Tuesday, March 29, 2011

33 Weeks Pregnant

Only 7 weeks till the due date! My belly is growing SO fast, so I guess Norah is too. The measurement now is 38 ¾ inches! I’m still feeling good in general, and I’m finally going to the chiropractor tomorrow. I can’t wait! I’ve heard great things about him, so I hope he can fix me!! I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions all the time. Sometimes they come in clusters – today I had three in a span of 10 minutes or so. I think they’re getting stronger too. They don’t hurt, but they are not comfortable.

This week at our Bradley class we talked about breastfeeding. We had been assigned to read a book on the subject (any book – I read Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding) and to complete a page in our workbook. In class, we went over the questions. Travis and I seemed to be the most prepared couple in the class (not to brag…). J I will just list a few interesting tidbits here, because I don’t want anyone to feel that I am being judgmental of those who choose to use formula. However, I can’t resist sharing a few pieces of information that I found to be extremely compelling.

· Breastfed babies have MUCH lower incidences of ear infection, colic, digestive problems, and other illnesses.

· They don’t sleep as deeply for as long as formula fed babies (because of faster digestion), which makes for more nighttime feedings, but also drastically decreases the risk for SIDS.

· The mother’s body uses the baby’s saliva to determine what the baby needs in its milk. Isn’t that amazing?!

· For those who feed formula: Studies have shown that breastfed babies have slightly higher IQ’s. However, this is probably at least partially due to the one-on-one attention and skin-to-skin contact they receive on a regular basis. So, formula fed babies given the same type of attention will likely do just as well!

We left class early because I wasn’t feeling well – I was STARVING and nauseated at the same time. When we told the instructor why we were leaving, she said, “That’s a hormonal shift!” I don’t know exactly what that means, but she said it like it was a good thing. I guess it’s just a sign that I’m getting ready to have a baby. So yay! J

The second half of class was going to be about writing a birth plan, but even the instructor said that there isn’t much point in writing one if you are not planning to give birth at the hospital. Every single couple in our class is planning an out of hospital birth, so she probably let everyone leave earlier than usual anyway. She said next week we would discuss writing a short birth plan just in case we have to transfer to the hospital for some reason.

Getting Ready For Norah

This week we’re on Spring Break! I LOVE having Travis home and having minimal obligations. The only thing I really have to do is practice violin for a wedding I’m doing on Saturday. Other than that, getting ready for Norah is all we’re doing this week!

We bought a crib mattress through Craigslist for $20, and it’s really nice. It’s a Simmons, and it looks almost new except for a section the lady’s son doodled on with pen. :-P She also said it was barely used, except that her daughter “may have jumped on it once or twice.” It’s also vinyl covered, so there isn’t really a possibility of any gross stuff hanging out inside of it. Travis and I each tried it out on the floor, and it was pretty comfortable! Travis even said, “This is nicer than OUR mattress!”

We’ve almost fully cleared out the art/computer room, which is to be the art/computer/piano room. The next step is to reorganize it and put the piano and other music stuff in it. We’ll do that tomorrow, as well as tidying up Norah’s room enough that we can paint it on Thursday.

Today we bought paint for the walls and the furniture. We bought the low VOC (which Travis says stands for “Vapors Of Concern” :-P) stuff since we had gift cards (otherwise we might not have spent the extra money). That way I can at least be around while Travis is painting. I also hate to be left out of the painting process. I like doing it, and Travis doesn’t (he likes painting pictures, not solid colors). When we got home, I painted the changing table outside while Travis mowed the lawn. I am so excited to have that project (almost) done!! We just have a little bit of touch-up work left to do. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and it looks really cute! But I’m not showing pictures yet – it’s a surprise! I can’t wait to finally get to put stuff inside of it. I’m sick of having everything strewn all over the place.

I think that’s about it for today! See you next week, and maybe I’ll show you some of what we accomplished this week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

32 Weeks Pregnant

Belly measurement: 38”!

At 32 weeks gestation, Norah only has about two to three more inches and about the same number of pounds to gain before she’s ready to make her debut! And I’m such a daydreamer – I keep looking through her little outfits and trying to imagine what they will look like on her!

My tail bone is finally almost healed. It’s only hurting once in a while now. Lower back pain is getting worse, but it’s not all the time either. If I’ve been sitting or lying down, when I first get up my lower back hurts and my legs/hips feel weak and I can’t always stand up straight right away. Is that what sciatica is?? Still considering the chiropractor. :-P I should just go for it. I’ve spent weeks debating with myself over spending the $25. It’s just $25. Yes. I will make an appointment.

I haven’t really had cravings this whole pregnancy, but lately I keep making the same ice cream concoction: vanilla ice cream (chocolate would be great, too, I’m sure), raspberries, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows all mashed up together. I don’t know if this is pregnancy related, or if I just like this mixture. It’s similar to what I’ve always ordered at Marble Slab or Spill the Beans.

I have a cloth diaper update. So, as I said in my 30 week blog, we ordered a “grab bag” of six girl diapers from GoGreen Pocket Diapers, using a $50 gift certificate from Travis’s parents. We decided to do that even though we wouldn’t get to pick the colors because the diapers were about $7 each that way, instead of $9 to $10. Anyway, we got the diapers, kept the four that we liked, and are currently selling the other two on Ebay (zebra print and bright pink). While I was on Ebay listing them, I noticed that other people were selling the same exact cloth diapers for way cheaper than what GoGreen charges! I looked into it and found that GoGreen orders their diapers from a large manufacturer in China called Alva Baby, and then marks up the price by a ridiculous percentage. Alva Baby sells their diapers on Ebay under the store name “perfect_store_I,” and also at www.alvababy.com. Their price is between $4.59 and $5.59 per diaper, with free shipping!! GoGreen charges between $9 and $15 per diaper, depending on which type you want, PLUS $5 shipping on every order. On top of that, when I placed my order there using the $50 gift certificate, they wouldn’t let me use it toward the shipping cost. I had to pay the $5 using my debit card. I asked them about it, and they said, “Since we have to pay the shipping, we can’t take it out of a gift certificate.” This made no sense to me since they were paid actual money when the gift certificate was purchased. Grr.

I ordered three diapers from the Ebay store yesterday, two of which are the $15 type, which I’m really excited about! I paid a total of $15.99 for all three, when the same three diapers from www.gogreenpocketdiapers.com would have cost $44 when you include the shipping cost!!!

Ok, sorry about my long rant on that. It really makes me mad! These people are making a killing and all they’re doing is buying and selling someone else’s product.

At yesterday’s class, we talked more about labor and what to expect. It’s good to have an idea of what thoughts might go through my head and what I might feel, do, and say so that Travis and I will both know how to handle it. Basically, the husbands are just being instructed to stay encouraging, do whatever we tell them to do, and not take offense if we say mean things. J Perfect.

Then we watched a birth video. Poor Travis. He wasn’t feeling well in the first place yesterday, and I think he almost tossed his cookies. He’s now thinking that he might want to support me from behind so he won’t have to see everything, which is totally fine with me. I think I’d feel more supported (physically and emotionally) with him behind me rather than standing off to the side gawking at me. The only thing is that he was considering catching the baby, but I think he’s sort of insecure about that idea even though it would be pretty cool. I can also catch her myself if I want to. I have no idea whether I’ll want to or not. We’ll just see how it goes. You can’t very well plan out the whole birth process in advance anyway.

Making Room For Norah

So…(sigh)…we’re still having trouble knowing where to start with all the cleaning we need to do. It’s so overwhelming. We did manage to put some stuff up in the attic finally, so it’s looking a little better. And next week is Spring Break, so we’ll both pretty much be home all week and will hopefully get a LOT done. I’ll go nuts if we don’t. I just want to have it all done and organized and clean and ready.

This weekend we had a really nice St. Patrick’s Day dinner with Eric and Valerie (they brought homemade corned beef, cabbage, and veggies!!). Travis also made really good Irish soda bread! Then on Saturday, Eric’s sister Dana came all the way up from Greenwood to bring us tons of clothes that her girls had outgrown! Norah now has clothes in sizes all the way up to 3T! I spent some time organizing those, plus all the other clothes that are 3 months and up, and some of them have already gone up to the attic and are ready to be pulled out when Norah grows into them. (But I want her to stay little forever!)

Midwife appointment: we just got home from our 32 week appointment. I don’t want to make this blog a whole lot longer than it already is, so I’ll TRY to be brief.

We got to spend some time getting to know Linda, the other midwife that will be attending the birth (unless there are two births going on at once). We really liked her!

Weight is now 134.5 lbs., and official belly measurement (fundal height) is 31 centimeters (technically one week behind, but totally fine).

She retested my hemoglobin level because it had been on the low side. I’ve been taking a supplement called Chlorofresh to bring it up, and apparently it’s working because I’m at a good level now (11.4).

I was having a Braxton-Hicks contraction when Linda put her hands on my belly to feel where Norah was, and I didn’t even know it! I guess I get them more often than I thought. Once in a while they’re strong enough to be uncomfortable, but often my belly gets really hard without any discomfort. I wasn’t sure if this was a contraction or if Norah was just in a weird position. Now that I know it’s a contraction, I would estimate that I have them quite often – maybe five times a day. My body is doing exercises to prepare for birth, just like I’ve been doing!

Norah is head down and will probably stay that way. I thought so, because I keep feeling kicks up high (like right now). Linda showed us how to feel for different body parts, which was pretty cool!

This part might gross you out, and I’m sorry, but I think it’s important – placentas. Different cultures have different traditions, beliefs and practices regarding the placenta, which is the organ that is created along with the baby at the beginning of pregnancy. Its main function is to nourish and supply oxygen to the baby. In our culture, most people regard the placenta as a waste product, and it is usually disposed of immediately after birth. In other cultures, a woman might eat her placenta, bury it in a ritual, keep it attached to the baby until it shrivels up and falls off (yeah, that one is a little odd to me), or any number of other things. Since it is not my nature to be wasteful, I wanted to know my options. We asked Linda about it today. She gave us some ideas and basically said we can do whatever we want with it. The birth center is going to send it home with us no matter what we decide, because legally they are not allowed to dispose of it for us. Now, I am not going to fry up my placenta and make a meal out of it. That sounds gross to me. But we’re looking into having it encapsulated. Linda said she knows of someone who does that, but she charges something like $200, which seems like a lot. So we might do it ourselves. You just need a food dehydrator, something to grind it up with, and some capsules to put the powder in.

Now, what’s the point of ingesting it, you ask? The placenta is an extremely nutritious organ. I think it is meant to be eaten by the mother. I’m pretty sure most animals eat their placentas. It just seems like the natural thing to do. In human mothers, eating the placenta has been associated with a faster recovery, improved lactation, and reduced rates of postpartum depression. There are probably other benefits that we don’t even know about. It would be nice to take advantage of those.

Anyway, again, I’m really sorry if I grossed you out. When you think about it, though, is it any stranger than eating liver, or gizzards, or any other piece of meat? (Ok, maybe just a little…)

On that note, have a nice week! I hope you weren’t eating dinner while you read this! J

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

31 Weeks Pregnant

7 months down, 2 to go!

I don’t think there’s much new going on with Norah this week. Her brain is developing more rapidly now, and all five senses are in working order. I’m getting so anxious to meet her!

There’s nothing much new with me, either. Things are still going well overall, except that my darn tailbone still hurts from the fall down the stairs, and it’s a little harder to find a comfortable position at night – or rather, it’s hard to GET in a comfortable position because it’s hard to roll over. I’m sure this is just a glimpse of what’s to come. My belly is growing faster now as Norah puts on more weight. The other day it was almost 37 inches.

Last week Travis and I took a trip up to Charlotte to go to Ikea and a baby consignment sale (it’s sort of like a flea market with just baby/kid stuff). I’m so happy with all the stuff we got! We found TONS of amazing deals and ended up with approximately $700 worth of stuff for just $160. Some examples:

· 28 pairs of baby socks for $3 (usually they’re about $1 a pair)

· Bumbo seat for $11 (retail price: $40)

· Two Boppy pillows with covers for $6 each (retail price: $37 each)

· Lansinoh breast pump for $5 (retail price: $32)

o This was only used once, according to the price sticker. Some of the parts were still wrapped in plastic!

· Infantino shopping cart cover for $5 (retail price: $30)

· Crib sheets for $1 each (these are normally about $15)

· Lots of clothes probably averaging $2.50 per item

· And our favorite find: an adorable rustic looking doll house made to look like the inside of a tree, which came with fairies, furniture, etc. for $18 (retail price: $160!!) This was another one of Travis’s strokes of luck. Norah won’t be able to use this for at least two years, of course, but it was just too cute. (Called “Fairy Forest Lodge,” in case you were curious.)

Here’s a picture of some of the stuff:

I wish you could see the details on the clothes. I am in LOVE with the brown flowery corduroy dress!

At Ikea, we bought Norah’s (seventy-dollar) crib. I guess I’m sort of a “clean lines” person – I like plain, not-too-fussy furniture. This crib was perfect. It’s made of solid wood, so it’s nice quality, without too many bells and whistles. It does have an adjustable mattress height, and one side can be removed so the crib can be used as a toddler bed. That’s pretty much the extent of the features. I also like that it’s fairly short, so I won’t have any trouble bending over and reaching into it.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like now. It’s unfinished wood, so I think we’re going to paint it to match the changing table (which we also haven’t gotten around to painting quite yet).

This week’s Bradley class was really interesting, and also very reassuring. We learned about the roles of all of the hormones involved in labor. I don’t want to bore you with too many facts, but it’s pretty amazing how they work together to cause contractions, relax the mother’s body and prepare it for birth, prepare the baby for life outside the womb, cause mother and baby to bond, and much more. The part that I found reassuring is that there is a hormone called beta-endorphin which balances out the oxytocin (the hormone that causes contractions). It prevents the contractions from becoming too strong or too painful to bear. So, the question, “Do I have a high enough pain tolerance to handle a natural birth,” is one that I need not be concerned with. My body cannot create more pain than my body can handle. This is a natural, normal process that has been happening for as long as humans have existed, and it need not be feared. Labor is not some outside force coming to cause you pain – it is your own body doing what it knows how to do. Trust it.

Making Room for Norah

I don’t have too much news to report here – I’ve been slowly working on some projects, but have nothing to show for it yet. I’ve gathered and priced a whole bunch of stuff to take to a flea market, which we plan to do in the next couple of weeks.

Travis was away over the weekend, visiting his dad who is in Utah for work. I tried to be productive while he was gone, and I was, but somehow nothing looked any better by Monday. I did tons of laundry, etc. I was excited to wash Norah’s clothes, sheets, blankets and such, so I spent some time on that, which was fun. It’s hard to know how to fold the little clothes, though!

My current goal is to have the art/computer room cleaned up and converted into the art/computer/piano room (ugh) by next Monday. We’ll see if that’s realistic or not. I’m really sick of trying to keep the piano room looking clean for my students when it’s the only place to stash the baby stuff. It is, after all, going to be the baby’s room. I’m also sick of not being able to use my sewing machine because of the mess all around it. Yes – it’s THAT bad.

Ok, I’m signing off now! It’s been a VERY busy day, and it’s past my bedtime!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 Weeks Pregnant

Happy Mardi Gras! I can’t believe we only have TEN weeks left until baby Norah arrives!! Some of the couples in our Bradley class are finished with their nurseries, and we haven’t really even started. Ugh.

Norah is probably around 15 inches long and three pounds. She’s been hiccupping more often lately, which I think is her body’s way of preparing to breathe. Sometimes it feels like rhythmic tapping, and other times it’s more of a jolt, probably depending on what position she is in. You can really see her larger movements now – sometimes my entire belly shifts from side to side. I’m going to try to get it on video soon.

My belly is starting to grow at a faster pace. At 27 weeks I was measuring 36 1/8 inches, and last night the measurement was at least an inch larger. I still don’t feel huge, but I feel like my stomach muscles are out of commission. It’s really hard to sit up from lying down, and I have to scoot to the edge of the couch before I can stand up. I’m just feeling less and less agile in general. I’d be happy if I could go through the rest of the pregnancy without getting any bigger, but I know that’s wishful thinking.

Back injury update: tailbone still hurts sometimes, and my back just always feels tight and like it needs to crack. I still haven’t decided whether to see the chiropractor. I probably should. I don’t part with money easily.

I’ve finally been able to relieve some of my itch to buy cloth diapers! The one from Nicki’s Diapers arrived, as did the one I sent back to Thirsties for a different color. Here are the three we have so far! Aren’t they cute?

The purple one was given to us at our church shower, along with an identical one, and we love everything about it, but when we were looking on the Thirsties website to get more info on how to use it and wash it, etc., we saw the one with the trees and had to have it! So we sent the other purple one to the company in exchange for it. The other one is the “mint chocolate chip” Best Bottom, from Nicki’s. (The trim looks black, but it’s brown.) I love all of them! They’re all really good quality and well made, not to mention SO soft! I’m sure they’ll last a LONG time.

I also ordered from GoGreen Pocket Diapers yesterday. They still haven’t gotten a new shipment, and almost everything is out of stock, but they were offering a limited time grab bag of six diapers for $42, which is a great deal. They’re diapers that were mislabeled (with the wrong logo) and/or are their old style, which doesn’t get quite as small in the waist. I didn’t get to pick the colors, but if we really don’t like them I can resell them for what I paid. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll be cute ones.

Oh! We got a package in the mail today and I don’t know who it’s from! It’s a really cute set with a baby towel, washcloths, and burp cloths. See?

If this is from you, THANK YOU!! And please tell me so I’ll know who it’s from! J

And I almost forgot to mention that Travis got a new toy this week too! He’s been wanting to take photos professionally, but he just didn’t have the right camera for it. He’s definitely got the talent and the expertise. Remember www.woot.com (where we got the carseat)? They had a great deal on a really good camera last week, and after much deliberation and encouragement from me, he went for it. By the time he decided to order it, all they had left were purple and red, so of course he picked red, which actually looks pretty hip. J Does anyone use that word anymore? Anyway, he’s also really excited to take photos of baby Norah with it! We’ll never have to pay for professional photos!

The Bradley class last night was really good. It always is, really, but I particularly liked this one. Most of the class was spent discussing what the husband’s role is during the birth, and it really wouldn’t be as helpful to get this information from a book, because Mary makes us think about our own personalities, likes and dislikes, and use those to help our spouses figure out what our specific needs are. She also stressed the need for the husbands to be completely on board with the idea of having a natural birth, and to have their own reasons for why it’s important, beyond just being supportive of the wishes of the mothers. Otherwise, at the point during labor when the mother is no longer sure she can handle it, he will too easily give in and take her to the hospital instead of continuing to be encouraging. Mary also had two copies of Husband-Coached Childbirth, by Dr. Robert Bradley, for the guys to borrow if they wanted to. Travis brought one home to read during his upcoming flight to visit his dad, who is in Utah for work.

Oh my gosh, I just looked at the clock and I started this almost two hours ago. Sick. And not in a good way.

Last thing about the Bradley class: she’s encouraging each of us to attend a La Leche League meeting soon in order to get to know the breastfeeding consultant in case we need her help later on. It makes sense, but I’m feeling kind of awkward about it, especially since I have shy tendencies to begin with! We’ll see.

Ok, I’m gonna stop there…I need to go figure out dinner! We’re considering making a king cake this evening to celebrate Fat Tuesday, so I better get on that. Have a good week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

29 Weeks Pregnant

This week, Norah might weigh nearly three pounds! Her brain is now capable of controlling her breathing and body temperature, and her ability to suck has been perfected, though it will continue to get stronger.

She seems to be staying mostly head down these days. I keep feeling her kicking up high. Good girl, Norah! Also, it could just be a coincidence, but she seems to move around a lot while I’m teaching lessons. Hopefully that means she likes it!

Not much is new with us this week. I mentioned last week that my lower back was hurting sometimes. Well, now it’s my entire back, thanks to our evil stairs. I don’t know what it is about our stairs, but I’ve slipped on them at least a handful of times since I’ve lived here. I’ve been extra careful since I’ve been pregnant, but the other day I was walking down and my feet went out from under me. I landed on my tailbone and then slid down two stairs. To make matters worse, I was carrying a nearly empty mug containing some (luckily) cold coffee. It went EVERYWHERE. It was in my hair, on my face, on my clothes, all over the stairs, and on one of the laundry closet doors. I was lucky Travis was home to take care of me, because I could not have cleaned up all that mess on my own with my back and tailbone hurting like that. It still hurts. The midwife recommended a chiropractor who only charges $25 per visit, and I’m considering making an appointment. Anyway, at least I didn’t land on Norah!

I don’t get to tell you about our Bradley class this time because it was cancelled. L Mary said that four (out of a total of six) couples weren’t coming due to sickness, and we also had tornado warnings all over the area! The rain was insane. The news said it rained at a rate of 6 inches per hour, luckily for only 15 or 20 minutes in any one place. It looked like someone dumped a whole lake right on our neighborhood all at once. Here are some pictures of the aftermath at our house:

I don’t have a “Making Room for Norah” section this time. I haven’t gotten anything done this week. L I did get to order one diaper, though (Nicki’s Diapers has free shipping, so it doesn’t matter if I just order one here and there), plus I sent back one of the cloth diapers that were given to us in exchange for a different color, so I’m looking forward to getting those!! I’m still waiting for gogreenpocketdiapers.com to restock theirs so I can place an order there. Oh! Also, when I got the confirmation that my Nicki’s Diapers order had been shipped, the email also listed two sister sites, one of which was www.clothdiaperclearance.com. They have some of the diapers we want on there for three dollars cheaper, and each insert is a dollar off too!!!! Some of the inserts are “dirty from transit” or slightly imperfect (who cares?), and the diapers are their “old style,” meaning they just don’t have elastic in the front, which I wouldn’t think would make a huge difference. Yay for deals!

That’s about it for this week! Sorry it’s not more exciting! Have a good week!