*Trigger Warning* Realization In A Dream

Trigger Warning photo PicsArt_1403320538017-picsay_zpsa81xu5ax.jpg

I woke up from a dream in which was telling a waiting room full of people about the tricks some OBs have up their sleeves. My OB showed up, and I continued by telling them all about the dangers of cytotech, cervodil, pitocin, and what the OBs wont tell you. How they play God; how they should be there in case of real emergencies, not creating them. Trying to strip the membrane of a woman who is 40 weeks 1 day along, and not dilated is a forceful abuse of power. After cervodil, and cytotech, cranking the pitocon so contractions are more frequent (every minute for several hours) is traumatic. Shoving a Foley catheter in a woman’s closed cervix, expanding the balloon on it in order to pry open the cervix, and setting it tautly on her leg in order for it to pull on the cervix, and dilate the cervix, is wrong. “Doctor., even though you were on call, and you were trusted to ‘get my baby out,’ doesn’t mean what you did wasn’t molestation.” I finished, while sobbing, by telling him, “Just because you have a license, a medical one at that, doesn’t mean it isn’t (birth) rape; ‘do no harm,’ you reeked havoc on me, emotionally. Shame on you!”
I woke with tears in my eyes, feeling distressed, and exhausted, but feeling very consciously aware of something: “In one way, or another, I need to face my abusers. “

Intactavism Challenged– Guest Post by Meredith

This weekend will begin my 5th Session at Sacred Mountain Midwifery School. Each month we are given personal homework on top of our regular homework. I was assigned a topic in our circumcision debate. I have to be Pro-Circ. If you know me you will know how hard this has been. Since you don’t know me I will tell you about this emotional struggle I have had.

Growing up I never knew what circumcision was or what it meant. Even after the partners I have had over the years, I was still naive to the subject. It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I familiarized myself with the subject. We did not know the sex of the baby I was carrying so we wanted to educate ourselves on all topics. I came across circumcision photos taken by Patti Romos and my decision was made. The terror on that sweet boy’s face was enough for me.

It didn’t take any persuasion to get my husband on board. He was horrified by what was being done and confused by what was done to him. He vowed never to harm our future sons. We then began educating ourselves with facts and statistics so we would be prepared when family or friends questioned our choice.

Fast forward. My son is now 8 months old and completely whole. Each day I thank my husband for keeping him intact. I have been working on my debate project. Surfing the web for Pro-Circ information and facts. Each day I read it I become sad and discouraged. Reading things like “clinical and neurological testing of the ventral and dorsal surfaces, as well as the glans, and detected no difference in penile sensitivity between circumcised and uncircumcised men.” I became very angry when I read this:

“Separation of the prepuce from the glans during development is completed in the 5th month of gestation [Diebert, 1933]. The foreskin has no role after birth.”

How can I know what I do and present my class with such flawed studies? Such false information? I have become sad and withdrawn. My husband tries to encourage me by telling me “This will just make you more passionate and knowledgeable about intactivism.” I am not swayed and continue to struggle.

Then one night it comes to me. A solution to my emotional struggle came to me as I was watching a video by Ryan McAllister called Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital. In the video he compares 3 photos. One of a young boy being circumcised, one of a young girl being circumcised and one of a baby boy being circumcised. They all have the same agony across their faces. Each are feeling the same horrific pain. In that moment I knew how I would approach the debate. I would argue Pro-Circumcision but in my own way.

I will be arguing pro-Female Genital Cutting (FGC) but carefully avoid telling people I’m referring to females. In this I hope they might assume I’m referring to males and then reveal that I’ve been arguing for females the whole time. I am doing this in the hopes that people will see how unnecessary and ridiculous circumcision is on any gender. How though they are different sexes the procedure causes the same harm and disfigurement. I know a lot of people don’t think that FGC and RIC go hand in hand. They argue that FGC is so much worse and horrific than RIC could ever be, I politely disagree.

Each involve cutting of the genitals without consent. Both are done for religious beliefs or the thought that the end result “looks better.” On both sexes this custom remove erogenous tissue and is justified by supposed health benefits. With this I have found that all the fighting and education I am providing about RIC should be extended to the other sex. The extreme forms of FGC are not commonly practiced and the most commonly practiced forms are generally equal to or less severe than male circumcision. Many people think that all female circumcision is the removal of the clitoris, hood and labia and sewing up of the vaginal opening and are very surprised when they find out most of the time it’s just the hood or labia.

We should be working to protect the rights of all infants not just males. Our laws should protect all infants, not just females. I think our country’s views of equal rights need to be reevaluated. How can we protect one and not the other?  Our country says by law that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body, even if it means ending the life of a person who didn’t get to choose. So then why are we still not protecting a mans right to choose what to do with his own body? Men are forced to have their penises cut without consent, we do this when they are too little and small to fight back or say “No.”

Studying and preparing myself for this debate has made me more passionate about intactivism but not just keeping little boys whole. I have had my eyes opened to keep all our children whole. Isn’t that what intactavism should be about? Protecting the rights of all children not just one sex or another.

There are some great charts that outline the similarities between FGC and RIC provided here:

http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/mgmfgm.html

http://www.circumstitions.com/FGMvsMGM.html

http://www.circumstitions.com/FGC-stitions.html

Living simply and INTACT! Guest Post By Living Simply

Yesterday (March 30th, 2011) marked the 14th anniversary of the United States’ criminalization of female genital mutilation (a.k.a. female circumcision).  Although it was never a threat to a majority of girls in the States, a law was passed affirming their rights to genital integrity, regardless of their parents’ cultural or religious traditions.
This may be the one time in American history when congress defined and affirmed specific rights of female citizens, while failing to ensure comparable rights for their male counterparts.
I will not go into why or how circumcision became so rampant in the western world.  I will only address why we as a country should stop circumcising our boys and dispel myths that say we should.
American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on circumcision clearly discriminates against males when compared to their policy on FGM, and yet they ultimately state that there is no evidence supporting routine neonatal circumcision.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s policy on circumcision repeatedly calls it an elective procedure but also stresses that it is a decision that should be left completely up to the parents.  (I find this very interesting, because if a parent brought their kids in for almost any other elective procedure, like, say, a nose job, the doctors and nurses would be shocked and dismayed and maybe even call CPS.)
The argument that one should circumcise for hygienic reasons is ridiculous and could just as easily be used to justify female circumcision.  Parents can very easily learn how to clean and care for their intact sons, just as easily if not more easily than learning how to care for a raw post-op penis that spends 24/7 in a dark, damp (and sometimes dirty) diaper.
Studies linking male circumcision and AIDS are conflicting at best.  The United States has one of the highest rates of male circumcision and also one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the developed world, suggesting that circumcision is not helping.  Conversely, Finland and Japan have some of the lowest rates of circumcision and also some of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS.
In a meta-analysis of statistics catalogued from 1989-2009, results are clear.  There is a much greater likelihood of complications, including illness, infection, and death from circumcision than there is from keeping a baby whole and intact. Plainly, circumcising carries more risk than not circumcising.  (Duh!)
Parents have two options when it comes to deciding whether to circumcise their newborn son; only one is reversible.  That is to say, an uncircumcised boy can always decide to get circumcised later in life.  Conversely, it is virtually impossible for a circumcised boy to decide to regenerate his foreskin.
I have personally heard doctors make the argument against waiting to let the boy grow up and make his own decision.  They say that it is better to do it when the baby is young, so he won’t remember it.  However, there are some people who believe that we subconsciously retain memories from as early as in utero.  If that is true, then it stands to reason we would retain some kind of subconscious memory of trauma in our first days earthside.
Doctors also like to calm new parents by telling them that circumcision is not painful because local anesthesia is used.  If it doesn’t hurt, then why is it so important to do it “before the baby will remember it”?  Also, talk to my husband about how much pain is actually still involved when local anesthesia is used.  (He had a local for his vasectomy, and said he felt A LOT of pain.)
I think that if we left it up to the boys to decide for themselves, there would be 99% intact males in this country.  Why do I believe this?  Because every intact man I know, is eternally grateful that he was never circumcised.  While I have read or heard hundreds of stories of men who were forever scarred (literally and figuratively) by their parents decision to fundamentally change their sexual organs.  And only 1% of intact males are faced with a medical indication for circumcision in adulthood.
Circumcision can cause permanent nerve damage, which may explain why adult males who were circumcised after becoming sexually active, report decreased sensation during sexual contact.  I guess the bright side for men circumcised as newborns is that they never knew how good it could be, so they don’t know what they’re missing.

Sex is one of the most basic, necessary, intimate, joyful human experiences we are blessed with in our short time on this rock.  Take pride in giving your baby boy the opportunity to grow up to have a fulfilling and satisfying life in every way possible, including sexually!

For more like this visit:  Living Simply in a Complex World

Milky Smiles

I never questioned whether I would breastfeed, or not, for years I knew I would. Didn’t give it too much thought, couldn’t be too hard, after all its only natural.
I had an (medically unnecessary) induction at an estimated 40 weeks 1day gestation, which lasted 30-something hours, and ended with an epidural that I had previously made clear I didn’t want. So needless to say, breastfeeding when I met my darling Bean was a bit rocky.
I pumped quite a bit at first, due to a poor latch for which the LC blamed, “my large anatomy.”  I felt pretty low, and it was not at all how I wanted it to be. One day I was absolutely exhausted with the constant pumping, I grabbed my baby, laid in bed with her at my side, and let her find my breast. Amazed at how it just clicked, after weeks of listening to my pump call me a loser, my bub was breastfeeding like a champ.
I am a fortunate, working mom who doesn’t have to pump often for my nursling. You see, Bean comes with me to work, I wear her, and she nurses as needed. There is a certain amount of irony here though, I breastfeed my bub everyday, all day– except 2-3 days of the year.
One week each year, for the past few years, I leave town for work. Here’s where the irony comes in, I leave on World Breastfeeding Week. Besides the natural mommy guilt of leaving my baby, I spend my time during a (small) portion of WBW listening to that bloody pump call me a loser. All mothers have sacrifices to make, and I am lucky that this one comes, but once per year.
I love my nursling, I love our breastfeeding relationship, I love her milky smiles the most. I am comfortable letting my darling daughter nurse wherever, whenever, and for however long she chooses.
“If human milk has the benefit of lowering your risk of cancer, then breathing air has the benefit of lowering your risk of asphyxiation. Breast is not best; it’s normal.” ~Guggie Daly

Tandeming Twins– by Valerie Lund

Tandeming Twins by Valerie Lund http://generallycrispy.com/2011/08/02/valerie/ photo 10480042_10152484960878374_1919420043_n-1-picsay_zpssno6du4c.jpg
I had a lot of questions when I found out that I was pregnant with twins, none of which was whether or not I could breastfeed. I did a lot of Internet searches, which led me to buying a nursing pillow designed to tandem breast feed twins. All of my preparation did not prepare me for the reality of feeding two babies, both who had poor suck reflexes.
After my babies were born, I quickly understood that tandem nursing twins was going to take time to figure out. Getting the hang of feeding one was easy, when I could get her to latch on. My babies were born at 36 weeks 5 days gestation, and while neither had time in the NICU, they were both tiny and not good at nursing. I started using a breast pump the day after my babies were born and continued to use it every day, multiple times a day, for almost 3 months. I know I would not have been successful at breastfeeding if I had not had a pump available. Neither baby could get enough nourishment while eating directly from the breast, as they would both tire, and fall asleep before their stomachs were truly full
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Our pediatrician was not nearly as supportive of my breastfeeding as I felt she should have been. I went into each appointment feeling really good, only to leave feeling horrible, and depressed. Our first month with the babies was spent at the doctor’s office getting them weighed, the doctor kept giving me formula samples because my kids were not gaining as fast as she thought they should, she wanted one of them to be on weight gaining formula. I agreed to use the formula with extra calories, but did not agree to use it as she instructed. She wanted me to quit breastfeeding, and use only the formula. I decided that I would continue to breastfeed, but would supplement every other feeding with the formula after the one baby had been on the breast. At the same time, I started supplementing with pumped milk after every feeding, as well, since the babies were much better at eating from a bottle, and did not tire out before getting the calories they needed. To ensure that my milk supply did not drop, I made sure that my breast pump got a very good work out after most feedings. After a few days of using formula after every other feeding, I decided that I could go to every third feeding. At our next weigh in, my child on formula had gained more weight than she needed. The other baby, who was receiving pumped milk after feedings, had gained exactly what our pediatrician was looking for. That was the first appointment that I left feeling good. I decided from there on out I was going to do what I thought was best for my children as long as I could tell they were thriving. I was instructed to continue feeding with the formula at every feeding. I never used formula again. Instead, I made sure that they got time on the breast, pumped milk in a bottle during the day, and only bottles at night. The bottle of milk was all they needed to continue gaining weight. At our next weigh in the doctor commented on how well the formula was working and told me to continue using it; I neglected to tell her that I had stopped the formula.

We continued to feed both girls out of a bottle at night, and straight from the breast during the day until they were almost 3 months old. At 3 months both decided on the exact same night, and same feeding that they were done with bottles.  They were breastfeeding well by that point, and I was tired of not sleeping. To ensure that my supply met their demands, I was pumping after every bottle feeding at night. It was not uncommon for me to get 20 or 30 minutes of sleep in between each feeding session. I was exhausted, though I’m a stubborn person, and knew that I could get through the lack of sleep if I just gave it time. I was getting a little more sleep by the time my twins decided to stop taking bottles, and I was still grateful for the break in midnight pumping sessions. I was able to tandem nurse them by that point, while they still woke often to eat, our nights started to go much better.

Poor latch, slow weight gain, and refusal of bottles were not the only obstacles I faced while breastfeeding. Both kids were spitting up a lot after feedings, their skin was dry with patches of eczema, and they periodically had green bowel movements. Knowing that dairy intolerance’s ran in my family, I quickly realized that I would need to cut dairy out of my diet. I had cut dairy out of my diet once before, so I knew to read all labels as there are dairy products in so many foods. Thankfully, dairy was the culprit, so I didn’t have to look for another food item to eliminate.

I introduced sippy cups with breast milk when they were around 5 months old, as they would no longer drink from a bottle. While they wouldn’t take a lot from the sippy, they would take some which allowed me to leave them for short periods of time without worrying if they were hungry. My kids continued to get most of their calories from breast milk until they were about 13 months old; they loved to breastfeed. We offered them a wide variety of foods that they enjoyed, but they didn’t like anything as much as my milk. I had people asking me often when I planned on weaning them, however I had no plans to wean. The girls were happy nursing, and I was happy to nurse them.

We had changed pediatricians by this time. At every appointment she would ask if they were still breastfeeding, as well as if they were sleeping through the night yet. At every appointment I told her no, but instead of making me feel bad, she would ask if I was okay with that, and moved on. She offered encouragement at each appointment after I would tell her that I was okay with them nursing at night and throughout the day. At 16 months, both kids slept through the night for the first time without waking to nurse, and that was the end of our night nursing. I have to admit that by that time I was more than ready to be done with nursing them at night. Letting them decide they were done made it a smooth transition for all of us. The end of our nursing relationship was closer than I thought.

I personally had not decided when I would stop nursing, I was willing to let them self wean as long as I was still happy nursing them. Just before 19 months, both children self weaned, I was sad. I could still hold and cuddle them, but I missed the nursing bond. I missed watching them tease each other as they tandem nursed, I missed their acrobatic moves and most of all, I missed those nursing smiles. While I missed all of that, I would be dishonest if I didn’t also say that I quickly got over my sadness. I still missed parts of nursing bond, but my children and I were able to fill that time with other amazing activities.

Comitted to Breastfeeding– by The Peaceful Housewife

My husband and I were elated when we found out that we were expecting our first child, and we spent the next 7 months preparing Bella’s room and taking Bradley classes in hopes of achieving a natural birth. Despite my intense longing for a natural birth, I wasn’t really into breastfeeding and was only planning to do so because I knew it was best for baby, I didn’t want to spend the huge amount of money that formula feeding would require.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t feeling well and called the doctor.  I was immediately admitted to the hospital with severe pre-eclampsia.  After 2 days of attempted but unsuccessful induction, my beautiful baby girl was born via emergency c-section.  I got a few minutes of blissful bonding with her before she was whisked off to the newborn nursery, unable to maintain her temp and with dangerously low blood sugar.  I was taken to my hospital room, no longer pregnant but without my baby.
The next morning, when I was able to see her, my husband walked with me to the nursery.  A feeling of total failure as a mother washed over me as I looked around the room and realized that I didn’t even recognize my own baby.  At last, though, I got to hold my sweet little girl for a few moments of bliss.  The lactation consultant just happened to be in the nursery as well, and when she saw my chart she noticed that I wanted to breastfeed and told me she would get me set up to pump.
Almost 24 hours after Bella’s birth, I finally began to pump and produce that precious milk.  I had felt helpless to help my baby girl get better, but as she began to get that pumped milk her health improved.  Finally, I could do something to help my sweet girl!  I continued to pump for Bella as we found out that she had contracted Group B Strep during labor and stayed with her in the hospital for 10 days as she was treated with antibiotics.
When we came home, I continued pumping and bottle feeding because Bella refused to latch on.  Finally, at 4 weeks old, I got her to begin nursing with a nipple shield and was able to wean from the shield and nurse my sweet girl.  I continued to nurse and began pumping again when I returned to work at 8 weeks so Bella could have mommy’s milk while I was away.
Bella and I had a beautiful nursing relationship for 15 months, co-sleeping through the nights and enjoying nursies on airplanes, in grocery stores, in Carlsbad Caverns and many other places.
When our second child, Alex, was born at 33 ½ weeks because of severe pre-eclampsia, I knew already what I needed to do.  I asked my night nurse, and she made sure I had a hospital grade pump and a manual pump to start pumping for Alex.  I had already pumped a few times when I got to see him the first time, and his milk was waiting for him in the NICU when he was cleared for milk from his nasal tube.  Little by little, Alex got more and more mommy milk and grew bigger and stronger.
I pumped after I was discharged from the hospital and stashed milk in the NICU freezer while the NICU nurses teased sweetly that I might be able to feed the entire NICU with all the milk I was pumping.  After the NICU freezer was full, I began freezing my milk at home for after I returned to work.  A couple of weeks in, I was devastated when I lost my entire freezer stash because the extra freezer came open and it all thawed out.
Alex came home at 4 weeks old, still loving his pumped mommy milk.  He is a very head strong little one, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with trying to latch on.  Finally, around 6 weeks, I caved and began using a nipple shield to help him latch on, and our bottle-less breastfeeding  relationship finally began.  I cherished the precious moments when he was happily latched on and enjoying his mommy milk.  I tried unsuccessfully for the remainder of our breastfeeding relationship to wean from the shield, but just couldn’t get him to latch on without it.
I continued to pump as I returned to work and Alex enjoyed his milk when I was at work.  Thanks to the stash I’d built up before returning to work and a wonderful friend who pumped her for me after she nursed her little one, Alex had nothing but mommy milk until after he was 10 months old.  We continued our breastfeeding relationship, although many times it was against his will.  I fought to continue until after his first birthday, and as he continued to refuse to nurse I allowed our breastfeeding relationship to come to a peaceful end.
When I began my breastfeeding relationship with Bella, I was only halfway committed to breastfeeding.  As I continued, I became deeply committed to breastfeeding and very passionate about helping other women have successful breastfeeding relationships.  Breastfeeding doesn’t only look one way.  For many women, the perfect breastfeeding relationship doesn’t develop for a myriad of reasons, but I love helping women to see that they can define their own successful breastfeeding relationship rather than beating themselves up over what they couldn’t do.
–Jenny, The Peaceful Housewife

http://thepeacefulhousewife.com