Category : Personal Posts

Personal Posts Pregnancy

What Do You Think? Boy, or Girl?

31 weeks

I thought it would be fun to see if you think I’m having a boy or a girl. As you know, we’re expecting baby #3 in December. All 3 have been "surprises." With my daughter, everyone on my husband’s side thought I was having a boy, since there were 5 grand sons and 4 great-grandsons on that side (now there are 7 great-grandsons…my daughter is the only girl!) My side thought it was a girl since they "don’t make boys."

With my son, my sister thought it was a boy, and strangers thought it was a boy, but no one else really knew! We went to a Chinese restaurant and the owner said definitively "It’s a boy." Not "do you know what you’re having?" She was sure, and said it was because I was "all out front." She was right!

This pregnancy hasn’t really been similar enough to either of my pregnancies for me to really know either way. The picture above was taken last week, at 31 weeks, and I think I’m even more "out front" than I was with my son! I initially thought it was a girl, largely because of the timing/charting/whatever that thing is that says XX live longer than XY, but now I’m thinking boy.

It really doesn’t matter either way. I’d love another little boy, but my daughter really wants a sister. If it’s a boy I don’t think any of the baby clothes will work (opposite seasons) and we can’t come up with a boy name!!

For giggles, here’s what I see when I look down:

31w (2)IMG_9885

What do you think? Is it a boy or a girl? 😀

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Motherhood Personal Posts

Slightly Strange Reasons I’m Proud of My 2-Year Old

We’re all proud of our kids. They’re the cutest, sweetest, most brilliant children on the face of the earth. After all, they are our children, right? 😉

My daughter was so verbally advanced that I have to try really hard not to compare. When the pediatrician asks questions about my son’s development, he has to remind me that my daughter is/was exceptional, and I can’t use her as a benchmark! However, my son has totally shocked me in the past several months.

I’m going to be annoying and say he’s “28 months old.” I promise I will not be saying 40whatever months, leaving you scrunching up your face, doing mental math! It just seems like there’s such a huge, huge difference between a child who just turned two, a child who is 2 and 2 months, 4 months, almost 3 etc.

In the months since his birthday, his vocabulary and sentence structure has exploded. He’s counting to 15, singing songs and all that good stuff. Not only can he count to 15, he seems to have a slight grasp on #s, as in, he knows that “free bellypops” (three lollipops) are way better than one or two!!

The other weekend, he used a public potty with no potty seat and he accidentally drew a perfect lower case e on his magna doodle. Oh accident schmacksident, he’s a regular Einstein! Tee-hee!

He also understands if/then propositions way better than my daughter did at that age (heck, better than she does now!) He totally gets we’ll change your diaper, then we’ll go down and play. Picks a diaper, lays right down, then hops up ready to go! Unfortunately he also has the selective hearing that’s common to 2-year olds (and the male species in general), so “eat dinner, then you can have candy” backfires, since he only hears “you can have candy!”

The same day he used the public potty, he was holding a lemon slice from my water (and don’t tell me about all the reports about germs on lemons, I don’t want to think about it…ew) and my daughter was having her usual fit of pouting because “I want a lemon too!” (read this like: I want an oompa loompa now!!) and my son, without hesitation, ripped the lemon slice in half and gave her a piece!

I know sharing and 2-year olds is an iffy issue, especially since my 6-year old sets a terrible example. (We’re working on that, but she was an only child for almost 4 1/2 years, so it’s tough!) His willingness to share actually leads me to probably the top reason I’m proud of my son.

He has an uncanny ability to read people’s facial expressions and feelings, and he has genuine empathy for other people. Even when we are reading books, he will analyze the characters and other illustrations and say something like; “Pooh Bear sad, water fall down.” That was in a book where Pooh Bear slipped and knocked his honey pot over.

When we were dropping my daughter off at gymnastics, he saw a child a little younger than him crying, looked concerned, and said “He’s crying. He’s mad.” I didn’t even know if the child was crying out of sadness or anger/frustration, but his mother agreed that he was indeed mad! He is always concerned when his sister has a tantrum (daily, at least) and wants to make things better. He even tries to stick up for her, like the other day when she said my dinner was “disgusting” and wanted “something else.” He tried to ask me for “sunthin’ ewse” for her, on her behalf!

He also has a genuine understanding of “I’m sorry.” He may step on my foot and when I say “ow” (that kid seriously stomps for such a little guy!) he will turn around, say “I’m sorry” and give me a little pat, or otherwise make sure I’m OK. If he spills something, he will say “I’m sorry Mommy!” and he’ll go grab a towel to help clean it up.

It may seem like a strange thing to be proud of, but it seems like American boys/men are taught that they shouldn’t have feelings, let alone show them, nor should they have any regard for anyone else’s feelings either. Two year olds are supposed to be self-centered, so it’s just amazing to me that he’s more in-tune with others’ feelings than his 6-year old sister (or most adults for that matter!!)

Are there any things your kids do that make you proud, that might seem like a weird thing to be proud of?

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Personal Posts Pregnancy

Is Your Spouse/Significant Other Weirded Out by Any Pregnancy Oddities?

My husband is actually really squeamish, but he has done well with all the freaky weird stuff that comes along with pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and the like.

He didn’t bat an eyelash at the grotesque swelling, insane weight gain or the loud belches that seem to sneak up on unsuspecting pregnant women (not that I burp or have gas of any kind, tee-hee!) He didn’t seem bothered by the leaking, engorged chesticles, or the comically large nips that went along with them, nor any of the other many fluids that are part of the childbirth package.

I know at some point during or after each child’s birth, he wanted to say “OMG nasty,” hurl, pass out, or all three. Fortunately, he is smart enough to have done none of the above. Amazingly, he mentioned after my son’s birth that he saw the placenta and almost took a picture of it (still a a little mad at him for not taking a pic!!) and I was really surprised that his ears didn’t start ringing & the room didn’t start spinning when he saw it!

So what did he think was beyond bizarre? My belly button. Yep, the good old belly b. My button has never completely popped out, but a few weeks ago, I pointed out that it seemed like it was trying to. It almost had a lip at the top where it was starting to turn inside out (now it’s about 25% inside out, LOL)

I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it cracked me up. It was along the lines of “I should not be able to see the inside of your belly button. That’s unnatural and just plain wrong.”

Seriously, he seemed genuinely disturbed by this development. Not that he’s exactly in the running for the belly button of the year award either. He had an emergency surgery about 15 years ago that left him with a large, zipper-like scar down his entire abdomen. So yeah, he’s not going to be getting belly button model job offers any time soon either!

How about you? Does something about pregnancy creep your partner (or you!) out?

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Birth Home Birth Personal Posts Pregnancy

My Journey to Homebirth

My journey to home birth has really been a long one. I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I’ll start at the beginning. (Cue Sound of Music soundtrack.)

At some point, I will tell the birth stories for my the two children already in my arms, but for the sake of keeping this post short enough to be readable, I’ll tell abbreviated versions.

When I became pregnant with my daughter in 2004, I wanted a natural birth. I envisioned giving birth in a birth center with a midwife. I was not incredibly “mainstream” but compared to where I am today, I really was. I had been brainwashed like many, and never would have considered home birth. Scary! Dangerous! OMG! Even though I was low risk, and the perfect candidate for home birth, I do not think I would have been successful. I just wasn’t there yet.

Anyhoo, I found an OB practice that I’d heard good things about, and who had many midwives on their roster. I called and was told that “midwives do not deliver babies in Maryland.” I took that as fact, and let that idea go. In fact, Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who are licensed and backed by an OB can deliver babies in Maryland. This particular practice just chooses not to take on that liability/malpractice premium.

Around that time, an acquaintance (I “met” her because she worked with my Mom actually) gave birth at home, with an unlicensed Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). I later learned that Maryland simply doesn’t license CPMs or Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) but at the time “unlicensed” in my mind=untrained and unqualified. I was so, so terribly wrong and I feel stupid for ever thinking this way, but it sure seemed dangerous and foolish to ignorant little me.

Long story short, I bought the hospital ticket and I sure did get the hospital ride. Though I emerged with few physical injuries, the emotional scars from my prenatal and birth “care” are with me almost 7 years later. I was bullied, belittled, intimidated, invalidated and treated like a number, a slab of meat, a “patient…” something (not someone) that didn’t matter at every turn. There were precious few moments from start to finish that I felt like I mattered in any way.

For a long time I felt like a failure, and I was grateful for the doctor, and for being in the hospital. It took years for me to realize that my biggest mistake was to go the the hospital in the first place. I didn’t fail myself or my daughter rather, I was failed by the system. I was in no position to stand up for myself. Even the strongest woman will have difficulty fighting “hospital policy” when she’s in labor. I still feel ill when I think about the ways in which I was held down and violated while I screamed (while being told to stop, be still, do what the doctor says, basically be a good girl) with my husband right there, unable to protect me (or even know that he should.) To many, my experience just doesn’t matter. My daughter was healthy, and what happened to me happens to women every day anyway.

I learned a lot between my daughter’s birth and my son’s birth, and by the time I was pregnant with him, I really wanted a home birth. I still wasn’t ready though. While home birth isn’t illegal, it would be illegal for the midwife attending me. I am a rule follower, and that really scared me. I saw the same OB throughout my pregnancy, visiting with others just once (so I would have met everyone prior to D-Day) and I really loved her. Still do. If she attended home births, I would gladly welcome her. She is just great and I really lucked out that she was on call when I went into labor.

I went into this birth very pessimistic, and afraid of feeling like a failure again, so I had very few expectations. I stayed home as long as possible, and ended up giving birth within about 3 or 3 1/2 hours of arriving at the hospital. I had 3 cervical checks that I didn’t want, intermittent monitoring that I didn’t want, and an IV, all according to “hospital policy.” While I realize that you can legally refuse these things, that’s really easier said than done. I did manage to give birth sans medication aside from GBS antibiotics (which I could write a whole post on!) and pitocin after birth (which I didn’t consent to and didn’t know I had until I requested my records this year).

All in all, I was pretty happy with the birth, and I did feel it was a somewhat healing birth. I even had an easier time bonding with my son. Even so, there were so many things that bothered me about the birth. Rather than listing those things, I’ll list the things I’m looking forward to about home birth (this may get long):

  • No unnecessary interventions, and no need to fight against them.  No trying desperately to stay still during a contraction so the monitors wouldn’t move, losing the HB, making it look like there was trouble & leading to more monitoring.  No hands or objects shoved in me.  No being forced on my back to do it, which was the most painful position for me. No being told this is what we’re doing (if they even did that much). What happened to informed consent?
  • No being grilled with incessant questions while trying to cope with contractions.
  • No transition to the hospital ( or back to the “real world” with life with a new baby for that matter.
  • No feeling inhibited by strangers’ presence, no half dozen people filtering in the room while I’m pushing, unaware that they are there.
  • Ability to eat and drink what I want and use the bathroom when I want.
  • Move/walk/go wherever I want.
  • No artificial time constraints on any stage of labor.
  • Make whatever sounds I want without inhibition.
  • Push in whatever position I want to without any argument or battles.
  • Finally, I won’t be the 3rd+ person to touch my baby and the absolute last person in the room to know the baby’s gender.
  • Ability to bond with the baby however I want (touching, talking etc.) without feeling funny/inhibited by what I say/how I say it in front of strangers.
  • No baring my body in front of strangers to nurse, be “checked” or attempting to use the bathroom on command after delivery.
  • Baby won’t be taken away from me.  Supposedly you have the “right” for that not to happen, but it’s easier said than done for hearing checks etc.
  • No fear of procedures or treatments (or bottles or pacis) being given without my permission.
  • No being bullied into giving formula.
  • No being woken as soon as I fall asleep for BP, temp etc.  That’s when the baby and I both aren’t being woken to check baby!
  • Sleep in my own bed.  Nuff said.
  • Shower in my own shower with decent water pressure and a towel bigger than a washcloth.  (WTF are they thinking giving postpartum women such tiny azz towels??)
  • Wear whatever clothing I want, whenever I want.
  • No issues with cloth diapering from birth.
  • Complete access to my own house.  My own food, my own couch, my own stuff, my own comfort zone.
  • I control the lights and thermostat!
  • No waiting for “visiting hours” for my  children to meet the baby.
  • No unfamiliar/possibly resistant bacteria exposure.
  • Many, many more things that are slipping my mind at the moment!

I think that hospitals do have a place in some births, and I am incredibly grateful for medical intervention when necessary. In fact, I think not being comfortable with home birth, or not being “there yet” are valid reasons to have a hospital birth.  I truly, truly believe in the fear/pain/tension cycle and I think that if you fear home birth, it’s not for you. (Though I am the perfect example of doing a 180 after educating myself.)

I wanted to share a few of the books I read on my way to where I am today (which is pretty “far out there” as far as birth hippies go, LOL!)  They are Amazon affiliate links when available, so I would receive a small commission if you clicked through and bought.  I was able to find most at my local library, or through inter-library loan.

Spiritual Midwifery

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic and Birth

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation

Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth (Import)

Expecting Trouble: What Expectant Parents Should Know About Prenatal Care in America

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First
(if I had to choose just ONE book as a favorite, must read, this would be it.)

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth

Natural Birth: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding

Heart and Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)

Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

The Doctors’ Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis (Great Discoveries)

Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America, Expanded Edition

Emergency Childbirth: A Manual

Birth Emergency Skills Training: Manual for Out -of- Hospital Midwives

Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America

Male Practice

Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Unassisted Childbirth

Body, Soul, and Baby: A Doctor’s Guide to the Complete Pregnancy Experience, From Preconception to Postpartum

I know this isn’t all of them, I just can’t remember them all!

There are a few other books on my list that I haven’t been able to find at the library, so I am considering buying the e-book versions:

Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature

Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience

Birthing the Easy Way By Someone Who Learned the Hard Way

Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love

I have also been active in natural childbirth groups, and have read countless birth stories. Good and bad, blissful and catastrophic. Watched countless birth videos and read every medical study I could get my hands on. I’ve familiarized myself with complications possible during every stage, and have taken full responsibility for my care.

Naturally, we watched the requisite The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America also!

Needless to say, I didn’t make this decision on a whim, and I am very grateful to have an intelligent husband, who can listen to and understand the facts, and who supports me fully. He was a little bit slower to move over to the home birth side, but he was able to have reasonable conversations with me, express his concerns, and allow me to do additional research for him to allay his fears.

I do hope to share my birth stories at some point. However, it wasn’t a bad hospital birth that “drove me to home birth.” I truly, completely believe that home birth is the safest, best choice for me and my family. My previous births definitely did play a role in my trip to where I am now. Would I go back and have a home birth with my first child? I don’t know. Maybe if I knew then, all that I know now. Otherwise, no. I don’t think I would have succeeded because I wasn’t ready.

Read my home birth story.

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Personal Posts Pregnancy

For a Pregnant Chick, I Sure Have an Interesting “Night Life”

In fact, just Friday night I was hobnobbing with Prince William & Princess whats-her-face. I don’t recall what was said, but apparently they found me quite fascinating.

OK, so this happened in my dream world, in between tossing & turning, sweating, scratching my itchy pregnant skin, and numerous bathroom trips. I tend to have wacky dreams, but hello pregnancy hormones. I have some of the most vivid, realistic (and strange) dreams ever.

So realistic in fact that one night I woke up and nearly clobbered my hubby. I was awake for several minutes and it still seemed real, and I gave him the hairy eyeball the rest of the day!

One of the weirdest dreams I had was a recurring dream I had when I was pregnant with my son. I would suddenly go from being pregnant to having a baby, but I didn’t have anything I needed. I had to try to get to the store without a car seat to get the things I needed. I’d walk to the store carrying the baby, and when I got there, I’d realize I wasn’t wearing any shoes. Just as I found the things I needed, the baby would turn into a shoe, and I’d try to slink out of store unnoticed, carrying the shoe. That dream stopped once we got the car seat installed and got a few other things ready. So, the significance of that one is fairly clear…except for the shoe part. I guess I need to Google the meaning of shoe dreams!

I also had a lot of dreams where I’d had the baby and a lot of people were visiting. I’d go hours without seeing the baby & find out someone gave it a bottle and I’d get all furious George about it. I also couldn’t seem to remember the baby’s name or whether it was a boy or a girl. My friend thinks that we’re our own best dream interpreters, and she’s right. I’m pretty sure that was me expressing my concerns over unwanted visitors and meddling family.

I’ve had a “surprise, it’s twins!” dream this pregnancy, and when I tweeted about it, @Momofthreeunder replied that she’d had the same dream…then had them about 2 years later. *gulp*

So am I alone here? Do you have weird dreams (pregnancy induced or not?) Care to share any particularly interesting ones?

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