17 February, 2012


before you were born your dad and i interviewed a pediatrician. she was nice enough and was willing to allow us to follow a selective vaccination schedule. so we went with her. she was with kressville pediatrics.

when you were born, we went to her and i told her how often you cried and how often you nursed. she said that i should not be nursing you so often. she said no more than ten minutes per side no more often than every three hours. you were six weeks old.

thank god i knew better or we would failed at breastfeeding.

we went back another time because you were congested. i was told by another doc in the practice that you had an ear infection. i filled the script, gave you a dose of it, and then learned that i was probably doing more harm than good with that antibiotic. i trashed it. i gave you hylands ear ache tablets and used garlic oil in your ear. you never developed any other problems. i am not convinced you had an ear infection and if you did, your body healed it and you have never had another one. you were three months old.

at six months we went in for a well-visit, which i have now come to see as a total waste of time and money. you were scheduled for a vaccine or two. the doc stabbed you so hard in the leg i went home and researched the crap out of vaccine safety. i learned so much that i decided we were done with vaccines.

and with that practice altogether.

we switched to CHOP peds. they were okay with me not vaccinating "until you were two", which is what i lied to them when they asked. they were okay there but in the end, no one really cared or even bothered to know us. and we waited forever every time we went in.

so we switched again. to dr. bryan levey at kidswell peds. he has a lot going for him. he is okay with me not vaccinating (though he does do his best to convince me that i should). he is a homeopath. he doesn't (in my experience) jump to antibiotics first. he is solo so he really knows me and he knows you. and he cares about us both. i called once when you were stung by a bee. he told me to let him know if you were okay. i never called because i didn't think he really card. but he called me two days later to check and to let me know that he really wanted me to call him with an update. i thought that was awesome.

but beyond that, i have my concerns. as a doula and child birth educator, and as a mom and friend, i have recommended him to a lot of people. and i keep hearing that he is giving out incorrect advice about introducing solids, about nursing, about sleep, etc. i already had to talk with him about his circumcision information and it seems he has gotten better at communicating the truth about it since then. so here is my disclaimer for everyone who has switched to him or to who may someday choose him.

dr. levey is a great guy. he is caring and trusts parents. he does tend to jump to the worst-case scenario real fast, which is great if something is really wrong (like with your hydrocele) but not so great of there is nothing wrong (it can be terrifying). he is a pediatrician. he studied medicine for kids. he is not an international board certified lactation consultant, he never nursed a kid or birthed a baby. he is not a sleep expert or a behavioral therapist. as with all docs, use them for what they know and look to someone else for the other stuff. if you want a question answered about nursing or solid food introduction, go to a la leche meeting or call a LLL leader or an IBCLC. if you have questions about sleep or discipline, ask moms you admire who align with your values. look into attachment parenting related books. read something by dr. sears. trust your instincts.

i know this post isn't the most interesting one, but i just want everyone to know that although i do recommend him, i was not with him when you were a baby, and i also don't ask advice from him. i like what i like and so far he is the best option around here for the more natural-minded parents. that's it.

in the end what i really hope is that we all start to trust our guts and to learn and become informed so that we can care for our babies without asking the help of a guy in a white coat. they are there for when we really need them. but deep down, we really already know how to be moms. and what we don't know, we can learn.

as my friend michelle once reminded me, "tiff, you are mason's pediatrician." i try to always remember that. and so far, it's working out for us pretty well.

05 February, 2012


last night i slept six hours straight for i believe the first time in your life. only to be tortured by that with insomnia for about two hours.

so i did some thinking. about sleep. and losses.

i thought back to the night that my water broke when your brother was in my belly. i feel asleep with such a positive belief that everything would be okay.

and i woke up to contractions. and then morphine. and then being moved to l&d. and then to pitocin and an epidural. and then to delivering your tiny brother and holding him while he took his few breaths.

and that night i slept in the hospital bed clinging to your dad. waking every hour or so and reliving again what had happened. realizing that there was no baby in my belly anymore. that he was downstairs in the basement, alone and cold. every time i woke i sobbed again as if i had just learned the news. i dreaded sleep as much as i welcomed it.

i had lost your brother. lost the hopes and dreams that i had imagined for him. i felt as though my heart had literally been ripped out of my chest. and that i had been beaten with it.

i felt ashamed. embarrassed. angry. alone. empty. guilty. the negative emotions that overcame me on a minute by minute basis were so powerful. so depleting. so frightening. i'm not really sure it's possible to communicate the depth of the emptiness i felt.

that all mothers feel when they lose a baby.

some mothers lose them late in a pregnancy like i did. and some very early on. some just after the baby is born or even during the labor. and some when their baby has grown up. either a little or a lot.

i can't imagine there is anything worse than losing your baby. i just can't imagine it. maybe that seems self-centered, but really, i can't imagine it. i truly believe that i would choose any form of suffering over losing another baby.

and i guess that's why i am so emotionally attached to protecting you. when you cry because you are hurt or sad, it pains me. it literally hurts me inside and in my heart. holding your brother as he passed through this world while i knew there was nothing i could do to help him has made such an imprint on my psyche. it has literally changed my genetic make-up, i believe.

i am a new person because of him. because of that experience. because of those minutes with him.

i hope that i can be brave for you. i hope that i can stand to see you hurt and sad. you will get hurt. and you will be sad. and i can't always stop that. and i don't need to. i know this. and i know it's okay.

but you are my baby. and i can't imagine a minute of my life without you.