Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quick Update before I pass out

Just got home from the hospital! Baby is BEAUTIFUL! we named her River.

I'll post more about everything when I get a chance, but the birth was amazing (though incredibly painful), unmedicated, and without any interventions. my midwife was FANTASTIC, and the hubby was AMAZING!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A big congatulations!

A big congrats to a friend of mine who just had a blog post get featured on Offbeat Mama!

Check it out here: Raising Babies in a  Two Religion Household

or check out her blog: Becoming SuperMommy

I've been reading Offbeat Mama since the website was born, and consider it a huge honor to be featured there, so CONGRATS!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quick Update

For those of you who are watching my blog impatiently, waiting for me to pop... I'm still here, and still preggo :-(

Honestly, I hate pregnancy. I'm never going to be one of those women who love it, who reflect happily on the glow or having a baby in me. No, if I ever decide to have another kid, I think I'll adopt.

So here I am, still huge, still having painful contractions that aren't actual labor, still unable to walk or move around much thanks to my painful pelvis, still going to the bathroom ever half-hour because the baby's already dropped in my pelvis.

I know it's just a matter of time, and I'm not even at my due date yet, but I'm getting impatient. I'd rather not have so many of the uncomfortable pre-labor indicators if I'm not actually in labor!

So... today we went on a huge grocery shopping trip, tomorrow we have our Bradley class after J gets off work, friday we have nothing, saturday is our Baby Boot Camp class, and sunday is another nothing day. As much as I love Colleen and her classes, I'm ok with missing any of this if it means that I get to have the baby!

My body is a tease

This is getting frustrated. My body is teasing me at this point.

Yesterday I woke up super early (5:30 AM, which is UNHEARD of for me, I'm a 10-hour a night kind of girl) and couldn't stop moving! I helped my mom clean, started a quilt, went out to a late lunch, and wandered around a mall for a few hours. I tried hard to stay calm and preserve the energy, sure that I would be going into labor at any minute. Instead, I ended up exhausted at the end of the day and with nothing more than the usual Braxton Hicks to show for it.

This morning I woke up a few times really early to some PAINFUL contractions! Again, I was sure that this was it, but I forced myself back to sleep so that I could maybe sleep through prelabor and some of the first stage. I laid in bed, squeezing J and practicing relaxing through the pain, and even managed to go back to sleep between the contractions. I made the mistake of assuming that I was still having contractions while I slept, but that some miracle was happening that let me sleep through the pain. Instead, after waking up, I decided to practice timing them and to see where I was at.... well, the contraction lasted 3.5 minutes, and another didn't come for an hour. So much for that. Now that I've gotten up and ate some graham crackers and soy protein stuff (I had a little upset stomach and didn't want to push it with any dairy) the contractions have pretty much stalled.

I'm getting so anxious to get this bugger out of me! Raspberry leaf tea seems to intensify the BH's to a point, so I'll keep downing that with copious amounts of honey... but other than the tea, I don't think there are any other home-remedies that I'm willing to try. So here's to another day of pregnancy >.<

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update and such

Well, yesterday's drama about Better Homes and Gardens was interesting! If you didn't see the two posts, check them out!

BHaG is Anti-Breastfeeding
BHaG Article Update

 It felt awesome just to know that bloggers and other internet-present-people can really make change just by speaking up. The fact that I got a public apology in the comments on the second article really made my day!

Otherwise, yesterday was one of the more busy days that I've had lately, which isn't really saying a lot since I never seem to do anything anymore. We had our midwife appointment in the morning where we met with another of the midwives who might be called in if I go into labor when our main midwife is out of town. Again, she seemed really nice, but we still definitely prefer Cynthia!

After that, we went to Flat Top Grill to get a good meal in me since I've been too tired and achey to do any real cooking at home. I'd never been to a Flat Top, and it was delicious! I can't wait to eat the leftovers!

We decided to skip grocery shopping, even though it was pretty high on our to-do list, and even managed to space out on doing laundry. Instead, we had our group of gamer friends come over for some Warhammer. I don't really play since I'm so distracted, but J and his friends had a great time, and I got some time playing World of Warcraft ^.^

The whole day was peppered with some nice, strong, more-uncomfortable-than-painful Braxton Hicks contractions (though by definition BH's don't accomplish anything, and the pre-labor contractions I've been feeling are very likely thinning and effacing my cervix) as well as some slight cervical spasms. Still, these things are nothing new, just slowely getting more and more intense.

This morning I woke up around 5:30 AM after my normal (at least lately) 2-hr sleep schedule between peeings. I think I got a total of 6 hours of sleep. Maybe. Still, woke up to pee and started feeling very anxious, like I had a ton of things that I had to do right then. Still, I made myself lay in bed until J had to get up to go to work (another two hours) and got up with him.

Unfortunately, no matter how much there is for me to do, my pelvis hurts so much that I can barely move. Instead of cleaning, doing dishes and laundry, picking up around the house, organizing everything, or any of the other hundred things I can think of to do, I've been cutting out little 4x4in squares of fabric to use for my first attempt at quilting. I know I probably won't have time to finish the project, nor do I really have the drive, but I needed to do something.

Luckily, with all the feeling like I need to get things done, my mom is on her way over here to help me clean a little. I feel really weird about her cleaning my house, but it needs to get done. I know J doesn't really like the idea either, but he's so exhausted from work that I hate to ever ask him to do it when I can't.

So... Yeah. Hope everyone else in the blogosphere is having a good day ^-^ 

Monday, May 24, 2010

BHaG article update

VICTORY! BHaG apologist for their article where they condemned breastfeeding in restaurants and deleted that section from the article! All the negative feedback that BHaG received after the article was published really made a difference! We need to keep working to make sure that breastfeeding mothers are comfortable no matter where they go.

Here's the apology in their own words:
Editor's note: We apologize for the patently inappropriate sections, which we have removed from the post. We support breastfeeding moms -- and all moms -- in their desire to include their children in their public lives. We pledge to do better in the future in both the tone and content of our posts. We will be posting our positive parenting tips for eating out soon.

and here is a link to the new article and the apology:
The 9 Commandments Of Dining With Little Kids

BHaG is anti-breastfeeding.

Generally speaking, I'm for breastfeeding. I respect every mother's right to choose what is best for her and her child, even if that's not breastfeeding, but MY intention is to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and almost exclusively for another 6 months after that. That said, no matter what your personal decision is regarding breastfeeding, I think that most women (especially mothers) can agree that a woman should never be pressured to NOT breastfeed. In fact, I think that women should be encouraged and breastfeeding should be as comfortable as giving a kid a bottle.

In Illinois (as in most U.S. states and on federal property) a woman has the right to breastfeed anywhere that she is allowed to be. Still, some businesses are not aware of this, and try to get breastfeeding women to leave or stop breastfeeding. Unsupportive public opinions can make the difference between successful breastfeeding and a mother deciding to switch to a bottle.

I recently came across this article from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine: The 10 Commandments of Dining with Little Kids. In it, the author says:
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)
What amazes and scares me is not only that this article was written by a woman, but that she claims not to be 'anti-kid'. I have more than a few issues with this:
  • Yes, a bathroom might be very nice, but no one wants to eat in one, and I think there are very few people who would want to spend up to 30 minutes of their meal out sitting in a bathroom.
  • Handicap stalls are for people with disabilities, not for breastfeeding mothers. 
  • Who wants to wait in line for the bathroom while a mother breastfeeds, especially if there are not multiple stalls.
  • She also includes the 'commandment' "THOU SHALL TRY TO QUELL HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMING". I don't know if anyone has noticed, but a hungry baby tends to be a loud baby. 
  • Most mothers who breastfeed show surprisingly little to no boob.
  • You don't have to look, in fact, it's rude to stare. 
  • Society has created this insane oversexualization of breasts and has turned them into a taboo. Exposure to breasts being used for sustenance should be encouraged, not exposure to breasts as a way to use sexuality to sell products.
  • Eating as a family is a positive experience and should be started as young as possible. Eating while breastfeeding is also a great way for the mother to make sure that she is getting the nutrition necessary to continue breastfeeding. 
  • The author is definitely anti-kid if she does not support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been shown over and over to provide the best nutrients for a child and lowers the rates of SIDs. 
Yes, I'm using this article as a sort of sacrificial lamb, but if people are not called out when they do not support breastfeeding, no change is going to be made. We should not isolate mothers, we should not discourage breastfeeding. End of story.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My battle with antepartum depression.

I've been really horrible about updating here. I get a good post in about once a week, and otherwise I can't motivate myself to make coherent posts (or do much of anything else). About once a day I'll open up the new post page and just sit there, with nothing to say. I've been like this about a lot of stuff actually.

I've been having a hard time with depression during pregnancy (or antepartum depression). Basically, the hormonal changes in my body are bringing on a reemergence of the horrible depressive episodes I had in high school. I've had no motivation to do much more than sleep and eat. Since I don't have motivation to actually get up and do anything, that means that I'm eating processed junk more than anything, since it's the easiest to just grab without having to cook. It means that I only made 4 felties in the past two weeks, and only one crocheted boob. It means the house is a mess. It means that J comes home from work, asks what I did that day, and I say nothing because I really did nothing. It means that the slightest thing makes me cry.

I know that these feelings are hormonally based. Unlike during my depressive episodes in high school, there is nothing triggering these, there are no excuses for my mood. I just feel down. I know that J is getting frustrated with it. He asks me what is wrong all the time. I feel horrible because I know that he's just looking for some way to make me feel better, I know that he's frustrated. He reminds me all the time that the pregnancy is almost over, that soon I'll have my baby in my arms and she won't be playing with my hormonal buttons all the time.

I'm trying to take the time to enjoy little happy moments right now.  I've been trying to get myself to whip out the camera and smile. I've rearranged all of the baby's things and played with her toys to try to bring myself out of this. I've talked to my midwife and my hubby, and short of therapy (which I don't have money for and don't think will help since it's hormonally based) or medication (which has never worked well for me in the past) there's nothing that can really be done.

I also worry about postpartum depression. I know that people who have depression issues earlier in life, especially during pregnancy, are much more likely to have postpartum depression. I have this vision of me, happy, with a newborn, enjoying all the little moments in life, but a part of me knows that this is not very likely. I'm more likely to be sitting at home doing nothing every day, much like I am now, except with a crying, pooping, needy baby.

There's a lot of attention given to postpartum depression, especially in the media. It's great that there is so much information about it floating around, but there is almost no time given to antepartum depression. I hope that by posting, at least someone else out there might not feel so alone when dealing with it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Midwife Visist

Had another midwife visit on monday, this time it was with my favorite midwife again ^.^ The main purpose of the visit was to talk about what will happen when I go into labor. The midwives group I see recommends laboring as long as possible at home, so I'll be waiting till my contractions are 3-5 minutes apart before heading to the hospital (if the midwive's office is open, I'll be leaving a little earlier to get checked out at the office). My GBS test came back negative, so I don't need an IV during labor, which is great. Otherwise it was a pretty boring visit, and boring visits are good.

Other than that life has been boring. J has been working a lot, and since I'm at term (not due, but ready to pop) I haven't been borrowing his car. The days that J is off, we usually spend sitting at home since he's exhausted and sick (I seem to have managed to stave off the worst of the cold, while he's had the full thing). I bought J a gift online for being my hero and going to work while he's sick. I'm just waiting for it to get here (i'll have to post pictures and such when it's finally here).

Not much else to talk about, just been crafting lately and sitting around waiting to pop. I just wanted to update and let people know that I'm around ^.^

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Babies review crossposted to FeministReview!

I'm super excited right now that my review of the Babies documentary was chosen to be crossposted to! It means a lot that other people thought my review to be that good!

So check it out at Feminist Review Here!

Or on my page, Here.

(there are some slight differences in the articles, mostly because there  is a word limit at Feminist Review, and partially because some conscientious wording changes were made)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Horrible about updating, again.

Yup, another post where I apologise profusely for not updating more often >.<

This week has been hectic and extremely boring at the same time. I spent four and a half days without leaving my house. Literally. I think I stepped outside twice to get the mail. Over that time I haven't really accomplished much of anything at all. I've started work on a new line of felties, most of which I probably already have a buyer for, or I might just keep them for myself (they're so cute that they're hard to get rid of!). The picture here is of some of the first felties line. They're all purchased now, but I loved them lots while they were mine!

I'm officially 37 weeks along! All of a sudden I seem to be overly-in tune with my body. I keep pausing at random moments or whenever I have a Braxton Hicks to see if I'm in labor. I know I'm not and that I'm just over reacting, but it's hard not to. I'm so ready to give birth and get the little monster out of me!

J (the hubby) is super sick right now. He's been sick for most of the week with a horrible head cold. He's my hero and keeps going to work and doing everything he needs to do to be ready for the baby, even though most of the time he's stumbling through everything. Unfortunately I seem to be getting the same cold >.< I already have a horribly sore throat and plugged ears even though I've been loading up on the vitamin C. I really REALLY don't want to go into labor with a sore throat! I need to get over this, fast.

Yesterday was my grandfather's funeral. He passed a week ago, and it was definitely his time to go. The funeral was nice. It was a military funeral, complete with a folding of the flag and a 21 gun salute. Unfortunately, it was also 3 hours away in Decatur, MI. I called my midwife ahead of time to get permission, and even though she said it was fine to go, I was still a little nervous about being so far away from J and the midwives. I think the best part of the day was getting to spend time with my cousin's baby, definitely did not help the baby cravings though! My cousin is so lucky to have the most gorgeous, well-behaved baby in the world! She didn't even cry when they shot off the guns.

Today J is at work again, after pulling 12+ hour shifts on both Friday and Saturday >.< Luckily he gets off earlier today so we're going to go get some Sweet Tomatoes (an awesome buffet restaurant that has some great home-made soups!) to sooth our sore throats.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Babies, the movie, a summary and a review.

I just got back from seeing the documentary, Babies. I have to say, it was great! I really enjoyed seeing the differences in parenting and lifestyle in the four different countries they focused on. I'm going to talk a lot about what happens in the movie, but since there isn't really a plot, it's not exactly going to give anything away. Still, if you want to go see the movie and are going to get mad at me for "giving it away" then I'd suggest not reading this. After the summary I'll be doing a bit more of a critical review.

A quick overview of the movie:
The documentarian followed four babies from four different countries for a little over a year each. The movie is mostly without dialoge, except for the little bit of talking that the parents do, and it is mostly shot from the baby's level. It seems to be organized by different developmental stages of the babies' lives, for example, it shows the babies, one by one, learning how to walk or interacting with other children. It was a great way to highlight the different cultures and keep the movie flowing.

Quick overviews of the different babies/parenting styles:
I think I found Ponijao, the baby from Namibia, the most interesting. The parenting style was very different than it is in the U.S. It was extremely community oriented, though men seemed to have no place in parenting there. It was actually hard to tell who was the baby's mother through much of the movie.

Mari, from Japan, was raised in a very 'Westernized' manner, with her mother taking her to arranged baby play-dates and having her play with baby-industry produced toys.

Bayar, from Mongolia, lives on a family farm. It's amazing to see how closely he grows up with the animals there, being given a lot of freedom. It's also interesting that his parents seem to take a very removed roll. Although the mother does take an active roll in parenting at times, much of the time he is left to his own devices or with a slightly older sibling.

Hattie, from California, grows up with a TON of baby toys and books. She goes to organized baby activities, but otherwise is very solitary. The father seems to have the largest roll in this baby's life.

Small critical review of the movie:
The movie does a great job of staying silent. There is no voice-over commentary. There is no focus on the parents apart from when they are interacting with their child. That said, I think the filmmaker intended to create a discussion about parenting, but instead the movie easily acts as another way to create an "other". It creates a divide between the first world and the third world. Although it shows how babies are similar over all cultural and economic divisions, I think that not providing some context and commentary makes it too easy to view the other cultures shown in an 'outsider' sort of context.

It's also hard to draw conclusions from the movie. It's hard to remember that these are sample sizes of one. It makes it easy to critique the parenting style of Japanese parents because there are more than a few scenes of Mari being generally crabby, but she could easily have colic or be teething, or it could just be a result of her parents' individual style, not a reflection of that society as a whole. Similarly, the movie makes it seem as if Mongolian families are completely removed from parenting, when it could just be the economic pressures that that individual family faces and the need for Bayar's mother to continue working on the farm.

There were also some negative reactions that I noticed in the theater. They showed breast feeding, to which there was a small gasp from another patron, and there were some inappropriate reactions to the fact that the children in two of the cultures were regularly without pants. I think these reactions tell a lot about why breastfeeding is viewed so negatively and is so difficult for so many mothers in the United States.

Other than these few things, the movie was AMAZING. I'd definitely suggest it to anyone who has an interest in children or parenting. I would just make sure that the person understands that these are glimpses into the lives of individuals, and while they may fit into their culture, they are not necessarily representative of the culture as a whole.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I just want to take a moment to say Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, surrogate-mothers, almost-mothers, pet-mothers, aunts, older sisters, wanna-be-moms, pregnant women, step-mothers, women trying to conceive, etc. etc. You might not all be recognized on mother's day, but you're all mothers in one way or another.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Feminism vs Faminism??? WTF?

Just came across a horrible article in The New York Observer: Faminist Theory.

The article creates a completely bogus divide between  feminists and any woman who has a family. It ignores the fact that feminism is just as much about the right to not have children and a family, as it is about being able TO have children and a family.
"The feminist battleground, with its slogans, marches, and campaigns for reproductive rights, has given way to the playground and the fight for lactation rights, stroller rights, school-system rights, unpasteurized milk rights, charter schools, birthing techniques, nutritional value of bagged lunches and water quality. It is not so much about the Fem as it is about the Fam."
This quote probably angers me the most. It is basically arguing that all of these things, because they are not about postponing childbirth, are not feminist issues. The article is completely misleading! Lactation rights, birthing techniques, VBAC's, etc. are all FEMINIST ISSUES! The right to HAVE children is just as much a reproductive right as the right NOT TO. Feminists fought for years against involuntary sterilizations (there was a huge epidemic of unconsented sterilizations of poor and colored women that went on for years) and eugenics, and continue to fight for rights to all the previously listed causes as well as rights to paid maternity leave, health care that covers reproductive rights, etc.

No man has to worry about whether or not he will be able to breastfeed in public, have the natural or unnatural birth that he wants, or be forced into yet another cesarean. Some amazing feminist men fight for these rights, but it is mostly is female feminists who fight for these causes, and the fights are most commonly against men. Just because someone's personal priorities change from career to family does not mean that they stop being feminists.
“Women are defining themselves more by their families than they are by themselves,” said Pamela Paul, a 39-year-old mother of three in Harlem and author of Parenting Inc. “It’s no longer about something as selfish and self-advancing as abortion or the pill.”
I strongly resent the idea that since people do not openly talk about abortion rights, we are somehow past the need to fight for them. I don't know about other mothers out there, but my pregnancy experience has made me MORE supportive of reproductive rights! I would not wish the past 9 months on anyone who didn't choose it for themselves. It's also my opinion that if someone doesn't support abortions, it's easy enough not to get one. Instead of forcing our beliefs on other people, we should be content with making our own decisions based on our own beliefs.

I also resent the idea that fighting for access to abortions or the pill is somehow selfish. I think that waiting until you are physically, emotionally, and financially prepared to have children is beyond unselfish. I think that making sure that your child can grow up with everything they need is incredibly important. They ignore the fact that most abortions are received by women who already have children. They ignore the fact that many of these women who are choosing to have families now once used the pill and made a conscious decision to have children, which in my mind makes them all the more special.

As a supposed 'reference' to this change from feminism to faminism, they have a slideshow of '9 Women Who Prefer Prams to Politics'. Instead of including any meaningful images that might have strengthened their weak arguments, they included pictures of 9 random celebrity mothers toting around their children. The worst part was that they even included pictures of celebrity mothers who CONTINUE to work on global politics beyond reproductive justice and family rights. They imply that, by having a family, these women have given up fighting for any other causes. It's incredibly demeaning to limit a woman's identity to only that of a mother. I'm sorry, I'll be a mother, I'll be a mother first and foremost, but I'll still be a feminist, hippie, vegetarian, liberal woman.

The article talks a lot about the younger age that women are deciding to begin their families. They completely ignore larger socioeconomic reasons that more women are having children now. The fact is that it is harder and harder for both partners in a relationship to be employed, and that it makes sense to take time where you would not otherwise be able to work and to have children. I know this played into our decision to have a child. Since I was unable to find employment since graduating anyways, and since my husband was able to support us (though just barely), we made the decision to take this time to start a family. 

This last quote is the most ridiculous, rude, presumptuous part of the article:
"In Ms. Jong’s time, women were protesting compulsory motherhood; now, it seems, they are not protesting anything at all—they are too busy mopping up crumbs."
 I said it earlier, and I'll say it again, just because a woman is a mother does not mean that she stops being anything else.

To make such false divides in a movement is nothing short of an attempt at sabotage.  It's pitting two groups against each other in an attempt to create a weaker movement overall.

I'm making a vow now, especially in light of this recent article, to attend as many rallies, protests, demonstrations, etc. with my daughter in tow. Not just to show people that women with children do still care, but to show my daughter that it is possible to make real change and that political involvement extremely important.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Today's Midwife Appointment

Turns out that I'm already 35 1/2 weeks!! O.O on the 17th I meet with Cynthia (my awesome-tastic midwife) to talk about what will happen the day of labor and delivery. I can't wait to get the baby out of my abdomen and into my arms, but I still worry about having a natural birth and whether or not I'm strong enough (not that I have much of a choice!).

I got to meet another of the midwives at the practice I've been going to. She was awesome and very nice, but we still love Cynthia bestest! The good thing is, since there is a amll period around my due date where Cynthia won't be able to attend our birth, we do like everyone at the assocation.

We also got a chance to ask a few more questions that came up when we met with the OB. The midwives do not induce labor until 42 weeks at the earliest, unless there are other reasons to believe that the baby is in distress (too little amniotic fluid, slowed heart rate, etc.), so that's really refreshing. They also have such a low episiotomy rate that they can't really make it into a percent (the midwife I talked to today has attended thousands of births and only done 4 episiotomies). Other than that I just did my Group B Strep test, listened to the heartbeat, found out that I haven't gained any weight in the past two weeks, and left. The best visits are the uneventful ones :-)

I have my Bradley method childbirth class tonight, and am starting to have some issues with the workbook material.. mostly that they cite rediculously outdated studies and seem to talk about Dr. Bradley like he's some sort of childbirth prophet. That said, I like that they engage the partner and encourage natural childbirth. I love that the teacher/doula that I take classes from gives us updated materials and encourages us all to think about what is best for us personally. (Here is the doula's blog: Thoughts from a Doula and website: Rights of Passage)

I'm also working on another potentially paid crafting project! I swear I'm going to start my etsy page one of these days, I'm just getting all the real-world contracts that I can first. Right now it's crocheting BOOBS for my teacher/doula and some of her acquaintances to use as lactation awareness aids. I'll also be making some of my feltimals (simple felt stuffed animals) for her prize bin. Unfortunately the first boob that I attempted came out kind of wonky, and not in a way that could be passed off as "every boob is different" wonky :-/ I'll be borrowing one of her current lactation-aid boobs tonight to use as a pattern.

We're also considering whether or not we should hire a doula for our labor and delivery. Honestly, we love our midwife to death and would probably be more comfortable with less people around. J and I have always found immense comfort and relaxation in just being together alone and able to concentrate on eachother. We also really don't know that we can afford to throw another expense in at the moment. Colleen (the teacher/doula) has been amazing and offered to do some bartering, and I know intellectually that we should have another person there who is a professional and can help us advocate for the birth that we want, but I really don't think there are going to be any issues with Cynthia as our midwife. As great as advice on this subject would be, I really think J and I are going to have to make this decision on our own. 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Yesterday's Appointment and my views on OB's

Yesterday I had a great and horrible appointment. I met with the obstetrician who would step in for the midwife if any complications arise or if I need a c-section. Just acknowledging the possibility that something would go wrong was tough, the idea of being cut open in order to get the baby out of me is even harder.

I'm a huge advocate against the high c-section rate in the U.S. I'm also against most routine interventions used in childbirth as most of them have been found to be completely unnecessary and usually more harmful than good. I just finished reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. The book is great, and extremely informative, but it made me extra-nervous about meeting with the OB. The book also makes me even more pissed about Illinois' laws about midwifery and home birth. Here are some of the main points from the book:
  • Cesarean sections increase maternal mortality rates dramatically.
  • Labor inductions create further difficulties in labor, increase fetal mortality, and often lead to cesareans. Even non-drug inductions (such as manually breaking the waters).
  • Pumping a woman full of IV fluids can lead to anemia in both mother and child because her body is unable to regulate the amount of liquids in the blood. It also restricts movement during labor.
  • Midwife attended home births have the lowest rates of maternal and fetal mortality and mothers tend to feel better about them afterwords. 
  • Obstetricians are trained to distrust the female body's ability to give birth. They're also a trained surgical field, why go to a surgeon for a common bodily function?
  • Women and babies perform better when the mother is allowed to eat and drink during labor. There is no danger of aspiration, and even if there was, it's better to choke on food than super-acidic stomach bile that can burn your lungs.
  • Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring leads to over-use of cesarean sections, increased maternal stress levels, and distraction from the mother. 
  • Failure to progress is most often a Failure to Wait.
  • Epidurals and narcotics lead to slowed labor, increase in cesarean, lower apgar scores in newborns, and a harder time nursing.
  • Episiotomies cause More perineal tearing, they don't prevent them.
  • There is absolutely no scientific reason that VBAC's should not be allowed. 
  • The entirety of the book makes allowances for issues during child birth that make these procedures necessary, but say that these interventions are being used far too often in routine deliveries
The good part of the appointment was some of the OB's answers to my questions. Being paranoid like I am, I came in with a huge list of questions to ask him about what would happen if he should step in at some point. His first answer was the best: I asked at what point he would step in to deliver the baby. His answer: "I don't step in until you want me to". His other answers were usually centered around educating me about whatever procedure he might want to do and getting my permission. Plus the midwife gets to remain through everything, even if the OB steps in.

The only answer that I really disagreed with was that he said that he would induce labor between 40 and 41 weeks. Keep in mind that 40 weeks is a completely arbitrary number and that first-time mothers average 8 days longer. This means that even if he induced at 41 weeks, he'd still be inducing one day before the AVERAGE length of pregnancy. If I do go over, and with all the debate about my due dates it's very possible, I will be refusing induction until at least 43 weeks unless there is some other reason to worry (i.e. slowed fetal heart-rate, etc).

The other observation I had about the appointment was just the general environment differences between the OB office and the midwife office. At the midwives there are toys and couches in the waiting room and the entire place is colorful and happy feeling, the OB's waiting room was cold with minimal decorations, very few magazines, and a TV with some horrible daytime programming in the background. The nurses and receptionist at the midwives are always really nice and ask us how things are going while the OB's couldn't seem to care less. Where the midwives and their nurses talk to us like we are actually intelligent people and tell us what my BP and the baby's heart rate is, while the people at the OB's office didn't even tell me if my blood pressure was normal or low and seemed to assume that I thought listening to the heartbeat on the doppler was just a novelty instead of an important diagnostic tool.

Otherwise, the appointment will hopefully end up being a complete waste of $150. I'm just sorry that the answer to the question about induction overshadowed what was otherwise a really positive visit. If it does come down to it, I'll be happy to have met the doctor that will cut me open should I need it >.<

I'm a horrible human being.

I'm somewhere in my 8th month of pregnancy (I'm due either June 6th or June 12th, depending on how you're measuring due dates, my estimated date of conception puts me at June 6th, my ultrasound puts us at June 12th, but if I had normal cycles, I'd be due around May 30th!). I'm huge, the baby is moving a TON, and I'm exhausted. Last night, for example, I woke up just about once an hour to pee or generally feel uncomfortable, and now they're working on the roofs, so much for napping.

I keep getting comments from friends, family, and complete strangers about how much I must love the baby already and how excited I must be, and it almost always succeeds in making me feel horrible. To be honest, I'm excited, I guess, but I'm mostly nervous. I never thought that I'd be married and have a child. EVER. But in the past two years, since meeting J, everything has changed. I'm completely ill-prepared to handle a child, I'm not even sure that I've ever changed a diaper before! I think I'm just most excited just to get this energy-sapping kidney-kicking thing out of me.

I'm also finding it extremely difficult to love this baby already. It sounds horrible. It feels horrible. But all I know about this thing is that it hurts me, keeps me up at night (which is a big deal, sleeping is my Favorite Activity!), and makes people stare at me in public. I hate feeling like I'm unable to do everyday things because I get dizzy after standing too long, or I end up out of breath, or my Braxton Hicks can be so severe that I'm afraid to drive. I'm scared of childbirth, and with most people I know being so negative about my natural-birth intentions, it's hard not to start believing them.

My mother is the worst about this. She's always asking if I've been talking to the baby, singing to the baby, or cuddling with my stomach. She tells me that I'm supposed to be playing music for her and talking to her in Spanish so that she'll be bilingual when she's born. I'm not sure how some women really enjoy their pregnancy so much and want to do it again and again. I worry about my ability to parent when the baby is here because I don't already love her. I want to meet her, get to know her, get to at least Hold Her outside of my belly. I worry that I won't be able to love her.

People keep asking us about names, but I find it so hard to even think about. How do I name this little thing that I don't know and doesn't even feel like a person yet? The closest I've come is calling it Squidgit, which sounds adorable and endearing, but is really just because it makes me feel squidgy and sick more often than not. 

Even now I feel horrible about this post. I feel like I shouldn't publish it because it's full of terrible things. Still, I planning on being honest, truthful, and open. Maybe my experiences with this will help another mother-to-be, maybe another mother will make me feel less alone.. or maybe I'll just feel worse and delete it later.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

My particular baby shower issues

I could easily make a huge, long post here about the sexist issues surrounding traditional baby shower practices.. But this isn't a widely read feminist blog, this is the personal blog of a feminist, so here are my particular issues, grievances, and situations. That said, I'm sorry if I offend anyone in this post, specifically family members who may stumble across my blog, but I feel the need to be honest. Please keep in mind that this is my space to air out any venomous rationalizations and get my thoughts in order.

There are numerous issues surrounding a baby shower for me.

The first IS the inherently sexist nature that is apparent in most baby showers. It's typically a bunch of women sitting around, which in itself discredits fathers, and engaging in completely gendered activities depending on the prospective sex of the baby. Not to mention that those activities tend to be either really really lame (like baby shower bingo) or slightly nauseating (I really don't understand the obsession with melting candy bars into diapers). The one activity that I LOVE is from where they talk about letting all the guests decorate onesies for the baby (the post is here). The issue with this activity, at least for me, is that my families seem to think that gendering our child is absolutely necessary, and for the sake of the sanity of our little-one, they will do it against our wishes. There's also another Offbeat Mama post on baby showers that I love, but I really can't see anyone in my family participating in or enjoying any of the suggested offbeat activities.

I'm sorry, my husband is going to be just as engaged as a parent as I am. Hell, I completely expect my baby to be daddy's girl (she already kicks more when he's around). There is no way that I am going to any baby shower that excludes him. The baby is just as much a part of him as a part of me.

Another issue I keep running into is the Jewish tradition of postponing baby showers until the baby is here. It's not an issue with the tradition or the paranoia surrounding it, I completely understand. The issue is that J and I need to have started making the large baby purchases like a crib, etc. a long time ago in order to be able to afford them. Nothing on my registry has been listed as having been purchased so I have no idea what I'm going to have to run around and buy at the last minute. It's driving me a little crazy. Plus, since no one uses the registry or communicates about purchases, I know that two people have already bought rocking chairs that are not returnable >.< it's frustrating.

I also find the lack of familial support for natural childbirth completely disheartening. I know I should brush it off, but when people who usually give good advice and have experienced childbirth personally tell me that unmedicated childbirth is impossible or not worth the effort it's hard to not get disheartened. There are a good number of people who think that my desire for a natural birth is 'cute' but that the second I get into labor, I'll be screaming for the meds. And they tell me this. Loudly. I'm sorry, but my understanding was that family was supposed to support each other in their decisions no matter what they are. Not try to tear you down before you even get a chance to try. Yep, thanks for supporting me family!

I left this section for last on purpose... I'm hesitant to post this, but it's probably the biggest issue on my mind about the shower and it's really frustrating me. My inlaws tend to have some very strong opinions and get easily offended when things don't go the way that they think they should.

Some background: before my wedding, my mother in-law (MIL) decided that she would like to throw the wedding shower. Unknown to me, two of my aunts also decided that they would like to be the ones to throw a shower. Since my MIL was the first to tell me, and wasn't very involved in the wedding-planning, J and I decided to essentially 'give' her the party. Instead, she ceded the party planning to my aunts. Her choice. I fought for her. She never tried to contact my aunts and possibly plan something together.

All the women on her side of the family (women only, not my decision) were invited to the shower, but only two came, most of the rest did not even bother to RSVP. Again, Not Our Fault.

Only after the wedding did I start to hear the complaints that the MIL had about the whole shower thing. Now, because she was not involved in the wedding shower planning, she refuses to include herself in the baby shower planning or even plan anything her self. It seems like she's even a little offended that my family is following the Jewish tradition and not holding a shower until after the baby is here.

I just don't understand, if she was so upset about how the shower went, why she didn't say anything or take the offer to hold it, and why she's so set on repeating the whole experience with the baby shower. Instead she has set herself up to be angry again if her family is not invited and completely included in whatever shower plans develop (and it doesn't even seem like anything is actually developing). Still, this seems to be how she likes things, even within her own family she always seems to want to have something to complain about..

So, sorry if my post offended any family members, but these are the thoughts that have been plaguing my mind lately and I am not going to apologize for posting honestly. Any advice from fellow mama-bloggers would be greatly appreciated..

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Huge Picture-Filled Update

I've been horrible about updating again, but this time I have an excuse: the computer that I normally use at home (a huge desktop tower) has gotten this horrible trojan virus that masquerades as an antivirus program and blocks access to EVERYTHING. it sucks. And the laptop, which is normally the hubby's computer, has a sticky space bar, which is the most annoying thing to type on.

Oh, and I suddenly find myself busy again! ACEN is coming up and a friend is having me work on his costume at the last minute :-/, and the awesome doula who runs the childbirth classes I am taking is having me crochet some boobies!!!  They're going to be used as aids for lactation awareness and breastfeeding classes. I'll be making multi-racial boobs first, then eventually making boobs with inverted nipples, clogged ducts, engorged boobs, small boobs, droopy boobs, etc, etc... it's going to be awesome! Talk about a craft market that I never considered before! I've been tapering off the costuming contracts, partially because my sewing machine is wonky and keeps eating fabric and partially because it's just too hard for me to cut out pattern pieces and work around a table (i'm HUGE, or at least I feel HUGE!).

The birthing class I'm taking has us all start a pregnancy nutrition diet. To be honest (sorry Colleen), it annoyed me a lot at first (I'm a junky eater with no money for much better than mac n cheese and hot dogs), but it's helped me keep track of what I'm eating, I just don't know if I can afford another expensive can of protein powder since I have to go through so much of it since I don't really eat much meat. ANYWAYS, I didn't mean to complain so much, the point of mentioning the diet is to brag about the dinner I made myself!
I saute'd potatoes, carrots, broccoli, corn, and almonds with olive oil and seasonings. It was DELICIOUS. I just can't imagine cooking like that every day. I know some people can, and some people enjoy it, I'm just not one of those people. I'm lazy and I know it. Now if only I could get myself to do those stretches >.<

Lately I find myself freaking out over the baby coming and not having enough ready (I'm not sure i'll every feel 'ready'). This has led to a lot of frantic crafting and organizing on my part. Here are some of the things I've been working on. I've been stuck on a crochet streak since it seems to be the easiest with my low energy levels and my huge tummy.
This is the first blanket I've every crocheted. It has huge spaces between the stitches so that the baby will be comfortable in the summer. Unfortunately, I didn't think ahead and buy a large hook for the large stitches, so the blanket is also incredibly uneven, but has a sort of hand-made charm to it. It's made of the Sugar'n Cream brand's new stripes yarn in green and white.
When I was little i always needed something to do with my hands, and I still do. I also always needed to have some sort of comforting object around. I crocheted little cloths out of more Sugar'n Cream yarn. The larger has some huge buttons on it for when the baby is teething or needs something colorful to fiddle with. If she doesn't end up liking them, they'll make great washcloths too ^.^
I also made a baby cocoon. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they're another way to swaddle a baby and make sure that she doesn't hit herself in the face while she's sleeping before her coordination has developed. For the picture, there's a stuffed lamb in it pretending to be a baby. Extra thanks to my aunt Linda for the stuffed animals she gave me (they'll show up in more pictures a little lower.).
This is my current crochet project. It's another blanket, this time made yellow and green yarns (the colors didn't photograph so well >.< ) and the proper sized hook so it will hopefully turn out square and even.

I'm tempted to sell crocheted things on etsy, but I'm not sure that I'm willing to put in all the time it takes to make these things with how little they will sell for. unfortunately the market is so permeated by machine-knitted things that people are not really willing to spend the money on something that is hand made and takes forever to make.

In a frantic effort to convince myself that I am ready for the baby, I've done some nesting. Unfortunately my comfort and energy levels haven't been enough to let me actually CLEAN the house, but I've worked on putting all the baby things together and in order of size:
I cleared off a set of shelves and used it for all the baby-appropriate books and assorted toys we've acquired so far.
The top shelf is a couple of dragon needlepoints that a friend made me a while ago and I framed. It also has the adult books that are child appropriate and a couple very old childrens books. Unfortunately the Tolkein collection, which I will be reading my child from birth, did not fit on these shelves and aren't pictured.
The second shelf has a plushy version of our cat that we got at ACen last year, my stuffed bunny from when I was a baby, and the assorted children's books that I've gotten from a used book store near us. My favorite is Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. I was really into playing pretend as a child and this book is all about a bunny playing pretend with a box. it rocks my socks.
The third shelf is full of stuffed animals from my aunt (the giraffe and the bear), a few toys I've bought (the lion mirror, the cow rattle/teether, and the linkies), the sun that used the hang over my crib when I was a baby, and two wooded teethers from etsy. I posted before about the 'I love you' ASL teether in both my Sign Language Post as well as a Featured Seller Post. It's from an awesome seller; EcoAyris. The smaller teether is a squirrel from Etsy seller Little Sapling Toys.
And below the shelves, this awkward giraffe sits :-) I have a thing for awkwardly cute animals.

Along the same lines, I organized all the baby things in the closets. I sorted them all by size >.<
This organizer hangs in the closet and is acting as a stand-in dresser until I can get my old changing table-dresser from my family (they're jewish and don't believe in giving me baby things until the baby is here so as not to jinx it). If you look really carefully, you can see the Star Wars onesie on the fourth shelf down :-) now I just need a Lord of the Rings onesie to balance the hubby's nerdiness. Almost everything in this organizer was bought by us at Goodwill or Salvation Army or made by me.
All of these were gotten by my mom and my grandmother. They're crazy shoppers. I'm pretty sure my grandmother would be pissed if she knew that my mom already let me take these clothes home but my mother needed the closet space.
Here are the rest of our baby supplies so far. There's a wipes case, wipes, baby soap, as well as disposable and reusable diapers.

I've also been doing a lot of child-centered reading, here are the three things I'm working on right now:
There's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a  Better Birth by Henci Goer, Baby Sign Language Basics (I'm using it to teach the hubby sign and to brush up on my own skills) by Monta Z Briant, and the most adorable manga I've ever seen: Yotsuba&! vol. 3 by Kiyohiko Azuma.

Also, here's an obligatory baby belly pic and a pic of me. The dress I'm wearing is the only thing that still fits me and manages to cover my belly >.< everything else is too short now.
I'm generally a pretty tiny person, so the bump really stands out. I've caught retail workers with a terrified look on their faces, I'm sure they think I'm probably ready to pop! and honestly, I feel like I am.
And then there's this horrible facebook-style picture... really just because I realized there aren't any recent pics of me floating around the web and I wanted to show off my badly dreaded hair (i'm too lazy!) and my newly acquired acne (never had it during puberty, it decided to show up during pregnancy).

And last but not least, since my cat always insists on being the center of attention and it's impossible to take any pictures without taking at least one of him:
He likes sniffing and rubbing on my childbirth class binder because it came from a house with a dog :-) oh, and you can get a glimpse of our AWESOME COW PRINT OFFICE CHAIR in the upper right.

 So yeah, THE END!