Friday, August 31, 2012

A full - term pregnancy is, quite literally, right around the corner.  It's hard to believe I've already been pregnant for eight months (though I know this year hasn't necessarily passed any more quickly than last year or the year before that - time flies these days).  I guess I just expected pregnancy to slow down the clock and the calendar for some reason. 

People with children of all ages tell me that this doesn't change once the kids escape the womb, and that the teeny, bleating baby they brought home yesterday is now in kindergarten, in high school, starting a family, etc.  I can't wrap my head around having an actual baby yet, much less looking back on his or her infancy with nostalgia. 

We're nearing ready to bring this baby home, at the very least.  I know nothing will prepare us emotionally for the experience, but we're slowly accumulating the things required to sustain the life of an infant!  Our travel system sits in the basement waiting for the day we (hopefully remember to) grab the carseat and base on our way to the birth center.  Two large boxes of baby clothes+bedding (in need of sorting and washing) should get us through the first month or so in terms of not having a naked baby.  We have a few bottles, which won't see the light of day for a few weeks if all goes as planned.  A crib, dresser, and changing table await assembly; we still need to get a mattress for the crib.  I bought nursing pads and baby wipes at Target yesterday.  (nursing pads, incidentally, are massive - like, 'half an overnight menstrual pad' massive.  no wonder nursing bras are so huge and bulky!) 

The only thing outstanding is the diaper situation.  We've been planning on cloth diapering all along, but it may be the last thing to fall into place before or after this baby is born.  While I have several dozen pre-folds, I'm honestly not crazy about the idea of using those as our primary diaper.  They're not particularly easy to use, and they won't fit a newborn.  And the cost of starting out with all - in - one cloth diapers is imposing at $17 apiece.  Assuming this kiddo goes through as many NB diapers as I did, we'd be looking at $30-35 a week (at Target prices) if we were to use disposable diapers.  It doesn't sound like much, but that becomes $120-$135 a month.  Most cloth diapers advertise that they pay for themselves in less than six months, which I don't doubt.  It's just the start-up cost...we don't, and won't, have an entire paycheck to throw at a cloth diaper stash between now and October 1st.  I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world if we gradually acquired cloth diapers and used *some* disposable ones in the meantime.  I've been stalking the interwebz for gently used cloth diapers as well...hopefully I come across some good deals.  The cost of disposable diapering for well over a year is enough to justify continuing to acquire cloth diapers whenever possible - especially since this kiddo probably won't be an only child! 

Craigslist + Amazon may end up being this mother's best friend as far as raising an affordable child goes.  I'm driving out to Livonia today to look at some cloth diapers, and picking up a Moby wrap for $10 tomorrow.  It's driving, yes, but hey - it's cheaper to run the AC in the car than it is to run it at home!  And it's supposed to be 90 today and tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pregnancy hormones...

...they're like the voices in your head.

When they tell you that you should mop the kitchen floor with a scrubbing pad, you don't bother to question whether or not spending thirty minutes scrubbing linoleum on your hands and knees at thirty - five weeks pregnant is a good idea.  You just do it.

But hey - my kitchen floor's now way cleaner than the Swiffer would have left it. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thirty - five weeks, two days

We're 1cm dilated and 50% effaced! 

This may or may not mean anything, either to you or to the pregnancy.  While effacement is a marginally more accurate indicator of the imminence of labor, it's hardly an exact science.  I might deliver next week, or in six weeks (I'm hoping for something between 37 and 39 weeks).  Either way, everything looks good, and my body (and my baby) has/have begun the descent towards labor! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

If this baby arrived on the sort of timetable that Chris did, we'd have our very own small human in a week and a half.  Madness. 

And while I am, obviously, still pregnant with #1 and thus have yet to complete a pregnancy, I can say this much : how you carry a baby is almost 100% genetic.  How you take care of yourself is all on you. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The New York Times tackles the issue of postpartum bodies

In Celebrity Climate, From Bump to Paunch, Pudgy Moms Can't Get a Break

Although this piece was run almost a week ago, I somehow missed it (despite perusing the NYT daily!).

And I'm honestly not sure what to think.

As someone who approached pregnancy with a great deal of trepidation, having heard more than enough about the horrors of both postpartum bodies and society's expectation that mothers to 'bounce back' ASAP after giving birth, I (admittedly) spent more than my fair share of time googling "Miranda Kerr pregnant" and "Adriana Lima pregnant" during my first trimester.  These image searches returned literally hundreds of hits, and I pored intently over pages of them, searching for signs of irreversible changes to their bodies during and after pregnancy.  There were none to be found, and I crept only slightly reassured into my second trimester after more than doubling the recommended weight gain for the first.  "It can't be so bad," I thought on my good days, "I can still fit into my pants."

It appears I was not alone, either in my morbid fascination with celebrity pregnancies or in the belief that gaining visible non-bump weight was unacceptable.  The author describes her horror being asked by a nail technician when her baby was due - four months after she gave birth.  Although personally comforted by the fact that she was, in fact, forty - two years old and the mother of three home-grown children at that point, she found the task of conveying this to strangers with critical eyes embarrassing.  I spent most of my first thirteen weeks of pregnancy worrying neurotically about how I would respond to such a question, knowing I'd be back at work six weeks after giving birth.  Weighing in at eleven pounds heavier than pre-pregnancy, I rounded the corner on second trimester unable to shut up on my bad days about how terrified I was of returning to work before my body had returned to "normal."  I vowed to gain no more than thirty pounds, finding comfort in the fact that when my grandmothers were pregnant, women were told that they shouldn't gain more than fifteen.  I vowed to start tracking my caloric intake.  And I vowed to work out regularly through as much of my pregnancy as humanly possible.  I was going to do everything I could to avoid being stuck with a postpartum body past my six week maternity leave.

Here's the thing though.  While the shitstorm surrounding Jessica Simpson's seventy pound gain last spring was, in fact, impressively venomous, it was hard to feel all that bad for someone who was a) famous for being famous, and b) openly admitting to eating buttered PopTarts.  The author alludes to this, conceding that "There is no virtue in letting oneself go after giving birth."  Further, "If our livelihood depended on wearing a swimsuit in front of millions, we’d probably put down the doughnut too."  No weight gain goes unnoticed in Hollywood, amongst those who (more than) pay rent with their faces and bodies - why should pregnancy be an exception?  Jessica Simpson posed nude for Elle magazine while pregnant.  By the time the photos were published, it was painfully obvious from her size that they'd been taken months earlier and also heavily 'touched up.'  I'd have pitied her if she weren't trying to use her pregnancy to resurrect her moribund career. 

While the nagging fears of first trimester persisted into the second, I found as it progressed that my mother had been right in saying that the weight gain would slow down.  The workouts I'd sworn to continue had evolved into an honestly enjoyable four to five runs a week, and the calorie - tracking had become more of a means of making sure I consumed enough protein to grow a baby than an attempt to stave off weight gain.  I was more fit than I'd been in years, and eating more healthily than ever before. 

The author laments how society's expectations, dictated by Hollywood starlets with millions to spend on trainers and diets and surgery, have made it hard for ordinary women like herself to feel ok with (much less love) their bodies after giving birth.  It's funny though - as someone who, at thirty-five weeks pregnant, is on track to gain the (medically) recommended amount of weight, I'd venture to say that society is far more forgiving than she thinks.  The sheer number of times a day I hear "you're all belly" or "you've barely gained anything" or "you can't possibly be due in five weeks" leads me to believe that most people expect the pregnant women in their lives to exceed the recommended twenty-five to thirty-five pound gain.  Customers' reactions to the fact that I'm still running lead me to believe that society expects the average pregnant woman to be far more sedentary than the average person (despite official recommendations that all pregnant women exercise for thirty minutes a day, seven days a week).  I've been averaging twenty minutes, four days a week - nothing amazing or extreme.

My point?  While I've done my best to have an active and healthy pregnancy, I haven't exceeded (or even met, in some instances) the official recommendations for all women with uncomplicated pregnancies.  I exercise regularly, but not as much as I should be.  I generally eat healthily, but that hasn't stopped me from indulging in ice cream weekly or eating out more often than I should.  And people are amazed by how little pregnancy has changed my body.  If society's expectations for most of us actually mirrored those they have for Hollywood, this would not be the case. 

Hollywood is, was, and will be Hollywood.  And life for the rest of us is, was, and will likely continue to be just, well, life.  I don't think the two are nearly as entangled as this piece would have us believe they are. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


Taken shortly after waking up, as is probably obvious from the pajamas...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We found out last night at childbirth class that (were I to go into labor spontaneously) I could deliver at the The Alternative Birth Care Unit as early as 36 weeks (while it is a hospital - based birthing center, they're not equipped to handle premature births on the unit). 

As in, 13 days from today. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Seneca Crispy Cinnamon Apple Chips

Beware, or be happy.  We brought a bag of these home from Kroger last night, and there may or may not be mere crumbs left.  They're not kidding about the crispy part or the cinnamon one either - they're light and crunchy like a potato chip (but still just apple slices), and have cinnamon sugar on them.  It's like apple pie, in a potato chip suit.  And they're delicious. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pregnancy - themed post

It might seem a bit silly to be so impatient for labor at 33 weeks, 4 days. 

The kiddo's not ripe, we don't have a carseat, breast pump, or nearly enough diapers, and the kitchen/bedroom swap hasn't yet happened in our apartment (there isn't room for a crib in what is currently the bedroom, and while the plan is to cosleep, a crib is good for naps and stuff).  And it would be a gross exaggeration to say I'm miserable even at this point in pregnancy.  I get tired more easily than I did a few weeks ago, yes, but I'm still far more energetic than I was first trimester.  I'm heavier than I've ever been, yes, but I still run four days a week.  And I'm achier and more sore than usual, but no worse than I used to be the day after doing yoga (when I didn't do yoga regularly, that is!). 

As I've said before, I have no room to complain about pregnancy!  The braxton - hicks contractions (inefficient, 'fake' contractions to prepare the uterus for the real thing) are annoying and frequent, but not usually painful.  The rule of thumb most doctors use is that anything more than four braxton - hicks an hour is a cause for concern (and a phone call), but I've been exceeding that regularly for months now.  They're more frequent than ever as of late, but since they're irregular and I'm not progressing towards labor/dilating, my doctor isn't particularly worried.  They've become painful on occasion this past week or so, but progress, no regularity, no cause for concern.  I guess I'll have a very fit and toned uterus by the time I actually do go into labor! 

Life goes on.  The reality of our impending parenthood is about halfway sunk in - it still seems extremely hypothetical and hazy, but the alternate endings ("this was all a dream" "something went wrong and we didn't end up with a baby" etc) have fallen away and left us to (hastily) prepare for the day I go into labor and beyond.  I've begun shopping for baby clothes, Chris offered to set up the baby's dresser whenever I decide I'm ready, our work baby shower was last week.  I've begun, as suggested by BabyCenter's pregnancy app several days ago, to wash the baby clothes we have so far.  Tiny elbows and feet and a scrawny little baby butt regularly jut out of my stomach, indicators of a strong and healthy baby whose bones are hardening with each passing day.  At my next appointment (which will be my last bi-weekly one - they'll be weekly from there on out) she's going to run the final lab work before delivery and check for dilation.  It's becoming real. 

And I can't wait to see those tiny arms and legs and feet and hands for myself.  46 days to go...

I'll leave you with an awesome picture, courtesy of the photographic skills of my lovely sister in law...

We went urban spelunking last month, baby and all.  Hear that, kiddo?  Your mom and dad are not lame, and we took you awesome places even before you were born.  

Pajama shorts

I found the perfect pajama shorts the other day.

The thing is, they're not technically shorts!  They are, in fact, tapered cut boxers.  I found a pair of blue and white printed ones mis-filed in the ladies pajama section of a thrift store, and I happily snapped them up because they were so cute.

And they fit better than any short pajama bottoms I've ever had.  Because the leg openings are narrower than regular boxer shorts (and than those on pj shorts), they don't ride up or bunch.  And while they're a cotton-polyester blend, they feel like 100% cotton.

I want about six more pairs since I don't want to sleep in anything else ever, so I googled 'tapered short boxer.'  As far as I can tell, Jockey is the only company that makes such a thing, and they no longer make them in mens' size small (the size mine are).  They are, however, $16 for two pairs on Amazon - definitely cheaper than pajama shorts from Target!  I might compromise and order a pack of mediums to see how they fit.

and yes, I did just write an entire post about buying boxers from the thrift store. that's what the washing machine on hot is for!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This makes two weekends in a row of Chris and I having [a] day[s] off together. 

I could really get used to this, and may have to change my work availability when I go back to work after the baby is born.  While a single "weekend" day as a family isn't an absolute necessity, it would certainly be a welcome luxury and make it much easier to do fun things as a family.  Education of small humans can take place anywhere (and should take place everywhere), but it's fairly important to us that our child experience farmers markets, museums, live music, bike rides, and any number of other such things.  A trip to Kroger for produce can be educational, but a trip to Eastern Market can be an experience.  I don't want to raise a child on mac & cheese out of a box, plastic toys with batteries, and "educational television."  While all three will most likely be present to some degree, we'd definitely prefer to have real food, real life experiences, and National Geographic documentaries on sharks or plants or history or culture be the primary narrative. 

Call me an idealist.  Call me naive.  And for the love of all that is good and beautiful in the world, slap me if I ever reach a point where I'm considering letting my child watch something like Dora the Explorer. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yesterday marked 32 weeks and also our first week of (three) childbirth classes. 

Our kiddo's birthday is getting, really close.  And as we learned this past weekend, Chris entered the world of his own accord at 36.5 weeks.  While that's not technically considered premature anymore, it was then.  The fact that he was nine and a half pounds and ready to rock and roll a few days shy of a month early was a bit surprising to everyone. 

Needless to say, we should probably make it a goal to be (mostly) ready for parenthood (in every sense of the phrase) by 36 weeks!  While the size of my belly makes it unlikely that Chris and I will end up with a baby as large as he (and my dad + two of my siblings) was, it's certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  The fact that I've stayed as active as I have lends itself to the idea that my abs are still stronger than average, thus creating a more compact bump than most women have at this point.  And, in all possibility, a cramped baby who never stops fidgeting for more than an hour or so at a time because there isn't much room anymore.  We've been head-down for several weeks now, and baby feet are spending what seems like a majority of their time in my ribs. 

At class last night, there were fairly extensive discussions of ways to shift babies into the proper position for birth - useful information for sure, but focused on getting an improperly positioned baby where he or she belongs rather than getting feet out of ribs and whatnot!  It was an enjoyable class, though I can't say I necessarily learned anything new.  Hearing natural birth stories was encouraging.  Everything I've read thus far is extremely aggressive in preaching that a birth plan can't be set in stone, the implication being that you never know when you're going to give up and decide you can't continue without an epidural.  At the Alternative Birth Care Unit, they mean "you shouldn't write in your plan that you're going to labor in the tub, because you might end up deciding the shower feels better."  Obviously, 100% of births carry the risk of ending in an emergency cesarean - barring medical complications leading to that though, I'm planning on a natural, unmedicated delivery (I think I've mentioned that on here before, but if I haven't...yes, 'tis the case).

Anyways.  The work baby shower is today, which should be a lot of fun.  I work Friday and Saturday, and am planning to head up to Lake Huron Saturday afternoon.  My sister Caroline will be in town Sunday evening through Wednesday, and oh my goodness I have so much to do between now and October 1st (give or take a few weeks!).  It will be fun though.  Pregnancy's turned me into a machine of both productivity and nap - taking, which really isn't a bad way to live life. 

Perhaps I'll update with pictures from the shower tonight or tomorrow if I get the chance.