Friday, June 30, 2006

Meme! from Amygdala

I am... a Muslim, a mother a wife, a creative but disorganized person.
I want... the world to be a safer place for my children, for my children to feel equally American and Egyptian but totally Muslim, and to have the gift of enduring iman.
I wish... I was a better housekeeper and a more organized person.
I hate... fighting with my DH.
I miss... being able to read a book in peace, and living close to friends.
I fear... never fulfilling my "purpose".
I hear... my children all around me.
I wonder... what my life will look like 10 years from now.
I regret... nothing.
I dance... to all the things I listened to in school, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Violent Femmes, NIN...
I sing... all the musicals I was ever in or wanted to be in, because that used to be my big thing.
I cry... more than I would like to about tired subjects.
I am not always... as spacey as DH thinks I am.
I make with my hands... clothes, anything I can knit, food, poetry, and insha'Allah someday I will use them to make birth easier for my sisters.
I write... to have a voice, to be heard.
I confuse... most people.
I need... to be loved and feel secure.
I should... spend more time on things that mean the most to me and less time doing what my DH wants because I am afraid to say no.
I start... too many things to finish.
I finish... things that I am excited about.
I tag... no one;)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lady Madonna, baby at your breast...

So, I wanted to post something in recognition of whoever managed to get here via a google search for breastfeeding Muslim wife. Now, I can only hope that said person as a good brother looking for info on supporting his wife during their child’s early years… Not some weirdo.

It is actually so odd that I have never posted anything about bfing considering how important advocacy is to me. So, I’d like to take the time to address the most common reasons Muslim women have given me for not bfing.

I Can’t BF When I’m Out
Many Muslim women seem to be under impression that wearing hijab means they can’t nurse in public (NIP). This is just wrong. It is based on the assumption that there is no way to maintain modesty while NIP. You can nurse a baby without exposing yourself. There is no reason that you have to stick it out (as dh would say) to nurse.

The awkward moment in the whole thing is getting the baby latched on. This can be accomplished in two ways, cover or turn so no one can see you. There are some really cool shawls that work well for covering and letting you peek in on baby. Or, a simple blanket will do… I use the end of the sling personally. And the other option, well I think you can figure that one out!LOL

The other factor in easy NIP is clothing. You will want to choose something that will allow access without leaving any other body parts exposed. That means a button down top, a loose jumper with side access, you get the picture! The last thing you want is to have a crying baby in your arms and realize the only way to nurse is to basically undress.

Which leads me to the next thing. Get the little one nursing before he starts wailing. A crying baby will draw attention and make it harder to get him nursing discreetly. Learn the early cues for hunger: Smacking or licking lips, opening and closing mouth, sucking on lips, or any other thing that makes it to his mouth. And then later, rooting around, trying to position himself to nurse, tugging at clothing. The very last one being crying.

I Want My Mother/Husband/Whoever To Be Able To Help Me
This is the worst one in my mind… Why does help always involve feeding? I know it’s not as fun, but cleaning, laundry, cooking and other things are just as helpful to a new mom. Enough said.

I Don’t Make Enough Milk
In rare cases this is true.

But, in other cases this is due to misunderstanding or poor management of bfing. Before you jump to that conclusion look at the whole picture of your bfing relationship. Sometimes women mistake increased nursing when a child is going through a growth spurt to mean they don’t have enough milk. Actually, more frequent nursing is the way a baby sends the signal to your body to make more milk! Another common one is as supply and demand get into sync the breast may seem less full. This softening is a normal change, and the leaking experienced in early bfing may subside as well.

There are 1000 reasons women might think they have low milk supply. And there are a few practices that tend to lead to diminished supply. The first one is supplementing. Remember the supply and demand thing? Well, the more you supplement the less milk your body thinks it needs to make. So, supplementing is a catch 22. The other reason may be not nursing the often enough This can happen because of pacifiers introduced too early, supplementing, sleepy baby, scheduling feedings… Whatever the reasons we go back to messing up the supply and demand system. Baby not being latched on well can cause problems too.

So, before you pronounce yourself incapable of producing an adequate amount of milk, enlist the help of a bfing counselor of some sort. But, beware of bad advice. Talk to other bfing moms and get a feel for what they think of her. And remember that as long as your baby is filling an adequate number of diapers and gaining weight you are fine.

So I’ll step down off my soapbox now. But let me leave you with this thought: I know your husband likes them, but there is another dare I say nobler reason Allah gave you those things. And subhan’Allah, it is an amazing system really. There couldn’t be a better way to feed your baby.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nothing natural?????

So, as one astute reader noted... The long break is due to the fact that the new addition has arrived. A girl, Salmeh, born on Sunday the 4th, one day before her due date. Alhamdulilah.

Sleepy, yet supportive and wonderful DH was there the entire time... And I was attended by a rockin midwife who just got hospital privileges in December. As anyone who has read previous entry's about my plans knows... I have agonized over this birth and where and how it would take place. As much as I wanted to be at home, and even go unassisted... In the end I decided I was risking my marriage if I left DH out of the decision, and it was is baby too. So, I gave birth in a hospital... And I did have to hear about 1000 times how "risky" what I was doing was. I even had the doc on call give me a little lecture about how there was "nothing natural about a birth after two c-sections." But, when I got the phone call on Monday urdging me to schedule a c-section I was able to do my best Mandar(Dexter's Lab) Ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha!

The funny thing was that the nurses must have thought women in active labor lose their sense of hearing because I heard them at the nurses station every time they left my room after checking on me. "She says she doesn't want the monitor to be left on!" "She says she wants to walk around!" "She says she only wants a hep lock in case of emergency, not a regular IV!" "She's drinking!" Finally when the whole crew attending came in at once I said, "Look, you can think of me as your difficult patient for the day... But what I am doing is not crazy, and I wouldn't do anything that I thought would risk the health of my baby. If we get to a point where something is going wrong and I need all this, I will let you know. Until then, leave me alone." Or something close to that... I was in labor you know;)

But, in the time that it took the doctor to call the anesthesiologist (they wanted to have me set an epidural in place even if I got nothing through it) I went from a five to a nine, and the anesthesiologist refused to place anything. The progress was courtesy of me doing some serious labor dancing and squatting (at least I think). The hardest part of the whole labor came after my water was broken and they put in an internal monitor (one of those vile little things they put on the baby's scalp) and I was stuck in the bed. Now to be honest, even if I had the will to walk at that point I might not have been able to. It was all I could do to get to squatting position in the bed with the help of DH and the midwife.

I had the traditional I can't do this I want to go home moments during transition. I don't remember this much pain during transition with Layla. But, I think it just lasted longer this time. Finally, the midwife pushed the last bit of cervix out of the way and after a couple of contractions I got to experience the whole physiological pushing thing. It was amazing really. I felt my entire belly tightening up and since I was in a semi-squatting position I just felt this downward force... It was nothing like the coached pushing I did with Layla. If I can give a graphic comparison, it is like a normal bowel movement vs constipation. I don't know where the whole coaching the laboring woman to push thing started... But I will never do it again. I came out of the delivery with an intact pernium, masha'Allah and feeling great. I was able to spend an hour with the baby before they bugged me with the weighing and all that, which was great. I even felt well enough to go to the nursery with her while they cleaned her up and did all the newborn checks.

Natural childbirth rocks. It is worth the fight every time. Even DH who was skeptical about the whole thing (he tends to believe the OBs) has been converted. He just feels that the will to do it overcomes any obstacles along the way. Truly, I can't say I even believe that there is a big difference between women with c-sections and women without. As long as the scar is a bikini line cut, I see no reason that a vbac shouldn't be the default. And screw it is the doctors want to convince you otherwise. Read up and convince yourself. Even their own consent forms state the risk of uterine rupture at less than 1%, and all the bad things they talk about only happen if the uterus ruptures. Remind them of that if you have to.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I can't I can't I can't stand losing

So, in the middle of the changes that are going on in our life... It looks like DH might lose the contract that makes his business possible. Meaning the paper that controls everything is threatening to pull his distributorship. UGH. Not good timing.
Please keep him in your dua. He is now faced with considering all the other jobs that we have been talking about (his degrees are in EE) and leaning towards something in the oil industry. Insha'Allah that will be the direction he heads in. I would love to see him doing something he could feel great about, and the oil industry is that for him. If he gets a job like that it will truly be a blessing that he lost the distributorship.

The flip side is a man who is on the verge of losing his job is not in the mood to deal with other complications in life... And we are heading towards a time full of them with this new house and what we are planning for it. Allah give us patience.

Now in the immediate future... DH has invited my SIL for the weekend. Now, I try to refrain from just complaining about my somewhat crazy SIL... But why did he invite her when I am so close to having the baby? Sheesh. And you can guess from all I just said that I am in no position to tell him no or call the thought of having someone there 24 hours a day when I could go into labor at any time crazy. But seriously... I am a little upset about it. OHHHHHHHHH, can't I just say NO? Can't DH ask first?