What did you wish you knew/ had been told before your first birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In your first pregnancy what did you know about birth options? informed choice?

When did you learn about these things?

Did you care at the time? Or only later after baby was born?

How did you find out? Reading? A specific person? A class? MDC?

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#2 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 10:03 PM
 
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I did all my research and thought I knew it all. I wish someone would have told me that you can go in with the best laid plans and things can turn out different than planned EVEN if you are doing things 100% natural - with a midwife etc... and that an open mind is a good thing. I was so anti intervention that I did not want to even think of an epidural but really knowing more now I would have at least tried it and hopefully avoided my csection. I have had friends in similar situations who decided to give the epi a try and they ended up delivering vaginally.
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#3 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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That just because I thought I was fully capable of doing it all my way and I had totally planned it, the OBs at the hospital would not be in on my plan. Oh, and that OBs are just as strong willed as I am.

Needless to say this time around I am planning a homebirth.
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#4 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 10:43 PM
 
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My best friend has two children, both of whom she had at home and for both I was one of her birth partners. That experience (and the reading I did to be prepared for it) provided me with a lot of information regarding my own pregnancy. The central difference is that she was in Canada and I live in the U.S. so my decisions have been somewhat shaped by the differences in insurance. I feel confident in the decisions I have made for myself and my daughter. Although I wish some things were different, so far, I'm content.
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#5 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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Yeah, I did my research. I would have liked to deliver in a birth center but the midwife I liked delivered at the hospital, which is a realllllllly wonderful hospital for natural birth. I didn't "have" to do anything. Those hospitals are out there!!! Just few & far between. I new all of my options, and thats what I chose based on care provider. I always assumed birth was SUPPOSED to be done in a hospital because its DANGEROUS! After doing all my research and reading books it really made me think, My body is made to give birth. I can handle the pain, just as women have before me.... and I successfully did. Yes, I did & do care about all of these things. Now I am passionate about birth and all that surrounds it. I don't think I really found out about what I chose in any specific way. Before I looked into anything it first started out by me joining a very mainstream parenting group. I saw that some women DIDN'T circumcise and some women DIDN'T have epidurals...That made me curious, their are OPTIONS?!?! Then, I was very pleased with what I read about it all and very on board with the whole natural birth thing... It just fits me as a person.

Yay for the internet & informed decisions or I would probably have had an unnecessary section, and a circumcised baby.

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#6 of 30 Old 02-23-2008, 11:00 PM
 
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i felt really well prepared by my midwives, they offered childbirth education a month before I was due that answered a lot of remaining questions. Also reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was good preparation - all those beautiful birth stories.

The one thing I wish someone had told me was that I should have made it known in advance that i wanted my family to take a LOT more pictures, sooner than 2 hours after the birth.



oh yeah, DS was born in the tub at the birth center 3hrs after we got there.

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#7 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 12:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenmary View Post
The one thing I wish someone had told me was that I should have made it known in advance that i wanted my family to take a LOT more pictures, sooner than 2 hours after the birth.

I agree with that! I declined picture taking during transition, I have no idea why. I think 'No' just came out of my mouth instead of yes, and I was in too much pain to correct myself. lol

~*Have more than you show, speak less than you know*~

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#8 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 12:28 AM
 
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oh boy - i have a huge list of "wish i had known"s. i wanted a hospital-affiliated midwife because it was what my insurance covered. the MW interviewed like a very compassionate, caring and supportive individual, but when it came down to show time, she was just like an MD. i was induced at 41 weeks and DS was in the NICU for 3 days with fluid in his lungs - i truly believe his distress was caused by being forced out early. i was able to stick to my plan of no drugs, but it was of course excruciatingly painful - i'm not sorry i had him naturally, though. i recently have come to peace with the fact that i had to go through that experience to learn what i know now - it was a tremendous learning experience in many ways. i also recently found out that the midwife clinic i used has an internal policy that dictates no client will ever be "allowed" to go past 41 weeks. i feel i was completely deceived - several of my questions toward the end (about putting off scheduling induction, which she kept pressing) were answered with blatant lies, i know now. it was so hard for me to miss those first few days of connection with my newborn. i will never set foot in a hospital again - homebirth this time around.

Veg mama to DS (6/05) and DD (10/08) :
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#9 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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That I could say no to anything and everything if I so desired. It breaks my heart every time I read someone post about their doctor telling them they *have* to do something when there is no medical reason to do it. Some women genuinely do not know that they do not have to.

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#10 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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I wish that I had known that I would become very non-verbal during labor, very deep within myself. That meant it was difficult to verbalize things I did or didn't want (like the nurse trying to force an IV in my hand when I was in transition with DS - inside I was screaming "No!" but I wasn't actually making any sound). I wish my DH had known more about what I wanted so he could have helped stand up for me.

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#11 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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That in a hospital, even if you SCREAM NO, you are in a position that "those in charge" can do whatever they want. Refusing doesn't help when you are physically incapable of running.
That it is not illegal to just give birth in your own home.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#12 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:57 AM
 
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I wish, more than anything else, that I'd learned not to analyze 'where I was' in labor, or anything else. To get out of my head and into my body. When I did, with my second, WOW. It's amazing.

Kash, homeschooling mommy to Gillian (8/5/00) and Jacob (3/23/05)
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#13 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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In your first pregnancy what did you know about birth options? informed choice?
*I knew very little about birth options. I knew I could decline certain things in the hospital, but that's about it. I knew nothing about informed consent.

When did you learn about these things?
*I learned about them after my first baby was born, a little, and then a lot more after my second was born.
My first was induced and it was horrible. He and I both almost died, and I honestly think it's because more and more interventions were done on me.

The second time, I went fully prepared to do everything naturally. I was forced to have an IV, pitocin was put into the IV, and things went downhill from there. The doctor on call wanted to go home, so he did an episiotomy, rather than wait for my body to be ready. Then, he did the stitches quickly, and without pain relief. My daughter was taken to the NICU for no good reason, and it took me more than 2 days for anyone to listen to me so she could leave.

Honestly, the reason I've learned about birth now is that I left my births feeling incredibly violated. I thought there has to be something better than what I experienced.

Did you care at the time? Or only later after baby was born?
*The second time, I cared. I did all the research I knew to do. I didn't want a repeat of my first birth. After my second was born, I did MUCH more in depth research on birth. I will not return to a hospital to be abused and violated again.

How did you find out? Reading? A specific person? A class? MDC?
*I met more and more local friends who had normal births. I asked them, and they put me in contact with more natural minded healthcare providers.
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#14 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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I found The Thinking Mother's Guide to A Better Birth by Henci Goer very useful in understanding the various interventions I might encounter in a hospital, and how they could affect me and my delivery. I also felt Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was useful in the sense that it so well illustrates the incredible range of how "normal" childbirth unfolds, when hospitals have such stringent and sometimes random codes of how long you can carry your baby, how long you can labor, how long you can push, how long you can go after your water breaks...
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#15 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:43 PM
 
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I wish I had known that the baby is far easier to take care of inside than out and to avoid an induction at all costs.

Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011

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#16 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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i wish i would've known more about optimal fetal positioning. even though i had a relatively trouble-free birth experience with midwives in a birth center with #1, DD had always been presenting on my right. none of the m/w's i saw the last month made any mention of this or how it might affect the birth experience. i had wicked back labor and there was a period of time that i had to walk around to get the baby's head to turn so she'd get into place properly before i could push. those were the hardest things about labor for me, and they might've been avoidable had she been in a better position going in, or had they done more to get her in position while i labored.
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#17 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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That MDs know VERY little about normal birth.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#18 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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That MDs know VERY little about normal birth.
Yes!!!

And that just because the doctor says so doesn't mean it necessarily is or has to be the way they say!

mama to the Girls (15, 14, 13) and the Littles (5, 3) 
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#19 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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I wish I had done Bradley. I did for the second and it was so much better. My husband and I were laughing about it last night. That first "blended methods mostly lamaze" birthing class had me doing all the focus outward and when transition hit I felt like I was drowning. after bradley, I was Large and In Charge. It was great!

I wish I had known to LOOK at the baby coming out, to insist on that mirror, (obviously I was in a hospital) and to touch the head. It is SO cool to do that! I LOVED it with #2.

However, no matter how much research you do and how clear you are about what you want, I think it is a learning experience. So obviously, afterward there will be things you wish you knew...like every other experience in life. You just don't know what you are going to wish you knew! otherwise you would know it!

My biggest focus now is enjoying the powerful feeling it gives me to give birth and enjoying the connection to dh and baby coming out!

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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#20 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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What did you wish you knew/ had been told before your first birth?

Breech babies can be turned and circumcision is not in any way medically beneficial to your baby. I felt so bad about it, and yet I thought it was something I had to do. Most of all I wish that I had had the internet then.

In your first pregnancy what did you know about birth options? informed choice?

I knew so little about my birth options. I just read "What to expect" and other mainstream books, the only people I knew who had given birth were older family members, all of which were quite well indoctrined with the trust the doctor above all attitude. I would've have looked at you sideways if you asked what informed consent was at the time.

When did you learn about these things?

Well after my first child was born. After we could afford internet access and had moved to a city.

Did you care at the time? Or only later after baby was born?

I cared at the time. My c/s took a great toll on me, it was torture not seeing my newborn for hours afterward. I was also greatly upset by the circ but felt I had no control over it (my relatives made it sound like I would be endangering him if I didn't), it is one thing that truly makes me feel like a fool for not following my gut.

How did you find out? Reading? A specific person? A class? MDC?

Somethings I learned from different articles on the net, people I met when we moved to the city and of course MDC which has been a blessing with this pregnancy. I am also a member of a local yahoo AP group and a local VBAC group which has led me to many helpful books.

Breeder Mama: = wife to an amazing man + mama to J-Bear (07/02) and E-Train (06/08), nanny to Little Bird (07/10).

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#21 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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This may have been said already but-

I wish I'd know that right about the time you freak out, it's almost over. (transition)
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#22 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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In your first pregnancy what did you know about birth options? informed choice? I knew that you could choose to have a home birth, a birth center birth, or a hospital birth. I only really knew about hospital birth because I didn't know anyone who had had a birth center or home birth. While I thought having a home birth would be really awesome, I was young and didn't know anything about the safety of it and was paranoid something would go wrong, so I never looked into it. I knew I could refuse things at the hospital but I didn't know how hard it would be. I wish I had read more books. I had only read What To Expect, The KISS Pregnancy book, and towards the end I read Active Birth, and it greatly influenced my desires about how I wanted my birth to be, but when it came to it I was young (18 when I gave birth) and had no confidence or reliable back up person to stand up for my decisions, so ended up doing/allowing things that I would've rather not like IV, fetal monitoring, AROM, premature cutting of the cord, etc.

When did you learn about these things? After becoming depressed and feeling totally unsatisfied with my son's hospital birth experience, I became more interested in birth and researched more on the internet and read more books. I found MDC when my son was about 3 mo and it was such a relief to me to finally know that I wasn't the only one who was wanting to do things differently and choosing to do things differently. Up until that point I had felt extremely alone and secluded.

Did you care at the time? Or only later after baby was born? I did care at the time but not enough to have the foresight/maturity to become better informed about my options until after the fact. 3 years later and I'm pregnant with child # 2, and we're paying out of pocket to have a homebirth this time.

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#23 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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I wish I had known not to let pitocin anywhere near me and *definitely* not to ask for an induction. Luckily everything went ok (no other drugs, no cesarean, etc), and I thank my lucky stars for that every day. I had initially wanted a homebirth, but couldn't find a hb midwife immediately, so I settled with a wonderful midwife in a hospital practice.

The second time I had a homebirth.

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#24 of 30 Old 02-24-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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Oh, so much.

I wish I had known that it was a foolish idea to believe that the hospital staff would be on my side and obey my wishes. I wish I had known that they would use my birth plan for toilet paper. I wish I had known that the CNM would bully me into every intervention under the sun, including the mother of them all. I wish I had known that my LC couldn't have cared less that DS couldn't latch on well.

Yes, I did care at the time, but afterwards I was so dazed from what happened and both just so totally in love with my baby that I didn't really process it completely for a long time. When I did, I cared even more.

I also wish I had known that homebirth, for most healthy women, is a really good idea and not just a nice fantasy! I knew it existed, but didn't think it was really a choice for me. I wish I'd known more about it!
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#25 of 30 Old 02-25-2008, 02:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama View Post
In your first pregnancy what did you know about birth options? informed choice?

When did you learn about these things?

Did you care at the time? Or only later after baby was born?

How did you find out? Reading? A specific person? A class? MDC?
It occurs to me that I can actually answer these questions.

I know about just about every birth option out there. The one that appeals the most, because I think it will most help me do as Patchfire describes (getting into a more primal mind is also recommended by Odent, LeMay and others), is giving birth alone.

I learned about homebirth from a neighbor lady and about c-sections and VBAC from my mother's births as a child. I encountered UCing about 8 years ago in the ivillage forums.

When I really decided that I would definitely homebirth was when I was reading birth plans and could not stand the way they read like letters begging for decent treatment. And I read a few birth stories where I realized that if that I happened to me I would have kicked someone in the face. Later reading confirmed that the hormones created by wanting to yell "SHUT THE : UP!!" are not conducive to a good birth.

Most of the details of birthing options I've learned at MDC. Dh got on board with UCing by me planting the seed of the idea about 3 years ago, then read some of Henci Goer's "A Thinking Woman's Guide...", and finally found out I was okay with getting things checked out before the birth. I've read Ina May's stuff, Bradley, bits and pieces of Williams, Shanley. I find Odent's articles on the physiology of birth to be the closest to how I want to envision birth going for me.

MDC is also where I've learned that while you have the right to informed consent, some hospitals are willing to use entirely unethical methods to get that consent.

Oh, and because I've read a number of birth stories where this information would've been useful, I think this should be required reading for all first-time mothers:
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/pushing.asp
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#26 of 30 Old 02-25-2008, 02:41 AM
 
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Things I wish I had known, that I learned over the course of three pregnancies and births:

- having the title of "midwife" does not necessarily mean that a person truly understands how to support a fully natural/normal birth

- knowing a baby's position is important during pregnancy, labor, and birth...and you can do something about it. Why didn't anybody tell me about www.spinningbabies.com during my first pregnancy???

- you DO NOT NEED TO FORCEFULLY PUSH. Labor the baby down and out!

- in general, the semi-lithotomy position is not your friend.

- it's very easy for a midwife or OB to tell you what you want to hear but end up being somebody who really wants you on your back, on a monitor, and who will cut an episiotomy without your consent. Get birth stories from actual clients! Find a birth attendant whom you KNOW to have experience supporting birth as a normal, natural event.

- do something to make sure that the first PP bowel movement goes nicely. Take the colace, or drink prune juice, SOMETHING. You don't wanna end up impacted.

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#27 of 30 Old 02-25-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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I wish I had known that when I tested postive for Group B strep at 37 weeks, I still could have taken herbs/garlic suppos etc to get rid of it before labor. My water broke before I was in active labor and will positive GBS I ended up in the hospital with IV antibiotics and no labor in sight. Long story short, I was induced after my water had been broken for 36 hours and the pitocin was a nightmare. I knew a mother in the same situation that was not GBS positive and they let her come and go from the hospital for fetal monitoring until she was in active labor.
I am on probiotics now and planning to also add kefir.

Nurse and mother to two beautiful boys, William 06/07/06, George 08/27/08, and our newest addition John Bear, born 9/20/10! Married to my lovely dh for 10 years on 06/04/10!
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#28 of 30 Old 02-26-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jörð View Post
I wish I'd know that right about the time you freak out, it's almost over. (transition)
Definately!!!! At this time I begged for a mild sedative to help with the pain but 5 minutes later I was pushing dd out....

This time I know and won't ask for anything!

This time though I have great Holistic Friends, MDC and sources I didn't have in the past.

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#29 of 30 Old 02-26-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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That my midwife wasn't going to be the support that I expected. My planned homebirth turned into an unneeded c-section due to my midwife's eagerness to transfer to the hospital. I guess after reading so much about midwives in books I expected them to be more like doulas but here they aren't so this time I have doula.
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#30 of 30 Old 02-26-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jlbaby View Post
oh boy - i have a huge list of "wish i had known"s. i wanted a hospital-affiliated midwife because it was what my insurance covered.
File this under "Wish Other People Would Know Before Birth":

That most insurance provider lists do not list home birth midwives, period (unless they also work in a hospital/birthing center). And that insurance companies can grant out-of-network coverage for a home birth midwife, and that in some states coverage for midwifery maternity care is mandatory (NY being one of those states, check your state's insurance laws).

How much the out-of-network exception coverage is can vary by insurance company. In my husband and my case it's 100% up to a certain amount (they break down the entire "event" and calculate cost of birth, cost of pre-natal care, facility charges etc. and then apply to the midwife's situation, which in some cases means they can shortchange the midwife because technically birthing at the home removes the 'facility fee' part, and so they reduce the amount of money they can pay out).

What this means, sadly, is that to the casual observer who would consider a home birth, that your insurance company won't cover it. And it also means that you have to check your policy, state laws, and just call (and sometimes harass) them over it and (try to) get them to cover your home birth.

It's annoying, because I feel it's very unfair that people wanting something other than the standard hospital birth get a bit duped about the fact that other options are out there, and that they have to jump through many more hoops to attain their goals and dreams, and deal with much more frustration.



Marieke

Mama to Dashiell (July '05) and Matilda (March '08)
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