Catnap’s New Meaning

As if nap time weren’t already hard enough for me, it got even more challenging today.

For starters, our new living situation made it difficult to get the baby to sleep.  Back home, I used to rock her swaddled up until she fell asleep, at which point I would put her in the crib.   When we got here it was extremely hot, so I had to ditch the warm swaddle.   In addition, I had no rocker.  The only thing that worked was nursing her to sleep.

Now nursing is the only way I can get her to sleep.  It is something I have been struggling with in my mind because I can’t foresee how it will end.  She doesn’t know how to soothe herself to sleep.   At bedtime, I can get her into her crib after nursing, but for naps I pretty much end up holding her because she wakes up when I try to set her down. That means I spend a lot of time each day with her in my arms.

Well, I think this makes someone jealous.  That someone is my cat, Zoe.   She has always loved to snuggle with me.   She sleeps on me at night, often on my chest.   When the baby was waking up one or two times a night and I would crawl back to bed, Zoe would be there to hop right up on my chest to get her snuggle time in. 

She wasn’t allowed in the baby’s room at home, but here there is no lock on the door and she can easily push it open.  I tried to barricade it with a basket, but she still gets in.  From time to time, when I am nursing the baby in her room, Zoe will push in a walk around. 

Today she took it up a notch.

While the baby was sleeting, a word borrowed from a friend, which means sleeping and eating at the same time, Zoe pushed her way in and hopped up on my lap; a lap that was already filled by the baby.  She stepped over the baby and up onto my neck/chest where she stayed and purred.  Eventually, she migrated down to my legs and snuggled in there until the baby woke up an hour later.

Tonight, when I went up to nurse the baby at nighttime, I found the crib already occupied by Zoe!  I took her out, put her outside the room and shut the door.   Fifteen minutes into nursing the baby, she was back.   She hopped right up and proceeded to inch her way up my neck.  This time she had her front paws on my shoulder, head lying on the back of the chair, and her butt rested on the baby, who didn’t even budge.  She purred and seemed to fall asleep.

I took her off so I could put the baby in the crib and she left the room.  Unfortunately, the baby woke up and I had to nurse her some more to get her back to bed.   In the meantime, Zoe came back and hopped into the crib, where she gave herself a thorough bath.   I figured she would hop out when I laid the baby in. Nope.  I lay the baby down and Zoe stayed contently curled up at the other end of the crib.

I wish I had a picture of all of these different scenes.   They would be perfect for the baby book.   We’ll see if this is a one-time thing or a new piece of the daily routine.  Though I had two hot bodies on me, at least I got to snuggle with my two favorite girls at once.

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Mother and Child (Mutter und Kind)

One great thing I have noticed about Germany so far is how accomImagemodating they are to mothers and their children.   I am specifically referring to the availability and quality of bathrooms with changing stations (Wickelbaum or Wickeltisch).  We went shopping at IKEA and, of course, the baby had a blow out.  There was an entire room just for mothers and babies.  It had three changing stations complete with wipes and fresh sheets of paper for covering the changing pad.  It had toys for older children to play with to keep them entertained.  It had a lounger too.  I’m thinking that was for mother’s who need a break!

I thought maybe the niceness of this was because it was IKEA, but the case is the same in many restaurants, groceries stores, the mall, and the zoo. The restaurant we went to yesterday even had diapers in various sizes available at the changing table.   It’s nice knowing that wherever we go out, I don’t have to find a corner to change the baby or change her in the car.

Now the strollers here are a whole other world I have yet to figure out.  I’m intrigued by the difference the ones I see in Chicago. I know some come from the different usage needs of different locations.  One difference is that it appears that most moms have their babies in buggy/bassinet type strollers for a long time.  Babies all seem to be lying down.  We pretty much went straight from the car seat attachment to sitting up and bypassed lying down in a stroller all together.

If they are not lying down, they have a footrest for the baby, which is kind of like the footrest that comes out of a recliner.  Why is that?  Is it more comfortable for the baby?  I have never seen this before.

Another feature I like is that they have bigger baskets beneath the strollers.  I think this must be because they use the stroller as a shopping cart when they are out.

Moms and Dads here take their babies everywhere, even in the cold German weather.   It is colder than Chicago here right now, but not winter cold yet.   So we have still been carrying the baby around in the Baby Bjorn or in the stroller with a blanket over her.   People here have their babies bundled up like they are in the North Pole.   Every stroller is equipped with a huge fleece or fur body cover or muff.   We are looking into getting one because right now we feel eyes glaring at us like we are not keeping our child warm enough.

I do love that people walk so much here and in Europe in general.  They definitely do not let the weather keep them indoors.   I think what helps with the walking is that it seems that every city has a pedestrian only shopping area that is perfect for strolling.   The European stroll is an aspect of life I wish I could transport back to America, but can’t.  So for now, I will try to partake in it as much as possible.

Hypnobirthing: Is it all in your head?

We are conditioned from childhood to believe one thing about childbirth…
It will be the most painful experience in a woman’s life.
We’ve seen it in tv shows, movies, and heard it from generations of mothers all of our lives. But is this the truth for everyone? Is it the only way?

Hypnobirthing has changed my entire belief system of child birth and what it CAN be.

I am an admitted hospital phobe. I get faint being in and around hospitals. I get faint thinking about needles and giving blood. My blood pressure shot up thinking about getting pregnant and having to go through all of the routine procedures involved in pregnancy. I told my midwife about my fears and she thought I would be a good candidate for a hypnobirthing childbirth course.

When I heard the word hypnobirthing I thought about being in a trance and a watch being dangled in front of my face. Again, this was just ignorance. But wanting to have a smooth childbirth, I was willing to try anything.

Turns out it was the perfect thing for me.

In the last 5 years of my hubby and my life journey, being positive kept popping up. We had our own anxieties while we were living abroad in Greece. One of the things that helped us and that we worked on daily was being positive. Trying to put a positive spin to anything and everything. We realized that you have to retrain your brain to be positive.

We came across some information somewhere that estimated that our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day. Of those 50,000 thoughts, it is estimated that 70-80% are negative. So I am not crazy for having some fears. But how to change that?

You DO have control over those thoughts. If you are having a negative thought, you can stop it. If you are having a positive thought, you can stop it.

Hypnobirthing has changed all of my thoughts about childbirth from negative to positive. Through the lessons I have learned in class, I have released my fears and anxieties. I have completely transformed my visions of what childbirth can be.

Will people think I am crazy?
Yes.
That I don’t know what I am talking about? Yes.
That I am in for a rude awakening?
Yes.
Well, what do I have to say to that?
They are just being negative!

You’re using a midwife? WHAT #@?

“Are you crazy?”

“Are you having your baby in a bathtub?”

“Good luck with that! (sarcastically)”

“You have no idea what you are getting into!”
These are just a few of the responses I got to my plans to use midwives for the birth of my first child.

I am five weeks away from the birth of my first baby and I plan to have natural childbirth, use hypnobirthing techniques, and midwives. (possibly water birth if it’s available)

It might sound strange that I haven’t really talked to any one close to me about my plans to use midwives and natural childbirth methods.   But not really.   Would you talk to people about your childbirth plans if these were the responses you got?

I think it’s really sad that there are so many misconceptions in the U.S. about midwives and the role they can play in childbirth.   But because I was met with such judgement, I found it easier to just not say anything at all rather than have it thrown back in my face.   I also didn’t want people to think that I was belittling the way that they chose to give birth, through the choices I am making.

Reasons my husband and I chose midwifery:
1.   Watching the movie “The Business of Being Born” : I highly recommend this to anyone newly pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or even thinking about getting pregnant.  It was truly eyeopening about the “business” of childbirth in America’s hospitals.  It helped us decide that midwives were aligned with our goals and hopes for childbirth.

2. Fears and Anxiety:  I have had many phobias about hospitals, needles, and blood.  The thought of pregnancy and childbirth scared me enough, that we kept it on the back burner for years.  I liked the idea of a midwife being with me for the long haul of labor, and not for the 10 minutes before the baby’s arrival like a physician.  This helped to quell some of my hospital fears.
3.  Mothering approach: From my personal experience, midwives have a more nurturing approach to patient care and the childbirth process.  From day one, I have felt comfortable telling them about my fears/anxieties, as well as goals/hopes for childbirth.  I felt the opposite with my physician.

Now as I approach the arrival of my baby, I think maybe I should have been more vocal to friends, family, strangers about my choices for childbirth.  I guess that’s why I am writing this now.

Maybe people would benefit from hearing about my plans.  Maybe people would become more educated and informed about birthing options.  Maybe people would become less judgmental.   Maybe they will be supportive of my choices.  Maybe they would understand.

Maybe…  Until they hear about hynobirthing!