Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vivid Mammaries

Today my son, Peter turns 26. Yes, I am older than I look! (Ha!)  It was the 1980's, big hair, leg warmers, parachute pants - I had it all go'in on! 

Every year, on my kid's birthdays, I reminisce. When they were little, I would tell the tale of the day they were born. I embellished some (you know how I love to do that!) making it the most exciting day in history of the world! (they loved it)

Like most women, those events are as vivid today as they were then, you will always remember everything about that day.  So, I'd like to share Peter's birthday with you.  He was a VBAC delivery (vaginal birth after cesarean) 9:30 pm at Overlook Hospital.(one of the first ever done there, 1984)  It required that I change doctors. My first OB, who sectioned me two years earlier, told me that I could only delivery approx. a  7lb baby. When I asked how he knew that he said, “I just know these things.” Wow, he must be like superman and have X-ray vision, I thought.  (Peter was born 8.8!)

So I fired and hired the next OB. Sheila B.,was a young, new, single practitioner who had a thriving business.  We would sit for hours in her waiting room and socialize until she was ready to see us.  Sheila spent alot of quality time with her patients so she was worth the wait.

With Peter, I was in labor for 18 hours of which she stayed with me the whole time.. Knowing I wanted to deliver vaginally, she took all the proper precautions (there were probes and wires everywhere!) When all was said and done, (yes, with lots of intervention like pitocin, epidural, vacuum extraction)…he was out! At the time, I thought I did pretty well. After all, I didn’t have a c-section. As I often tell people, I was trained as an ER nurse so intervention and machines, were my “comfort zone”. It wasn’t until I had my next child that I had a natural delivery (she was 8.15!)  Ya know what they say, "Three's a charm!"

I still giggle thinking about my first child, Nicole, who was so hairy.  I remember saying to my husband, “Forget a college fund, we’d better save up for electrolysis!” ( this is a girl who went on to shave the tops of her forearms in high school). I also jokingly blamed my husband, “It’s your entire fault, she’s so hairy.” (the man looked like Sasquatch!) So when I saw Peter’s head crowning in the mirror, I yelled, “Are you sure that’s his head?” He was as bald as Uncle Fester! If that’s not bad enough, when I first saw his face I thought, “OMG, he looks just like my mother-in-law”. Imagine that!

It was with my second, Peter, that I really let go of the stupid breastfeeding advice given to me with my first. My hospital room mate, Mari was an integral part of that. (yes, we shared rooms back then!) She also VBAC’d with the same OB, so we instantly bonded. Mari was the one who opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking. “Just nurse him whenever he wants, that’s what I do”, she said, “It’s easy.’ I thought, if she can do it, so can I ....and I never looked at a clock again.

Peter breastfed for 22 months and we enjoyed every minute of it. I actually nursed him through 7 months of my pregnancy with Andrea. Eventually, he replaced nursing with putting his hand down my shirt between my breasts (very sweet!) Two months later, I delivered Andrea and happily started all over again!

Now that I think of it, I haven’t stopped feeding Peter yet. I'm making him dinner tonight for his birthday!
Since my kids are grown and I don't breastfeed, co-sleep, cuddle or hold their little hands much anymore, (they just won't let me!) I live my life vicariously through all of you.  Thank you for sharing your precious babies with me!  May your memories of this time be as vivid and happy as mine.

Do You Suffer From PEDSPHOBIA?

No, it’s not the fear of feet! That’s podophobia. I am talking about PEDSPHOBIA - fear of your baby’s pediatrician. If you have never heard of this condition, it’s because I made it up! For the simple reason that I see it often in my practice and feel it needs to be finally documented.

I bet you are wondering, OMG is Maria talking about me? Am I a PEDSPHOBIC? Well, only you can answer that. Let just say that if you ever dreaded an office visit because you were afraid of being yelled at or looked upon with disgust by your peds or his staff, then yes, you suffer from PEDSPHOBIA!

PEDSPHOBICS typically possess the following traits: choose to trust Mother Nature more than the AAP or FDA (the nerve!). They tend to question advice that doesn’t make sense (what are they thinking!). Their children don’t do what the doctors own child did (shocking!) Their baby doesn’t follow suit with the “baby in the book.”(go figure!) For example, their baby is off the growth chart or was never on it. Their baby never taught itself to sleep, doesn’t eat 3 meals a day by 6 months (hates cereal), doesn’t use a pacifier and doesn’t like shots. (unfathomable!)

OK. It’s time. Come on PEDSPHOBICS, stand up and be counted! You’ve been chastised by your child’s doctor or his staff for one or all of the following: your child isn’t fat enough or is too fat, their head circumference is too big or too small, you let your baby “use you as a human pacifier” (one of my favorites!), you don’t allow enough “tummy-time”, you allow too much “tummy-time”, you are the dreaded “co-sleeper”, you make your own baby food or decide not to use cereal as a sleep aid, you decide not to give Tri-Vi-Sol or fluoride vitamins, you choose not to use formula or give bottles, you choose not to vaccinate, split or spread vaccines or basically question (as you should) everything they say and decide not to do any of it. You have been chosen as a contestant in my new reality series, Fear Factor-it’s Mom’s Turn!

It saddens me that the professionals who have the most influence on new parents, the ones who parents rely on most for information and advice choose to intimidate, instead of educate. Using fear to subdue, short-circuit and control parents’ behavior is so commonly used by doctors that we have accepted this as the standard of care, choosing to go back for more, over and over.

Being coerced or forced to make decisions you are not comfortable with or not ready to make is wrong. Being scared half out of your wits for no good reason is wrong. Being spoken to like a child is wrong. Being given misinformation is wrong. Being meant to feel like you’ve been sent to the principal’s office is wrong. Being set-up for failure is just wrong.

So, my advice, don’t be a PEDSPHOBIC. Be a MOMINATOR instead, someone to be reckoned with.

*Side Note: Did you know there is a phobia to phobias?  phobophobia!  Yikes!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Babies Give "Fums Up” for the Movie: BABIES!

With great anticipation, a bunch of pint-sized movie critics srtolled into the first showing of BABIES on Friday, with moms in tow. Finally, the movie they had been whining about was here!  I scowered the pre-show crowd of min-movie goers for an interview. Eager to share his story was Nate, who reveiled that on the ride over, he was so excited, he pooped his pants! Based on the cheers from his friends, it was diaper changes all around!

The lobby buzzed with baby babble. “At first, we thought it was just another one of Maria’s jokes,” said Eddie, “but at group last week, Will told us that when his parents went to sleep, he went online and verified the information.”  A few had to clear their work schedule in order to make the event. “It is so worth it,” said Evan, “seeing the old gang again is totally awesome and I heard it's really dark in there and that's really cool.”

The little patrons were glued to the screen and to their mothers. Coo’s and ahhh’s, mixed with gasps and screeches made it clear to me that they were riveted to this film.  At one point, you could hear a diaper pin drop! A few moments were so poignant; they were brought to tears. Others so funny, they pee’d their pants!  Fellowship filled the room as the babies realized their own dreams (time to brush off the porfolio and screen test, imagining rug burn on the red carpet!) and discovered they were one with all the babies the world.

When the movie was over, I approached the girls for their opinion. “I thought the boys were totally out of control,” Joy shared, “especially that African boy, he’ll eat anything!” Alexis felt some scenes were a bit too revealing admitting, “I had no idea, if you know what I mean.” Julia agreed, stating “the girls looked very stylish, the boys, well, can you say the word, pants?” Kayla laughed saying the boys were cute and fun, the kind of guys she’d like to hang with. Isabella whispered in my ear that she was afraid of the animals and thought they probably smelled bad and might bite the babies but they didn’t. Also, she would warn her dad never to try pushing her down the plastic ramp in her play car….ever.

Then I asked Ché how he enjoyed the movie, he said, “I wish my mom would let me go bare- naked and that Japanese chic has control issues.” Tristan, himself a well-known performer, was asked about the acting quality in the movie, he quipped, “You’ll have to read my blog.”

Ben attended the movie with his entourage from Montclair. His main take-away was that he’d like to try some of those new nursing positions. His friends wholeheartedly agreed. Anthony slept through the entire movie complaining that his parents kept him up all night.

Nikhil announced, “I would highly recommend this movie to any baby who has an appetite for life and an adventurous spirit!”  Lastly, Jack, senior of the crew, summed up the event with one simple sentence: “The movie, BABIES is a no-napping, nursing experience –thrilling, enlightening, warm and nourishing, all at the same time.” 

Monday, May 3, 2010

In Your Baby’s Eyes

My gift to you, Happy Mother's Day!

In your baby’s eyes...

Even though you can’t zip your jeans
~your body is soft and warm

Even though you doubt yourself
~your voice is kind and reassuring

Even though you’re covered in sweat and milk
~your scent is heavenly and divine

Even though you feel awkward and inept
~your touch is gentle and soothing

Even though they may be wet with tears
~your eyes are tender with compassion

Even though some gets spit up
~your milk is sweet and intoxicating

Even though you may pretend to be amused
~your smile is engaging and delightful

Even though they may be weary
~your arms are an unfailing sanctuary

Even though it may throb with fatigue
~your beating heart is devoted

Even though what you see are flaws and imperfection
~in your baby’s eyes, you'll always be the object of affection

written by Maria Parlapiano

May 2010