Category Archives: Pregnancy

February Used Birth Book Giveaway

Click here to enter the giveaway!

I’ve discovered minimalism and it’s changing my life in the most amazing ways! I’m paring down my library and am offering giveaways during the next few months. Books will be gently used and will center around pregnancy, birth, the postpartum, and parenting. This month I’m giving away:

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This giveaway runs until 2/25/14 @ midnight. Please share with any doulas, midwives, libraries, birth centers, clinics, birthworkers, or pregnant women who might be interested! Visit the giveaway here.

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I Also Lived a Day According to Ben Franklin’s Schedule (but with a newborn, and only kind of)

A few days ago I stumbled across the Good Men Project‘s post I Lived a Day According to Ben Franklin’s Schedule and it Changed My LifeI envied the author, Tim Goessling, for getting to live by a schedule- even one from 1791. Dividing my day and living in an organized fashion are ridiculous fantasies for me now that I have a newborn. No two days are alike in this house. One day baby naps and I get things done, and the next there are no naps in sight and I end the day crying. Though I was very intrigued and love a good challenge, I figured there was no way I’d be able to also live a day by Ben Franklin’s schedule, mainly because of the 5am wake up. I sleep when the baby sleeps in the mornings (most of the time) and waking before she did just seemed foolish. I talked to Steve over the weekend about living by this schedule for a day and explained that if I did manage to try it, I wouldn’t let it interfere with his schedule, which, you know, pays the bills around here.

Tuesday morning I awoke at 5:20am very confused. The baby had gone to bed when we did, at 11:30pm. The confusion turned to panic as I ripped myself out of bed and stared wild-eyed into the pack and play 2 feet away from where I sleep. There she was, my little daughter, sleeping as she had slept for the past 6 hours straight, an obvious miracle. She was tossing and turning a bit, her signal to change her diaper. I decided that waking up at 5:20 was just as good as waking up at 5:00 sharp, and knowing that this opportunity might not present itself so nicely again, started my day living (loosely) according to Ben Franklin’s schedule, pictured below.

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borrowed from Good Men Project’s “I Lived a Day According to Ben Franklin’s Schedule and it Changed My Life.” (click photo for link to article)

 

5:20am~ awaken with big open eyes, wonder why baby hasn’t woken up in SIX hours, panic

5:20-5:23am~change diaper in the dark while baby screams

5:23-5:40am~ feed on both breasts, baby falls back asleep

5:40-6:00 pee, confirm menstruation is back a mere 11 weeks after birth (even with EBF, no bottles, and no pacifiers), make coffee, learn that Meadowlands Racetrack has ostrich racing, vow to later Google ostrich racing, fill up Brita tank. I reminded a confused Steve of why I was awake by tiredly mumbling “Benjamin Franklin” with a shrug and assured him it wouldn’t interfere with his getting ready to go to work. Things were going well in the kitchen until I became too efficient and overfilled my coffee mug. I could go on a rant here about the inefficiency of a Keurig which only fills coffee mugs half way, forcing the user to brew twice in a row, but I’ll spare you.

Ben Franklin’s schedule clearly stated that I should rise and wash in the morning. The shower would have been a good time to contrive the day’s business, think on Powerful Goodness, and come up with the day’s resolutions but I chose not to shower in the morning for two reasons: 1) I had just showered last night and postpartum/PMSy hormones were already making my skin incredibly dry and 2) I had promised Steve that my Ben-Franklin-for-a-day stint wouldn’t affect his necessary schedule to, you know, go to work and provide for our family. If the baby woke up while I was in the shower it would throw off his usual morning rhythm and so I chose to forgo it.

I sat in bed with the laptop and contrived my day’s business. What did the day hold? Well, the baby is teething so probably the day was going to hold lots of crying and drooling and general unhappiness. The female cat was going to pee in the kitchen because apparently that’s just what she does now and my efforts of resistance are futile. If this day was like the day prior it would end in tears for me, as long days with a baby sometimes do. A walk outside would do us good, so I checked the weather- forecast was for 20 degrees F, with snow showers at night. At 6:15 it was 14 degrees but felt like FOUR, so yeah, probably no walk for us today. I contrived that the day’s business would just go as it was going to go, and that was that. I had no plans for socialization due to the menstruating. No one tells you the first one after birth can be terrifying… I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, instead just wanted to curl up in a ball and rock my cramps away.

After contriving business and whatnot, I addressed Powerful Goodness. I sat in bed with my coffee and pledged to just sit and think for a full 5 minutes. I should have relished this time, as during the day before I had exactly zero time to think and ended the day completely fried, but I only lasted 4 minutes. Not knowing exactly what Powerful Goodness is, I reflected on the day before and forgave myself for losing my patience and temper. I resolved to practice Only Love Today and peeked in at the baby sweetly sleeping and felt the warm wave of gratitude wash over me. God, is she ever beautiful. We are so lucky.Then I remembered my husband and had a moment of gratitude for him. This led to wondering what was for dinner, which led to the realization that today he was going to be gone until 10:30pm. The dread set in as I looked at the clock and realized I had 16 more hours until someone else could hold the baby. Putting the dread aside, I decided to make turkey meatballs and roasted brussel sprouts for dinner, should I have the time. If not: leftovers.

Thinking on Powerful Goodness was actually really nice. I still don’t know what it means, but it feels great to do.

Sipping my coffee, it was time for the resolution of the day. Uhh… “Don’t lose my mind?” Does that count? What about “Don’t throw up when changing a poopy diaper.” “Try and eat breakfast before 3pm?” No, those didn’t sound right. I made 3 resolutions, one work-related, one home-related and one sanity-related. I would update a page on my website, fold the (2) hamper laundry in the family room, and start the Orange Rhino Challenge of no yelling. I didn’t expect to accomplish all of these, and placed the Orange Rhino Challenge as my priority.

Prosecute the present study… hmm. I scanned the original Good Men Project article for what the author thought that meant. Oh- “I took “contrive day’s business” to mean I should set out some goals for the day and “prosecute the present study” as me setting up a clear plan on how to accomplish them.” This made me laugh because my clear plan on how to accomplish the day’s goals was just “KEEP IT TOGETHER.” I decided my clear plan would include doing anything and everything in my power to get my infant to nap. With the teething and growth spurts she hasn’t been napping for more than 15 minutes during the day and it’s been very trying. Infant massage has been helping, but getting her back to a 2 or 3 nap routine (which I can tell she needs) has been impossible. So, “Get that baby to nap” became my (vague) clear plan for the day.

Then, breakfast. While the baby was still asleep I washed some blackberries, which I put atop a big bowl of old country muesli. It was heaven. By 7:30am I had eaten, blogged (albeit a very short post), written in a few personal side projects, beaten a level in Candy Crush, read a chapter of a book, taken pictures of the baby and texted them about, and stretched.

While Ben Franklin scheduled his work from 8am-12pm and 2pm to 6pm, my workday lasted for  solid 15 hours. From 7:30am until Steve stepped through the door, my time was spent wiping drool, changing diapers, scrubbing the kitchen floor, freaking out on the cat (totally failed at my Orange Rhino Challenge a few hours in… very un-Ben Franklin-like of me), swaying/rocking/dancing with/singing to the baby, nursing, doing everything in my power to get her to nap, making mental notes, thinking about coffee, organizing individual messes into piles of mess, and cleaning the house. I kept forgetting my goals of the day and had to constantly check my morning’s notes to remind myself to fold the laundry (done at 6:30pm), update my website (fail, but I did some tinkering to my business’ Facebook page), and not yell (complete and utter fail). At around 1 I was able to read a few more chapters of a book, just as Ben Franklin would have done, and even heated some lunch.

Through crazy persistence and some (read: lots of) luck, the time I put into helping my daughter nap worked, and she took a short afternoon and long early evening nap- this meant I had time to make dinner! Roasted brussel sprouts and turkey meatballs: a dream come true. I also had time to get an array of other neat house-stuff done, none of which included doing the dishes or laundry. The actual text from me to my husband stated: Try not to kill me when you get home. There’s stuff everywhere. But I swear I have a plan! 

Ben Franklin ended his work day at 6, at which point he tidied up, ate dinner, relaxed, and reflected on his day. I didn’t get to reflect until I quietly crawled into bed at 11:30 (unlike BF there was no way I was staying up until 1am). I thought about the goals I had set earlier, what I accomplished, what good I had done. I thought fondly of the majority of the day, which was spent cuddling with my baby and providing what I could for my family with what limited time I had. I thought about how to anyone without a child, my day might seem really stupid, lame, boring, or unproductive. Then I thought about how little I care nowadays of the opinions of others, how everything I need I have, and how much better life is with naps.

As I drifted off to sleep, I again addressed Powerful Goodness, something which Ben Franklin only did in the mornings (according to his schedule). My mind swelled and caved around thoughts of the universe, why we’re all here, and what makes me happy. I didn’t come to any huge conclusions or figure out the meaning of life, but I did fall asleep peacefully, and awoke this morning with a strange sense of contentment. As a new mom, I can’t even begin to think about the possibility of considering following Ben Franklin’s daily schedule every day, or any schedule any day for that matter- but I will try to continue to address Powerful Goodness as often as possible to keep me centered, humbled, and thankful.

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Had Baby, Life Exploded: An Update

To sum up the past many weeks of my writing hiatus:

  • We had a baby. She’s AMAZING.
  • Remember my dreamy planned home waterbirth? Well… after becoming high-risk basically overnight at 37 weeks due to Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension, I was medically induced in the hospital at just shy of 39 weeks. 12 hours of Cervidil, 15 hours of Pitocin, and a 2nd degree episiotomy later, baby girl was born! Labor was FIERCE, ya’ll, and I was able to kick its ass all over the place without an epidural or any medical pain management (which was a huge goal for me) and deliver vaginally (the other huge goal) solely because of the incredible support of our doula and excellent midwifery team/labor&delivery staff (and a bit of luck, who am I kidding?). I am living proof that inductions and hospital births do not have to be traumatic experiences that happen TO us, but rather empowering, positive triumphs that WE, the family, can create. I would not change a thing about our birth and am SO EXCITED to soon be jumping back into birth work. Birth story to come soon… you know, in my spare time (and there will be pictures because we had an awesome photographer!)
  • The postpartum period is no joke.
  • We experienced major breastfeeding challenges but overcame with the help of the most compassionate and kind lactation counselor on the planet. Her support was, in fact, SUCH a game changer for us, and SO powerful for us as a family that it has seriously impacted my focus academically and professionally- I’m now in the very initial stages of becoming an IBCLC and earning my degree in Maternal Child Health with a concentration in Lactation Consulting. I had never even considered the possibility of my life taking this direction before The Bean was born, but her birth and our story has really made my purpose and direction very clear. What could of been a very scary, mental-breakdown-inducing (I was but a step away from this in the first few days… more on this later) time turned into a challenging but doable, even joyous period and I can never, ever repay or thank our LC enough. She changed our lives completely.
  • I had no idea what I was getting myself into having this baby. Did I mention the postpartum period is insane? I actually thought I’d have time to write … excuse me while I laugh hysterically! (silently, of course, as to not wake the sleeping babe permanently attached to my chest). Abandon all hope, all ye who think they’re going to get anything done with a newborn in tow. Please do yourself a favor and just relax and love on that baby of yours and savor every calm moment, as this precious (and stressful) time is fleeting. Oh, and read this post from MamaSeeds: New mamas get nothing done (and other untruths).
  • I cannot even begin to describe how special and gratifying it is to be a mother. My little MilkFace has consumed and brightened my life in ways I never imagined possible! Getting misty-eyed, brb.

 

my buddy and me

New Mom Author’s Note: this post took me 6 days to write.

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What I Wore This Week (3rd Trimester Edition)

There seems to be some sort of pregnancy/parenting blog phenomenon where pregnant women and new moms write “What I Wore Today/This Week” posts with pictures of… well, what they wore that day or week. Usually it’s some funky vintage ensemble that looks carefree, yet totally put together; very First Date Casual, very I pretty much rolled out of bed and came here looking like this because I am naturally fabulous and not at all high maintenance. The pictures are usually taken outside amongst nature, with a whimsical/cute expression, and of course taken by a second party from a flattering angle.

I used to be a person who gave somewhat of a damn (though my husband will virulently disagree). I am that same woman now, only, I just… I just can’t. Late pregnancy has given me the gift of Look-Like-A-Human apathy, which accompanies the midday water-induced heartburn and shouty outbursts when Babby headbutts my cervix continuously. I own two pairs of maternity jeans (Gap Long and Lean and Gap Sexy Boot), 2 official maternity shirts from yard sales (and 3 pregnancy tees from Gap, on sale!), a wide variety of pajamas, and regular shirts that used to be oversized and now just barely cover The Belly. I am Tim Gunn’s worst nightmare.

Found when googling "Tim Gunn looking disapproving." Hilariously/ironically found on this Mom Corrected post.

Found when googling “Tim Gunn looking disapproving.” Hilariously/ironically found on this Mom Corrected post.

To those who spend time and money crafting these “What I Wore” posts… you are my heroes. Pregnant and/or with a newborn and still able to like… put on cosmetics and do your hair?!? and choose an outfit that looks good AND take the time to get properly dressed? And then stage several photos and THEN WRITE A BLOG ABOUT IT?!

Here’s what I wore (last week):

 

  • Monday

 

 

  • Tuesday

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2013-10-11 18.39.17

 

 

  • Wednesday

 

 

  • Thursday

 

 

  • Friday

 

 

  • Saturday

 

 

 

  • Sunday

 

So there you have it. I’m tagging this as “pregnancy fashion.” Apologies for everyone who came here seeking actual, you know, fashion. I’m actually quite impressed with the number of times I wore real pants last week.

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35 Weeks and In Denial

I’ve spent the past 10 minutes staring at a baby swing. It spent the last few months tucked away in the nursery, and this morning I decided it was time to put it out in our family room, where it now takes up approximately half of the livable space. It’s okay though- the swing needs to stay. It’s visible proof that a baby is coming, and soon.

I have hit a major point of denial in this pregnancy, and with reflection I see now that it started with those two pink lines almost 9 months ago and never quite went away. Denial is a spectrum of emotions, and while it was quite severe in the very beginning, and then strong in the second trimester when I didn’t really even feel pregnant half the time, now at 35 weeks it has reached a whole new level of intensity. I am having a baby, apparently.

In my head, I know this is the case. I am super pregnant right now, physically. I’m huge, for starters. My belly has swelled in the past week, and is now something I have to work around. 10 days ago I was laughing while telling my husband about a post I read on a pregnancy forum, where a woman timed how long it took her to roll from one side to the other in bed. “Two minutes!,” I exclaimed. “I mean, it takes me a few seconds, but two minutes?” 10 days later, and guess what? Last night it took me more than an entire minute to roll over in bed. It used to be a simple 11-step process:

  • Wake up
  • Realize I need to turn over
  • Analyze how much longer I can stand lying on same side to avoid the hassle
  • Brace myself for the popping sounds of pelvis and sacrum
  • While grunting, turn 1/4
  • Turn the other 1/4 onto my back while propping myself up with my arms
  • Turn another quarter
  • Turn all the way to the other side
  • Rearrange in-between-knees pillow and resituate under head pillows
  • Realize I have to pee
  • Curse profusely

Now it’s an entire 2 minute saga with all of my former 1/4 turns consisting of mini turns and inches, all of which radiate pain throughout my pelvis and back, which stiffen even in the short 1-2 hour increments of time between rollings-over. I am definitely pregnant.

Life during the day is full of constant reminders of pregnancy also- my waddle, the many sneeze-n-pees that are seemingly unavoidable no matter how many Kegels I do, the 40 lbs of baby I haul everywhere, my big, round belly which always finds its way out of my shirt to be on display, my severe dislike of all items just out of reach (which seem to be, well, everything these days). Now when I drop my bar of soap in the shower, I just stare at it for what seems like an eternity while I justify rinsing and ending my bathing right then and there: “Well, let’s see. I showered late yesterday at around 2. I don’t think I sweat much… did I? Americans over-shower, anyway. I’ll just wash my bangs and call it a day.”

I’m definitely really, really pregnant right now, and yet I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this jabby, squirmy little creature inside of me will soon be on the outside, and in my arms. I tried to explain my denial to my midwife, and told her I basically need permission to start getting really excited and to do all of the little things we still need to do to get ready for this child. I believe she said something along the lines of “Val- you’re having a baby. And soon. I just had two first-time mamas go into labor at 37 weeks. It’s time to get ready.” Then a look of worry crossed her face. “Have you, you know, looked at the homebirth supply list yet? The one I gave you when we first met??”

Over the weekend we had a big yard sale and were finally able to clean out our front hallway, which had been filling for the past year with boxes and bags of crap that I’ve been collecting to get rid of. We made a few dollars, which was great, but more importantly everything that was not sold was bagged and delivered to Goodwill yesterday afternoon. Our hallway is now clear of debris and I feel like I can breathe a bit more. Okay, that was the last big to-do. The baby can come now. 

Except, the baby can’t really come now, because it’s way too early and nothing else in the house is ready. All of her things have been kept in her room, hidden from sight, and I think this has played a part in my denial. So out came the swing to the main room we live in, and there it will stay. I don’t know if we will ever use it, or if Babby will even enjoy it, but it’s staying there until she comes so her mother can stare at it every day and hopefully realize that soon there will be a tiny person in this house that will fit in it.

Her bath-time basket, filled with tiny towels and her little octopus thermometer and bath accoutrements has been placed in the bathroom. This afternoon I am dedicating a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets to sippy cups, breast milk storage bags, etc. I moved some lightweight furniture around today to get our room (which will be her room for the first 1-2 years) storage and pack-n-play ready. Her family room changing-station basket will be completed today and placed next to the couch. Her car seat will be installed this week. We tour our top pediatrician’s office in a few days.

I can be in denial forever, but that is not going to change the fact that this kid is coming out in the next few weeks. All of my nesting, all of the cleaning, the painting, the furniture assembling, the clothes washing, the reorganizing, the learning, the reading, the phone calls, the planning, it’s all for a reason- though the past few weeks it has all felt like busy work, like I’m playing house.

When will it feel real? When the first pangs of labor begin? When she’s on my chest, covered in vernix and blood and my tears? After days and nights of watching her breathe and counting her fingers and toes? It doesn’t feel real now, but I can say that I am anxious for the arrival of this tiny stranger, and to get this party started (but also completely not ready for a newborn. Life is hilarious!)

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33 Weeks Pregn… wait, what?

I’ve reached the weepy stage, ya’ll. I’m surprised actually that this entire pregnancy hasn’t been one giant weepy stage, but truly up until the past week I’ve been a model of emotional stability and outward keeping-it-together-ness. Then at about 32 weeks I noticed a shift in my levels of irritability and tear production. Here are a few things that have made me cry lately:

  • Watching the toddler across the street play in the yard
  • My chins
  • Folding cloth diapers
  • Yelling at the cat for licking the laundry basket incessantly
  • Completely innocuous comments from my husband about all sorts of things
  • Cleaning the bathroom and realizing that a life with pets is a life with fur everywhere, no matter how hard I try,
  • then realizing kiddos are messy/unpredictable and the surrendering of control that is going to have to happen on my part, and soon
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the most astounding fact about the universe (to be fair, this makes me cry even when not pregnant)
  • Watching my Momcat clean the face of her 4 year old babycat
  • Every birth video on Youtube
  • The realization that we are actually having a baby, which hits me about 20 times a day without warning.

This pregnancy is whizzing by. I put off doing a lot of “little things” during the second trimester because it all felt “too soon.” For example, I researched pediatricians but didn’t call to make appointments with any of them, because I felt like I was being a little overeager at, let’s say, 23 weeks. Though we are planning for a homebirth, I didn’t create a transfer plan or really even think about the possibility of transfer and what that would entail, because in the second trimester birth seemed eons away. Then one day I woke up mere weeks from being full term (three and a half… hi.) and it hit me that now we have so much to do and not a whole bunch of time to do them. October is PACKED for us.

Healthwise, baby and I are doing wonderfully. My blood pressure at my last appointment was a brilliant 118/80, Babby TURNED HEAD DOWN! (Thanks, Spinning Babies’ inversions/tilts!), fundal height is right where it’s supposed to be, and not even trace amounts of protein or sugar in my urine. Besides the weeping and my pregnancy rage over my husband (purposely?) leaving almost-empty cereal boxes precariously balanced on the door of the freezer so that when I open the freezer, said cereal falls on my head, I feel pretty okay. Breathing is harder now, my pelvis aches upon waking, and sleeping through the night is a hilarious concept, but these things are to be expected. There was a funny incident the other night involving me being stuck on the recliner due to a sudden bout of sciatica, but that’s a story for another day.

According to my husband, last night I shouted “GET OUT OF MY BONES!” at the baby multiple times… I don’t remember doing this because I was too busy dealing with the excruciating pain of whatever it is my daughter was doing in there. Whatever it was, it involved my right ilium and her giant heel(s) and was just… wow.

Borrowed from Labspace, an AWESOME site for those studying anatomy

Borrowed from Labspace, an swesome site for those studying anatomy

Babby’s been really interested in my bones lately, sometimes it feels like she’s grinding herbs in there, mortar and pestle style. Have you ever had a hard, jabby thing inside of you playing with your bones? I describe the feeling to Steve as “I think she’s building toys in there.” I don’t know if that’s a helpful description, but it makes me laugh.

I know I have more to say, but thanks to PregnancyBrain I now operate at around a goldfish’s level of mental efficiency. In lieu of actual content, I give you this list of some things I’ve been enjoying lately:

 

I love reading pregnancy and parenting blogs and am always looking to connect with other new moms and moms-to-be- please leave a link to your favorite pregnancy/parenting blogs in a comment so I can start reading!

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Super Autumn Pregnancy Energy Lentils&Beets Recipe

Sometimes I enjoy a bit of actual food with my goat cheese.

Sometimes I enjoy a bit of actual food with my goat cheese.

An old friend of mine used to make an incredible beets and lentils dish. I don’t remember how she made it, so I made my own version and man, is it good. And FAST. And EASY. Which makes this impatient and always hungry mama-to-be very, very happy. I don’t ever follow recipes and don’t measure, but believe this version is so simple it’s almost impossible to screw up. Best of all, I only dirtied one pot/lid, the cutting board, and a knife.

 

  • Skill set needed: Common Sense
  • Ingredients:

Garlic – I used about 5 of various sizes, because I LOVE garlic and use it so much it takes a lot for me to actually taste it.

Onion – Either one small or medium. Whatever you have.

Lentils – 1 cup. This made quite a few servings.

Beets – I used about 5 or 6 small-ish beets.

Kale – About 4 or 5  big leaves

Water

Salt

Olive oil

GOAT CHEESE

Optional: Stock of some kind

 

Gently heat some olive oil in a pot. Mince up your garlic and chop your onion and throw them in the oil. Have “a moment” where you close your eyes and waft the delicious smells that are cooking. Savor this. Remember the first trimester when you couldn’t stand to smell ANYTHING cooking? Feel a deep sense of pride about making it through early pregnancy. You’re doing it!

Measure 1 cup of dry lentils and dump them in. Stir the onions, garlic, and lentils around in the oil. Mmm. Now pour in some water. How much? I don’t really know. I put in about 2 cups at this point (I think?), stirred, then turned the heat up a bit. Put the lid on.

While that was cooking, I took care of my beets. I chopped the ends off, then washed and peeled. I chopped up the beets into small pieces so they would cook quickly, then dumped them into the pot. I’d try for medium heat- you need the lentils and beets to cook, but don’t want to over or under do it. I added a bit more water so that everything was just covered. You could totally use stock instead of/in addition to water- I didn’t because the only bouillon I have has MSG in it and I’m trying to avoid it. Set a timer for 20 minutes and go relax. Feel free to celebrate your decision to make a healthy meal by eating a large piece of  cake, like I did. (My doula brought me half of a homemade cinnamon cake to yesterday’s prenatal visit. I love her so.)

Once the timer goes off, you know it’s almost time to eat. Take off the lid and give a stir, then work on your kale. Take a few big leaves, rinse, and rip off chunks in a size that’s appetizing to you. (Kale cooks down a lot, for those unfamiliar with it). I try to avoid the chewy, large center vein. Throw your kale chunks into the pot and stir around. Turn your heat to simmer, with the lid off, for about 5 minutes. Carefully test out a beet to make sure they’re cooked to your liking. If the pieces are cut small, they should be perfectly al dente. Turn off the stove.

Spoon into a bowl, taste and salt accordingly. Add your goat cheese. Take a picture of it. Take 2 more because you take horrible photos. Post to Twitter. Offer to share the recipe, then write a post about it. Realize you should probably not offer to share recipes that don’t involve proper measurements. Stir your now melted goat cheese around your dish and wonder why you don’t eat more goat cheese.

Now enjoy your meal with a cold glass of apple cider and take a nap- you deserve it!

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Handy Tips for Partners of Pregnant Nesting Women

I just wanted to share some words of wisdom with all of the partners out there in pregnancy land. If your lady is pregnant, she will at some point enter a nesting phase. This phase may last throughout the entire pregnancy, come and go, or strike right at the end. There’s no telling when she will enter this phase or how long it will last, but it’s important you prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Here are some handy tips for the partners of nesting women:

Don’t:

  • Look bewildered when you find her crying in the bathroom cleaning baseboard with a toothbrush (your toothbrush. You can get another one.)
  • Ask confusedly “But where do you want me to put this?” when she hands you something to put away. You should know where it goes. If you don’t, just put it somewhere… but choose wisely. Should she find said item later on in a place it does not belong, well, that’s on you.
  • Say a WORD when you come home from work and the house is in shambles. She started 34 different projects at the same time and she knows what she’s doing.
  • Complain when she brings the kitchen into the bathroom. She may be trying out some natural cleaning solutions- corn starch, baking soda, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and other ingredients may take up some vanity space for awhile. It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.
  • Just recklessly try to clean something with an unlabeled spray bottle. There’s no telling what sort of concoction she’s made in there, and you can’t just go spraying unauthorized creations on the furniture. However-
  • Don’t ask her what’s in each spray bottle. I understand this is a no-win situation… I didn’t say it makes sense. She will eventually label each bottle, you know, in her spare time.

Do:

  • Try to understand the difference between what you formerly knew as “clean” and what now qualifies as clean.
  • Shower her with love and affection. Pregnancy is hard.
  • Be kind- nesting is a double edged sword of primal necessity and crazy-making. We want to nest. We have to nest. But our inability to do All the Things at once triggers our feelings, fears, and concerns regarding our ability to mother/parent and can make us anxious, upset, and a little nutty.
  • Breathe, and remember this is just a temporary phase, as is pregnancy. Soon you’ll have a tiny son or daughter who is going to rock your world in the most incredible ways imaginable.
  • Ask for what you need from your partner. She really doesn’t want to drive you insane, truly. When the time is right, encourage open and relaxed dialogue about what you both need from each other.

If all else fails, print out this handy flowchart and hang it in every room of the house. Follow it to the letter

0642461001379946867_flowchart for partners1_0

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Single Digits. Ermahgerd.

It’s happening! 9 weeks until my *estimated* due date. Single Digits. This means a lot of things, 2 of which are

  • Babby might not be done baking for another 11+weeks. (Not ideal)
  • Babby could be done baking in as little as 6 weeks. (Really not ideal)

Of course, Babby will come when she’s good and ready, and she seems pretty opinionated and stubborn already, so I’m sure whenever she decides to make her entrance will be the right time for her. If she comes any sooner than 6 weeks from now (making her premature) or after 42 weeks (making her “post-term”), home birth is off the table. I’m trusting that she’s going to turn head down (she’s loving her frank breech lounging right now), grow big and strong, and come when she’s safe and sound.

I really can’t believe I’m so far along. Throughout the second trimester (you know, that time when I had All the Energy and could like, do a load of laundry without being overcome with exhaustion?) there were many birth-related activities I wanted to dive into, but felt I should wait on until I was further along in my pregnancy. Now it seems I’ve entered Crunch Time where there is so much to do, and yet I don’t really have the energy or enthusiasm I had a few weeks  ago.

Steve and I were gifted with a beautiful baby shower recently, filled with happy, celebrating family and friends, and of course- baby things. We spent the past weekend putting various pieces of furniture together and figuring out what we still needed, baby-wise. The next few weeks will, I’m sure, become a blur of shopping for steals, Amazon deliveries and trying to cloth diaper the cats.

Hmm. On second thought, I don't think this is a risk I'm willing to take.

Hmm. On second thought, I don’t think this is a risk I’m willing to take.

 

The Fall is my FAVORITE season, and this year in particular is a busy one. Our calendar is loaded with doula prenatals, midwife appointments, birthday parties, pumpkin picking, decorating, Halloween fun, CRAFTING!!!! and general Fall mayhem, which of course flows right into the insanity of the holiday season. We also have more than a few things to do to prep for our homebirth and the baby that comes with it, like creating our birth and (hopefully not necessary) transfer plans, dealing with insurance, shopping for baby, nesting, purchasing necessities such as our birth kit and pool liner, yada yada yada. And, oh yeah, some quality time spent together before we become three would be great, too. We were going to go on a mini-babymoon before The Bean arrived but…

We recently found out that our insurance is quite crappy. We knew our in-network benefits didn’t offer much, but had no idea that we have *zero* out of network benefits. The out of network benefits were supposed to cover the (large) remainder of our midwife’s fee… but now it looks like that responsibility is on us. We are happy to pay as we feel our home is the safest and most comfortable place for our daughter to be welcomed into the world, and the prenatal care of our CPM is outstanding… but of course major unplanned expenses always sting. Luckily, even though a babymoon is now unfeasible, the generosity of our family and friends has covered the remainder of our (amazing) doula’s fee, as well as covered the fee of our placenta encapsulator (more on all of that later), which has relieved some financial stress immensely.

I’m continuously overwhelmed and awestruck by the generosity of family, friends, and even strangers during this pregnancy. Old friends I haven’t seen in 15 years are mailing gently used items and clothing just because they were thinking of us and had the items to spare. Despite some instances in the past few months that have unsettled my usually loving feelings towards my fellow humans, simple kindnesses continue to amaze me and restore my faith in humanity.

Sort of unrelated, read these blog posts/articles when you have the time. Trust me, they’re excellent:

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Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage ~ on OurMomSpot

Just a few benefits of infant massage!

Just a few benefits of infant massage!

 

I had a wonderful opportunity to be a featured guest writer on OurMomSpot. It’s a really unique site dedicated to parents and has lots of great forums to participate in (my personal favorites are Parenting Talk and Homestead Talk!) The article is entitled Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage and includes some things to look for and consider when choosing a massage medium, as well as a short video by Linda Storm of Infant Massage USA, who explains the basics of baby massage.

Working with new families is absolutely one of the most rewarding things I get to do, and teaching infant massage is a deeply meaningful experience for me- I get to watch parents fall in love with their babies… for some it’s for the very first time and for others, well, they fall in love with their child all over again! New parents often become more comfortable in handling their infant through massage, and learn to communicate with their babies and recognize/respond to their cues. There are countless physical and emotional benefits for both infants and the adults who massage them, and watching parents strengthen their confidence while bonding with their little ones is priceless.

During my training with Infant Massage USA, I witnessed live breastfeeding for the very first time, which completely rocked me to the core in the most positively powerful way. I also experienced parents coming to classes gushing with excitement about changes they saw and felt in their babies’ health, sleep patterns, and behavior. I hoped that after my initial training, I would keep the joy that I felt during my time spent with my learning group, and I have. Infant massage is that amazing.

Read Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage on OurMomSpot and watch the video, choose an oil that’s right for you, and enjoy some special time with your baby today!

 

Also check out:

Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents

Find an Infant Massage USA instructor near you here!

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