Saturday, November 21, 2009

Self Potty Trained in 3 Days?

So....Jack decided to potty train himself the other day. And now he's potty trained.

It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

Back in August, I spent hours reading, planning, and preparing to begin potty training. I set aside three straight days for us to just be at home, focused on our goal. We had treats, a sticker chart, prizes, etc. We read some books beforehand, picked out some big boy Elmo underwear to buy, and even spent some time with Jack "training" his Elmo doll in how to use the potty. But when the time came, the plan was a complete and utter failure! Jack didn't mind sitting on the potty, but he had no intention of going on the potty and he didn't mind going in his diaper, pull up, or underwear at all. In fact, the one time we did make it to the potty, he threw the biggest fit I've seen in a long time, almost as if he were simply terrified. Talk about discouraging!

Then, last Saturday, out of nowhere (we had decided to back off for an indefinite amount of time), Jack told me, "Mommy, I need to go potty." I was confused but of course we went right to the bathroom. He climbed up there, went to the potty, and said, "I did it!!" You can imagine my surprise! We made a big deal about it, broke out the chart, the treats, etc. and encouraged him to tell us again the next time. And he did. Again and again. He's stayed dry in a pull up now for a week! At home, at school, at church, at the gym, you name it! Even overnight and at naps!

I'm basically in shock. But very pleased.

The moral of the story is: there is no point in trying to potty train a child before he/she is completely ready. If we would have forced the issue in August, my guess is that he would have fought it, become even more afraid, and we would still be struggling today. Instead, we left it alone completely and just waited. When he was truly ready, potty training took almost no time/effort. Granted, we still have some things to work on. I need to become brave enough to put him in underwear full time. But, for the most part, no thanks to any books I've read on the subject, this kid has it down!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Natural Childbirth? Why a Midwife?

Why natural childbirth? Why a midwife? These are two questions that I have been asked a lot lately, so I just thought I would briefly address them here. Randy and I have been educating ourselves throughout this pregnancy and there is so much information out there that led to our decisions, it would be impossible to include all of it here. But I will do the best I can.

The more I read, the more I become convinced that OB/GYNs are not the right people to assist in childbirth for low risk women. I have read many scientific studies, articles, and books that clearly demonstrate this fact. Doctors are absolutely necessary for women who are considered high risk, meaning they have an illness/condition such as eclampsia or gestational diabetes, are having a breech baby or multiple babies, have placenta previa or any other abnormal placental issue, or are having a baby prematurely. These situations are not normal and should be considered medical emergencies. However, in low risk women, birth is a natural and safe process that is best "treated" by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program and regularly being seen by a professional (midwife) for checkups to pre screen for these possible high risk situations.

In low risk women, common medical procedures/interventions such as early induction of labor by pitocin, pain management drugs, episiotomies, electronic fetal monitoring, use of forceps/vacuum, and especially cesarian section, have been shown to CAUSE more problems than they fix. Interventions follow a natural cycle. Pitocin is given to induce labor (many times for no medical reason whatsoever). This causes very long and intense contractions. Pitocin contractions are much harder and the baby and much more painful for the mother than natural contractions. This leads to an epidural. Epidurals carry many risks, but it is almost guarunteed to slow down labor. Once labor is stalled, more pitocin is given to help contractions pick back up. This leads to even more intense contractions than before, which cause the baby to go into distress, resulting in an ceasarian section. All of this was simply due to the fact that interventions were used to begin with!

It is a sad fact that in the United States, where we have the most technology and medical innovation, we have the second highest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world. How can that be possible? Take the example in the above paragraph- inducement of labor for no medical reason. Perhaps the doctor thought the woman was "overdue." In the U.S. doctors calculate due dates by adding 40 weeks to the date of the mother's last monthly period. Research actually shows that first time moms on average go into labor after 41 weeks and 1 day. Therefore, declaring a woman "overdue" at 40 weeks is absurd.

Medical procedures have been shown by many studies to CAUSE more problems than they fix. This is why the United States has the most expensive maternity care in the world, yet the second highest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world, a ridiculous fact. Anyway, I know you don't have time to read everything I've read, but I thought you might have time to take a look at some videos next time you're bored. They just give snapshots into some of this information. Natural childbirth assisted by a midwife is on the rise among middle/upper class, educated women. I believe homebirths will become the norm as more women become educated about this type of thing and realize that the hospital interventions are much more risky than just letting nature take its course.

This one is a trailer for the movie, The Business of Being Born, which is an awesome documentary:

And a really good clip from the movie which shows how common interventions work together to cause (what would have been an unnecessary) c-section:

And more on the interventions:

Here are a couple of celebrity birth stories. Compare Cindy Crawford's story (parts 1-4) to Melissa Joan Hart's first birth.

And a humorous Monty Python spoof about hospital birth:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pregnancy Update and New Names for Baby Biggs

I am very happy to report that we have hit the 7 month mark for this pregnancy! Baby Biggs is officially due two months from yesterday and I am feeling like I'm in the home stretch. However, I did just read some interesting stats. Apparently the average length of gestation is not 40 weeks, as we are often told, but 41 weeks and 1 day! I'm not too excited at the idea of adding an extra week to this pregnancy but seeing as I am against artificially inducing labor, I suppose I should plan on it! I'm actually feeling pretty amazing overall. My complaints are lack of sleep and less energy to keep up with Jack but things could certainly be a lot worse.

We will be meeting with our midwife for the first time on Friday. I am anxious to interview her and make sure that this is the route we would like to go. As far as delivering at OU, we received some bad news recently. Due to the H1N1 virus and it's prevalence, the hospital is limiting patients to only two visitors at a time and no children under the age of 14 are allowed to visit at all! This of course means that our families won't be able to wait in the waiting room like they did when Jack was born, but even worse, it means that Jack will not be able to meet his little brother or sister until we come home!! I am very upset about this and am hoping the policy will ease up by January. I am afraid the "epidemic" will only be worse by then, though...

I posted some possible names a few weeks ago and we've already changed our minds since then! We are having the worst time with names this time around. As of today, here are our name choices: If we have a girl, she will most likely be named: Vivian Kaye Biggs or Eliza Kaye Biggs. And a boy will be: Henry Arthur Biggs, Harrison Arthur Biggs, or Graham Arthur Biggs.

Here is the latest pregnancy pic, taken at 31 1/2 weeks:

If You're Happy and You Know It... Don't Clap

Jack has always loved playing the piano. His latest hobby, however, is pretending to play the piano. He sits on his bed on a pillow and faces the foot board, putting his feet down in between the mattress and the foot board. Then he uses the foot board as his pretend piano and "plays" his songs. He could seriously do this all day! I guess it feels more like a real piano (size wise) than his little baby toy piano (hint, hint, Santa Clause!)

Anyway, he has an entire repertoire of songs that he plays but his favorite lately is "If You're Happy and You Know It." However, he changes it up just a bit. Here is his version:

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
(whispers to me, to the beat of "clap, clap") Don't clap
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
Don't clap
If you're happy and you know it, then you're face will surely show it,
if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
Don't clap

What a silly boy!! Not sure why he insists on the no clapping rule, but in my opinion, it really takes away from the song's charm... :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pregnancy Pics

Here is the latest, taken at 29 1/2 weeks. The second picture is me pregnant with Jack at 30 weeks. I think I'm carrying about the same... okay, maybe I was slightly smaller last time!

Halloween Fun- Trick-or-Treat!

I think last night was the best night of our little guy's life. The progression kind of reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld's bit:

"What's that? Who's giving away candy?! EVERYONE WE KNOW is just giving away candy?! What do I have to do? ...I can wear that!"

We've been talking about Halloween for awhile and Jack had decided to be Super Why. For those that are not aware, Super Why is a show on PBS in which the Super Readers jump into books to find the answers to their questions. It's actually pretty cute and although I figured no one would know who he was, Jack turned out to be quite the celebrity on our street. Everywhere we went, we heard children shouting out, "Look, it's Super Why!!!"

So, once he was dressed, we headed out the door to our first neighbor's house. He was excited just to ring the doorbell and see Arlene, the sweet lady who lives next door. He knew to say "trick-or-treat," but was quite surprised when she just started piling candy into his jack-o-lantern bucket. We left that house and headed to the next and he was getting really excited at this point. "I ring the door bell and say trick-or-treat and I get some treats!!" By the third house or so, he was still in awe and even told one lady, "Thank you. I love you!" Needless to say, even though we had been building this up for quite some time, Jack was amazed by the actual experience. What a joy to see life through the eyes of a child. I believe he enjoyed this night so much more than Storybook Forest and Haunt the Zoo because he had more interaction with people. He loved to ring the doorbell and greet each person. He was never quite ready to leave one house and head to another as he would have preferred to get more acquainted with each neighbor! Our little guy is just so sweet and has such a love for people!

After awhile we decided that Jack had enough treats (he really only eats the suckers anyway) and we headed back home, where Aunt A and Bebe were ready with some cake. One piece of cake and one sucker later, he was ready to crash. What a perfect night for a little boy!

Halloween Fun- Haunt the Zoo

On Friday, Jack joined his friends Parker and Max for Haunt the Zoo. Again, it was VERY crowded and we felt like we were being herded like cattle, but overall the kids had fun. Jack wasn't nearly as into the trail trick-or-treating as he was the carousel and the bouncy house. He especially loved riding in the wagon with Parker and getting a glow necklace!

Halloween Fun- Storybook Forest

Last Saturday, Randy and I took Jack to Storybook Forest at Lake Arcadia (along with the Spurgeons). It was quite crowded and Jack wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but we had a good time!