Here I am now at 32 1/2 weeks. So I'm just about 8 weeks away. But who's counting?
I didn't think I'd changed that much. That's what pictures are for I guess. And I got my hair trimmed again today. Matt thinks it's just a little too short, but he doesn't care too much since it's hair and it grows back fairly quickly.
Today is a first. I have been summoned for jury duty next week. It's the first time since I've been of age. I'm hoping they'll take pity on a pregnant lady. I really would rather not have to reschedule more piano lessons than I have to. Too bad it wasn't 2 months from now. Then I'd have a surefire exemption...
At one point in the movie Julia Roberts decides she's been a chameleon far too long. She follows others' leads and never really figures out what it is that she likes. Until one day she decides to try all types of eggs. (I think her favorite ends up being Egg Benedict.)
Now, eggs have been quite appealing to me my whole pregnancy, and recently my favorite has been poached eggs my mom's way. (Not just boiling eggs in water. You start it like a fried egg, add milk, salt and pepper, cover and steam cook until your desired doneness. I love eating it with toast for dipping in the milk sauce. I never knew how boring traditional poached eggs were until I left home.)
Despite all of this, my post is not going to be about eggs. Rather, it's about--what else--but labor preparation. I feel like my searching for a good labor preparation fit is like Julia's egg tasting. You've got to try out a couple things to really find what fits you.
I consider myself a fairly low maintenance and easy to please person. Because of this, I often find myself conforming to other people's wishes (unless I feel strongly otherwise). Sometimes I later find myself wishing I'd done something differently, but most of the time I don't really think about it if all turns out reasonably well. I've really not questioned how things will unfold in my pregnancy and labor because I figured it would "just happen" how it would happen. I'd follow the Dr.'s lead. She's the professional, right?
I've found that isn't always the best thing to do. It's been fun (and educational) to hear other people's birth stories, what they've learned, and what they'd do differently.
My grandma told me her mama's birthing advice that stemmed from my grandma's birth. She was told to walk, so she walked until she was exhausted. She ended up having to go through birth flat on her back and exhausted (attended to by a horse physician without any sort of medicine) and was mad about it the rest of her life.
Her advice from that experience: Don't exhaust yourself before the birth. You will need all your strength to birth your baby. But, don't go to bed and stay there either. Rest as you need to, but staying on your feet does help gravity do it's job. When the contractions are closer together, stand with your feet apart, hold the back of a chair and gently push. It eases the pain to gently push.
My mom shared her story about one of my brother's births. Her water broke before going to the hospital, but because she hadn't had contractions, she went about finishing her "to do" list before heading to the hospital. He was early and she felt her house wasn't ready. He ended up having his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Though he survived birth and was a healthy boy, she felt the scare was a direct result from mopping and doing other chores without the fluid cushioning the baby. Her advice: Don't mop the floor (or do other similar chores) after your water has broken. Just go to the hospital.
I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately. I've read the labor chapters in What to Expect, the whole Nursing Companion's Guide, and I'm half way through Birthing From Within. My friend who lent me the last one today had her first two kids in the hospital with inductions and epidurals. Her last two kids were born naturally at home with the help of a midwife. (One weighing 11 lbs! and one weighing 9 lbs.) So it was interesting to hear the differences in her experiences.
She said one thing that seemed very "right" to me. She said with her 11 lb boy she hit a point where, had she been in the hospital, she would have requested an epidural. She told her midwife that she was getting scared. Her midwife said to acknowledge the pain, embrace it, and let the fear of it go. She said a prayer, and even though it still hurt, she was peaceful about it and was able to do just fine without the epidural. The other thing she said that helped her was envisioning a perimeter around her pain. It was her stomach/pelvic area in pain during contractions. Not her whole body the whole time.
Anyway, the Birthing From Within book has probably felt the most "right" of anything I've read or heard so far. There are some things in the book that are a little "out there" for me (it is very tribal in some aspects) , but the woman writes as though she's having a conversation with you. I love that. She's a midwife who's helped people in hospitals, birthing centers, and at home. She's all about the "everyone's experience and needs are different" approach, which I also like. I think when I'm done I'll post the points I like most about her approach and some of the conclusions I've reached about my hopes for my birth experience.
I've tried to ask around my ward to see if anyone had hypnobirthing material I could borrow, but no one had even heard of it! The library here doesn't have any books or media on it either. I guess we're behind in the times here!
I can't tell you how often I see trailers for movies that are rated R that seem like very entertaining and enticing movies. Sometimes I think, "I bet it's not that bad..." and want to go anyway.
But when I visit the site kids-in-mind.com and read in detail why those movies got the ratings they did, 9 time out of 10 I am reminded why I don't want to watch them. 175 F words and derivatives? Are you kidding me? That's more swearing in 2 hours than I normally hear in a year. Two years even. No thanks.
I have to admit that there are times I read the rating review and think "I swear I've seen some PG and PG-13 movies with worse content than this." And I'm sure I'm right. Movie people try and draw in specific crowds with the rating.
It's frustrating because there are some movies I'm sure are totally entertaining and would do just as well or better at the box office WITHOUT all the stuff giving it the R rating. Why, why didn't they just leave that out and increase their possible viewer base with the PG-13 rating?
So I just wait and hope eventually they come out TV edited one day (though by the time that actually happens I've forgotten all about the fact that I wanted to see them in the first place).
I'll get straight to my question since people don't always read windy posts in their entirety. If you are a parent, what sort of preparation (i.e. classes, books, methods) did you use, and was it truly beneficial to you? Or did you find that your experience was not quite like anything they described and/or you felt like even with all the preparation you were "winging it"? Some people swear by mid-wives, duolas, Lamaz, hypno-birthing, water birthing, low lighting, soft music, traditional doctors, epidurals, no baby monitoring, baby monitoring, etc. I'm just curious what you've done, what helped you prepare, and what you've found to be effective and why. I'm also interested in hearing from my one known male reader (and any unknown male readers) what (if anything) helped him prepare for it as well.
My thoughts on this really started after reading Lady Steed's comment on my "10 weeks left" entry. I had mentioned that I've decided not to take the birth-prep class (Lamaz) offered by the hospital for a $100/couple. Half joking, half serious I said my yoga would help me get through it. She responded that if I was going the epidural route that would probably be ok, but if I go natural, I need to really prepare.
In reality I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't despise modern technology nor think baby monitoring, epidurals, doctors and hospital beds are of the devil. I am not sold on "no meds. period." I am glad that my doctor tends to not more than a week overdue without an induction. I'd rather be induced than have a 12 lb. baby that's practically walking and talking by the time they're born. On the other hand, I do think there are benefits to going natural and letting gravity help the process along rather than just lying in bed. I would like to try the whole natural birthing experience without an epidural, but if in the thick of it I decide it's necessary, I'll not hesitate to request one.
I've heard some people's horror stories about birth and don't dwell on them and think, "Oh my heavens that could be me! What if..." I tend to take other's experiences with a grain of salt. Having said that, I am fully aware that I don't truly realize what it is I'm getting into (both with the actual birth and raising a child). However, I tend to be skeptical about how much classes like that could actually help. I'm sure there is good information given, but I guess I figure that in situations such as childbirth, one will end up turning more to natural instinct than text book answers or class room exercises. Maybe I'm wrong though. Also, I figure every body is different, every baby is different, every person experiences pain differently, and people tend to shape their experiences according to their perceptions.
Side note: Take sex for example. Before getting married the book most recommended to me was "The Act of Marriage." It was a decent and well written book about sex and marriage, but I found that much of the information give was not applicable to my situation, my body, my responses, my partnership etc. Other books I read previous to getting married were the same. It's hard to take something so personal and try to generalize it and make it applicable to the masses.
So I guess that brings me back to you, dear reader. According to your experiences and perceptions, what was helpful and what was not? I really should decide shortly if Matt and I should do some outside prep. class.
It's just about that time again. A new batch of fresh-faced High School graduates are packing up and heading out on their own for the first time. For some reason it's hard for me to believe that one of those fresh-faced kids heading out is my brother-in-law.
Maybe it's because I met him the summer after my freshman year of college when I flew out to Matt's for the first time. Matt and I were 19. He was 12. Weird.
What a time.
I have some of my best college memories (and some of my worst college memories) from that year. I met two of my best friends, my future husband, and I set the foundation for the rest of my schooling and life that year.
Wow we were young. It's amazing that it worked the way it did.
Maybe my little bro-in-law will meet his future wife this year...wow. And maybe not.
I still feel like a fresh-faced High School graduate sometimes. Do you ever wonder how you got to where you are? Wonder how the last 8 or 10 or 20 years just passed by?
I do. It also makes me wonder where I will be in the next 8, 10, or 20 years. Will we still be in TX? That would be weird and normal all at the same time. 2 kids, 3 kids, 5 kids? What does life have in store?
Disclaimer: This is not a picture of my baby. It's merely a representation of the size of a baby at 30 weeks. Should I be starting the countdown already?!? I am at 30 weeks so I have just 10 left to go.
I went to the doctor's today. I got paper work to pre-register for the birth. I think I've decided not to take the $100 baby prep. class. I do yoga. That should help with the whole breathing thing and "turning inward for strength" thing. Right? Also, I was a TA for child development for 3 years and we covered the birthing process. I should be a pro...haha. I remember one year a guy and a couple girls trying to leave class during the birthing video. More than one ended up passing out before they reached the door. Good times. I'll occasionally watch birthing videos on babycenter.com. Every time Matt sees one I think his desire to be present for the delivery is less and less. He'd have been a perfect candidate for the "dad in the waiting room" scenario. Too bad (or too good?) for him those times are long gone! I won't make him cut the cord, but he'll be in the room with me!
My current stats from the Dr.:
I'm still 5'3". Tall that is. I haven't quite reached that horizontally yet.
I have gained 20 lbs. thus far. Not too bad I guess considering this baby weighs 13 lbs. Haha. Ok, so he's only supposed to weigh about 3 lbs. right now. (Thank HEAVENS he doesn't weight 13 lbs at 30 weeks!!) I can gain a pound a week from here on out and I'll still be considered "normal". We'll see if that's how it really goes.
She did the vertical belly measure thing 3 weeks ago and again today. I went from 26 in. to 30 in. Four inches in 3 weeks! No wonder my belly's been quite sore every evening. That's a lot of stretching. He has gotten noticeably bigger and his movements are much more defined. I can tell he's getting a bit cramped (The picture up top should be a fairly accurate representation of how cramped the poor kid is right now.) ; he tries to rectify his situation by pressing his elbow, bum, or foot hard against me for hours until certain spots feel bruised. I wonder if he gets claustrophobic at all? If I rub my stomach he squirms around. Maybe he's as ticklish as his daddy. It's pretty neat. I think Matt's getting a little tired of me making him touch or look at my belly all the time, but he's been a really good sport. It's just so weird to think about sometimes. There's a living baby inside me.
My blood sugar test came back normal. Sweet. No second thick melted orange Popsicle drink for me.
No new pictures of me yet, but I'll link you to the pictures from 2 weeks ago. They're a little outdated, but close enough. For a total progression, here's another link that catches some of the previous months.
I decided to go with the pizza theme since it seemed to have the most favorable response here. It went really well. I overdid it a little. I made a double batch of the dough ahead of time, and I made some dough at the class so they could see the beginning of the process. I made 3 calzones (one with a ricotta mixture and 2 with pizza toppings and red sauce), a feta/tomato/basil pizza, and a regular pizza. I also made alfredo sauce to make the alfredo pizza with broccoli and chicken, but I ran out of time and pizza pans. Matt said it was some of the best pizza I've made. The crust was especially crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. I think it's because the dough had almost 2 rises since I was doing so many things at once.
Only 4 people came, but it was a good sized group. My house isn't very big so I was glad there weren't any more. It was fun. They all asked good trouble shooting questions and I felt like I was able to answer them all. So that was good. Thanks for all the help deciding!
The only mishaps: 1. I burned my finger on the oven door. It's one of the worst cooking injuries I've had. But it's not to the blistering point, so I'm fine. I put some healing ointment on it and the sting is mostly gone. 2. Some cheese from one of the calzones dripped onto the bottom of the oven and caught on fire. I had foil down so I was easily able to pull it out and fold the foil over onto itself to put out the flame. I was able to do it quickly enough that the burn smell and/or smoke was very minimal.
I was quite surprised to hear from my parents tonight at 10:30 that President James E. Faust died on Friday. We got to church a little late because of a flat tire we had to pump up, so maybe they announced it there. Matt said they announced it in Priesthood, but he forgot to tell me. They didn't mention it in Primary.
So, now a moment of silence for a wonderful and inspirational man.
I was out in my garden this morning chopping off all leaves with mildew to try and stop it from spreading. I chopped into one vine base and found a disgusting white vine borer larva. Sick. While I was out there I also saw (what I later found out to be) an adult female vine borer, looking for more vines to bore. Grrrr. That explains some of our problem. We didn't use a pesticide other than Sevin for the bean plants. I guess we'll have to rethink that next year.
I also found out that cucumber melon is not just a body lotion fragrance. It's growing in our garden. I guess I didn't space them enough to miss some cross pollination.
I'm not quite sure what went wrong where. It had such great potential and the first fruits were promising. Even now we have plentiful vines and plants, but not much fruit.
I've seen little buds on my bell peppers for a long while now, but nothing will grow past that point.
My cucumber plants are spreading out everywhere, but no cucumbers to be seen. (I've seen flowers and bees, so I don't think it's lack of pollination).
Our zucchini plants are gigantic, but in the last week the leaves have started turning white. I think it's powdery mildew. Not only that, but we've been getting a lot of zucchini starters and then they either shrivel up and die at about 3 inches, or they rot and turn brown at that same point.
Our yellow squash plants have withered away, I think due to some sort of fungus.
Our tomato plants just haven't done anything at all (I think there was too much rain and not enough sun in the first part of the summer).
The bush bean plants look great, but there just aren't many beans at all.
Our root plants like turnips, radishes, onions, and carrots just didn't thrive really.
The only thing that's been producing a lot are the sugar snap peas.
I just don't know where we've gone wrong. I need to learn so next year is more productive.
Here in McKinney they change ward times in accordance with school rather than the new year. So we have now moved back to the 2:30 time slot. I don't really mind starting church that late; the worst part is not getting home until 6 PM. In the winter it's already dark by then...It will be that way until the new chapel is finished and wards are moved out of our building. I think that'll be in February. Not too bad I guess. This time change brought about a Primary change. They split Jr. and Sr. sharing times up, and now I have to go to the full 2 hour block of Primary and do opening exercises and 2 singing times. It went fine today, but it does take more preparation and more energy.
I found out today that the Primary Pres. has no intention of releasing me from this calling when I have the baby. Our Primary program was supposed to be November 11th, but that's right after my baby's due. So we're probably going to move it to September 30th. They just plan on getting a sub from the time I have my baby till I feel ready to come back to church. I'm not quite sure how it's going to work, but I guess we'll deal with that then.
Anyway, on with other news. The yellow shirt picture was taken yesterday in all my pregnancy glory at 28 weeks. The striped picture is a review of me at 24 weeks, a month ago. My belly has felt quite stretched all day today, so tomorrow I'll probably be looking even larger than this picture.
Lady Steed asked me awhile back if I felt like a cute pregnant lady, and for the most part I do. The only times I really don't feel attractive is when I see myself in panel anything. Panel garments, panel pants, they're all pretty ugly if you ask me. It makes me feel like I'm 103 with my drawers up to my pits. Luckily there are cute enough shirts to cover up that ugliness.
I've had to switch to walking completely if I do an outside exercise. This past week my heart rate started getting a little too high when I jogged. Ah well. It was good while it lasted. Walking's not all that bad, it just takes me twice as long to do my route, and lately that's meant that the weather is pretty toasty by the end. Saturday I even got a little smidgen of a sunburn, so I'll have to start wearing sun screen.
I've made some progress on nursery things, so I thought I'd share a few pictures. I bought the crib from a friend in my old ward for $75. It's kind of old, but it's in good condition. I just finished these quilted wall hangings. Once I figure out where they should go, I'll move them out of the crib and onto the wall. I used the animal designs from a cute target blanket I loved. I wanted to customize the quilt background to match the wall color and window coverings I've already made, and it's fun to have a project to keep me busy these days. These were kind of small prototypes so could I teach myself how to appliqué before I started the actual quilt. I'll also be making a bumper and bed skirt eventually.
These are the chairs I found at the yard sale down the road. The glider/ottoman cost me $30. The green chair cost $15. I think what I'll end up doing when we buy a new couch is find a good slipcover for the green chair. It's proved to be quite comfy. It is horribly out of place a the moment, but that's how it goes sometimes.
The wards here in McKinney have been very diligent about having the little Enrichment focus groups when they revised the program and cut ward Enrichment to a quarterly basis. There are groups that meet monthly for scrapbooking/card making, girls dine out, family history, and recipe swap. They are starting a new group called "Chef of the Month". It's where someone actually teaches a little class on how to make a specific dish, dessert, or entire meal. Since I'm in Primary now, I don't see or hear about those groups much, and I'd forgotten all about the fact that I signed up for this until I received a call today.
They want me to teach a little class in two weeks. At my house. With the subject matter of my choosing. I'll be my own little Alton Brown. Or Martha Stewart. Or Rachel Ray. (De-lish!)
Problem is, I'm not entirely sure what I should teach about. I was thinking I might do pizza since some people are a bit skiddish about anything requiring yeast. Maybe a couple small "gourmet" pizzas. Like feta, basil and tomato. And chicken and broccoli alfredo (with a homemade sauce I'd show them as well). And maybe I'd throw in a traditional one. But is that too over done? Does everyone know how to make pizza? I'd probably have some dough made up ahead to work with so we don't have to wait for a rise. And then make a second dough at the "class" so they can see the beginning of the process.
They've only done this once and the theme was Chinese food. So I don't want to do anything Asian. I've also noticed that people here are very hesitant about Indian or Mediterranean food. (You can't BELIEVE the utter lack of enthusiasm/appreciation for hummus here. People wouldn't even TRY it when I made it for something last year.)
I could do a Mexican theme with homemade tortillas. Or something easy like chicken salad sandwiches and other favorite salads. Or homemade noodles for chicken noodle soup. Pasta primavera? Pumpkin waffles and that kick b#$t syrup? I guess I could do a pie. People seem to worry about pie crusts. I don't know. Hmmmm....anyone else have ideas? I really, really would love some feedback on this one.