Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Day in My Life:

5am: nursing!, snack for me
7:30: nursing!, get dressed, get Adelaide dressed, eat breakfast
9am: nursing!
10am: nursing!
11: nursing!, lunch
1pm: nursing!, photo with UAF Mascot, playdate
3: nursing!, make dinner
5: nursing!, eat dinner
6: nursing!, walk
7: nursing!
9: nursing!
11: nursing!

Each nursing goes like this:
  • change diaper
  • nurse
  • burp
  • change diaper
  • nurse
  • burp
  • change diaper
  • change diaper
  • put Adelaide to sleep
and it usually takes at least 40 minutes.

All of this is pretty flexible, and changes regularly, but this is the rough outline.

Here's a weekly schedule:
Sunday: breakfast date, church, bible study
Monday: work, playdate in the afternoon
Tuesday: weigh in for Adelaide
Wednesday: moms' bible study, ministry group, our anniversary
Thursday: playdate in the morning
Friday: work, Aaron's poetry reading
Saturday: work

Plus, up until this week I had a weekly appointment with the lactation consultant and another weekly appointment with my midwife.

Monthly Schedule:
Week 1:
Week 2: LLL mtg
Week 3: My Dr. appt, 40 Below
Week 4: Adelaide's Dr. appt.


I should get a wall calendar.

How can I love my life so much? It's busy and complicated and tricky. I have no time for myself, I'm tired and achy, I don't know many people nearby, and my husband is OBSESSED with his classwork. I haven't read my bible in ages, but now that Adelaide has started sleeping in the Moby wrap I can do that. I can also start editing all the pictures I've taken of her. I'm really excited to start exercising too, but that will probably have to start more slowly than I would prefer; the walking is probably plenty for now.

I should really get a wall calendar.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Schedule

I was very against the idea of putting Adelaide on a schedule because she's going to be hungry whenever she's hungry anyway, and between feedings and diapers on demand naps will just have to fit in wherever there's room. What resulted was a feeding frenzy because I was feeding her when she was not hungry but tired.

On the advice of two people trying to help me get her weight up, we've decided to try feeding her every two hours, whether she's hungry or not. Even though this should have resulted in spacing out her feedings, we thought she might be able to keep more down and nursing might go better if I have more time to heal in between.

Worked like a charm. She's gaining lots of weight, sleeping well, and I'm feeling a LOT better. Plus, our nursing sessions are a lot shorter because she can get more from me much more efficiently.

Over the last 6 days she gained 7 oz, and we'll weigh her again tomorrow to make sure she's getting weighed weekly on the same scale.

For now, we're off to bed. I have lots of laundry to sort and put away and precious little sleeping baby time to do it. This really is the best. BEST.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tomorrow Adelaide will be one month old.

So far, she has learned that when she's got a dirty diaper and we lay her on the floor, she can stop crying because we're about to change her anyway. She's also learned that after Aaron changes her he will bring her to me for food. She will cry when he picks her up and stop when he starts to hand her to me, before she can see or feel me. She will also stop crying when she sees my pull down my shirt.

She's also decided that she prefers being comforted and put to sleep with me, and will scream like no other when she's with Aaron. Poor hubby. He doesn't know what she likes and no amount of explaining can teach it. And she only knows that she's not with mom, so she screams. Poor kid. If/when they get more time together they'll work it out.

I had no idea she could learn so much and show so much learning by this point.

She's pretty amazing!
Starting at one thirty, Adelaide woke up. I changed her, fed her, burped her, fed her, burped her, rocked her. She was fussy and started pumping her legs so I gave her some Mylicon drops and we rocked some more with the pacifier. She fell asleep. A beautiful, deep, peaceful sleep that looks more like the sleep I saw in her first few days. Now it's two thirty and she's in her glider snoozing away and I'm free to do all kinds of things!

Yesterday I did laundry and cleaned up the living room. Today I'm going to tackle the bedroom and her crib. I think I'll set up the baby monitor for the first time.

With all these wonderful new developments I've been able to pump each breast and start working out my clogged ducts and eat meals with both hands. I love my daughter, and I love our new routine. And I love that her belly doesn't hurt anymore.

Solutions:
Follow my instinct. When I was sure her belly was full, I stopped feeding her. When I was sure her belly hurt, I gave her a solution. When she cried in that sudden, impatient, angry way, I changed her. I have instincts for a reason. They will not always be right, but when they match objective signs they should be trusted.

No more comfort nursing on mama unless her last meal has had time to settle.

No more waiting to check the diaper - it's always the diaper.

Always have anti-gas drops nearby.

Let her fuss in her sleep. If she's not awake, the fuss will be over in a few seconds.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Theories

1. Adelaide has some gas bubbles. Mylicon drops seem to have calmed her evening fussiness a lot.
2. Adelaide does NOT sleep with a messy diaper. This is not a theory, it's a proven fact. While I'm optimistic that this will result (or at least impact) a very quick potty 'learning' period, it doesn't help her much now.
3. I should have given her a pacifier earlier. Granted, her latch needed work, but her latch isn't going to get better while my breasts are hard and swollen.
4. My breasts are hard and swollen because Adelaide comfort nurses a lot. It's not a problem for me to comfort her a lot, and it's not a problem for most mothers to allow their children to nurse whenever the children want/need to. For me, it causes oversupply.
5. The excess milk production is causing plugged ducts. Plugged ducts contribute to (or maybe outright caused) my sore breasts and my soreness is impacting our relationship.
6. My nipple pain is caused by her latch and my sensitive skin. We need to keep working on her latch, but working on her latch hurts so badly that I end up going back to the shield for a day.
7. All the comfort nursing is overfilling her belly and causing her spit up. This upsets her and causes more nursing, which only adds to the problem.
8. I need to remember to wake her up to burp her after every feeding and then put her back to sleep.

I need to pump to clear out the plugged ducts, but pumping will add to my oversupply issues. Ideally, she would nurse out the clogged spots, but she gets VERY upset when the flow slows down (which results in me letting her switch to the other breast causing another letdown contributing to oversupply) and she ends up so upset that she can't nurse without the shield. She also gets too sleepy to latch correctly on her own, so we frequently have to go back to the shield at the end of the feeding.

I am now researching bottles that will let her practice her latch because my nipples just can't take it. Maybe we will take her to the chiropractor after all.

She also got her first not-me substance tonight. Since I found out I was pregnant I haven't taken even a Tylenol. No medications at all. Not even the eye goop that is required in some states to be given at birth. [Turns out, that's an antibiotic to prevent blindness in infants passing through a birth canal infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea. I have neither, she doesn't need weird chemicals in her eye for diseases I do not have.] Tonight she got gas relief drops. That and my new theories have resulted in a quiet, peaceful night. She fusses when her diaper is dirty, I change her, give her the pacifier (instead of my breast), and rock her back to sleep. Her nap has so far been interrupted 3 times, but she's sleeping peacefully. I've had time to heat, massage, and pump one breast and after her next feeding I'll have time to do the other.

It's time I start trusting my instincts. When I know in my heart and gut that she has a full belly and clean diaper, I need to just help her sleep. Nursing when she needs sleep is not meeting her needs. It's my job to meet her needs.

We'll see how these theories impact the next few days and consider revision. Parenting is more research and theorizing than I expected.
I think I really need to follow my instincts when it comes to nursing. Today I was just sure that Adelaide had enough milk and was just 'comfort nursing' but I let her keep going. Some babies do this and have no problems. Adelaide nurses until she makes herself sick. She just spit up so much that milk came out her nose.

So, we're limiting comfort nursing now. If she wants to keep sucking we'll have to give her the pacifier. She's not a huge fan of the pacifier, but I'm not a huge fan of raw nipples or her spitting up all the time.

I thought all the learning that took place after you have a baby was baby knowledge. But it's knowledge about MY baby. The learning is baby specific.

I have to go pump now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thoghts for my daughter

From India Arie:

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I dont
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I wont
Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I aint built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I amFont size
a queen
Im not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what Im wearing I will always be india arie


When I look in the mirror the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where its supposed to be
And I know our creator didnt make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; Im lovin what I see


I'm not the average girl from your video
And I aint built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I amFont size
a queen
Im not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what Im wearing I will always be india arie
I'm not the average girl from your video
And I aint built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I amFont size
a queen
Im not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what Im wearing I will always be india arie


Am I less of a lady if I dont wear pantyhose?
My mama said a lady aint what she wears but, what she knows
But, Ive drawn a conclusion, its all an illusion, confusions the name of the
Game
A misconception, a vast deception
Somethings gotta change
Dont be offended this is all my opinion
Aint nothing that Im sayin law
This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share wit
Yall
So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Free your mind, nows the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
cuz everythings gonna be all right

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I aint built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I amFont size
a queen
Im not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what Im wearing I will always be india arie


Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
I dont need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive car and your caviar
All I need is my guitar
Keep your crisp style and your pistol
Id rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Dont need your silicon I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I aint built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I amFont size
a queen
Im not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what Im wearing I will always be india arie


I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Monday, September 21, 2009

The most amazing baby alive is currently sleeping all by herself in her glider thing.

Hallelujah. We got it for $10 at Salvation Army and it's paying for itself right now. If her Miracle Blanket didn't have spit up on it, I'd be free enough to get dressed, clean the kitchen, or any number of daring activities.

The public health nurse who's helping us with nursing is coming tomorrow. We have lots to talk about. Adelaide's latch is so shallow, but we're making progress. Unfortunately, it isn't fast enough. She should be gaining more weight. I'm also concerned about how often she spits up. She spits up more and more frequently than any baby I've ever seen. Last time the nurse recommended trying an elimination diet to see if allergies could be causing an upset stomach. In my laziness, we decided to try a pacifier to see if maybe she was taking in more milk than she could digest when she was nursing for comfort instead of hunger. Her spitting up did decrease, but I'm not sure if it decreased enough.

I still don't know if I can re-open this blog or not. I keep seeing crap from my cousins so I'm not sure I can open this without opening a whole problem with them. Some people don't move forward. Like at all. Ever.

Christmas is around the corner, and I will be in Denver for about 3 weeks. With any luck, I might make it to Michigan as well. That will be much trickier. We'll see.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nursing SUCKS!

I've had so many nursing problems and nothing seems to be getting any better. If I hear "Stay encouraged!" one more time I'm going to vomit.

My LO is 3 weeks old and all she wants to do is nurse. My nipples look like hamburger meat and hurt ALL THE TIME. She has an incredibly shallow latch and can only latch onto me without the nipple shield maybe 30% of the time. People kept telling me that she is just building my supply, but she spits up during and after every feeding, so what would she need MORE milk for? She eats until she gets sick as it is!

Originally, I wanted to wait and not give a pacifier until around 8 weeks, but I can't do this much longer. When she is awake she is either nursing or crying, and today I'd rather she be crying.

I just can't do this anymore. Her latch is SO PAINFUL. I've been told that it isn't supposed to be but it is. I have a lactation nurse that has been coming out once a week but her latch isn't any better. If anything it hurts more because she's learned that she can take the nipple shield with her when she turns her head and she can keep sucking so she tries to do that with me too.

I've also been to an LLL meeting and I've been speaking with a leader about my issues but she just seems to give me all the same stuff I've been reading in books. And I don't want emotional support, I want the problems gone. Maybe my desire to disengage is proof that I do need emotional support.

She's upstairs crying with DH right now. She's been nursing for about three and a half hours (a pretty normal evening for us) and she's really upset that she isn't nursing now. I don't think it's possible that her stomach could still be empty, and she wont sleep for more than 10 minutes. Last week we tried giving her milk I'd pumped (trying to keep up my supply) but she wouldn't have any of it. We fed her by dropper for days before we got the shield so she knows what it is, but she didn't want it, she held it in her mouth for a few minutes, let it fall back out and went back to crying.

I had been pumping daily, but my nipples are FAR too big for the shells on my pump and that seemed to make the pain in my nipples so much worse. I've ordered bigger shields, but I live in the middle of nowhere so they're taking a while to come in. I finally quit pumping because I figured even with the shields she's on the breast SO MUCH that my supply won't really have a chance to decrease.

So she eats until she falls asleep, then wakes up crying for the breast again. Sometimes she'll go an hour or occasionally more, but frequently she'll nurse every 10 minutes. I really don't think I've yet spent 5 minutes with my daughter awake and not nursing. At this point, breastfeeding is RUINING our relationship, not helping it.

DH thinks that letting her cry it out would be better than getting her a pacifier because crying it out won't teach her bad habits. I figure her latch can't get worse but her opinion of us and ability to trust can.

I wish I could let her nurse while she wanted to but I'm in so much pain that I've started yelling and jerking away from her and I'm afraid I'm going to end up grabbing at her mouth or something.

I'm ready to go buy formula and get her off me altogether. At least that way I could get some sleep and maybe be a good mother to her instead of trying to avoid her and get away from her every chance I get.

I'm so discouraged. What do I do?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our first bath together

Our lactation consultant recommended taking a bath together. At first it sounded strange, but other mothers have told me it was helpful for them, so I gave it a try. I filled the tub and got in and had Mirus bring Adelaide in.

It was wonderful. Unbelievable. I wouldn't have expected bathing with her to somehow be so much more relaxing than a bath by myself, but holding her against me and watching her kick her little toes into the water was one of the best moments of my life. Something about holding her little bum and letting her idly search for my breast made me feel like I was fulfilling some purpose for my life. I think that slow moment is what the first moment after birth is supposed to feel like. I wish I hadn't been wearing the bathing suit top. Maybe that's why people rave about water births.

She did eventually find the nipple, and nursed without the shield or a problem.

I think we'll take another bath tomorrow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First shower

I never really expected a three person shower, but it turns out I'm too chicken to hold her with one hand in the shower. Hubby had to take his shirt off and wash her while I held/nursed her. She was much less opposed to being wet while she was nursing, that part worked out well.

Today, all three people in our family got showers! What an accomplishment!

Friday, September 11, 2009

more blog drama

I thought having my little baby blog would be harmless. I was wrong.

I wrote a post a few days back voicing my disappointment at being so pointedly ignored by my mother's side of the family and my parents. Someone assumed the post was about them and (in my opinion) completely overreacted. Was my post overly emotional? Yes. Did I say something harsh? Yes. At a few days post partum when an entire group of 'family' had ignored the birth of my daughter, I was hurt and wrote some things I would never have said face to face. I was aware that I needed to think about it before I said anything to anyone, that's why I didn't say anything. I wanted to go back and read it after I'd had a day or two to think about it.

I don't really feel bad about posting it publicly either. The person who overreacted wasn't who I was talking about in my post. I had even talked to her on the phone a week or so before Adelaide was born and told her that I didn't expect to hear from her or her sisters after the birth because I knew it would be hard for them. Apparently that slipped her mind. Or she thought I was lying. Or something.

So she emailed the post with her (completely illogical and unfounded) comments to everyone in the family and sent it by hard copy to anyone without an email address (or so she says). Now she's taken to commenting on my wall on other things that have nothing to do with her.

I understand her sister just lost a pregnancy, and I understand that's hard for them. It's hard for anyone. If they want to use me as a place to focus their anger, go for it. I'm not one to get upset over crap I read on the internet. I don't generally assume that everything I read is about me either.

Is that abnormal? Should I make more assumptions and have more emotional reactions to stuff on the internet? I don't think so.

So I've been debating what I should do. Do I just leave the blog all hidden and cryptic or do I open it up and let whoever wants to be upset go nuts? At this point I'm not even sure I owe an apology, given that I clearly wasn't speaking to the people who got upset. What would that apology sound like?

"I'm so sorry reading comprehension wasn't taught at your school."

I'm not apologizing for something I didn't do, that sounds too much like lying. And apologizing for her mistake is just insincere and a little condescending (not that I'm above that while fighting with Mirus, though I'm really trying to get better about it). So what would I even apologize for?

Since the post I've spoken with my mother and I think I understand better what's going on. So I'm planning on apologizing for that tonight. Apologizing for what I actually did wrong. I'm game for that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oh, Alaska!

Fairbanks is strange to me.

We were warned by a mother here in town about the health care available in our town. She said that our hospital is small (what isn't?) and that if we believe something to be really wrong with our child (i.e. cancer, serious or rare disease, etc.) we should fly to Anchorage or Seattle. Apparently some doctors in Fairbanks like to try and treat things locally, but since they lack the staff, resources, or equipment to adequately handle these more serious problems, the patients end up being flown to Anchorage eventually, often after conditions have worsened. Her daughter had a rare form of cancer and she was driving to Anchorage once a week for treatments. It's a 6-7 hour drive to Anchorage, and another 6-7 hour drive to come back. Those are some long days.

It kind of hit home to think that our safest bet may be to fly to another state to have our health concerns checked out. We really live in the middle of nowhere.

Fall colors are here. By fall colors I mean yellow, but it's pretty none the less. I'd like to take a drive and maybe take some pictures with the colors in the background. Hopefully we can get to that today, although we haven't been able to do much lately. Stupid bedrest.

[Despite my irritation, the rest seems to be working. No more hot spots, no more painful swelling.]

baby's awake!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Calming down about it all now. Still think it's all a bunch of bullshit.

Addie just napped in her crib for the first time. And she is officially 10 days old!

Family?

I can't find a single word of congratulations or encouragement or anything from anyone on my mother's side of the family. Nothing.

You can all just sit on it. Assholes.

One of you went through some shit this summer. I understand. One of you thinks that you're very intimidating and tough, though in reality you're just incoherent and a bad speller. (Maybe in person what you say and what you think you say match up better?) The rest of you I'm actually surprised at. Why?

I shouldn't be. I know better than to think that joy could be celebrated or shared without dragging in bullshit. I had a baby. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I'm supremely happy with her and with our family. Anything outside of that is garbage. Anyone trying to make this event about anything else is garbage too.

My parents haven't even had anything to say to me. Not one thing. Aaron called to let them know the good news while I was sleeping (Obviously, I wasn't making any phone calls at that point but we wanted everyone to know) and we found out they were on vacation. Fine. We tried their cell. It's off. Fine. We called grandparents the next day and were informed that my parents were so nervous and scared about the birth that they took a vacation to Connecticut. That sentence still doesn't make any sense to me. "They're just so worried and nervous that they had to get away and go to Connecticut." I suppose they do have an old drinking buddy living there, maybe that's the solace they sought. It certainly had nothing to do with me or the birth, since they just turned off their phones anyway. Maybe the birth was just a conveniently timed excuse?

About a week before the birth my father called to say that they weren't going to make it up here for the birth. I wasn't aware there had ever been a chance that they would. I mean, they never once made it out to Denver. Why would Alaska be more likely? Now I see that they apparently had time off work and 'weren't going to make it' because they found better plans. Or something. I don't know, they aren't interested in talking to me.

They keep telling Aaron that we feel the same way about Addie as they felt (notice the past tense) about me. If they ever felt for me the way I feel about my daughter they'd have called to talk to me by now. They'd have wanted to see pictures, they'd have come visit or tried to help. They have no idea how I feel about my daughter. None. Partly because it's impossible to really know and partly because they're very, very different people than we are.

For instance: Addie and I have had a hard time with breastfeeding so far. It's been tricky. Apparently, my mother had a hard time nursing me as well. What was our response? We called a lactation specialist, our midwives, found other breastfeeding moms, wrote the La Leche League, read books, and researched on the internet until we found solutions to make this work. What was their response? To give up and blame the infant. My mother says I scratched her and that's why they stopped, my father told Aaron that I refused to eat and that's why they stopped. Addie has scratched me many times and we've had to resort to expressing and hand feeding more than once, but I would never blame her for our struggles. She's an infant, we're the adults. If this attempt at breastfeeding fails, it is our fault, or no one's fault, but certainly not the fault of the newborn. I suppose the action of blaming a newborn doesn't necessarily reflect the full and accurate picture of the feelings of the adults, but it reflects the general idea.

And it generally sucks.

But then, so do they. They too, can absolutely just sit on it. Apparently they're sending us something. Maybe it's an apology. Or a congratulations card. At this point, I'm not sure it matters. Seriously? You call twice and don't ever think to ask to speak to me? Fuck off. And one of you still hasn't called at all. No, I'm not asking to speak with you. I want you to want to speak with me. I want parents who want to have a daughter.

Again with the wanting of that which does not exist. If my parents want a daughter, they have my cousin that lives around the corner. It's been my impression that you'd have preferred her anyway.

Another new skill set I have to learn is how to recognize when they're trying to draw my attention and energy away from my daughter. Then, I can refocus and prioritize. I'm so over this crap.

I have lots of new pictures coming, including a video of Addie hiccuping. Her belly draws in so FAR when she has the hiccups! They must feel so powerful to her. No wonder she gets kind of miffed. I think we'll video burping her too. She makes this huge array of weird faces when we try to burp her. Very cute.

And the dryer's done. I'm so glad we're using cloth diapers. If we were using disposables, I'd just see a trash bag full of wasted money. With cloth, I just see a load of laundry that takes about 5 minutes of my time and almost zero effort and I remember that we'll be able to re-sell these when we're done. Disposables are for suckers! (haha - just kidding)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birth Story - Expanded Edition

Our daughter was born 8/26 at 3pm, at home, after 13 hours of labor.

I thought my water broke on Tuesday at 9am (turns out it was just a high leak). We took castor oil, black and blue cohosh, and walked for ever. Had some good, regular contractions, but they fizzled out pretty quickly. Went in to visit my midwives that night, and we decided that since I WOULD be in labor no matter what the next day, I should just rest for the night. I'd been having regular contractions throughout the night for a couple of nights, so I thought maybe I just needed to be relaxed to start labor. Also, labor is like any other bodily function, and is best performed when you're not trying to. You have to turn off the thinking part of your brain and let a more primitive part take over. "Let your monkey do it." - Ina Mae Gaskin

Went home and watched some TV show reruns (doesn't get much more mindless than that!) and relaxed with my hubby. Went to bed, and woke up around 2 with regular contractions. I timed them at 1 min long every 3-4 minutes, which is exactly what the midwives wanted to know about. So we called, and they said to call back when we wanted them to come over.

Around 7, my amazing midwives came over and found me at 7 cm and fully effaced. Sweet! At this point, I wasn't having to vocalize much during the contractions as long as I remembered to breathe (important!). So we kept laboring.

We labored on the bathroom floor a lot, and I loved it. I think it had something to do with being sort of closed in a nice cozy space where I could focus. Plus, I was near the toilet in case I had to throw up, which I only did a few times.

We ended up spending about an hour in the tub, and I slept. Laboring in water was so relaxing that I was almost able to sleep through the contractions (that was really unexpected). Unfortunately, that super relaxing time didn't help me progress at all. At 11, I was only at 8. Oddly enough, one side of my cervix was complete and the other side wasn't.

So we labored some more. My husband is pretty much the most amazing man I've ever met. He sat with me on the floor, and helped me into and out of the tub, and basically carried me through most of labor (literally - it felt so good to go limp during a contraction). At one point, I felt the contractions change and I knew I was close. That was terrifying.

So I got in the tub to calm things down and collect myself. When I got out, I started pushing. I did not want to start pushing, I did not feel an urge or desire to push, and I was not interested in rushing it, but I was outvoted. My uterus pushed. My abdominals pushed, I whimpered. We tried a few different positions, and found the best (for us, for that birth) to be on the birth stool with my husband holding me up from behind. Both midwives sat in front of me and encouraged me that I was doing a great job (although all I was doing was whining about being scared) and that I was just fine. After a few contractions I started to believe them, and tried giving a little push myself.

I could really feel a difference when I pushed. She moved faster and everything felt more like it 'should'. I was still scared, and crying when I pushed (no tears, just the face and the whimpers), but I was pushing.

I don't know how long I pushed, but it was quick. Once she crowned, we figured it would be about 6-10 more contractions and good pushes (not that she needed to be out then, but I liked having some sort of progress to monitor). The next contraction, she came out all at once!

At 3pm on August 26th, I pushed a baby out of me. It hurt, and it hurt a lot, but it wasn't anywhere near what I expected. Her coming out of me didn't hurt at all, it sort of felt good and complete or something. And anyway once I could see her I wasn't aware of any pain or any anything; for a few minutes, she was all that existed.

The cord was around her neck, so one of the midwives unwrapped it, and it seemed nice and loose so it wasn't any danger, but still she was SO BLUE! And she was not at all interested in crying, so we ended up putting oxygen on her to help her get pink. She wasn't fussing or stressed, and she would let out a cry or two when we rubbed her and patted her and sat her up, but she was too busy looking around to keep crying. I lost a bit of blood and my blood pressure dropped so the midwives got me on the bed, baby on my chest, had hubby hold the oxygen for her, and they went in for the placenta. It had partially detached with the birth, and that was causing the bleeding, so it needed to come out. I got a shot of pitocin and with a little cord traction (um, WEIRD!), and a lot of uncomfortable manipulation and a push, the placenta came out. I was still bleeding so they gave me some methergin, and everything seemed pretty fantastic after that. Neither of us were in any real danger, both of us just needed a little attention. Baby was breathing really well and taking nice deep breaths, so we weren't very worried about her not crying, we just wanted her to pink up a bit quicker than she was on her own. My bleeding wasn't excessive, just enough to let us know we needed to get the placenta out.

I was a bit woozy, so I stayed on the bed until much later that night. We're both fantastic now and recovering well. As long as I remember to get up slowly (I did just have a baby after all!) then I'm fine. When I try to stand up too quickly, I have to sit down and try again. She still doesn't cry much; she's incredibly mellow. She has no problem letting us know when she isn't getting what she wants, but it's just a quick shout and that's all.

My daughter is perfect. She's beautiful and just flawless.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm fidgety and restless and my stomach is vaguely upset tonight.

I suppose I'd feel better if I'd gotten more done today, or if I'd gotten out of the house, or gone for a walk and gotten some exercise, but I really wanted to finish the cocoon I was working on. It's done, and it looks fantastic.

Actually that's a lie, I still need to buy 3 wooden buttons and put them on. Still, that's pretty impressive for one day's work.

Even chocolate ice cream doesn't sound good. With or without bananas.

Finishing up the slipcovers for the rocker seems like such a chore. It'll probably take less than an hour but I just don't want to re-thread the sewing machine or measure and cut the last two pieces. I love my yarn projects, but fabric projects are a real sort of pain.

I can't even think about politics, religion, or anything else worth discussing. It's all a strange blur right now. Usually things are so much clearer after dark but not tonight. All I can say is this: we've been going through The Love Dare study with a group at church and it's just like any other couples Bible study we've done. I start off all kinds of suspicious knowing that I love my marriage and don't want it to change AT ALL and invariably end up encouraged to hear about all the things we're doing right. We really have an amazing relationship and sometimes it's nice to hear it. "Today try doing some household chores that your mate usually does." Um, already done. "Today, find a way to greet your mate in an unusual, special way." Done. Day after day.

I've got a few new hints that something might be coming soon. Family drama MUST precede a joyous event, and there's some weird stuff going on. I don't have any way of measuring whether or not I've accumulated enough drama to move on to the exciting, joyous event. I suppose we'll have to wait and see. Nothing too specific is happening, just weird little things that crop up just enough to preoccupy my thoughts while I try to figure them out.

There's a good contraction. They never seem to intensify or come more frequently, I just have little squeezes. It's probably the Red Raspberry Leaf. It makes you more aware of uterine contractions because it tones smooth muscle tissue. Apparently, that makes real labor contractions more efficient and will cut down the time it takes to dilate. The downside is that now I'm paying attention to lots of contractions that I otherwise wouldn't be able to feel. Ah well.

I'm watching late night stand up while I type this, and the commercials that come on for all the adult videos actually have me looking forward to having my shape back. I do not feel bad about my body (why should I?) when I see these women, I'm excited to exercise and regain some control over my physical existence. Not inspiration exactly, but something close. Very weird.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Commercial FAIL

There's a BMW commercial that starts with a guy in a dark room holding a light bulb. He says that American's have always been finding ways to be more responsible. Then about a thousand light bulbs light up one by one above his head.

Lighting all those light bulbs are unnecessary. Are you trying to prove that you are not like us? Apparently not, because the next thing he says is that BMW is trying to find ways to be responsible too.

Good luck.

Two things to remember today:
longer gestation=bigger baby=healthier baby=good
The longer a baby stays in there, the more content he or she tends to be. And content babies are more fun to cuddle with.

I can do this. I can calmly and contently wiat for her to be born. No matter how painful my joints are, no matter how little sleep I get, no matter how tight my skin stretches, no matter how much my big belly pulls on my lower back, no mater how many nerves are pinched or how many times she punches my bladder and makes me almost wet myself, I am going to wait for her.

She's worth it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

blech

no more Oregano or Basil. like ever.

Today: deep yogi squats, spices, and serious relaxation. Sounds like an Audrey Hepburn night with some comfort food all wrapped up with hubby on either the couch or the porch.

Co-sleeping and breastfeeding

Right now, Nanook is completely within my care. She has been for every beat of her heart, every movement she's made, every everything. Completely within my protection and embrace and warmth. Once she's born, that connection will be broken. I'll still be able to put her on my chest and let her hear my heartbeat and breath (which she has never existed without hearing), but the possibility remains that she will one day need to be in a different room than I am. This is mildly terrifying.

I understand that we'll grow into it, and I understand that it's necessary for both of us to do this growing. I am in no hurry.

For starters, the idea that she would sleep in another room is out of the question. Completely. That increases the risk of SIDS, lowers the amount of REM sleep in both mama and baby, lowers the frequency of feeding, and produces babies with less secure attachments to their parents. Out of the question.

But I'm not sure I can even put her in her crib on the other side of the room. I don't even want her in a bassinet next to the bed. At this stage of our relationship, she is a part of me. She's more than just a part of me, but my breath is her breath, my emotions (made up of hormones and endorphins) are her emotions, and my motions, my consumptions, everything is shared. This level of connection is completely unbroken and completely unprecedented in my life. She has developed entirely within me, and so is a part of me for now. Asking me to put her 2 feet away while we sleep is like asking me to let you take her to the moon. Utterly inconceivable. I actually lack the capacity to understand what that would be like.

At some point, I will have to go to the bathroom. I'm pretty sure this is how our separation will start. I'll leave her with Mirus and I'll go to the bathroom and have so much distance between us. That will be baffling. But we will both be ok, and after a few days we'll have mastered being apart for however long it takes to go to the bathroom.

Then, I'll want a shower. Strange, but personal hygiene seems to be the main thing separating me from my daughter in these predictions.

Eventually, it will be ok for her to be in another room or not actually touching me. I have no idea how long it will take us to reach this point. I do know that I'm not interested in sleeping apart. That's too long, and it already feels like a vulnerable time because I'm not able to be as vigilant.

"Do you have the nursery all decorated?"
"No, you cannot take my baby to the moon."

This makes sense to me.

Moving on:
I know some people who are incredibly discreet about breastfeeding. They do not want anyone to see or suspect their child nursing. I know other people at the opposite end of the spectrum. Whip-out-the-boob-and-then-go-find-the-child types. I don't know where I'll fall. I'm not interested in perpetuating the idea that breastfeeding needs to be covered or hidden, I'm also not interested in using my body to initiate conversations about breastfeeding on a regular basis. I just want to feed my kid, and have that be allright. I'll probably cover in some situations (professional settings, during church, etc.) and let it all hang out in other settings (pediatrician's office, parks, private homes). I suppose there is a good reason to push the envelope and initiate conversations about the importance of normalizing breastfeeding, but I highly doubt I'll want to have that conversation on a regular basis.

I don't know where exactly I'll fall on this spectrum.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So far: nothing.

Tried the pump (stimulation causes the release of oxytocin, which causes contractions) for aoong time today, and now I'm on an interval schedule. I have been feeling some mild contractions, but nothing serious.

Still waiting. We may be waiting for a long time, and that's ok. If I see the midwives again next week we'll do another membrane sweep, but I'm not going to worry one way or another. We just have to wait. Like everyone else who's ever had a baby, there's some waiting involved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Either I've lost my mucous plug or someone with a sinus problem just blew their nose in my pants. One of the two.

Unfortunately, this also means nothing. It means that labor is coming at some point in the future days or weeks. These uber vague omens are losing their oomph. They no longer have the power to get me all twitterpated. They did get me to finally wash the sheets on our bed. That's good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

38 week appointment

Well, I'm 38+5, pretty well effaced, and 1-2 cm. So, almost nowhere. My midwife was able to strip my membranes a bit, and I had a few contractions, but they fizzled out. We went walking and tried some more bumpy roads, but nothing happened.

Still, she said I'd likely have a baby within a week or so. No guarantees, but it's likely, and unlikely that I'd go past my due date. No September baby for me! (hopefully)

I had a bunch of projects schedule to work on this afternoon, and I did start on a few, but without completing any I just feel defeated. Oh well, I should have two baby hats done tomorrow, then I only have 1 or 2 more till I can send them out. Then, I need to finish the wipes, hem the sheet, fix Granny's quilt, make a changing pad for the diaper bag, and finish a hat for Nanook. All of these projects are relatively quick. Oh, I have to recover the cushions on the rocking chair.

I love nesting!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

So, no baby. For a while there, I thought she would be born today, but the cramps and contractions all went away. I thought maybe a nice long walk around the grocery store would give me a chance to get some post partum meals ready and maybe get things started again but all I got was a ton of food I now have to cook and a back ache. Hm. Not exactly what I was going for.

I suppose I could still get a baby for/by my birthday. I hope we can meet her soon. I know some women experience this pre-labor stuff for days or even weeks before they actually have a baby. I'm hoping not to be one of those women. So, maybe tomorrow.

She's sticking her little bum into my ribs pretty solidly right now. I hope she's not trying to move away from my cervix.

We still need to come up with a name. Maybe her name will be obvious once she's born.

Things that make you go hmmm.

This is the first time I've ever noticed a contraction starting, getting stronger, then ending.

Interesting.
And then there are this cramps. I couldn't be getting my period could I? ; )
My back aches in much the same way it does before I get my period.

I'm jus' saying.

Tattered Cover Book Store is looking forward to a BIG fall line-up of authors LIVE! Ken Burns, Al Gore, Margaret Atwood, John Irving, Ralph Nader, Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Chabon, Jon Krakauer, Diana Gabaldon...and many more


This is what happens at the bookstore a few blocks from our place after we leave. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Al Gore, Margaret Atwood, Ralph Nader, Sherman Alexie, Jon Krakauer - any one of those would be utterly fascinating. It's just incredible to think that all these people will be a few blocks from my old place. I suppose they could be downtown, but that's only a few miles away, and the Highlands Ranch store isn't much farther.

Tattered Cover is the shiz-nit!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well lets see. I'm trading some hats for a pocket sling, I already have a moby wrap, plus we have a snugli type carrier. I don't think I need a mei tei. And since it would be a little more sewing and thinking than my other projects, I think it's out. Instead, I'm working on my cloth wipes and crocheted hats. I have a few bear hats to make to trade for the sling, then a cute little green hat for Nanook when she comes out. I have a little green polka dot outfit that I might put her in for her first pictures. But the crocheted hat might look silly with a summer jumper.

I love thinking about this stuff. When the time comes I'll be so astounded looking at her that I doubt I'll remember any of this. She'll be dressed in whatever is nearby I'm sure.

For a while I was SURE she was coming out this week or next week at the very latest. I was just sure of it. Then for the last few days I've been wondering if she might stick around until our due date. Today I have no clue. I could be pregnant for another month. After September 11th I'll have to be referred to ab OB/GYN, but the midwives say that pretty much never happens. Apparently they have a castor oil regimine that works without fail.

Lately I've started being more aware of my selfishness. Anything that is happening outside of my uterus is completely uninteresting. All I care about is Nanook. I suppose focusing on her is a good thing, but I'll be glad when I can start re-adjusting my perspective a bit.
My first post from my fancy new birthday present. What joy!

Well, the fair was amazing. Just wonderful. I even got strawberries AND cream cheese on my elephant ear so the caloric indulgence was complete. Then we watched the 4-H horse show for a while, and either the State Fair in Alaska is not NEARLY as competitive as our County Fair in MI or we were not the riders we thought we were. I'm aware that I never really worked my horse into much of a frame, and I remember trying to explain to several people that the fight it would take to get her into that frame simply wasn't worth it. But I still feel that we were working at a whole other level than the kids I saw yesterday. Interesting.

Mirus wouldn't let me ride any of the rides. Not even the Ferris Wheel. I really wanted to ride the super cool giant bungee jump thing because I've NEVER been on one before. I tried explaining to my husband that if he let me, we would almost certainly have a baby within 24 hours! He did not feel that scaring the baby out of the womb was a good way to start her earthly experience. Prude. But not even the Ferris Wheel? I felt so cheated.

Someone at church brought a whole bag of baby clothes in for us. And someone else bought us books for the bible study we're doing. People seem so excited to do generous, wonderful things. It's kinda fun to be a part of this, and not just to be on the receiving end. I really am excited about this church.

Yesterday's prenatal went well. Nanook is back in the right position, ready to be borned. I think I'll be doing some serious walking today trying to encourage things along. It's probably too early for that to do any good, but a girl can dream.

I forgot that I'm supposed to be doling out the workload at the office this week. Oops. Boss is in California, but since that exists outside of my uterus, I'm a bit oblivious to it. Ah well. There seem to be no crises yet. She worked Monday and Tuesday so all I really missed was setting up my coworkers this morning, and they're certainly capable and willing to do that themselves. No biggie.

My tea is ready, and I'm off to read in my rocking chair.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Well today should be a fun day. We have our home visit with our midwives, then we'll head off to the fair. I'm really excited to buy Mirus his very first elephant ear. I suppose it will be Nanook's too. Maybe a ride on the Ferris Wheel will start labor.

The voles are back. Disgusting. We've caught 3 so far. We hadn't seen any for more than a week so we thought maybe we had just let in a couple while we were moving in and had the door propped open, but no. There's more. Nasty.

I'm pretty sure there's almost no difference between mice and voles. I suppose I could just look it up, but I really don't care that much.

A bird just flew into our window. That's the 4th one this morning, just since I've been sitting here. That's so strange.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A names

Adelaida: Polish variation of Adelaide. "noble kind"
Adeline: "noble"
Audrey: "noble strength"
Adele: variant of Adelaide. "noble kind"
Annamae: Very pretty, until you consider it's pronounced the same as Anime.
Annetta: "favored grace"

Friday, August 7, 2009

You know those commercials that tell parents to talk to their kids about drugs and sex and whatever? Um, those now apply to me. Or will very shortly. I am about to be a parent. A serious, talk to your kids about stuff parent.

Weird.

My hubby has discovered Tom Waits. This is the song that is currently playing in our house at least 2-3 (or more) times per day:

Well, ring the bell backwards and bury the axe
Fall down on your knees in the dirt
I'm tied to the mast between water and wind
Believe me, you'll never get hurt
Our ring's in the pawnshop, the rain's in the hole
Down at the Five Points(1) I stand
I'll lose everything
But I won't let go of your hand

Well, Peter denied and Judas betrayed
I'll bail with the roll of the drum
And the wind will tell the turn from the wheel
And the watchman is making his rounds
Well, you'll leave me hanging by the skin of my teeth
I've only got one leg to stand
You can send me to hell
But I'll never let go of your hand

Swing from a rope on a cross-legged dream(?)
Signed with One Eyed Jack's blood
From Temple to Union, to LA and Grand
Walking back home in the mud(2)

Now I must make my best of the only way home
Molly deals only in stone
I'm lost on the midway, I'm reckless in your eyes
Just give me a couple more throws
I'll dare you to dine with the cross-legged knight
Dare me to jump and I will
I'll fall from your grace
But I'll never let go of your hand
I'll never let go of your hand
I really do love my life.

I'm very thankful to be aware of how precious this time is. I will never again be pregnant with this child. Not ever. Not even for a minute. I have only now, only today, to enjoy it. And so I am. I love feeling her move and kick and roll, and I love that she responds to my movements and voice, and to her father. I even love being a giant, bulbous shape, and I love the social liberties I have as a result.

Sometimes I get lost daydreaming about her. Mirus does too, I've seen him. It's so incredible to imagine her little head resting on my chest and the way she'll feel pressed close to me. Every morning when I sit down to write, I think about how wonderful it will be to sit down to work with her. To be breathing her in and getting paid for it.

I'm also grateful that we'll have time to get to know each other as a family before we see anyone. I was hurt earlier this week thinking that no one was excited for her, but that's just emotional rambling really. I'm very thankful that my Mirus, Nanook, and I will have time to learn about each other as a family and be just to ourselves for a while.

We practiced diapering on a teddy bear last night. Granted, cloth diapering does take a bit more skill than disposables, but I still think that we must have lost it. We are both so absurdly excited to meet her. I want to hit up the garage sale on base this weekend for a handful of things but really we're ready. We need to decide if we want to side-car the crib or get a co-sleeper, but I think that will come down to how much $$ we're willing to shell out. If we get a good deal on a co-sleeper I'd love one, if not she has a crib that we can make work just fine.

We still need to move the desk upstairs and build up our study. It just feels silly since all of our books are in Denver.

I'll try to remember to post a picture of our diapered teddy bear later. It's pretty cute.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

smoke


This is a picture of Fairbanks. It's smoky enough that I've been advised not to spend unnecessary time outside. I believe air quality was rated 'unhealthy' to 'very unhealthy' this morning. So I didn't leave the house at all today, and only left for my prenatal appt. yesterday. Lame.

On the upside, earlier this week when we hit up the thrift stores we found what may be one of the coolest, weirdest chairs ever. And it's super comfortable on my difficult to work with body.

Yay.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So, so pregnant.

We took some pictures. It was fun. For the record, these are my pre-preggo jeans. They're tighter, but they're on. Not anywhere near buttoned or zippered, but whatever.






36 weeks + 5 days pregnant. Holy cow, I'm huge. For comparison:
Look, my stomach fits beHIND the bowl instead of beLOW it!


I should put on these clothes again and take another picture for reference. I also kinda wish I had a measurement of my stomach before I got pregnant.

Nanook is really moving around a lot tonight. She's just rolling and tossing and doing all kinds of crazy stuff in there. Apparently, she likes all beef hot dogs with BBQ sauce. Whatever. Her heart rate was just perfect again today, and the midwife said that if Mirus put his hear over her back, he should be able to hear the heartbeat. Isn't that incredible?

She's incredible. I'm in love.

Soon.

Lipton's decaf tea + Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea + Red Raspberry Leaf tea + ice = how I will hydrate for the rest of this pregnancy and possibly forever.

Really, really, seriously yummy. And I'm close enough to full term that I'm not worried about jumpstarting labor. So bring on the tea!

I also picked up Evening Primrose Oil and 5w herbs today. Between these two, the RRL tea, and a few other pushes, I'm going to try to get things going. Even if labor doesn't start as soon as I think it will, all these things will make labor easier. Plus, it'll be fun.

Instinct/wishful thinking tells me she'll be out within 2 weeks. Today she's facing the wrong way, so I'll have to do some maneuvering and see if I can flip her around.

Our home visit is next week. That sort of makes this feel more real. Everything is making this feel more real.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yesterday I was an emotional wreck, today life is good. Ah hormones.

We went and bought diapers today. All a baby really needs is diapers, a car seat, and breasts. We're now covered. I'm a little resistant to washing them all because I want to put them away and see them all ready for the baby. Nanook is going to have such a cute, fun space to come out to.

This weekend is the garage sale on base so we'll go and try to track down a co-sleeper and rocking chair. Then we can move her crib into her room and get that all set up.

Foam was surprisingly expensive to buy at the craft store. It might actually be cheaper to just buy a changing pad. Or, I'm going to have to be more creative.

Projects for today:
*Wash all diapers, new fabric, towels, etc.
*Write grocery list
*Either go or send hubby grocery shopping
*Make changing pad cover
*Make flannel wipes
*Organize and put away towels, diapers, wipes, etc.

Plus, we're going to take some belly pictures today. Proof of the belly dropping is on the way!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I know that Fairbanks is cost prohibitive. Visiting here is extremely expensive. I'm aware, I understand. But it's hard not to be sad that, more than likely, no one's coming. My family certainly isn't coming, hubby's family doesn't think they're going to make it, and most of my friends can't afford it. The person who was planning on being here is now covering my maternity leave in Denver. Which I appreciate. I just want to know that people are excited for her. And I want people to love her and cherish her. I know no one will ever love her as much as we do, but she is so amazing.

I'm going to stop crying now and get back to work.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is it my turn yet?

I really don't think this pregnancy is going to last much longer. Theoretically I could be pregnant for 6 more weeks, and statistically I'm very likely to go that long, but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm just trying to keep her in there until Friday. One week. If I can hold on to this kid for one more week, I will officially be full term and we can start coaxing her out.

Plans:
RRL - My red raspberry leaf tea has been strengthening my BH contractions. Starting Friday, I'll be making an almost soup of the stuff. Strong, strong tea, and I'll sip it all day. When we make it iced I tend to chug it so maybe I'll make a big, big batch of strong iced tea.

EPO - Evening primrose oil. This can be taken orally or vaginally. It helps ready the cervix. And since sex and other old wives' tales only work once the cervix has started to soften, I'm going to have to get my cervix on board to make this happen. Maybe we'll take it orally in the morning and use it vaginally at night.

5w herbs - Sounds like a magic potion to me. I always forget what's in there, but this too helps tone and strengthen smooth muscle tissue (like RRL).

Walking - We have trails that are supposed to be pretty beautiful and begin right at the edge of family housing. We'll be getting to know them well over the next few weeks.

Sex - Sex works two ways. Orgasm initiates uterine contractions, and prostglandins in semen do something or other to the cervix. I've heard that sex really only gets things going after the cervix is already playing along, but this can't hurt to get all players on board. Besides, women who have sex more frequently are more likely to have the baby before 40 weeks.

I think that's the whole list and plan so far. If it doesn't seem to be getting us going, we can always add spicy food and see what else is out there.

One more week.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Soda

The History Channel just told me that the average American drinks 555 cans of soda per year, which is about a gallon per week, and a little over 50 gallons per year. That is disgusting.

We're trying to calibrate Nanook's palate to not like soda. With any luck, she'll like real food, water, and stuff that isn't so disgustingly sweet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Full term

In about 8 days, this pregnancy will be considered full term. I'll be 37 weeks pregnant, and at that point I can deliver at any time. (Hallelujah)

It's so, so close. I can't believe it.

Statistically, she's much more likely to hang out in there for 6 more weeks, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sarah Palin + The Daily Show + my day off = I napped on the couch.

I am a failure. There was something for everyone, and I slept the afternoon away. I'm so disappointed in myself. We went to the park a few hours later for a company picnic. We went AFTER the hoopla. AFTER the Daily Show, AFTER my chance to watch a Daily Show correspondent harass the media.

I'm pretty sure I'll never be forgiven for this.
When Person A lies to Person B, and I know about the lie, I feel obligated to clarify and tell Person B that he or she is being lied to. If I don't, I feel complicit in the lie.

If, however, I do explain the lie, I look like I'm starting/stirring/adding to drama. Or tattling. Or something. And it doesn't look good.

Complicit liar or agitator? Not good options.


On the upside, this has basically been the best day ever. We have a home. It's fantastic. Great porch (very 'Alaska'), open first floor, big windows, an arctic entryway (known in the midwest as a mudroom), counterspace in the kitchen (a first for us), cabinet space in the kitchen (again, a first), lots of closets, brand new carpet, fresh paint (we currently have all the doors and windows open trying to air it out), a great room to share with Nanook, a great space to birth in, and a WASHER and DRYER! That's right, no more quarter stashing for us! We have our own washer and dryer. And we didn't even have to buy them. We win.

The porch looks out through some very tall trees to a big open field, and there's a playground about 50 feet from our door. Picnic tables abound, and next to most doors are kids bikes and little red wagons. This is definitely family housing. Oh, it's also dirt cheap. Score.

Did I mention we now have cable? The whole time we've been married, we've been too cheap to pay for cable. After a few months, we realized how glad we were NOT to be indebted to the boob tube and how much we enjoy doing other things. Any other things. Just not sitting watching TV. I'm a little nervous that the temptation might be too much, and we'll just sit here day in and day out staring at it.

I'm going to go keep working on the crib, sorting baby stuff, washing diapers, and letting my nesting instinct go crazy. After holding it in for nearly 9 months, it feels GOOD to let go.
I should be asleep. I know. But I'm so excited about finally having a home tomorrow. We haven't had a real home since April. Not a real, real one. I'm very grateful to have been able to stay with Z&L, but it wasn't 'ours', and then there was the move, and the hostel, and then this cruddy little place that was always meant to be temporary at best.

Tomorrow we have a home.

And a washer and dryer, so I can finally wash all the wonderful baby things I've been accumulating, and wash all the diapers I'll be buying tomorrow. I'm so, so excited. I'll finally feel like we're ready for her, like we're doing all the things we should be doing to be ready for her.

A to-do list:
  • set up the crib against our bed
  • adjust the mattress to match ours in height
  • wash baby clothes, organize by size
  • figure out where I want to put them and get them tucked away
  • buy diapers from craig's
  • buy diapers from Blueberry Baby
  • wash all my diapers
  • make changing pad
  • organize diaper stash near changer
  • buy batteries for monitor, swing, glider chair
Then I have to get my sewing machine going correctly and I can go nuts making sheets and curtains and covers for the changing pad. I also need to finish my moby wrap and make a diaper roll.

Sometimes when Nanook moves, it feels like being so nervous I want to be sick. I'm not nervous, and I know that in my head, but my physical sensations tell me otherwise.

I can't believe we're finally moving tomorrow. We've been waiting so long.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A day in my life, and why the internet is important for first time preggos

4:30am - Wake up hungry, get up to eat
5:00am - Back to bed
5:30am - Wake up, read
6:00am - Work
4pm - (or sooner) finish working, nap
7pm - Hubby's home, dinner, Monopoly or Scrabble Apple
10pm - Bed

My whole day is a cycle of naps and food. On days that I can break from work and fit in an extra round of sleeping and eating I do.

I highly recommend the internet for anyone pregnant. Especially first timers. Enough weird things happen during pregnancy that having access to many, many women and their experiences becomes of incalculable value. And some of the oddities are disgusting, personal, and not something you want to admit to out loud right away.

For instance, let's just say that during your first pregnancy you experience something that more than half of pregnant women experience: a hemorrhoid. Let's just say that you'd never really thought of hemorrhoids before and assumed they must be painful and protruding (why else would old people sit on those donut pillows and blame it on hemorrhoids?). And let's just say that your condition presented itself rather differently. By being only blood on your toilet tissue as you wipe. Bright, red, fresh blood. 6 months ago you'd have broken down in tears thinking you'd lost the embryo and that the pregnancy was over. Now, you can feel the baby kicking but can't deny that blood usually demands to be taken seriously. How else would you go about diagnosing yourself? Without the internet, you'd have to look someone in the eye and ask if they'd ever had painless blood leaking from their bum, and it would be awkward. In today's world, you either google your symptoms or post to a message board. I enjoy the message boards, because I enjoy the simple, straightforward suggestions from other people for dealing with my ever changing body.

But I am not enjoying my very first hemorrhoid.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

To work or not to work. . .

The itching was bad this morning. So bad that I had to get up. So I did. I tried to sleep, I'm very tired, but it wasn't gonna happen. Stupid itchy bumps.

And the sooner I start work, the sooner we will finish, but no one else is going to start for another hour.

Maybe I should try sleeping again. I'm so tired. Getting up 5 or 6 times per night to pee will do that to you.

We move on Monday. Really, we move beginning on Monday, we're excited. It will be nice to finally be in something final. Not permanent exactly, but it's where we're planning on living for the next 3 years. I can finally wash all the baby clothes and buy diapers and wash/ready those, set up the crib against our bed and spend hours dreaming about putting the babe in there.

We had wanted to paint one wall in the baby's room, but instead I might get some purple painter's tape and make one wall a mural from Harold and the Purple Crayon. It's a very, very cute book, and it would be so easy and fun to do. We'll see.

Enough stalling, I'm laying down for a few minutes before I work. Oh sleep, how I miss you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A conversation I had with an Alaskan before we moved:
me: I'm really surprised that your state health insurance covers homebirths. That's usually so hard to get covered by anyone, let alone such a conservative legislature.
Alaskan: Oh our lawmakers do what we tell them to. It helps that we have guns.

I'm paraphrasing (obviously), and summing up a few comments into one. But I can't help but imagine a group of hippies standing outside a congressional building with guns daring the lawmakers to come out. Can you just see some poor junior representative being sent outside to see if the new copy of the bill is up to snuff?

That, my friends, is democracy. When your lawmakers fear you.

Oh Alaska.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dropping the baby.

So I think Nanook may have dropped. Here's my evidence:

1. My belly has changed shape. More as a whole than usual. When she moves, it changes shape in specific, definable, temporary ways. Right now my belly is oblong, and up until a day or two ago it was very much round and spherical. All the stuff from up top seems lower. Except when I sit. Everything still gets pushed up when I sit.
2. Other people are noticing. And telling me that I'm going to have her any day because I've dropped. People I've never met before. I'm not sure how they know that something's changed.
3. I have to go to the bathroom a LOT more. Again, I'm baffled by how this is possible, but lo and behold the impossible made real.
4. My bump seems to tie in much lower than it used to. [side note: I'm not sure any one uses the term 'tie in' in this context outside of horse judging. It refers to the way one part of a body meets the other part. As in: "that horses neck ties in really high" meaning the horse's neck should meet the chest further down than it does.]

What would this mean if the dropping has happened? Well, it would mean that Nanook is going to be born. At some point. Not news. For some women, this happens during labor or just before, for first time moms it usually means I have some time left. Maybe 2-4 weeks. I hope we have at least 2 weeks left. As much as I'd like to be done with the itching, she's not fully cooked yet, and the longer she stays in there, the bigger her brain will get, the fatter her little arms and legs will get, and the better her chances of being strong and healthy.

She's currently pushing her buns up against and past my ribs to show me how strong she is. Apparently, she's got all the muscle tone she needs.


Also, an activity equally interesting and sad is to go to a neighborhood park and listen to kids talk to each other. You'll learn so much about the home life of each child. Kids in low income neighborhoods (like where we're living, a public housing complex is a block away) get yelled at. A lot. "If you do that I'll kill you" came up more than once. And I don't believe for a second that kids model language from movies more than the language from their parents. Unless their parents aren't speaking to them, in which case they have no choice. Maybe it's good for me though. Reminds me what I'm going to be working on. What's so important. Loving my kid, and proving it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Shirt, Nasty Rash, Forest Fire


The airport here is just BARELY outside of town. If you ever come to visit, you don't have to call me when your plane lands, I can hear it come down.

I got a great new shirt at Old Navy, and I feel amazing in it. Which is good because my itchy little red bumps turned out to be PUPPS, which is a rash that drives women to the point of begging for an induction just to make the itching stop. Other women beg for a sleeping pill because the itching robs them of sleep. Oddly enough 70% of women with this rash give birth to boys. Maybe Nanook is a he after all!

Also, my friends have GREAT taste in children's books.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So cute!

Birth Class

We had the birth class today!

Turns out, we're both saps and cried when we watched the video. We were the only ones crying. But it was all so incredible. Watching those women do what they did and knowing how close I am to doing that as well, and what comes after. . .

The class was good. I figured it would probably answer all the questions I had about procedures and I was right. Maybe it's because these are Alaskans treating Alaskans, but I can definitely see a difference even between this birth center and the last. These midwives give us all kinds of information on every decision to be made, where to get even more info, how they think about each side of the argument, and then let us decide what to do. We can refuse ANYthing, and ANY time, for ANY reason. And if we have to transfer, they come with us to the hospital and take charge of implementing the birth plan as much as possible. We can choose whether we want a homebirth or birth center birth, and they are happy to meet us wherever. And the two women who do the homebirths are my favorite midwife (so far) and the first women I spoke to when I called from Denver who was so wonderful. I've only spoken to her one other time, but I really liked her. It's very likely that both will be there. It's awesome to feel like I have so much to offer this process, and to offer my baby, my family, and myself. With no other care provider have I felt so trusted to competently make the decisions that are best for my family.

I'll be full term three weeks from yesterday. In just under three weeks, we're set to go. We're going to start some herbs and possibly some other things "in preparation", but I'm inclined to go for the gusto and start trying to get labor going as quickly as possible. I'm ready to meet her. I'm ready to mother her and I'm ready for labor. I will probably not try much from 37-38 weeks, and our attempts will likely be halfhearted until closer to 40, but after 40, I'm pushing for it. If she could come a little early we would both really appreciate fewer scheduling conflicts, but we've made arrangements to have all other obligations wait until a week or two after she comes, whenever that is.

I had a few BH contractions today. Minor, mild and spread out throughout the class and this evening, but there they were. Makes me think that this is really happening. To me. Soon.

Weird.

Trying to be sensitive

I don't want to be insensitive, but I am getting really excited for this baby. With so many friends who've lost babies, I'm trying to keep it low-key on FB, at least for the time being.

But tomorrow is the birth class!! I'm so excited! This is really happening, to me, very soon. Nanook could be here safely in as few as three weeks. Three weeks! I have nearly everything we need for her, but we still need to get our birth supplies (and figure out what all we're going to need for that anyway) and post partum stuff. I think I'll be taking input and advice on that pretty soon.

We move into our new place on the 27th, so I've started planning out how I want to arrange our beds, what color I want to paint, where we'll set up random baby gear (swing, glider, etc), and where we'll set up our birthing space.

Hubby still isn't 100% signed on to the homebirth. He CERTAINLY doesn't want anything to do with the hosp, but in his mind the birth center feels safer. There's really no difference in safety, and he readily admits that, so it's strictly a visceral thing, but it's there nonetheless. He has, however, admitted that my gut feeling is a teensy bit more important than his when it comes to this, so I get to make the final call. And I call: homebirth.

This is happening soon. Soon she'll come out and visit. I really have to stop thinking about the three week minimum though because she's much more likely to come in 7 weeks. Still, that's soon, and I have a lot to do.

I've been waiting this WHOLE pregnancy to move into this dumb apartment and once we finally do, I'll probably be way too tired to do everything I want to. Ah well. Maybe I'll ask to work fewer hours so I can nest more.

I'm going to try to sleep again. Now that it's finally dark(-ish), maybe I can get back to sleep. I was sleeping wonderfully and then the smoke alarm started going off. Mirus eventually had to go get a new battery (made it to the store just before it closed) and by the time we got it to shut up I was wide awake. It was just too light out to sleep. But, for the first time since we moved up here, it's too dark to read outside. It's like a real nighttime!

Something tells me that in about 6 months, I'll hate the darkness.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nanook

I'm suddenly very aware of how whole I am with Nanook right where she is. I'm excited to play with her and have her outside where I can see her, but I anticipate a very real ache once she's separated from me. And I don't mean separated by proximity, like we're apart for a day, I mean not physically connected to me. I like having her here, completely connected with me, and as much as I want to have her on the outside, I will miss her. Very much.

And so I feel no guilt about enjoying every second of her life on the inside. I don't care what priorities get missed or neglected, none outrank her so none of those obligations seem even remotely important.

Oh Nanook.

Blessings

I just realized how truly blessed I am. A few days of rain have really cooled the temperature this morning, so I'm working (writing) under a fleece blanket on the couch. And I'm suddenly struck by the fact that this is how I'll spend my winter. My first long, cold, Alaskan winter under a comfy blanket with my daughter on my chest, writing. I may not be writing anything interesting or entertaining, but I'm spending every minute with her. I'll be able to wrap her so that her little head is right under my chin and I'll be able to feel her so close to me all day. How incredible.

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of thy unchanging love

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Binky the Polar Bear

Binky the Polar bear is an Alaskan Legend. He was orphaned and brought to the Alaskan zoo as a cub, and grew to be a local favorite. Then, a tourist decided to get a closer photo op, and after climbing all the safety rails, Binky nailed her and stole her shoe. He carried it around in his mouth, and it was a few days before zookeepers could get it from him. They, apparently, were less willing to get close to him than the tourist had been. Go figure. Here's the video of her attack:



Now here's the best part. Today, at the thrift store, I found a children's book of this story. No joke.

Incredible. I so bought this book. What's that you say? You have a children's book about bad decisions and polar bear attack? It even covers the Alaskan tendency to enjoy watching people be viciously punished for their mistakes? Yes, please! Hilarious. God, I love Alaska.

'discovered' forest fire

In Alaska, there are forest fires. This makes sense, Alaska has a lot of forest. What is harder to understand, is that sometimes the forest fire is very large (by the standards established in my mind from other states) before it is found.

Don't believe me? Read it for yourself in our local paper.


This is what we saw from our campsite looking up at just after midnight o'clock. Blue sky. 22 days AFTER the summer solstice. This is 10 minutes after the official sunset of 12:01. Oh, Alaska, how I love you (so far).

Camping was mostly good, though the mosquitoes REALLY like my preggo blood. Mirus was standing behind me trying to wipe them all off my back and butt even after we used copious amounts of bug spray. I wasn't thrilled about using the bug spray to begin with because I've been trying to avoid weird chemicals while I'm building the baby. We ended up leaving a night early. We tried camping, we tried hiking, the bugs were just way too bad, so we threw in the towel, ran up the white flag, and came home to play video games and sleep.

Another prenatal appt. today. Still measuring just where she should be, and everything still looks perfect. Walking is not a recommended exercise right now because the wildfires have decreased the air quality so much (apparently the smoke has no where else to go) so I'm going to keep on the hunt for a giant swimsuit. I suppose that sentance make it sound like I've really been looking, when I've really only been looking while it's convenient. Anyway. Nanook had a great sleeping heart rate of about 130ish, then it climbed up to the 140's when we started papating and measuring and doing all that stuff. She generally prefers to be left alone, but we generally prefer to check on her. Today, we won.

Still loving the midwives and birth center so, so much. I'm so glad to be there and not with an OB. I love their approach, and I love feeling like I'm participating in this instead of receiving care. They know me, they know my husband, they know our baby. They know our norms, they check in on us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Having a baby is not simply a high-risk medical endevour, it's a normal, huge, life changing event that lasts (seemingly) forever. Pregnancy is just so different from any other health-related issue I've ever experienced, so it's nice to get a different kind of care. And to be welcomed as important in the process and not secondary to the OB. Our birthing class is this Saturday, and we're pretty psyched. Gotta learn how to evict this squatter! The womb-gnome has got to go! Well, not just yet, but soon.

I have discovered that I have a HUGE list of books I want to buy for Nanook. Now I am trying to figure out a way to get other people to buy them for her (us, me, whatever). We've already had our shower, now I'm just being greedy. But my dear husband might 'shit a brick' (to use the parlance of our times) if I buy all the books I want. There are, um, several. dozen. What do you expect? I grow up with an amazing woman who read to me ALL THE TIME, and then I worked as a literacy tutor in an elementary school. I have a LOT of favorite children's books. And the one piece of furniture I felt compelled to buy for Nanook was a bookshelf. I really wasn't sure that a crib was as necessary as a bookshelf.

I found the bookshelf that I want too. Once we move in to the new place and get set up I'm definitely buying it. It isn't exactly 'high end' so I'll just buy it new and pay the grand total of $40. I have a few cubes to use for it, but I might buy a couple more if we need them. I can't wait to surround her with books. She's probably going to be a kid that hates to sit still and read, but I guess she'll have to learn to deal at least once in a while. I'll play outside and get rowdy if she reads with me, we'll trade minute for minute if we have to.

On that note, I think I'll go to the thrift store and check for books!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Camping!

This is our first recreational Alaskan camping! How exciting!

We're not going far, because it's generally not considered a great idea at this point in the pregnancy, but we'll stay out there two nights (assuming the bugs aren't too bad) and maybe do a little hiking while we're out. And we won't even need a flashlight!

Happy day: I've got help at work on Mondays now. Finally. I felt significantly less hopeless when I started working today than I usually do on Mondays.

I'm starting a goodreads.com account for Nanook. We're going to keep posting the books we read to her and with any luck we'll keep it up as she gets older. We're so cheesy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This is it people.

There's always something strange at Pioneer Park:


Today's the day it all becomes real. We are buying a car seat.

I'm not really sure why that's what seals the deal, but when I bring home the car seat, I'll be officially doing this. Having a baby. Scary. I have the crib, I have some clothes, I have a swing and a little chair for her, and bath stuff, and blankets. Today I'll buy the car seat and a stroller. Then, all we have to get are diapers and we're ready. Really ready. We still have lots of stuff that we'd like, but nothing important. Nothing necessary.

It's all so crazy. She moves hard and fast and strong all the time now, and actually keeps me awake quite often with it. I'm growing big and fast and starting to worry that I'm gaining too much weight, but she just doesn't seem to have anywhere else to grow. I have a short torso so with every bit of growth she pushes outward. Maybe I'll stop weighing myself. I don't think I want to know anymore. And if the midwives don't care, I don't care.

I still can't believe how easy it was for us to decide on this church, but we love it. We're going to try and sit down with the pastor this week to talk about baptism and communion, just to be sure we're on the same pages in our theology. I really don't want to get all hooked into a church, fall in love with the people, and then find out there's some crazy belief we didn't know about or something weird like that. So we'll sit down and cover the bases where we have opinions, make sure that everything's on the up and up, then we can jump in.

I really love sitting quietly in the apartment by myself, just thinking. Just working on stuff, just enjoying life.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tillamook Ice Cream - Mudslide

This is the most incredible ice cream I've ever had. I don't care if I gain 500 pounds, I don't want to live another day without this in my belly. So buy stock people, they're about to see a serious increase in profits.

Wonderful. And since I very rarely send my hubby out to get me anything at night, and since I've been pretty good about eating my fruits and veggies and protein, I feel no guilt. I think hubby would prefer that I don't eat ice cream every day because I think he's worried it may adversely affect Nanook (more weight during pregnancy = harder birth) but this is completely and utterly worth it. And I'm pretty much giving up on walking. We try to walk and my uterus seizes up, clamps down, and says NO. If I could find a bathing suit to go over me I'd swim every day.

The search goes on.