked at each other - WHAT?!! My doula explained that she had previously assisted 2 moms in the same hospital with induced labors (both at 42 weeks) and who were on pitocin at much higher doses that I was on, but were allowed to use the birthing balls!
Then as I was laboring, I was trying to get comfortable by trying to labor on my side and she was quite nasty about it.  She wanted me to remain on my back so she didn't have to continuously adjust the fetal and contraction monitors! She was quite antsy every time I asked her to adjust the monitor as I was switching from side to side.
The worst part was about my request to take home my placenta.  I had already spoken to another  nurse earlier who had made arrangements with the charge nurse to have me fill up some papers so I can sign a waiver allowing the hospital to release my placenta to me.  Apparently, the only reason the hospital will release your placenta to you is if it is for religious reasons.  As I was reminding Tane about the form, she told me, aren't you Roman Catholic? And I said yes.  Then she said, I am Roman Catholic and that's the first I've heard about wanting your placenta for religious reasons! WHAT?!!! Was she seriously asking me that?! But since I was trying to be a good patient, I just smiled and said it was for my husband.  Luckily, she got off at 7pm and I was able to deliver Erik without seeing her or hearing her snarky comments!

Preparation is Key!
For Naima, I never took any childbirth classes as I didn't see the need.  However, for Erik, I had done some research and talked to some friends about natural delivery.  I decided to go for childbirth classes, even if it was already my second pregnancy.  I chose a hypnobirthing class which you can also take at home through HypnoBabies or HypBirth.  The techniques helped me relax during the labor and I was able to manage the discomfort through breathing techniques.  I also listened to the CDs during my entire stay at the labor, delivery and recovery unit.  I have to say though that my pain tolerance is quite high and what I consider merely discomfort might be considered as pain for other moms.  I also read several childbirth books and the top book I would recommend would be Birthing from Within
I also had a doula to help me achieve my natural childbirth goal.  Read more about doulas here.  I decided to hire a doula after reading MyMommyology's positive experience with her doula.  Stan was still there as my birth partner but the doula filled in the gaps as they have had more experience with births, are more in control and have the presence of mind to keep me on track with my birth goals.  My doula, Heidi, reminded me to use my breathing each time my contractions or surges became really intense.  In the last moments, when I wanted to get that epidural, she helped me realize that my goal for a natural childbirth was very close that I ended up NOT getting any pain medication AND achieving my goal!

Natural delivery is empowering!
Naima was born via natural delivery although with an epidural. The difference I could tell here was that with Naima, I was dependent on the monitor to tell me that I was having a contraction.  With Erik, I was still dependent on the monitor too since I really didn't feel the surges until they got intense.  However, when it was time to push or breathe down the baby, I was in control.  With Naima, the nurse was telling me it was time to push while for Erik I was the one who was telling them that I needed to push and they took their cue from me.
I was also quite glad that I had informed my doctor of my birth plans and even though they were a conservative practice, I did think they tried their best to accommodate me and give me a natural delivery.

I've had some friends ask me if I was going to do natural for the third baby.  Well, as of now, Stan and I have agreed on 2 babies.  But IF we do change our minds, yes, I think I would also go for natural delivery but in a "friendlier" hospital which will allow me to labor in other means and not in bed stuck on my back.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Post: Busting Those Breastfeeding Myths and Beliefs - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series.  Click here for Part 1.  Part 3 next.
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Belief No. 5: One breast contains the “food (or rice)” while the other one contains “water.”
Dr. Calibo:
 “Both breasts contain the same nutrients and composition.”

Belief No. 6: As a mother, I need to “mix feed” because my baby is not satisfied with whatever he/she is getting from me.
Dr. Calibo:
 “Contrary to this belief, the mother’s breasts adjust to the needs of the baby as he/she grows. Unlike milk formula that is the same all throughout, breastmilk is a dynamic substance that automatically adapts to the age, physiologic and nutrition needs of the baby.
If a mother decides to “mix feed,” the needed stimulation for her breasts to continue receiving the suckling action of her baby will be diminished. This will then be perceived by her brain that there is not much demand by the baby.
Breastmilk production is affected by the baby’s suckling and the proper positioning of the baby on his/her mother’s breasts. The interaction of these two factors sends signals to the brain to produce the hormones oxytocin and prolactin responsible for milk ejection and milk production, respectively. Mix feeding is not helpful to the breastfeeding mother.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Erik's Birth Story

On 21 December 2011, our early Christmas gift, Erik Raem arrived.  My waters broke at 545am.  But I wasn't feeling any surges then.  I woke up Stan and we waited for Naima to wake up.  I called my doctor when their office opened at 9am.  Since I wasn't  feeling any contractions, they asked me to go to their clinic where the nurse practitioner on duty could check me up.  Since Stan wasn't up to driving, I drove to the clinic and the nurse practitioner confirmed that my waters indeed had broke.  She spoke to the OB on call - Dr. Grimm (who also delivered Naima 4 years ago) and informed me that I had to head out to the hospital ASAP!
I knew that since my waters already broke, my OB will be watching me closely and will eventually put me in pitocin.  So we decided to grab some lunch first.  The nurse practitioner told me that I shouldn't be eating anymore since to do a C/S delivery they would need me to be on an empty stomach, with the last meal 8 hours ago.  So I told her, that's ok. If I eat at 12nn, you can do C/S at 8pm.
We finally got to the hospital at about 2pm. Dr. Grimm was already there and he had me checked into a Labor Delivery Room (Room 308).  The thing about my hospital is that they are a baby factory and their goal for this year was to deliver 10,000 babies! So I know that my hopes for a natural labor were quite limited.  Plus my doula was sick that day! So she had to send a back-up doula - Heidi who was quite terrific.
From 2pm, I was debating about whether to ask Heidi to come or not.  She was constantly in touch through SMS and phone calls.  But at that point, I wasn't feeling any of the surges yet.  The difficult part about having a back-up doula was that it was going to be the first time I was going to meet her and we didn't set parameters of the birth I wanted, etc. etc.
The LDR that day was quite crazy and I was seen by about 4 different nurses.  At about 4pm, Dr. Grimm came into the room and told me that he wanted me to start pitocin to jumpstart labor since my surges were really irregular.  During his IE, I was only 4cm dilated and about 90% effaced.  In hindsight, I think I should have asked Heidi to come immediately when I checked in so we could have done some things to jumpstart my labor naturally - e.g. bouncing on a birth ball.
Anyway, I agreed to the pitocin (which Dr. Grimm told me was to be at the lowest level only).  It was administered by the nurse in charged of my LDR - Tane (who was horrible - more on that later!!) at about 430pm.  She told me that Dr. Schulman was coming to replace Dr. Grimm at about 530pm.  Heidi came at about 5pm. My surges were beginning to be quite regular but quite manageable.  Heidi told me that she could help me sit on a birth ball (ruled out by Tane!).  Heidi also heated up some pads for my back. Meanwhile, Stan was playing one of my hypnobirthing CDs in the background.  Heidi had a Masters in Public Health and did her thesis on the use of pitocin.  So I spent sometime during my labor interviewing her about her paper and learned how cow hormones (yikes!) used to be injected in laboring mothers until they were able to create a synthetic hormone - now marketed as Pitocin.
Dr. Schulman arrived at 630pm and did another IE.  At this time I was already 5cm dilated with baby in 0 station.  I expected to deliver at about 9pm.  By 645pm, the surges were beginning to be quite intense and I was feeling better trying to labor on my side.  But again the nurse Tane was quite horrible during this time (see below).  During intense surges, Stan was holding my hand while Heidi was patting my legs and reminding me to breathe.
At 715pm, I told Stan that the surges were very intense and I WANTED THAT EPIDURAL!! Heidi then called the nurse and asked the doctor to come.  Dr. Schulman and the new nurse on duty - Susan came at about 730pm and went into panic mode.  Apparently, I was already fully dilated, with Erik at +3 station - meaning he was already crowning!! Stan said he could see Erik's head already!
I felt the strongest urge to poo but was told to hold it as they were preparing for my delivery.  Heidi told me to do whatever feels comfortable to me.  After about 4 huge pushes, Erik Raem was born at 745pm.  During the pushing, Stan said I was turning purple :O.  I did tear - minor according to Dr. Schulman who stitched me up with a local anesthetic.
Stan, Erik and I stayed in the labor and delivery room for about 1 hour.  During this time, I signed a waiver for the release of my placenta and big Achi Naima visited us.  She was so excited and Stan was able to shoot a photostory.  My placenta was stored in the LDR refrigerator and we picked it up two days later on discharge day.

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Next up: My learnings from Erik's birth

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Post: Busting Those Breastfeeding Myths and Beliefs - Part 1

I'm quite lucky to have my officemate Margaux offer to write this article about busting breastfeeding myths.  She was able to rally the expertise of Dr. Anthony Calibo, a pediatrician who has made breastfeeding his number one advocacy.  Margaux has divided the article into 3 parts and throughly tackled the myths and beliefs through a Q&A with Dr. Calibo.  Read and learn.

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  Have you ever been told by well-meaning relatives not to breastfeed when tired from a day’s work? How about not to breastfeed when you’re anxious or stressed, lest the baby “suckles” your sadness or worries?
            A lot of Filipinos, especially those who still believe in such concepts as usog,pasma and kulam, still pass on a myriad of beliefs (pamahiin) about breastfeeding. Dr. Anthony Calibo, supervising health program officer of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s Family Health Office (Department of Health), said that thesepamahiin are still prevalent and actually affect breastfeeding efforts in the country.
            “Some of these beliefs specifically affect exclusive breastfeeding rates,” Dr. Calibo, a pediatrician at St. Luke’s Medical Center and a diplomate of the Philippine Pediatrics Society, says.
            He explains: “When families (mothers and their relatives) give other substances aside from breastmilk or start breastfeeding at an inappropriate time, exclusive breastfeeding rates drop.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

Breastfeeding Plan?

For my first pregnancy, I never prepared a birth plan (or a breastfeeding plan for that matter) but this time, I am really hoping for an all natural albeit hospital birth so I took time to make my birth plan.

I realize now that a lot of moms do make birth plans but NOT breastfeeding plans.  And I have to admit I am quite nervous in making both plans.  I do realize that each birth and baby are different and despite all the planning and preparation I make for this birth, it is definitely possible that none of these plans will be followed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Going Raw (for a while!)

Welcome to the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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My family loves and enjoys good food! As long as food tastes good, we used to be unconcerned about health consequences.  Things changed when I had kids.  When N was born, I became more conscious of the food we ate - more so when I found out that S was predisposed to having high cholesterol.  Some changes I did were having weekly organic vegetable deliveries and enrolling my cook in several healthy cooking classes.  
One of the classes I found was a Raw Food Class organized by Dahon Kusina.  It was a weekend cooking class which I was supposed to attend.  But considering that I left the cooking to our helper and rarely stepped in the kitchen (yes, N cooks/bakes more than I do!!), I decided to send our cook G instead.  I felt that it would help our family more since she will learn about the benefits first hand rather than I learn about them then instruct her thereafter - with a chance of losing out on some of the information given.
After that weekend, G was able to whip up some raw food goodness for the family. 
soaked shiitake mushrooms 
raw salad - cabbage, tomatoes with cayenne pepper
california maki
raw pasta (zucchini strips) with pesto 
unfried rice
So how did they fare?  The raw pasta was quite good with the pesto sauce.  N loved the california maki.  However, the other dishes were a bit too spicy for her because the main spice used to flavor the dishes was cayenne pepper.   
I had resolved to have 1 raw meal per week for the family.  Then I got pregnant and with my hormones and appetite going haywire, the 1 raw meal per week experiment eventually got cancelled. 
I resolve to go back to this experiment again - probably try to have 1 raw meal per month first before increasing the frequency.  I don't see my family going 100% raw but I would love to include a regular raw meal in our diet for 2012. 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mamaway Showroom in the Philippines finally opens!

After almost 3 years of distributing Mamaway in the Philippines, sisters Jonie Cheng and Jaydee Tan are finally opening their showroom!

I first met Jonie in February 2008 when I was looking for breastfeeding clothes.  It was way before Mama.Baby.Love started.  We became business associates and eventually good friends.  I'm really quite excited with their store opening because I know Jonie and Jaydee have lots of planned activities for breastfeeding moms.

Today, 7 January 2012, the store will be on soft opening at 130pm.  The store is located at Unit 14, Madison Square Granada, 2 Granada cor. Valencia (between Ortigas and N. Domingo), New Manila Quezon City.


Regular store hours are from 10am until 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday.  Moms are required to take off their street shoes and change into the provided slippers or go barefoot to ensure cleanliness of the store and to allow the little ones to be underfoot. 

Here is a sneak preview of the store.  For more information, contact Jonie at 09178832484











Friday, January 6, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: Nursing Twins!

This article was contributed by MedelaMoms Maricel Cua and Beng Feliciano. The exclusive authorized distributors of Medela in the Philippines, these mommies walk the talk! MedelaMom Maricel breastfed her now 6 year old daughter for 2 years and 7 months before she self-weaned. Firm believers in attachment parenting, the Cua couple never had a yaya and are now homeschooling daughter Lia. MedelaMom Beng breastfed her 4 year old son for 2 years and is now breastfeeding her 20 month old twin daughters. Quite the attached parent herself, MedelaMom Beng, together with lawyer-husband Jim, make it a point to dedicate quality time with their 3 children and are homeschooling their 4year old son, Nico. You may reach them for any queries, breastfeeding, parenting, or otherwise (!) at medelamoms@gmail.com or send them an sms at 0917-5614366. Landlines are 964-7331, 725-3723, and 738-6272
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The Blessing of Two

When we first heard we were expecting two
We asked, “Why did God trust us this much?”
Would we know what to do?

Imagine this:
Double plea for cuddle,
Twin call for breastmilk,
Would they at least take turns
Or at the same time, demand’s to the hilt?

Fast forward…
Now they are here,
At 19 months of age
At the breast, is where they still stay.
Summer on the left, Carly on the right,
Yes, that picture is quite a sight!

Truthfully, there is magic with these two,
With each other, the tricks, games, ideas and fun
Kindle laughter and amazement, thru and thru.
Add big brother Nico who nurtures them at heart
And Daddy Jim who treasured them from the very start.

Carly and Summer, we are all enamored by you.
Before our very eyes, it is revealed… the blessing of TWO.

--- Mommy Beng


The best way to prepare for breastfeeding multiples is to prepare for breastfeeding multiples (I can’t stress this point enough!). So here’s a straightforward, no non-sense advice (mommies with multiples don’t have time to beat around the bush, … hahaha)

  1. Secure or prepare a check list of breastfeeding needs. Below is mine.
  • A positive mindset (yes! I can breastfeed two!) with supportive family and loved ones.
  • Knowledge of the various latching positions (I think this would vary for mothers).
  • Medela Purelan 37g- Even “seasoned” breastfeeding moms will experience the drying effect (and eventually the pain that results from it) of a newborn’s suckle. Best to have lots of Purelan. Applying it will be like drinking water, especially in the beginning. First step to not give up on breastfeeding is to have immediate remedy for the expected pain.
  • A high powered Medela pump.
    • Medela Freestyle pump- mom will need the extra hands to comfort baby or babies. Plus, hands free pump can allow the mom to momentarily close her eyes to rest. At the start, mom may feel exhausted from birthing experience
    • Medela Pump In Style Advanced
  • 2 pairs Personalfit shields- all the suckling that the breasts will take may result to greater pain to some so pumping is the ideal option and then mom can let breasts rest (while shifting to cup feeding meantime). To avoid further pain, use the right fit of shields
  • A pair of extra connectors with membranes (for Freestyle)
  • 10 Storage bottles- just for what it is… milk storage
  • 20 pcs. Medela Pump and Save Milk bags (initially) - don’t be surprised if all of a sudden, with all the breast stimulation, mom finds herself with lots and lots of milk! Enjoy that! Have at least one box of Pump n’ save bags.
  • 2 Medela Advance Softcup feeders and 10 cup feeders- it is ideal to latch babies at the same time but just to be prepared for the tough times (if for some reason it will be impossible to latch at the same time), be ready to cup feed until both infants have established their latch. The advantage of cup feeding is that dad, other family members or caregivers can give feeding support.
  • Extra ice pack- at night, mother can already store pump milk in the cooler carrier (best to have 2 ice packs to let them survive through day/night) if a refrigerator is not available in the room.
  • 30 pcs. Medela Bra pads- be prepared for the leaking!
  • Sterilizer
  • Drying rack inside an enclosed bin
  • A separate bin/ basket for all the dry accessories
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing bib/cover
  • Nursing wear (more of home wear since you may not find yourself outside the house for quite a while)
  • Comfortable intimate apparel
  • Comfortable wrap (for those delivering c-sec). Mamaway’s binder is heaven sent. Unfortunately, I only found this when I wasn’t using the wrap anymore. No sharp Velcro edges like the ones I initially used and gave up on since they scratch my babies’ skin.

  1. Prepare EVERYTHING in the checklist in advance (while you can still walk and not if and when you are being wheeled in everywhere.... I was on a wheelchair during the latter part of my 3rd trimester). Buying at the last minute or when babies have arrived may be stressful and may lessen milk output.
  1. Make a set-up of where you will breastfeed, system of how all the items used will be used, cleaned (by who, etc.).
  1. Talk to parents of multiples who are well adjusted with multiples.
  1. Invite and welcome the support of loved ones and hired help.
  1. Pray. Know the guardian angels of the children and ask for their help.

When all have been prepared…let go of everything and focus on the arrival of the two (bring out the camera!). Whatever happens, know that you will more than survive having to take care of two. Just remember, what you sow, you reap. Happy breastfeeding!!!

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MedelaMoms is also sponsoring this week's giveaway, especially for parents of multiples (expecting or already breastfeeding). The prize will be 20 Pump and Save Bags, packed by 2's.  You can purchase these bags at The Medela House or get a chance to win them through Rafflecopter below.  Please note that this contest is open only to parents of multiples.  



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!


Wishing you all the best for 2012 from the Chronicles of a Nursing Mom family!
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