Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Being "Crunchy"

At one point I promised I would come back and describe the term "crunchy" because I consider myself a crunchy parent. Not WAY crunchy, maybe slightly crispy :)

Anyway, from what I can gather, the term crunchy comes from, its related to granola, and people who would make their own granola. Nevertheless, I can't really find one, good, strong, definition of "crunchy".

And I'm not going to pretend like I am the know-it-all of crunchiness, nor am I the exemplary crunchy mama.

I've found this survey and thought it would help describe "crunchy"...my scores are highlighted.

1. Do you have homebirths?
20 points for “yes” (unassisted)
15 points for “yes” (midwife in attendance)
10 points for natural childbirth in an alternative birthing center had a natural hospital childbirth with Logan, will most likely have a birthing center birth if we have another.
5 points for natural childbirth in a hospital
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth or natural childbirth”
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
2. How do you feel about routine (no medical indication) infant circumcision?
10 points for “believe circumcision is a human rights violation and will not do it to your
5 points for “won’t circumcise your sons, but don’t feel strongly against it”
0 points for “will circumcise your sons”
3. Do you use cloth diapers?
25 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
20 points if “yes” (wash and make your own using natural organic fabric)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own or purchase natural organic cloth diapers) I bought them with Logan but will make new ones as needed rather than purchase my own...although if we have a girl someday I'd probably buy a few pink bumgenious to go with the ones I already have
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
4. Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?
10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control and trying to conceive or just for
birth control) or you use ecological breastfeeding/lactational amenorrhea Absolutely. Its a crying shame that women aren't educated in this...I wonder how many people who hate bc pills/hormones would be ecstatic to learn about this...and its amazing how our bodies work. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I'm not the most fertile person in the world and haven't really worried about bc.
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive, but not for birth control)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
5. Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes” I gave myself 10 points for this, even though I did pump and give expressed milk...its because I was working though and if not working I'd exclusively breastfeed. Plus, I'm at 14 months and going strong, so that counts for something on the crunchy meter doesn't it?
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula or early solids)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).
6. Do you co-sleep?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night) At least until about 6 months or so when Logan didn't like it anymore.
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.
7. Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes” and I think I should get more bonus crunchy points for making my own WRAP, not a store bought sling or carrier (although Jason has a carrier for himself).
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
8. Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning (even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?
15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years) I'm not sure about this one yet...I used to think 18 months, and I think we'll make it until then if Logan wants to, so I'm sure I'd be willing to go up to 2. I'm not sure about that, but I think that if we got passed that point I'd probably go to three...sounds weird to me at this point though.
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).
9. Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pregnancy and tandem nurse) I would be happy to, except I'm not fertile enough to have gotten pregnant and then given birth yet. So, if Logan is still nursing when I eventually get pregnant and give birth, I'd be happy to tandem nurse...see the answer above because at this point Logan will be 2 when another baby would be born.
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pregnancy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
10. Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat? Do you use natural cleaning products?
20 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store, grind own
wheat, vegetarian, natural cleaning products, etc.)
15 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic, use whole wheat flour, bake
own bread, eat some organic, free-range meat occasionally, some natural cleaning
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat
some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
11. Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
12. Do you or will you homeschool?
10 points if “yes”.
5 points if “part time” (do a combination of private or other school some days and home
school others).
2 points for “thinking about it” Its a bit difficult for a working mom, but I'd be more than willing to do it if I am not working when Logan goes to school
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
13. What’s your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination this is one I'm not all that big on...I didn't let them give him everything, particularly the newer stuff like the one for diarhea, but most of them we allowed.
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaccinating on schedule.
14. Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else’s baby or have someone else bf your child?
10 points if “yes” (have or someone has breastfed your baby)
5 points if “yes” (would) This isn't fair...I'd be HAPPY to breastfeed someone else's baby. But, I'm not sure I'd let someone else breastfeed my baby...I guess if I couldn't. But when do you get that opportunity?
2 points if “maybe”
0 if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
15. Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if “yes” (make own cloth menstrual pads)
5 points if “yes” (buy cloth pads or the keeper)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no”.
16. Do you use positive discipline?
15 points if “yes” (never yell, spank, punish)
10 points if “yes” (believe in it and try really hard)
5 points if “sort of” (use time out, don’t spank, and use rewards for good behavior)
2 points if “thinking about it” (use time out, spank occasionally, use rewards for good
behavior and punishments for bad)
0 points if “no” (you think spanking is needed)

Ratings120 – 205 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama105– 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!90 – 104 Pretty Crispy30 – 89 Sprinkled with Granola10 – 29 Instant Oatmeal0 - 9 Jell-O

See... so, I'm Super Nutty...129 :) I really didn't think it would be that high but I guess I'm really nutty!!!

Now, here's the thing that I love about being crunchy...its about doing what you think is best for you and your child. Not because everyone else does it...or not because no one else does it, but because you need it and your baby needs it.

And, the other thing I love, is that crunchiness spans the political barriers. Traditionally I guess crunchiness is a liberal trend, but there is a new movement called "crunchy cons"...conservatives who are also crunchy...fits perfectly with me. Its the idea that we are conservative, but that doesn't mean we can't be concerned with being natural just because liberals are also concerned with being natural. It really isn't a political thing. It brings moms and women together for a common purpose...baby centered mothering.

Hmmm...what else to say about crunchiness. It often (though not always) goes hand-in-hand with attachment parenting, which is to say breastfeeding, baby wearing, bonding, bed sharing, positive parenting, and responsiveness to the baby's cries. THis precludes "crying it out" and similar training methods. Of course, you do whatever of these makes sense for you and your baby.

One thing that wasn't in here was the idea of making your own baby food. I guess its implied in #10? Logan has NEVER had ANY kind of baby food, except, I guess, for those puff things. From the day he started eating "solid" food he was eating "real" food that we prepared for him. Honestly, its not that big of a deal...you just smash up the fruit or vegetable you are eating and give him some. Or, puree if you can (we usually did). As ridiculous and pretentious as it sounds, the idea of store bought baby food and formula to me is frightening and gives me the chills. I don't know why...I know it is "fine" for the kids...but it isn't the best, and since this is something that is so easy to give them, why not shoot for the stars right?

Anyway, hope that helps with the label of crunchy. Any questions? comments?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yet another reason why women need to keep themselves informed and not rely on what "others" tell them...

I am DISGUSTED!!!!!!

I came across a blog that refers to the C-section rates at different hospitals, by state. Knowing that the estimated C-section rate is over 30% this year (get that, one THIRD of all pregnancies ending with a c-section...I'm sure they were ALL necesary and therefore the safest choice for the mother and baby right?), I was curious, so I took a look at some of the hospitals I'm familiar with.


One imparticular is the hospital I was born at. (See link above) Since I was born there, they have added a "State of the art" maternity wing and are heralded by word of mouth for having the best care available. Again, I was curious on how that translated. I fully expected the C-section rate to be higher than I would like, say 5-10%, but it was24%. Sad but true.

Yet this is not what disgusted me. With its superiour word of mouth, you'd expect it to be a great place to give birth, and by great place I mean healthy for the mom and the baby, and I guess for those who are there to visit too. And people think so. It has a Superior hospital rating from those who were there.

But look at the safety factor. Yes, they have a neonatal ICU, which is great assuming that your baby is going to have (or will likely have) complications at birth, but check out the patient safety piece. They are BELOW average in appropriate use of antibiotics, only average in the appropriate timing of antibiotics, and got a POOR rating on the appropriate discontinuance of antibiotics. Now, we don't know necesarily what this means, if they are more conservative in these areas or more liberal, but you'd expect a hospital with such a great reputation to have a much more better safety factor wouldn't you?

Not necesarily, or so I've learned. The truth is that people believe what they are told. People believe that because the billboards and websites show a gleaning white facility that the doctors and nurses must absolutely know what they are doing and are providing the safest location possible to give birth. What they don't know is that infection, particularly at a hospital where people are going to because they are ill and are in desperate need of care (that is what a hospital is for, right?), well, it happens! No matter how much the facility tries to keep things sterile and safe the environment by nature will always pose a risk to patients. Particularly those patients who are new to the world and haven't built up an immune system yet.

Now for those who are in dire need of medical care because they too are sick (again, thats why you go to a hospital correct? You don't go just because everything is fine?, I don't anyway...) then the benefit theoretically outweighs the risk of infectionm, or that is the goal.

So why do perfectly healthy mothers who by all indication are giving birth to perfectly healthy babies choose to subject themselves and their babies to the conditions where they have such an increased risk for harm? Why do mostly healthy mothers who by all indication will give birth to normal babies choose to subject themselves to it?

Because thats what they are told to do. Think about it. Where did you learn to give birth/prepare yourself for birth/be preganant? Probably from everyone around you. You saw that people go to an OB (that is the most common method of receiving pre-natal care), so you expect that when you get pregnant, regardless of your health/previous experience/etc. you too will go to an OB. But the truth is that OB's are trained surgeons, trained to diagnose illness and hardships. Again, this sounds great, until you learn that there are simple things you can do on your own to preven those illnesses and hardships that your OB will never tell you about. For example. Have you ever heard of preeclampsia (SP?) . I should probably do the research on this again, but when I did before it showed that if you eat 80-100 grams of protein each day the risk of developing pre-eclampsia drops to virtually none. Crazy huh? Bet your OB didn't teach you that one! Instead, they are trained to watch your "symptoms" throughout your pregancy and wait for the inevitable blood pressure increase and weight gain until you develop the condition, and they act according to what they've been trained to do....operate. Take that baby out. Afterall, at that point the only thing you can do to stop the preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Ok, so maybe they induce if they think you and the baby are up to it, but the point is that *its possible* none of that would have to happen if you had a bit of preventative care you should have received in the first place. (edited to add "its possible"...I don't mean to indicate that ALL cases of preeclampsia will be avoided with diet)

See, in the past, learning from others was a good thing. We learned from our mothers, our grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and other strong women on how to be a healthy pregnant mommy and give birth to healthy strong babies. 100 years ago, 200 years ago...for however long women have been giving birth they've done so and managed to continue population growth without a 30% c-section rate. They did preventative stuff, like walk a lot and rest a lot. They learned to move around during labor and give birth in a variety of positions that let mother nature (gravity) help. They learned that birth is messy and hard work and that you needed your energy to do it so you needed to eat as you saw fit and drink plenty of water. They learned that sometimes babies take a long time to cook, some shorter, but the baby will come when its ready. They learned that you needed the support of your family, those thtat have gone before you, your mother, your sisters, etc. And, they learned that birth isn't always successful. So they tried new things, and experimented and found other new things to help with successful births.

And somehow we've gotten to the point where it is today, where mothers and doctors for no other reason than the desire to have a perfect schedule decide to poke and prod at a mother and baby, forcing the contractions to start when the baby wasn't quite ready, ripping a hole in the protection the baby needs to stay alive and infection free, give the mother somtehing to help with the pain caused by all the equipment and meds she's been hooked up to which will make her crash as soon as the baby is born rather than nurse like the baby will naturally want to do for bonding, comfort, health, etc...and then when this all doesn't work because the baby doesn't come fast enough to fit that tight schedule and the baby is starting to become "stressed" and is now in danger (but wasn't just a few hours ago when all was fine and dandy in the untouched womb) the doctors rush mommy to the operating room, hopefully daddy can get ready in time, where she has little to no involvement in the birth of her baby, she can't see it, she can only feel pressure where people are doing something that just isn't "natural", and hopefully she will be able to get a quick glimpse as the doctor throws the baby in the air over the curtain and says "Say hi to your baby" like its a new puppy, then rushes him/her off to the NICU because the baby isn't breathing quite right and is sluggishly responding and, maybe there is a problem with the lungs.

And its all completely "normal"...afterall...birth is a dangerous, complicated procedure where skilled physicians must monitor the mother and baby at all times to ensure a healthy, delivery (like the one described above).

Outrageious? Not so much. Start looking around and listening to the birth stories your friends are telling you. Its all the same..."we went in for an induction...the baby wasn't responding...the baby's heart rate was elevated (or dropping)....failure to progress...c-section..." at least for 1/3 of the birthing population this year.

This isn't to say that ALL c-sections are unnecesary or preventable, or that the mothers would rather sacrifice the health of their babies for their comfort and ease of scheduling. Some mothers need c-sections for valid reasons (and everyone has a different definition of what a valid reason is). What is clear is that some of them could have been prevented if they only knew...if they only knew what they were really capable of rather than listening to the limitations others place on them.

Maya Angelou said (not a direct quote, or maybe it is, I don't know) "I did what I knew to do...when I knew better I did better". When are we as a society of women going to get together and "know better"...not in the scientific way of measuring facts and figures and misusing statistics to bring a lawsuit blaming someone else for the injury to our children (or ourselves) at birth, but in a way that we will know what truly is normal, healthy pregnancy and birth and that we will encourage each other to do what is truly best and make it through a healthy "normal" delivery that involves little to no mechanical interventions, few strangers, and lots of love and attention, true CARE for the mother and baby (and rest of the family)? When are we going to stop listening to the noise coming at us from all directions and listen to what God intended this to be?

Check out some links for some other hospitals:

Near the one above:

In the DFW area: