Thursday, May 29, 2008

Frisky Pantrygirl

Something they don’t tell you about pregnancy is how your hormones may turn you into a giddy teenage schoolgirl. To put it bluntly, I’m horny as hell. Of course, I may be frisky but my body is like a ship on rocky seas. I’m waddling to and fro. By the time I finish dinner, I’m tired and looking forward to plopping myself on the couch or bed with my fort of pillows supporting my back and baby belly. Still, my hormones are pumping and I have increased blood flow coursing through my body. What’s a girl to do?

Now that I have that out, I can talk about things I had no idea I would feel as I head towards my 40th week.

1. My pelvis widening.
Yes I can feel my pelvis widening. It accounts for the increased waddling. It’s weird to feel my bones move.
2. My crotch occasionally feels like someone kicked it.
Apparently this is part of the pelvis widening. It comes out of nowhere and I have to stop in my tracks and take a deep breath.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Don't get used to these shopping sprees, Miss Bean


Your mom went a bit overboard today.

Look at the smorgasbord of clothes you got. Your mom went nuts at Carter's and Osh Kosh B'Gosh.

I picked an assortment from 3 months to 12 months.

I'll have you know your mom got some great deals. Many of those outfits were marked down from $14.00 to $4.00. Remember to give your mom a hug when you learn to because that was super great deal!

Still, your mom is feeling very inexperienced especially after this trip. Although I made it a point to get various sizes from 3-12 months with seasons in mind, I'm feeling a bit silly for having to ask if you should be wearing onesies at 24 months.

I saw a 75% rack and beelined to a cute set of 4 onesies with strawberries on them. Of course, every item on the rack was sized 24 months. I was dying to ask a fellow shopper if a 24 month old should be still wearing a onesie but decided to avoid any embarrassment and shame for what sounds like a silly question.

I put them back figuring when it's time for you to wear size 24 months, they'll be cooler clothes out there on the sales rack.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Best way to wake up...


Your radio alarm wakes you up to James Taylor's Your Smiling Face as your baby kicks you gently.

Honestly, any James Taylor song probably would do but 'Your Smiling Face' just puts you in a wonderful frame of mind to start the day.

"No one can tell me that I'm doing wrong today
Whenever I see you smile at me"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My husband is a better person than I am.


I say that with sincerity, a little jealousy, a lot of disappointment in myself and a bunch of sadness I can’t be what he is to me.

My husband for the most part has always supported my endeavors like a pep squad captain. When I was offered a chance to compete in a cook-off, he encouraged me and even ran and got me butter, when I ran out. So what if he spent a small fortune on every type of butter in the grocery store.

When we had a pregnancy scare early into our relationship, without batting an eye he said assuredly, “We will get through whatever happens, you and me.”

When I was absolutely miserable at my old job, he tried everything from buying me 1,000 things to be happy about to actually finding job listings in my field and emailing them to me.

When we finally were blessed with a child, albeit a bit earlier than we expected, his initial reaction like most men was, “Are you sure?” Still, he was stoic. He sent me flowers and a little love letter, something he hadn’t done in years. When it was confirmed, he was shocked and took it like a man. He cleaned the house, got a family car, researched cameras and safety gear. He attended doctor’s appointments and asked typical guy questions, “Is the baby ok? You see everything, right? All parts are accounted for?” I could tell he was scared but he never faltered to show me his strong side when my hormones got the best of me.

When we discovered the sex of our baby, the anticipation in his eyes was genuine. For the first time, I saw excitement in his eyes. I was comforted by his enthusiasm. I became teary eyed when pure joy came through his voice when he said for the first time, “I have a daughter.”

He’s never made me feel foolish or stupid or unable to accomplish a goal I’d set for myself. When I needed someone to bolster me and tell me I can do it, he was the first one there leading my own personal cheer.

That’s why I feel like a heel. I can’t be the rock that he has been for me. I can’t hide my fears. I can’t mask my apprehensions. I can’t pretend I don’t have ideals that are the opposite of his.

I can’t go into detail just yet but in short, my husband wants us to change our lifestyle temporarily in order to move towards another direction that hopefully will be for the better. This change would include moving to a less desirable but more affordable neighborhood, possibly relying on someone who may have best intentions but not the physical capacity to care for our child and a reduction in time spent together.

All of these items will be temporary and would hopefully allow us to reach a bigger goal.

The long and short of it is I’m scared. I know he’s scared. He’s told me he’s scared but he’s sure this will end positively. If the shoe were on the other foot, he would cheer me on without an inkling of doubt. That’s where I feel awful. I can’t and don’t have the means to do the same for him.

I can live with stretches of time apart from each other. I just can’t grasp the relocation to a less than desirable area and reliance on someone I think may lead to larger relationship problems in the end.

Call me a prude, a conceit, a snob. I don’t want to move an hour away from my job to a neighborhood that may not be a crack den but isn’t better than what I had as a child.

I know if I close the door to this plan, I close the door to my husband’s dream. Sure there are other ways to accomplish his dream but they are much harder and will take longer and he’ll be unhappy.

How do I suck it up? “Me being a little unhappy is better than you being miserable.” I know he said that as a slight but it doesn’t make it hurt less. How do I gain the strength to trust in him wholeheartedly and follow? I know he’d never put us in jeopardy on purpose. I know the end goal is for the bettermint of the family. His number one priority is the family but that doesn’t make the fear, the apprehension, the feeling of taking two steps backwards go away.

How do I trust in something that scares me and that goes against what I thought and wanted my life to be? How do I let go of my dreams of my life and wake up to the reality of what we have? How do I stop being chicken and take the risk? How do I take that first step? How can I be so awfully selfish and chicken? How can I be a better person, wife and friend to a person I love? How can I not be more supportive of my love's desires? How do I let go and throw all my chips in the pot and hope for a royal flush?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Childbirth classes: Perspectives of a man versus a woman


We just finished our last childbirth class today. It couldn’t have ended sooner for my husband. Knowing his tolerance level would be low, I wanted to take a 2 day all day course. My husband, due to scheduling conflicts, suggested a 3 day course. He survived the first two but he could have definitely gone without the third session. I’m just thankful we didn’t sign up for a 5-6 day course.

The issue is not so much the ‘ick’ factor but more of my husband likes to question authority. I don’t mean he’s an anarchist. Merely, he doesn’t like to be told to think one way. When you lean too much, a lightbulb pops in his head and gets into the zone. He will question anyone on their views. If he was around during Magellan’s lifetime, he’d question whether the earth was flat. When Magellan’s crew came back to prove circumnavigation, he’d question that. It’s just his personality. In his past life he must have been a debater or political spin guru.

Well, stick that in with an instructor who obviously will advocate natural childbirth and control over your pregnancy and you get some vocal comments and discussions from my husband. “Why would a doctor tell you to get an episiotomy when it wasn’t necessary? “ “Women have been giving birth for centuries. Why does my wife need to pay someone to be her doula when she can have a friend who has an investment other than monetary?” “If the episiotomy rate is 85% in NYC, there must be some reason other than a doctor’s personal preference. Maybe it’s because there are higher incidences due to poor obstetrical care in lower income areas. Maybe it is because of the increase in advanced maternal age pregnancies or multiple pregnancies. I don’t think you can say episiotomies are on the rise because a doctor prefers them because it is easier for them .”

I knew my own threshold for his comments hit a peak today when I caught myself murmuring under my breathe when my husband raised his hand for the umpteenth time. To be fair, he does have valid points on occasion but today he raised his hand at a comment made by the instructor about pain management through chemical means. Her exact words were, “I can’t think of one reason why you should opt for chemical pain relief immediately.”

Now, the thought in my head was simple. “Oh g*#, please do not let my husband raise his hand. He’s smart enough to know this is a prenatal class. If there was anyone with the right to raise her hand, it would be a female not a male……….. Oh no, he’s raising his hand. “ That’s when I vocally said, “Oh Geez.” It wasn’t very loud but loud enough for my husband to respond, “Are you ok? Is everything ok?” Bless his soul, he lowered his hand and didn’t keep it up.

Later on, sensing he disliked the emotional and crunchiness of the instructor, I mentioned how if he wanted more scientific and clinical information, I had a great book from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist he could flip through. It’s a kick and easy read and he could search the index by topic to read a paragraph or two. I thought, he loved his college textbook layouts, he may just prefer that approach.

My husband then commented these classes offered little for him except positions and massage techniques to support me with. That’s when it dawned on me. Childbirth classes aren’t meant to be educational tools so much as support tools. Men think of the classes as a educational tools while women may come into it as a resource, among many other resources on the clinical spectrum, but more so as a support and emotional resource.

Yes, there is the clinical how to of childbirth but let us be honest. Most women have already read at least 3-4 books, perused the internet and called their doctors a billion times with clinical questions. These classes aren’t for us to get clinical information but to learn and share the emotional aspect of childbirth. Not only is this a bonding experience for the couple but it’s also a very scary, exciting and terrifying experience for a woman.

You can discuss the clinical piece with your doctors and midwives but as a woman we need to let out our apprehensions, discuss our fears and know we are not alone. That’s why a doula is so appealing. A doula will not judge you. A doula is an outside person who will put you at ease and let you know that you are strong and capable. She will offer comfort, advice if asked and emotional and physical support without the complication of emotional family and friend ties. You don’t have to worry about politeness or social graces. You don’t have to worry about snipping at your family or friend member. You don’t have to worry about emotional investments/experiences clouding family and friends.

Sure, these classes can lean to the right but classes administered by hospitals and physician’s offices can lean to the left. My husband was concerned at the stance that one should question the doctor’s decisions. He felt it was as if we were being told to second guess the doctor. I didn’t take it as that.

What the instructor was advocating for was a push away from the 50’s and 60’s mentality of being a passive participant in the delivery and rather be an active participant. Know your options. Ask questions. Communicate.

I also take it as a very western approach to things. What I mean is we, as Americans, want to feel as if we are in control of as much of our lives as possible. We try to schedule everything. I’m even more prone to this because of my Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.

With labor and delivery, there is a certain degree of decision making on the laboring mother’s part but in general, I firmly believe you really can’t go into delivery, let alone pregnancy, thinking you can control every aspect of it. Heck, you don’t have control when your baby decides it’s time to enter this crazy zany world. I know some women try to control this by scheduling an elective c-section or an induction.

That’s why I’m not really into the whole birth plan thing. I have an idea of what I’d like but I also realize I’m not really running the show. I have a huge part in the decisions made but neither my doctor or myself will know what will happen on delivery day. I just have to trust in my care givers, myself, my baby and my God that we will get through this and the right decisions will be made to ensure the safety and well being of my baby and myself.

Maybe it’s because I’m coming from a different perspective. I have always been around clinicians my entire life. I have family that are physicians, nurses or in the healthcare field. I am constantly surrounded by clinicians, clinical professors and clinical researchers in my line of work. I trust physicians very much but I also know there is a degree of protocols that physicians follow. Introducing options outside of textbook procedures for some docs is not within their comfort zone.

I think you just need to know your audience. Are you going to a childbirth class run by a hospital or provider’s practice? If yes, expect it to lean more towards clinical approaches. Are you going to a childbirth class run by a private organization? Most likely, it will lean towards alternative methods first before clinical protocols.

I chose the later because I believe there are some methods that can assist but I’m not shutting the door from textbook methods. I remind myself when things start leaning too left or right, the main objective that all parties, clinicians, laborers and support folks should aim for is the well being of the baby and the mother.

Same goes with delivery day; know my audience. I need to make sure I discuss my preferences for my delivery but inform my docs I also understand when these preferences are not advised. There needs to be a discussion not an ultimatum. My husband hates this but I think of it more as a negotiation. “Semantics. In the end, you want it done your way.” In the end I want what is best for the baby but if my body suggests that lying on my side is more preferable to pushing, then I should be able to express that to my doc and my doc should be open-minded. If he/she says it is ill advised and explains his/her apprehensions, I will take it into consideration and reassess.

I think my approach to labor and delivery is summed up best by four verbs: Communicate, Discuss, Reassess and Relax. Who knows, tomorrow, I may change my mind and right a 25 page birth plan.

After discussing our views of the classes and my idea of ‘negotiating’ with the doctors, my husband said it best and won my heart again. “Honey, if I have to be assertive to get what you need, I will. That’s my job. I will do what it takes to support you and your desires. So long as the doctors say you and the baby are safe, I will do whatever it takes for you and our baby.”

If you are a guy who has take these classes with your partner, how did you feel about it? Where they helpful? Where they a waste?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Third Trimester Symptoms Starting.


I have hit that stage of the pregnancy where although I’m feeling good, I’m not loving the symptoms. My back is more sore. My temperature fluctuates. At night, it’s worse. I swear I could heat a sandwich between my hands. My crotch is sore. According to my doctor, this is because my pelvic joints are loosening and preparing for Miss Bean. My ribs are starting to spread out and that hurts too.

Oh and yesterday, I left my office, went to the bathroom, went downstairs and cut across 2 buildings towards the bus stop and had to double back to a bathroom.

Thankfully, I’m grateful I haven’t experienced other crazy pregnancy symptoms.

I do love the jiggling Miss Bean has been doing. She’s pretty acrobatic and she’s not playing with her dad. If he taps, she taps back. It’s really cute. The other night while I was sleeping, hubby said he was playing tag with Miss Bean.

I’m trying to write my list of things to pack for the hospital. I’m really procrastinating. 1. I hate packing. 2. I feel like it makes me realize soon I will no longer be pregnant. I know that sounds crazy. I just love this feeling of being so close to my baby.

I also think it’s a little of, I was apprehensive of pregnancy and I’m doing it. Next on the unchartered territory, labor, delivery and then motherhood.

Hubby says in a few weeks, the pregnancy experience is not going to be as lovely as it is now. I’ll be ready for the next chapter in this crazy rollercoaster. I know he’s right.

Third Trimester Secret:
Around your third trimester your clothes will get tighter. It's as if manufacturers have an expiration date on their clothes.

During this time, you'll want to save your money to stock up on baby supplies not maternity clothes you'll most likely wear for a very short period of time.

My button down shirts are suffering the most. I look so disshelved. I'm carrying in the front and Miss Bean shifts sides throughout the day so throughout the day my belly is lopsided. This is made more apparent by the shifting of the buttons on my shirt.

Remember this when you buy clothes. Don't buy too many and buy some a bit bigger than you are so you have enough clothing throughout the pregnancy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Does my insurance cover a masseur?


If there is one thing I learned during this week’s childbirth class, it was the magic and power of the massage. Holy moly, the instructors guided our husbands on massage techniques that will help during active labor.

Forget active labor, if my husband massaged me every day like he did at the class, I’d be a happy camper. Most of it focused on the back but there were several limb and acupressure points that were so soothing. My favorite position is the pelvic press.

We also learned breathing techniques that I’ve sort of forgotten. I think there was a waltz breath and a Sshh breath, I think. I hope hubby was taking notes. After the massage segment, I forget everything else.

I’m not so afraid of labor now but I’m still anxious. I try to remind myself though that tension will only lead to a harder labor which we’re trying to avoid.

Learning to use my boobs


I had hoped the breastfeeding class would give me advice on gear I’d need. The only thing it did was calm my fears a bit about breastfeeding and showed me proper nipple placement. I guess that’s better than nothing.

Hubby and I went to the class with a pro-breastfeeding attitude. Heck, that’s why we signed up for the class. I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback for my choice but I did receive a negative vibe from a close family member which has been haunting me. Don’t you love how one response from a person can throw you for a loop? I wish I wasn’t like that.

Anywho, we went to the class with the hopes of receiving information on how partners can participate in feedings and bonding. We didn’t get too much information about that and when my husband suggested pumping and doing a feeding to allow me to sleep after 4 weeks, the teacher seemed a bit against the idea. In fact, I felt as if she felt like she had to take the defensive with us which left me feeling a bit off.

We weren’t saying not to breastfeed. My husband wanted to assist with feedings and bonding other than changing diapers and burping. After we’ve adjusted a bit and started a semi-schedule, he merely suggested assisting with a 3am feeding.

I guess we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.

My husband was pretty attentive which I appreciated. With the pregnancy brain in full force, it’s hard to remember everything.

The one big thing I left the class with was that I know I can do this. I’m not so apprehensive. I know my body is capable of doing this and it will just take getting used to. This is new to my baby and me. She’s used to getting her meals from the umbilical cord. Now she’s got to work for it.

I’ve narrowed down the items I need and from the suggestions from friends I’m not going to buy a nursing bra until after my milk comes in. Instead I will getting nursing camisoles. That way I won’t spend moola on bras that don’t fit or aren’t comfortable.

I have to pick up some nursing pads too. I have the Lansinoh which is supposed to be safe for babies.

Oh and I’ve decided we should try the Dr. Brown’s Polypropylene bottles. They reduce gas and most moms are happy with them. Only problem is they only come in the 8 oz bottles. I wish they’d come out with the smaller ones already. We are going to try to stick with the breast for a while but eventually a bottle should be introduced. Maybe in a few months 4 oz bottles will be available.

Monday, May 05, 2008

One bourbon, One scotch and One beer


We took our first childbirth class yesterday. I’ll be honest, I went to my happy place. I didn’t go deep into my happy place but I could feel I was disconnecting myself from the demonstrations. It’s just amazing what our body will do.

I was much better watching the movies. At least with the movies, even though I know I’ll be going through what the ladies went through, there was a face that wasn’t mine on the screen.

It also didn’t help the room was a sauna. The instructor decided during the last hour of 5 hours that she should turn on the air conditioner. “Of course your warm honey. You’ve got a bun in the oven. Ha!” Even my husband’s jokes weren’t cutting it for me toward the end of class.

I kept going to the bathroom just to get a breath of cool fresh air.

I was pretty apprehensive about these classes. My husband isn’t the type that would dive head first into these classes. He already calls them, “The classes we pay an arm and a leg for and probably won’t find useful.”

What if the teacher is too crunchy? What if they are Nazis? What if it becomes so annoying my husband can’t contain his sarcasm? What if I totally flip out? What if I worry too much about him that I really don’t get anything out of it? What if it really is a waste of money?

There are a total of 10 couples in our class. We spent the first hour meeting with everyone and discussing our apprehensions. Then there was a demonstration of what happens inside a woman’s body during labor and then 3 birthing movies followed by discussions.

Immediately, my husband and I recognized couples we may relate to. My husband also played his game and yes, his theory continues. Of course, with that we also determined the couples we could relate to the least.

The heat hit most especially the men, as I caught some, including my husband, napping a bit. Give a man a pillow, a warm room and diagrams of female parts during childbirth and they too go to their happy place for a while.

In the end I think the class was helpful. I’m still anxious but in a strange way, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one feeling anxious. Heck, some women were more anxious, some less. Some opted homebirthing. Some opted for birthing center births. I’m not that brave and said very nicely I’m a hospital type of gal, although I’ve never been admitted to a hospital before.

The one thing that had to be addressed and needs to be hashed out is my desire for a doula and my husband’s reluctance for one.

My husband’s view is that any woman who has given birth can provide doula support including his mother, my mother or a friend. “These people at least really care about you. A doula is paid to care.”

My view is my MIL has expressed she really probably wouldn’t be much help. My mother probably would mean well but cause me more anxiety and a friend just doesn’t make sense as most people I know had kids years ago. I want someone I won’t have to worry about during labor. I’ll be worrying about my husband and my baby. I don’t need to worry about someone else.

Plus, a doula should have had so much experience, they can offer positions and relaxation techniques others may not have to offer.

“The doctors and nurses are there to do that.”

“Actually honey they are they for the clinical part only.”

‘Physical. Clinical. That’s the same thing.”

“Actually, no, it’s not.”

I think I’m just being very anxious and want someone with experience and someone who will be non-judgmental to be there for me.

“Honey, I just don’t want you get negative. You make it sound like you have no one to be there for you when pretty much everyone probably wants to be there. You yourself are choosing to close your family and friends out.”

I don’t think I’m being negative. I just don’t need my labor and delivery to be a dinner and a show.

Maybe hubby thinks l&d is more like the movies and tv. It’s not. People don’t rush from all points to get to the hospital. The mother generally are tired and feel and look exhausted and don’t want Grand Central running through her recovery room.

Maybe I’m thinking it isn’t like the movies when it is. Several of my girl friends have said they were happy for the respite before the crowds came. Several of my friends said they were happy for the convoy of visitors immediately afterwards. I think I’d be happy with some rest and time to compose myself.

Am I being selfish? Am I excluding people? This is a scary and an intimate event and there is no need to have everyone there. I just want my husband and maybe a doula.

“How is that intimate? Intimate is my mom, your mom and me. Intimate is not me and some strange woman.”

I know it makes no sense but I think the opposite.

Next class we discuss coping mechanisms. My husband suggested bringing the above.

The scariest part of the demonstration:
"Put your index fingers and thumbs together to form a circle. That's how wide your vagina needs to open to get your baby out."

And with one sentence, my visit count expands considerably...Sorry if you came across my post because of a Google search of 'wide vagina'.

Pantrygirl moment:
As the instructor dimmed the lights to watch the first movie, I whipped out a ziploc bag of chocolate covered peanuts. My husband looked at me like I was insane. Who noshes during a birthing video? Apparently, I do.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pregnancy Dream #


I responded to an audition for a student film. They needed a woman walking their dog for a scene.

I’m suddenly in a quiet hilly street in Brooklyn. It reminds me of a street in a suburban working class neighborhood in the Bronx or Brooklyn. We were at the top of a large hilly street. The north west corner had a corner deli with an old 7up logo awning. The southwest corner had a small white wood paneled duplex house. Apparently it is a famous street in Brooklyn. I think Union Street was one of the cross streets. It was as famous as Lombard in San Francisco.

The director has me walk diagonally with my dog towards to the deli but then head down the steep hill.

Next scene, I’m in a library with a bunch of student directors. They need me to read items off of books they are pulling from the stacks.

As they have give me books, I notice that the cover of the book does not match the contents of the book. The young directors didn’t believe me. Finally they gave me a book with a cover that matched its content. When I opened it, it reminded me of the John Hopkins Body Diagrams book my father gave me. I remember it was medical based. The director sitting down to the right of me, turned to the back cover and showed me a different cover for the book. I told him for certain I knew this was wrong.

I told him to give me the book code and I’d check the card catalog.

I memorized the book code,

I kept repeating it in my head.

I made it to the old wooden card catalog table, pulled the drawer out and instead of index cards, it was stacks of ground beef cataloged in cellophane. This particular drawer had ground beef from 1973. It didn’t smell and it didn’t look bad.

I didn’t think anything of it and I pulled out the meat that matched the code, and on the label it said, 1973 $1.93.

Hubby then woke me up and I muttered my way to the bathroom saying