Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Little Books

Reposted from Inward Facing Girl


I LOVE these books!

I first heard about Amy Krouse Rosenthal when my dear friend Courtney sent me a copy of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, which I immediately fell in love with. I did some research on the author and learned that she also writes children's books and does cool projects like The Beckoning of Lovely.

Anyway, back to now. A few weeks ago, I popped into Essenza (with my dear friend Barbara), and took a look at their (mostly overpriced) alcove of stuff for kids. I found these adorable little board books that I started flipping through, then noticed that they were written by AKR. Cool! I ended up buying Little Oink, the story of a pig who hates making a mess, but decided to wait on Little Pea (a pea who hates to eat candy but has to do it if he wants his vegetable dessert) and Little Hoot (the owl who hates to stay up late). A couple of weeks later, I decided to buy the rest of the books on Amazon. Shame on you, Essenza. Nice trick you pulled of breaking up the set of board books so you could charge your customers more for them. They're only sold in a set! And you overcharge for Sophie the Giraffe too. Bitches. 

The Little Books are adorable. The stories are cute and fun, and I love the illustrations. Another great children's book by AKR is Spoon. It's about an adorable little spoon who learns to appreciate his own gifts rather than envying the specialness of his friends knife, fork, and chopsticks.

I enjoyed kids' books before I had my own little munchkin to read them to, but now it's even more fun to discover these gems.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back to Life, Back to Reality


This week I went back to work and Nathaniel started day care. The first day was so incredibly hard. I really REALLY didn't want to leave him there.  It's a good program and I'm not worried about his safety, but I just didn't want to leave him. There were many tears (mine...he was totally fine and smiley, thank God). The second, third, and fourth days were easier, but I miss the little guy during the day.

At the same time, I'm really glad to be working again. No, I wouldn't choose a full-time job if I didn't absolutely have to have one, but I also know that I couldn't be a full-time "stay-at-home" mom either. I know myself well (after all, I spent 40 years being responsible for only me and building my own life), and I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have a good bit of time during the week when I wasn't involved with childcare.

Now is the time to see how everything fits together. After eight weeks of maternity leave, it's time to see what real life looks like. Drew and I are trying to perfect our morning routine this week. Once the work thing gets figured out, what about everything else? Time to spend with Nathaniel, time to spend with Drew, time to spend with friends, time to spend with does it all work? The answer to that question eludes me. And then there's all the laundry...

How do you moms do it? How do you organize your time and lives?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Moby Wrap, AKA The Piece of Fabric That Made Me Want To Jump Off a Bridge

Who would have thought that one piece of fabric could make you feel like an insane person? That a chocolate brown sliver of 100% organic cotton could actually reduce a 40 year-old woman to spewing words that her newborn son shouldn't hear from his mother's mouth, uncontrollable sobbing, and lead to a hundred thoughts of why she's not suited for motherhood?

Ahh, the Moby Wrap. Torturers everywhere should have one of these in their bag of tricks. Making their prisoner wrap it and attempt to put a squirming baby in it over and over again will surely make them fess up to who they're working for. It's at least as effective as a litany of sharp objects.

Here are the instructions. All kinds of great ways to "wear" your baby. Cool, right? And it looks simple, right? Easy to follow. You shouldn't need an advanced degree to figure it out. Note: I have one...and it's worthless when it comes to the Cocoa Jersey Nightmare. There are even video instructions all over the web to make it easier. Although none of the ones that I watched address how to make the %#*$ing kangaroo pouch part tighter!

Anyway, after many tries, many tears, much envy (after seeing a woman in Top Pot with her perfectly Moby Wrapped bundle of joy), and tons of help from my adorable husband, I think I've finally sort of mastered it. This morning was a huge accomplishment. I was able to wrap it and wrangle Nathaniel into it while Drew was still sleeping. Downstairs. In another room. And I did it on the first try! Nathaniel was cuddly and happy and fell asleep quickly against my chest. It felt SUPER AWESOME to have him that close and be able to kiss the top of his sweet smelling baby head whenever I wanted. Plus, I could write this blog entry easily. Double bonus.

Bottom line: Even though it might make you turn into a freaking lunatic, learning to conquer the beast will be worth it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having him in this thing!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

BabyCenter Blog Post: What would you tell your pre-mom self?

Ran across a tweet linking to this post during a feeding last night. Good advice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FREE: Adorable, Well-Mannered Baby Boy, Wardrobe Included


Okay, so I'm not really going to give you my baby, but there have been times during the past few weeks when I may have given the proposal fleeting mild consideration.

Lack of sleep. It seems like that's all people really talk about when they find out you're having a baby. "You'd better sleep now," they chant when you're pregnant. What they don't tell you is that you'd better make a list of all the things you like to do, notes about your personality, and reminders of your hopes and dreams because you actually forget who you are during the first few weeks of living with and caring for a newborn.

This is what I'm learning about motherhood so far...and it's only been four weeks. In no particular order:
  • Full-time, stay-at-home moms have one of the hardest jobs on the planet. My husband works at home and can lend a hand during the day when necessary (e.g., I can take a shower uninterrupted every day) and taking care of a newborn all day (and the household chores that go along with it) can still be overwhelming.
  • Feeling like you'd do anything to get away from your baby one minute, then 10 minutes later be absolutely dying to hold him is "normal." And this pattern can repeat itself several times in one day...or one hour.
  • It is possible, although not preferable, to (somewhat) function on four hours of sleep.
  • Sometimes you can feel so much love for your baby that staring into his sweet face will make you cry.
  • Sometimes you miss your pre-baby life. This doesn't mean that you're a bad mother or that you don't love or want your baby.
  • Sometimes you look forward to your maternity leave being over and going back to work. This doesn't mean that you're a bad mother or that you don't love or want your baby.
  • Other times you never want your maternity leave to end, you wish you didn't have to work, and it makes you sick and upset that someone else has to take care of your baby. 
  • Other times you just want to run away from it all and live in Paris.
  • Fussiness at 2:00 AM can transform the cutest baby in the world into uncute.
  • Changing a baby in a public restroom is difficult. So is washing your hands while holding a newborn.
  • Being alone with your baby can bring on some of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
  • When you have a newborn, you can miss your husband even if he's sitting in the same room as you are.
  • When you have a newborn, you can miss your TV even if it's sitting in the same room as you are.
  • If you want to leave home with your baby, you have to carry a lot of shit with you.
  • Strollers and car seats can be tricky to operate and may cause you to say things in front of your baby that he shouldn't hear.
  • If your husband/partner/friend/family member offers to take care of your baby and give you a couple of hours to yourself to go to a coffee shop and write, take them up on it. Free time and sanity can be hard to come by.
Okay. That's what I've learned so far...that I can remember, anyway. More from the trenches later.

P.S. My laptop battery is low and I'm missing my adorable son. He and his father should be strolling over here any time now and I can't wait to see the little munchkin. And his handsome father. :) Sigh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Problem: Breastfeeding Sucks

I mentioned earlier that I had some breastfeeding issues after Nathaniel was born. I just wanted to write a little bit about that here just in case some poor woman is crying and searching the web at 2:30 AM looking for someone who understands what she's going through.

For the first ten days of his life, my baby wasn't getting enough to eat. Not nearly enough...meaning about 1/2 ounce per feeding when he should have been getting two to three ounces. We went in for a weight check and the poor kid had only gained 1/2 an ounce in nearly a week. He should have been gaining that much, minimum, per day.

Obviously, this isn't something that we knew on day one, but something that required much pain and turmoil (for all of us) to learn. We read stuff online. We consulted with pediatricians, a nurse, and a lactation consultant. I started taking fenugreek. I tried a more powerful hospital grade breast pump. We tried a horrific feeding routine that included feed on the right breast for 10 minutes, feed on the left breast for 10 minutes, supplement with two ounces of formula, and pump both breasts for 15 minutes. This entire process took nearly an hour to finish, then had to be repeated again about an hour following its completion. Between the hormones and the sleep deprivation, I was only able to keep this up for about four days without going completely insane. But I came really close. 

I cried a lot. I hated my life. I talked to a couple of friends. One of them recommended MOBI Motherhood International, which seemed like a good resource. In the end, breastfeeding didn't work out for us. My milk supply wasn't changing at all and the toll it was taking on my sanity and our lives didn't warrant trying for longer just to see if it would potentially change. Note: My pediatrician said that it most likely would not. In 1996 I had a needle biopsy of my left breast (which was my worst milk producer), and the lactation consultant mentioned that it's possible that some of my milk ducts were damaged during the procedure. She encouraged me to keep up the jump-off-a-bridge inducing feeding routine for a couple of more weeks to see if there was any change, but I just couldn't do it. I also read about women who continued to partially breastfeed their babies even when their bodies didn't produce enough milk, but I didn't feel like that was the right option for us.

Even though I couldn't physically produce nearly enough milk to feed my baby and I'd given it a decent try, I still felt guilty. It seems like there's a lot of pressure to breastfeed, no matter the cost. But I can understand that. Breastfeeding is better for your baby than formula. Yes, even the organic formula that we decided to go with. I'd been planning to breastfeed Nathaniel for at least six months with a stretch goal of one year. Now, he'd only be getting two weeks worth of the good immune boosting stuff I could pass on to him, and I felt horrible about it.

Plus, I was sad that I was going to miss out on the bonding that comes with breastfeeding. Sure, most of the time I was doing it with him I would have rather had someone give me 500 paper cuts then drench me with a flesh burning substance, but I'm thinking about the idyllic relationship we could have had without the problems. I'm really sad that I'm not going to get to experience it that way.

We've been solely formula feeding for almost two weeks now and I have to say that life has been easier. My husband and I can switch off on feedings and get a relatively good amount of sleep each night. And the biggie...our son is gaining weight and he is healthy. And that's what is most important. If you're a mother who is going through something like this and experiencing similar feelings, just remind yourself of that and surround yourself with people who'll do the same. It helps.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Things I've Already Done That I Thought I Wouldn't Do

Tsk, he showing his displeasure already?

There are certain things that you think that you're going to do or not do before a baby arrives. Then there's the reality. Here are the things I've already done that I was pretty certain I wouldn't do, at least not yet.

1. Give him a pacifier - We were planning to wait until he was at least 3 weeks old so he could establish breastfeeding, but we ended up giving it to him before we even knew that breastfeeding wasn't going to work out for us.

2. Give him formula - Although, this HAD to be done for medical reasons, so it really doesn't count as a best laid plan that has gone awry.

3. Have him sleep in our bed - He is doing a good job of sleeping in the bassinet in our room a good bit of the time, but sometimes he's with us. And I like it. :)

4. Watch TV while he was in the room - I...just...couldn't...take it anymore. It was only a couple of shows, Design Star and Royal Pains, and he was sleeping! I'm not planning to do it very often and I'm not going to watch True Blood while he's in the room.

Okay, that's all I have to confess so far. More later, I'm sure.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

So, I AM a Mom!

My Beautiful Son, Nathaniel Oliver Biehle - Born August 6, 2010

Whew. It's been a joyful, crazy, magical, dreadful, emotional couple of weeks. :)

I wanted to write about my birth experience before my brain is completely gone. It might be too late, but I'll give it a shot.

On Thursday afternoon around 2:45 PM I decided that I would watch the first episode of Mad Men online. Good show, by the way. That's when I had my first contraction. It was obviously noticeable, but mild, so I still wasn't sure if it was a labor contraction or a Braxton Hicks contraction. I continued to watch Don Draper smoke cigarettes. About 20 minutes later, I had another.

Then it was time to go to my weekly OB appointment. My doctor checked me out and told me I was 1.75 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and that Nathaniel was in the 0 station. I told him that I'd had 2 or 3 contractions at 20 minutes apart before I got to his office and he said that we should just keep an eye on things and see what happens. He didn't think I was really in labor at that point.

We left his office and the contractions kept coming. At around 4:30 or 5:00, they were about 10 minutes apart. I tried to watch the second episode of Mad Men, but even Don Draper couldn't distract me at this point. Okay, so maybe I could watch something else. Something I didn't really have to pay attention to. Maybe something I'd already seen. I turned on the TV and E! was showing Knocked Up.

Sadie: Where do babies come from? 
Debbie: Where do you think they come from? 
Sadie: Well. I think a stork, he umm, he drops it down and then, and then, a hole goes in your body and there's blood everywhere, coming out of your head and then you push your belly button and then your butt falls off and then you hold your butt and you have to dig and you find the little baby. 
Debbie: That's exactly right. 


But that didn't really work to distract me either. I finally started to think, "Maybe I really am in labor." Even though I felt that I needed to move around in different positions to deal with the contractions and use my birth ball, I still wasn't convinced.

At this point, I was in our living room with Drew and he was finishing up his work because we thought that there's a good chance we'd be heading to the hospital soon. I also did a few last minute things for work between contractions. We called our doula and let her know what was going on. At around 6:00, the contractions were 5 minutes apart. We were supposed to call our OB when they were 5 minutes apart for 2 hours. Drew made dinner. I ended up not being able to finish my dinner before we left for the hospital, so I got mad at him. :)

By 7:00, I was getting worried. Things that were going through my head: "I don't want to have the baby in my apartment!" "How am I supposed to deal with these contractions in the car?" "If it's this bad now, how bad is it going to get?" "Why didn't Drew make dinner earlier? I'm starving!"

We had most of our stuff ready for the hospital, but didn't have the bag packed yet. We rushed around to get everything packed, fed the cat, and called our doctor and doula at nearly 8:00 PM. I had just seen my OB a few hours before and I don't think he really thought we were going to have the baby that night, but he told us to go ahead and go to the hospital if we felt like we were ready to do that. I was definitely ready to do that.

I don't remember much about actually going to the hospital or checking in. We were in our room by 8:30 PM and the nurse came in to examine me and by that point I was only 2 1/2 cm dilated. Our doula arrived shortly after we did. The nurse called my OB and he said that he'd like me to be monitored for 2 hours. If there was no progression, I could go home if I wanted. Whatever, I wasn't going anywhere.

The contractions were more difficult at this point, and since about 6:15 - 6:30, they'd been about 4 minutes apart. Our nurse and doula suggested I try getting in the tub. I thought that sounded like a great idea. I kept wondering how long I could hold out without getting an epidural. I really didn't want to have one, but I also really didn't think I could do this without it. Each time I had a contraction, I felt like I was going to ask for one. Then, when the contraction ended, I decided not to.

The tub helped. It helped me relax, as much as one can relax when a baby is making his way through your body. For some reason, maybe because Drew is a fan and we saw him at the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival in 2008, the Kenny Loggins' song, Don't Fight It started playing in my head. Thank you for coming to me during the birth, Kenny. I had a few breaks between contractions that seemed a little more peaceful...for a little while, at least. I stayed in there for almost 2 hours.

When I got back to the room, I found out I had progressed to 5 cm. Halfway there. The nurse called my OB to let him know. The rest of the timeline is pretty much a blur. My doula wrote some things down for me and will be sending the info soon, so maybe I'll update this post with more accurate information at some point. Here are some things that I remember:
  • During the rest of the labor, I usually kept my eyes closed. I felt like I really needed to go within. I tuned most of the talking out and I hardly ever looked at anyone.
  • It's not helpful for a nurse to tell you, "Okay, when you get to about 7 cm you're going to go into transition and it's going to be a lot more intense and you're going to feel out of control." She said this about three different times before my doula escorted her out and asked her not to say that to me again. Geez, lady. This is hard enough as it is. You think I want to hear that shit? Seriously?
  • Some of the things that I heard about during my childbirth class (going into "labor land" when you feel out of it/in a different world, your body taking over and doing some sort of "rhythmic" activity) really did happen. Even before transition, at times I felt like I wasn't really part of the world that everyone else in the room was in. And during transition, I found some sort of rhythmic "chant" ("Sha! Sha! Sha! Sha!") that I used for a while during the contractions. 
  • I stood up a lot during labor - walking, bouncing, bending over the bed, swaying. I also labored a good bit on all fours on the bed. These positions seemed to work best for me. 
At the end of transition, I started my pushing phase. Luckily, my OB made it to the hospital in time. He was actually stopped for speeding on the way there! The police officer actually called the nurse's station to verify that he was an OB and had a patient in labor! I thought this stuff only happened on TV. I pushed for 1/2 an hour. I remember thinking that even though pushing was really hard, it seemed better than transition. I was very vocal during labor - "Sha!"ing, moaning, screaming, whatever - but at this point, my OB gave me a tip. Apparently my doula and nurse had said this same thing, but for some reason it never made it through the thick cloud of "laborland." He told me to take all of my energy that I was using vocally, push it down through my body, and apply it towards pushing. That really helped.

At 12:55 AM, Nathaniel slithered out of me. That's what it felt like. Actually, when I tell people what it felt like, I use a sound to convey the feeling, but I can't do that in writing. My total labor time from 2:45 PM on Thursday to 12:55 AM on Friday was 9 hours and 50 minutes, and my total labor time in the hospital was 4 hours and 25 minutes. I was SO GLAD for it to be over. It was incredibly painful, but I'm really glad that I got to do it naturally, the way that I wanted. 

Right after Drew cut the cord, I got to meet my baby for the first time. They placed him on my chest where he remained for at least an hour. He was beautiful and perfect. I was so happy and so emotional and overwhelmed (in a good way). He nursed within the first hour, which was awesome. Unfortunately, breastfeeding did not end up going well and I just recently had to stop doing it, but that's another story for another day. I want to stick to the happy story right now. It was amazing to look at my baby and think that this little boy had been inside my body! And now he's here with us...and the adventure begins.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 39!

Okay, now I'm really starting to feel the waiting!

Only five more days until Nathaniel's official due date. He could be here any time now! Amazingly enough, sometimes it STILL doesn't feel like I'm really about to have a baby. I go into his room and look at those tiny clothes and still can't believe that someone who's small enough to wear them is about to be moving in.

Yesterday was my last day of working in the office. Now I'm going to work from home until I officially start my maternity leave. The organization that I work for doesn't offer any sort of fully paid maternity leave that is separate from vacation/sick/holiday time (which is really surprising to me since I work for a nonprofit children's hospital). Even my former company (a work-you-like you-don't-have-a-life market research firm) offered fathers two weeks of paid paternity leave that was completely separate from all other vacation/sick time. I'm sure their offering for mothers was even better.

I feel lucky that I get to use short term disability for 6 (vaginal delivery) to 8 (Caesarean birth) weeks, even if I'll only be paid 60% of my regular salary. But I don't feel completely lucky. Given what many other countries offer their mothers in terms of paid leave, I also feel extremely pissed off. Think there's a chance I could get German citizenship in a few days and collect my 330 days of paid maternity leave?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week 34

I can't believe we're almost there!

We've taken a bunch of classes. We had our baby shower. We met with our doula this week to go over some things about labor and the birth. We're touring the childbirth center at our hospital next week. It's almost time...sort of. :)

The third trimester has brought some mood swings. One day I feel awesome and on top of the world and the next I feel irritable and/or teary. I know that some of this is because we recently had to deal with looking for a new place to live and moving, which is stressful even if you aren't in your third trimester of pregnancy, but some of it is purely hormonal.

Aside from the weird moods, physical slowness (it takes me much longer to walk to my office when I get off the bus these days), and difficulty getting comfortable, turning over in bed, and getting up out of chairs and off the couch, I'm feeling pretty good. :)

I'm so excited that it's almost time to meet our baby! I can't wait to see him, hold him, and kiss him for the first time. I can't wait to be a mom. I can't wait to get to know our son. I can't wait to see Drew with our baby. He's going to be such an amazing father and I can't wait to witness it.

I'm also nervous. I'm nervous about being a good mom. I'm nervous about knowing/learning how to take care of him. I'm worried about our finances. I'm worried that my lack of mommy skills will warp him forever. You know, the usual stuff. :)

This is going to be a huge adventure and I'm ready for it to start. I can't imagine what it's going to be like and I'm looking forward to finding out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Catch Up with Me on Inward Facing Girl

I've been super busy trying to get moved and settled before Nathaniel's arrival, so catch up with what I've been up to on my primary blog, Inward Facing Girl. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 25 - Birth Art Assignment #1

118/365: Birth Art Assignment #1

Last night Drew and I started our childbirth classes at Amazing Mama Birth Services in Bothell. Our instructor, Oesa, bases her classes on the Birthing from Within method. One of the Birthing from Within techniques is the use of creative expression (specifically birth art and journaling) to explore your feelings and attitudes about birth.

For our first birth art assignment, we had the choice of creating a "birth landscape" or thinking about creating our birth space and what we feel needs to be there. I chose the second option and created this drawing to represent what I need emotionally in my birth space.

In the middle of the page, there's a large pink circle with a dab of blue in the middle which represents me and Nathaniel, and right next to us there's a blue circle representing Drew. We're surrounded by a thick circle of red, which represents a strong bond of love and support. Nearby are two circles representing our OB and our doula, who are separate from us but still sharing our space and providing support. The black exterior represents all of the negativity surrounding birth, including other people's negative and unhelpful opinions, as well as the doubts and fears that swim around in my own mind. In my birth space there's a shield against this type of thought and imparted "wisdom." The warm colors on the inside represent strength and confidence and the cool colors represent being calm and focused during the birthing process.

I think that making birth art is going to be a cool way to think about my own childbirth perceptions and help me start to get into the mindset that I want to have when it's my time to give birth. I'm looking forward to next week's class! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 24 - Babymoon!

Drew and I are headed to Kauai for our first anniversary/babymoon trip. Neither of us have been to Hawaii and we're super excited for several days of relaxation and exploring. With all of the things that we have ahead of us, this looks like it could be our last chance to really chill for a long time. :)

When we get back, we immediately begin our apartment search. Hopefully it won't take too long because we're planning to move at the end of May/beginning of June.

We start our childbirth classes two days after we get back from our trip. In addition to the four week childbirth series, we're taking a "bringing home baby" workshop (practical newborn care), a breastfeeding class, and an infant safety/CPR class.

We have to finish our baby registry. My friend is planning to throw a baby shower for us a couple of weeks after we move into our new place. After the shower, we have to buy the rest of the things that we need for little Nathaniel.

Then, hopefully in this order, it's time for labor and he's here!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Books for Kids

I have a love-hate relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP. Much of the time, it's full of information that's useless to me, but today's issue was crammed with children's book recommendations. I'm looking forward to checking out many of them.

Since Nathaniel can hear my voice now (22 weeks, yay!), I read him his first story a couple of days ago. For obvious reasons, I chose Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. I didn't read this book as a child, so it was my first time hearing the story too. I was excited to learn that there's a whole series of Nate the Great books!

Drew and I are big readers and we can't wait to start the ritual of reading to our son at bedtime.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Week 20 - Halfway There!

I can't believe I'm at the halfway point! It seems like yesterday when I saw the word "pregnant" on that little digital stick.

I've been feeling pretty good and I'm getting more exercise. We recently bought Wii Fit Plus and I've been pretty motivated to use it. I also have some DVDs on the way - Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout and Jennifer Wolfe's Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga and Short Forms 2 DVD Set. I'm trying to take advantage of the extra energy when I have it!

While I am feeling more energetic, I'm losing out in the sleep department. I've joined the 78% of pregnant women who experience insomnia during pregnancy. It started a couple of weeks ago. It's weird because I've always been a hard sleeper who falls asleep fast and doesn't wake up until morning. I guess my body needs a lot of preparation to get ready for those late night feedings.

Last week we met with and hired our birth doula. Rebecca seems great, and we're really excited to work with her. She's been a doula for about four years now and has attended over 100 births. We really liked her attitude, philosophy, and warm personality.

Warning...the next paragraph has a high ick factor.

Have you ever heard of placenta encapsulation? No? Neither had we. Drew and I read about this recently and my initial reaction was, "Eww! No way! I would never take capsules filled with my dried placenta." This is an optional service that our birth doula offers, so she gave us some information about it during the interview. I'm still leaning toward the no side, but after hearing the information and reading more about it online, I'm not as freaked out as I was when I first heard about it. There aren't any clinical trials that back the benefit claims at this point, so the evidence is really theoretical. Who knows, it could just be placebo effect - no one seems to be sure what effect the drying of the placenta has on the hormones/other stuff that are thought to be beneficial.  If anyone out there reading this blog has done this, please share your results in the comments section - especially if you've had two children and did it with one but not the other.

Okay, now that I've left you with that in your mind, time to move on and brighten the day for others. :) Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Husband, A Father

When I first learned that we were having a boy, my initial reactions were:
  • Sad, no cute girl clothes. 
  • Yes! No teenage girl years!
  • Aww! :) A little boy! We're going to have a little boy! :)
  • I grew up surrounded by pink and Barbies. I love Gossip Girl. I loathe sports. What the hell do I know about (straight) stereotypical boy stuff? 
  • Maybe he'll want to be in the glee club or star in his school's production of Fame
  • My son has an enormous gift. The absolute best father and role model he could possibly have.
Unlike me, my husband has wanted to be a parent since he was a child. I was more interested in carrying a cap gun in my purse and striking Charlie's Angels poses around every corner of my elementary school, or staging a concert with my Cher doll.

When I was older, I still wasn't bitten by the motherhood bug. Even when my friends started having children,  it wasn't something that I was interested in doing myself. My first husband didn't want to have kids and I was happy about that.

But even then, I did have my moments. I went through three periods of time when I was interested in becoming a mother. The first one lasted a few months, the next one a few weeks, and the next a few days. I'm so glad that I never pursued a pregnancy because I would have done so with the wrong man in the wrong life.

When I finally met the love of my life, I wasn't that far past a divorce and the aftermath. When Drew and I first got together, I was concerned because I knew that having kids was a priority for him and I didn't know if it was something I would ever be interested in doing. Then I opened up. To life. To everything.

Drew and I have something that we call, "being open to the divine." Not closing ourselves off to experiences. Looking at what we're offered with an open mind and heart. We developed this together. Our lives have changed so much, become so much more, since we met each other. This is something we'll pass on to our child.

I can't even begin to describe how happy it makes me that our son is going to learn what it means to be a man from his father. A man unlike any I've ever met. Nathaniel is going to learn about patience and sensitivity, and how to express his emotions. As part of our Adventure Club, he'll be encouraged to explore and his sense of wonder will be nurtured. He'll understand what it means to be grateful and appreciative. He'll see what love looks like every day.

Our son is lucky. He's going to have a wonderful father. And a mother who won't mind if he wants to play dress up in her shoes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Week 18 - It's a Boy!

We had our 18 week ultrasound on Tuesday, and yes, we found out that we're having a boy! :) We're going to name him Nathaniel Oliver Biehle and call him Nathaniel and Nate. 

Our ultrasound tech was cracking me up. It was taking a long time for her to get all of the measurements that she needed. She was like, "This baby is either shy or stubborn...It's been a while since I've had one like this...Challenging." He was wiggling around all over the place to dodge the uterine paparazzi. She had me turn from side to side, sit up and lie back down, and go to the bathroom just to try to get him to move into better positions for his photo shoot. Finally, she was able to get everything that she needed. We'll go over the results with our OB sometime soon.

Last week we signed up for childbirth classes. These are independent of the hospital and are based on the Birthing from Within book. I'm reading the book now and I'm really excited about the classes. We'll start at the end of April and go through May. It's a little early, but we're planning on moving into a new place at the beginning of June and won't have as much time between then and our due date. This week I'm going to start talking to doulas so we can go ahead and hire one soon.

Over the past few days, I've written Nate's name a few times and it made me smile so much. It's kind of like junior high when you want to cover your notebook with someone's name and a bunch of hearts. :) Yesterday I got my first baby gift - tiny little clothes. So adorable. I can't believe that we're going to have a person that's small enough to fit into them! I've also received a couple of wonderful birth stories from some friends of mine who've had great experiences with natural childbirth. They were very inspiring and reassuring.  

This is all so exciting! :) I've never been so happy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yes, I Felt Something!!!!

Today I'm CERTAIN I felt it. Quickening. Fluttering. First fetal movement.

There have been a few instances over the past week when I thought I might have felt something, but I wasn't sure. It could have been stomach rumblings, gas, weird creaks, or whatever. But not today.

This morning while I was sitting at my desk and I absolutely felt the bubbly feeling that I've been reading about. And this time, absolutely nothing else was going on in there for sure, so I KNOW that's what it was.

I've felt it several times today. SO FREAKING COOL.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Week 16

Yesterday was a great day.
  • We got a "negative" result for our Quad Screen.
  • We met and liked our new OB.
  • We got to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time.
  • We announced our pregnancy to everyone.
On March 9th we're having our second trimester ultrasound and we'll be able to find out the gender. I'm so excited!

In other news, we toured our first day care center on Monday. They will have a space available when we need it, so we're planning to go ahead and reserve it. There are some things that I don't like about it, but it seems good enough for a backup plan in case we don't get into one of the places we prefer right away. Given how hard it is to find infant day care in this city, it will be a relief to know that we'll at least have somewhere to take our child this fall and I don't have to leave him or her with random panhandlers or Starbucks baristas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tears + Laughter Is the New Normal

My hormones have been making me so crazy lately. One day, I'll feel completely overwhelmed, like there's no way I'm going to be able to do everything I have to do. Note: Some of the things I'm thinking about don't even have to be done for months and, when I'm thinking like I rational person, I realize I have plenty of time to do them. The next day, I'll feel on top of the world, super productive, Ms. Has Everything Under Control. It's even more fun when I feel one way for about 20 minutes, then suddenly switch to feeling the opposite way. Good times.

Also, the sappy happy tears have started. It happens when I'm watching TV and witness a tender moment between a mother and her child. Yesterday it happened in a coffee shop. A mother was holding her tiny newborn at the table next to mine. First, I had an incredible urge to reach over, rub his soft head, and smell him. No, I didn't do it. Then the tears started. Then the laughter. Just thinking about it is making me laugh again. I also got a little teary when I saw a young girl put her arm around her mom. I need help.

In other news, yesterday I started reading Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. Having seen their documentary The Business of Being Born, I'm familiar with some of the material, but it's a good refresher and I think it will be helpful in generating questions that we should ask the OB we're meeting with next Thursday. I think it's also going to be a good resource to have when we write up our birth plan.

Next up: Blood draw on Monday for quad screen, results back in a couple of days or so, meeting with our new OB next Thursday. And probably more laughing and crying.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 12

Okay, I can see it better this time. I actually was able to see the heartbeat at my appointment on Tuesday! I realized that I wasn't looking for the right thing. I thought it would be a flickering white light, but no, it's blackish grayish bluish. They really should tell you these things.

Also, we saw the baby move! It did a little flip during the ultrasound. That was pretty awesome. It will be at least another month before I will be able to feel any movement. I'm really looking forward to that. At my appointment I found out that I have a posterior placenta. My doctor told me that because of this I'll be able to feel my baby move earlier and my husband will have an easier time feeling him or her kicking and punching as the pregnancy progresses.

Next on the agenda is the quad screen. I was confused about the type of screening test I was actually having, but this is the one. I'm having blood drawn for the test on February 22nd. My doctor said that he usually gets the results back within a couple of days.

We also had to discuss finding a new provider, since the GYN who has been following my pregnancy up until this point no longer practices obstetrics. He gave us a few recommendations. It felt kind of overwhelming to choose between going back to the midwifery clinic and going to an OB with a "midwifery style." After some thought and reading online reviews of the OB he recommended as first choice for us, I think we may have found our OB. We'll be meeting with him on February 25th. I've heard and read that he is very invested in your pregnancy and you as a person, delivers between 90%-97% of his patients' babies, is very open to and encouraging of natural childbirth, that his wife sews muumuus for you to wear at office visits rather than paper or other types of gowns, and a few mothers wrote that after he delivered their baby he brought in a guitar and played a folk song for their new family. LOL! I have to meet this guy.

So, things are going well and I'm starting to feel more positive about this pregnancy. It was great to have another good ultrasound experience and know that everything is progressing as it should be at this point. More later. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Week 9

I know. I can barely see it either.

Yay, a positive ultrasound! My husband and I were so nervous yesterday. The last time we had an ultrasound we found out that we had lost our baby. But yesterday's experience was great. Everything looks good so far - the heartbeat, size, placenta, and other measurements were all fantastic. It definitely gave us a little more confidence that things are going well, even though we're still not past the critical first trimester yet.

We're going back for another ultrasound at 11 weeks, 5 days, just to make sure everything is still going well. We'll have another one done a couple of weeks later as part of the First Trimester Screen. Once we have the results from that, we will decide if we're going to have an amniocentesis or not. I really hope that our screening result ratios are so great that we'll decide we won't need an amnio. I'm worried about the risk of miscarriage from the procedure, even though our doctor has an excellent track record. As far as I'm concerned, the celebration will begin after all that stuff is done and the results are in...somewhere between Week 14 and 17.

Still a while to go, still cautiously optimistic. It's hard to let yourself get completely attached or engaged when you've had a miscarriage. I think I'll feel tons better after the next ultrasound though. That's the same time that we found out we lost our first baby, so it will feel good to get past that mark.

Send good vibes our way!