Thoughs on the Myth of the Pre-pregnancy Body

>> Monday, August 30, 2010

I wanted to share this great post over at Offbeat Mama by Jessica Shirley-Donnelly.  The 36-weeks pregnant author shares her thoughts about the myth of the pre-baby body, and how she's come to embrace the fact that her body is changing dramatically, will probably never be the same... but that IT'S TOTALLY OKAY.

This definitely boosted my outlook on the whole thing, more than a bit:

"The idea of a daughter is approximately one million times more exciting than the idea of having my "pre-baby body" forever, and I have nothing but respect for what will be my post-baby body. My body was awesome before, my body is awesome now, and my body will be awesome after I give birth."


35 weeks

I know I post this pretty much every Monday, but: OMG, wow.

I can't believe I've only got 2 more weeks 'till term and 5 weeks 'till my due date (i.e., a month from this Thursday).

This soon-to-be mama is finally starting to slow down.  I've given in to the fact that there are certain things I just cannot do, physically.  I'm finally (slowly but surely) cashing in all those offers of help and obeying those who tell me to "stay there, I'll get/do/take care of that for you."  Somewhat amusingly, two of the abilities I have lost are:

1 - being able to take items out of the washer and put them in the dryer.  Starting the wash, and taking it out of the dryer is fine, but I'm too short and my belly's too big for me to actually reach into the bottom of the washing machine; and

2 - reaching anything on the top shelf of our kitchen cabinets.  This has always been a struggle, but my belly and the counter really butt heads now, so to speak, and standing on chairs is officially out of the question.

I'm also starting to wonder if this child will ever turn head down and/or drop.  My belly just keeps growing straight out front, and she's so high up!  Little CJW is still having fun doing flips and laying transverse right under my ribs, likely just to laugh at her mama's ever-increasing worries about the rug-rat being breech.  I know she's still got a week or two before my midwife will start being concerned about her position... so I'm trying to use my calming word ("peeeeeeeeace...") and not stress about it.

I'm still doing pretty well with keeping the weight gain in check.  I'm up about 16 lbs or so from week 6, which I think is fantastic.  If I can keep my total gain to somewhere between 20-25 I'll be really happy.  And, I'm still looking pretty much non-pregnant from the back, so this is encouraging.

Overall, I guess feeling pretty okay.  Okay enough to drag myself and my giant belly to work every morning, and okay enough to finish tying up the loose end that need tying up at home - but mostly at work - before her imminent arrival.  We had the family over yesterday to celebrate my father-in-law and Kate's birthday (which is actually today!  Happy birthday, love!), and we got quite a bit of organizing and putting-away of baby stuffs accomplished before company arrived.  That felt really fantastic.  It was our last bit of planned entertaining before my due date, which is also a big relief.  I'm definitely running out of energy for it, and am starting to really want not much else but to enjoy my quiet, clean home and my wife's company before our world changes forever.

Oh, little sweetheart, your mommy and I can't WAIT to meet you!  It's almost time...


Cloth Diapering: We're Committed!

>> Friday, August 27, 2010

I think we've received and/or ordered just about everything we need to get started... of course, there will be things we find we'll need along the way, and I'd like to bolster our dipe stash a bit more and get some bigger dipes for when we'll need them in about 3-4 months.  But so far, we've got:

2 dozen infant-sized prefolds (unbleached Indian cotton)
2 dozen regular-sized prefolds (unbleached Indian cotton)
6 snappi cloth diaper fasteners
2 Gro Baby one-size inserts
2 Gro Baby soaker pads
3 newborn sized Bummies "Super Whisper Wrap" hand-me-down diaper covers (7-10 lbs.)
2 extra-small sized Thirsties diaper covers (5-12 lbs.)
8 size one Thirsties duo wraps (6-18 lbs.)
1 size two Thirsties duo wrap (18-40 lbs.)
2 small-to-medium sized homemade diaper covers (um... 7-10ish lbs.?  Lol).
2 Gro Baby one-size covers (8-35 lbs.)
2 washable, waterproof diaper pail bags
1 Dekor diaper pail
1 medium sized wetbag (for changing on-the-go).

... and (*blush*) we've got three packs of size 1 Nature Babycare "Eco-friendly" disposables (given to us by one of Kate's former co-workers) to get us through the meconium poo and general adjustment to having a newborn in the house.  I feel okay about this for several reasons, not the least of which are the fact that the dipes are made from 60% biodegradable material, are made from sustainably harvested pulp, and are 100% chlorine-free.  And, it's only for a short time.  Basically 'till we run out, or decide it's time for cloth (whichever occurs first)! 

I still would like to make some fitted diaper inserts out of some of our old flannel sheets and t-shirts, and I'm a little worried we don't have more teeny-tiny sized diaper covers, but I'm thinking that so long as she doesn't come early and is an average-sized newborn, we'll be fine for a few months.  I think a lot of it is going to have to be play-it-by-ear and "see what works" as we go along!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the stash.  We've probably got just enough prefolds and covers to get away with doing diaper laundry every other day for the first few of months.  There are eight size two Thirsties duo wraps left on our registry, as well as some fitteds and more Gro Baby inserts/shell sets and another on-the-go wetbag.  While these would all be nice to have, I think we've got what we need to at least get started and realize what we like and what we don't about our stash.  Thank you SO MUCH to my amazing mother-in-law, my sister, and K for helping us build our "starter stash."  Cloth will certainly save us money in the end, but it's a bit pricey to start!

... looking forward to reflecting on what was great about our stash, what we wished we had but didn't, and what we hated and/or didn't end up using at all!


On the Passage of Time

>> Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not entirely pregnancy- or parenting-related, but something I read today got me thinking.

In the past decade - hell, in the past year or so - I've gained and I've lost. I've loved and mourned the loss of love.  But it's also become clear to me that I've learned and grown and have begun to realize and reinforce what's real and good and worth hanging on to - and sometimes, fighting for - in life.  What makes me tick and keeps me ticking. And I think I'm about to rediscover all of those things to the Nth degree next month.

How about you?  Don't you find it it funny, the stuff you thought for certain - 10, 5, or even 1 year ago - would keep your gears oiled and turning for the long haul? The people, places, and things that have remained fixtures... and those that ended up merely set dressings and props?

Oh what a fickle, unpredictable, and beautiful thing, Time.  Both its passage and the record of it.


Belly Painting Featured on Offbeat Mama!

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

So... I was doing my usual after-lunch surf, and imagine my surprise to find that one of my daily reads - Offbeat Mama - featured my belly painting and photos done by Jennifer Vessells and my amazing wife, respectively!

Check out the feature here. 

I'm super excited!  :-)


34 Weeks

We're really starting to get into the final countdown, folks!  Three weeks till full term, 6 'till my due date.  Of course, these stats mean nothing to strangers, and they continue to insist "any day now, right?"  I'm getting rather used to it now.  :-)

The baby is super high, and is now making it really difficult for me to breathe efficiently.  Forget laying down flat.  I have to be reclined pretty much all the time (even sleeping) if I have any hope of maintaining a good oxygen supply.  Overall, though, I still can't really complain.  I'm feeling pretty fantastic for being only a couple weeks shy of my ninth month of pregnancy.

Kate and I traveled up to Buffalo for 4 days this past weekend - accompanied by her parents - and had a great time at my folk's house.  We had a shower Friday evening with family and a couple of high school friends of mine, and were overwhelmed by the thoughtful gifts and good wishes offered by everyone.  The baby got some wonderful gifts, including some hand-made items that will be treasured.  Saturday, we all spent the day at the Erie County Fair with my sister, brother-in-law, and our niece (18 months) and nephew (nearly 3 1/2 years).  It's always so fun to see them enjoying the animals, exhibits, and other fair-stuffs.  Kate took a bunch of videos, and I can't wait to see them!  Not a ton of pictures taken by us from this weekend, but I believe my mother-in-law was snapping some.

I've got a very busy 4-6 weeks of work ahead of me; hopefully everything will get done before I begin my leave (either when baby decides she's ready to come, or at 41 weeks... whichever comes first).  I've got one report due a week from tomorrow, another due end of next month, and some loose ends to tie up so colleagues will have as little headache as possible handling my projects while I'm gone this fall.  I will feel so relieved when the work stuff is done... because otherwise, we are pretty ready for this baby girl to make her appearance.  Only a few more items to purchase, two doors to be painted, and some laundry to be done.  Not so bad!  Oh, and perhaps some meals to be prepared and frozen in anticipation of postpartum sleeplessness/recovery.

Of course, she'll come when she's ready, and not necessarily when we're ready for her.  :-)


33 Weeks

>> Monday, August 16, 2010

Weeks 'till full-term: 4.

Weeks 'till due date: 7.

Reports to write for work prior to leave: 2.

It can be done.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  I may be the first woman ever to hope her baby holds off until AT LEAST her due date to make an appearance.

Speaking of appearance, even though I just had a very pic-heavy post, I've gotta do the weekly shot for posterity (and for the slide show).  Plus, it lets me show you one of the more disheartening parts of pregnancy for me, so far... no longer being able to cover my belly with several maternity shirts.  Folks, you know it's bad when you're only 5'2" (on a GOOD day) with basically no torso to speak of, yet you've outgrown a maternity shirt.  Oh, for shame.  Hopefully at least a couple will last me till she arrives.  I think this might be the last week for this particular shirt, at least 'till post-partum.  One of my most comfy light blue tunic shirts has already been retired.

Regardless of reaching house-like status in terms of girth, week 33 is a VERY exciting week.  I GET TO SEE MY MAMA!!!  Counting down the sleeps until Thursday, when we make the trek to Buffalo accompanied by Kate's parents.  To relax on mom and stepdad's porch - watching the birds and visiting like no time has passed - is heaven.


Belly Painting! (pic heavy)

>> Sunday, August 15, 2010

This weekend, our good friends D and J invited us over for dinner.  We headed over early, with the intention of having J (aka amazing local artist Jennifer Vessells) paint my belly so Kate could do a fun photo shoot... we'd yet to take any photos with the "nice camera," so I was super excited! 

We went with a tree theme, the two trunks symbolizing Kate and I growing together.  I asked J to use fall colors, since the baby is due in October (our favorite month!).  I admit I was a bit self-conscious at first, but Jennifer and my sweetie made me feel super comfortable bearing my belly.  J and her BFF M did a great job of fashioning a bodice for me out of material scraps.  It was purely coincidence that everything ended up matching so well... the artwork turned out AMAZING, and the photos will be treasured forever.

Here are some shots of J putting on the finishing touches.  She actually had gold leaf paint!  Such a great little detail.

She did a truly incredible job.  It was definitely worth sitting still for a couple hours.

Next, I was made to pose.  After a brief period of feeling incredibly silly, I was able to relax for the next 30 minutes or so of photos.

Some of my very favorites were the ones in which I was sitting/laying in the grass.  And not just because I'm pregnant and lazy.  :-)

Infinite thanks to Jennifer for this incredible gift, and to my amazing wife for taking photos that make me feel like a pregnant goddess.  I love you both!

*Edited to add: the color of the pics appear to be quite a bit more vibrant over at our Flickr site.  But I couldn't NOT post them here.  :-)


Yesterday's Appointment

>> Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our little girl sounded fantastic yesterday at the midwife appointment; heart rate in the 150s (such a beautiful sound, every time!).  She is still moving all over the place, all the time... so I haven't even needed to do kick counts.  She even punched the Doppler a couple of times while my midwife was listening. 

My blood pressure was perfect, I'm only up about 13 lbs (!!!), but my uterus is measuring on the high end of the "acceptable" range.  I'm 34 cm at 32 weeks (I should be between 30 and 34 cm).  Still within range, though, so my midwife thinks it's nothing to worry about. 

Baby hasn't yet picked a position  - at least, my midwife said it was no use telling me what position she's currently in, because it's too early to worry about it since she's still able to flip around - but the kiddo *should* be settling on her final position in 2-4 weeks or so.

Finally, I was told that in 4 weeks I will have my first "check" to figure out for sure what position the baby is in, and if I've started dilating at all.  That crept up on us pretty quickly, I'd say!  The logical part of me wants to have her withhold any info about dilation, effacement, and station - because I know none of it is really a reliable indicator of when the baby will come - but the type-A part of me will probably "need" to know that info.  :)  We'll see who wins out.


32 Weeks + First Moby Wrap Attempt

>> Monday, August 9, 2010

Today marks the first of my three bi-weekly midwife appointments (today, 34 weeks, and 36 weeks) and then I move on to once a week till the kidlet makes her appearance.  I.e., we're getting really close.  Not that you could tell by my svelte figure or anything:

This thing is really getting out of control.  It may need it's own zip code soon.  I know I'm going to totally jinx myself by saying so, but I wonder if maybe I'll go earlier than my due date?  I know most mamas would hope so, but I've got to much to do, and we really want an October birthday for this baby.  I guess only time will tell.

Also wanted to share a video that Kate shot of me trying out our Moby Wrap for the first time (thanks, G & N for the awesome gift!).  Not bad for a first attempt, although I did not leave enough slack (I blame the giant belly), and I was not very gentle with the baby stand-in.  Also, I mistakenly refer to the "tails" as "rails."  I will do better next time!

I'm also really looking forward to trying out the sling E & M gave us, as well as acquiring a Beco soft structured carrier and Wrapsody woven wrap.  Babywearing, yay!


DIY Crib Bedding, Complete!

>> Sunday, August 8, 2010

Although we're still not quite ready to do a final grand reveal of the nursery, I wanted to share a couple of pics of the crib bedding I made.  I told my sister-in-law that I'd make her a crib skirt for her little girl's room, but can't very well expect her to jump on board for sewing-by-Lindsay without sharing some pics of my handiwork!

For the record, the crib bedding sets I had my eye on all retailed for $350+.  Not to mention the fact that I'd would have likely needed to have someone custom-make the bedding if I were to get the colors I wanted to match the nursery color scheme (why is orange/green/brown such an "odd" color combo for a nursery?  I don't get it!).  So, instead of having someone else custom make a set for me, I decided to put my sewing skills to the test and give it a try myself.

About $50 and a few weeks later, we have a crib bedding set that not only matches our nursery decor perfectly, but that I'm very proud of, too!  I decided not to order designer fabric as originally planned to save money; although I loved the fabric I had planned on using, I think it turned out really well with the more affordable fabrics from JoAnns.

 The only part of the set I did not make myself is the fitted crib sheet; we had originally wanted to go with plain white, but I saw this dotted sheet by Dwell Studio in Target the other day, and thought it would perfectly compliment the set.

Bonus shot of the closet, and some of the amazingly cute teeny-tiny clothes we received as gifts.  Four loads of laundry later, and all of the clothes, blankets, towels, etc. our daughter has acquired to date are clean, folded/hung, and ready for her arrival!


Baby Shower: New Jersey Edition

It's hard to believe our first baby shower has come and gone.  I remember when it seemed so far away - like this part of my pregnancy would never arrive - and now the first of two planned baby bashes is over.  It's crazy how time can seem to move so slowly yet so quickly at the same time!

Kate and I were lucky to have Erika there to snap some photos of the event.  Everything was perfect, and my mother-in-law, Barb, did an amazing job with the planning and execution.

We wanted to have a display shower, to avoid the hours-long "gift opening ceremony" that so often occurs at wedding and baby showers, so Barb set the scene by displaying a string of baby clothes across the fireplace, and arranging some of the gifts that had arrived from out-of-town family below.  Check out the centerpiece - a beautiful quilt she's working on for the baby's room!

The rest of the house was decorated with the cutest little handmade touches.  There was a caterpillar made from baby washcloths and socks (he's now living on the top of the bookshelf in the baby's room)...

... and a little muppet-like critter, also constructed of teensy socks:

The food table had the most gorgeous centerpiece of stargazer lilies (there's no pic of the food, but I assure you it was AMAZING.  Fantastic caterer.).

The cake was one of the most beautifully decorated I've seen in person...

... and it tasted as incredible as it looked!  Chocolate with raspberry filling on the bottom layer, and vanilla with raspberry on the top.  Yum!

There was a lovely favor table, which included a picture frame (featuring our daughter's 25 week ultrasound pic) and little boxes of mints and flower seeds for guests to take with them.

Our guests wrote such lovely messages for our baby girl.  The frame is now displayed on a shelf in her room; something I hope she will cherish forever.  I know we will.

Everyone was so generous with the gifts they gave the baby.  Besides some lovely things from our registry and a few unexpected - and awesome! - surprises, the invitations encouraged guests to bring a book for her, and we now have a great library of awesome books to read to our daughter (and for her to read to us, one day).

Finally, I can't say enough about how lucky we were to have incredible weather.  After dealing with 90-95+ degree muggy heat for over a month, the humidity broke the day of the party and we were blessed with an 85 degree dry and sunny day.  This provided a great backdrop for a couple of cute pics of our little family.  Barb made us such cute corsages to wear, using baby socks, rattle toys, and silk flowers.  We felt festive. 

Of course, we also had to do the quintessential "reach around and hold the basketball belly" pic...

... which provided me a great shot to get artsy-fartsy with:

It was an amazing day, and we can't thank everyone who made it that way enough.  We are so lucky to have such an amazing family and group of friends.

Now, we count down the days 'till the Buffalo Baby BBQ, where we'll celebrate with my side of the family and a couple of close friend from high school!  As an added bonus, Kate's parents are making the trip up with us.  It's going to be awesome to have both of our families together for a long weekend of celebrating.  We can't wait!


Thoughts on pink (and some other musings, too).

>> Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shared from a fellow October-mom-to-be's blog (go read!  She's got a way with words.):

"...the rational part of me knows that a woman's strength is based upon more than an affinity for one color. She is not composed and categorized merely by the few parts that point to her feminine ways."

Go read the rest.  :)


31 Weeks

>> Monday, August 2, 2010

... 6 weeks till full term.  Holy cow!

Weekly belly pics for posterity:

Shower was A-MAZ-ING.  My mother and father-in-law went above and beyond, and it couldn't have been more perfect.  A more complete recap - with pics - forthcoming.  For now, enjoy a few videos Kate shared from the day (many thanks to T for the HD Flip!).


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