Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Good Reminder

I dug up our Wedding Vows. I thought that posting them here completes one of the many circles on our life adventure. Plus it's just a good reminder for us entering into this new stage of our relationship. I told Mike last night, teary eyed, that I was gonna miss the two of us but am really excited for the three of us.

Kimbra(our officiant) reads: “Mike and Erin, do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?”

Mike and Erin say: “We do.”

Kimbra reads: “Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a
mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to
examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiousity and joy?

Mike and Erin say: “We do.”

Kimbra reads: “Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other, and to share it
with all beings? To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other’s
potential and inner beauty as an example and rather than spiraling inwards and becoming self absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all beings?”

Mike and Erin say: “We do.”

Kimbra reads: “Do you pledge day to day, to be patient with yourselves and others, knowing that
change comes slowly and gradually, and to seek inspiration from your friends and family not to become discouraged?”

Mike and Erin say: “We do.”

Kimbra says: “Do you pledge to continuously strive to remember your own nature, as well as the nature of all living beings? To maintain the awareness that all things are temporary, and to remain optimistic that you can achieve your greatest potential and lasting happiness.”

Mike and Erin say: “We do.”

I found the basis of these vows online somewhere. I was trying to find something that suited us and these were Buddhist vows that we both really liked. We edited a lot of it, took out much of it and even took out certain terms that were exclusively Buddhist (like, the word Buddha, for instance) so we tailored it to our liking.

P.S. I'm still pregnant.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Things I'll Miss About Being Pregnant

  • I like having this big rotund belly. I like flaunting it with my tight shirts.
  • I don't feel guilty slurping on a Venti Decaf Mocha Frappuccino.
  • I love feeling those kicks, squirms and hiccups.
  • The mystery.
  • People are extra super duper nice to pregnant people.
  • Guiltless naps.
  • The challenges, I like a challenge.
  • Seeing Mike change and adjust and accept and grow along with me.
  • Experiencing changes within my own body and seeing how it has adjusted to making a human - it's truly miraculous. 
  • Learning about all sorts of things that I would have never learned before in regards to pregnancy. 
  • People offer me food and offer to go get the food. Yes please.
P.S. I'm still pregnant.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Midwife's Appointment : Dilated and Effaced

So we had our weekly appointment today and she did the usual measuring of the uterus: 40 cm = on target! She checked for his heartbeat: healthy as a hummingbird. I've gained a whopping grand total of 42.9 pounds. My blood pressure was low/normal as usual. My cats and cows have moved him to my right side and into a pretty darn good position. She said that it was "ideal" because he needs to begin going down sideways (that's just the way the pelvic bones and his head shape work together) and then he turns his head backwards. Then she did a vaginal exam to check to see if I was dilated and effaced. I am! I am! I'm 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Here is a chart to help explain what dilation and effacement is:

Effacement is basically the thinning of the cervix and dilation is the opening of the cervix. I found this informational image from The crazy part (to me anyways) is that she could feel his head! WHAT?! She didn't use any fancy tools just her fore and middle fingers and she could feel his head. So baby is loooooooow. She said that his skull is at 0 to +1 station meaning how low his head is in my pelvis. Check out this great animation of childbirth stations(plus you can see how he goes down sideways and then turns his head backwards):
She also told me about some other sciatica stretches and went over what to do if we go past the 41 week mark. Although after she checked my cervix she said that she thinks he'll come before or on this weekend! EXCITING. She said that she is the on-call midwife on Thursday and Saturday and that Saturday would be a great day and we would come in, give birth, have lunch together and then hang out and eat birthday cake. Hahah. Funny midwife. She also told me to bind my belly because when she felt for his head he was very posterior (not in the back labor sort of way thankfully). I asked her what she meant and she grabbed a doll from the shelf and basically held it head down at an angle going into her pelvis, so his legs/body are out frontish and his head is down and back; he looked like a missle shooting into her pelvis. So, if I bind my belly it will straighten him out allowing him to drop lower into my pelvis. Plus I am still putting the ice pack on there for a minute to make sure his hands aren't still there over his little face. Oh, and she said that usually sciatic pain means a long baby and she bets he'll be a "21 incher" and then Mike said while pointing at himself, "long legs" and then pointing at me, "long torso." Stay tuned.

40 Weeks

Thunder Bear is still very comfortable in the womb:
So tomorrow is really the official 40 week mark, my due date: June 28. I'm definitely feeling ready...I mean, ready to depregnantize(term coined by Christina) although I'll miss it a little, but not necessarily ready to be a parent (ready as I'll ever be I suppose.) I just figure that a large part of parenting is going to be "learn as you go". I've been reading a lot and I know what makes sense to me but reading is different than putting things into action. Luckily we start out with a tiny baby who just eats, poops, sleeps and stares at things wide eyed, rather than with a 13 year old with an attitude. So we'll have a little time to transition from stage to stage.

Mike and I went to Pepper's Pizza last night (where we would go to brainstorm our wedding plans - we've had lots of important talks there too.) Last night we talked about how this(baby boy) is going to change our dynamic of two. We decided to stay in communication with eachother like we usually do, be understanding of eachother, help eachother out, empathize and love eachother unconditionally. We didn't actually say those things straight out like that, but our conversation touched on those things. It was kind of like restating our wedding vows again. Oh. I should pull those out and look at them. I love our wedding vows. Anyhoo, it was a good talk. Every time we go out to eat now we say, "This might be our last dinner date with just the two of us." When we went back to the car with the newly installed car seat Mike said something like, "Aw, that will be so cute to see a little baby in there." It sure will be!

I have a midwife's appointment today at 2pm. We will check to see if I'm dilated at all. Let's go dilation! Let's go effacement! I'll keep y'all in the loop!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


In our yoga class a while back we had a substitute teacher (I wrote about her here.) Although she made some giggle-worthy lines she did say something that made a lot of sense to me,
"Breathing is contagious."
I think she said something like, "Breath loudly so that your neighbor can hear, it will help them to remember and breath deeply, breathing is contagious." It made a connection to what I had been reading at the time in regards to co-sleeping.  I picked up a used copy of Mothering magazine at the local thriftshop for a mere quarter. It was a special issue focusing on co-sleeping with your baby. Having the baby sleep near you in the beginning of it's life is great for many different reasons and one of them is that you are helping the baby transition from womb to room. The baby has been hanging out with (in) it's mama for 40 weeks or so, listening to her breathing, heartbeat and feeling her movements. Co-sleeping is aiding in that transition by being near for a little while longer; I imagine that being near enough to mom to hear her breathe (or snore) would help in that transition by being semi-familiar to what he heard in the womb. Plus I would feel more at ease in being able to be near him and hearing him breath. Breathing is contagious, after all. Plus I think all I'll do for a few months is just stare in awe at his little face and zombie hands and monkey feet. Those are my non-scientific thoughts on the subject. In this issue of Mothering they had several different research institutions look into co-sleeping after the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed it unsafe and discouraged parents from doing it. Mothering had researchers in the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, at UC Berkeley, the University of Notre Dame and other US universities contribute one and only research papers on this subject. First of all, like anything, there are pros and cons to it. The cons are hazards. The hazards are preventable. It's good to know about these hazards. Here are some of the hazards and what I learned to prevent them:
  1. Gaps between beds and wall - push the bed snugly against the wall.
  2. Soft beds, pillows and blankets leading to suffocation - get a firm mattress and remove any pillows and blankets from baby's sleeping area
  3. Falling off the bed - put the baby between you and the wall or use a co-sleeper that attaches securely to the bed.
  4. Overlaying (Parent rolling onto wee babe) - don't go to bed drunk! I read that most mom's won't do this but more father's are prone to do it because they aren't as in tune with the presence of the newborn.
  5. Smoking in bed, going to bed drunk - the baby's exposure to tobacco is associated with a higher risk of SIDS. Being drunk causes you to be less aware of your surroundings
The pros make complete sense to me. Here are some of the pluses to co-sleeping:
  1. More sleep for mom and baby
  2. Increased breastfeeding for baby
  3. Increased sensitization to infants physiological social status
  4. Less crying time (for baby)
  5. Increased sensitivity to mother's communication
  6. Increased prolactin levels 
  7. Increased ability to monitor and physically manage and respond to infant needs.
There is so much more and the research articles were super detailed with graphs and charts and lots of information. You can read a mini synopsis of it at Mothering dot com. Another good (and more recent) article I found is at Babble dot com.

We have an Arm's Reach co-sleeper from my friend Kristen and it snugs up close to one side of the bed - so he'll be just an "arm's reach" away from me. Who knows, maybe we won't use it much and we'll just hang out in bed together. When we (me and baby) are both ready we will put him in a crib that Garbage Man Harold found for us. This crib is one of the projects I would like to tackle while I'm off from work (if I have the time and energy). It's an old timey crib that I want to make look more modern by painting it. It will be vintage chic.  We still need to get a mattress for it. Oh my, am I tired.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Sunday was a productive day. I put the carseat in the car. It just fits perfectly, if it were any bigger we'd need a bigger car or smaller carseat. We got the Chicco Keyfit 30 (which was given to us by Mike's sister Sue and fam (THANK YOU!)) I did lotsa research on carseats and this one seemed to be one of the best so on the registry it went!
We even got it in this pretty apple green color.

Mike installed the Bum Genius Diaper sprayer (which was given to us by Shawnee (THANK YOU!)) This thing is amazing. It attaches to the toilet and it will aid us in spraying off soiled cloth diapers. I heard about it via one of my favorite DIY blogs, Young House Love dot com. They do all sorts of home improvements and they have a wee one so every now and then they do a project that has to do with a little kid. They did a post titled Easy Upgrade: Super Toilet where they installed the diaper sprayer as well as a dual flush system (which we haven't done, one thing at a time over here at Casa de Imperfeccion).
Image is from Young House Love dot com
It seems pretty  powerful, this diaper sprayer. As Mike was installing it he said, at least twice, "This is a really great piece of equipment." Can't wait to get my hands on a poopy diaper.

Mike mowed the lawn. I went grocery shopping (and got a Venti Decaf Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream.....slurrrrrrp.) I made a big pot of Pasta Fagioli and put it in the freezer to take with us when we take our ultimate trip to the birth center since we'll be there for more than 12 hours (due to the Beta Strep.)
Click on this sentence to get the delicious Pasta Fagioli recipe from shutterbean dot com
 Mike watched football(soccer) while I SPRAWLED out on the couch watching the creepy show, Criminal Minds.

Then Mike went to get the bedroom situated so that we could put the co-sleeper (which my friend Kristen handed down to me so generously (THANK YOU!)) next to my side of the bed for Thunder Bear to sleep. While he did that I started making a little mobile to hang over the co-sleeper. It's all black and white since that is what he'll be able to see from the get go. I haven't completed it but got the basic designs cut out and glued together, now I just need to string it up to a dowel or wooden chopsticks or something.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This Is Not My Nude Boobs and Torso

I went back and forth on whether I wanted to post pics of my belly cast because I kept thinking, "My parents and my brother are gonna see this." We are a fairly modest family. Or maybe I should speak for myself! I never went around nude growing up (well when I was a toddler I walked around in my dress up petticoat with no shirt eating ice cream in pig tails). But then I thought, how silly, it's not really a nude picture of myself it's just a belly's art. It's like René Magritte's painting "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" or "This is not a pipe". It's not a pipe, it's a painting of a pipe. (I really just wanted to compare myself to Magritte, ha!) So here is my "This is not my nude boobs and torso" or in other words a belly cast of  my pregnant self that I donated to the boutique at the birth center.

This is a cast of the 31-32 week pregnant me.
They wanted to promote their belly casting kits for Mother's Day, hence the script across the top. That was their only demand that it say "Happy Mother's Day!" Other than that they let me have at it and I went crazy with the découpage! I used all of this tissue paper that I already had on hand and some acrylic paint. I had fun.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Duo of Imperfection

We are getting a couch delivered to us! My dream is coming true! WOOHOO! It's used from the local PTA Thriftshop. It is 7.5 feet long, which means I can lie down on it and Mike can still be sitting on it at the same time. It's napworthy. It is a tan couch and made of super sultry microsuede. There are a few imperfections (stains) but we are a duo of imperfection (soon to be trio), so bring on comfort and naps and homey-ness. AT LAST. Mike is currently making room for it by pushing some shelves down the wall (we got rid of an entire shelf of books plus more!) I can hear the hand held vaccuum sucking up dust bunnies and large amounts of cat fur (dust kitties?) in the other room and it is music to my ears - I think it is releasing a large amount of oxytocin and I might go into labor any moment!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midwife's Appointment: Getting Him in Position

At our Wednesday weekly Midwife's Appointment (we had the same midwife we checked in with last week) we told her that I have been having some wee sciatic pain in my left glute, but it doesn't shoot down my leg, thankfully. She gave me 3 things to do.
  1. Get on my hands and knees and get Mike to massage my butt. Yay!
  2. Lie down on my back, bend my knees and put the soles of my feet together. Once I'm in that position I should press my feet together, 10 seconds at a time,  and I will feel tightening in my lower back and glutes. This is supposed to be good for sciatica. 
  3. Lie down on my back and have Mike gently pull the opposite leg (in my case, the right leg). She demonstrated this and it felt really nice. I could imagine her being my midwife on the big day. She was gentle, yet firm. Perfection.
I told her that his movements seemed mellower. He's not karate chopping so much and she said it's because there is less room for him to move around. So there's more squirm and less kick.

She checked his heartbeat and it came in between 130-140 beats per minute which is normal. She also measured my uterus from pubic bone to the top and it came in at 40 centimeters which is on target. When feeling around for his position and learning where I feel most of his movements she believes that his back is facing back/side left, or posterior left. She said to start doing some cats and cows (pelvic tilts) to get his back to my front! I am on it like a bonnet, because no one wants to have an ultra painful back birth! She also felt for his head and she said she felt his hands up by his face. Aw, that sounds adorable. She said to put an ice pack there to get him to move his hands so that his head can drop lower. I am on that too! Gotta get him in position. So, my job tonight and every night is to ice down there near my pubic bone, get into head to chest position, and do some cats and cows to help turn the little one over.

Mike asked his usual question, "So, do you have any predictions of when the baby will come?" I love this question now, where before I thought it was silly. She said that because I've been having some regular Braxton Hicks contractions that she is thinking on time but that you just don't really know.

She also told me that at next week's  appointment, if I am indeed still pregnant, that they will do a vaginal exam to see if the cervix has begun to dilate and check for it's ripeness. Pray for a ripening cervix!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Mike's mom sent us a box full of Mike's old baby stuff plus his baby book. So fun! There were lots of pics of Mike as a baby and little blurbs about him as a wee one. Like his first full phrase was, "Oh! It's hot!" He probably was eating some spicy food or walking on hot Puerto Rican sand or touching a hot stove or something.

Included in the box was this little ceramic cup with a frog sitting inside and the outside says "Fu Fu Frog" and when Mike saw it he said, "Ohhh! Fu Fu Frog!!" It was cute. There were also little white baby shoes with his name and birth date on the soles, a silver diaper pin with his birth date inscribed on them, a little feeding spoon so the little one can feed himself and a silver cup with his initials inscribed on it.

I am such a sentimental gal and loved seeing all of these baby heirlooms from when Mike was a wee boy. I think I will put some of it in a shadow box frame with one of the baby pics of Mike. Before I do that I may use some of the things in a little baby announcement for our boy. We'll see how much energy I have but I have been looking on the interwebs for baby announcements and I saw one that I really loved and am going to personalize it and attempt to replicate it. I hope it turns out because I really love the one I saw. It will be my first real photo project since grad school and it will involve a squirmy baby. HA! We shall see.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Belly Comparison

Here I am wearing the same white shirt. See the difference in belly size?! That's a 15 week difference.
Grow, Thunder Bear, grow!

39 Weeks

I have a midwives appointment this morning. I am just about a week away from my due date. Many people at work have predicted when the baby will be here. One person thinks he's coming today, another person thinks he's coming Saturday, one person predicts the 26th, another the 27th and another the 28th. I feel like he's coming at the end of the month sometime between the 27th and 30th. We shall see!

Two of the ladies from my birthing class have had their babies so far, little Grace and little Sebastian. Grace came by C-section and Sebastian came by water birth. I wonder how Thunder Bear will enter the world?

Here is Ali touching my belly after our weekly belly photo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garlic Clove in the "Fanny Pack"

Two Sundays ago right before I went on my hike with Christina Mike said to me, "Don't go into labor." And it got me thinking, "What if?" What if my water broke on our hike? What if I started having contractions and I was 1.75 hilly miles from the parking lot? The thing that scared me the most was not getting my first dose of antibiotics for Beta Strep. My friend Kristen sent me this article on other ways to kill vaginal bacterias and one of them was using a garlic clove. You basically stick the garlic clove in your birth canal and it will kill all sorts of bacteria. So, I have added a little garlic clove to my fanny pack. Hahaha! That sentence is probably extra funny to Kimbra because in Australia fanny doesn't mean your rear means your front end.  HAha, now I have the giggles.

UPDATE: Apparently putting a garlic clove in your vagina after your water breaks wouldn't be a good thing but if I were just to have contractions that should be o.k.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Scared of and in Awe of Babies

This is at Heather's going away bash (she moved to NYC!) and I forgot how far along I am here...probably 20 something weeks...or late teens. Suganya is a month ahead of me and my belly is the same size if not bigger. I'm like the Jolly Green Giant compared to her!!!
I went to see my new friend, Suganya and her husband Bobby and their new little girl, Kavi. I met Suganya through our mutual friend Heather (a fantastic photographer and writer). Heather is Kavi's Godmama. Suganya was also a patient at the birth center. So we have a lot in common when it comes to our ideals in birthing babies. When I met Kavi last week she was 3 1/2 weeks old and 7 lbs and 8 oz. Super tiny. (Suganya is super little herself!) When I first got to their house I told Suganya and Bobby that I was scared of babies. So I didn't hold her right away. We just talked about her birth and caring for a tiny human. They gave me a lot of advice. They also gave me a bag of goods: Evening Primrose Oil (to prevent post dates), Brewers Yeast and Fenugreek tablets (to help with milk supply) and some funny things from the hospital (they ended up at the hospital so that they could be induced, they were worried about Kavi's size for how far along she was,  so they wanted to get her out sooner rather than later. She was born at 6 lbs 3 oz.) The hospital supplied her with mesh underwear that absorbs blood, so, like, Depends, just sexier. And perineal ice packs to help with pain and swelling in your perineum and you can put these in your mesh panties! So she passed the ones she didn't use on to me. I can't wait to model them. There were some other things too but I can't recall what they are at the moment.

The highlight of the visit was Kavi. Suganya finally encouraged me to hold her. So I took her, nervously. I've never held a baby this young and little before. My belly got in the way a bit but I managed and she seemed fussy at first but then settled in. (I think she could smell my milk!) She has the perfect replica of her Daddy's nose but 20 times smaller. Her hair is like her Mamas - black, with a slight wave and SUPER SOFT. Her skin is like silk. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her movements reminded me of what Thunder Bear's movements are like in the womb - these uncoordinated flops of arms and long stretches of legs and curls of toes and little zombie hands. Her size at about 7.5 lbs is what the boy could be at birth, so I was imagining that sized baby coming out of the birth canal. Her head seemed small and didn't frighten me, ha! I'm glad Suganya encouraged me to hold her as I feel less afraid and more in awe of little babies now. I was so smitten with Kavi and she's not even my baby! Imagine the love I'll have for the wee boy. Oh, I can't wait to meet him!

Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures. But I'm sure I'll get some when Kavi and Baby Boy meet for the first time!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Heartbeat and Hiccups : Midwife's Visit

At our last midwife's visit we talked more in depth about the "Active Management of the Third Stage" (where they give the mom a shot of pitocin(or some other contraction inducer) after the baby has been delivered) and I told her that my gut feeling was that I didn't want to do it even though the midwives were recommending it. She said that we could play it by ear. Women with longer labors sometimes deliver the baby and then are too exhausted mentally and physically and that their uteruses (uteri?) just sorta go kaput causing a slow placental delivery and not so many contractions afterwards (which help in bringing the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size.) So we will see how things go once the babe has graced us with his presence. We have written in our birth plan to please talk to us about this "active management" so that we can have the choice of doing it or not depending on our circumstances. I like having conversations and being able to make a choice based on our unique circumstances so this is a good addition to our birth plan.

We talked about the Beta Strep thing again and Mike asked whether or not taking antibiotics would disrupt my flora, especially since I rarely take antibiotics. (I don't think I've taken them since the '90s.) She said that I would be given penicillin and that it is an antibiotic that is not a very broad spectrum antibiotic therefore it won't wipe out every single iota of bacteria. If they time the dosing of it right (I think 4 hours before delivery would be ideal) there shouldn't be much worry about my good flora being absent. If I end up taking more than 2 doses then perhaps taking some sort of probiotic would be helpful. She said that I can take that before delivery and after delivery if I'd like. I can eat more yogurt or take something like Jarrowdophilus which has beneficial probiotic strains. This will not harm the babe either. Yay for that!

We went over when I should call the midwife. 1) When my contractions are 10 minutes apart - just to let them know that something is afoot. 2) When my contractions are 3 minutes apart - which would mean I would hop over to the birth center for the crazy part and the delivery. 3) Water breaks or 4) Baby hasn't moved in awhile

We did our weekly heartbeat check up with the Doppler. Instead of his heart sounding like his regular, fwumpfwumpfwumpfwump, it sounded more like this:


He had the hiccups. It was cute. I told her that he gets them a lot. The midwife (this one got her degree from UNM! Go Lobos!) said that hiccups are a sign of wellness. Yay for hiccups! I told her that the first time that I felt them I thought they were really sweet but now when I feel them I try and get in a different position to see if I can help him get rid of them. She said that they aren't as annoying to the babies as they are to us big people. I didn't ask her how she knew that (this is also not the first time I've heard this). I am just gonna take her word on it and stop standing on my head in attempt of helping him get rid of the pesky hiccups. (I don't really stand on my head.) Anyways, his heart rate was around 150 which is good and normal.

He is still hanging out upside down (like a little bat) on my right side where I feel most of the kicks and punches on my left side and to the top.

The time is near baby, the time is near!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hypnobirthing: My Hypnotherapy Session

I can't believe I didn't write about my hypnotherapy session with my friend George. I had transcribed some materials for him with my speedy typing skills and in return Mike and I both received complimentary Reiki and Hypnotherapy services. I finally used mine up a couple of months (?) ago. I talked to George about how our birthing class instructor led us through a relaxation/visualization during one of our classes. George said he could do a labor/birth themed Hypno session for me.  It was very refreshing and relaxing. I know that when people think of Hypnosis they think they have no control of their bodies and minds and will wake up clucking like a chicken but it is nothing like what you see in the movies. You have complete control of your body. If you feel uncomfortable at any point you are conscious enough to stop the session.

The session took place in a candlelit room with a massage table and a couch. I got comfy on the massage table and George sat on the couch but on the far end of the couch, which I appreciated. I think that if he sat or stood too close to me that I would have had a harder time relaxing because he would have been invading my space. So the distance was good and I was able to create my own relaxing state with George's voice guiding me along. 

It was about a 30 minute session, I think a wee bit longer than that. He started off by slowly bringing me into a relaxed state. He had me visualize a peaceful place and I jumped from a secluded beach to a mountaintop and finally ended up on a little dinghy in the middle of Lake Pend O'Reille just gently bobbing there in the sunlight. So, that is my peaceful place that I should call on whenever I need to feel relaxed and calm. My two favorite bits involved a blue balloon and cold snow. The first one, the blue balloon, was a way to deal with and visualize contractions. This will help me with realizing that each contraction won't last forever. At the start of the contraction he has me visualize a blue balloon. It gets blown up little by little and then at the very top or end of the contraction it floats away. If I find this helpful and distracting during labor pains Mike will talk me through this balloon sequence. I like the idea of reaching a small goal (blowing up a balloon) and then linking the relief with the visual of a balloon floating away. The other bit that I liked was a visualization helping with any aches or pains. I imagine that I am in a cabin in the mountains and the landscape is blanketed with snow. I sink my hand into the snow and leave it there until I cannot stand it anymore and place my hand on the part of me that hurts to numb the pain. Ah, sweet relief!

He made a CD of the session so I can listen to it anytime I'd like. I've been listening to it on my neighborhood walks and trying to listen to it before I go to sleep. When I go on my walks I play it in this big portable CD player that I stuff into my fanny pack. I pretend like it's the '90s:
Although I might get a hat instead to put the CD player in:
just kidding.
I'm getting off track.

George also sent us some other hypnotherapy scripts centered around labor that we might use as well. I think it will be very helpful when the time comes. I'll let you know!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sleeping With Sore Hips

This pillow is insane. Mike wouldn't fit on the bed if I had something like this.
 I have only been sleeping on my sides but will sometimes wake up and find myself on my back. It's impossible to sleep on my stomach with a big watermelon out front and they say that pregnant women shouldn't sleep on our backs because the weight of your uterus (especially in the 3rd trimester) sits on your spine, back muscles, intestines and major blood vessels. This can interfere with blood flow and nutrients to the placenta and ultimately your baby - so I try to avoid that position. In the last week I will wake up in the middle of the night and my hips will feel super sore. I think it's from sleeping on my sides and having my hips press into the bed (or the bed press into my hips.) What helps me is moving onto my back and lifting one leg with a bent knee and rotating it - it brings such sweet relief for a little bit. I repeat that on the opposite side and then I try to go back to sleep on my side again but if the soreness is still there I then fold my body pillow in half so that it's extra fat and put it in between my knees. What I think happens with this set up is that it keeps my hips from collapsing and helps them stay apart. With this position I'm usually able to fall asleep again.

This morning I looked up "sleeping positions for aching hips" and learned that this is common in pregnant women. Apparently our hips are stretching out and getting ready for baby so the joints are loosening and with me sleeping on my side it is pushing them out of joint a bit. The things I read to relieve the pain were to take Tylenol, use a body pillow, don't cross your ankles while sleeping, and to sleep sitting up. So it sounds like I'm on the right track. I think I'll be more conscious about the ankles crossing to see if that helps and perhaps try and sleep on my back but in a more upright position (that actually sounds marvelous to me...I wish we had a lazy boy recliner.) Wish me and my pelvic bones luck and a good nights sleep!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Breast Feeding Class

Jesus was breastfed!
We went to the Breast Feeding Class that the WBWC offers their patients for free. It was good. Even though I've done a lot of reading about it I still learned lots of things. We watched videos too which are really lovely. There's something so natural about watching a baby breast feed. It makes my heart swell. It also makes me wonder why people make such a big deal over breast feeding in public. I can think of thousands of more offensive things to see in public. Anyhoo. (Stepping down from my soapbox.)

These are some things I learned:
  • There's no need to burp a breast fed baby. It's the bottle fed babes that swallow air from the bottle and will need burping. So he'll probably need burping if we feed him breast milk from the bottle.
  • Leaning back will let the baby be in control of how much milk he's getting. This makes sense. If you are sitting up gravity let's the milk out and the baby will naturally hold his tongue in a way to slow the milk down and perhaps not suck as much due to the gravitational flow. If we lean back the baby has to suck more which is a good thing plus he won't be choking back the milk as much...gahkahahgahkah!!! (Mike does a good impression of a choking, hungry, breastfeeding baby.)
  • Skin on skin is a great bonding method. If baby is not hungry and mom is holding him to her chest and is still fussy it might be because he is near the "kitchen" and can smell that milk. The non-milk maker, a.k.a. Mike, may have better luck at holding the baby to his chest since he does not have that milk scent. Plus his deep resonating voice might be soothing, or that fuzzy papa bear chest might feel soft and lush to wee Thunder Bear. 
  • We tried on all sorts of baby carriers and talked about how we could nurse while the baby was in the carrier. We tried Maya Wraps, Moby Wraps (we have a Moby) and an Ergo Baby. We also tried nursing pillows such as the Boppy and the Brest Friend. (We have a Brest Friend.) Mike modeled the Maya Wrap for the class.
  • I also learned about the 4th trimester (WHAT? That doesn't make sense. Four parts to a trimester?!) It makes me think of when I call the three sections of an NHL Hockey game a trimester or better yet, "What inning are we in?" or "Is it half time"? Poor Mike, the things I put him through. Anyways, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. the 4th trimester. This is basically the first 3 months of the wee baby's life. Here's how they explained it over at Becoming Mamas:
"Basically, it’s the idea that the first 3 months of life are very much an extension of life in the womb for baby. Baby has spent 40 weeks (or thereabouts!) having her every need attended to. She never knew hunger, was always rocked, and could always hear mama’s heartbeat. Given that, it seems pretty unrealistic to expect a newborn baby to adjust to life on the outside instantly. That’s why attempts at scheduling a newborn or unrealistic expectations about sleep frustrate parents more often than not."
          It reminds me of my little "Womb to Room" theory that I wrote about in the post "Information
          Overload: What Makes Sense". These first three months are a transition period from all of
          that care in the womb to extending it to the "room" or outside of the womb and slowly making
          a transition into this big world.
  • Each pregnant lady had a little life size newborn baby doll. We used these to put in the carriers and with the breast feeding pillows as well as to practice different holds. We had a little sleeping African American baby. He was adorable. Mike handed it to me as if it were a doll, I mean, it is a doll but...he wasn't pretending like it was a real baby and got a laugh from the class.
Our instructor (who is a nurse and a lactation consultant at the birth center) said that these dolls make it all seem so easy. Real babies will have these arms that will constantly get in the way and that the babies will be more wriggly. We learned the traditional or cradle hold, the cross-cradle hold, the football hold and the lying down hold. (click on the image below to see detailed descriptions of holds.)
  • We also learned how the baby's lips should be and how he should be positioned on the mama's breast. Mike also did a really good impression of the "flanged" lip that he demonstrated for the instructor. He's such a ham.

It was nice to know that we can call the birth center anytime and talk to a lactation consultant if we are ever having any problems.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

38 Weeks!

My friend Ali has been the photographer of these weekly pics. We go out behind our work building every Wednesday and she snaps three shots. Afterwards she feels my tummy...just to feel it or sometimes to see if the boy is kicking. It's a nice weekly ritual! I had a weekly midwife visit today. I will write a little bit about it later!

Midwife's Appointment

We had our (now weekly) midwife's appointment last Thursday. It was uneventful (other than the news that I am a carrier for Beta Strep) but everything else looked good. His heart rate looked good. He is still upside down and his little body is mostly on my right side with his back against the right hand side of my belly; he's been this way for ages it seems. He stretches his little leg out and I feel his stretches and his wee foot on my left side quite often.When I lay back and look down at my belly it is at a slope because of his position. It reminds me of Half Dome from the right angle, like so:
I asked her if the baby had dropped and she said that they couldn't really tell without doing a vaginal exam. She doesn't think he has. I think he has. But what do I know. She suggested that I take Evening Primrose Oil. They say that it can help first time moms to prevent postdates. Plus it's full of omega oils which are good for all sorts of things.  She also mentioned the "Active Management of the 3rd Stage" which means, once the baby is born they give the mom a shot of pitocin to help contract the uterus and deliver the placenta and it helps with less bleeding which in turn allows the mom to be less tired from not losing so much blood which means it will be easier on those dreaded post partum blues...BUT I think that's ridiculous. Breast feeding is supposed to help contract your uterus after birth. There are other things you can take to up your iron levels as well. The only reason I can see administering pitocin after baby is delivered is if we for some reason cannot breast feed right away. My friend Shawnee was told in her birthing class that taking Alfalfa tablets is supposed to help with less bleeding and blood clotting as well and she did that in her last trimester. There are so many decisions. OY. Pregnancy is definitely not for the indecisive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Types of Dipes

I have been given many hand me down cloth diapers, and given brand spankin' new ones too. The new ones are so luxurious. So far we mostly have the prefolds which are just like the old fashioned diapers that we probably all wore as infants:
I was given a gazillion newborn sized ones (orange edge) Thanks Shawnee!!! They are so little! I was handed down some medium sized ones and have some small sized ones too (yellow edge) Thanks Mama!!!

Then there are cloth diapers called flats which look like kitchen towels but apparently are quite absorbent:
These are super soft and you can fold them in many different ways. One of the ways is with an easy origami fold, which is fun for me.

I just got some super plush ones called flip inserts Thanks Em!!! Unwashed they are soft as a babies bum. I rubbed them all over my face while oohing and aahing:
Apparently the flip inserts and the flats can fit on a newborn up  until toddler. Where the prefolds come in different sizes. I'm excited to try these 3 different kinds to see if there is a difference in absorbency, comfort and durability.

They say that you should pre-wash new diapers 3-5 times in hot water before using, especially if they are unbleached. Cotton has natural oils and if they are unbleached the oils will repel the stuff that you want to be absorbed. I never knew that. So I did many loads of diapers last weekend just to get rid of those oils. I washed the prefolds and flip inserts once in cold, twice in hot. I washed the flats once in cold and 4 times in hot. I dried them on high heat. I would test them in between washes by dropping a little water on them to see if the water would absorb or roll off, that's how I knew to wash them again or not. We want to attract not repel otherwise the cute pee and poop will roll right out of the diaper like water off a ducks back.

As Mike was emptying the cat litter the other day he said, "I only have to do this once a day, the baby will have to be changed like 7 times a day. I've got litter, you've got diapers." I gave him the biggest stink-eye known to the human race.

Images from Green Mountain Diapers (where all the new ones were purchased!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

37 Week Roly Poly

I'm laying on my side here (belly button is on the right). Mike says it looks like dough rising. There's about 4 hard kicks in a row starting at second 9 or so. There's a little roly movement right before that starting at second 6ish.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cracking Belly

I dreamt that my tummy was cracking. When I woke up I thought I'd find stretch marks across my right side. But no. Just a dream. I went and slathered my belly in moisturizer anyway.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fingernail For the Record

When I was a kid through my twenties, I was a nail biter. I sometimes would stop (in my twenties) but then I'd start again. I think it had to do with anxiety or stress (school? finals? presentations? new situations?) The nailbiting subsided in my thirties. I remember my mom wouldn't let me get my ears pierced until I could either stop biting my nails or keep my bedroom clean for an entire month. That took FOREVER. My best friend Tiffany would playfully tease me by tapping her long fingernails on the car window on the way to school or on her desk in one of our classes that we had together. Well now I can grow my nails out, no need for fingernail polish on them either. I must feel at ease or something. Anyways, you know how they say that taking prenatal vitamins makes your hair more luscious and your nails long and strong? Well check out this nail that looks like it's on it's way to making a U-turn. Mike sees it and says, "eeeew." Hahaha! I'm going to see how long it can get before it breaks. I really want to have one of those gnarly Guinness Book of World Records Nails, just to snap a picture of it. Wish me luck.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beta Strep

GBS Bacteria
Two midwife's appointments ago we did a swab to check if I was a carrier for Beta Strep (GBS). At yesterdays appointment the results were in - I'm a carrier. That sounds scary but it's not if we treat it during labor. I did research and learned more about this GBS thing because learning about things makes me feel more at ease and better prepared for a situation. This is what it's all about:

Group B Streptococcus (GBS or Beta Strep) is a naturally occurring bacterium in men and women. About 25% of women are carriers and don't even know it! In adults it doesn't really ever show any symptoms - if it does it's things like bladder, kidney and uterine infections which will bring on a fever. The most common areas for GBS are in the rectum, vagina, bladder and mouth. It is not a sexually transmitted disease. The part where it can get scary sounding is when a woman is a carrier and is pregnant with a baby. Basically I will have to have IV antibiotics (penicillin) during labor to reduce the chances of the bacteria getting to the little one. Because we live less than a mile from the birth center we can go in when we feel our first contraction (and know that it is not false labor) to get my first dose of antibiotics and then go back home until my contractions are much closer together. We don't want our boy to be in contact with this bacteria. By taking antibiotics the risk of contracting the infection drops from 1/200 to 1/4000. Once he is born (and if all goes well and we stay at the birth center) we will stay there for 12 hours so that the nurse and midwife can monitor the baby and make sure he doesn't have any symptoms. Some of the symptoms seem pretty hard to detect. For instance, the baby may appear lethargic or come across as moody. He may refuse breast milk and may throw up if he does eat. He may have a fever. This is the scary part for me: In more serious cases GBS can can result in a lung or blood infections which then can spread to the brain (which wouldn't be good). If it spreads to the brain GBS can cause more serious developmental problems such as deafness, blindness and developmental problems like difficulty learning. It can also be fatal if not treated right away. They say that treatment with antibiotics during labor is very effective and that babies rarely die or contract GBS receiving this treatment. I have confidence in this treatment and believe that all will go well. Knowing what to look for in the baby is going to be helpful too so we can squash that bacteria as soon as possible.

I read about GBS at About dot com, Wyoming OBGYN, and Wisegeek dot com
Image from Dia Source

My Birth Plan

I was tasked to write up a birth plan. The Birth Center doesn't provide us with an example because they really want the woman to be able to come up with something unique to her. They do give us hints like, Who can be in the room with you? Do you like massage, verbal encouragement, distraction, quiet? So I included that stuff but also included other stuff that I thought was pertinent. I also looked up an example birth plan on baby center but it was very hospitalcentric. Of course this entire plan could go out the door (or to UNC Hospital) but this will help everyone involved, even the medical folks at UNC, if need be. I showed this to the midwife yesterday (but wrote this post on Tuesday!) so there may be changes or additions. Here is the first draft:

Who can be there (besides midwife and nurse)?
  •  Mike (Birth Partner/Husband) - cell ---.---.----
  •  Harriet & Stan (my parents) – cell ---.---.---- - This is if labor/birth takes place after July 7 when they will be in town.

Helpers – People we’ve asked to be “on-call” just in case we forgot something (food, etc.) or in case we need to go to the emergency room and our car with car seat needs to get to the hospital. They can come into the Birth Center and even the Birthing Room but not for extended periods of time unless otherwise asked. 
  •  Jane _____ – cell ---.---.---- home ---.---.----
  • Christina_____ – cell ---.---.----

What do I need to feel supported?
  • Verbal encouragement & reminders to breathe
  • Visualizations (I did a hypnotherapy session which was full of visualizations, i.e. a blue balloon being blown up with each contraction and it floating away once the contraction was over.)
  •  Distraction will probably be helpful: walking, change of position, etc.
  •  I like gentle touch and massage.
  •  Bath or shower – I love baths and I think this would help with contractions.
  •  I may even want quiet. In sports before games I would always be very quiet which would help me focus my mind.

Using the Pain Medications Preference Scale from Penny Simkin I have a “strong preference to avoid pain medications, mainly for baby’s benefit. Is actively preparing (practicing labor coping skills and reading outside childbirth class) and learning comfort measures, but will accept medications for difficult labor.” I don’t want you to suggest medications. If I ask please try alternatives first. Set goals for me. i.e. ask me “to try 5 more contractions without medication.”Give me lots of verbal encouragement, "You're doing so well." "You're making progress." "We're this much closer to having the baby!"

·         We may bring music but I may not want to listen to anything.
·         When baby is delivered I’d love for there to be not so much talking. Let the moment unfold.

We will bring our camera that has still and video capabilities and set it up on a tripod. I have no expectations of pictures, especially during labor and birth. My husband will snap them if he remembers or gets a chance. If we get some, great, if not that’s o.k. I would love for pics after the birth of baby, me, dad.

Cord cutting
Mike doesn’t have a strong desire to cut the cord but I think we should ask him when the time comes because he may change his mind. If he doesn’t want to the midwife or nurse can do it once the cord has stopped pulsating.

We would like to keep it and bring it home.

Water birth/play
I would love to try a water birth. If I am not comfortable in the water and a water birth doesn’t happen, that is fine. I would love to go in the water after the placenta has been delivered and hold the baby in the water. I would also like to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible.

Eye Drops
We don’t want the baby to have eye drops

Undecided – Vitamin K shot, Cord blood banking