Expecting our Little Brother in November!

pregnancy calendar

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Visitor Log

So here are the visitors we've had since James was born:

Friday, Nov 19th, Birth Day: Midwives (Kim, Cindy, Nancy), Mom (Dabney), Mom (Julie), Dad (Chris), Lauren, Marilyn, Kate, Mariclare, Grandma Rosemary.

Saturday the 20th: Midwives (Kim and Cindy), Jianlin, Lixia, and Lily

Sunday the 21st: Mom (Julie), Amy and Karl

Monday the 22nd: Midwives (Kim and Cindy) Mom (Julie), Mom (Dabney), Dad (Chris), Marilyn

Tuesday the 23rd: Mom (Julie), Dad (Chris), Dad (Arthur), Marilyn, Amy and Karl

Wednesday the 24th: Midwife (Kim), Kate, Marilyn, Mariclare, Sky

Thursday (Thanksgiving): Mom (Julie), Dad (Chris), Mom (Dabney), Roger, Grandma Marline, Andrew, Natalya, Lauren, Marilyn, Kate

Friday the 26th: Jessie

Saturday the 27th: Mom (Dabney), Andrew, Natalya, Emily, Trevor, Tim, Mariclare, Norm

Sunday the 28th: Aunt Lu, Uncle Chuck, Marilyn

Monday: NO ONE! Wow!

Tuesday the 2nd: Uncle Lou, Max, Mom (Julie), Dad (Chris)

Wednesday the 1st: Marilyn, her roommate Grace, and her roommate Jenn (Koenig)

I'll have to keep updating this. James David is a pretty popular dude.

Doubting Thomas'

So it's pretty funny to me how many people have come out of the woodwork since we gave birth who are totally surprised that he was so big and healthy. Apparently, we had plenty of friends and family members who totally doubted that I could grow a healthy baby as a vegan.

I guess I get the impression that they expected him to be really tiny, or sick, or something . . . YES PEOPLE, a vegan diet CAN contain all the nutrients you need to be completely healthy. LOL! You'd think that the fact that James has been vegan for 12 years and I have been vegan for six years would be enough to convince people that you can indeed sustain life on a vegan diet.

Buuut, apparently the true test is growing a baby, and the fact that we had an 8 lb, 7 oz, long, healthy baby means that we've passed. So if you were wondering, it is NOW official, a vegan diet is healthy. Mine and James' stellar bloodwork and slim figures weren't real evidence, but a healthy James David is. ;-)


I wish that doctors and professionals wouldn't tell new Moms that breastfed babies eat every two hours. It is a bold-faced lie--at least for the first few weeks. Yes, there are times that James goes 2, 3, 4 (one glorious night, even 6 hours) between feedings. But much more often, it is one hour, or a half hour.

And there are things called growth spurts--and again, I'm glad for all my research on breastfeeding that makes me know that these things are totally normal, because otherwise I would be doubting everything about breastfeeding . . .

There is supposedly a growth spurt around one week--and yesterday, at exactly one week, James started to eat NONSTOP. Like, here were the times he ate in the evening:

5:05-5:30--left boob
6:05-6:35--right boob
6:50-6:55--left boob
7:40-7:45--left boob
7:50-8:20--left boob
8:30-8:50--right boob
8:55-9:05--right boob
9:15-9:25--left boob
10:45-11:10--left boob

Then he FINALLY went to sleep for three hours, before waking up again and wanting to eat from both sides between 2:30 and 4, and then he went back to sleep for two more hours and then was up from 6:30-10:30 and ate 4 times for a half hour each.

WOAH. My nipples are FREAKING sore and my boobs are like two deflated balloons. THIS IS NOT EVERY TWO HOURS. That is why it is a lie and they should just tell new parents to expect their baby to eat every hour on the hour for at least two weeks.

Because I have done my own research I know that these frequent feeding times have the specific function of bringing up your milk supply. After one week, the baby's stomach is getting bigger and able to hold more milk at a time. So he eats non-stop so that your breasts understand that his stomach has grown, and they can start making more milk for him.

Breastfeeding is an absolute perfect system (though unfortunately it can be very difficult for some Moms/Babies), but so much of it working, I think, is trusting in that system. I could be panicking right now and think my milk isn't there and that my baby is starving. But my milk IS there and my baby ISN'T starving. He is doing exactly what he needs to in order to have as much milk as he needs in the future, so I'm glad of that.

I'm also glad that he finally settled down for a longer nap and I can have a break, because my mind started bending around 3:45 this morning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

One Week Baby Gratitude

My beautiful son is one week old today. A week ago at this time I was already holding him in my arms--he might have even been getting passed around to my various family members by now.

It is sort of insane that I have a son--a baby.

On the one hand, James and I love him so unconditionally--we are (obviously) obsessed with him. Every face is the cutest face we have ever seen. We just stare at him and ooo and ahh over every little thing he does. We love every little body part and noise and movement. We take a million pictures of him every day. I usually wake up before he does in the morning because I miss him. I stare at him sleeping and I wish that he'll wake up because I want to snuggle him and kiss him and hold him. We just love him so much, and it is crazy how immediately he was the most important person in our world.

And on the other hand I'm still in this weird state of disbelief. It doesn't really seem real yet. Am I really a MOTHER? Is he really MY SON? Is our life REALLY changed forever? It keeps feeling like someday we'll wake up and someone will show up to take him away because it was just a fun experience that we bought and after a week it will be finished and our life will be back to normal. It just isn't real to me yet.

And, if there was another hand, it would be how funny it is that James and I seem to have taken to this very naturally--it's almost part of the reason it feels unreal. All of a sudden, it is totally normal that our life revolves around someone else--that there is a person depending on us. James and I both feel so confident in caring for him--I can usually tell right away if he's hungry or needs to be changed, and James is good at recognizing when he is overstimulated and needs some quiet time, or Mom and Dad time . . . it's like he is so naturally a part of our life and it's so crazy that James and I are the ones that know and love him best, that we are the ultimate authority on this tiny and precious life . . . sometimes he cries when someone else holds him but he stops when I take him. How does he know me? Why does he think I am the best person to take care of him? It's all a strange mystery to me still.

And yet, there have been moments--and these moments give me insight into how insane it must be to be a new parent to a baby who is sick, who has trouble latching, who doesn't sleep or who is colicky--or to be a new parent that is having trouble breastfeeding, family issues, a single parent . . . there are moments where I feel tiredness taking over my brain, my nipples ache, and he starts to fuss in his "I'm hungry" way, and I resent that I'm the only one who can feed him, that I have to deal with the pain, that I have to stay awake. In these moments, I feel crazy as my unconditional love for him wars with the natural urge to be selfish. I can only imagine how it must be in the situations I mentioned above, when the demand on you is so much greater--when the support is so much less--when the baby is so much harder and you have to give so much more and get so much less in return. I can only imagine how depression can creep up with the realization that your life IS changed and this IS the new normal . . . and in SPITE OF an overwhelming and beautiful love for that same baby . . .

I can only feel very grateful, in the wake of the Thanksgiving Holiday, that I was, and continue to be so blessed. James is a ridiculously supportive and amazing husband--staying up with him at night so I can sleep when he needs to--doing the middle of the night diaper changes--feeding and caring for me so I can take care of Little James. And my Baby James is a ridiculously amazing baby--he sleeps so well, during the day and at night--he eats well, latches well, communicates his needs well. He never cries except when he is hungry or wet or tired, and when he is awake he is SO awake and aware and engaged. And my family--they have been so supportive. My Mother, and James' have been cleaning and caring for us almost non-stop, and the rest of our family just loves him so much and have been helping so much. I know that the blessings are way way too many to count. Sometimes it is really too much.

Blog Changes

It has come to my attention more and more recently that lots of people are reading my blog who I was completely unaware of because they didn't have google accounts and so, couldn't leave comments.

I guess I didn't really realize that there was a setting like this that prevented anonymous comments . . . but there was!

Anyway, I just changed the settings of the blog. Now, anyone is able to leave a comment. If you are an "anonymous" commenter (someone without a google account), please just leave your name in your comment so I know who you are.

I am excited to hear from more people more often now! :-D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Birth Story

In the days before the birth I was definitely having some things that could be considered "prelabor", and I totally attribute them to getting acupuncture. My friend Craig the acupuncturist guaranteed me that his patients never go more than a few days past their due dates, and I had no reason to doubt him.

So I went on my due date, Tuesday, to get acupuncture and get a chiropractic adjustment, and this set off a string of pretty consistent Braxton Hicks contractions. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I continued to have Braxton Hicks contractions often, to feel extremely uncomfortable, to get up many times each night to pee and feeling uncomfortable, etc. We went to walk around UConn on Wednesday (?) night, and while I walked around as briskly as I could with a 9 month pregnant belly, the contractions became slightly more painful, but they would go back to just tightening as soon as I stopped walking.

On Thursday I went again for acupuncture and a chiropractic adjustment, and Thursday night the Braxton Hicks contractions continued, and I woke up several times over the night. At 4 am I realized I'd woken to pee at 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30, and 4 . . . even that was a bit much for me. I felt even more uncomfortable than normal, and thought MAYBE I was in the beginning of labor, and that, either way, I couldn't really sleep any more.

So I got up and went downstairs to watch Harry Potter, time the contractions I was feeling on the contraction master, and go online. After a few minutes of timing contractions, I took this herbal supplement that Craig (acupuncturist) had given me. Sometime after this (or maybe before, I can't quite remember), the contractions started to definitely get more painful--not just like tightening, but like something more. I couldn't sit still and started to pace around, bounce on the birth ball, and lean over our overchair during the contractions. At 5:00 or so, I started to think MAYBE this was actual labor, and at 5:40, I started texting my family to let them know--since the plan was for everyone to be here.

First I texted my sister Lauren since she lived in Brooklyn and had to take a train to my parents house (an hour to an hour and a half) and then they all had to drive another hour and a half up here. After I texted her, she called me.

"I'm pretty sure this is it." I said.
"Should I call out of work and get on a train?" she asked me.
"Well," I said, "definitely call out of work and start getting ready to go, but call me back again before you get on a train to make sure."

Next I texted my sister Marilyn, but she didn't call me back for a while. Just before 6, I called my Mom to let her know--and to tell her that Lauren was already on her way.

At 6, I woke up James. "I'm in labor!"
"What, really?" he said. He was pretty excited because all week he had been going to work instead of not going to work, and every morning he would ask my sleeping self:
"Okay, are you in labor?"
And I would say no. So this morning when I was in labor was pretty awesome for him.

I left him up there to go back and text my sister again. She called me back a bit later and I told her that this was it, and she should go get my sister, and she said: "Okay I'll go right now." And off she went.

James did a nice long qigong practice, thinking he would need his energy and concentration for a long day of labor. I was downstairs and the contractions started to get more intense and I started to think that I wanted his support. I went back upstairs and tried laying on my side in bed like we'd practiced in our Bradley class, and "relaxing" through a contraction. However, when the contraction hit, I could NOT stay down there.

It's interesting because I COULD say that trying to lay or sit through a contraction was excruciating, but it just wasn't like that. What I mean is that it was way less comfortable laying or sitting than it was standing, or leaning over. But the intensity of the word uncomfortable isn't right, and yet PAINFUL doesn't really hit it either. Yes it was painful, but it is such an event that you (well I) didn't think PAIN. I was excited to finally have the baby and this was the crazy rollercoaster to get me there. It was obviously uncomfortable, and I guess it WAS painful, but I brought forth life. Considering the miracle, the sensations were understandable and bearable and just part of that miracle, you know?

Anyway, so I tried laying down and relaxing through a contraction but as soon as it hit, I jumped back up and said: "NO WAY," and left James alone to practice to go back downstairs and labor by myself for another 15-20 mins. I was down there wondering what was taking him so long to get up. Finally I went back up to find him laying in bed after practicing, which he usually does for a few minutes before getting up for the day.

"You should start filling up the birth tub," I said.
"Already?" he asked me. "You could be in labor for 12 hours, we shouldn't fill it up yet."
"Okay, well, get up I need you."

So he started to get up, and went to call the midwife. This was about 7, now. Her phone went to voicemail, so he came up to ask me what he should do, and started to realize I was in pretty active labor. At this point I was bending to lean on the bed or a chair with each contraction, and trying to breathe deeply though them.

"I guess I will call Cindy," he said (our midwife's apprentice), "and have her get in touch with Kim (our midwife)."
"Worst case scenario, you can drive over to Kim's and get her," I said. Our midwife lives about five minutes from us, so I was totally not above resorting to this.

Another contraction hit me. "I want you to fill up the tub NOW," I said. "I want to get in it." This was maybe five or ten minutes after I first asked him to fill it, but it was enough time for him to start taking me seriously. We got the tub liner in, and arranged, and James started to fill it up. Then he started to change the sheets on the bed, put the plastic sheets over, and then put the sheets for the birth on top.

Each time a contraction would hit, I would tell him to come push on me. I wanted pressure on my back and on my low abdomen, too. He would squeeze me while I leaned over, or tried to bend my back straight and put pressure on my back myself. Then when the contraction was over, he would go back to what he was doing. At some point this got frantic, where he realized that there was only a few minutes for him to get all this done before another contraction would come.

In the meantime, he was also communicating with our midwives and families. The apprentice, Cindy, was on her way over, and she had talked to Kim. They decided that she would do an exam to see how dilated I was, and then she'd let Kim know.

At some point, James talked to Kim, too, and she asked how I was doing, how he was doing. "Is she able to talk through the contractions?" Kim asked him.
"Uhhhh, no," he said, "she is pretty focused at this point ..."

So Cindy got to our house, apparently at 7:35, and came upstairs--I greeted her and a minute later a contraction hit--I bent over the bed and breathed through it as James pressed on me--at this point I was definitely starting to make some "vocalizations" (ie, moaning) through them. I remember when the contraction was done I stood up and looked at Cindy.

She was like: "Oh, am I making you feel self-conscious?"
And I was like: "No not at all, I'm looking at you like, 'Well, what do you think?'"
"I'm not sure what I think," she said, "I'd like to check you."
"Okay," I said. "After the next contraction how about?"

So after the next contraction, I took off my pants and underwear and laid on the bed and Cindy put her hand inside to see how my cervix was doing. As she was doing this, another contraction hit me, and I said: "Another one is coming!"
"I'd like to feel your cervix while it is happening to see what happens, if that is okay," she said.
"Ahhh, okay," I said, even though, as I'd previously mentioned, laying down seemed unbearable to me at that point.
After the contraction was done, she let me get up, and said: "Well, you are well effaced and dilated." She didn't give me a number of centimeters, which turned out to be because she thought I was already 8-9 centimeters but she thought that that couldn't be right, so she just didn't say anything. But she did go call our main midwife and tell her she'd better get over there.

This was definitely the beginning of what they call "labor land" when you really lose touch of what is going on outside and your focus turns inward. I was aware of everyone and what they were saying, but my memory wasn't recording time or events--not in the same way as everyone else.

Something people don't realize about natural birth is that pain causes the release of endorphins, and more pain releases more endorphins, and endorphins are not only more powerful than morphine, but they cause a state of dissociation that puts a barrier up between you and the pain. I honestly think that medicated childbirth is probably more scary and painful in a lot of ways because you don't have this natural high, natural painkiller--and I really think it is stronger.

So now I am working off of the midwife's notes because I was in laborland. At some point I was in the birth tub. I got in to soothe me during the contractions, and the water was really warm. James ran back and forth bringing cold water into the tub--and later, taking some water out so it didn't overflow. The water felt good but I started to feel overheated, so I got out again.

Apparently my water broke at 8:00, and at this moment I thought to myself that I was in transition. We learned in the Bradley class that transition is marked by emotional upset, and when my water broke, I was already in very intense labor and was in the middle of a contraction, and it broke with the classic splash sound like in the movies. I was leaning over the birth tub and James was pushing on me, and when the water broke I saw there was meconium in it.

For those that don't know, meconium is the baby's first poop, and if they do it before they are born, they can breathe it in, which can cause serious problems. So when I saw that meconium I got really upset. "There's meconium." I said, and I started crying and leaning on James. I sort of bawled for like a minute, and James held me and said it was okay, and that Little James was fine, and it was okay.

I was worried but I also knew that I was in the middle of a road I couldn't turn back on, and I needed to stay focused and get the job done. So after my minute of sobbing and worry I pulled myself together and just decided to move past it.

Apparently ten minutes later I started to "sound pushy"--meaning that I had an "ugh" sound during the contraction. Again, I was making a lot of noise during the contractions, but it wasn't because it was PAINFUL (though obviously it kind of was), it was more like there was this crazy thing happening inside me and I had to let it out. I honestly didn't think I would be a person who made a lot of noise while I was in labor but I did. I yelled. But oh well, it's what I was doing. I seriously was not in control, I was just along on this ride of my birth, just like James and James were. I didn't feel like I had any more say in the situation than they did.

My main midwife, Kim, got there a few minutes later--it was now 8:15. They suggested that I go sit on the toilet to help the baby come down. So I waddled over there and sat myself down. This felt especially good because I was feeling like I had to poop and though I was prepared to poop while I had the baby, since apparently this is really common, I felt a little more free to do so on the toilet. So I was on the toilet for awhile, and I did poop a little, and the baby's head did come down.

According to the midwives I was already pushing at this point, but I never thought so. It didn't feel like pushing to me--again, I was just there and trying to let my body do its thing. I would sit on the toilet but would stand up over it during a contraction and sort of squat. Again, sitting or laying down at all during the labor did not feel good.

Mariclare got there while I was on the toilet. She was a little freaked out (apparently) so James (apparently) went to talk to her and calm her down. He gave her the video camera and told her I was making noise but everything was okay.

From this point I have the record from the video camera but the way it happened from inside me was different (I feel like I keep saying that). But at least I have a clearer idea of exactly what happened from this point.

So I got off of the toilet and was leaning/hanging on James during the contractions, and the midwives said that they had brought the birth ball into the bedroom and asked if I wanted to come lean on it while I was laboring. So I waddled back into the bedroom. James' Mom got to our house at this moment and I remember being worried that she would see me naked, LOL! I had a tank top on but hadn't put anything back on my bottom half since I got out of the birth tub. Anyway, she stayed downstairs, but I remember walking back to the room quickly so that she wouldn't see me from the bottom of the stairs--I find my concern so funny at this point.

So I went back into the bedroom and labored for a bit while leaning on the birth ball which was on my bed. At some point I wanted to start squatting. I guess this was when I started feeling like I was pushing, but honestly I still didn't feel like I was "pushing", and just now I remembered learning in the Bradley class how to hold my breath and push with my chin tucked down, and it is SO funny because I never once thought of this during labor. My body was just doing it--I know I keep saying that but it's just so true.

So then I was squatting, holding on to the side of the bed--the midwives apparently put a pad under me, and eventually a mirror--I'm realizing now how cool it was that they just did whatever I wanted to do--they made suggestions but it sort of felt like they just followed me around with their stuff and took care of me whereever I was and whatever I was doing there. It's not until this moment I'm really realizing how different things would have been under a "managed care" mentality. Most of the time, I was just doing the only thing I could do--I couldn't imagine someone telling me to do something else.

So I was squatting over the mirror and really started feeling pushy (but only in retrospect)--but I wasn't looking at the mirror. So when they said they could see his head, I honestly didn't even believe them. But I guess I felt like he was getting close because there was one contraction where there was a serious burning feeling in my cervix.

At this point, they asked me if I wanted to get back in the birth tub, so I could have a waterbirth, and catch my own baby. It was that burning feeling I was thinking of when I said: "Okay, maybe it would feel good."

It took me two contractions to get from the side of the bed about two feet away into the birth tub. I didn't want to put my legs together too much because I didn't want to push him back in. When I got into the water, it did feel really soothing--and the midwives said that if I put my hand down, I could feel his head. I touched this soft and squishy thing, and asked if it was really his head and they told me it was but I honestly didn't really believe them. On the one hand, it felt too soft and squishy to be the hard round head that had been pushed into my ribs and then pelvis for months.

And honestly, on the other hand, I just didn't believe that I was so close to having him. Labor hadn't been that difficult. How could I be already at the end? Wasn't it supposed to be way harder than this? There is a moment on the birth video after they told me that it was indeed his head, when all that is running through my head, and I have the funniest look of disbelief and "woah" on my face.

After one or two more contractions, I had a little break from contractions. Maybe like 3 minutes. I relaxed in the water while the midwives tried to get everything set up. They put a mirror on the bottom of the tub to see what was going on with me. After this little break, it was time to push him out. In one or two more contractions, his head was out. I reached down to feel it and I was almost panicky--I wanted it to be over, and I also was worried about his head being out underwater while his body was still in me.

"Get him out!" I said. But the midwives told me to wait and I would push him out on my next contraction. This was honestly the only contraction where I actively and intentionally "pushed". I wanted him out. So I pushed and all of a sudden he popped out! They brought him up through my legs so I could sit down and pick him up. This was 9:06am.

It was absolutely insane to see him. I just kept saying "My Baby! My Baby!", and James and Mariclare were crying. He didn't cry at first, but his eyes and face were moving so I knew he was alive. The midwives moved his arms around and rubbed his back, and finally they told me to rub his back from the bottom up, and I rubbed him way vigorously and he took his first breath and everyone cheered.

He was very gurgly and I was worried about him--they suctioned him and then I asked them to suction him again. But eventually he started to breathe better. Because of this slow start, his 1 minute apgar was only 5, but then his 5 minute one was an 8.

He was 8 lbs, 7 ozs, and 23 inches long, and beautiful.


I can honestly say that giving birth was far easier than I thought it would be. I attribute my fast and easy labor mostly to one thing--a lack of fear. I was able to get out of my own way and let my body do what it was made to do.

I had spent many years retraining and reconditioning my mind's perception of what birth was. I cleared out the scary pictures painted by movies and popular shows like Birth Story, and replaced it with positive messages about birth, the power of the woman's body, the ease and benefit of natural birthing . . . I worked hard to release any fear of birthing and instead turn birth into something that I was excited to face--a completely unique experience--a once in a lifetime opportunity to look into my soul and find out that I was strong.

One of the best movies for this was The Business of Being Born--the births that they show in here were SO relaxing and inspiring. But my favorite favorite resource was the book Journey Into Motherhood. It is a collection of inspiring natural birth stories, written by Moms. All of these stories are different--some in the hospital, some at home, some with midwives, some with doctors, some unassisted, some planned, some unplanned, with different approaches and using different preparation methods, but they have a common message.

Birth is normal.
There is a reward that comes from birthing naturally that is worth pursuing.
Birth is not something to be afraid of.
Women are powerful.
Women's bodies know what to do.

I read this book over and over and over. While I was reading, I let these stories wash over and into my mind, take away the fear and replace it with power. Take away the misconceptions and replace them with knowledge. Take away the reticence and replace it with excitement. And replace the nervousness with confidence.

By the time I went into labor, I was the powerful woman I had read about--the Mother. I could make a baby, and I could give him life. In doing so, I would find a further power and confidence that would make me into someone capable of caring for another person. I am powerful, I am wise, and I will guide and raise this child.

P.S. on Breastfeeding Products

I meant to say in my earlier post about breastfeeding that there is something else that has been saving me--I literally could not imagine how bad the nipple pain would be if it weren't for these: Lilypadz.

They are silicone pads that stick to your boobs. They not only keep them from leaking, but they also protect them and keep them from drying out. It is awesome because I can wear them at night without a shirt, and I can wear them under clothes without a bra. I literally cannot imagine any fabric rubbing against my nipples right now. I don't know how people live without these Lilypadz.

One last thing that has been awesome is this nipple butter. My friend Ella recommended it to me as an alternative to Lanolin, since Lanolin is sourced from sheep oils, and we're vegan. I'm sure Lanolin works great, too, but it was really nice to have a vegan alternative, and the nipple butter has been a lifesaver, too.

Quick Note on Diapers

A few people have asked me if we are cloth diapering.

Why yes, we are! I'm super excited to cloth diaper and have all my stuff set up ready to go. There are a few reasons why we haven't started cloth diapering YET, however, and instead are using Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Disposable Diapers(a gift from Aunt Sue via Diapers.com).

1. We are waiting for him to finish pooping meconium (the black tarry first poops) so that he doesn't stain the cloth diapers.
2. We are waiting for his cord stump to fall off since the cloth is bulkier and seemed to be rubbing on the stump when he was first born and we put him in a cloth diaper.
3. (This is the biggest reason) We are waiting for me to feel better. I had a pretty significant tear and had to be sutured, so I have stitches healing and I'm supposed to be confined to the couch and bed. Since I can't do laundry and James already has to feed me and run the baby and all of our supplies up and down the stairs for me, I figure it wouldn't be smart to add an extra load of laundry each day to his roster at this point.

So that is why my baby is currently wearing disposables. However, we WILL be cloth diapering in the long run and I'm quite excited about it. So that's that!

Milk Boobs

I can't describe the transformation of my boobs--particularly the left one. I started one pre-pregnancy as a B cup, then got to a C while pregnant, now I think they are double D's and look like fake boobs, they are so round and hard and taut.

And they are HOT. Before he eats, and they are full of milk, they are so hard and hot, it is just crazy.

And my nipples. God they are sore as hell. Particularly the left one (evil left boob)! I know I have him latched pretty good but they are still killer, especially during the initial clamp-down. And when he is done eating, my nipples are crazy--easily twice as big as they were when he began.

Besides this metaphorasis, and the pain factor of the left boob and letdown, breastfeeding is going really really well. I feel so lucky that I had a baby who would latch, my milk came in well, and him and I were able to get it figured out relatively quickly. I know lots of people aren't so lucky.

I also will attribute our success to having learned so much about breast feeding in the past three years though. My favorite book was Breastfeeding Made Simple, and the best best website is Kellymom. During the first day or two, when I was having trouble latching him, it is because of things I learned from THAT book that I was able to figure it out. And because of Kellymom, I know that things like cluster feeding and other breastfeeding behaviors are totally normal.

I'm so happy that breastfeeding is working for us, and I get to see something beautiful like this every day:

Birth Story in the works!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Breastfeeding and Labial Tear

Still haven't written my birth story, but I wanted to post a little update on how we're doing.

And mostly, we are doing good! We're really starting to get the hang of nursing, which after three years of excessive research, was still harder than I thought it would be. My nipples are painful while he is nursing, especially right at first, which is SUPPOSEDLY not supposed to happen if you have them latched "deep enough", but I have him latched as deep as I can possibly get him and it is still happening so idk.

BUT my milk seems to be coming in okay and he is spitting up occasionally, so I know he is getting enough milk. I can grin and bear it for awhile.

One SERIOUS bummer is that I apparently got a PRETTY BAD labial tear when he was born, perhaps because his head came out with a hand (I gave birth under water so they are not sure about that), or maybe just because it was a fast L+D. But I had to have stitches and I cannot really move around much at all. The first two days I stayed in bed except to use the bathroom and then yesterday I was up a little but I was feeling more pain, so today I was on the couch but I still didn't get up at all except to use the bathroom. But I have to sit up to nurse him and depending on how I'm sitting I think it can pull on the stitches a lot and it was seriously hurting a little while ago. :::sigh::: DH is going to call the midwife to come check and make sure it is healing, so I guess we'll do that tomorrow.

I honestly didn't expect the recovery to be this big of a deal, and I honestly think I would be feeling great if it weren't for the tear and/or the stitches. My Mom got here on Sunday to help us and she's staying until tomorrow (Tues) and then everyone will be back on Thursday for Thanksgiving. I really hope I am feeling better by Thanksgiving.

Sorry for the lack of more updates--I will try to do the birth story soon!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm still in pretty good shock. James David arrived yesterday--November 19th, at 9:06 am after only 5 hours of labor.

He is 8 lbs, 7 ozs, and 23 inches long.

We totally love him! I will post a birth story soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another Update

Not in labor.


Pre-Labor (I hope) Update

So on Tuesday, my due date, I got acupuncture, and I definitely felt like it started something. Since then, I've been having Braxton-Hicks contractions non-stop, and I'm pretty sure I lost my mucus plug or some bits of it over the last day or two. I've also been feeling increasing pressure on my cervix.

Last night I was desperate enough to try taking a long walk--I wanted to harness the power of these Braxton-Hicks! Plus, my Dad has been pushing the walking for a week now. So James and I went to UConn and I waddled around at top speed and raced up and down many sets of stairs. I will say that this had the effect of making the contractions I was having more painful. However, if we would stop for even a minute, they would stop being painful, and once I returned home, that was it. They might have been been painful because I was asking my poor abdominal muscles to hold up a 30 pound uterus while I jostled it all over.

Anyway, I couldn't fall asleep last night, partly because my back was hurting, and partly because I drank caffeinated tea all day yesterday. I eventually fell asleep on the couch watching Harry Potter 4 and with my ribs belted together.

And now it is Thursday the 18th--the last day of my prediction window that I felt was incredibly realistic. ::snort:: Anyway, honestly, if it wasn't for the acupuncture, I would have little hope of giving birth before 41 weeks. But my friend claims his patients are more or less "on time", within a couple of days.

So I have another acupuncture appointment today at 1pm and considering all the pre-laborish stuff I've been having for two days straight, I'm feeling good about the possibility of going into labor tonight. Please send little James all the evacuation vibes you can possibly spare!! ;-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Belting my Ribs/Shower-Baths

So I FINALLY think I realized why I have been having such serious back pain. I think my huge uterus/baby is pushing my rib cage apart, and specifically putting pressure on this one spot in my back just because of exactly how James is positioned in there.

The other night I took this belt of James and put it around my ribs and belted it really tight, putting counter-pressure on my rib cage. Of course this was/is uncomfortable in a different way, but it TOTALLY relieved the pressure off of my back. I fell asleep like that, and didn't wake up until 3 am, at which point I thought I should probably take the belt off, but the second I laid back down, my back started hurting again and I regretted it. So I've been wearing the belt around my rib cage here and there throughout the day, especially while I'm sitting or laying down because that seems to be the worst for my back hurting.

And in other news, my new before bed ritual, as I think I've mentioned, is taking a shower-bath. It is so comforting to get in the hot shower and feel my body relax, and then to lay down in the bath and just feel so warm and comfortable. I'm so glad we have the birth tub for me to labor in, because I'm pretty sure I will be in it non-stop, LOL. I think in the last two weeks, I've gone to bed without first taking a shower maybe twice. And I was NOT an every-day showerer before the development of this end-of-pregnancy ritual, let me tell you.

Anyway, I just keep hoping that *this* night will be the last one and soon I will be holding my big beautiful baby on the outside of my body instead of inside and my body will have a break.

So Excited for Christmas!

As a change of pace, I figured I would stop talking about the fact that I'm still pregnant, and instead talk about how excited I am for Christmas!!

Part of it is that it will be Little James' first Christmas, and honestly the first time he will really meet most of my extended family, but part of it is just that I LOVE Christmas and it is my absolute favorite holiday. I am listening to Christmas music on Pandora right now!!

We usually set up our Christmas tree in one of the couple weekends after Thanksgiving. Since James will be home every day, though, we could probably do it anytime. My sister lives in the same town as us, and my two cousins are going to school in the next town over, so maybe we can have a little tree-decorating party and listen to Christmas music and snuggle Little James! Maybe since my Mom is going to come stay with us for a little while after James is born, she can even be here!

DOESN'T THAT SOUND FUN??? Hehehe. Yay Christmas! I'm going to put in a Christmasy picture just to get the point across. (God so many options!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

40 Weeks

Well, here it is, my due date.

Hopefully these are my last belly pictures until I am in early labor. This may sound like an echo from last week and you'd be right, LOL.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soooo Soooore

So my patient period has ended and I am back to feeling miserable. My back and belly are just CONSTANTLY so sore and I just want it to be over.

I have another acupuncture appointment tomorrow. Sigh.

0 is the number of days until I can go into labor and still have my home-birth (36 weeks)
0 is the number of days until I am full term (37 weeks)
1 is the number of days until my meaningless due date (40 weeks)
9 is the number of days until the actual average due date (41 weeks and 1 day)
15 is the absolute maximum number of days that I could be pregnant (42 weeks)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Intimate Pregnancy Photo Session

So Mariclare came over tonight to take some more "intimate" belly shots. We got some really beautiful ones!! I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing most of them, but here is just a taste of some of them.

I really can't get over how huge my stomach is!! I'm glad we have these to memorialize my crazy distorted body, LOL.

Still Pregnant

I am still pregnant.

Plans for today include putting Moxa on my toe . . . this is a Chinese Medicinal herb practice in which a coal made of Moxa is lit and then the hot coal is put near an acupuncture point (and/or injury) to increase qi-flow to that area.

So there's this one point on the pinky toe of either foot that is connected to stimulating labor. We're doing that now--ie, I am sitting here writing this blog while James is holding the Moxa coal near my toe.

Other plans for the day include finishing raking the leaves in our yard (I'm so glad we are almost done, geez we have a lot of trees!), and then I'm going to mow the lawn on our riding mower (ie, take a long ride down a bumpy road, LOL). It has been broken for months and we just got it back and fixed, so I'll do the final mow of the season, which will also include blowing the final "spread out leaves" into piles so James can haul them into the tiny strip of woods we have that separates our yard from the neighbor's.

So those are all my "trying to get labor started" plans for the day.

And last but not least we'll go to buy a fishnet in case I give birth in the water and we need to skim the birth pool (LOL). We've been meaning to do this for ages but keep forgetting when we are out of the house.

In other news, it's been like 5 days now since I printed out the checklist and hung it on the fridge and it has definitely helped me be more productive--though I think I had a shift in the productive direction to have even typed it up and printed it in the first place, so maybe I was just ready to start being productive again, anyway.

But along with me using the list, I have also been trying to train James to use it--he responds really well to to-do lists but I want to make it more ingrained as a daily-use tool, so that when we are home for a month with a baby it will help him stay more focused and productive while I'm spending the majority of the time feeding the baby. Ideally, instead of me having to tell him what to do, he'll be able to look at the list and see what needs to be done. So I figure the more practice we can get in with it before Little James is born, the better off we'll be!

Finally, I have another "labor induction" acupuncture appointment on Tuesday--if I haven't gone into labor on my own by then. So, hopefully we'll have a baby by Thursday at the latest. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

So James and I made pumpkin muffins tonight with this recipe.

Here's the picture I stole off of the recipe page (so much easier than taking a picture of the ones we made, teehee):

They were pretty darn good! We substituted "ENER-G Egg Substitute" for the two eggs, and we used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (which I highly recommend as a gluten-free flour substitute in general).

I would recommend changing the ratios on the topping to use less shortening. Maybe 3 tbs of shortening instead of four--or if you like a lot of topping, use 1/3 of a cup of flour, white sugar, and brown sugar instead of a 1/4 of a cup. As it's written, it is too wet and doesn't quite "crumble".

Anyway, yes we liked them. I might make them again for Thanksgiving (or have James do it, hehe).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Laundry Ketchup

After just three days of sorting, doing, and folding laundry (only like one load per day) I am mysteriously nearly caught up! At least, all the remaining "dirty" is fitting in my laundry sorting bin.

At first I couldn't figure out how this could possibly be the case, but then I realized that I've been averaging about one/two outfits per week. So while there is plenty of dirty socks and underwear, my contribution to the rest of the dirty clothes has been fairly minimal.

Yay for having nothing to wear and no reason to wear anything!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Renewed Patience and Energy

So after being SO DONE and fed up with being pregnant for the last two weeks, starting yesterday I had a renewed level of patience and energy.

For the last two weeks I have been completely exhausted no matter how much I slept, which was generally for at least 11 hours each night, and I was totally unmotivated to do ANYTHING and was spending 95% of my awake time on my couch, watching TV and being online, and for most of the rest of the time I was in the shower or taking a bath to ease my sore freaking body.

But a couple days ago (I guess, after my acupuncture appointment), I suddenly woke up motivated and energetic. I mean, at least with a normal amount of motivation and energy compared to the absolute slug I had been. After neglecting my to-do list for probably the last month, I electronified it, and printed it out and hung it on my fridge and started to check off some basic things like: "Load the dishwasher" and "clean the kitchen".

Honestly, I haven't been THAT productive yet today but compared to two weeks ago I would practically still be in bed. So the day is still early and I hope to get a few more things done.

Along with this new energy, I also have a new sense of patience about when the baby will arrive. I have been out of my mind with feeling so done and like he just needed to be BORN ALREADY. But now that I realistically have another week at the most that I will be pregnant, it's almost like I have a new-found appreciation for the ability to get a few things done around the house and sleep through the night. I guess with it being this close, I just realize that I could have him any day, and is tomorrow that much worse than today? Most days I think, "No tomorrow would be totally fine--or even the next day . . ."

I mean would it really hurt if I had one more day to potentially even clean my bathrooms before that becomes a way more challenging affair? Or even this weekend--if James and I had one more weekend to rake leaves and get things done before he got here, would that be so bad? No! So suddenly I am patient again, and grateful for it because the impatience was driving me insane.

But hey if I get to my due date on Tuesday, we'll talk again and see where I'm at.

Labor Lasagna needs it's own post

So I'm on my second bowl of labor lasagna today. Honestly not because I am horribly uncomfortable and need to be in labor immediately, but because IT IS SO GOOD.

I made it with the intention to make it super spicy, but it turned out to be just a normal amount of spicy, which I ended up being grateful for, in the end.

Anyway, I guess I'll write up a ghetto recipe about it, since it is amazing.

First, prepare the ingredients:

-Prepare the sauce. I use my own homemade sauce but you can also just get any jarred sauce of your preference. You would need about 2 quarts (jars) of it though. Heat it up in a saucepan and set aside.
-Prepare the peppers--I used 2/3's of four different kinds of hot pepper cut up into small pieces. You gotta go with the fresh pepper, just using "pepper" or bell peppers is not going to cut it.
After cutting up the peppers, I also cut up a clove of garlic, and put the peppers and garlic in a small amount of sauce (one cup) to heat up and stew.
After a few minutes, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.
-Prepare the eggplant--slice the eggplant in thin (1/4-1/8 inch) slices. Dip each slice in salt on both sides, and stack the slices up on a plate. Leave them for 15 minutes or longer while you do other things.
Then, when you are ready to use them, wash the slices off and pat them dry with a paper towel or cloth towel. You may notice (hopefully) that they have spewed forth tons of brown liquid--supposedly this is all the bitterness coming out of them. Once they are dried, set them aside for layering.
-Prepare the "protein"--I used tofu but you could also used ground meat or tempeh:
I crumbled up the tofu and fried it in the wok in olive oil with salt for a LONG time, until the water was all evaporated and the tofu was getting nice and browned.
Then I added about 1/3 of the cut up hot peppers and let them cook with the tofu for a few more minutes, as it got even more brown, fried, and yummy. Finally, take out of the wok and set aside for layering.
-Prepare the other veggies. Honestly this could be anything, because the important things are the peppers and eggplant. I used one onion, one red bell pepper, and a grated carrot. Grate or cut into small pieces all of the other veggies you want to use and set aside in individual containers for layering.
-Prepare the cheese. I used vegan cheese (I highly recommend that brand), a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella flavors. If you are not vegan, use regular cheddar or mozzerella ;-). Anyway, grate the cheese up and put it aside.
-Finally, make sure you have a pound of lasagna noodles on hand. I used rice noodles because I'm gluten free and it worked out great, I didn't notice the difference with all the other flavors.

Now you are ready to make the lasagna!

Put a layer of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Then a layer of lasagna noodles.
Then one or more of the ingredients.
Repeat over and over until you are done, making sure to alternate the noodles in each layer in different directions.
Also make sure to use plenty of sauce--the noodles will soak it right up. After each layer of ingredients put a good layer of sauce before putting in your next layer of noodles.

In terms of what I did for layers: I think I put the carrot and onion in one layer, the tofu in one layer, the peppery sauce and cheese in one layer, the eggplant in one layer, the red peppers in one layer. (Did I forget anyone?)

Finally top the lasagna with a layer of cheese (and Parmesan cheese if you are not vegan), and bake at 400 degrees for a half hour to forty minutes. If you use the vegan cheese, you'll need to crank it up to 475 for the last 10 minutes because the cheese needs to be at a high temperature to melt.

Take it out of the oven, let it cool for at least 10 mins, and then enjoy with some of the sauce that you have leftover from putting it together. If you are lucky, it might look like this at the end:

I can't really get over how good it is, but lasagna IS my favorite food and I probably haven't had it in almost a year, so that might be part of it. I plan on eating it non-stop until it is gone, regardless of the status of labor or baby.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Labor Vibes

So I sent my darling family members a text a few hours ago that said: "I'm feeling kind of weird, just wanted to let you know so you could keep your phones nearby."

Basically, I had my acupuncture yesterday, and this morning and today I have been newly energetic--after having no energy or motivation for several weeks now. Today I made an excel file out of my daily to-do list/checklist (that I had been really into and had blogged about often but which has been neglected now for several weeks). AND I ACTUALLY DID some of the things on the checklist--cleaned up the kitchen, watered the plants, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, washed dishes, etc.

The other thing I did last night and again this morning was drink "Smooth Move" Tea, because I've been seriously constipated for days. My midwife assured me that this tea was serious business and would cause the desired effect. After last night's cup (and no/little results), I was sure I would wake up this morning itching to go. Annnnnd, not so much. So I had another cup this morning. And still nothing.

Anyway, I started to feel pretty uncomfortable a few hours ago. I had just finished making "Labor Lasagna", a recipe of my own design including eggplant and a lot of spicy peppers (and veggie sauce and veggie "cheese", etc). But I was getting a little worried about even eating it because I felt so internally weird that I wondered if I should even introduce the crazy spicy food into my body! I was almost feeling hot and cold flashes and this restlessness and general weirdness.

At this point I sent the text to my darling family. MOSTLY because my Mother had told me repeatedly to call her if I even felt different at all. So I did, I let her know. So then she immediately called me, and all my sisters texted me back, asking if I was in labor, what was going on, etc.

"No, I'm not in labor! I just feel a little uncomfortable," I said.
"Uncomfortable how?" said my Mom.
"I don't know, just weird--look you asked me to tell you if I felt different at all and I do so I'm telling you!"
"Are you emotional?"
"Well look out for that! Oh here Dad wants to talk to you."

"A?" says my Dad, "What's up are you having contractions?"
"Just Braxton Hicks but I've been having those for months."
"But are they coming regularly?"
"No, look I'm not in labor, Mom just said to call if I felt ANYTHING different so I did that."
"Have you been walking?"
"No." (And in this moment I pictured myself waddling through BJ's with my sister yesterday. I can't walk, are you kidding?) "No."
"Walk. That is what is going to get you going. You gotta get out there and walk."
"Okay, I'll keep that in mind." At this point I am getting more and more physically uncomfortable and really don't want to be on the phone. "Okay I'm going to go."

So after these thrilling conversations, I tried the labor lasagna. And it was not actually that spicy, which was good because, as I mentioned, I'd started to get a little worried about how spicy I thought it would be, and if it would even be edible, give me heartburn, or make me have a horrible labor in which I was throwing up spicy food and having spicy diarrhea as I attempted to move a baby through my body.

So I ate some of the lasagna, and started getting another discomfort attack. I visited the bathroom and low and behold, I pooped a little. Not a lot, but some.

Then Amy and Karl showed up and we hung out for awhile--I ate more lasagna, bounced on my birth ball, and when they left I got a serious attack and ran to the bathroom and it happened finally. The smooth move. Not even diarrhea at ALL, just a big ole satisfying poop. God, I was thrilled. I don't know what helped more, the tea or the lasagna! I just hope things keep up this way because I must have days and days of "moves" that need to be "smoothed out" in there.

Anyway, long story short: I do not appear to be in labor, but rather to have endured an internal battle between constipation and "Smooth Move Tea". However, I still think that things do seem to be setting themselves in order somewhere in my mind/body and I would not be at all surprised to go into labor tonight or tomorrow.

Especially since I will be eating "Labor Lasagna" for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Okay, I'm pretty sure I never wrote about this before. One decision people expecting a boy are faced with is whether or not to circumcise their son. This is a personal decision and honestly one that I don't feel SO strongly about for other people--I could care less what other people do because I really don't think it matters THAT much (in comparison to breastfeeding, for instance, in which I'm a pretty serious "lactavist" and feel pretty strongly that everyone at least should give a try with it because it is SO important).

But, though I could care less what other people decide to do, I decided quite a while ago that sons of ours would not be circumcised. When I brought this up years ago to James, to ask him what he thought, he said:

"Well, I don't know. Aren't kids supposed to look like their fathers?" (James is circumcised).
"Honey, I don't know how many baby penises you've seen, but they don't look like adult penises. Trust me. There is nothing you could do to make them look the same. Adult penises are huge and hairy. Baby penises are tiny and hairless. No child would ever look at their father's penis and think it was nearly the same anyway."
"Hmm, I don't know."
"Well here, let's watch this youtube video of a circumcision being performed to help you decide." (I tried to find an "unbiased" one to post here but didn't feel like spending that much time looking--feel free to shop around for your circumcision video of choice, though, or watch this one with the sound off so you can't hear the commentary (or the baby screaming in the background).)
Anyway, 20 seconds into the video James is like: "Turn it off, I agree, I agree, we won't do it, just turn it off!" (LOL)
"Okay Honey." I said, and we've been in pretty serious agreement about it ever since.

More specifically and personally, I feel like I've spent 9 months growing my son in my uterus. God/The Universe (call it what you will) spent 9 months building his body step by step, following a very specific blueprint. When he is born and put onto my chest and I look down at him, I know he will be the most beautiful and perfect person I have ever seen in my life. Every part of him will be perfect, and I don't feel the need to mess with what God made. Or put him through an unnecessary cosmetic procedure in his first day/week of life.

With this being said, sometimes there are good reasons. If it is part of your religion and you feel strongly about it--or if you feel strongly about it for some other reason . . . I heard one story of a women, and her husband was uncircumcised as a child but had some physical abnormality that made it painful for his foreskin to retract. So he ended up being circumcised as an adult, which was obviously a way bigger deal than as a baby. So if they had a son, they were planning on having him circumcised because they could make the assumption that their sons could have a similar issue. Okay, sounds like a good reason to me.

But personally, "looking like the father", or "because other people are", or something like that, I just don't buy it. You don't keep doing something unnecessarily just because it's been done before. I try to look at each of these parenting decisions outside of the context of "what other people are doing", because I'm not a freaking lemming.

With this being said, since the Academy of Pediatrics changed it's stance on circumcision about 30 years ago to reflect the fact that it is an unnecessary cosmetic procedure with no basis in medicine, the rate of uncircumcised boys has been steadily on the rise. In the U.S. now, about half the boys in our country are uncircumcised--obviously this varies greatly by region. But if you are expecting a son, there is no need to circumcise just because you think he will stand out if you don't. Who knows, where you live, he might stand out if he is.

So that's that. We'll all get to enjoy Little James' foreskin for many years to come. (Hmm, that sounds a little weird but you know what I mean, hehe).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


So I had my first (and hopefully only) acupuncture appointment today for stimulating me to go into labor. God I think I was in the best mood ever when my friend Craig came in to needle me. He was like:

"So if you are still a week away from your due date, you might end up going a few days early if we do it today. Is that okay?"

"GOD, YES, IT IS AWESOME. DO IT. DO IT NOW." I said. And the look of eye-rolling joy that those caps conveys is a perfect vision of what I looked like in that moment. Picture those horses who look insane and their eyes are rolled back in their head and their mouth is hanging open. That was me.

"It should work pretty well since you are young and healthy and everything," he went on.

(YES AWESOME THANK YOU.) I was as freaking jovial as a kid on Christmas morning, and that is after only like 5 hours of sleep--easily half what I need to feel rested.

So now I'm guessing any time between tonight and Sunday. So probably the 10th-14th. That window is like half as big as my original 9th-18th one!

Anyway, if I'm still pregnant on my due date, I have another appointment then.

39 Weeks!

That's it! One week to go! I'm getting "kick out the baby" acupuncture later today, and again on Monday if I'm still pregnant then. My friend Craig the acupuncturist ensures me that rarely has his patients gone more than a day or two past their due dates, so I'm thinking it's just about one week to go. Maybe I'll even have him tomorrow! :-D

Anyway, hopefully the last belly pics until I am in early labor:

Seven days and counting.


Topic One: Insomnia. It is 5:30 in the morning and I've been awake for two hours. No, I'm not having contractions or any signs of imminent birth. I just plain can't fall asleep. Basically over the last couple weeks, I have increasingly had trouble falling asleep--"trouble" meaning that it takes me 30 mins or an hour to fall asleep at night instead of being able to fall asleep immediately, and if I wake up in the middle of the night to pee (inevitably) it may again take me 30 mins or an hour to fall asleep . . . and this is the second or third time that I haven't been able to fall back asleep at all. So here I am.

Topic Two: Showers. Well, taking a LONG shower/bath has become a nightly (or nearly nightly) ritual for me...I'm just so uncomfortable--my back always hurts so much, and sitting around in the evening I just start feeling so uncomfortable and crampy and everything that I inevitably end up going to take a shower. I think it helps to relax all my muscles so I'm less likely to need to put ice on my back in order to fall asleep--and I'm less likely to be insomnia-ish. It obviously didn't help much tonight. :-/

Topic Three: Nerves. Not like nervousness. Like, there is a baby head pressing against the nerve that runs down my inner thigh and I'm increasingly hit by shooting pains down my inner thigh all the way down my leg. Some days/hours/etc this has been happening rather OFTEN--a few times an hour or something, and sometimes seemingly over and over . . . the other night I could NOT lay on my right side or it would just happen repeatedly. And I couldn't lay on my back either, so I was stuck on my left side without being able to move into any other position. Siiigh. I guess it's a sign that he is very low. He seemingly has dropped several times. So I have stabbing nerve pains.

And that's that. Sorry for the complainy-ness. Honestly I don't even care about all this stuff at this point because I only have a week left (give or take a few days). So who cares--bring it on. I can survive anything for a week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weigh In

Well, I'm about 155 pounds now, which is 34 pounds gained. I honestly thought I would be more like a 25 pounds-gained-person, but I don't know why I thought that, since I was thin before getting pregnant, and I'm tall--both of these things would point toward gaining more, not less.

Oh well, I'm sure it will all be fine. My face has definitely started to look a bit fatter but hopefully some of it is water retention and not fat. I'm thinking after the birth and afterbirth and aftermath, LOL, that I'll probably have 15 pounds left to lose, which I can deal with, and hopefully breastfeeding will take care of for me . . .

And in other news, Salmun is actually on his way over here to see me! I haven't hung out with him in ages, it will be nice to catch up. :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

OMG Thank You Notes!!

I did it, people! I wrote my thank-you notes for my shower!

I must confess that this is the first time in my adult life that I have completed thank-you notes. I did some for my wedding but it was like over a year late and a bunch of people had moved and (excuses excuses)... long story short, some people got them but plenty of people didn't.

So I'm serious about how proud I am of myself! The sad part is, that I actually think Thank-You notes are really important--an exercise in gratitude, which has so many benefits . . . I totally intend to make Little James write them when he is able to write. And yet, I can never manage to do them. It is some ADD thing, I think.

To their credit, my Mom/sisters TOTALLY helped me out by doing a "game" at the shower where everyone wrote down their own name/address on the envelope (before I even got there), and then I picked an envelope out of a bucket and that person got a gift basket, LOL! So I didn't even have to do the envelopes (and STILL it has taken me weeks and weeks!!)!

But maybe this will be a new start for me and thank-you notes! Maybe I will successfully complete them from now on! Maybe I have broken through the psychological barriers that held me down! Maybe . . . not, LOL! But I think the next time I have to do thank-you notes, I will be able to think back on the happiness I now feel, and know that in my past, there was a moment when I successfully wrote thank-you notes . . . and that will give me the confidence I need to do them again!

I was thinking I would even send out Christmas cards this year, since we'll have a cute face to put on one of those picture Christmas cards, hehe.

Who knows, people, this could be a new life for me.

And with this done, I think it is REALLY time now for James David to show up! Don't you think?

Much Promised Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

Alright, so I have been vegan and missing Mac and Cheese for like . . . 6 years now. During this time I often tried Mac and Cheese recipes and I never liked them. They typically used like 1/4 or 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast . . . and don't get me wrong, I love nutritional yeast, but it just didn't cut it for me as a main ingredient of a cheesy dish.

So here we go! I have promised this to so many people recently and failed to ever write it down. Most of the amounts are pretty variable so just experiment and see what you like.

First prepare your pasta according to the package directions. I like to use the traditional "macaroni" shaped pasta because I find with vegan cooking, perception affects taste, so the closer you can stick to your mental schema of "Mac and Cheese", the more it will taste like Mac and Cheese.

Next prepare the cheese sauce.

Heat a small pot over medium/high heat. Melt in Earth Balance Non-Hydrogenated Vegan Margarine. NO, ANOTHER MARGARINE WILL NOT DO. This is the best! (Well, you could also use Soy Garden but it's the same thing under different packaging). But no other kinds. How much Earth Balance? Wellllll, for a whole pound of pasta I'm thinking at least 1/2 cup of Earth Balance. But pretty much use what you want and it'll be fine.

So yes, melt 1/2 cup of Earth Balance per pound of pasta into your sauce pan.

Next, add about 1/2 a tub (or more) of Tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese", and 1/2 tub (or more) of Tofutti "Better than Sour Cream".

Whisk this thickening mixture together and then add some oat/almond/soy/whatever vegan milk to it. Like, not that much, a few splashes. Maybe 1/4 cup or so.

When this is hot and bubbling, add some grated "cheddar flavor", Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative. Again, this "cheese" can't really be substituted with anything else I have ever found.

**A note on dealing with the cheese substitute: Generally what we do is grate the entire block of "cheese" the first time we use it, and then freeze whatever we don't use on the first time through. Then you have it in your freezer, pre-grated and ready to go, whenever you need to use it for anything. Just an idea!**

So add maybe 1/2 cup of grated cheddar "cheese" to your bubbling sauce, and whisk until it is all melted. Then turn the heat down to low (or off) and add the final flavor/color enhancers. I generally add:

-A couple of squirts of ketchup (1/2 tablespoon or so?). I honestly haven't decided if this is purely to make the cheese sauce more "orange" or if I like the added flavor, but I do it every time now.
-A few sprinkles of corn starch (maybe 1 tablespoon?)--helps to thicken the sauce a bit more.
-Some nutritional yeast. Didn't mean to hate on it before--I love it. But more like 1/2 tablespoon of it. Not 1/2 cup.
-Some extra salt
-(optionally) some hot sauce--like only a little bit--I like the Texas Pete's or the Sriracha Sauce (the kind you find in those authentic awesome "these people are FROM China/Taiwan/Thailand/etc" sort of restaurants). Anyway, I do tend to add a squirt or so of hot sauce--it doesn't really make it hot--more for flavor (and again, color).

Finally, squirt some Bragg's Liquid Amino's (totally worth buying but if you don't have it, you can use soy sauce) over your pasta, stir, and then pour your cheese sauce over your pasta and stir, and you are ready to go!!

We really like eating this Mac and Cheese with a green side like steamed kale, spinach, broccoli, etc. These vegan substitute things can be a bit intense on their own, so having that green side right there just makes it all taste even better!

So there, finally, the much enhanced vegan Mac and Cheese recipe! If anyone tries it, let me know if you approve! Hehe.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I have the look!! (Post 150!)

Well firstly, this is my 150th post! I meant to somehow recognize my 100th and totally missed it, so here we go, post 150! Woohoo!

Also, I finally had my midwife appointment today--we had to reschedule several times but it ended up working out great because James could be here today . . . and . . .

She says that I have "the look"!! The look of someone who will be going into labor sometime soon! I don't think soon like tomorrow--more like in 3-12 days, I think ;-)

Anyway, thank God!

In other news, James and I are off today to go do last-minute pre-birth stuff.

1. Get a deep freezer.
2. Get a fishnet (for skimming out the water if I give birth in the water).
3. Cleaning!
4. Raking

We actually already raked a little. Woot woot, we rock.

My Guess

I think James David will be born sometime between the 9th and the 18th, and will be 7.5 to 8 lbs.

Yes, these are big windows, but they are realistic ones! It gives me something to look forward to in a more concrete way. The idea that the 9th is only three days away is sort of weird, though!!

Honestly I don't feel like I will go into labor in three days but who knows!!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Time to crunch the numbers, no?

0 is the number of days until I can go into labor and still have my home-birth (36 weeks)
0 is the number of days until I am full term (37 weeks)
11 is the number of days until my meaningless due date (40 weeks)
19 is the number of days until the actual average due date (41 weeks and 1 day)
25 is the absolute maximum number of days that I could be pregnant (42 weeks)

I added a new one, did you notice? I don't know if I ever blogged about this, sorry if I did, but the 40 week due date was determined somewhat randomly in the 1700's.

Since then, repeated research has demonstrated that if women are left to go into labor on their own, the average due date is actually NOT 40 weeks, but 41 weeks and 1 day.

Of course I am hoping beyond anything, at this point, that I am not average and James David decides to show up earlier than that. But it's a good thing to keep in mind.

My Mom said she started feeling "so done" with like 5 weeks to go. OMG I'm so glad I only started feeling this way at 37.5 weeks!

Evacuation Strategies

So there are the old wives tales about getting the baby to come out. Like eat spicy food, have sex, and take long walks.

I'm not yet desperate enough to try any of these strategies.

However, at the recommendation of my acupuncturist (and midwife), I have been starting to try some other things over the last week.

First, I've been taking Evening Primrose Oil. This is supposed to soften the cervix, preparing it for birth. I was taking 500 mgs for a few days, and now I've been taking 1000 mgs for a few days, and today I'll probably bump it up to 1500 mgs. Craig (acupuncturist) says in the week before my due date I can take up to 5000 mgs! Since that is 10 pills a day, we'll see how I do, but I've been trying to increase the dosage steadily at this point.

Second, I've been drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. This is supposed to tone and condition the uterus (ie, induce contractions). I've been drinking it pretty much non-stop for the past 5 days or so--maybe like 6-10 cups a day. And I've been making it strong, too, letting the tea bags sit in our little tea crock pot for hours before I take them out.

Third, I've been bouncing on the exercise ball (or birth ball). This helps to open the pelvis and allow the baby to drop down farther. Yesterday I got a good 15 or 20 minute stretch in and I definitely felt like it was helping increase the pressure on my satch. (LOL)

And that's about where I'm at.

On Monday I'll be one day short of 39 weeks and I'll kick things up a little bit. I have an acupuncture appointment that day. Craig has had a lot of success helping ladies go into labor--if not right away after the acupuncture, at least within a day or two of their due dates.

If I am still pregnant the next Monday (the day before my due date), I have an additional appointment with him then as well.

Unfortunately, none of these things REALLY work until the baby is ready to come out on his own. :-/ Honestly I don't feel like anything is going to happen in the next few days. I have slightly more hope for next week after the acupuncture appointment.

Despite my complaining it really is okay that he is still in there. I don't know if I shared this article on here, but I saw a really good article a few weeks ago about how even full-term babies that are early (37 or 38 weeks) have more issues with breathing, feeding, etc than babies born after 39 weeks. The bottom line is that babies really are supposed to cook for just about 40 weeks (give or take a week).

So despite all my complaining, aches, and pains, I'm actually glad that he is still in there. But I'll be 39 weeks on Tuesday. (Hint hint baby).

P.S. I just realized I covered a lot of these things in slightly less detail in my D.O.N.E. post like two days ago. Clearly more evidence that my brain is going and James needs to be born soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bad Blogger!

So I haven't written anything in like two days--though on Wednesday the computer was broken so I couldn't use it at all.

But honestly if I was blogging, it would sound like this:


Just to give you a tiny taste:

-I have been sleeping on ice packs. That's the only way to make my back stop hurting for long enough that I can fall asleep. To numb it.

-My midwife called me today to ask if we could push my appointment back to tomorrow, and I was SO glad because it meant I could put off cleaning my house (well, my coffee table at least) for an additional day. I might even try to get James to do it instead.

-Now I'm off to take a shower in which I will mostly sit in the tub and let hot water beat on my back in the hopes to make my sore muscles relax.

See? Doesn't it sound like a big whiiiiiine to you? Sorry folks that's all I got right now.

P.S. Dear Son, please finish cooking and come out of the oven.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Banana Split

Yum Yum!

So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla, and Chocolate Almond)
Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce (Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Peanut Butter, Earth Balance--warmed up in the microwave and whipped together)
And topped with Soy Whipped Cream

Yay for vegan banana splits! :-D


Yep, totally done with this whole pregnancy thing.

It's SO weird how I watched other people go through this "end of pregnancy-so done" phase and thought that I would have so much more patience when I got to "that" point, and it's only two more weeks, they should just buck up and stick it out, yadda yadda.

Well, now all my well meaning advice is coming back to bite me in the ass because NOW I know how they actually felt. Yes, logically I have 2, 3, or even 4 weeks left. But you can bet your butt that if I make it to my due date, two weeks from today, I will be JUST as desperate, miserable, and impatient as (almost) every other pregnant woman who makes it to her due date.

To recap--I'm sleeping just about 12 hours a day every day. This has been the case for awhile. Just TRY to wake me at hour ten and you will pay. However, until about five days ago, this half of my life I spent sleeping was mirrored by awake hours where I was, as my midwives describe, quite perky. I had a good amount of energy, could get plenty of stuff done during the day, etc.

However, for the past 5 days or so, the 12 hours don't seem to be enough. I'm tired again an hour or two after I wake up--I can't focus on anything, my brain feels like it is in a fog . . .

Then there is the physical discomfort. I need to sleep on ice packs so that I can fall asleep without my back hurting. There is no position I can lay, sit, stand, walk in that I am not completely uncomfortable. This makes falling asleep or getting into any kind of "relaxed" position very difficult. Right now I'm perched at the edge of my couch with my stomach hanging off the front and my laptop on the coffee table.

And, I have no energy to do anything. The laundry and dishes pile up. I only make dinner because I'm hungry and really want to eat it. I really hope that I have some nesting energy hit me before I go into labor so that Lil James isn't born into a filthy hovel. My days are spent sleeping and whining and trying not to be too miserable--watching TV and attempting to distract myself from my physical discomfort and irritability.

So the strategies to evacuate baby Irwin begin. I'm not nearly desperate enough yet to try sex or spicy food, especially given the discomfort and heartburn I felt after my last spicy food experience. But I'm chugging red raspberry leaf tea like it is my job, and I'm taking Evening Primrose Oil daily. Craig (acupuncture friend) said I could take up to 5000 mgs a day (or of Borage Oil), but not to get that high with the dosage until I get to 39 weeks. I've been taking 500 mgs a day for the last week, I'll probably bump it up to 1000 mgs today though and increase little by little until I'm taking as much as I can.

I have an appointment with Craig on Monday (one day shy of 39 weeks) to start baby evacuation acupuncture. It's not really supposed to work until the baby is ready anyway, but he claims to have never had more than one or two women go more than a day or two past their due dates. SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. At this point being pregnant until 42 weeks--a serious possibility for the average (non-intervened) person--sounds akin to Chinese water torture.

I AM READY TO MEET YOU, LITTLE JAMES! It seems like you have plenty of energy but Mommy has none. Please come out now as soon as you possibly feel ready.

Monday, November 1, 2010

38 Weeks!

I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow and I'm honestly getting ready to be done now. It's like someone flipped a switch inside me like three days ago and suddenly I am exhausted no matter how much I sleep, and there is literally no way for me to be comfortable in any position.

But I probably only have about two weeks left so it is OKAY.

Anyway, here's my 38 week belly pictures!

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