Thursday, December 30, 2010

Learning to Spell

Bug has been absolutely blooming in the language department as of lately. He is saying so many more words, and they are easier to understand...although most people still look at me and ask, "Do you know what he's saying?" Erm...sometimes I do.

Bug wowed the family about a month ago by showing off his counting skills. He can count to ten on his own about 80% of the time.

Recently, he has started "spelling" words. Whenever he sees letters (on Gizmo's shirt, in his books, on Crayola markers, etc.) he points to the letters and says "E, O, E, O, E, O..." Sometimes he uses "A" and "S". Sometimes it is "B" and "O"...which makes me giggle.

Today, Bug was standing behind me, pointing to the letters on the back of my shirt. And this time, he was saying "B, S, B, S, B, S..."

I love how innocently hilarious he can be!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Family Photo? UPDATE

Yesterday was probably one of the most stressful days -EVER-! It seemed like most everything was going wrong, and very little was going right. Add that on top of the Christmas busyness that we've been dealing with the past couple weeks...(sorry neglected blog)...and you get a mama that needs a chance to relax.

My mom got us tickets to see a Christmas show called Awaited, at the Crossroads church here in Cincinnati. Everything is free. Hot chocolate, cookies, play area, music cd, kid's activity book, the actual show....and family photos. I was so excited to be able to go and enjoy everything, get a family picture done, and all for free while enjoying a show that is all about the true meaning of Christmas.

Bug, unfortunately, didn't nap like we though he would. And he didn't want to stand in line for the picture. So, Grandma Marty took him to the play area. We would call her when we got close in the line for our picture, and she would bring Bug to us. Well.....the line moved much faster than we thought it was going to. And then the people in front of us stepped out of the line. We quickly called Grandma Marty, and we got our ticket (with our number on it, to get the photo off the Internet later). We were told that if our entire party wasn't there, they would just have to take the picture anyway. We said that was fine, thinking there was still time. Surely Bug would get to us by the time we were in front of the camera.

The people in front of us went and sat. Bug still wasn't with us. They got their picture taken. Bug still wasn't with us. They got up and left. Bug still wasn't with us. The photographer asked us if we were ready. Bug still wasn't with us. We went ahead and sat down. Bug still wasn't with us. We smiled. Bug still wasn't with us. And we got our "family" picture taken...But Bug still wasn't with us.

As soon as we got up and walked out of the photo area, Grandma Marty comes rushing along with Bug in tow. But it was too late. We had our first family of four picture taken with only three of us!

Merry Christmas!

(I totally didn't notice that deer head when we got the photo taken. It goes well with my patchwork skirt! hehehe. And I didn't know I was sporting the "I just recently nursed" shirt.)

And, here is a family photo WITH Bug.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Bib

I am officially one of THOSE mothers. You know, the one whose kid is always wearing a bib. Always. To catch the drool.

I don't know how I ended up with such a drooly baby. Bug wasn't very drooly. I mean, of course he did drool some. But, Gizmo. Oh, Gizmo. He is like the never ending faucet of saliva. A bubbling (literally) brook of slobber (which Bug finds hilarious, "Bubbles!")

My sister reminded me that Bug was a summer baby, and therefore, it didn't matter as much for his shirt to be perpetually full of spit. But, Gizmo, as a winter baby, needs to keep dry to keep warm. It's true. And the bib is actually AMAZING for keeping him dry and warm. I guess that's why moms do it. Whenever I saw a baby with a bib on (and no food being fed to him), I used to think, "Poor kid...being stuck in a bib all the time. That can't be fun." Now I think, :"Look at my super cute and stylin' baby and his rockin' bib that's keeping him dry!"

Gizmo is about 31/2 months old, and I can already see little white spots on his bottom gums, indicating that those first teeth aren't too far off. When did he decide to grow up so quickly?

Oh, and just a related note: Gizmo's teething has, along with the increase in drool, increased all other mucous. Which means his nose is stuffy. Which means he isn't nursing as well. Which means Mommy gets engorged (and leaks all over the bed at night). Which means Mommy pumps 10oz. in 20mins. in the morning (while still leaving milk to satisfy the little guy's hunger). Amazing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Single Mother Diaries: In the End

Today is the last day of my single mom gig. Hallelujah. But, since my last update, things have only gone downhill....which would be ok if I was walking or riding a bike. But I'm not. So it's not really ok.

Saturday night, I threw a party. It was supposed to be me AND the Hubs throwing the party, but you can't help throw a party in Ohio when you are in Ecuador. (Poor guy, he really didn't want to miss the party.) I think the party was the only thing keeping me together all of last week. I had things to do (erm, clean) to get ready for having guests over at my house. It kept me distracted. And I was excited for the party.

Before I knew it, the party was over. And it was Sunday.

Sundays without a husband are hard. Really hard. Especially when you have a kid like Bug. I brought a pack of Skittles to church to keep Bug sitting still and quiet throughout Sacrament meeting. (We'll just ignore the fact that I had to let him run around unsupervised before church started, while I printed all the programs.) The Skittles worked....until the closing hymn. Then, Bug decided that he needed to chuck a Skittle five rows ahead of us. So, I took him out. And then I took him to nursery. *phew!*

The next two hours at church were great. But once I picked Bug up from nursery, he decided to not cooperate. Imagine: baby wrapped in a blanket held in one arm, huge diaper bag on my back, dragging a tantrum-ing toddler by him arm with my other hand, then trying to keep said toddler from running away by "holding" his arm in between my legs, while I try to get our coats on before going out into the freezing cold. Luckily, I had some help with caring church members.

I went straight to my parents' house after church, and once I got there, I felt incredibly lonely. And I missed my husband more than I had ever missed him before! And I cried. Then my sister gave me a hug, and I cried some more. Then my mom gave me a hug, and I cried even more. (I swear, when I'm emotionally fragile and people hug me, it's like they give me permission to completely lose it.)

And, I've pretty much been weepy ever since. Busy (I would like to add to my "what I did these past 10 days list": go to high school choir concert, hang out with mother-in-law, work even more on that Nativity with my sister, go to Jungle Jim's, make yakisoba and gyoza, do my visiting teaching, more laundry, dishes, another shower or two) but weepy.

I'm pretty much done being a single mom. Not just because the Hubs is going to be home tonight, but because I emotionally can't handle it anymore. I think Heavenly Father knew I could only handle 10 days. Or maybe, I suppose, he has given me the strength to get through it....and if it had been a full two weeks, or a month, or even a year...He would have given me the strength to get through it. But you better believe it, I will be at the airport tonight at midnight, wide awake as can be, and beaming from ear to ear!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Single Mother Diaries: In the Middle

I am now officially half way done with the single mom gig. Yesterday, I went over to my parents' house. Both boys were asleep when I got there. I chose to carry in the baby first, I dumped him on the couch with my sister and went back out into the cold for Bug. When I got Bug laying down in a bed, I came back to the living room and flopped down on the couch. I felt that things had finally caught up to me, and I was EXHAUSTED!

Of course, that was kind of part of my plan. I wanted to go go go and do do do the whole time that Hubby was gone. Really, I only had to choices: stay as busy as a one legged River dancer (I've been dying to use that saying!), or sit around the house all depressed-like while eating massive amounts of sugar. I chose River dancer.

And my schedule doesn't really let up over the next 5 days. But, hey, the past 5 days, I've gone to Relief Society, had a play date, made wool booties for Gizmo, done screen printing shirts for the boys, worked for HOURS with my sister on a felt Nativity, read 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon, written 5 entries in a journal for the Hubs, done laundry, done dishes, made meals, made a pie, wrapped gifts, paid bills, watched 15 episodes of Backyardigans, skyped with Hubby, showered (4 times, I think), done hair and makeup 4 times, written blog posts, finished the program for church, straightened up the living room, gone grocery shopping...twice, made recycled wool sweater leg warmers, filled up the gas tank, played a few card games with my family, changed over 50 diapers, and nursed over 60 times.

And I don't even think that is all! Is it worth it? To have the Hubs gone (not like we've had much choice if we want him to have such wonderful employment) and keep myself busy? I'm telling myself "yes", and here is why (in a short story):

Before the Hubs left, we decided together on a strict NO PHONE CALLS rule. Because, international calls are really expensive, and we have other means of communication (Skype, email). We were to only call each other in a dire emergency. Let me repeat: DIRE EMERGENCY. I'm thinking that means dying in a Latin American alley, lost limb, plane going down, broken neck, blood transfusion. You know...dire emergency.

So, yesterday evening, I was sitting in the living room floor at my parents' house, sewing away at my recycled sweater leg warmers, when I hear my phone ringing. I run to get it....missed the call. And who was it? The Hubs. *duh duh duh duuuunnnnnnnn*

I could feel my heart rate rising, my palms starting to sweat. Was he attacked by some Ecuadorian thug, lying in a dark alley in only his underwear (and somehow his phone), bleeding, dying, calling his wife to say "I love you" one last time? (My sister later told me that I have an overactive imagination. She can be so insensitive.) I was in a quandary, was it really an emergency, and I needed to call him back? Did he mis-dial, and not even mean to call me at all? I figured a single text would be cheaper than a possibly long international call. "Did you just call for an emergency? What going on?"

Five minutes later...while my imagination is definitely being overactive...I get a reply. "No. I just needed your size."

WHA'!?!? Here I am, thinking he's dying, and he's strolling the marketplace looking for wearable souvenirs for me.

But, back to the purpose of me telling this story: is it worth it? I say, "YES!" But, only because one thing: a hand-woven, Alpaca rebozo (I think they actually call it an ikat macana in Ecuador) from Ecuador....FTW!

One more thing: last night, while playing cards with my family, Bug counted to ten with very, very, very little help. I was a little in shock! When did he learn how to do that!?! But, one thing is for sure, I have one smart little two year old!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Single Mother Diaries: In the Beginning

Monday: Take Hubby to his work building, so he can send a copy of his passport to his co-worker, who is already in Ecuador. In the elevator, Bug pushes the Emergency Stop button. I'm reminded how crazy it is going to be when I don't have a man to put the toddler on his shoulders....just to keep the kid out of trouble!

We get to the airport. After a long hug, and several kisses, I drive away.

I go grocery shopping. This is my first single parenting challenge. Grocery shopping with a baby and a toddler. Things go smoothly. We get to the checkout. Bug grabs a bag of M&M's while I'm unloading the cart. That's fine. No big deal. I don't even want to fight about it. I just make sure it gets paid for. (Right after the cashier swipes it, Bug yells, "Mine!" The cashier hands it to him. Bug is happy.)

By the time we got home, Gizmo was practically least that's what he told me. I grabbed as many groceries as I could, with Gizmo in the sling and Bug content with his bag of candy. I fumble with the keys, but manage to get in the door and dump everything-groceries, baby, scarf, coat. Why on earth was it like 70 million degrees that day, I will never know. I tell Bug to sit at the kitchen table and eat his candy. I left poor Gizmo complaining on our giant bean bag chair while I ran down to get (hopefully I can carry it all) the last load....and the mail.

I get back up the the apartment. Gizmo is really mad now, so I put away all the cold stuff as quickly as possible, swoop up the baby, plop down on the couch, and rip open the nursing bra. Suddenly, I realize I need to use the restroom. REALLY REALLY BADLY. Gizmo is swimming in my overactive letdown. Gulp. Gulp. Sputter. Gulp. I'm doing the "pee-pee" dance while sitting down, bouncing the baby on my lap as he dribbles milk out of his mouth. Once he drifts off to sleep, I carefully lay him down and run to the restroom. Phew!

Then, we all went and crashed at my parents' house. I got a call from Hubby, his flight to Ecuador was being postponed...for 14 hours (due to a volcanic ash cloud over the airport)! He was stuck in Miami. He would, hopefully, be flying out in the morning. Then, my family decided they were going to be too boring (well, that and it was getting really late). So, we went home.

I read out of the Book of Mormon to Bug for an hour before he fell asleep. It was after midnight. I crawled into bed with Gizmo and passed out. At around 3am, Bug joined us.

Tuesday: 6am, I get a call from Hubby. "I forgot to fill my prescription for the Malaria medication. I'm not sure if I will be able to go. I need to call my travel agent." Way to get my hopes up. Turns out, Malaria meds are only recommended, not required. He's going to Ecuador without them.

I decide to stay home all day. I take a nice shower (with Gizmo complaining the whole time). I take a nap with both boys. Around 4pm, I get on Skype with the Hubs. He is comfortably lounging in his hotel room in Ecuador. He told me a woman tried to hit on him on the airplane, and he didn't even notice until a couple minutes had passed, because he was too into the movie that was playing. (I love him!)

I make dinner, watch some Man vs. Food on Netflix, Skype some more, cry. Cry. Cry. Then fall asleep. I didn't even bother putting Bug in his own bed. I needed my loved ones close to me that night.

I'm falling a little behind on my list of things to do. Luckily, I should be able to catch up on Friday...because the only thing I have to do is "wrap gifts". But today, I'm going to Skyline for lunch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

10 Days...And a bit of Thanks

It has been 10 days since my last post. Did you miss me? Well, that was all just a little prep for my readers, so you will be able to empathize (or would it be sympathize?? Those words always get me) with me beginning this Monday...when my husband goes out of Ecuador....FOR TEN DAYS!

Yes, the hubby gets to go to South America on business, and I get to stay home with the kiddos. I haven't really had to deal with him going on long trips before. I'm feeling kind of nervous. But, I keep telling myself that I will be all right, as long as he brings me back a really, really, REALLY cool souvenir. (I'm hoping for a handwoven traditional rebozo.)

I'm thinking it will make for some pretty interesting blog posts, though. You know, the "Single Mom Diaries", or something. NOT that I profess to understand, in even the most minuscule way, how a single mom feels! But it will be a very new experience for me. Although, it is likely that I will be hanging out at my parents' house every day. (Hopefully getting in some P90X to work off all the pumpkin pie I'm planning on eating today.) Wish me luck!

On another note, Happy Thanksgiving. I would like to take a moment to list some things that I'm grateful for:
-my membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
-the sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ
-the Holy Ghost, and his guidance in my life
-my amazing, wonderful husband
-being a mother
-Bug and Gizmo
-my extended family
-my husband's work, that allows us to live comfortably...even though it takes him away sometimes
-soft, felted wool slipper boots
-good music
-clean burp cloths
-dessert foods

I decided to make a condensed list, with the most important things, and then a few things that I'm loving particularly today. Hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mama is SO resourceful!

This past Saturday, the boys (hubby included) and I all went to my parents' house to play for the day. Now, I normally don't let the hubs pack the diaper bag. Or be responsible for making sure everything we need to day outings gets to the car. Because he always forgets at least one thing.

Apparently, I'm a major control freak. I've been told by those wiser than me, though, that I need to trust the hubby and let him take care of the diaper bag (or making sure that the baby's butt get sufficiently wiped, or the laundry properly folded, etc). I've been told that the world won't end if something is forgotten.

I guess that's true.

So, this Saturday, we were missing a baby carrier...AND an extra outfit for Bug. (TWO things forgotten!!! I'm proud to say that I didn't overreact. Really, I didn't.)

Enter: The old sheet. My parents' house is full of super soft, old sheets and blankets. I found a particularly soft (washed a million times), pink (came from a house of girls), loved (read: rips and paint stains) twin sized sheet. I folded it in half "hot dog style" (I can't figure out if that would be width wise, or length wise....I'm writing this post at 11pm...that's my excuse), wrapped it around and across my chest and tied a double knot. Then I popped little Gizmo in and went outside to play. I was very proud of my sheet sling. It was almost more comfortable than my ring sling. Instant baby carrier. Simple piece of cloth. No-way-to-carry-my-baby-and-still-take-care-of-my-toddler crisis averted.

Then there was that blasted extra outfit that -wasn't- in the diaper bag that I had to worry about.

Meet Bug. The toddler. The crazy, psycho, messy, climb-fences-feed-rocks-to-dogs-play-in-the-dirt toddler. It was a BEAUTIFUL day on Saturday. I mean, 70 degrees F beautiful. (In the middle of November!!) Of course, we were all outside. Of course, Bug got dirt all over his hands. Black dirt. And, of course, he wiped it all over his clothes...including a white onesie.

But, never fear...Mommy is clean your clothes in the kitchen sink with a little, tiny squirt of laundry soap. Bug got to run around half dressed for about an hour while I washed his clothes in the sink and dried them in the dryer. (I wasn't going to put them in a washer load, when there were only three items on two year old clothing that needed to be clean.) I only wished that I had my washboard. (Which, I do actually have a little washboard for my felting projects! I would love to use it for clothes washing someday.)

I'm not sure that the sparse diaper bag drama could be avoided every time. But, I think I'm going to keep trying to let my husband pack the bag. But, if he forgets the diapers...then I'll write a post about how Daddy learned to be resourceful....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Announcement: Facebook

Introducing, the newly made (and most assuredly, soon-to-be neglected) Offical Facebook page for The Mother's Lamentations blog! Go have a look. And like it.

Monday, November 1, 2010



Horrible, horrible candy. Or, as Bug would say, "'nacks!" (Snacks).

It turns my two year old into a whining, crying, yelling, screaming, parent-shushing toddler.

Not good.

Therefore, I have divided most of the Halloween candy up between me and the hubs.

Of course, I really don't need all that candy. I'm trying really hard to lose all that baby weight that I so lovingly gained for little Gizmo (who is actually 12.5lbs already, and isn't quite so little).

Which brings me to a something called P90X. Which is, if you haven't heard of it before, a butt-kickin', make-you-feel-like-you're-dying workout program.

My sister and her husband are in town for an extended vacation. They own P90X. And, oh how I love my sister, she is actually motivating me to work out with her. I'm actually pretty good at working out when I have someone to compete with. (And, my sister is as skinny as a rail, so she makes for some good motivating envy!)

Anyway, like this post, I'm completely spacey. (It's been a rough couple of weeks, with the husband working WAY more than he's getting paid to do...stupid salary...and not enough sleep for anyone).

I was talking about 'nacks. This morning, I found Bug on top of the refrigerator. ON TOP OF THE FRIDGE! I tell you what, that kid is crazy. And he got up there for one thing. Candy. Horrible, horrible candy!

(PS- The hubby tickled Gizmo under the chin and actually got him to giggle! It was awesome!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food on the Floor

I'm going to blame the lack of blogging lately on the fact that my computer is hooked up to our TV right now. You know, so we can watch hours and hours of "Psych" on Netflix instant download. It's hard to type up posts when you aren't sitting at a computer desk. (In fact, I'm sitting at the table, typing this up, and I'm not even looking at the computer TV screen. I'm sure this post is going to need extensive editing!)

I really don't know what I'm going to blame the lack of vacuuming on right now. I have no excuses. But, as I'm sitting at the kitchen table, I'm painfully aware of the large amount of stale food under Bug's chair. Really, it's disgusting. I just want to know why he has to drop such large amounts of food on the floor.

Yet...during lunch today, I had a bit of a humbling experience, when it comes to food on the floor. I was eating a meal that I just invented, that I will call "Taco Mess". Not quite a soup, not quite a casserole. Anyway, I was asking Bug why he kept dropping beans on the floor (he won't tell me), and all the sudden, a piece of corn rolled off my fork and onto the floor. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have happened if I wasn't so worried about Gizmo. You see, Gizmo was strapped onto my chest in the ring sling, fast asleep. I didn't want to drop food on his head. And I didn't want to bump his back into the edge of the table, so I was having a bit of a hard time getting the food from my plate to my mouth. And then it happened. I dropped food on the floor.

Now, Bug doesn't have to eat his food with a baby strapped to him, but I imagine he still stits there sometimes, wondering how the heck he is going to get the food from his plate to his mouth without making a mess. Sometimes it workks, sometimes it doesn't.

After most meals, I stick Bug in the shower...and vow to vacuum "today"....which may mean "next week". How long will it be before I can move to only vacuuming once a month?? Or, better yet, once a year!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to put on your shoes

This past Friday, I was getting myself and the boys ready to walk to a friend's house to play for a bit. We were all dressed and ready, except for shoes. I needed to sit down and nurse Gizmo right before we left, so I told Bug to get his shoes and put them on his feet.

Bug got his shoes out of the closet, plopped down and tried putting them on his feet. He usually doesn't have any issues putting his own shoes on, but he was struggling. I called from my seat on the couch that he needed to put -that- shoe on the -other- foot. He obeyed.

But, he was still struggling. I finally noticed (from my seat on the couch), that the tongue of the shoe was scrunched up. I told Bug, "You need to pull the tongue out!"

Now, before we go further, I must explain, I have told him this before. I have showed him what it meant, and explained how it helped his foot go into the shoe more easily. This is not a new concept.

So....back to where we were...I told him, "You need to pull the tongue out!"

And he stuck his tongue out. And just happened to get his shoe on at the same time! He looked so pleased that it actually worked. I laughed. A lot.

Then we went through the EXACT SAME THING with the other shoe. Bug really things that sticking -his- tongue out helps get his shoe on!

And, once again, I laughed. A lot.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gizmo's First Hickey

I know babies are often referred to as being "cute enough to eat" or "delicious" or "yummy" or some other good-food analogy. But, it is extremely important that these things aren't taken literally.

Many parents, also, like to play games with their young children by giving them "munchy" kisses and saying that they will "eat you up!" and the like. But, it is extremely important that these things aren't taken literally.

And toddlers shouldn't attempt to play these games with babies.

Bug has recently been "tasting" Gizmo by taking huge, sucking "bites" out of his arm (followed by some dramatic lip smacking and "mmm"-ing.) It started out as just little "bites" and licks. Then, all the sudden, I noticed that Gizmo has THREE hickies on his arm!!!

I've informed Bug that this kind of play is inappropriate. I hope he understands. But, I know it will be hard, because babies really are so tasty!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The PP Diaries: 6 Weeks

Dear Diary,

As of this week, I am officially out of my 6 week babymoon. Wow, how the time flies! I'm starting to get into the swing of things. However, I'm still using the PP excuse for -everything-. ("Oh, it's raining out today? It's because I just had a baby.")

Fortunately, my lochia has completely spite of me overdoing things one million times within these past six weeks. (Hike at the Nature Center, going to the zoo, cleaning the bathroom, getting mastitis, cleaning the church, going grocery shopping again and again, dishes, laundry, taking care of Bug, doing Pilates, etc, etc.)

Unfortunately, I'm still wearing maternity clothes, because nothing else fits.

Love, Mally

PS- Did I remember to brush my teeth today?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

International Babywearing Week 2010

I'm so happy that I haven't missed this. (Like I missed World Breastfeeding Week this year, and like I missed International Babywearing Week -last- year. Can't I just remember them both in one year!?!? I think it would help if during those weeks I had a baby that was breastfeeding and being worn!)

International Babywearing Week is basically a week where everyone around the world celebrates, appreciates, encourages, teaches, models and loves wearing their babies! Of course, you don't have to wait until Babywearing week to do all of that. (Check out the link to find a lot of wonderful information and resources for babywearing.)

Thanks to having a brand new baby, I have been slinging a kiddo lots and lots! Every time I go out, I make sure to have my ring sling. Just yesterday alone, I got TWO comments on my sling, and how they knew "So-and-so" who had one and they wished they had one of their own/had known about them/weren't so expensive to buy from well-known providers, etc. Then, I proudly announce that I made mine, and it cost me less than $20 (I think...I can't remember exactly how much the fabric was, but I'm sure it was pretty cheap!)

Once Gizmo gets a little heavier, I will move him strictly to my homemade stretchy wrap. And, hopefully, when he gets even bigger, I can move him to a woven wrap...or my homemade mai tai.

(Dear husband, I think I want a woven wrap for Christmas. Love, Mally)

Friday, October 1, 2010


When Bug was born, I was always very quiet when he was sleeping. I didn't want to wake him up, and I thought that noise would do just that. I have found that Bug is typically a very light sleeper. I don't know if I caused that by always being quiet when he slept, or if that's just how he sleeps. I am finding, however, that the more comfortable Bug becomes with sleeping in his own bed, the better he sleeps. (Bug has been in his own bed for a couple months now!!! Amazing!)

Gizmo, on the other hand, has to be able to have his naps with lots and lots of noise around. I can't keep Bug quiet, so Gizmo has learned to nap through the noise. I hope that lasts.

But, there is one problem with Gizmo's naps. And that is Bug. Bug touching Gizmo's nose. Bug wrenching around Gizmo's hand. Bug kissing Gizmo. Bug roaring in Gizmo's face.

Bug roaring in Gizmo's face. Bug roaring in Gizmo's face. Bug roaring in Gizmo's face. Bug roaring in Gizmo's face.

It's so frustrating!!! I have to tell Bug to leave Gizmo alone all the time, just so the poor babe can get some sleep!

And before I know it, there is Bug, once again roaring in Gizmo's face.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I have to admit...I really hoped that our second child would be a girl. But when my hubby announced that we had another boy, all that hoping didn't matter any more. I was in love. Totally outnumbered. But in love! I immediately thought how wonderful it is that we don't have to buy a bunch of new clothes. And then I thought how wonderful it is that our boys can be best buds growing up. Not that a daughter couldn't be best buds with Bug...but I think the bond will be different as brothers.

I'm already seeing some brotherly bonding going on in our home. Bug LOVES to give Gizmo kisses. Especially on his nose. Bug loves to hold Gizmo's hand. And he loves to tell him it's "uh-day" (aka, "OK") when Gizmo is crying.

Last week, while I was doing the dishes, Bug was picking out a movie to watch (which, he does all by himself all the time...Mr. Independent). He decided on a DVD and marched right over to Gizmo, who was lying on the couch. Bug then held the DVD right in front of Gizmo's face and said, "Day? Yeah!" ("Ok? Yeah!") Then, he put the movie in and watched it.

I couldn't stop smiling thinking about how awesome it would be if they always get along so well!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Little Red

So, things are getting harder and easier at the same time. Transitioning to a mother of two is....interesting. And difficult. Gizmo is waking up and demanding more. As a new baby should, I suppose. But, Bug isn't really enjoying the attention that used to go to him, that is now going to the baby.

Gizmo has red hair. Like me. Well, technically, it's strawberry blond....with more strawberry than blond. It's a bit of a source of pride, I think. To know that those recessive genes have come out. Plus, it's a family thing. We've got some red pride. I just hope Gizmo's hair stays red. Bug was born with black hair, that is now blond. We know that hair can do anything.

Gizmo is a burper. Not a spitter, just a burper. Bug didn't hardly ever burp. I think the difference is that Bug nursed really slowly. Really. He would take his sweet time and nibble for hours on end. Gizmo, however, gulps and chows down. He is usually done nursing within 5-10 minutes. (Then, of course, he wants to nurse again just 20 minutes later. I've got a pro cluster nurser on my hands! But, then again, I could have said Bug was a pro cluster nurser. Just his in between times were only 2 minutes long!)

Speaking of breastfeeding (and because I don't know when I'll get around to posting again, so I might as well cram everything into one post!) I don't think that I'm leaking as much this time around. Only every now and then do I get really leaky. Usually, it happens at night. And I wake up soaked in milk. And in the morning, our whole bedroom smells like sour milk. Lovely.

And, now I'm off to nurse Gizmo!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Please Research: Cloth Menstrual Pads

You have probably all heard of cloth diapering...but have you heard of cloth pads for menstruation?

I bought some cloth pads from Party in my Pants pads (PIMPs) to use for my postpartum lochia. I have a Diva Cup, but you can't use that right after having a baby.

[Neither Party in my Pants nor Diva Cup are aware that I am mentioning them in this post.]

I took a lot of time studying the different brands of cloth pads, before I decided to buy something. I wanted it to be really easy to it would be more likely that I would enjoy using cloth for myself! Just like with cloth diapers, there are a lot of options for cloth menstrual pads. (Although, there probably aren't quite as many options as with diapers...I tell ya what, diapers overwhelm me!)

-I wanted a pad that was all one piece and that wouldn't bunch up in my crotch. This was probably the biggest thing for me (comfort). I didn't want to have a liner that I had to put in place, or an insert that I had to stuff in a pocket. Some of the most popular cloth pads have these particular annoyances. So, I kept looking for something that was more what I wanted.

-I wanted something that came in a "kit". I wanted to be able to get a wide variety of different pads to try out, for a good price. That's really important, because cloth pads can be expensive...but they are going to last forever. I didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of pads of one kind that I didn't like. With a kit, I may end up with a couple I don't like, but most that are good. (Or, I may just like them all!)

-I wanted something that had postpartum sized pads. This is the reason that I was buying cloth pads, after all! I know a lot of women wear adult incontinence underwear after they give birth. I wasn't planning on doing that, so I wanted a good, strong pad that could handle the flow of lochia immediately after the birth.

-I wanted something with a waterproof layer. Amazingly, not all pads have a waterproof layer. But, I knew I wanted one, because I was planning on using the pads for a really heavy flow. And with a newborn, you don't want to have to rinse out your underwear....'cause you really don't have time for that!

-I wanted something that I would be able to fix on my own, if it needed it. If the seam started ripping, I wanted to be able to sew it back and have it look nice still. Basically, I didn't want anything with a serged edge, because I don't have a serger....and that makes my crotch chafe just thinking about it.

-I wanted something that would attach easily to my underwear and that wouldn't slip around. Adhesives on disposable pads were really poorly thought out, in my opinion. They always seem to adhere to the, ehm, -wrong- places. I knew I wouldn't be getting that with cloth, but I wanted it to have a similar simplicity, without the stupidity!

-I also wanted the company to be really good at marketing, because I'm a sucker for good marketing. Oh yeah, and I wanted a pretty good price.

I just happened to have found all that in the PIMPs pads. All one piece, kits in various sizes (including a postpartum kit), nylon waterproof layer, straight stitched edge, snap in place, great and informative website, pricing comparable to other companies, and adorable, to boot!

And how do I feel about wearing them, you ask?

They are above and beyond disposable pads. When I wear disposable pads, I often feel icky. Wet, dirty, bunched up and noisy (crinkly pad, anyone?). When I wear cloth, I can hardly tell I'm wearing anything to catch the flow! The postpartum cloth pad is the biggest one that you can buy, and I -can- tell I'm wearing something with it. However, it still is more comfortable to me than disposable pads. And the next largest size is nearly undetectable! The cloth soaks up the flow so well, that I have yet to feel wet, dirty, bunched up, noisy or icky! And when a pad is soiled, you toss it in the laundry. You don't have to rinse it or soak it or wash it in a special load. 

I wish I had known about cloth pads when I first started menstruating. Of course, I'm typically more of a tampon girl...and that makes me wish that I had known about menstrual cups...but that is another post to come, I guess. As for postpartum sanitation needs, I will now and forever be a cloth pad girl!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mastitis on a Holiday Weekend

Friday evening, I was at my parents' house. Around 8-9pm, I started getting the chills. My left breast was feeling engorged and tender. I told my mom, "I think I'm coming down with mastitis."

Friday night, I was feverish.

Saturday, the fever kept getting worse. I was hot/cold/hot/cold. Achy. Sore. Headache. Tired. Feverish. Miserable. The soles of my feet hurt! My left breast had a red spot over the most tender part. I got a blessing from the hubs and my dad. At 4pm, my fever was over 102 degrees F. (That's pretty high for me, considering my normal body temperature is normally much lower than average...usually around 96-97.) I took some ibuprofen, which was the only medication in our whole apartment that would do a single thing for me. A couple hours later, my fever broke in a massive, bed-drenching sweat. I felt better...a little.

Saturday night, the fever came and went.

Sunday morning, I still had a little fever. I took more ibuprofen. The red spot on my left breast had spread to cover almost half of the breast. I had a feeling I needed to see a doctor to get antibiotics. But, I don't have a regular doctor. And it was a Sunday. And the next day was Labor Day.

Sunday late morning, the hubs and I dropped Bug off at my parents' house, went to the local Urgent Care. The doc took note of my situation, and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. We then went and got the script filled at the Kroger pharmacy.

I am feeling -much- better, physically and mentally, about the mastitis. I think it was caused by the cracked nipples I had during Gizmo's first week. He had a rough time figuring out how to latch on properly. He's getting better at it now. It has been such a long time since I've needed to go to a doctor for an illness! And it's been a really, really long time since I've needed medication!

Oh, I can't believe I'm on antibiotics! All I can think about is that I'm going to get thrush next. I've cut out much as possible (which is a HUGE thing for me)...and I'm planning on going to get some probiotics (the ones I -had- in my fridge are expired, so I don't trust them to keep the yeasties at bay) today. That is, if my stinkin' toddler will take a nap. I refuse to go out of the house with him being cranky. Especially since it will be my first solo outing with two kids!

This mom-of-two thing is hard.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Poor, poor placenta

Placentas are really amazing things. They nourish a baby for nearly nine months in the womb. They are full of nutrients and hormones. They are the only source of meat that comes from creating life, rather than killing.

I really, really wanted to save, and consume in some way (whether dehydrated pills or frozen pills or smoothie style), my placenta. Consuming the placenta will stop a postpartum hemorrhage almost immediately, helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly, helps regulate and bring in a full milk supply, and nearly eliminates postpartum depression. There is probably more that the placenta can do, because its just so amazing!

Sadly, it didn't happen. I shouldn't have assumed that the hubs would have prepared it for me...especially since he had told me he didn't want to [do it himself]. But, I thought he would if I asked him nicely enough. Guess not.

Instead, it got bagged and thrown away. Just so you know, do NOT ask a woman who gave birth within the last three hours what to do with the placenta, if she had already stated what she wanted done with it pre-birth. She will likely be so engrossed with her newborn that she will say, "I don't care!"

She does care. And a couple days after the birth, she might cry over the loss.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reptile Baby

Gizmo is shedding all of his skin like a little lizard! I don't remember Bug being quite so peel-y. I've pulled out the all-natural calendula baby lotion to rub all over Gizmo's little body. (Well, mostly his ankles, which seem to be more dry and peel-y than just peel-y.)

Really, it's amazing how much skin there is on such a little body.

Also, Gizmo makes dinosaur noises. Especially right before he starts crying, he gives me a warning squawk, and I swear he sounds like a little baby pterodactyl!

Like I said, reptile baby!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

REM sleep

I'm not quite sure, but I think I have more REM/dream stage sleep post baby than is normal. I feel like I'm always in that limbo stage of "almost asleep" and "not really awake". It makes for some pretty interesting situations, wondering why Gizmo is snuffling around when I just fed him. Oh, wait...did I just feed him? Or did I just dream that?

REM sleep isn't always so bad, though. Last night, I was having a pretty interesting dream. In my dream, my mom called me at 4am (dream time, not real time) to tell me she had a WONDERFUL day. It was so real, that when I responded to her -in my dream-, I actually said "Good!" OUT LOUD. I talked in my sleep!!!

The hubs then asked, "What's good?" And I realized that it was just a dream, and I shouldn't have said anything out loud. I had to explain everything, so my husband would know that I was actually awake now, and I knew -why- I spoke and -what- I said, and I understood that I had talked in my sleep..yadda yadda.

Then we totally made out. It was 3am. I haven't made out with my husband at ridiculous hours of the night since we were newlyweds! In fact, the pregnancy had made me not want to make out in a long time. So, it was quite exciting!

Maybe I should try talking in my sleep more often!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The PP Diaries: But wait, there's more!

Dear PP Diary,

I neglected to mention a couple of things in my last entry. Like, waking up every night drenched in sweat. Crying about every little thing. (Oh, I did kind of mention that...Yeah, I'm gonna add it again. 'Cause I'm probably crying about something else this time!) Dying to get out of the house, but knowing it's not a good idea quite yet.

And that SPD does -not- go away right after the birth. Rolling over in bed is still horrible. My hips still feel like they are splitting in two. All my joints are apparently still blissed out in relaxin....which apparently has a half life of one million years....or something like that.

The swelling doesn't go away immediately either. Uhm...I would like to wear my wedding ring again someday. Today, preferably.

Is there anything else I should mention? (So I can try to keep all the depressing stuff somewhat together?)

Love, Mallory

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Postpartum Diaries

Dear PP Diary,

I forgot how confused your organs get after delivering a baby. For the first couple of days, mine were asking, "Now....where the heck do we belong???" It felt weird to stand up straight, because my abdominal muscles were (are) so shot. I can feel about two finger widths of separation between the muscles. Too bad I'm such a lazy bum that I probably won't ever do anything to correct that!

I also forgot that around 3 days after the baby is born, your breasts turn into huge, hard lumps of heat and milk. I feel so bad for Gizmo. How on earth do you latch on to a rock? Of course, I should be feeling more sorry for myself...because a bad latch hurts!

Hemorrhoids suck even worse after the delivery. Even worse than peeing on that little skid mark tear. And worse than having a crotch that smells like days old birth, no matter how many times you wash, thanks to the continual flow of lochia.

A couple days after the baby comes, the ecstasy of the birth starts to fade. And the tears threaten to fall. And suddenly everything you husband does (and doesn't do) is annoying.

Meconium diapers are horrible, even without it sticking to the baby's butt. Babies hate diaper changes. Waiting for that umbilical cord stump to fall off is agonizing! Diapering a baby with an umbilical cord stump is pretty close to torture...for both babe and mom.

Love, Mallory

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birth Story: Gizmo

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010. Around 5:30am: I woke up with a full bladder. But getting out of bed when you are hugely pregnant is hard…so I laid there for a few minutes, debating how full my bladder –really- was, and whether or not I could just try to sleep until there was actually daylight outside. Then, I had a contraction. 5:37am. It didn’t feel any different than the contractions that I had been having for a couple weeks already. In fact, I had even had worse contractions just a few nights before! But, there was something –spiritually- different. There was a little, hinted whisper that this was “it”. Although, I was very, very hesitant to declare that.

I did get up to relieve myself, and have another contraction on the toilet. Then I tried to go back to sleep. The contractions kept coming, 5-8 minutes apart. Pretty easy to handle. At 6:20am, Scotty’s [aka "hubby"] alarm went off, and he crawled out of bed to get ready for work. I told him that I was having contractions, and that I thought maybe this was for real, but I wasn’t sure. I told him to go ahead and get ready for work. While he was in the shower, I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking Him to give me a confirmation of whether or not to send Scotty to work before it was actually time to send him out the door!

Once Scotty was dressed and ready, I got out of bed and we ate breakfast together. The contractions were much more comfortable to take when I was standing up and leaning on something. I had to stop and stand three times while trying to eat my cereal. Scotty kept looking at me like, “you are totally in labor”. All I could do was giggle at him between contractions and tell him to stop looking at me like that! It was between 7 and 7:30am that Scotty decided to stay home. I think –he- was the one who received the confirmation to stay, more than I did!

After breakfast, I brushed my teeth and got in the shower. I thought I was just taking a normal shower (stopping every now and then to lean my head against the cool tile and sway through a contraction)…but apparently it was a lot longer than I usually take. Scotty came in to check on me, and asked how many contractions I had been having. Enough. They did seem to be coming closer together, as well. I immediately decided that I wanted my mom to come and braid my hair. And then I had another contraction that made me want to vocalize a little. I told Scotty to call my mom and tell her to come. I got out of the shower at about 8:30am. Scotty also called his mother, who was invited to be there. I remember Scotty saying, while on the phone with her, “You should probably come now. [pause]. Yes, I’m serious.”

When I got out of the shower, I decided that I didn’t really want to get dressed, but I didn’t want my mom to show up to find me in all my naked glory! So, I put my robe on. I put my towel on the floor right next to the bed, and knelt on top of it. I leaned onto the bed while kneeling or standing and rocking while I had contractions. Every now and then, I would get up and walk around the room, but I kept going back to leaning forward. The contractions were getting to the point where I really wanted to vocalize through them. I was also starting to move into Laborland, although I stayed fairly well aware of my surroundings pretty much the whole time.

Scotty was starting to run around the house, getting things cleaned up and ready. I kept worrying about where my comb was between contractions (I could have sworn it was behind the couch), because I still wanted my mom to braid my hair when she arrived. And I was beginning to wonder what was taking her so long! (She apparently thought she had plenty of time!) Soon, I decided that I wanted a snack. Scotty got me some grapes to eat, and I had a cup of water that always seemed to be out of reach. And I was feeling hot…so I needed that water! When I was down on the floor, my cup was on the headboard. When I was up leaning on the bed, my cup was on the floor. It was around this time that I took my robe off…even though nobody had shown up yet, so it was pointless for me to have put it on in the first place. And I wanted a cool washcloth for my face and neck.

I started to moan through my contractions, and I would mentally tell myself to keep it low and loose. Near the end of the contraction, I would blow my lips like a horse, as a final relaxation technique, so I could rest more easily between the contractions. And I decided that I really did need to rest between contractions. I had been staying down, leaning on my arms, and I was beginning to feel tired. The pinky finger on my right hand was going numb…and it stayed numb for a couple hours after the birth, even! I tried to lie on the bed, but every time I had a contraction, I had to hop onto the floor and lean on the bed. Finally, just a little before 10am, my mom arrived. But it was too late for her to braid my hair. And my mother-in-law arrived just shortly after.

I had a prenatal scheduled with my midwife and her assistant for that day at 10am. My midwife scheduled it for that day, the day –she- predicted the baby would be born, due to the full moon. It made things convenient for them, for me to be in labor then! The assistant, Deann, arrived just shortly after 10am. When she came in, I’m pretty sure the first words she said to me were, “You look beautiful!” It was so sweet to hear, and when I think of those words now, I think about my divine nature. God gave me this beautiful body and the ability to birth babies! Deann started quietly pulling things out of our “birth basket” (all the supplies needed had been gathered together in a laundry basket).

Scotty kept running around to take care of things, and I had to keep calling him to me, to be my support. I would have him rub my back. But if he did it even slightly wrong, I would say “no!” and have him try something different. My midwife, Marlene, showed up around 10:30am. Marlene lives two hours away, so Scotty had called her around 8:30am (when she should have been on her way anyway) to let her know that she would be staying a little longer than for just a prenatal, and she still hadn’t left yet. Apparently, she left pretty quickly after that! I was only slightly aware of her arrival. I remember hearing her talking in the other room, and being introduced to my mom and mother-in-law. (Honestly, I don’t remember actually seeing her until right before the baby was born!)

Soon, the contractions were getting pretty hard to handle. I kept analyzing myself throughout the whole labor, wondering what stage I was in, whether it was taking the appropriate amount of time, yadda yadda; consequences of being a birth geek, I guess. I remember at this point beginning to feel like I might not be able to handle things. I thought to myself, this better be transition…or else I don’t think I can do this! (Classic “transition”!)  

I really had to pee, and an empty bladder is better for birthing. But, from my experiences earlier in labor, I knew that the toilet brought on much stronger contractions. I really wasn’t interested in –that- happening at that point. I decided that I was ok with getting in the shower, just to pee. I had Scotty keep the water on my lower back. Then, I had a contraction that had me on my hands and knees. And I started feeling pushy. I told Scotty that I was feeling pushy, and I wanted to get out.  

Right after I got out of the shower, I tried to lie down on the bed. I was able to handle two contractions lying down; then I just –HAD- to get up on my hands and knees. We piled a ton of pillows up for me to lean on, while kneeling on the bed. I kept announcing that I was feeling pushy. (Of course, from my sounds and actions, everyone else already knew that!) Marlene then told me she wanted to check the baby’s heartbeat in between contractions. I knew I was right in between one, so I quickly leaned back so she could get to my belly. She used a Doppler, and it was the first time we had used one (we normally used a fetascope), so that was the first time I heard my baby’s heartbeat….and I was so far into labor that it didn’t even register! 

I was pushing, involuntarily, with every contraction now. It was such a strong and uncontrollable urge. My vocalizations were turning more grunty and animalistic, with a touch of “loss of control”. Deann kept gently reminding me to keep it low and relax. I had another contraction that came with a flow of what I thought was urine. I announced, “I think I peed!” To which everyone chuckled and Marlene responded, “Or your water broke.”  

With every urge to push, I told everyone I was “pushy! pushy!” And soon, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my crotch, which led me to tell everyone it felt “burn-y! burn-y!” I knew labor felt a lot like a huge bowel movement, and I know women often think they have to poop, when it is really just the baby coming down. Still, I had to ask, “Am I pooping? Or is that the baby?” It was a little of both. Marlene had baby wipes for my butt, and a nice, warm, ginger and almond oil compress for my perineum. I remembered my labor with Bug, and now nice pushing was. It hurt more this time (probably because my hemorrhoids), but it was still so nice knowing that I was being so productive!  

Then, I –knew- my water had really broken. I felt it gushing with my pushes, and I felt the baby moving down more quickly. I wanted to ask what kind of progress I was making. It was burning so badly, but I wasn’t even sure if the baby was visible yet! But, then I was told that I could touch the baby’s head. I reached down to feel the squishy, wrinkled mound of head coming. It felt so good to have my hand down there. I wanted to keep my hand down to apply counter pressure to my labia, but I couldn’t support both my crotch and my body at the same time.  

Around this time, truly just minutes before the birth, my mother-in-law, my mother, and Bug were all in to watch the baby be born. I pushed with more vigor when I knew the baby’s head was so nearly out. Then, the head was out, followed quickly by the body. I love that wonderful feeling of release when the baby comes out! Scotty caught the baby, and announced, “It’s a boy!” I thought, for just a split second, that he had to be joking. I honestly thought I was having a girl! Bug was fascinated while watching the birth. And when the baby was born, he announced to the room, “Bobby!” Which is Bug-speak for “baby”. [We have chosen a nickname for the blog, thanks to my little sister. Boy number two will be known as “Gizmo”.] 

I was still on my hands and knees, and I hadn’t seen the baby yet. I was so overwhelmed with those wonderful birthing hormones, that I was a little bit confused about how to go about turning around to hold my baby! I eventually got it (while trying not to kick anyone in the head) and Scotty placed our little boy in my arms. I was overjoyed! I had given birth! At home! In such a short amount of time! It all felt so surreal. 

I eventually mustered up enough energy and interest in pushing out the placenta. We waited about an hour before cutting the cord and taking stats. I tried to get Gizmo to nurse. He wasn’t all that interested, he just licked and nuzzled. I was checked over, in the meantime, and found I just had one small skidmark (I found later that I had another itty bitty one, higher up) but no major tears. 

The boy names that we had picked out during the pregnancy didn’t seem right to us. It took nearly an hour, but eventually we did give our little boy a name. Soon, we started passing Gizmo around to everyone who was there (and everyone who was showing up), while I went to take a soak in a nice, herbal postpartum bath. It was very nice to relax. I felt wonderful! 

We are so pleased to announce our second son, Gizmo. Born at 11:26am. 8lbs 2oz, 19 ¾” long.  

Born at home. Born in peace. Born in love.

While you're waiting....

I know everyone is anxious to read the birth story, but I haven't gotten around to it quite yet! In the meantime, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome Baby!

Our baby was born this morning! It's a boy! I haven't decided what his nickname for the blog is going to be, yet. So, that will probably be given when I write out the birth story. He was born at home, after 6 hours of labor, at 11:26am. He was 8lbs 2oz, 19 3/4" long.

Bug was able to see the birth (from crowning to birth). He was very interested, and once the baby was out all the way, he excitedly said, "Bobby!" (Which is his way of saying "Baby!")

We are all so thrilled and in love!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cranky Hag

There should be a rule, that if you are in a consistently bad mood for over 48 hours within three weeks of your due date, your body should kick into labor and just birth that baby!

I have been in a bad mood for nearly three weeks now. Honestly, I have been foul. And, because I don't swear, the only word to describe me would be "hag". (And don't tell me I'm not a hag, because I've been living with myself for these three weeks that I've been acting this way...and I've been a hag.) I think I've been throwing more tantrums than my two year old. I struggle to show even the tiniest bit of affection. I don't want to do anything. I'm exhausted. I have absolutely no patience...which means that I have been yelling at Bug for the smallest things.

Today, around lunch time (which means I was hungry, and tired...because nap time is right after lunch), I was actually so irritated with everything that my body was shaking. I had to put myself in a time out so I wouldn't do something that I would regret.

I know emotions like these are "normal" in late pregnancy....but I hate it. PLEASE come now, little baby!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Life as a stay-at-home mom can be very repetitive. Oh, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love being able to stay home and raise my family. But, sometimes I don't even know what day of the week it is. It's almost always the same: wake up, breakfast, dishes, laundry, lunch, vacuum, dishes, clean [a room], laundry, change a diaper, shower, dinner, bedtime. Over and over and over.

And those little fingernails keep growing. No matter how many times I clip them, I have to do it again and again. Clipping fingernails is torture. TORTURE. For both me and the kiddo. When Bug was little, people would tell me to just clip his nails once he was asleep. To which I would say, "ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY!?!? Do you know how long it took me to get him to sleep!?!?" Bug was a pretty light sleeper. I know that he would have woken right up on the first clip if I had tried to declaw him while he slept.

So we did this.

Now that Bug is older, the rolling and punching and kicking is worse. And it hurts more. But, those nails still need to be clipped. And now Bug has -words- to put along with getting his nails clipped. "It hur's!" he whines, "It hur's!!!!"

Can you believe it? This kid apparently has nerves in his fingernails.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Photo Update

Here I am at 38 weeks. I know I should be more patient and mentally preparing for a 40+ week pregnancy...but every fiber of my body is wanting this baby to come NOW!!! For one, I haven't even heard this baby's heartbeat yet! (We have requested to not use any ultrasound devices, not even a Doppler, so the heartbeat must be heard through a fetascope.) The Hubs finally got to hear it at our last prenatal. The smile on his face made my heart melt. But at the same time, I was so jealous!!!

Another reason that I can't wait for this baby to come (other than for the cessation of all my aches and pains) is that I want to know what sex this baby is!!! EVERYONE keeps asking, "Do you know what you're having?" Uhm...yeah....a baby. But I don't know if it's a girl baby or a boy baby. I knew at 20 weeks with Bug, that I was having a boy. This time, I have been trying to hard to just go with the flow of pregnancy and ignore the super intense desire to know what I'm having! People ask me how I do it, going through the whole pregnancy without knowing the sex. Honestly, I have no idea. But, there's nothing I can do about it (other than go get an ultrasound, which I'm -not- going to do) so I might as well try not to let it make me crazy!

Yesterday, my sister asked me if I felt like I have been able to bond with this baby pre-birth. Especially in comparison to my pregnancy with Bug. I told her that I might have been a little bit more "bonded" with Bug before he was born, because I -did- hear his heartbeat and I knew he was a boy. (Although, I was calling him a different name up until 36 weeks!)  But, I'm not one of those women who talks, sings and reads to their belly. I do have a hard time seeing my huge belly as being an actual baby. I think I have been more distanced from this particular pregnancy. But I also feel more confident in my abilities to gestate. Before I started feeling this baby move a lot, I often thought the whole pregnancy was something that I have made up in my head. But, I haven't felt like I've needed someone to tell me that I am doing the whole pregnancy thing right.

The good thing about having a baby, though, is that the bonding comes almost instantly when the baby is in your arms!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Pregnant Woman, Her Tender Parts...and The Bathroom

"And remember, this is for posterity. So, please be honest."
This post has been classified TMI. Continue reading at your own risk.

When you get pregnant, there are a lot of things people just happen to "forget" to tell you. Of course, a lot of people don't want to ruin the euphoria of pregnancy, so they just smile and nod at you...knowing that you'll figure it out eventually. This is especially true for the relationship with a pregnant woman, her tender parts and her bathroom. Sure, every book about pregnancy mentions the increased need to pee, but that's only the beginning.

When I was pregnant with Bug, I didn't really have an increased need to pee. I had good, strong pelvic floor muscles, and a confidant bladder. When I was pregnant with Bug, I didn't have too many issues with anything dealing with the bathroom. Whether from the luck of craving bran flakes for breakfast every morning, or the joys of a first pregnancy, I may never know. 

I have not had such blessings with this pregnancy. I seem to have acquired a bladder the size of a pin head. And I have acquired hemorrhoids the size of Alaska. Those vulgar varicosities haven't even had the decency to stay where they "belong". My whole nether region is swollen and tender. It was tolerable until about week 30...when I sat in a car for 16 hours to Texas and 16 hours back. Not recommended. Since then, the baby keeps growing and pressing, my blood volume keeps increasing, and my veins keep begging for mercy. Sleeping with an ice pack in my crotch has never been such a welcoming idea!

With all the horrors that are going on within and around my digestive system (i.e., heartburn, alternating constipation/diarrhea, urinary incontinence, varicose veins) I've learned a few important items to keep well stocked during pregnancy. 

Antacids. I chew Tums like candy. I have a feeling they aren't the most effective way to eliminate heartburn, but I'm a cheap-o...and I have a HUGE bottle of the little buggers. So, they'll have to do.

Toilet paper. Lots of it. More than you think. A nice, soft, thick, -very- absorbent kind. Let's face it, you're going to be dabbing at your lady bits a lot throughout your pregnancy. It helps to have a toilet paper that you like. Increased usage, paired with things getting messy, you'll thank yourself for getting the good stuff. And getting lots of it! Also, make sure you always have a couple rolls stashed in the bathroom. There is nothing fun about stumbling into the bathroom at 4am and tinkling just enough to necessitate even a meager two squares, to find an empty roll....because you used the last two squares at 3am. (Not to mention, you are relieved you even made it to the bathroom on time. After laying in bed for six minutes, deciding that "yes" you do have to go. Then figuring out a way to get out of bed...I'm not sure how I ever manage it. Then taking three minutes to go three steps, because you have to test out if your hips will even hold your weight. Yes, you are relieved that you made it to the toilet, but you are -seriously- considering just sleeping in adult diapers and letting go without having to even roll over!)

Relaxation techniques. Constipation is horrible. It's even worse when you feel like every poop is turning your whole body inside out through your bum! And a big baby head is pushing on your rectum. Just learn to take a deep breath, keep your mouth and lips loose and blow out (like a horse). Keep your feet flat on the floor. I like to think of this as training for the birth. (Birth itself, to me, felt like the biggest BM I've ever had!)

Baby wipes. For you. When you have hemorrhoids, you will realize how important this is! Even the softest toilet paper feels like sandpaper when your insides are coming out. Plus, a little moisturized wipe does cleaning wonders when you are dealing with pregnant-woman-sweaty-crotch in the dead heat of summer.

Panty liners. Or just lots of panties. This is one recommendation that I haven't followed on my own, but I wish that I did (I wish I had 70 gazillion pairs of underwear so I -could- follow this advice). Changing a liner or your underwear will make you feel much better. Excess mucous excretions and sweaty crotch are -not- pleasant. It feels nice to freshen up a bit. Baby wipes are good, but you can't beat fresh, clean underwear!

So, there you have it. The down and dirty on pregnancy bathroom needs. And just so you know, it is definitely ok to pee in the shower.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Mother Blessing

Last Saturday, I had a Mother Blessing "Ceremony". If you are wondering what the heck that is, I am here to tell you!
The Blessingway is a traditional ceremony or celebration from the Navajo culture. The purpose of a Blessingway is to show support, and give blessings, to someone who is about to go through a major life change (e.g., a man going to war, or a woman about to have a baby).  The traditional Blessingway includes a song performed by a trained Navajo medicine man. It is an extremely spiritual experience. Out of respect to the Navajo culture, those who wish to have a Blessingway-type ceremony before the birth of a child, but will not be including the traditional song, often refer to the celebration as a Mother Blessing. However, this event is still meant to be a highly spiritual celebration, full of only positive emotion and complete harmony. The purpose is to give the mother the emotional strength and confidence that she needs, in order to have a happy and healthy birth experience. It is also meant to bless the home where the birth will take place, and fill it with happiness and joy.
                Most of the rituals performed at the Mother Blessing are meant to pamper and honor the mother. Hair brushing, feet washing, the burning of sacred herbs, and singing are traditional Blessingway activities. Often, more modern Mother Blessings include artsy activities, or earthy rituals that are meant to remind the mother and guests of the ancient and spiritual nature of mothering. [The description I provided on my invitations.]
One of the most popular activities of the Mother Blessing is the bead ceremony. Usually, guests are asked to bring a bead and a "blessing" for the mother. Sometime during the Ceremony, a string is passed around and the guests each string their bead.  The mother then has a bracelet or necklace to wear or hold during labor, that is supposed to remind her of the women who love and support her. I decided that instead of having all my guests bring a bead, I would provide clay and have my guests each -make- a bead.  That was the main activity I wanted to do...then I had to figure out what else I wanted to do. There are a lot of different things that can be done at a Mother Blessing Ceremony. I had a huge list at first, and I had to only pick a few things. If we were to do every good idea, it would take all day! I got a lot more ideas for what I wanted to do at my ceremony from this site.

I planned on having a special introduction ceremony right at the beginning, but my guests all straggled in at different times. So, I waited until about half an hour after my ceremony started to do the introductions. In the meantime, I asked my guests to cozy up to the yogurt bar (instead of traditional party snacks, I provided yogurt, granola and assorted fruit...yummy!) and also to write me a poem or "blessing" to give me confidence in my ability to birth my baby. I told them I planned on reading their contributions when I was in early labor. I probably should have warned my guests that I would be asking them to write poetry! In the end, however, I received some of the most beautiful words of love and inspiration I could ever ask for! Most wrote letters. Some wrote scriptures. Some poems. All wrote words that have -already- inspired me. And I look forward to reading those messages again when I am preparing to meet my new little one!

Once I was sure that all the people that were coming were actually there (I didn't ask for an RSVP, but eventually about 50% of my invited guests showed up), we did the formal introductions. For the intros, I had a mortar and pestle with dried corn in it. As we each introduced ourselves, we were to grind the corn and give our names, as well as a mini-genealogy ("I am ___, granddaughter of ___ and ___, daughter of ___, mother of ___..."). Grinding the corn is a way to remember that women used to gather together to socialize while they were doing their daily chores. Let me tell you....grinding corn is -not- easy. ESPECIALLY when you are trying to remember what your grandmothers' names are!!! You know, it's hard even when trying to remember what your -own- name is!

Then we had a wrist binding ceremony. (I think that was next...after some more yogurt, and cleaning up spilled juice!) For the wrist binding ceremony, everyone sits in a circle and we pass around one skein of yarn. Each person wraps the yarn around their wrist before passing it to the next person. Then the yarn is cut and everyone ties their piece around their wrist. This is symbolic of how are are all connected in a sisterhood of women/mothers, even though we are separate individuals. The guests were then asked to wear their yarn bracelet on their wrist until they hear that my baby was born, after which they can then cut the bracelet off. This part is symbolic of the umbilical cord being cut. It is really nice to think of all these women who are "connected" to me, through their bracelets, giving me support through labor/birth, and then all together cutting the cord that connected woman to child for 9 months.

Continuing with the theme of a sisterhood of women, I described how there are lots of cultures that have rituals/activities/ceremonies that show support to pregnant women. The Mother Blessing, of course, comes from the Navajo tradition. But, belly dancing and hula dancing are also traditional ways that older women show younger women how to birth well. And, being a very religious woman, I then chose to read the first five verses of Titus, chapter 2. I told my guests that being examples is part of God's plan for us. Titus 2 tells us how we can be examples to others (especially those younger than us). The scripture specifically calls to the "aged women" to teach the younger women how to be good wives and mothers. It is really a wonderful scripture, and I feel blessed thinking about all the women who have been examples to me!

About this time in my Ceremony, most of my guest were needing to leave (not because they had been hanging out at my house for hours, but because all but two or three of my guests had other obligations that popped up last minute. So much for sending out invites nearly 4 weeks before the party!) So, we quickly moved to the table, where I had put all the clay and tools, and we were able to make beads. There were so many beautiful beads made!!! We all spent the rest of the time working with clay, talking, finishing poems and eating goodies. And my guests all drifted away to their other responsibilities.

The one ceremony that I had to cut out (because we ended the party nearly an hour earlier than planned) was the hair brushing/braiding ceremony. The grandmother (my mom) is supposed to brush the mother's hair and braid it, in a beautiful and loving ceremony reminding all of the days gone by when the mother was a girl. My mom used to braid my hair A LOT when I was younger, and so I was pretty excited for this part...and a little bummed that it didn't happen during the Ceremony. But, my mom was the last person to go (actually, we left together to go to her house, where I would meet back up with the Hubby and Bug). So, I had her braid my hair before we left. It was very sweet, even though there were no more guests left to witness the ceremony, I felt nostalgic and loved as my mother pulled my hair back into pigtail french braids, just like she has done many times before!

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. But it was nice to be surrounded by women who care about me! I look forward to having a Mother Blessing Ceremony with future pregnancies. And I would definitely encourage other women to do the same!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beached whale, indeed!

It's summer. And it's hot. And I'm pregnant. All these things scream "WATER!"

We are a one car family. I don't have the opportunity to get out to local bodies of water. And, honestly, there really aren't a lot of swimming options around here.

Last week, my sister-in-law was able to pick me up and take me (and Bug) out of our little apartment. We went out to eat, and then I decided to fill up four small baby pools at my mom's house. I figured if I couldn't swim in a big pool, I could at least lounge in a little pool. And Bug would have fun in the water, too!

After squeezing myself into my maternity swimsuit, giving myself three good contractions while getting Bug into his swim trunks, and slathering us both with SPF 50, -we- were ready to get in the pools. But, of course, we had to blow them up first. Huff, puff. Then we had to fill them with water. Then (after a few more contractions) I realized that I needed to get myself a huge glass of ice water. Finally, I was able to put my feet in, while Bug hopped back and forth between the four pools.

It was hot. And I really wanted to submerge myself. Unfortunately, I forgot how humongous-ly pregnant I am. And I forgot how tiny those blow-up baby pools are. I lowered myself carefully into one of the pools. I think it lost half of its water right then. I couldn't lean back, or else I would just fall over, and lose even more of the pool's water. Sitting up was a pain in the ribs. I tried stretching my legs out...but apparently, I'm not short enough. I folded my legs under me in a tailor sit, until my pelvis ached and my thighs cramped. And then Bug started dumping water all over my head.

After five more minutes, I was done. And the next morning, I realized that I missed my thighs when I was putting on the sunscreen. I think I'll just lounge around inside with the A/C.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Please Research: Attack Vs. Educate

I am a crunchy parent.

I know a lot of people who are -not- crunchy.

And I know a lot of people who always feel like they have to defend themselves around crunchy people.

I wanted to express that you do not have to defend yourself around me! I may not agree with your choices, but you don't have to defend yourself, as long as you have done your research. I often feel like the mainstream parents feel like they are being attacked by the crunchies when they do something un-crunchy-like. I can't speak for all the crunchy parents out there, but I would like to say most of us are NOT attacking you. We are trying to EDUCATE you!

We aren't sure if you know your other options. Or if you know the research that suggests some of the crunchy ways are better than mainstream ways (i.e., breastfeeding). There is a reason mainstream parenting is called "mainstream". It's because it is the most popular parenting style in our culture today. And there is a reason parents like me get called "crunchy". We get a funny nickname, because a lot of people think we are...weird. Because we do things differently than most of the population.

I, personally, became crunchy through researching my options. I felt like the most natural way to parent was to be as self-reliant as possible (i.e., minimal doctor visits, no circumcision, no vaccines), to keep my baby close (i.e., co-sleeping, baby wearing), to introduce the least amount of foreign substances to my baby (i.e., natural childbirth, breastfeeding, no vaccines), and to use what God has provided me with -naturally- to care for my baby and myself (i.e., placentophagy, breastfeeding, herbal remedies, breast milk in eyes/ears/nose of baby when sick).

My mother (who is accepting of my crunchy ways, but not crunchy herself) and I had an interesting conversation about this topic just the other day. I chose to use the epidural as an example. This is obviously a mainstream choice, as it is believed that well over 60% of women in labor choose an epidural. There is definitely a long list of -possible- side effects (for both mother and baby). I would hope that every mother who chooses an epidural is aware of these possible side effects. Unfortunately, I know that not all mothers are aware of them. But, what about the side effects that are -always- present. Very few women realize that an epidural will slow, or even stop, their body's natural production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is what makes birth! It causes the uterus to contract, and it enhances the mother's natural love for her infant. With an epidural, many women need artificial oxytocin (Pitocin) to cause contractions. And they are missing out on that natural brain hormone that fills them with intense love and a desire to bond with their baby. (This does NOT mean, however, that a mother cannot bond with her baby. It just isn't as easy as it could have been without an epidural.) The risks list of epidurals (both possible and definite) goes on, but that is merely an example in this post. [If you are interested, Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, MD, has a wonderful article explaining the risks of epidurals.]

The point of my example is, some women are COMPLETELY unaware of the advantages of crunchy parenting, and the disadvantages of mainstream parenting. I know that not every mainstream choice is going to be a bad choice, or one made in ignorance. And I understand that everyone is entitled to making their own choices for themselves and their families. But, the natural parenting community has a desire for the whole world to at least -know- what their choices are, and whether they are good or bad choices.

Please remember. We are not attacking. We are educating!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rocking horse

My dad made Bug a rocking horse for his second birthday (per my request). Bug LOVES it. He rides like the wind at least once a day. My dad was tickled to find that similar horses sell online for anywhere between $200-$500!! Not including the cost of the tools he took to build it, which he already owned, the horse cost him less than $40 to make. And I'm tickled that I didn't have to pay a single thing for the lovely horse! It is definitely nice to have family with special talents!

But, apparently, Bug didn't like the ears on the horse. First, he bit the tips of the ears off, (they were made from a sturdy foam-like material). Then, he eventually tore them completely off! (We need to get some scrap leather to replace them...just another item on the "to do" list!)

And he has colored on the horse's back...with both pen AND blue highlighter.

And, even though my dad took precautions in his design to prevent tipping, Bug rides the horse to the limit. If he gains one more pound, I'm sure the horse will tip forward!

I guess until Bug needs stitches in his head, I'll keep enjoying the horse along with him! Yee-Haw! Bug says, "AAAAHHHH-HAAAAA!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blush Reflex

Apparently, being pregnant enhances my blush reflex 100 fold! Practically all it takes is someone looking at me to get me to go red in the face!

If you add even a hint of embarrassment in a conversation directed at me (even at levels that I would normally be able to handle with ease), I flush so much that I have to fan myself or hold a cold...something, my face, just so I won't burst out in flames!

And that embarrasses me even more, to where I really need to escape. Which isn't always practical. It really is just a vicious cycle of blushing and fanning. And nervous laughter.

I'm not sure why I have been so...sensitive...with this pregnancy. I don't remember experiencing this blush reflex thing when I was pregnant with Bug.

Just last night, I was talking with my husband while laying in bed, and all the sudden I got a huge heat wave. I wasn't embarrassed about anything. It was like a hot flash. I felt all flushed and I had to push the bed sheets off of me. And it was just my husband talking to me!

So, now you know. If you ever find yourself talking to me, and I start to blush, know that I'm not necessarily embarrassed. It's just that you are talking to me. Or paying attention to me. Or expecting me to say something. Or looking at me at just the right moment of a hot flash! And that happens to make me blush right now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birth on my mind

I've been composing this post for a LOOOOOOOONG time. In fact, it was basically written out even before I got pregnant again. Then I forgot about it. Then I remembered it. And I read it over and had to add and edit about a million more things. I still don't know if it is really ready or not. I have a lot of feelings about Bug's birth that have been ruminating in my mind for a long time (like...two years). If I were to keep adding to this post, until I felt it was truly complete, I would probably have a whole book! Therefore, I will go ahead and let this post be. There will definitely be some sort of follow up after the new baby makes his/her arrival! Birth on my mind:

I always have pregnancy and birth on my mind. It is my passion. I read about it all time time. I dream about it all the time. I think a lot about how I can make my own experiences with pregnancy and birth better. Of course, that means I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want this pregnancy and birth to be like. And I think a lot about what was wrong with Bug's birth. The more I think about Bug's birth, the more I realize that I -need- to write it all out. Not just a birth story, I have one of those. But, I need to write out my true feelings, more specifically, what I didn't like and why. Perhaps I feel like it will be a therapy session. This isn't just for me to complain (although I do love to complain!) I like to think that I can help other women who want better birth experiences (or maybe haven't had any yet, and have no idea what they could have). So, here is my list of things I did NOT like about pregnancy/birth with Bug, why I didn't like it, and then my preferences for a better pregnancy and birth -including what I'm doing for my current pregnancy/plans for this birth. (these are in no particular order):

-Seeing an OB. I wish that I had either gotten a midwife to take care of my prenatals, or gone with an unassisted pregnancy (UP) and done everything myself. I think I was unsure about what choices I could make, and I felt pressured by our society, and those around me, to see an obstetrician. It is such a normal thing today to have an OB attend you throughout pregnancy. But, as soon as I put my trust in an OB, I forgot to trust myself and my own capabilities. Even though I wanted and hoped to have an unassisted childbirth (UC), I continued going to my prenatals with the OB, and in the end, that is why I gave birth in a hospital.

-Caved to subtle threats from the medical field. A week after I started prodromal labor (but still waiting for the baby to be born), I went in for another prenatal checkup. They heard an irregular heartbeat, and sent me in for all kinds of testing. Eventually, they advised me to be induced. I was vulnerable, because I was a woman getting ready to have a baby anyway (my body was already preparing: I had lost my mucous plug and was having on and off bouts of contractions). They effectively scared me into thinking that my baby's life was in immediate danger. As I laid on a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, crying, I honestly didn't think I had a choice. I wish I could have gone back home to contemplate the situation. I could have returned shortly after if I really felt like I needed to be induced. I could have studied, and subsequently found out, that abnormal heartbeats really aren't uncommon and are typically nothing to worry about. I could have prayed with my husband for personal revelation on what to do in the situation. But, I didn't do any of that. It's hard to do any of that in a busy hospital, where people are checking on you every couple of minutes, asking if you have made a decision, when you clearly know what decision they want you to make. I quietly accepted the invitation to be induced.

-Given a hep lock for an IV. It is ridiculous that mothers in labor at a hospital are rarely allowed to eat and drink when and what they want. It is such an out dated practice, but it is still being practiced! Instead, they keep you hooked up to an IV to keep you hydrated. Or, if you are lucky, you just get a hep lock, so they can hook you up to the IV later. It is mandatory in many hospitals, especially in my area. Why? So they can hook you up to drugs quickly if there is a problem. They see it as a preventative measure. I see it as an unnecessary hindrance. Hospitals are supposed to be there to help quickly -if- a problem comes up...not get you hooked up in advance for -when- a problem comes up. Plus, is there anything comfortable and relaxing about having a plastic tube stuck in your vein? No, I think not. I was constantly worried about the foot of tubing wadded up and taped to my arm. I didn't want to pull it the wrong way, because that hurts! In the end, I wasn't hooked up to the IV...but it wasn't fun laboring with a hep lock in my arm.

-Allowed artificial rupture of my membranes (AROM). AROM definitely is one way to get labor going, especially if the woman's body has already been preparing for labor. However, it can introduce infection. It could have resulted in a cord prolapse (a serious condition, resulting in a c-section). And, it is artificial. What if Bug wasn't ready to come that day? Getting labor started when he wasn't ready could have caused distress for him. AROM also put a time limit on me. If you haven't delivered within twelve hours of your water breaking (or being broken), most hospitals will take drastic measures to get your baby out (i.e., cesarean section). When my OB broke my water, I was not informed of the risks. That makes me angry to think that there are other women out there that are less educated about childbirth than I am, and their OBs are preforming these procedures on them, without telling them anything about what they are doing, and the women believe it is needed, because their OB said they needed it. And for a moment, I was one of those women.

-Allowed an internal fetal monitor. The internal monitor was the whole reason I had my membranes ruptured (besides the fact that the AROM was also to get my labor going, after all, it was medically advised for me to deliver. And I guess I would rather go into labor from AROM than Pitocin). An external monitor wasn't being very helpful in hearing Bug's irregular heartbeat. This was the main thing they wanted to watch. To a mother in labor, how could I have refused? But, getting an internal fetal monitor is risky business, indeed. That one little intervention makes it incredibly more likely that you will end up with a c-section. Once the monitor was in place, I had to stay laying in bed. I was hooked up to a machine, and I could only unplug it to go pee...although I had to go pee with wires hanging out of my crotch. And just to add a little insult to injury (or should I say add a little injury to the insult), the internal monitor's electrode is screwed into a baby's head. Bug had a scab on his little noggin' for several days after he was born because of the monitor.

-Forced to labor in a supine position. Because I was hooked up the internal monitor, I wasn't able to move around. I was able to unhook to go pee every now and then...but if I wasn't hooked up for a couple minutes, a nurse would come in to "make sure everything was ok". So, I spent the time laboring in bed. I rolled from side to side, trying to get comfortable enough to deal with my contractions. And I moaned and vocalized. I probably could have knelt on the bed or stood beside the bed...but nobody told me that I was allowed to. And I was afraid that I would get into trouble by doing stuff. (Can you tell I had zero confidence while I was surrounded by people who were more "in charge" of my labor than I was!?!)

-Legs placed in stirrups, combined with semi-sitting, kind-of-laying position for the pushing phase. I had no idea that I could have knelt down on the bed to give birth to Bug. Nobody at the hospital told me I could. And once I was in the hospital, I felt like I couldn't do anything unless the hospital personnel told me I could do it. (And, even if I tried, my OB may not have allowed it.) So, when it came time to push, they "broke down the bed", aka they removed the lower half of the bed, put up the stirrups and put my legs in them. Being on your back, or mostly on your back, is probably the worst way to push a baby out. And the best way for an OB to watch while you push a baby out. It makes the mom work harder, and it just might cause more tears.

-Directed and strongly encouraged pushing. This was one of those things that I paid a little less attention to while I was pushing. I have a memory of the nurse on one side, telling me that -now- would be a good time push, and my mom on the other side, asking me to push if I -could-. (Moms are much more sensitive to their laboring daughters than nurses! Although, my nurse was really nice, she was obviously trained in hospital birth.) I would push when a contraction came on, then I would get worn out and stop for a bit. When I stopped, the nurse told me to keep going. I told her that I needed to take a break!! It had been about 12 hours since I had had a meal, or even anything to drink. I was exhausted, and I honestly wasn't sure I could push as often or as strong as the nurse wanted me to. I tried to push when I felt like it, and only then. But, I felt like I was failing or not doing a good job, because the nurse kept telling me to push...even when I felt like I couldn't.

-Immediate cord clamping/cutting. Bug had an irregular heartbeat. That was why the doctor wanted me to deliver. And that is why there was a neonatologist there for when Bug was born, ready to whisk him off for testing. And that is why, against my expressed wishes, Bug's cord was immediately clamped and cut after delivery. And, sadly, I didn't really get to see the placenta, either. That connection that my baby had with me throughout my pregnancy was gone in an instant.

-Baby taken away for tests. Right after Bug was born, they put him on my chest. But it was only for a few minutes, before they took him away for testing. And the OB stitched two of my three small tears. That whole after birth phase is a cloudy memory to me. I don't remember how long Bug was away from me. All I know, is that I got to hold him for a minute, then he was gone for a while. And the next time I saw him, he was bundled up in a blanket. I didn't really get to cherish that skin-to-skin after birth moment that I long for. And I definitely didn't get the opportunity to see if Bug would make his own way to my nipple to nurse.

-Lost autonomy. As illustrated in almost all of the above, I had little to no confidence to do what I wanted to do in a hospital birth. There were rules and regulations and people who were important and in charge. I was just a patient there. I was supposed to be good. I was supposed to be compliant. I was supposed to be easy to take care of. I was nervous and excited. It was my first child. I had never done anything like birth before! I had studied and I knew A LOT about birth. I knew I wanted to follow my own intuition. But I couldn't. As soon as I was told to head to the hospital for a biophysical profile, I felt my confidence draining. It drained more as I was told to put on a hospital gown. And even more as I was send for an a wheelchair. And once I was told that it was "medically indicated" that I deliver, I knew my intuition was NOT invited to this hospital birth. It wasn't even until hours later that I realized I didn't have -anything- with me, other than my purse. (In fact, my husband ran home after Bug was born to go get clothes and other stuff that would have been there with me, if I had a hospital bag packed.) I was completely and totally at the mercy of the hospital. The policies. The regulations. And even though Bug's birth was amazing (as I imagine any kind of birth would be), it was not what I wanted.

So, how can I change this? How can I help myself have a better experience with birth? The first thing I did was put my foot down and NOT schedule an appointment with an obstetrician. The hubs wasn't comfortable with the idea of doing an unassisted pregnancy/birth with this baby. And he is part of my team, so I had to compromise. It took a lot of work, but I finally got in contact with several midwives. The homebirth community in Ohio is almost like a secret society. You have to know where to go to get the information that you need. I didn't have that information when I was pregnant with Bug. Or, I didn't know how to -find- that information. This time, I worked harder. I found midwives, and I interviewed midwives. And I decided on a midwife that I believe is a good fit for me (the hubby even picked her before I did).

My midwife is ok with my requests. This includes: no vaginal exams, no ultrasound technology (including a doppler), letting me do my own urinalysis, visits in my own home, no routine tests or procedures. Basically, when I ask my midwife if I am ok to do something, she says, "Sure, why not? It's your choice/your body!" If I ask my midwife if I need to -not- do something, she says, "Why? If you want to do it, do it. If you think you shouldn't, don't." My midwife is not flippant. She just thinks that pregnancy and birth are normal, and you shouldn't have to alter your life for them (as long as you are healthy, and not participating in harmful activities). She also thinks that I should be making all my own decisions. She is just there to observe and let me know if something is going wrong (and I don't catch it before on my own). It's exactly the kind of care that I want (assuming that I actually have care from someone other than myself).

It has been nice to just go throughout my pregnancy like I'm living normally. I never have to worry about getting to an appointment (because my midwife comes to me, and I'm always home with Bug during the day anyway). I never have to worry about doing something that I'm not supposed to do, or making sure I do something that I am supposed to do (according to an OB). I just do things that make me feel more comfortable. I eat well. I rest a lot. I take care of my toddler. I feel the baby moving within me and I smile and get emotional about another baby coming to our family. It's been a beautiful pregnancy so far. Very relaxed. It feels good. It feels right.

I want the birth of this next baby to be more ceremonial, and less....protocol. I want to be the one to call the shots. And, I even want to be the one to catch the baby (assuming I'm in a position to do so) and my husband is ok with that! (Yipee!) I'm not typically a conformist. And I think after Bug's birth, I have become even less so. I am stubborn and confident. I think that is why I had such a hard time with Bug's birth, feeling that that part of me was taken away...or that I really don't have those traits. But, I know what I want, and I have learned enough to now get what I want.

I can't wait until the baby is born. Then I will write a follow up post on how this birth went. In the meantime, I'm interested in how my readers have experienced their pregnancies/births. Did things go the way you wanted them to? Did you wish you could change things? What would you want to do differently?