Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Christmas Birth Story

I always get a little melancholy and reflective on Christmas day. I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's a very special time of the year with tons of memories. Some wonderful, some not so wonderful. So, while I reminisce over many wonderful memories from my childhood, years where Randall and I were in Portland, and others, my main thought is of my sweet Porter's day of birth four years ago.

I really can hardly believe that my baby is already four. I know that's a common thought for moms. But seriously. How did this happen? I mean, I really feel like he was born just yesterday. Since I've never shared his full birth story here, I figured today seemed like a good day.

I was due on December 14. I was convinced I would have the baby the week before that. I don’t know why, I just had prayed for it and wanted him to come then so his birthday wouldn't be so close to Christmas. Well, those days came and went, my estimated due date came and went. I felt great, the only reason I was upset that I hadn't had the baby was that the closer to Christmas it got, the less likely I was to see my family – we all were to be traveling “home” for Christmas. I had many bouts of prodromal labor. It was SO frustrating!

Well, as Christmas approached, so did a major weather system. Since my mom lives an hour away, we decided that she should probably come stay with us just to make sure she was here in case the weather and roads were too bad when I finally went into labor - after all, she needed to be here to catch the baby. She came on Monday. The weather raged on through the whole week. Thursday (Christmas Eve) was Randall's (my husband) birthday, so Vienna (our 23 month old daughter) and I made him a nice dinner, cake, a card, and we had a little “party”. Still no baby. I was getting very frustrated and sad that I hadn't had him yet. Mom was going to miss Christmas morning with my dad and youngest brother (high school age). That night before going to bed, we watched the Nativity Story. I remember thinking “ok, baby. I’m ready anytime! If Elizabeth and Mary can have safe and peaceful out of hospital births, I can too!”. I was a little jealous that they had already done it – silly but true J.

I woke at about 2:15 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and couldn't fall back asleep so justJ.
laid there for awhile resting. I realized that I was actually having some regular contractions – they were more regular and increasing in strength than my previous bouts of labor. Hooray! I got up to start timing them – they were about 2 minutes apart. I told Randall that we needed to clean the floor. I didn't know where I would end up having the baby, and I couldn't stand the thought of him being born to a dirty floor. Funny, the things that are important at that time in labor

With the floors clean, I finally decided it was time to wake my mom. About that time, my contractions intensified – though they weren't painful, I could feel the strength of them. I was sitting on my birth ball, mom gave counter pressure on my back, I leaned into my hubby, and just relaxed and let the contractions do their job. In between contractions I was so relaxed that I honestly kind of forgot I was actually in labor. Randall would pull up funny YouTube videos, and we would joke and laugh. It was a wonderful and relaxing fun time. About 6:00 a.m. I decided to move to the bathtub. Ahhhh – bliss! They took turns dumping a pitcher of water over my belly, and it was SO wonderful!

About 10:00 a.m. or so I felt a little urge to push – it definitely wasn't the intense urge I had had with Vienna. In the next three contractions, my healthy baby boy oozed out with barely any pushing on my part. Of course I was overjoyed and excited. I just held him and looked at him in awe. As blood was still pulsing through the cord that connected us, he began nursing like a champ. When I finally let my hubby and mom hold him after we cut the cord so they could weigh him, I made them do it again. He seemed so small! There was no way he was 8 lbs 11 oz! Well, they weighed him again, and yep – it was right the first time and they showed me to prove it. I was shocked!

My entire labor, we had Christmas music playing softly in the background. Vienna slept through most of it and was enjoying her breakfast when he entered the world. Within minutes she joined us in the bathroom and met her baby brother. About an hour or so after having him, we were all in our living room and our little family that had just grown by one opened our Christmas presents. After eating, he and I snuggled into bed and took a long nap. This all happened while getting 16.2 inches of snow during the worst blizzard of the year! We felt so blessed to not have to go out into the elements to get to the sterility of the hospital. We were warm and cozy in the comfort of our own home!

~Evie

Monday, December 23, 2013

Just Breathe

Oh. My. Word.

Where oh where has the time gone??

Do you all realize Christmas is TWO days away?? What am I saying. Of course you do! I'm sure you are feeling the crunch just like I am. Pretty much every single person I've talked to recently doesn't feel ready for Christmas. I don't know for sure if it's because Thanksgiving was so late this year (I'm sure that has something to do with it), or if it's just because our lives are so friggin busy, and adding all the extra activities of the Christmas season just makes it extra-hectic.

Whatever it is, I want to just give you some encouragement today (I probably need it just as much as any one of you).

I want you to stop what you  are doing right now. Working, wrapping presents, making Christmas goodies, cleaning your house in preparation for company, whatever it is you might be doing.

Now I want you to close your eyes and take a really deep breath. Not the kind that you do when you sigh. I'm talking about the kind that you breathe in all the way, you feel the tension in your chest build-up-build-up-build-up until it can't build anymore.

Then release.

When you release, I want you to imagine all tension blowing away with your breath. I want you to imagine it just melting away, rolling down your arms and legs and exiting your body. I want you to end your deep breath with a thought of something you are thankful for - before opening your eyes. You can repeat this deep breath thing as many times as you feel you need to. Until you truly feel all your tension and stress has at the very least lessened significantly or at the most disappeared completely.

Now, when you are ready, you can open your eyes.

Blink.

Now look around. Is there a Christmas tree near you? Take a short moment to enjoy the lights. Are your children near you? Watch them do whatever they are doing. Really just drink it in and enjoy them. Are there dirty dishes that you can see in your sink? Take a minute to thank God that you have food to eat that made those dishes dirty. Are you in a "sterile" work environment? Take a look around your work space and find one thing that you can enjoy. Just for a minute - wherever you are.

As you make your way through this Christmas season, I want to encourage you to do this as often as you need to to really truly enjoy yourself and rest in the true meaning of the season. Christmas is such a magical time of the year. It's filled with beautiful lights and music and wonderful sounds of children and adults just enjoying themselves. Join them. Don't worry so much about making it super perfect. Enjoy what you have. Make memories with your children. They won't remember the gifts anyway. They are going to remember how you made them feel. If you are stressed and not happy, or too worried about things to enjoy it, then they will be too.

So I want to encourage you to engage them in whatever you are doing. Be present. Turn the computer off and put down your iPhone. Love on them. Read to them. Make memories with them. Play with them. Delight with them in whatever they are delighting in at the moment.

Then, when it's all over, you can look back fondly and know that you weren't a downer because of stress. You were their light and love that they felt and that they will remember for years to come.

And if you start to feel the stress creep up, just breathe.

Many blessings to you this Christmas!

~Evie

Friday, December 6, 2013

Where are You Shopping?


Well, we are in full swing of the Holiday Shopping Season.

We were excited to see so many of you over the Thanksgiving weekend "kick-off" to shopping. We had Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales and deals, including an "Undiscovered Treasures Craft Fair" back in the Educated Mommy space on Small Business Saturday.

A great time was had by all, and at the craft fair many of you were able to support some wonderful Work at Home Moms, and make purchases that will be reinvested into local businesses.

From All Michigan mLive, "eLocal estimates that when purchases are made at local businesses, about 65 percent of revenue is reinvested into the community, compared with about 34 percent of revenue from national chains"

It's no secret that the holidays are super important to all retail businesses.

But they are even more important to local small businesses. It's our "make or break" time of the year. If people don't choose to shop locally at small businesses, it can make the difference in what products can be brought in, what services can be provided, the quality of information given, and of course, how much we can put back into the community through charity projects, missions, and just giving back to you, our wonderful customers and friends. If people don't support local businesses, they simply can't keep their doors open.

There are many small businesses locally - brick and mortar stores, online businesses, small-time WAHMs, Etsy shops, etc - and we at Elegant Mommy want to encourage you to shop small for all your gift giving needs this year!
Here at EM, in return for your support we pledge to continue to bring you the highest quality service and best products to help you through your pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and natural parenting journey while giving back to our community in every way we can.

Check our facebook page often to find out what deals we are running (because of facebook settings, you may not see them in your news feed!), and help us continue to bring wonderful things to you by shopping locally with us!

We will see you this December!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

And Here's Pet Pals!

  1. What is the name of your business and what products do you make (or
    services do you provide)? Name of business is Pet Pals. If you are going on vacation, weekend getaway, have long work hours, or have a busy schedule with sports and activities, Pet Pals comes to your home to take care of your pet kids.  
  2. What makes your products or services stand out - what makes them special? Pet Pals comes to your home! No longer do you need to worry about drop off and pickup times for your pet kid(s)!
  3. Tell us about the history of your business/company-how did it start? The founder of Pet Pals started doing pet sitting and dog walking for friends and family about 9 years ago while working a full time job. A true passion for pets, seeing how truly happy and content the pet kids are from staying in their own environment, seeing how much time she saved the busy families, and the cost savings she passed along to the families, Keli decided over three years ago to do pet sitting and dog walking full time (plus other pet services) and offer these services to Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.
  4. If you are a small business or Work at Home Mom, tell us how you make it
    all work with your family, kiddos, activities, and other life obligations. Can be summed up with: Passion, Dedication, Multi-Tasking, and Family Support.  
  5. How can someone find out more about your products/services? What is your website?www.HirePetPals.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Time to Meet Snappi!

What is the name of your business and what products do you make (or services do you provide)? Snappi Baby - the Snappi cloth diaper fastener, EpiBi diaper liners and nursing pads, the Jamm safety doorstop
What makes your products or services stand out - what makes them special? 

We distribute unique, practical and affordable children's products of high quality, that lend themselves to the safety and harmony of child and earth.
Tell us about the history of your business/company-how did it start? 

I was contacted by one of the patent attorneys of Snappi to be their distributor for North America.
If you are a small business or Work at Home Mom, tell us how you make it all work
Me, My daughter (a Snappi baby 21 years ago!), and My husband
with your family, kiddos, activities, and other life obligations.
  

Work mostly late at night while the family are sleeping! Plan meals ahead so that we keep eating healthily.  Take care of myself otherwise I am no use to anyone else.  
How can someone find out more about your products/services? What is your website? www.snappibaby.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Time to Meet Whole Beginnings!

What is the name of your business and what products do you make (or services do you provide)?
Whole Beginnings: I provide Holistic Pregnancy and Doula services, as well as handcrafted organic herbal balms, teas, baths and sprays for the enlightened mama.

What makes your products or services stand out - what makes them special?

My Holistic pregnancy services offer in-depth nurturing for mamas that you cannot get anywhere else. I felt that my time with doula clients was so limited, and I just had so much to share! My coaching services allow mamas to use me as an all around resource- and because I work online, I am able to help mamas long-distance! We cover everything from creating your own pregnancy tea or sitz bath, to step-by-step guidance through hospital procedures for birth.

My products are created with individual mamas in mind. Made of fresh, sustainable ingredients, and lots of love, my sitz baths, teas, sprays and balms are safe for anyone- so mamas can grow and heal gently and completely.

Tell us about the history of your business/company-how did it start?
I began my work with mothers as a social worker, right out of college. My path evolved to take me to full time nannying, and eventually doula work. My passion is so clearly to empower mamas to find their own unique way of mothering, to feel inspired, to feel informed, to feel cared for. My etsy shop was born out of wanting to share my client gifts with a broader audience!


If you are a small business or Work at Home Mom, tell us how you make it all work with your family, kiddos, activities, and other life obligations
We just moved here from Virginia for my husband’s job, so I’ve had to start over from scratch in many ways! But often being flexible and having to begin again can really help you let go of the old and begin fresh with new ideas. Lots of support from my wonderful husband, a lot of prayer, lots of wholesome foods, and a little wine. ;)

How can someone find out more about your products/services? What is your website?
You can find my services at http://wholebeginnings.com
My products are featured in my etsy shop: http://wholebeginnings.etsy.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time to Meet Irish Twins Soap Company!

What is the name of your business and what products do you make (or services do you provide)?
Irish Twins Soap Company - I make all natural aromatherapy soaps, spa luxuries and a homekeeping line, including rustic soaps, glycerin soaps, shaving soaps, sugar scrub, all-natural deodorant, Coconut Cream body butter, lip balm, laundry concentrate, and lime kitchen & bath scrub.

What makes your products or services stand out - what makes them special?
Our products are special because of our high-quality, all-natural ingredients.  Never any dyes, toxins, petroleum, parabens, aluminum, or artificial fragrances.

Tell us about the history of your business/company-how did it start?
I started making soap several years ago and launched Irish Twins Soap Company after my employer passed away.  Been working at it every day since and it's been steadily growing over the last 5 years.

If you are a small business or Work at Home Mom, tell us how you make it all work
with your family, kiddos, activities, and other life obligations
Working for myself has given our family great flexibility.  I am able to attend my boys' games and events and be flexible with my schedule to work around family events.  Myself and my husband make up our "staff".  We are passionate about educating and serving our customers with all natural healthy alternatives to commercial products.

How can someone find out more about your products/services? What is your website?
Visit our website at www.irishtwinssoaps.com or contact us at 605-351-9564 to find our more about our products.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Check out Sioux Falls Complete Fitness!

As you know today marks the beginning of our online scavenger hunt! We have several participating businesses that have contributed to the winner's prize pack, and we will be featuring many of them here on the blog!

To start out, meet Sioux Falls Complete Fitness.
~Evie
Owner Randy with his family
What is the name of your business and what products do you make (or services do you provide)? Complete Fitness is a 24/7 fitness facility offering personal training, nutritional guidance, and more. We pride ourselves on our true commitment to changing our clients' lives and giving them valuable tools to change their lives and help them achieve their goals.

What makes your products or services stand out - what makes them special?
 Without question our staff is what makes Complete Fitness special. Our trainers are experienced, knowledgeable, and consistently go above and beyond to give their clients their all. It's more than just a work out. Our trainers want to know how they can help you, what your pitfalls are, and where you struggle with nutrition. There is no cookie-cutter plan for every single person, and our personal trainers make sure they're doing everything possible to personalize and expedite your journey to your goals. 

Tell us about the history of your business/company -how did it start?
 For years, we

were a Tryon Gym, but as of January 1st, 2013, Randy Hartz (who had been the manager of this location under Tryon Gym) purchased the gym and changed it to Complete Fitness. Randy has worked in fitness for nearly 20 years, has graced covers of body building magazines, and has devoted his life to helping make others healthy. 

If you are a small business or Work at Home Mom, tell us how you make it all work
Personal Trainer Travis, with client Jessica
who had just lost 10 lbs in 24 days
with your family, kiddos, activities, and other life obligations.
 We are a small, local business and we know our clients are as busy as we are. Our trainers, Jane and Travis, make themselves available for early morning workouts as well as evening sessions so everyone has the opportunity to make fitness work in to their busy schedules. Randy Hartz, the owner and General Manager, has three boys - all under age 10  - and they are busy! He leaves the gym for parent teacher conferences, youth football games, and doctor appointments just like any other parent. He makes sure staff and clients know that God and family come first. Those priorities are a big part of why working at Complete Fitness is energizing and fun. We have been blessed to be able to help hundreds of people achieve their fitness goals, but Complete Fitness really is about more than that. We participated in a clothing drive called Kicks N' Threads this August that helped provide clothing and tennis shoes for area kids heading back to school whose families wouldn't have been able to get those supplies. Our members literally hopped off the treadmills to run to the mall and pick up the last remaining items before the deadline. This year we're excited to be a part of the Angel Tree program, which gives gifts to children who have a parent in prison. Last year our members and staff really pulled together to make this gift drive a success and the party for the kids was a ball. It was a great event and we're looking forward to it again this year and serving even more children. 

How can someone find out more about your products/services?  We love it when people stop by for a tour and more information! Our trainers are also happy to sit down with you and talk about your goals and what you've tried in the past. Those complimentary fitness assessments are a great way for people to have all of their questions answered in a private, one-on-one setting with no pressure. Our website and facebook page are also full of good information for anyone looking to start a fitness program.

What is your website?
 www.SiouxFallsCompleteFitness.com

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's Just About Time!!

Who's ready for our Online Scavenger Hunt?!?!

Did you participate last year? It's so much fun!

Ok, so what in the world is an online scavenger hunt, you ask?

Well, let me explain a little (official rules will be posted on our website on Monday morning - just check out our "Upcoming Events" link from our home page - don't worry, I'll remind you on our facebook page):
  • We have many businesses who will be participating in our event. 
  • Each business is contributing something to our grand prize
  • To enter for your chance to win, you, our "Players" will have to find an icon (that will be revealed on Monday morning) on each of our participating business' websites.
  • Once you find each hidden icon, you just enter the link to the page that you found it on in the form that will be provided.
Everyone who enters all links correctly will be entered to win our grand prize, which will be a combination of wonderful things from all of our participating businesses!

The rest of this month, we will be featuring the participating businesses right here on the blog, so be watching for all of the great businesses and give them some supportive love!

So, get ready - and don't miss out!!

~Evie

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To Be Alive...

Good grief! It's already November 6th and I haven't posted any "Thankful" posts yet - yikes! I can hardly believe how quickly time passes and how days just slip away.

Well, to start us out this month, we have a very good reminder to be thankful for our very lives. Thank you for sharing your story Emily!

~Evie

Hi there! 

My name is Emily and I am from Paducah, KY. 

In January, I found a knot on my neck. I went and had the knot examined and my doctor sent me to a specialist. I went nervously and the specialist said that I needed surgery to remove the knot. 

In March, I went in for surgery. During the surgery, they removed the mass along with the right side of my thyroid. They hoped I would be able to keep the other side so I wouldn’t need medication. Unfortunately, at my one week post-op checkup, I was diagnosed with two types of malignant cancer. I was told I would need another surgery to remove the left side of my thyroid and to see if the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, throat, or vocal cords. 

I was absolutely terrified. 

In April, only 3 weeks after my first surgery, I went through another surgery. After I awoke, I was told that in fact the cancer had not spread but I had another mass that had formed on the left side of my thyroid. I was then referred to an oncologist who took me through my treatment plan and what medications I would be on for the rest of my life. 

I went through an I-131 radioactive iodine treatment. It made me very sick and weak but the worst part was that I could not be around my children for 4 days. I slept for the most part to try and ease the agony of not being with my kids. 

In August, I went back to my oncologist and was told that I was “in remission” and that I would be fine. 

I thank God every day that I am able to wake up, go to work, and most importantly, be a mother.  Life is a precious gift that so many of us take for granted. 

My eyes have opened so much since I found out that I had cancer. Spilled milk can be cleaned up. Cleaning the house to perfection can wait. I want to enjoy every minute I can, with my children. They are the ones who got me through this terrible ordeal and I am so blessed to have them in my life. 

Today, I am thankful for life.

~Emily

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hey Facebook - Breastfeeding is NORMAL!

So, it's the same old story.

Someone posts a picture of themselves (or someone they know or have professionally photographed) breastfeeding on facebook, someone reports it as "offensive" or some such nonsense, and so facebook removes the picture.

They give the owner of said picture some kind of basic, canned reason, saying that their picture was reported and so it's been removed. I've even heard of some pages being shut down for breastfeeding pictures, or personal accounts being suspended for a time.

Really?

I mean, REALLY??

Have they actually SEEN some of the vile, sexualized, half-naked pictures that are elsewhere in their software? Pictures that show WAY more boob than some sweet baby being nourished does. (seriously - I just did a quick search and typed "sex" into their search function. Some of the disgusting and awful pages that came up made me think that I *never* want to let our kids get a facebook account. Or get on the Internet. Ever.)

I know it's an old argument - and an old fight.

"Facebook isn't owned by us, the user. It's owned by shareholders, and run by a corporation. We have to follow their rules. No matter how ridiculous and backwards they are."

Yes! Ridiculous and backward describes it exactly.

{sigh}

Well, we have an answer for all this.

We are going to start a Photo Gallery here on the blog and will post your beautiful breastfeeding pictures here! We know how precious those breastfeeding moments are. We know how sweet it is to capture those moments in a photograph. We also know how wonderful it is to share that beauty and those tender moments with others!

So, send me your breastfeeding pictures! Get them to me this week (by Sunday 10/26/13), and I'll work on getting the photo gallery up and running next week! Just email them to me at media@elegantmommy.com, and let me know if you'd like me to include yours and baby's first names in the caption.

Let's take a stand that shows how beautiful breastfeeding really is, and maybe the more people who see it will realize that it's really just normal, and such a beautiful life experience!

I look forward to getting TONS of beautiful breastfeeding pictures!

~Evie

Reduced Prices on Rebekah Scott? Yes Please!

Check out our facebook albums below by clicking on the links above the pictures. These pictures are just a sampling of the adorable items we have in stock as of today. If you find something you want, just leave your email address and your preference of local pick-up or shipping - which is ONLY $2.00 unless otherwise noted - in the comments on the picture of the item you want (in the facebook album), and we'll send you a paypal invoice. Once it's paid for, it's yours!

Click here to see all our available cosmetic bags, only $10.00 (on SALE!!) and made locally by Rebekah Scott Designs





Click into the album and see all of the beautiful designs available!

**Please note that the items in these albums are what we have in stock as of 10/22/13. Because these are items made by Work at Home Moms, stock and quantity of each fabric and design is limited. If you see something that you would like and it's not available when you order it, we will let you know as quickly as we can and will help you get something else that works for you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Birth "Device" Not Required

Oh. My. Word.

Did you all see this? Apparently some company decided to invent some torture medical labor-helping mama-helping - oh, I don't know - Some kind of device that is supposedly designed to help prevent "pelvic floor damage", and speed along labor/pushing.

From the initial article (found HERE), it explains that: "The device itself is surprisingly simple: a mechanical dilator that would penetrate the first third of the vaginal canal and basically pre-stretch it to full dilation. It would be used for an hour or two during the first stage of labor, and is equipped with sensitive load and location sensors, plus a semi-automatic force-controlled actuation system, so the device can be removed quickly."

Um, ok. {blink}

So, I'm really not much of a feminist or anything, but seriously? Two men came up with this? To benefit who or what, exactly? Their tee time?! I'm sure this - um - device can't possibly be about helping women have more confidence in their bodies to give birth in the way that they were designed to do. Because even if they had the best of intentions with the design (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt on this), it completely missed the mark.

Don't women who give birth in this country have enough against them? Maternal and infant mortality and morbidity is CRAZY high, c-sections are rampant (next time you are in a room with other women, look at the woman on your left, then look at the one on your right. Statistically one of you three will have a c-section. Yep. It's that bad), and our culture simply doesn't value birth for the POWERFUL and emotionally significant life event that it is. 

If you have any doubts about that, just look at Hollywood portrayals of birth. Then talk to your friends about their birth experiences. Did the majority of the births you saw on the screen or heard about from women you know make the mom feel in control, empowered, and respected? Or did the majority of them have a care provider swoop in for a few minutes, tell mom what was "wrong" with her body and how she was laboring and progressing and how he was going to "fix" it. Then whatever he did to "fix her broken body" lead to another intervention, and another, maybe even to surgical birth?

I just feel that WAY too many providers* have no idea how to support a laboring woman in
Mom deserves emotional support!
the way she needs to be. She needs to be respected, talked to (and not about), and whoever is caring for her needs to be supportive and make sure that she knows exactly what is going on at all times. SHE should be the one in charge, and if she needs some alone time with her birth partner to discuss options before proceeding with any intervention, then it should darn well be given to her. Without her having to ask for it. Birth trauma** is a real thing, and it can be caused simply by not respecting mom enough to give her all information and time necessary to make a good decision for herself and baby.


Women's bodies are NOT broken! They CAN give birth on their own! They did for thousands of years before all these fancy medical procedures and "devices"  were invented, and except for a small minority, natural and intervention free birth should be extremely attainable.

So, as far as this new device to stretch out women's vaginal tissues before baby is making his way through the birth canal, implying that a woman can't do it on her own? I say, no thank you. 

And I hope you do to. You don't need it. You can give birth on your own. You were designed to do this, and unless a real medical necessity comes up, you won't need anything other than some great support and the information and time to make good decisions for yourself. 

You CAN do it. Device not required.

~Evie

P.s. You can read more about this company and device here.

*I really hope this goes without me saying, but I know that not ALL providers don't know how to really support a mom in labor. I have had the great pleasure to work with many AMAZING doctors, midwives, and nurses who really, really understand birthing women. Unfortunately, not all providers are amazing, and this commentary is directed at them. If you are pregnant and don't feel like your provider is amazing, SWITCH! It's never too late, and really it can make all the difference in your birth!

**If you have experienced birth trauma, first of all - I'm SO sorry! Secondly, check out Educated Mommy's event page on facebook (HERE) and come join us at our next Birth Trauma Support Group. It's a safe place to come and get the support you need to help deal with what you have gone through and how you are feeling about everything now. We are here to help!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Superior Infant Food

We have long known that breast milk is the best food for baby. Nothing can even compare. Breast milk is literally alive, and made specifically for your baby. It has your antibodies and it has specific hormones, proteins and enzymes that are made to support your baby's physiological development.

Not only that, but you have the absolutely perfect amount that baby needs! Your body will regulate to the amount needed based on how often baby eats, and will produce as much or as little as needed.

Now, when pumping because you need to go back to work and other things in life come
up, complexities are added and there can be production challenges that you may need to work through.

I just want you to know that *IT'S WORTH IT!*

Here is an excerpt from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding  by La Leche League that briefly introduces just why it's superior:

Human milk has long set the standard for infant feeding. After all, human breast milk is the only food uniquely designed by nature for the human baby. It contains all the nutrients babies need each day, plus many substances that help keep them healthy and promote optimal growth and development. Through the years, research has confirmed what common sense dictates: a mother's own milk is the best possible food for her infant. Artificial infant feeding products can't even come close to duplicating the rich mix of nutrients and biologically active substances manufactured in mothers' breasts.

Just consider what human milk feeding accomplishes in a newborn baby. The comment "My, how that baby has grown" is music to a nursing mother's ears. Your baby's rate of growth during the early months is far greater than at any other period of life. The human brain is one-third its adult size at birth and reaches the two-thirds mark by age one. Your baby's head grows about four and one-half inches (11.25 centimeters) during his first year to allow for the tremendous growth of his brain. Good muscle development and substantial increase in length are other significant signs of progress, along with baby's weight gain. Getting bigger is serious business for a baby, and mother's milk provides all that babies need to grow, until solids are started sometime in the middle of the first year. Even then, human milk remains baby's nutritional mainstay for most of his first year.


Human milk, custom-made for the human baby's digestive system, is more readily assimilated than artificial formulas. It also protects against disease and helps every system in baby's body develop in the way nature planned.


Your milk is uniquely suited to meet your baby's nutritional needs. No two mothers produce identical milk. Even the milk of an individual mother varies from day to day and during different times of the day - just as other fluids and systems in our bodies fluctuate. The colostrum your baby receives on the first day of his life is different from the colostrum on day two or three. The milk produced by mothers of premature babies is higher in certain nutrients to meet her baby's special needs. Even the taste of the milk changes with the diet of the mother. You could say that your milk is programming your baby's taste buds for the coming fare on the dinner table. One study showed that when mothers consumed garlic capsules, their milk had the odor of garlic, and their babies sucked more vigorously and took in more milk. During one feeding, your milk varies from skim to creamy, permitting your breastfed baby to enjoy a change of tastes that could be compared to a multi-course meal. Human milk will sustain, strengthen, protect, and fill out your baby's precious body, and put a recognizable bloom on his skin. Human milk is the food of choice for human infants; anything else is a distant second.


If you are a breastfeeding mom, or will be soon, make sure to come to Educated Mommy tomorrow evening (Thursday, 10/10/13) at 6:30 p.m. for our Breastfeeding Support Group! We are here to help you in all your breastfeeding needs, answer questions, and basically just be the support that you need to have a very successful breastfeeding relationship with your little one.

Also, if you are one of those mamas that will be heading back to work soon, or have just returned to work and need some support in anything - breast feeding, pumping, or just someone to talk about what you are going through when you are away from your baby for work, make sure to join our support group specifically for "Going Back to Work" this Saturday morning (10/12/13) at 9:00 a.m.

We hope to see you soon!

~Evie

Reference:

La Leche League International (1997). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Sixth Revised Edition. New York: Penguin Group.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Messes

Well, it seems as though fall may have finally arrived here in SD. In fact, in some parts of the state, it sounds
like it might just be skipped altogether...blizzard warnings in the west!

Today I was watching a friend's kiddos for awhile, and having a really full house got me thinking about messes. They couldn't go outside to play cuz it was cold and raining, and the messes in the house started to pile up as they played, created, and were just being - well - kids.

As a mom, there are gazoodles of messes in our lives, aren't there?

It starts when baby first is coming and arrives. Birth is messy. It's a glorious mess, actually. Baby comes out messy, baby immediately starts making messes - in their diaper, on our shoulders, and in our lives. I mean really. Let's be honest. A baby really messes things up. Kids really mess things up.

They interrupt our "me, myself, and I" way of living. They require sacrifice. They require parts of you - your attention, energy, loving, hugs, encouragement, and teaching. All. The. Time.

The thing is, once you meet your sweet precious little one for the first time, when you actually *see* their face and can hold them and kiss them and look into their eyes, it's a mess that you could never again imagine not having.

As they grow, the same thing happens - over and over again. You think you get it all figured out and then they go and mess it up. They start to walk, talk, repeat what you say [yikes!], and become their own individual person, and it's a mess that you can't imagine not having. They turn 5, start school, loose teeth, make friends of their own, and it's a mess that you can't imagine not having. They turn 10, and well - I don't really know what happens then. I'm not there yet. I have a feeling they're gonna mess it all up again, though. Just when I think I've got it. And it will be a mess that I can't imagine not having. I won't even begin to think about the teen years yet.

My kitchen counter right now
Not only do they mess with our selfishness, they make messes in our homes. I know you know what I'm talking about. By the end of the day your home barely resembles itself. They are constantly getting new things out, making up games, building forts, crafting, playing with legos or lincoln logs. All while never even considering putting anything back when they are done. 

Even so. As I think about the messes around our house right now, I'm also counting my blessings. Each mess is a mess that I would never want to not have. Because if I didn't have it, it would mean I didn't have "my heart walking around outside my body."* 

I prayed for children for so long. I feel like the most blessed mama in the world to have them now. I'll take their messes - in my life and in our house - because it means I get to have them right here with me. And it's a beautiful mess.

~Evie

*borrowed from Elizabeth Stone's quote: "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

Friday, September 27, 2013

To My Angel Baby

We talk about being a mommy here all the time. We talk about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and just being the best mommy we can be to our children. But what about the beautiful children that we don't get to meet? 

What about those precious babies that become angels before we get to see if they are going to have our eyes or their father's lips?

Losing a baby is something that is not talked about enough, and the unimaginable pain of it is something that needs to be supported.

Nicole, I'd like to thank you for sharing your letter to your angel baby with us today. I pray peace, love, and healing for your loss.

For those of you who have experienced the loss of a baby, I pray that this letter can encourage you in some way. May you all be blessed.

~Evie

Dear Sprout,

Today was the day that your father, your brother, and I were "due" to meet you, see your face, hold you in our arms. April 18, 2012 was the predicted date that you'd enter this world.

I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that it's been 32 weeks since your heart stopped beating. It's been 31 weeks since we found out you were gone. It sounds so recent, and somehow, it seems like forever ago. I sit here, tears falling softly down my face, as I remember how beautiful my life was with you in it, and how devastated I was when you left.

Somehow, though, I feel strong. I wonder how long that strength will last.

My goal for today, while I celebrate your Auntie Allie's 13th birthday, while also observing the life you barely began to live is simply to smile. I hope to fight back tears and carry on with the day. I want to embrace the joy you brought us, as I embrace your father and also your brother. We have gotten through the loss so far, and I know that we can continue onward.

While I am sad that your'e gone, I know you're in a better place. I know that you never suffered the cruelty that this world can bring upon a person. You lived, so briefly, in a serene, calm place, and then ever so quietly went to meet our Maker.

I know that He has held you in his arms, even though I was unable to hold you in my own.

I know that there's a purpose in all of this- in your short life inside of me and the eternal life you began living, what I deem to be "too soon," and while I often sit and wonder what it is, I have decided to let it go. Someday, I will know. Until then, I will just embrace the fact that you happened to me- to us, and that it was a perfect and beautiful gift.

In a way, I suppose I should thank you, too, for giving your father and I the chance to become parents once more- for giving Spencer the opportunity to be a big brother to your little brother or sister, who we currently call Bo. It breaks my heart that there is no way that the two of you could exist in this household, on this earth, living this life together, but again, I know that someday, we all will be reunited as a family. I know I will live my earthly life imagining, from time to time, the day that the reunion comes true.

Baby, sweet baby, I miss you. I love you. I thank you for giving us the opportunity to know you exist and to love you forever. I carry you with me always.

Someday, Sprout, I will hold you.

Love, Your Mommy

~Nicole

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will Somebody Please Slow This Down?

Ahhhh!!

Yesterday evening I picked up the kids from my friend's house after I had been attending a birth all day, and I was met with something I was completely and utterly unprepared for.

Vienna had a loose tooth!!

Wait. What?!?!

She's ONLY 5! I thought we had at least a year before she started this! What the heck?

Then I realized - der. She DID just start kindergarten, and she will be SIX in January for pete's sake. It's
really not that out of the realm of possibility for her to have a loose tooth.

Bu.....bu.......but.......she's my *baaabyy*! How can this be happening already??

Good grief. I think I'm going to have a harder time with this whole growing up thing than I originally thought. And I've always known it would be tough for me. Dangit.

Next thing you know she'll be getting her period and we'll have to buy her a bra. Then she's gonna graduate high school and move out and.....and......there's absolutely not a single thing I can do about it. *Sniff*

I knew we signed up for this when we had her. I just didn't realize it was gonna all happen so friggin quickly, know what I mean?

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ok, ok.

I'll stop whining about how my kid's growing up too quickly. I'm sure you all know how I feel.

I guess I'm just gonna have to put my best foot forward and celebrate these things with her as they happen and pray that hubby and I are raising her to be strong and independent and to make the best decisions for herself when she does actually move out and get a life of her own. Which really won't be for quite awhile. I'll have time to adjust to that concept when it comes ;)

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy her sweet newly-toothless grin and kiss and hug and love on her as much as possible.


Ahh....precious childhood

~Evie

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just In!

Check out our new products that are available! They are so new, in fact, that they aren't even on the website yet! Come on in and get some today!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Products

Iowa Hawkeyes Spirit Piggy Paint!

Hip Peas Baby Body Products

Monday, September 16, 2013

Childbirth Professional Day - Meet Debbie Hayden-Miller

1. What is your Childbirth Profession?
I am a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)


2. Describe your profession and why someone would want to choose your profession for support in pregnancy and/or childbirth.

Midwife means, “With Woman”. A midwife provides primary care for women through their lifespan. Midwives have served women and their families for thousands of years, and provide a more personalized approach for care during pregnancy and childbirth.


As a midwife, I am lucky to share in the birth of a family.


3. Why did you get started in your profession?

I fell in love with childbirth with my first pregnancy. I took childbirth classes and enjoyed them so much, I taught classes for the next 5 years. At that time, I decided I wanted to do more so I went back to college to become a registered nurse. I always planned to go to school for midwifery but put my education aside while I raised my family. When the last of my children became teenagers, I returned to school for my Master’s degree in midwifery. It was a long journey, but oh, so worth it!
.
4. In detail, what is your personal childbirth philosophy?

Childbirth is
~an intimate, magical, spiritual moment in a woman’s life.
Childbirth is
~and should be treated as, a natural normal event in a woman’s life, not an illness
Childbirth is
~a sacred celebration of new life and should be protected from unnecessary interference.

All women should have the option to birth in a comfortable, secure and supported setting.


5. If you could tell all pregnant women in the world something, what would it be?

Having a child will change your world. It is a time in your life you will never forget. Each pregnancy will be differently important. Take care of yourself while you are pregnant, you have a precious little bundle growing inside of you, and what you do affects your baby.


6. How long have you been in your profession? Are you certified? If yes, by who?

I have been a registered nurse for 22 years and a certified nurse midwife for 2 years, 10 months. I am licensed, as a registered nurse (RN) and certified nurse midwife (CNM) in South Dakota and Minnesota. I am certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.


7. Do you have a business name? How can people contact you for pregnancy and childbirth support?



My business name is Laughing Waters Midwifery, PC. I can be contacted many ways.
Web page: www.laughingwatersmidwifery.com
Email directly from the web page or email me at dhaydenmiller@hotmail.com
Phone number: 605-351-8041
You many also find me on Facebook


8. Where do you practice?

I am located in Sioux Falls. Currently all care will be done in your home if you live within 30 minutes of my office. Out-of-town clients will have appointments at my office. Your baby will be born in your home, you can select a water birth if you desire. I plan to travel no more than 2 hours away from Sioux Falls.


9. Events

Please join me for:

“Tea with a Homebirth Midwife”
Educated Mommy
207 W. 37th St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
on:
September 17, 2013, 6:30 pm
January 21, 2014, 6:30 pm
April 15, 2014, 6:30 pm

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

To Stay Home or Not To Stay Home...That is the Question

One thing that all mothers have to come to terms with at one time or another, is whether or not to go back to work after baby comes. It can be a heart-wrenching and scary decision, no matter what decision is made. 

If you are a mama that has decided to go back to work after baby arrives, I would like to invite you to come to our "Going Back to Work" group this Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. You can register for it here.

If you are a mama who is breastfeeding any age child (or will be soon!), we would like you to join us for our breastfeeding support group this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. You can find out more about that and rsvp here.

Now, in the spirit of going back to work, and deciding if you want to go back or stay home, here is an excerpt from La Leche League's 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding'.

Take One Step at a TIME

If you are awaiting the arrival of your baby, you are probably thinking about what you should tell your employer regarding your future plans. From experience, many mothers insist: "Do not make any commitments before your baby is born." If at all possible, keep your options open.

You do not want the specter hanging over your head of having to return to a job by a certain date because of an agreement you made while still pregnant. Most businesses offer a maternity leave, and will hold your job for you for a specified period of time after the baby is born. By all means take advantage of whatever leave is available to you, and give yourself that time to assess how you will feel about leaving your baby. For someone to expect you to promise away your future and that of your baby before you even have a chance to meet is tantamount to signing a blank check - no, it is worse.


Exploring OPTIONS

In 'OF CRADLES AND CAREERS', Kaye Lowman explores many aspects that are available to women who refuse to make an "all-or-nothing choice" between their careers and their families. her book includes stories of women who have "reshaped the workplace in order to make it more responsive to their need to work and their desire to have a family." She goes on to explain:
Whether a woman's need to work is financial, social, or emotional, the desire to be a parent may be equally strong...The career woman today understands her baby's need for her and the importance of being a meaningful part of her baby's life. And she realizes how much she herself will lose if she misses out on the opportunity to mother her own children...Careers can be put on hold; babies grow up and are gone. It was a wise and thoughtful Mother Nature who brought babies into the world needing to be breastfed and cared for, reminding us that mother and baby are very much a unit for many months after birth and that they need to be together. To try to ignore or circumvent this physical and psychological need is to tamper with one of the most fundamental and basic elements of human nature.
Some women make one decision before their babies are born and find their attitudes change once they become mothers. Such was the case with Joy Cohen of New York:
I have worked with children for eleven years: as an early childhood teacher, as a teacher and therapist in a therapeutic nursery, and as a psychotherapist caring for seriously disturbed children and their families. 
When I was pregnant, I believed that I would be ready to resume my part-time psychotherapy practice after three or four months. I couldn't have known then the power and intensity of my baby's and my need for each other. I wanted to give myself totally to this new and wonderful adventure called mothering. Slowly but surely I did just that.
Those first few months passed quickly, and I began to feel pressure to resume my practice. The children and families with whom I had been working were anxious to continue. My friends and family encouraged me not to give up my career.
 
My own cultural stereotype of the woman who can easily manage family and career during her children's early years was being challenged. The only stimulation I felt I needed was the stimulation of my baby nursing at my breast. I wanted to savor every minute of my new life and this delicately unfolding new relationship. I felt a crisis of the heart upon me. 
Fortunately, I did not have to work for economic reasons, and my husband said that he had confidence in me and that he would be supportive of any decision that I made.
I had previously arranged to have my mother care for Michael during my sessions. When I told her that I didn't want to go back to work and felt the baby strongly needed me, she told me that I was making a big mistake. I was pained that my mother couldn't be as supportive as I would have liked, but if I have learned anything from helping people know their feelings, it was to acknowledge and trust my own.
 
After much soul-searching, I decided to stop working with my clients. The separations were difficult and sad for everyone. I tried hard to stay connected to my own heart and knew that what was best for me would ultimately be best for all concerned. When I knew I would not longer have to be away from Michael, I breathed a long, deep sigh of relief. The internal and external work had been difficult, but as I nestled in to nurse my baby with the knowledge that I would not have to be away from him until we were both ready, I knew that it had been necessary work from which I had grown deeply as a mother and as a person. I knew that I had made absolutely the right decision.
For some mothers, even working part-time interferes with their ability to mother their child. Elizabeth Golestaani, from Iran, is one such mother:
Until recently, I had always thought part-time work - say two hours three times a week - was the ideal for the mother of a small child. Add to this the great demand for my English-teaching skills here in Iran, and I was under a lot of pressure to return to work. So I did - and what a mistake. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I'm not Superwoman and that in my case working even part-time is too much. I kept thinking that soon i would get more organized or my toddler, Sa'id, would need me less, and then all would be well. 
The idea of "giving up my career" was so scary! I kept wrestling with my thoughts and emotions. Then I received the January-February issue of NEW BEGINNINGS. In it, I read an article by a mother who had been in exactly the same situation. She wrote about how important it is for one to acknowledge and trust one's feelings, and that helped me enormously. 
I was finally able to decide to do what I believed was right for me, which was to stop accepting teaching commitments while I have a small child. I still had to finish out the university semester, but just having made the decision changed my attitude so much.
After just two days, I realized my feelings and behavior towards Sa'id had changed. I was less irritable, more loving, and the angry scoldings were replaced by hugs and listening and eye contact. Life seemed so good again.
 
I hadn't realized my teaching had such a bad effect on my mothering until my decision to stop. It was hard telling everybody "no more," but I kept reminding myself "Sa'id first." For me, staying home allows me to be the kind of mother I want to be.