This week brought to you by… my new glider rocker?

Stats: Weeks pregnant: 35 and days (3 or 4 I think)

Weight: 211

Gain: +27

Waist :  49.5-50 at the bellybutton ish

And bust/hips (just for grins and giggles): 44 and 46 (+1).

Average number of times I get up to pee per night: FROWN

Size of the baby bean: like 20 inches. WHAT?!

Weight: 6 pounds (says my pregnancy app. HA)

Position:Vertex and lowish. Lots of cervical twinges (aka pain) from his head.

Other pregnancy related crap:

Emotional crap: As the birth nears I find myself being simultaneously nervous, excited and at peace. I’m seeing a therapist a few times to try to make sure I properly processed Ella’s birth and don’t carry any of that into Max’s. Ella’s birth was wonderful and in the weeks and months after it I felt nothing but empowered and truly FANTASTIC. But there is a truth there and it’s that complications are scary, no matter what they are. And in my case I think knowing what I know (as a nurse I mean) makes them both MORE frightening and also less frightening. If that makes sense (which it probably doesn’t). The important thing is to balance fear and faith. Max’s birth is HIS. He is not Ella and he deserves a mother and father, and birth team, that feel that way. What I love about birth (well one of the things) is that every birth experience is an opportunity for growth. And what I love about preparing for Max’s birth is that even at 37 years old I’m being humbled by my own insecurities and encouraged by my own capabilities. This journey is taking me exactly to where I need to be and I have faith in my body and Max and in the truth that his birth will be exactly what it’s supposed to be.

Physical crap: Same ol crap. Still with the pelvis. Still with the sciatica. Seeing the chiro weekly.

What I want to devour: baby greens. Maybe because I’m having a baby? Maybe because I’m weird. I’m not sure.

Supplements:  Prenatal (from trader joes). Calcium-Magnesium (with D) pills (6, 3 morning and 3 night). Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep (Took this with Ella and credit it, at least partly, with my minimal bleeding postpartum). Also Floradix (for iron) doesn’t taste awesome but does work. And I’ll be starting Evening Primrose borth oral and vaginal this week. Also eating LOTS of iron. Tons of meat (not usual for me) and Malt o Meal (which was 60% of a days serving!)

Activity: Been doing some walking (LIGHT) and birth ball sitting. Other than that trying not to strain.

Boy? Or girl?: BOY. I sure hope.

Name:  Maxwell  MAX!!

In other news:

BABY PREP:I bought him two towels. HAHAHA. I say hahah because I was CONSTANTLY at the store buying things for Ella and poor Max, he’s lucky to have clothes. I did finish another blanket for him though and bought two diaper covers since I’m not sure I’ll finish knitting any before he’s here.

Here’s the blanket:

And a bunny I made for Miss:

NOT being about to properly nest is taking a real toll on me emotionally. Do not underestimate the power of the female need to prepare her space. I think for me especially, because I’m birthing at home, I need my space to be cozy and tidy and CLEAN. I’ve been crocheting, knitting, working on curtains and cleaning drawers (one at a time). Anything I can do to feel like I’m doing something. Matt has been completely supportive of my neurosis (even buying a new vacuum).

Birth prep (new): Birthing kit and pool are both here and organized. We’ve done a trial run with the pool and it looks great. We went with the La Bassine this time (as opposed to renting an aqua doula). While we aren’t particularly excited about having to keep water warm we are excited about having inflatable sides. This was something I really wanted with Ella. The aqua doula is hard sided. Ick.

Tandem nursing update (BOOBS): Maybe because Ella is cutting her canines? BUT OUCH. I am SORE. She’s nursing a LOT and at night again. Sometimes the nursing literally makes me feel like I’m turning inside out or some other equally unpleasant feeling. Ouch. We are hanging in though. I’m really really REALLY looking forward to having milk again. I can’t wait to see what she does. Heh.

And here’s the  belly photo(s):

Week 32:

Week 35:

baby baking , breastfeeding , third trimester

This week brought to you by an extra two hours of sleep and MILK. Lots of milk.

Stats:

Weeks pregnant: 15 and 5 days

Weight: 186 lbs (fluctuating from 185.2-187.0)

Gain: +3 lbs total

Waist : 34 at the skinny 44 at the bellybutton (minus one up top, plus one below)

And bust/hips (just for grins and giggles): 44″ and 44″. Soooo I’m a square. Awesome.

Average number of times I get up to pee per night: does 10 million sound like an exaggeration?

Size of the baby bean: 4-5 inches (AVOCADO)

Weight: 3-5 ounces! That’s like HALF A CUP!

Other pregnancy related crap:

Emotional crap: We’ll talk about that a little further down…

Physical crap: I don’t want to throw up all the time. Yay. But the reflux. UGH. It’s so bad.

What I want to devour: I can’t really say I’ve had ANY intense cravings. Which is actually really good news.

What makes me want to hurl: not much thankfully

Supplements: Red Raspberry Leaf (2 caps). Prenatal (from trader joes). Calcium-Magnesium (with D) pills (2). Papaya enzyme for the reflux/heartburn. It is actually quite helpful

Activity: I’ve been bike riding when I can. Usually 6-7 miles. I am going to take a leisurely walk soon just to be outside.

Boy? Or girl?: Boy. Still boy. 4 weeks, FOUR.

Names: Boy: Maxwell {insert exciting middle name here} Girl: Maggie Anne. Done. Picked.

In other news: I am really kind of alarmed that I don’t feel this baby moving. Like at all. There have been a few isolated times I *thought* I was feeling something but as soon as I stop to see, no more. Of course. I’m almost 16 weeks which is still early by most standards for fetal movement but I personally usually feel something by now (keeping in mind that the fetus weighs SO very little at this point that for it to be able to produce movement strong enough to transmit through to the uterine wall is still difficult. At 12 weeks? {When I thought I felt my first Ella wiggles…} The fetus weighs a HALF an ounce. That’s half a tablespoon. SO you can see why feeling movement that early is unusual and considered impossible by many OB’s.) Anyway. Here I sit. Reading my journal from Ella i see I wrote that I began to feel regular movement around 16 weeks. And from the outside at 19-20. Also I measure far bigger than 15.5 weeks.20-21 at this point so obviously there is plenty of room in there for the little guy to swim around without hitting the wall. Still because I’m a woman and a mother I sometimes get irrationally frightened. The other night I dreamt the baby didn’t have legs. And then last night I was SURE he must have an abnormality that causes muscle atrophy so he can’t kick at all. Yes. This is motherhood. I also have regular dreams that I forget one or more children somewhere. (As i finished writing this I got 3 good kicks from baby. Sigh)

BABY PREP: I’ve cleaned out the small dresser than used to hold my bras and underwear and socks and lingerie, it now holds baby things (currently a few t-shirts and some unisex onesies that I pulled from Ella’s stuff). This was also the small dresser I used for Sean so it’s been around. It’s only got four small drawers but I don’t suspect we will have a whole lot of stuff for this kid unless it does turn out to be a girl (and even then I just gifted all Ella’s stuff to my new niece Pippa). I’m still working on soakers. We’ve (or I’ve I guess) decided to use them with prefolds (or fitteds) exclusively. I am going to buy a couple of AIO diapers for nighttime (groVia most likely because they are all natural fibers). If money was no object I’d probably buy all groVia’s because they are quite nice but alas it is, and at $22 for the one size it’s a little rich for my blood. I listed all of Ella’s fuzzi bunz on eBay this week and once that auction ends I’ll order the dipes we need with that money. The auction should result in enough money to get them all.

Tandem nursing update (BOOBS BOOBS and more boobs. you may skip):

Well if you follow the blog you know that since the last update things have changed dramatically. My milk is all but completely gone. And I’m sad. Really. Really. Sad. This is NOT how I saw things going. Not at all. Yesterday Ella nursed before morning nap. Once in the afternoon. Once before bed. That’s it. Three times in 24 hours. I’m practicing the “offer and don’t refuse” rule but she is really just SO busy that she just isn’t interested in working for something that is just a lot of work with no milk. She likes to nurse and snuggle and she will do that every now and then but mostly. Not. She’s had a real explosion with walking and language this last week. And she is just busy. So busy. She’s always been a never sit still baby looking all around checking things out (when we go to starbucks with other moms and babies SHE is the baby that won’t sit and eat her banana. She has to crawl all over the damned place) but lately this is really magnified. And I don’t mean she walks into another room to explore and play with whatever toys might be in there. I  mean she walks in the other room, then she walks back where she came from. Then she figures out how to open the stair gate and climb the stairs. Then she’s in the bathroom. Then she’s in the boys room playing with their toys. I want so desperately somedays to contain her to one room so I can rest while she plays around me but she won’t SIT STILL AT ALL. It’s been my experience in parenting that there are two kinds of intelligent kids. There are sit still and quietly observe kids. They don’t make a lot of noise. They don’t demand constant attention. They are content to watch others. And THEN there are the Ella’s.The kids that insist on exploring their surroundings. My 13 year old was just like that. He went to bed late. Woke up early. Walked early. Talked early. Never sat still. Never took the simple answer. Poured over books. Asked a constant barrage of questions.  This is Ella. And not surprisingly, me. Anyway, I feel like while she loves to be near me and to to cuddle, she loves her momma, she’s also balancing that with being a really inquisitive kid who doesn’t WANT to sit still to nurse. Especially if there isn’t milk there.

So where does this leave us (sorry that was WAAAAY off topic)? Well I really want to tandem nurse these two babies. I want Ella to nurse until she’s two for lot of reasons but mostly because my milk is her best insurance of health right now. I also hoped that the tandeming would make the transition to having another baby a little smoother. And? I really just love the idea of nourishing them both. I know this baby is our last (for SURE) and I want to treasure his (or her) infancy but ALSO Ella’s. We opted to have another baby as soon as we did because I don’t want to be having kids into my 40’s (though there is NOTHING wrong with that, I’ve just been having babies since i was 20 and I’m tired, also I want to spend time with my awesome husband before we are 75). So I’m rushing her out of infancy I feel sometimes and I want to hang on to that a little while longer. I hope my milk (or colostrum) comes back well before the end of the pregnancy (varied from mom to mom from 20 weeks up til a week or two before birth).

In the meantime, I don’t know if she’ll wean completely before then. I hope not but what happens will happen and I’m trying hard to embrace that these things happen as the should. Of she does wean then well, it was meant to go that way, and if not well then that. Not knowing what the future holds is hard for a person like me who likes order but I really appreciate the opportunity to learn to trust that things will be as they should. It’s an exercise in patience and faith.

And here’s the belly photo:

baby baking , breastfeeding , operation Baby #5 , second trimester

If you were about the blog yesterday you might remember this little gem. The one where I was a whiny little be-otch. Last night the Man and I had to have a heart to heart about the dog. In other words, I told him the dog was making me insane. He concurred.

At least the dog wasn’t vomiting all over the house. And with the tofu incident of Tuesday behind us. I was feeling like things might be moving in a positive direction. Despite the dog crap and urine in the house.

Perfect.

That’s when I saw the Man bend down to wipe the floor.

“What are you doing?” said I.

“Just picking something up.” said he.

“What thing?”

“It looks like….. a tick.”

“A WHAT THE HOLY HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?” (it was in fact, slightly less dramatic. But only slightly.)

OK so there are now creepy crawling biting infecting mites and burrowing blood sucking ticks. Awesome.

While all of this was going on I received news from a friend (Emily @ Joyful Abode) that another friend was quite ill and having an issue with her milk supply (that is, breastmilk supply). She wondered if I had any frozen. I did not have much as most of it has been eaten in the form of a breastmilk popsicle but I said I’d get to pumping. And pump I did. Last night. Twice this morning. Once this afternoon. I managed to get quite a few ounces of pretty fatty milk for her wee babe. Yay boobs.We can keep her baby fed until she’s mended. No sweat. I bet we end up with more milk than she even needs.

Then this afternoon a phone call from one of my Hospice friends. Seems the son of a former very dear patient of mine was killed. That’s two deaths in a year for that family.

With these two pieces of knowledge and a piece of humble pie, I managed to get some distance from myself. As I sat pumping and thinking (because it requires both hands so what else could I do). I thought about losing a son and I thought about my friend.

And I thought about the ticks. And the bitey mites. And the smelly dog. And about 671 other things that are stressing me out right now. And what I came up with was this:

I’m really glad I have four healthy kids. And I’m really glad my boobs can make milk for two babies. I’m glad I have a nice pump that I can pump with. I’m so glad I have a friend like Emily who would call me on behalf of a woman who needed help. I’m glad I have a husband who is here to help, and kids who are HERE even if their rooms look like a nuclear bomb explosion site) I’m glad I have a nice house. And clothes. And food. And cake.

The glad list kept getting longer. And less vital to survival than something like, say, cake, for example.

I’m glad I got this brand new (40 year old) sewing machine.With all these fancy knobs for fancy stitches.

And that I have an enviable yarn stash. (of which this is about 1/18th)

And I’m glad for this dog.

Mostly because he’s sleeping.

(Actually the dog is still making me batshitcrazy, but I’m trying to gain perspective here people.)

breastfeeding , crafts , crochet , knitting , whine

In 100o words or less… talk about breastfeeding. Go.

This blog isn’t particularly amusing or out of the ordinary. It’s just something I wrote as part of my quest to not return to work (cause I really really reeeeeaaallllly don’t want to). Also I should credit my Hubs who acted as Editor in Chief of this post (a new designation for him, in addition to his usual duties of being awesome).

Here goes:

As a new or expectant mother, you are filled with the best of intentions for your child. Your head is swimming with the possibilities this new life holds. And you are no doubt being bombarded with advice from friends, family and literature on how to provide your child with the best foundation for success.

What if I, a mother of four as well as a Registered Nurse specializing in maternal-child health, knew a secret that could assure you a closer, more intimate bond with your little one? What if that same secret would assure your infant an IQ of 5 or more points above average? What if the secret held myriad health benefits for both you and your child? If you are an open-minded mother in search of the best for your child, I will assume I have your attention.

The secret will save you money and keep your child from visiting the doctors office so frequently, as children often do. It will prevent a host of chronic illnesses and diseases including diabetes, leukemia, intestinal disorders, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, diarrhea and even more. It could significantly reduce your infant’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

The secret will help you lose weight and tone your uterus after childbirth, and significantly reduce your risk of cancers of the breast and reproductive organs. It requires no special equipment or products, and doesn’t require you to go anywhere or do anything special or out of the ordinary. And as the icing on the cake of benefits, the secret is ecologically aware and environmentally sound, reducing your carbon footprint and leaving the world a little cleaner than you found it. Did I happen to mention it’s also free?

Perhaps I should have said secrete instead of secret, because this simple thing you can do as a mother, that will achieve all the aforementioned benefits, is to feed your baby the milk that you yourself produce.

There is enough evidence to support that breastfeeding is, by leaps and bounds, the best way to feed your baby. In fact, breastfeeding might be more aptly named bestfeeding. And these things I mention are only the tip of the breastfeeding benefit iceberg. There are so many astounding benefits to feeding your baby in this way and not surprisingly, more are being discovered every day. This is, in part anyway, why I chose to exclusively breastfeed all four of my children from the moment of their birth until they self-weaned somewhere between 14 and 18 months.

When pregnant with my first child I made the commitment to breastfeed. I had no support from family, no friends who had breastfeeding experience that could be shared, no words of wisdom, no advice to be offered, no where to turn for help. I myself wasn’t even breastfed, nor did I know anyone who was. Bottle feeding had become the normal and accepted way to feed a baby. I questioned the notion of portion control and a one-size-fits-all scientific “formula” (pun intended) for what babies should eat. My intuition told me breastfeeding was better. I set out with my conviction, my desire to be successful, a newborn baby and two functioning breasts.

It seemed with everything in place anatomically – a healthy milk supply and a baby who needed to be fed – I’d undoubtedly be successful, presumably with little effort. I soon found this was not necessarily the case. I had a fussy newborn child with a latch issue, engorged breasts full of milk and an excruciating case of mastitis. As I quickly learned, even with all the necessary parts in place there is no guarantee breastfeeding will come easily. The natural thing doesn’t always come naturally. Like other skills in life, sometimes it must be learned. With a shelf of books, the phone number of a lactation consultant and determination for success I set about learning it. I became a sponge for knowledge and soon saw the fruits of my labor, my happy, healthy, thriving infant daughter. With relative speed breastfeeding became second nature. I found myself easily and comfortably nursing in the mall or grocery store. My determination to be successful and desire to give my child the best was indeed bearing fruit.

I subsequently took this passion and determination into my profession as a Registered Nurse caring for mothers and their newborn children and then to my community to spread the good news: It can be done! Not always effortlessly, and not without some support. But it can indeed be accomplished. And the extra effort pays off in all the ways mentioned above and more. As a community of parents we can support each other in this effort with encouragement and information, stories of successes and lessons from failures. We, as mothers, and as a culture, have the power and solemn responsibility to make choices that will positively effect the lives of our children and thus the future of our society. Feeding your baby in this natural way is the first simple step.

bestfeeding , breastfeeding , mothering , parenting

Boobs.

I have two. Surprise.

They work really good. At feeding babies and other things, like making my shirts not fit.

Recently there has been somewhat of a controversy brewing over on facebook regarding photos depicting babies/children breastfeeding. Several women who have profile and/or album pictures of themselves nursing their children have had their photos and/or entire accounts deleted because of “objectionable content”. This has led to a kind of online protest. Apparently “objectionable content” includes a half exposed breast being used for the purposes of feeding.

For example this:
Would be deleted.

And this:
Would also be deleted.

That is my baby. And yes, those are my breasts. (Well one of my breasts. The one on the other side looks just about identical.) Those photos of my infant child enjoying her booby time are considered objectionable by facebook standards.

This one though, is just fine.

By the way this is Heidi Montag (in case you live in a cave). I did not actually get this picture from facebook but I have a good fb friend who has a photo of herself far more scantily clad than this so Heidi pales in comparison. I didn’t ask my friend if I could use her photo otherwise I would have just to make a point. Anyway. There you go. Appropriate. By facebook standards.

(Those aren’t real. Just in case you were confused and thought we had evolved into milking cows.)

Here’s the law: Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997) allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, EXCEPT the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. (AB 157) (emphasis mine). Ok so facebook is a private site and therefore can apparently self govern so I guess laws about breastfeeding don’t specifically apply to them because technically facebook is considered a “home”. Go ahead read that again, see if it makes sense. It doesn’t.

Now, I’m not one to get my panties in a bunch over much but there are a few things at the top of my list and guess what, breastfeeding is one of them.

There are a few reasons for this:

a. Because of my education and health care background I happen to know scientifically (not that that means much) of the health benefits of breastfeeding. In case you didn’t know they include things like improved health of mother and baby, reduced cancer risks and protection against asthma, diabetes, leukemia and a host of other things. If you need more than that, read the link above. I’d hope not.

b. Because I’ve seen firsthand (four times now) what breastfeeding (and especially exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding) can do for a mother and her baby.

c. Because we are one of the most educated and advanced countries in the world (or so I’m told) and yet we still breastfeed our babies less and for a shorter duration than many other countries (see here for data).

d. Because I think (this is just me thinking btw) that a whole load of the problems in our country are directly related to a few things. One of those things is parent-child bonding and attachment. If you aren’t attached to your breastfeeding baby you’re a monster, or you have a detachable breast, which last I checked isn’t possible.

There you go. Reasons a through d. (Also on the list of “thing to get your panties in a bunch about”: racism, sexism, homophobia and fear mongering. Just so you’re aware of my hot points.)

So like I said this one chaps my hide just a little bit. Besides being utterly ridiculous it only further perpetuates the image of breastfeeding being somehow sexual in nature (right, because milk is so sexy) when we need to be normalizing it as part of our culture.

I nurse in public. Yep. I’m one of those women. I just take my breast right out at the dinner table of a restaurant or in a store or at the mall or wherever I happen to be when Ella is hungry. You know, cause she’s HUNGRY. I’m certainly not going to make her wait to eat while I go find some filthy empty bathroom stall. No. Thank. You. Also, I don’t generally cover her head because, well, that’s silly. I’m not hanging my nipple out for goodness sake. I realize I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said a hundred million times by breastfeeding advocates all over the world, I’m just saying it again. Because *some* people appear to not be getting the picture.

Like this one:


The picture of a happy, healthy, exclusively breastfed baby.

breastfeeding , breasts , hot points