Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shared sleep

One of the things I researched before Gideon arrived was cosleeping or bedsharing. Most people use the terms interchangeably but cosleeping is having your baby or child in the same room but in a different bed. We bedshare, which means exactly what it says. Gideon sleeps right next to me all night.

The benefits are many if it's done correctly.
  • Encourages breastfeeding because nighttime breastfeeding is more convenient.
  • The nursing mother gets more sleep since it's easy to sleep while breastfeeding.
  • Helps baby fall asleep more easily and stay asleep.
  • If you are separated from your baby during the day, it helps you regain closeness.
Dave and I aren't big people so our queen size has always provided ample room for us to stretch out. However, our tiny baby seems to take up way more space than he should. When he was a few months old, we moved our spare bed (twin size) in next to our bed. This way, if Gideon rolled, he'd roll onto that. I actually end up sleeping half on it and half on our bed when Gideon was in the middle (I switch sides several times during the night for breastfeeding.)

But, grandma is coming to visit so she needs the spare bed. We had a crib given to us (a recalled drop side crib) so we just took off the drop side and put it between our bed and the wall. It was a tiny bit higher than our bed so we had to get some 2x4's to raise our bed slightly.

I hope to soon be able to put him in the crib for the first part of the night and pull him next to me when he needs to nurse.

Personally, having Gideon sleep right next to me is one of my favorite things. He nurses easily during the night, he and I both get more sleep and just this morning I was thinking about how wonderful it is to wake up with him snuggled against me.

And, Gideon never has to cry when he wakes up. He stirs and I wake to latch him on. He nurses and we both doze for a few more minutes. When he wakes for the morning, he just opens his eyes and starts cooing or playing with my face. There's never any need for him to cry because Mommy is right there.

The Dr. Sears website has a page on ways to have baby in your bed safely. If these rules are followed, there is no reason baby shouldn't sleep with his or her parents.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I made some diapers!

I used old t-shirts and towels that I washed in RLR to remove soap residue so they are absorbent.

The orange diaper is very absorbent and will be better for nighttime. I put three layers of towels in the center (sandwiched between four layers of soft old t-shirts.)

The gray and blue diaper was made from an old polo of Dave's that was starting to fall apart. I made a separate insert for that so it's less bulky and perfect for daytime use.

The diapers are fastened with a Snappi. I debated putting velcro on them but I think I'll wait for that until I can order the kind specifically made for diapers.

Gideon spends most of the day without a cover- I've discovered that he doesn't pee while he's asleep which makes me feel better while he naps on me. Keeping him coverless means he never sits in a pee soaked diaper and he gets plenty of air so he never gets diaper rash.

I will be making more diapers out of old clothes- hopefully they will last him through potty training!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My version of fried rice

Okay, so this blog isn't all about baby... Thought I'd post a recipe that I came up with to use up all sorts of leftovers and things about to go bad in the fridge. Now, I've never loved fried rice- it's too dry I think. So, I blended risotto and fried rice recipes and came up with something yummy!

The recipe isn't exact because I tend to just throw things in the pot. Use up the leftovers you have- you don't have to add the same things that I did.

I started out crisping about three pieces of bacon in my wok. Remove the bacon to a paper towel when crisp and then add in half a chopped onion (the other half from an earlier meal), a few chopped up stalks of celery and diced carrot (both were in the bottom of the fridge and on the floppy side) and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper and whatever else you want.

Add a couple cups of cooked rice (I mixed leftover brown and white rice that I had) and about half a cup of chicken broth or water. Stir and when the rice has absorbed the liquid, add more. Continue doing this until the consistency is what you like. Then, add in chopped meat (I used leftover chopped turkey) and any quick cooking vegetables like corn or peas. Add the bacon back in and scrambled egg if you want.

I topped mine with crunchy chow mein noodles. I much prefer this to dry fried rice and by adding all the veggies and meat, this is a meal in itself.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to carry your baby.

So, wearing Gideon has been great when we are out and about. I don't wear him much at home though I'm thinking about getting a woven wrap and trying out back carries when he's being super clingy. Which seems like every day recently...

This was his first time in the stretchy wrap I made. It was nice when he was tiny because it held him very close, kept him warm and I was able to breastfeed without taking him out. I've used it a few times recently and it's still comfortable but makes me a little too warm.

We got a great deal on an Ergo carrier. It's nice because we can carry him on the front, back or hip. We haven't done a back carry in it yet. We should try that soon! I have not tried to breastfeed while using it though I've read that others have great success in it. Dave is usually the one that uses the Ergo while I opt for my favorite.

This is my favorite carrier for short trips. The ring sling is easily adjustable and comfy for both of us. I ordered it from a shop on Etsy. I chose linen fabric because it's very breathable and strong. Gideon can sleep easily in it because it positions him exactly like I hold him. It's easy to breastfeed while using this carrier as well.

This is our stroller obviously. We got it from a local consignment shop when we sold some stuff there. We use it for walks around the block or along the river. We always bring a carrier as well in case he wants to be held. He doesn't mind the stroller but I feel weird with it sometimes because I can't always see his face and he feels so far away from me! It is nice for walks since it's harder to walk really fast for exercise while wearing a carrier.

There are many more options for baby carriers. Check out Granola Babies for lots of options for ordering online and how to find the carrier for you. There are stretchy wraps, woven wraps, soft structured carriers like the Ergo that buckle or that tie, ring slings or pouches. If you are interested in baby wearing, a quick Internet search will yield hundreds of results!

Look for carriers that position the baby facing in, close to the parents body and in a position that you would naturally carry a baby. Tiny babies should be held upright, against your chest with legs tucked into a frog like position. Always make sure you can see baby's face and that baby's head is supported. Older babies should be in a seated position with their knees above their hips. Allowing their legs to dangle can cause hip problems and it can't be comfortable!

If you go with wrap carriers, there are hundreds of sites about different ways to wrap and carry your baby. YouTube also has lots of videos on how to do it if there are carries that you are unsure of trying. Try it, I know you and your baby will love it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cloth diaper pictures!

We've been using cloth exclusively at home for almost 6 months. We love it and I thought I'd post some pictures of our little man wearing the different types.

Prefolds without a cover. Fastened with a Snappi.

Top: A Bummis cover over a prefold. Bottom: Thirsties fab fitted.

Top: Fitted snap diaper. Bottom: Flat, folded and fastened with a Snappi.

Huate Pockets diaper.

There are so many options out there for cloth diapers- this is a very small sample of what's available.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Research based parenting

I'm a researcher. When I'm interested in something, I research it. So, when Dave and I started talking about having a baby, I researched. I discovered charting and bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I was able to stop taking hormonal birth control and charted my cycle for 9 months before we got pregnant. I knew when I ovulated, when I was fertile and when my period would begin or when a pregnancy test would be accurate.

About a year before we got pregnant, I stumbled across The Business of Being Born. That opened my eyes to the possibility of having a choice in how I gave birth. I researched slowly then amped up the research when we got the positive test. As you may have seen through this blog, I did A LOT of research about birth. I just did a post about the research I did on circumcision and vaccines. I also have researched attachment parenting, baby carriers, breastfeeding, cloth diapers and newborn care in the hospital.

I did this research by reading and reading and reading and then reading some more. I followed links on blogs and websites. I got a subscription to Mothering magazine. I bought books and checked others out of the library. I lurked on parenting boards of all kinds (and definitely found my favorites.) Beware a lot of parenting boards- the ignorance that permeates them is scary. Now, lots of parents-to-be research but they focus on baby gear. Very few research birth choices, newborn care decisions, vaccines and parenting styles.

The funny thing is, I didn't research cribs because I'd already researched attachment parenting and knew that Gideon would be sleeping with us. I didn't research bottles because I knew that I would be breastfeeding. I didn't research strollers because I knew I would be wearing him most of the time (we did recently buy a stroller secondhand and use it infrequently on walks).

I researched car seats and bought one that would last from newborn to toddler. I'd already researched and knew that using the infant seats as a carrier and baby seat was bad for baby's development (also, recent studies show that it can constrict the airway and experts now recommend babies spend no longer than two hour intervals in the seats- even in the car.)

The best advice I can give to anyone considering or expecting a baby is to research. DO NOT just trust what your doctor, sister, mother or friend says. Even if that friend has 8 kids, it doesn't mean the choices she made will be right for you and your baby. Even if you and your siblings turned out okay doesn't mean your mom made informed choices about how she raised you. And, never forget that you are not the only patient your doctor has. Sadly, you and your baby's health may not be what's driving their advice. Don't forget that a Cesarean birth puts more money in their pockets. Don't forget that circumcision adds money to their pockets.

Any decision you have to make about your baby deserves to be researched. You and your baby deserve to have all the information.

I'll leave you with a picture of Gideon. This kid seriously gets cuter every day! He loves water bottles and is instantly drawn to them so we let him chew on ours every once in awhile.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I started researching vaccines just a month or so ago. Since I had appointments with my midwife several times in the 6 weeks after the birth, Gideon was weighed and checked at those. He still hasn't been to see a pediatrician because the first appointment available when I called last month was in August! Must be a lot of kids in this town.

I sometimes feel like a bad mom because he hasn't been to a doctor. But, we can tell that he's growing. We measured him about two weeks ago and he's grown 5 inches since he was born! He sleeps well (right next to his mommy so we both sleep well.) He breastfeeds well (except when we are in public and then he likes to pop off to look around. I have to be watchful so I can cover up whenever he does that!) He laughs, "talks," makes eye contact, wiggles, naps well and generally is adorable. So, I remind myself that I'm not a bad mom for not taking him in before now.

Now, for our decision about vaccines. The reason I started researching vaccines so late is that it is such a HUGE topic. There are countless viewpoints, books, blogs and opinions about vaccines. There are conflicting studies, shady research and clinical trials... it's seriously overwhelming. We refused the Hepatitis B shot in the hospital. My reasoning at the time for declining was that we'd planned a homebirth anyway and I didn't think my baby would be using intravenous drugs anytime soon. It actually worked out well that I waited for doctor's visits. It gave me plenty of time to decide to skip all vaccinations.

I read so many different things to come to this decision. At first I thought we would just delay and selectively vaccinate. So, I got a list of all the vaccines given and started researching them. I researched the disease it protects against first. When was the last case, what the symptoms are, complications, prevention (besides that vaccine) and treatments. The most helpful resource for that was the Mayo Clinic website. It has all that information in an easy to read format.

For instance, I looked up rotavirus. It is spread hand to mouth and causes diarrhea. So, if Gideon has diarrhea, I will nurse him more often, watch him closely for signs of dehydration and take him to the hospital if he shows any signs. I crossed that one off the list of vaccines.

But, as I researched more, I realized that I don't feel comfortable allowing foreign substances to be injected into my baby. Vaccines don't only contain the virus- most also contain aluminum, preservatives, fetal human and bovine cells. And, I don't want to mess with his immune system at such a young age.

We have not ruled out vaccines completely. We plan on traveling to the Philippines, Asia, Mexico and Europe with Gideon so we will revisit vaccines as those trips are planned. But, as long as we are in the U.S., with access to clean water, soap and medical care, I feel comfortable waiting on or declining vaccines.

It's a huge topic and impossible to cover in one blog post. If you want more information, I'd suggest the forum regarding vaccines. It's a great jumping off point for learning more.

Recent pictures

Here are a few recent photos of our chubby little man. He's seriously the cutest thing ever. And he's such a happy baby. Right now he's on the floor kicking, waving his arms and screeching happily as Dave plays the guitar and sings. He loves music and has started "singing" along with us when he sing him to sleep. If we stop singing, he'll stop, lift his head off our chest start squirming. As soon as we start singing again, he'll relax and sing along! It's the most adorable thing I think I've ever seen or heard in my life.

Now, I know Dave and I are biased, but I don't think there is anything cuter! He's 3 and a half months old now and growing like crazy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why we chose to keep Gideon intact

Before we found out that we were having a boy, I hoped we wouldn't. At that time, I assumed that everyone circumcised their sons- that it was somehow mandatory.

After the ultrasound, when we knew we were going to be parents of a boy, I worried about circumcision. The thought of handing my baby over to someone and allowing them to cut off a part of him seemed SO WRONG. My momma bear instincts were kicking in already.

So, I started doing some research. Since becoming pregnant, it seems all I've done is research. I'm so thankful for the Internet and all the information it has lead me to.

Information wasn't hard to find. Planning a home birth and planning to cloth diaper led me to lots of natural parenting web sites. forums were my biggest help. The Case Against Circumcision forum has intelligent and well informed women (and a few men) who are committed to educating interested parents who come to the forum. There are hundreds of helpful threads with links to blogs, research and websites. This thread in particular that helped me make my decision.

It all came down to keeping our baby the way God made him. This picture is from the day after he was born. Every time I look at these early photos, I'm thankful again that we decided to keep him intact. He was perfect when he was born and he is still perfect.

I've included some other helpful websites in case anyone wants to do more research. (just search for posts about circumcision)

Friday, June 25, 2010

How I feel about the birth

So, writing my birth story didn't take me so long because I've been busy with Gideon. Dave is such an amazing dad that I have plenty of time in the evenings and weekends when he's home. Really, the only thing Gideon needs me for in the evenings is for breastmilk because Dave does just as well calming him, changing his diapers, dressing him and playing with him.

The real reason is that it was hard. My labor and delivery were not the peaceful event that I hoped, planned and prayed to have. I barely told anyone the story for weeks because it was too emotional. As strange as it sounds to men and some women, it really does matter how a woman gives birth.

If it wasn't there wouldn't be groups like the International Cesarean Awareness Network or forums on about birth and how to get past it. I didn't need counseling to get over the birth- just time. I can finally think about it and even type up thoughts without crying.

Because my birth didn't go as planned, the doubts arose almost instantly. The what ifs started even before I pushed Gideon out. I wondered if the choices I'd made during pregnancy affected the birth. What if I'd made myself exercise more? What if I'd eaten better? What if I'd visualized more? And the choices I'd made during labor... what if instead of trying to rest, I had walked? What if I hadn't gotten in the pool so early? What if I'd spent more time on my feet? What if, what if, what if?

Every choice was questioned. I felt like I had failed. My body had not done what it needed to do. I felt guilty that I hadn't been able to provide a calm birth for my baby. I felt like a failure.

And then the worry began. What about when I have another baby? Will the same thing happen? Should I even try for a home or natural birth? What if I can't handle the real pain of labor? What if all the contractions I went through would simply be uncomfortable to someone else but to me they were painful?

I am so thankful that I have a healthy, beautiful, smart boy. I'm thankful recovery from labor and delivery was not difficult or excessively long. I'm okay with what happened for now. Nothing can change what has already happened. But, I am scared that all those feelings of doubt and worry will rise right back up when I get a positive pregnancy test (years from now).

And maybe I can't think too hard about it without getting emotional.

My Birth Story, Part 2

When we arrived at the hospital, we were shown to the tiniest room ever. Thankfully, when our nurse came in, she moved us to a room about three times the size with a large recliner, a couch and much more space to walk around. I changed into a hospital gown and sat on a labor ball. Dave and I had decided that I would get the epidural. I could not go on any longer without sleep.
Our nurse tried to move things along as quickly as possible. People came and went- they monitored Gideon while someone came in to take my blood, the doctor checked my progress and someone else hooked me up to IV fluids. I had to have an entire bag of fluids before I could get the epidural.

After almost two hours, the anesthesiologist arrived. He asked everyone to leave so there were no distractions. He explained everything he was doing and my nurse helped hold me steady (I was still shaking) while he inserted the catheter into my back. It was quick and mostly painless. He told me that they give a narcotic with the first dose of epidural so I'd feel very relaxed soon. He was right. It was almost immediate. Also, my water broke for real while I was getting the epidural.

After a few minutes, while I got situated in bed and they added antibiotics to my IV, I was finally able to sleep. I don't know how long I slept but it was SO wonderful. I woke up feeling normal- except I couldn't feel my legs. Nancy had to leave (she'd told me from the beginning that this was the only day she wouldn't be able to work) but Noel, the other midwife in the area, came soon after. Dave was very relieved to see me so much more relaxed. He told me later that he couldn't remember the last time I'd joked. It seemed like labor was going on forever.

I was checked again and I was only dilated to 4. They added pitocin to the mix in my IV and contractions picked up again. It was weird to not be able to walk around with them. I was able to drink clear fluids- juice, water and chicken broth and eat jello.

They upped the pitocin throughout the day and we all just kind of hung out. Gideon's heart rate was still good.

About 11 p.m., I started to feel like I needed to push. More nurses came in to set up the doctor's table. The epidural dosage was turned down and the pitocin turned up. Noel and Dave helped the nurses get me into comfortable positions for pushing. We tried several different things before settling with one that seemed to be doing the most. I pushed for 2 and 1/2 hours before Gideon finally arrived.

My nurses were wonderful but I really did not like my doctor. She was the one I saw once during my pregnancy and didn't like then. She was very rough, did not pay attention to our wishes and just didn't seem to care. Thankfully she wasn't there for long. I wish my birth had happened really fast so Noel could have caught Gideon.

Despite the doctor, it was so amazing to finally hold my baby. He was screaming and waving his arms as the doctor wiped him down a little. When he was put on my chest it seemed so unreal. The nurses covered us with towels and Gideon pooped almost right away. I just talked to him and he calmed down after a little bit and snuggled. After about an hour, the nurses took him to get him cleaned up. Dave went with him to make sure there were no shots or eye goop given. I was cleaned up as well. Even though the epidural had worn off by then, I was extremely shaky and it was hard to stand.

Here's one of our first photos together. Gideon's lungs were and are still very strong!

Friday, April 2, 2010

My birth story, part 1

I woke at 1 a.m. Saturday morning and lost my mucous plug. I went back to bed with a towel just in case my water broke. About 30 minutes later, I felt a gush and the towel was wet. I'd been having contractions for weeks now and they had been stronger the night before.

Since I was Group B Strep positive, I did the Hibiclens wash and then called my midwife. She asked if I'd felt baby move at all since my water broke. Since I hadn't, she decided to drive down and listen for him. So, I woke Dave up to let him know. He was super excited and jumped out of bed. When Nancy arrived, she had no problem finding baby's heartbeat, it was good and strong. So, we went back to bed to try to get some more sleep.

Contractions were much harder than before and soon I realized I was not going to be able to sleep at all. Dave and I got up. I made some pancakes but didn't feel like eating them. It was about 5 a.m. when Dave thought it'd be best to call Nancy back. My contractions were still about 5 to 7 minutes apart but much stronger. He started filling up the tub and Nancy said she was on her way.

Nancy arrived, set things up for the birth and then we labored. I rocked on the yoga ball, walked around, drank lots of fluids and just waited. We were on a time limit since being GBS + meant I had to have antibiotics after 18 hours of ruptured membranes. About an hour before we'd have to transfer Nancy asked if she could check me to see how far we'd gotten. It was SO disappointing to hear I was only 3 centimeters dilated. We knew we would have to transfer then. Nancy gave me some herbs so I could sleep for a short time before heading in. Dave and I prayed together. We both felt such immense disappointment. We'd prayed so long for a gentle home birth and now we were headed to the hospital. I was so afraid of what would happen at the hospital. I knew I would have to be on my back with monitors and IVs and the thought of going med free while not being able to move was scary to me.

We got a room at the hospital, they monitored baby for about half an hour and then wanted to check to make sure my water had really broken. The nurse said she didn't see any fluid leaking but took a sample. Come to find out- my water bag was still intact! And, I was still only 3 centimeters. So, we left. There was no way I was staying in the hospital when I didn't have to be there. By the time we got home it was midnight. I took some Benadryl (on the nurse's recommendation) to help me sleep. I was able to get about 6 or 7 hours between the strong contractions that woke me up.

Sunday morning I was still contracting and hard. Dave emptied the birth pool so it could be refilled with fresh water later. We labored all day and all night. The whole labor seems so blurry- I know we took a walk, I hung out in the birth pool, I labored on the birth ball and the birth stool. The contractions were hard and coming faster and I remember I thought I felt like I needed to push. But, I was getting SO exhausted. I hadn't had good sleep in almost three days, it'd been over 50 hours since we thought my water had broken. Nancy asked if she could check me again. I was hesitant since it was SO uncomfortable to get on my back and the exam itself is no walk in the park. But, we needed to know.

I have never felt such disappointment as when Nancy told me I was still only 3 centimeters dilated. All those hours, all that pain, all those contractions and they had done NOTHING. This was when we had to make our decision. Did we want to transfer? Gideon was still doing fine- his heart rate hadn't changed at all and my water bag was still intact. But I was exhausted. I was shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't think. I could barely talk. Nancy left us alone for awhile and Dave and I talked. We decided to try to rest and then see if I'd progressed any further. Nancy gave me a herbal tincture and I was able to sleep for a short time. There was no change so we decided we'd have to transfer. I got dressed and sat on the yoga ball while Dave and Nancy gathered things up. I tried to eat but could barely get anything down. It was about 10 a.m. Monday when we left for the hospital.

-To be continued-

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Gideon has arrived!

Born March 30, 1:30 a.m. Mom and baby are doing well. I'll write up a birth story later. We just got home from the hospital and are trying to get breastfeeding established.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

38 weeks (or so)

So, technically, I'm 38 weeks and 5 days. We're getting SO close! I've had two appointments since the last time I posted. Both have gone well. My blood pressure has gone down thanks to the herbal teas I've been taking (a mix of red raspberry leaf, roasted dandelion root and nettle leaves). It's not the most tasty but I think it's growing on me. I told baby this morning as I was making it that he had to be out in less than 4 days because I don't want to have to buy a whole package of dandelion root tea and have a bunch leftover when he arrives!

Baby is head down. I've been having lots of contractions but none that are too painful or getting and staying close together. No other signs of labor... I did time contractions for awhile last night and they were between 3 and 7 minutes apart, lasting less than 2 minutes. But, they still weren't too uncomfortable. I decided to just go to bed because if I was going into labor I wanted to get as much sleep as possible first! Today I've had some that are a little more uncomfortable and 4 minutes apart, but then it'll be 15 minutes before another non painful one. I think this kid is messing with us!

Next appointment is sometime next week... Unless I go into labor before then!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

37 weeks!

Our 37 week appointment went great. Dave and I ran around that morning cleaning and getting the last of the things together that we needed.

My blood pressure is still a little higher than Nancy would like, so I'm continuing with the exercise, lots of greens and protein and I've addded several herbal teas that are supposed to help. I sure hope there is a difference at the next appointment tomorrow! Thankfully my blood pressure is fine when taken lying on my left side- it shows that the high blood pressure is not true hyper tension.

Nancy dropped off the birth pool so we have it halfway blown up leaning against our dining room wall. Thankfully we don't plan on having dinner guests before baby arrives! We have the liner for the pool (to keep it sanitary) and all the necessary attachments for filling it up. The hard part will be emptying it after the birth- Dave is a little unsure of how to go about it. But, I figure this isn't the first time the midwives have faced this question, so they'll figure it out!

The rest of the appointment was talking about the birth, when to call, what to expect, etc. It's SO weird to be at that point now! I feel ready for the most part though...

Our freezer is stocked with plenty of healthy, filling food for the week or so after the birth before my mom arrives. A sample of what I've frozen: Three lasagnes (small size, enough for dinner and lunch the next day), enchilada casserole (we'll probably throw this in the oven right after the birth for everyone - depending on the time of day he's born, of course!), taco meat, sausage cabbage soup, vegetable hamburger soup, Swedish meatballs and lots of muffins and banana bread. We're also going to make sure whenever we run out of something important (i.e. milk, cheese, bread, eggs), that we buy it right away. We don't want to go into labor on Friday night and have nothing in the fridge because we were planning on getting everything Saturday morning!

His clothes and diapers have been washed and organized, just waiting for a tiny little body to put them on! The infant car seat is installed in the car and Dave is taking it to be inspected this week. We'll install the convertible in the truck soon and get that inspected as well when we get the chance. We've got a a little cosleeper for our bed for him to sleep in those first few weeks until we get the crib and can sidecar it to our bed.

I've been having contractions all the time now. They aren't painful or even very uncomfortable, but there have been a lot of them. I thought about trying to time them, but then read an article recommending against timing them until they demand your attention. Makes sense, otherwise, I would have been timing four days worth of contractions with nothing to show for it!

Baby is still kicking up a storm in there. Probably trying to find more room. Carpal tunnel is still annoying me. I think the only thing that will help it now is having this baby. My hands are almost constantly numb and if they aren't numb, they are all tingly feeling.

Oh, and my stomach is officially too big for all my maternity shirts! Only the long tank tops barely cover it. So, I went out and bought some of those short dresses women wear over leggings or jeans- making sure to find the high waisted and very stretchy ones. I might shorten a few of them since I'm not a fan of that look but at least my stretch mark covered belly isn't hanging out anymore!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Belly picture! I'm huge, I know!

36 weeks walking along the Snake River. I just realized that I hadn't posted a picture in awhile. I think I've grown even more in the past week so I'll try to remember to post my 37 week picture after we take it. Also, my stomach was attacked by several angry cats- my stretch marks are super impressive. I'm thinking I might actually post a picture of them.

Some new pregnancy symptoms/ side effects: Braxton Hicks contractions every day and carpal tunnel. I'm pretty sure my right hand middle finger has been numb for more than a week now. I feel like I'm going to drop things and like I have no strength in my hands. Super fun. BH contractions aren't bad so far. A little painful if I'm in the wrong position but otherwise I'm sure they are nothing compared to what the real ones will be like.

Our big appointment is tomorrow! Both midwives will be coming to our house (which we really need to clean, by the way) and going over the birth supplies and answering any questions we have about the labor and delivery.

We are having some issues with our kitchen faucet and we're not sure how we're going to attach the hose to it. The little aerator thing won't unscrew. And, of course, we don't have any pliers so we have to go buy some tonight and hope the thing will come off. Otherwise, we're not really sure how to go about filling up the tub! I suppose we could do without, but I was really looking forward to laboring in the water.

I organized baby clothes the other night. It's nice to finally have that done! Now, I just need to tackle the diapers... I ordered a few more things this week. I just love these diapers with the brightly colored snaps. This is one I bought last night.

Well, that's about it for today. My numb fingers and I are going to find something else to do.

A rant about medicalized birth

I know people are going to get sick of this type of post, but really, I have to vent about the ridiculous things that women put up with in the field of obstetrics.

I frequent a few discussion boards about pregnancy and parenting- I've gotten lots of good information from some and others just give me a headache and make me mad.

I just read a post by a women who is 37 weeks pregnant. She posted that at her last appointment, her doctor was doing the internal check. The woman wrote, "She was digging around in there and goes, 'I'm stripping your membranes.'" The woman, whose husband is out of town for several days, understandably was upset. The doctor then told her that it wouldn't send her into labor, just "help her dilate more." Umm, hello, dilating is part of labor- not active labor, but it's still labor.

Several women replied with things like, "Oh yeah, my doctor did this too. I wasn't too happy because it hurt but then I went into labor a couple days later so I didn't care." None of them seemed to think it was too much of a problem.

I would be seeing red if my doctor/ midwife did this. I would be reporting them to every agency I could think of and would even consider filing an assault charge- because that's exactly what it is. Yet, most women don't do any of these things. Why? Because apparently it's the norm in the United States to give up all rights to your own body during pregnancy. Plenty of women consent to this procedure- and it is up to them- but to not even have the chance to consent or decline??? It's wrong on so many levels.

I will be declining all internals, though I would trust my midwife to never do something like that without my permission. It's bad enough to get a pap smear once a year, why would I agree to having something similar at every appointment for weeks until I delivered?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why is my belly considered public property?

While at my baby shower this past weekend, we talked a little about the joys of pregnancy. One of those was the touching. You know, when someone thinks that because your belly is sticking a foot out in front of you that it isn't actually part of a person so they think they can touch it as they walk past? Thankfully, this hasn't happened to me in the store with complete strangers yet (I think because it's cold so I usually have a coat and scarf on- harder to see the stomach! Or maybe I give off a don't-touch-me-if-you-want-to-keep-your-hand vibe.)

Since I've been pretty vocal about not liking the touchy-feely stuff, most friends and acquaintances have kept their hands to themselves. The few people who have touched my stomach haven't bothered me.

But, when I first announced my pregnancy at work, coworkers started telling me this touching was inevitable. I said I would start slapping hands and that Dave is very protective of me and more than likely, the random person in the store would not get close enough to touch my stomach before he stopped them. Anyway, one of my coworkers said that she was going to touch my stomach one day when I was least expecting it.

Hmm, now think of it this way: If I was not pregnant and simply told a coworker that I was uncomfortable with people touching me, would it be appropriate for them to say they planned on touching me when I least expected it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It would warrant an HR meeting and very strongly worded warning. And, if they did touch me, I would have every right to charge them with harassment. Yet, because I'm pregnant, it's OK?

She did manage to get in a belly touch one day while I was refilling my water at the cooler. I was not in a good mood that day and gave her a very dirty look. She hasn't attempted another touch since then. I think if she did, I would tell her I was going to file a complaint if she tried again.

I don't understand what makes people think that pregnant bellies are public property? It makes me want to be pregnant during the summer when it would be more obvious and see how many people I would have to slap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On having a midwife

I started looking for midwives in the area as soon as we found out we were pregnant. I'd decided I wanted a natural birth and the best way to do that was to have a midwife. I assumed I would hire one who would be with me at the hospital. Well, lo and behold, midwives in Idaho aren't given hospital privileges.

So, I found two midwives who both practiced about 40 minutes away. I looked at their web sites and realized that in order to have a midwife, I was going to have to birth at home. I'd already looked into the possibility so decided to book some appointments with the midwives to decide who I wanted as my primary. They usually assist each other during births as long as one of their own clients doesn't need them.

After I decided on a midwife, we scheduled prenatal appointments. Because Nancy had three clients in Lewiston, she scheduled all of us for the same day, around the same times. So, all my appointments have been done at my house on Tuesdays during my lunch hour. Which means I've missed very little work because of the pregnancy and I don't have to travel very far!

The appointments last about an hour and include blood pressure and pulse checks, urinalysis, listening to the baby, feeling baby's position, measuring my uterus, checking for swelling, going over dietary needs and then talking about any concerns or questions I have.

I had one obstetrician appointment this pregnancy. Nancy requires that her clients meet with an OB in their area in case they have to transfer care. That one appointment was THE MOST stressful doctor's appointment I think I've ever had. Even Dave felt stressed and pressured and she wasn't even talking to him! The doctor pushed the HIV test even after I had told her twice that we didn't need one. She told me that there were some people in Texas who had contracted HIV from their dentist... (if I could do an eye roll emoticon right here, I would.) Her eyes practically shot out of her head when I said I didn't want an internal exam.

I know there are people who have natural hospital births with an OB. But they are never guaranteed. And I didn't want to have to fight at every.single.appointment for a natural experience. Doctors don't like it when you decline internal checks (internals increase the risk of infection and can cause premature rupture of the water bag, also, they don't actually tell you anything about the progress since things can change SO quickly in real labor), decline the gestational diabetes test (that sugary drink cannot be good for mom or baby, there are other signs that can warn of GD), decline using a doppler at every appointment or getting more than one ultrasound (ultrasound waves have NOT been proven safe for use during pregnancy), etc. Decling all these things has to make the doctor feel like they aren't "managing" the pregnancy. Which is exactly what I didn't want a doctor doing!

I didn't want to have to fight over every aspect of my birth plan- no constant fetal monitoring, the ability to walk and move during labor, no pain medications offered, being able to eat and drink as I wanted, having the lights dimmed, having as few people as possible come into my room, not having internal checks, etc. And, then, after fighting over all that in the office before birth, having to fight with every single nurse who came in thinking she/ he could examine me whenever they wanted and fight with whatever on call doctor I end up with about not breaking my water, not doing internals, not having monitoring, being able to birth standing up, etc.

It was wonderful when I asked Nancy, "How often do you do internal checks?" and she responded, "I prefer not to do them and won't during labor unless you request one." When I decline a procedure or test, she says okay and moves on. It's wonderful when I can tell her that I looked into the eye ointment or Vitamin K or circumcision and decided against it. She doesn't try to scare me into having these things done. She doesn't try to push anything.

She's only been adamant about one thing. She said she will not waiver on this one point except in the case of an emergency. She requires that the mom hold the baby skin to skin for the first two hours after birth. :) Which I am completely okay with! This is wonderful bonding time and encourages breastfeeding, it also ensures that baby's body temperature regulates (did you know that a mother's body temperature changes to accomodate her baby's? i.e. if baby has a fever, mom's body temperature will cool down and if baby is cold, mom's body temperature will go up). Those hospital incubators can't do that!

Midwives give the birth experience back to the mother and families. Nancy will be there to assist and help in case she is needed. More than likely, Dave will be the one to pull our little boy out of the water and hand him to me. More than likely, he'll be the one cutting the umbilical cord (after the cord has stopped pulsing- another decision we would have to fight for in the hospital.) I will be able to give birth where I feel most comfortable- no one will be telling me that I need to lie down and put my legs in stirrups (which, according to studies, -and common sense- is the WORST way to give birth.)

During the birth Nancy will check my blood pressure, pulse and listen for baby's heartbeat intermittently. She'll make sure I get plenty of fluids and food to keep my strength up. She'll do a newborn exam and make sure I don't bleed too much. She'll make sure the placenta comes out in one piece and is healthy. She'll stay for at least three hours after the birth to make sure breastfeeding is established, things are cleaned up and that mom and baby are still doing well. In the six weeks following the birth, she'll come for at least four checkups to make sure things are still going well. She's a lactation consultant so she'll be able to help with any breastfeeding issues we have.

Needless to say after this massively long post, Dave and I are very happy we've chosen a midwife.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What do you need for a homebirth??

A lot of the things are on a list my midwife gave me but some of them are from the homebirth board. There is an amazing list of things that people had wished they'd known before they had their homebirth. Some of the things are like, "I wish I would have known that I wouldn't want so many people around during labor," "I wish I would have known I would want to drink lots of juice- all we had in the fridge was water!" and things like that.

So, a few things on the list from the midwife:
  • New water potable hose with correct fittings (for filling up the birth tub)
  • Tarp/ plastic to go under the birth pool
  • Old bathroom mats/ towels to go around the pool and soak up the water that splashes out
  • Plastic sheet/ cover for bed mattress (in case water breaks in bed or I end up wanting to labor/ give birth there)
  • Several sets of cheap sheets for our bed (so we don't care if they get ruined)
  • Turn the water heater up as soon as labor starts so there is plenty of hot water for the tub.
  • Emergency numbers, fastest route to the hospital and a full tank of gas in case of a transfer.
  • Extra towels and a robe or two
  • 10-12 washcloths for cold/ hot compresses
  • Ginger- peeled, sliced and kept in freezer until the birth (for hot compresses)
  • A crockpot (to keep the compress mixture warm)
  • Cold pressed oil for massage
  • Lots of ice and frozen juice chips in the freezer
  • Witch hazel
  • Hydrogen peroxide (gets out blood)
  • Bendy straws to make drinking water/ juice/ whatever easier
  • Easily digestible snacks for me; healthy, quick snacks for the midwives/ Dave
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
Supplies from the thread on
  • A hospital bag packed in case we need to transfer with everything for me, Dave and baby for a hospital stay
  • Coconut water- works better than Gatorade as an electrolyte replacer and is natural (no added sugars), it can be ordered online but a local grocery store here has it in the natural foods section.
  • A yoga ball (already have one!)
  • Plastic covers for pillows (some people said they just used garbage bags under their pillow cases.
  • Soup or casserole that can go in the oven or on the stove just after the birth for something healthy and filling for everyone to eat.
  • Orange juice for after the birth (everyone agreed that it was just what they wanted to drink)
  • Goldenseal powder for the umbilical cord stump
  • Small waterproof mattress pad to protect mattress after the birth is over
Advice from the thread on

  • Separate birth supplies into two tubs: One for during bith and one for after.
  • Cover the clocks so you don't know how long you've been laboring
  • If you start labor at night, try to sleep as long as you can so you are rested when labor really kicks in.
  • Turn your cell phones on silent but make sure they are charged and close by in case of emergency.
  • Put a note on the door that you are not to be disturbed for any reason!
  • Warn the neighbors (we live in a duplex so we really need to do this) that there may be lots of noise but that we are all okay!
  • Write out a list of things to do if labor isn't progressing well: Massage, different positions to try, etc.
  • Make sure that your husband knows that he MUST enforce anything you say in labor- apparently, it's hard to say things while in the throes of labor so anything that is said must be taken seriously the first time!
  • Put an air mattress in the area you plan on birthing (this for us is upstairs in our living/ dining area). They are a soft place to labor, easier to clean up than a mattress, and can be tossed out if gets too messy.
  • Lots of extra batteries for your camera and an extra memory card (ours will hold over 2000 pictures so I'm not too worried about having an extra one)
  • Set visiting hours for after the birth so you don't get worn out and don't be afraid to kick people out if they stay too long!
  • Require that visitors help out by doing dishes, laundry or folding clothes.
  • Keep the fridge stocked since you never know when you will go into labor!
  • Energy bars and snacks with protein and fats- helps with milk production.
  • Remember to turn the hot water heater back down before doing laundry on hot or running the dishwasher as the super hot water can ruin the machines!

So, we have all the supplies now. The pool is partially blown up and leaning against our dining room wall. We have the correct attachment for our kitchen sink attached (which was a pain to find, by the way!) Everything we'll need right away- the tarp for the floor, the hose, liner for the pool and some towels are in a container. The rest of the birth supplies are in another tote underneath that one.

We've been trying to stay stocked with food. We need to run to the store tonight because we're getting close to running out of some things. We are SO looking forward to this little guy deciding it's time to come! He and I are both still doing well. I think he just likes it in there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some musings on being pregnant...

So many people ask me how I am doing these days. If I say, "Good" or "Fine," they give me this sympathetic look and then ask if I'm ready to done being pregnant. I just say, "No, I want him to be in there for as long as he needs to be."

Really, I have liked being pregnant. There are things that are no picnic: Heartburn, stretch marks, constant hunger, food aversions/ cravings, etc. I've had a super easy pregnancy compared to some people. I'm extremely grateful that I haven't been sick, haven't had any miscarriage scares, haven't had to have all sorts of tests done or anything like that.

I love knowing that my son is safe, warm and as close to me as he'll ever be. I love feeling him move around and trying to guess if it's a foot, knee, elbow or hand that's trying to escape.

I've loved planning my birth: All the research and gathering of supplies and tips on how to make it the best birth possible. I love knowing that the decisions I have made are based on research and common sense rather than fear and things I've seen on TV. I've loved collecting a stash of cloth diapers to use, I've loved knitting him wool pants to go over the diapers, I've loved crocheting him sweaters and hats. I've loved going through tiny clothes and imagining how cute they will be on his tiny little body.

My goal is to be content the entire time I'm pregnant. I don't want to get to one day after my "due date" and suddenly start wishing he'd hurry up and get here. I know I won't be pregnant forever. I know he will be arrive and be the sweetest little boy in the world, there is no reason for me to stress about when he arrives.

I wish that people didn't put so much emphasis on baby's arrival. I know it's going to be a HUGE event, an amazing day and we are going to remember it forever. But, pregnancy is a very short period of time, compared to how long you'll be a parent, so why does everyone rush it? And, it's not even the pregnant people themselves who rush it, it's everyone around them. The constant questions about when baby will arrive/ when's the due date. I tell most people the end of March. The actual date doesn't matter because it's an estimate! He may need another week or even two in there for his lungs to be fully developed. And that is fine with me. I'm not going to start trying "natural" induction methods at 39 weeks. And yes, it may mean that I have to be super uncomfortable for two weeks. Oh well! I believe that what is best for my baby is him choosing his own birth date.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on that!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

32 week picture and appointment update

This is me in Boise with some funny looking boots. The white part of them is all fur.

Anyway, my 32 week appoitnment was awesome. My blood pressure was a little high the past few appointments and it's gone back down. We're attributing it to extra water, exercise and prayer! Also, I'm well hydrated as well. We've had some issues with that in the past. Apparently I'm one of those I'm-too-cool-for-64-ounces-of-water-to-keep-me-hydrated types... so, I aim for just over 70 ounces a day. I think it's probably because my work keeps the office at 74 degrees- WHO NEEDS TO BE THAT HOT??? We keep our house just above 60 when we are home, 55 at night and when we are out.

Baby boy was being difficult again so she couldn't get his heart rate. He is head down though. He was hiding behind the placenta and kept moving away from the fetascope. But, with all the moving he's been doing, I'm not too worried about not having a heart rate at this point. He's obvisouly healthy since he spends so much time exploring my ribs with his toes.

I ordered my birth kit this morning! Woo hoo! It was just under $70 and includes all sorts of little things that I could get locally, but would probably take me forever to track down. So, it's way easier to just order it all at once. We, of course, need to make sure we have lots of towels and wash cloths on hand (bought a bunch on clearance already) along with a few other things like snacks for me and for the midwives.

So, I only have one more appointment until the big 36 week one! After 36 weeks I'll be able to deliver at home if I go into labor. Also, at this appointment, both my primary midwife (who I've been meeting with at my house since the beginning) and her backup will come. We'll have all the birth supplies ready to go and we'll show them where they will be kept. Also, we will show them where the bathroom is, where things are in the kitchen, etc. Not that our house is very big... Dave will be at that appointment- the first one he'll have been at since the very first! Well, and the doctor's appointment/ ultrasound- but I don't really count that as a real prenatal appointment.

Yikes... the more I think about what we have to do before then, the more I realize there is to do! We'll also be installing the carseats at 36 weeks. The convertible one will go in the truck and the infant seat will go in the car. That way, if we do need to transfer to the hospital, we can take either vehicle.

OK, I'm going to stop thinking about all the things we have to do before then since I'm at work (working hard obviously) and can't do anything to prepare at the moment!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awesome information about baby wearing

I came across a very interesting article on baby wearing. I can't believe that most newborns are only held an average of 2 and a half hours a day! Dave and I plan to carry baby boy all the time.

You very rarely see infants outside of carseats these days it seems. Dave and I have developed some sort of radar for babies these days. We see them everywhere, but very rarely are they being held.

"Research by the International Chirorpractic Pediatric Association shows that car seats are not the ideal transport for your infant due to restricted postural options which can impact your baby's developing cranium and spine," the article says.

This is the reason we skipped getting the infant car seat (though we will have one that my sister gave us from her baby, it will go in the car so we don't have to move the seat back and forth from the truck all the time.) I know people say they don't want to wake a sleeping baby, but if baby boy is sleeping, I'll take him out, snuggle him into his carrier and hopefully he'll fall back asleep. This is also the reason we are not getting a stroller that can be used for infants. While he's small enough to be easily carried, he will be. Whether we are walking along the river, running errands or even out of town at a mall, he'll be in a carrier or directly in our arms.

Now, not all baby wearing carriers are created equal. The most common carrier I've seen is the Baby Bjorn, which is NOT a good carrier for long term. It causes baby to hang by their pelvis and does not support the baby in a sitting position. There are several structured carriers that do this: Ergo, Scootababy, Boba, Pikkolo, Patatum. We would like to get an Ergo, though I'd prefer to find it used since they are kind of spendy. Otherwise, I will be using wrap-style carriers: Like the Sleepy Wrap, Moby and woven wraps. More than likely, I'll just make the ones I use and vary the fabrics depending on season.

There is a lot of good information in that article. And yes, it's on a baby wearing web site so I'm sure there is a bias, but really, where else would you expect to find information like that? On the let's-all-carry-our-baby-without-ever-touching-them web site?

The portion of the article that talks about why pediatricians don't recommend baby wearing it references a Dr. Watson who, in 1928, said babies would be spoiled if you held them, responded to their crying, kissed, cuddled or rocked them. BABIES CAN'T BE SPOILED! Toddlers can and children can, but they can never be spoiled from too much cuddling or from providing for their needs. He recommended that babies be left alone so they would become independent.

Seriously... what idiot believes that a baby, after being rocked, warm, fed and safe inside the womb for nine months should be able to lay on its back without any human touch and be happy? I would say that witholding affection from a child is emotional abuse and willl not create an independent child.

Apparently this is another hot button issue for me. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Declaring over our pregnancy and birth

Dave and I have been declaring positive things and blessings over this pregnancy and birth since we found out we were pregnant. We've prayed for our safety and health as well as this child's safety and health from the beginning. When fears or worries would creep into my mind, we would pray against those thoughts.

A friend of mine recently loaned me a book called Supernatural Childbirth. Lo and behold, we were doing many of the things suggested in the book already. But, it was a reminder that we should declare those things every day, rather than just when I am stressed about them.

So, I wrote out a few things that are very important to me for the rest of this pregnancy, the labor and our baby. Here are a few of the main things:

I declare a complication free pregnancy for the next two months- normal blood pressure levels, no infections and no more heartburn.
I declare a complication free labor and delivery- baby in the correct position, that my water won't break until the end, that I would not lose an excessive amount of blood.
I declare that we will have a healthy baby- he will breathe with no problems, he will latch on and breastfeed within the first few hours and will be healthy and happy.

Yes, it may sound strange and I know that you can't plan a birth. But, being positive about the future has never hurt anyone. And I believe that God can and will bless my family.

Also, here's my most recent belly shot. 31 weeks!

Right now he's kind of sideways and facing my spine. So, if you could see inside my uterus, you would be looking directly at his butt, which he likes to stick out as far as he can. He's been moving during the day lately, which was unusual before. Today he kicked a lot during church while daddy was preaching.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My blood pressure problems...

So, I don't really have high blood pressure problems. It was a little higher during a couple appointments but that was because I was dehydrated. Now that I've been drinking enough water, my blood pressure is fine.

But, my blood pressure tends to rise when I talk about maternity care in the U.S. and birth and parenting decisions based on misinformation. I've learned during this pregnancy that people seem to think that a pregnant belly (or a babe in arms, I've heard) is an open invitation to tell you what you should or should not be doing/ saying/ feeling/ thinking.

This is the reason that Dave and I have kept a lot of our decisions to ourselves. Most of my friends and family don't know that we are planning a natural birth at home in a birth pool, we will not have the Vitamin K or Hep. B shots at birth, and we won't put the eye ointment on our son. He also will not be circumcised. We plan to have baby sleep in our room, I will breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, we will cloth diaper from the beginning, we will have vaccinations given on a delayed schedule, we will carry our baby in carriers or our arms rather than carry him in the carseat and we will do baby led weaning. Every single one of these decisions is based on research. None of these are based solely on what a doctor or midwife has told me we should do.

The funny thing is, I would never walk up to a pregnant woman who plans on a hospital birth with an epidural and tell her that she is making the wrong choice for her and her baby. I would never tell her horror stories about hospital births (even though I know of MANY), I would never say she was endangering her child's life by choosing a hospital birth. And yet, if I tell someone that I am planning a home birth with a midwife, they feel like it's their place to tell me that it's unsafe, that they knew of a friend of a friend of a friend whose baby died because they were at home, that I am some sort of whackadoo hippy who isn't getting proper prenatal care, etc.

I also wouldn't tell someone that putting their baby in a different room to sleep is cruel. I don't think it's right that parents allow their babies to cry themselves to sleep, but I'm not walking around telling anyone who reads the book Babywise that they are teaching their children to not trust them. But, if I tell someone we plan on cosleeping, I get told my child is going to be spoiled, he'll sleep with us forever, he won't learn to self soothe...

See the problems here? Other expectant moms are able to talk excitedly to anyone and everyone about their birth plans- how they will be getting their membranes stripped a week early, how they'll have a Pitocin drip and then they'll get an epidural when the contractions become too difficult (which, with an induction, can happen very quickly). Or a woman can say that her doctor told her the baby is going to be too big to fit through her pelvis based on an ultrasound, so they scheduled a c-section two weeks early. I can't give my opinion on any of those things because the person would be extremely offended that I would dare question the choices they've made for their birth.

Yet I feel that I can't talk about home birth, natural labor and delivery, delayed cord cutting and spending the first two hours after birth holding my son skin to skin.

Because my choices are not mainstream, I'm apparently fair game for all judgment, ridicule and doubt. This causes my blood pressure to go up!

But you know what? I'm not going to hide my choices anymore. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that what Dave and I have decided to do is best for us and is best for our son. Everyone is allowed to make their own choices based on their research. So, if anyone has problems with my decisions, they are welcome to do the same research I've been doing. If they come up with a different decision - fine, they can go have a baby however they want.

Woo! See, I tend to go off on these topics. It's a good thing I didn't have an appointment today, otherwise my blood pressure would have been up again! But, really, I feel like most women don't even realize they have a choice in their births. They don't know that there are options out there for them. And, if I keep what I have discovered to myself, then it's possible they'll never hear about it. So, maybe, if I share my choices and deal with the doubt and ridicule from most people, maybe one woman will realize that she does have a say over what happens to her body and her baby during birth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

30 weeks and some days survey

How far along: 30 weeks, 3 days

Total weight gain: Still an unknown. I prefer not knowing anyway though I've grown out of a pair of maternity pants, so I know I'm getting bigger!

Maternity clothes: Almost everything.

Sleep: Not too bad. I wake up several times a night to roll over or go to the bathroom. Thankfully I haven't had too many problems getting back to sleep.

Best moment this week: I actually felt his little foot. He was pushing against my side and I could tell where his heel and toes were! So tiny!

Movement: Lots of it! He really rocks around in there.

Food cravings: None really, though I have been eating more lately. Pretty much everything sounds good these days.

Gender: Boy

Labor signs: Definitely none.

Belly button in or out: Still in though much shallower still.

What I miss: Being able to get up quickly.

What I'm looking forward to: Having appointments every two weeks, beginning to really plan for the birth.

Weekly wisdom: Pregnancy makes everyone else super weird. I've had people make the dumbest comments to me. Just because my belly sticks out does not mean you have the right to know what is going on with my body!

Milestones: Baby's lungs are developing more and more and he's getting fatter!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What I've been reading...

I thought I'd post a few of the web sites and books I've been reading to prepare for having this baby.

Our favorite site has been It has short videos (actual videos inside the womb) of baby's development. It was so amazing to watch those early ones and see what had formed that week. Now that baby is bigger, we check it every once in awhile to see when baby is supposed to be able to see light (which he can now!) and when his lungs are getting more mature. They have a lot of 4D ultrasounds of babies. It's amazing how much they move around in there!

My personal favorite site has been I did subscribe recently because I was able to get a free book out of it. I love the articles because they actually encourage parents to follow their instincts rather than just listen to a doctor. I lurk on the boards there as well- so much wonderful, personal experience on those!

I also like Though I checked it out again recently and it's changed a lot. I don't visit it much any more, but there is lots of good information on it.

Another great one is Tons of information about cloth diapers and how to care for them!

On to the books I've been reading. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is a wonderful book that I am SO glad I bought. It's so empowering to be reminded that women's bodies are supposed to be able to do this! There are some great birth stories in there (also some that are a little weird.) Gaskin has been a midwife for years at The Farm. She is a nationally recognized midwife (was interviewed for The Business of Being Born) and is very experienced with natural, out of hospital births.

I am also reading Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. She encourages exercise and yoga during pregnancy to prepare for birth. I haven't been too great at doing the exercise and yoga though... I really need to step that up!

I received Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding when I subscribed to Mothering Magazine. I've been reading that slowly. It seems a little early to be reading about how to breastfeed but I figure it will help to read it now and then I'll remember what it said when I need it! Or at least remember that it was in there and be able to find it again! It is also a great book that explains the common issues women have while breastfeeding and how to combat them early.

I wrote a little in a past post about Pushed by Jennifer Block. It's not a guide to birth but it is an eye opener about maternity care in the United States. I would get SO angry, frustrated, upset and annoyed while reading stories of women who wanted natural births and were forced into inductions, episiotomies, forceps and/ or c-sections. Stories of doctors and nurses who used scare tactics to get women to submit to continuous fetal monitoring (which has been shown in several studies to increase the risk of c-section but not increase the likelihood of a healthy baby). There were women who would say they were refusing a c-section and doctors that ignored them and gave them one anyway. Women who said they did not want an episiotomy (if you don't know what this is, I wouldn't recommend searching through Google images for the answer) and were given one anyway, without their consent.

Dave finally told me I wasn't allowed to read the book before bed because I would get so angry that I'd be up for another hour just venting about it. Also, at one midwife appointment, we were talking about what I'd been reading. I started telling her about the book and how horrible all those stories were. When she took my blood pressure it was WAY higher than normal. She took it again later and it was normal. So, that book definitely raised my blood pressure!

I highly recommend that every woman read that book. It made me simultaneously want to scream at every obstetrician I ever met, picket hospitals and cry for all those women who were violated. It made me think of the women's rights movement and how maternity care has made women no better than cattle in a slaughter house line. Maternity care these days is a GIANT step backwards in women's rights. It made me SO glad that I will be having a home birth with a midwife.

I did get a few other books from the library about natural birth but none of them stick out to me as being wonderful.

Oh, another great resource is The Business of Being Born video. It is available to watch instantly through Netflix if you have that. I believe there are also places online where you can watch it for free. I actually watched it about a year and a half ago because I was home from work and bored. It really opened my eyes to other options about birth. I had Dave watch it when he got home and that was a big reason that he's so open to and looking forward to our natural birth.

So, those are a few things I've been reading/ watching. There is SO much information out there about birth and choices that a couple needs to make about their baby. The saddest thing for me is knowing that so many women never look into the options they have. They simply listen to their doctors and never make an informed decision about tests or procedures done to them or their baby.

Hmm, and now that I look back through this post, I probably should have written a whole separate one for the review on Pushed! That got long.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My baby has a quilt

From his great grandma. My grandma made amazing quilts and she made them for everyone! All her great grandkids got them when they were born. Most of her grandkids had them. She was waiting to start this little one's quilt until after we found out if it was a boy or a girl. Sadly, my grandma passed away two weeks before we knew.

So, while we were cleaning up and going through her things, we found a box of quilt tops she had started and never finished. I claimed one for my baby and just finished it. I am not a quilter though, so I had to be a little creative.

I decided to use a fleece backing so I wouldn't have to put batting in between the layers. So, we chose a green that matched some of the blocks in the quilt. Then it sat in my craft room for a few months before I decided I needed to tackle it.

So, the other night, I brought it out and started pinning. Then, I took all the pins out and repinned. Then I took the pins out again and stared at it. I could not get the edges to look right. The blocks went all the way to the edge, so if I folded the fleece over, it covered some of the blocks. It looked funny if I had only part of the corner block covered so I would need to bring it over at least an inch. But, I didn't like how that looked. I thought of getting a silky binding for it, but that would have the same problem covering the corner block.

Then, I decided that I would just serge the thing together! I had some blue thread in the machine from another project I had just finished and blue would match really well. I went for it, even though I was a little scared about the outcome...

Thankfully, I love it!

Here it is with the fleece backing.

Here are close up shots of the serging at the edges. I think it's a great baby quilt and I'm very glad my baby boy will have a little something from his great grandma.

Unpaper towels!

I finally made unpaper towels! I inherited a serger from my grandma at the end of October. Along with lots of different types of material. I found a large piece of white cotton and a very old flour sack that I cut up for the unpaper towels.

I have made a lot of cloth wipes for baby with the serger already but was just using the white thread that was already on the machine. If you've ever seen the threading of a serger, it is pretty intimidating! I finally got up the courage to do so, with a tip from an expert sergist (not really a word, I'm sure) to tie the new thread onto the old thread and run the machine until it gets to the needle and then finish threading by hand. It only took me about 20 minutes to finally get it all rethreaded that way. I'm sure it would have taken three times as long had I tried to do it all from the beginning!

Anyway, these are my towels, all stacked neatly next to my toaster and cookbooks. The sink is to the left. As you can see, the paper towel holder hangs above them. It is now empty because we just ran out of paper towels. I made these things just in time! They kind of double as napkins too since we usually ended up using paper towels for napkins. I plan on making some nicer napkins for us at some point but for now, these things work really well!

I ended up with about 20 I think. They are probably 10" by 10" and so very absorbent! I was pretty surprised at how well they work at picking up little spills and things. Now, my next task is to get a little basket to throw the dirty ones in.