The Beauty of Life

25 Jun

Below is a link from my favorite blog, Conversion Diary, written by Jennifer Fulwiler, to an interview she conducted with a parent of a seriously disabled child. It’s truly inspiring and a great blow to the pro-choice movement.

http://www.conversiondiary.com/category/interviews/page/3

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Just For Fun…

12 Apr

For all those people asking what we’re going to do about our tattoos when we’re much older…

WE ARE GOING TO FREAKING OWN IT, as seen below:

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I think I can safely rest my case.

ūüėČ

Update On C-Section Post

4 Apr

Hello, I know I promised a “Part 2” on the C-Section post to be coming very soon after the first, and it has been in the works over the past couple of weeks. However, there is a lot of research that goes into this sort of thing, specifically when you cover the adverse effects of medications, of which there are many in this case. I am currently rolling over the idea of separating my posts even more, in fact, and doing several mini posts just focusing on each med one by one since the information on them is overwhelming and too much to cover in only one or two more posts. Between now and whenever this or these post(s) makes it light, I will be continuing to post ridiculous/random stuff that I find, but nevertheless, this thing will get done! Eventually. With caffeine.¬†

A

C-Sections, Part 1: What is a C-Section?

11 Mar

The simple definition of a c-section, according to http://www.dictionary.com, is “an operation by which a fetus is taken from the uterus by cutting through the walls of the abdomen and uterus”.

Pretty straightforward, right? I mean, I don’t think any of us were under the impression that the baby came out by magic, so we’re probably on the same page at this point, and being a soon-to-be mother, it’s probably pretty easy to accept that definition “just in case”.

While we’re on the subject of the mothers here, I want to be extremely clear that if anyone reading this has had a c-section or multiple c-sections, I am not writing to attack you or your decisions. I cannot claim to know what thoughts or situations may have led to a mother allowing this procedure to be done. I also do not wish to focus on cesareans that were, actually, medically necessary. Instead, I hope I can inform those who are considering the very popular “elective c-section” and those mothers who may end up in situations where they are told half-truths or treated like parts of a schedule, and end up resigning to the will of the hospital staff.

That being said, let’s get a bit more of a detailed definition from http://www.webmd.com:

Surgery preparation

Most cesarean sections are performed with epidural or spinal anesthesia, used to numb sensation in the abdominal area. Only in an emergency situation or when an epidural or spinal anesthesia cannot be used or is a problem would fast-acting general anesthesia be used to make you unconscious for a cesarean birth.

The hospital may send you instructions on how to get ready for your surgery, or a nurse may call you with instructions before your surgery.

In preparation for a cesarean section, your arms are secured to the table for your safety, and a curtain is hung across your chest. A tiny intravenous (IV) tube is placed in your arm or hand; you may be given a sedative through the IV to help you relax. A catheter is inserted into your bladder to allow you to pass urine during and after the surgery. Your upper pubic area may be shaved, and the abdomen and pubic area are washed with an antibacterial solution. The incision site may be covered with an adhesive plastic sheet, or drape, to protect the surgical area.

Before, during, and after a cesarean section, your blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen level are closely monitored. You will also be given a dose of antibiotics to prevent infection after delivery.

Cesarean procedure and delivery

Once the anesthesia is working, a doctor makes the cesarean incision through your lower abdomen and uterus. See a picture of cesarean section incisionscamera. You may notice an intense feeling of pressure or pulling as the baby is delivered. After delivering your newborn through the incision, the doctor then removes the placentaand closes the uterus and incision with layers of stitches.

Right after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. You will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will be moved to a hospital room. In addition to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you in your recovery.

Full recovery, by the way, is about 6-8 weeks, which may sound similar to vaginal birth. However, whereas VB mom can head home within as little as 24 hours and simply take it (very) easy, a C-Section mom is generally required to stay for at least 3 days on intravenous pain relief, and then return home with the same instructions as VB mom.

Now, reading the above from WebMD, many of you may ¬†have noticed a pattern of medication. The explanation begins with epidural, spinal, or general anesthesia depending on the surgeon and/or state of the pregnancy. Then it moves on to a possible sedative through the IV, and antibiotics for the recovery process. Assuming nothing goes wrong, that is already at least 2, possibly 3 meds going into your body, and if you went through “normal” labor for a while before the c-section or were induced and then attempted normal labor, there is a good chance you have other medications such us cervidil, pitocin, or oxytocin in your system. Pitocin and oxytocin, which are commonly used to induce labor by stimulating contractions, predictably up the pain level and usually lead to using an epidural if one wasn’t already in place before induction.

Not being induced? Well, it turns out one of the reasons you may end up in an unplanned c-section is because labor is taking too long. Your baby may not be in danger, nor may you, but the doctor can decide that labor is moving too slowly and offer a c-section. Many women take this option, obviously, because they are exhausted or believe that their own bodies cannot do the job after so much time. A woman can also request an unplanned c-section herself at some point during labor if she feels she can no longer continue with vaginal birth. According to http://www.americanpregnancy.org, over 50% of women use an epidural, and since a ¬†commonly known side effect of epidurals is that pushing may become more difficult, labor may take longer, and…a woman may feel the need to request a c-section. So then, drugs, c-section, hospital recovery with more drugs, home recovery.

That is where I think I will stop for today. So far, we’ve covered the basic definition of a c-section and a more detailed description of the procedure with some light touching on the recovery process. In the next installment, I will give a general overview of what can go wrong compared to vaginal birth, long term consequences of a cesarean, and the shocking number of them performed in the U.S. and throughout the world.

It is at this point that I feel I should point out that I am NOT a medical professional, though I do hope some day to be a midwife. I CANNOT give medical advice, nor do I recommend that anyone take any of what I’m writing as medical advice. I have two goals in any medically-themed post on this blog: to understand and inform, often for my own future benefit.

Also, if anyone would like a full report of/more detailed resources, I can supply them, but for this article alone I used a TON of online medical resources as well as online, documentary-style, or personally shared experiences, so I will not be including a full list within the post.

See you soon!

A

Coming Soon…

10 Mar

Tomorrow will hopefully be the first day of typing for a multi-entry post on C-Sections, including what they are, what circumstances constitute a need for one, how many are performed despite the very low need, and a few theories why.

Stay tuned!

Random Recipe(s) #1 and #2: Home-made Cleaning Solution

8 Mar

After noticing for the umpteenth time today the makeshift container hosting orange peels and vinegar on my counter, I decided to share my semi-long-held cleaning secrets with the world!

I think the original idea came from something I saw on Pinterest, which I then tweaked and tweaked again for a second purpose by the influence of a good friend of mine here in Italy.

Here are the two best recipes I know for cleaner that will clean just about anything, plus their variations:

All-Purpose House/Surface Cleaner:

You will need-

-Orange or lemon peels (I prefer orange)

-A fairly substantial amount of white vinegar

-A container that can withstand vinegar and orange or lemon oil for a long period of time

-Water

-A bit of patience

Step 1:

Eat oranges! Or make lemonade! Save the peels for use That Day and proceed to Step 2.

Step 2:

Take your container (we chose a sawn off 2 liter water-bottle) and stuff as many peels as you can into that thing.

Step 3:

Fill container about half full of white vinegar.

Step 4:

Fill rest of container with water.

Step 5:

Cover with plastic wrap, a lid, or whatever device you have on hand.

Step 6:

Wait about 1-2 weeks (depending on how strong you want your cleaner; I wait two and the resulting mixture could take the paint off of a car), unwrap, transfer into a container from which you will be able to pour or spray your new cleaner.

Step 7:

Clean everything with it! Mirrors, any hard surface, bathrooms (wipes tough lime stains right off), everything! You can even clean floors with it, though if you want a good floor cleaner, please scroll to Recipe #2!

*Note: For instant cleaning, the recipe below can also be used as a weaker surface cleaner, but since one bottle of this last months, I suggest you brew it up and set it on a shelf to come back to later!

All-Purpose Floor-Cleaner:

You will need-

-Lemons or lemon juice

-Water

-A pitcher or bucket

This recipe is my friend, Steph’s, which I have adopted and used multiple times a week since I saw her do it.

Step 1:

Find a pitcher or some other such large-ish liquid container.

Step 2:

Squeeze a few slices of lemon (or pour some store-bought lemon juice) into the bottom.

Step 3:

Pour an inch or two of vinegar in with the lemon juice.

Step 4:

Fill the rest of the container with as much water as you need for your task.

Step 5:

Clean! You can put this mixture into a mop-bucket for heavy-duty cleaning as well, or into a spray-bottle for use on carpet stains! For an extra hint of awesome, you can also add fresh lavender or lavender oil and breathe in the goodness.

I hope you try and enjoy these as much as I have!

A

Things Not to Say to Your Trying-to-Conceive Friend/What Actually Helps

6 Mar

I feel like this is a topic that needs to be addressed. I know many men and women going through the very trying experience of waiting for baby to come along. For some, it’s the first, others the fifth. Some have been waiting 2 months, others 5 years. Some have underlying conditions, others have none and are just trying to stay patient, and patience is hard. It is even harder when you have people (who may or may not have any business talking to you about this in the first place) constantly saying such charming things as these:

1.¬†“Relax!”

I started to make this list in no particular order, and for the most part it is, but this one is the biggie. “Just relax!!!” “You’re too stressed out!” “You’ll never have a baby if you don’t stop thinking about it” or any variant of this is, frankly, insulting. For one, the fact that someone has decided to voice their frustrations with you, even multiple times, does not mean that the only thing they think about is trying to have a baby. Maybe, just maybe, saying “Yeah…it’s taking a while, and it’s hard.” doesn’t mean that they are obsessed with conceiving. Also, I think it’s fair to point out that extremely stressed out people get pregnant quite a lot. Telling someone that physical/mental stress is the problem when drug addicts/teenagers with crazy hormones and bad diets/rape victims/people in extremely destitute situations/grossly unhealthy people get pregnant literally all the time either means that generally, stress is not a big determining factor, or I have some serious issues that I did not even know about.

2. “Don’t Worry, Your Time Will Come.”

This advice is not inherently bad. The only problem is that most of the people who receive it, are not exactly crying over the fact that they are not yet pregnant at the time that it is given. I know several people who have merely expressed joy that someone else was pregnant or had just had a baby, only to be met with a sad, pitying look and the Dreaded Comment. This may come as a shock, but it is possible to be genuinely happy for another person’s good fortune in mother/fatherhood without simultaneously being profoundly jealous and/or depressed. This includes people who have suffered the loss of miscarriage or stillbirth. Yes, there are tears sometimes, but sadness for your own bad experience does not necessarily extend to everyone around you and infect your reception of their good news.

3. “Oh, Have You Tried…”

Yes. Or no. Maybe. But I can definitely say we’ve heard it! The fact is that literally All of the Things can get you/prevent you from getting pregnant according to All of the Sources. If you’ve been trying for a very short amount of time, the truth is that these suggestions are somewhat irrelevant since the average couple takes 6 ¬†months to a year to conceive, regardless of who they are and what they’re doing. Pregnancy is very much a numbers game in that a lot of stuff has to line up just right for it to happen, and even if you know that person/couple/alien life form who had the beloved “+” right away, statistically they are the exception, not the rule. Similarly, if someone has been trying for a long time, they’ve heard it all, they’ve researched it all, and they know more about the female/male anatomy (including all immediate and extended family history) than you can possibly compare to unless you are an OBGYN or a midwife. Maybe. Oh, and also, some people have health concerns underlying their struggle and giving them your great aunt’s secret to having 19 kids, is not going to do a whole lot.

4. “We Weren’t Even Trying.”

This one can go along with number one if the person then encourages you not to try, since that worked for them. Otherwise, it can be its own obnoxious piece of advice. Telling someone you know to be TTC that you weren’t even trying or just got pregnant right away, is beyond thick-headed. Sure, you may just be sharing your experience and there are definitely ways to say essentially this same thing without sounding like a giant, insensitive jerk, but in general, unless someone has specifically asked about your personal experience, you are helping exactly 0% of the people in that conversation by pointing out that each of the 4 children you conceived in 5 years, were accidents.

5. “You Only Think You Want Kids Because You Don’t Have Them!”

Anyone who is actively trying to conceive has considered the fact that it results in babies and has made the executive decision that they do, in fact, want that to happen. People who are not yet parents do not exist in a world without children. They see the brats and the hell-raisers right alongside the cherubim. They know they will have no sleep for [insert amount of time here], are aware that a clean house may be a thing of the past forevermore, and have heard through the grapevine that parenting in general, is exhausting for all involved. And they have still decided they want children. The parents I know do not wish to give all of their children back and go back to singlehood (for the most part), so why is it so crazy to believe that someone may actually want to get to that happy, if tumultuous place themselves?

6. “You’re So Young! You Should Enjoy It/Travel/Take Time for Yourselves!”

Fact: It is possible to be young, have children, and still do all of the above. There are many examples of great, active, couples who are great, active parents. Is it hard? Yes. Worth it? Double yes. If a couple is actively trying to conceive, it is safe to assume that they are in some way planning for an extra member of the family. Many people who give this piece of advice were surprised by their little addition and may not have had the same time or resources to make this happen, and that is fine. I can be a huge homebody and the prospect of hours alone with a child does not send me shaking in my boots, but I don’t know who decided that it’s mandatory to halt all adventures for the rest of your life simply because you’re going to need to make room for one (or two, or three, or four) more.

7. Anything Like “I’m/Whoever is Pregnant, but I Wasn’t Sure If/When/How to Tell You.”

Listen, the sensitivity is more than appreciated, but even when someone who is having issues TTC has suffered a loss, they aren’t going to fall to pieces every time someone gets pregnant. When you’re hoping for kids someday, preggy ladies are everywhere. In every store, every movie, every family, everywhere. Watching them waddle cutely by or even turn momentarily green with morning sickness is not easy, but is also not something that a TTC person sees as a personal attack. Be happy about your/your friend’s/whosever pregnancy! Spread the word! Just remember then and in the future not to overdo it, and that will be much more appreciated than making the TTC-er feel like they are making life awkward for everyone else.

8. Hey, So I Told (name) About Your Issues and I Really Think He/She/It Can Help!

Don’t do that. Ever. If someone has divulged to you that they are frustrated on their journey to parenthood, it is beyond uncool to take that information elsewhere, even when it’s meant to help. Fertility issues of any kind, even if they are more based on playing the Waiting Game than anything medical, are extremely personal. Giving that information to anyone else without express permission from the speaker is extremely disrespectful and rude. I don’t want advice about the next book I should read from someone I have never met, nevermind what they think is “the problem”. Along that note, the fact that someone has told you they are having trouble conceiving or have even given some personal details does not mean you know everything they know about the situation. A Very Small percentage of people are legitimately infertile, and the amount of people who have conditions that actively prevent pregnancy from occurring, are also not so common that it is ok to assume that a problem exists in the first place. Again, pregnancy is a numbers game, and for every healthy person who conceives in a month, a few equally healthy people take 2 years.

9. “I HATE BEING PREGNANT. Don’t do it!!!”

Yes, people actually say this, and like all of these tidbits, they say this fully knowing that the person wants quite badly to have children. Complaining constantly about a state that many thousands of women envy terribly, is a jerk move. That is not to say that a pregnant woman who has vomited 4 times in this conversation alone should just shut up about it; it is to say that it is not ok to use your own experience to try to convince someone else who you know wants children, that they do not want children. They do, and are extremely aware of everything that comes with it, for better or worse.

So What Can You Do?!

I’m sure I’ve made being the friend of a TTC person sound pretty daunting, but really there are just a few simple rules:

-Don’t give advice unless asked, no matter who it worked for or how many times.

-Be supportive, but not so sensitive that you’re walking on eggshells all the time; your friend will notice and both of you will just end up being uncomfortable.

-Do not share your friend’s personal information without permission…

And lastly, for the love of all things holy, DO NOT TELL THEM TO RELAX!