Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood

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Intentional Birth and Pregnancy

husband wife pregnant

To say I am into pregnancy, birth and all that surrounds it would be an understatement. It’s possible to say I’m obsessed but that sounds so negative (and looney) so I prefer to say passionate.
I have 4 children and have enjoyed obsessing, err, exploring all aspects of pregnancy the minute I get a hankering to have a baby.
But it was my 5th pregnancy that had me realizing that “all” I had been exploring had very little to do with truly understanding pregnancy and birth. I discovered I was pregnant in January of this year. I began digging into aspects of natural childbirth, homebirth and things along those lines. But I was still a bit obsessed (there it is again!) with those little things like what vegetable is the baby the size of and what parts is she growing now.
Most likely due to my low progesterone levels, I lost my baby somewhere around 9 weeks.
Since that time I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and desires (or lack of) for more children. We won’t get into where I am or where we have landed in that arena. But I will say that I have become aware of something that I had never truly experienced through 6 pregnancies and 4 children – intentional pregnancy and birth.
I don’t mean intentional, like I planned to get pregnant (though that is what happened most of the time lol) and planned to give birth. I mean intentionally understanding what happens during the intricate and lengthy processes of pregnancy and birth, what to expect, and how to have the best possible outcome.
We have come to accept “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” as the only manual you need for pregnancy and birth (and they pay dearly for us to believe it). Thinking all we need to know is every day by day of what our baby may be doing or what sixe it may be. And sometimes we focus more attention and time on what we plan to paint the nursery or finding the perfect going home outfit. But there is FAR more to pregnancy and childbirth and the lack of this knowledge has led to many generations of women who FEAR birth and don’t trust their bodies.
I’m not saying everyone should have a homebirth or intervention-free birth. I truly feel all women should make the right choice for them. But I think we need to start taking responsibility for our pregnancies and births. We need to genuinely understand the physiology of pregnancy and birth. If we don’t know what typically does or possibly could occur and how to handle it, how can we possibly NOT succumb to fear. Without this knowledge we simply are along for the ride with OBs who don’t always have our best interest at heart. (I know some of you read that as me saying the OBs are out to harm us- not what I mean. But they are quite often focused on managing and controlling every aspect of our births rather than allowing our bodies to do what they are made to, even if at times of day and holidays)
There are some amazing resources to explore in order to have a truly intentional pregnancy and birth.

  • The Business of Being Born (documentary) – As of the date this si written, available on Netflix streaming
  • Birth Without Fear (Blog and Facebook page) – birth stories of every kind (including c-sections, you can have a positive section) and so much more
  • Mama Natural (Blog, Youtube Channel & FB) – Folks, this Mama is awesome. She teaches so much about pregnancy and birth and she feels like a best friend. I just love her!
  • Peaceful Parenting (has great lists of books and other info to explore) – This stuff is deeply researched and thorough. So many resources.

I admit that if we are blessed with another baby, I truly want a natural birth at home (something I never had with my other 4 children). I realize not everyone wants this, and that’s ok. You should still be intentional and well informed. And I plan to be very intentional should that time come, by taking in as much knowledge as possible on what to REALLY expect.
Happy birthing!


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A Silent Grief

I have been processing and dealing with my miscarriage pretty well. I’m not distraught, laying about in bed. I’ve had some difficult moments or even days but I generally feel ok about the whole thing. I think this is partly because we already have 4 wonderful daughters and had initially declared ourselves “done”. We had had no intention of having more. It feels a bit…confusing to not want any more children, become pregnant, come to acceptance and then joy about that only to lose the baby. But ultimately God has brought me peace in the situation.
I have this friend, Marlissa. She will make you cry. I’m not kidding, just give her a chance and she will. She is the most genuine, caring, deeply feeling woman steeped in God that I have ever known. She just has a way about her. I have friends who have recently talked about her speaking at a women’s event at church and how she had everyone in tears. That’s Marlissa. She’s soft-spoken and gentle. She has a warm and loving smile and you know what she wants to say to you just by looking in her eyes.
I went to church yesterday, the first time seeing all of these friends since the miscarriage. I felt so much love and caring and I smiled and laughed and told them what I told you, that I have peace. And it’s true. I didn’t feel that I was hiding or holding one single thing back. And then Marlissa walked up to me. She looked into my eyes with tears in hers and I was done-for. I just started crying and then trying not to cry (I HATE crying in public. I get so embarrassed!). I was trying to tell her I was fine and ok but in the meantime I was blubbering like a baby. She just reaches this part of you. She’s amazing.
With what little words I was able to speak to Marlissa I mentioned that through this I was comforted by so many friends who shared their stories of miscarriage with me, stories I had never known even after knowing these friends for at least 5 years.
And Marlissa said, “Yes…it’s a silent grief.”
A silent grief. This struck me. It IS. I would guess (without doing actual math, because I hate it) that 95% of the friends who wrote or called to console me had had at least one miscarriage. But I knew of almost none of these losses.
I understand WHY it is kept quiet. If you haven’t told anyone you are pregnant or trying to be then it’s simpler to skip over the losses. It keeps you from having to discuss the emotionally difficult experience. It also keeps the pressure off, real or imagined, of friends and family wondering when you will try again, will you try again, are you pregnant yet, will this one last, etc. We may also worry that friends who are expecting, or hope to be, may spend their pregnancy in fear if they know that their dear friend has had 3 miscarriages.
But I wonder, if we are more open with this pain, if we make this grief not so silent, who might we help? When you hear that your baby is dead it is a very lonely feeling. But if we, as women, reach out and share our losses, not just privately, but to all of our dear friends and family we offer a sort of comforting embrace. Nothing brings back your baby. And perhaps you still have that fear that it will happen again. But knowing that so many women that you respect and love have been through it, have handled it in their own way, and many have gone on to give birth to several children…it’s just not so lonely. But if I hadn’t shared my loss (I had to, of course, as everyone knew we were pregnant) my friends never would have shared their own (save one) and I would be lonely, suffering a silent grief.


A Difficult Announcement

I started having some spotting a week ago. It was off and on and fairly light. I have had spotting with all of my pregnancies so I figured it was just like that. Friday it had increased a bit (though still not heavy and no pain) so I called my OB. They said they couldn’t see me (don’t get me started on that one). Saturday I went shopping with my 16-year-old but it was really weighing on my mind so my husband and I agreed I should go to the ER.
We discovered yesterday evening that I have a Missed Miscarriage. The baby passed away somewhere between 9 and 11 weeks (I am 13.5 weeks today) but my body hasn’t quite realized it. There are decisions to make about how to proceed and I won’t get into all of that.
Through this experience I have discovered the vast number of people I love who have silently suffered through miscarriage. Some were further along, like me, and had spilled the beans already. That makes it a bit tougher to be silent about. I was incredibly surprised to discover how many dear friends went through this. And like I had joined a very sad club, they started sharing their stories with me. It felt good to know I wasn’t alone, because initially that is a very lonely feeling. I have one friend who shares her stories of miscarriages as a part of who she is and where she is today. She certainly impresses me.
We don’t yet know where we stand going forward. We had not planned for this baby but had happily begun to welcome him/her. I need to take time to get my head straight and be with God first, then I will ask Him what is right for us.
I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers that my dear friends and family are sending out.


I’m a Secret Rebel

Often I am pretty lazy. No, seriously, I am. I do a lot of cooking and caring for my kids (and other people’s) and driving them everywhere but it is all stuff I have to do. I sort of do the bare minimum. Now some of you may find that to be silly since you know I make a lot of things from scratch. part of that is the fact that I LOVE to cook and bake and part of that is since Neo hasn’t shown up with the blue pill (or was it the red…?) I can’t unknow what I know so I make a lot of things that you can easily buy at the store. The thing is all the stuff that goes beyond the base needs of my family rarely gets done.
But every once in a while I get some serious motivation and determination. I never quite know when it will strike. For instance I struggled with breastfeeding my first 3 kids and ultimately concluded it was due to a lack of knowledge. When I became pregnant with my 4th child I determined I would breastfeed. There was no “try” or anything like that. I would breastfeed her 100%, no formula, until she was 1-year-old. Well, I did just that and then some (we kept going until she was 3!).
Sometimes my determination comes from a rebel spirit that I mostly try to hide at his point in my life. As a teen I was quite content to show myself a rebel any chance I could. And if someone said I couldn’t do something, well, I quite often was more determined to do so. This isn’t always wise as sometimes people actually know what they’re talking about (like my friend Matt, who told me “You do NOT want to go out with him!” which I took as a challenge. Matt was right.).
But sometimes…sometimes people are wrong. Sometimes they just have been seeing/hearing/reading the same stuff as everyone else and they just don’t know there is another way. That something else is possible.
I suppose I try to hide my inner rebel now because I am 35 years old and a minivan driving mom of 4 daughters (and one currently gender-unknown child on the way!). But my husband, he knows. He really knows that I’m a rebel and he knows how I can see a statement as a challenge. Honestly, I have some good friends who see my rebellion through how I challenge conventional cooking and eating too.
So now…I am 13 weeks pregnant with my 5th child. I already know I will breastfeed my baby. I will cloth diaper from the start, well after the tar passes at least. And there is one more challenge I am facing. Natural childbirth.
I was induced and epiduraled 4 times. I suppose technically I went into labor on my own with my 4th but I went to the hospital too soon, my labor slowed and I was given pitocin. I decided if I ever had another child I wanted a drug-free childbirth, moving about, not strapped to a bed.
I looked into homebirth but there were a few things that made it just not work out for us. I found (through a friend) a wonderful group of midwives who enable and encourage natural childbirth within a hospital setting. As with breastfeeding, I have begun to bring home and devour stacks of books on the subject and scour the internet for more and more information. I know that for myself, knowledge is empowering.
Here is the thing I have found, almost everything you read that supports natural childbirth says that you just can’t have that in the hospital. Much out there is quite adamant that homebirth is the only way you’ll have a care provider who will fully support you and be knowledgable and where you won’t have to deal with hospitals and nurses trying to sabotage you every turn.
So there it is. I’m being told I can NOT have the natural birth I want within a hospital setting.

Challenge accepted. It’s rebel time, folks.