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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pottying Just Got Easier!

Found my son on his mica, reading his potty book
Finally, Akinyemi went through an entire month without any potty misses!  After the birth of Itzix, he had a slight regression.  He didn't have one miss- for months during my pregnancy, but right after our birth, he left a nice puddle for my admirable postpartum doula to wipe up.  I'm glad he's dry all day and night again- anywhere we go, at two and a half years old. 

Itzix sleeps, diaper free with a bed liner
Itix is doing well.  He usually sleeps throughout the night.  When he squirms, I zombie over to the bathroom sink and squat him over to pee.  He goes right away, and saves his poops for daytime. Akinyemi joins in and together, we perform a worn-out symphony of urine streams.  Most nights, it upsets Akinyemi that I have to get up to pee, he cries "NO! Mommy! Sleep, dormir, hug!".  Even while he pees on his own, this is his mantra.  But sometimes he's lucky and sleeps through the whole ordeal, or follows us without protest.

When I am drained and Akinyemi is having a bad day, I wrap a towel around Itzix when he wakes up to pee so he won't soil the bed.  After he pees, I toss it and he falls right back into REM. Pottying my newborn is most difficult when I am tired.  He warns me every time.  I convince myself that I'm misreading his messages so I don't have to get up, but as the saying goes: "the lazy way is the hard way", I end up peed on.  Other people, not having sensitive attunement yet, get peed on frequently.  Last night, Itzix peed on my friend's crotch a few times.  A good sport, she just cackled in amazement.

My brother and husband are not good sports.  They promptly diaper him up when they carry him- even if they are only watching him for a minute.  Are we so conditioned to associate babies with diapers that we can't grasp the concept of a "diaper-free baby"?   My husband, the infamous anarchist, and my brother, the carefree punk, would rather consume capitalist diaper products and create unnecessary environmental waste, than pay attention to baby's clear signals and be aware of his elimination needs.  Those grungy boys are closet germaphobes, I know it.

Breast fed newborn poop and pee in the potty.
Newborn waste is not nasty...it smells like the steam of a fresh, warm bread roll- mmm...que rico!   Itzix doesn't like his little potty anymore, so I have to get up and take him over the sink.  This sucks when I eat.  Being the vulture I am, I see and hear nothing else but my meal, and his subtle warnings just fly over head and- another miss!  Despite our endless mound of laundry, it's worth having him comfortable, diaper-free, aware of his bowel movements, and vocal about his needs.  Saving tons of cash on disposable diapers and carrying around a little booty baby is sweet satisfaction.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Doulas DO Come in Color!

I looked everywhere for a midwife of color who would attend my birth for a discounted fee.  Finding a midwife in general who would care for me at a discounted fee was difficult in itself.  I settled for a hospital birth with a CNM through Medi-Cal, wrote a birth plan, and educated myself extensively.  I was pissed that I couldn't find a doula of color.  Of course, I had no money to pay for one, but I at least wanted to bargain, haggle, or just communicate with a woman who could feel like my sister.  It was my first baby, I had no cash, no experienced friends who were educated in holisitc childbirth, and a family of women who wouldn't stop projecting their birth traumas onto me.

After the most self-affirming and empowering experience of my life, natural childbirth, my life took an unexpected turn.  By six months postpartum, I became a trained doula, and attended my first birth.  Doula Panquetzani was on demand: moms of color, whose parents were monolingual Spanish speakers, requested I attend their births; contacted me for support; asked me for advice; and borrowed educational resources.  Through these women, I found other women interested in becoming doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, and sisters to women like me.

In 2009, a fellow midwifery student, Cristina, and I formed: Ticicalli Yahualli (the Healer's/midwife's House).  Our circle grew into a collective and has supported numerous Indigenous women in their journey to motherhood.  Our community doula program assists childbearing women who could otherwise not afford to be sistered.  We support each others' educations through fundraising and teaching the skills we learn to all women in our circle.  We try our best to remain conscious of the fact that after a 500 year culture of being colonized, we may bring internalized oppression to the circle.  We hold internal healing circles and hold each other accountable for our actions, with respect and empathy.

Throughout my second pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods, I finally had birth workers of color to support me.  As more women grow pregnant bellies, our education and experience grow, and we are more capable of lending a hand.  Currently, two of our sisters are studying in Veracruz with Naoli Vinaver, a partera tradicional.  We have come a long way, and I am proud that my fellow Indigenous birth workers can offer empathy, support and creative community solutions.

Grateful for my new sisters.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mama's First Day Out

I never want to forget the kind of mother I always envisioned myself being:  Fun; cool; wise; energetic; spontaneous; adventurous- the type of mom I wanted for myself.  On days where I am "turning into my mother", I visualize myself in the same way I used to when I was a kid.  This morning, preparing for a family get-together was a battle between two different women:  The one I wish I was; and the one who needs to work her booty off to actually get there. 

I planned to leave at noon, but at 11am, my two year-old, who has been on a potty strike, was outside piling his dad's tools on a pancaked turd he freshly soft-served onto the driveway.   Calmly, I escorted him to the shower and sang until he cried for "chichi".  Empathetic to his recent change as a big brother, I talk to him lovingly, and we step out of the shower.  Itzix is crying, for me, "Akinyemi, el bebe tiene que tomar chichi. Okay? Tu hermanito esta bastante pequeño y no puede comer comida como, tu", I explain in a song-like tone.

Akinyemi's cries compete with the exacerbated, cat-in-heat tone of the baby's.  This is where the hormones kick in.  A lactating mom hearing her child cry will break through concrete with her bare hands to nurse.  I can't think straight, so I rock and nurse my newborn, leaving Akinyemi hanging.  Akinyemi's little hands point right at the tip of my nipple through my shirt "this, this", he explains as if I don't understand that he wants to nurse.  I cave, and there they are, my two month old and my two year old, nursing desperately. I was the only one lacking a drink. 

Itzix, who is amazing at vocalizing his potty needs, is fussing and bites at my nipple, I explain, again, to Akinyemi, his baby brother's needs.  Finally, when I say "Itzix va hacer poo poo aqui en la cama!", he latches off.  Just then, Itzix has an explosive newborn poop, spraying my only pair of jeans that fit.  "Eeeewww...nacky...poopoo, nacky", Akinyemi is surprised, despite the warnings.  After wiping myself down, I potty Itzix, so he can finish, and dress both kids.  I wasn't patient enough with Itzix, because right as I'm about to walk out the door, he poops, looking me STRAIGHT in the eye.

Disappointed, stressed out, and in a rush, I fumble through his diaper bag, clean him up, find some last minute snacks- then realize in all of this mess, that I haven't pottied Akinyemi.  Too late.  He peed himself a fresh, warm pipi. I struggle to be empathetic walking him to the bathroom, I go into the hallway, and bang on the wall, thinking "He was potty trained BEFORE the baby- WHAT is WRONG with him?!!".  I notice Akinyemi staring at me, breathe it out, change him, grab my newborn, and we are back to square one: nursing.

Once we got on the freeway, I talked to Akinyemi about all of the fun things we would do.  He was laughing excitedly and dancing in his car seat.  I look over to ask if he wants a snack, and see his smiling face look back at me like I'm the coolest mom in the world.  His seat belt is unbuckled!  I pull over at the first exit, begging myself not to crash.  I have to fight him to get it back on, he cries a while, but at this point I'm too relieved to be frustrated.

We made it to our family function, after two hours of traffic and crying babies.  It should've taken 45 minutes, but good food and family always make me happy.  I kept my adventure a secret from everyone but my husband until now.  He gave an untroubled laugh at my attempt to take the kids out two months postpartum.  He'll get his turn.