Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sometimes

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Parenting is hard.

Sometimes you have to be a wall of love and grace and firm boundaries while the fury and the flood of their raw emotions rages against you until it spends itself and falls into you, needing arms soft and warm and full of acceptance.

Sometimes you need to hide alone in the bathroom, door locked, fan on, just to breathe for five seconds and clear your head and decide what to do about the issue du jour.

Sometimes you need to play. Just play. Laugh, dance in the kitchen, show off your killer 90’s moves to their deep delight or chagrin, depending on the day.

Sometimes you have to give and give and give and give and give until you are drained to the dregs. And then give a little more, always at a cost to yourself. Self-care is a far-off dream in these seasons. Showers are about as much as you can manage.

Sometimes you take the easy way out, for the protection of your own sanity, and you feel guilty for it, even though you know that what’s easiest for you is usually what’s best for your family. It makes room for you do the Hard Things when they come.

Sometimes you have no idea what you are doing, and you hope your child can afford the therapy they are sure to need because of your parenting.

Sometimes you see other parents and wish your life was that easy, or you are glad that isn’t your kid. Either way, you are probably wrong, and you know it. So you mentally fist bump them, and deal with the kid in front of you, who is probably making that other parent grateful he’s not their kid.

Parenting is hard you guys.

Every. Day.

Just keep swimming. You’re going to make it. And it’s worth it.

Something Wonderful This Way Comes

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

 

pfb classes 2017Can you feel it? Autumn is in the air, finally! (Insert groans and moans from Desirre here. ūüėČ ) With it comes change, a letting go to make way for the rest and restoration of winter, and then the unfolding blossoming of spring!

You may have recently visited the site, and noticed that our Fall series of childbirth and breastfeeding classes have been canceled. That is because things are changing here at Preparing for Birth as well! We are entering a new season, letting go of the same old way of doing things, allowing our teachers a season of some rest, and gearing up for a brand new way of doing things!

Mothers and their partners are changing in the way they approach things, and so should we if we hope to continue to serve the Colorading Springs area with effective, relevant, and interactive classes.

I would love to hear from you, our community, what you want most from a childbirth and breastfeeding class. If you have taken classes, or plan to, what is most important to you?

Is it the information and content itself? Do you want to watch videos, or would you prefer more discussion and group work? How do you feel about interactive and relevant games? Hands-on technique instruction in breathing, relaxation, and basic comfort techniques? What topics are most important to you?

Let us know in the comments!

Grace & Peace,

Tiff

So You’re In Early Labor. Now What?

Monday, April 24th, 2017

 

One night, you are awakened from slumber at the beck and call of your compressed bladder. No, wait. That’s not it. There’s a crampy tightness that feels familiar. Where have you felt that before?

Menstrual cramps! It feels crampy. Weird. You decide to get up and move to the bathroom. After a few minutes, you get back and bed and feel more cramps. Hm. Weird.

Could this be it? It could be! This is it! You’re finally in early labor!

You know this because the contractions are coming, no matter what you do. You’ve had a big glass of water. You’ve gotten up to pee. You’ve had a snack. You’re content to let the rest of your house rest while you anticipate the birth day to come.

So you’re in early labor. Now what?

You think back to what your midwife told you, and you remember that she gave you several things to do during this slow building time.

  1. Let Your Midwife Know. As soon as you know you’re definitely in labor, she’ll want to know. She or her assistant might swing by to check on you and baby, or just triage you over the phone, depending on what’s happening and your needs.
  2. Rest. This is not the time to try and “get things moving” by taking a long walk, doing nipple stim, or anything else that is supposed to speed things along. This is the time to conserve energy. If you can talk through your contractions, you can sleep through them.
  3. Eat & Drink. Whatever time your labor starts, eat normally. One good meal is often enough to sustain you through the work to come. No food is off-limits, though it’s wise to keep in mind that you may throw up, so avoiding choking hazards or harsh foods might be a good idea. Comfort foods are wholesome, nourishing, and encourage happy hormones. Also, keep drinking. Water, juices, herbal teas that you enjoy, smoothies, and broth are all great candidates. Whatever sounds good.
  4. Do Life. There is no reason to put off that quick trip to the store to get milk and bread, or going to the movies. There is no reason to go out if you didn’t plan to, but just going about your day, doing your best to ignore what’s happening. At this point, it’s really no big deal, and it helps your progress if you can be content, happy, and moving.
  5. Distract Yourself. Sometimes, especially when it’s your first baby, it’s so hard to keep your mind off your contractions. But the rule of thumb is that you must ignore them until they demand all of your attention, whether you like it or not. Conserving energy in early labor is paramount! Don’t use breathing or coping techniques from your classes yet either. They contribute to the sense of time, and can make you far more tired than you need to be. Instead, watch funny movies, go to the park, go out on a date with your partner, bake a birthday cake, start a slow cooker meal for after the birth, or call a friend to chat.

I like to tell people to “be in denial” about their labor until their labor gets all up in their face! Just take care of yourself, pretend like everything is normal, that nothing is going on, and let your body keep the secret just a little while longer. You will be shouting to the world in your own way soon enough, so save your breath. Smile. 

“To move into active labor, a woman must give up ideas of how she thought labor might be; in other words, she must surrender.” ~Elizabeth Davis in Heart & Hands

Open up to the path your labor has chosen, and surrender time.

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

First Day of School, part 1.

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

The first day of full time, real life, public school for the three younger kiddos this year was August 16th. I was so nervous about the logistics of getting them hither and thither, but I needn’t have worried. It was no big deal. And the kids all had a good first day, even though they thought it was soooo boring to have to listen to All The Rules! Ugh!

There are definitely different challenges with public school than homeschool, but so far I wouldn’t say that either is particularly easier. While I miss my kids during the day, I am definitely finding that I’m able to get quite a lot done without them home, which is great, because once they’re home, I can really focus on being WITH them, rather than trying to multi-task work and studying with homeschooling and housework. Not to mention fitting Levi in there somewhere, poor guy!

The homework level isn’t bad at all, either. None of them have more than about half an hour of work on a daily basis. I feel hopeful that this year is going to turn out to be a year of great progress for my kids!

We didn’t do our traditional “What I want to be when I grow up pictures,” but we did snap some decent shots on their first day. Here you go:

DSC00990Lydia’s first day of 6th grade. She wanted to declare to everyone right up front that she is a proud geek. So, naturally, she chose her “Marvelous Club House” Woot shirt for her first day. I totally cried when I dropped her off.

She was able to find her way to and from all her classes without any trouble on the first day, and also discovered that she doesn’t have a locker partner! We weren’t certain at first, but as the days wore on, it was confirmed. Lydia officially has at least one space in the universe that is her Very Own. We have yet to get a few decorations, but we will.

We also found out this week that Lydia has tested into advanced Literacy, Social Studies, and Science classes! She needs some help in math, but I expected that, being that it was my weakest homeschool subject, no matter how hard I tried. The good thing is that her favorite teacher is her math teacher! I call that a blessing!

DSC00991This is Audrey’s first day of 5th grade. FIFTH GRADE, people! She was so, so excited for her first day! Daddy took her, since it was a Tuesday, and I had an early appointment at the office. That was probably best, since I would have been a hot mess dropping them off after dropping Lydia.

My little extrovert is already making friends and loving her teacher! She says her teacher is pretty strict, but she’s hilarious, so that makes it all worth it. The focus in class this year is preparing them for middle school next year, so her teacher is taking the approach of helping them shoulder the responsibility for their school work. I like this teacher already.

Overall, I am optimistic about Audrey’s prospects, and I look forward to seeing her blossom a little more this year. I think the challenge and stimulation of a classroom environment will be good for her this year, and it’s so far been confirmed daily in her after school chatter.

DSC00993Dain. This kid is in 3rd grade, if you can believe it. Honestly, I can barely believe I got him this far, and consider teaching him to read my greatest Life Accomplishment thus far. Frankly, I have run out of ideas of how to keep him focused and motivated, and am grateful for the help his teacher is already offering to him and to me as we navigate this year.

Third grade is a bit of a jump from second, and I wasn’t sure he was ready for it, even though we put him through first grade twice. This kid is uniquely bright, but difficult to motivate. He’s a lot like his daddy that way, which is encouraging to me. I have a feeling that he’ll be very self-motivated when he finds the right subject matter.

He adores his teacher, and wants so badly to live up to her high expectations, and I count that a blessing! He couldn’t care less what Mom thinks! (Of course I know my influence is more powerful, so just shush. If you’re a mom, you know what I mean.) His teacher and I are on the same page, and I have a feeling she and I will be talking a LOT about this kiddo and how to push him and challenge him without discouraging him.

Durin’s first day isn’t until September 6th, so no picture today. But I’m going to have to share a picture of him next to me, because Holy Tallness Batman! Sigh…

Why do they have to grow up?

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

My Little Stinker is Nine

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

So, Dain is nine now. As of August 9th.

How, may I ask, does such a thing happen? The passage of time is incomprehensible to me, and it gets old quickly. This kid. What can I say about him? He is my challenge and my joy. Snuggly and little one minute, rambunctious and loud the next. I don’t understand him all the time, but I love him deeply.

He is my last born, the bearer of all my “last firsts” as a mother. He often gets overlooked, to both his detriment and his benefit. The downside is that I often plan the least for his birthday, and think of him last when planning playdates and sleepovers. The upside is that I forget that his brother was doing a lot more around the house at his age, so I have to be conscious in spreading the workload a little more evenly.

His freckles just melt my heart, and his eagerness to please touches my warm fuzzy feelings. I’m a bit of a sucker for him, as hard as I try not to be. And I overcompensate sometimes by being harder on him than I should.

He is sweet, cuddly, hilarious, goofy, serious, devoted, friendly, and affectionate. He is challenging, mysterious, soft-spoken, clever, and distracted. I can’t wrap my brain around him, and I’m done trying to understand him. I just love him. With all my heart. Always.

Happy birthday, Dain!

On Extroverts

Monday, August 29th, 2016
how-to-care-for-extroverts

If anyone can show me the original source, I’d be grateful. Thanks!

These days, we glorify the introvert.

I get it. With societal¬†pressure to be “more friendly, extroverted, and/or outgoing,” it must be exhausting to be an introvert. Believe me, I can relate more than you think I can. Because I’m an ambivert.

I’m an introverted extrovert. Meaning that I lean more toward extroversion, but have strong (STRONG) introvert needs and tendencies.

For example: I have the strong bonds of an introvert, with the expansive reach of an extrovert.

Still, I do lean more toward the extrovert end of the spectrum. And I feel like we’ve been given a bad rap recently. Extroverts are loud-mouthed, self-centered nuisances who don’t know when they’re not wanted, right?

All an extrovert needs is ATTENTION ATTENTION SPOTLIGHT ATTENTION, right?

Not so much. Sure, there are some like that. But most just want to be included. To feel important, needed, and appreciated. Like most human beings. (Go figure — we long for human connection.)

The need just looks different. Where introverts are often good at reading appreciation from others between the lines, and don’t necessarily require concrete demonstration, many extroverts miss that, and could really use an overt “Well done!”

I want to clear something up:

It is not shallow to desire praise.

This is a recent discovery of mine. You’ve heard of the 5 Love Languages, right? Please allow me to remind you that Words of Affirmation is one of the languages. Words. Spoken out loud. In praise of another. Expressed as a need related directly to love.

I have no idea how many extroverts are “Words of Affirmation” folks, but I know that I am. Though we sometimes seem to be vying for attention, it might be deeper than that.

The truth is, we often aren’t fishing for a compliment, we are hungry for affirmation. There’s a difference. Never hesitate to give it. No one ever regretted words of kindness and love shared freely.

You will see us light up in ways you never knew we could, illuminating your world as well as our own.

Cut the extroverts some slack.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

USAF Academy Visit.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Jared is really into all things military, as he has plans to be a Navy SEAL when he grows up. He just might do it, too. So, I told him about the USAF Academy¬†and decided to take him to check it out. It’s so much fun to see his eyes light up when he talks about the military. His head is chock full of history, trivia, and did-you-knows.

We started at the visitor center, where they played a 21 minute “Year in Blue” video detailing a year in the life of Fourth Class (freshmen) cadets. The kids were all blown away.

They’re amazed at the courage, integrity, and work it takes to make it at the Academy. I think it gave them a new respect for our military, and maybe planted a few seeds of desire. I would be proud to have any of my kids make it into the Academy.

We then took the short hike to the USAFA Cadet Chapel – a renowned landmark. This structure is incredible. Absolutely incredible. We walked into the Protestant Chapel (the main structure), and were dumbstruck. Audrey was literally moved to tears, and when I asked her what was wrong, she replied, “Nothing, Mom. It’s just so beautiful!” I completely understood¬†as I was on the verge of tears myself.

After that, everyone was hungry, so we grabbed a snack from the gift shop, and stopped on the way back to the gate to check out Jared’s other priority, the B52 bomber. It was a hit, and Jared was excited to point out all the different parts of the plane he could recognize, and reading the placards.

Good day.

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

VBAC: You’re The Number One Stakeholder

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Add headingIn this line of work, informed consent and refusal is paramount. There is not one factor more ethically important than accurate fully informed consent. Without it, a care provider is practicing unethically, and patients are deciding blindly. Without it, it is far too easy for doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to steamroll patients in their desire to protect the so-called “greater good.” The greater good argument is just a nicer way of saying “The end justifies the means.” An argument most people dismiss as childish at best and despotic at worst.

Nowhere is this more true than in making medical decisions. No government has the right or the jurisdiction to decide ahead of time what would be in anyone’s best interests to choose one course of action over another. The only exception to this is when one’s decision would interfere directly with the safety or life of another human being. Very few medical decisions will directly result in putting another human in mortal danger. Even smoking isn’t guaranteed to produce cancer in every individual. Rather, there are risk factors linked to smoking that make it far more likely. Yet, we don’t ban smoking entirely! We understand that each individual has a right to do with their lungs what they like.

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come
when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict
the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to
others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special
privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.‚ÄĚ
~Benjamin Rush
(one of our Founding Fathers)

Why does this change when it involves a uterus? Medical institutions seem to have the mindset that women give up their rights when they cross the threshold of the labor & delivery room. Up for discussion in Colorado are the midwifery regulations. Up until last week, everything was going smoothly, and midwives were going to be given some reasonable freedoms to better care for the women who choose home birth. At the last minute, ACOG tacked on an amendment to HB-1360 to remove the option for midwives to care for women desiring a VBAC at home. It passed the House, and is now on the Senate floor this week.

Rewinding a bit back to decisions that interfere directly with the safety or life of another human being. Doesn’t VBAC do that very thing?

No.

It does not.

Most medical decisions fall on a spectrum. They are not black and white, right or wrong. There are degrees of risk. And those degrees vary among different women. They even vary among different pregnancies in the same woman! How on earth can there be any government regulation that allows for every possible variation in these risks? How can any government regulation account for every arbitrary circumstance? Every irregularity?

They can’t.

And they should not.

Who then, is best equipped to balance the risks of VBAC against the risks of a repeat cesarean? The woman who is pregnant is the number one stakeholder. Period. End of story.

“But what about the baby?” Yes. What about the baby, indeed. That baby has a mother more intimately connected to him than anyone else. There is no one more fit to make decisions in regards to the risks baby may incur during any given birth than his or her fully and accurately informed mother. Not the doctor. Not the hospital. Not the insurance company. And certainly not the government.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Please — do your homework. Educate yourself. Speak up! Start here:

VBAC Facts
International Cesarean Awareness Network
Science & Sensibility: Too bad we can’t just ban accreta…

Want to do something about it? Visit the Colorado Midwives Association Facebook page, and follow their posts. They are posting updates regularly. They are sharing specifics like who to call, and what to say. Easy peasy.

When it comes to VBAC consent: You are the number one stakeholder.

Thank you!

Grace & Peace,
Tiff Miller, CCCE, Student Midwife

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My Best Is Never Enough

Monday, April 11th, 2016

My best is never enough.

Keep moving
further up and further in.
Away from this.
My defense kicks in
without permission
because my spirit is willing,
but not my flesh.

I subdue it anyway.

Only my ego bruised,
I choose
to write
to paint
to read
to cry
to pray.
I let it go,
in the wake of a joy not mine.

I swallow my pride
and smile.
Because I know better
than to assume
malice.

Responsible to,
not responsible for,
I remember.

My weakness
rebelling.
My spirit smiles, still willing.
Grateful even,
that I am not the only one
to carry such burdens
anymore.

YET…

I cannot reach out
alone.
Why?

I cannot have a joy of my own.
Why?

I must weigh other burdens in the
balance of every decision.
Burdens I did not purchase.
Packages full of
fragile angst
and struggle
and delicate
eggshells everywhere.

Precarious and sharp.
I. Can’t. Move.
Why?

My joy is held prisoner to
light and temporary misery
not my own.

I eat crow
you make for me.
Over and over.
And now I wonder why.

I cannot open this can of worms,
for I would have to eat it all myself.

Because my best is never enough.

I wrote this years ago, and it has been sitting in my drafts folder. This is a struggle long behind me, but I sometimes find myself repeating the lesson.

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

Rock the Boat: Call the Colorado state senators TODAY!

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Maybe you believe your vote doesn’t count in general elections. That your voice makes no difference. I won’t try to convince you otherwise. However, what DOES count is your phone calls and emails to your Senators & Representatives–in your state AND in Washington! Whether you voted for them or not, EVERY phone call represents hundreds of voters to them.

I challenge you to set an example for your children, and pick up your phone. Teach them how, even if our favored politician loses the race, we can still participate and have an impact on the process of lawmaking on issues that matter to us.

It took me FIVE minutes to make five quick phone calls, and another five minutes to send five emails to our state senators.

Vote or don’t vote, but rock the boat!

Thank you!
Grace & Peace,
Tiff Miller

From Karen Robinson, former CMA president:
I’m seeing a lot of messages flying across Facebook asking people to contact certain members of the Colorado House Health Committee (Sue Ryden, Beth McCann, Susan Lontine and Lois Landgraf) to tell them not to Colorado Registered Midwives from attending VBAC at home.

It’s important to note that this bill is no longer in the House, it will move to the Senate next week. So while I think it’s fine to contact those four women, I strongly suggest everyone start contacting their individual state senators instead–along with the following members of the Senate Health Committee:

  • Kevin Lundberg (he will be the bill’s sponsor): 303-866-4853, kevin@kevinlundberg.com
  • Larry Crowder: 303-866-4875, Larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us
  • Irene Aguilar: 303-866-4852, Irene.aguilar.senate@state.co.us
  • Beth Martinez Humenick: 303-866-4863, bethmartinezhumenick.senate@state.co.us
  • Linda Newell: 303-866-4846, Linda.newell.senate@state.co.us

Copy and paste the following into an email to each senator (thanks to Ramona Webb for the suggested script):

Dear Senator __________,

HB-1360 will be voted on in the Colorado Senate soon, and it contains an amendment stripping away home birth parents’ rights to have a registered midwife attend their birth if they have had a cesarean before. This language was not in the previous bill regulating
direct-entry midwives …

If home VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with a registered midwife is made illegal, I am afraid that many VBAC mothers will choose to give birth at home without any medical assistance rather than plan a hospital birth and likely repeat cesarean. Registered midwives are trained to monitor the mother and baby for problems and transport to the hospital if complications arise.

Please vote to remove this recently added amendment, and preserve the rights of Colorado home birth parents!

Thank you,
(name)
(address & phone)

Last, but not least, please take the time to sign this petition, right now. Just click on the heading.

Safe Homebirth VBAC options for Colorado Women

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