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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Knee-High By The 4th of July

"Yesterday I went with Serge to pick up the keys to his new place and get the kids excited for their new house with him. Then we came back to my house, and Serge spent the afternoon mowing my lawn and packing up his stuff. I made dinner, and we talked about the upcoming moves to our new houses."

If you wanna read this one click on over to Babble.

Minimalist Mentality

The view from my new front porch.

The kitchen of the new house I’m moving to just outside State College, Pennsylvania could fit in the bathroom of my current home. I assure you, this is not an exaggeration. But instead of feeling depressed by the prospect and eventual reality of a small home, I feel excited.

If you want to keep reading about the big changes coming up 'round these parts click on over to Babble.

Moving Ahead But I Still Look Back

Oh, hi. Fancy seeing you here. I thought you stopped coming by and yet here you are. I'm glad you're here. You mean a lot to me. Most of the time I feel like I'm typing away in my quiet little corner of the Internets but every now and again I'll get a glimpse of how invested some of you are in my sweet family and I'm just blown away. So thanks for being here. It makes me feel a little less lonely, an emotion with which I am all too well acquainted with lately.

The messages and comments so many of you have left here and sent on Facebook (go ahead and friend me over there, I'm there even when not here) have meant a lot. I'm always surprised when someone takes the time to send me a few words of encouragement and some of y'all have really great advice. Certain words of yours, sentences, philosophies on life and love and all the rest of it all, have stuck with me and helped light the way through some pretty dark times these past few months.

I know I haven't written much here lately, mostly because I don't know what to write. I'm not interested in blow by blow blogging of all the nonsense that inevitably goes down when a couple decides to separate. Years from now, when all the tumultuous feelings of right now have faded, anything I've written will seem silly and hurtful. And during a separation/divorce, when certain feelings are so ephemeral, writing about anything is particularly risky.

What I'm saying is I think writing about specifics would hurt more than help so you won't read any of that here. Maybe some generalities about adjusting to my new life, otherwise - nada. I know, so disappointing for you! Positivity is so boring. Believe me, I watch The Real Housewives of New York for a reason and it ain't for positivity. But yeah, you will never read anything about this whole thing I wouldn't want my children to read in twenty years. And twenty years from now all they need to know is we tried our hardest but when we began to feel like us being together was more detrimental to them than us being apart we made the decision to separate, take a break and try to gain a little perspective.

Which brings us to here. Now. I don't know what this blog means to me anymore. I have no illusions about any of it like I may have in the past. I just need a place to write what I want to write whether it's hard truths I'm realizing in my life, funny stories or just photos of my kids... Other than that, I don't know. I'm not interested in being something I'm not which probably means no sponsored posts unless I really, really, really dig the thing... Just no more bullshit. I started the blog to write.

Lots of huge changes coming up and I totally plan to keep you posted. Additionally, as many of you are aware, was down for some time while they switched servers or whatever they've been up to over there but they're back up now with a new site design (still somewhat under construction) but you can read my latest post, How My Baby Is Wise Beyond His Months, over there if you like.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring.

Charlie Boy

Pretty much every day is a bad hair day for Charlie. He has this small tuft of hair that refuses to comply with water or even heed the direction of the all powerful mama spit licked on a hand and smoothed onto hair.

This kid... Oh, this kid. What a damn joy.

Charles In Charge: The Birth Story Part I

To say that giving birth naturally in my home is the greatest thing I've ever done and likely will ever do isn't really an exaggeration. Unless I lift a car off someone in the next couple decades or otherwise save a life in similar dramatic fashion, giving birth to Charlie in our living room is a highlight.

Not only was it miraculous because it brought me my son, the third love of my life, but it taught me a lot about what I'm capable of if I let go of fear, follow my heart and mind and allow my determination to lead the way.

The decision to give birth at home wasn't conscious, it was the result of all I have learned over the past several years (while writing for a major parenting website) and, once pregnant, just seemed like the obvious course of action. I had, of course, watched The Business of Being Born and studied articles like this one in the NY Times called American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World, but out of all that what sticks in my mind the most is a small incident that occurred when I was giving birth to Violet.

There I was, lying on my back, legs spread to the high heavens that surely exist above LDS hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah when the door to my room whipped open and a janitor strode in, looked directly at my, uh, blossoming flower, grabbed the trash basket, dumped it into the larger bin on the janitor cart, put it back on the floor and exited the room.

Oh, hi, janitor. This is my vagina. Vagina, that's the janitor.

It's not a huge deal. Especially when one is in the throes of transition and attempting to push a human from one's lady business. But the situation, to me, is indicative of what giving birth in a hospital is like. Although both our first two children were born in hospitals and we very much enjoyed the experiences, I tend to think it's because we didn't really know better. The janitor crashing my daughter's birth is a small example of the larger problem I see with hospital births. Giving birth didn't feel sacred or respected, as every childbirth should, I felt like cattle. Ushered from one high price room to the next, a fleet of nurses poking and prodding me at all hours, laughing at my shy desire to attempt to give birth without an epidural. "Nobody wins a medal for a natural childbirth, honey."

I was not in control of the greatest moments of my life. I was at the mercy of strangers who were at the mercy of ridiculous hospital policies created to avoid a society that has become insanely litigious. And a lot of the things they end up forcing on you aren't even policies, just standard procedures that you can turn down, you just don't know you can.

You have to be strapped to all this equipment at all times!

You don't. Intermittent monitoring is just as effective and with all the monitoring you're forced to lie down and stay pretty still which means all you can really focus on is your contractions. I gotta move around, baby!

You must not eat anything but ice chips or popsicles!

Total bullshit. Want a sandwich? Eat a fucking sandwich. You wouldn't tell someone to run a marathon but skip breakfast, would you? Yeah, there is some concern that if you need a c-section you could aspirate on vomit after being intubated but as Medical News Today notes, in modern obstetric practice most doctors are using regional anesthesia as opposed to general anesthesia thereby avoiding intubation and the risk of aspiration. Bottom line? Eat those Doritos if they get you through the next two contractions, sister friend.

Get on your back to give birth and then push until the veins in your face explode and paint the walls in blood and even then they'll all still be screaming PUUUUSH at you.

Giving birth on your back is solely for the benefit of the doctor. It's the best position for him to get up in there. However, lying on your back not only reduces the size of the pelvis significantly, but it puts pressure on the vena cava, which reduces blood flow to the baby and your lower body. So, unless this position feels best to you, do your own thing, sister. Squat, on all fours, whatever rocks your world. I gave birth on my side and back, kind of like I was sliding into home plate.

We're going to tell you when to push because we know better than you!

There is a video of me giving birth to Henry that shows me pushing so hard at the behest of a doctor and nurses you think my head is going to pop off my neck and explode, cartoon-style. So unnecessary! Newsflash! Your body knows what it's doing! Just like when you avail yourself of the facilities after a large dinner, you'll know when to push! In fact, pushing so hard can make you tear more and is just generally not a good idea, even according to the World Health Organization which also, by the way, agrees with me about restricting food during labor and also calls constant electronic fetal monitoring a "practice which is frequently used inappropriately."

Wake up! I need to take your vitals!

More hospital policy crap. For the love of Christ, lady! I just gave birth and I'll be going home with a fussy newborn soon, LET ME SLEEP.

Here is a $50 Ibuprofin for your pain.

Seriously. Read this article. It will blow your mind.

You're NOT going to breastfeed? Shouldn't you at least try, for your baby's sake?

I've written about this enough on Babble so I'm not going to go into it here. Yeah, "breast is best" until it isn't. And for many women, it isn't. If it isn't best for mom it isn't best for baby, The End. Stop bullying and respect every new mother's choice.

All of the above, coupled with the fact that, after two induced labors and subsequent epidurals, I had an overwhelming desire to experience going into labor and childbirth naturally as millions of women before me have, I determined that a midwife and a home birth was the way forward.
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