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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Awesome Post On Modern Motherhood!

Mrs. Parunak has written a great post called Why Modern Motherhood Is So Much Harder Than It Ought To Be: Part I. If you're a new Stay at Home Mom and/or could just use some more encouragement in regards to all this mommy/homemaker business, you're not alone! Take a look at the post and let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Noah: The Beginning

Our newest arrival turned 6 weeks old yesterday! Seeing as he's so irresistibly adorable, and since I'm trying to do a better job at documenting our family's most precious moments, I thought I'd take a stab at creating a video of Noah's first 6 weeks using iMovie.

I really haven't had any experience using IMovie before, so I was proud of the fact that I was not only able to add sound, but that I even got as far as posting it on YouTube! Not bad for a novice eh? (Ahem...I just won't tell you how long it took me;)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I love this song. I told hubby that I want it sang at my funeral because it captures my life in a nutshell.

The women featured are singing as a tribute to our pastor, during a recent appreciation service put on for him by our local church.

As you view, you may notice that we can get a little "emotional" when it comes to praising Jesus. No reason to be alarmed. Its all very common. Yes, we are "those" people;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Motherhood

My answers are in italics.

1. You know you're a mother when ______? hear yourself calling your child by their first, middle, and last name. "Noelle Danae Hutchinson! I said stop!"

2. Why didn't anybody tell me _______ about motherhood?
...about all of the pregnancy and postpartum woes you can experience: constipation, hemorrhoids, cracked nipples etc.

3. Being a mother has caused me to_________?

... be less selfish and more compassionate toward others.

4. Some helpful motherhood advice I've received has been _______? always follow through on my word with my children. 

5. Advice you'd give to a new mother?

Remember: It ain't easy, but its worth it!

How would you answer these questions?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Somebody around here reeeeaaaally loves me.

When hubby came home from work yesterday, not only did he have an iced coffee in hand, but he also had these...

He says I "deserved" them. (And you wonder how we keep having all these babies;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Iced Coffee Day!


Dunkin Donuts has named today Iced Coffee Day. The chain is offering iced coffees for a mere 50 cents. 10 percent of the sales will go to Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit that builds specially adapted homes for injured veterans.

Drink iced coffee and help veterans. Sounds like a plan to me! This is nationwide people. Please, let's make the most of it!

Making The Effort

I know children grow up fast and that parents should try to savor and enjoy every moment of their childrens' childhood. Nevertheless, when you take a lack of sleep, lack of personal time, and join it with that the numerous responsibilities that accompany family life, enjoying your children can become challenging. I know I find myself thinking "I have so much to do today, what can the girls do to keep busy and preoccupied, so I can get things done?" Sure, we have devotion, read books, and eat our meals together, but I usually find myself using those times to impart wisdom and to teach new things that are "serious" to me. But, what about time for just plain ole' fun?

In his article, "Do You Enjoy Your Kids?" family therapist, Jeffrey D. Murrah explains, "The word 'enjoy' literally means to enter into a joyous state. To enjoy children involves reaching out and joining them in having fun. As parents join their children, a new reciprocity often develops. Children then start showing an interest in the parents' hobbies or activities. Another benefit is that parents and children know who each other helps to strengthen bonds. Knowing and enjoying who your child is as a person is preferred to what your child does. Enjoying your children also builds their self-confidence and sense of security. Enjoying children requires effort."

I thought, prayed, and read about this alot yesterday and afterward decided to make some real "effort" to play and have fun with my children. At first, I was actually nervous because I couldn't think of alot of things to do. However, I found that when I just sat down and made myself available to them, they had plenty for me to do. Not only did the day just seem to fly by, it was much more enjoyable as well! 

I could tell they appreciated my taking time to play with them. My youngest daughter kept giving me big hugs and kisses and saying, "I love you mommy." My oldest daughter kept thanking me for helping her with her computer game. I wondered, "Was she playing with this before and wishing that someone would help her with it?" I realized the girl's love pretend more than anything else. They pretended they were cooking, that they were running late for work, that they were snoring in their sleep and they needed me to wake them up. I just jumped right into whatever they did and "ate" the pretend food, commenting on how good it was. I asked them how their day was when they returned from "work." We played hide and go seek and other things as well and we all enjoyed each other and had alot of fun!

Of course, some housework had to be put off in order for this to happen.  But, I think that if I make sure I schedule some time for this kind of play in my day, I can get the important things done. As a mom, I give to my children in many of different ways. However, if I don't purpose to give them "me" then I've missed the point of parenting. After all, when this season of parenting has passed, the relationship that I have with them is going to mean more that how clean I kept the living room.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lying In: The 6-Week Rule

My husband and I have been members of our local church for almost eight years. Now, if you know anything about our church, you know there are two things we have plenty of: weddings and babies! Its just the "norm." Sometimes we are "teased" about this by others who are affiliated with our church, but it is true. If you came for a visit, the baby abundance is one thing that would not go unnoticed!

With this, there is also an understood "rule" embedded in the culture of our church for new mothers: The 6-week Rule. Everyone knows that it is "taboo" for a mother who has just had a baby to return to church before she is 6-weeks postpartum. It is said that if you do come back before that time "the mothers" will have much to say in disapproval of your decision. Some new moms have been known to "sneak out" and come a service or return to church early. But, trust me, when one does, there is "talk" over it.

I found out just how serious people are about the rule after having my first daughter. Hubby attempted to take me out to a concert when I was about five weeks postpartum and before we could even get in the door, we were spotted by a friend's mom who believes very strongly inthe 6 week rule. She saw us, stopped us at the door, and turned us right around. When my husband even looked like he was about to protest, her eyes got big and she looked at him and said, "Do you want your wife to have a setback?...uh!" Yes, we knew we were grown, but we felt like two kids caught red-handed by their mama. We knew we weren't going to win that battle, so we hung our heads in shame and got back in the car.

We younger mothers also occasionally give the new mom who "violates" the 6-week rule a hard time, but its all in good fun. Most of us find the whole thing rather amusing, because we don't understand it anyway. We think, "Hey, I've been to the doctor, the grocery store, the mall, the hairdresser and everywhere else! So, why can't I come back to church?!" Most moms have usually had to, after a week or two, return to cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, and taking care of older children, as if they haven't just given birth. Needless to say, the idea that you can't come back to church for church culture's sake, seems a bit odd.

Since having Noah, I have done some digging online and found that "the mothers" at my church did not just come up with this 6-week rule for kicks after all! In her book, Natural Health After Birth, Aviva Jill Romm explains that lying in is a term used to refer to the... "time after birth, which is reserved for the mother to rest and recuperate..." In other countries such as, Europe, Central an South America, and Africa, lying in is the part of cultural tradition(p.39). Usually, the new mother's own mom comes to stay for 4 to 6 weeks in order to help the her daughter with breastfeeding, cleaning, cooking, and with older children, so she can recuperate and bond with her new baby.

Up until the 1920's, when hospital birth became more popular, lying in was also a rich tradition in American culture. "Childbirth was a woman's event and the women invited the help of friends and neighbors, and the entire community would pitch in, not only to help with the birth, but to help with the postpartum care." Again, a suitable lying in time was between 6 and 8 weeks, after which the woman would invite..."all of the women who had helped during the birth and the lying-in period, and they would have really a women's festival, and there's been nothing like it ever since"(Romm, 39).

I was enlightened after reading this, realizing that it is also part of our local church culture that when a mother is home for that 6-week period, members of the church usually call or come over her house to help. However, I think that alot of what it was originally meant to be has been lost in recent generations, just as it has for American culture in general. Many young women now have mothers who have busy work schedules and/or who didn't breastfeed themselves. New moms are often expected to just "bounce back" and return to work at 6 or 8 weeks postpartum.

Noah will be 4 weeks old tomorrow, and I haven't been anywhere except the to the doctor (and to Target, of course;) Nevertheless, having a better understanding of why I'm lying in has caused me to really appreciate this time and to actually try to take it easy as much as possible. I am enjoying being able to bond with my new baby, without the stress of having to return to the normal hustle and bustle. It seems to me that being nurtured by other women during this time would also help most women cope with Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. I know it was especially helpful for me during the first two weeks postpartum when mood wings are very common. In essence, although there may be some practical challenges to creating a traditional lying in experience for our generation, I think that "the mothers" are right to push for the preservation of it as much as possible.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Design Your Dream Dress Contest!

The Christa-Taylor community is announcing a full scale dress design contest! The winning design will be part of their Spring 2010 line, and the chosen designer will receive one of the completed dresses compliments of the C-T staff. Click here to learn more about the contest!

Read below to learn more about the Christ-Taylor Mission.

At Christa Taylor we're pioneering a modest clothing revolution. Our team is committed to designing trendy and modest clothes that match your unique style. We are fashions for the empowered traditionalist; offering chic, feminine, and modern modest clothing options that are carefully selected to bring you premium quality and a totally modish [chic+modest=modish] flair that allows you to keep up with all the latest trends. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New CD/DVD "Live Revelations" Now Available

Perhaps you remember this post, when I explained how big of a Third Day fan I am. I actually downloaded some of their music to a cd and listened to it during my labor and delivery.

A while back and signed up for their email list, and it just so happens, that yesterday I received a notice that they have a new cd/dvd available! I'm yet to be disappointed with any of their music I've purchased, so I thought I'd let you know, so you can be blessed by it too! 

Are there any other Third Day fans out there? Holla!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


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I have never been crazy about lugging my child around in a heavy, awkward car seat. With this child, I hope to ditch the car seat and do more babywearing!

What is "Babywearing?"

“Babywearing” simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a baby carrier. Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living. Babywearing helps a new dad put a fussy newborn to sleep. It allows a new mom use both hands to make a sandwich. It lets an experienced parent or caregiver carry a baby on her back and wash the dishes, do the laundry, take a hike, weed the garden … all while keeping the baby safe and content.

Ten Reasons to Wear your Baby
by Laura Simeon, MA, MLIS

1. Wearing a baby is convenient.
When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. Plastic "baby buckets" and removable car seats are heavy and awkward for parents, babies often look uncomfortable, and they are kept at knee level. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home. I've found my sling especially handy when negotiating busy airports with a small child and several bags!

2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.
When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a "transitional womb" for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.

3. Babies worn in slings are happier.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby's developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.

4. Baby-wearing is healthy for you!
It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise, but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her sling, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and "weightlifting". A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.

5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling.
Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a "melt-down" occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.

6. Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.
The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby's cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to his gestures and facial expressions. Many baby-wearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby's cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.

7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby's life. It makes me smile when I see a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don't have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn't mean they can't make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

8. Slings are a safe place for a child to be.
Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.

9. Slings are economical.
Slings cost far less than strollers, front-carriers or backpacks. Many mothers consider the sling to be one of their most useful and economical possessions. Inexpensive used slings can be found in consignment and thrift stores, and new ones can be bought for about $25 -$50 (U.S.) - not bad for an item many parents use daily for two years or more! A sling can also be sewn for the price of a length of cotton, some rings and batting; sling patterns are available.

10. Baby-wearing is fun.
Who doesn't love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having her in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe her reactions to the wonders of the world around her. It's also fun for baby, because when she is up at eye level, other adults notice and interact with her more. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Simple Pleasures Make Life Good.


I love Target. So do my friends.

Actually, one of my friends jokes that her and her husband "date" there. And why can't they? There's plenty to see and do.

The simple fact that there is a Starbucks on site is just the very tasty icing on the cake! Holding hands with your man, while shopping, and sipping on a caffe mocha? Come on, surely there is romance in that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our Post Feminist Culture: Gains and Losses

This is the Book Promo for Carolyn McCulley's new book Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World. The book is on My 2009 Book List and I can't wait to read it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Noah's Birth Story

I know you've all been eagerly awaiting these details. However, I thought it better for me to wait until I was no longer at the mercy of my hormones before writing such an important post. 
Moreover, I think that time is needed in order for a woman to put her ideas about her birth experience in...let's say, "proper perspective." There's something about time that turns gory and gruesome details into fond and loving moments in a mother's memory:) So, with two weeks past, I think I'm ready. So, here it is.

Noah's Birth Story

Labor Finally Begins!
Let me start by saying that I was in no way dreading the pain I might experience during this labor. In fact, I had prepared so profusely and waited so eagerly that I  welcomed pain when I finally felt some!

Contractions started coming in regular intervals as a sort of tightening in my lower back at about 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The contractions began about 7 minutes apart and after a few hours, I let hubby know that I thought this was finally it. He was excited. We got up at about 4am and he fixed me soup. We debated about whether we should change the baby's middle name from Kenneth to something else. We fell out over that. In the midst of it all, as I felt one of the contractions coming on, hubby spoke fervently to it and said, "That's right. Get her!" I laughed at his ridiculousness. We made up.

Laboring Through the Day
At about 9 a.m. contractions were getting a little stronger. We decided to go for a walk with the girls to McDonald's for breakfast and some indoor playground play.  We stopped by a FHA lender office that we never noticed was there before and got some credit and homebuying consultation. We found amusement in acting serious and normal, like nothing was happening. It was "our little secret." Contractions slowed down a bit, becoming about 10 minutes apart. We walked home. By 6p.m. contractions closed in to about 4-5 minutes apart and were painful, but manageable.

In Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I had recently finished reading, Ina May suggests mooing like a cow during contractions. I had joked with hubby about actually doing that and he reminded me of it. So, we mooed like cows during some of the contractions. The girls found that funny and joined in on the mooing as well. 

The Intensity Turns Up
By about 10p.m. things began to change. Contractions were stronger and coming 3-4 minutes apart. Suddenly, my two kids seemed like ten. I found it hard to think straight and to not feel irritated and annoyed. I told hubby I thought it was a good time for him to take them to my mom's. 

When hubby came back from dropping the girls off, we decided to make our way to the hospital. We arrived there about 11:30pm. The doula was already there and soon the midwife, hubby's mom, and Tiffany all arrived as well.

Warning: Large Mammal in Labor
By this point, contractions were extremely intense and I started to lose my composure. The room was small and although there may have only been 6-8 people in there at a time, it felt like 20. Whenever more than one person spoke at once it seemed like there was a large crowd of people talking to me. This made me feel really tense and agitated. The nurses coming in to put the baby monitor on me for twenty minutes of monitoring didn't make it any better. I felt myself feeling annoyed and irritated at every suggestion on how to breathe or move or anything. I felt bad for feeling that way, but couldn't help it. During one contraction, I cut off anyone who was talking and said, "Please! SHHHHHHHH!" So, that was the end of that. I'm told that after that point, you could hear a pin drop!

I especially didn't want to do anything that entailed lying on my back. At the peak of every contraction I felt like my pelvis was shaking on its own and my lower back was going to snap. I had heard of people having back labor, but I had not anticipated this. I kept thinking after a contraction, "That was bone crushing pain."

In Gaskin's book, she suggests that when you're in labor you "let your monkey do it." In other words, like a monkey would, you just lose all inhibition, move around in any way that feels right, make noise, be willing to be unconventional and to just "prepare to be a little wild"(pg.244). She suggests that women "imagine themselves to be a large mammal when they are in labor" because primates are known to cope well during labor and birth (pg.246).

This was the part of the book that scared me. I had told my husband that I wanted to listen to my body and all, but I did not in any way, want to act or behave like an animal when I was in labor! Well, my worst fear was realized. I felt like I had no choice. I was either going to follow Ina May's advice or break down and sob like a baby! 

So, there I was, actin' up. They could have put a sign on the door that read, "Welcome to the Zoo!" I was moving around, moaning and stretching my arms all around the place. I was repeating the same statements over again and acting noticeably agitated by people. I would attempt to calm down and breathe in the suggested ways, but when that seemed to be to hard, I reverted back to the primate in me. I was just doing anything I could to get through each contraction without breaking down or giving up. 

After about two hours, the midwife checked and I was only between 7-8cm dilated. I felt like, "What in the world? When is this going to be over?" Someone suggested that I get in the whirlpool. I protested. Eventually, I got in and was glad I did.

At the End of the Tunnel, But Still Looking for the Light
In the whirlpool, I could only see, hear, and feel hubby. He had his arm under my head to help hold it up. His holding my head, the feeling of privacy, and the distractions of the water jets helped me relax some. Nevertheless, with every contraction I touched my lower back because it still seemed like it was trembling on its own. I think I prayed for things to be over quickly. I wanted an epidural. I wondered why I was doing this to myself. However, I knew it was too late for an epidural to work and I didn't want to give up. I tried to remind myself that God was in control. I suddenly felt the urge to push.

Finding Relief in Pushing
I was helped me out of the whirlpool and the back on the bed. The midwife let me know to push if I felt the urge. Pushing felt good. It was getting some pressure off my back and bringing relief to my pain in the abdomen. I pushed hard when I felt the urge and enough to get that "relief" feeling. At this point, alot of things I had read came in handy. For example, I remembered Sphincter Law and Ina May Gaskin's explanation of how the head advances toward birth with a push and then recedes, its good because the "alternate stimuli of pressure, release, pressure, release" helps the vulva gradually open up (pg.256).

I also remembered Gaskin's and my midwives advice to use shallow chest breathing as a way not to not push when the midwife would say its time to ease up so I didn't "blow the baby out" and risk a huge tear. My midwife was great at this point, encouraging me to push when I felt the urge, but letting me know when I should ease it up as well. Hubby was thoroughly impressed with how she supported the perineal area using her hands like her life depended on it. He said in the past, the doctors that delivered our girls didn't give nearly that much attention and care to insuring I didn't have a bad tear.

After pushing through a few contractions, I was relieved to hear the midwife say, "okay it doesn't look like the head is going back anymore." I pushed again and felt the ring of fire. All I could say was, "burning!" I remember wanted that part to be over quickly and in a couple more pushes it was. That's when heard the midwife say in a surprised tone, "This baby is totally posterior." Immediately I had thoughts of her trying to turn the baby at that point, or somehow my labor ending in some other kind of intervention. I was determined for neither of those things to happen, so with the next urge to push I just gave it all I had! I was relieved to hear the midwife say after that, "Okay, reach down and grab your baby." Whew! and Hallelujah!

Hey, Where's My Oxcytocin At?
I had hoped to have a huge rush of oxcytocin and love hormones when they placed the baby on my chest. However, between so many people standing around telling me to do things, a nurse trying to take my blood, and the midwife trying to put a stitch in (skid of a tear) all at the same time, that didn't happen I still felt agitated and a tad bit traumatized at that moment. After all that was over, I was actually falling asleep while holding the baby. However, I did manage to latch him on and he seemed to be ready and eager to nurse, which was great.

The Realization of a Powerful Testimony
After everything was over, the midwife and our doula told me that my labor and delivery went tremendously well, especially since my baby was posterior. The midwife said she had only seen four women push a posterior baby out her some 30 year career. Another midwife commented that I must have "a great pelvis" to have birthed a posterior baby with only barely tearing. This sparked my curiosity, so when I got home I researched posterior births and found this out:

Posterior Position is when bony part of the head is pressed against the bony part of the pelvis. The pressure of the contractions pushes the head into the pelvis and can cause tremendous back pain. Some women feel the pressure even between contractions. Few women expect to feel their contractions as mostly a back ache.

Because the posterior position puts bone near bone, it is more difficult for the baby to fit into the pelvis. Posterior babies generally require longer labors, and if the baby persists in a posterior position, second stage may be longer than average as well. This can be fatiguing for a woman.

Mothers whose babies are face-up at birth tend to push longer, more commonly need Pitocin to stimulate contractions, and have a significantly higher risk of having an assisted vaginal delivery or a c-section.

Those who do give birth vaginally to a baby who is posterior are more likely to have an episiotomy and severe perineal tears than moms whose babies are in the more favorable face-down position, even after you account for the higher rate of forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery.

After reading this, and the experiences of other women who have given birth to posterior babies, I realized how BLESSED I was to not have had any interventions or a huge tear! I was also blessed to not have had a longer start and stop labor, which is also common for posterior babies. I read horrific stories of women pushing for hours with little to no progress. Nevertheless, I only pushed for about 10 minutes. 

I was also comforted to read and hear, that it is perfectly normal for a mother who has just given birth to a posterior baby to have trouble bonding with the baby immediately because of exhaustion. In short, God allowed the baby to be posterior; however, he didn't allow many of the normal complications that accompany that to become problems for me. For that, I am SO grateful! Thank you Jesus!

Will I do it Again?
If I judge my entire experience by the last three hours at the hospital, I would probably say no. However, the first 21 hours or so actually weren't that bad. I also have to remind myself that every baby is not posterior. In fact, I have two who were not, so the odds are on my side. I have also read about alot of things you can do during pregnancy to turn the baby to prevent posterior births.

Overall, hubby says that this birth was the least gory of all of our children. This was definitely the best in terms of tearing. It was so small I didn't even need the stitch. I just took it for peace of mind sake. Baby's apgar was 9.9 (not bad eh?). My baby is still healthy and thriving. I seem to be recovering well and quickly. So, I would say this was a better, healthier, safer, gentler delivery. For that, I might be crazy enough to take another crack at it.