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What Natural Childbirth Says About You

Sure, there were an ample amount of people in my life that weren’t shy suggesting that I was half crazy for not wanting an epidural with my second pregnancy.
I remember talking to friends and coworkers – all of which lent the helpful advice that childbirth without an epidural is ludacris and anyone who willingly chooses to opt out is simply naively brave – wishing me the best of luck, of course.
One of my reasons to attempt a natural labor and birth was because I had gained a tendency to favor the natural way of doing things since my first daughter was born. With my first labor/delivery, I was unknowledgeable about what interventions were to be expected in a medicated labor (ex. epidural or induction). I also had no comprehension of the risks those interventions carried for me and my baby. I was mainly focusing on what clothes to buy, what color to paint the nursery and what to register for at Babies-R-Us.
There was no one in my life that talked to me about natural labor and birth. Not even my OBGYN.  
That’s the thing about learning – it’s hard to unlearn and go back to the person you were before.
With my second pregnancy, willingly requesting drugs during labor wasn’t something I would choose anymore. There were aspects about birth that I had learned since then.
Whatever a woman decides, it is essentially her choice – however, there is value in researching both options (especially for first time moms) so you are able to make an educated choice. 
The choice for at least trying a natural childbirth reflects a certain understanding.

You Understand that Interventions Add Risk

When choosing natural childbirth for my second baby, I did so because I understood that any artificial interruption, even with the best intention, would add risk to both me and the baby.
Of course, having a natural childbirth doesn’t mean swearing off all medical interventions in absolute terms. Circumstances may arise when such interventions become life-saving and I am grateful that those interventions are available.
Though, lessening the discomfort of contractions was not something I was willing to add risk, however incremental or acceptable they are.

The following is a brief list of certain risks that accompany the use of epidural medication during labor:

An increase in the length of the first and second stages of labor[*]

Decrease in uterine performance (during oxytocin-stimulated labor)[*]

An increased risk of instrumental vaginal birth[*]

More operative intervention[*]

An increased risk of developing maternal pyrexia (fever)[*]

A risk of dural puncture (up to 3 out of every 100 women)[*]

Increase in maternal hypotension[*]

Increase in urinary retention[*]

Increase in oxytocin administration[*]

Increased risk for cesarean section for dystocia (three- to six-fold increase)[*]

General risks include:[*]

Allergic reaction to the anesthesia used

Bleeding around the spinal column (hematoma)

Drop in blood pressure

Infection in your spine (meningitis or abscess)

Nerve damage

Seizures (rare)

Severe headache

You Understand Medicine Passes to the Baby
An epidural is not an actual medicine; instead it’s the process in which drugs are administered into the body.   
The medication will be injected just outside of the sac of fluid around your spinal cord (the epidural space). [*]
The drugs administered via epidural are a combination of local anesthetics and short-acting lipid-soluble opioids (usually a combination of narcotics such as fentanyl and sufentanil).[*][*][*]
When choosing a natural, drug-free labor, a newborn eliminates the risk of being affected by these narcotics.
This means no additional risk of not being able to stabilize heart rate. No added risk of allergic reaction. No added risk of respiratory complications.
You Understand Pain is Not Without Purpose
With my first labor, I attempted to avoid the pain when I got the epidural. Midway through, the medication wore off and the pain was horrendous.
I was tethered to an IV. I was wrapped up in a fetal monitor. I was inserted with a catheter. I was attached to a hollow wire located in my spine. Laying on my back with limited movement – the only option I had was to ask for more drugs…and hence more risk for myself and my baby.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t willingly put myself in that position again.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I decided that I would do everything in my power (by researching, preparing physically and mentally) not to find myself in that position again.
I remembered what the contractions felt like before the epidural, and honestly, they weren’t unbearable. It was only when I was required to be still, on my back, that they were intense.
It was only when I didn’t have the gradual experience of pain that it felt extreme. Imagine going from 1 to a TEN THOUSAND on the pain meter once the drugs in the epidural wore off!
In my experience, the purpose of pain during labor was a profound connection and communication with my body and my mind.
I moved a lot. I didn’t lay down for very long periods of time. I rocked around. I breathed, deeply.
If you look more deeply into what those actions were doing you will see and understand – the pain made me stay vertical and helped the daughter’s head down, it kept my oxygen levels high. It allowed me to find natural pain relief through my own reckoning. 


My first daughter acted as a catalyst for so many great things in my life. In experiencing a medicated birth, I was given the opportunity to choose a different path.
I was given the opportunity to learn that I must rely on myself to place the effort into choosing the safest and healthiest choices for my life.
One can anticipate that events will happen during labor that is going to be unexpected and you will have to adjust your plan or even throw it out the window completely.
In the end, it’s not about choosing natural birth or pain medication. It’s about agreeing that it is a considerable decision that carries significant consequences.

6 Life Lessons Learned From My Backyard

People spend thousands of dollars on spiritual retreats to spas or resorts– funny how life’s lessons are as close as our backyard...

Lesson 1: Through death and through life, our function in life is eternally evolving.

Once an old, steel electrical pillar – we made second use to house baby birds during spring

Lesson 2: Never be too proud to ask for help

Elizabeth has now mastered the art of swinging high, but not after asking for help from the people she loves. Great Lesson.

Lesson 3: The deeper I know myself, the clearer I understand others. Accept people for who they are.

Ferns symbolize sincerity towards others. We have a fern ‘garden’ near the steps of our deck.

Lesson 4: If you want to feel rich, simply count all of the things you have that money can’t buy.

Playing barefoot with my family in the backyard makes me feel so blessed and rich.

Lesson 5: Live with purpose

We watched ants work diligently for weeks on these Peony buds, opening them up to full bloom

Lesson 6: Life will not present problems without solutions.

This small birth bath has a little angel on the edge. For a lot of people angels represent divine communication. It’s important to remember God is always talking to us, not in voices, but in thoughts, impulses and happenings. The message is, “You are loved. Life is not as bad as you think. You can make things better.”

BEWARE of Sanctimommy

Criticism is a misconception.

When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person;
it merely says something about our own need to be critical.

- Unknown

It is difficult to determine who the first mom was that was so lucky to be labeled as a ‘sanctimommy’.  Making an educated guess, I bet it was somewhere in a place where assaulting others under the veil of anonymity reigns supreme: the internet.

So what/who is a sanctimom exactly?


Sanctimommy: (noun) refers to a person, usually female, who judges perceived faults in the parenting of others with a condescending tone. This is sometimes done in a fashion that provokes anger.

Dropping the fancy definition: Someone who judges and criticizes the hell out of others.

How do we deal with these horrendously, judgy creatures?

Easy, really – two ways.

One, you realize that destructive criticism only stems from insecurity.

Second, and most importantly, recognizing we all have the potential of becoming one!

This is important because once we recognize that our own judgment comes from our insecurities we can deal with others criticism more easily because we know it is coming from the same insecure, anxious place. We can stop reacting to others who judge us, and instead show compassion because they are people who suffer from their own insecurities.   

It’s not about our parenting choices, judgmental moms or criticizing comments at all – it’s about you. It’s about being confident and secure.  

In my experience, it seems that this term is applied solely to mothers who do anything “non-mainstream” and that is severely limiting. Thinking only one “type” or “style” of mother has the potential to morph into the loudly critical “sanctimommy” reduces our awareness that we all have latent judgments of other’s parenting choices. Instead of looking outward, pointing a figure and labeling others as judgy sanctimommies, we should look at ourselves and make sure we are dealing with our own ideals constructively. This will ultimately lend in the ability in accepting ourselves unconditionally and give us the ability to deal with criticism in our life like water off the camels back (I think that’s the term I’m aiming for).

Even the most seemly non-judgemental of us struggle with our inner-sanctimommy and that’s ok. The loud, squeal of judgment should act like a light bulb to tell us that we have unresolved issues to deal with.

Let me be the first among my fellow mothers to step forward, offer a truce and say that I am sure that I have unthinkably made comments about parenting differences that might have been “sanctimommi-ous”:.

And to my friends that have bourn the brunt of my sanctimommy-ous-ness, let me say: You are doing a great job. I think your kids are awesome and my daughters love to play with them. Thank you for dealing with my shortcomings.  I am grateful for you in my life and what I have learned from you.

Motherhood, if nothing else, provides a host of brilliant opportunities to grow, love and nurture – not only our children but ourselves.

Embrace criticism with compassion for the other person, for their words come from a volatile place. Make sure to deal with your own inner-critic to spark the growth needed to become a better person, mother and friend.  

Concerns on Using Polysorbate 80 in Vaccines

Poly-SOR-bate 80 (polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate or Tween 80) is an amber-colored, slightly bitter tasting liquid used primarily as an emulsifier in many food products, cosmetics, vitamins, medicines and …vaccines.

There are some concerns with the use of Polysorbate 80 in vaccine administration. Here are a few:


According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for PolySorbate 80 there is no information available regarding carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or developmental toxicity effects. [1]

Important to note: the lack of information means that the studies have not been performed or have been inconclusive.

The MSDS toxicity information addresses ingestion and inhalation only. It does not address injection.

Here is a list of vaccines that contain Polysorbate 80 [2]
DTaP (Infantix)
DTaP (Tripedia)
DTaP (Kinrix)
DTaP-HepB-IPV (Pediatrix)
DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel)
HPV (Gardasil)
Influenza (Fluarix)
Influenza (Flulaval)
Pneumococcal (Prevnar 13)
Rotavirus (RotaTeq)
Tdap (Boostrix)

Taken directly from the MSDS (last updated NOV 2010):

"Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans:
May cause adverse reproductive effects based on animal test data. No human data found. May cause cancer based on animal test data. No human data found. May affect genetic material (mutagenic)"[1]


Here’s a strange one -

A patent for a vaccine that would decrease the ability for fertility in animals (which can be found here -submitted by the University
of Georgia Research Foundation) “preferably includes Tween 80 (Polysobate 80)”. [3]

The patent immediately goes on to site the book “The Theory and Practical Application of Adjuvants” after declaring Tween 80 as a preferable ingredient. This book lists the benefits and pitfalls associated with the use of different adjuvants. Studies include such problems as isolation, adverse reactions and practical applications.[3][4]

At least there is a practical application for it - decreasing fertility?!  

Permeability of the Blood Brain Barrier

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a paradox. On one hand, it protects the brain from that would otherwise be a constant systemic barrage of noxious substances. On the other hand, it prevents, in large measure, the delivery of therapeutic agents to patients with brain tumors. [5]

That is why Polysorbate 80 is used in pharmacology to assist in the delivery of certain drugs or chemotherapeutic agents across the blood brain barrier. Nanoparticles are coated in polysorabate 80 and without the use of this type of nanoparticle, the drugs would not be able to cross the barrier and yield effect. [6]

You may think this is a strech. What does nanoparticles coated in polysobate 80 have to do with polysorbate 80 in vaccines? Surely the amount of polysorbate used and the mechanism is different. Unfortunately, it it known that polysorbate 80 causes BBB disturbance at intrevenous systemic doses as low as 3 mg. [6]

I encourage you to learn, read, research, and talk about wellness. Take responsibility for your choices and actions by understanding and making decisions with intent.

This post reflects the research and concern that I have about vaccination.  It doesn’t represent my opinion of people who choose to vaccinate.  Please know that, while my family has made this decision, we respect the right of all parents to choose to vaccinate if they feel this is best for their child.  I don’t have all the answers.  Most of us don’t.  We’re all in the same boat in that we need to make the best decision we can with the information we have.  And, ultimately, I believe that the Divine is in control – what is meant to be will prevail, no matter our decision.


[1] Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for PolySorbate 80 (

[3] ‘Fertility Impairing Vaccine And Methods of Use'
This application claims the benefit of U. S. Provisional Application No. 60/070,375, filed January 2,1998, U. S. Provisional Application No. 60/071,406, filed January 15,1998

[4] Duncan E S Stewart-Tull. The Theory and Practical Application of Adjuvants. 1994 (

[5] Robert Quencer & Edward Neuwelt. Advances in the Understanding of the Blood Brain Barrier in Neuro-Oncology. AJNR. 2002 Vol 23: 1807-1810

[6] J Kreuter. Nanoparticles and micorparticles for drug and vaccine delivery. Journal of Anatomy. Dec 1996; 189 (503-505)

Homemade Laundry Detergent

After becoming a bit more comfortable with making homemade products, I thought I would I try my hand at detergent.

I spend a good deal of money on both cloth diaper friendly detergent and the most ‘natural’ regular detergent for my family’s clothes.

Both of these recipes are super easy and the ingredients you can get at your local grocery store. Both are great for HE machines as well since they are low suds-ing. (We currently use this detergent on our front-loading HE machine)

Let’s start with the easy one: cloth diaper detergent


(Equal Parts)

Arm N Hammer Super Washing Soda
Baking Soda
Sun Oxygen Cleaner

I always enjoy understanding why I am using a certain product – so here is a quick explanation to why these ingredients are a good choice to use when washing clothes/diapers.

Washing Soda – (Sodium Carbonate – Na2CO3) Washing Soda is very caustic with a PH of 11 which is great in degreasing, removing stains and cleaning. It is also great at softening water due to the two sodium molecules in the formula.  

Baking Soda – (Sodium Bicarbonate NaHCO3)  Baking soda has a PH that is slightly base compared to washing soda and dissolves faster as well. It is a great product to get rid of funky odors and neutralize acids, like urine (hello, cloth diapers!).

Sun Oxygen Cleaner – NOT OXYCLEAN! The versions of OxiClean contain too many additives. Instead, use simple oxi-products like Sun Oxygen Cleaner. When the hydrogen peroxide (the main ingredient in oxygen cleaners) meets water, it breaks down into oxygen and water which forms little bubbles like soda - which gently bleaches and cleans.  

So here it goes – just add all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wooden a spoon. Viola! How frigg’n easy is that!? I use about 2-3 tablespoons per load for my HE washer.

Place in an air tight container and rock-n-roll. For a scoop, I bought a small metal cup (I believe it is used for measuring alcohol in mixed drinks). I use a whole little cup full - I believe its about 3 tablespoons.


Now that you’ve mastered that. Here is a bit more challenging recipe for an all-purpose detergent.


1 cup  Arm N Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ cup Sun Oxygen Cleaner
1 bar   Fels-Naptha Soap

I got my Fels Naptha Soap at Walmart. I was surprised at how fragrant it was – it smelled very clean and refreshing.

I made a double batch here, so I cut up two bars.

After getting permission to use my husband’s food processor, I placed the soap chucks in the processor to shred up. You could grate by hand if you don’t have one handy and have a ton of time on your hands. (It was actually pretty easy to clean afterwards)

I placed the rest of my ingredients in the processor.

And then run the thing for a good while until everything is mixed well and the soap is pulverized. Place in a container that has an air tight lid – and that’s it! I use the same amount - about 2-3 tablespoons for each load.

Well, then you have to do dishes – bah.

So, 4 ingredients and you have two detergents that are guaranteed to save you money and clean just as well, if not better, then the detergent you buy at the store (most of which contain surfactants, dyes, optical brighteners, and enzymes).  

You may notice that I omitted a very commonly used item in homemade detergent: Borax – this is done purposefully. Due to studies linking this chemical to reproductive problems, many European nations require the box be labeled with warning such as “may damage fertility” and “may damage unborn child”.

I decided to use an oxygen cleaner in place of Borax. This is because when using Borax and Washing Soda, the two combine and form molecules of hydrogen peroxide which is the main ingredient in oxygen cleaners. So, in essence, I am just skipping a step and adding the H2O2 molecules instead of the nasty chemical compound, sodium borate (Borax).


Looking for other homemade recipes? Check out some others that I have tried:

5 Reasons I Might De-Friend You on Facebook

Image by Jim Cooke
The top 5 reasons why I have de-friended or blocked people in the past on FB, if that happens to be someone reading this, then it’s unfortunate that I can not block you from this blog *smile*.

5. Compulsively Updating Your Status with Humdrum Life Details

I don’t care to know if you just finished your laundry.

Before you hit the update status, you might want to ask yourself if people really care if you are eating lunch at lunchtime or if I already know it’s raining outside.

4. Zombie Farm Gemstone Crap

If you have a terrible problem with neglecting your life, family and friends because you play Farmville 23 hours out of the day, then you might get de-friended or blocked completely.

This also applies if you ‘share’ more then one picture a day with a cat/cartoon in it.

3. You’re a Stalker

Did it seriously take you 1 second to comment on my update status at ?


2. Poor Me

Telling everyone how terrible your life is EVERYDAY isn’t something people enjoy. I can only give my sympathies for a good 3 months and then you’ll be blocked if you haven’t resolved your life’s problems by listening to my sound advice.

1. I Thought You Were Cool, Once

Sure, I remember coming across you on facebook and thought it would be great to reconnect from highschool. I always thought you were really witty and cool.

Then I realized you weren’t.

Parenting Tips - Illustrated

As a precursor to my upcoming post for the May 2012 Authentic Parenting Carnival regarding the ever-elusive “sanctimommy”. Let’s brush up on those parenting skills!

this next one is for my friend Sara - lol

My littlest one, Charlotte, gets caught doing this all the time.
She loves shoes, especially dirty flip-flops.

"God is a comedian, playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh."

 - Voltaire

Pictures gathered from a simple google search – ‘funny parenting tips’

"Are You Mom Enough?" Hell Yeah I am!

Let me say that again.

Hell yeah I’m Mom Enough!

I’m not going to feed into the attempt by Time magazine to make a mother question her confidence as a fabulous, wonderful, providing mother - whether or not they practice extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing or any other tenants of attachment parenting.

I do practice these – but it doesn’t make me any better then anyone else. I think I’m fabulous and “mom enough” because of much more then these aspects of my parenting “style”.

What a terribly blatant attempt to sell magazines.

Plus it makes people that do practice extended breastfeeding look like judgemental asshats. Ugh! 

I’m not even going to address the cover. Ok, maybe real quick -  I know a few moms that breastfeed into toddlerhood and I doubt any of them have done so standing up, with their child on a stepstool, posing for a photo. What a friggin joke!

It’s sad enough that there are fewer then 15 percent of babies breastfed through the age of six months (even though the World Health Organization recommends continuing to breastfeeding to 2years old and older).

I doubt this cover is making any soon-to-be moms point and say, “Oh, looky-there, I want to do that.” Not publicly - not in our culture anyways.

This cover is not about sparking a rationale discussion about the benefits of attachment parenting or extended breastfeeding, both of which are subjects commendable of an academic examination. No, I’d say it’s about selling magazines and making moms out there question whether they are good enough or not.

Comparing, judging and sizing up how other mothers raise their children isn’t going to make for a happy mom or child(ren).

I think this cover has the potential to hurt mothers out there if they let it – but it also carries with it the potential of empowering mothers!

Say, “Hell yeah, I’m mom enough!”. No matter what a magazine tries classify you as!  

I’m a better mother then I was last week and I’ll be a better mother then I am today, tomorrow. No one, especially a silly magazine cover, can make you feel inferior without your permission!

Rock on Mommies

Support each other and be the example you wish your children to become!

Self doubt, uncertainty, and insecurity and definitely not qualities I want my little girls to have.

Screw you Time magazine.