Three years ago, today, she entered our lives (quickly and forcefully) and she continues to live this way.  She has changed our lives in ways we never imagined.  She keeps us on our toes, she keeps us laughing, she has created more gray hairs than I care to admit (but I will take ever one of them and more!), she has filled our hearts with so much joy and love. 

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, when she arrived she had no name (and didn’t for about 2 weeks).  We let her choose her name and what an ever fitting name – Saige (wise one ).  She is teaching us so many things about living in the moment, not taking life too seriously and living loud and large.

Thank you my sweet sprite Saige – we love you more than words.  Happy happy day to you

So yesterday Ryder and I were watching a show on Animal Planet about a sanctuary for elephants. One of the elephants was pregnant and they showed the birth on the show (it was soooooooo very cool – I actually cried – which isn’t hard to believe b/c I cry over a lot of stuff). Anyways it was amazing to see this and they showed a lot – the water breaking, the blood on the ground, obviously the baby coming out. So that started the spanish inquisition….. why was there all that water? where is the dad? how are babies made? why was there blood? etc etc, etc. I didn’t think I would be having this convo so early but no time like the present!

It was actually good that he witnessed it in the animal kingdom. He is really into knowing all there is to know about different animals and why they do the things they do (like sharks biting people or eating sea lions) so this was a good introduction.

Well when he began the inquisition I wasn’t expecting it ( I guess when are you ever expecting anything when you have children) so I had to think quickly. He asked about the father and why he wasn’t there and of course I made some kind of comment like “well in the animal kingdom the father just comes in does his thing and then leaves the woman to raise the baby”. Probably shouldn’t have said it – but it is true for many animals. So then came, the ever popular, “why?” and “how does the daddy help make the baby?” I used an analogy I knew he could relate to….. cooking. We cook a lot together and in my head I was thinking about the sperm and the egg and how was I going to explain that but when the word egg popped into my head I immediately thought ingredients. So in our house this is how babies are made…. the daddy has some ingredients and so does the mama and they mix up their ingredients and put it in the mama where it cooks for 9 months and then the baby is ready to be born. He actually understood that and didn’t ask “why?” SUCCESS! I don’t like to make up stories – we tell Ryder the truth and don’t sugar coat too much but there are just some things that they can’t grasp and don’t really need to right now. But this wasn’t falsifying anything – it is pretty much what happens minus a couple words like intercourse, sperm, egg, fallopian tubes, etc.

I felt good about that explanation.

Then we moved on to the water breaking. My explanation/analogy was a water balloon and trying to get something out of the balloon. Again he totally got it.

This continued for about an hour. Sex ed at the age of 4 1/2. I do feel good about his understanding and me not overwhelming him (b/c I have been known to do that… example…. do not eat the mushrooms you see in the yard or out in the forest. “why?” Because they can kill you! Doug thought this was a bit too much but when Doug said “you can get sick” Ryder’s response was “well I can just take some medicine” so when I told him you can die – he got it – and then told his friends and teachers about it!

I hope if you encounter the inquisition my explanations may help you muttle through.

Have you been asked some crazy questions that you weren’t quite expecting yet? How did you respond?

It’s pregnancy awareness month (P.A.M).  I just found this out recently and thought this was great.  I know it seems that there is a month for everything – but this is definitely something that everyone needs to be more aware of. 

I am a huge believer of empowerment.  Empowering yourself and/or others in whatever endeavor you may be embarking on – especially pregnancy and childbirth.  So often, women put a lot of trust/faith into their medical professionals (which you should trust and believe in) but I don’t feel you should be complacent or passive, and too often that’s what happens.  You let THEM tell you how to have your baby, what to do during your pregnancy.  This is YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOU need to be involved and committed.   It’s great to hear what they have to say and to gather all the information and decide what will work best for YOU and YOUR baby. 

This is what PAM is all about.  They aim to empower pregnant women with information, “how to” ideas and inspiration to incorporate PAM’s four key initiatives – education, exercise, nutrition & wellness and nurture – into their life routines and to show women how easy it can be to make healthy changes in their lives for themselves and their children.

I began my lifestyle change before I became pregnant but became much more passionate about it when I found out I was pregnant.  I knew if not only for me,  for our baby.  No longer was it all about ME, but it was now and forever going to be about this little life that was about to be born.  How could I put into my body harmful chemicals found in highly processed foods or genetically modified organisms that we know nothing about or their long term affects on us?  To me this was a no brainer, I was NOT going to do this to me or my unborn baby and now to my two beautiful children.  How did I come to this conclusion?  Through educating myself.  I delved into every natural pregnancy book, every website that had information about GMO’s, BPA’s, etc.  And I learned all of that was NOT for me or my family. 

Since I wanted a natural childbirth I knew I had to have my body in good shape to help during my labor, so I began a fitness plan, prenatal yoga everyday, hiking, walking, and other cardio.  I had a wonderful pregnancy and a very fast and fairly easy birth (with no drugs).  I believe this had a lot to do with my exercise during my pregnancy.  Now that worked well during my first pregnancy because I didn’t have a toddler running around.  But having a toddler running around during my second pregnancy also helped me because – I was always trying to keep up with Ryder – we were always out and about – walking a lot, playing at the park (climbing up and down the ladder on the jungle gym), and just running around.  This was not as “put together” as my fitness plan during Ryder’s pregnancy but it still kept me in great shape.  Again, my birth was fast and easy (and drug free). 

Nurturing yourself is another very important factor of pregnancy.  My main concern during pregnancy was to alleviate stress in my life.  I did not want that negative energy to be passed to my children (both born and unborn).  It’s amazing how stress can affect your health and your baby’s.  I had a hammock in the backyard that I spent many afternoons in, reading, sleeping and just enjoying the peace of the outdoors.  After Ryder was born he and I spent many more afternoons hanging in it, nursing, sleeping and just rocking.  This nurtured our souls.  I will admit I need to do a little more nurturing of our souls now.  It does get a bit hectic around here.  I guess right now, some of our soul nurturing is being in nature, whether it’s in our yard, the beach, the park, wherever – it always seems to ground me and the entire family.

Nutritionis very important in our house.  After reading Animal Vegetable Miracle I began focusing more on eating seasonally.  We have been very focused on eating local for some time now – pretty much ever since we moved to California 12 years ago.  We live for the weekly farmers markets and the local farms.  Once we bought our house 6 years ago we began focusing on gardening and producing our own vegetables and fruit.  We also now belong to a food co-op that purchases food from one of Whole Foods biggest suppliers- so we get a lot, if not all, organic food.  Eating locally helps you to know where your food comes from – there are no questions about what went into the processing or growing of your food- you can ask the actual person that grew the food.  I LOVE this.  Now that we have children, it’s even more important for us to have and maintain a garden and purchase our food from local farmers.  Then they know where food comes from – the ground!  And not the “store”.  They can appreciate their food. 

April  may 2008 016

I know it’s not always feasible to buy organic – if you can only purchase a few items organic then make it the most important ones – for example – soft skinned fruits and veggies like berries, tomatoes and lettuce.  Chemicals are easily absorbed into these – where an orange kind of has a protective barrier that you peel off before eating. 

This is just how I choose to live my life – it might not work for someone else.  The most important thing is to EMPOWER yourself during your pregnancy and let it carry into the rest of your life.  YOU are in charge, YOU decide what works for YOU and YOUR family. 

How did you empower yourself during your pregnancy?  What were some life changes you made and have they continued? 

Power to the Pregnant!!!!!

There have been a couple co-workers having babies recently and it got me thinking about our birth experience with Saige and with Ryder.  I just love to think back to those days.  This time around with Saige was a bit different, my water didn’t break right away.  I had lied down to take a nap with Ryder and started to have these weird feelings in my belly (since I had never experienced the slow onset of contractions I wasn’t fully sure what these were- thought possibly braxton hicks or maybe just gas- b/c I tend to be gassy with my pregnancies). So I continued to lay there but I called Doug just in case and told him he should probably come home ( I should preface this – with Ryder my water broke and 3 hours later he was born so I was a bit concerned about how fast Saige would come).  Doug was hesitating a bit and I told him to just start wrapping things up and I would call him back in 20 minutes and see how the contractions were going. In the meantime one of my co-workers called me and she said these were contractions and to get off the phone. At that time I had finally realized – yes these were contractions because they were getting a bit stronger.  So I told Doug to get home fast. 
It’s hard the second time around because you have to figure out what to do with the toddler.  We don’t have any family that live out here so we had to rely on friends and they all have jobs.  Luckily my girlfriend was home that day and she came by to pick up Ryder until our other friend could get off of work and pick him up.  So off went Ryder and off went mom and dad to the doctor’s office. Oh ya, back up a bit, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for that day and I had called the office and they said to just come in a bit early and they would check to see if this was the real thing. At my last appointment I had vowed I was not going to be going to that appointment- that I would have already had the baby (she was a bit late and Ryder was 2 weeks early).  As we drove to the doctor (which is 30 minutes away) the contractions began to get closer together (5 minutes apart) so we just went straight to the hospital. 
I was only 3cm at the time so we started to walk the halls to move it along.  My doctor was going to be coming by around 4:45 to break my water for me.  While we waited, I sat on the birthing ball and Doug held his fist in my lower back ( oh ya, we were having back labor again) and we watched the cooking network (that didn’t last too long).  Doug made me laugh so hard that my water broke all on its own.  Then the real fun began…….
Within a matter of minutes the contractions really came on and so began the primal rituals of getting on all fours to relieve the pressure in my back and within 30 minutes or so the nurse told me to let her know when I needed to push and I think it was the next contraction when I said I’m going to start pushing and 3 pushes later out popped a beautiful baby girl (again delivered by the nurses- the doctor didn’t make it in time- same thing happened with Ryder). 
mom,dad & saige
It’s just such an amazing experience.  I didn’t use any drugs for either births and am so happy to have experienced them that way.  Ryder’s birth was very similar except that my water broke before any contractions began and the doctor figured since it was my first it would take awhile but – nope- 3 hours only.
We video taped the end of Saige’s birth and I am so happy to be able to go back and watch it. When you are there and the pain is so overwhelming it’s hard to remember everything and it’s so great to see it all unfold again.  It all happened so fast that after she came out the nurses put her on me immediately and we were so wrapped up in the moment no one told us what we had just had.  Finally one of the nurses remembered we didn’t know what the sex of the baby was- so that was pretty funny.  At that point it doesn’t matter – all that mattered was the baby was in my arms. 
Doug is the best partner ever for birthing. He helped me tremendously- he was able to calm my breathing and help me focus.  It was truly a partnership. 
I love hearing birth stories so if any of you would like to share your stories with me and possibly others (I can make a special “birth” page) to read.  I think it’s so nice to hear all the wonderful stories. So often when you are pregnant people want to share all the “bad”/awful birth experiences and people get freaked out and think that there is no way they could handle birthing naturally.  But women have done it that way for centuries.  You have to put your mind in a different place trust your body and your partner and know that you will be strong and get through it.  This time around I read Hypnobirthing and listened to the relaxation CD’s.  I didn’t quite achieve hypnobirthing but it was another tool for me to have while I was birthing.  
I am not trying to tell people how to do it or that if you decide to have an epidural your making a bad decision, I just want women out there to know that they are strong and that they can do it if they believe and want to.  The main thing is to have your birth experience be safe for you and your baby – because it doesn’t always go as planned- you have to go with the flow sometimes.  We almost had to have an emergency Cesarean with Ryder (they lost the heartbeat for a second- and they don’t mess around with that) but I rolled to another side and it came back – he must have been on the cord. But I knew whatever needed to be done to keep my baby safe was the main goal.  Luckily everything was fine and he came out 2 pushes later.
dad,ryder & saige
I look forward to hearing your amazing stories.
Thanks for sharing