Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I Co-Sleep

After my baby was born, we did a whole week of skin-to-skin, as recommended by my midwives. This was to promote my milk coming in, regulating my baby's breathing, creating a bond, etc. There are countless articles you can read about it, but I wanted to focus on why I've chosen to co-sleep with my baby since the initial skin-to-skin sleeping.

The Problem of Fetal Testing

I was reading an article, today, about a couple who went in for testing their baby before it was born and ended up aborting when they were told their baby would be born defected. After their baby was dead, they realized there had been a mix-up and they had killed their perfectly healthy baby. My heart aches for them, but at the same time, the whole thing irritates me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Confessions of the Blunt Housewife

  1. I wish people offered to babysit as a gift more often so I can be alone with my husband once in awhile. Even if it were just for a walk.
  2. I'm truly thankful when people don't touch my baby or don't visit because they're sick or their family has been dealing with sickness.
  3. I should nap when my baby naps, but I usually get caught up on work instead.
  4. I'm grumpy when I get up to nurse during the night – especially with my husband.
  5. I have to convince myself I care about being pretty for my husband daily.
  6. If I wasn't strict about my menu for the week, I would almost always prepare supper at the last minute – or just have leftovers.
  7. I eat pop-tarts. A lot of them.
  8. It doesn't bother me when people don't recognize the gender of my baby. Even when she's swathed in pink.
  9. I love it when people ask to hold my baby. I'm not tired of her, but I want to see others enjoy her. Unless they're sick, of course.
  10. I wish I had visitors more often. It was hard to travel with chronic illness. With an additional baby, it's impossible unless my husband is with me.
  11. I hate that I can't share parts of my baby's life with my mother – who has protested many of my parenting decisions.
  12. Sometimes I feel real anger when my baby interrupts me, then I feel guilty because I know she only cries when she needs me.
  13. I cried for an entire day when my baby was diagnosed with tongue-tie. I didn't feel remotely able to be strong for her.
  14. When my baby is cute while crying, sometimes I don't want to comfort her because I'm enjoying how adorable she looks.
  15. I don't read to my baby as often as I should.
  16. I don't do tummy time as often as I should.
  17. I have to stop myself from giving parental advice when it isn't asked for.
  18. I would make my baby's clothes myself if I knew how to use a sewing machine.
  19. I worry about my baby a lot less than my husband.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What to Expect: Postpartum Sex

Before our baby was born, sex was part of my daily routine, even throughout the pregnancy. As something important to myself and my husband, we were anxious to know when things get back to normal – at least in that regard.

Everywhere I read, people said: six weeks. If you feel like it, earlier is okay.

I felt like this was a little dodgy. I would have been okay with sex – at least emotionally – the day after labour. Physically, no, but if it was supposed to be determined by whether or not I felt like sex, it should be safe.


My husband, thinking that a week or a few days earlier would be fine, asked my lactation consultant what she recommended. She said twelve weeks would be ideal; the body takes awhile to heal. Even though the usual recommendation is six weeks, she said some women are still bleeding by that point, and that means you risk infection. I expected my husband to protest, after she left, but instead he said: “I can wait twelve weeks if that's best for you.”

So we did. And, I must say, I did need that time. Even now, I can still feel that my body isn't fully recovered, but waiting that long gave me the time to prepare my body and my mind.

Would I recommend waiting longer? Not really – unless yours is a special case of extended recovery or your husband isn't interested. Husbands really need that connection, and you having it again is also healthy for you. It is something that the two of you share that the baby doesn't have a part of (though the little one may interrupt), and it is something from the life before baby that can reassure you that not everything changed. It's a little normalcy.

What should you expect, post-baby?

Expect a little pain. If you wait twelve weeks, you can avoid a lot of pain. It's not like virgin sex, though it is similar to the feeling of having sex when you're too dry. Use lots of lube and take things slowly.

Don't get angry if the baby interrupts. Some people say to hire a babysitter, but many of us won't take that step. Pick a time when your baby is settled for awhile and go for it. If you're interrupted, take care of the baby and try again.

Don't focus on how it feels different, because it probably doesn't feel as different as you think; it's been too long for you to remember that many details. Let it be new and different – something to rediscover.

Don't over think it. Talk about it with your spouse – before, during, and after the act. This will ease tension, letting you talk through your fears and what you're feeling. Don't expect it to be full speed right away. Make an effort to please your husband – it will take your mind off yourself, which is the point anyway.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Homebirth Story

I was almost 42 weeks when my midwives sent me in for a biophysical profile to check on my baby. I did not want to induce labour, so I was trying all options before getting to that point. I walked multiple times a day for as long a stretch as my bladder would allow, I ate an entire pineapple, drank hot chocolate with a teaspoon of cinnamon, had sex, sat on the washer... I tried everything natural I could, knowing that nothing would happen until the baby was ready but really wanting things to start moving. After the BPP, I came home, watched an episode of Criminal Minds with my husband, and we went to bed early.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Why Is My Baby So Difficult?

When my baby was first born, she looked every bit the adorable alien all newborns do. At first, caring for her was relatively simple. She let me know when something was wrong, and she wasn't overly fussy, but I soon realized that she was going to be more difficult than I had first thought. I desperately searched for an answer to my problem, because there were too many strange issues that didn't seem connected but shouldn't have been occurring without a common issue. These were the things I noticed:

  • My baby was very fussy.
  • She wanted to be held constantly.
  • She had difficulty sleeping.
  • She choked while nursing - more than a newborn should. 
  • Although her latch had initially been perfect, it was getting progressively worse.
  • She started to clamp down/bite while nursing.
  • She absolutely hated being in any position that wasn't perfectly upright. 

Why "The Blunt Housewife"?

When deciding what to call this blog, I wanted a name that truly explained the goal of everything I write. I knew I would post about my life as a wife and mother, so the title would have to reference that. I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I wanted that to also be obvious.

I decided on "blunt," because that will be the general attitude of my writing. "Honest" didn't fit, because what people call brutal honesty is often a way to excuse being mean, and I don't plan on approaching things that way.

I want to write about my experiences and my decisions. My lifestyle inevitably lends itself to hot topics, and I want to talk about them - explain why I do what I do with the intention of showing others how I came to my conclusions. I hope it will be an opportunity to educate, encourage others to share or research for themselves, and uplift other women in similar situations.

I also call it blunt because I will be blunt in my language. I won't shy away from things because they are gross, sensitive, or intimate. If I feel the need to talk about sex, breastfeeding, and labour, I will talk about those as freely as I talk about cooking, laundry, and housekeeping.

I will try to be respectful at all times, and I ask that you do likewise as you share your own opinions and experiences.

Thank you for reading :).

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Homebirth - Safe?

When my husband told me he thought I should consider a home birth, I balked inside. No way was I doing that. It was far too risky for myself and the baby... wasn't it? I didn't give the idea much thought until I found myself pregnant unexpectedly. I was overjoyed, but there was so much that hadn't been decided or discussed.

Then my sister-in-law posted a blog article an OBGYN had written, and in it, she talked about the mutual respect that nurses and midwives had for one another. Curious, I wrote to my sister-in-law – an OBGYN herself – and asked for her thoughts. It surprised me when she spoke with excitement and obvious support of homebirths where there is no risk to the mother and where educated, certified midwives are present.

This gave me pause in my assumptions of the danger.

Then I asked a doctor what she thought. She gave me the same answer as my sister-in-law, and even went so far as to recommend midwives in the area for me to contact.

My research began. I read many books, including these: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth; Deliver This!; A Wise Birth

They were all helpful to me in changing my perception of what birth could be. Although I still could see that hospitals were invaluable to women with complicated pregnancies and births, a woman who was healthy and well-prepared could manage at home with the correct support team.

I also looked for information on several websites. This list of misunderstandings about homebirth was helpful. I also read through about one hundred stories on the “Birth Without Fear” website. I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born,” and a TED talk given by Ina May Gaskin. I was even more encouraged.

I did eventually decide to have a homebirth, and I didn't regret my decision. After seven hours of intense labour, I gave birth to a beautiful girl (someday, I may share that story in more detail). I look forward to having this experience with any more children that bless my womb.

Did you consider a homebirth? What do you think of the possible benefits and risks?  

A Few Postpartum Notes and Tips

1. Freeze meals ahead of time. Even if you're home from the hospital the day you give birth (or had an easy birth at home), you won't be up to cooking for at least a week. It was nearly a month before I felt well enough to be on my feet the amount of time it took to cook a meal, let alone clean up beforehand and afterwards.

2. Have a lactation consultant on-call. My baby was born hungry and nursed almost constantly until my milk came in. When I say almost constantly, I am not being metaphorical or exaggerating. There were fifteen minute breaks here and there, and I didn't sleep for over 48 hours. It was miserable. I dealt with thrush, as well, and my baby started biting my nipple – a result, we later found, of a posterior tongue tie – at two weeks old. I don't know how I would have coped if I hadn't been able to text my lactation consultant at any time, day or night, and have my questions answered. She was, quite literally, a Godsend, and it's worth every penny to have someone there to help you find comfort and protect your breasts and baby!

3. When my midwives were leaving after the birth, one of them asked me if I would like some ice for... down there. I said no thanks, because I didn't think that sounded at all pleasant, and she said would would pour some tea on pads and freeze them for me. I thought go ahead. I'm not putting ice anywhere near... there. Several days later, I gave in and decided to try one – I couldn't waste those expensive pads. Oh, my goodness. It was heavenly. It seems crazy, but try it. Pour tea or herbal water on those pads and freeze them. Your swollen body will thank you. Trust me.

4. Another common discomfort after birth is going to the bathroom, whether it be urinating or a bowel movement. I had read somewhere that sitting in a sitz bath, filled with warm water, while you did the deed made it more comfortable. Boy, was that right. After trying to spray warm water while I peed, to avoid the burn, and finding it was a lot more complicated to cover all the area than it should be, I started filling my sitz bath before every bathroom break (or asking my husband to do it for me). I cleaned it out when I was done and continued to do this for probably a week and a half after the birth.

5. Let your husband – and/or someone else you trust (because your husband needs rest, too!) – take over for at least two weeks. Spend that time healing and getting to know your baby. If you need something, ask your helper, even if it's something silly like pulling up your socks. During these two weeks, you can gradually start moving around and getting your strength back, but don't push it; your body has gone through a lot of work. Even a month after giving birth, I went for a mile and a half walk – a pittance compared to what I prefer - and started bleeding again. Don't push yourself if you aren't ready. Three months will probably be the minimum you need before you're completely back to normal.

6. When you feel overwhelmed, let yourself cry. At one point, after a particularly difficult night where my baby was refusing to nurse but screaming because she was hungry, screaming until she was so exhausted she went to sleep but woke up about an hour later to start the whole process over again, I was not feeling particularly strong. I felt to blame for her discomfort, because my milk letdown was too fast and strong for her, so she was choking and wanting to bite, so I had to pull her off whenever she did this; this was what resulted in her screaming and refusing to nurse. I finally crawled into bed and curled into my husband's chest, letting the tears flow. He held me until the baby was awake and crying again, then took her and told me to sleep for awhile. After an hour of sleep and getting the tears out, I felt much better and more able to handle my baby.

7. Have a to do list out where people can see when they come to visit, bring a meal, or come with an offer to help. Write anything and everything that needs to be done on it, from laundry to dishes to holding the baby while you shower. If errands need to be run, pets or older children need care, you're running out of ready-to-eat snacks, write it down. This is helpful to you not only because you don't have to remember all the information when people ask, it also relieves any embarrassment you might feel at asking. They can see the list and you don't have to say a word.

What are some of your own tips or things that helped you in those first few months after birth?