Friday, July 25, 2014

Thoughts on labor

Over the past two years I have come to realize how thankful I am that Wes's birth turned out the way it did. In short, that he was born vaginally (read his birth story here).

If you are at all in the birthing/babies world you have probably watched "The Business of Being Born" and read some Ina May Gaskin. To supplement those I highly recommend this podcast and these blog posts, one and two. You probably know that the US has had an increasing C-section rate and that they all cant be 'medically necessary'.

This video from the New Yorker is really a wonderful synapses. Watch it (if you haven't already) then read the rest.

VIDEO: An Unnecessary Cut?

I love how the information is presented and how they stress doulas and other ways that women can be proactive in their birth. I have watched it 3 or 4 times and am strangely addicted to it. I did not have a c-section but that doesn't matter, its so compelling and just presents so much without strong bias.

I have been getting chiropractic care this time around from about 30 weeks on and when I told my chiropractor about my birth with Wes she stated how she thought I was lucky that my providers let me labor and push for as long as I did. And that got me thinking again...

In the US on a whole, as they say in the video, the C-Section rate for first births is around 30%. At our local hospital Fletcher Allen its about 15%. So right there I had better odds. Then my providers, an awesome group of OB's and Midwives at Matiri, seem to be known for a more 'natural' approach to birth and are pretty up to date with the strong movement away from unnecessary c-sections.

But I am sure in other locations and at other hospitals I wouldn't not have been given as much time and especially not without strongly advocating for it and myself. With Wes I started having contractions on Sunday night, on and off Monday with nothing really progressing,  my water broke Tuesday at 9am, I didn't go into the hospital for good until Weds. at 4 am and Wes wasn't born until 10pm that night. To say it was a long process is a bit of an understatement. It wasn't all painful and it wasn't all intense... actually much of those early hours/days was pretty calm, just waiting for it to ramp up. With the help of my amazing doula I felt more supported in making decisions, like going home Tuesday night after going into the hospital for a non-stress test and get some sleep. A decision that in the long run I am so thankful for.

But I have also learned that I need to speak up for myself. Something about being a parent has made me more 'ballsy'. I am less afraid to talk, to ask questions, to ask for what I want. As they say in the video you do have some say, you are allowed to ask questions and it is up to you as a patient to be as informed as you can. I really am enjoying the process this time around. I am more realistic, have some previous experience and also humbled by birth. I dont fear it and I know that no matter how much I 'plan' we wont know how it will go until it gets here. I have lots of hopes for this birth. There is a very good chance it will be faster and smoother. Its not guaranteed of course, but even my OB said that "it really cant take any longer than before", ha! And I am hoping with the right mix of information, doula, support, chiropractic care, yoga, awesome nurses, and great OB/midwife this baby will join the world fairly smoothly. I have some 'birth wishes' that I will share with my Doula, husband and birthing team and we will see how it goes. I have always had very little regrets about Wesley's birth and none that are big enough to think I really wish I had done something differently. I actually have thought about the possibility of home birth this time around but I enjoyed my team and experience so much the first time that I really do want to stick with my group again. I know everyone even better this time and I think that will help too. I have trust in them. Much like the end of the video (even though it wasn't a 'natural' birth) once he was out I was so filled with joy, joy that it was over, joy that I did it, joy that he was out in the world and joy that he 'paved the way' for this little girl.

We will see! Countdown is on... less than a month until my due date!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I just cant do it captain... I dont have the power - Food rant

This is a small food rant, along the same lines of my other food rant. I love healthy food and not so 'healthy' food. I eat real food. I believe in whole milk, whole milk dairy products, butter, scratch made bread, and tasty meat as well as almost every vegetable and fruit you could hand me. I like meals that are meat free (give me a good indian curry stew any day) but the one thing I just cant get into is the 'faking it' category. Ya know, like this cauliflower tastes just like real buffalo chicken! Or these chickpeas taste just like real buffalo chicken!

Why does everything need to taste like buffalo chicken?! Oh thats right because if you put enough Franks hot sauce on anything it kind of tastes like buffalo chicken.

I mean... I just eat buffalo chicken. Can I get an amen?

P.S. - I also cant help see those chickpeas that fell out and think of rabbit poop. Seriously maybe thats why I dont like chickpeas unless they are slow cooked in a stew or formed into falafel.

I'm not being naive, I know some people are vegan, vegetarian, meat free, dairy free, gluten free, have allergies and many have very legitimate reasons for doing so. But man sometimes it feels like everyone and their mother is cutting out something for some reason. I cut out caraway and fennel seeds because they make me shiver when I bite into them and I try to stay way from too many highly processed foods. Oh and I am not drinking alcohol at the moment because this baby in my uterus gets to be sober for the duration of its stay. Thats it. All of us omnivores seem to be the silent ones. Going about our days, eating what we want for the most part. Maybe feeling like ..."should I try that cauliflower pizza crust recipe I saw on Pinterest? I mean it seems 'healthier' and maybe it tastes okay" Then I think about it a little more and am like... "Wait, you will not guilt me into it crazy Pinterest boards! I love pizza crust the way it is, so I am just going to eat that and it will be delicious, so suck it cauliflower."

So now when I eat foods like bread loaded with gluten and dairy I think... "I'm doing this for those folks who cant, who wish they could but their bodies wont let them, I raise my pizza slice to you!" Oh and I have a friend who is allergic to chocolate so you better believe I think of her and eat her portion of chocolate right along with mine to make up for it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

34 Weeks - with baby #2


How far along:  34 Weeks

How big is baby: about 5 lbs and almost full length (18in or so) according to those baby tracker websites.

Weight/ Weight gain: I think I am about 167-168lbs? Though I have been weighing in a few lbs lighter on the Dr. scale than our home scale. But that makes about a 25/26lb weight gain so far. Totally happy with that. I bet with the hot weather and all the fresh food I wont gain as much these last few weeks as I did with Wesley. But who knows?!

Maternity clothes: Yep, full on. Some maternity clothes have even been kicked out for being too short. If it doesn't have ruched sides all the way down then its not for me. I picked up two new tshirts and a tank at old navy a few weeks ago and that has helped. They seem to be the best place locally for basics. Other than that I have been just using what I have from last time. The top above is a bit tent like but so nice and light/cool. It also will work great for breastfeeding after, it was a consignment Gap top that I scored in NYC this past winter. I remember it being so huge and billowy for so long and now it fits perfect.

Sleep: Going solid, I fall asleep great and sleep pretty soundly still. I wake up anytime between 5-7 and am up for the day. A little more tossing and turning as the weeks go on but overall its still good. AC on, body pillow, and our memory foam mattress topper have saved the night, all very worthy investments. Lying down with a belly is such a crazy thing, it relaxes and the baby relaxes and usually starts moving around more, its very fluid.

Food cravings: Peaches and cherries. I loved peaches with Wes and really I just LOVE summer peaches in general. So delicious! Also pie, I will pay someone to make me a pie, I don't have the time or energy but I could eat it all day. I have been totally off eggs for a month or so now but love meat (chicken and red meat mostly). Cold cereal with whole milk and chopped bananas. Peanut butter on toast. Not too into salads but when I do eat them I do like them, I just don't crave those greens as much.

Food (after those first 16 weeks) has been such an afterthought this time. We have a nice shopping/meal schedule in place and it has really changed the way we eat. Meal plan Sunday night (4 dinners and basics written down) then I shop Monday morning with Wes. Then we know what to expect all week. Its been really nice and I am glad we have it in place now. I think I am eating a bit healthier because when I was pregnant with Wes I was working and grabbing to-go food much more. Now I have fresh food at home or leftovers.

Food aversions: Nothing strong. I don't crave yogurt, or eggs or some other things that I am sure once this little girl comes out I will like again. But nothing makes me gag or grosses me out.

Symptoms: If I push it too much or don't drink enough or its a hot day I definitely 'crash and burn' and get clammy and lightheaded and need to lie down/drink/eat. This usually happens in the late afternoon so it works that Torrey gets home and gives me a break. But also I feel like he always sees me so incapable because of this. I keep saying "I swear I was in a good mood/energetic earlier!". I'm not always Mrs. Crankytiredhungrypants. He has been helping out a lot more lately and its been really nice, hes such a good partner and father.

Movement: Lots but good news is she has flipped from posterior to optimal birthing position. I have been going to the chiropractor and it seems to have helped align my pelvis and make it more comfortable for her. With carrying Wes on my right side and some sciatic pain on my left I knew I was a bit off. I don't feel her hands anymore and now I get a lot of butt or feet pushing off to my side. Sometimes so strong I have to push her back down! I love it, its one of my favorite things in the whole wide world about being pregnant.

Gender: Girl

Ups: Oh I am excited for sure for her arrival. I am feeling fairly productive and on cooler days like today I feel pretty good overall for being 34 weeks pregnant. I have been working about 3 days a week and love it. I feel like I have a very good balance right now between mom duties, work and life. I seem to appreciate it more or remind myself too because I know its going to be newborn cave life for a few months this fall and I will look back on these days and think of them fondly. Just like I think of my non kid days and say "what did I do with all that time?!". But its all been a great and crazy ride and I am so ready for this next adventure.

I have been loving prenatal yoga and a few good friends are in the end of their first trimester (congrats ladies!) and are able to go with me as well as a few friends who are about as far along as I am. Its so fun to get to share that experience with them and occasionally grab some food together after. I am going to miss it when its over!

Downs: Crashing and having those roller coaster physically draining moments. The lack of mobility and movement. Wishing I could spend more time with friends and family as well as have more energy to work and make more. But ah well. If she was born today we would be fairly ready and have the support we need so that's all I can ask for. A few more things to check off the list would be nice but we can do it either way.

Oh and I did totally have the "wait, I have to give BIRTH to this baby?!?!" moment this week with Torrey. Totally broke down. I think it has to happen sometime. With my first pregnancy it was much more of a constant thought and scary to be honest, until about 37 weeks when I changed and was like "lets do this thing". This time I know how it can go, and I just kept thinking... "that was so much work, that was so hard". But I also know the reward at the end and I know I can do it. Its like that 2nd or 3rd marathon, its not as new or exciting but it also isn't nearly as fearful or scary. I am not scared of birth at all. I love my team. I was just like....holy crap this will be happening.... soon.

Next Appointment: Next Weds for a check up then in two more weeks we get to see baby girl again with a position check ultrasound, I cant wait!

(Can you believe this kid? Something about a hair cut and that shirt just screamed "toddler" to me. Though those wrist wrinkles and elbow dimples mean he is still my baby ;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dance Party

We had a little dance party in the kitchen this morning, it only lasted a song or two but its one of those moments that captures so much. Wes's in all his toddler glory, being thrilled to be dancing. Even more thrilled to be dancing in Dada's arms. Wes's size in relation to us.  Me in all my pregnant glory. All of us enjoying the cool morning before Torrey sets off to work and the summer heat sets in.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pregnancy Thoughts - Second time around at 32 weeks

1. Except for the first half of the day I feel 36 weeks pregnant not 32 weeks, I cant wait for my physical abilities and energy back! I am 'done' with it much earlier this time around.

2. Mornings are great, I am sleeping really hard/well. I feel almost not pregnant in the mornings. Nights kick my butt. I used to do so much after Wes went to bed around the house/walk/run/clean. Now... now.... I cant physically function.

3. I have retired some maternity clothes that aren't long enough and the vast majority of my regular wardrobe. I have entered the 'minimalist' clothing phase. Same 5-6 outfits that should work until the end.

4. This is more mentally challenging than I remember. When my body is done my mind is not. I want to still be productive, it makes me twitch ;)

5. I cant wait to meet this little baby girl but I also need a full 7 more weeks. You hear that girl? 7 weeks.

6. Also lets not gain another 20lbs in the last 7 weeks like I did last time? Mk? I know it was mostly water weight at the end but I'd love to just plateau for a bit instead this time.

7. I love going back and looking at my similar weeks pregnant with Wes. I am so glad I did a weekly recap the first time around and am at least keeping up with every 3-4 weeks this time. So many memories I would have completely forgotten.

8. I miss running. I haven't done it mostly because I only want to in the morning outside (when I feel good and its not too hot) but not to sacrifice sleep and Torrey heads off to work so... it doesn't happen. I would love to try again for a few miles sometime this week, or maybe I should just dust off the treadmill while Wes naps...hummm.  I have been stocking up on Instagram feeds of favorite runners, USATF championships, blogs about runners with kids so I can have some motivation to get back into it.

9. Ive been going to a chiropractor. I am still a bit on the fence about if I need it, but it feels good and has helped some sciatic pain I was having in the evening from coming back. And it maybe (fingers crossed) will lead to a quicker birth and get this baby girl to easily move out of the posterior position when the time comes.

10. Our bedroom is set, crib up, changing pad and diapers up. I just have to get newborn clothes out of storage and add them to the bit of girl clothes we have. I love seeing everything every day, a reminder that there will be a little baby there soon.

11. I am looking forward to two weddings, a trip to my home town, a few more date nights and lots of pool/lake fun in these next 2 months.

12. The summer is just starting to get hot now here. AC is going in the bedroom window tonight and I will not be stingy with that thing this year.

13. I have my 32 week prenatal appointment today. After this one I think I go every 2 weeks then 36 weeks is one more ultrasound then every week from there out!

14. Her name is all picked out! We wont share it publicly until she is born but we have known it for a couple months now and I still love it. I used to be afraid of something too 'popular' and its not a unique name but once we both heard it we knew it was the right one.

15. I love feeling the movement. She was pretty mellow yesterday during the day but last night was rocking around almost every time I woke up. I always wonder what body part is what. A butt, elbow, hand, heel? I love this baby belly.

16. I have some how managed good bladder control (her position?) and only get up to pee once a night. But I have also been struggling to stay hydrated so that might have something to do with it.

17. I am loving all the love Wes has been giving, he's such a sweet boy and says "I love you" and "thank you" in the cutest ways. I miss him when he takes long naps or on my work days but I love coming back to him and feel like I am a better parent and he is a more content kid when we can interact with others.

18. Its feels different this time between Torrey and I. Its his busy season at work and he does so much for us that way. I think its like this the second time for a lot of couples. Husbands/partners have seen it before, its almost like they forget you are pregnant, or need to be reminded. Less full on support but also because there is also the first child to take care of. I think a lot has to do with the fact that we don't see each other all day anymore. So when we both have energy in the morning and early in the day we are not together, so by evening we can both be tired, hungry, and cranky. I want to be superwoman and handle it all at home and support him but I also want to flop on the couch and ask for everything to be handed to me, ha! We have had a lot of 'discussions' and they have helped quite a bit, thank god for good communication and persistence, I am stubborn little bugger. Having date nights and going on walks together have also keep us connected.

(That white sangria in the bottom left hand corner was mine and it was DELICIOUS! Other than a sip of someone else's I haven't had any drinks with alcohol this pregnancy. But a little white wine, lots of fruit juice and fresh ginger beer added made the BEST sangria, I will be drinking a bucket of that stuff when this baby is out, maybe for my 31st Birthday Sept 4th?)

19. Speaking of Torrey I am just about to pass him in weight. There comes a time in every pregnancy when I get heavier than him. Oh the life of the wife of a skinny husband!

20. I have some "roller coaster" days. Days where I am so tired all of a sudden its like someone tripped me into a fog and I cant move. But I know this time, these times, don't last. Days where all I want to do is eat, days where all I want to do is lie down and not move. Times when I get spurts of energy and want to nest and clean and work. Times when I can rally and times when I just can not. Growing a human is hard work. My mantra is "I'm not lazy, I'm pregnant". I love so much about being able to grow this baby and give our family a new member that it is all so, so worth it. Maybe so worth it I would do it one more time.... maybe.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Photo Post - Wesley at 20 months

(Summer Kiddo = sweaty, sticky and nicely dirty)

The words and sounds keep coming, it seems like every day he gets a new word or two. Wes is moving so much like a little kid/toddler now. This humid summer weather means the cutest curls in his hair, we have kept it long and love all the little flips and curls, they are just too much! His favorite things are; chasing the dog around with sticks/kitchen utensils/objects. This is not allowed so we have to stop him but it doesn't keep him from trying! He also loves watching Curious George on occasion, getting his and our shoes and going outside, going for walks, going to the beach, playing on the playground, exploring the outdoors, eating fresh fruit, giving the cats 'hugs', playing with play dough and chalk, playing ring around the rosy, stacking blocks and using his tools, and pointing out every bike or motorcycle and saying "helm!" 'helmet'. He's downright fun and has been very entertaining to watch grow and learn. All the fresh air means he sleeping great and has been giving us one 2-4 hour nap a day plus a full 12 hours at night. Way to go kiddo!

Here are some photos I took today of him this morning, the rain we have had the past two days finally stopped and we were both happy to get out in the backyard.

Yep, I totally did the "say cheese and smile" thing and he totally did the toddler super cheese face thing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A lived in home

I was reading this blog a few weeks back and she offhandedly talked about how because she is a stay at home mom of three young girls her house is 'lived in' thus this means it requires quite a bit of day to day maintenance. Well duh right? But I hadn't thought of it that way ever before. I always hear people saying they cant keep up with the cleaning, picking up and laundry with small kids. And I feel that way too sometimes and think "How is this getting away from me, I only have one young child, this should be pretty easy". But that is why! Its a 'lived in' house, 24-7. When both people are working the house gets a break. You leave and come back to it in the same condition, good or bad. Nothing plays with itself. Nothing takes all the toys out - ALL THE TOYS OUT - as its own game but then does not actually play with the toys. Nothing eats the food, nothing smears sauce on the table, nothing goes through three outfits a day (me and my child).

I dont know why but it was like a eureka moment for me. Thats why stay at home moms have more housework, that is why on top of raising children they definitely work as hard as a full time worker. Just in a different way. And I am not saying they clean compulsively. I just remember thinking as a ignorant little pregnant woman and even with a newborn the first time "What do they do all day?". Admit it, you have too. Oh right, they are LIVING in a house. So there is plenty to do. And it makes me feel better too, not to feel like I really have to keep up with it, all the time. I do a decent job but its 'lived in' and I am happy with that. After Wes goes to bed we pick up but I dont need to make him feel like he cant play and explore just because I am constantly following him around picking up. Plus I'm so pregnant now that picking things up off the floor or going up stairs for some little thing by the end of the day requires an in my head pump up speech, will power and strategic coordination. We have fun here, we play here, we make messes, we have dance parties, we have all out crying sessions, we live here.

Its now a fun magic trick on the days Torrey and I work away from home and Wes is at his Grandmas. Or we head out on a trip somewhere. I try to have the house pretty clean before we leave. Unless the dog gets into the garbage I am always pleasantly surprised that the house is in the same condition as when I left hours ago. Ta-Da!