Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nursery, Sweet Nursery

It's done.

Well, ok, there's more to do. I have a feeling there will always be more to do. Greg and I decided it was a good time to clean up the room and show off all we've done.

First:

The closet before.
What a waste of space.
Check out the bend in that shelf.
Room color and blinds before.

Now that you're sufficiently prepared - Here's a video tour of the room. Why yes, I work without a script.

We put a bunch of the gifts in the room but if you don't see yours, don't fret. We've still got lots of other items stashed elsewhere. As there's more to do, we don't want to fill the room just yet.

I did say this in the video but I think I should repeat it. After shooting the video we removed the bumpers and blanket from the crib, and we will get those swing tags removed from the stuffed animals etc before baby gets a hold of them.

The lighting in the room isn't great right now, and during the day it looks completely different.

Here are some stills:

New closet 1
New closet 2
Crib and alphabet cards

When Greg painted each of these boxes for the closet, he left behind an abstract creation, which seems to show the colors better than anything else.

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I can't say this enough - Greg deserves the vast majority of the credit. He did all the design and carpentry, all the heavy lifting, all the painting. I helped where I could with putting furniture together etc but he still did nearly all of it. He's still the best husband ever, and I know our kid will appreciate him as a dad.

I have to give thanks to Jenn Ski, who provided much needed inspiration.

And many, many thanks to those who've showered us with gifts, from registry items to your own inspirations, from gift cards to cash. You're helping us tremendously.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I was going to write about baby showers but I still have two more to go. Maybe I'll save that wrap-up for afterward.

I will say that even though I knew we'd need a lot of things, I am still surprised to see how much we need even after 3 very generous showers. Don't get me wrong, everything we've gotten so far is dearly needed, from clothing to toys to gadgets to larger items. Looks like the gift cards we've received will prove very useful, very quickly.

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I've had a cold for nearly a week now and it's driving me crazy. I can't take anything for it except hot tea (usually decaf with honey and lemon), throat lozenges, and nasal spray (which you're not supposed to overuse, so that's relegated to helping me sleep). It built up slowly and has been going strong for a few days now, though I think I'm past the peak.

To those of you that celebrate it - Merry Christmas. We spent the day doing household projects. Greg got the closet that much closer to completion. It's looking great and will be DONE as of this weekend, leaving me able to get the organization part done this week during my time off. I went through the kitchen cabinets and did some sorting there, finding a surprising amount of space for the baby-related kitchen items.

Next up...packing for the hospital. We're 5 weeks away from the due date.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

33 weeks



Yeah, I don't look much different from this angle than I did two weeks ago. I might even look smaller. I think that the two-dimensional photos really don't do my changes justice. Perhaps I should have been taking a few different angles each time, or even used video instead.

In any case, I'm feeling really dense in the belly these past couple of days so I think I'm about to see a growth spurt.

I think I'm getting the 3rd trimester down: Extra support for the belly while sleeping, check. Restroom visit every two hours or less, check. Bottle of tums in my purse for after nearly every meal, check. Less caffeine (since he seems more sensitive to it lately), check. Little changes in how I do things makes every move a little more comfortable.

More later about baby showers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nearing 7.5 months

OB appointment this week was easy as usual. I did not gain much weight at all this past month. He reassured me that it was perfectly fine, I'm a small person, everyone is different, etc. I'm willing to bet that I've lost weight elsewhere as the baby gains density.

He took a culture for a bacterial test, measured the belly, and did a quick sonogram to check position. He's still head down, which is a good indicator that he'll stay that way, though there is a small chance he could still flip around. The kid kicked for the doc which pleased both of us.

I asked about some pain I've been having at the top of my belly, right in the center (below the sternum). I figured it was basic stretching of skin and the separation of the abdomen muscles. I mostly have it when I'm sleeping and need to roll over. It's taken some time for me to get used to rolling over slowly to avoid the stabbing feeling I get. He had a quick look and touch and verified that it wasn't herniated and was normal. It's a lot of weight to flip over, and that's basically where all the pressure ends up. His only recommendation was more pillows.

I also get quite itchy right there as the skin is pulled on and grows. Another normal result. Now I know why women rub their preg bellies so often. (That, and it's a natural place to put your hands.)

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We've had two childbirth classes so far and I'm enjoying them. The instructor works at our hospital and knows the ins and outs of the place, so all the information she gives is based on what we'll actually be dealing with. She shows us medical items used in the delivery room and discusses all the different circumstances. She's got posters, handouts, videos, and even the actual devices. Even after all the reading I've done, there's still a lot of practical things to learn. I favor learning things from books but getting to ask questions and get visual answers is another level of help.

There's been a small amount of breathing exercise, along with massage ideas for the coaches. What I've found inspiring so far is the different positions possible for laboring. You can stand, lean on a chair, walk around, kneel, even go down on all fours, whatever feels most productive. The more I see of the freedom they offer during labor these days the more heartened I feel. The flip side is that if you get an epidural, you can no longer stand and you are confined to a bed for the rest of the labor. Quite the trade off. I currently feel as though I'd prefer to own the discomfort and be able to move around as I felt necessary. (All pre-labor claims are subject to change without notice.) Of course, all this comes from hoping for a standard natural delivery.

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Our second baby shower was last weekend, a crazy co-ed affair with friends, and this coming weekend is our third, with my side of the family. Already I'm quite overwhelmed by all the support and love we're lucky enough to receive. Writing thank you notes is actually a lot of fun, as I get to say something loving to people who may not hear it enough from us. Greg has the shorter end of the stick - he's working very hard to get the nursery going, and it involves many things I can't do, such as lugging heavy objects and painting. I guess lugging my own "heavy object" day after day counts for something, but still! By the way, painting and closet transformations start soon. I'll take some before and after pictures so you can ooh and ahh at my husband's awesome handiwork.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bottle addendum

I realized I didn't mention bottles in my last post. As soon as we're sure the baby is nursing ok we'll start pumping milk and using bottles. This will give Greg and others a chance to feed the baby while I get a break.

Regardless of how well breastfeeding goes, we'll be using bottles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Breast is best

I am nearly done in my breastfeeding research. Once again I'm happy to be having a baby now instead of 15 or even 10 years ago.

It's taken a long time for breastfeeding to make a full comeback, to the point where you can find hospitals who support it fully. It sounds crazy to me, but for an entire generation of women and their babies, breastfeeding wasn't only a socially awkward option, it was also not the medically sanctioned one.

I'm sure there are still hospitals that go by the old routine - baby is born, taken to the nursery, given a bottle of formula on the nurses' schedule. It's just easier for a large institution to do things their way. They can keep closer tabs on the baby, and the formula fattens the kid up much quicker than breast milk.

I've talked to moms from my parents' generation who say that nurses talked them out of breastfeeding, and read about an era when only 20 percent or less of babies were breastfed. Even in recent years, you might have a nurse who supported breastfeeding, and a doctor who didn't - and you'd have them whispering in your ear, "don't listen to that other person, this is what you need to do."

Now, there is so much support. Our hospital's standard operating procedure involves couplet care, where the baby stays with mom the entire time, if possible. They encourage the baby to latch on to the breast within the first hour of birth, and have a lactation consultant on staff.

La Leche League is an international group that works both in the basic one-on-one support new moms may need and is the first to speak up for the rights of breastfeeding moms and their babies. Even if your hospital isn't supportive, you can find someone nearby from LLL who is.

People wonder why breastfeeding needs this much help. Isn't it natural, instinctual? The answer is yes and no. New moms from my generation may have never seen breastfeeding before. They may feel uncomfortable with the concept. Much of breastfeeding is in your head, and if you're not relaxed, it'll be much harder. Babies also have to learn it, and without the guidance of a mom who knows how it works, the baby also may be frustrated and unable to latch.

All of this is easy for me to say now, having never tried it. I feel rather confident in my abilities here because my mom had such an easy time of it. My pregnancy has been as easy as hers so far, so I'm hoping my luck and genes hold out. I did see my mom breastfeed while I was growing up and I don't think I have any hangups about it. I've read 3 books simultaneously on the subject so I already feel like I'm prepared. Yes, I'm keeping in mind that nothing is as it seems and I should be prepared for all eventualities.

I plan on discreetly breastfeeding in public as well. I registered for a breastfeeding cover, which is basically a cloth worn on a hoop around your neck, to shield the nursing baby and breast from public view but still allow eye contact between the two of you. Hopefully I'll feel comfortable enough to do this most anywhere. Personally, I wish for a world where breastfeeding didn't have to be covered up at all, but I'm willing to make concessions for a world still recovering from the silliness of anti-breast thinking.

Even so, I can't say I fall on the activist side of things. I think my upper age limit for breastfeeding is much lower than some. If I do have a hangup, it's that when a child can actually talk and request breastfeeding, it's kind of weird. I know that many moms feel differently and that's fine...and I just might change my mind, but that's my current feeling.

Some women boycott Nestle because they do their best to sell their formula to third world countries where the water supply is very dangerous to babies. Free samples go to new moms and the doctors get endless freebies and incentives to push the product. Yes, some moms can't breastfeed, but proportion of bottle fed to breastfed is extremely high, as is the infant mortality rate due to bad water. The reports on this are not good and I'm not happy about it...but I admit, I've never been good at full boycotts. I will say that I can never look at Nestle the same way again, and given the choice, I will probably buy something else.


In the end I treat it as a simple decision, not a political statement. Breastfeeding is preferable. I will try my best to make it happen. If it doesn't work, we'll try something else, whether it's pumping my milk for bottles or going for formula. As the books say, you do the best you can for your baby, and that is always good enough.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Waddling along

Something changed in the last day or so.

The waddle is in full swing. My steps are small and slow. I almost want to take a video of me walking just to have it for posterity.

My lungs are more than cramped. I felt winded all day today. In talking to patrons at the library I had moments where I felt I didn't have the breath for my usual spiel. Forget "everything in moderation", now it's "everything in slow motion."

People are noticing. My coworkers like joking about it because I used to walk quickly everywhere I went, as if there were fires to put out. I think it's funny too - and especially funny how I've accepted my new body's limits without too much mental strain.

All this put me in the mood to delegate today. I am starting to peel off the layers of duties I've accumulated at my job over the years and hand them off. For instance, when I had to face a weekly task that involves much stooping down to low shelves today, I turned to a coworker and passed it on. I had thought I could continue to do this for a while yet, but today has disproven that. Check, another thing off my list. No guilt or worry involved, everyone can pick up the slack, because I sure as heck can't. Thankfully, my awesome coworkers are ready to catch all that I drop.

Sure, I'm not the person I was 6 months ago, or even 2 months ago. I'm not supposed to be, and I know it. Being restrained like this is practically an out-of-body experience. I see myself sauntering down hallways I used to speed through...and it feels normal. Much like how in a dream one would accept walking through a river of chocolate pudding.

Speaking of dreams - my vivid dreaming made a comeback. Last night I had a complete dream involving NASA's recent discovery of water on the moon, involving drilling for water, creating robot-run farming, encasing the moon in an envelope of air and establishing a human utopia there. When I woke up, I had to work to convince myself that moving there wasn't an option for us and our new baby. (With geeky sci-fi dreams like that, maybe the name should be "Tiberius" after all.)

Anyway, my tiredness and generally wheezy disposition come at an annoying time. Tonight we attend our first childbirth class, put on by the hospital. I'm excited to see what their procedures are and get that much closer to a delivery room mindset. Older friends and family assume it's a Lamaze class, younger ones ask what methodology they use, and while I'm sure it's a combination of things, I have to admit that I don't know exactly and we'll have to see.

At least it will involve lots of sitting down, which I could use.

31 weeks



Click the photo for a bigger version, as usual. (This resized image came out small this time but I don't have the time to fix it this morning!)

Plenty of people are saying now that I'm not very large for 7 months along. I think that when you lift the shirt you can see that it's proportionately large for my small frame. However, I'm not prone to do that in public. The other aspect is that the belly is tight and dense. I'm all baby (and baby-related tissues). People are surprised when I mention that I've gained almost 20 pounds.

Had a lovely time at my first baby shower last weekend. Everyone is so generous and sweet. I'm beginning to churn out the thank you notes, though I do take time on each to make sure they're genuine. I better get them done this week because I'll have another batch to do after next Sunday, and another the week after that...