Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

Early in November, you might recall, I made several Facebook status updates about going to see The Pioneer Woman at a book signing. You could say I'm a fan, but that would be an understatement. I had high hopes, and anticipated a glorious evening meeting her up close. Alas, it was not to happen. A huge crowd had gathered, the store ran out of books long before I could get there, and the line was so long that there was no way I could stay to the end—we had already waited 2 hours, and the signing hadn’t even started. It was already long past my kiddos' bedtime, and my sweet husband who rearranged his work schedule to bring me, had to get up very early the next day. I was distraught—again, putting it mildly. I hated that I had wasted what few precious hours we have as a family to drive miles we can't afford—to walk away empty-handed. My heart was broken.

Today a packaged arrived in the mail. It was for me—odd, I thought, despite it being Christmas I wasn't expecting anything. There was a wrapped gift, and a card—the envelope read "Tamara—Make sure you read all of this before you open the present. (Also, if you ever find yourself in the presence of a cat while holding a singing greeting card...hilarity!) Merry Christmas” The handwriting was vaguely familiar, but it wasn’t signed—I had no idea who this was from. My husband taunted that he knew, but wasn’t telling. Of course, I wanted to open it immediately, but my mother and husband told me I had to wait. *grrr*

The day wore on, and by wore on—I do mean WORE on. It’s been a hard day week month last two years. Tonight though, wow, the kids everything was really taking me down. The knitting project that was supposed to be for Eden’s birthday, and now for Christmas, is still proving to be a challenge (definitely won’t be done for this Christmas), and the kids were testing the limits of mommy’s patience sanity.I made several attempts to change my scrooge attitude—attempted a gingerbread house decorating with two kids. I’ll let you imagine how that went (& post pictures later). When Matt returned from work, I sat down with him and the kids for a movie, hot tea, and some snacks. I tried calmly to put the kids to bed. Unfortunately, I was thwarted at every attempt. The angry demon beast that lives in my belly bit anyone who crossed me. I growled and snarled. It wasn’t pretty, and definitely not remotely what I dream of a perfect Christmas Eve (or even a somewhat, just a wee bit nice Christmas Eve should be).
After the kids were settled still screaming, but in their beds, I had had enough—I needed something to make this madness stop. I ran to the Christmas tree, and grabbed that mysterious package. I tore open the envelope (it was in fact, a singing card—Charlie Brown Christmas—if you must know). There was also a two page, hand-written letter. Geez, who takes the time to do that anymore, I thought. This is too crazy. I began to read. It was the story of my not-to-be-had evening with The Pioneer Woman, but this story had a different ending…

“…A few weeks later, a friend of Tamara’s was at work dealing with one crabby customer after another. There were so many grouches, in fact, that her friend was wondering if there were any more kind people left in Oklahoma City. Just then, a cowboy wandered by looking for The Pioneer Woman Cooks—two copies, in fact. As the disillusioned Bookseller walked him over to the cookbooks, she recounted Tamara’s sorrowful tale. When she finished the story, the most extraordinary thing happened: The cowboy turned and said, ‘Well, The Pioneer Woman is my cousin. Why don’t you buy a copy, and I’ll take it too her. I’m headed up to the ranch right now.’ After a brief moment of dumbfounded paralysis she snapped into action. The next day, when she returned to work, the book was waiting for her. Not only had the anonymous cowboy gotten it signed, he took a picture of the author as she signed it!! Suddenly the Bookseller was reminded of something easily forgotten when faced with so many mean, nasty people: most people are kind and some people raise kindness to an art form. Thank you, God, for the anonymous cowboy. Please help me live by his example. Thank you, God, for my friend Tamara without whom I would never have encountered such a kind man.”
I ripped open the package—sure enough, a signed copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks—autographed to ME! AND the aforementioned photograph! The blood drained from my face, my heart swelled, and I was overwhelmed. I wept and wept and wept. My husband walked in and saw the book, the letter, and me. He rested his hands on my shoulders.

“I’m a horrible person, who doesn’t deserve the wonderfulness that surrounds me,” I said.
“No, you’re a wonderful person, who too often bears the horribleness of this world,” he said.

After that I went to my sweet daughter’s room where she was still crying. I swept her up in my arms, sat down in the rocker, and began to sing love songs to Jesus. Her precious eyes closed, and within minutes she was soundly, peacefully sleeping.
Thank you, my friend, you made my grinch heart grow so big tonight & restored so much hurt that had cut it down to pieces. God bless you, and your family…and that cowboy. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Childbirth Education::New Series

Are you pregnant? Do you know some who is pregnant?

Are you in Northern Colorado? Loveland? Fort Collins? Windsor? Greeley? Wellington?

We're starting a new series of childbirth education classes in January!

What is different about Nurtured Mother Childbirth Basics education?
  • We train YOU to birth YOUR way, rather than OUR way. By combining the best from various techniques, resources, experiences, and education--we equip you to make the best choices for your birth.
  • Taught by certified, experienced doulas. One of which is a labor & delivery nurse at a local hospital. Another, a certified massage therapist. All three are mothers (a total of 7 children). We've witnessed and experienced birth in nearly every situation--from natural, home births to emergency c-sections.
  • Thorough. It's not a brief primer on what to expect. We'll cover nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, the entire labor and birth process, benefits and risks of interventions, as well as breast feeding and postpartum care.
  • You'll receive your own student manual that will be your resource during labor.
  • Group classes are only $100--a bargain for the nearly 16 hours worth of material. Similar classes start at $200 or higher. (Private classes are available, at a higher rate.)
E-mail tamara "at" for more information or to register. See you there!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Set Your Mind To It

Too often I have a client who is interested in natural birth, but also says that she is "okay" with an epidural "if she needs it." Nearly all of these same clients have used an epidural.

On the flip side--those that determine they want a natural birth and pursue techniques and resources to help them accomplish natural birth--nearly all of them achieve it.

In the past, when a client said they liked the idea of natural birth, but were okay with interventions--I would smile and say okay. After all, I am their doula--there to support the mother's wishes and desires.

I have a bit of a different response now. I do still support the desires of all my birthing women--even those who walk in determined to have an epidural from the get-go. However, when I have a woman interested in natural/open to interventions I bluntly say to them that unless they mentally decide that natural is the way the want to go--then it is very unlikely they will achieve it. I tell them that if natural is the path they desire I will equip them the best I can, support them the best I can, and Lord willing--they will have a natural birth. Also, if they choose interventions--I will support them just as fully. However, THEY must choose, THEY must decide what they want.

So much of birth is mental. It's not stubbornness (though that can help). A mind that is focused on a goal and pursuing an objective is more likely to achieve, and even when things don't go exactly as planned--this mind is more easily able to accept disappointment and move forward with the ultimate goal: Healthy mom, healthy baby.

What about you? Did you pursue a natural birth? Were you "okay" with interventions? What was your birth story in relation to your mental choice? Did you have a doula present? Tell us your birth story--it helps us be better doulas, and ultimately helps more women through this life-changing experience.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Entry #7: High-calorie Cooking

Kids with cystic fibrosis require more calories than kids without CF. In fact, some days it seems my 4 year old requires more calories per day than I do. Which, is probably true.
Trying to cook with his caloric needs in mind can be a challenge. Meals need to be balanced and beneficial to the whole family, but he needs more calories packed into each bit. At the same time, those bites need to benefit his whole body--not just those affected by CF. Oh wait, one more thing--it has to be pleasing to the ever changing, very select tastes of a kid.
Praise God that I enjoy cooking and a challenge.

When O was first diagnosed I was told I'd have to give up breastfeeding. Nope.
We were also told that cow's milk was the way to go. Nope.
They also said to let him eat cake--or, any other sugary food he desired. No way.
Now, our dietitian's are scratching their heads. O is big--even for a "normal" kid. He's never dropped below the 80th percentile. He's tall and lean (just like his dad), and rarely has any tummy trouble.

We avoided sugar for the first two years of life. Sure, he had the occasional bite or lick of a pudding spoon, but for the most part he did not have sweets until he was 2. We also did not give him cow's milk until he was 2--avoiding all cow's milk products (cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.). I breastfed O until he was 22 months--that was the main source of his "dairy" intake. We supplemented with goat's milk toward the end of breastfeeding, and continue to this day. He really loves goat yogurt. Yes, occasionally he gets cow's milk products, but it is limited.

I don't really make any changes to our cooking. Yep, that's my big secret. I don't add extra cream or butter. I use healthy fats, and make balanced meals. That doesn't work for every kid--they're all different. I found these tips online, that I'm sure would help some CF kids out there:
  • Add extra butter or margarine to sandwiches, sauces, and potatoes.
  • Use dressings on salads or vegetables; add extra oil to the dressing.
  • Prepare entrees with gravies and creamy sauces.
  • Add bacon to burgers and chicken.
  • Add dried skim milk powder to sauces and beverages.
  • Add extra cheese to scalloped potatoes or macaroni and cheese; order extra cheese on pizza.
  • Top salads and sandwiches with avocados or guacamole.
  • Add nuts to cookies, cakes, pancakes, and salads.
  • Add extra cheese and deli meats to sandwiches.
  • Grill sandwiches in butter or margarine.
  • Use heavy whipping cream and whole milk when cooking.
  • Make milkshakes.
  • Add instant breakfast mixes to milk-based beverages.
  • Make high-calorie smoothies.
  • Prepare calorie-rich desserts such as pudding and cheesecake.
  • Top hot chocolate, pudding, and other desserts with whipped cream.
  • Provide high-calorie snacks like peanut butter crackers or trail mix.
  • Prepare high-calorie versions of popular family recipes.

Of these tips, the only two I like are the adding avocado and adding nuts. The rest involve cow's milk or oil/pork fat. Good for calorie intake, bad for the heart. Adding ingredients like hemp seeds or flax, or other omega 3 fats are a much better idea (in my opinion). Get your kid hooked on fish as early as possible. (No pun intended.)

So, are you scratching your head now? Wondering what to do? Below are meals that my kiddo enjoys--taken from various sources, and some slightly adapted. They're not overflowing with calories, but they're definitely not on the lean side. They are balanced, and it works for us. If you want any of the recipes, please feel free to comment, and I'll get it to you. (I've attempted to give credit to the recipe creator in paranthesis. RR indicates a Rachael Ray recipe.)

BBQ Roasted Salmon with green beans and rice
Turkey Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas (Martha Stewart)
Cinnamon-Zucchini Whole Wheat Pancakes with maple syrup and/or fruit (serve with scrambled eggs and bacon for more calories) (A Cramer Family original)
Pizza Wheels (CFnutrition4life)
Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans (RR)
Chicken and Cheese Flautas (CFnutrition4life)
Chicken Fingers (made with hemp seeds and flax meal) (CFnutrition4life)
Spinach Artichoke Burgers (RR)
Butternut Dumplings (Alton Brown)
Acorn Squash Lasagna (Everday Food/Martha Stewart)
Chicken and Gnocchi (A Cramer Family original)
Grilled Cheese-and-Chicken-Sausage Waffles (RR)

O's daily routine of food is important too. Eating non-stop during the day doesn't allow your body the "down-time" it needs to digest. Also, making sure WATER is available throughout the day (and especially during meal time) is important. Yep, water. Dehydration can trick your brain into thinking it's hungry. When your kiddo says he/she is hungry--first offer some water. See what happens. Drinking water during meal time also helps your body digest food.
Another tip: slow down. Meal time should be relaxed. No t.v., no toys, and limit distractions. Try to sit at the table, and enjoy talking with your kids.
We start the day with a nebulizer treatment, and sometimes chest physiotherapy. Which, means O is VERY ready to eat at breakfast. Our typical breakfast is cereal and goat's milk. Sometimes 2 bowls. Whole grain and low sugar. Other days it's goat yogurt and granola, and other days we have eggs, bacon, and toast (or bisuits, pancakes, or waffles--depending on the time we have). He has a 6 ounce glass of juice (white grape), or sometimes I make whole fruit smoothies (no dairy).
Lunch time is typically either pb (all natural, no sugar added) and jam (whole fruit, no added sugar), or turkey and cheese. Sometimes he eats 2 sandwiches. Crackers/chips/pretzels and fruit (apple, banana, or apple sauce) are accompaniments. He has water to drink. If he finishes the water, and the majority of his food--I'll offer him milk.
We do have snacks during the day, from time to time. He goes to preschool twice a week, and the snack varies there--it seems applesauce, crackers and cheese, and yogurt are popular. At home, we do crackers, raisins, granola bars and similar items.
Dinner time includes a lot of vegetables, a protein, and grains. I'll shred zucchini into pasta sauce, chop veggies super fine and add to sauces, batter, or broth--whatever it takes. Again, water before milk is served. Dessert is available if an adequate dinner has been consumed. Dessert is small. Always small. A scoop. A cookie. You get the idea.

One last thing to keep in mind: Always give small portions, less than what you think they'll eat. At some point we became obsessed that we clean our plates. This makes meal time frustrating for kids and parents. Just start small. There's nothing wrong with asking for seconds, or thirds.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Opinions On Raising Kids::Pacifiers

Last night was E's first night without a pacifier. She did magnificently! Of course, that doesn't mean tonight will go well, but I have hope.

Pacifiers. There are some strong opinions out there. My opinions have changed on them over time, but here's where I'm at now: If it works for you, good.

Yes, it's that simple. Yes, I know some say that they're bad for developing teeth, harmful to getting a good breast-feeding routine going, and so on. Yeah, well, if it works for you, good.

I had no intention of EVER giving my kiddos a pacifier. After giving birth to my first, nursing what felt like non-stop, getting SORE, cracked nipples, I succumbed out of pure desperation for a moment of sleep. O wasn't interested at first, but quickly realized the utter joy of non-nutritive sucking.

We had rules, of course. At first, pacifiers were only for bedtime, nap time, car rides that conflicted with meal time, during illness, and places where baby needed to be quiet (church). Then, just bed and car. Then just bed. The final rule: No pacifier by age 2. I have no idea where we got that one, but that's what my husband and I determined was enough. I think it was because we went on a plane ride just before O was 2, we had just weaned him from nursing, and we knew that the pacifier was going to be essential for that trip to succeed.

There was a ceremony. First I snipped the end of the pacifier off. I handed it to O, who was now very displeased with the plug (our word for pacifier), as well as with me. We informed him that he was too big for a plug, that the plug was no good anymore, and that it was trash. We walked him to the trash can, and allowed him to toss it in. After a couple rough nights, he was fine. We did the same with E, and she seems to be handling it well.

My tips for successful use & weaning of pacifiers:
1. Get on the same page with your spouse (& any one else who watches your kids). Make sure everyone knows the rules.

2. Don't let baby have it all day, or control over it. When he/she wakes up, make sure he/she know that it's time to put the plug in it's special place. (Our's went on the dresser by the bed.) This helps baby to not become overly dependent on the pacifier. We also reminded & encouraged our kiddos throughout the day that they were strong enough without a pacifier. (For instance, every time E got hurt or sad she would want her plug. We would encourage her that her plug wasn't necessary--a kiss, hug, and/or prayer would suffice.)

3. Choose your end date, and commit. Don't keep a spare somewhere, just in case it doesn't "work." You're setting yourself up to fail if you keep one.

4. When you're ready to wean, be sure to keep baby active and busy during normal wake times. Get her good and tired, but not over-stimulated or exhausted. Be sure to put her down at her normal nap time/bed time. A good and tired baby won't fight sleep as much as baby with too much energy or one that is over-stimulated. You'll find the right balance.

Some kids never choose a pacifier. Some find other coping mechanisms or a sleeping crutch. Some good, some bad. The pacifier may not be the best option, but--it worked for us.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Opinions On Raising Kids::Chores

When I complained about doing chores as a kid, my mom would say "That's why we had kids--slave labor." Of course, I responded with a melodramatic eye roll.
I don't understand parents who don't have their kids do chores, or for that matter decide to wait to have them start doing chores. I say as soon as they can sit up--they're ready. It's a great way to teach them responsibility, and to learn to be part of a team--the family team. So, here's my age-graded list of chores for pre-kindergarten kids:

Sitting Up to Standing Up:
put away toys

Standing Up & Walking:
Throw away your own diapers!
Help put away plastic dishes
Help clean glass doors and windows

Swiffer the floors (my son loved doing this)
help load & unload laundry from washer & dryer; practice "folding"
help set & clear the table
help water outdoor plants and pull weeds

scrub the tub
put away clothes
empty dishwasher with supervision
feed pets
set & clear table with supervision

So, do you like my list? What would you change or add? Do your kids do chores? I'm interested in what you think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Meal Planning Made Easy

Plan to Eat

I've been using this tool for a couple months now, and I LOVE IT! Hurry and sign up, my friends, so we can easily share our recipes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm Choosing Something Different


We are seeking ways to make good choices, and to simplify our lives. This means making some hard choices, some relieving, and some that are sad.

I'm not allowing life to go on managing me--I'm going to manage it. Somehow, somewhere along the way I let go of our routine and daily schedules. I allowed flexibility to become randomness and chaos. Thus, our current state of being, and my struggles listed in the previous post.

I'm reclaiming my sanity. SO THERE.

(Sooner or later, I'll start posting more on motherhood/kids/babies/doula stuff. Hang tight.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Let Me Rephrase

Earlier tonight I posted on my facebook status "There is no "me time." It doesn't exist." It would be more appropriate to say:

There is no down-time, no relaxation, no peace.
There is no rest for the weary, no sanctuary.
There is only do, keep going, one more.

I have been plagued with anxiety attacks this week, and I've been blaming them on the new puppy. Sure, lack of sleep--because of a new puppy--no doubt plays a huge part in my mental state-of-being. However, those of you who suffer from depression probably can understand--it takes so little to tip the scales to send you spiraling downward once more.

I'm pulled in multiple directions at one time, which is devastating to my psyche. I'm not complaining--it is a statement of fact. I chose this life, I chose to have children, I chose to get a puppy. I do this to myself. I always want to do more, add on, say yes to everyone--no matter that my plate is spilling over.

Thankfully, there is one stronger than I--my Savior, my God--who is capable of carrying these burdens. If I am only capable of relinquishing what I think is control over chaos.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's Ta-da

I desperately need affirmations in my life, so here's my "Ta-da List" for today.
  • Made eggs, while my fabulous husband made blueberry muffins.
  • Got kids & self ready for day.
  • Emptied & loaded dishwasher, washed some knives and pots.
  • Cleaned bathroom sinks and mirrors.
  • Vacuumed living room and dining room.
  • Took care of Murphy.
  • Updated invoices and paperwork for the school of music.
  • Balanced the checkbook, & paid bills.
  • Answered and wrote business/work e-mails.
  • Made lunch.
  • Put kids down for naps.
  • Completed pre-visit paperwork for a doctor's appointment.
  • Rotated laundry.
  • Made dinner.
  • Visited with friends who stopped by (with their 4 kids + 1 extra) to meet Murphy.

Things I wish hadn't happened today:
  • Cleaning up puppy puke while our friends visited (apparently it was a tad bit overwhelming to him)
  • Shredding my thumb on the cheese grater while making dinner. Ouch.
  • Children pulling every single wet wipe out of the container while I was making dinner.
  • Heartburn after dinner.
  • Husband being gone for 14 hours.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Little of This, A Little of That

My goodness this blog has become quite boring lately. What can I say, but I'm a busy lady. Last year at this time I was technically a full-time stay-at-home mom. Yes, I was busy with Nurtured Mother and running Matt's teaching studio, however I now also have a part-time job in addition to my other responsibilities AND Matt's teaching studio has grown substantially.

I regret that this means the time and effort I put into budgeting is s
lacking significantly, which worries me b/c that is a major issue for us. It's a catch-22: We need more income, so I need to work, but if I work I don't have time to budget & we tend to over-spend or not spend as wisely.

We added another blessing to our already busy lives this past weekend. Meet Murphy, our 10 week old Beagle.
He's a sweetie. It's been a long time since I had a dog, and it's definitely been a shift in reality for all of us. No more frolicking barefoot in the backyard or garden. Sleepless nights as we care for a young pup's nightly needs. He's a great pup, though, and is already taking a special place in our family.

I need a vacation. I really want to get away, by myself, and away from everything. A spa would be great. A cleansing of toxins and chemicals. I just found out that I have an under-active thyroid, and they want me to start taking hormone supplements. No, thank you. Seriously, I'm 29--aren't I a bit young for that? So, I'm taking natural supplements to try and get back on track. My blood will be re-tested in September, so here's hoping it works.

I'm currently hiding out in my bedroom, b/c the kids and puppy are sleeping. I don't want to take care of anyone else's needs for a good long while, so I'm hiding. Despite that my stomach is growling. Note to self: stash snacks in bedroom.

My baby girl is 20 months old. *sigh* I'm so thankful that both my kiddos still like to have their momma cuddle them. I don't know what I'll do when they're "too big" for that. I'm planning a "dress-up" party for E's 2nd birthday party. She LOVES dresses, hats, and my necklaces. So, I thought a fantastic way to celebrate would to take her out for a special shopping trip, and when she comes home we'll have all kinds of dress-up clothes, jewelry, and fun things to play with.

O is pushing his independence wings again. Seems like we go through stages on this, just like his physical growth. It wears me, down and out. I yell a lot, which SO doesn't help anyone, and I regret it terribly. I ask him to do something, he says "just a minute" or "do [this] first." Or, he demands what he wants in the most whining loud voice he can muster. It's very frustrating, I'm sure for him as well as me. He's doing so well with Murphy though--they're becoming great buddies. It seems to also be a great training tool for teaching him obedience. Now, O's on the other side of getting someone to obey him, and a Beagle is one of the most stubborn animals out there. :)

*sigh* I have to go tidy the house. The church summer leadership team is meeting here tonight. You know, b/c I don't have enough going on in my life. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Simple Mom

I wanted to share this awesome site with you. I've been a reader for awhile, and the content just gets better. It really lives up to its name "Simple Mom." Anything that simplifies my life makes me happy.
This article was just that--a simple way to make great food choices (something you know is near & dear to my heart). I hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cuban Black Beans & Rice

I found this recipe at My version was well more than $5, because I added chicken apple sausages. It still was affordable, and tasted fantastic!
Other changes:
I used 2 cans black beans instead of the dried. I usually have canned beans on-hand for making chili, so I buy them when they're on sale. 
I used less onions--1/2 of a medium onion instead of a whole onion. 
I added cinnamon--about a tsp or so.
Forgot the cilantro, so we did without.

Everyone--kids included--enjoyed this dinner. I think it would be good with a simple (cheaper) turkey smoked sausage, and it would be fine without meat too. I really think it needs more cumin and more cinnamon. Also, peaches or nectarines would work just as well as a mango. So, whatever is in season, and most affordable is what I'd use.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dinner Just Got Cheaper

You must check out this site:

I'm going to try her Cuban Black Beans and Rice recipe this week, and I'll report my findings.

We're entering into summer, which means nearly half our income is gone. A majority of my husband's students take the summer off, which means 3 months that we get to eat rice & beans, and beans & rice. As I always prefer to look at the silver lining--we get SO much more husband/daddy time. Nine months of the year he's working 70+ hours a week, so that I don't have to work full time. We'll be using the next 3 months to reconnect and spend time together as a family. I can't wait!

If you have a great money-saving idea, or cheap-but-delicious recipe, PLEASE SHARE! We've already pre-paid to take part in a local farm co-op, so we'll have tons of fresh veggies (along with our own garden). Now I just need some great new summer recipes.

I also recommend you sign-up for Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate newsletter. I did about a year ago, and I've received a lot of great tips--such as:
  • Making your own laundry detergent and household cleaners. Best part--I know what's going in them. Check out: I'm going to get the detergent kit and soilove.
  • Re-using toilet paper rolls, and lint from the dryer to make fire-starters for camping (I LOVE recycling and re-purposing!)
  • Unplugging energy-holders. Do you know how much energy is wasted in your house by power-strips, televisions, and other devices when they're turned off, but not unplugged? What I've discovered is I am also sleeping better, b/c it's so quiet. No hums or buzzes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yes, You NEED A Doula

From the March/April 2009 issue of The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing:

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continuous Labor Support for Middle-Class Couples: Effects on Cesarean Delivery Rates
Mc Grath, S.K. & Kennell, J.H. (2008). Birth, 35, 92-97.

Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of continuous labor support by a doula for low-income women laboring without the support of family members. The purpose of this randomized controlled trail was to examine the effects of support from a doula for middle-and upper-come nulliparous women who were accompanied by a male partner during labor and delivery. Nulliparous women in the third trimester of an uncomplicated pregnancy were recruited from childbirth education classes in Cleveland, Ohio; 420 women who met the study criteria were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n=224) or the control group (n=196). Couples in the experimental group received a doula's continuous bedside presence and support during labor and delivery. Doula support included touch, teaching, reassurance, and encouragement of the woman and her male partner. Ten women served as doulas for the study, all of whom completed training requirements equivalent to Doulas of North America International certification.
The doula and control groups were similar in race, marital status, maternal education, and maternal age; 78% of women were white and 88% were married. The doula group had a significantly lower cesarean birth rate than those in the control group (13.4% vs 25.0%), and significantly fewer women in the doula group required epidural analgesia than women in the control group (64.7% vs 76.0%). Among women with induced labor, those in the doula group had a significantly lower rate of cesarean birth than those in the control group (12.5% vs 58.8%). In response to a questionnaire administered at 24 hours postpartum, 93% of the women and their male partners rated the presence of the doula as "very positive." The results of this study suggested that doula support has positive effects for middle- and upper-income women who also have support from a male partner, particularly in terms of a reduced rate of cesarean birth.

Commentary by Maureen Heaman

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh, The Things I Will Do

This was intended to be my obligatory Mother's Day post--you know, every mom who has a blog must write some sort of post on being a mother--but May has been by far our most hectic month this year. This also gave me time to review my thoughts, and I realized that what I wanted to say almost sounded as if I'm complaining about being a mom. 
You see, I intended to write out all the things I will do once my kids are older and/or gone from our home. All those things I used to do, or always wanted to do... like sleeping in.
Truly, my heart was not that of complaining or despairing over things I want or miss. The idea was born out one day while spending time with my all too quickly growing children. 
I had pretty severe postpartum depression after E was born, and it is all too easy to allow sadness to consume my thoughts. It takes concerted effort to turn that frown upside down and find the joy.
My little ones are growing up so fast, some days it seems they literally are growing inches before my eyes. A few nights ago my son, without being asked, assisted me with set up for the Your Best Birth event. He jumped at the opportunity to serve and help his momma. He set out chairs, and helped carry tables. He helped his dad get cords, and hauled just about anything his 4 year old body could lift. I was in awe of my little man--his strength, his heart, his attitude.
In times like these I find myself tearing up--aching to hold their little bodies in my arms forever. It's amazing how this kind of love can break your heart and fill it up over and over. Some times the only way to combat the trembling lip is to think of the things I will fill my time with when they don't need their momma quite so much.
Without further ado:

Travel with fewer bags to further places.
Start and finish a conversation in a normal time period.
Complete a project in one sitting.
Sleep in--past 7 a.m., without interruption all night.
Read books with fewer pictures, and with chapters.
Cook smaller meals, and eat leftovers more frequently.
Clean the house, and have it stay clean for more than an hour.
Bend over less.
Kiss my husband without hearing commentary or complaint.
Wear the same shirt throughout the day, and have it stay clean for more than one wearing.
Leave the house on time, and arrive on time to appointments.
Use the nice dishes, rather than plastic plates and cups.
Have more time for rock climbing, knitting, writing, and all those hobbies that sit collecting dust these days.
Visit friends more regularly.

So, what's on your list? Come on, it's okay, you don't have to feel bad to miss or desire those things we gave up or put aside to be moms. It's alright to look forward to doing them again, especially if it helps you find joy in the all to short season that is motherhood.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

That's A Good Question

Someone asked me the other day, "Why WOULDN'T someone want a doula at their birth?"
I have a couple guesses, but honestly I don't know. I've even had women know I'm a doula, seem very interested in me attending, but eventually decide against having a doula.
Various reasearch studies show that women with doulas experience less pain, have fewer interventions, and are less likely to have a C-section.
However, doulas are still relatively new to the scene in America. Many women don't even know who they are, what they do, or how to find one.

So, I'm asking you--why wouldn't you want a doula at your birth?

Your Best Birth--the book

I received my copy a few weeks ago. I just finished the chapter on doulas (as well as the first 100 pages), and I LOVE IT!
I'll have a full report after I'm finished, but if you are expecting I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

Don't forget you can pick up a copy at our book event and live webcast on Wednesday, May 13th at 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yes, I'm One of THOSE Moms

Click here & READ THIS

I don't have a kid with autism.
I'm not anti-vaccine either.
I am pro-truth in medicine.

It both saddens and frustrates me when I hear a doctor state a matter of opinion as if it is fact. "You are pushing so hard. This baby must be 9, or even 10 pounds. Plus, your pelvis is on the small side. It's time to consider other options. Let's get you prepped for a c-section."
I chose that scenario b/c at every birth I've been to the medical team has gone on and on about how big this baby must be, and EVERY time the baby has been 7 pounds or smaller. Seriously. Medicine is not an exact science--is there an exact science? It seems that the more we know--the more we realize how little we DO know. I would just like doctors to start being honest. How about "You know, it's possible you have a larger-than-normal baby. We should consider this, and talk about your options or alternatives." Keep it simple.

We've jumped from pediatrician to pediatrician, b/c of the "vaccine issue." I had one doctor talk to me as if I was a bad mother for not vaccinating my kids. I calmly explained to her that we had weighed the options, and chosen what we felt was best for our children. (Which, if your wondering--we are delaying vaccines. Our last decision was to wait until O was 5 years before reviewing again. Mostly, in hopes that by then we'd have safer vaccines.)That apparently wasn't good enough for her. Easy fix: we found someone that doesn't necessary agree with us, but respects us as the parents.

Our decision to delay wasn't flippant or quick. We started researching the moment we found out I was pregnant. Even by O's birth we still didn't feel we had enough information. We held off several more months, especially after learning of O's CF--that definitely played a part in our decision.

Lately I've heard the media and celebrities talking about how important vaccines are--to the point that they've also all but accused those of us who have not vaccinated appear as though WE'RE the cause of whatever outbreak is occurring. (Whooping cough is getting a lot of attention these days. I even saw Jennifer Lopez on the Rachael Ray Show today touting the necessity of vaccines and boosters.) My husband even heard a reporter declare that it is required by law to vaccinate your child in Colorado. Ahem. This journalist obviously didn't do her homework.

I've asked each pediatrician if he/she can give it to me in writing that the vaccine my child will receive will be 100% safe and free from harmful chemicals (like mercury or anti-freeze), and that it will not cause harmful long-term side effects (like autism, or pneumonia--which, could potentially be deadly to my son). I've yet to have one agree.

I could also go on about the greed that has saturated our country--Wall Street, Pharmaceutical companies, Real Estate--is there anyone who hasn't been effected/affected?

It comes down to this: vaccines FREAK ME OUT. We'll find another way to shield our kids against disease, thanks. We'll also be teaching them about the harmful effects of greed--something that they'll have to deal with daily in this society.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm Not A Trooper

I'm not a trooper,
or a saint.
I'm not embarrassed,
or uncomfortable.
I'm not immodest,
or indecent.
I'm not a hippie or granola.
I'm not neglectful of my husband's needs or desires,
and I'm not putting my happiness above my children's.
I'm not gross,
or weird.

I'm a breastfeeding mom. I feed my baby when she's hungry, wherever that may be. I will continue to breastfeed my baby until she and I deem we're done.
There is no need for you to comment, condone, or feel comfortable. It really has nothing to do with you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marketplace Maven

I was honored to be chosen as a Marketplace Maven on Stephanie Hillberry's blog "Deviantly Domesticated."

Check out the story

While you're there, check out her Hillberry Home Etsy store. I'm in LOVE with the Spunky Girl Crib Quilt!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, makers of the documentary, "The Business of Being Born," are releasing a new book entitled "Your Best Birth."

Nurtured Mother will be hosting a book release community event Wednesday, May 13th at Good Shepherd Church in Loveland.

This is a FREE event! We'll be participating in a LIVE webcast Q&A with Ricki and Abby, and you'll have the opportunity to purchase the book at the event. You'll also enjoy refreshments while browsing the various services and resources available in Northern Colorado for new and expecting mothers. We're inviting doulas, midwives, other medical professionals, as well as various retailers to participate in this event. You won't want to miss it! More details will be coming soon.

Please forward this information to anyone you know that is expecting. Hope to see you there!

Book Synopsis:YOUR BEST BIRTH is an empowering childbirth guide packed with crucial advice from medical professionals, delivered in a down-to-earth, engaging, and honest voice. Co-authors and filmmakers of acclaimed documentary "The Business of Being Born," Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein reevaluate the pregnancy process, renew expectant mothers confidence, and place the control back where it belongs: with parents-to-be.The national C-section rate is at an all-time high of 31%, and, incredibly, despite its cutting-edge technologies, the US still maintains one of the worst infant-mortality rates worldwide. Moms-to-be are left feeling powerless, as their instincts are replaced by drugs and medically unnecessary procedures.

In YOUR BEST BIRTH, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein inspire women to take back the birth experience with:- A look at both the positive and negative effects of epidurals, Pitocin, and other drugs and interventions- The pros and cons of induction versus allowing your labor to progress naturally- A truthful perspective on our country?s C-section rate- Inspirational, never-before-told birth stories from respected celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Laila Ali, Kellie Martin, and Melissa Joan Hart.

Quotes about Your Best Birth:
"YOUR BEST BIRTH is a godsend. The information is accurate and eye-opening. A must-read for all women who want to experience an empowering and safe birth!"--Christiane Northrup, MD, author of The Secret Pleasures of Menopause (Hay House, 2008), The Wisdom of Menopause (Bantam, revised 2006), Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam, revised 2006), and Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Bantam, 2005)
"Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake have taken a wonderful and constructive approach to ensuring an optimal birthing experience. Their language creates a 'climate of confidence' for pregnant women and their families, who must make key decisions about where, how and with whom to give birth in a health care system often unresponsive to our needs. This book is like a good friend giving wise counsel." --Judy Norsigian, co-editor of Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth and Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
"Pregnancy is a miracle, but it does present some big decisions. This loving book will help you make those decisions in a way that honors and supports the natural wisdom of your body." --Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD/book
"The beginning of the love affair with your child starts here. This book makes planning your birth fun and easy. A must read for every expectant parent." _ --Louann Brizendine, M.D., Founder and Director, Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic, UCSF; and author of The Female Brain

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Childbirth Basics

If you're in the Northern Colorado area (Loveland, Greeley, Windsor, Fort Collins, and surrounding communities), we are offering childbirth education classes this spring.

Nurtured Mother Childbirth Basics

Prepare for labor & birth.
Build confidence to birth naturally.
Be informed to make critical decisions.

Instructors are experienced doulas, a registered nurse, and mothers. We walk you through preparing your body during pregnancy for labor and birth, give you practical and key resources to birth naturally, and take you beyond birth to prepare for breastfeeding and motherhood. We'll also assist you in building an effective birth plan, and you'll receive a copy of "Babywise" by Gary Ezzo.

For more information, or to register, contact Tamara at 970.217.0262 or

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catching up again

Whew! It's been a busy few weeks. I started a fantastic new job, which I absolutely love for so many reasons, and I got a new phone that has so many features I'm surprised when it actually rings & I can talk on it too! ;)
My job at The Tenfold Collective is really many different jobs--from answering phones and filing to assisting with marketing and events. So, I get to dabble in many things I enjoy. Most of my time this past few weeks has been spent getting everyone's calendars and projects organized. I love this. I love the details. We're still working on an official title. Today we thought of "Office Genius" and "Genius Coordinator." The "genius" fits with the theme of our "Interactive Genius" and "Marketing Genius."
The people I work with are all exceptionally talented and passionate about what they do, and they're great people--we enjoy working together, which makes such a difference on a workday when you were up all night with your babies. I look forward to being there each day.

The kids are doing well with the transition. O never really likes or accepts change too well, but after nearly 3 weeks he's starting to come around. He still has one or two days where he's a bit clingy when I leave, sometimes tearful, but it's getting better. E is always clingy when I return, but she's a doll when I leave. She blows kisses, waves, and sometimes walks me to the door.

I've been teaching childbirth classes this month too. I really LOVE IT. I plan to have this continue throughout the year, 6 weeks on with maybe 2 weeks off or so. Kristin Holt has partnered with me, and brought her extensive medical knowledge to class. She is a wealth of information, and a really gifted teacher.

In other news--my husband had applied for a wonderful worship ministry position at a local church. We had such high hopes about this job, but we found out today that he won't be getting it. I am really bummed about this. I am earnestly praying for a career for my husband that uses his gifts and passion for music, and also a position that meets all of our financial needs. We'd also like to stay here--we really like our home and our community.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I start my new job on Monday at The Tenfold Collective. It's the weirdest thing--normally I would be overwhelmed with anxiousness and excitement, but I'm very peaceful about it. I am thrilled and looking forward to working, but I don't feel stress. Too cool. (Plus, I was able to schedule a haircut before my first day, so that always makes me feel great!)

Lately I feel that I'm coming into my own skin, becoming much more acceptive of who I am. I announced to Matt a few nights ago that I'm the type of girl who tucks her hair behind her ears and scrunches her sleeves up--and I'm okay with that. Okay, that sounds odd (that's what Matt said), but had you been living in my head the last 28 years you'd know that I argue with myself daily about those things and others. I'm constantly telling myself to stop tucking & scrunching. Why? Somewhere during life I told myself it wasn't okay for whatever reasons. So, if you see me tucking my hair behind my ears and scrunching my sleeves up--just smile.

Speaking of smiling--I got called for jury duty for the first time!! I'm so excited. I hope they pick me! In college I went to trials for my law classes (back in the day when I planned to go to law school). I had such a good time that I kept going FOR FUN! (Yes, I'm a freak. A hair tucking, sleeve scrunching, jury duty loving, FREAK, but hey--I'm okay with that. ;)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Not to Say...Part 2

I've thought of more things you shouldn't say to a woman who doesn't have kids:

11. Your (sister/brother/cousin/friend in Iceland) already has [insert # of kids here], when are you going to finally have kids?

12. "By now your mother/I/some other older woman had [insert the number of kids her amazingly fertile womb was able to procreate] babies."

13. "My husband just breathes/walks near me/we just talk about kids and we get pregnant."

14. "If you can't get pregnant the way God intended, then you aren't meant to have children." Whether or not that's true, or whether or not you believe it to be true--HOLY CRAP NEVER SAY THAT!

I think I should also include my list of responses:

  1. "Kids? We're not even having sex yet."
  2. “Would you like to see our charts/schedules/temperatures?”
  3. “Way to be fertile!"
  4. “Whenever the good Lord gives us one. Thanks for asking.”

I know people mean well, and I'm guilty of saying many of the things I've listed (plus some really lame things to women who've just miscarried). We're human and we make mistakes even when we're trying to do good. Hopefully we'll learn from our mistakes. It's comforting to me to know that my God can heal all wounds, and one day we won't feel this pain. We'll be surrounded by the babies we longed for and the babies we lost.

The Best of Intentions

This is probably the most personal posting I've ever written on this blog. While most folks find me outgoing, extroverted, loud--pick your type A feature--truth be told I'm a private person who worries a lot about what other people think.

The day we learned O's CF test came back positive was traumatic. We had been assured and told over and over that the likelihood that he had CF was near-impossible--after all, he was so big. My husband was working when I got the phone call. I called my husband, who could barely understand me through the crying and blubbering. Of course, he came home. Before he could leave he needed to tell his boss why he was leaving. His boss was a friend, and someone who also attended our church. Who promptly--with the best of intentions--called his wife. He also told another guy on the job--another member of our church, who, I believe, also made a call or two. Within minutes the majority of the church knew. Matt hadn't even made it home before our phone was ringing off the hook.
We never had a chance. No time to talk, to discuss, to process. I felt exposed and humiliated, and that my child was being attacked. I had a brief few minutes of sadness before it quickly turned to anger. What made this worse--someone from the church called our family members BEFORE we could. Wrong information was shared, and assumptions were made. Our pastor, whom we weren't close with or felt comfortable with, came to our house--without calling just moments after Matt got home. By now, I'm livid--I pounced. Before he could knock I flung the door open, and with fury called him out on the behavior of the so-called "prayer chain" (more like gossip grapevine). His response--they all had good intentions. The pathway to hell my friends.

The only thing Matt and I had decided during our phone call was to NOT tell everyone until we had time to process and understand. We thought we could tell folks on our time--more on a "need to know" basis. I confronted of few of those who instigated the gossip, and I actually received one very heart felt apology. The others told me that it was meant with good intentions, or that it was God's will.

We left this church a couple months later in large part because of this experience. I feel betrayed, and that I could no longer trust this group of people. I know that even though I've denied it to myself and others, I'm still angry. I feel robbed of a moment that I needed to be able to help me accept and deal with what was happening. I need to grieve, and instead I'm filled with anger. Or, maybe I'm using anger to keep myself from grieving.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Sites, Free Stuff

I really need to tell you about I signed up for this in college, and the rewards have been plentiful. Once you sign up you'll start receiving daily emails--warning, sometimes you'll receive SEVERAL in one day. They're ads based on your interests. At the end of the ad there is a link--click it--receive 5-10 points (varies from ad to ad). You get 5-10 points for reading the ad. However, if you take advantage of the ad you'll get LOTS more points (hundred or even thousands).
I have taken advantage of a handful in the past 10 years, but the majority of my accumulated points have come from just reading ads and completing surveys. You also receive points from referring friends too, so if you're interested--please email me!
Okay, so once you have the points, you can redeem them for a plethora of goodies on their site--mostly gift cards to about any store you can think of. We've used our points (my husband is signed up too) to help purchase Christmas gifts, pay for groceries or eating out, and for home improvement. It really doesn't take long to accumulate enough points to start redeeming, and seriously, it doesn't take long to scroll through an ad.

Every so often I get an offer via MyPoints for something really cool, like today:
Oh. My. Word. Who doesn't like free stuff? We have a motto in this family: cheap is good, FREE IS BETTER. This site links you to hundreds of other sites to get FREE STUFF--free food samples, cleaning supplies, health items, and more. I just completed a few forms for a handful of items, PLUS I got 5 points for MyPoints.