Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Movie Monday: James Can Use His Hands!

On Saturday, something clicked and James figured out how to grab things (or, bat at them, at least)!

Here's a video of him "reading" with Daddy!

Weeeeelll, apparently blogger is having issues, so I'm embedding from Facebook. If you aren't friends with me on FB you probably can't view it. SOOORRRY. I will try to change it in the future. Anyway, here we are!

Vegan Still?

After writing my last entry I started thinking . . . so many people I know who are vegan or vegetarian add meat or cheese back into their diets after getting pregnant . . . people have asked me if I was/am tempted to eat meat or dairy again once I was pregnant and now that I'm breastfeeding, and the answer has always been a resounding no.

However, I wondered to myself if this would change if my diet was limited even further--specifically by needing to eliminate soy. Soy features LIKE meat a lot in my diet--making up a lot of protein and dairy-ish foods, so I think I would be pretty hurting without it. I'm still praying that this ends up not being an issue, but honestly I'm still certain that I would not eat dairy or meat.

More and more often now when I see meat I think "dead animal", "carcass", "cadaver"--it's funny because I have never been like this before. I was never a vegan "offended" by meat and I would often watch my Mom or my Step-Father-In-Law prepare and cook meat because I like cooking but obviously never cook meat. So I felt like it was interesting to me to watch how other people prepare this type of food . . . however, something changed recently.

I still wouldn't say I was OFFENDED by meat, but it definitely makes me sad to see, which it never has before. I think about how that animal was killed to sit on the table or wrapped up on the deli counter. It's like the normal distancing that people do is gone and a steak is a slice of cow--when I see the steak or chicken, I picture them slicing up a dead animal and I feel so sad for the cow or chicken.

Well what about dairy or eggs then? Well, dairy and eggs are also highly allergic to small babies so I don't know if I would even have the option to be "vegetarian", but again I just can't "stomach" it. The idea of eating milk that came out of a cow's nipples just weirds me out. And eggs? Chicken period. Sorry but it's true and that's what I think of when I see it.

So no, no, I don't think I would do it. People are vegan for many reasons and lots of vegans are tempted to eat dairy and eggs the way I am tempted to eat bread when I am being gluten-free. However, I am NOT tempted to eat meat, eggs, or dairy. It is gross to me. I don't care if other people do it! But I will not do it--even to the detriment of my health, to be honest, which might be counter-intuitive. But I guess to me it's almost like asking an omnivorous person if they would eat human flesh if they were starving.

Would I eat meat or eggs if I were STARVING? Well, probably. But in any other case, probably not.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Allergy/Rash Update

So I was completely exhausted when I wrote my last entry, which is why I didn't explain well to my doctor what I had noticed, and I didn't explain well on here what I was feeling about my doctor--which, in retrospect, is unwarrented considering what I actually said to him.

I went to my parents house on Wednesday, until Saturday morning, to visit them and my sister Lauren, who was home for a few days. I took the baby but left the husband. For some reason, I had the hardest time sleeping at my parent's house--as the days passed I began to fall into a serious stupor. Like when you are so tired that you start stumbling around and can't think of words and stare into space when people are trying to talk to you.

So deep was my exhaustion that I even took a pregnancy test this morning--though I think God himself would have been the father if it had been positive--but it wasn't.

Anyway, due to this state, when the doctor called me back, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Yeah, hi, I think James is allergic to gluten.
Doc: Why do you say this?
Me: Well, he has this rash on his forehead since he was like a week old, but I had reduced eating gluten for my own reasons for a few days and it started to get better. Then I ate a lot one day and the next day it was horrible!
Doc: What does the rash look like?
Me: It is red, flaky, inflamed, pussy, and appears to be itchy at least sometimes.
Doc: Well, gluten doesn't pass into milk, which is why cows can eat wheat but milk is gluten free.
Me: ::Flabbergasted at this inarguable logic:: Wow. Yeah, you're right. ::Doesn't know what to think now::
Doc: It's possible he's allergic to wheat or something else you are eating ...
Me: I wondered that and tried eating barley and rye and the next day it was really bad again. Do you test babies this young for food allergies?
Doc: No, not as much food gets into milk as people think. It's probably (fancy medical names for normal baby skin rash), eczema, etc. Try putting X Y Z on it, but it will go away with time . . .

Now, due to my extreme exhaustion and flabbergasted state, I totally failed to mention his other symptoms of an allergy--excessive gas, spitting up, and green, watery, mucousy poops . . . and the fact that this has also improved since I stopped eating gluten.

So I got off the phone feeling still certain that he was dealing with a food allergy but thinking that my doc wasn't taking me seriously. In retrospect, I didn't really explain myself well . . .

Regardless, I have continued to avoid gluten and James' rash is almost totally gone. Considering he has had it since one week after he was born I HIGHLY DOUBT that this is a coincidence. So as people pointed out in my last entry, he is probably allergic to WHEAT (the second most common allergin for newborn babies after milk, NOT GLUTEN as I'd written/thought before).

However, I also realized that I also didn't eat any soy while I was at my parents' house. Maybe he is allergic to soy as well, and so when I thought he was reacting to barley and rye he was actually reacting to soy (I'm not certain I ate it that day but it's pretty darn likely)!

So my plan at this point is to avoid ALL gluten (wheat, barley, and rye), AND soy until the rash is totally healed (probably only a few days from now). Then I will try first eating barley, then rye (and these foods, besides the gluten, aren't very highly allergic), and THEN soy, and watch his reactions very carefully.

I REALLY REALLY hope that he isn't allergic to soy, because that would reduce my list of okay foods to eat to almost nothing--okay, this is an exaggeration, but tofu and other soy replacement products feature pretty significantly in my diet. Things I eat often that I wouldn't be able to eat anymore: Fried Tofu, Tofu scramble, Vegan mac and cheese, pizza with cheese, soy yogurt, tofu pups (vegan hot dogs), edamame, tempeh . . . these foods make up a really good portion of our diet. And they are some of the most protein rich meals that we eat . . .

So I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY hoping that it is ONLY wheat, and NOT soy that we are dealing with. But it's definitely one or both since I'm happy to report that his rash is almost totally healed AND he is hardly spitting up (or burping) at all . . .

So I'm glad to be finally getting to the bottom of this, and I would be thrilled if I could still eat rye bread . . . but I would much rather be able to eat soy . . . keep your fingers crossed, people!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Say what Doc?

Supposedly gluten doesn't pass into milk (cows eat wheat but cow's milk is gluten free). However, I know what I've seen, and I'm a very observant and intelligent person . . . and James' rash (and spitting up) has DEFINITELY been improving since I stopped eating gluten. I'm going to completely avoid it for another week, and then try eating barley (which is wheat free but contains gluten) . . . sigh.

Sorry I've posted so much about this . . . this is my first time of wishing that my doc would trust my mommy instinct a little more . . . :-/

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Supply Regulating

James hit 13 weeks last Friday, and seriously at right around that time, I noticed a serious drop in how much I was able to pump.

My normal pump times had turned into 11/12 pm (after his last feed at 8 or so), and in the morning, after he ate from one breast, I would pump the other one. Sometime in the middle of the night he would also eat (from one breast).

Now lately he's been waking up more often for a last feeding between 9-11, and so I haven't really been able to pump in the evening, and almost overnight I am waking up with just the right amount of milk for him and not much extra.

At first I looked at this supply drop and I worried that my period was going to show up, or that something else was wrong, but then someone suggested (and I think they are right), that my supply is finally just "regulating".

What this means is that my amazing breasts now "know" that James doesn't eat much between 8am and 8pm. So just like that, my body is now making (for example) 20 oz of milk during the day but only 5-10 ozs at night.

Now this would be awesome (and it is actually awesome not to wake up to two rocks on my chest), except that normally I would be able to pump and freeze about 6-9 ozs of milk a day, and now it's been probably three days since I froze ANYTHING.

I know that I need to stick with it and just continue to pump in the evening and morning, even if I don't feel "full" or only get an oz or two a day. Eventually my body will get the signal that I still want a little more milk during those times.

Buuuut, I'm about to hit the road for my parents house for a few days, so I probably will just worry about it when I get home. ;-)

I'm still so impressed with how "smart" breastfeeding breasts are, though! It is the same concept that can help some working Moms breastfeed their baby during the evening but not have to pump during the day while they are at work. Your boobs just learn when your baby will eat and make milk then and only then. Pretty amazing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Laundry Composition

One load of warm (colors) laundry contained:

6 sleepers for baby
13 onsies/outfits for baby
6 bibs for baby
4 shirts for baby
3 sweatshirts for baby
6 pairs of pants for baby
3 pairs of socks for baby


ONE pair of sweatpants for Mommy
THREE shirts for Mommy (2 tanks, 1 T)
FOUR pairs of underwear for Mommy

TWO pairs of underwear for Daddy
TWO pairs of socks for Daddy


2 boppy covers

. . .

Gee, who's the important one at our house?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Year on this Day...James' Conception Day

Last year on this day, I ovulated the egg that would become James.

I had gotten a positive ovulation test the day before, and me and James had "done the deed" the night before, and would do it again tonight. And a little over a week later, I got a positive pregnancy test.

In a sense, James has been "alive" for one year today! Happy conception day, my special boy!

Gluten Free Genetics

Someone asked if I thought James was allergic to gluten because I was on a low gluten diet while I was pregnant with him.

I tried for three years to get pregnant, and I was not able to do so until I stopped eating gluten, in combination with other things. This is probably because of a gluten sensitivity, or possibly low-level Celiac's disease. Because of the intestinal inflammation that the gluten causes (evidenced by my swollen stomach), I was unable to absorb nutritional properly and therefore my eggs could not grow properly.

(Additionally I had ovarian inflammation (Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome) which could have been caused by the gluten allergy or was a symptom of a related problem--I took Glumetza for that (but maybe the gluten-free diet would have been enough?) . . .

Anyway, being gluten-free was a necessity so that the fetus (Little James) could get the right nutrition while he was in there and could grow.

I think him being allergic to gluten is probably related less to him being exposed to it sparingly in the womb and more to do with him being my son, and since I am sensitive to gluten he is more likely to be sensitive as well.

Anyway, gluten and dairy allergies are among the most common for small babies, and typically they will grow out of them with time.

I think him being allergic to gluten is also a symptom of the problem with the FOOD. In the US, all the wheat grown is a high-gluten, genetically modified strain. Our bodies are not made to process it, and so we have more and more people identifying that it is a problem for them.

Oh well. I am DEFINITELY healthier and I DEFINITELY feel better when I'm not eating it, and now since I've seen how miserable it makes him, I won't be eating it any more. I'm happy about it in a way because I know it is better for me. It's just hard to give up something you like so much . . . :-P

Monday, February 21, 2011

Barley and Rye

After not eating any gluten at ALL for a few days, James' rash was fading. So last night I tried some rye crackers and cookies made with barley flour to see if James reacted to them. These grains contain gluten, so the test here was to see if he was allergic to WHEAT only or to all gluten.

And this morning he woke up to the rash on his head being red and inflamed and itchy. Now that he has better control over his hands, it is more obvious that it is itchy and he was rubbing his face all morning (sigh), I feel so bad now but at least now I know that I really can't eat any gluten at all.

So I'm going to avoid it for a few months and maybe try it again when he's six months old or so and see if he reacts to it still.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three Months Old

Yesterday James was three months old!

The day before his three month birthday, he started holding onto and playing with toys. I was very excited and happy about this.

Today I put a little warm water in a sippy cup and let him chew on it. He really liked that a lot!!

It is starting to get warmer and I'm starting to be able to take him out a bit more. I can't wait for all the snow to melt and to really be able to take him on longer walks!

I can't believe it is nearly March, and that my baby is already three months old!

He is starting to babble more and have a lot more to say. Still no rolling over, which is aokay with me! He is starting to get better at holding up his head and shoulders during tummy time, though, which is nice. He still really doesn't like tummy time but hopefully now that he is getting stronger and can hold on to toys he'll start to enjoy it more.

I am really enjoying being home with him. I love hanging out with him and he has recently started to laugh, which is really fun and motivating, hehe! His Dad is really good at making him laugh!

It is awesome to watch him learn and grow and change so fast--I can't wait to see what he'll be doing a month from now!

Wii Exercises

So James bought this new Wii workout game (EA Active 2), and we both started this nine week program that has you work out four times a week for 20 mins. It runs you through a warmup, workout, and cool down. It is pretty fun and definitely challenging.

So both of us are like a week behind (we've only done 3 workouts in a week and a half instead of 6 or 7), but still I can tell that we are getting into a better habit of trying to workout a few times a week. I have never in my life worked out at all, but the program is good, they have you do all kinds of games and activities and you don't have to remember how many times you've done different exercises, because it is recording it for you.

Between this and being quite strict about not eating gluten, I'm starting to feel a lot better about my body. As I should have predicted, my stomach became much flatter since I haven't been eating gluten and I even lost a couple pounds for the first time since James was born!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

TV Show Response: Brothers and Sisters

So I've been obsessively watching the TV Show Brothers and Sisters. We watch TV off of Netflix, so it's commercial-free and I can watch an entire season of a show in a few days if I'm motivated.

I had seen the first season of Brothers and Sisters when it first came out, and I really enjoyed it then, but hadn't seen it since then. Now in the last couple weeks I've watched (nearly) the first three seasons (I watched the first season over again), and clearly I am really enjoying it!

The show features Sally Field as Nora Walker, a Mother of five grown children. In the first episode, her husband of 40 years, William Walker, dies of a heart attack unexpectedly. As the show goes on, Nora and her five children start to learn that William kept many secrets from them. As they learn the truth, it throws their life into upheaval.

The five kids are: Sarah, a 35ish work-aholic mother of two in a struggling marriage; Kitty (Calista Flockheart), a 33ish republican pundit struggling to find the right guy for her; Tommy, a 30ish married guy working at his father's company; Kevin, 28ish gay, single, lawyer; and Justin, a 25ish single Afganistan Vet with a drug problem.

The show follows all the kids and Nora as their lives, significant others, families, and careers go through many changes, and through it all, they are the consummate American Family--struggling to keep their Father's business and legacy alive without compromising their ideals, struggling to resolve their feelings about their Father in the light of difficult truths, and talking, arguing, loving, and supporting each other the whole time.

One thing I really love about the show is their portrayal of Kevin's, the gay son's, life. I LOVE that they show him in relationships, being physically intimate, 100% accepted by his family, etc. I love to see a really healthy and open view on homosexuality in an ABC prime-time television show! Usually I think gay men are portrayed extremely superficially (like on Ugly Betty, for instance), and usually not openly kissing and having intimate relationships. But why not? They show straight people kissing on prime time and it shouldn't be any different for gay people.

I have to admit that I want to BE Nora Walker, which brings up some interesting emotions inside me. I've always wanted a big family and I am naturally nurturing like Nora. She is like a mother hen, tending her nest with these elaborate family dinners. But one theme in the show is Nora finding herself, for the first time, as a woman separate from her Father AND from her husband. She has never had to define herself as something more than a wife and mother. But as she struggles with the truth about her husband, she is forced to examine herself as well.

I think one reason I want to be her is for the same reason--I'm not sure who I am, either. I am not confident in myself as a single person, as a career person . . . I am very comfortable as a wife and mother but who else am I? So watching the show can sometimes be unsettling. Even though I want to be Nora, I also find myself being JEALOUS of Sarah. CFO of her company, intelligent, well-respected, independent. In terms of myself as separate from anyone else, I have never been happier than when I was teaching. I never felt more . . . confident in who I was.

Due in a large part to having ADD, I have had a very hard time succeeding on the long term in challenging situations. I do well overall but I have trouble paying attention to details, making rash or impulsive decisions, and following through--sometimes these little/medium things can add up to a big failure. There are very few accomplishments in my life that are not tied to specific failures--my self-efficacy is badly wounded. As a teacher, for the first time, I was building that back up, making a different in kids lives, making good writers out of them and good people, too.

But in the end I am home because I want to be home. I could not imagine leaving James with someone else. And there is something growing with him--a confidence and pride in my ability as a mother. If I can succeed in that, perhaps there are other successes on my horizon.

Oh, am I off topic? I highly recommend Brothers and Sisters! ;-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Update

So after deciding to be, for lack of a better word, "gluten-reduced", I had a few days where I ate very little gluten. I was still eating cheerios (who has a minor ingredient of "wheat starch"), and occasionally, Ezekial bread (made with a variety of sprouted whole grains, one of which is wheat, others of which are barley and rye, which also contain gluten). However, I wasn't really eating any other very gluten-y things, and I was completely and strictly avoiding high-gluten foods like fake meat, bagels, and white squishy bread.

After several days of this, I thought I noticed a reduction in the rash on James' forehead. But it was hard to tell, and on a day where I cheated a bit more I didn't notice an increase. I began to wonder if it wasn't something else in my diet--maybe soy?

But on Sunday we went for a lovely and delicious dinner to my Grandmother's house. She made an awesome all-vegan meal for us. The salad was a half-avocado with celery, green onions and lemon-infused olive oil and balsamic vinagrette on a lettuce leaf (YUMMY!!), then we had chibatta (sp?) bread with lemon-infused olive oil, and for the main course, stirfried garlic green-beans, and tri-color rotini pasta with fresh basil, fresh tomato, garlic, fresh oregano, etc.

It was delicious but I was OBVIOUSLY taking a break from my gluten-reduced-ism.

But I woke up the next morning to James' forehead being angry, red, oozing, scabby and AWFUL. Furthermore, he seemed very drowsy (he took a 3-4 hour nap when he usually only sleeps for 1.5), and I found all these scratches on his forehead! I wonder if the rash is itchy, too?

So I think maybe it IS gluten causing his rash and apparently avoiding it has made a bigger difference than I thought. Furthermore, the drowsiness is a symptom of Celiac's Disease (sigh).

Anyway, I feel awful that my gluten binge affected him so, but I guess I will just try to be careful in the future and it actually helps to know that there is a point to doing it. I feel much more resolved now than I did before.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


James just held on to a rattle, shook it around and chewed on it for at least two mins before he dropped it! He has never held on to toys before, I was so proud of him!

Public and Private

I'm very open, obviously. I don't have a problem with being honest and forthcoming about my experiences. I think it is important because I learn SO much from other people who are willing to share their personal stories and experiences, and I want to help other people by doing the same.

Once I went to California to visit my friend Mariclare. I was a bit more of a spread-the-love hippy type at that point. I even had dreadlocks.

One night we went to this place. It was just a house, but it had an expanded backyard that included a (very hot) hot tub, nice walking paths, places to sit and mediate, etc.

Anyone at all--actually, any woman, or any man who was accompanied by a woman--was welcome to come to this guy's house, use his hot tub, and chill in his backyard. Neither of us knew him or who he was, we just got the password for the gate (a keypad lock) from another friend of Mariclare's who had been there before.

So we went--and I don't know if it was a rule or just custom, but everyone was naked in the hot tub. It was very dim and . . . cozy. Comfortable. So we were the only ones there for awhile (or maybe someone was just getting out when we got in?), but after while some girls came and joined us.

We didn't speak to them as I recall, but it changed my self-esteem greatly. Why? Because for the first time in my life, I saw naked bodies like my own. With lots of hair (everywhere), cellulite, small boobs . . . it impacted me SO SO much. Because of the common portrayal of thin and buxom flawlessness in the media and magazine articles, I felt as if my body was flawed and ugly. But then I saw the same (seeming) imperfections in someone else, and all of a sudden a great sense of normality and belonging descended over me and I felt comfortable in my skin in a new way. I thought of that night over and over in the years that followed. It was a turning point for me in terms of how I felt about myself.

On the walk home we discussed the owner of the house's motivations in having this setup. Maybe he had a video camera set up and just watched all these naked girls and got off on it, you know?

But it didn't matter to me at all, in that moment. Because of his openness, I learned something very important.

I brought this up because my most frequently viewed post is this one. Gee I wonder why? Maybe because there is a picture of my almost naked boob on it? I get at least 20 page views on THAT post every day. And I thought a long time about how I felt about that. I thought about taking it down.

But you know, the pervs of the world don't control me. Does it really matter if they like looking at my boob picture? Sharing as openly and deeply as I want gives me great pleasure, and many people have commented that different things that I have shared helped them.

And where would I draw the line? My Bradley instructor was shocked that I felt comfortable sharing my birth story publicly . . . should it be something private? I never thought so, but apparently others do. There are LOTS AND LOTS of things I post on here that others wouldn't feel comfortable sharing, but I honestly have no problem with it because I feel so strongly that being open helps others.

Many years ago, I realized that I was normal for the first time because I was willing to strip down and get into a stranger's hot tub with a bunch of other naked girls. Now I might have evolved a bit, but I'm no less "naked" when I share my son, my husband, my love, my thoughts, my feelings and opinions and LIFE on here.

And I'm not going to take down my milky boob.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have joined twitter!

If you would like to follow me in the short, I'm @notjustadrienne

Also, if you Tweet and would like me to follow you, please message me or leave a comment with your handle.


Our Healthy Dinner

This is what we had for dinner tonight. Gluten Free, Vegan, with veggies, fruit, nuts, and beans! Super healthy and very delicious!

My Birth Control Decision

As the title indicates, this might also be TMI? Just sayin, giving fair warning for anyone that would rather not know!

So the Valentine's Day plans definitely inspired the previous post about birth control, since I have to start worrying about it again.

Me and birth control have a long and sordid history (or not, depending on how you look at it). I tried the pill for about 6 months while I was in college and the basic result was a lot of depression. I was horrible about taking it at the same time every day (or even taking it every day), and perhaps as a result of this, my emotions and hormones were all over the place and I ended up in not a good place. I noticed a significant improvement when I stopped taking it.

And condoms, well, they give me yeast infections. Every SINGLE yeast infection I have ever gotten came on the heels of sex-with-a-condom. Maybe it's the latex, I don't know. I also plain just don't like them. Some people don't notice them, I guess but to me it feels like a foreign invasion!

I've thought about an IUD (intra-uterine device), but basically ruled it out immediately for many reasons: most of them are hormonal, most of them have lots of side effects, we don't want to do anything that long-term, etc.

There are obviously other options, but none of them really feel right to me. So, we'll probably end up going the "withdrawal" method from here on out. Don't knock it, it is 97-98% effective when done correctly and consistently, which is about the came as the pill. For us it is probably perfect.

I guess it doesn't mean much to say that this has always been my primary birth control method since I apparently was never making very mature eggs and had an early miscarriage that seemed like a normal or few-days-late period every SINGLE time I got pregnant and didn't supplement with progesterone. So who knows how many times that happened to me without me even knowing it. But, according to the research, withdrawal IS quite effective.

We might combine it with the Fertility Awareness Method, basically keeping in touch with your body and looking out for signs of ovulation (increased cervical mucus, etc), in which case we would either abstain for a few days or be more careful.

Honestly it still feels a bit weird to me to do ANYTHING to prevent pregnancy after THREE YEARS of trying to conceive James. FAM feels the least strange to me. However, like I said, I'm really not ready to throw caution to the wind, so that's what I finally decided.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our First Date!

So as I had said, last night we went out for the very first time together without the baby.


We had a great time!

My sister got to my house around 6 and we left around 7. I was very nervous trying to set out James' PJs and night-time diaper and swaddle blanket, and explain about heating up the milk and everything. He was fussing a little when we left and it was heartbreaking to just leave him and walk out the door. As I was waving to him from the doorway I swear he was looking at me forlornly.

I promised myself I wouldn't text my sister for at least a half hour, so I texted my Mom instead (so romantic, LOL): "He was fussing when we left!"

When I did talk to my sister though, she said he was fine and they were playing with his toys, so then I felt a little better. I swear, though, I nearly had an anxiety attack as we were driving--I knew he was fine but I just missed him so much and it's hard to trust someone else to be his sole caretaker when up until now it has only been me and (Big) James. I mean, I OBVIOUSLY trust my sister but clearly, no one knows James and how to comfort him and all of his signals better than us, his parents, you know?

Once I heard that he was fine, though, and especially after we got to the restaurant, it was fine, and fun, to be alone with James. It was strange to feel like I was relaxed in a way without having to take care of him for a few hours straight, but worried in another way from being apart from him!

Anyway, when my first glass of wine showed up it helped a lot, hehe.

I recalled to James that for the last 3 or 4 years, when we were out for our Valentine's dinner, I would say: "This might be our last Valentine's Day alone together before we have a baby/before I'm pregnant!" And depressingly, it was never true. Another year would come and go and I would still be saying that. So it seemed so significant and special that we'd finally done it! We had a baby at home waiting for us! It was like celebrating the accomplishment of finally reproducing!

Hehe. Okay, my entire date post probably shouldn't be about the baby. Here's what we had for dinner (I was on a gluten-free break):

Adrienne: Vegetable dumplings, beet/tofu/fresh basil ravioli with asparagus and garlic greens, and double chocolate "teasecake" (Cheesecake made of tofu).

James: Lentil Soup with bread and carrot/miso spread, Spicy Tempeh sandwich with sweet potato fries, and he shared my teasecake.

I also had TWO glasses of wine in a row for the first time in almost a year!! I just wish I'd dranken them faster so I would have gotten even more tipsy, hahahaha.

I feel like the names of the food does not do it justice. The beet raviolis especially were TO. DIE. FOR. They were handmade from pasta made from scratch and sweetened with beet juice (so they were pink, how romantic, LOL), and then the stuffing was tofu in a ricotta style with fresh basil. And there was some sauce, probably also made from beets--the flavors were just ridiculous. And the teasecake, too. When you think of a cheesecake made out of tofu you are not picturing the delicacy and deliciousness of this cake. It was almost the consistency/flavor of chocolate mousse, with a graham cracker crust . . . it was SO good.

So we left home around 7, got seated around 8, left around 9:45, and got home about 10:30 and thanked my sister and sent her on her way. James was asleep in his swing, so we left him there while we finished up our date upstairs. (Teehee)

As I had mentioned before, it was our first time "together" since James was born, and it was honestly fine! Even fun! I'm really glad I waited as long as I did, though, because I was definitely still nervous when THE moment came, hehe. It definitely felt different but it didn't hurt, so it was a relief to face my nervousness and "take the plunge", so to speak. ;-)

And then we retrieved James from downstairs, put him in his co-sleeper and cuddled up and fell asleep! So all-in-all, a great Valentine's day! :-)

What Sean Said

My friend Mariclare sent me this article and video of a little 4 1/2 year old boy, Sean, who is living on Haight-Ashbury Street (in San Francisco) in 1970.

It is pretty cool! Mariclare asked if she could do something like this with James when he is older, and I would love that!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Plans

Tonight is another momentous occasion, because it will be my first time away from the baby for any significant period of time . . . (and THE first time James has been without Mom OR Dad). So far I have once went to CVS without him (15 min trip), and James once took him to pick up Chinese Food while I took a shower (15 min trip), and I once went to visit a friend of mine for like an hour and a half.

But tonight we are going out to dinner at It's Only Natural, which is about 45 mins away from us, and we'll have a nice long leisurely dinner with appetizers AND desserts (and gluten, even, haha). My sister is going to be babysitting for us and I totally trust her and she's been around James a lot, so that makes it easier. And the fact that he is such an easy baby, too--I KNOW he will be fine because it's hard to mess up too much with him.

Still, I anticipate missing him. I also anticipate we'll talk a lot about him at dinner. I know some couples have a rule not to talk about the baby while they are on a date, but James is just as in love with him as I am, so whatever. We LIKE talking about him, LOL.

Anyway, I'm going to try to make it special. I might even dress up, in a particularly unprecedented move for me. Actually I just realized that the dress I'm planning on wearing I wore last year for Valentine's Day, too, LOL!--Still, that was the last time I wore it and it's pretty sexy so I think James will still be pretty excited about it.

I'm going to take a nice long shower this afternoon, oil myself all over (coconut oil--best thing ever for hair and skin!), and PERHAPS maybe even wax my man-legs. I haven't decided yet if I am up for that or not.

I got him a card, but I still need to fill it out and think about if I'm going to get him any kind of present (probably not, since my afternoon is quickly filling up, LOL).

So yeah yeah I'm excited to have a night alone with James.

V Day Confession

:::Okay, this is somewhat TMI, so stop reading now if you don't want to know, LOL!:::

Okay so I'm going to (wo)man up and admit it: We haven't, ahem, "done the deed" yet.

At six weeks (when you are supposedly "allowed" to start doing it again), I just seriously wasn't ready. I was just starting to feel normal, and I just wasn't in the mood. I felt pretty strongly at that point that I was totally focused on the baby and that's what I should be focused on. I feel like the time after the baby is born is sort of sacred--I think there is a reason many Moms feel like they are keeping the baby alive by sheer force of will--it IS the time to be focused on the baby (and yourself in order to care for the baby).

So at six weeks I told James that I needed more time, and that since Valentine's Day was around 12 weeks postpartum, I figured it was a good time to start up again. And he has ANXIOUSLY been awaiting this day, let me tell you!

Anyway, I'm not really (too) nervous anymore--I really think it will be fine, maybe even nice!

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Dichotomus Abortion/Birth Control Feelings

So I'm not really a bible-thumping quiverful type. But I find that I have a lot in common with a lot of people who are.

Being vegan gave me a zest for life. I went through a phase where I was particularly obsessed with the whole idea. How many plants could I grow--how healthy could they be--what little things could I coax into life? Once I planted a bunch of LEAVES that had fallen off of a poinsettia plant. And you know? One of them grew. And it didn't have the physiology to get any bigger, but it lived, and grew roots. And I had that single leaf in a tiny pot by itself for maybe a year, or more.

During this time, my view on a lot of things changed. Couple this vegan zest-for-life with a bunch of infertility, and I find myself, previously a liberal hippy pro-choicer, someone whose heart and soul have turned against the idea of ending a life at it's most basic beginnings--an abortion. As much as I have to respect a women's right to choose, my heart just won't buy it. Because things want to live. They struggle and put down roots in any unlikely place where they happen to find themselves. I don't know if a baby is any different than a little plant, struggling to live in a sometimes hostile environment. In the end, it comes down to whether you can open your heart and your life to make room for someone else's. And I realize that one can't, always. But my heart aches at the idea of losing a child--any child. I have several friends and family members who are awaiting children, through adoption, infertility treatments, and the good old fashioned method. For someone struggling for a child, it is the most valuable and precious thing in the world--this early life . . . and the thought of ending such a precious life--someone that could become as special as James, if given the chance . . . it just can't feel right to me.

Yet the thought of taking the option away from women absolutely feels worse.

I guess I wish I could find myself a box that feels right but nothing does, really.

And then we have the idea of birth control, too. I absolutely believe that people who are sexually active, and not ready for a child, should use birth control. But what about someone like me? Sometimes I think that every month I prevent pregnancy, it's like I am closing a door against life. And so I see the point of the quiverful folk, the "let God decide our family" sort of view . . . it feels very good, the idea of just leaving your heart and life open for new life. It feels natural and simple and loving.

And yet I can't quite buy it either--maybe I'm a little too selfish--the idea of getting pregnant again so immediately just doesn't feel right either. And I would be worried for James, since pregnancy can affect breast milk supply. So while he is completely dependent on me for nutrition, it feels irresponsible to me as well . . .

I guess in the end the answer is always the same: education, putting tools and options in the hands of women, and making smart and responsible choices.

I'm Alive!

I've been recovering from our party, which went really well, and addictively watching "Brothers and Sisters". I will try to write something of more substance later, I promise!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Calcified Grapefruit

So I've had this grapefruit sitting in my cold dry house for probably like two months. The skin got tighter and harder and the grapefruit shrank and shrank.

I looked at it the other day and decided to take the plunge. I would cut it open to see if it was edible and otherwise into the compost it would go.

It was so hard I had to saw it open with a bread knife and lots of force. But when it fell open, it looked good inside--pink and succulent. The skin had shrunken to a thin hard capsule, but the inside was perfect.

So I ate it.

And you know? It was the sweetest grapefruit I have ever had. Now I'm going to always buy grapefruit two months in advance.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Grudgingly Gluten-Free Again

Well, I've basically come to the conclusion that I need to stop eating gluten again (or greatly reduce it). Not NEED to but I guess I want to. James has this skin rash around his eyebrows, hairline, and temples, and it definitely fluctuates in "intensity", so I think it is something I'm eating and I am very suspicious that it's gluten.

Additionally, I definitely don't feel good when I eat high-gluten things like bagels and fake meat, and these were the things I missed when I was gluten free (and BREAD and pizza, of course). Furthermore, I guess it's really not that hard to stay away from it--basically the more I eat it, the more I want it, and the less I eat it, the less I want it . . .

For me it seems to make a big difference when I feel like I COULD eat something if I wanted to. Or being able to have it every once in awhile. The thing that drove me crazy when I was pregnant (especially toward the end), was feeling SO guilty when I would eat it, and so feeling like I really *couldn't*.

So now, while I will definitely be MOSTLY gluten free, I'll still treat myself to the occasional bread, crackers, pizza, etc. Furthermore, with baking things, it is definitely easy to reduce the amount of wheat flour and replace it with buckwheat, oat, millet, or other gluten-free flours. Having just a little bit of wheat can usually affect the desired result.

Honestly I think the hardest thing with changing your diet is re-establishing a shopping list--like figuring out what your normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods are . . . and there's plenty of gluten-free products that are just as good, or better, like quinoa pasta (yum yum). And fruits and veggies are gluten-free, thank God.

I also think that I eat healthier when I'm being gluten free because I tend to eat more fruits and veggies instead of filling my diet with bulky grains without as many nutrients and vitamins.

So that's where I'm at. It sort of sucks because I love bread so much, but it is definitely healthier for me, and probably for James David as well, so that's that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scheduling Blog Posts

So I recently discovered that it was possible to write a blog post and have it "publish" to my blog in the FUTURE. This is totally awesome for me because I tend to have days where I want to write a lot, and then other days (sometimes many in a row), where I don't want to write as much.

So my last 6 posts (minus the home-birth one which was a spur of the moment inspiration) were actually all written on the same day--Sunday, I believe. I just had a lot to say that day, and normally I would feel like I should wait on some topics to space it out. But now, thanks to my new discovery, I don't need to space it out--blogger will do it for me! Hehe, this is exciting to me.

I daresay you'll be hearing even more from me than you used to . . .

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Secret of Home/Natural Birth

Thanks to commenter Katelynn for suggesting this awesome website about post-partum bodies!

On it, an anonymous poster talked about her five birth experiences, including her last one, a home birth: "I had my son on October 27, 2009. He was 8 days overdue and weighed 10lb 6oz. He was born after a literally painless 30 minute labor. If I had known how much better home-birth would be, I wouldn’t have waited so long to have one!"

I've been thinking more and more about natural/home birth. I think the home aspect DOES add something because of the level of comfort, privacy, and not having to go anywhere in labor. I also think the recovery is better because James and I were totally alone with our baby in the days after his birth--this might sound overwhelming for someone who has never done it, but it only takes this few days to LEARN YOUR BABY and build this confidence in caring for him. I know this can and does happen in the hospital too, but honestly I think having the nurses and other people there and around would make most people naturally want to ask for help or a second opinion in caring for their baby. When you don't have that option, you just do it and immediately you are the expert on your own baby, instead of someone else.

I always read these stories about how amazing natural birth was, and while I believed the stories and experiences, my mind was still infected with the popular perception that birth is inherently painful, scary, and foreign. This infection of self-doubt in my ability to birth is much too common.

Think about it--evolution and the procreation of the human species is the ultimate biological imperative. Birds evolve miraculous colors and plumes and mating rituals in order to procreation their species. Humans must be at least as good, right? What is the most important thing for the procreation of our species? The ability to give birth. Why should we doubt something that millions of years of careful "breeding" have guaranteed to work?

Well there is a history and explanation, which I won't go into now, but my birth experience eradicated the infection of doubt that I had possessed. Now I understand what those crunchy natural birth women were talking about. Birth is not something to fear. It is not inherently painful, and it is certainly not something to doubt. It's as easy as breathing--your body will do it without any help at all. All you need to do is YIELD. All you need to do is have a clean and confident mind that will not interfere with the body's imperative.

But since we are INFECTED, that is where the difficulty comes from. There is so little exposure to natural birth, it's importance or ease or even pleasure. All we see is screaming (which I admit, I did do, but it was not a scream of fear, it was a scream of power--it was like the "hiya" of a karate chop--the exercise of my gong power). All we see is women begging for their epidural as they clench their husband's arm (which I also did--but it was not a clench of pain, but a clench of power and adrenaline, like when you grip the steering wheel of your car during a racing game).

Our womanly messages have been twisted by fear and doubt, and it's a pity because we are missing out on a hormonal and spiritual experience with deep importance. I hope in my lifetime I will see a transformation of our culture's perception of birth. I am certainly going to do all I can to spread the "secret".

I Feel like a Fatass

I know I'm not really. But I was quite thin before I got pregnant and now I just feel like I have all this extra padding everywhere. None of my pants fit except for a few bigger pairs that I had gotten from my sisters and saved for just this occasion.

Before I got pregnant, I was 131 pounds and a size 6.

By the end of the pregnancy, I was 171 pounds and maternity size medium.

On the day James was born (after the birth), I was 156 pounds.

One week post-partum I was 151 pounds, and snug in a size 13.

One month postpartum I was 155 pounds.

Two months postpartum (most recent weighing) . . . 159 pounds, but size 13 is now a bit big on me, and I'm snug in size 11.

So while my waist/hips appear to be shrinking, I am three pounds heavier than the day he was born, and 8 pounds heavier than one week PP. I don't get it! :-(

I can grab a big roll on my tummy and jiggle it. I look significantly "more pregnant" than I did in the first trimester. 160 pounds, at 5'8", is NOT an unhealthy weight--but I don't feel good about myself. This is the heaviest I have ever been, save the last month of pregnancy.

Everyone (well most people) said that the weight would just fall off after he was born but it just hasn't happened. James thinks if I stopped eating gluten again I would lose more (ahem, anything) and that is probably true, but I'm just not ready to do it.

Furthermore, I'm not even eating THAT much gluten. I realize that it really doesn't make me feel good when I eat bagels, fake meats (almost pure gluten), or other high-gluten foods. I have been eating whole grain breads and crackers (oh yea, and cookies) . . . maybe James is right.

I think part of it is the winter, too. I'm obviously much more active in the summer. Honestly I don't even need to lose it all. 140-145 is a pretty good weight for me. Hopefully I can get to at least 145 by May--though some kind of plan for making that happen seems to be necessary. I'll have to work on that. :-/

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hoarding and Unhoarding

Okay, so I guess I'll admit it: James and I are sort of hoarders (though not "compulsive hoarders" like you see on TV). We are both highly sentimental, hate wasting, have trouble throwing things away, like collecting different things, etc.

But we are not compulsive because junk does not fill very much of our house, and it gets less every year. Every year we get a little better at organizing and utilizing some things and parting with others. Over the summer, my parents came to help us, and my Dad and James cleaned out a LOT of stuff out of the garage and basement, and organized everything that we kept. Our attic is fairly clear, some of our closets are fairly clear (or at least, well organized), and all of our living areas are clear. Our house is generally messy, but not unusually so, and it definitely gets cleaned on a regular basis.

Basically, we moved into this house the summer before we got married--the summer of 2006, and it took us a LONG time (like two or three years) to get totally unpacked--there were several rooms--at least one upstairs and our dining room downstairs--that were filled with half-open boxes and things that had been unpacked and thrown aside willy-nilly, probably in the search for something specific.

Several of these rooms were still an issue when I got pregnant, and one of my goals during the pregnancy was to resolve these things, and I was pretty darn successful. I cleaned and organized every room in the house, save one bedroom upstairs. Part of the reason I was able to clean was that anything I wasn't sure what to do with (or was part of a serious organizational process), I stuck in this one bedroom. This enabled me to stay focused and clean the rest of the rooms.

But over the last couple months, some junk got piled in our library, and it was the tough kind--like years worth of paperwork that needed to be gone through and filed. So this has been James' project, and this weekend he really did a great job and the library is nearly clean again.

But our real progress happened on Saturday. I just got motivated. I went into the junk room and pulled out several boxes of old clothes that had previously been put aside because it didn't fit or was not often worn, and donated most of it to Salvation Army, with a few things pulled out with specific people in mind who might want them.

I also pulled four old computers out of that room (the big ole tower kind) to recycle, and a box of old notebooks from college to recycle as well.

Another great unloading was that we finally found a place to recycle our bottles. James and most of our friends tend to drink these really obsolete beers, and every time I would go to the bottle redemption center, I would come home with at least half of the bottles that I went there with--so they've just been piling up. But we found a place in a neighboring town that will take pretty much everything. So we went there and got 10 dollars for all our bottles!

It was a really productive "unhoarding" day--but not without its struggles. James lamented the computers and worried about people getting personal info off of them--but we worked through it. He set aside a pile of clothes, originally intending to keep them--but I convinced him to donate most of the things. I had trouble parting with an old mini-backpack that was my purse for 2 years in college, so James suggested that we take a picture of me with it (one technique that helps with sentimentalism).

So we loaded up our car on Saturday with all of these things and we returned home with it empty. Furthermore, we "threw away" very few things--we mostly recycled them or donated them.

The lesson here is that we are slowly learning how to improve our house and get better. Even though James was totally dragging his feet during the decision making process, he was ELATED when we returned home. It is very freeing to say goodbye to a bunch of junk that you aren't using!

I hope more "unhoarding" days are in our future!

Abuse and Neglect

I'm a sensitive person in general--it is difficult to hear about others' problems because I picture how it must be, and feel bad. I guess I am highly empathetic--when someone around me is upset, I am also upset.

So stories of people abusing kids and babies have always haunted me. Literally, like I think of many of these stories over and over and feel bad and sometimes nauseous, over and over, and I never forget.

So it's always been bad, but now, since having James, it is ridiculous. My sister or someone was telling me that before unions and labor laws, lots of women, after having a baby, could not take any time off of work, and could not afford to get someone to watch the baby. So for 8, 10, 12 or more hours, the baby would be left alone while the Mom and Dad worked.

The thought of a tiny infant being completely alone for that long brings me to tears. I just picture their loneliness, the hunger gnawing at their stomachs--crying until they were too exhausted to cry, missing their Mom so much, losing hope, and finally, accepting that their needs were not important, or worse . . .

God it just kills me! And then there are the people who intentionally neglect or abuse--and I've heard before that profound neglect is worse than abuse, and since this picture came into my head of the lonely infant, I have to agree.

Since having James, I just CAN'T imagine HOW people could neglect or abuse their children. Let alone those mothers who freaking push their kids into a lake and stuff. I just don't get it. The thought of James even being hurt is tearful--losing him altogether is unimaginable, and it's a biological imperative. Every part of him is designed to make people, me and his Dad especially, want to care for him. Every part of me is designed to want to and be able to care for him . . .

Something must be very very wrong in people that could ignore these instincts--or maybe they are missing them altogether . . .

Now all these babies pass through my mind--in overstuffed orphanages where they just can't possibly get enough love or attention . . . in abusive home situations . . . I just want to rescue them all--it just seems so wrong that a tiny infant could be neglected--and yet I know it happens all the time all over the world. I just want to take care of all of them.

But I can't. All I can do it care for my baby. And since all these visions entered my mind, you can bet that I am holding him a little closer and loving him a little extra for all those babies that I can't hold.
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