Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baby Addiction, it's a real thing

Once again, I have dropped off the face of the Internet. This time it's not because of illness (Everyone in the house is healthy but let's just keep that between us. If the universe hears about this we will probably all come down with the black plague.) and it's not due to a lack of potential topics. I've contemplated several blog posts...I just haven't written any.

This might clue you into why.

Here's a snapshot of my typical weekday*:
Get up at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m.
Drink coffee in the shower (Yes, I'm serious. How else do people function at 5 a.m.?!?)
Eat breakfast
Nurse the baby
Help get the baby ready to go to the Childcare Center
Work Pump Work Pump Work
Rush to pick up the baby the minute I'm done working, usually forgetting to eat lunch
Play with the baby
Sneak in some chores
Eat dinner
Put the baby to bed
Talk about the baby
Sleep (this starts embarrassingly early because 5 a.m. you guys!)
Nurse the baby
Sleep some more
Repeat

*Two days a week R watches him at home while I work. On those days I eat lunch and pump less. I don't want anyone to accuse me of misrepresenting.

In order to fully appreciate this schedule, I should note that I work between 6 a.m.(ish) and approximately 1:30 p.m.. The baby is at the Childcare Center from 7:30 until I pick him up. He could stay there until 5.

What does this mean? It means that I could eat lunch. I could have some alone time. I could write a blog post. I could run errands or clean my house while my child is safe and happy and being doted over by a group of women we know, trust, and are educated in early childhood development.  Also, his dad goes and visits him at least once a day, and sometimes more often. PLUS,we already pay for that whole time period anyway.

But I don't do any of that. If I have to run errands, I usually do it with the Little Guy in tow. Why? Because I am completely addicted to my baby. I cannot get enough of this kid. He changes so fast and I don't want to miss it.

Is there some sort of 12 step program I should be looking into?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Movin' and A Shakin' and A Coughin' and A Wheezin'

I just read my last post. Mmmhmrph. Hrmph. Ha. Ha hahahahaha! BWAHAHAHhahahahah!

Past self, you so silly.

Since that post SO much has happened. Let's recap, shall we?

I caught the baby's cold and it was horrible.* I shudder to think how he felt because I was all achy throat and throbbing head and painful joints. And snot. LOTS of snot.

*But wait, you ask, didn't you say you'd already gotten a cold this season? Twice in fact? I did. Fuck you very much for asking. Moving on.

Lo and behold, it got worse. The baby did, in fact, NOT have a cold. He had croup. My poor sick baby.

And then R caught it and we spent a miserable day on the couch. Except for the baby, who ironically was super chill and happy because we finally figured out how to get him to sleep. So he's been taking regular naps, and extra naps, and sleeping for hours at a time.** One baby-related challenge met (for now).

**Except the night the pediatrician had us give him prednisone, which has the unfortunate side effects of increased hunger and trouble sleeping. That was a super awesome night.

The Little Guy continues to be a snotty mess, is sometimes a bit clingy, but is mostly a smiley drool covered mess.

Oh, and  by the by, his first tooth broke through today. And the second one is a white line under the skin and will probably be through by tomorrow. So lah dee dah. My baby is gearing up for feats of carnivorism. Or, if I'm very unlucky, cannibalism.

Finally, he learned to roll over about a week and a half ago. He is now practicing to be the world's youngest paratrooper, ready to roll off any shoulder or lap at a moments notice. Trust me, I'm seriously considering getting him a tiny parachute. He also super enjoys his new found ability to say "screw you" to tummy time. Which is ironic, since he loves tummy time now that he has mastered his head. But roll him over and there's a 50/50 chance he just keeps on rolling. The rest of the time he attempts to claw forward, ineffectively kicking and squirming, because taking a moment to bask in ones ability to keep ones head at a level 90 degrees off the floor is for slackers.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Call this whatever you want

I realize that I haven't been posting as often. **stares blankly into the distance for unknown length of time**

You see, how do I say this...I haven't been sleeping. **more serious staring** **notes it's raining outside**

Maybe I mentioned this already? Uh, I'm not sure. I can't seem to remember. I can't remember because, and I want you to pay special attention to this next part, I have NOT been sleeping lately.

The Little Guy got a cold. I don't remember how long ago. A long time. Maybe back when there were dinosaurs. I vaguely remember that he used to sleep. But the f*#$ing cold moved into his sinuses and took up residence. Otherwise he's fine except for one minor detail: he can't breath through his nose.

Funny to think that you have to learn to breath through your mouth. Before having a baby I always assumed you had to learn to breath through your nose. That was based solely on the high number of mouth breathers I've encountered through the years and not on actual facts/thoughts/something else probably but I don't remember.

Anyway, the baby can't sleep lying down. For over a week now. We have to let him sleep in his little rumble seat thingy, which I'm sure it expressly says not to do, but f-you instructions we have to sleep sometime. It has a harness. We buckle him in. It's fine.

I mean, yeah, it's a huge parenting failure because our baby will probably never want to sleep in his crib or pack and play ever, ever again, but you know, it's fine. It's the only way I can get more than 45 minutes of sleep in a row, so it's fine.

He's been spending a lot of time in the steamy bathroom. Also we have a humidifier going all the time, and if you leave the room it's running in and walk back in you feel like there might be dinosaurs lurking in the mist under tables and behind the piles of laundry.

So, we had gotten used to the no sleep. Well, we had succumbed to a kind of numb stupor of acceptance anyway. BUT THEN, haha, this next bit is funny, he started teething. Oh yes. Funny isn't it!?! He's all of 4 freaking months old and now my nipple is a chew toy and he's running a mild fever and he's not happy right around dark-thirty. We used to call that bedtime, but that's a misnomer these days. Gotta move with the times, my man. Or woman. Or whoever.

....wait...what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the fuckfestival that's happening to my poor baby's head.

And let me tell you, during the day he's still mostly happy, plus he's super adorable and I love him to death. But at night it's dark and he's just this grasping, pinching, biting, screaming black hole of hunger that occasionally coos or babbles in his sleep - just often enough to remind us of his cuteness so we don't abandon him to his crappy attitude, swollen gums, and snuffles.

So, you see, there was a reason I stopped posting for a while. Let's hope everything returns to "normal" soon. By normal I mean some sort of daily rhythm that involves sleeping for several hours at a time. Please let it be soon.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A bit awkward

I am pretty sure my post Preggo Love, which is about my hubby loving my belly when I was pregnant, and is as innocent as a post can be when it ultimately centers around pregnancy (you know, since the underlying cause isn't very innocent), was found by someone searching for pregnancy porn.  Now I feel a little dirty. But only a little. Mostly I LOL'd about how disappointed someone was for the 2.5 sec they looked at my blog before getting back to their Google search.

Thanks Keyword Search Term info for lightening the mood.

That's all. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Feeding the Beast. The beginning.

Ugh. You guys, I got sick again. And so did the baby (poor sniffly, adorable baby).
A friend recently told me that once the baby gets sick that the whole family passes it back and forth and "you're never healthy ever again."

So far, only two of us have had the same virus and one has been spared...so as you can see, I'm still in denial.

Illness, continued lack of sleep,* work deadlines, impending winter (you know, yard clean up, swapping out wardrobes, time consuming dribble), family visits annnnd BOOM. That was my head exploding. Whatevs.

*R, "I never thought I'd look back at two months and think of that as the golden age of sleep."

Let's talk about food prep. R and I are very into taking the foods we get from the Farmer's Market and saving them for winter. We do this with the food from our own garden as well, but this year we basically practiced survival of the fittest in the garden. Because the baby takes priority over all things.

And in that vein, we didn't stay on top of our Farmer's Market winter prep nearly as well as usual. What we are prepping is largely baby food. Who'd a thunk, right?

Preparing and storing fruits and veggies now means that we'll have organic, nutritious food ready when he starts solids right smack in the middle of December.

So far we have canned pear sauce and apple sauce. Froze pear juice that we can later dilute with water. We have chopped/blanched/vacuum sealed carrots and parsnips. I currently have a basket of German butterball potatoes awaiting mashing and freezing. There are also an acorn squash and a couple of sugar pumpkins hanging out, meekly awaiting slaughter.

Of course, preparing for our little guy to eat solids has kicked off a new area of research (Surprise! Let's talk about Research Topic # 375! Let's start with Appendix B, as in Boring Your Socks Off, shall we?).

Traditionally, people start their babies off with rice cereal. I know that this is what our pediatrician will recommend because she mentioned it at his two month visit. Spoiler: we will not be feeding our baby rice cereal. Double spoiler and addendum: I am not trying to shame people who choose to feed their babies rice cereal; do what you damn well please.

It turns out that rice has a very high level of arsenic. The effects of arsenic vary, depending on exposure and the type of arsenic compound. We are all exposed to arsenic all the time, I'd just like to keep my son's exposure as low as possible. So, no rice cereal.

As I started researching rice cereal, it turns out there is no actual reason to start infants on grains at all. It's one of those "that's what we've always done" kind of things...except it isn't. It's actually a fairly recent trend and it turns out that there may be some very good reasons to delay exposures to grains. I say may be because I still need to verify what I've read.**

**That the production of amylase, the enzyme needed to break down grain, isn't produced in high quantities until after one year of age. To summarize, feeding a baby grains before that time is hard on the digestive system and may increase the likelihood of food allergies. Again, I am still planning on verifying this in academic, peer-reviewed publications (AKA don't believe everything you read on the internet).

At any rate, it seems like grains are recommended because they are 'iron fortified'. I can just make sure to feed my baby other foods that are high in iron, like meat or kale. So there's a good chance the little guy isn't going to be carb loading for quite a while.

I am also looking into baby led weaning. Basically, that's not pureeing everything and letting a child actually chew by feeding them things like steamed chunks of veggies. Based on my stockpile of fruit sauces, I am not planning on screaming any baby led weaning war cries. I'm thinking that we'll incorporate some of these practices, which is why the carrots and parsnips we prepped are sitting in our freezer in pieces rather than pureed.

This is just the first of what I'm sure will turn into many a ramblin' soliloquy about baby food and nutrition. I suppose I should also mention that the little guy is going to be exclusively breastfed until at least 6 months of age and that his primary nutrition will be breast milk until he's a year...barring some freak milk drought or something.

So join me, won't you, as I start my nerdy, hippy hybrid journey that I'm thinking of calling Feeding the Beast.
...
That's brilliant.
I'm totally using that. I'm changing the title of this post right now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sick and Tired, Literally

It's been 16 months since I was last sick.

Let's compare then and now, shall we?

Then:
Cons:
A blown ear drum thanks to several miserable hours on a plane while sick.*
SO much mucus!
Miserable lingering death.

*Seriously, the length and extreme discomfort of this particular malady may have made it worse than the 17 med-free hours I spent trying to birth my baby.

Pros:
Long, uninterrupted hours spent watching horror movies, playing Resident Evil and reading horror...I guess I liked other people suffering or maybe just the fact that zombies at least looked worse than I did.

Now:
Cons:
NO sleep. The little guy is experiencing a growth spurt, fighting off this virus, and going through crazy bursts of motor skillz development. Read: the baby has decided food trumps sleep. I now spend much of my night nursing and longing for the time when he only woke once a night.

Pros:
Adorable baby who is learning to keep his head supported, rolling on his side, making cute noises. Totally trumps blowing away zombies!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Growth Spurt of Epic Proportions

Have I mentioned that my baby is big? Like really big?

He wasn't born that way. He was a bit over average in the weight department and around the 75th percentile in length when he was born. Quite a bit larger than I had expected, given my diminutive stature, but my husband is around 5'10". Also, we both have male ancestors - my grandfather and his great-grandfather - that are famous in our respective family circles for their height. So, above average baby. Go us.

But then...

Our baby kept growing. And growing. Much faster than other babies his age.

Now, at 3 months old, he is nearing the 60th percentile in weight and the 97th in length! He's grown 2 inches in a month!!

He has been going through a growth spurt (yeah, all that growing he's done up until now was the slow and steady kind). Rather than waking once a night, he's been waking every 3 hours to eat. It's adorable and totally exhausting. Adorable because he doesn't want to be awake, but he's hungry. He makes these plaintive hungry noises from his bassinet*, and when R brings him to me he hungrily nurses, but never opens his eyes. As soon as he's eaten his fill (which can take 30 minutes or more!), he's completely out. Repeat every 3 hours - thus the exhaustion thing.

*He totally doesn't fit in that bassinet anymore. There is discussion about putting him in a pack and play in our room until we are ready to transition him to a crib. And here I thought he'd be sleeping in that bassinet until he was at least 4 months old. *le sigh*

Between last Saturday and the Saturday before he gained nearly a full pound and the growth spurt is still going!

On the plus side, his ravenous hunger and accompanying growth has allowed me to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. So. There's that. Also, I'm developing some pretty serious arm muscles.

Soon. (source)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why you may or may not ever see my baby

I've really been struggling with the idea of how much of my child I will share with you, Oh Mighty Internet.

I really want to tell you his name, because it is awesome and the very best name ever. It is. Seriously. R and I had settled on it years before he was born, and (this is the best part) we kept it a secret. No one knew until he was born*, and we are continually getting praise for it. But I also don't want to share it because I am paranoid that soon everyone will be using it, destroying the special, unique snowflakiness of it. Also, internet stalkers. Trolls. Humanity and its need to piss on everything. The last thing I want is to read a bunch of comments that say things like "that name is crap," or "I came up with a horribly mean twist on that name you never thought of."

Also, let's not forget that I write an anonymous blog. So sharing my son's name would be the weirdest type of hypocritical.

So...I won't be sharing his name.

*Note: Keeping the name of your fetus a secret is the very best way to completely piss off your mother and mother-in-law. Fact.

I really want to show you pictures! He is adorable! Seriously. Cutest baby ever! (Of course, your baby is also the cutest baby ever; I know how this works.) But there are creepy people out there that steal pictures and pass them off as their own children. Did you read about the woman who found a picture of her son on a cancer blog...some creepy teenager pretended to be a mom, made up a kid with cancer, and then stole pictures from this woman's blog and tried to pass off her son as a child dying of terminal cancer just because. That's right. There was no other reason. There are other similar stories. People are just...weird. That's the nice way of putting it.

Also, someday soon we will be able to do a photo search on Google. Technically there already is one, but it's pretty limited. Someday though, my son's friends will be able to scan a picture of him and then search the internet for other pictures. And that option won't be limited to his friends and the purpose behind it may not always be as petty as finding naked bath pictures to tease him with.

So, I likely won't be posting photos of him. Though my resolve waivers here because he's adorable and you'd be a happier person if you got to see his big, toothless grin.

I want to share humorous anecdotes, like the time(s) he peed in his own ear, but I also want to protect his privacy. In the same way I avoid posting too much about my husband, I feel the need to respect that my son is an individual and not just an extension of myself. BUT I love reading about other people's children.

Basically, I'm still wrestling with it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let Me Ramble About Breastfeeding


I expected breastfeeding to be hard. I was prepared for a low supply. And I was committed to exclusively breastfeeding if at all possible.

We lucked out. Our hospital is Registered as Baby Friendly, this is an accreditation earned by hospitals that comply with factors that increase breastfeeding success: initial skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby, babies and moms room together (they only have a NICU nursery), all nurses have some lactation training, there are on-call lactation consultants, etc. I'm sure these measures went a long way to helping me and my Little Guy form a successful breastfeeding relationship...that and his insatiable hunger. 

As I have disclosed, I had a c-section. But they still brought him to me almost immediately, up to my face while I was still being stitched up. I got to nuzzle against him, marvel at his big, open eyes. He, in turn, tried to suck on my face.

They brought him to me while I was in the recovery room before he was bathed. The nurse laid him on my belly and he performed a perfect, and speedy, breast crawl. I watched his little head bob up and down as he centered himself before latching tightly to me. It was amazing.

Later, in our room, R brought him to me between diaper change after diaper change to suck greedily. We experienced his angry cry the very first night when, after 4 straight hours of nursing every 20 minutes, I tried to prevent him from going to the breast, trying instead to jiggle him to sleep. Like I said, first angry cry.

During the first several weeks, he cluster fed in stretches as long as 7 hours. He was only a week old when I ventured to a breastfeeding support group with the ends of my nipples completely raw. His latch was pretty good, though some minor adjustments in my hold helped us both. By day 11, I could nurse without pain (mostly, and most of the time, let's not get all uppity).

One of the things the lactation consultant there suggested was to allow him to lay on me and latch himself. He excels at this. He actually prefers to do it himself, and will often lunge for a nipple while giving an impatient grunt.

In truth, my road to breastfeeding has been a relatively easy one. Rather than low supply, I have been "gifted" with over supply and a torrential let down. Initially, he would often choke, sputter, pull off (or worse, bite down and rear back as his need to breath competed with his desire to suckle). Most memorable is the guilt-inducing memory of milk actually erupting from his nose. Again, the breastfeeding support group helped me, and I was shown ways to modify my hold to avoid drowning him.

I leak a lot, so breast pads are my constant, and hated, companion. If he gets distracted and pops off, milk sprays across the room. If I haven't fed him recently enough, I'll start dripping when I get out of the shower - and I'm not talking about water. I caught half an ounce in a bottle one time after I got out of the shower. Being partially engorged is my baseline.*

*Speaking of engorgement: the sight of my swollen breasts when my milk came in was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced! Also, I can attest to the effectiveness of cabbage leaves in reducing the OMG-levels of swelling. 

Part of the reason for my abundance is his feeding pattern: every hour, except for the long stretches of sleep he has at night (already as long as 7 1/2 hours!!) or the occasional 2 hour nap during the day.

However, as the bags and bottles of milk stack up in the freezer, ready to accompany him to school (or allow mommy to have the occasional alcoholic beverage), I'm grateful that my body is so efficient. He's at the Childcare Center today. In one pumping session, I got over 10 ounces.

The only thing I really hate about breastfeeding is that there are times I can't just hold my baby. My closeness makes him hungry. Whereas his daddy can cuddle him during those times, if I try to just hold him he works himself into a tiny fury. The flip side, of course, is that mommy has the ability to make everything better; it's like keeping magic in your bra. Well, different magic than what you had in there before.

P.S. I thought of one other thing I hate about breastfeeding: people actually referring to me as a cow. The most egregious breech of etiquette came from a lady at the Farmer's Market who, upon asking how much weight he'd gained since birth, smiled and said, "You are such a good cow!" I still delight in fantasies that involve slapping her.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Return to Work

Yes, the title is correct. I have returned to work. Part-time. 

It wasn't as hard as I was worried it would be, since I had only been away from him two times...and that was only in the days leading up to my return to work because, jeeze, it might be a good idea to have a test run!! 

He can go to an AWESOME, AMAZING, Childcare Center run by the local college three days a week. I say can go because I am hoping he only goes twice a week, most of the time. Then dad watches him Tuesdays and Thursday mornings and I get him Thursday afternoons and most Fridays. 

So far so good, except, well, let's just keep this between ourselves, okay? It turns out that I have a hard time paying attention to work because I just don't care as much. Work has been downgraded from WORK to work in it's level of importance in my life. Maybe that will change as time goes on. Who knows?

Then there is the big distraction: pumping. When I'm around, my baby eats every hour. Read that again. Every hour. Sometimes he'll go an hour and a half. He sleeps great at night, so I'm not complaining too loudly, but trying to replicate that same eating schedule with pumping is insane.

That said, it's Tuesday and I hear the Little Guy starting to cry for boob.
I'll discuss the leaky highs and chaffed lows of breastfeeding in my next post. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Apparently I have SO much to say about cloth diapering a newborn

Okay, so, as is usual these days, I have limited time to get all this out. Dang baby, he's really a time suck. Good thing he is so freaking adorable! I just can't get enough of the little guy!

Ahem. What was I saying? Oh yeah, cloth diapering a newborn.

Well, we exclusively used cloth diapers since our arrival home from the hospital when the little guy was 1 1/2 days old.

While pregnant, I did a bunch of research on cloth diapers (shocking, I know), which started out here. I love this blog, and Amalah has done several posts on cloth diapering, which gave me a good place to spring board into the turbulent waters of cloth diapering. Later on, I went here to read reviews on different brands of diapers. And, of course, I read blog after blog about which type of diaper is best and when and why*.

*I cringe a little when admitting that I relied on blogs and opinions, but there just isn't a lot of hard and fast facts about butt-wear.

OK. So, this was the plan:
We bought 16 newborn fitteds. Fitteds are similar to disposables, in that they are made for babies within a certain size range. Most newborn fitteds are made for babies between 5 and 10 pounds; though that differs a bit depending on brand.

Speaking of brand, 13 of our fitteds came from this site on Etsy. I can't say enough good things about these diapers. We had zero blow outs. They were adjustable, the gussets kept everything in (and believe you me, that's amazing!), and they have a snap down for the umbilical cord. They weren't overly bulky. Each diaper comes with a doubler (that means an extra pad to soak everything up), which we used all the time. We also used these fleece inserts, which help wick the moisture away from the skin and into the diaper faster (also, they keep the diapers from getting stained during the gross meconium stage in the beginning). These diapers are made from synthetic material, so they were starting to develop a smell, which will happen with any diaper eventually. Our little guy wore these for 2 months before growing out of them. (I still need to strip them...that's where you wash them more rigorously to remove any build up, which mostly comes from laundry detergent.)

Our other 3 fitteds were these ecoposh. I'm not going to lie, they are expensive. BUT, totally worth it! We are still using these, and our little one is in the 80th percentile for length and is approx. 12 pounds. They are mega absorbent and have become our go-to night diaper.

The other type of diaper we used were prefolds. Prefolds are like the old school cloth diapers that are drawn on every cartoon baby you've ever seen. They require that you learn how to fold them (there are lots of ways and lots of sites and videos that will show you how, just type in "prefold" into a search engine and pick a site). You also have to pin them, though now everyone uses a snappi (seriously, just buy a packet of snappis). I was a little hesitant, but all the positive feedback convinced me that this was something we should try. I'm glad we did.

We bought organic cotton Cloth-eez prefolds. When I purchased them, I bought a whole package deal from Green Mountain Diapers. It looks like they aren't offering those now, but maybe they will come back. And, if not, they at least provide you a list of what to buy, which some of you might find helpful. The package came with 12 newborn prefolds, 12 small prefolds, snappis, and a couple covers. He wore the newborn prefolds for roughly 2 months. During that time we used the small prefolds as burp cloths. Then we sunned the newborns (it gets the stains out) and are using them as burp cloths now that he's wearing the smalls.*

*Note: Prefolds are not the most glamorous burp clothes, but they are the best. Seriously, the best. Even if you decided you hate them as diapers (you won't but let's talk hypothetically), they are worth buying as burp cloths for their size and absorbency. You'll need at least a dozen burp cloths anyway, because you are constantly washing half of them and the other half are lying around the house in strategic locations.

The important thing to know about fitteds and prefolds is that you have to use a waterproof cover over them. Waterproof covers can be used several times between washes as long as they don't get poop on them - thus, the importance of appropriately fitting diapers and why we chose to use fitteds so often. Covers will get damp on the inside, but that side goes back on against the absorbent fitted or prefold, so it's fine. Also, you can wipe the inside of the cover between diapers, or swap out covers to let the used one dry.

We have 3 rumparoo covers. Again, they are expensive, but they work really well, fit over all our different diapers, and keep everything contained. We have two other waterproof covers we got from our Green Mountain package deal: one of the covers works great for us, the other not so much - but I think that depends on the size and shape of your baby.

Also, I purchased several wool covers of different sizes from Etsy. Mostly, those purchased were based on price and overall cuteness.

Here's the run down on wool covers: you lanolize the wool cover so it is waterproof; wool is anti-microbial, so you only have to wash them if they get poop on them; wool is way more breathable than waterproof covers so it helps air out the naughty bits, which is especially nice in the summer; they are so freaking cute! The downside is that you only use a given wool cover for approximately 3 consecutive diapers before you need to swap it out so it can thoroughly dry. Also, though washing and lanolizing is pretty easy, it requires soaking for several hours and then drying for several more hours...so it takes a while. Also, my dogs were initially really interested in the smell of the lanolized wool, so they kept trying to sniff the baby's bum. Which was just weird.

So, our initial newborn stash consisted of:

  • 16 fitteds
  • 12 newborn prefolds and 3 snappis
  • 5 waterproof covers
  • 2 wool covers


Plus:

  • Fleece inserts (a ton because my husband loves them)
  • Approximately 1 bajillion flannel wipes
  • Homemade wipe solution (see this website for possibilities, but remember that many essential oils affect hormones or are a synthetic hormone, usually estrogen, and you'll be putting this on your baby's genitals; we chose to go with the apricot oil for this reason as it doesn't mimic any hormone)
  • Wet bags (we use these instead of a diaper pail and then toss them in the wash)


We also had 6 one-size pockets. One-size means that the diaper is adjustable and supposedly can fit a baby from birth to potty training. This is a lie (which is why I don't count them into my newborn stash). Everyone I know who has tried to put a newborn in a one-size has dealt with icky leaks of frustrating grossness. There are supposedly brands that can adjust down small enough, but then the diaper is comically huge and none of the newborn clothes fit over it, requiring you to dress your baby in clothes that are so big they resemble sacks. I recommend just buying newborn fitteds and using the one-size when they are older. Your call.

A pocket is a diaper that has a place to stuff soakers in, so you can make the diaper more absorbent. Soakers are like doublers, except a doubler sits on top of the interior and a soaker actually goes on the inside of the diaper. Both are extra material to make the diaper more absorbent.

Our little guy started wearing these one-size pockets at 1 1/2 months (roughly 10 pounds). They fit great, but he pees so much that we do occasionally have leaks. We can put in more soakers, but then the diaper is hard to tighten down appropriately. So right now these diapers require changing him more often. When he gets a bit bigger, and we can adjust the rise (that's the height from groin to belly button), that should fix the problem. The nice thing about these diapers are once they are ready (soakers inserted and the rise adjusted to fit him), they go on like a disposable, so people unfamiliar with cloth diapers can use them. They don't require a cover. Also, these use APLIX instead of velcro; it's just like velcro, but it's magic and only sticks to itself so it doesn't ruin clothes. Also, it super sticks to itself, so a baby/toddler would have a hard time taking off a diaper independently and smearing poo on the wall.

So, how do we like cloth diapering? We LOVE it. Me and my husband (and my husband changes more diapers than I do, because he's good like that). It means one extra load of laundry a day. It means more folding of laundry, and the need to plan ahead, especially if you are cloth diapering while traveling. But here are the benefits:
NO diaper rash.
Not a single blow out (we have had the occasional leak or wicking, but poop has NEVER gotten out of a diaper...and as a breastfed baby, he only goes every 5-6 days, so when he does it's poopaggedden!).
We can customize based on where we are going, how hot/humid it is, what he's wearing, etc.

Then, of course, there are the 'traditional' benefits of cloth. There are no chemicals up against my baby's scrotum. This is more environmentally sound. We plan on using these same diapers for our next baby, so this is going to save us SO much money!

SO *takes deep breath* that's how and why we cloth diapered our newborn. Got questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to address them.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Promised Birthing Story

Ah, Internet, have you missed me? I know it's been forever a while since I posted something. Kind of a bait and switch maneuver, I know - I write and write about my pregnancy than have a baby and completely disappear. Ha ha, suckas! Just kidding. 

So, I had a baby. Let us talk a little bit about how that went.

In preparation for the birth, R and I attended Bradley Method classes, did perinial massage for 8 weeks, practiced positions, etc. etc. etc. for our natural birth. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. There were days filled with escalating contractions that just...stopped. So we waited more. Two weeks past the due date I agreed to be induced.

Here's how that went in a nutshell:

A little strip was inserted up near my cervix around 8pm Sunday night. By 7 am I was declared 'officially' in labor because I was having regular, strong contractions, even though I was only dilated to 2 1/2 cm and about 70% effaced. At that point I agreed to have my water broke*.

*SO gross and my least favorite thing. Even worse than the intravenous penicillin that I had to have because I was Group B Strep positive, and that crap hurts!

By noon my contractions were started to space out. I was dilated to 3 cm. I was still 70% effaced. I agreed to pitocin.

Fast forward through 12 more hours of contractions, roughly 2 min apart, with no pain meds. I was now dilated to 3 cm and was 80% effaced.

The baby had done wonderful. No distress whatsoever. BUT risks and no progress. And no pain meds. That part wasn't horrible until about hour 16 of labor. At that point, my reserves were waning and I was getting a bit discouraged.

So...cesarean.

It turns out that the little guy had turned around and was sunny side up (OP). He wasn't budging. That was why my contractions had stopped so many times in the previous week. My uterus was like, "Dude, this isn't working. I'm gonna take a break and try again later."

Here's how I feel about things:
1) I think the doctors were hung up on the OMG GIANT BABY verdict from the biophysical and weren't looking at other factors. Kinda pissed about that. Side Note: He was above average (7 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches long) but not unreasonably so.
2) The relaxation I learned in Bradley Method classes totally worked. I was disappointed that I was hooked up to machines, and that contributed to tiring because it limited my mobility some (though I was on a remote unit and was not confined to bed).
3) The little guy came out 100% awake and ready to eat because no pain meds. Definitely glad of that.
4) My recovery was super duper fast. I was only in the hospital for 36 hours afterwards and I was hiking 2 weeks out. Also, no tears and no incontinence (I've heard some nasty stories from my cohort!).
5) I live in a state that makes VBACs illegal (small government my sweet vagina!). That makes a c-section worse somehow, though I don't know if I want a VBAC.

So, that's that.

I have to go feed my ravenous offspring. I promise not to disappear for so long again...at least in the near future.**

** I have NO time to proof read. So judge gently.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You'll have to wait some more

So many posts to write, so little time. I promised to write about the birth, which was nothing like what I hoped it would be but that was okay because it gave me this amazing little person. I promised to write about breastfeeding, which was also nothing like I expected but has sustained my baby -hell, it's done more than that; he went from 7 lbs 13oz to 10 lbs in a month! I promised to write about cloth diapers, which has been easier than I expected and I have recommendations out the wazoo (spoiler, go buy these newborn fitteds, I can't recommend them enough https://www.etsy.com/transaction/102490049?ref=fb2_tnx_title). I want to tell you about how great my husband has been, how this baby has filled out our relationship. I want to tell you about my ever evolving body (down 26 lbs at one month and unable to fit in my clothes). I want to brag about my baby.

But right now I don't have time for any of that. I am currently typing one handed* while I hold a sleeping, snoring miracle...what an arm workout!

*Hark, my typing skillz are crazy impressive!


I am sorry to keep you waiting. Those of you who are wanting to hear these stories.
But not very sorry.
I'm pretty busy, and pretty happy about it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Things I didn't know about labor and post-pregnancy

Breaking your water, rupturing membranes, whatever you want to call it, it's gross. I was under the assumption that your water broke, there was a gush of fluid, and that was that. But it doesn't stop there. It keeps coming because your body keeps making it. It's basically like getting to pee your pants over and over again. Like I said, gross.

A lot of people will reach up your vagina. Progress needs to be checked. Even if you are trying to keep exams to a minimum, a lot more fingers will be inside you than you'd probably realized. I would recommend doing perineum massage for that reason alone.

Time is meaningless. During labor, after labor, time loses its normal rhythm. It stretches and contracts in odd ways. The time we spent in the hospital after the baby was born seems like days, maybe even a week, but was only 36 hours.

Stretch marks. I thought that the stretch marks you had when you were pregnant were the total sum of stretch marks. I even thought some of those might disappear or shrink when the pregnancy swelling reduced. WRONG. SO very very wrong. The stretch marks you can see while pregnant are just the tip of the iceberg, and the rest of the iceberg is submerged in bloat. As you get smaller after the baby is born, and the water recedes, those jagged red icebergs are exposed. The small cluster of stretch marks I had on my upper thighs while pregnant have been befriended by the ring of stretch marks I now have all across my upper thigh and inside thigh and they now rise to meet the patch of stretch marks on my hips that have grown darker since the baby's arrival.
I'm not that upset that I have stretch marks. I've come to terms with it quite a while ago. But I feel like I was lied to. Like my body threw me a nasty surprise party - SURPRISE! We got you more stretch marks!

Joint pain. I thought that would end with the pregnancy, but what I failed to realize was that my joints were way more loose and out of whack than I thought. And as the relaxin reduces throughout your body, your joints ache as they slowly get pulled back in place. More than two weeks out and my shoes don't fit yet (yep, not all of that was swelling) and I still can't wear my wedding ring.

Breastfeeding. Where do I begin? I think I'll do a whole post on my personal experience, which hasn't been horrible, but did present some surprising little gifts of its own. Anyway, some general things I didn't know beforehand about breastfeeding*:
1) it is messy! You drip, leak, and gush, and that's not even counting what the baby is doing. Get out of the shower and you may leak. Bend down and you might notice a puddle below you. Adjust your bra and BAM! wet spot. I took a nap and woke up in the middle of a small lake because I had soaked through not one but two breast pads, my bra, my shirt, my comforter, my blanket, and my sheets. Good times.
2) you need a specialized wardrobe. I knew that. Rather, I thought I knew that, but I totally underestimated, well, everything. I have the right bras in the right quantity, but my newly ballooned balloons don't even fit into most of my clothes. The clothes they do fit into usually restricts access, which is very important these days. So, baby = yet another wardrobe.
3) a complete loss of modesty. While in the hospital, approximately 20 people saw my swollen, stretch marked boobs. And I totally didn't care. At least 3 women I do not know touched my breast(s) to help me adjust my latch, and it was more like getting help moving furniture than a 'bad touch.' And when the photographer came to our home for the newborn photo session, I started nursing - and I'm not yet a pro so much boob was flashed - right in front of her without a second thought. Only afterwords did I think to ask R if I should have been more discreet (for the record, he said she was probably used to it).

*Note: I knew a lot about breastfeeding. I've done research for WIC on ways to increase breastfeeding in certain populations, I've attended lactation classes, I've watched many of my friends and relatives breastfeed, and this was stuff NObody thought to mention.

Taking the baby out. We started taking our baby out fairly early. It's June, the weather is nice, it isn't cold or flu season, and I don't let strangers touch him, so that's totally okay. Seriously, our pediatrician says so. But not everyone agrees. Some people are fascinated to see him, some think  its totally normal, and then there are people who give you death stares because he's too new to be outside. One lady even told me that she waited 6 weeks before leaving the house with her baby.

I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but I need to go and see about that breastfeeding thing again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Making a Baby: Mission Complete

Well, it finally happened. We have a baby! He's beautiful and lively, just as predicted.

The benefit of having a newborn that spent 2 extra weeks cooking (2 weeks you guys!!) is also the major drawback - he's alert. As in, he's now been awake and looking around for the past 2 hours. Fortunately, he's a happy little guy (so far). He only cries when he has gas or he hasn't been fed fast enough; rooting and lip smacking lasts approximately 30 seconds before becoming a pissed off scream that we have dubbed the Strangled Billy Goat*. Other than that, he's quiet and easily calmed.

*Note: Other noises that we have come to know and love include: The Hulk, My Little Broney (R hates that I named it that, but it totally stuck), The Bullfrog, and The Machine Gun. I've been told by several reputable sources that I need to record these sounds ASAP before they disappear. My favorite is The Hulk, which represents frustration/impatience. He'll make this low grunt and literally lunge at my nipple.

I will, of course, be posting lots more about our little guy. But right now I'm pretty sure I have another diaper to change and diaper laundry to finish up.

I have to give single parents serious props. R's been fantastic and I don't know how I'd retain my sanity if I had to do this alone. Working as a team has helped turn situations that would be frustrating, possibly even soul shattering at 3am when consecutive hours of sleep is like glimpsing a unicorn, into something comical. Like that time muconium kept pouring out like a river of brown/green toxic waste into the Great Lakes or the time that the baby managed to pee in his own ear.

On that note, I'll be in touch.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making a Baby: 42 Weeks and It's Time

Here's the really brief version of what's about to happen and why:

At 42 weeks (seriously, what the fuck?!), the risks to baby go up quite a bit. My doctors...well, all but that one we talked about last time...have given me the option to continue being pregnant and miserable, but I would have to get nonstress tests every couple days.

However, after much deliberation and weighing our options, we have decided to go the induction route. Here's why:
1) My cervix has been 50% effaced (thinned out) for 3 weeks. It hasn't budged since then, and that means dilation has ground to a halt at around 2 cm. In laymen's terms, nothing is happening.
2) We don't want to wait until there is an emergency. At that point, our options would be c-section or cesarean (FYI, those are the same things).
3) Let me be honest, I'm pretty sick of this whole pregnancy thing. I've had weeks of practice/false labor. On several of occasions, it was looking like this was it, only to have contractions subside.

SO, we are going in to the hospital tonight. Unfortunately, because I tested positive for Group Strep B (a common bacteria, about 40% of pregnant ladies have it), I can't go the Foley bulb option, which is a manual way to try and get pregnancy going by forcing your cervix to dilate. Instead, we'll be using Cervidil, which is the only FDA approved drug to ripen the cervix. Added bonus, it's removable, so you can circumvent nasty side effects like uterine hyper stimulation.

We'll take it from there. Hopefully, my body is ready to go and that kicks me into labor and I can do the rest naturally. If not, well, I feel like I did all I could to get to that point. Either way, the next time we come home we'll be bringing the baby with us - outside my womb and visible!

Wish us luck!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Side story:
I went 41 3/4ths weeks without a stranger trying to touch my belly. Then it happened while I was waiting in line at Hastings:

Lady: Oh my god, look at you! (running at me from other line with hand held out)
Me: (assuming defensive position, hands over belly) ??
Lady: Can I touch it?
Me: Please no.
Lady: REALLY? (honestly confused, hand still out)
Me: I'd rather you didn't.
Lady: Oh. Well (insert banal questions about due date, sex, etc.)?

After we leave the store:
Me: Did that really just happen?
R: Afraid so.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

The High Pressure Sell: Induction and Cesarians

On Thursday we went to the OB for a biophysical profile (this checks baby's movement, amount of amniotic fluid, and general health) and a routine visit. That's not what happened.

The good news: the baby is 100% healthy and awesome. The biophysical came back with the highest score possible. Yay!

The bad news: according to the ultrasound, I am carrying a nearly 9 lb baby. When you factor in the margin of error, he could be a little below 8 lbs. Either way, big baby. The accuracy of an ultrasound isn't great, but the smaller and slimmer the mother, the more likely it is to be right...balls!

On to the doctor's visit. Let me preface by saying that I am seen at a practice with three physicians and we choose to rotate through them because any one of them could be on call when the baby is born. That said, the doctor we were seeing on Thursday is my least favorite. His bedside manner is fantastic, but his scope of knowledge leaves me...unsettled. He's one of those go by his guts type of guys and his response to items on my birth plan (which is short and simple) weren't very reassuring. For instance, while the other two doctors both were fine with my request to avoid an episiotomy unless it looked like I was going to tear toward the front, this doctor went into how this was "an art" and he would basically make the decision to do an episiotomy or not to avoid "my bottom blowing out."

So, still reeling from being told I am having a mammoth-sized baby, the doctor comes in, looks over the biophysical report, "um, looks good, very healthy...8 lbs. 14 oz. So, what do you want to do?"

I request that he conduct the internal exam before we start discussing options (if I'm dilated to a 3, that's going to influence my decision). Instead, he launches straight into a soliloquy about potential complications related to the baby's size - permanent nerve damage to the shoulder, distress, death. That's right, he went there. Right away. So, what do I want to do?

Again, I say I'd like to have him conduct the internal exam. Obviously a bit annoyed, he gets the nurse, does a very quick exam and says I'm not dilated at all. R and I share a look. R asks, "So it can go backwards?" Because I was at 1.5 cm the week before. The physician basically blows this question off and starts talking about induction. He makes it clear that it would be a multi-day process and because I'm not dilated, he thinks it would end with a cesarian. Then he goes back to talking about babies dying!

When I try to ask him a question, he cuts me off and tells me how he'd do an induction. It involves the drug that we learned about in my birthing class. The one known to have the most risks of hyper-uterine stimulation. That means uber painful for me, most likely to stress the baby, and most likely to lead to a cesarian. R asks him if that drug is even FDA approved (we know it isn't), and he says "not that I know of." Then he rationalizes why he uses it anyway. Grrreeeaaat.

To sum up, when I said I really want to avoid a cesarian he tells me that "I wouldn't put money on it if I was a betting man." Repeatedly warns me that the baby is only getting bigger while I wait. Implies I should go straight to a cesarian to avoid distressing the baby. And then starts telling me of the advantages of a cesarian, totally glossing over the fact that this is major surgery with all the potential risks of any other major surgery, like hemorrhaging and infection.

Needless to say, I was feeling backed into a corner. Which starts to make me mad. I'm not avoidant when it comes to arguing the facts. I have extensive training in doing so, that's basically what graduate school is. But I don't want to piss off the guy who might be delivering my baby. So instead of attacking his talking points, I point out that the confidence interval (level of accuracy) on the ultrasounds when it comes to size estimates are really poor. This causes him to back pedal. He admits that their practice never recommends interventions due to the baby's size.

I'm left thinking then why are we having this whole conversation?? My baby is perfectly healthy. I'm not pushing to get him out early (though I'd love it if he'd come). And I was only 4 or 5 days overdue, depending on what due date you want to use. On average, babies come over a week after their due dates. The range for full term is 38-42 weeks. They use 40 weeks because it's in the middle. He knows this, so what's with all the pressure?

In the end, we agree that I schedule an OB appointment for Monday (tomorrow) and I think about it. And, I have thought about it. And the more I've thought about it, the more pissed off I am! F this guy! He's the doc on call this weekend, and as much as I want this baby out, I spent the whole weekend whispering to my bulging belly, begging our little guy to wait until Monday.

Unless there is a reason, based on the actual health and safety of my baby (P.S. size isn't a recognized concern by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists because pelvises expand and babies squish), this baby is staying in there until he wants to come out. On his own.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making a Baby: 40 weeks and counting

Really, I have nothing to say. Or rather, I have nothing NEW to say.

I am still pregnant. It is either 3 or 4 days past my due date, depending on which indicator you want to use, date of last menstruation or ultrasound. It doesn't really matter. Either way, I'm still pregnant. I have been pregnant for over 270 days. And really, I've had enough.

Unfortunately, that does not make me any less pregnant. Neither does walking, nipple stimulation, red raspberry leaf tea, pressing of pressure points, more walking, sex, bouncing on my exercise ball, jiggling my belly, or having every person I know annoy the hell out of me because "weren't you due last weekend?"

I have gone on an almost complete communication blackout. No Facebook. No phone. For my own sanity I should also not listen to my voice mails or read my text messages because they all boil down to the same BS, that I might have had the baby and not told anyone. Or some suggestions on ways to induce labor. Or just to remind me that I haven't had the baby yet, WTF? Why am I doing this to everyone?

In the meantime, I continually lose feeling in my right hand, my ankles - especially the one I broke in high school - look frighteningly similar to overtaxed water balloons, I keep having contractions (but not enough to go to the hospital), and the baby has taken to performing extensive cardio routines which involve thumping me in the cervix while kicking and kicking. I have tried to convince the baby to use this energy to get the hell out of my uterus, but apparently he isn't getting it. Also, the in utero movements have lost their cuteness entirely. No more, awww, look it the wee little foot. Now it's just GET OUT! WHY ARE YOU NOT GETTING OUT?!

In all honesty, the primary source of my frustration is that my father, due completely to R and I's smug certainty that I would have had the baby by now, is going to be here in 9 days. That seems like a long way away, except that we have stipulated a no visitors for 1 week rule. My dad is not in a position to easily change his schedule (thus the reason for scheduling his visit in the first place), and if he comes before the 1 week is over all hell is going to break out among the other relatives. Not to mention that we really want that week for me to recover, to establish breastfeeding, and to just be by ourselves before the tidal wave of visitors hits. I love my dad, but I don't want him here while I deal with the worst of the postpartum hormones and grossness.

That keeps hovering over our heads as we approach tomorrow's OB visit, where we will do a full biophysical profile (yay for coming with a full bladder so I can properly test my kegal strength throughout the testing!) and have the induce/not induce discussion.

Long, complainy-pants story summary: baby, PLEASE just come today or tonight!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Stop asking me about the baby!

No there is not a damn baby yet!!!

You see, that's what I'm saying to myself on the inside every f'ing time I answer the phone...which isn't often. Mostly I let it go to voice mail because the pregnancy rage, it's really real. For realz.

If I call and get someone else's voice mail, I make sure to leave a message saying that there is nothing going on. This has not reduced the number of people calling back to see if something is, in fact, "going on." Because, obviously, I might be a lying liar. 

At this rate, it is likely that I reduce the world's population before I add to it.

I recently had to restrain myself because the annoyed, vindictive part of me came THIS close to telling my dad I lost my mucus plug. But then I'd probably have to tell him what that was and I'd end up more uncomfortable than he would. And (here's the important part) it wouldn't bring me any closer to having this baby. 

Stubborn baby. Get out get out getout getout GETOUT!!!

I have been walking, having sex, R is exhausted, the size of my ankles is totally frightening, and still no baby. I have had random people yell across store aisles and restaurants about how I look like I'm ready to have this baby, and still no baby. I even had an old lady I had never seen before in my life tell me to go home...still no baby.

My neighbor has yelled over my fence asking about the frequency of my Braxton Hicks. My mom stupidly asked if I was dilating more, cause you know, even though I can't even see the outside of my nethers I obviously have been keeping a tactile-based journal on the state of my cervix*. My friend asked if I felt like I was going to have the baby that day. I could go on. There's been a lot of slap yourself type questions thrown my way. 

*No, she did not think I had been to the doctor. She just thought I could maybe tell. This from a woman who had three children and could never even tell when she was actually in labor.

SOooo....that's how week 39 is wrapping up. Basically, I'm finding that the very worst part of the end of pregnancy is other people. And yes, I know they are interested/concerned/supportive/etc. but also, they need to shut up. I have promised that I will not be keeping the baby a secret. I will not hide him in my basement. I would just like people to stop asking me about the state of my girly parts and accept that if there is something worth talking about I will share it with them...or not because what I keep in my underwear is my business.

I can't wait until the baby comes and everyone focuses on him instead of me. Even though I know that will give me a whole slew of reasons to roll my eyes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Making a Baby: Weeks 35 through 38

Apparently the best way to get your readership up is to talk about your imminent baby and then disappear from the Internet. Haha! You have all been had. I'm not even having a baby. This has all been an elaborate hoax including photographic evidence of an increasingly scary/huge belly and a false double chin. (If you believe that, you deserve to be lied to.)

Okay, so I haven't written in a while because I've been staying away from my computer. I started maternity leave earlier than expected due to a colleague's personal problems, which would be great if I still had lots to do to get ready for the little guy's arrival. But I don't. And the long list of Things That Must Get Done is completed (bath dogs, paint stars on nursery ceiling, build furniture [no, not a metaphor or exaggeration], get the garden planted, prune trees, etc.). R keeps ordering me to the couch, where I sit for .05 sec until I've decided that the front room must be re-dusted, or that I should hand wash some dresses I won't be able to wear for another 3-4 months, or I notice that there are spots on the master bathroom mirror (and by notice I mean imagine, because I was sitting on the couch, remember?). Basically I'm failing at the rest/relax/put your feet up thing. But I'm TOTALLY winning at nesting. So there.

Also, I've been alternating between my sweet self and my crabby alter ego because baby get OUT! And R keeps muttering some nonsense trying to remind me that we haven't even hit his due date yet. But I'm swollen (if you comment that I'm swollen because I'm not staying off my feet I swear I will jump through this screen and strangle you with my sausage-like fingers), and I'm having a gazillion contractions, and my family members are calling me every day to ask about progress. Also, my mom has graciously made this about her, because she is tired of waiting, and she things things are taking too long, and she is lucky that I'm too bowling-ballish to successfully slip into her apartment and kill her in her sleep.

So tra-la-la. End of pregnancy is so glorious and wonderful.

On the bright side, I am dilating and effacing more - so sayeth the doctor yesterday. I am having tons of contractions and am officially in prelabor. Which means a baby will be coming...eventually. It could be today or next week or by the time I'm 90. Whenever.

With that tidbit of grumpy over sharing, I present to you, 4 weeks worth of belly pictures:

Week 35

Week 36

Week 37


Week 38

Oh, and fun fact. I have been reassured by not one but three different doctors that we don't have to worry about the baby being small. Because that's obviously reassuring. Though looking at these pictures does lend support to their statement. 

Dang! There's a baby in there!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Impending Baby Update

FYI: Progress is being made. Dilation and effacing are going on. So...things are progressing.

What does that tell us?

That a baby will definitely be coming, sometime, eventually, who the hell knows when.

So. That.

And there will be more belly pics posted. Probably. If I'm not too busy dusting the back of the entertainment center.

Until next time,
Swollen Ankles, signing off

Monday, May 20, 2013

At 38 weeks and counting

In case you were wondering, still no baby, just lots more contractions.

We now have all the things we need, and a good many we do not, for the baby's arrival. We have no real idea when the little guy is coming. We did not get an internal exam last week because the doctor was like, "Eh, false labor, pffff." Not like an internal exam could really tell us when he's coming, but I am curious to know if I'm effacing and dilating and all that. We'll find out on Wednesday. Until then, I've decided to ignore the contractions - since I can't feel them, that's pretty easy to do*.

*I tried to explain to the doctor about not feeling my contractions and how my mom never felt hers and had to be forced to the hospital by my dad (where she arrived at 6-7 cm dilated each time!)...but he kind of ignored that. He did tell me that I should go to the hospital when I'm feeling lots of downward pressure...so, um, okay**.

**Side note: We own a Subaru Forester. We have joked that if the baby is born in the car, we'll give him the  second middle name "Forester" to commemorate the experience. You know, so we don't forget.

In the meantime, we are keeping busy prepping for the baby. You'll be happy to know (though not nearly as happy as R) that the car seat has been installed. R has also put together the highchair...something we were going to wait to get because the little guy won't be eating food for 6 months, but this highchair is admittedly awesome and we'll be able to set him up in it to watch us cook dinner, etc. (by etc. I mean, it's high enough that the dogs won't be able to lick him in the face). R has also spent much time mulling over the fancy-ass video monitor we just had to have (he supplied researched and well thought out arguments when he first suggested it...it's like he knows me or something). Additionally, R has checked off many yard-related tasks that must be accomplished before the baby arrives.

I have been happily prepping all the diaper changing areas (one upstairs, one downstairs, and our diaper bag), folding and refolding tiny diapers and basically squealing with delight over innocuous items like fleece butt liners. I have also gone a bit crazy in the yard and can happily report that the several bushes have been deadheaded, plants have been re-potted, a tree has been pruned, and much weeding was accomplished. Just so you know the full story, I was later chastised for this level of activity and sent to the couch to put my feet up. I also got several baskets (yeah for baskets! I don't fully understand my obsession, but who cares, because BASKETS!) and made R screw them to the wall in the nursery. I realize that sounds weird, but I'll post pictures and you will see the genius; the adorable, adorable genius.

Speaking of pictures, I realize I'm behind on posting belly pics. I have them, but I have to download to the computer, and not my work computer but the other laptop, and then I have to go through them, and really? That's time I could be using to refold cloth diapers or scheme on my next cloth diaper purchase.

Also: cloth diapers. I am TOTALLY going to write up a post (Okay, who are we kidding? Probably a lot of posts) about cloth diapers. I spent a lot of time reviewing brands and am anxious to see what works. I also took a chance on some Etsy purchases, and if they are as good as they seem like they will be, I'll pass along those sites - support small business! And also, save money! But first I want to make sure what's working out so I know which diapers are working best for our newborn, which diapers are a pain to care for, and which diapers self-detonate like a James Bond message.

Until next time...um, I'll be contracting I suppose. (I really need some sort of sign off phrase.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to freak out your husband

So those contractions I was talking about yesterday? They kept up. Also, I developed a need to do all the laundry, shelf paper the inside of dresser drawers, and prune a bunch of house plants.

When R got home, it was suggested to me that I sit on the couch and put my feet up because my ankles had disappeared, having been replaced with self-rising bread dough. R spent the rest of the evening and much of the night frantically completing last minute baby preparations as my contractions continued, seemingly at even intervals (again, can't feel them, so I spent most of the night with my hand on my tummy). Eventually, R brought me his phone, which has a contraction monitoring app, and I timed my contractions while he repacked the hospital bag, stopping only to poke his head around the door frame to call "what?" at every noise or movement I made. I read Harry Potter.

We are pretty sure that these are just Braxton-Hicks, and unless anything major changes (cause yeah, the contractions are still happening), we'll have that confirmed at the doctor's appointment today. I bet I have to get an internal exam. We had planned on putting that off another week, but at 37 1/2 weeks, it's in the appropriate time range...and probably reasonable considering nearly 24 hours of (possibly) steady contractions.

I totally wouldn't mind going into labor, but we had planned on picking up the last things we need this weekend. Seriously, the very last things...for now. Also, I wanted to buy more baskets. I am totally proving to R that you can never have too many baskets. Baskets to hold toys and clothes and diaper-related things. You know, all the essentials. Also also, we were going to have the neighbor kid, who has been kind enough to volunteer to look after the dogs while we are having the baby, actually go in the house without us and run through their schedule - more for his comfort than anything else.

Well, we'll see what happens. R left for work with a slightly panicked look in his eye (one of the last things we need to do is install the car seat; we had been waiting until after this weekend when we got a protector thing to lay under it and this is driving R completely crazy now). He closed the door behind him after saying, "I love you. Don't have a baby until I get back."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The word of the day is...

Contractions. Lots of them. Or maybe just a few ones that last for hours.

I don't seem to be able to feel them. My mom couldn't feel her contractions until she was at the end of the first stage of labor, and sometimes not even then. I've always said that I hoped it was genetic. Maybe it is? Or maybe, more likely, these are just practice contractions and I'll be able to feel the real things. But 90% of the time, when I touch my belly today, it's rock hard.

As someone who is obsessive likes to keep track of things, it's weirding me out that I can't tell something this basic. I keep imagining my doctor's appointment tomorrow where I try to explain this phenomenon.
Him (exasperated after my inexact responses): Is your uterus squeezing the crap out of you or not?
Me: Um...maybe. When I touch my tummy, it's all hard. So, probably?

Pure genius.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Preggo love


"I'm gonna miss the belly a little bit."

"Really? Why's that?"

"Because it's adorable and you're taking a little piece of me with you where ever you go."

This is a conversation I had with R. Seriously, could he be any sweeter?

Too bad, ladies, he's mine. I've got the enormous preggo belly to prove it...and to keep him hypnotized, apparently.
It's just like this, except I waddle back and forth with my shirt pulled up saying, "Stare deep into what remains of my belly button. Deeeeeep."  (source)


And, just so you don't leave this post with an unbalanced perspective on our relationship, here's another recent conversation.

Setting: Kohl's Department Store

Me (whining): And I want to get more shorts. These are the only shorts that fit me and I've never been thrilled with them.

R: That's fine. You can get new shorts.*

*Note: No, I do not have to ask permission. I just need someone to convince me that it's acceptable to spend money on myself because I am weird like that. Anyway, back to the story.

Me: There's shorts over here.

R (laughing): Of course you find shorts that are basically yoga pants.

Me: I could kill you in your sleep.

R: I love you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day can be hard to celebrate

I have very mixed feelings about writing this post. It's something I really want to write. I know I'm not the only one out there who has had this experience. It can be such a relief to find you are not alone, and I'd love to be able to give that to someone. I also know that the internet is never truly anonymous. My luck, this would be the post that went viral and caused hurt feelings and family feuding and I don't want that. That said, I think the scale has finally tipped. Like I said, I want to write this post. So here it is.

My mother is not like most mothers. I am in the minority. My mother is probably not like your mother. And I can't tell you how jealous that makes me at times.

My mother has a mental illness. Not the kind, like bipolar or depression, where there's medication or therapy. I'm not trying to trivialize those issues, because they are very real and can be very devastating but I'll be honest - if my mom simply had depression, I'd be over the moon. Instead, my mother has personality disorders. That's right, more than one.

To oversimplify things, a personality disorder is an ingrained behavioral response; it's part of her personality. It's like how someone is outgoing or shy or bossy. It's a major part of what makes them who they are and it is not something that changes or goes away. There are certainly times, just like any aspect of personality, where it becomes more or less obvious. But because she has several problematic personality traits, there's usually a problem. Sometimes, there's a lot of problems. Sometimes the police are involved. Sometimes I have to find a place for my mom to live. Sometimes I have to intervene with landlords, neighbors, family members. It's often emotionally and financially draining and there is no light at the end of the tunnel and rarely any gratitude.

I'm not going to get into the specifics, which are long and sordid, awkward, and painful. Most of the time, I feel very sorry for my mom. The cards are stacked against her and the world is a frustrating and difficult place to navigate when you can't follow the rules because they are built from standards you can never meet. She desperately wants the close relationships she sees other people having, but she's incapable of maintaining them and unable to understand why.

Our society places a heavy emphasis on loving your mother, of upholding the bond between mother and child. I spent a lot of years alternating between bitter resentment and guilt. I have finally gotten to a place where, most of the time, I can accept that this is not my fault. I can be honest with myself, that I do what I can, that I can't fix this.

Tell someone that your mom is not normal and that person will try to draw connections between their experiences and yours (or what they assume are your experiences). This is a common response, but emotionally it is like telling someone your house burned down, you lost everything you ever owned, and they tell you they understand because they once burned their finger on a match.

So do you try to explain the level of 'not normal' or do you just smile and play along?

I can tell you from experience that either way is painful. The first option is worse. People suggest solutions because they are unable to fathom the permanence of the situation. People shame you. "You are talking about your mother. The woman who gave birth to you. How dare you be so disrespectful." Which is actually preferable to the flat out disbelief I have encountered on the few occasions that I have been completely open about the issue.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a lot of isolation. There have been times where I longed for a mom and it seemed so grossly unfair that she was there but could never fulfill that role. I remember being SO jealous of my friend, whose mother was an alcoholic, because, in theory, her mom could stop drinking, but my mom could never stop being herself.

It's hardest around Mother's Day. I read the postings on Facebook, "Repost if you have the best mom..." or "My mom is my best friend..." I'll be honest. That's not my mom. My experiences are probably not like your experiences. And I can't tell you how jealous that makes me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Bradley Method Child Birth Classes

Okay, is everyone ready to talk about pushing a baby out of your bits? Just kidding. Calm down.

I wanted to write about our child birth classes, because they were pretty awesome and someone, somewhere, might want to hear a candid assessment about learning the Bradley Method.

First of all, the Bradley Method is referred to as coach-led, meaning that you need a coach to come with you to each class. You know the person you want to be there with you at the birth, be it the baby's father, your partner, your mother, etc. etc. Originally it was called husband-coached, which is a bit behind the times, though you still might find that terminology used (probably by monks).

Anyway, the basic premise is that the coach learns to help the woman relax and cope during birth. The extra bonus, as far as I'm concerned, is it helps the coach stay relaxed by giving him a number of signals to monitor and tasks to focus on. So, if your coach is anxiety prone, get thee to Bradley Method classes.

The classes focus on maternal nutrition - special emphasis on protein, exercise, and accurate information about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Here's where I need to say that the Bradley Method is largely focused on natural, medication-free child birth. That said, our instructor wasn't at all pushy about avoiding medication, though some of the materials were definitely biased in that direction. I would recommend that even women expecting to use medication consider the Bradley Method classes, because sometimes, even though you expected a pain-free labor, things don't always go as planned. For instance, one of my good friends completely panicked when her baby was lying on a nerve, making an epidural completely ineffective. And by completely panicked, I mean she tried to get up and leave, screaming that she wasn't doing this. Another woman I know had to be put on medication that was incompatible with pain-relieving drugs. Neither of these women had any idea what to do and reported that their births were terrifying, so, IMHO, it's a good thing to be prepared.

Knowledge is power **cue the sappy music and start fighting over which person actually said that first - was it Sir Francis Bacon or Helen Keller?? Or maybe that came from G.I. Joe? Anyway...**

Here's a brief summary of the Bradley Method course: In addition to being assigned an ungodly number of kegals, there is a scheduled set of exercises to do each day. You track what you're eating. You learn to do progressive relaxation. You learn different positions for different stages of labor and your coach learns different ways to help relieve tension, pain, and discomfort in these different positions. You learn all about labor, things that slow it down and speed it up, what to do at each stage of labor, etc. You learn about the different tools and procedures you can expect to encounter at different birthing environments (hospitals, birthing centers, etc.) and the pros and cons of each. You also watch a fair number of videos showing women giving birth. I know how that sounds, but after seeing it go smoothly so many times, it actually starts to help you feel better about what you're in for.

Basically, the Bradley Method is about putting you in a position to take charge of your baby's birth. I really liked the practical approach: exercise, nutrition, information, and support. You're encouraged to ask your healthcare provider questions, which can really put you at ease. For us, it goes very well with how we were already preparing ourselves for our little guy's arrival. Also, instead of funny breathing, you learn about relaxation and other comfort measures. It completely involves my husband in the process. And, because there are 10-12 classes (usually 12, but ours were 10 extra long classes), you get to know a lot of expecting parents whose due dates are close to your own.

I'll let you know if I like the approach as much after I actually go through labor.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Making a Baby: Weeks 32, 33, and 34

Okay, obligatory pregnancy progress update (let's be honest, I'm doing it for myself, I just like to pretend other people care).

So, the further along I get, the less I seem to have to say. It's just more of the same with extra weight gain, groaning, and peeing.

The little guy is starting to work his way down. I first became aware of this because I had to get up 6 times during the night to pee and when I woke up in the morning I could actually breath. Also, some pretty excruciating pressure in my nethers.

Heartburn is not quite as molten and continuous, same for the shortness of breath. But all it takes is for the little guy to stretch and I find myself gasping for air and frantically reaching for Tums.

As he gets bigger, his movements are so much more obvious. I can feel the stirring of little limbs, which is somehow so sweet. And then he hauls back and kicks or punches me and I'm threatening to get the plunger because this kid has got to come out! There is just no more room in there!

My pelvis is loosening, my hips spreading. I told R I could feel it happening and two days later stretch marks started showing up on my hips. Ironically, still none on my enormous belly (now that I've written that, they'll show up tomorrow, just you wait).

I have officially begun to waddle. So that's fun. And R, who is a notoriously fast walker to begin with, is having a hard time not leaving me behind. I can barely keep up with his mosey at this point.

We have finished our birthing classes. I think I should write a post about the Bradley Method classes (spoiler: they were great). They deserve their own post.

And now onto the entertainment. I present to you, the ever-expanding belly:
Week 32
Week 33

Week 34
The little guy is putting on approximately a 1/2 lb. of baby fat a week at this point, and man can I feel the difference!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dealing with Parenting Advice (aka Everyone's an Expert)

I have watched a lot of other people's kids. My dad insisted that I start paying for certain unnecessary teenagery things back when I was thirteen. Between those pesky child labor laws and the fact that I lived in Teeny Tiny Middle of Nowhere Montana, there weren't a lot of options. So I started babysitting.

I started small: my little brother's friends, neighbor kids. After a couple years, I was in charge of the children's room during Sunday service at the Methodist church and was the go-to sitter for the preschool (they had parent meetings and I was left with 15-20 four year olds...that's a great training program for either a crisis intervention specialist or a zoo keeper). By the end of high school, I had nannied for two different families over three different summers. Since then, I have babysat off and on, usually as favors to friends and family, and across one summer between getting my PhD and starting my real job because I apparently hate free time.

In summary, I have a lot of experience with kids. I should addend that to specify that I have a lot of experience with kids between 5 months and whatever age you want to use as a cutoff for 'kids.' (When I volunteered with the high school drama team this past fall, there were times I was basically babysitting 17 year olds.) I haven't spent too much time actually keeping a newborn alive, so that should be new and exciting *translation: exhausting and poop covered.*

Of course, this hasn't stopped anyone from giving me parenting advice. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not very good at accepting advice. Or even listening to advice. I put little stock into one person's idiosyncratic experiences, preferring to mix and match and also research. This is why I find listening to parenting advice to be extremely annoying. Sadly, today most parents have had little to no experience with children before having their own (I'm not judging, I've just seen the kind of panic this can lead to once their own arrives). Also, if you corner them, you can get most to admit that they don't really like children, they just like their own children.

Let me take a moment to say that I am not the authority on children. I know I have and will get frustrated, make mistakes, etc., etc., humility, etc. That said, I have been in a position to see how different parenting styles works with some kids, and how that same parenting approach can totally backfire for other kids (usually the first kid's sibling). It's like kids are little people with individual personalities and perspectives and shit. Crazy!

That said, I find most of the advice to be given in a very condescending manner. I know people assume that their experiences are shared by all, I've read that research, but it's ridiculous to think that everyone is approaching becoming a parent from the same place. And, honestly, it's insulting when you assume I've never prepared a bottle, fought an infant over a sleep routine, changed a diaper, or been followed into the bathroom by a toddler. As a sitter, I did get the benefit of going home at the end of the day (except for those two summers when I was a live-in nanny), but I had to handle all the behavioral issues without being able to even raise my voice, because they were never my kids. Yelling at someone else's kids is a no-no, for those of you who haven't been paid to keep other people's children alive.

Also, just because something did or didn't work for you and your child doesn't mean I will have the same experience. Again, there is that whole individuality thing.

"Seriously, it worked great for us!" (source)

But the worst aspect is this: if I choose to do something differently, that isn't passing judgment on you. This has nothing to do with you. This is about me and my family so stop sputtering and getting offended. [I've apparently been holding that one in for a while, sorry.]

Having said all that, in addition to having experience with kids, I have experience with adults, too. And I know that the advice isn't going to stop. I have years and years of advice to look forward to (I am so excited, I just threw up in my mouth). So this is my new strategy: I ask about something very specific that I don't know about or that will never apply to me. That way, the advice-giver can heap advice my way and I don't feel the urge to contradict them by pointing out that research has found the exact opposite to be true, or that I've had to use that same strategy in a dozen different households and it usually backfires. I don't know if this plan will work long-term, but the short-term effects have proven to be very good for my mood.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Making a Baby: Moving into the home stretch

Part of my brain is in a coma and all I want to do is snuggle on the couch and read the second Harry Potter book (approximately once a year I read all the Harry Potter series because I DON'T KNOW, that's why).

Monday was a busy day filled with baby. We had an OB appointment where it was once again announced that I am having a fabulous pregnancy and am the epitome of a healthy pregnant woman with a healthy, kicky fetus. Also, it turns out I am still small, have no more room for a baby, but I was assured that he'll make room. Awesome.

Then we ran errands before our Bringing Baby Home Class. This class is provided by a labor and delivery nurse from the hospital. She had a British accent, which made it more tolerable when she said blatantly incorrect or outdated things, like "newborns sometimes have swollen breasts and genitals because of excess fluid," rather than the correct answer, which is that baby's have been exposed to mommy's hormones. I was very proud of myself when I did not correct her and usually didn't whisper the correct answer to R. Usually.

On the bright side, we learned more about the specific hospital procedures we can expect during and after delivery. Also, R finally understands just how much the baby affects me because I have no torso. Oh comparison, you are a heartless bitch. You see, one of the women (honestly, she was probably 10 years younger than me and I wanted to be like: WHY are you doing this now?? Because she specifically said it was planned and her husband, who was an outstanding example of humanity and had courteously placed his nametag over his penis, making me wonder if he had nicknamed his genitals Collin, agreed wholeheartedly...but I digress) is due in less than 2 weeks and her long torso has almost hidden the baby. Seriously, her belly looked like mine did 10 weeks ago. After the class R kept repeating, "Really, she's due at the beginning of May?? Really?," and then he would stare meaningfully at my monstrous belly that was swaying and bucking because the baby did not stop kicking me all day Monday.

Next, we met with a pediatrician, who, thankfully, is awesome and we feel perfectly fine letting her stab our baby with needles for the next several years. So that finally got crossed off the list.

The following day (yesterday, in case you need reminding like I do) was filled with work-related madness. There's been some uncertainty about whether I will have much work to do next month. Basically, my schedule was cleared so I could write yet another grant, but the grant hasn't come out yet and now we have to worry about me having enough time to complete it before the baby arrives. Part of me is REALLY excited about the possibility of not working. I could read and relax and browse Etsy! Part of me, the part that also likes money and knows I need to avoid Etsy, is worried that I will drive myself crazy if I don't keep busy. After all, there isn't a lot left to do to get ready for our kicky monster (see what I did there? I made myself laugh. Yep, that's how tired I am).

R is terrified that if I'm not busy I will come up with a gazillion things for him to do. He's really afraid I'll want him to repaint the livingroom. Honestly, he should stop using that as an example, because it's giving me ideas.

Anyway, I'm still pregnant. Am starting to get super tired and run down. Heartburn and bathroom trips are seriously cutting into my sleep, and there's probably something else, but I forget.

I am so ready to have this baby.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's my blog and I still have no control

If you look to the right of your screen, you'll see the blog posts that I have written that have gotten the most attention. I am always tempted to remove this selection from the home page. They irk me, though I simultaneously find their presence amusing. You see, these are not the posts that I think are the best. They are not the funniest, the most informative, the most insightful, or representative of my best writing (the bar is low on that one, I know). In other words, they are not the posts I would have chosen.

I've decided it's a metaphor for life. You make the most out of what you have, try to carefully craft the world around you, but ultimately you get what you get. You can't force people to base their impressions of you on the events you'd prefer - IF ONLY, RIGHT?!? If I had control over that, one of my good friends would stop telling people that the first thing he ever heard me say was, "I want vodka!" After 16 years, that story has slowly shifted from amusing to embarrassing. Especially when he makes sure people understand that I was 15 at the time.

Great. See what I just did there? Now all of you first time readers, all one or two of you, have just had your impressions of me tainted by that stupid story. Even if I told you about the time my friend and I used a week's worth of lunch money to buy food and blankets for the homeless guy sleeping under the local bridge in Montana in the winter*, you'll still remember the vodka thing. Which is exactly the point I'm trying to make. You see, the Internet takes the way we form impressions and exaggerates certain aspects of the process. You can't see me, you don't hear how I emphasize these words. Instead, you get to read them in the way you see fit. I can only lay them out and hope that you appreciate them.

*That's a good story. Expect a detailed account soon.

The way I sound in your head? Yeah, I doubt I actually sound like that. And unless your imagining me gesticulating wildly as I "talk", then you've got that wrong too. I bet I'm a lot more like a cartoon character than you think. Just keep that in mind if you decide to read through those popular posts, maybe that will improve them a bit.