Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bean is 2!!

Bean turned 2 last week. WOOHOO!! I’ve always been one to celebrate birthdays. They’re the best holidays of the year. I don’t need a huge celebration with tons of money to celebrate, a dinner and a song or a few songs is fine with me. Now that I’m a mom a birth day means so much more.

Celebrating your child’s birthday includes a bunch of other celebrations as well. Of course there is the celebration of yet another year of life and all that comes with that year full of challenges, learning and exploring. In a world like the one we live in, with so much violence and so many diseases one more year is something to celebrate. There’s the celebration of making it through labor, however many years ago that was. And a chance to reflect as a parent on what you’ve learned about parenting and what that child has taught you about yourself and about life in general. Oh and for us, this year we also get to cheer for 2 years of breastfeeding and all the bonding and nutrients that come with it!!

So even if you don’t throw big parties or give tons of gifts, just taking a bit of time to celebrate all that comes with being a parent makes that day super special!! A nice way to say thank you to our creator, whomever you believe in, for choosing you to be the guiding force for another life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAN!!πŸ˜˜πŸ˜πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

20130825-073344.jpgBONZI!!

20130825-073407.jpgRed icing noses with big cousin.

20130825-073428.jpgHugs from Nana and Uncle!

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Lamaze Childbirth Education

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Some of you may know that I’ve become very excited about the world of natural birth. Mixed in with this excitement has been tons of frustration with the lack of information and support in my community for a natural birth. Well since being pregnant with Bean I’ve been trying to figure out how I can contribute to the world of birthing. I’ve toyed with the idea of being a midwife, doula, childbirth educator or lactation consultant. I’ve had many conversations with some old classmates and women who are currently contributing to this world of birthing.

There is so much information out there and so many training courses that it was hard to make a decision. Plus trying to figure out what type of commitment I was willing to make was important as well. I completely understand that there is a need for more African-American Doulas and Midwives, especially with the infant mortality rates that are unbelievably high. I just don’t KNOW if I’m ready to take that leap right now. With 2 small children at home I think I would have a hard time leaving them at any given time (in the middle of the night is my biggest concern) to attend a birth. I know I know women do it all the time and my hat goes off to them, I’m just not sure if I am ready for that.

So after many conversations I have made a decision to start off by getting certified as a Lamaze Childbirth Educator. WOOHOO! It has taken 2 years to make a decision and I think part of that hesitation was me being in my own way. Not sure if I was ready for the responsibility that comes with such a role, not sure if I would be able to make a good enough impact. After working with teen moms and new moms in an urban community for the last 6 months with the googled, Facebooked knowledge, info from documentaries and birthing workshops and of course my own experiences that I’ve been able to share, I KNOW I’m ready to take on this responsibility. There are so many questions and so many myths and misinformed women, families and communities. I’m ready to contribute to changing this and helping women get enough information to make informed decisions and feel equipped enough to advocate for the birth they want AND to believe in themselves and their bodies’ capabilities.

So I must say thank you to the following people for the encouragement and answering may many, many, many questions (probably repetitive) over the past 2 years: Aza Nedhari, Asasiya Muhammad, Lakisha Dennis, Thalla-Marie Choxi, Jill Wadnick, Ina May Gaskin, Irina Ventura and of course my family. Your words have stayed with me ladies and I can’t thank you enough for doing what you do and encouraging me as you mother your own children while giving women encouragement and knowledge nonstop!! Keep it going!!

I will begin my journey at a weekend long seminar at the end of September and spend the following 7 months prepping for the certification exam in April. My goal is to become a childbirth educator then a lactation consultant and eventually a doula. Here’s to informed women, families and communities AND happy, healthy mamas and babies no matter what your ethnic and economic status is.

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Baby #2 Has Arrived

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And so we welcomed our second baby into the world!! After what felt like a long labor but wasn’t really at all. Our second child entered the world with a great little cry.

Here’s my birth story.
Around 11pm on Thursday night I felt the first contraction. I got a little excited because it was day 10 after my due date and my midwives were talking about possible induction if things didn’t happen by Monday. EEEKK! I have to admit I was freaking out about being induced. Because of the pain I hear it causes and the possible affects it may have on my baby. Anyway I tried to sleep but that wasn’t working, not sure if it was because of the excitement or what so I got up and just started working on this list of things (that seemed to be in my head for this specific time) that just HAD to be done. Clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, organize the baby drawer AGAIN, have a snack of courseπŸ˜‹, take a shower…you know that stuff.

Around 2am I decided to call my midwife and let her know what I was feeling; the pain was still bearable but getting more intense and a little closer together. They wanted me to call early during the laboring process because I live about 30 minutes from the hospital and my birth with Bean was pretty fast (4hours of active labor). I called my mom to give her a heads up since she would be coming along to handle and coach bean through the process. I also sent sistercousin and aunt Shelly a text so my blessingsway women can light there candles. We (my mom, hubby, Bean and I…the rest of the crew was in Cali for my aunt’s party) left the house around 6am in order to beat the traffic. I got checked only to find out that I was ONLY 6 DARN CENTIMETERS. WHAT?!? I had been walking around 4cm for the past week! UGH!! I thought the second time around was going to be a lot faster. Anyway I was discharged and advised NOT to go home but go grab a bite to eat and walk around. Around 9:30 I call the new midwife on call Donna Roosa, of Avalon Midwives, and tell her that not much has changed and I wanted I go home and try to get some rest. I just felt like laboring at home would feel a lot better than laboring in the front of Morristown Medical Center (even though we found a cute little chipmunk to keep us occupied), plus Bean was getting a little restless. Donna had me come in to be checked again and mentioned that she didn’t want me to go home since I lived so far and was 6cm. She checked again and said I had progressed to 7. HAHA 3 hours and 1 more cm😳, so she suggested that I have my water broken just to encourage “things” to get moving. I got cleaned up a bit and hubby and I had to start walking again but this time in the hospital between the labor & delivery unit and the mother/baby unit. I was breathing through the contractions, squatting in the hallways, laughing with friends and family via text, laughing with my hubby and the hospital staff that we passed…keeping my spirits high and working on that happy hormone that helps during laborπŸ˜†.

20130813-085944.jpgHubby slept or played a darn video game (as we walked) for most of this process.

Around 12 noon Donna checked me again. STILL 7CM!!! Haha! So she asked if I wanted to take some type of oral hormone to encourage things to happen. Of course I said no let’s try something else, she suggested the shower and started the water. She came out and I asked if my mom and Bean could join us. At this point she remembered that I am still breastfeeding Bean and suggested bringing him in to nurse. That nipple stimulation would take me to where I needed to be. OH YES!! With less than 10mins of him nursing, the contractions were closer together and A LOT more intense. I had progressed to 9cm within 20 minutes.

Bean looked a little worried as he squeezed me (and I’m sure I was squeezing him a bit too). My mom scooped him and started to explain what was happening. She whipped out the iPad 😏, and he was ok for a little. That is until he heard me make some “funny” noises. Thank goodness we practiced this. My mom reminded him to tell me to breath so he would come over for each contraction and as hubby massaged my lower back, Bean jumped in to rub my back or belly and remind me to “breath mom” with the sweetest voice ever. That was so comforting and made both the nurses and me very happy. Good energy for that room!

Donna started filling the birthing tub and I climbed in. Very shortly after entering the pool I felt the urge to start pushing. NOTHING seemed to be happening. Donna checked me again and told me I just had a little more cervix blocking the process. I started losing energy, I was hungry and feeling a little defeated. My team was awesome and got me back in the zone. Donna asked if I wanted to get out of the pool and allow her to lift (I think that’s what she said) the cervix then get back in to deliver my baby (I love that she honored and respected my strong desire to birth in the pool and catch my own baby). By the time we got to the bed and she lifted my cervix the head was THERE I could feel it with my own hands. I decided NOT to transition back to the pool and pushed right there. The head was out and I could hear my mom gasp, Bean said “BABY!”, and hubby said you can do it. They unwrapped the cord from the baby’s neck and it was time to push again, “push from here (tap on belly) not from your neck” Donna coached. I could now feel the shoulders. 2 pushes later baby was out, on my chest and being encouraged to nurse!! πŸ˜…πŸ˜˜πŸ˜πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

I had been waiting for this moment…I checked between the legs and greeted my BOY with a kiss and a smile. My mom was on the side and I could hear her say “A BOY?” LOL my entire family (expect my dad) and most of my friends were very sure that I was having a girl.

I loved the fact that this time around the baby was immediately placed on my chest, encouraged to nurse and remained attached to the umbilical cord for a bit of time before being taken to be weighed and all. We all, including Bean got to visit with the baby as he lay there skin-to-skin for quite some time before the nurses took him. And when they did take him he was only steps away from mama and hubby was right with him. They even took good care of my placenta which the knew I was having encapsulated.

So I didn’t get to birth in the pool as I hoped. And since I was so far past my due date we didn’t have the photographer or my aunt and sistercousins physically there. But I ABSOLUTELY LOVED my experience!!

This post is kind of long so I’ll save my thoughts on delivering in a “baby-friendly” hospital vs. one that’s not so close to that status AND my reason for and thoughts on having Bean (my 2 year old son) present during the process for another post.

I hope you enjoyed my birth story and please share. I’ve found that the more stories are shared the more excited people get about the birthing process. Especially among African-Americans with some alarming views about birth AND the horrifying infant mortality numbers. So please please share this experience and yours too😊.

20130813-102422.jpgFirst Latch with big brother’s help.

20130813-103002.jpgNana giving big brother some tips.

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Due Date?!?!

So my due date was Monday, January 29th and here it is 5 days later and the baby’s still taking his/her time to make an entrance. LOL now I can completely understand why some people refer to the given date as the GUESS date. After all there is only one supreme being and all of us here on earth must patiently wait for our gifts to arrive right.

Well that’s what we are doing in my family…Patiently waiting. Well I don’t know if we are really waiting PATIENTLY but we are waiting. My midwives say that everything looks good right now so there is no need to be alarmed but with my mom, brother, sistercousins and aunT are scheduled to leave town soon so they are getting a bit anxious to have baby arrive before hand. I’m encouraging them not to change any plans because I feel well supported here. I’ve got all the fam that attended my blessing way, plus my Holistic Moms Family and some friends I know are able to step in if they were to receive a call for help. I know my mom is having the hardest time leaving before her “granddaughter” arrives.

I just love that she is so sure that I’m having a girl. I must admit hearing people’s reasons for their gender guess has been one of the best parts of not knowing who will arrive.

Anyway I’ve been soaking up all of this one-on-one time with Bean since I stopped working and it has been amazing. He’s such a sponge and this past week of exploration has been full of lessons for both of us oh and my hubby too. Here are some pics from our adventures last week!

20130803-012054.jpg Story time at Barnes and Noble

20130803-012207.jpg Family Fun Day at NJPAC

20130803-012301.jpg Happy Birthday Nana!!

20130803-012512.jpgOohh a worm!!

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Fun at the Zoo

Thanks for reading. Maybe by the next post I’ll be introducing you to someone newπŸ˜‰. Lata!!

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Black and Aware In America

I’ve had this as a draft for a while now:

I’ve debated posting something about the Trayvon Martin verdict but it has been on my mind EVERY DAY for the last couple of weeks. Being the daughter of a black man, the niece and cousin of many black men and the sister of 2 young black boys has had this topic in my face for ALL of my life. Since becoming the mother of a black boy I think it became even more clear that I NEED to be aware of the cause and affects of blackness in America.

I am very grateful to be a part of a family that has always made it a MUST to be aware of our history and some of the current rediculousness that blacks continue to be confronted with in America (the land of opportunity where dreams come true). It seems as if it’s only on paper when it comes to equal access and opportunity. So many of us have had to deal with the systems that continue to force blacks to HAVE to work harder than nonblacks to be on the same playing fields. From the delivery room, to the classroom, to the work place and everywhere in between there is a battle to have access to what is available and of good quality.

Since becoming a mom, I have becoming a lot more aware of the importance of not just knowing my history BUT understanding and knowing how to pass it on. I have spent a lot of time reflecting these last couple of years and although I majored in African American studies as an undergrad student at Temple University (c/o 2005), I think it is now that I am actually READY to receive and absorb the information I was seeking then. I am often frustrated with myself for wasting time and not getting as much out of my readings as I am getting out of what I read today especially when it comes to the African people. I have admired many of my family members and peers who took a stand against many of the injustices that continue to marginalize our community. A lot of my reflection has lead me to wonder if I am doing my part for my people or if what I am doing is enough.

As I look at my son now, I begin to think of how I will instill many of the values that were once very strong in my community but are now hard to find. It is now up to me to help shape the direction we will go and I believe our history plays a huge role in that process. Not to mention being able to explain the history of my hubby’s country as well.

So I ask myself “HOW?!?!” How do I learn the REAL history of our people? How do I pass this on? How do I create an environment in my home that creates a hunger for the knowledge of this history? How do I find the right methods and channels to pass on what I learn in a way that will create stronger individuals who can continue the fight our ancestors started?

I am raising a black boy in a world with a lot of people expecting him to fail just because of that and I just can’t allow that to be a part of his equation. It is evident that in order for me to make him aware of his rights and responsibilities as a black male I must also be aware of the challenges that he will face. I don’t believe that fear should guide his life but an awareness of the reality of the world we live in. It’s extremely frustrating that this reality is as unfair and unjust as it is especially after all that has been done and continues to be done to fight it. Isn’t America supposed to be a “melting pot” for all nations and wouldn’t that make us all a part of the same community?

What are your thoughts? And how do you create a hunger for learning history for you children?

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