october 2013 – monthly theme post listing – birth story

Here are the submissions for this month’s theme: Birth Story. We had a great response and variety of how your birth/adoption story affected your parenting style (or not). We hope you’ll read through and enjoy all these great entries. I know for myself, I always love reading birth/adoption stories as it helps me process my own story and examine things from a new light. Thanks again for all your submissions and feel free to link up any additional posts in the comments and we will add them to the list.

This month’s suggested writing prompts:

  • How did the birth experience of your child affect your parenting of this child? 
  • If you adopted and were at the birth how did that affect you?
  • If you adopted and were not able to witness the birth do you think that affected your parenting? (ie, did you strive to have frequent skin-to-skin contact and other bonding measures as we did when we fostered an infant?)
  • How did the birth/adoption experience affect your future plans? Would you do it all again the exact same way? Change things? Decide to not have more children?
  • What sticks out in your birth/adoption experience that you still carry with you? (good or bad)
  • What type of birth did you have? (I love reading birth stories!) 
  • Have you felt “judged” about your birth(adoption) experience, and has that affected your parenting or future plans?

Contributing PAIL Bloggers

  1. S, of Conception Misconceptions,  tells us “So my birth experience wasn’t positive. . . it’s had no effect on my parenting.” in her submission, PAIL Bloggers October 2013 Monthly Theme Post.
  2. Cathy, of And Mom writes that her trip to the NICU is what helped her find her voice in Question Everything.
  3. Alleyrose, of Baking and Babies writes  in her submission, “Though I wouldn’t change my birth story for the world, I’ve still got a lot to process.
  4. My Life Is About The Journey submits her post that talks about the “host of issues and complications that I had during my son’s birth and how they continue to haunt me” in her post My Childbirth Baggage.
  5. The Cornfed Feminist tells us “LEEP+Shot=Vajanus.  And a hella cute baby.  (This post is unabridged, so be ready to commit.)” In her post, Something Just Happened to My Vagina,  Birth Story: The Extended Cut
  6. Emma, of Emma in Mommyland, offers “A brief-ish look at my experiences surrounding my son’s birth and what I want to be different next time.” In her post,  Birth Wishes: Last Time vs This Time.
  7. Foxy, of This Foxy Mama says that she has “no doubt that the grief and pain of infertility impacted our birth and bonding experience.” In her post, Birth and Infertility.
  8. Kasey, of Powersfullife, writes about “how I want my second birth to be different and what I learned from the first (bad) time around.” In her post There’s a Baby in There!
  9. Christina, of According to C hopes that the “positive experience with the birth of my first child will provide me with the foundation to have a positive experience delivering the second!” In her post, The Impact of Birth.
  10. Esperanza, of Stumbling Gracefully writes “My second child’s birth is unexpected, and yet exactly what I wanted.” In her post, A Second Birth Story.
  11. Kacey, of Recipe for a Baby, writes about her two c-sections, that were both planned, but both ended up as emergency sections, in her post, Birth Stories.
  12. Josey, of My Cheap Version of Therapy, shares that she is “Learning to live my life – and not just the pregnancy & childbirth parts – by the HypnoBabies tenants of Open, Relax, Release, and Peace.” In her post, Open, Relax, Release, Peace.
  13. Mrs T (formerly missohkay), of A Plus Effort, writes about the “isolation of being a mother with no birth story.” In her post, The Outskirts.
  14. CJ, of MetholicBlog, writes how in facing IF again her birth story haunts her in her post, Birth Story Hauntings.
  15. KeAnne of, Baby With a Twist, writes about feeling excluded from a ‘higher level’ of the Mom club due to her surrogacy experience in, If Your Child is Born but You aren’t the One Giving Birth, is it Still Your Birth Story?
  16. Courtney of, All the Sun for You, tells us that “All birth stories are valid, even the ones you can’t relate to.” In her post Birth, Birth, Birth, Ugh.
  17. Geochick of, Geo-Chick, An Engineer Becomes a Mom, offers her perspective, as an adoptive parent, on birth stories in her post, Birth Story.
  18. Kelly of, Kellyland reflects on how a scary birth affected her parenting and things she’d like to change if she has another baby in, PAILbloggers, Birth Stories.
  19. It’s Just a Box of Rain contributed her experience through adoption in Birth stories when you aren’t the one who has given birth
  20. Connected Through Love also shared her adoption experience in M’s Birth Story
  21. Punch Today in the Face wrote her post, PAIL – Birth Story, and compared how the births of her three children all affected her differently.
  22. Jen Rutner shares the story of her daughter’s birth, from the perspective of an adoptive mom, and encourages everyone to see the power in their family’s birth and unity stories and share it in We Have a Birth Story

If you are still writing your post, or these posts inspire you, link up in the comments. Additional posts will be added through the next few days, so check back in to see if any new posts pop up, and feel free to leave some general comments on the topic below.

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October 2013 monthly theme – birth story

While discussing and sorting through monthly theme ideas with my fellow PAIL ladies I was SHOCKED to learn we haven’t done a monthly theme on Birth Stories! Now, the theme of birth stories is a little stagnant in the blogging world, but how your birth experience goes on to affect your parenting and future plans is an interesting and under-explored topic.

An idea I have just begun to realize is that part of my birth story instilled a fear and worry of health issues in me that I still carry a remnant of today, 15 months later. For my Stella’s birth we knew I was Group B Strep positive and needed to have two doses of intravenous antibiotic during labor, before she was born. Well, I was so tuned into my hypno-birthing process as I labored at home that I didn’t realize how far along I was. We showed up at the hospital and I was 9.5 centimeters dilated. They started pushing the antibiotics but Stells came out before they could get the second dose in.

I was warned about possible things to watch for to make sure she wouldn’t get sick (a possible rare complication, but it scared the crap out of me). When we were re-hospitalized for poor weight gain and jaundice, I was convinced that this was related, and my fault, for not getting to the hospital soon enough to get those antibiotics. Since then I have been worried about her health and weight. Stella gained slowly, and she has always been on the lower side of the scale for weight gain.

And so I have always been a worrier when it came to her health, panicking if a stranger grabbed her hands or touched her face (True story at church, TWICE, two different people stuck their fingers in my child’s MOUTH! Who does that? I seriously hyperventilated). Worrying about her getting enough food. Checking her temperature to check for fever more than I care to admit (we have a neat forehead scanner that is so easy to use, technology has enabled my worrying).

I’ve also realized that were things in my birth story that I would change, I would not let them rupture my membranes like they did and I would have insisted on being allowed to get in the birth tub even though they insisted there was no time (of course there wasn’t they broke my water which sped things up!).

This month’s theme ask you to examine your birth story from a new perspective, to see how it has impacted your parenting style and future plans. Below are some suggested prompts but feel free to write on whatever moves you. And for the adoptive Mamas, I got some love for you too, of course. See the prompts below for ways to participate (And forgive me any naiveté over my adoption prompts). Also if you created your family via surrogacy we would love to hear from you too on that perspective.

Suggested Writing Prompts

  • How did the birth experience of your child affect your parenting of this child? 
  • If you adopted and were at the birth how did that affect you?
  • If you adopted and were not able to witness the birth do you think that affected your parenting? (ie, did you strive to have frequent skin-to-skin contact and other bonding measures as we did when we fostered an infant?)
  • How did the birth/adoption experience affect your future plans? Would you do it all again the exact same way? Change things? Decide to not have more children?
  • What sticks out in your birth/adoption experience that you still carry with you? (good or bad)
  • What type of birth did you have? (I love reading birth stories!) 
  • Have you felt “judged” about your birth(adoption) experience, and has that affected your parenting or future plans?

As always, these questions are just a guide. Please feel free to write anything and everything you would like to on this topic in whichever way suits you best. If you have previously written on this topic, feel free to link away in your post, or submit any previous post on the topic as you see fit. And of course, if you do not have a blog of your own, we are happy to hear your thoughts in the comments and will link to your comment in the full post list for all to read.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Tuesday October 29th at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Thursday, October 31st.

Please submit your posts using this form:

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Flacco misses birth of second child

There is a saying, that I’m not bad-ass enough to say – (or even type) – but it came to mind as I read this article about an NFL quarterback missing the birth of his child to start in his team’s home opener:

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Ice-T, the rapper, before he became an actor on the TV show “Law and Order” is credited as the originator of this quote. I would quote more from his rap, but that is about the cleanest line in the entire song.

Urban dictionary will tell you that this phrase means:

“Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that provoked your displeasure.”

Now that, that is something I would say. And while logically I get that Joe Flacco was probably contractually obligated to play in that game and miss the birth of his child. That he and his wife probably knew the risks when they married, got pregnant, and he signed that million-dollar contract. That they knew it was a possibility he would be forced to miss many special family moments and they planned for that and Flacco’s wife probably had a whole support team with her for labor…

Another part of me is like ‘Really?!’ I couldn’t imagine my husband not being there for the birth of our child. I mean the whole reason you get married/commit your life to someone is that whole ‘life partner’ thing right? (And killing spiders and reaching things off high shelves for me.) What does it say when your ‘life partner’ misses a moment that will never happen again? Sure, there may be more children, but not that child, not that unique moment.

What does it say about society and how far we still have to go?

What does it say about family dynamics?

Again, I get that this was something the Flacco’s knew was a potentiality and prepared for it. But what does that say that we can convince ourselves that something that is not, will never be, “right”, is in fact OK?

To be clear, I am not saying that ALL men/partners must ALWAYS be in the birth room. I know for many cultures that is prohibited. But I am saying that for most cultures/societies the man/partner is in some way supporting his laboring partner while she is in labor, and if not there in the room for the birth is there moments after. And for the culture I write from, the American culture, it is the societal norm that the husband/partner be present with the laboring woman.

While my slant on this is pretty obvious, I’d like to know yours. What do you think of this new article: Joe Flacco’s Wife Gave Birth Sunday and Flacco Started Against the Browns”

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What’s your take on this article?

Under what circumstances is it OK for a person to miss the birth of their child? (obviously emergencies not included.)

Is it made more “OK” because Flacco is being compensated a gross sum of money?

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Stella 1 week family picChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.

news item: Glow: An iPhone App That Aims To Get you Pregnant

Nothing gets my geeky economic-major heart beating faster than reading about “aggregate data analysis.” And when all that aggregate data is being collected in regards to fertility to help women achieve pregnancy? SWOON!

The new Glow app aims to help couples achieve pregnancy by collecting personal data such as cycle lengths, number of days for menstruation, basal-body temperatures, etc. The Glow app collects this data, like many other ‘fertility trackers’, BUT then it does something other programs don’t. It sends your data, along with all the other users data, and AGGREGATES it!

Aggregate data, not a simple average, but a collection and analysis as a whole of disparate sets of information. It also ‘learns’ about your personal information, and based on that and other analyses adapts and offers recommendations.

Why is this so cool? First because this is the potential for a large collection of infertility data to be analysed and looked at for patterns as a whole. Regression Analyses can be done to look for insights to infertility. What types of answers could all this data get us? One potential insight into infertility is why for some people does IUI work, and relatively easily, but for others they have to do IVF? Yes, there are many factors to this answer. But what if a regression analysis is run on all the data and it shows women with cycles that average between 36-40 days have an overwhelming success rate with IUI, but women who average 41-50 day cycles have a much worse outcome with IUI? Could this help us refine what sort of treatments we seek out?

Second, this app also has a buy-in option:

Glow users can choose to contribute $50 a month for up to 10 months to the fund. If they get pregnant during that time, they don’t get their money back. If they don’t, they get a share of the pooled money to use for fertility treatments. Huang says that the company hopes that Glow First will be able to cover the entire cost for such procedures, which can run from $20,000 to $40,000.

As the article mentions, there is another company out there that also collects and aggregates data. But the buy-in option really sets Glow apart. It is an interesting idea, with very few insurance companies offering any, or paltry, infertility coverage, this might be a real option for some people.

Now the downside of this is that this requires full participation by a large number of people over a long period of time. It also requires you to be okay with your personal health information being shared, (anonymously), with other people. It also requires you to be honest as it ask such personal questions as sexual position and the ever popular, cervical mucus description.

Check out the full article here: Glow Iphone App.

Slate magazine also does an excellent write-up of this new app, however it does have a negative slant, check it out here: Glow App, and let us know your take on it.

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Do you find this new App and company hopeful or another gimmick?
Would you consider doing the buy-in option?
What do you think about a private company collecting (anonymously) fertility data?

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pail mmm 8-20-12 (2)Chandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.

featured post: you blissed-out moms are ruining futures

I used to volunteer with a youth group. And occasionally I would just be hanging out with the young women of this group and I would feel the need to lay some truth down. One day these young ladies were discussing another teenager who had a baby, and how cute the baby was and that they wanted to go buy this baby a cute outfit.

And after the danger of aneurysm had passed, I emphatically told these young ladies the following truths:

  • Babies will ruin your life
  • Babies may appear cute, but they are not
  • Babies will ruin your life

After this particular rant, talk, the teens seem rather shocked. Probably because I was the mother to an adorable 9-month old who I had raised since she was 5 days old in the NICU. She was my foster child, but she was my child in every other way. I loved her like nothing else in this world.

And yet I could honestly tell these young women those truths listed above. Because they are true. I further explained to my shocked teens that to really understand what it means to be a parent you have to imagine your current life ending. Over, done, no more. Not in the death sense, but in that nothing ever of your old life will remain the same. Certain elements may appear the same, but they are now seen through the lens of parenthood.

I also wanted to impart to them that yes I love my child, but that yes, it is okay to admit that being a parent can really suck sometimes. It’s not all kittens and rainbows and special Instagram photos. It’s diapers and crying and puking, good lord the puking! It’s days when you are convinced that your kid is a grade-A jerk.

And you know what makes being a mom even harder? Other Moms. Other Mom’s who feel the same way but don’t talk about it, like a comment Janelle, of Renegade Mothering, got from a reader:

“Lots of mum’s think this but no one actually says it.”

This is dangerous writes Janelle, in response to this comment:

Though many mothers experience the struggles you talk about, think and feel the same way, they have internalized the societal expectation that they SILENCE themselves for the good of their children…But check this out, my friend: How is dishonesty and lying and the perpetuation of misogynistic expectations GOOD for my kids?

Now throw in the ALI (Adoption/Loss/Infertility) lens. After struggling to have a child for so long how many of you are afraid to ever voice frustration, concern, disappointment, or even anger about your children? Because we, of ALL people, we should just be SO GRATEFUL to finally have our child that nothing else matters. And society enforces this expectation.

I remember when Stella was a few months old I was just SO exhausted. We were still having to nurse every two hours due to her weight gain issues and unbeknownst to me at that time I was suffering from hypothyroidism, low thyroid function. I felt like walking death. I made a comment about it on Facebook, how I just needed the baby to sleep so I could sleep. And I got two comments from friends basically amounting to I should just be grateful after finally getting my miracle child.

What if I was PPD (postpartum depression)? What if that was my one way of reaching out for help? We live in an ever digitized and segmented society. Often our internet interactions are our only way of reaching out, venting, blowing off steam. And two “friends” just told me to choke it down and shut up. What if someone had instead said ‘hey, I know new Moms are always exhausted, but this seems like more than just that, have you checked in with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy?’ I don’t know if that would have helped me get my thyroid issues diagnosed faster, but it would have helped me feel better. To know that I wasn’t alone, and that someone cared about my well-being, not just my baby’s.

This trend is dangerous, we need to talk as Moms. I would say especially ALI Moms because it has been proven that ALI Moms have a much higher risk of PPD or PAD (post adoption depression). And we need to talk to show our kids that life isn’t always unicorns and lucky charms. That creates kids who don’t know what reality is, that don’t know how to handle sadness and anger and disappointment. And it creates daughters who grow up thinking they can’t talk about it, who become Moms. And that is terrifying.

Stella will always know how much I love her, how much I wanted her. But she will also hear the stories of how tired I was, how she wouldn’t nap except on me or her Dad for a month straight, how sometimes I was so tired I would just lay on the floor where she was playing and talk to her, and she would mimic me by laying down too (which is hilarious).

Infertility and Motherhood do not mean we cease to exist. Check out Janelle’s honest and inspiring post, there is so much more that she writes that is spot on and needed to be said:

You Blissed-Out Moms Are Ruining Futures

Comments here are closed so you can join in the conversation at Janelle’s blog, Renegade Mothering.

*Janelle, of Renegade Mother, retains all rights to her original content material. None of her material may be copied or otherwise transferred without her express permission.

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pail mmm 8-20-12 (2)Chandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She also shares embarrassing stories about her husband and unicorns.

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