Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review - Top 5 Posts of 2012

First off, I want to thank all of my faithful readers. You have made my dreams come true! Thank you for reading my blog, for posting your comments and coming back again and again. It blesses me to know that people want to read about the things that I write about. This blog is my heart and my passion, and you have become a part of that.

Almost two years ago, someone asked me what my dream job was. I said, "I want to work as a Doula and Childbirth Educator, and I want to blog about my life and kids and all the things that inspire me." At the time, it seemed like such a pipe dream, and nothing that would ever be able to be a reality for me. I certainly didn't think I'd ever be able to make money and provide for my family.

A little over a year ago, with the encouragement of my husband and dearest friends, I decided to go my own way, quit my current day job and began pursuing doula work full time. I also began blogging for Tulsa Kids, and continued to pour out my passion here at Honeybee Mama. 2012 has been a productive and profitable year for me and I'm so grateful. I have served eleven clients and helped to welcome eleven beautiful babies into the world, designed and sold many baby slings and nursing covers, launched my own line of all natural personal care products, and written a birth plan manual (which is soon to be published - that's on my list of 2013 accomplishments!). What an amazing year!

Along with seeing my dreams realized in my business, this has been a year of overcoming many personal hurdles as a family. Blending families is challenging to say the least, and anyone who is divorced knows that the drama doesn't always end when the papers are signed. I am beyond thankful for my husband, Marc, the man of my dreams, my lover, my best friend and truly the best life partner I could ever hope for. What we have accomplished and triumphed over in our first year of marriage is epic to say the least!

I thought the best way to say farewell to 2012 would be to take a look back at the 5 blog posts that had the most traffic in the last year. Without further ado, here they are!

  1. Mama Monday - Focus on Fetal Positioning for a Better Birth - August 27, 2012
  2. Book Report - The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe - January 25, 2012
  3. Perineal Massage for a Better Birth - September 4, 2012
  4. {my moment} - July 6, 2012
  5. Honeybee Mama Sponsor - Jessica Klingeman, AAHCC - November 29, 2012
Again, thank you, dear readers and friends for supporting me and my precious little hive in 2012. I hope you will join us for more amazing adventures in 2013!

Live is what you make of it. Make honey!


Friday, December 28, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart. 
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment!

Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Honeybee Holiday

No kids on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning means quiet and slowness. Just one of the things you get as a divorced parent. It always feels a little weird, but we make the best of it!

We enjoyed some of my husband's family famous french toast.

And coffee by the fire admiring Christmas Cards. They're one of my favorite things about the holidays!

Then I got to baking. In my family, we only give gifts to the children, but my sister-in-law and I get around the rule by making homemade gifts for the adults.

I tried my hand at Smitten Kitchen's Cheese Straws. Oh my! SO easy and SOOO yummy!

And some real food dark chocolate and dried cranberry cookies. I found the recipe on the side of the King Arthur's Whole Wheat Flour bag, and have been wanting to try the recipe for a while. They're delicious!

I had already roasted some local pecans and filled goodie bags with pecans and cheese straws for family and friends.

Those along with some homemade bath salts made for a sweet Homemade Honeybee Holiday!

The tree is still filled with presents while we wait for all the kids to be with us on Thursday, and we're enjoying snuggles in the warm house while it's coooooollllld outside!

Happy Holidays from the Honeybee Six-Pack to you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart. 
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

After weeks of sickness and scattered missed days of school, trips to many doctors, doses of medicine and tears shed, it was a blessing to have to healthy children and to feel well myself. On our last night with the littles before they're off to their dad's for the first part of the Holiday Break, we decided to bundle up in jammies and head out to see the Rhema lights. It was a sweet little outing followed by hot cocoa at home before bed. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Weekend!

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

haiku wednesday

steam billows into
the cool air. smell lavender.
melts my stress away.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mama Monday - Plan for Pushing

If there's one thing people think about when it comes to childbirth, it's pushing. We've all seen countless movies and TV shows that have scenes of fathers, doctors and nurses shouting at a distressed laboring woman to, "PUSH! PUSH!"

*Note: the rest of this post involves graphic language relating to female anatomy and the birthing process.

As with so many aspects of the birthing process, women often trust that when they get to that point in childbirth, the doctor or nurse will tell them what to do. I would venture to say that most moms-to-be put more thought, research and effort into choosing the right crib for the nursery than they do planning to properly and efficiently push their baby out!

There are a couple problems with this mindset. Firstly, nearly every nurse or doctor I have witnessed coaches moms incorrectly on how to push. Secondly, most moms are not offered or given the option of trying various positions to push their baby out. Let's tackle each of these issues separately.

Proper Pushing

Nearly every labor and delivery nurse and/or OB/GYN has coached my clients to "push like you're having a bowel movement." Well, contrary to popular and medical opinion, one does not push a baby out of her rectum. She pushes it out of her vagina. Though the muscle groups are similar and physiologically close together, they are not the same. The Ferguson Reflex (the urge to push) is often confused with the urge to have a bowel movement, so when a mom says, "I feel like I need to poop," those of us supporting her usually know we're getting close to having a baby. With that said, I would like to reiterate, pushing a baby out of your vagina is totally different than pushing a BM out of your bottom!

So, how DO you push a baby out? I've got a very simple exercise to help you know the difference between a BM and birthing a baby! It's called "Move the Shoe," and a dear friend and doula mentor of mine taught it to me when I first learned to be a doula. Here's how you do it:
  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees comfortably raised and spread apart (almost as if you were posing to push your baby out).
  2. Take of one shoe and place it on your abdomen, at or near your belly button. If you're currently pregnant, just place the shoe where it will balance and not fall off!
  3. Contract the muscles you would if you were having a bowel movement (not too hard :)). Notice, the shoe doesn't move.
  4. Now, try to move the shoe. If you're having a hard time, consider the following visualizations. 
    • If you have had a vaginal exam, imagine your doctor or midwife's fingers pressing against your perineum (the part of your vulva closest to your rectum), and try to push the fingers out. 
    • Or, and this may seem a little gross or weird (then again, we are speaking rather bluntly about pushing babies out of vaginas), but if you have ever pushed a tampon out, try to use the same muscles.
    • Another helpful way to think about it is the release of muscles used when doing Kegel exercises.
If done properly, you will move the shoe up and down, or even knock it right off your belly!

If you receive an epidural during labor, pushing will no doubt be more difficult. Besides the fact that you likely will not feel the urge to push, it will be hard to know if you are pushing correctly. Ideally, your epidural will be light enough that you can feel something. Another option is allowing the epidural to wear off before it is time to push so you can feel to push properly, but it can be very alarming to a woman who has had little to no sensation of childbirth for some time to all of the sudden feel the full intensity.

Pushing Positions

Just about everyone has a visual concept of what a woman pushing a baby out looks like. It probably involves a woman lying flat on her back or semi-reclined, with her feet in stirrups or held by her husband and nurse, while she grimaces, screams and pants. And, of course, everyone around her is screaming, "PUSH! PUSH!"

There are a couple of problems with this picture, namely the physical position the mom is in for birthing. Because of the way the tailbone curves upward in this position, the birth canal is not a straight shot for baby to exit. Unless your knees are spread wide and pulled up very high in order to move the tailbone out of the way (most women are not this flexible), you will not be able to open the pelvis wide enough to be able to effectively and quickly push your baby out. Often this is the main reason women report pushing for hours and hours. In this semi-reclined position, the head of the baby actually has to be pushed up and over the tailbone before fully emerging out of the vagina. All of my clients have pushed at least a certain portion of the time in this position and most of them were successful in birthing this way. However, it can often take longer than necessary.

For many women, if they have opted to receive an epidural, this is their only option for pushing. Since they have little sensation from the waist down, they must have the support of the bed and others to help hold their legs. However, it is possible, if the epidural is light enough (or you stop the drip and allow it to wear off) and your practitioner is comfortable with it, to assume some if not all of the positions described below.

The following positions better adapt to the pelvic anatomy and utilize gravity to more smoothly birth the baby:
  • Sitting upright. If you are in a hospital, the foot of the bed can be lowered or removed and the head of the bed can be tilted far enough forward that the bed looks more like a throne. In this way, mom is able to sit full upright, with her bottom at the end of the bed so that the nurse, doctor or midwife can still have access to assist with the birth. You can also sit upright on a birthing stool or in a birthing pool if these are available to you. This position helps move the tailbone out of the way so the mom can more effectively push.
 childbirth, pushing positions, tulsa doula, honeybee mama
  • Squatting. Every hospital bed comes equipped with what is called a "squat bar," though these bars are rarely, if ever, stored in the birthing rooms. If you ask a nurse she can get it for you. With this attached to the bed, the birthing mother can grip the bar and squat in her bed. This gets her upright like sitting in the throne position, but also opens her pelvis even further with her knees and legs spread wide. If a squat bar is not available, mother can assume a supported squat by dangling in between the open legs of her partner. Squatting is also comfortable while birthing in water.
  • Kneeling or Hands and Knees. As discussed in some of my other posts about childbirth, being forward in a kneeling or hands and knees position is often a very comfortable way to labor. For pushing, the mother can easily bear down and not have to worry about the tailbone being in the way because gravity naturally helps bring baby down and out with the curve of the tailbone. Mom can lean forward on her hands, a birth ball, or the head of the birthing bed. Also, if the baby seems to be more on one side or the other, creating a cervical lip, mom can kneel with one knee or the other and lunge in order to help remove that lip.
  • Side Lying. Lying on one side, the mom's doula, nurse or partner can help support her leg or she can rest it on the stirrup of the hospital bed if it's positioned correctly. In this position, as with the others, the bed is not blocking her tailbone from swaying to move out of the way of the descending baby. 
When writing your birth plan and discussing it with your health care provider, be sure to inquire about birthing or pushing positions. Ask whether or not you will have the freedom to try one or more of these alternative positions while pushing. While some doctors are not comfortable with positions other than the semi-reclined position with support, others are happy to allow you to assume the most comfortable and effective position for your birth. Often, doctors do things the way they do because they are accustomed to it and because no one ever asks them to do it differently!

At Honeybee Mama, I'm committed to getting you the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth. If you're looking for help preparing for your birth, consider The Birth Experience Childbirth Training, or schedule a consultation today!

More pregnancy info!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

haiku wednesday

wednesday already?
how did that happen? just keep
swimming, just keep swim...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Inspire Me - New Creation

Last night I had to have a little talk with my littlest bee. Correcting children is one of my least favorite parts of being a parent. I would much rather bake cookies, play games and snuggle than have to correct and discipline. But I also know these precious lives have been entrusted to me to raise them and instill in them "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22)

Without me (along with my husband and their dad and step-mom) teaching and correcting them, and modeling for them good behavior, my children will not grow into the men I would hope for them to become. So we remind, reward, correct, punish and pray day in and day out and hope that our children learn to be and to do good.

Sometimes in these moments of painful correcting (I often feel like it's more painful for me than them), there are glimmers of hope and sweetness. Last night was one of those nights. After talking, disciplining, tears and hugs, Alec pulls away from my neck and reaches for my neckleace.

With tears still in his eyes, he held my necklace and smiled and said,

"I like the picture on your necklace, Mommy."

"Can you see what it is?"

"A butterfly."

"That's right. Do you know why Mommy likes butterflies?"

"Uh-uh, why?"

"Well, do you remember how a butterfly starts out as a caterpillar and changes and grows into something new, into a butterfly?"

"Yeah, it has a cocoon!"

"Yep. Well, in the Bible, there is a verse that says, 'If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come.' (2 Corinthians 5:27) That means that when we believe that Jesus took our sins away and that he loves us more than anything else, he forgets all our old yucky stuff and makes us new, like butterflies!"

"Oh, I like that. You're a beautiful butterfly, Mommy."

"So are you, baby."

He just smiled.

That verse is the verse I heard when I was eleven years old at a youth retreat that changed my life. And every day and every moment since then it continues to change my life. The beautiful thing about the love of Jesus is that he can make all things new in an instant, and can do it over and over and over. The life he promises us is one of grace and not needing to be perfect.

It reminds me of the line in a Mumford and Sons song called Roll Away Your Stone that says, "It's not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with the restart." The instant we turn to him for a restart we are given a welcome, not after we get "home" or get "right" again. You should really read the rest of the lyrics to the song. Here, give it a listen...

And it's that promise I hang onto when I'm not a good parent, a good friend, a good wife or a good anything else.





Thank you, Butterfly, and Mumford and Sons. You Inspire Me.


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