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One Year: Mama’s Gratitudes

March 5, 2015

Dear Isla,

I cannot believe you are one year old already. This time a year ago, I was in labor with you. It was an amazing experience. The moment you were born was quite literally the happiest moment of my life. I was consumed with gratitude that night, for you were my miracle baby.

There was so much effort and so many prayers that went into your creation. There were many people that helped me to create a healthy body for you and help you arrive safely into this world.

First, I need to thank my friend Carrie. When I realized I needed to drastically change my health so that I could safely create another life, she pointed me in the right direction, whether she knew it or not. Because of her, I discovered the dietary principles of the Weston A Price Foundation, and for the first time in my life, I found my health moving forward.

Next, I need to thank Sandrine. She created a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating and raising healthy children. She’s the reason I knew about the pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding diet for mothers. Because of her, I knew how to nourish your body before it was even conceived. I wish so much that I had had that information for your older brother.

Then there are the midwives, Catherine and Regina. Catherine was the first one I met. I saw her the summer before you were conceived. This may sound crazy, but up until that point, the day I met with Catherine was the happiest day of my life. Why? Because she told me I could have a home birth, and that was the only way that I wanted to bring you into the world. It’s hard to explain, but it was just so very incredibly important to me. Catherine and Regina both supported me wonderfully while you grew in my womb. Regina was there when you were born. She caught you as you came out of me!

And then of course, there is Daddy, who, despite not being happy about spending more money on food, health care, and maternity care, allowed it all to happen. And blessed me with extra support when I needed it.

There were other, more minor, players in the miraculous creation of you (friends, family, the chiropractor, the acupuncturist, etc.), and for each one of them I am also grateful. But most of all, I am grateful to the Great Orchestrator, my Heavenly Father, who heard my many, many, many prayers, and answered every. single. one. of them. And to my Savior, Jesus Christ, who strengthened me through the hard parts.

And here you are. So perfect. So healthy. So beautiful. So wonderful. So very marvelously lovable.

And that’s how I shall end this–with you. I’m so thankful for you. You’ve blessed my life. Because of you, I know what it means to have full joy. Thank you for choosing to be a part of our family. I love you!

Slow Days, Flying Time

January 22, 2015

Michael (green jacket) at outdoor school homeschool co-op.

Since Isla was born, I’ve tried to keep life simple. Being mama to two is enough! My days are so full, despite simplicity. I catch my breath by popping on Facebook or playing quick games on my phone because I rarely have a long enough patch of time to really read, or to write. I miss reading, but I really miss writing. But this time is so fleeting. Isla will be one in only about six weeks. It makes me want to go in reverse and do this year all over again. Not as a “do over”–although if I could change something, it would be not letting my back go out, which is exactly the reason it’s been hard to truly savor Isla’s babyhood. But really, I just want more time with baby Isla. It’s incredible how much faster it goes the second time around.

I’ve tried my hand at homeschool sans curriculum, and I was truly enjoying it. Couldn’t be as adventurous and out in the world with a baby who was napping three times, then two times a day, but it was going really well. Until I hurt my back. It’s amazing how one little thing like that can throw off your whole life. After a couple months of hardly doing any school (but noticing he was still learning, but also noticing he spent way to much time in front of the TV), I finally discovered a website that has helped me determine–unofficially–that he must be “gifted.” Probably only mildly to moderately, but enough to make a difference in his learning needs. It explains so much about his personality and the struggles and challenges we have with him, too. While I finally felt validated in what I had believed all along about Michael’s intelligence level, I felt like I was failing him on the homeschool front. While he’s probably not too far, if at all, behind his peers, I do think he is falling behind on his potential. I prayed for guidance on how to meet his learning needs. I started pinning articles on Pinterest, thinking I would get to them when I was feeling better (I also had had a bad cold that wouldn’t go away), but then something else happened. The Montessori charter school called.

Well, that is a post for another day.

Isla’s birth story: part 1: the backstory

September 14, 2014

In order for Isla’s birth story to be fully appreciated, I feel I have to go back six years first. That is when I was pregnant with Michael. I knew then that I wanted a home birth, but Phillip was too uncomfortable with the idea, so I compromised and settled for a hospital midwife. Because of kidney failure when I was five (from which I had recovered very well), my kidneys leak protein. This made my midwife nervous. I was sent to a nephrologist who insisted I see a perinatologist. I lost my midwife, and my care was switched from a warm, caring environment, to a harsh, cold, medical one. I strove to stay in a bubble of peace throughout this time, but the truth is, I couldn’t face the reality before me. I dreamed of going into labor while Phillip was at work, and having the labor be so quick that there was no time to get to the hospital, and delivering the baby all myself at home. I had read stories of unassisted childbirth and it just seemed like the awesomest thing in the world to me.

It was just a fantasy, though. I tried to prepare myself mentally for a hospital birth, but I just couldn’t do it. My mind wouldn’t go there. Yet that was where my son was to be born. My doctor insisted that I be induced by 38 or 39 weeks if I didn’t spontaneously go into labor by then. She only “let” me go to 39 weeks because I was doing so much better than expected (I was expected to develop preeclampsia or signs of kidney stress/failure). The baby was expected to be developed enough by then, and she didn’t want to unnecessarily stress my kidneys–especially if I ever wanted to have any more children. I was never okay with the idea of induction for this reason, and probably wouldn’t have gone through with it if it weren’t for what happened at my 39 week appointment.

At my 39 week appointment, and I was hooked up to the fetal stress test machine. Apparently I was having contractions (which I couldn’t feel) and the baby’s heart rate had a dip during one. It was concluded that I go straight to labor and delivery to be induced. This was the beginning of a very traumatic experience for me. The full story can be read here. The short version is that I didn’t want to be there, the OB on call wasn’t nice to me, I basically felt like a prisoner, I was induced with pitocin, my water broke about six hours later, after which labor went from super easy to extremely painful, and I got scared I wouldn’t have energy to push at the end,  so out of fear more than anything else, I asked for an epidural. Labor still ended up being extremely painful. Nine hours after my water broke I was told to start pushing, but because of the epidural and the fact I was forced to be in the supine position (from which I had to pull myself up into a “C” position with every push by pulling on a sheet tied to a bar above me), pushing wasn’t very effective. I did what felt like an impossible task–pushing this way for 3 hours–and I honestly don’t know how I did it or even survived it. Getting my baby out ended up requiring an episiotomy, after which he slipped right out (they were all impressed I pushed him that last time without a contraction, but seriously EVERY push felt like I was pushing without a contraction because I couldn’t feel anything done there), and was he quickly whisked away from me because he wasn’t breathing. I saw him briefly what seemed like an hour later, across the hall, with tubes in his nose. I didn’t get to hold him till the next day in the NICU. Didn’t breastfeed him till day three, as soon as he was detached from all the cords and tubes and released from the hospital.

Not the birthing I had dreamed of.

I told the nurses in the hospital I was never doing this again, and they smiled and said I’d soon forget it. Sure, only if “soon” means the same as never! I thought that I might never have another child, for I never wanted to go through that experience again. However, after about two years I began to feel the desire for another child, but I knew this second time had to be different.

Several months later, I saw my new kidney doctor to see if I was healthy enough to get pregnant again, and she told me that we should open ourselves to the idea of adoption (for the sake of my kidneys, which in her mind were diseased and would only get worse until I ended up with kidney failure). She also conceded that I could possibly safely have another child myself, but “there are no guarantees.” I think I was actually in a bit of denial of how bad my health really was at that point (I was very symptomatic of adrenal fatigue and had anxieties of dying of cancer, not to mention PMDD visiting me every month). When a kidney biopsy and blood pressure medication completely sapped the life out of me, I knew I wasn’t healthy enough to get pregnant again. It was then that I was primed to take the necessary steps toward improving my health.

I decided to turn to God for help. I had to turn my faith up several few notches in order to believe that not only could He heal me but that He would heal me. This was a major turning point in my life. I prayed that He would heal my kidneys. I prayed that I could safely have a natural birth. And with the teeniest, tiniest bit of faith, I told Him that I really wanted a home birth. I didn’t really have enough faith to ask for that, just enough to tell Him I wanted it.

I didn’t know what to expect, but soon I figured out that God wanted me to play a large role in healing myself, and also that He would guide me through the process. It was to take a lot of work and dedication. I learned to make sacrifices in order to prioritize health. This meant getting more rest and doing less (including giving up a babysitting job that I really wanted), and spending more money on quality food and preparing it in the kitchen. It meant going on a challenging, gut-healing diet for a while, and learning to eat new foods that at first I could barely stomach. It meant seeing health care providers that weren’t necessarily covered by our insurance, which can ordinarily be a financial risk, but I felt led to the providers I went to, and they did help me. I made a choice to not send Michael for a second year of preschool because the money was needed for health expenses (some for him, but mostly for me). It was worth it.

A typical breakfast during this time: pastured eggs, raw sauerkraut, herbal tea (or raw milk)

A typical breakfast during this time: pastured eggs, raw sauerkraut, herbal tea (or raw milk)

Soon I was seeing improvements in my health. This process of taking control of my own health was key in not only healing my body but also in healing myself from the birth trauma. I realized that the reason Michael’s birth was so traumatic for me was because my control over my body was seized from me then. I had felt so powerless and fearful during his birth. But taking control of my health in this way made me feel so much stronger, and it healed me.

By the time I was ready to start trying for our second child, I felt like a new person. My PMDD was gone. No more anxiety, no more depression. I had energy. I was focused, confident, and productive. I was happy and felt normal for the first time since I could remember. My kidneys had healed a significant amount, rather than deteriorate as my doctor had predicted. My proteinuria was down to about the same amount as it was before I became pregnant with Michael, so I felt that with my improved diet, I could safely get pregnant again. To me, this was a miracle. Just a few years earlier, I thought that a second pregnancy would be too dangerous. My endless prayers were answered. At least, in part they were. I longed for a home birth still, or at the very least, a natural, no-intervention hospital birth. Only time would tell if my prayerful requests would be fulfilled in their entirety.

Menstruation Regret

August 7, 2014

After I had Michael, I had somewhere between six and eight weeks of bleeding. Then I had a whole few weeks off before my period returned. I was so mad. I was producing enough milk to feed twins, and yet my period returned anyway. My body hates me, I thought.

What I didn’t understand then was that the main mechanism in preventing the return of menstruation is the suckling of the baby at the breast. Not the actual production of milk. I had unknowingly caused the immediate return of menstruation by pumping. Of course, that wasn’t my fault. Not only did I not know, but I’m pretty sure my nipples would have be torn to shreds if I hadn’t pumped, and Michael might not have gotten enough to eat because he wasn’t latching properly. I don’t know how I ever would have survived that, and I don’t know if Michael would have thrived. So, I guess it was worth it then.

Before I got pregnant the second time, I had learned a few things about lactational amenorrhea. And to be sure I knew everything I could know about how to prevent my period from coming back too early this time, I even read a book about it–The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. Although there are seven standards listed in the book, there are two which really stood out to me–to breastfeed frequently every day, and to also always have a time every day when the baby could suckle for an extra long time, such as during a nap or during the night. I actually rather got the impression that it would be necessary to do both the nap and during the night.

In the beginning, Isla nursed a lot. She nursed every hour in the beginning, it seemed. Then it stretched to every two hours. She often fell asleep at my breast and I happily let her suckle away, knowing this would help prevent the return of menstruation. And of course I slept with her at night. I did get nervous when her four-hour stretch of sleep at night quickly became a five-hour stretch, and then a six-hour stretch, then seven, then eight…well, you get the picture. She’s a dang good sleeper at night. Not too bad during the day, I might add. Believe me, I was counting my blessings here, but I was scared of getting my period back early again.

During the day, I would let her nap in my lap while I watched TV and Michael played–sometimes annoying loud in the house (I had to keep shushing him and would get irritated with him), and sometimes outside where I had to keep checking in on him. I’d sit in my comfy brown chair across from the front window so I could look out and keep an eye on him. My other option, I felt, was to keep Michael inside and have him quietly watch TV. Of course, this wasn’t my only option, but at the time, that’s what it felt like. What wasn’t  an option was to take a long time in bed every day with Isla. Occasionally I would nurse her in bed and stay there for 30 minutes or so until I was sure she was out, and then I would sneak away. But the whole time I would be wondering what Michael was up to.

One day, when Isla was about 3 months old or so, she was just really ready for a nap, but I wasn’t ready yet. So I gave her the pacifier that I had so resisted (but Phillip fought for, and won), put her in her bed (a snuggle me co-sleeper cushion), and swaddled her, so she could relax while I went to the bathroom, etc. She relaxed so much, in fact, that she fell asleep. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Michael never would have done that! I was so excited that I had to try it again the next day, and the next. I really wanted to encourage this falling asleep by herself business because it would really free me up to do other things, while at the same time allowing her to sleep in a quiet, dark and peaceful room. I could also keep Michael off the TV. Seemed like a win-win-win to me.

But deep down, I knew it was a risk. I knew my period might return from doing this. So I told myself I would have her fall asleep on the breast for at least one of her naps every day. At first I did. But soon, the convenience of putting her down took over. Okay, it wasn’t completely about convenience. It was also that sitting with her in my lap on the chair was making my legs numb, and I didn’t think that was healthy. And I didn’t feel good about leaving Michael to his own devices while I stayed in bed with her. And she was napping really well by herself. I thought it was healthier for everyone for her to sleep alone. Yet at the same time, I hated leaving her alone every time, and I really felt like I could use a nap much of the time. And as time went on…Michael started spending more and more of his time across the street with the neighbor kids, or–because I finally got rid of Netflix and Hulu, and I told him he could only watch TV when his room was clean–well, let’s just say that he hasn’t watched TV in weeks and has gotten very good at finding ways to occupy himself. Even when it takes me half an hour to get Isla down for sleep, which still happens sometimes.

So, it got to the point where I was putting her down for every nap, but then suddenly I realized I didn’t have to. But by then, it was too late. A few days before Isla turned 5 months old, I woke at 4:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom, and there it was. My old “friend.” I was so upset that I couldn’t fall back to sleep for a full hour. When Isla woke at 5:30 to nurse, I no longer thought, Yay, this nursing will help keep my period away. Instead, I thought, Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I still love nursing her, but it’s kind of lost that extra sparkle now. I think I could nurse a child forever if it meant I wouldn’t have to menstruate. Okay, maybe not, but it sure would make it easier to go the distance with breastfeeding.

I spent the whole first day of my period looking at period humor on the Internet. At least it helped me cope. I texted this one to my friend Cassie, with the caption “It’s back. Waaaaaaah”:

A little exaggerated, but pretty much how I felt the morning my period showed up.

A little exaggerated, but pretty much how I felt the morning my period showed up.

From now on, I just may have the following reaction when my period arrives every month:

period shark week 2

Seriously, I don’t know why my body thinks it’s ready to make another baby. Maybe my body doesn’t hate me. Maybe it just isn’t very smart. I mean, I know there are some baby-crazy people out there that want to have baby after baby (and I seriously don’t mean to offend if that’s you, it’s only crazy from my perspective, I’m sure), but it really isn’t healthy for the body to have babies that close together. Studies have shown there is a higher risk of birth defects, complications, preeclampsia, pre-term labor, etc, when you have babies too close together. I think there is even a higher risk for miscarriage. Not to mention the baby’s health in general and your own health. For someone like me, having babies that close together could really wreck one’s health.

So, now my body is still fully sustaining the growth of another human being and it wants to make another one. Great. My body is not handling it very well, actually. I was very irritable in the days before Mother Nature decided to show up in robes of red, and once my period started, I was exhausted. I’ve had to take extra supplements to deal with it. My hormones feel wacky. This is why I’m upset at getting my period back–not because it’s a messy inconvenience, but because it’s an extra strain on my body. It’s just going to make it all the more difficult to get my health back to where I want it.

I’m actually depressed about this. My period ended two days ago, and I’m still feeling stressed and irritable. If I would have known how miserable I’d be over this, I would have tried harder to prevent it. And wouldn’t you know? I’ve been nursing Isla down for naps more these past few days. All of a sudden she seems to really want that. And she’s probably going to start teething soon and wanting to nurse all the time. I wish I had just napped with her once a day all along. I’m glad she can go down by herself, but it really didn’t need to be for every single nap. I feel like attachment parenting has really got some things right. Sure, it’s more time-consuming, but you know what? They are only tiny babies for such a minuscule amount of time. And for someone like me, you can only get away with having so much time away from your baby without your body thinking you can handle another one. The sucky thing is, once you start menstruating, you generally don’t stop again until you are either pregnant or too old to make babies. There is simply no easy way out of it. Part of me wants to blame my husband. If he had never pushed for that dang pacifier, I never would have been tempted to use it, and I wouldn’t be in this bloody mess right now. Haha, you like my pun? But of course it’s really my fault, and it’s always more irritating when you know you could have prevented something crummy from happening.

So that’s it, my first big regret with baby number two. Maybe it will work out okay, and my hormones will balance soon and I won’t be exhausted and turn into the devil queen every month, but in this moment, IT’S REALLY IRRITATING.


June 6, 2014

Okay, so I did have my baby. Three months ago to be exact.  I was trying to write the birth story first, but it’s just too long to write. I need to just start writing about my little sweet one before I forget things already.

Her name is Isla. She was long-hoped-for. I always knew I’d have a girl. I haven’t really told anyone this before because I’m always afraid I’m wrong, but when I was in college, I sort of had a “vision” of a little girl, with dark brown hair, and felt that she was my future daughter. I’ve been waiting for her ever since. I had always imagined she’d come first, but instead my first was a boy–my sweet Michael. After that happened, I just didn’t know what to expect. Would my next be a boy as well? I didn’t think my body could handle more than one more pregnancy, and so I imagined that I might not even give birth to this girl…maybe she would be adopted. I just didn’t know. But I knew she would come eventually.

I just wanted it to be this time.

As soon as I was able to confirm my pregnancy, I felt I was having a girl. But I had thought that with Michael, so I just couldn’t trust this feeling. However, when we announced the pregnancy to our parents, my mom said, “Okay, I’m calling it. You’re having a girl.” My mom intuitively knew with each of her five children what she was having, and she knew with Michael. I felt I could trust it. I believed it. But I tried to stay open anyway…just in case.

Everyone thought I was having a girl. Every single person told me this, except for one negative person who said that it must be a boy simply because everyone was saying it was a girl. Phillip wanted to find out through ultrasound. But I was having uneasy feelings about having an ultrasound, and I really, really wanted the baby’s sex to be a “surprise.” Well, more like I wanted it to be confirmed she was a girl when I actually met her in person. I called her “it” throughout most of my pregnancy, but by the end I was like screw it, I really think this baby is a girl, and I’m calling her a “she.”

As her birthday neared, I talked to her and told her I loved her, had tried really hard to make a healthy body for her, and that I was really for her to come. It took her several more days to arrive, but finally, she did. She was placed in my arms, still attached to me, still one with me. Exhausted, I looked into her perfect, beautiful face. She was quiet at first, so I rubbed her back and soon she was screaming at me and turning pink. I heard Phillip off to the side say something about the baby being a boy, and I thought, no way, that can’t be right. I checked, and indeed, there were girl parts there. And her hair was full and brown…dark brown…

8 pounds, 10 ounces, 20 inches long…shorter and heavier than Michael was, with a bigger head, too (his was small). I know babies come in all shapes and sizes, even from the same parents, but to me this was evidence that my efforts to make a strong, healthy body for my baby had not been in vain.

Soon she was lying in bed with me and nursing, a good nurser from the start. She ate so well, the midwife told me she shouldn’t be hungry again for about five hours. She slept very well that first night, as she has every night since. My memory is already fading…she slept somewhere between four and six hours…

We had to name her. With Michael I knew his name as soon as we knew his sex, midway through my pregnancy. But with Isla I never felt a strong impression like that. I discovered her name on Michael’s first day of kindergarten, when I was three months pregnant. I had walked him to his class, then hoped to escape the meet and greet for new kindergartner parents in the foyer, because I felt sick from pregnancy nausea and really tired from getting up early. But I didn’t. One mother I talked to said her daughter’s name was Islay, pronounced with a long i, silent s and silent y–“eye-luh”. She said it was the name of a Scottish island. I thought it was a beautiful name and mentally put it on my list. We had trouble coming up with other names. The only other name we really liked was Eowyn, but we decided to wait till the baby was born before making a decision on the name. However, Michael heard me say I liked the name Isla and decided that was the baby’s name, and labeled a stocking for her at Christmas. We never came up with any boy names. I think deep down, we knew we didn’t need to.

I felt uneasy about her name. Some names I have loved for only a year or two, and then gotten tired of. A few names I have loved for several years, but Phillip didn’t like them, so there were no “time tested” names to choose from. Isla was new to me…what if I got tired of it? And I didn’t like how it meant “island.” Why would I want to name my child something that meant “island”? Michael’s name means “who is like God” and is the name of an archangel, who in our church we believe to be Adam’s name before he was born. It’s also my dad’s name. What a powerful name to live up to! I wanted something special for my second child as well. One morning I was looking online to see if it would mean something different if I took the s out. But then that’s when I realized the name was better with the s: LISA…ISLA…the same letters as in my name! It would be like naming her after myself. (And I knew I was giving her my middle name, which is also my mom’s middle name.) After that, I was pretty sure that would be her name. But after she was born we tried a hundred names on her just to be sure. Yes, Isla was definitely the name for her. It still took me a month to get used to calling her that, though!

I love my Isla. She is so sweet, so beautiful, so perfect.

Soon after her birth, being held by my mom.


Morning after birth, about half a day old.


Day after birth, having just nursed.




5 years old and then some

February 20, 2014

Dear Michael,

Yes, I am very late writing this update on you. Good thing I took notes!

By your fifth birthday you…

Were doing basic math problems, on your own, just for fun, with no prior formal teaching. You’d count and add and subtract with your food. Sometimes you’d even do multiplication.

Were getting better at reading and spelling. You were able to type in “spiderman” in the Roku search to find the show without any help.

Told me it was important to “eat good food” and “to mop the floor.” You like to help and are interested in being healthy.

Told me the most important thing in the world is “love.” Then you changed your mind and said it was “the Gospel.” I told you that you were right the first time, because the Gospel couldn’t even exist without love.

Became obsessed with TV. Favorite shows included Curious George, BusyTown Mysteries, Spider-Man, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Wild Kratts, and Chuck and Friends. (At 5.5 still loving Curious George, Jake, and Wild Kratts.)

Say you want to be a builder when you grow up.

Love to play games. Board games, card games, or any other kind of game. We play Crazy Eights  and Capture the most, since I enjoy those ones.

Say your favorite colors are blue, red, green, orange and pink. (Pink has since fallen off the list.)

Say your favorite thing to do is play with Gabby and Trent (neighbor kids a few years older than you). (We have since gotten new neighbors, Izzy–who is your age–and her little sister Francis, and you LOVE playing with them.)

Tell me your favorite animal is the cheetah “because it runs as fast as me.”

Tell me your favorite foods are ice cream and watermelon. Although you didn’t need to tell me–it’s quite evident!

Put others before yourself very frequently. Especially when it comes to food.

Like to sing and make up songs.

Make up words and define them.

Don’t like to play alone.

Started looking forward to becoming a big brother.





Between 5 and 5.5, you…

Started kindergarten at the neighborhood public school, and loved it for a while.

Made friends with neighbor kids in your class: Owen, Austin and Junior.

Made two special-to-you friends in your class: Emma and Taryn. (You want to marry Emma.)

Seem to keep hitting growth spurts…or maybe I’m just not used to your eating so much!

Don’t seem to enjoy school paperwork.

Still enjoy arts and crafts.

Are getting better at reading, but prefer to read single words rather than sentences.

Prefer math and science to other academic subjects.

Have decided you want to learn to ride a two-wheeled bike. And would also like a skateboard and roller skates.

Like to help, but want to choose your own chores. Laundry is a preferred chore.

Argue a lot with Daddy.

Are able to get in and out of the Jeep independently (the handles require strong hands to open).

Can do other things independently, more so than before: take showers, put clothes away, get food to eat, go to sleep, etc.

You are really becoming your own person now, with your own opinions and tastes and style. It’s not easy for me to let go of choosing certain things for you (such as how your hair is done), but it’s still wonderful to behold you growing up. Love you my darling boy!





Cloth Diapers & EC: I’m Still at a Loss

February 14, 2014

When I was pregnant with Michael six years ago, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper him. It seemed the far more sensible option: Save money, save resources. (There are other benefits, but I didn’t know about them yet.) I also decided that I wanted to do elimination communication (EC) with him. That’s what threw me for a loop. How many diapers did we need if we were going to be pottying our baby? What kind would be easiest to use for quickly taking on and off all day? I couldn’t figure it out, so when he was born, we had zero cloth diapers, except for some cheap Gerber ones that we were using as burp cloths.

The nice cloth diapers were expensive, at around $15-20 each. I didn’t want to get the wrong thing and be disappointed. So we started with disposables that were gifted to us. We always changed him right away, and I cringed at throwing away so many diapers. So soon I was buying the thinnest, cheapest disposable diapers I could find–Luvs–but even those were only half-wet at most when we tossed them. It seemed so wasteful. But we were doing so well with EC that we actually didn’t use more disposables than the average person, despite changing him at every little pee. Which meant, after doing a little cost-analysis, it was going to actually be more expensive to buy cloth diapers than to keep using the cheap disposables. At least, if I wanted to get the “good” cloth diapers.

Another reason it took me so long to get into cloth was the bulkiness of the diapers. I didn’t want my baby to have all that bulk between his legs. I played with just using the cheap Gerber diapers (which are quite thin and small) with pins and no cover (I had tried one cover someone lent me and it left red marks on his skin, so I never used it again). I just kept thinking the thin little disposables would be more comfortable for him.

Well, one day, I decided I was done wearing tampons. What on earth does this have to do with diapers?? More than you would think, actually. I couldn’t use a menstrual cup, so my only option was pads. I had always hated wearing pads. Like with a vengeance. They felt hot and sticky–SO uncomfortable–and irritated my delicate skin. But those were disposable pads, not cloth. The first time I tried my organic Egyptian cotton pads, I was actually delighted–I kid you not, delighted–at how comfortable they were. And then, I had an epiphany. No way could disposable diapers be more comfortable than cloth!! Right away, I switched to cloth diapers.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I bought some gDiaper covers at the grocery store ($25 for two covers) and used the cheap Gerber diapers inside. Later I borrowed actual cloth gDiaper inserts from a friend. I also bought him some cloth training pants. At this time, he was nine months old. We used gDiaper covers with inserts/prefolds until he was done with diapers. It was incredibly inexpensive and fairly easy, even though it wasn’t really ideal for doing EC.

I learned quickly how much more enjoyable it was to use cloth. It felt good to not be wasteful. It was awesome to just wash and reuse instead of having to go out and buy more diapers. If we ran out of diapers, I’d just give him diaper-free time until the wash was done. I also learned that cloth diapers are much healthier–something that alone would make it worth it to use cloth, even if it did cost more for this EC’er. And then some intangible thing about cloth diapering actually made me feel like I loved my baby more. It sounds strange, I know. I guess I just felt like I was more involved in his care, and doing something that was good for him, so it increased my love for him.

So, baby #2 is due any day now, and I have yet to decide what diapers to buy. I can’t believe I have not figured this out yet. I think the diaper I dream of does not actually exist (reasonably-priced, organic, non-bulky, easy on and off for EC’ing). The closest I can find to what I want is the Ecapant flip-open diaper. But if I have a girl, I wonder if pull-down might be easier? And if I get a pull-down, then it has to have snaps on the sides so I can open it up and easily remove it if it gets soiled. I don’t even know if this kind of diaper/training pant exists in newborn size, though I think I’ve seen it in bigger sizes. If only I was a better seamstress, I’d just make what I want myself!

I also don’t know how many diapers we will actually need. What if we are just so on top on EC that we don’t need very many? I just can’t believe I am in almost the same place as when my son was born–not knowing what to get or how many. I actually bought a small pack of Seventh Generation newborn disposables, so we have something to use while I figure this out. And we still have those prefolds and some Fuzzi Bunz without inserts that were given to us.

Any EC’ers out there that have advice for me? Part of me just wants to skip the diapers altogether, but I know that isn’t going to happen. Not until we are past the “surprise poop” phase, at any rate.

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