Sunday, May 31, 2009

Butternut squash and skeletal growth

So, yeah. Here's the facts from BabyCenter

How she's growing:
"Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. Her muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and her head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet her increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because her bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day."

And then there's the below, which so far just does not apply to me:
--no heartburn, but when I'm full (it takes liquid to achieve this delightful effect), the little flap that should keep my food out of my throat and further down my digestive tract is not flapped closed, so I can bend over, hike up a hill, or roll over in bed and announce: "ew, tastes like I just threw up a little in my mouth." But, no burning!
--no hemorrhoids, yet...
--constipation has not returned. I'm all regular and happy about it! (But, um, the poo is stinky in a new way. From the fish oil supplements?)
--I can still sleep or kick it on my back
--Dizzy everyonce in a while. It passes, so, no big.
--Boobs! Still got 'em. Still lovin' 'em. New addition to boobage area: big blue veins after a bath or a hike. And every once in a while the left, sorry, my left boob (they're so darn big I sometimes forget they're mine!) aches a bit. I think it's cause they're busy getting ready for baby. Cool!
--She/Ginger Crash/Kahli/August/yeah, we don't know yet kicks a lot! And maybe punches. It's still cute and not yet uncomfortable. So, more yay!

How the experts say my life should be changing:
"Your baby's very active now. Your practitioner may ask you to spend some time each day counting kicks and will give you specific instructions on how to do this. Let her know if you ever notice a decrease in activity. You may need a nonstress test or biophysical profile to check on your baby's condition.

"Some old friends — heartburn and constipation — may take center stage now. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes smooth muscle tissue throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract. This relaxation, coupled with the crowding in your abdomen, slows digestion, which in turn can cause gas and heartburn — especially after a big meal — and contribute to constipation as well.

"Your growing uterus may also be contributing to hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels in your rectal area are common during pregnancy and usually clear up in the weeks after giving birth. If they're itchy or painful, try soaking in a sitz bath or applying cold compresses medicated with witch hazel to the affected area. Also avoid sitting or standing for long stretches. Talk with your practitioner before using any over-the counter remedies during pregnancy, and let her know if you have any rectal bleeding. To prevent constipation, eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and get some regular exercise.

"Some women get something called "supine hypotensive syndrome" during pregnancy, where laying flat on your back causes a change in heart rate and blood pressure that makes you feel dizzy until you change position. You might note that you feel lightheaded if you stand up too quickly, too. To avoid "the spins" lie on your side rather than your back, and move slowly as you go from lying down to sitting and then standing."

This week in cravings

I am right now pounding a whole milk, peanut butter, banana, ice shake/smoothie. Yum! Happily settling into week 29, I am resting a tiny bit more, craving less fruit, less sweets and stuffing myself with protein and fat. Sometimes it's cause I'm craving it (like this here milky goodness) and sometimes it's just because.

I'm supposed to. Eat a TON of protein and fat and calcium-rich foods during this trimester. Tiny human is making bones right now. And she'll take all the calcium I've got. I'm happy to share with her, but I figure consuming calcium (in my leafy greens and mostly milk products) is a good idea.

Fats: well, we gotta have them. Me and the little lady. Lots of avocado, cheese, coconut oil rather than vegetable or olive oil. Lots of meats and cheeses. And chocolate, cause why not!

In this week's reading queue:
The Doula Advantage
The Vaccine Guide

After only a few dozen pages into The Doula Advantage, I was convinced that working with a doula is for me and Ross. This week I will begin to interview and get to know potential doulas. I want my, hopefully, at home birth experience to go as smoothly as possible. I want to work well with Ross without jeopardizing my ability to 100 percent rely on him. As well, I don't want to be in a freaking panic by the time the midwives arrive. And, I want an expert on hand to pamper, massage, feed, water, clean etc. me throughout. Yup, a doula is for me!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And then there was happiness

Halle-friggin-lujah. The days-long frustration ended. It was for sure related to changes that I should expect and welcome and all that jazz. But as well, life, was, frustrating. For more than a minute. As life is likely to be. Mixing frustration with new hormones meant the dog's life was in danger. (See previous posts.)

But really, that is in the past. And spider is still alive. And cute as ever. Spider might even be cuter than ever, in fact, because Monday he demonstrated that he is fully over being afraid of/aggressive towards Charile (Nicole and Sanders' wonderful 7 year old.) At the annual Pt. Richmond massive yard sale extravaganza, Spider barked at a few folks, as per usual, but as soon as he saw Charlie, he headed right over and made with the nice. They hung out in town, and at home, while the boys bbq'd.

It was almost cute enough for me to rethink his upcoming operation. But really, really, he's not using his nuts. So he can live without them. Right?

Also, at said bbq, he was less than 100 percent accepting of baby Piper. Who really likes to crawl quickly towards him, and kinda screams in delight whenever she sees him, and is then crawling towards him. Spider barks, and eventually runs away. Which is good. Because we don't want him to eat/bite/scar the baby.

This week I've let myself sleep in til 10 twice(!), but consequently, missed out on a hike with the dog. Which I find compromises my mood a bit too much. Today, I was on the hill hike even before coffee. Then dishes, meatballs by Ross, and work. The hike, and a well-walked dog are integral to my mood-management. But then, this is nothing new.

Also, I downloaded a photo or two from a recent sushi date-night. And I'll be damned, but, hey, look at that, I'm still cute! Also good for mood-maintenance!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

28 weeks = a whole new third

Rather than rant about my grumpiness (which does nothing to relieve the grumpi-stabbiness I feel today/yesterday, I will now share with you what the weekly website update says about my wunderbar baby.

"How she's growing:
By this week, your baby weighs two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can blink her eyes, which now sport lashes. With her eyesight developing, she may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. She's also developing billions of neurons in her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world."

And for the below, looks like I'll continue to pork up (which is fine, cause I have no problem eating everything in sight, apparently) and my legs will continue to act as if they were attached to, well, somebody's body that is not mine.

On the happy-joy-joy side of things: Had a lovely visit with one of our midwives. Had a fun birthing class. Enjoyed a delish dinner with friends w/ child and arrived home with a breast pump, new book to read and a baby bed/massager thing. But more on that when I feel like smiling, or being at all pleasant or complimentary.

"How your life's changing:
You're in the home stretch! The third and final trimester starts this week. If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds this trimester.

"At this point, you'll likely visit your doctor or midwife every two weeks. Then, at 36 weeks, you'll switch to weekly visits. Depending on your risk factors, your practitioner may recommend repeating blood tests for HIV and syphilis now, as well as doing cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea, to be certain of your status before delivery. Also, if your glucose screening test result was high and you haven't yet had follow-up testing, you'll soon be given the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. And if the blood work done at your first prenatal visit showed that you're Rh negative, you'll get an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that could attack your baby's blood. (If your baby is Rh positive, you'll receive another shot of Rh immunoglobulin after you give birth.)

"Around this time, some women feel an unpleasant "creepy-crawly" sensation in their lower legs and an irresistible urge to move them while trying to relax or sleep. If this sensation is at least temporarily relieved when you move, you may have what's known as restless legs syndrome (RLS). No one knows for sure what causes RLS, but it's relatively common among expectant mothers. Try stretching or massaging your legs, and cut down on caffeine, which can make the symptoms worse. Ask your caregiver if you should try iron supplements, which can sometimes relieve RLS."

Today is grr

So, this is hormones? Frustration way beyond what ordering a washer and dryer should cause. And WAY beyond what an afternoon cup of coffee should fuel. And later tears. And today the same: frustration. While on my hike! Glad I didn't kill the dog. It was tempting.

Then, as the GRRR coursed through my veins I recalled with our birthing class instructor mentioned at our a recent class: Gots to counter those stress/anger juices with some good old oxy.

"I want you to look down at your belly. Think about your baby. Rub your belly. Now, say aloud to your baby, "I love you." And yeah, she's right, flood of oxy-happy hormone.

"I want you to bathe your babies with love."

OK. Tried that, on the hike = flood, of near tears.

So, then I realized, indeed, this is, these are, hormones. What did not cure the grumpy, frustrated, angry, tired new me:
--a nap
--getting stuff done
--a hike
--ice cream
--friggin anything, nothing cured my ills

My neck hurts.

And Grr.

Welcome to the third trimester. Fuck.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Put the wand down, and walk away

So, I can sleep in these days, if I want. But I don't always want. Today, I shouldda. Couldda. Kinda did. Is this what it's like to be a lady of leisure? I always thought there would be more champagne.

Earlier this week (2nd trimester, remember), I was up at 7 am and on the hill hike by 8 or 9. Waking up with yogurt and banana, a cup of coffee and a hike was great! Back home for second breakfast with the boy by 10. But I over did the whole damn thing Wednesday, with a hike, office workday, writing AND a a social event.

The social event was great! Six pregnant ladies, a lot of mom-tails, a few partners/husbands, 1 sister, my glass of wine, Kate's beer, Ross's tequila and Kitty's bar (Kitty and husband Abel took turns DJing.) It was a gorgeous night. Boobs and bellies were out.

By the time I got home, I could barely keep my eyes open. And I had a mean, huge, pulsing blister on the bottom of my heel! So: tired, limping pregnant lady, barely able to climb the stairs. Oh joy.

And Thursday I was tired. I toned down the amount of office work, and had to stick to the flats for the hike.

Friday: baby sitting Piper from 10ish to 2ish was GREAT. And afterwards I napped for 2 hours. Two solid hours. (Piper is Nicole's little 9-month-old lady)

Today: My alarm went off at 7. I turned it off til 8. There may have been sex, I can't remember right now. Plans to hit the hill by 9 were scrapped in favor of more food. Back to bed by 11!

How many times can a pregnant lady masturbate before noon? Well, I have a pretty good idea. And the number seems to be rising. Along with my electricity bill...

Ross once asked me if I would always remember to leave enough sensitivity for him... ulp. Time to get to work. Or get out of the house.

I did write a story for work so far. Too. And I will hike, after 6, when it cools down (veins and dog will appreciate the wait), but I wonder, is this what boredom feels like? Kinda like, "Hmm, well, I guess I'll go masturbate." Guess I better enjoy it while I can.

This week: we make room for a crib. And a piano.

Friday, May 15, 2009

91 days to go, or so it says

But that was last week. This week, we're talking cauliflower and hiccups.

Not sure if they are hiccups or karate chops, but the little lady has been MIGHTY mobile this week. I know that for myself and the other pregnants (Kitty and Lan) we still think it's all cute and wow! to feel the kicks/chops. But moms, and preggos who are farther along feel otherwise. Or seem to. They are all good at biting their tongues and smiling and saying "I remember when I first felt (insert name here) kick!" but the stories leak out. On facebook, on blogs, after a few drinks: Aliens, human feet visible through your bulging skin, bladder kicks... oh boy.

So: Yes: 27 Weeks. Kicks are still cute.
"This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle."

See, still cute, even the BabyCenter says so.

How life and bod are a-changin':
The second trimester is drawing to a close, but as your body gears up for the final lap, you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back, for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then. They're carrying extra weight, after all, and your expanding uterus is putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart as well as on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs. Unfortunately, the cramps may get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. When a cramp strikes, stretching the calf muscle should give you some relief. Straighten your leg and then gently flex your toes back toward your shin. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.

"It may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, but it's not too soon to think about family planning. You'll want to have made some decisions about postpartum birth control before your baby arrives. If you're considering a tubal ligation, be aware that most states require you to sign a consent form at least 30 days beforehand. So if you'd like the option of having the surgery during your postpartum hospital stay, don't wait too much longer to discuss it with your caregiver. (You can still change your mind later.)"

No leg cramps for many months. But Nicole suggested banana and milk shakes before bed. Sounds yummy. I'm on one shake a day lately. I need more bananas! And time for whole, unpasteurized milk!

The way she/we were: 26 weeks

Last week was the last week of my first ever graduate-level city planning class. I turned in my paper. I gave a presentation (and kinda still pretended not to be pregnant!)

Last week I was 26 weeks pregnant. Below, deets from the emails that come to my inbox from BabyCenter.

"How your baby's growing:
"The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. She may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. She's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of her lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when she's born and takes that first gulp of air. And she's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days."

Ross has been talking to the belly a lot lately. Or, rather, INTO the belly. He asks her a lot of questions. And then hums or sings. It tickle. And it's funny to me that he's doing this more and more as her ears are developing more and more. Really, it's that the belly is more and more... so, yeah, why not talk to it, into it. Whatevs.

And now, for me! or what my bod could/should be dealing with:

"How your life's changing:
Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby's room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)"

As for the below
--No lower back pain yet
--I am sleeping with a leg cocked up on a pile of blankets when I'm on my side.
--But I still don't feel the need to avoid sleeping on my back.
--Legs and feet do get sore, though, from walking on cement in mid day, if it's warm.
--I think I'm kinda done with bikram for a while. I want to swim when it's warm now...

"If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen."

Kate's baby stuff list = v. helpful

Totally stealing the below from Kate's awesome preggo blog. Tips, suggestions, etc. I need to post my take on all this baby stuff... and i will. when I have a take on ALL THIS baby STUFF.

I'm fairly certain that I have an infant carseat, playpen and crib in hand-me-down form. As well, a simple stroller. I know I want a basic sling (maybe $5 in fabric to wrap around me/Ross and the kid), but suggestions about carriers ('cause 1 sling will not be enough!) and things like a SECOND pad for the bed and pads for the crib is AWESOME advice.

Not sure I'm the kinda mom that will have a special blanket, mobile with colorful dangly things that goes with the blanket for "tummy time" — my house is not getting any bigger even if my belly and my family are!

Still, I sense a list of what I "need," and it's a growin'. Like the belly!

Thanks for sharing, Kate!
From Kate:
Last month I posted the first half of the baby tips that I received from various wise mamas after I sent out a call for suggestions as to what we might actually need during the first year vs. what we probably won't need/use/like. The responses were awesome and varied and I compiled them, w/ links, to share with others...Enjoy


• If you plan to breast feed La Leche League was a big help to me. There's someone in every area!
• I got one of these so I didn't have to say the word 'boppy'. Plus it’s bigger and smooshier:
• We use Born Free bottles and think they're great.
• 'My Breast Friend' was definitely not a friend, and a huge waste of $.
• Get a Boppy. But make sure it is the naked Boppy and buy a few slipcovers. Trust me on this one.
• Flat cloth diapers to use as burp cloths.
• A night bra. So much more comfortable than wearing a regular bra to bed and it will hold your breast pads in place in case the baby decides to sleep through a feeding and your body doesn't.
• I basically lived in Glamourmom nursing bra tanks for a couple years.
• Breast pads. For me, the only ones that worked were the Lansinoh.
• My Ameda Purely Yours breastpump worked great with all three kids. It was a huge relief at times. It is also less expensive than the Medela version.
• If you need a pump, I like my Pump In Style (and I got a used one from a friend that works just fine).
• I’ve heard great things about the Ameda pump. The Lansinoh double electric is the exact same pump, different name, and is sometimes available cheaper. I will say that if you have any supply issues (which I do), you'll want to start out with a hospital grade rental and then get a pump in style- they're just stronger. If you don't have any issues, the Ameda/Lansinoh should be fine, and is definitely cheaper.
• If you need milk bags, Lansinoh are the best- no leaks.
Lansinoh ointment: start rubbing it on your nipples a couple weeks *before* the baby is born, to get them ready. And apply it every time the baby nurses in the beginning, to keep nipples from cracking.

• I found the askdrsears website a real help. The Sears family has a whole arsenal of books, but the site is really comprehensive. I’m definitely not an attachment parenting nazi and I know it doesn't work for everyone. Some people can find their tone really chastening and the advice impractical. But Evie was a tough baby and I found their council really affirming.
• The only book I would recommend buying (versus getting from your library) is Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting. In the strange ways that parenting a child can feel like parenting yourself from time to time, I found this book intensely therapeutic.
• I recommend the book Super Baby Food for when you start introducing solids.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery

Moby Wrap for under 6 months, Ergo carrier for over 6 months
• When the baby gets a little bigger, a backpack style carrier, like the Ergo is great for hiking, errands, walks, traveling -- we schlepped Bee around SE Asia in the Ergo. I can't recommend it enough.
• We went right from the Ergo carrier (which I LOVE and can't recommend enough) to the bike trailer.
• Ocean is six months, and we've never used her stroller. We wear her everywhere. I love my babyhawk (and they come in rad prints), but I’ve also heard great things about the Beco, which seems like it is easier for putting on/off while on the go.
• Evie pretty much lived in her sling for the first 6 months. Ours was a gift called the Peanut Shell.
• Peanut shell slings. Some babies like to be upright (a la moby/babyhawk) but Amelia was more of a "cradle hold" kind of kid.
• We couldn't live without our Baby Bjorn, we loved wearing Bradley. It was the most comfortable way to carry him, and kept him the most content.
• We have the Baby Bjorn and I love it. It took our son a little while to get used to it, but we used it a lot.
• I do not recommend the Baby Bjorn -- it's just not comfortable once the baby puts on a few pounds!
• There are about ten million different types of baby carriers, and everyone likes a different one. I tried and returned a couple slings before finding the one that worked for me. Whatever you choose, having some kind of easy-to-use carrier is essential. It takes the weight off your arms if you're just carrying the baby around the house or on a walk. You can use it to hold the baby while you're out to dinner (our babies were generally happier sleeping in the sling close to mom or dad than sitting in the carseat). You can use it to carry the baby around at the grocery store, instead of lugging an infant car seat around. When both of ours were little babies, we used a simple, adjustable sling made of a cotton mesh material -- very cool and breathable and a great cover-up for nursing to boot.

• Get an infant car seat hand-me-down (or craigslist) and splurge on the convertible car seat (Britax is rad).
Britax Roundabout Convertible car seat - we skipped the cost of the infant car seat that the baby outgrows in 6 months and hurts your back along the way.
Carseat-wise, Britax are the best. Get a new one, unless you're sure of its pedigree.
• We didn’t use the infant carseat and snap-and-go stroller. We just carried her everywhere in a sling or the babyhawk. You can put them right into a Britax from birth. If I did it over, I’d skip the infant carseat. But, many people swear by them.
• A good infant car seat that snaps in and out of the base if you plan on driving.

• Bouncy seat. A great place for naps, or putting the baby down while you shower, or for elevated sleeping if the baby is congested. Hell, it wouldn't hurt to have a couple (we kept one inside and one on our deck).
• A bouncy chair or swing. Borrow or get used, if possible, because some babies love the bouncer, and some love the swing.
• The bouncy chair was the only place she'd sleep for several months, aside from our laps. And, it's small and lightweight, so you can carry it into the bathroom to take a shower.
• She had no interest in the big schmancy swing i got, so I’m glad I bought it (and then resold it) on craigslist.
• Bouncer: We got a cheapo one from Target. Sometimes it was the only thing that he would sit in that would allow me to take a shower (I would bring it in the bathroom with me so I could hear him and check on him).
• I would find an inexpensive swing, or borrow one, until you see if your kid likes the swing. Our son did not like it at all.
• V *lived* in this thing for the first 6 months. She loved it.
• If you have a grandparent, uncle, benefactor, etc., wanting to buy you a big-ticket item, we love our Svan high chair. So attractive, and it grows to become a full size chair!
• I like this booster seat, because it is portable, and because it attaches to any chair you don't have to have a separate high chair

• Clothes in the newborn size, not just 0-3 months, which tends to be too big for a newborn. If I could do it again, I'd buy fewer, but higher quality (soft, organic cotton) newborn clothes, rather than a ton of cheapo stuff. Because of all the spit up, I was doing laundry daily anyway, so I didn't really need 30 onesies.
• Note that you'll want to wash spit-up clothes in COLD water -- warm/hot water sets milk/barf stains.
• Sleeper pajamas and/or a sleep sack.
• Clothing items: Our son lived in onesies and sweat pants for the first few months of his life.
• I highly recommend getting sleepers that have zippers, not snaps, as it will take a lot less time to change the baby's diaper at 2am.

Easiest cloth dipes ever
• Cloth diapers. we use the Bum Genius one size pocket dipes. Super easy, and I was NOT planning on cloth diapering.
• We've used cloth diapers the whole time and it's easy. We also never used a diaper service ... just had a diaper pail filled with water and a natural anti-bacterial, soaked the poopers in the toilet, etc. we got all our stuff from, in Portland. They ship, but I’m sure there's a diaper shop near you too.
• Get a diaper bag that's comfy to carry. I actually recommend a backpack with good shoulder support, rather than something marketed as a diaper bag. Not as pretty, but better for schlepping around.
• Definitely buy a backpack instead of the one-shoulder diaper bags. It is unisex and is a whole lot easier to tote around.
• A few folks told me I couldn't possibly live with out a diaper bag, so I kind of ponied up on a nice one. I never used it ... always just found myself tucking diapers into a backpack or the bike trailer.
• Diaper cream that is 40% zinc oxide -- not the "creamy" stuff that is only 10% (it's not effective!).
• Bay Area diaper services: or

• The co-sleeper. Don’t bother. We ended up using ours as a place to dump the laundry. She just sleeps in our bed. We do have a crib we use for naps, but we just got it a few weeks ago, and you can get away without one for quite awhile.
• I tried a co-sleeper with Bee and didn't like it at all. It's not easy to pick up a baby while lying down, or sitting, or kneeling, in bed, which is what you have to do with the co-sleeper, unless you get out of bed (which, with the co-sleeper, involves scooting down to the bottom of the bed). Also, the co-sleeper makes making the bed hard, and when you're sleeping you may worry about your covers getting in there, and it's a pain to assemble, I could go on and on.
• As for sleeping arrangements, we found that the playpens that also have attachments to become a bassinet work great. They transform and last until the baby figures out how to escape (this was almost 2 for us) and you can bring them with you on trips.
• We loved Happiest Baby on the Block, and "SSHHHsh"-ing was very helpful in the early months to help him get to sleep.
• We bought a co-sleeper, crib, and a Pack n' Play. The Pack n' Play was useful after 6 months, but the co-sleeper got NO use, and the crib is just finally getting some use. We ended up having him in our bed until about 2 months ago, because that just felt most comfortable for us...but everyone feels differently on this, so do what works for you. :)
• Do you have a pad under your sheets and above your mattress? The kind that would absorb...say...spills or other effluvia? The big insight that I have gained after two babies is that I should have owned TWO of those, because there were several nights when the bed was stripped not once but twice (mostly barf) and boy oh boy would that have been nice...because if you get it the second time and you don't have the pad on, you are doomed
• I DID get Zach something along those lines which I am in love organic wool puddle pad...ahhh. It cost an arm and a leg (like one hundred freaking dollars for a twin bed) BUT it catches the pee, is really soft for under the sheets, and has made midnight bed changes easier. I was convinced by people smarter than me that this was a good place to spend money and they were right.
• Somebody mentioned multiple bed pads for when the baby spits up in your bed in the night. OMG YES. I spent so many nights with Finney changing out the sheets and scrubbing the mattress.
• Get a snap-on top layer that goes over the crib sheet (for all the messes baby makes in bed... changing the whole crib sheet is a pain)


We are getting the City Mini

• Wait until baby is here to pick out a stroller. Then you'll have a better idea of what you want/need.
• You won't need it for a good while, but a lightweight folding stroller like the McLaren Volo is great.
• Stroller: I loved our travel system. We got the Graco Quattro Tour travel system; it has the stroller, infant carrier and the base for the car seat. I loved having the carrier and used it until he was almost 9 months old. It was so nice to be able to go somewhere and not have to wake him up if he was sleeping. We still use the stroller to this day and our son is 2 years old. We just bought the Graco Duo Glider for when baby number 2 arrives, it is compatible with the infant carrier

These are really great for swaddling
• Swaddling with a good swaddle blanket is also very key! We had good luck with Swaddle Designs Ultimate Receiving Blanket & the Kiddopotomus Swaddlers. I highly recommend getting some practice swaddling a live baby before you deliver. It's tricky
• Oh and the SwaddleMe thingies with the velcro fasteners, so helpful! We could never recreate the secure swaddles like the folks at the hospital without the magic of velcro
• A play mat, like this, is SO great for when the baby starts trying to grab stuff
• Floor mat: Tummy time is a big thing for babies to start them working on their upper body strength. We bought a really cheap one and it was horrible. Look for something that has toys, mirrors, etc. so the kid has lots of things to look at.
• When the baby is a little older, older than 4 months, I would look into getting an exersaucer or jumperoo. We had the Rainforest Jumperoo and our son LOVED it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Also, I have more pics from mexico

In which I might just look like a beached whale.

Or a lady with a beer belly. Or maybe a pregnant lady. My dear friend Natalie snapped a gazillion photos. In them it is clear that I have very blue eyes. And that Ross is goofy. And that I look very different in a bikini, now as compared to some other now.

On a hike today with two other pregnants, I complained about my upper arms. "Where did the muscle tone go?" They agreed: hard to keep the biceps buff when we've had to adjust so many of our exercise routines/practices. Also, push-ups with a belly that:
1. hits the floor
2. weighs 10 to 15 lbs, AND yanks one's back into a horseshoe shape

= not as easy or fun or effective as we want.

This week: back to yoga? Weights for sure!

For the moms of me and Ross

I wrote a leetle story. And posted some photos for the moms/soon to be grandmoms. So far:
--my mom "loved" it, said so four times in her email back to me
--Ross read the note, "it almost made me cry"
--my response: "If my intention had been to make YOU cry, you would have."

Care to see the photos:

Care to read the story:

Moms: here's a little story to read when you are looking at the photos we arranged for you two.

Ross Kennedy and Jen Loy met in the backyard of Mama Buzz Cafe four years ago. They fell in love. Soon, Jen sold her cafe, bought a mini house* and they moved in together. Ross and Jen lived a very fun and carefree life. They went camping together, explored the Bay Area, got dressed up for big events and even did things on their own, like play music or go out with the girls.

But last November, Jen looked at Ross and said: "Remember that thing we talked about maybe doing someday? Can we do it NOW?!?" Also, she said, "I love you!"

Ross, being a rather intelligent (and handsome!) red-blooded male but one who is smart enough not to get in between a woman in her 30s and her hormones, smiled and said "Huh? Um. OK." and "I love you, too!"

A few weeks later Jen had to buy a new bra. Ross and Jen paid a doctor a lot of money so a nurse could show them that yes, a tiny human girl was growing inside of Jen. Jen thinks she (the tiny one) looks just like Ross. Ross says all babies look like him (round cheeks, no hair).

Now Jen and Ross are getting ready to get ready for the (less and less) tiny human girl to make her appearance. They haven't given up on the dog, Spider, but they think there is room in their mini house for the tiny human girl.

Jen takes a handful of vitamins everyday. Ross bought a brand-new piece of foam for their mattress (Jen sneezes a lot). Jen is also staying in shape! She goes on hikes with her friends (who are also growing tiny humans).

But Jen and Ross haven't changed that much. They still have fun with each other and their friends. They went to Mexico for a friend's wedding. Jen liked dressing up and showing off her belly. Ross liked playing around on the beach. Jen drank mom-tails and wore her mother's fancy dress from the 1980s for the wedding. Ross thought the wedding was fun, and maybe a little silly, just like him. The wedding singers thought Ross and Jen were very cute and dedicated a song to them and their tiny human.

Back in California (they are not responsible from bringing the Swine Flu to the United States, Virginia!) Jen felt very pretty, with her tan belly and new bra (yes, she had to buy yet another bra, this one with under wire! which was very exciting for everyone involved.) Ross pretends not to like the color pink, but Jen thinks he'll get over it, because they are collecting some very cute clothes for their tiny human.

This month, Ross and Jen have to make room for a crib. But not today. Today is Mother's Day. And they are busy thinking about how cool it is that Jen is kindasorta already a mom, and how they hope that their moms are having a very, very, very good day.

Happy Mother's Day!
-- luv Jen and Ross.

* photos of house and yard and few fun pieces of Ross's work here:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Healthy as a horse, and well-fed (in vits)

When the midwives do their house visit, they always take my blood pressure (perfect!) and check out my pee.

They gave me a fancy-dancy pee cup at our first real-deal meeting and I drink my trough-water/pregnancy tea and fill the cup up while they're here. (Perfect! And always well-hydrated!)

But even with all this recurring perfection, I take a handful of vits each day.
Happy belly/probiotics: same as the above
VitC: pretty much, same as above, tho no more than twice a day for now
Cranberry: am and pm, maybe mid-day as well. Because a lab reported back that I have a high-concentration of the bacteria that cause GTIs. While preggo, I might not notice as an infection takes hold.
Iron: my blood draw clocked my iron on the low side of OK. And during pregnancy, because my body is making MORE blood, the iron/blood ratio is likely to go down. As well, my mother was a bleeder at her births, so we want me to be prepared and fully ironed-up = one a day
omega 3/fish oil: three a day. for her brain! and my shiny coat.
prenatal vits: the obvious, one a day. all this good stuff supplements this guy.

(The above photo is my nightly swallow. Which takes two swallows, actually.)

Birthing pools and bellies - next week

I've been a bit busy since we got back from Mexico. I found out for certain that I got into UC Berkeley's Department of City and Regional Planning masters program. Which is RAD!!! And I'll deal with the date conflict later (EDD: August 10. Fist day of classes: August 24).

In preparation for the master's program, I enrolled in a graduate level planning class for the spring semester. Which is coming to an end, hence, term paper time! Which has been fun. And challenging and takes priority over writing about anything else.

But Ross and I have made time for baby/birthing films (gentle and water births of late) and Ross really wants us to get a birthing pool. Awakenings lists rental sources, which is awesome. And makes it easy.

I originally thought the tub would be enough, but Ross has informed me that he really wants to be able to get in with me, if/when I want him. Which is sweet (!) and forward thinking of him, really.

Part of me is worried about the expense and the inconvenience... you rent for two weeks before and two weeks after your EDD. We'd have it in the living room! Which is tiny. And we've yet to get the bikes out of it. Hmm, sounds like I need to prioritize a bit, yes?

Oh, wait, that's for next week! I finish my paper this week. And fully embrace the belly and all that comes with it (new couch? a friggin' TV? pool rental) after my deadline.

Please support me in my last weeks of absolute control over my priorities! Thank you.

Also, I have mentioned before that I have cleavage, behold:

Rutabaga, really?

25 weeks: How your baby's growing
"Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture."

What does a rutabaga look like (also, I think I love that word. And now I know how to spell it. RUTABAGA. Oh, it's a turnip. OK. Well, that was a little disappointing. But that's OK.

Also, any child of mine will be born bald. At least this is what my mother has led me to believe, 'cause, I (lucky me) not only came out bald, but, yes according to my mother (who can spin the yarns!) I was bald 'til kindergarten.

And oh! We had a home visit from one of our lovely ladies of Awakenings Birth Services and she shared with us the first time she saw a pretty much bald kid come out.

Ross and I had been watching "gentle birth" and water birth films, and we were both intrigued and relieved to see more samples of natural birth.

Me: "I liked that in this selection of footage the music didn't start up as soon as the head comes out. I liked that we got to hear the ladies say things at this point like: 'AHHHH!!! It burns!!!' and 'Can't I be done yet?'
(Nicole, in a later conversation while on a walk: "Oh yeah, that's when it burns. And tears. But then you're done, and you forget all about the pain for two days!")
Ross: "I'm really glad we saw those. Now I know that the head comes out and the baby kinda hangs out there for a while. I thought they all just shot out! Now I won't freak out if it takes another contraction or two."
Midwife: "Did you notice how wrinkly the head head is when they come out?
Us: "Yes!"
"Midwife: "The first time I saw a head without much hair, I mean I knew what to expect, but with the wrinkles... it looked like brain matter!"
Us: "AHHH!"
All: (Laughter, etc.)

The weeks are flyin by for me fishgirl

Week 24 came and went. And she kicked and swished and prob'ly reached about a foot long, though fetuses/babies in the womb tend to, well, be in the fetal position. So she's not exactly stretching out, when she kicks and karate chops, she's just sussing out her space.

Baby Center describes the formation of tastebuds (! for the amniotic fluid/urine, yumm!) and she's getting ready to pork up: she couldda gained 4 whole ounces since the 23rd week.

As well: "Her brain is also growing quickly now ... Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help her air sacs inflate once she hits the outside world. Her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon."

My analysis: glad she's still inside. As much as I'd like a kit with wings or a tail or multiple sex organs, I don't really want a see-through kid (AH, the inside out man from Fishboy!!)

Oh, and in week 24, I had a soccer ball in my belly (maybe a size 4?), or so says's the site: "In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball."