01 November 2013

NJ VBAC mommas take note

Just passing this along:
Please share with your community: Coming in November: Holistic Moms Network presents "Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC) Roundtable Discussion"--Come share your experiences or have your questions answered by experienced moms who have vbac'd in this area. Nicole Cely Bartfield, leader of the Essex International Cesearean Awareness Network will be there to share resources and tips for how to maximize your chances for a successful vbac in NJ. (Free)
Details: We meet every 3rd Monday/month @ 10 am at Tempo Music Studio, 145 Vreeland Ave Nutley, NJ 07110

18 October 2013

Circle Game

While dropping of my oldest this morning at the high school, I saw the kids with school spirit (aka, those not related to me) dressed and decorated with face paint for today's homecoming pep rally as kickoff to homecoming weekend (and I silently patted myself on the back for remembering to send in money/permission slip for kid's homecoming dance ticket). There was an adorable cheerleader in uniform sporting a retro side pony...I used to love wearing my uniform to school. Those uniforms were sort of ugly, since school colors were maroon and light blue (Go USN Tigers!), and I'm certain that those are not good colors for any complexion. But the bonus was that my school had this break between terms called Winterim and you could take fun classes/class trips or journal during your own travel. We always went someplace tropical so I was tan...good memories. Makes me feel wistful but happy.  And that Joni Mitchell song always makes me cry...it has rehearsal dinner photo montage all over it - the groovier "Sunrise, Sunset".

03 September 2013

so it's that time of year again...being prepared for big storms

Whether you are expecting a baby or not, take a little time now to think about storm preparations.  Do you have enough water for your family (including pets) for a few days?  Some non-perishable food? Flashlights and batteries? Baby & pet items? I have a pretty *extensive emergency kit and I'm always adding to it and fine tuning.  I've just replaced my hand-crank/solar/battery-powered weather radio (with light and now a charging port - it can actually charge my iPhone!) and am pretty psyched about it (which is perhaps a bit sad!)

*Ready for my I-Know-This-Makes-Me-Seem-Crazy kit list?  

I gathered this stuff over time - I know it's a lot and maybe more than necessary.  But it makes me feel better.  And I've been able to keep us going without power for a few days and be of help to friends and neighbors when they were harder hit.  Most items are easy-to-find at a large camping or hardware stores, and many of them -- bug repellent, baby wipes etc. --  may already be around your home.

In a grab n' go open tool kit:

Headlamps for each family member, 2 of which have lantern attachments

A (floating) big lantern/light

A Mag light flashlight

An emergency whistle that floats (actually have a couple on lanyards...good for hiking with kids)

Lots of glow sticks + glow necklaces, to hopefully make it festive + to use for pets, if need be

Batteries + extra cell phone battery

Lighter (to be able to use gas stove, BBQ or camp stove if power out)

Duct + electrical tape

Rope, bungees

First aid kit, with medicines for anyone in the family who needs them

Swiss army knife with compass etc/Leatherman tool

Camera (in case have to take pics of damage for insurance purposes etc), cash, copies of ID in dry pouch

Sharpie marker

Fully charged walkie talkies, set to same channel

A big zip lock bag (to throw documents, portable drive with photos, important papers etc or leave a dry note if need be)

Contractor trash bag

Space blanket

Pocket-sized rain poncho

Potable water treatment pills

A small, collapsible water container

Antibacterial gel


Then I have a big Rubbermaid container with a bigger companion kit:

Sealed bin that can be temporary toilet, which holds:


3gal collapsible water container

MRE-type food bars

A couple of mess kits/cutlery in case no paper products

More water and non-perishable food

Pry bar, folding shovel and a couple of other tools

Tarps, plastic sheeting, more tape, heavy "slap" stapler to help hang a tarp

Fire extinguisher

Gas can

Bug repel. wipes + mosquito "dunks" for standing water

More batteries

More cash

More potable water treatment pills

First aid book

Printed instructions on what to do in various emergencies

Tampons, (diapers if you need 'em), other personal supplies as needed


Ziplocks, trash bags

Deck of cards, a couple Hot Wheels, a story collection

Pet food

Phone charger

corded land line
I try to keep the gas tank full when big storms are predicted.

After the hurricane, we bought some big gas cans for future reference and some plywood and wood screws to be able to do window repair if needed.

In the event of emergency, we have a family plan to grab shoes and change of clothes, sleeping bags for each family member, if needed - I had them gathered for past hurricanes.
I have recommended water and food supply (including instant coffee!), paper plates etc., corded phone, Solar/crank radio with spot light, charcoal for grill

It's valuable, free and easy to choose a non-local person to be clearing-house contact, as well as selecting meeting place for the family. Also,  have a copy of the key to your safe bank deposit box on hand.

I'm reviewing supplies and using what's due to expire and replacing what was pilfered by my family over the year.  I'm also using stuff from the freezer to make room for some jugs of water, which can be popped in the fridge to keep it cold longer in case of power outage (I then put a wooded spoon through handles to remind family not to open unless really necessary.  These frozen jugs are great for coolers too - the chunks stay frozen way longer than cubes.

Crazy, right?  But I thought I'd share anyway.  Apparently I was a Boy Scout in another life. ;-)

full hands

This morning I read a wonderful piece on Huffington Post talking about how we are all supermoms, regardless of how many children we have or the challenges we face, but also that none of us is since "supermom" is a myth.  The point was that we are all generally working at capacity, since capacity is relative.  We all have full hands most days.

Then I went to the supermarket and saw a mom with a very pregnant belly and many children...four or five?  I thought, "man - she's busy - she must be going nuts"...but I was humbled by her mothering.  She was patient and seemed unfazed as her children (very politely) whirled around her.  She didn't micromanage (as I might have) and simply shopped while they all took turns weighing the produce and giggling.  She let them choose some items and sweetly said no to others.  She was about a zillion times calmer than I would have been, I'm sure of it.  My initial reaction to her and her large family said more about me than about her, that's for sure.  Her hands are full and so are mine and so are moms with one child...we all do what we can.  Next time I'm shopping with my kids, I'm going to try and remember this family and see if I can't channel a little of her zen-momma mojo.  And acknowledge that if I don't quite manage, I will at least do the best I can...which is all I ask of myself.

07 August 2013

pitfalls of modern life

One of my kids must have played around with my phone and set Pinterest notifications to push with sound...thanks for the 3am wake-up text tone when someone liked one of my pins or something equally unimportant...never text a doula in the night unless you are in labor...total wake-up hormones kicked in! Has this ever happened to you?

17 June 2013

Happy (belated) Father's Day

This great list from gab.giggle.com:

Happy Father's Day to my dad and to my husband, who really was my partner in getting breastfeeding off to a great start...
Dads - you may not have the milk but you can sure help make breastfeeding successful! 

 Posted by bestforbabes, June 11, 2013
 Listen Up, Dads! 10 Ways You Can Support Your Breastfeeding Partner - See more at: http://gab.giggle.com/2013/06/nursing-know-how/listen-up-dads-10-ways-you-can-support-your-breastfeeding-partner/#sthash.YnPqJaGb.dpuf
1. Remember to tell your partner how proud you are of them for breastfeeding, especially when it isn’t easy, and that she’s a good mother regardless of how she chooses to feed your baby.
2. Keep the phone number of a good lactation specialist on speed dial, just in case. (Need one? Check out Baby2breast.com.)
3. Offer to take baby out for a walk in the sling or carrier so Mom can take a much-needed nap.
4. Know what Booby Traps® are; and do your best to protect your partner against them at the doctor’s office, hospital, or elsewhere.
5. Bring Mom a glass of water or a snack when she’s nursing. (Trust us, it will earn you major brownie points.)
6. Fetch the nursing pillow when need-be and don’t be afraid to check and see for yourself if baby has a good latch. (Not sure what one looks like? Get yourself a good breastfeeding DVD, stat.)
7. Breastfeeding away from home isn’t always easy. Be prepared: If duty calls, you may have to act as a “human shield” against any rude looks or comments your partner may get for breastfeeding in public.
8. Lay baby on your bare chest for some skin-to-skin bonding time. It’s been proven to boost baby’s (and dads!) oxytocin — a.k.a. “the love hormone”— which reduces stress on baby, Dad, and Mom.
9. Offer to go on dishes and laundry duty as much as possible. (We know — it may not be your favorite thing to do, but hey, Mom’s a little occupied at the moment.)
10. Pull a David Alan Basche (of The Starter Wife fame) and tell any of your skeptical buddies that breastfeeding is awesome and that they should get on board for their partner’s sake.

Know a dad or dad-to-be who could use this advice? Share this with them!

12 May 2013

To all the mommas

Happy Mother's Day to all the women in my life...
Moms who inspire me with the way they parent their kids and sometimes mine.  Moms who mother me when I need it.  
Mothers-to-be and the mothers who are their midwives and doulas and teachers and caregivers.
Women who may not even have kids but have mad mothering skills and get things done.
Women who I will never know all around the world who mother fiercely in spite of hardship I can't even imagine.
Women who want to welcome children into their lives and are doing all they can to make it happen.
And my own mom, never forgotten.

16 April 2013

bridge over troubled water

Are you feeling overwhelmed and like you wish you could do something to make the world sane? Me too. And so I'm thinking that tonight I will make a nice dinner and light candles and maybe we will treat it like Thanksgiving and say something nice or hopeful - count our blessings and send good thoughts out to all who need them. And then I will call for an extra early bedtime so our poor brains can rest and recuperate. It's all I can think to do.

02 April 2013

How The Mother Half Lives: Momma Love

Momma Love: How The Mother Half Lives by photographer Ali Smith looks like a fantastic project and book...and it needs to be pre-ordered so the project can go forward - that's right - YOU have the ability to help make this project happen!  Read about why on Huffington Post.  It's what to get for Mother's Day!

27 February 2013

13 February 2013

virtual book tour...stay tuned for some book reviews

Technology is amazing...usually when someone asks me to review their book or film, they send a hard copy. Today I opened a link and a book flew into my Kindle. I will be part of a virtual book tour: http://birthtouch.com/2013/02/birthtouch-virtual-book-tour-linky-with-these-fabulous-women/#more-1107

snippets of motherhood: signs of puperty

this morning middle kid asked if girls get hair under their arms; upon learning that the answer is yes, he said, "I did not see that coming" ;-)

04 February 2013

song for the morning

doing his part to keep me "socially relevant"

After we dropped off the last of his friends,  my oldest turned of his music (rap) and told me he had made me a playlist for the car - music he likes but thought I would also like...he said it was for, "white, middle-aged, suburban ladies who wish to remain socially relevant - mostly indie stuff".  I wanted to hug him and punch him at the same time.  And I kinda wanted to hate it.  But damn, I loved every song.  I didn't know the names of anything, but have heard the songs before and was in music heaven.  So I guess that really is my demographic - he's got me pegged.

The other cool thing that happened was beforehand, one of the rap songs came on and he told his friends he had used it to compare to Cather In The Rye for an essay.  And then they talked about the book!  And I mentioned a newish book, Ten Thousand Saints, that has some similar themes and they said it sounded cool. 

These fleeting moments keep me going, through all the less good parenting moments.

20 January 2013

Free Parenting Workshop 1/23

Just passing this along - sounds like it could be interesting:

Free Parenting Workshop
The Non-Verbal World of Parent and Baby Communicating
In the first year of life, your baby’s primary way of communica8ng is through movement. The non-­‐verbal interac8ons between you and your baby affect his/her interests, preferences and ways of coping in the world.
In this workshop, we will use movement explora8ons to help you understand how your basic style of moving influences your rela8onship with your baby.

Claire Kaplan, LCSW, has a psychotherapy practice in New York City and South Orange, NJ. She specializes in working with parents and has over 12 years of experience working with individuals and groups. Claire is a mother of two.
Wednesday January 23rd 7-­‐9pm
Rosie Hippo Toys 358A Millburn Avenue Millburn, NJ
Call to reserve a spot 917.664.4002 www.claireskaplan.com

18 January 2013

Good morning world

Though a big bummer to miss a night of sleep when trying to stay healthy while everyone seems to be dropping like flies, it was so worth it to help support and witness an all natural VBAC - that momma was unstoppable.  And even though it was very similar to her first labor, complete with excruciating back pain and baby tangled up in her long cord, all was different and just as she wanted in the end.  Welcome baby Elise!

14 January 2013

Comforts Of Home

My middle guy is having a birthday this week - twelve!  Normally they all like to go to "the place where they cook in front of you" (hibachi) for their birthday dinner.  This morning my boy said he preferred stir-fry at home this year.  Love that kid!  Off to the Asian market I go.

08 January 2013

Cesareans and VBAC: avoiding misinformation

I spoke with a woman today about VBAC (though I am unavailable to serve her, I could hear that she just needed to at least be offered a kind ear and some resources).  She is being told by her OB that it's her choice but VBAC is dangerous and there are NO risks to cesareans, so she should schedule a cesarean for 39 weeks (early in her pregnancy, they told her they support VBAC).  Either these doctors are ill-informed or unethical - both troubling.  I gave her the names of other doulas, but also other care providers and told her that while hiring a doula would help, the best move to make would be to explore other care providers and listen with her gut - if it tells her to stay with her current provider, so be it - at least it's by choice and thus she won't scare herself out of going into labor via distrust.  And since it sounded from what she described like her first baby was probably posterior (and that she's an excellent candidate for VBAC based on all she reported about scar, time frame etc), I suggested she consider seeing a chiropractor for optimal positioning, as well as take a look at Spinning Babies. The care provider she is currently with is willing to induce VBACS - hmm, maybe he's the problem, depending on methods of induction? So I suggested acupuncture for post-dates. 

All of this is to say that there is a pattern of misinformation commonly being handed to birthing women and it's upsetting.

Here are some places to get accurate information about cesareans and VBAC:

Childbirth Connection

ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network)


(photo is from Childbirth Connection's booklet, titled in the picture)