Bump Club and Beyond…Gearapalooza

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This week, I was fortunate to be able to attend The Bump Club Chicago’s Gearapalooza at Galt Baby.  Baby Guy NYC (Jamie Grayson) was there along with “Angry Baby” sharing all the information parents and parents to be need to know, in order to choose baby gear that is best for their lifestyle.

Gearapalooza was held at Galt Baby in Chicago, where many sponsors were available to show you their products. I was so impressed with the quality of the carriers and strollers as well as the car seat information and the ability of the gear to grow with your baby. Galt Baby is a one stop shop for baby gear.IMG_6548

If you have not heard of Gearapalooza and it is coming to a city near you, San Francisco, CA, Austin, TX and Boston, MA,  be sure to sign up early. Here in Chicago, it was sold out for two evenings with a wait list.

As you know, I am the “Baby Grandmother” since I became one almost 5 years ago. At the time, I was overwhelmed with what I did not know and all that has changed since raising my own children. As a former maternal child nurse, I wanted to fill in the gaps in my baby gear knowledge.

Today’s parents have the advantage of so many technology improvements on their side as well as the competitiveness of companies that are trying to give them what they need when it comes to making life easier at home and on the road with one baby or multiples.

It is not easy for moms and dads or grandparents to navigate all the available baby/children strollers, carriers, cribs, mattresses, breast pumps and other products. This is where  Baby Guy NYC , Bump Club and Beyond  and Galt Baby become valuable connections. They are the people that you can trust to truly help you decide what will be best for you, your baby and your lifestyle.

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Jamie Grayson is fun and energetic….he shares a lot of information in one session…he makes it fun and is more than happy to answer questions.

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To make the evening complete there a light dinner served and a raffle…where some valuable prizes were given out to some very lucky moms to be, in addition to fabulous gift bags.

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If you are a mom-to-be visit,  Bump Club and BeyondGalt Baby, and of course visit Baby Guy NYC to keep up on what’s new in baby gear before it is even available for purchase.

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Thank you to  Bump Club Chicago and Lindsay,who started Bump Club,  for including me in this event…it was a wonderful evening!

 

How much control do you want during childbirth?

After recently reading a post about “who makes the decisions when you are in labor” my own labor and deliveries came to mind. Alongside were the memories of the numerous labor and deliveries that I attended as a nurse.

When I began my career, my first position was as an L & D nurse at a university teaching hospital in the Bronx. Starting out was frightening and never having had a child I had absolutely no experience of my own.

It was the early 70s and at this particular hospital, many of the patients did not want to be awake for the delivery of their baby.

Today, it is difficult to imagine such a time when moms did not want to control everything  about pregnancy and delivery even before they actually conceive.

The young mom of the 70′s would actually ask to be ” knocked out ” for her labor and delivery. Usually she would add “just like my mother was when she had me”. 

So back in the day, moms, who so wished, were given “twilight sleep” which was a mixture of several medications, one of which caused amnesia. So although a laboring woman could follow commands, move and talk, she had no recollection of what she was saying or doing or what was happening to her while in labor.

Husbands, significant others and family members were not allowed to be with a laboring woman who was medicated with this “cocktail”.

It was a privacy issue….since mom was unable to filter what she was saying. The medication was a type of truth serum of sorts. Sometimes during the stress of labor, a mom would call for someone other than her significant other which could indeed be problematic.

When it came time for delivery…mom would be taken to the delivery room. More often than not, general anesthesia was administered and a forcep delivery was done. Once the anesthesia was given the baby had to be delivered promptly which necessitated the use of forceps.

Natural childbirth, lamaze, and epidurals were the exception rather than the rule at this labor and delivery unit and in many units around the country. This was a standard of practice of the time.

After about a year at this particular hospital in the Bronx, I decided to move on to another university hospital in Manhattan.

It was a not only a change of hospital but I found myself in an entirely different world when it came to the practice of obstetrics.

Most women wanted to be awake for the birth of their baby, many had taken childbirth classes and epidurals were used frequently. There ware still forcep deliveries but there was no general anesthesia used for vaginal deliveries unless there was a complication.

In the 70s, doctors made most of the decisions and were not questioned too much, save for the few women who attended childbirth class with Elizabeth Bing, the founder of Lamaze here in the States.

Elizabeth Bing was adamant about teaching her mothers, who was the “boss” in labor and delivery.  She encouraged moms to advocate for the type of delivery that they wanted, she gave them the tools to help question their doctors regarding any decisions that were being made during labor. It was really the “birth plan” in its infancy. Elizabeth Bing was a physical therapist not a nurse and she was opinionated with very strong beliefs in “natural childbirth”. I had much respect for her and took her LaMaze teacher certificate course so I could understand and support my patients in their effort to have less intervention during their labor and delivery.

The role of the obstetrician is, in my opinion, a very important one especially if intervention is needed. I know the statistics in the United States are not overwhelmingly better than other countries but I also know what I have personally experienced in my own deliveries and while taking care of other laboring moms. These experiences definitely skew my view in this area.

My one child had only an initial Apgar of 1 for a faint heartbeat at birth due to complications of a C-section for a transverse lie (sideways position of the fetus). Upon my arrival in L & D, I was already 8 centimeters dilated, which meant, get the baby delivered before the water broke and the cord prolapsed causing severe lack of oxygen to the baby. It was a scary moment for me and my husband…both of us medical professionals. My doctor moved swiftly while I cried not wanting a C-section but knowing that I needed one. I felt confident in their haste and let them do their work…I was not awake…although every attempt was made to allow me to remain so. The discomfort was just too much…so asleep I went. I did not see my little girl for over 24 hours due to her own medical needs.

As for who should make the calls during childbirth…that is a very complex question with many variables. As best as I can figure, it takes a “Village” to raise a child but it also takes a “Village” sometimes to deliver a healthy baby to a healthy mom. I wish that all deliveries and pregnancies went smoothly and that all doctors could be “kind” at all times with great bedside manners. Unfortunately, we are all human and at a time of “flight or fight” you want someone who is able to “fight” for you and your baby based on good sound medical decisions which sometimes have to be made quickly without much hand holding.

Believe me when I say no one wants a less than perfect child and no one wants to lose a mother or a newborn.

So when you write your birth plan do it with your doctor or your midwife and be comfortable with them making some important decisions when and if it is necessary to do so.

Who Makes the Calls in Childbirth? You or the Doctor? | Being Pregnant.

12 Essentials to put in your hospital bag…

One of my friends is having her first baby and has asked her friends what she should pack for her hospital stay.

Her question inspired me to look through my drafts and finally finish this post tonight.

So instead of my usual “Week in Review” here is my answer to Heather’s question.

Pregnancy seems to never end as it gets closer and closer to your due date…just ask any mom.

So about 4 weeks prior to your due date get out your bag and pack it for the  hospital.

It is a good thing to be prepared thus avoiding any last minute unnecessary chaos. Keep your bag handy to grab when the time comes. Some expectant moms leave their bags in the car just in case they are away from home when their water breaks.

Hospital Essentials.

My personal essentials list as a former Labor and Delivery nurse would include:

  • A nice soft pillow with a colorful pillow case for comfort and pictures.
  • Lollipops for labor, my personal favorites are Cherry Charms
  • I would probably opt for a wonderful hospital gown designed especially for new moms by Annie and Isabel (my personal favorites are the Anita and the Evelyn.

I have to digress here and mention my friends at Annie and Isabel…they are such special nurses that created these wonderful gowns to make women and soon men look and hopefully feel better while in the hospital. If I were going to be hospitalized I would certainly call on them to dress me for the occasion. Have a look see for yourself…my mom blogger friend, Jessica at Mommas Gone City knows first hand the comfort of a gown by Annie and Isabel.

  • A comfy bathrobe
  • Make-up to help me look and feel like myself
  • Baby’s car seat
  • Baby clothes
  • Some non-perishable snacks that I like to munch on…I have been in the hospital too many times and the long hours at night go well with cookies and ginger ale in my experience.
  • My cellphone to make the necessary baby announcements
  • My white noise machine to help me sleep at night if at all possible
  • My own breast pump
  • My camera for those special “Kodak” moments

This is a short clip about packing for Labor and Delivery from Today’s Moms

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/40490920#40490920

Thank you: Jessica Shyba at Mommas Gone City  and Heather soon to be mom!

 

Parenthood Preparation….

Noteworthy Wednesday!

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1knSnW/blogs.babble.com/being-pregnant/2010/12/06/nothing-prepares-your-for-parenting-well-except-these-few-tips//r:f

Parenting is one of the most difficult things to do and do well. Your child is unique in his DNA and has a personality that is all his own. The question of whether nature or nurture is the most active ingredient in the formation of child’s personality is something that for me there is no definitive answer just ongoing discussion.

Certainly, most of us can agree that both nature and nurture help to form a child and guide him  through the stages of growth and development. Some characteristics that we observe in our children are definitely those with which we are all too familiar. They are many of our own personality characteristics.

Is it primarily heredity or is the way we as parents are nurturing our little one that is most influential in his growth and development?

I have yet to accept either nature or nurture as a single answer to the above question.

To me , it seems that our children are a products of both heredity and their environment. Parents, family and  surroundings contribute not necessarily in equal measure to  a child’s growth and development  .

In today’s world it seems that few new parents have really had hands on experience with children…by the time they have their own children most adults are as far removed from kids as they can possibly be except for visits with their nieces and nephews and children of their close friends if they are fortunate enough to live near them.

Michael Gross  wrote the above article which appeared in Australia’s Herald Sun.

In it  he makes some interesting points about parenting. This is what he recommends. Keep in mind that he is a new dad.

  • Trust your instincts
  • Build your support networks
  • Form partnerships with professionals (like your kids’ teachers)
  • Build your knowledge base.

As parents or parents to be you should make note of all of the above suggestions. But if you have any common sense at all  and trust your instincts you will likely make it through along with your child so… no worry.

Personally, what I have learned through life experience that “when it does not feel right it probably is not right”.This may seem rather trite but I think that for me  it is one of the most important points. Pregnancy and parenting are one of the many times in life that people will want to share  all kinds of  unsolicited advice.

You will have to call upon your common sense and instincts to tell you how important that advice is and help guide you as to how to use all the well-meaning tips on childrearing that you will, like it not, be receiving. Only you and your significant other  know what it is that will work for you and your family situation.

As a clinical social worker I am trained to listen and work with parents within their particular life situation. In my practice I strive to remember that everyone, all parents and families are unique in their environments and their experiences.

I encourage expectant parents to build their support networks and increase their knowledge base. Support helps you to realize that you are not alone facing parenting dilemmas. There are professionals and friends ready to share experiences with you.

Staying informed from pregnancy onwards will help you face decisions with more confidence … read what you can and stick to the books or websites that you find easy to understand and that are professional. Look for those sites that  have writers and contributors that are experts in their field.

As I have already said, education will give you as parents the confidence to go with your instincts about what is right for you in a world that is almost too full of information. Try not to overwhelm yourselves with too many websites and too many books as this will undermine your confidence in the long run. Pick a few good ones and check in with them as needed.

I came across an interesting “parents-in-progress” book….“from the hips” by rebecca odes and ceridwen morris. These two mothers discuss “ten anti-rules” for parenting. Here are a few of them…

  • strive for imperfection
  • everyone’s an expert, but you’re the authority on yourself and your baby
  • parenting is out of control
  • shift happens
  • there is no right way

This book is worth more than a look…check it out while you are expecting.

One thing that I know for sure is that parenting is demanding but full of unexpected joys with all of its ups and downs.

Get ready for the most important ride of your life.