August 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
My Mom picked me up from yoga and then we drove together to my midwife’s office. During the entire drive, I continued to feel little squirts of liquid–not too heavy, but enough to notice. When we got to my midwife’s office for my prenatal appointment, there were three other pregnant couples there. This was surprising, because I didn’t know it was going to be a group prenatal. I told my midwife that there was “wet stuff” coming out. I tried to act natural and sit on the couch like everyone else, but the liquid kept coming and my pants were starting to get really wet. So one of the assistants took me into another room to test the liquid to see whether it was amniotic fluid. As soon as she looked down there, she said “Oh yeah, that’s amniotic fluid,” and her test strip confirmed it. I was so excited but also so nervous that I was definitely having a baby soon. Of course I knew that I would be giving birth sometime soon, but as a first-time mom it’s just hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you are really actually going to push out a baby.
After confirming that my water had broken, I expected…something. But my midwives acted like nothing was going on. I wanted to scream “Hello–aren’t I having a baby, like soon?!” But instead I tried to act nonchalant like everyone else at the prenatal. We all went downstairs for a group communal lunch, and no one even really mentioned the fact that I was about to go into labor. Meanwhile, I started having very light contractions–really more like a backache. But I tried to pretend I didn’t feel anything, since that was the vibe I was getting from my midwives who went through this all the time.
After lunch my Mom and I drove home and I tried to nap. Again–tried. I was starting to have very light contractions, so I thought it would be a good time to listen to some hypnobirthing tracks and try to get in the right mental zone. They didn’t really help me relax too much, because I never did fall asleep. After an hour or so of trying to nap, I decided to quit and walked out into the living room to see that my sisters had arrived from California. As soon as they heard I’d lost my plug, they got in the car and started driving over from San Diego.
We decided to fulfill a family tradition of going out to eat Mexican food at our favorite restaurant, ZTejas. Every time my sisters come in town from San Diego, we go straight there to enjoy chambord margaritas and chips and salsa. My contractions were so light at this point that I could just sort of pretend I didn’t feel them. Over dinner we laughed and were all very light-hearted. I remember thinking we had this great secret that no one in the restaurant knew–I was in labor! I texted back and forth with my midwives. Two of the assistants said they were going to try to meet us for drinks, and the head midwife suggested that after dinner we go to the movies. But about half-way through dinner my contractions started getting a bit more noticeable, and I knew that I didn’t want to be away from my home much longer.
Once we got home, I decided to start with some of my early labor plans from my birth plan. First, I started baking a cake. I was getting a bit grumpy from the increasing pain, but I tried to hide it and focus on the steps to the cake. Sometimes I leaned over the kitchen counter, but at this point the contractions really felt more like a bad backache than what I had imagined. My Dad (my parents are divorced) stopped by to visit, but I wasn’t very hospitable to him–I sort of ignored him while my sisters and Mom talked to him. I started getting a bit teary too, because the contractions were starting to hurt more. I never timed them, so I have no idea how far apart they were. But I didn’t feel light-hearted anymore, so I felt like real labor was getting closer. My midwives, doula, and birth photographer kept texting me to ask if they should come over, but I didn’t want to have they come too early so I told them to wait.
Around 8:00 pm, my yoga teacher/doula Susie came over. It was really good that she came when she did, because I was crying for no reason and my family was starting to really annoy me (again, for no real reason). We decided to go for a walk outside in the dark. While we walked, Susie told me that she felt like I was in very early labor, because I was able to hold a good conversation. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I know that as we walked the contractions ramped up a notch. We probably stayed outside for 15 minutes before we headed back home. But it was just what I needed to recenter myself and put the tears away, for the time being.
Once we got inside, we decided to watch some TV to take my mind off the contractions. Things start to get fuzzy at this point, but I know that we turned on Game of Thrones. Susie and I sat on the floor, and she began giving me a back massage whenever a contraction would come on. I sat on the birth ball and on the floor, and after about 30 minutes I couldn’t pay attention to the show at all. I knew the show was playing, but I had no idea what was going on. The contractions were starting to take all of my concentration. I think around this time I told my Mom to take over text messaging my midwives and birth photographer, because I couldn’t focus enough to talk to them anymore. The contractions hurt, but moving around, breathing, and Susie’s peaceful touch helped me to cope with them.
Around 10:00 pm my first midwife assistants showed up. I remember being pleasantly surprised to see Danielle and Rachel in my house–and thinking how funny it was to see them out of the context of their office. I don’t remember anything else about this time, but I assume we all sat in the living room for a bit while I moved around and sat on the birth ball. I must have asked to go in the tub, because my next memory is getting into the tub in my Mom’s bathroom. I had planned to labor mostly in her bathroom, because it was so large, with a huge soaking tub, shower large enough to fit many people, and seating for all my attendants. In all, I was expecting Rachel, Danielle, and Jamie (the three apprentice midwives), Shell, my dear midwife, Susie the yoga teacher/doula, Natalie a birth photographer, my sisters Kelly and Kristen, and my Mom. Yes–that is a lot of women to have at a birth, but it seemed right to me.
So there I was–soaking in the tub, like I’d dreamed of, surrounded by candles and my sweet birth team. My Mom followed my birth plan and made sure there was lavender candles and incense burning, the birth mix created by Bryan playing, dim lighting, etc. The contractions were at a place where I knew what was going on around me in between, but during a contraction I had to go into myself, moan, breathe, and really focus to get through. We weren’t timing, but the contractions seemed to be coming closer and closer. I started having shooting pains in my back with each contraction, so my doulas would surround me and push really hard into the small of my back, while another would squeeze my hand tightly–this became necessary to get through each back-burning contraction.
And let me just say this: if I had tried to birth Felix in a hospital, I know with a certainty that he would have ended up being born by c-section. I progressed so slowly, and I know I would not have made it through whatever wall was holding me back in a hospital. That right there would have ended up leading to a c-section. But I also know that I would not have had a birth team surrounding me with such love and knowledge in a hospital setting. Shell’s instructions on how to lunge, pull up on my belly and march my legs, push into the pain, and order my cervix up were so key to me. But most of all, Shell, Danielle, Rachel, and Jamie’s faith in me when I had given up on myself made it possible for me to birth this boy at home, naturally. I don’t know that any OB would have had such faith.
Felix is such a blessing–I love him with every ounce of my being. He is my heart and soul. Birth is also such a blessing. We, as parents-to-be, are entrusted with this most sacred decision to bring a child into the world, and I think that we have a responsibility to respect our babies and allow them to come into this world in a peaceful way. Women, our bodies were meant to do this. We can, and we must, trust the process, seek out skilled midwives who believe in birth, and trust ourselves help welcome our babies to Earth with minimal intrusion and maximum love.
I must also thank Susie, my yoga teacher, friend, and doula. I don’t know if she knew what she was getting herself into when she agreed to help me at my birth, but I am so glad she was there. I couldn’t have done it without you. You will always be so special to me and Felix.
Kelly and Kristen–thank you for being the best sisters I could ever ask for. Your being there for Felix’s birth is so powerful. I can’t wait to be there when you birth your own children.
Mom–I love you. You were my rock and I have so much gratitude that I was able to push Felix out while being cradled in your arms in your bedroom. Than you thank you thank you.
And finally, to my sweet husband Bryan: thank you for witnessing the birth of our baby boy. I felt that you were there for every minute of it. I love you forever.
August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
You’re learning how to hold yourself up when you’re on you’re tummy! You can actually stay on your tummy now for up to 5 minutes at a time before you get frustrated and want to switch over. Yesterday you picked up a toy and tried to put it in your mouth with one hand while you’re other hand held you up.
Your blue eyes slay me.
Sometimes you smile and scrunch up your whole body at the same time, like you’re saying “Oh my gosh I just can’t take it I’m sooo happy!”
You spend a lot of time playing on your play mat. You have favorite toys, like the winkel, Freddie the Firefly, and the weird little Panda that sings “Twinkle Twinkle” in a creepy voice. But you love it!
You’re always such a good boy in your car seat. You hardly ever cry! When we drove to San Diego, you slept almost the whole way and barely fussed towards the end.
You went to San Diego a second time to see your Aunties Kelly and Kristen. They love you so much, I barely even get to hold you when they’re around. They help out so much!
We don’t have enough Mother-Son photos. We need to change that! One of my most favorite things is to wear you in a baby carrier. I’m a babywearing mama!
I also love to sneak into your room in the middle of the night and watch you sleep. Now that we’re barely swaddling you at all, I love to watch what you do with your arms when you’re sleeping. Sometimes when you’re ready for a feeding, we catch you sucking your fingers in your sleep.
Here is Auntie Kristen carrying you in the Mei Tai…you must have been hungry, because you’re sucking your fingers again.
We took you to the beach, but kept you in the shade the whole time. This picture was just a photo op! We also let you get nakey, and you loved that. Until you peed all over your little beach tent!
Auntie Kelly carried you in the Mei Tai too! This was at Target…you were so tired you finally fell asleep in your carrier.
July 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
Felix was two months old yesterday!
Here are his stats:
Weight: 13 lbs, 94th percentile (CDC)
Length: 23 in, 76th percentile (CDC)
Clothing Size: 3-6 months
Unfortunately, mommy is trying to lose the baby weight so we didn’t make a 2-month birthday cake. And for anyone out there who is reading this who doesn’t have children–yes, every “month birthday” counts as a birthday when you have a baby. It’s just more fun that way!
If I had to choose, I would say the theme of Felix’s second month has been routine. We’ve finally been developing some routines, and it makes mommyhood so much more enjoyable! I think Felix appreciates it too.
We love how much Felix smiles. Since birth Felix has been such a happy, sweet baby. He is so quick to flash a huge grin, especially when mommy comes into his nursery in the morning to wake him up. I cherish those moments when he grins so big at me, happy to see me after a long night of sleep.
Felix is getting to be such a little man–he looks so cute sitting up in his Bumbo seat! Of course after we realized he could sit up in this seat, we had to buy the snack tray so he can start playing with his toys in the seat. He doesn’t actually pick much toys yet, but he looks at them and is starting to getting interested!
Felix’s centerfold pose! I just love watching him sleep, it’s almost a shame that we’ve transitioned him to his crib. I’m all for co-sleeping, but Felix actually sleeps much better in a dark, quiet room. He sleeps worse when he’s with me than he does when he’s in his crib!
Felix is not a huge fan of tummy time yet, but we’re working on it. He can lift his head a few inches, but doesn’t always try to. He can only stomach tummy time for a few minutes! (Did you see what I did there?)
Likes: bath time, his Lamaze toys, when mommy sings to him, baby massage time, being unswaddled in the morning, and making faces at anyone who wants to play
Dislikes: the ocean, being tired or hungry, when his meal is over (this is a big one–he cries every time!)
Tender moments: Our morning routine–first, around 6:00 am or whenever Felix wakes up, I unswaddle Felix and smile big at him, and he always smiles back and acts so happy to see me. Then I change his diaper and continue to talk and make faces with him. Then we settle into his rocker to feed and then read a book. After that, I take Felix into the kitchen and he sits in his bouncer (he loves to look at the birdies on the mobile) while I pump and drink my coffee. Then Felix gets to play! Play for a 2 month old means laying on his play mat and looking at toys, having mommy read him books, making faces with mommy, and tummy time (I don’t think Felix considers this play though). He also really likes to practice walking–I just hold him under his arms and he practices putting weight on his legs and jumping.
Our goal is to stay awake until 8:00 am for nap time, but Felix usually only makes it until 7:30 or so before he is ready to sleep. Putting Felix down for a nap is easy–I just swaddle him (not always–sometimes he can nap fine without a swaddle, but other times he surprises himself with his arms and wakes himself up), rock him while singing Twinkle Twinkle and You Are My Sunshine, and then set him in his crib when he’s drowsy.
July 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
July 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
I think I’m starting to figure out this sleep thing–or Felix is, either one. Last night he slept from 9:00 pm to 4:45 am, without waking even once. The trick to getting Felix to sleep a long stretch like that is to swaddle him so that he can’t wake himself up with his flailing hands. I also leave the bedroom door cracked so that when I get up in the middle of the night to pump I make the minimal amount of noise possible.
Another little trick to helping Felix sleep through the night is something I picked up from the book Bringing up Bebe. Bringing up Bebe compares parenting in the U.S. with parenting in France, and gives some really great tips on how to parent without losing your self or making your life miserable. While this might sound more parent-centric than child-centric, I’ve found that many of the tips are really about helping your child to be more independent and healthy. The book says that French parents don’t immediately jump to pick their child up when they hear them stirring from sleep–they let them fuss for a few minutes and hopefully transition back into another sleep cycle. Felix and I are currently co-sleeping, but when I hear him fuss in the middle of thenight I just ignore him. If he is really hungry, he will start to cry, but if it’s just fussiness he drifts back into sleep without a hitch.
Day sleep has been a bigger problem for us. Since birth, Felix has required motion to really nap during the day. Whether that’s his Mamaroo, car seat, or while baby-wearing, as soon as the motion stopped, Felix would wake up. But yesterday I decided that his nap times with motion are too short–sometimes less than 1 hour–and I want him to start taking longer naps so that he’s more rested. So the new nap routine is:
-He wakes from a nap and I change his diaper and then feed him.
-We play, which mainly consists of looking at the toys hanging from his play mat, or me reading books to him.
-When I notice that he’s becoming more quiet or yawns, but before he gets fussy, I take him into a dark room, nurse him until he’s drowsy (eyes starting to close), and then swaddle him. If he’s still awake, I give him his pacifier and lay with him until he falls asleep.
My ultimate goal is for Felix to nap in his crib in a dark room. We’ll keep up the swaddling and pacifier as long as he needs it, but I’d like to be able to just lay him in his crib at some point and have him fall asleep. I think this will be the marker of a truly rested, well-adjusted baby…so that’s our goal.
February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
How far along? 25 weeks (and 6 days, at the time of writing this)
October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of my goals over the past 10 weeks of my pregnancy has been to minimize as much as possible my exposure to toxins and pretty much any chemicals I can’t pronounce. My first step was to switch from shampoo and conditioner to a “no poo” regimen. I had experimented with this before after hearing rave views from other Paleo-type folks, but pregnancy motivated me to recommit. Another factor that influenced me to ditch the ‘poo was learning that almost all shampoos and conditioners contain gluten (typically called wheat protein in the ingredients list). Gluten causes such dramatic reactions in my skin (red blotchy face, psoriasis patches, dandruff), that as soon as I learned that it lurked in many shampoos, I knew it was time to make the change.
My no-poo regimen is pretty simple (and completely unoriginal–CaveGirlEats has an amazing series of posts on Paleo beauty):
-Baking soda (aluminum-free)
-Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
-Cup for mixing
-OPTIONAL: tea tree oil
My daily regimen:
1. Get my hair nice and wet in the shower.
2. Mix 1-2 T baking soda with warm water in the cup I keep in the shower.
-I usually mix it with my fingers or swish it around with the handle of my razor to make sure it’s nice and mixed up.
-BONUS: Mix in a few drops tea tree oil.
3. Pour the mixture on my head and scrub it into my roots. Let sit while I shave my legs. Rinse.
4. Mix 1-2 T apple cider vinegar with warm water in the same cup. Pour over head and comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Let sit while I finish soaping off.
5. Rinse really well.
The baking soda gets my hair PLENTY clean. My natural hair texture is normal-dry, so I never have had a problem with grease, and I haven’t noticed any more grease since I ditched shampoo. I also like the gritty texture and the effect the baking soda has on my scalp (helps ease dandruff).
The apple cider vinegar does smell pretty vinegary. The tea tree oil drops does help a bit with the smell, but you can still smell the vinegar. That’s why it’s important to make sure you rinse well. Also, once your hair is dry, the vinegar smell goes away.
The best part is that my hair has never looked better. I have a tendency to frizz, and that is pretty much gone. My hair feels thicker and softer than ever before. I’m so glad that I’m no longer dousing my scalp with gluten and other unpronounceable chemicals. My hair and scalp are happy that they are no longer being stripped of their essential oils and then coated with a waxy conditioner anymore.
The only way I will ever go back to shampoo is after I apply an overnight coconut oil mask (just heat up the coconut oil and coat your hair and scalp, let it soak in overnight, then shampoo out the next day). The baking soda doesn’t cut through the coconut oil, so in that case I will use a gluten-free shampoo (Dessert Essence is my favorite).