Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What's that score again?

I got a text message the other night from a friend asking about the name of the score we talked about when we discussed about induction of labor a year or so ago...

She was referring to the Bishop's Score.
If you are considering having your labor induced, don't come into the experience with a mind set that it's just the same as if your body went into labor naturally.

The Bishop Score is something worth discussing with your doctor when considering an induction. You can also compute your Bishop Score here. It simply computes the readiness of your cervix (not your baby's readiness for life outside) and chances of the induction succeeding or not- in the event of which you will most likely have a cesarean. You might find the following helpful:

faQ from American Colege of Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Induction of Labor

Watch this video from Lamaze International "Let Labor Begin On It's Own"

Another interesting and alarming thing about induction of labor is the link being made between induction of labor and autism, you can read about it here- read the comments, consider it and this one too.

Dr Michel Odent who is all for natural labor and birth says: “Most women give birth now on a synthetic Oxytocin drip. It is the most common medical intervention in childbirth,” he explains. But with no long term studies on its side effects, he says: “We are playing with the Oxytocin systems of human beings without knowing what we are doing.” You can read more about this here.

I have 4 children. I have been through that waiting for labor to start phase. With every pregnancy, except for my first, I hoped I would give birth by 38 weeks instead of 40+ a few days! For me, it felt like:
Bring it on! I am so ready to stop being pregnant...
I want to meet this baby! 
The house is so ready for this baby! 
I want to try on all these new stuff I have accumulated for me and this little one. 
Its so hot! I am so fat no I am so BIG! 
I can't go anywhere! In reality I could go somewhere but then it's so tiring.  
I have nothing to wear that fits well! 
I really want to give birth and see this baby!!!

Even with my fourth baby, when I vowed I would enjoy every minute of where I was, I was certainly excited. I wanted to move forward. Let's be conservative about this. No body knows for sure how high the price is for rushing birth. I suggest to make this waiting phase part of your family's history, rather than a medical event.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Would You Buy Breastmilk?

If there was breast milk for sale, would you buy it?

As of date we do not have a breastmilk bank in Davao City! Most of the moms I know who donate breast milk do so because they have extra milk to share. They express milk thinking of their babies. They handle and store their milk with care because it is for their baby. If selling happens, the intention changes and don't you think the storing and handling will change too?
Some moms I know started their journey with a breast pump and not a baby in their arms (premature and/or sick baby). And now that all is well they feel strongly that they want to give back. And they donate their milk to their birth place.

HM4HB - Davao City Philippines is network where families looking for breast milk can link up with mothers who have breast milk to SHARE! Breast milk is donated NOT SOLD!
The POD has many times been a venue for the families to meet but there is NO BREAST MILK SOLD at The POD. There was NEVER an instance where breast milk was sold in the Facebook page of Mommy Sense, Davao's first mom to mom support group.

Last year, because of Yolanda, there was a freezer full of breast milk at The POD. But that was because there was an emergency and mothers saw the urgent need to help and reach out. Even those who did not have breast milk to share went ahead and donated breast milk storage bags, ice packs and so on. This was a big group effort and the milk was shipped to PGH for pasteurization. The POD is not a breast milk bank but was and can be a drop off and pick up point for breast milk in times of need. 

Since 2012 we had instances when Grandparents, Aunts, Dads, and Moms who have just given birth, walk into The POD looking for breast milk. We addressed this as best we could and assisted some moms with breastfeeding once the babies were out of the nursery or NICU.

{I use the word nursery although there should not be one since moms and baby's should not be separated at birth. Check out Unang Yakap EINC for this and this video too. However, some of the family members, if not the mom who just gave birth, who dropped by The POD or text/ called, looking for breast milk, have full term babies who do not require intensive care. But, in the order of things in their birth place mom was sent home and was asked to produce X quantity of breast milk for her baby who was left in the hospital. For nursery practice to stop, there should be policy, but policy is not enough, it should be hearts, minds and of course training of the doctors, nurses and staff etc!}

So why should YOU NOT BUY breast milk online or in your local sari-sari store?
Jenny Ong of  Chronicles of a Nursing mom addressed it here.
And because of this study.(Sari-sari store was not in this study)

I received a Facebook message last year that made me suspect the other person was selling breast milk but it turned out she was not. I covered the photo and name of the person.

Its up to you to decide I am just pointing out that as far-out as it sound, it can happen here in Davao City. If the practice of sending moms home and requiring her to produce X quantity of milk for her baby (just like that!) does not change then desperation can take hold and the next thing we know somebody is successfully selling and someone is buying. Breastfeeding is a community effort and I don't think breast milk should ever be for sale!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our First Baby has a High School Diploma

Its official!!! Our eldest passed the ALS Exam! Congratulation to my dearest A. She can  move on to higher education. WOW!!! How fast!

 Screen Capture from here

What's the next step? Where will she go? What will she do with this high school diploma?
I asked her: "What do you want to take for college? "
While her dad asked her: "What do you really really want to do?"

We both got different answers. LOL

My girls and Ginger the Cat. A photo they sent me through Viber when I asked how they were while I was out for the whole day for the Mommy Sense 2nd Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training by Arugaan.
Most of the students A's age will be entering the University this June while she has to write/email the Universities she wants to go to to ask permission if she can sit down and take their entrance exam this coming August and September. She has called one university so far and whoever she spoke to on the phone asked her is she has PEP Test  results which she does not have. You can read more about PEP Test and ALS  here. At any rate the person from the university that A spoke to said, she should write their admission officer or something like that. The PEP Test is only given once a ear here in Davao City but in manila its given almost every month. At the moment it would be too tight, time and money wise to rush A into taking the PEP Test . It would be cheaper to take the SAT rather than make a trip to Manila to take the PEP Test. Anyway, lets see how this goes. This year will be like her gap year.  I am very excited for my dear girl.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Can my husband come with me inside the labor room?

I don't see why you can not have a companion of choice. I had and so have a lot of other mothers here in Davao City! If you want to have someone to hold your hand and share the experience with you, then you must asked that someone now to join you in your birth place. Speak up! You are going to be a mother! You will be responsible for a one of kind person! And you will experience labor and birth and you'll never walk the same road again. You should be heard! Do not delay and please check if your birth place will allow you and your chosen companion in the labor and delivery room.

If your birth place has a policy that says no one is allowed in the labor and delivery room or you can only have visitors for  a certain number of minutes only, then that is just severe specially if you are giving birth in a private hospital. It does not matter if you are planning to be in the maternity ward, private room or suite room. I think and have seen that it is severe to deny a woman in labor a companion that she so desires specially if that companion wants to be with her too!

If your birth place has this policy you should know that your birth place is seriously stuck in the crazy cut tiles and hairspray trend of the fifties and sixties! Or they could have advanced to the bell bottoms and disco craze of the seventies and eighties respectively, but their policy is nowhere near Evidence Based Maternity Care Practices.
If your doctor/ midwife recommends a birth place for you he/she should be able to answer you if you can have continuous labor support and and what their new born care practices and policies are (this will be for another post). You can read more on the advantages of having a companion of choice for labor and delivery here. Its no surprise that Unang Yakap EINC is recommending it!

Here is a screen capture from Unang Yakap EINC Facebook Page.

And another one from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

Here's a follow up question: What about infection? Is having a companion of choice applicable in a hospital setting here in Davao City? As I said I had a companion of choice with me (take note: my companion is not in the medical profession he is a businessman) and so have many others here in Davao City.

And puhaleeeez!! Please! Seriously! Infection from your companion?! Let's be realistic. The biggest outbreak when it comes to maternal/ infant care in our country that cost lives in a hospital setting was not due to mothers having non sterile companion of choice that carried virus/ disease/spores etc...  in the labor and delivery room but was due to out-dated practices that separated mothers and babies before the first breastfeed. This is not some hidden inside information wiki leaks discovery churva!  You can read about it here  or watch this. It was international news, here! and here!

Ask your self, what is the #1 cause of death of mothers here in the Philippines? (for another post) Is it infection from a filthy companion of choice?

To prevent infection, hand washing is a big deal in the labor and delivery room, you can read about that here. As you can see from the Unang Yakap Photo on top the dad is barefoot. I am assuming that he is because he was not able to bring extra slippers and the place does not have extra slippers for him and so he was simply asked to wash his hands and feet thoroughly. In the birth center I have been to and the 2 hospitals here in Davao City that regularly conduct hospital tours, you can not bring your street footwear inside the labor/ delivery room area.

As of date, there are more than 200 birth companions, mostly fathers who attended Childbirth Class here in Davao City and none of them fainted during labor and birth! I wrote about this before, here.

If you want to have continuous labor support, I don't understand why you can not, unless the labor/delivery room in your birthplace is super small. Which means you might not be able to walk or move around which is vital and helpful during labor, watch this. Now ask yourself, what logical, humane and kind reason could there be for you to shell out your hard earned money in such a place? Look at the pictures in the Unang Yakap Facebook Page, other mothers were able to have a companion of choice. It is being done in different parts of the country!
If you want the support of your mother, sister, friend, boyfriend, partner, husband, soul mate beside you continuously during labor and birth, as far as I am concerned, I don't understand why you can not have this here in Davao City.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When Teaching Math

Breathe in, breathe out and repeat to self  "I am patient, I am kind, my child will get it in time, even if it takes 10 years.."

 For as long as my child is trying and is not giving me bad attitude such as shouting, whining, not listening, etc then I have no reason to get upset. If he/she starts feeling upset, starts crying or shows that he/she is not interested, then its time to stop.

So here's Nh doing the same math problem he started with yesterday morning. The great news is he finished it. The first 3 numbers he did yesterday and the rest he answered today. He was cool and decided he had enough so we packed up! I did not get annoyed or raised my voice etc. I wish I was like this when my eldest was struggling with her Math work a few years ago. Instead, I was so worried and upset and I felt it might be the start of a Math disaster! - Whatever that means.  Math was, still is, my Waterloo. When I was a child I felt I could be anything but a Mathematician.

 Both L and Nh are doing Miquon Math. And why did I choose this? Because I like it a lot!!! If I could go back and be 9 again, I would want this for myself!!! I would much prefer if L worked separately from Nh so there will be less distraction for me, but this is wishful thinking. They seem to be in the mood to work side by side these days. I value my time teaching Math to L and Nh. I know that in a few years I won't be of much help to them. My older girls are doing math work that I can no longer help them. Most of the time, but not always, if they need explanations regarding some math problem, I need them too! So they have to search online or wait for their Dad to come home to get Math help. I am not on top of the situation when it comes to Math. I wish I am, but I am not. Thanks to the the answer key that goes with their workbooks I occassionally get to check their work. Most of the time they check it themselves.

As is now doing Saxon Math 6/7 and A is doing Teaching Textbook Algebra 1. She has been doing Algebra since she finished Saxon Math 7/8 about 3 years ago. She also did Key to Algebra, but she is not convinced she got it since she had such a hard time when she started doing Saxon Geometry. So she decided to go back to Algebra 1 again, then go back to Geometry maybe by September.

I tell my older girls, if you want to be good at Math, then you have to do the work with or with out me checking in on you. You do it because you have to, for the joy and discipline of it, you do it for yourself. And am I happy if they do their Math work and do it well? Yes I am. It makes me very happy to see them learn new stuff. To work honestly and ask and search for help, To trudge along with the work at hand and do it well, with out being bitter, whiny and annoyed is something I value deeply.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

There is Hope!

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. I can not contain my joy with the recent X-ray result of As!!! When she returned from her therapy in Scoliosis SOS Clinic, her Cobb's Angle was measured at 30 degrees from 36 degrees. Now she is down to 27 degrees. She has been doing her daily exercises since, and decided not to wear her brace as recommended (23 out of 24 hours in a day) by her doctor here. She only wears her brace at night or whenever she feels like it during the day. I can feel her renewed enthusiasm because of the positive results.

I had doubts about sending her abroad for 1 month to try out something that I was not sure will work out. Plus the cost of the trip! Plus the specialist here said, he does not know of any physical therapy/ activity that can guarantee to reduce the curve. He said we can try to keep the curve where it is through physical therapy, swimming, yoga, etc etc. but he recommends a brace as the best shot. To be fair to the specialist we are seeing, he is a spine surgeon not a scoliosis specialist. Also, he is the only doctor who came up with a plan and the only doctor who recommended an intervention on an a.s.a.p tone.
So what made my husband and I decide to go for the therapy? The fact that our daughter's scoliosis is not life threatening although it is progressive, the solution available for her, which is surgery, is indeed life threatening. There is no such thing as risk free surgery and to have it at such a young age was not something we wanted to see happen to our daughter. Also, there is no such thing as 100% guarantee. So, we spent what we had in the hope of correcting a condition that seems to be going downhill for our 2nd child.
I tried to play down my doubts and encourage my girls to enjoy the vacation, and for my 2nd daughter to go and make friends while she is in therapy and meet friends and family while they are in London and watch shows etc. Here is a post I wrote last year on exactly the same day. And here is another post from last year about a week before they left for therapy.


The Scoliosis SOS Clinic and their therapists are doing a great job. And I am so thankful to them for their dedication, including follow ups and for connecting me to a mother from Brunei when I inquired about any person who has gone through their program. My email exchanges with this angel from Brunei has given me hope and became my source of strength.  Her openness meant the world to me when I felt trapped. Here was someone who understood. Though miles away from me, her emails made me feel like I had a hand to hold as I cried. I wonder if she will ever know what a blessing she is to me. Her daughter, like mine was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and had therapy ahead of As. She even gave me practical tips about London which my husband found most helpful. I pray for her and her daughter and the rest of her family. I hope to one day meet her.
There is hope for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and I don't think its wait and see! I think its scoliosis specific therapy! Its far and it costs a lot, but so does a brace, and so does surgery. To say that my daughter has overcome her condition is premature and exaggerated. She still has a curved spine, and it might be something she has to deal for the rest of her life. She still has her brace and she still might need surgery, but as for now there is a ray of hope that she is working effectively away from it and towards a straighter spine.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Struggling Writer

My little boy can play with his Lego for the whole morning! Complete with building something, followed by conversations between his Lego Men, crashing sounds, explosion, flying etc.
Since I do not want to be an intruder but I so want him to start writing and counting. I sit on the floor with him and talk about what he is doing. For a few weeks now I am successful at getting him to count and write. And he is eager too. He likes to talk a lot!!!

At the very start of this he told me the names of his Lego men and I told him that he should write his name and then I will write the name of his Lego men. And he replied, "No , I do not want to write I am still playing. I will just say my name."
So I told him about the movie I saw when I was a child about a man who does not know how to read and write and this mean guy forces him to sell his horse by forcing his signature on a piece of paper. And since the whole place/ town knows that this guy does not know how to write, the mean guy just forced his hand to write an X and everybody in the place/ town believed the mean guy.
So we went on talking about the horse and the man who can not write and property and selling and stealing and his Lego horse. And from then on I have a willing, struggling writer. Not the book kind of writer but the ABC learning to write writer. My goal is he gets to write his name before the year ends.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mud Cakes

Right under my nose, As, L and Nh made mud cakes and mud cookies!!! 
They would never have made this had I seen them starting out for a litany of reasons!
Think germs!

Super scrub hand washing.
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