Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin pickin' and some other fall fun

Last weekend we partook in a few of our favorite fall festivities.  I know, the beginning of October is a little early to pick and carve pumpkins, but I really wanted to make sure we had a chance to take Oliver to the pumpkin patch.  I am going to my sister's birth so Oliver and I will be leaving any day now for VA!  We spent 2 weeks holed up with sickness and the pumpkin patch was a nice way to get out in the fresh, autumn air.  The weather was not necessarily perfect, at about 80 degrees, but at least there was an autumn breeze!  The temperature didn't stop me from putting Oliver in his knitted pumpkin outfit.  I just removed his pumpkin hat whenever we weren't getting a picture!  We really had a nice time going on a hayride, picking pumpkins, then eating some seriously delicious ice cream while Oliver napped in his stroller.

We also carved our pumpkins.  Kurt and I have done pumpkins every year since we've been married.  Growing up my family didn't carve pumpkins but this has become a new tradition that I LOVE!  We chose what we wanted our pumpkins to be and Kurt sketched them out on computer paper then we just taped them to our pumpkins and poked away!  This year I did my pumpkin (almost) all by myself!  Usually Kurt ends up doing just about all of mine, but not this year!  Kurt chose to do Jack Skelington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which happens to be one of his favorite movies.  And we chose Curious George for Oliver since it matches his Halloween costume this year.  We are pretty happy with the way they all turned out!  

Oliver has started eating cherrios, YoBaby Yogurt, and has even tried some winter squash.  I found a great website for baby food recipes.  Which is where I got the recipe for his food yesterday--organic winter squash, organic applesauce, with a dash of cinnamon--.  He ate it up!  The site gave me tons of ideas for new recipes for Oliver and I shopped at Wal-mart last night for groceries and realized they don't have an organic produce section...?  I normally shop at Kroger or Food City for Oliver's food so needless to say I was extremely disappointed!  And that's how we ended up with the YoBaby Yogurt for him to try. 

Anyway, that pretty much catches you up on our month!  Hope you are all well and taking some time to enjoy this October!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A (general) guide to planning for your natural birth

Several friends have come to me with questions soon after finding out they are pregnant.  I decided I could post my advice here in hopes to help when deciding what you need to do once your shock and excitement has worn off of your news of pregnancy.

I find birth absolutely fascinating and am a self proclaimed birth junkie.  I would love to train to become a childbirth educator and truly hope to do so sometime within the relatively close future.  I hope this post will give you a guideline to what you should do to plan for your birth.  And obviously, I'm no expert.  I'm just posting my experience and advice which I hope is helpful.

1.  Read, read, read!!!  There are tons of resources for expectant moms.  Lots of them focus on the baby and what to actually do with your newborn.  Those are great and helpful, especially if you have never dealt with a newborn, but they are not what I'm talking about here.  You need to read information on your pregnancy including diet, fitness, development of your changing body and your baby.  I started my reading with Husband Coached Childbirth.  This is written by Dr. Bradley and should be read by your husband (or coach) as well.  A lot of my advice is based off of The Bradley Method because that is what we studied.  There are other methods so do your research and decide what is a best fit for you!  After reading Husband Coached Childbirth I suggest reading Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way.  This book helps with knowing what you will actually do when you are in labor.  It gives you a great amount of information about each stage of labor along with "signposts" of labor which tell a great deal about where a woman is in her labor based on her emotions and actions.  Knowledge is power and I really found great strength in being educated about what was actually happening when I was in labor and knowing that this was normal!  I find a coached method to be wonderful because when you are actually in labor you cannot be mentally assessing where you are and critiquing every little thing.  This is where your coach comes in!  He is educated as well and knows what is happening better than you do.  He can reassure you!

2.  Watch documentaries.  The Business of Being Born is by far my favorite documentary on birth.  It is incredibly eye-opening.  It does a great job of explaining some major flaws in the American system of Labor and Delivery.  I first saw the movie when it first came out and was shown at our local library.  I was interested in birth before I was even married or close to having a baby.  I invited a bunch of my friends to go with me and one by one they backed out thinking I was crazy for being interested in birth already.  I ended up going alone and I'm so glad I went.  I left feeling empowered and excited about birth!  Another popular documentary is Pregnant in America.  At one point both were instant view on Netflix, so check it out!  Even if you aren't pregnant, watch it just because!  And make your boyfriend/friends/husband/etc. watch it as well!

3.  Now that you've educated yourself on birth and you understand what you are looking for in your birthing experience you need to take a class.  I would not suggest taking the birthing class at your local hospital which is just going to tell you how to be a good patient, explain hospital protocol, and give you a tour of your labor room.  I'm talking about an actual class with a natural childbirth educator.  You will benefit so much from taking a class.  There are several options as far as classes go.  You could take The Bradley Method, Hypnobabies, Birthing from Within, Lamaze, etc.  Just do your research and decide which is a best fit for you and what is available in your area.  These classes aren't that expensive and will benefit you greatly.  We chose to study Bradley for several reasons.  I love that it's a coached method and gets your husband involved!  It becomes a bonding experience for the two of you.  Kurt is the person I trust most in this life so why wouldn't I want him to be the one to help me through my labor?  And after-all, I was having his baby! ;)  Bradley educates you on nutrition.  Our classes also covered common interventions and educated you on the risks/benefits of them.  We discussed birth plans, breastfeeding, postpartum, etc.  We learned affirmations and how to  relax.  Relaxing is something you think you can just wing but practicing with your coach turns out to be very important and it helped us tremendously.  Kurt felt prepared to be my coach. I felt prepared to go through labor.  I was able to relax with the help of my coach and my doulas (my mom and sister).

I hope this posts helps you to know what to do to begin learning and planning for your birth.  This is just a basic outline of the steps you should take to begin preparing.  I'll go ahead and dedicate it to a dear friend who called me this week with questions.  Maybe it's more for me than for you.  Now I have a guide to share instead of babbling on and on about all things birth.  Wishing you all the birth of your dreams!  :)

The Birth Junkie

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sniffles, snot, and coughs

This past week has been among the most trying weeks for me as a mother.  My baby got sick for the first time and I'd like to take a pass on ever dealing with that again- I can dream, right!?--  It all started Sunday night.  We spent a very quick weekend in VA for my sister's baby shower.  We had a nice time but it was such a short trip it was hard on all of us.  We used to pick up and leave for a weekend trip all the time before Oliver came.  Now, it's just not possible.  Anyway, we got back to Knoxville around 9:30pm Sunday night and Oliver was up through the night with a stuffy nose.  I truly thought he was teething Monday and expected to see his first pearly white at any moment.  By Tuesday a cough started and I tried to stay calm when I started to get sick as well.  By Wednesday he had a much worse cough and I knew I had to call his doctor.  They fit him in that afternoon and luckily Kurt was able to duck out of work about 30 minutes early to come with me to the appointment.  We ended up getting a Nebulizer and 2 prescriptions for the babe.  One for Zyrtec and the other for breathing meds.

Wednesday night was the second most difficult night of my life as a new mother.  My baby was sick for the first time, I was now sick as well.  We were both exhausted and feeling rather miserable.  I really felt like Oliver needed his second dose of breathing meds but Kurt left them at the pharmacy because of their outrageous cost of $117 for an 8 DAY supply.  I know that's a crazy price, but I don't care if I eat ramen for the next month, if my baby needs expensive meds I'll do whatever I can to get them for him.  Not to get into all the down and dirty details, but Kurt and I fought hard about going and getting the meds for him.  We ended up waiting and I calledThursday morning, at 8 o'clock on the dot, to try to get his Rx changed to a cheaper drug with a generic.  This whole process took 3 calls to the pediatrician office throughout the day, and still ended up costing us $67 and he didn't get to have his first breathing treatment until 4pm Thursday afternoon.

You all know about my supply issues and have probably read about my nursing journey.  Breastfeeding my baby is as important to me as a natural birth was.  When Oliver was sick and all he wanted to do was nurse and he couldn't because of his clogged up nose, it was heartbreaking.  He would turn his head and root, he'd latch on, then have to come off for air after a few pitiful sucks.  You also know my philosophy on mothering and how I try my best to meet his needs immediately... and I guess you can imagine what this week was like for me when I couldn't meet his needs.  I couldn't let him nurse.  I couldn't give him the meds he needed.  All I could do was cuddle him and give him a bottle and pump my heart out in hopes that my small milk supply would hold out through this sickness.

Things really turned around when he got his first breathing treatment at home Thursday afternoon.  He could breathe, he has nursed for every meal since then.  He has slept through the night again and is able to nurse while we sleep like usual again.  Yesterday he played SO HARD all day that he wouldn't take a nap because he was too excited to be playing again.  His knees last night were as red as a lobster from crawling all day.  This week I missed my baby's smiles.  I'm used to him smiling at me just about every time I look at him, talk to him, go to get him up from a nap, etc.  He and I are on the mend and I'm so thankful for that.

Despite his sickness he's met two milestones this week.  Thursday after his breathing treatment and a good nursing session he crawled for the first time.  He's fast with his army crawl but he crawled on his hands and knees for about 2-3 steps before lunging back onto his belly and taking off again!  We were thrilled.  Then yesterday he was playing at my feet and pulled himself up onto his knees, then straight up onto his feet!  He stood up!  I was in total shock and still kind of am.  He is such an incredible blessing to me and has met milestones even while fighting off his first illness.  His temperament is so content and loving that even when he was not feeling well he was mostly pleasant.  Here are a few shots from this week.

Watching Baby Einstein with a sock full of ice on Monday, not feeling so great. 

By the end of the week starting to feel better and excited to see Daddy!

Got caught!!

"I love avocado!"