Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest post: A Journey Down Granola Blvd...

By Courtnie Thorsen

I have been asked more than once, about my reasons for being "crunchy",  when I used to be so "mainstream". Why now? What persuaded you? What made you change your mind?

The answer is alot of soul searching, alot of maturing, and alot of research.

I was 19 when I got pregnant with my oldest son. I sat in silence on the toilet watching the pee spread across that stick- the lump in my throat almost suffocating me as I seen the line turn pink. It didn't work out with the sperm donor and I, so I went at this thing called parenthood alone. I moved home- broke as hell, no job, and 6 weeks pregnant.

I had no plan, no idea what I was getting myself into, and no clue how to be a mom.

I put no effort into researching anything aside from breastfeeding. I was an excellent OB patient & went along with whatever I was told to do- or not to do.

My son was born 5 days before his due date. My labor was incredible. I spent the majority of it alone, at home in my bathroom. When my mom returned home from running errands, I was screaming upstairs...we arrived at the hospital at 9 centimeters. I was terrified at all the rushing around. Something must be wrong, this can't be a normal experience with all this panic going on.

I got the trusty epidural. No one bothered to tell me- it would all be over soon, that I had done and was doing an excellent job, that my body would not fail me now. Three hours later, after the threat of a cesarean section for not pushing him out fast enough- he was born. Covered in sticky meconium he was the tiniest, most innocent, most perfect creature my eyes had ever seen.

I sent him off to be circumcised. It is what all boys go thru. "How gross", I thought. 'Who would want to have such a disgusting penis?"

I took him home. His penis oozed this nasty pus and blood combination & try as I might- somehow the vaseline was always missing somewhere.

Breastfeeding was hard. He ate more than I could pump. We switched to formula at 11 weeks old. We got all of our shots on time, we made all of our well child visits. Soon my son developed severe constipation.

I met my Husband when my son was 7 months old. He loved us both, and we loved him. We got married in 2005 when Jack was 2. Jack started preschool and we were happy. When Jack was 4- his preschool teacher thought we should have him tested for ADD/ADHD. He was diagnosed a month later.

Around this time, my husband and I decided we wanted another baby. Jack's adoption by my husband had just gone thru & we were ready to expand our family. We conceived quickly and were ecstatic to learn our baby was a girl.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I feel the formula Jack was on, played an integral part in his bowel issues. I researched breastfeeding benefits. I also researched vaccines. What if having all those shots contributed to Autism, to ADHD, to other behavioral issues, his bowel issues?

My daughter was born 4 days before her due date. I was waiting for labor to begin & at my last doctor appointment- I begged to be induced. My daughter had turned and was laying on my sciatic nerve. I was so unbelievably tired of the strong "false labor" I had been having for weeks. Twice it needed to be stopped with medication in hospital.

My induction was routine. The labor was awful & my hopes for a drug free delivery were pushed futher into the hallway with each drip of the pitocin. I argued with our crappy nurse pretty much thru the whole thing. I was really pissed though, when I was told to "labor down" as my daughters head was about to crown. And let's not forget when I was told I was complete at 5 freakin' centimeters.

None the less, when they placed my pink, perfect Savannah on my belly- the rest of the world faded into the background. She was here and she was awesome!

Our breastfeeding relationship was strong. So strong it took us thru two bouts of mastitis, new teeth, and an attempt at ending our co- bedding arrangement.

We nursed everywhere. I began to see how important my breasts were to my daughter. How she couldn't wait to snuggle me and them when I got home from my part- time job, when she hurt herself, when she was tired, when she needed reassurance, when all was not right in her world. When she broke her arm- it was my breasts that comforted her in post op.

Our delayed vaccine arrangement was working too. She was healthy & at home with one of us, all the time.

Someone was missing in our family. I stayed up late at night thinking about it. It consumed my thoughts. I cried when I packed up clothes Savannah was growing out of.

We again conceived quickly. Only this time, I had done my soul searching. What was I trying to fix? What was I trying to prove?

I KNEW there was a better way. A more natural way. An instinctual way to parent. I hired a doula, and drove 40 minutes each way to a midwife. I wanted to birth my way. I didnt want to tear because I was pushing to slow & had better get it out or else. I didn't want to be told to stay in bed, or labor down or have a cathater stuck up my urethra. I didnt want to be told when to push, how to push or where to push. I didn't want someone to start an IV, to make me change into an ugly, scratchy hospital gown, or stick their fingers in my vagina every 2 hours to check if I was progressing on their time. I didn't want my son's genitals cut up without his consent. I didn't want him stuck with needles upon his entrance into the world. I didn't want crap in his eyes, spread so thick I couldn't see their depth. I didn't want anyone to clamp his cord to early, severing the rich blood that had nourished him for 10 months. I wanted to feel my son be born. I wanted our bodies to work in tandem to meet each other. I rode those powerful waves of perfection & it was divine.

Brody was born in a freestanding birth center on October 12, 2010. While his birth was not perfect, it was damn close. I was respected & so was my child.

For our family, there is a better way- a more natural way. An intended way of going about giving life & living life. I have made my mistakes along the way & still do. But I know now that no one but my husband and I have our families best interest at heart.

I will not be responsible for someone turning a profit over my families well being. I make it my job to be informed in regards to how I raise my children and the choices I make for them & the ones I allow them to make for themselves. Birth is normal, natural and incredible. Vaccines are a personal choice & should not be forced upon anyone. Circumcision is abuse, a violation of the child's human rights & should not be acceptable. Breastfeeding is bestfeeding, and good nutrition is key. Doctor's only know what they are taught & good or bad- all of them make a profit off of you. Babywearing is good for your baby & promotes the most basic of bonding principles that is trust. I will not leave you to cry it out for your needs are just as important as my own. Co-sleeping is amazing. You sleep- I sleep, we all sleep with co- sleep!

Follow your gut, and your heart. No book, or doctor, or article can tell you more than your instinct. If something isn't sitting right with you- speak up & speak out!

Courtnie and her children


  1. Great guest post!

  2. About the vaccines...the major study that linked vaccines to autism was proved a hoax. Science is starting to show that autism can be spotted at birth so I seriously doubt that vaccinating a child will cause problems. Vaccinations are a choice but just be aware that they won't make your kid autistic.

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    I'll forward your comment/question to Courtnie to allow her the opportunity to speak for herself. Families who decline or delay vaccines or selectively vaccinate have a wide variety of reasons to do so, some medical, some philosophical, some based on their own research, and for some, religious reasons.

    For what it's worth, the US government HAS paid out settlement money to families whose children's autism has been determined to be triggered by vaccines. According to the director of the CDC, 1 in 50 children has a mitochondrial disorder which would genetically predispose them to "autism-like symptoms" following vaccination. You can view one interview with her here:


    One high profile case recently was that of Hannah Poling. "What's unique about Hannah's case is that for the first time federal authorities have conceded a connection between her autistic symptoms and the vaccines she received, though the connection is by no means simple... If Hannah Poling had an underlying condition that made her vulnerable to being harmed by vaccines, it stands to reason that other children might also have such vulnerabilities."


    The most important thing is maintaining our legal rights as parents to do what we feel is best for our children, for our circumstances. My goal is not to convince anyone to vaccinate or not to vaccinate or to delay or selectively vaccinate. My goal is to encourage parents to do their own research and know what options are available to them.

  4. I'm not Courtney (obviously, lol) but I did want to comment here too. My two oldest children are on the autism spectrum, and showed marked regressions immediately after vaccinations. My youngest child showed clear signs of neurological impairment after his first round of vaccinations, and that is when my husband and I decided "no more."

    It is my personal belief, after much research and discussions with other parents and healthcare professionals, that some children are genetically predisposed to develop neurological conditions (such as autism). Sometimes these conditions are not present at birth, but the symptoms are triggered at a later time. I do believe that one or more of the ingredients in vaccinations could trigger the onset of such a condition.

    Several of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of vaccines concern me: aluminum is, after all, a neurotoxin; formaldehyde is a poison and a carcinogen that we are warned to avoid exposure to. Other ingredients, such as monkey kidney tissue, and fetal bovine serum, just don't sound healthy to me at all. I know I am simply not comfortable injecting these substances into my children.

  5. Hi, thank you for the responses. Our decision not to traditionally vaccinate our children remains. It remains for many reasons- but the most important reason is that natural immunity is far greater than any immunity manufactured for a needle. The link to Autism CANNOT be DISproven to either aid in the progression, or stem directly from vaccines. To say that vaccines will not make your kid develop Autism is very brazen, especially considering the government payouts made yearly to families injured from vaccines as Sarah mentioned.
    I am fully aware of vaccine ingredients, results from clinical trials, as well as their potential to both help and harm. No family makes that decision based on what they heard or only think they know. All the families I know- make that decision with full disclosure into the risks and benefits. My son has been evaluated MANY times, by many different Physicians and Mental Health professionals- all with the same results. To do over again, I never would have had my child vaccinated.

  6. Great post. It just makes you realise that you can't always trust what doctors say. If in doubt get a second opinion.


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