I spent the last two hours dancing with Ava.

It started like any other one of her who-knows-how-many-hours-long-screaming-sessions… She was starting to get worked up. She was tightening, shrieking, turning red, screaming so loud her voice would disappear mid-scream… Lately, when she goes into this fits, I feel all sorts of things. I feel so much negativity when she starts these fits… So much that sometimes I feel like I can’t think. Sometimes I step out on the porch, just for a reprieve from the ear-splitting screams.

Dread. Fear. Anger. Frustration. Helplessness.

But this time, I just looked at her. I had set her down, feeling the tenseness creeping up into my own arms. The tenseness resulting from frustration. The kind of frustration that makes you want to scream. So I had set her down in a blanket, but this time, I just looked at her. Her little face was cherry red, crocodile tears spilling out of each eye, her hands shaking, her fingers grasping, reaching for who-knows-what. Her heart was broken, her world was ending, she was alone, and worst of all, she didn’t know why she felt the way she did. All she knew, was that those feelings were there and there was nothing she could do to stop them. And then I realized…

She’s just like me.

Her heart is broken and she doesn’t know why. She knows what she needs, but she doesn’t know how to ask for it, and she can’t put a name to it. Even though there’s someone right there she feels alone. Utterly and terribly alone. If she can’t see me, even for a split second, that aloneness turns into abandonment and desolation. Her heart is breaking and her body is reacting. She can’t help the tears. What started as something small, maybe even something minute and now obsolete, has now escalated into hopelessness and despair. That feeling is so overwhelming, so gut-wrenching, so awful, she shakes and sobs and cries out of desperation, out of longing for something, and finally out of defeat.

We’re feeling the same things. Though, we’re feeling those things for different reasons I’m sure, those deep, rooted emotions, and the literal feeling those emotions provoke… They are one in the same. She cries out, hoping for someone to save her, someone to rescue her from the overwhelming emotional turmoil, someone to help her. For her, there’s hope. For her, she believes and hopes that someone is there for her. Someone loves her and cares and will make it all better. I’ve been conditioned not to. When I cried out, I was often met with hostility, contempt, ridicule and amusement. Crying out was the Achille’s heel; nothing more than exposing my weakest point, offering myself up for humiliation and degradation.

It was at this moment, seeing her like this, that I realized how alike the two of us are. It was at this moment, seeing her in this light, seeing myself in this light, that I realize how damaging the way I was treated was to my future relationships. I realize how that treatment has affected me even now. I see how much it hurts, and I see how easy of a cycle it could be to continue.

I will never let her feel that way on my account. Regardless of why the pain is there, pain is pain, emotional, mental, physicial. She won’t be forced to internalize it out of fear of what I’ll say or do. She won’t be ridiculed and mocked for her sadness, her fear, her longing, her upset…

I just want her to have a better life than me.

So I picked her up. I held her close, and the two of us dance. We danced. I rubbed her hair, put my cheek to hers, and sung softly in her ear. I was there for her, and that won’t ever change. I held her like that for nearly two hours. My homework could wait. The cleaning could wait. Sleeping could wait. She needed me, and I wasn’t going to let her down.

Just her and I.

Honey and the moon.


Just like most other people, I don’t appreciate inadvertently being exposed to obscene material. I have seen some photos, some video clips, and heard some language that I certainly could have done without. But at the same time, I don’t believe in targeting people or discriminating against people due to perceived obscenity, rather than actual obscenity.

The word “obscene” is defined as…

–adjective  

1.  

offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved: obscene language.
2.  

causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
3.  

abominable; disgusting; repulsive.
So, let me ask you. Does this picture fit any of those qualities?


Averly JoAnne Van Vleet

Is it immoral to breastfeed a baby? Is it depraved? Does it onvolve obscene language? Is it inappropriate to breastfeed, even though babies are meant to be breastfed? Do I look like I’m try to seduce someone or cause them to lust after me? Is it abominable, disgusting or repulsive?

I don’t think this picture meets any of that criteria, and you think it does, you need your head checked and your morals and ethics reevaluated.

Facebook deleted this picture for being “obscene,” but really, I’m just not seeing it.

This picture is representative of so much more than just nursing. Yes, I’m feeding my baby, but you can see more if you look deeper. You can see how exhausted I was after my VBA2C. You can see how much I love her and how content the two of us are to have each other. This picture is more than just a breast. But because my child is being fed in this beautiful and heart-touching photo, it’s “obscene.”

I don’t see the pictures of babies being fed a bottle being deleted. And I don’t see picutres of scantily clad women and drug use being deleted. Why aren’t these ones being sought after? Is it really necessary to pick on breastfeeding women, facebook? Women are already discriminated against and made to feel badly about their choice to do what’s best for their child. I can’t even count how many women I know who didn’t or don’t breastfeed simply because of the judgment they would or did receive because of it.

Do you really have to join in on the witch hunt and persecute the ones who aren’t ashamed, and don’t mind letting their friends see that amazing bond with their child?

Thanks you, facebook. For being part of the problem.

Averly JoAnne Van Vleet was born on February 20th, 2011 at 3:56pm. She shares a birthday with her Great-Grandma Margaret. She weighed 6lbs, 14oz.

Averly JoAnne Van Vleet

I had a successful vaginal delivery after two cesareans. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap. It took a lot of planning, and going the extra mile. I wanted it to happen, so I did everything I could to make sure it happened. And it did. My hard work paid off, and she came into the world without the use of scalpels, and without having to be gutted and turned inside out.

She was born on her own time, 100% naturally. No inductions. No pain medications. Just me, my baby, my body. If you want to read her birth story, you can find it here.

When I found out I was pregnant in June of 2010, I knew the birth wasn’t going to be typical. I knew right off the bat that I needed to start planning, and start researching. I had two prior cesareans, one in 2007 and one in 2009; both of which were not truly medically necessary …” READ MORE….

Ava’s birth was amazing. I don’t think I have ever felt so empowered, or so accomplished as when I gave birth to her. For the last few years, all I had had heard was “You can’t, ” “It’s too dangerous,” “You’re crazy,” “It will never happen,” “You’re wasting your time,” “Yeah right,” and “Just have another c-section.” There weren’t many people who believed in me, and there weren’t many people who supported me. My husband and a few close friends were the only cheerleaders on my team. My family took a neutral stance, and most everyone else had something negative to say.

But…

I did it.

I did something amazing. I achieved the “impossible” and I didn’t let them get to me. I’d be lying if I said their comments didn’t hurt, or if at times I didn’t wonder if maybe I really was crazy or if things would turn out horribly and it would be my fault… I had that paranoia. That fear.

But I kept on. I stuck with the facts and kept the statistics in mind. I wasn’t going to let them get to me. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I avoided people who had nothing but mean things to say to me. And it paid off.

I did it.

So, I haven’t really been on here in a long time. I guess I’ve been busy… But with two kids, who isn’t?

So, where to start…?

First, I ended up going to see Dr. Elrod up in Wasilla and I love him! He’s the best doctor I’ve ever seen and I’m really confident that if my VBAC is possible (and it is) that it will happen without unnecessary force and pressure from a pushy intervention-happy doctor. I’m really happy with my choice and even though the drive sucks, it’s totally worth it.

Second, I took a semester off from school. I wanted to focus on some other things, so that’s what I did. In the meantime, I finished my certification as a childbirth educator. I’ve taught some private classes but have yet to set up a large group class. I want to, just waiting to hear back from people on space availability.

Third, I started writing freelance to earn up some money for a carseat for Maddi. I’ve earned enough for her carseat, and now I’m saving up for Danny’s carseat. Definitely a worthwhile purchase in my book. Just takes a little time. The carseats they have now work, but I want to keep them rearfacing longer and it won’t be long until they reach the limit on the seats we have currently. It’s a really neat program and I’ve enjoyed writing for them…especially considering that most of what I’ve wrote, I had to write eventually anyways; it just gave me a little motivation and incentive to do it sooner!

Fourth, I’ve been sewing… a lot. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at my diapers and have been experimenting with other styles, but I still love my pockets best. Lately, I’ve been making clothes a lot, I am getting inspiration from the best vintage t-shirts in my closet.

So as you can see, I’ve been getting pretty crafty. In the meantime, Dan’s been working on the bedroom trying to get that done before the new baby gets here.

So now it’s just a matter of getting drywall and then getting it in. I know how to mud, so that’s not a big deal but Dan has to do the drywall… I can’t lift the stuff. Hurts too much.

Fifth, Danny stopped nursing about two months ago, so he went to 16 months nursing! It’s most likely because of my milk supply tanking because of being pregnant. I’m glad he weaned himself though.

Sixth, Maddi started preschool in a special program for communication-delayed kids. She loves it and has so much fun!

And lastly, we found out that this baby is…

A GIRL!

So, here name will be Averly and we’ll probably call her Ava or Avalee for a nickname.

One thing that has been on my mind lately, is my inability to utilize the services of a midwife. Unfortunately, because I have had two cesareans, heck, even if I had only had one, I am not allowed to use a midwife for my pregnancy and birth in the state of Alaska. I know that I can do prenatal care through a midwife who has a backup, but they cannot do my actual labor and birth. They are subject to losing their license if they do accept me as a client.

I don’t know who is familiar with it, but if you look at the medical model of maternity care and the midwifery model, you’ll see that the outcomes of both models are drastically different, with the midwifery model being the more positve of the two.

And Alaska isn’t the only state that does this. A lot of them do, however, I don’t know which ones off the top of my head… Regardless, it’s ridiculous that women attempting VBACs are being denied access to midwifery care. The chance of rupturing is incredibly low… Heck, there’s probably a lot of other issues with pregnancy that could happen that are at a higher chance than that of rupturing! It’s ridiculous.

What are the laws in your state regarding midwives and VBACs?

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that most OB’s don’t like VBACs. It just seems that way to me… Especially in my community. I’ve heard of them being doine… But I’ve never really heard that any of the cargivers in this area support them. They might, they might not, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable going for a caregiver who dosen’t have a reputation for being pro-VBAC.

In my community, there’s only five OBs that I know of; Dr. Barton, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Deede, Dr. Behrens and Dr. Sheridan. One of them did my first cesarean and my prenatal care before I had my son… The other, I’m not very fond of his bedside manner, as one of my doula clients had him as a doctor. The other, I had for my daughters pediatrician for a bit, and just didn’t care for it… And the other I love, but her specialty isn’t obstetrics. And the other… I had her when I was hospitalized while pregnant with my son and I didn’t care for her…

I’ve heard of a couple other doctors that I am researching into… Dr. Elrod and Dr. Bell. I wrote Dr. Bell an email… We’ll see how it goes from there.

I’m really not sure where I want to have my baby. Because of my history of two cesareans, my options are limited as Alaska’s laws aren’t very lenient about VBAC’s and midwifes.

So, what are your thoughts and experiences on the issue?

I didn’t really understand what all of this talk about “rainbow babies” was… Turns out, a rainbow baby, is a baby you have after a pregnancy/infant loss.

So, this is my second rainbow baby… I lost a baby after I had my daughter and before I had my son… It was a really difficult time in my life, but I think it really moulded me as a person.

I went down to the lake to video tape a couple updates, and my husband asked me “Won’t you feel bad if you make all of these videos and end up with a csection anyways??” and it just got me to thinking about it all…

I don’t think it will be a waste. This entire project is a way for me to explore deeper, and learn more about everything to do with birth and VBACs and make the best possible decisions to optomize outcomes for myself and my baby.

So even if I do “end up” with another cesarean, this won’t be a waste.

I was trying to hide my pregnancy until my husband’s birthday so that I would have time to plan a special surprise to tell him with. My last two children, I just kind of blurted it out, but I worked really hard to keep my mouth shut, however, when I got home from the doctor for my “sinus infection” (I was really going for a pregnancy confirmation) I knew that he knew just because of the goofy grin he had on his face!

Turns out, he had been snooping on babycenter, and even made an account because he was going to respond to the thread I made asking for creative ideas on how to surprise my husband!

What a jokester. It was still fun and we had a blast. We were both laughing and smiling the whole time, and that’s what counts!

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