Saturday, July 31, 2010

Letters to Myself

I have new mama brain and I forgot to tell you all that I had a guest post published yesterday at NursingFreedom.org called Do It All Over Again which is a letter to myself 2 years ago when I first started learning to be comfortable while nursing in public. Check it out!

In a similar vein, I've been toying with writing a letter to my 3 days postpartum self. It would be short, though. Something like this:

Dear 3 days Postpartum Self:

I know it doesn't seem like it'll end. But it will. I promise.

-2 Weeks Postpartum Self

So being 2 weeks postpartum, I may or might not be over the postpartum hump. I did have the usual random crying at 3-5 days postpartum related to coming down from the birth high. To me, it wasn't random: it was all related to my postpartum fears of never healing. Parts of me were hurting and they were parts of me that had never hurt before. I didn't have any personal experience to assure me that they would ever get better, so I cried and wondered if I would ever feel normal again. Poor McKay had to comfort me through that time.

When I was less than 1 day postpartum, I had asked McKay for a healing blessing and I was told that I would be able to overcome the sensations I would feel in healing. I was surprised at the wording at the time, because I was expecting him to say "after pains" instead of "sensations" but at 3 days postpartum, I knew why he said "sensations." It was more than just the 4-5 days of after pains that I had to overcome and the broader term "sensations" fit the bill.

Now, at 2 weeks postpartum, those feelings are pretty much gone. I haven't cried randomly in over a week, but I have had McKay here. I'm a little worried about how next week will go once he returns to work on Monday. I'm not sure how I'm going to get Margaret to nap without someone holding Isaac. And I'm not sure if I'm going to be doing much besides watching movies. We'll see how it goes.

But I'm sure it'll get better. At the very least, both Isaac and Margaret will get older and the current challenges will end simply because of their ages.

As a special treat for you readers, if you go to the NursingFreedom.org post, you'll get to see a picture of me that was taken 4 days postpartum and I have dark circles under my eyes and everything!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fill-ins

1. I'm going to file a birth certificate today.

2. Right now, my life isn't particularly full of adventure and daring.

3. Perhaps today you can make it a point to do something you really enjoy.

4. Margaret has a true adventurer’s spirit.

5. Compassion is something that takes practice

6. I will get through these few weeks no matter how difficult.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to knitting, tomorrow my plans include sending McKay out to get us a couch, maybe? and Sunday, I want to knit some more!



I think a couch will really help us right now. We just have our ugly chair and Margaret keeps climbing on me. Maybe if we had a couch and more seating, the world will be better.

Night time is getting better. Isaac sleeps most of the night, waking to nurse, but not waking to be awake for hours on end like he used to. This is great. Now if only I could figure out how to nurse two kids lying down.

And yesterday, we added Amelie to our list of movies we've seen. It's adorable.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Cultured"

After Margaret's birth, I watched all our DVDs, plus all the audio commentaries. This time around we have Netflix and I've been watching movies on Instant Play. I'm catching up on all those movies everyone else has already seen.

Movies I've seen in the past week and a half that I hadn't seen all the way through or at all:

Looney Toons: Back in Action
The Muppets Take Manhattan
Julie and Julia
Short Circuit
March of the Penguins
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Spice World
Planet 51
Muppets From Space


And then there are the TV shows I've missed:
The two episodes of Firefly I hadn't seen
My Name is Earl
Some Dr. Who I hadn't seen
30 Rock
Dollhouse
Arrested Development
+ some standup


And then there's the kids shows we've put on for Margaret. It's not good for her to watch it all the time, but I figure that if I give myself time to heal, then we'll be back to going to the park and doing all those things that are healthy for her sooner. If I try to take her out to the park and over do it, I'll be bleeding forever again.

I just wish I had more knitting time. You'd think that all this rest would mean knitting, but I pretty much always have a child wanting to nurse at any given time.

In the meantime, we have some movies in our queue that I need to get back to. Would you believe I've never seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I'm so glad I have Netflix to keep me cultured.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inquisition Monday: Newborn EC

Last week, Lactating Girl asked me about ECing Isaac, "When you have time, you should email me about how exactly you catch a newborn pooping while they're nursing. I want to do EC next time and I want to start it from the get go. Peanut only pooped while she was nursing when she was a newborn. I actually used to make jokes that she needed to nurse to be able to poop. :-P"

Will you forgive me if I do a post instead of an email?

First, I'll talk about ECing Margaret as a newborn: it didn't work. I tried the basic under-thigh hold, but newborns are really floppy and I'm really clumsy. I didn't feel like I could do it safely, so I gave up and started a few months later. In the meantime, we did the "Psss" sound sometimes when we knew she was going so she would associate that sound with peeing. I also kept tabs on how often she pooped. When we started ECing more full-time with her, she only pooped once a day and that was first thing in the morning. Because I had been aware of her patterns, it made it easier to start ECing.

This time around, I wanted to start ECing earlier, but because I haven't gained any points in dexterity in the past 2 years, I was going to wait until he could hold his head on his own and after making sure breastfeeding was well-established. I was afraid that breastfeeding would be more difficult the second time around and decided that ECing would take a backseat to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is just more important to me.

But McKay didn't know I was planning to wait, so he started ECing Isaac from the get-go. When Isaac squirmed, McKay would hold him over a little bowl and catch poos and pees. Because McKay is more stable than I am, he was able to use the basic under thigh position with ease.

As for breastfeeding while ECing, you're right: babies like to poop while nursing. Actually, I find that Isaac likes to unlatch and squirm and then go back to breastfeeding when he's done, but something about nursing is very relaxing for them. This is what it looks like:

I know I'm not the poster child for good breastfeeding posture in this picture, but this is how ECing while nursing works for us. I hold him over a bowl that is in between my knees. My right thumb is in the bowl for pointing his penis down. This nursing EC position was inspired by this post of Rixa's.

At the newborn stage, I just want to start having him associate "pss" with eliminating. Additionally, cleaning out a bowl is far easier than trying to rinse diapers out. If I feel really ambitious, I can catch 80% of his eliminations in a day. It helps to actually have the bowl nearby so I'm not scrambling to find it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Whole Nine Months

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding thoughts. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 


 

Now that the pregnancy is over, I thought I'd do an overview of what it was like to breastfeed through pregnancy because it's something that I get a lot of questions about.

Before the pregnancy, I never felt "touched out." Twiddling didn't bother me. The only times that my nipples were particularly sensitive were when I first started breastfeeding and when Margaret was sick or teething and had increased how much she wanted to nurse. Teething and sickness nursing usually lasted just a few days. Then I got pregnant.

We found out I was pregnant a few days before Halloween. I decided to make our breastfeeding goal her second birthday, which was 5 months away at the end of March. After that, I decided I would be ok with weaning if it happened and if it didn't I would be ok with tandem nursing.

In November and December I suddenly had very sensitive nipples, and unlike my previous experiences, it didn't last for just a few days. The worst was the initial latch and once she was on, it got better. I just had to bite the bullet for 2 seconds.

In January my supply dropped. How do I know? First, Margaret was nursing a lot more. That meant she was either having a growth spurt or was desperately trying to get more out of me. She also started eating a lot more. In December, if I made her pancakes for breakfast, she would eat a pancake. In January, she would eat three. She started eating whole sandwiches for lunch instead of five bites.

Also around this time in January and February, the twiddling was getting to me. I started discouraging it while she nursed when she was awake, but didn't do much about it if she was nursing in her sleep. I didn't feel like enforcing new rules on a half-unconscious toddler would be productive. Toddlers aren't rational and they are even less rational while trying to sleep. I wanted to keep any teaching of new boundaries for times when she was fully awake.

Then her birthday came and on that day, she started teething her last set of molars. I was ok with her weaning, but those teeth ensured that she wouldn't. She needed me for comfort. Also, it was in March that my colostrum started coming in. It was just a little, but I had something.

By the time May rolled around, we had moved to California and had new surroundings. I was also getting really tired of the night twiddling, so I started discouraging that, too. I would take her hand and move it away while saying "Stop." She did "get it" eventually. I still do that when it happens.

I also started trying to get her to fall asleep without depending on me as much. My goal was to be able to unlatch her and she would finish falling asleep on her own. It wasn't a very lofty goal and so we did succeed. When she is about 70% asleep, I unlatch her and she'll roll over to face McKay and fall the rest of the way asleep. This had an unseen benefit: she didn't need to nurse as much at night because if she was mostly asleep, she could fall asleep on her own. We cut down nighttime nursings from 5 times a night to 1 or 2. This was wonderful. I felt less touched out and we were all happier.

My colostrum was now in at full force. This meant that Margaret had to learn how to be quicker at getting to the potty. Colostrum has a laxative affect. She got the new pottying down, though, and we only had one poop miss during that transition.

The end of June and July came around. I started thinking about the fact that she only had a few weeks left of being an only child. I actually started initiating more breastfeeding and cuddle times with her. I wanted to make sure we were in the habit of getting Margaret and Mommy time before the baby came so we could continue once the baby arrived.

Breastfeeding while pregnant is hard. At times it felt like our relationship was strained because of it. There were times I felt so touched out that I wanted to throw her across the room. But there were times that she was amazingly sweet and we were able to work through most of the issues. I also got to practice patience, which is something I always need a lesson on. Would I do it in the future? It depends on how I feel at the time, how old my nursling is, and the temperament of the nursling.

How has tandem nursing gone? I don't think I can really get a good idea of what tandem nursing will look like at this point in time. The first couple of days were hard because Margaret would put all her weight on my empty afterpains-tormented belly. Not fun. And then my milk came in and she would put all her weight on my full and aching breasts. But once my body has healed and regulated itself and we practice new breastfeeding positions, I think we'll be able to get this down and it will work out well.

 
 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

I suppose it was only a matter of time. When I posted Margaret's birth story, I got a lot of hate mail about the pictures. I figured it might happen again, so I wrote up a post earlier this year as a preemptive strike. But trolls don't read your old posts. Sigh. So I guess there's only one thing to do now: mock them.

I got my first birth picture-related hate comment yesterday. The brave person signed a generic name (Mary) attached to an empty blogger profile. It went like this. My mockery is in italics. :)

I would not be posting pictures of your naked breasts and blood dripping from your vagina.
Thank you. It would be really disconcerting if strangers were posting pictures of me on the Internet. Also, I must not know what a vagina is because I'm pretty sure I've never posted a picture of my vagina, but you seem to think I have. I must be missing something.

I gave birth to twins in March and I would never show such images... Most mothers have much, much more CLASS!! Whats next a play by play of how you have SEX??!!
You know what's classy? Typing in all caps. The exclamation points are like the jazz hands of the Internet: SEX!! By the way, your lack of apostrophes is a nice touch, too. It's almost too easy to go after a troll's poor grammar, but since I have no CLASS!! so I'll do it anyway.

I'm a mormom too,
Because of my limited vocabulary, I had to look up "mormom." What do you know- urban dictionary says it's a word! I'm always grateful when I learn new things from my readers.

and no one I know would post pictures such as this nature.
Hi, I'm Heather and I post pictures "such as this nature." Now you do know someone! Having a diverse friend base is important, don't you think? You're welcome.

If you think this is so wonderful, then why dont you submit to the Ensign your story and your birth pictures.
Please let me know your responce from the Ensign... think about it.
I'll do you one better: I love them so much I'm going to marry them!

You could share your birth story in a more tasteful manner and get your point across.
I'm sorry I offended your delicate sensitivities. And I'd like to know what you thought my point was. There wasn't a point. It was a story, not an opinion column.

The two pictures where your little girl is by her new baby brother is a great picture.
The two pictures? The first one is the one I'm not clothed in, which I thought was the one you took issue with. Are we talking about the same post?

I also feel that the one where you are fully clothed is how a mother should appear. The pictures I disagree with are the ones that you are not clothed in.
"Should" is a loaded word, but whatever. That's fine by me. These things happen.

KEEP YOUR PRIVATES PRIVATE!!! :)
Thank you, mother. :)

Ah. As for the more serious stuff: I will not post any more "OMG YOU'RE NAKED!" comments. As I've mentioned above, I've already addressed this issue and I will not be revisiting it. Also, for the past many months, McKay has been the one who has been approving the comments. I only see comments that he approves, so you won't even get the satisfaction of knowing I've read it, because I won't.

Unless it's as hilarious as this one. Then, McKay and I will have a good laugh. Thank you for brightening my day. Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Beginning of the Babymoon

Lots of changes over the last couple of days.

One of the biggest change-ups in our lives has been the bedtime routine. It used to be: brush our teeth, read, pray, nurse to sleep. I haven't figured out how to nurse 2 kids to sleep at a time, so I thought I'd change up the routine slightly: brush our teeth, read, pray, nurse Margaret to sleep while McKay holds Isaac. Nurse Isaac to sleep. Unfortunately, that was too much change for Margaret. She NEEDS Daddy to be next to her while I nurse her to sleep. I didn't realize how important that was to our routine! Anyway, we didn't get to bed until probably midnight last night. And that "we" means any of us.

Luckily, Isaac only wakes 1-2 times a night- and it's to potty. I successfully caught a poop in the middle of the night last night! Yay ECing! We're not as great about catching pees. His signals are fairly straight forward, though: He is either nursing or sleeping. If he is doing neither of those and is squirming, he needs to go. We've actually had a lot of EC success with him. McKay is really great about always having the bowl near and is better at holding flimsy newborns than I am. And I forgot how much newborns need to go!

As for healing, I prepared well for everything I anticipated. Having the sitz bath and the floravital and drink mixes has meant that everything I struggled with last time have almost been non-issues. It's all the stuff I didn't have last time (hemorrhoids) that I wasn't prepared for! Apparently it's rough on your body to have a nine and a half pound baby shoot through the birth canal in a matter of minutes.

It is so nice to have McKay home. Last time, he was back to school and work on Wednesday. This time he's taking 2 weeks off- and he gets partial pay for the second week! He's allowed to take more time off and get partial pay, but partial pay doesn't pay rent. Someday he'll get real paternity leave, and it'll be nice.

A few people have mentioned that I put McKay's comment "your butt is changing" in the birth story. He said later that the shape of my butt at that point was a lot like it was when I was in labor with Margaret- except it was that shape for HOURS. Margaret's head was very molded and I think she was in the canal for a long time. Isaac just came out, so his head wasn't as molded and McKay got to see that mega change in butt shape in fast motion. There are some youtube birth videos where you can see this if you're interested. It's amazing how much your body can stretch.

I still haven't finished Isaac's baby bonnet. Must finish. Must find time when I'm not nursing. If Isaac's not nursing, then Margaret wants to- or at least she wants my attention. We'll play and sing songs, but it's not very conducive to knitting. Darn these children wanting my attention! It's like I'm their mother or something!

We finally baked the birthday cake last night.

Having a toddler makes engorgement slightly more bearable.

I want to get some nice newborn pictures before Isaac no longer looks like a newborn. And when you have a baby this big, there's a tighter time crunch for that!

Still need to work on the birth certificate thing.

I missed my DMV appointment yesterday- you have to make those appointments a month in advance! And I'm skipping LLL today (gasp!).

It seems like there is so much to do and time is just moving without us. That's ok.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Isaac's birth

We finally picked out a name: Isaac.


Friday night we all went to bed about 10:30. McKay and Margaret went to sleep pretty quickly. I was having some braxton hicks contractions, but that's not new. I've been having those since 4 weeks pregnant, it's just these were a little stronger. I wondered if this would be it, but I've wondered that so many times, I didn't put any stock in it and eventually went to sleep.

Later, a contraction woke me. I get more intense contractions when I have to pee or I'm dehydrated, so I got up to pee and get a drink. I ended up having some pretty loose stool, which is a sign of labor being near, but I'd had that off and on for a week. I checked the clock after I got my drink and it said 1:15 and I went back to bed.

I had a hard time going back to sleep because I kept having these contractions. I would almost fall asleep when one would wake me up. I had 6 of them and I guessed them to be about 15 minutes apart. I got up and checked the clock: 2:45. I was right. But that wasn't close enough to make me worry much.

Again I got up to pee- afterall, I had some water a couple of hours before. I attempted to clean some dishes, but got as far as a bowl and decided that hunching over a sink wasn't my idea of fun at 3 in the morning. I jumped online and mentioned on Twitter that I might be in labor (these were getting more intense), but my last labor was so long, I didn't want to jump the gun.

I decided I wanted to bug McKay because it was not fair that I was awake and he wasn't (this was a theme in Margaret's labor too). I told him I might be in labor, but I don't think he believed me at first. He was going to be skeptical of any labor claims prior to 43 weeks. When I mentioned that the contractions were bad enough to keep me from sleeping, he started believing my claims. I told him we could have sex since it might be the last time for a while, at which he chuckled. Then I had another contraction and he asked, "Are you sure you'd want sex?" "Uhh... No." We cuddled for a little bit until another contraction and then we got up.

He went to his computer start "documenting" the labor. I asked him for a blessing and was told to remember to have faith, that my body was made to do this, that the spirit that I'm bringing to earth loves me, and to remember to follow the promptings of the Spirit.

I went to take a shower. I was hesitant to get out the birth pool out because it's a lot of work. Cleaning up a birth from the bath tub would be easier anyway. In the shower, I first decided that I was going to scrub the tub clean. You see, if I was going to get any labor pictures, I didn't want people to see the ring around the tub, so I took a washcloth and my baking soda and started scrubbing the tub, pausing for contractions. Then I gave up because that was kind of crazy and dumb. But I did get most of the ring out.

For the contractions, I would stand up with the water spraying on my back and I would lean forward onto the opposite wall. During these, I thought about the blessing and looked outside our little window above the shower. It was dark, but I thought about the tree outside. I tend to talk to trees (odd I know, but it's something I've been doing since I was a kid) and about a month and a half earlier, I had talked to that tree about being pregnant. It had some green fruit on it at the time and I asked it if making future trees was as taxing on it as making future people was on me. Anyway, now that tree's fruit is ripened and red. I couldn't see the tree in the dark, but I told the tree that it's time for me to have my baby, too, just in case it cared. I also thought about positions and as I was handling the contractions, I decided that I wanted to be immersed in water. I was really tired and I thought it would give me a chance to relax and sleep. I told McKay to start getting the pool ready.

At 4:30, Margaret stirred. I was out of my shower and I heard her. She usually gets up in the early morning and I nurse her back to sleep and sleeps until 7. I figured I'd try that, but the two contractions I had while nursing her were really intense and I couldn't take the contractions lying down. McKay was blowing up the pool. I went and sat on our birth ball and we put Netflix on for Margaret. I figured she'd fall back asleep or something at some point.

Once the tub was up and McKay started filling it, I got inside, even though it was only a couple of inches deep. I wanted to lean on the edge and McKay would dump the water on my back. Margaret played by pounding on the walls of the tub, which really annoyed me. We let her in to keep her from doing that, but then she would run around and touch me, and that was annoying too. I started doing a lot of vocalizing. I'm a very loud birther. I was thinking, "I can't do this much longer" because the contractions were getting a lot closer together which immediately reminded me of transition, but I decided that this was too soon to have transition so I ignored it. I thought I would check my dilation, but everything was just mush- and with my longer nails I didn't want to accidentally break my waters or something, so I wasn't very exact about it. I did get a little blood under one of my fingernails: aha! There was my mucous plug still in there all happy.

I gave up being in the tub and decided to go back to the shower while McKay was working. I would sometimes request a drink or food. In the bathroom, I went to the restroom again and had more loose stool. My body was definitely emptying itself to let a baby get through. In fact, I started to feel nauseous and my mouth did that watering thing that happens before you throw up. I successfully kept myself from throwing up thinking, "I threw up 12 hours before Margaret was born. If I have 12 hours ahead, I'll need all the nutrition I can get. I'm keeping this in!" Again I ignored this transition sign. I got in the shower. I tried taking the contractions on my hands and knees with the water spraying on my back. More thoughts of "I can't do this anymore." I kept feeling like I should stand up. Standing up or squatting contractions resulted in feeling pushy and sometimes I ended up pushing against my "better judgment." Also, I was having some back labor. I wondered if I should try changing positions to reposition the baby just in case it was posterior or something, but the voice in the back of my head was saying not to worry about it.

I went to the pool and bent myself over the edge. It was more full, but not where I'd like it. On my hands and knees, I asked McKay for counter pressure on my back during the contractions. They were awful and I was very loud. I wondered if our neighbors heard me- we had opened a window because it was getting warm in the apartment. That stand-up urge was back and the voice in my head told me that if I stood up, the back labor would go away. But I also knew that being upright made me pushy and I didn't think I was there yet. Meanwhile I had asked McKay for the bucket because I was feeling nauseous again. But, I was sure I couldn't be in transition: I hadn't lost my mucous plug yet! I started losing that 24 hours before Margaret was born, so there was no way I could be in transition and need to push. But that blessing about listening to the Spirit was repeating in my head at the same time "Stand up and push" was so I decided to go with that.

I had McKay stand in the pool with his back against the wall and I leaned with my back against him. He had his arms around me and that was really nice, like a family cuddle. He supported me while I pushed with the contactions. I had 2 contactions with McKay, during one of which there was a huge pop and my mucous plug shot out of me. My water broke and the forced pushed it out. I could tell the baby had descended and I went forward to hands and knees into the water. I thought McKy was going to get out of the pool and do something with Margaret, so I announced, "The baby is coming NOW" as code for "Don't leave me." He said, "I can see your butt changing." As a baby descends, the shape of everything changes and your butt gets all stretched out. In one more push, the head was crowning. I felt the hair and my perineum (still intact). McKay was showing Margaret, "Look! It's the baby's head!" and then, "It's the baby's face!"

On my side of things,, I was feeling the baby wiggle inside of me. At one point it wiggled itself back in a litle. Lots of wiggles. It was actually really annoying and I guess I was feeling "touched out" or something. I wanted to stand up to see if it was a shoulder issue and if changing positions would help. Meanwhile, McKay was telling me to stay in the water for some reason. We actually got into a little quarrel about it. "Stay in the water! "Why?" "Because....(some reason I wasn't paying attention to)" "That doesn't make sense!" "Keep the baby's head in the water." "Why? No." "You catch it in front of you so I don't have to pass it to you." "I'm standing up!"

I stood up and in the next contaction, I pushed it out and McKay caught it and passed it to me, and I noticed we had a boy, so I announced "It's a boy!" and we untangled the cord from around our little boy.

He was purple and not yet breathing. I could tell McKay was a little worried, so I reminded him that the cord was still pulsing and he was ok. I held him with his face down to drain out any fluids. There was a little cry, a pause, and then some more crying and he pinked up. He cried a lot more than Margaret ever did! We also checked the time. it was 7:27, so I guessed 7:25 for the time of birth. I tried to nurse him, but he wasn't interested at that moment. I wanted him to nurse so that the placenta would detach itself. At one point I asked McKay if I could have Margaret do that for me, but I was still standing in the tub with grossness all around me and Margaret wasn't in the tub for obvious reasons. I had one contraction and squatted and pushed thinking it might be the placenta, but it was just the rest of the bag of waters.

I decided I wanted to get to our chair on the other side of the room so I could try nursing while sitting. McKay was originally against that idea because we didn't have enough chux pads to line the way (we had used them up lining the bathroom/kitchen route). We leap-frogged a couple of chux pads in front of me as I walked over there and lined the chair with towels and chux pads. I sat and eventually had another contraction and pushed the placenta out 25 minutes after the birth. I got something to drink and eat and sat there and nursed. And that was that. McKay cleaned up everything and we had a baby!

I probably could have had the baby an hour earlier if I had listened to the transition signals instead of denying their existence. Also, I was really amazed at the direction I was getting from the Spirit. I was getting whole sentences about "If you stand up, the back labor will go away," which is unusual for me. Direct guidance like that is really rare for me, so it was nice. And I liked when McKay supported me at my "stand up and push" stage. Lots of happy oxytocin!

Because McKay was busy with filling the pool and responding to requests, we didn't get any pictures until after the placenta was out. Here I am at our chair after the cord was cut:

His cord was tied with ties we made at FHE a few weeks ago. Each of us chose a color of embroidery floss. Margaret chose red, McKay chose green, and I chose blue. Then we braided them together into ties for the cord.
Just a few hours old:
A day old:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

He Who Must Not Be Named

Sorry, no name yet, but we have a little boy!

Statistics:
9.5 pounds, 21 inches
Born at 7:25 this morning after somewhere around 6 hours of labor
His head was born in water. but I stood up out of the water for the rest of the body, so maybe not a waterbirth?
He was caught by daddy while his sister looked on.
Placenta was out 25 minutes later.

Oh and he was born at 41 weeks 2 days according to ovulation and 41 weeks 5 days by LMP. If there's anything I'm good at, it's gestating.

Birth story to come!
And if you were supposed to get an announcement, but didn't, I'm sorry. I had trouble hunting down a couple email addresses.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fingernails

Today's post is brought to you today by: Vanity.

It has been over 3 weeks since I've bitten my fingernails (minus the right pinky- that one's been a week and half).

I know when I started biting my fingernails: I was in second grade, so I was 7 or 8. I've been biting them since.

There have been short interludes of non-biting, the longest being the month before we got married. I don't like fake fingernails, so the only option was to have good looking REAL nails for that. I shaped them, coated them with clear polish, and promptly broke the right thumb nail the day before the wedding while attempting to open a car door in the rain. I'm pretty sure all the rest of the nails were bitten off before the end of the honeymoon.

I had great nails after Margaret was born: being in labor for 44 hours meant I didn't think about biting them. They looked great. Of course, it's hard to manage a newborn with nails, so they were promptly bitten off in the babymoon.

This is officially the longest I've gone since then. I figured that since I'm pregnant, I should take advantage of my fast growing nails and actually buckle down and stop biting them. And it is HARD. The one on my right ring finger is just ASKING to be bit. It's very very very tempting. But I haven't done it.




So I've been good to them for the past 3 weeks. They'll probably get trimmed after the baby comes because I'm clumsy and would leave scratches. I really hope I can break my nail-biting habit, but it's too soon to officially say that I'm over it.

So yes, today I am vain because I have good-looking nails for the first time in months. Maybe I'll keep it up. Maybe I won't. But at least it's documented that I'm not a total failure in attempting to overcome a few of my bad habits.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Continuing Nurturing Touch

Along the lines of blog carnivals I missed out on, last month, Attachment Parenting International's Carnival was about nurturing touch. I missed the carnival, but I still have thoughts on the subject.

A lot of AP Principles are infant-focused and nurturing touch easily brings to mind things like kangaroo care and skin to skin contact at birth, babywearing, and breastfeeding. It's easy to keep an infant close to you. But then they get bigger and it's easy to neglect that. They want to walk on their own, they grow up and have activities of their own and aren't with the family all day, then they hit puberty and they pretty much don't get touched at all. I can understand that: as a parent you don't want to cross any inappropriate boundaries once your children are suddenly able to be sexual.

Earlier this year, I was reading The Whole Parent: How to be a Terrific Parent Even if You Didn't Have One. Look past the cheesy cover- it's a great book. It discusses attachment theory in great depth and is written specifically for parents who have had very abusive childhoods and want to break the cycle. While I didn't relate on that level, the ideas and examples in it were really great, though some of the stories are very heart-wrenching, so be prepared for crying. It pointed out that even teenagers need nurturing touch from their families and suggested that if they don't get it at home, they'll look for it in other places, places you probably don't want your teenager looking for touch. What was really great is that it gave examples of ways that you can encourage touch with your older children that are safe, eg. doing your daughter's hair for a dance.

As we continue on upwards in age, we still need touch. Before McKay and I were married, I read an article about how a 20 second full-body hug can increase the oxytocin levels in your body. Because it was years ago, I can't find the exact article, but here's a google search for you. That idea stayed with me and throughout our marriage on bad days, I ask McKay, "Can I have an oxytocin hug?"

Anyway, the point is humans, no matter our age or size, need touch. This is something I've been trying to remind myself with Margaret. Yes, she is 2. She doesn't always want to be on my back in the mei tai, she doesn't get 100% of her nutrition from me, and she spends some of the night not cuddled up to me any more. But she's still human. And 2 is still very much a baby. It's hard to sit down and give her cuddles when my belly is so huge, but I know she needs them.

One of the ways I fit nurturing touch into our days is nursing after showering. We usually take baths together: I shower and she plays in the tub at my feet. After I dry myself off, I wrap her up in her hoodie towel and she gets really excited because it means we're going to go sit on the bed and cuddle and nurse. Because neither of us is dressed yet, it's how I fit skin to skin contact into our lives. Obviously, this isn't something I'm going to keep up for years and years, but just because she's not a newborn, it doesn't mean she doesn't need skin to skin contact.

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking about the day that I won't be able to cuddle her as much; there will be another little person who will need nurturing touch as well. I need to remember that she needs cuddles and not to neglect that when the baby comes.

How have you kept up nurturing touch as your child has grown older?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Inquisition Monday

A couple of weeks ago, Abigail asked about breastmilk soap, "I am SO curious as to how she made breastmilk soap. I've read something of making breastmilk ice cream, but soap is a new idea for me."

My friend who made the soap says she used this Mother's Milk Soap recipe. It does use a lot of breastmilk, and I know people don't normally have a lot on hand, and if they do, they are saving it for future use. The reason my friend had a lot was because they discovered that her little girl was sensitive to dairy in her mom's milk and so all of her pumped milk was now useless for their daughter. So they made soap.

Last week, Mallory asked, "What do you normally tell people when they ask what your due date is? I know it isn't inquisition Monday, but the size of your belly got me wondering how you handle it when people ask that ever-popular question. Do people take the answer of "between the summer solstice and the fall equinox"??? Are they really ok with that and leave it alone? (I know they don't really have to be "ok" with it, they have to deal with whatever answer you give them...but do they seem pleased with that answer?) Because when I tell people I am due in late August or early September, I feel a lot of pressure to just spit out a date! Almost that I have to justify, that yes, I do in fact know when I got pregnant, when I'm due, I'm not just guessing, my midwife has even relied on -me- to tell her when I'm due...etc, etc."

When I'm asked my due date, I always says, "Oh- sometime this summer." Sometimes they like that, sometimes they don't. Reactions have varied from, "It sure looks like that!" to "You don't know?" I did once get the reaction, "So sometime before the equinox?" And I was like "YES! You get it!"

The "You don't know?" reactions are the most annoying. Because I chart for fertility, I know the exact date of ovulation- I'm not oblivious to my "due date" at all! It's kind of insulting. To that I respond, "I know my due date, but I'm not sharing it with anyone." And sometimes I feel like I have to justify that with "My daughter was 3 weeks late, so we're trying not to focus on a particular date."

Last month someone tried to guess:
"June?
"Could be"
"August?"
"It's possible."
"July?:
"Sure."
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
"Nope."

I'm starting to get tired of it, though. I've considered messing with the asker's head if they are just a random person at a store that I'll never see again:
"When are you due?"
"Monday."
"This Monday?"
"No, two Monday's ago."

Or some other variation: "It was Father's Day." "Memorial Day."

I've also been asked if I'm having twins. I could probably do a "Nope. Quadruplets!"

I have considered playing dumb and just say I don't know and act like I have no clue how pregnancy works at all. "Um... There's a way to tell?"

Then there's the TMI approach, "Well, we had sex twice on that day. Or it could have been that one day when we rented that cheap motel room with the hot tub..."

And then there's the take offense approach:
"When are you due?"
"Are you asking me to disclose personal medical information to a stranger?"

Hehehe. I should totally try some of these. I've been way too nice about it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Our CSA

I missed the deadline for the Carnival of Natural Parenting this month about food. It will go live on Tuesday, but since I'm not posting for it, I'll post about our food adventures here today!

We've been receiving a CSA box for a month now. CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. The idea behind it is that you put money upfront to help a local farm through the growing season and as they harvest their crop, you get a portion of it. If it's a good year, you get a lot, if not, then you don't. It's a little bit of a gamble.

You have to go to a drop off location to pick up your box. Luckily for us, the CSA we joined drops off their boxes at McKay's work. So every Wednesday, McKay comes home with a big box of vegetables and fruits for us to eat!

How have our habits changed?

  1. We eat more salads and greens. Every box has had leafy vegetables in it and because we have to eat them up before the next week, we find ourselves eating more salads. As the summer has progressed, we've received less greens because they don't handle heat well, but we still get enough that we need to have regular salads.
  2. I spend less at the grocery store. Because we get the box on Wednesdays, I plan the meals Wednesday night and go grocery shopping for everything else on Thursday. I definitely don't spend as much money at the grocery store any more.
  3. We try new foods and recipes. As embarrassing as it is to admit, before the CSA, I had never had fresh cabbage. Or kale, chard, golden beets, Tokyo turnips, or even fresh figs. I'm assuming "Fig Newtons" don't count. We also get recognizable foods like carrots, lettuce, green beans, peas, apricots, nectarines, and garlic.
  4. We eat less meat, which saves us money. Because I plan our meals around our CSA box, our dinners are vegetable-focused instead of meat-focused.
  5. I'm a better cook now. Because of the new recipes and new tastes, we aren't eating the same old food week after week. It makes me feel better about my skills as a cook. Also, local food tastes better.
  6. Wednesday is actually an exciting day instead of being the boring middle of the work week. I get really excited to see McKay come home with the box. It's like Christmas every week! We never know what we're going to get!
  7. We eat seasonally and locally. The food comes to us with a smaller carbon footprint and everything is certified organic.

I feel good that Margaret gets to try new foods. She's not a particularly picky 2 year old, but she definitely benefits from the new food. I made kale chips the other day and while she refused to eat them the first day, she was all about them last night!

Also, it's led me to new knitting! We received a pound of garlic last week. I've never owned that much garlic at time, so I knit up a couple of garlic bags.

I really like our CSA. We can get fresh foods without having to beat the crowds to the farmer's market!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

In which I make life harder on myself and then give up

Margaret is 2. She goes to bed around 9:30 and wakes up around 7. It used to be 10:30 and 8, but she's never fully adopted the Pacific Time Zone. She also takes a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. If it's less than 2 and a half hours, she's cranky the rest of the day.

I got self-conscious about her schedule. I heard people taling about putting their kids to bed at 7:30 and actually having an evening to themselves. I read blogs and sleep books that promised that if you put your toddler to bed earlier, they'll sleep longer and better. And in personal conversations, after sharing Margaret's bedtime routine, I would get responses like "Well, I feel that sleep is really important for toddlers," as if our current routine wasn't putting Margaret's sleep needs first.

And with the pregnancy, it was tempting to put her to bed earlier. We used to be able to stay up and have time to ourselves after her bed time, but now we don't. What changed? I'm pregnant and tired and I actually fall asleep faster than she does when I nurse her down. Seven thirty bed time was sounding pretty good: I could nurse her down and still be awake for a movie.

Last Saturday, we went to a family pool party. Margaret slept about half an hour on the way to it and about 40 minutes on the way home. She didn't get her usual 3 hour nap at all. She was cranky and obviously tired: she was screaming at us for not reading her mind. I thought to myself, "I know! We'll put her down early! She'll sleep better! Give us time in evening! This will work!"

At 7:30, we did our bedtime routine and I nursed her. And nursed her and nursed her. And I was tired from the day and started falling asleep myself. Meanwhile, she was done with nursing and McKay was wrangling her back to bed and there was lots of screaming. She was obviously very tired, but just wouldn't go to sleep.

Then a little before 9:30, she went to bed. We spent the whole evening trying to help her sleep earlier because she needed it and her bedtime had not changed. Cruel, cruel world.

So I decided that the whole 7:30 bedtime was just not going to work. I'd rather have 2 hours of not fighting a 2 year old, thank you very much. And she does seem to do well with her routine. Why did I try to change it in the first place?

Sure, she doesn't get the 11 hours of sleep at night that she's "supposed" to. But she does take a 3 hour nap, which is really heavenly for me and is probably pretty unusual for kids her age. That nap ends typically at 4 and so of course, she wouldn't be ready for bed by 7:30!

Instead of feeling like I don't get any adult time, I need to remember the good things about late bedtimes. For one, I don't have to leave dinner parties or knitting groups or other RS meetings early to put her to bed! I actually get to keep something that resembles a social life and I do get 3 hours of mostly uninterrupted afternoon time. At both nap and night time, she goes to bed easily without struggle. Sure, she's not "by the book" but this world needs more free spirits anyway.

Last Saturday was a bad day. Yesterday was great. We'll stick to what we have. I need to stop making this harder on myself.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Not Wordless Wednesday

McKay has this thing: if he sees Margaret doing something cute, he wants to take a picture of it. (Daddies and their crazy ideas!) And he thinks nursing is cute. A lot of our nursing pictures at home have been taken just because he thought it was cute. This is our most recent one from this weekend.

Apparently Margaret nursing with her sunglasses on is cute. Meanwhile, I'm pregnant, trying to knit, and sitting on our ugly chair. Good times. Oh, and sometimes (90% of the time) we don't dress Margaret. Less laundry! It's easier to clean jelly off a naked toddler than off a shirt.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Carnival of Nursing in Public

There a new blog out there: NursingFreedom.org and for their launch, they are hosting a Carnival of Nursing in Public. It's has been put together by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Paige at Baby Dust Diaries. All week long there will be posts about nursing in public over there! I wrote up a post and it'll show up over there some time. I'll link to it when it does.

But in the meantime, I'd like to link to some of the posts I've written about nursing in public.

One of my first NIP posts was a response to the idea that breastfeeding is an intimate act between mother and child and shouldn't be seen because of that intimacy.

To expect a woman to leave or cover up is discrimination: it physically segregates either the mother or the baby from society.

Someone at church watched me latch Margaret on once. That was a year and a half ago and she's still breastfeeding her little one.

Then there's my classic one about breastfeeding and my take on the LDS view of modesty. And my more recent one about how the Church has portrayed breastfeeding. And one where I talk about how breastfeeding at church affected people around me.

Here was a post of how I worked layers and breastfeeding. I don't do layers anymore because Margaret is against them. I just pull down.

And then there was the Facebook nurse-in. Unfortunately, they still take down pictures and you can see some of them here.


Happy Nursing in Public!

Inquisition Monday

Brittney asked, "You keep talking about these home-remedies for pregnancy-related problems-- swollen feet, "pregnancy brain", etc.-- and I want to hear all your methods! What do you like and use to help your body, besides medicine."

Well, I talked a little bit about supplements I take here.

When I first got pregnant, Margaret had 2 colds within a month. Then I started taking cod liver oil which has omega-3s and vitamin D. Margaret hasn't had a cold since. I'm guessing that's a result of the extra vitamin D. The omega-3s helped my pregnancy brain. More good oils for the baby's and Margaret's brains mean I get more good oils for mine and it works better.

As for swelling, it's usually associated with pre-eclampsia. In many cases, a high protein diet can help prevent pre-e, though there are cases that are simply not related to protein and can be serious if it doesn't get under control. My feet never swelled last time, so this time I wasn't exactly sure what to do, especially since I had no other signs of pre-eclampsia: my blood pressure was fine and protein wasn't spilling into my urine. I tried to simply hydrate myself more, which can help swelling, but that didn't seem to work either. I then wondered if it was just something that happens when you are pregnant in the summer instead of the winter. But part of me didn't believe that's what I had. As I was stressing myself about this, I remembered that my urine tests were indicating a UTI. That didn't originally bother me because I pretty much always have a UTI and I wasn't in pain or feverish, so I didn't think it was an issue. But as I was mulling over my swelling feet, I felt very distinctly, "Take care of the UTI, then deal with any swelling." I told McKay that prompting and so we decided to do that. UTIs sometimes need antibiotics, but because I want to avoid those as much as possible since I'm breastfeeding and I don't want thrush, I went with a different option. I tried cranberry juice: unsweetened 100% cranberry juice. I drank 2 cups before bed for a few nights. And suddenly, it was gone! As was my swelling! But then I ran out of cranberry juice and my urine was still indicating that the UTI was there. In fact, there was a day when my back right kidney had me lying in bed for a few hours. I was pretty sure that this UTI was in my kidneys or I had a kidney stone. I needed to get a little more serious about it, so I bought some D-Mannose. D-Mannose is what is in cranberry juice that works for UTIs, but I got some capsules so I could have it concentrated. I'm still taking them regularly with cranberry juice. My swelling has diminished overall, though I always get it on Sundays because our church building doesn't have air conditioning and the RS room is on the second floor (darn heat!). I haven't had any pain in my kidneys lately either. I do still get indications of a UTI on my urine tests, so I keep using the D-Mannose and will continue until a few weeks postpartum to make sure I get things under control.

I also take floravital and liquid chlorophyll for energy and for building up my iron to prevent hemorrhage.

As for other remedies I've used that aren't pregnancy-related:
Breastmilk (topically): scrapes, burns, runny noses, goopy eyes, umbilical cord wounds, etc.
Lavender essential oil: burns. Unlike most essential oils, you can use lavender directly on the skin instead of having to dilute it in a base oil like olive oil.
Clove oil: teething. This you MUST dilute otherwise it'll burn instead of numb the gums. A couple of drops to a tablespoon of olive oil. Then you put it on the gums as a numbing agent.
Grapefruit seed extract: I've taken this orally to combat a mastitis infection, though I know people who have used it topically for mastitis and thrush. It's very bitter to the taste.
Echinacea: for shortening the length of colds.
Chamomilla: for teething. It's a homeopathic and I know lots of people don't put a lot of weight in the effectiveness of homeopathics, but it seems to help Margaret. She's less irritable and cranky with it. I've even read that you can take it while in labor to reduce irritability. I might try it if I feel like it.

That's it for now that I can think of. We have an herbal first aid kit that I really should take better advantage of, which reminds me: I just learned about castor oil packs for cramps and healing and I wonder if that would be a good thing postpartum. I'll look into it since we have some castor oil that I don't know what to do with. I also bought a sitz bath mixture for perineal healing this time around.

Of course, I took acetaminophen the other day to deal with a headache that refused to let me sleep. That was the second time I've used it this pregnancy, so I don't use it regularly, but I do use it when needed!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How to UP: Baby Positions

To start with, the only belly I've palpated is my own. Experienced palpaters (I made up a word!) can even feel for fluid levels. I don't have that ability.

First, I start with finding the heartbeat. I usually hear the heartbeat best through the upper back of the baby. You can't really hear it in the front of the baby because there are things like arms in the way. To start with an educated guess of where the heartbeat is, I base it off of where I feel hiccups. If hiccups are low, then the upper body is low (and the baby is likely head-down). If you feel hiccups up high, then the upper body is high.

When we took pictures last night, the last place I had felt hiccups was my lower left, so that's where I started looking for the heartbeat. And there it was!

So far: heartbeat and hiccups are low, so the baby is likely to be head-down.

Then I go looking for other things. There's a big bulge here, so that's either the butt or the head, but since I'm leaning towards head-down, I'm saying it's butt.


There a foot here. I can feel its length and it's definitely too long to be a hand. Also, it is very strong. Legs tend to be stronger than arms, so foot is my conclusion.


Down here in my right hand is mush. There isn't much there at all. Sometimes I feel little movements there, but it's pretty empty.


So total: heartbeat in lower left of belly, butt in middle/left, feet in middle right, and mush (hands?) in bottom right. That puts my baby around LOA-ish. Though as I sit here and type, the butt is right in the middle of my belly, so maybe more OA than LOA at the moment.

Margaret was LOA a lot, but when I was 2 or 3 days before my due date with Margaret, I suddenly felt kicks on my left! When I went to find the heartbeat on my left, there was nothing there... but it was on the right. She had moved to the right side. Most right side positions are posterior, so I spent the next couple of evenings on the birth ball to move her back. She did turn back to LOA on her due date and then wasn't born for 3 weeks! Oh well.


I really like spinningbabies.com for information about baby positioning and turning. Spend some time over there! Also, an Internet friend, Kayce, just blogged about palpating. She doesn't start off with the heartbeat: and you really don't need to. If you know what you're looking for, you don't need it, but I need a little help.