Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Uterus


"There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ, they would brag about it. So should we."
~Ina May Gaskin  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Only 14 days to go!

There are only 14 days left until my sweet baby boy is due to arrive! I've just recently began to feel regular Braxton Hicks contractions this week, and they are actually getting to a point where they feel "intense" (especially when I am sitting up). In addition to, I had an appointment with the midwife today and she says that the baby's head is down and pretty far into the pelvis. Its exciting to finally start getting some "action" around here!

Now, don't get me wrong, I still do not feel as though I have all things ready. I have plenty of projects to tie up and I plan to go into full nesting mode next week! I hope to devote the week after that to REST! Of course, I'm praying God will allow everything to go according to HIS timing. I'm just hoping he will allow me to be "in tune" with whatever that is!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

He's Able!

At the beginning of 2009, hubby and I declared the song, "He's Able" to be our theme song for this year. The song is referring to Ephesians 3:20 which says, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," Sometimes its hard to see how certain situations are going to work out, but holding on to the truth that God really is ABLE to do more that our human minds can even concoct, is a major faith booster!

Below is a video of hubby "preach-singing" the song during a service we had at our church recently.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's a A Woman to Do?

About three weeks after my wedding day, I began my first full-time job. From the time I started, I began to feel "the pull." After becoming pregnant with my first child, "the pull" became even greater. This "pull" that I am referring to is the way it seemed like my time, energy, and attention was constantly being pulled in so many different directions. Between marriage, work, ministry, friends, family, and a new baby on the way, I wondered how I would ever balance it all!

I had so many different messages in my mind in regards to what my priorities were supposed to be and what decisions were best. As I have grown in these areas and made certain decisions, I realize that many women struggle with "the pull." I have found that for me, the key to having peace and fulfillment in this area is learning more about God's design for a woman's role in the family and learning how to apply that knowledge to my everyday life. 

Chip Ingram, founder and teaching pastor of Living On the Edge offers a MP3 Series entitled: House or Home?: Eight Essentials for Building a Close-Knit Family. Below is a short description of the series as well as two links for a part of the series that deals with God's design for a woman's role in the family. I have listened to these two podcast and have found them to be very inspiring and informative! Check them out!
We all long to be deeply connected with our families. However, for most of us, this longing goes largely unmet and our hearts ache because of it. In this eight part series, Chip takes you step by step through Ephesians 5:21-6:4 and explains what it takes to become a family that is not only close, but has the strength and stability to weather life's storms.
What's a Woman to Do? Part 1

What's a Woman to Do? Part 2

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 which I invite brother to dinner.

We've all been there. Its the vicious eating-out cycle. It goes like this:

"I suppose I could save more money if I bought some groceries. But, I can't think about that right now...I'm hungry!"

-My brother (as he is on his way to McDonald's :)

12 Reasons to Start a Blog

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a blogger thus far. Have you been thinking about starting a blog? Maybe you are in need of inspiration to remember what motivated you to start the blog you already have. Below are the first 12 of this blogger's 33 Reasons to Start a Blog. To read all 33 click here.

1. Blogs are a great way to express yourself and your unique personality, whether it’s through what you write, or your blog’s colors.

2. A blog is a great way to build a small network of readers with similar interests or hobbies.

3. A blog is a great way to promote a business or a product.

4. A blog is a great way to make a difference and raise awareness about certain topics mass media ignores or would rather not discuss.

5. Writing on your blog is a great way to express your freedom of speech.

6. Writing on a blog and attracting a wide readership might make you famous one day.

7. It’s easy to make money if your blog becomes popular, all you have to do is insert ads.

8. Posting on your blog is a great way to vent.

9. A blog can land you a job opportunity, especially if it attracts a wide readership and you become recognized as an expert in your niche.

10. A blog can land you an offer to be a on a reality show, this has happened to me personally. At this time I cannot provide any additional info, however if everything goes as planned and I do participate in the show, I will be posting more about it.

11. Starting a blog and maintaining it is very easy and it’s free. It doesn’t require any html or programming knowledge, you can start your free blog right away by visiting Blogger or Word Press.

12. Having a blog and posting on it frequently allows you to reflect back on your growth and development.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My 2009 Book List

Last year, I came across a myriad of books that interested me, many of which I intended on reading. Nevertheless, somehow "life" just seemed to get in the way of that:) I figure that with a new baby on the way, this year will not afford me more time, energy, or resources than last year. Hence, it seemed right to make a "book list" for 2009 in order to hold myself accountable.

Now I don't want to overwhelm myself, so I am going to give myself about 2 months to read each book. Seeing as it is already February, I'll make my goal to read 5 books this year. Perhaps you already have or are intending to read some of the same books. If so, feel free to provide some feedback about them in the comments section!

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

What the Bible Says About Child Training by J. Richard Fugate

Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley

Friday, February 13, 2009

Newborn Reminiscing

With only 27 days to go before the my new bundle of joy is due, I've been reminiscing on what its like to have a newborn. Bella is our youngest, and will be two years old this May. I can't believe how fast time has flown by! Here are a couple of pictures we took of Bella before we left the hospital. One of the nurses was so in love with her, she made that bow and stuck it on her hat. Hubby and I just thought it was the cutest thing!

I'll admit I am a little nervous about how I am going to transition into being a mother of 3. Nevertheless, I smile when I think about all of the "sweet details" associated with having a new baby. There's just something about...

- The "Johnson's baby lotion smell"
- Tiny little clothes washed in Dreft
- Nursing a baby and being their only source of nourishment
- The baby's first "social" smile (that you know isn't due to gas!) 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In honor of Valentine's Day

Here is a video and press release about the Generations Podcast.  Their February podcast is dedicated to a discussion of Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages. I have found this book to be very helpful in terms of understanding what makes me feel loved and how I can improve in showing love to my friends and family.  Watch the clip and read below for more info!


February 9, 2009

Love-Learn the Language

Wouldn’t it be great if we could love others in a way that really made them feel loved? Love is the topic of conversation on the Generations Podcast at Generations of Christian women share their thoughts about different issues and aspects of life. The hosts of the podcasts are the creator of the God’s Word Collectible Christian gift series, Bridgette Mongeon, her mother Barbara Ingersoll, and her daughter Christina Diliberto. Their February podcasts are based on love in recognition of Valentine’s Day. 

In their first February podcast they talk about Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages,” and how the five love languages played a role in their lives. In the second February podcast Dr. Chapman joins Christina and Bridgette and talks about the importance of love languages not only for couples but for singles, and how understanding your child’s love language is important, and how your love language plays a role in your relationship with God and ministry. Understanding and using the love languages will change your life. 

What are the five love languages? They are touch, quality time, acts of service, positive affirmation, and gifts. Chapman states that we each can express our love in different ways, and that couples often have different love languages. We want to make sure that we fill the love tank of those we want to love, so therefore understanding their love language is very important. That way they will feel that their “love tank” is full. 

For more information about the love languages, check out the Generations podcast at or pick up one of Dr. Chapman’s books. Then you can spread the love all year long.

Bridgette Mongeon,

Hannah Ahn

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Hard Workin' Man

Here's a picture of my man hard at work. In addition to the numerous responsibilities and deadlines he's had recently, he's also had the daunting task of dealing with a very pregnant, tired, and hormonal wife;) Although I do not always express to him just how much I appreciate the way he works hard to provide for our family, to be a supportive husband, and a very engaged and loving father,  I REALLY do thank God for him!

Before hubby and I were a couple, I spent alot of time praying and seeking God about his will in regards to our relationship.  I had alot of fears about courting and wanted to know if this man was really "the one." The verses below are ones that God used to open my eyes to the godly character of my future husband. As I read these verses, I realized they were a good depiction of who he already was. As a result, my fears and doubts began to go away. These verses are still a great depiction of who my hubby is at his core, and I can never read them without thinking of him!

"Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him" (Proverbs 20:6-7).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Modesty Carnival

When it comes to virtuous living, modesty is an issue that is very important to me. I am constantly growing in my understanding of both the significance and implementation of this concept. Consequently, I was delighted to find out that Christa over at Empowered Traditionalist is hosting a spring modesty carnival! You can check out her blog to find links to a wide range of very inspiring articles on modesty. With so many pervasive and ungodly messages about how women should dress and carry themselves in today's society, it helps to know there are other young women who are striving to take a biblical stand in this area!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sphincter Law

As promised, here's more information about the concept of Sphincter Law. Perhaps you thinking: "What is a "sphincter" anyway?" Well, a "sphincter" is "A ringlike muscle that normally maintains constriction of a body passage or orifice and that relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning"(

Above you will find a short video of Ina May Gaskin explaining sphincter law as it relates to labor and delivery. (*Warning: Some language used in the video may not be appropriate for children).

Below, you will find an article and interview of Gaskin done by Erika-Marie S. Geiss. Geiss is a mother, editor and freelance writer who credits much of her successful, unmedicated vaginal delivery to her understanding of sphincter law. You can read the original article here.

Easing Tension and Fear in Natural Childbirth by Understanding Sphincter Law: A Conversation with Ina May Gaskin
By Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Among the preparedness tips and suggestions for mothers who want to deliver naturally, Ina May Gaskin's Sphincter Law is rarely cited in mainstream publications geared to pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Teaching pregnant women to understand the cervix as a sphincter is an unfortunate omission in the literature and discussion for labor and delivery. Becoming equipped with the knowledge of Sphincter Law could not only change women's attitudes towards natural, vaginal delivery, but could also give pregnant women more control over their experience in the third trimester and during labor and delivery itself.

The mother of one child, and labeled elderly prima gravida when pregnant, I had an unmedicated vaginal delivery without any complications, to which I owe Sphincter Law a lot of credit. While trying to conceive and during pregnancy, among the many texts I read were Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery (1977) and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (2003), which is where I first learned about Sphincter Law. There was something about Sphincter Law that made sense, especially during my third trimester when my son seemed to live perched on my intestines and bladder, making waste elimination beyond uncomfortable. Employing Sphincter Law during my third trimester not only eased the difficulty of going to the bathroom, but afforded the opportunity to practice it, thus preparing myself physically and mentally for a natural delivery.

Several months after my son was born, I had the opportunity to speak with Ina May Gaskin about the genesis of Sphincter Law and how and why it works. Gaskin is the first to have discussed the cervix as a sphincter, tapping into the concept that if one sphincter is open and relaxed, the others will also open, relax and be able to handle, quite adequately, the task at hand. In effect, the sphincters include any of the bodily openings from which an organ expels an object whether it is air, waste, or a child. Human socialization has taught us keep our sphincters in check?asserting control over them so as not to be inappropriate or impolite. This same control, however, can serve to hinder the natural childbirth process, but understanding and using Gaskin's Sphincter Law can instead help and ease both the tension and fear associated with natural childbirth.

Erika-Marie S. Geiss: How did you discover Sphincter Law?

Ina May Gaskin: I discovered it through observation, particularly with one of my patients who was also a singer. During a difficult stage in her labor, I knew that she could not bear to hear or sing a wrong note, so I had her sing. It was purely instinctive on my part, to have her sing, because I realized that if you want the bottom end to do something, yet you can't control it, then [you have to] work on the top end. By breathing deeply so that the middle expands, and you open your upper openings (the mouth and larynx), then the other openings will follow and also open. It's the principle of "as above, so below."

Geiss: For those readers who are not familiar with your work, what are the basics of Sphincter Law?

Gaskin: When the voluntary muscles get tired, the sphincters don't get tired. Those are connected to the organs that fill up with something?the bladder, uterus, intestines. They expand and contract, and when they yawn open, whatever is inside comes out, and then they close again. But, they work better in privacy?they're shy?and this is true of humans and most animals. We seek privacy to allow our sphincters to do their jobs, jobs that at the most basic level, have to do with hormone levels in the body. For example, oxytocin levels in blood rise when something big comes out (whether it's a baby or a bowel movement). Laughter is one thing that can help open the sphincters. I ask women to laugh when they're having a baby because it helps the process along; it also adds to oxytocin and endorphin levels. But on the converse, if someone is afraid or feels violated, for example, the sphincter can slam shut [what is sometimes called cervical reversal].

Geiss: How did you come up with the term?

Gaskin: Sphincter is a powerful word, and attracts attention, so it made sense to call it what it is.

Geiss: Is Sphincter Law a technique that many midwives use?

Gaskin: I started out with the realization that many midwives didn't consciously know about Sphincter Law and few nurses or nurse-midwives knew about it. There was a common experience, though, among the midwives that I have worked with. A lot of homebirth midwives used it subconsciously, but I didn't know of anyone else who had shaved down the knowledge of the cervix decreasing (or reversing) during labor. Some women, during labor, have reversed dilation without showing the least signs?and this is a story (number 99) described in my Guide to Childbirth. Yet all of these midwives experienced something that supposedly never happened, according to medical texts, and there was no connection to how or why it happens. There is a fundamental ignorance that is taught: believing in false modesty, allowing the mind to censor primal thought. When I wrote the book, I tried to write it for the generation before you and for your generation?women who were completely scared of their bodies. I wanted to change behavior. The concept of "let your monkey do it?, that is, leaving your socialization and high-level reasoning behind, Sphincter Law and [the ability to] orgasm during childbirth are the messages that many really come away from with it.

Geiss: What about obstetricians? Is it employed or discussed by the mainstream medical community?

Gaskin: Not yet. I haven't heard of a single one discussing it today. Thirty to thirty-five years ago, OBs [sic.] were interested in what midwives know, today not so much. But today there are more midwives. The [midwifery] industry was just starting to grow a generation ago. I don't get the same invitations that I used to get from obstetricians, but hopefully that will change.

Geiss: In your estimation, would understanding Sphincter Law improve the chances of easier vaginal deliveries even in a hospital setting?

Gaskin: It would if obstetricians understood. Obstetricians need to have experiences they don't have now, as well as be able to connect birthing to the animal world and not make birthing a procedure. If doctors were asked to lie on their backs, with their feet in stirrups and forced to move their bowels on demand, they might have a different approach.

Geiss: What can a pregnant woman do ahead of time to prepare herself to use Sphincter Law during labor?

Gaskin: Practice when moving the bowels: laugh, take her time, squat, and cultivate a sense of humor and laughing and a connection to the entire bodily process. Sphincter muscles are more likely to open if the woman feels positive about herself where she feels inspired and enjoys the birth process.

Geiss: How is the breathing associated with Sphincter Law different from or similar to other popular breathing techniques and natural childbirth methods?

Gaskin: [The breathing associated with Sphincter Law] is less restrictive and less contrived than some of the other [popular] breathing techniques, which I call "distraction breathing?.

Geiss: If a pregnant woman is also taking other childbirth classes (such as Bradley or Lamaze), can Sphincter Law complement her childbirth education, and how can she incorporate it into her knowledge base? Gaskin: The distraction breathing that's taught in some of these classes is different than the physiological breathing necessary to accomplish birthing. Hyperventilating is not helpful, and women get caught up in breathing the right way, and then when they are delivering, get panicky when they think they are breathing wrong. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of a challenging birth. Instead of letting their monkey do it, women can get trapped by the false modesty and in the fear they have been taught. But when women try the kind of deep, yogic abdominal breathing used in Sphincter Law, they find that they relax and can enjoy the process.

Geiss: When is using it most useful during labor and delivery?

Gaskin: Throughout [the entire process] but especially when the woman delivering is starting to feel vulnerable or scared.

Geiss: Is there any other information that you would like to add?

Gaskin: Yes. Women should not listen to the horror stories and instead seek out positive birth stories?ones that share about what worked and what didn't work for the mothers sharing their stories. If you know someone who went the path you intend to go, then it starts to seem more possible. We're so isolated and shy, with a false modesty when it comes to bodily functions including childbirth. There isn't a lot of opportunity to get together and connect about these things in a very frank way. Consider hiring a doula or midwife or consider asking a friend or sister to take a class with a doula with you for that kind of connectedness and experience, even if you are intending to have a hospital birth.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My prep work continues...

Well folks, with only 39 days to go, you should know I am completely consumed in pregnancy info and in my natural birth prep work. As I searched the web to gain further insight into what I should be experiencing at 34 weeks pregnant, I ran across this comment on a pregnancy website:

Your Pregnancy: Week 34
"The nursery is almost done. You've stocked up on diapers. You're ready..."  I read this and thought to myself, "Well, they don't know me very well at all, do they? I have done absolutely NOTHING of the sort!" 

It is true that I have put little thought into what this baby might need after he gets here. Instead, I have been much more preoccupied with preparing for "the process" by which he must get here! I guess, taking care of a newborn baby is not as intimidating, since I have done that twice in the past 3 and 1/2 years. However, giving birth without any medication is a completely new adventure, of which I have spent most of my brain power preparing for! First things first, right?

Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who wrote and posted a link in response to my Calling all "natural birthers" -Share Your Story post. I did gain some more insight into ideas for comfort techniques as well as what to expect in general. In addition to your stories, I have investigated more information about the issue of avoiding perineal tears and episiotomies.

In my search, I have become more acquainted with the work of Ina May Gaskin. I initially became acquainted with Gaskin after watching The Business of Being Born (of which hubby and I have recently watched again-twice!) Gaskin is a pioneer in modern midwifery and founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. She has written several books about natural birth and mothering and has herself has attended more than 1,200 births. Gaskin is also the first midwife for whom an obstetric technique was named.

In terms of perineal tears and episiotomies, Gaskin has some very interesting tips that I have not read in many mainstream publications on labor and delivery. For example, Gaskin stresses the importance of teaching pregnant women to see the cervix as a sphincter. I've gathered more information on this that I will share in another post, so stay tuned!