Wednesday, November 2, 2011

HypnoBirthing Class: Required.

The following is from Midwife Samantha McCormick: "All our clients at my birth center take Hypnobirthing. I subsidize the cost of the class because many of the would not spend the money and it has made a huge difference - reduced our use of pain meds and hospital transports - plus it has made life much easier on the staff. We are no longer constantly exhausted from long drawn out labors. The moms are amazed and generally quite proud of what they can accomplish. Absolutely ♥ Hypnobirthing." -via HypnoBirthing Utah's Facebook page.
My response: I wish all OB's and midwives would subsidize HypnoBirthing for those interested. Birth would change in America! I often thought about becoming an OB and have a Hypnobirthing only policy. If you don't take the class, I wouldn't take you on as a patient. Too risky! P.S. The woman in the picture is Vivian Keeler. She was my HypnoBirthing teacher five years ago when I was pregnant with Hazel in Miami Beach.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hypnosis for Birth

I loved finding this article via Natural Papa's blog. Its a straight forward explanation of how hypnosis works for birth. If you are looking into taking my HypnoBirthing classes, read this!

Cord Blood Banking

Ever wondered wether to bank your newborn baby's blood or not? Its a new phenomenon, and I know I was confused about it when I was pregnant with my first. I was inundated with pamphlets and free, expensive looking folders stuffed full of literature. It all gave me a sense that it was very well thought out and studied and proven. But four years later, all the midwives and doulas I know are speaking out about the negative effect it can have on the baby. That's right. There is some pretty pointing evidence and common sense explanations for why it may have an extremely negative effect on your baby, to in essence, deprive them of 1/3 of their blood at birth. Blood that, if given a few more minutes, would have found itself in the baby. This procedure may even cause the diseases that the blood is used to treat in the future. My husband lost 1/3 of his blood in a bleeding ulcer, and his heart almost stopped and he was on death's door. I just read an article where a baby's blood had been banked at birth, and then a few weeks later was found to have a grapefruit sized tumor blocking its kidney, which was treated with several rounds of chemo, and the cord blood was only used after the tumor had completely vanished, as a sort of safety that the tumor not return. Not much of a treatment if you ask me. This article, via Midwife Thinking, addresses this topic. And don't miss the You Tube video, towards the bottom of the article, made by a doula trainer, Penny Simkin. It is the most concise and articulate explanation I have found on why NOT to bank cord blood. It makes a lot of sense to me. I'm glad I made the choice not to bank my baby's blood, and in exchange, allowed her newborn body to soak up as much of it as she could in the moments after birth. As a midwife I know once said: "If that blood is so curative, and so important, then let's give it all to the baby at birth." I have to agree with her. Who knows? It may just prevent diseases, if its actually allowed to transmit completely to the baby by delayed cord clamping (a topic explained in the video) instead of being clamped and thrown out with the placenta. Just another one of the myriad choices we have to make as parents on what we feel is best for our baby. What will you choose?

Your "Due" Date

Here is a lovely article referring to the American College of Obstetrics' guidelines on a woman's due date. Don't know when your baby is ready to be born? Just wait until active labor starts. That's when the baby is ready.

Article by Birth Without Fear

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Laura's 32 Minute Labor

I am used to hearing about 4 or even 2 hour labors (one of my HypnoBirthing students just had 2 1/2 hour labor last month) but 30 minutes?!!! Now that's some quick, calm birthing. You've got to read this story. It will blow you away. Who wouldn't want a labor that's shorter than the time it takes to write out the story? This picture reminded me of what the mom must have been feeling after a mere 32 minutes of birthing. Especially since she wasn't medicated. Get up and go, baby!

Birth story compliments of my amazing HypnoBirthing collegue Laura Curtis from HypnoBirthing Utah

Friday, September 16, 2011

Take Charge of Your Birth!

I loved seeing the two contrasting stories this Doula, Susan Lunville from Fearless Birth, had with the two births of her own children. The first one, she had no say, and handed her birth experience over completely to the doctors and nurses. Big surprise- she had an unneccesary cesarean. Then read about her second birth.. what a dream. She had just what she wanted. Scroll down to "My Birth Experiences" to read these two contrasting stories. The difference is night and day, and all she did was get educated, get the right team, and advocate for herself. I love hearing about birth success.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baby Moon Pillow GiveAway and Review

Hello Readers,

The Baby Moon team is giving away a Baby Moon Pillow on August 31st! All you have to do is get a friend to like their facebook page and you and that friend will both be entered in the giveaway. Hurry, there's only two days left!

My friend, who has 8 kids, just had her 8th, baby Cameron. (Thanks for taking the time to try out this product for me, Bizzy!) She tried out the Baby Moon Pillow with him while he laid on her bed, during floor-time, and in his swing. She said he really liked the pillow and Cameron seemed to be really comfortable with it. She said she could see how this pillow could prevent or fix "flat-head syndrome" (technical term- plagiocephaly). Doesn't he look so comfy on his pillow?

I remember when my daughter was an infant, her pediatrician felt her head at every visit and concluded every time that she wasn't developing flat-head syndrome. I was so relieved, but wondered what I would do if she did start developing it. Apparently the only option a peditrician will give you is to either have them wear a helmet to squoosh their head back into a round shape, or to have them sleep on their sides during sleep instead of the back. But how do you keep an infant on their side? There's got to be another way to take the pressure off the baby's head. Enter the Baby Moon Pillow.

The reasoning behind this pillow is that more and more babies are getting flat heads because they lay almost all day and night on the back of their heads. Pediatricians have suggested that babies lie on their backs to sleep to avoid SIDS, which is great. But it has lead to more and more babies developing flat heads. So the designer came up with this pillow to be used during the day, to give the babies' heads a break during the day and take the pressure off.

The pillow, in a soft baby blue above, comes in many colors and styles from polka dots to stripes, solids and organic cotton. It's designed for two age groups: 0 -6 months and 6 - 12 months. These are the most crucial times for a baby's developing head, and if the pillow is used, it can prevent, or help fix flat head syndrome, without having to revert to those unsitely and uncomfortable helmets. Babies from 0 -6 months will use it in the doughnut form, since their heads are smaller, and from 6 - 12 months it widens via a velcro strip to fit the growing baby. One of the greatest uses is to put it in the car seat or stroller while napping. We've all seen a baby's head kinked to one side and wanted to prop it up with something. Well, this pillow is so plump and cushy, that it does just that. I even want one for myself! I think this is an amazing product and actually wanted some sort of a baby pillow when my daughter was an infant and toddler. Now I know what I'll be using with my next baby! So hurry and sign up for the giveaway by liking their page- you have two more days and you could have one of your very own. Good luck! Not interested in the giveaway? No problem, you can buy one on their website, here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

HypnoBirthing Twin Birth Story by CNN

I love it when big media covers HypnoBirthing. This is a story by CNN, covering several moms HypnoBirthing stories, including a mom who birthed TWINS gently and naturally with HypnoBirthing. It is totally possible. And she was just a normal, average, everyday woman. Love it.

The beautiful photo in this post is taken from Justine Caine's home water birth. You can read the birth story that goes with the above picture here. Justine is the secretary for HomeBirth Australia. A non-profit organization educating women on homebirth.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OBGYN v. Midwife Appointment Time Comparisons

Loved this video on comparing an OB pre-natal visit with a Midwife visit. The time invested alone is very telling. Well done to the mom who made it. When I come across something so well done and truth-telling, I have to share it. It was exactly my experience with OB appointments vs. Midwife appointments. My midwife always met with me for an hour. The emotional reassurance they give you is priceless. My OB appointments were racked with fear and were excruciatingly short. I only had a few and switched to a midwife. So glad I did. And I was healthy and low-risk, so I could.

Video via I Gave Birth At Home. Not Brave. Not Crazy. Just Educated.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Moon Pillow

The team at Baby Moon (don't you love that name?) sent in an email to me here at Au Natural Baby and asked if I would do a product review of their Baby Moon Pillow. I actually always wanted a baby pillow for my daughter, but didn't know they existed. I always felt she needed head and neck support as an infant, since baby's heads are so floppy. But this product was created because the designer's daughter was developing "flat head syndrome." To counter-act that, she came up with this pillow that takes the pressure off the back part of the baby's head during day-time hours, preventing "flat-head syndrome." I think it is a genius idea. What do you think? Learn more about how the product works here. They've sent me the beautiful pillow, but since it is for babies 0 - 1 years old, I am having a friend do a review of it with her baby. I will post that review shortly. But I wanted to give you a pre-glimpse of it. They have ten cute colors and patterns to choose from, and the material is so soft, fuzzy and cozy. Buy one here on their website! They're even all made in the USA!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Penne Alla Arrabiata

I like to cook vegetarian dishes in the summer. I made this dish last week when my husband was doing a fresh juice fast. I need to make it again when he's not fasting, because he was salivating over it. Apparently it smells extra good when all you've had to eat all day are liquified fruits and vegetables. Here's what it calls for:

4 cups- ripe roma(plum) tomatoes
half an onion sliced
4 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
pinch of basil
pinch of crushed chili pepper
fresh chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
500grams (1 lb) of penne

Here are the instructions. Recipe courtesy of Epicurean.

Fresh Lemonade

Summer + Fresh lemonade = Happiness. Yesterday in Primary we sang a song about summertime and lemonade. I think they go together perfectly.

Juice from 5 or 6 lemons (if you use a juicer, peel them first to avoid the peel's bitterness)
1/2 cup white sugar

I modified this recipe from one I found by Ina Garten. You can make it her way, too, but hers is fancier. I like the easy, fast way. And I think mine is just as delicious.

She chose the big glass.

Hazel happiness for Lemonade.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Introduction to HypnoBirthing

This is a video made by a HypnoBirthing Practitioner in England. It has some great footage of calm, easy births in the middle. I like that it does try to explain why we have moved into the hospitals to birth during the last two centuries.

Remedies for Leg Cramps during Pregnancy

Kathie Dolce, a Physician's Assistant and a HypnoBirthing Educator, lists the remedies for leg cramps during pregnancy. I am posting this for any pregnant woman who needs relief in those last few months when cramps literally wake you up and put a death-lock on your calves, and also for myself, so I can refer back to it when I'm pregnant again. It's a long post, but it's great information, so I'm putting it all in. I hope it helps get rid of some horrible moments in your pregnancy. P.S. If you don't want to read the entire post, here's the remedy: Drink one cup of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and Nettle Leaf Tea per day during pregnancy. The post below explains why.

Remedies for Leg Cramps
from Kathie Dolce

Too little water and/or protein in the diet are responsible for many of the discomforts of pregnancy, including high blood pressure, nausea, and leg cramps. A minimum of two quarts of water per day (and far more in the dry Colorado climate) is needed for proper hydration in pregnancy. At lease 60 grams, and preferably 75-80 grams of protein per day is recommended.

Many sources recommend extra calcium, potassium and/or magnesium to prevent leg cramps. Medical research indicates the mineral supplement most likely to help is magnesium lactate or citrate taken as 5mmol in the morning and 10mmol in the evening.
· Red Raspberry Leaf (tea or capsules) is the most easily assimilated form of calcium there is. Take a cup of tea or a capsule at least once during the day and a cup of tea or a capsule or two before bed.
· Nettle leaves is one of the finest nourishing tonics known. It is reputed to have more chlorophyll than any other herb. Vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulfur are particularly abundant in nettles. Nettle leaves nourish and strengthen the kidneys, ease leg cramps and other spasms, diminish discomfort during and after birth, prevent hemorrhage after birth, reduce hemorrhoids, and increase the richness and amount of breast milk. It can be used through pregnancy. Dosage: 1 cup of nettle leaf tea per day (same as Red Raspberry Leaf Tea).
· Liquid chlorophyll is high in magnesium and potassium. It is a good blood builder (good for postpartum) and helps a woman to function while sleep-deprived.

Avoid soft drinks, processed meats, and snack foods, which contain a lot of phosphorus. Excess phosphorus decreases the absorption of calcium and other beneficial minerals.

Avoid standing for long periods or sitting with your legs crossed.

Walk or swim as often as you can.

Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when sitting, at work, at dinner, or watching TV.

Stretch before bed. Stretching your calf muscles several times before you go to bed could help prevent night cramps completely.

To stop a cramp while it's occurring, flex your foot (pull you toes and foot toward your leg). Getting out of bed and walking around may also give relief.

Use warm, moist heat on the cramp.

Do several pelvic rocks IN BED (on hands and knees, tilt hips forward and let belly sag toward the bed, the tilt back to flat back, repeat several times). Then DO NOT sit up or stand up, but gently lay over on her side. This will improve the circulation to legs by getting the baby out of the pelvis and lessen the pressure on nerves and blood vessels.

Photo via The Good Doctor

Friday, July 8, 2011

More Business of Being Born

If you haven't seen "The Business of Being Born," you really need to. It's available on Netflix "Watch Instantly" for free. You just have to be a member of Netflix. And if you haven't contributed to the "More Business of Being Born" campaign to help fund a set of 6 DVD's on your options in birth, you really should do that, too. At that link you can see the trailor for their new DVD's. I just contributed. It's just a really good education in your options for giving birth. And it will help out so many women to be more informed and educated about what their options really are when they give birth. It answers questions like "What's a midwife?" and "What's a Doula?" and "What do they do?" Are you kidding? Finally a one-stop source for all your birth options related questions. Women are going to love it. It's the best grass-roots movement for advocating safe, healthy birth since Ina May Gaskin started her birth center in Tennessee in the 70's. Thanks to Ricki Lake and her collaborator for kickstarting this worthy cause. I'm elated.

Photo via The Big Push for Midwives

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My sister just got a set of Le Creuset cookware. I was so excited for her. So the question arose, why cook with enameled cast iron? The quick answer: it's not bad for you like teflon, and it lasts forever! I'm sold. But what about how it cooks? I found out from The French Culinary Institute's Blog that cast iron surprisingly doesn't heat as evenly as aluminum and steel over a small cook top range- it takes longer for the heat to inch out to the edges. So use them on a flame that is as big as their base. That should solve that problem. However, cast iron retains heat much better than steel and aluminum, so its better for long, slow-cooked stews, soups and roasts. After three hours of simmering, the heat will have reached the edges for sure! Another great thing about these pots? You can transfer them right into the oven or over an outdoor flame because they can withstand extremely high amounts of heat.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Candace's Quick Water-HypnoBirth Story

This is a water birth story from Candace, who took HypnoBirthing classes from LauraLyn Curtis in Northern Utah. If you live in Salt Lake or Utah Valley and are pregnant, take her class. She's amazing.
Candace gave birth an hour after getting to the birth center. What I loved about this story was how she contrasts her first birth at the hospital with her second birth in a birth center. What a difference your care provider and environment makes in your experience!

Photo via Live Earth

Monday, June 27, 2011

Home Remedies Book by Cristina Starkman, MD, ND

I was so excited to find a naturopathic doctor who was also an MD, and then I found out she is in Europe. Of course! But she has a great home remedies book for everything from acne to yeast infections. She has personally used these remedies on her patients and has had great success. Go to her book's website to learn more. Apparently its on sale for only $19.99. I really like her ear infection remedy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father's Day Breakfast

So good. My husband doesn't do protein for breakfast (He's Argentine/Italian- they eat sweet things and tea) So since I couldn't make him a big plate of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, I decided to do the next best thing: a huge platter of fresh fruit, accompanied by homemade whipped cream. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've felt that good after breakfast. Definitely a must-do-more-often breakfast for the whole family. Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Post-partum Hair

Ok, I promise this is my last look back at my pregnancy and birth- I was just missing my post-partum long, thick, shiny tresses. Why does hair do that after birth? This was at a wedding one week after Hazel was born. You can see her tiny head in the baby carrier. I'm probably smiling at all the ladies cooing over seeing her for the first time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A look back in time...

This was me four years ago next month, nine months pregnant. The midwife at my birth center was doing some sort of Chinese herbal heat treatment to the outside of my little toes. Its supposed to help you go into labor naturally. I was approaching 40 weeks and everyone wanted me to go into labor but me. I was happy and loving being pregnant. I had Hazel two days after this picture was taken.

Birth Expectation

In birth, your expectation and preparation make all the difference. Did you know women even have orgasms during birth? This clip from ABC's 20/20 by JuJu Chang showcases how labor can be different with proper preparation (like from a HypnoBirthing class) and new expectations.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lollipop Chalk Drawings

We were bored on Sunday so we made some chalk drawings. Lollipop squares, circles, stars, bicycles and hearts were in Hazel's imagination.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Los Cabos, Mexico

I've been in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the past week, on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. Here are some photos from my trip.

Ben and Javier surfing. Hazel is trying her best at a crazy surfer face :) I unknowingly went out at high-tide and got seriously "poned" by some big waves (on a boogie board- but it was still scary!) An interesting fact about the ocean in los Cabos: It has a strong under-tow because the currents of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet there. You really have to know what you're doing to venture too far into the sea, unless you're in a bay. But this beach had the perfect waves, even for beginners like these two. It was over-flowing with surfers everyday.

We stayed at the Cabo Azul Resort in San Jose del Cabo. If you ever go to Cabo, I would totally recommend staying here. Absolutely beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bougainvillea was their plant of choice since I had just planted one in my own garden and am loving it. There were about 2,000 around the resort. You could also see them growing all over the buildings in town.

Me in my Cabo hat. Do not go there without one.

Pool beds! Loved these.

Our own private wrought-iron door entrance to our villa. We had the whole floor to ourselves.

The penthouse villa

The penthouse view...

And wrap-around patio

Beach umbrellas and chairs...

The grassy stone paths that connected the resort...

And some sandy ones too.

The pool-side dining.

The swim-up bar- our favorite part I think. Virgin Mojitos all around! You could even eat lunch there, which we did a couple times. That's where we really feel spoiled.

And the pod cabanas. Loved these. The best place to relax and read a book- except for maybe the sleek black hammocks strung between palm trees throughtout the grounds- but I didn't get a photo of those.

One night we made homemade gnocchi pasta in our cook-in kitchen. We used Javier's mom's recipe with ricotta cheese. I don't know what is better, the gnocchis themselves or the homemade, bone-in red sauce. Delicious!

Ok, and then there was some playing in the sand (actually a lot on Hazel's part).

It was the perfect vacation! Can't wait to do it agian.

Strawberry Patch Finished

To start we added some more flowers in my little oasis...

Cemented down some river rocks on top of the black weed block material ...

Added two Blue Salvia plants to attract bees for better pollination...

Put in the Bouganvillea ...

And voila, the finished product. Done and done.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Gardening

We caught the gardening bug this spring. We're planting strawberries all along the back wall of our house. This pretty Dark Pink climbing plant in the corner is Bougainvillea. I love how tropical it looks. It grows best in humid climates, but we'll see if we can keep it alive in the shade of our Mulberry tree in the desert.

These are the strawberry plants we transplanted from another garden. We've been keeping them alive in water for the past week while we've been preparing our yard for them and they still look pretty good! Here's a tip from my gardening guru neighbor, Kayleen: When transplanting strawberry plants,you have to take off all the berries after you move them so the plant will concentrate on making roots in their new home. Who knew?

This flower bed beneath the faucet has been in my dreams all winter to make into a blossoming little oasis. It was full of weeds when we moved in. Now its ready to be planted.

And here it is! The finished product. I love it's rustic look. Don't you think Javi did a good job? I love my hard working husband.

This is another flower bed we made around the new little Mulberry tree in our backyard. It's a little wider in diameter than I would've liked, but I love the river stones we picked out of the Santa Clara River to use as the border. We'll use the same river rocks to border our new strawberry beds. So what do you think of our spring gardening projects so far? I have so many, many more to show you! Come back and check them out.