Friday, October 26, 2007

More details than you could ever want

NOTE: I wrote this post over a series of days, so please forgive me if it is choppy. I just don't have the time to hone down on what I'm writing like I usually do. Duh, but I still don't like it! I prefer a smooth, coherent finished product. But this'll have to do.


I finally have the chance (however fleeting it may be) to post on our beautiful homebirth. It was everything I wanted it to be, and more. Those who know me know me understand my level for enthusiasm for things that impress me; so you aren't surprised when I say, "Even if you feel a little gun-shy of giving birth at home, look into it. Please. Look into it." It was an amazing experience; beautiful, calm, balanced; all in an extremely supportive environment. We don't know what we are missing as a society when we dismiss the value of midwives and the beauty of a well-managed homebirth. Of course, this is not to say that giving birth in a hospital does not have its place: it just seems that we are a bit lop-sided as a culture, when so many do not know their options (or are repulsed by them). Knowledge is power.

10/20 & 10/21 - D-day(s):

Things started rolling, I realize now, around 5 am on Saturday morning the 20th. I woke up to find myself peeing ever-so-slightly in bed. Just a little squirt, but it woke me up. I didn't think too much of it, since I've been getting up to urinate with extreme frequency the last few weeks. I got up, peed, and went back to bed. But looking back on it, I believe the amniotic sac sprung a leak. When I got up and started moving around that morning, I could tell something had changed. I had an ever-present urge to pee, I was urinating every 5-10 minutes and had a very hard time holding in my pee as I waddled to the bathroom. There was also a gel-like substance accompanying my frequent trips to the bathroom. I'm fairly certain I had sprung a slow leak: not a big gusher, but a trickle. I called the midwife, Judy, who said to keep her informed of any changes, particularly if contractions picked up. At this point, they were coming perhaps a couple of times an hour. Right before I called, I had taken a shower and realized that my belly had taken on a completely different shape than it had been the last several months. It had always been very high and misshapen: the right side being much higher than the left, but now it was much, much lower and completely round.

Later that morning, though I didn't have a strong desire to leave the house, I went to the library [a Saturday morning tradition] to pick up a hold, Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters. I got to the library just as it was closing, enabling me to make the dramatic declaration, "I'm so sorry, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be having my baby today and I don't know the next time I'll be able to make it in." The librarian graciously wrote down the numbers, as the system was already off. Ah yes, the drama. Other than that, I pretty much spent most of the day indoors, even though it was be-a-utiful outside. I washed newborn diapers, cleaned, and packed Starbeans' overnight bag; Squeeze spent his day home rototilling our new garden space for next year and splitting wood with his dad. Squeeze's parents were over for the day, working for us [bless them]: his mom weeded the neglected part of the vegetable garden and his dad overhauled the wood-splitter that they had just transported here from it's previous location in Wisconsin. Starbeans "helped" Gramma in the garden, tortured the poor baby kittens (who are very playful and curious now btw), took a nap, and played.

By 5 pm, contractions seemed to be coming every 10 minutes or less. I hadn't been keeping track, but it felt that way to me. They were getting more uncomfortable as well, but for some reason I still didn't believe that this was "it" and felt complete despair as we said good-bye to Squeeze's parents. I was so tired of being pregnant and I wanted things to start NOW. Nevertheless, around 6:30 I started timing my contractions. Sure enough, they were coming every 5-10 minutes. As the hours went on, they started averaging around every 6 minutes with more intensity (but I could still walk through them). I called the midwives around 9 pm; Judy was on the road, but would go home, pick up Kara, then head to our house. They expected to be there within 2-3 hours.

We called Squeeze's parents to come for Starbeans. At this point, he was so wound up and excited about going to Grandma and Bupa's house that he was literally shrieking with joy and running in circles. For a half hour. This was actually very hard on me. I felt like I needed to draw inward and focus, so having to deal with an over-excited toddler was really rough. I started to realize how glad I was that he was not going to be around. I still cried when he left, though. When he realized that I wasn't coming with him on his fantastic trip, he didn't cry, but he did whimper, "Mama..." Poor babe. He did great, though. They said that he didn't even cry on the way home, although he was a little dazed and very quiet. I cried going back into the house, thinking about how much would be changing over the course of the night. I still had the fears of feeling like Starbeans was going to be replaced and/or not knowing what it would be like to have more than one child to share myself with.

We went back inside and Squeeze lit a fire. I wanted to be WARM. Really warm. I huddled on the floor, breathing through contractions and feeling the intensity of the pain. At this point, contractions were coming every 4 minutes.

Then Squeeze came back in the room and I sat on a foot-stool, draping myself on his lap. He rubbed my back and tickled me through the contractions, which felt very nice. I was very intent on staying in an upright position in hopes that gravity would assist my quest in expelling this baby. Incidentally (or maybe not), I had read through the stages of labor the night before. This helped me stay calm and focused on the task at hand, with the refreshed knowledge of the purpose of each phase.

At this point I really wanted to take a hot shower, but couldn't until the midwives arrived (they had asked me not to because it can speed things along so much). I was very cold and had a blanket around me. Like I said, I wanted to be WARM. [I even hesitated on getting in the shower a few contractions after the midwives got here because I didn't want to be cold afterwards. Little did I know, I was just going to go straight into a warm bath (it was wonderful).]

The midwives arrived around midnight. They immediately set to work like a well-oiled machine. Each came to me, placing a firm and gentle hand on my back and checking to see how I was doing. They unloaded their stuff and began putting pressure on my lower back, where they said the ligaments of my uterus attached. It was amazingly effective for pain relief. It still hurt, of course, but not as bad. Judy even stuck a hand in the shower (once I got in there) and applied pressure to my back, which felt so good coupled with the hot water. In the shower, my contractions started coming every 2 minutes and I noticed that my mucous was now tinged pink. I felt up inside myself and I could feel the baby's hard head right there: it was a spectacular thing to touch, firm and round. I've touched the top of his head the last couple of days and marveled at the feel of it, knowing that is exactly what I felt inside the birth canal. Simply amazing.

Once all the hot water was used, I got into the tub. There was only a few inches of warm water left, but thankfully, the midwives had been heating up water on the stove for just that. [At the time, I was amazed that they knew it would be needed, but thinking about it now...of course they knew!! This is their job!] They also had a nifty drain-stopper that allowed the water-line of the tub to go a couple of inches from the top, covering me with warm water. It was lovely. They had a nice cushion for my back, so I was able to lean back and and labor in comfort. LOL - if that is possible. They put a washcloth on my belly and poured water over it during contractions as well as applying pressure to my lower back.

With each contraction, the pressure on my pelvic floor and butt increased. During what I now realize to be transition, I finally puked. I had been feeling nauseous towards the end of each contraction for the past hour at that point (aside from my time in the shower, I believe) and at the end of a specific contraction in the tub, my stomach balled up and out I spew. Kara comforted me, saying, "I know that was very unpleasant, but it is actually a very good sign." I didn't get what she was saying at the point, but now I know: transition. After throwing up, things progressed very swiftly.

All throughout the night, I was fully prepared to labor until 5 or 6 am. But suddenly [or, at least, it felt completely sudden to me - it probably didn't surprise the midwives], a contraction hit where I felt an irresistible physical urge to push. My body actually shook and pushed without me telling it to: it was an automatic reaction over which I had no control. Completely primal. Judy told me that if my body was telling me to push and that it felt "right", to push. With the next contraction, I felt an enormously unbearable feel of the need to poop. I had been fretting about that through the day, not wanting to poop, so feeling this was disturbing to me. I'm pretty sure it distracted me and I didn't push through this one, instead I shouted out (with my eyes closed, of course), "I think I'm going to poop!" I was mortified at the thought of a gigantic turd floating to the top of the tub and wanted to warn them (as if they haven't seen everything already). But Kara said, "That isn't a poop, that's your baby!"

This was unbelievably encouraging to me, to know that my baby was so close. The next contraction, the baby's head crowned; they told me to pant...pant...pant...not to push, because I was going to tear if I went too quickly. This was the first real push, as I was fighting it with the Poop Push. So I halted pushing as best I could and panted through the contraction, then rested on the downtime (hearing Judy say, "Pant...pant...pant" was so extremely helpful: it helped me focus). My eyes were closed during virtually this entire process. When the next contraction came on, I bore down heavily and OUT popped his head. Then I rested, forgetting that I could feel down there and touch his head if I wanted. Squeeze felt his head and then reminded me that I could too. "Oh yes," I said, and put my hand down there to feel his firm little head, silky with hair. It felt so wonderful. He was still underwater at this point, of course. I kept my hand on him through the next contraction and was able to feel him slip out of me. Kara brought him up to me and I cried (I'm not kidding), ", it is so cute!" Then I put my hand down on his little bottom and said, almost weepy, "It's a's a boy."

My sweet baby boy.

The midwives immediately set to work: clearing his mouth and nose, covering him with a blanket, putting on his little hat. We admired him and marvelled and I, like a broken record, kept on repeating how I couldn't believe how fast it had gone and how easy it was. We snuggled, started nursing, and the midwives brought in a rocker into the bathroom for me to sit in and continue snuggling and nursing after the placenta was delivered. The cord wasn't cut until it stopped pulsating. When the placenta was delivered, I said, "Boy, is it nice to get that thing outta me." I know this because the midwives included it in their notes. Isn't that fabulous?? Their notes were a combination of professional and personal. I know exactly when things happened and our responses to them. This is invaluable to me.

While I sat in the rocker, the midwives drew an herbal bath for me, with comfrey leaf, sea salt, a tea tree mixture, and iodine. I got in the tub, the midwives put Pumpkin in with me, and I relaxed in the warm water. After a brief time, they took the baby out and set to work measuring and weighing him. Squeeze stood by, taking pictures. Then he dressed the baby, swaddled him, and went to the living room to snuggle. The midwives helped me out of the tub, assisted me to the bedroom where I dressed, then tucked me in bed. It was probably around 4 am at this point. They went through postnatal mama and baby care, instructing and advising; then we all went to bed. The midwives slept on couches; Squeeze, the baby, and me in our bed. It was lovely.

The next morning, the midwives got up, said goodbye and left around 9 am. I found out later that they were called to another birth within 15 minutes of leaving our place; they also had another birth the very next day, so these ladies had one wild weekend!!


With this, I will post my story. It felt like I was never going to finish it! And...I am completely zapped. In a future post, I will collect my thoughts and reflect on the richness of our homebirth. Truly, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I believe that being home was relaxing and strengthening to me; and things probably went more smoothly because of it. It was an empowering experience. Instead of being confused and/or at the mercy of hospital regulations, I was calm and extremely well taken care of by unbelievably intuitive midwives. It was a beautiful experience, one that I am extremely grateful for.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

7 lb 3 oz

It is a BOY; he came out after 3 pushes at 1:46 am.

Cute as a button and yet unnamed. Pictures later.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

For real

The midwives are on their way, Squeeze's parents are on their way (to pick up Starbeans), and my contractions have been about 6-7 minutes apart for the last 4 hours. It seems to be the real thing and dang, it hurts. I'm in for it now! (And I'm glad.)

Something to report on

I'm not experiencing any contractions out of the ordinary, but things have definitely changed. I even called the midwives this morning. The baby has moved down significantly (there is a lot more space at the top of my belly...much more comfortable). I have an almost-constant sensation of needing to urinate: I'm peeing every 5 minutes or so. The midwife said I could go today, or it could be a week or two, but that it is a good sign because it means that "things are happening". Let's hope I don't have to wait too much longer. It would be very tough to be chained within a 100 foot radius of a toilet for 2 weeks!

Chapstick Addition:
I think I can truly say that I've kicked the chapstick habit. I haven't used any kind of lip balm aside from vitamin E, flaxseed, or lanolin, since the beginning of September. That is almost 2 months! I've noticed that the last few days my lips have felt fairly balanced - no major discomfort or feeling like they're being stretched when I smile. While I am hesitent to declare complete victory, it seems that things are starting to look "normal". I also noticed that when I started thinking about it, I began to lick my lips. Not good: this leads to chapping and cracked lips. I've got to keep a handle on that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hello...! Still pregnant. If this were Starbeans, he/she would have been born last Sunday; only it would probably still be nameless, as we've got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even worse, we think it will probably be a boy (based on the Borealis male-to-female ratio from the last 3 generations), but all we talk about, if we even get the chance, are girl names. What the...? I think all his names are putrid and he thinks all mine are barf. So, we're at an impasse. Our almost-14 year old Star Trek-obsessed nephew brainstormed 2 full pages of mostly boy names; the strongest choice being Kle'eg Hogbarn Borealis. I suppose we could always fall back on that...

I plan to post when things start rolling (if they ever do, wah!), so you all can have something to be excited about. I might even post somewhere along the way, depending on how I feel.

Things in these parts are very foggy, rainy, and drizzly-chilly. It is wonderful. It really reminds me of home, which is to say, Western Washington. It seems like weather like that is almost non-existent on the other side of the state: there were either brash thunder storms or nothing. Drizzle-days were very rare. Or did I just blank out on the last 10 years?

Over and out. Still pregnant. And addled.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

There was a little boy...

There was a little boy who had a little curl
Right on the nape of his neck (not his forehead);
When he was good, he was very, very good,
And when he was bad he was horrid.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's official

I have the pregnant woman waddle.

The ligaments in my lower belly are stretched to the max, my hips are loosening, and my left groin is spasming like a curled up hedgehog. I think the groin spasms are related to the position of the baby; while they get worse at night, specifically when I'm walking, I've also noticed that it happens when I'm lying in bed and I can feel the baby moving. It's head must be pinching or touching a nerve. It hurts like crazy.

In public, people have asked me when I am due throughout the course of small talk conversations. When I've said, 2 1/2, 2, and now 1 1/2 weeks, no one believes me! I'm not big enough, they say. But I tell them, this baby is filling up the whole space. And it is, seriously. Little heels poking out on the upper-right side of my belly, kicking on my ribs, and pressing down on my cervix. There just isn't much room left. It will be very interesting to see how much this babe weighs. Starbeans was 8 lb 3 oz. I was my mom's first babe, at 9 lb 8 oz. Two brothers were 10 lb 9 oz and 10 lb 2 oz, 1 brother was 9 lbs 2 oz, and my sister, the behemoth, was 11 lb 14 oz. Can you imagine?? My mom is about 5'7, but people stop her on the street and ask her if she's a body builder: she's as tough as nails. She's strong and stout, like her dad. A solid Norwegian. I have my dad's body (who has his dad's body).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Detergent Check-in, Food, Book Review, and Pregnancy Update

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Squeeze does most of the laundering around here and I came to realize last week that he has been using 3 TBSP with each load. Ack! That might be why they smelled so super-fresh? When I wash, and I just measured what I was using, I put in 2 TBSP. I figured it was more than 1, but I didn't realize it was double the amount. I have yet to be able to experiment; and I managed to talk Squeeze down to 2 TBSP instead of 3. The one thing I can say with absolute confidence is this -- DIAPERS TAKE 4 TBSP. I didn't like how they smelled when I used 2 TBSP, so I doubled the amount. I am satisfied.

Food Today: I made granola, chicken stock, and my favorite soup, White Bean with Vegetables, Garlic, & Rosemary. I like it, I love it, I want more of it. Isn't that some kind of a fast-food slogan?? Gross.

Books: I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver this past week. My goodness, but do I love this woman. And now I love her family as well. She has so much insight into life; things that when I read, I say, "YES!!" She is also a fan of Wendell Berry. She sighted him as a mentor in her Acknowledgements and said, "Everything we've said here, Wendell said first, in a quiet voice that makes the mountains tremble." Wow. As I've said before, Wendell, Wendell, where have you been all my life? And Barbara, I'm so glad to have your essays. I haven't read much of her fiction writing, but her non-fiction rules heavily.

She inspired my interest/intrigue with not only heirloom varieties of vegetables and fruits, but also heritage animals, like the Bourbon Red Turkeys she raised with the end-goal of establishing a breeding flock. She also made "putting away food" for the winter sound enjoyable and exciting, not the drudgery that people might think it is. The little experience I've had with it, I have thought was very fun and rewarding. My hope and desire to follow in her footsteps and be able to put enough by to feed us throughout the year. I certainly have the fervor for it! But she doesn't just leave it to, "Move into the country and grow your own food." Certainly not everyone can do that. She encouraged the masses to buy in season and locally grown produce, dairy, and meats. With the amount of Farmers' Markets out there, and technology like freezers, this is definitely possible. Or be like my friend, Lyndi, and go with a CSA; you'll be supporting small farmers and getting top-of-the-line produce as well.

I can't urge you to read this book enough; it was thrilling. So interesting, packed full of humor and intriguing side-stories, and best of all: encouragement. As a nation, we really need to learn to eat differently. So much of our food is hyped up with preservatives and anti-nutrients. We eat from boxes, cans, packages, and bags. Truly, we are completely disconnected with where our food comes from. And what a shame! Our culture of eating has been built through many decades and several generations: too much work, not enough life. Preparing food takes time, but so does enjoying it (or it should). We need to work our way back to knowing how to cook, not just how to unwrap a factory-processed, preservative-packed, piece of crap pot-pie or pizza and pop it in the oven. It takes time, but the tides must be turned.

Pregnancy: My uterus has been tightening more noticeably with greater frequency within the last couple of days. Your guess is as good as mine as to when it will actually happen, though. I have another meeting with our midwives on Tuesday, as does Thelma Cheddar, if she has lasted that long. Poor woman, if she does. My official due date is October 24.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Domestic Bliss

My birthday presents yielded quite the loot of linens, which has pushed me over the edge to Domestic Bliss. First off, I was given [the top] kitchen towels from my good friend Lyndi, who stitched those pretty herbs herself. [Forgive me, I can't remember what it is called. Embroidery? I think I might be pathetic for not knowing.] Aren't they pretty?? I knew she was going to make me some, but I still managed to be surprised (I think it might have something to do with my baby-addled brains) and head-over-heels in love. I think they are just so darling.

They are even more special because she used designs from a stash of needlework paraphernalia from our former neighbor Wilburn's deceased wife, Arlene. When he moved into his apartment in the winter of 2005, pretty much anything that we didn't take got dumped (we also posted "Alley Treasures" on Craigslist - a lot of people showed up and scored bigtime). He had been bringing items to thrift stores for a year, but at the very end he just didn't have time and we had just had a baby. There was a houseful of 55+ years built up -- it was unbelievable how much stuff he had. We are still discovering things we kept that are coming in very handy at our new house: a seemingly endless variety of tools, towels, sewing stuff, linens, housewares, etc.

Secondly, my MIL, who volunteers at her town's local thrift store every Friday, snagged me these excellent cloth napkins. Aren't they cute?? Making cloth napkins is one project I've been wanting to tackle before the baby is born, but I just don't think I can to get to it. I am glad to have something, because it has been many years of nothing. We generally only have paper napkins for a limited amount of time; when my grandparents bequeath me their stash from their summer cabin before going back to Florida for the winter. I just don't like buying things to throw away. It seems so pointless. I went to the thrift store yesterday myself and bought another set of 4, so we will have enough to go around for family parties. Why hadn't I thought of this before?? The only problem is that they are so cute it will be sad to use them and see them soiled. I will, though: without a doubt.

Yes, yes: Domestic Bliss.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Baby-addled brains

Towards the end of her last pregnancy, Janell @ The Paris Project talked about her "baby-addled brains". I laughed at the time, because she described it to accurately; but now, I laugh and shriek, "Eeeeeekgh! Enough already!!" Seriously: enough. And I'm not even overdue. Tomorrow is 38 weeks. If I were Squeeze's mom and pregnant with him, I'd be looking at another 6 weeks. I am NOT kidding. He was 1 month overdue. She said that by the end of that month, she couldn't respond verbally or even smile courteously to the "You're still pregnant??" comments. I can't even imagine. On the other hand, if I deliver with similar timing as my pregnancy with Starbeans, I'd be delivering in under a week.


The midwife and her apprentices were here again this morning, as well as Thelma Cheddar and a troop of Cheddar women and children. She is 2 weeks ahead of me, not 1: today was her due date. There was another apprentice here as well: Rachel, who is around 20 years old. She hasn't come to all the appointments, but I've seen her a few times. I really like it that Judy is working with apprentices: we need more midwives in this part of the world! Judy sees women in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. She puts insane amounts of miles on her car. I can't even imagine how much time she spends in the car. Kara is from Iowa and Rachel is from the very SW corner of Minnesota.

Anyway, vaginally-speaking, my yeast has been obliterated by the douching change of tactic. Systemically speaking, I think I still have work to do; but the most important thing at this point is to keep the baby yeast-free. That was very good news: I felt quite relieved. Secondly - also a point of relief, they all thought that the baby had moved lower. We are getting closer to actual delivery.

Is there anything else to talk about?? Baby-addled: that's me.
I seriously need to go to bed. I am totally and completely wiped out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Regression, fruit, pregnancy (again)

I cleaned pee off the floor twice today, pee out of underwear once, and poop and pee out of underwear once as well. Crap! Did we forget everything over our very busy weekend?? I will say, though, that he pooped in the toilet once and peed in the toilet 2-3 times: so I guess it wasn't a total loss. Nevertheless, a bit discouraging.

Last Saturday, we went to a local nursery and stocked up on fruit-bearing bushes and trees: apricots, blue plum, haralson apple, black raspberries, blue grape, and red currents. We wanted to get them in our first year to cut down on waiting time for them to bear. Squeeze mapped out "The Orchard" as he calls it, and has spent the last couple of days putting them in the ground. It is pretty exciting.

The midwife is coming to our house again tomorrow morning; another pregnant woman, 1 week ahead of me, will be here for an appointment as well. Her name is Thelma and her last name is pronounced "cheddar", but I think the spelling is more similar to Czechoslovakia. Thelma Cheddar. She is an ex-Hutterite, who I've heard live in numerous colonies throughout SD. I'm not sure why she is an EX, but the apprentice described her this way to me: an ex-Hutterite. Both her and her husband had extremely noticeable accents, one that I had never heard before; it is hard to describe, but they both spoke exactly the same way. They had a little boy a bit younger than Starbeans who was wild - WILD - about our toys. Just about every visitor under the age of 5 is.

I'm getting pretty sick of being pregnant. I have so much left to do that I'm glad that there are [probably] 2 weeks left, but geez -- I am really sick of it. I want my body back. I want my brain back.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Last week at the grocery store in Big Town, SD I saw something in the spice aisle that shocked my socks off. I wish it were a joke, but it isn't.

I saw MSG being sold in little containers: mixed in with marjoram, mustard, and nutmeg. Don't believe me? Go to the Tone's Home Use Spices website and look under "M". The back of the packaging said that it is a "flavor enhancer which is used extensively in asian cooking". Eeegads! I thought companies were secretly slipping it into processed foods and didn't want people to know about it...and yet, one can buy it at the local grocery store??

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Apples galore

I tested my hand at drying apples, following the instructions from the Food Drying book I bought on ebay last spring. My bounty was small, as I learned the hard way to use glass only. After the ascorbic acid dip, the apples burnt the crap out of the metal pans (fresh out of the box - a not-yet-used wedding gift) I had them on. I didn't want to risk eating anything where metal could have been sponged up, so I tossed them. Two of the pans I had them on were glass and they turned out beautifully. Aren't they pretty?

I also made spiced apple sauce (no sugar added) to use on our pancakes throughout the coming year. When my friend Mimi was here the other weekend, she made a batch that kicked some royal anus. I tried my best to replicate her spur-of-the-moment recipe. Spices used: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom. We like applesauce on our pancakes instead of sugary-fake syrups; all last year whilst buying organic, sugar-free applesauce and simultaneously pining for an apple tree of my own, I thought, "I can't wait to make it myself!" And now I have. Granted, I could have bought apples from the farmer's market or an apple orchard and done the same thing, but instead...I have my own apple tree. Eeek! It is so thrilling!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It must be an instinct

This is how he likes to poop, with several books on hand

Starbeans has been using his potty chair almost exclusively for all BMs and peeing. He is now even telling us that he needs to go when he a diaper on. We are so impressed! I am starting to bring the potty chair with us wherever we go, just to cement the fact that this is where we go.

This is week 3 of bare-butt training, which has proven extremely effective. I just got his new underwear washed yesterday, so we'll be starting that process over again. I am so pleased that we started this process before the baby is born; it has been much easier than I would have imagined and it will save a lot of time on diaper washing. Atta boy, Dieg!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Getting rid of plastic

We have been on a slow but steady course to getting rid of all the plastic food storage containers in our house. There is still a drawer-full, but mostly for Starbeans to be able to explore and scatter its contents throughout the kitchen to his heart's content. Everything else is glass. Squeeze drinks out of a glass water bottles and I use a quart canning jar with a screw-top lid. The last thing to go was Starbeans' sippy cup (and good riddance). I didn't realize I had any other option than the Nuby Gripper Cup that we had gotten from his baby shower. Certainly they don't make glass sippy cups, I thought.

Then, I stumbled upon the stainless steel sippy cup from Klean Kanteen. It has a plastic Avent spout (the non-leaching "safe" pp #5), but the water is held in the stainless steel container. This means the water safer and tastes better: there aren't any dioxins, BPA, or any other toxins leaching in from the plastic.

The final straw came when, one night, I was dying of thirst and I took a swig out of Starbeans' Nuby cup. Gak!! It tasted like plastic-treated water. I couldn't believe that was what he had been drinking out of for the past year.

The longer the water is held in the plastic, the more it leaches. Likewise, the older the cup, the more it leaches. Or the more scratched it is. Or the warmer it is. Etc. etc. etc. Realizing what he was actually consuming was the kicker for me: it propelled me into action.

After researching it a bit and reading several online reviews, I bought two Klean Kanteen sippy cups with the idea of always having one clean and ready to go. I also bought two steel loop caps to go with them, so they can be used by our children as they get older and have outgrown the sippy phase.

They were quite a bit more expensive than a plastic sippy cup: about 16-18 dollars [depending where you get it], but I feel like the trade-off is well worth the cost. I have the assurance that he is drinking fresh, clean and untainted water. I like that.

There have been droplet-sized leaks around the rim of the Avent spout, but it isn't much of a deal to me. Starbeans drinks mostly water, so he isn't spilling anything stinky or staining around the house anyway. Other than that, no leaking. That has been beautiful, as every time I bent over while carrying our new diaper bag I would receive a shower from our old Nuby cup. Not anymore!! The Klean Kanteen is [almost] as tight as a drum.

Starbeans seems to like his new sippy cup as much as I do; he is always likes to point at the logo and say, "Globe." It is the perfect size for a toddler -- although I don't think I would recommend it for a baby. It would be entirely too cumbersome. We nursed exclusively for the entire first year, I didn't even break out a sippy cup for him until around that time. I am imagining I will do the same with our second baby, but even so: I don't think a 1 year old would have the dexterity to handle it. I've read similar things in the reviews.

However, there is another product on the market (new within the last few months, I believe) called Foogo by Thermos. It, too, has a stainless steel body but is equipped with two handles which seems like it would be easier for baby to maneuver. I plan to get two of these for our next babe, when the time comes.

Read more on plastics. And more.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Herding cattle (with a mini-van), then intense discussions on midwifery, homebirth, and yeast

I herded cattle that had gotten loose today, with my in-laws' mini-van, on the way home from an appointment with my midwife. They are so funny!! Cows really stick together; there was only one straggler and a big truck herded her back in with the crowd. Never would you see something like that in Minneapolis. Loose cows! I'm not sure what kind they were, but most of them were a pretty chocolate brown color with a few black ones peppered in. I wish Starbeans had been awake to see: he would have loved it.

The appointment with my midwife went very well. We've decided that her apprentice will be the midwife-in-charge during our labor and delivery: she needs to be head-midwife for 20 births to be certified by NARM. Her name is Kara, she is 27 years old, and I like her quite a bit. Judy, the midwife she is apprenticing with, will be there as her support person (although still ultimately in charge, should things get iffy). She has delivered somewhere in the numbers of 600 babies throughout her career. I am very pleased to be working with both of them. They are lovely ladies.

Our meeting lasted almost 2 hours. Can you imagine that in a doctors' office?? My appointments at the OBGYN (before transferring to the HCMC midwives) topped out at 15 minutes, and that was for the 21 week ultrasound. Other than that, it pretty much hovered around 5 minutes, leaving me feeling rushed and perplexed. Not to mention the fact that I never saw the same doctor twice!

We talked about the birth, expectations, the general flow of things, when to call, and everything in between. Up until this point, I always just thought, "We're having a homebirth" but not necessarily all the details it would entail. Even on the Midwife Unit at HCMC, I saw 4 different midwives throughout the course of my labor and even more nurses. We were trapped in 1 room, as I had no desire for even the potential of interacting with anyone, and we had to go to the hospital at 9 am (not delivering until the following morning at 1:15 am) because my water had broken and had previously tested positive for Group B Strep. Standard procedure for this = antibiotics during labor and delivery. Ugh, how I hated being attached to a needle and tube!

Judy and Kara said that they were there to support me in any way I needed. If Squeeze and I needed privacy through most of the labor, so be it. She said some women want them nearby during the entire event: that is ok too. I am in charge of my own labor and we will do what my body is telling me I need to do, whatever that is. She said, too, that the nice thing about being at home is that we can easily go on walks outside. I thought that sounded very nice: a big space to meander through, and while physically helping labor progress, maybe also providing a bit of balm for my brain and soul? We'll see...although, I would think it will be better than being trapped in a sterile room, no matter how comfy it is made to feel.

They also said that the more vocal I am about 1) where I'm at, and 2) what I need, the more they will know what to do for me. And finally, because they are 2 hours away, she wants me to call as soon as I know it is "the real thing". We will then be in communication as to how to proceed. They would rather get here a little early and have time to settle in and get comfortable rather than rush in while I'm crowning. I think that makes sense.

On a more dismal note...

My yeast. I was back up to +500 -- zero being normal. That was quite discouraging. Judy said that once yeast takes a hold it is very hard to get rid of, especially when pregnant or nursing because you can't take as extreme of measures. I've figured as much through my reading and conversations with others. Additionally, I was "dropping ketones" as she said it, which means that I am not getting enough complex carbohydrates to sustain my energy levels. So instead my body is burning fat, something which I don't have a lot of. She thought it could have coincided with a growth spurt in the baby, where even more of my energy would be going to him/her and not me. In fact, after examining the urine strip, she wondered if I hadn't eaten breakfast this morning! I had -- scrambled eggs with cheese, a small piece of toast with peanut butter, a few cherry tomatoes, and a glass of milk. Yikes. But the ketones would explain why I've been feeling a lack of energy and some serious cravings for carbs. is just so depressing. So our new route will be this: up my intake of carbs (whole grains, obviously) to 5 servings per day. I would say that I've been getting maybe 1-2 servings per day, plus an apple (sugar). I obviously need more complex carbohydrates, not to mention my wee one in the cooker. So in addition to the massive probiotic (which I ran out of and just started taking again last week) and Zymex (which is supposed to up my lactic acid...not good for yeast), I will be doing douches with tanalbit followed by Nature's Cleanse. Nature's Cleanse is a melaleuca [tea tree] oil "Refreshing Douche Concentrate". We'll see how that goes! While I don't have any vaginal issues, or at least -- I have an Iron Vag -- it is important that area is clear, so when the baby comes it will be as yeast-free as possible. She said it could have a positive effect on my whole system as well. Although...and I dread this...the Nature's Cleanse in particular will only intensify what I like to call, The Swamp. You know what I'm talking about. The end-of-pregnancy swamp. The most annoying thing about pregnancy (in my book).

I meet with them again next Tuesday. I will be interested in seeing my yeast levels, not to mention how I'm feeling and where I'm at with this whole pregnancy thing. LOL. Tomorrow is 37 weeks.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Baby Kittens

I haven't posted on this yet, but we have little baby kittens at our house! Mama Kitty showed up 2.5 weeks ago and had the kittens a few days later. My goodness, just what we needed: more cats. [I should add, though, that we only have 2 cats inside now. The other 2 found new homes before we moved, which caused much angst and many tears.]

Squeeze was particularly tender towards her and built a little nest in a box while we were deciding what to do with her, a pregnant cat of all things. She gave birth that night. I must say, though, that it is a lot of fun to have them around. They are so sweet. Additionally, I have never been around a mama cat or kittens, so it is somewhat of a thrilling experience for me. They've already grown so much.

The first night

Two days old

Almost 2 weeks old