Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Almost 18 Weeks...and Growing!

Is it just me, or is my belly looking bigger than last week?? I'm having my sonogram (finally!) on Friday, so I'll post a picture of that this weekend. (And no, we're not finding out if Baby O is a boy or a girl.) We've been super busy with the Thanksgiving festivities and having seven houseguests, but more posts soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How I Really Know I'm Pregnant

No, it's not that I heard the baby's heartbeat today. (A really strong heartbeat! Rob's comment: "Sounds like a boy's heartbeat. I'm just saying.")

It's because I unwittingly took a four hour nap. If you know me at all, you will know that this is against everything I stand for. And you know what? I enjoyed it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby's First Concert!

Last night our church hosted a free concert featuring Lanae' Hale, Jason Gray, and our old friends Downhere. It was a fantastic time with great music, and Rob and I enjoyed hanging out with the guys and gals while we helped set up and fetched coffee and played chauffer. I still haven't felt the baby kick, but I bet that he/she was dancing away last night! Here's a photo of us with the Downhere guys, and I just have to ask--could I be any shorter?

To check out the great music, click on the artists' names above.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ricki Lake Advocates for Birth Choice

I always think of Ricki Lake as the one in the original Hairspray, all teased out and peroxided. But these days she is advocating birth choices through a documentary called The Business of Being Born. Here's a great article discussing it. I found the comments following it particularly interesting. I will definitely want to see the movie when it comes out! The press for it has been bizarre--parent sites and news sites have respectfully interviewed Lake, while blogs seem only interested in the fact that you see her naked in the movie. I guess as long as it gets publicity...

If I Have a Girl, I Want These!

Totally excessive, I know, but how cute are these bloomers from Ruffle Butts? This coming from the girl who doesn't typically like ruffles and lace. They're $16, which isn't horrible, and can be personalized for another $8. Pair these with some Baby Legs legwarmers, and your little girl is ready to go!

You can find them here.

The Nine Months of Your Life When Gaining Weight Is Good

I always thought that being pregnant was the one time in your life where you could just enjoy gaining weight. Pregnant women are beautiful, and I couldn't wait to have a big, round baby belly. So it has come as a surprise to me just how strange and hard it is to convince myself that the scale going up is a good thing, and that all your clothes aren't supposed to fit. It doesn't help that I would have liked to lose ten pounds before I got pregnant, and now I struggle with thinking about every pound I gain as another pound to lose. My midwife says that my weight gain so far has been very normal and I'm trying to eat well, other than the occasional (or more than occasional) dessert, but I thought it would be much easier to embrace and enjoy this time. Instead, I feel like I'm having to work to remind myself that it's a good thing.

So where does all that weight come from? Here's a breakdown of typical pregnancy weight gain:

Baby: 7.5 pounds
Placenta: 1.5 pounds
Amniotic Fluid: 2 pounds
Uterine Enlargement: 2 pounds
Maternal Breast Tissue: 2 pounds
Maternal Blood Volume: 4 pounds
Fluids in Maternal Tissue: 4 pounds
Maternal Fat Stores: 7 pounds
Total: 30 pounds

The ideal weight gain is somewhere between 25-35 pounds and it's interesting to see (in an ideal world) where that weight is distributed. Some of this differs from woman to woman and I can already tell certain areas where I'm gaining more than normal (cough, breasts). A lot of those are probably lost naturally after the baby, as your body readjusts. But I remember hearing from my mom and several other women that it was really tough to have the baby and then realize you couldn't just put back on your pre-pregnancy clothes.

I think that the key for me is in my mind. I can't think of this weight gain the way I did non-pregnancy weight gain. Does that mean I shouldn't be at all concerned? No. I want to stay within the healthy limits, both for my baby's sake, and for my sake as I try to get back in shape afterwards. But this is the time to really embrace those healthy pounds and enjoy growing out of your clothes. As I'm now officially too big for every non-maternity thing I own, this is good for me to remember!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Labor Pain, huh! What Is It Go-od for....

(As sung to the tune of "War--What Is It Good For.")

One of the craziest thing about having a home birth is not having an epidural or other form of drugs. Most people seem much more concerned about that than they do about the idea of having a baby at home and not in the hospital. The things I've been reading and the childbirth classes I'm taking all are preparing me for pain management in labor, but I'm sure at the first major contraction, I'm also going to wonder where the drugs are.

This morning I read a great verse that I think I'd like to have as sort of my theme verse for labor. It's just so fitting.

Hebrews 12:2--Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

During labor, I can fix my eyes on Jesus, remembering that he, too, suffered--and much more than I will be suffering. But for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. The joy set before me will be holding my child in my arms, so I too, during labor can look to Jesus and follow his example of enduring suffering for the joy to come.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh My Gosh....I Have a Belly!

Seriously, it happened overnight. Suddenly I've gone from having a little baby pooch to having a baby-shaped belly. It's pretty neat, but really insane. I mean, I know I'm pregnant, but do I really know it??

Is this really a part of me?

Wow! The baby's as big as Rob's hand! Or, at least my belly is that big...

I told Rob to touch the baby, and apparently, he thinks it's in my heart.

Okay, it's a little weird. Cool, but weird.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If I Have a Boy...

....I totally want these. They're called Pee-Pee Teepees, and they're to keep you from getting sprayed in the face by your little guy while changing diapers. How ingenious! For the record though, I think I'm having a girl.

And look! Just for Christmas! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Babies Go 80s

I grew up in the 80s and remember wearing leg warmers as a child. Some crazy people tried to bring these back a few years ago as a fashionable item, but it just didn't work. And I'm glad. Leg warmers belong to the era of Jazzercize, and to that era alone. Unless it's baby leg warmers. I have no idea how practical these are (ie, if you can keep them on a baby)but oh my gosh they're cute.

Seriously, how adorable is this picture??

Look, ma! Giraffe legs!!

Cute, nerdy argyle leg warmers! Aw.

For you punks out there, try some flame leg warmers. I love these.

I was never into the skull trend, but if you're going to go skull with your baby, these are awfully cute.

All of these came from Baby Legs. I'm sure there are other sites, but I really loved these! The 80s are now being reborn!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Birth Choices Part Two: Medical Myths

These are taken directly from the book Gentle Birth Choices, which is a great read in terms of rethinking birth. I'm going to continue sprinkling little posts here and there about home birth and how I came to that choice. I read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (which I mention in a previous post) two years before I got pregnant, and when I first got pregnant, I bought Gentle Birth Choices to refresh my memory and remind me why I was thinking about alternative birth choices. I'm really summarizing here, but if you have questions, shoot me and email or pick up the book!

Myth: The Hospital Is the Safest Place to Have a Baby
I used some facts from this section below in Birth Choices Part One, but to summarize, 98% of US births took place in hospitals in 2004. Yet, in a 2003 study on infant mortality, 31 countries outrank us in safety. Studies also show that hospital-born babies suffer more fetal distress, newborn infections, and birth injuries than home-bith babies. Some might argue that this is only logical, as women must be assessed as low-risk to birth at home, but 85% of all women ARE low risk, and yet there are still high numbers of complications in hospitals.

Myth: Maternity Care Should Be Managed Only By a Physician
Studies show that Certified Nurse Midwives offer equal or better maternity care (than doctors) for pregnant woman. Training is extensive and midwives attend births from start to finish, unlike doctors. My midwife, Cathy Rude, attends 40-50 births a year--and not just the part of birth when the baby emerges. Yes, there are certain complications that midwives cannot deal with. But midwives are trained to watch for such complications and will have a back-up plan and doctor in that case.

Myth: Drugs for Pain Relief Won't Hurt the Baby
We now know that the placenta is not a protective barrier between mother and baby. There are negative effects of epidural both on mother and baby. There are benefits, but often you don't hear about the trade-offs.

Myth: Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean
The cesarean section has been the most commonly performed surgery in the United States since 1983. In 2003, 27.6% of women had cesarean birth as opposed to 5% in 1970. There are genuine needs for cesarean section, but keeping in mind that 85% of women are low-risk, the numbers seem highly elevated. In a Swiss study, 75% of women having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean)were successful, given that they were not induced. (Induction decreased the success rate to 65%.) VBAC fell out of favor after managed care companies began mandating them, often for women who were not screened for high risk. Now most hospitals dissuade women from attemping VBAC, if not disallowing it altogether.

I think that's enough myths for now, as I'm barely skimming the surface, but already feel long-winded. There are many more details and studies cited than I have mentioned here. Some of the other myths deal with episiotomy, the placement of babies in hospital nurseries, and forbiding women to eat and drink in labor.

By putting these things out here, I'm in no way placing judgment on any particular type of birth. But I do think that there is a lot of information that women do not have concerning birth and what are often routine procedures. When I read some of these things, I was really shocked and challenged to think about what I wanted out of birth. My hope in posting this is to provide information on the choice that I'm making (since I'm in the minority) and encourage people to make an educated choice, whether that's in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cool Site!

Yes, it's expensive. But I really liked the different vibe this site has. It's called My Retro Baby and everything has that kind of mod, vintage feel. I guess my taste is a little funky and I definitely have already gotten tired of the same old baby stuff they sell in all the cheap chain stores. (As much as I do want to be frugal!) Thankfully I can paint, so I can get some inspiration from pieces that I like here!

Man do I love this blanket!

It reminds me a lot of the bedding I chose, by Amy Coe from Target.

Check out this great idea--a My Favorite Things personalized wall hanging.

This neat gift for Mom looks a ton like my friend Molly Brose's necklaces, only hers were much more beautiful! (A link for her site is to the right.)

If I have a little girl, I hope she's rock n roll enough for this fireball lunchbox, which I rather want for myself.

Okay, the cover of this photo album HAS to be from a picture book I read as a kid. Seriously.

Anyway, I had fun looking at all the unique stuff at this site. Very refreshing and uber hip!

Hormones Are A Powerful Phenomenon

Normally, I'm pretty even-keeled, even in pregnancy. (Unless you go near my food--then it's on. Just ask Peter.) But I have days of serious hormones, and usually on those days I also have headaches. Today was one of those days. So I did the best thing you can do: drank water, took tylenol, rented a movie, and ate frozen yogurt.

For those of you who know me well, you know I don't cry often. Or, ever. But I did today, so be proud of me! First, our fish died. And yes, he was just a fish, but he was a lively fish. I didn't cry, but was sad. Then my friend Jenna had her first baby. That was amazing! She called me and then I cried. (Happy Birthday, Liam!) Then I watched "Knocked Up," which I won't recommend, but had some redeeming moments, like when the baby is born. Then I cried again. I feel like a fountain!

But anyway, it was good crying, and ended up being a great day, and Rob has orders to bring home a new fish who we'll name Liam in honor of Jenna's baby. So, maybe hormones and crying aren't always a bad thing. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Now I Can Say I've Done It

Well, that's about the best thing I can say about the half-marathon--I did it. It's done. I'm very tired! Thankfully there was another girl on quads (rollerskates) among all the other rollerbladers so that I wasn't alone in last place. Blades really are THAT much faster. It was nice to have someone to talk to, and we made pretty good time, coming in at an hour and a half, faster than what I did while training. Yay! Okay, so here are some pictures of baby and me skating...and skating...and skating...

Here I am looking really perky at 6:30am.

Rob and his mom were a great support, despite the fact that they had to get up at 5:30 in the morning to do it.

Here I am all ready to roll!

Here's what it looked like at the start line: a sea of roller blades.

I can tell this was early in the race, as I look like I'm moving quickly. :)

Stephanie and I about to finish--we look much happier than we felt.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Half-Marathon Tomorrow!

So, tomorrow is the big day! I'm still pretty nervous about making it through the whole thing and being the slowest, which is a real possibility. My goal is to finish, and I think that's an okay goal! :) Eric and I went downtown today to pick up my packet and skated/bladed all over the place, which was SO much fun! Hopefully he'll post the pictures soon so I can steal them. It was great to be skating by Minute Maid Park. We also skated into Starbucks to buy drinks, which was probably a first.

Anyway, I'll post tomorrow after the race, but here is a link to the course so you can see what I'll be doing. For the half marathon, I'll be doing three laps. I don't know if wearing ipods is legal, but I plan to do it anyway. Here's the map:


Comments and Subscribing

Okay, some of you have let me know that you've had issues with commenting, so I wanted to give a little how-to for those of you not familiar with blogger. Also, if you want to get notices when I update, instead of just checking a few times a week, you can scroll to the bottom of my blog and there's a line that says "Subscribe to: Posts." Click on "Posts" and you can get notifications sent to email.

How to Comment:-At the bottom of each post, click on the word comments. It will have a number in front of it to show how many (if any) comments have been made.
-A new window will open up. If there are comments, those will be in view. Scroll down to the box that says "Leave Your Comment." Write your comment.
-When you are done, it asks for your identity. Don't worry about signing in for blogger, unless you're a member or want to be. You can click anonymous (but make sure your name is in the comment box so I know who you are!) or you can click other and then type your name (or whatever name you want to use) in the blank.
-The word verification screen is to keep me from have spam. Just type in what you see, then you are ready to hit "Publish Your Comment."

Hopefully that helps! I love getting your comments so thanks to those of you who have posted (or called me on the phone to read me posts you couldn't figure out how to post). :)

Birth Choices Part One: Fear

Two years ago when my friend Stacy G said she was giving birth at home, I thought (and maybe said), "Are you insane? Who does that? This is the twenty-first century!" I think that's a pretty common reaction the first time you hear someone talk about a home birth these days. I'm so thankful now for Stacy being so open about her choice and so willing to talk--even to skeptics like me--about why she chose home birth and what research said about home vs. hospital birth and midwife vs. doctor attended birth.* Since that time, another close friend, Kelly C also chose home birth, and I've been able to hear some great first-hand stories to go along with the research I've read.

The main reason people react negatively to home birth is fear. I realized as I looked at this subject, my reason for thinking home birth was nuts could be summed up in one question, "What if something goes wrong?" It's an important question. A lot of things can go wrong, and everyone knows someone who knows someone whose sister or mother had a serious complication that could have resulted in death if not for the doctor's intervention. My biggest reason for fearing home birth was not wanting to lose my baby. I feared the worst and did not want to feel guilt or have others see me as guilty for choosing a risky option for birth.

There is nothing small about this fear. But. To what degree do I let fear influence my decisions? There are two main ways that I think we can combat fear: fact and faith. Here are some facts about home birth and some thoughts about faith.

Fact: In 2003 the United States was ranked 32nd by the National Center for Health Statistics, which publishes the mortality and morbidity statistics. That means 31 countries have better rankings than we do, despite our country being one of the most advanced technologically, with 98% of births taking place in a hospital.
Fact: The countries with the lowest mortality rates are those where midwifery is an integral part of obstetric care and where births more commonly take place outside of a hospital.
Fact: In the United States, the overall mortality rate is 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the this rate drops to 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in midwife-attended births.
Fact: 85% of women are considered low-risk for birth.**

Faith is a little trickier. We put faith in things all the time--think about driving. You have faith in your car's brakes. You have faith that when the light turns green for you, other lights have turned red to keep traffic from hitting you. You have faith that other drivers won't run those red lights. There are 11 million car crashes in the United States each year, resulting in 40,000 deaths (www.crashprevention.org). Yet most of us still get behind the wheel without a thought.

The majority of us will NOT die in car crashes this year, just as the majority of women and infants will NOT die in birth. Yet we treat birth with fear, thinking we better be in a hospital just in case something goes wrong. I'm not the most logical argument maker, but it seems logical to me that we have given into a culture of fear about birth, while we easily trust in so many other risky things.

Does God promise anyone peace, prosperity, health, and protection from all bad things? No. (Unless you're one of those TV prosperity preachers.) Jesus tells us that in this world we will have much trouble, so our peace should rest solely on him (John 16:33). Does God promise me that my baby will not die in, before, or after birth? No. In fact, just recently, some friends from our church in North Carolina miscarried quadruplets, eighteen months after miscarrying triplets. That is a struggle I cannot even begin to fathom.

God does not promise to spare his people from suffering and pain, but He does promise that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). This is not the same thing as what we think of as best, but it's a promise that we have to claim and to work through when we do suffer through what does not seem best to us. We won't always understand God's plans and how the events in our lives work together for good--at least not this side of heaven. But God asks us to find our peace in Him and to trust His promises throughout our circumstances.

So how do we combat fear with faith? Let me be clear that I'm not advocating doing risky or stupid things under the umbrella of God's sovereignty. I believe the best
we can do is make informed choices and trust in the promises that God has given us, not letting fear dictate our lives.

*If you want to read Stacy's story, there is a link to the right!
**The facts were taken from the book Gentle Birth Choices.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Aptly Named

I haven't had a lot of time to reflect this week, as I've been skating a ridiculous amount (I'll post pictures of the half-marathon--if I make it!--Sunday night), but here are some products with very literal names.

First up: Booudreaux's Butt Paste. Great for not only diaper rash, but a host of other things. The only problem with that kind of name is that you can say all you want that it helps with acne, but who is going to put something called "Butt Paste" on their face?www.buttpaste.com

And here we have Bebe Au Lait's Hooter Hiders, a fashionable nursing cover-up. I'm all for breastfeeding, but I also think that it's great to keep that private. I mean, nursing is very natural, but I think to men, a breast is a breast, and it's nice to be a little appropriate. And why not be fashionably appropriate?www.bebeaulait.com



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