Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Great Baby Weight!

I think your body gains what it is supposed to in order to grow a baby. I am not a fan of the limits that are set on how much one should gain, and as long as you are not overindulging in trash food, you are fine and healthy. When I was pregnant with Peanut, I gained A LOT of weight. I did have a few too many cookies and Doritos at the end, but mostly I ate well. I can clearly remember that I stopped looking at the scale after I had gained 50 pounds, so I gained more than that with her and I remember losing it all pretty quickly. This time around, I gained about 50 pounds, and felt good and exercised pretty much up to the birth itself. I definitely ate better, and had less swelling as an added benefit of a better diet. I know I would be curious, so I am going to keep track of how long it takes to take it all back off.

Pumpkin is 2 weeks old, and I have lost about half of the baby weight so far. I think about 16 pounds came off right when he was born, so the next 10 has been from nursing and whatnot since then. I did my first walk yesterday, and hope to get out walking at least a few times a week - we all need the fresh air and the dog needs a little Caesar (exercise, discipline, affection). I'm wanting to start doing some Pilates and yoga but I think I need to wait until my pelvis stops popping...

OK, so far, here is what I have found to work in getting rid of baby weight:

1 - Have a big baby! This is a great way to see progress on the scale. If the baby is big you can lose a whole bunch before you even get up to exercise!
2 - Nurse! This just takes whatever food you just ate and passes it right along to someone else in my book. Now mind you, you have to eat good food since you are feeding yourself and your progeny - no "crap food" is included in the pass along so you will get, literally, saddled with it.
3 - Cloth diaper! This makes you climb up and down stairs several times a day to do laundry so you get lots of exercise and keep poopy plastic diapers out of the landfill to boot.
4 - Chase a toddler! Said toddler can be yours or one on loan. Mine says "more run" and just goes most of the time. If I don't want her running of onto the golf course, I have no choice but to run.

Of course, I could go on for hours about how our society has a major issue because we are so fixated on weight and appearance and we need to cut new moms (and pretty much everyone) some slack... I'll save that for another day though.

Guilt, resentment and the female brain

I am one of those people who always tells new moms that they need to take care of themselves in order to care for other people. I think with just one child, I did a pretty decent job of that and felt OK about taking a moment for me. I remember talking walks, going for a massage every now and then and never having a day without a shower when Peanut was tiny. With a toddler and a newborn, I am finding myself apologizing for taking a moment to take care of me.

The past two days I have said to honey - "I'm going to jump in and take a really fast shower" and he has said - "just take a shower - no need to be speedy". Yesterday, I realized it was only about 20 minutes that I had taken to shower, dress, do my hair and look and feel presentable. 20 minutes! That's nothing! A drop in the bucket in a day or a week. So why do we women feel badly about "taking" 20 minutes for ourselves? I think that is the key - we feel we are "taking" it from someone else and guilty about that instead of just doing what we need to do for our own sanity and self love.

And why do we resent the men in our lives who seem to blissfully do their own thing - shower, sleep, etc. without realizing they are "taking" that time from others? I know that Honey goes to bed after me, and he usually is holding Pumpkin for a while after I nurse him so I can go to sleep. Clearly he is a man who pulls his weight in terms of housework and child rearing - I couldn't ask for better. But I still get incensed when he is sleeping and I am dealing with whatever crisis is going on. For one, it is probably not as big a crisis as I am making it out to be. Sleeplessness can make mountains out of molehills. And secondly, if I need him, I can just wake him up and ask him to help! And he always jumps in. So why do I feel badly about waking him?

It seems nuts, but I think it must be genetic. I have this need to care for my family and put their needs before mine. Me, who has spent years working on this - I learned to put myself first on the list and learned to say "no" to people instead of yes to everything. So I know I can do it - I just think a switch gets flipped when you have kids. This may be a ridiculous example of what I mean, but food is important to me so it is a good one. Anyone who knows me will tell you - I hate to share food. I hate when people want to "split" dessert. Even my dearest friends will order separately if we are all very full already and we should obviously split something. I will give Peanut anything off my plate - will share anything with her and will give away the "good parts" without regrets.

So I guess this is where the balancing act comes in. Providing the love, security, and presence that each family member needs, while still proving the same for myself. I also want to show a good role model to my children of what taking care of yourself looks like. I know I will be using some self talk over the next few weeks to decide how best to do this. Oof, it is harder than it sounds sometimes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

On our own

It is the end of day one on my own with two kids and everyone is still here and healthy. So we have that going for us - which is nice. The only casualty we had was a bumped lip - Peanut was insistent on playing in the pool and running back and forth to the sandbox. Of course she tripped and fell and went face first into the side of the sandbox... although we did manage to get inside to do some first aid, she really wanted none of it and would have preferred to bleed out into the pool. She has a tough constitution that one. I ended up with Pumpkin over one shoulder and Peanut under my arm in order to get in the house for some ice and a cleaning. Oy.

We actually managed to accomplish some things today - got out for a short walk this morning and got to the pediatricians office for Pumpkins two week check up. I did have a little angst in the parking lot figuring out the best way to load and unload kids, but I'm sure that will get easier.

So the past two weeks have been a blur - we completely bypassed Peanut's birthday, so I'll recap it for you here. She wanted to go see the lizards, so we spent some time at Walney visitors center checking out the snakes, fish, turtles and skinks. Then we had ice cream cake and did the candle lighting thing...we also did the candles again almost every night that week (for Nana, Aunt Brenda, Grandma...) and continued to eat ice cream cake so now it is a little bit of an addiction. Here are some pics of my big two year old!
It's hard to see, but there is cake all over her face...

By the end of the week, she was pretty good at the candles!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Of potties and diapers

It seems that life with kids really revolves a lot around the bathroom. I never realized how much time and energy I would be spending on diapers, potty discussions, and training.

So everyone says that potty training goes by the wayside when a new sibling is born. They are absolutely right. It was awfully cool to use the potty before and now it is way cooler to have your pants changed like a baby. Sigh. Even though it seemed like we were in there for hours on end, I miss the days of my big grown up girl reading while sitting on the potty.

The exciting news for the little man is that his belly button stump has fallen off! Yay! This means a heck of a lot for a cloth diaperer. There are only so many cloth diapers that we have with a space for the cord, and so it has been a mix of cloth and disposables so far. But when the belly gives us the all clear, our diaper stash can be fully used and that means no more disposables! I really am amazed about the amount of trash just less than two weeks of newborn diapers makes. Of course, the amount of laundry is pretty significant right now... which is probably why this is so short.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Back to work

This week has gone by FAST! I can't believe that little Pumpkin is a week old, and that Honey has to go back to work tomorrow and that I am going to have to learn how to get everyone ready and dressed before 11 am at some point in the future. I know it can be done, but it really seems a little unreachable right now. He is starting to sleep for longer stretches so I know we will all be back to a good sleeping cycle soon. I have noticed myself a few times this week checking in on him when he is sleeping and even wishing he were awake to play!
Now that we are settling into a routine, and getting a little more sleep, I'm starting to look at the "to do" list again. I was able to get out into the garden today and set out the tomato cages - poor tomatoes were trailing all over the place. Got some of the garden weeded, and Honey got to vacuum the cat hair off the sofa. Grandma is coming this afternoon to stay for a week, and we still need to get some stuff out of her room... we've got a couple of hours - right?!

The most wonderful thing this week has been having my mom's group deliver meals every day. What an amazing group of women - having good, healthy, hot food has made it possible to give everyone the attention they need while we all make the transition to a bigger family. I can't thank them all enough.

The most difficult thing this week has been figuring out how to help Peanut feel secure and loved and attended to without completely breaking all of our routines and getting her into habits that will be tough to deal with later. She has been doing really well, but we have had a few troubles with bedtime and nap time and a day or two of really emotional, labile behavior. She is usually so sweet (although she IS two, so some of that is just there anyway) but she has been looking for some serious attention at times and is happy too take "bad" attention as well. Overall though, she loves her new brother and is really wonderful and gentle with him. I think we are going to enjoy this new chapter...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My milk machine!

So little (big really) Pumpkin weighed in at 8 lbs 8 oz at the hospital. He started out nursing like he'd been doing it forever, and has kept me awake every night so far! Of course, he was getting colostrum for the first couple of days until the milk came in full force, and like all babies he lost some weight. Well, the pediatrician was concerned because he had lost a little more than a pound by day three (he weighed in at 7 lbs. 6 oz), and he wanted me to supplement with formula. I was sure the milk was coming in soon, but agreed I'd try it. I figured there was a slim to none chance he's even take a bottle since Peanut didn't want any bottle or plastic nipple at all until she finally took a bottle at 4months. Even that was an emergency situation - we were caught in traffic on the way to NY and we couldn't stop, so I held the bottle back for her and she ate.

So anyway, we nursed as usual and tried the formula afterwards for two feedings that afternoon. He gave me a look like he thought I was crazy, and let the food flow and then made a face and pushed it back out. At about 3pm, I noticed that he had some milk running down his chin when he was nursing - woohoo! Milk is in! Happy day - all that nursing every hour for the past two days had kicked it into high gear.

That night was really tiring - he ate every hour or so, and had two stretches of eating nonstop for almost two hours at a time. When he did take a longer snooze in the wee hours of the morning, he woke to eat and got so frustrated because it was so hard to latch on since I was so engorged. He and I finally figured it out after trying a million different nursing holds and positions and extra pillows and whatnot. He continued on the feeding frenzy and I continued to lose sleep.

We have our weight check the next day at the pediatricians, and lo and behold - my man has gained 10 oz in less than a day! Go breast milk go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Our new little Pumpkin finally made his appearance into the world yesterday! He was born at 7:50 am, weighed 8 lbs. 8.2 oz. and is 21 inches long. He came in the caul, and so far is a calm, mellow dude.

You may know, that Peanut's birth was a long and arduous journey lasting 90 hours with the last 18 of those hours spent laboring at the hospital. We were planning to have a natural birth and ended up having to choose several interventions along the way due to the time she was taking and how my body was responding. So this time, I did everything I could to make this a different and shorter, calmer, less medical experience.

Well, all of those things worked. A little too well maybe! I woke with pressure waves at about 2am, and started to time them. They were 7-10 minutes apart and I was excited thinking that this may be the day, but I didn't want to get too excited since I know that sometimes they can peter out and you are back to nothing in the morning. I debated waking Honey, and then decided I would - just to let him know what was going on. We both agreed that this was great, but were wary of putting too much stock into it. So I turned on one of my Hypnobirthing scripts on my zune and tried to get some sleep.

About an hour later, I timed a few more waves and they were stronger, but still 5-7 minutes apart. I came downstairs and sent out an email to the team in place to help with Peanut just to let them know what was going on and that we might need them later. I walked around, sat on the ball, had a few more intense surges and came back to bed. I told honey what was up and a short while later we called our doula - around 5. We talked and decided that I was still doing fine on my own and we would call her back if and when we needed her. I went back to bed and listened to some Hypnobabies scripts as well. I was really in the zone and Honey fell back asleep, and when I woke, we both decided that it seemed like the surges were further apart, even though we hadn't yet timed them. We did then start timing them - Surges were now about 4 minutes apart, but I had had a few intense ones, and some that we even closer to 2 minutes apart. I also spoke with a girlfriend on the phone and went through what was going on so far, but I still don't think I fully believed that this baby was really on it's way. We started the process of figuring out where Peanut would go when we went to the hospital. We called our doula back around 6:30am and let her know we needed her. We called the hospital and said we would be coming in this morning. Somewhere around this time, I lost my mucous plug and started to laugh and cry at the same time - we never saw this last time and for me it meant it was really truly going to happen. During this whole time, Peanut was coming in and talking to me so sweetly!

From there on out, it is a little blurry and crazy. As we finished packing our bag and Peanut's bag, the surges were really intense and took all of my concentration to get through them. If I didn't catch them in time to get into a good position, they were really hard, but if I got on top of them I could breathe and relax and let my body do what it needed to do. I kissed Peanut and she and dad went outside to meet her aunt who was taking her for the day. At about the same time, our doula arrived to help. When she walked in, I realized I had been making some really low sounds. Then she started helping me through surges and we both realized that I had three in a row that were two minutes apart. I think I said that these last few felt pushy, and she asked if I thought I could make it to the car. I said I was not sure. She asked how far the hospital was - I said about 30 minutes. I think then I realized this baby was coming SOON. Then my body just started pushing and I felt a baby and told her that - she looked and the amniotic sac was bulging. She ran to the door to tell Honey what was going on and that we needed to call 911. He came back in and held my leg up, while she called our midwives and 911. The emergency operator and our midwife talked our doula through preparing me for birthing, but really, there was no option - my body completely took over. As the doula went to open the door for the emergency personnel, the baby's head emerged. Honey yelled for her and she came back in as the baby's body came out. The water broke and she put sweet little Pumpkin on my chest. I would discover later it was her first time catching a baby in all her years as a doula. The emergency personnel came in and it was completely surreal. Here I had this perfect little creature on me who had just popped out and I was absolutely blissful. The team was wonderful, helping to bundle him up, clamping and cutting the cord, making sure we were both fine and getting us out with some level of modesty (not much though - I arrived at the hospital in a tank top and nothing else).
As we rolled outside, I saw a neighbor and smiled and waved. The EMT's said they had not seen a situation like this where mom was so happy and smiling as they wheeled her out. I was pleased to be the one - we were all fine and everyone was accounted for - what more can I ask? In the ambulance, I nursed Pumpkin and he latched on like a champ. We got to the hospital and we were both checked out. After some discussion with staff, and dealing with "hospital policy", We went home that afternoon and just enjoyed our new addition.

I can't begin to tell you how profoundly this experience has amazed me. I just am in shock and awe and I am so grateful to have this body with it's outstanding abilities. I feel so powerful and capable right now, and I feel so good after birthing this way. The hardest thing these next few weeks will be keeping myself from doing too much.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Music to bring it all out of me

I loved A Chorus Line - I saw it on Broadway when I was young and it made such an impression on me. Lately, I have been thinking about Morales and Mr. Carp. She tells a story during her audition about being Puerto Rican in an acting class where they are all supposed to be sledding and "feel" the snow and Mr. Carp is asking them all to describe what they feel. He gets to her and she says "nothing - I'm feeling nothing" and he is thoroughly disappointed and says she could get transferred if she doesn't start to get it. Well, I'm feeling nothing, but I think I can't get transferred and I have to hang out here until I feel something... That song has been going through my head for days now! Here's the lyrics and a video for you to enjoy: http://www.allmusicals.com/lyrics/achorusline/nothing.htm

So this morning I got up to work out, and felt I needed to listen to powerful women. Not the kind of power of Liz (Phair) or Tori (Amos) - that may be a little too much today, but Eddie from Ohio and the Indigo Girls were a good fit. Well, you know you are emotional and hormonal when you burst into tears within the first few bars of Galileo. I have to say though, I had a great workout, even while the tears flowed, and I feel really good and energetic this morning.

Of course, I am continuing to listen after I have finished on the elliptical, and it's now on the Indigo Girls album which just brings to mind my dad. I remember using part of "Prince of Darkness" as what I said at his funeral. And the rest of the album just brings up every angst I think I (or maybe anyone) has ever had. So maybe a good cry is in order, and this baby will enter the world with a little less on their shoulders.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So this baby was due on June 6th. We are still waiting for the grand entrance, and I am beginning to get a little overly focused on it I think. Every old wives tale about how to get labor started is being put to the test around here. We even had tomato-basil ravioli with basil sauce and a salad with oregano balsamic dressing tonight! So maybe we will all go into labor.

Of course I didn't help that on Tuesday my midwives started talking induction with me - that completely stressed me out and made me feel so pressured to get things rolling. I feel like everything has gone by the wayside except for getting this baby to come out. I am a big proponent of letting the baby cook as long as it needs to, so this is new territory for me. I've been trying to stay busy so I don't think too much about it, but it is easier said than done!

The plan for now is to continue to do all the things we are doing, do the non-stress test on Saturday - the ultrasound, fetal heart monitor and all - and then I've got an appointment for acupuncture on Monday morning. So hopefully we can get the ball rolling before the 18th, which is when the induction is scheduled for. At this point, since I'm fine and the baby is fine, I suspect I wouldn't come for the induction anyway...

Who would blame these kids? I guess it is warm and cozy in there!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Devil is in the Details

We have been working hard to get some of the little things done around here and I thought I'd show you some of the most recent work.

We finally got the ceiling and soffits drywalled and finished in the gym (we just hired someone when we recognized it wasn't going to happen any other way!). Then, we moved some shelves over from the other side of the room and made a little media center there. Looks pretty good!

We also put new closet doors in the downstairs hallway and finally finished the doorways - thresholds, molding and all! Honey did an awesome job cutting the quarter round and molding. At least I feel like we won't be worried about a baby crawling over and unfinished floor!


Now I know that most pregnancies last more than 40 weeks. And I know with Peanut, we went to almost 42. So I have been preparing myself to go late this whole time. I've been telling people who ask that I am due in "mid-June" rather than saying the due date. But now, I have only one regular client left at work since I've done such a good job transitioning and preparing. (Go me!) Both of my side jobs are completed. I am starting too go a little stir crazy as it has been raining for days so I am cooped up thinking about when this baby will show itself. My due date is tomorrow, and so far, we've got nothing. I know I shouldn't expect anything, but I still have some part of me that thinks there is some magical knowledge about that day and I will wake up tomorrow with big pressure waves and know that it is the day.

Everyone we see asks Peanut if she is ready to be a big sister and when she thinks the baby will come. She says "June!" very brightly, but I can get her to pin down a day :( so she is not helping with the prediction. I have been doing all the right things (aside from not thinking about it of course) to help make this baby come, but to no avail as of yet. I am feeling a little impatient, and am wondering if there is something I need to do before I can relax and let the little one come. We just got our new insurance cards today - maybe that was it? We ordered a new charger for our video camera - it won't be here for a few days. Is that the hold up? I still need to get some outlets changed out and put some wall plates and safety covers on - maybe that's it.

I think I need to make lots of plans for the next two weeks and stay really busy so I don't make myself completely insane with waiting!!!