34 Weeks: Baby Central

In anticipation of it becoming baby central, I’ve been working on the basement! It’s so dark and dreary, I wanted to bring in a bunch of bright colors and functional storage, seating and toys.

Foodblog-2485

It used to look like this – an empty corner with a bookcase and a printer. The lamp went to the nursery, the books to our upstairs bookshelves and the printer to our hidden closet shelves.

IMG_2792Blog

Now with some updates, it looks like this! [The colors should give you an idea of how dark it is down there with just one window on the other side of the room!]

Foodblog-2482

On the left side is TV central. I’m sure I’ll spend a good amount of time on this couch, but it’s also really hard to get into because it’s so big and sunken, so I think the chair is actually going to make a better nursing spot.

Foodblog-2484

But the ottoman might become my downstairs changing table (I just need a pad to put on to protect it)

Foodblog-2498

Improvements included:

Moving the arm chair to the corner. I never knew what to do with this corner and kept putting things in it that I didn’t like. I like the chair! It fills up the corner space well.

Foodblog-2492

We could have bought a glider for this room, but I just didn’t want to spend the money since we have this great (comfortable + stylish) arm chair. Plus, I hear exercise balls are great for soothing babies – so our friends with a 2 month old tell us! We have one of those down here and ready to go.

Foodblog-2503

Pretty comfy with a view of the TV

Foodblog-2499

And tucked nearby – a foot stool to prop up feet and recline (also the huge couch if that turns out to be more comfortable). ALSO a rocking chair on the porch I can bring down if needed. OR I can lie sideways on the ottoman.

Foodblog-2494

Next to the chair is mom’s station – a spot for water bottles, snacks, computers, phones, books, etc. The drawers are empty and ready to receive items!

Foodblog-2491

Next to that is a toy basket – which currently houses our hand-me-down boppy pillow. Hopefully the downstairs nursing support. (I also have a My Breast Friend that might become the priority downstairs – don’t know yet)

Foodblog-2489

Underfoot is a new rug I found at Pier 1 for $25 bucks! I wanted a play rug for the baby to lounge on and play with toys and things.

Foodblog-2486

I researched all kinds of bigger rugs, round rugs, and expensive rugs and decided that until I need an expensive rug, this inexpensive fluffy guy will be fine – at least until he’s ready to need 10 feet of crawling space. I almost went with red, as white seemed impractical, but then I remembered spit up and breast-fed baby poop is white/beige and I actually think it will blend better in this than a darker color. If I have to toss it after 6 months I will – another reason to go cheap.

Foodblog-2488

Perhaps my favorite change is the newly painted shelves!! We bought these at Pier 1 for our first apartment and black was cool then. But now they just seemed to make the space so dark. So I brightened them up! Details on the transformation coming next week : )

IMG_1830 IMG_2070Blog

The baskets I found at World Market – for a great price! $6.99 for the silver ones and $3 for the small ones. The yellow box was another spray paint project. I planned to put it in our bedroom, but it just didn’t match well (it was TOO bright!) but I think it works well here : )

Foodblog-2495

I love the bright colors, and they are ready to store diapers, wipes, toys, and more.

Foodblog-2496

Look, one already has some toys from Baby Raffi!

Foodblog-2497

There is also lots of floor space for the swing, bouncy seats, pack n plays and more. I think the majority of our baby stuff will end up down here – which means the upstairs will hopefully be a neat retreat.

PREVIOUS 34 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

Breastfeeding Class

Drop Or Not?

Seasons Change

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 Weeks: Seasons Change

Whenever I tell people that my due date is August 31, they always comment on being pregnant in the summer. “Oh you must be soooo hot!!” My response is always that I’m actually really thankful for the timing of this pregnancy – I actually couldn’t have asked for more perfect seasons of change!! Of course we can’t really just decide when to conceive, but reflecting on the seasons, I’m very thankful for how my timing worked out.

Winter

I found out I was pregnant on December 19 – just before Christmas. It made for a really exciting holiday! Thankfully morning sickness had yet to appear, and although I was off the alcohol at parties, it was very fun to tell our families as part of their Christmas presents. And then of course we took a fabulous vacation to Jamaica – a babymoon of sorts, although we hadn’t planned it that way!

Then morning sickness set in and I spent the rest of the first trimester feeling terrible and eating cheese and popsicles:

[10 weeks!]

2012-02-08 20.42.06Blog

In the winter, all you want to do is lie on the couch anyways, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much. I was able to bundle up in my winter coat and go for walks (and a few runs!). Comfort foods were “in season.” Everyone was wearing bulky winter clothes so any first trimester bloat was well hidden under sweaters and coats. My pants, coats and tops still fit, and I just had to buy a few pairs of maternity jeans towards the end.

Spring

Then like magic, spring arrived and my morning sickness melted away with the frost! I felt better and the world was feeling better too. I no longer wanted to sit on the couch – I couldn’t wait to get outside and breathe in the fresh air! I was ready to eat asparagus and greens again and sit on the porch to work with the birds chirping.

2012-03-13 13.04.02Blog

The wonderful springtime cheer matched my mood, and I was so thankful that the first trimester and winter were both over. I often called them “the dark ages” because I felt like I could sum up the entire winter with eating dinners on the couch, in the dark, watching LOST and feeling pretty terrible. Spring was a new beginning!

Summer

Following a great spring was an even better summer. I was feeling great and starting to really feel pregnant. My maternity wardrobe consisted of a dozen Old Navy tank tops and 4 pairs of shorts that I wore over and over. Luckily summer clothes are cheap! I could also wear dresses now – which I didn’t really even need in maternity (I only bought a few to get me through the third trimester). We went on vacations – like to the beach – and I was in the sweet spot of the second trimester where I was feeling good but not too pregnant to travel. I even traveled across the country – to Seattle and back!

During

Being pregnant in the summer hasn’t been that bad – I sweat just about the same amount as I did before! Sometimes it’s just more noticeable than others : )

2012-06-21 09.32.34

And Fall!

I really can’t think of a better time to have a newborn!! I am due August 31 – and September is usually the break in heat for us. Temps drop back down to the mid 80s and fall creeps in. Give me a few weeks of recovery and I bet we’ll have our first crisp days just when I’m ready to start walking with the baby. We’ve had some truly gorgeous Septembers the past few years, and October is even nicer – perfect for walks! Baby wearing won’t be like carrying around a personal heater as it is in the summer – we can keep each other warm in fall temperatures! Fall is my favorite season, so I’m hoping that the excitement of having a baby during my favorite time of year will make this one extra special – especially since my 30th birthday is just around the corner : ) We have a few months to adjust before the frigid winter temps and sickness season begin, and a few months to prepare and practice for the holiday season and traveling.

2012-04-25 10.37.54Blog

And there’s one last really, really good reason I am excited to have a baby right before fall begins: PUMPKIN BEER SEASON!!

PREVIOUS 34 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

Breastfeeding Class

Drop Or Not?

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 Weeks: Drop Or Not?

34 weeks (10)

34 weeks feels like another huge milestone. According to some of my doctor friends, the chances of the baby needing lots of respiratory care if he were to come are now slim. Also, my hospital, Martha Jefferson, allows mothers from 34 weeks on to labor there (otherwise I would have had to go to UVA, which has a top-of-the-line NICU), so that’s a relief as well. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but I’m very thankful to have made it this far along.

34 weeks (1)

I definitely grew out a bit in the past week! In fact, I thought that the baby might be dropping a bit because I’ve felt quite a few bangs down there that kind of took my breath away. I’ve read online that babies can drop a little bit at a time starting pretty early, especially for first time moms, so this wouldn’t have surprised me, but my doctor said his head didn’t feel like it had descended – rather I probably had some pelvic floor spasms! There’s definitely more pressure down there in general though, and my stomach feels heavier.

34 weeks (2)

Another reason I thought he might have dropped some is because my burning rib pain (which doctor says is common – muscle spasms that feel like tingles and/or burning under the ribs) nearly went away for a few days! However, they were back with a vengeance the other night, I think I just did something to let them rest. And being on my feet too much Saturday night brought them back! The only way I can get relief from this terrible burning (which unpredictably comes and goes) is to lie on my left side. At least I know of a way to find relief.

Burning rib pain location

34 weeks (7)

I’ve started sitting on my exercise ball (which I bought just for pregnancy) while I work. I think this is helping with my low back pain. I went back to the dining room chair for a day and the pain came back strong, so ball must be helping. Not to be indelicate, but I sit on it with my legs spread open – also to encourage good pelvis position! And my doula says it’s best for the back + pelvis to sit with the knees lower than the hips, which happens on the ball. My doctor felt the baby’s head right in the middle of my pelvis and said it was in a great spot, so I’m encouraged that things are aligned.

34 weeks (3)

Oh how lovely – a peek inside a maternity skirt!

34 weeks (4)

I’ve also had to change the way I do some movements this week. Things like pulling up my pants and standing up from sitting on the floor or squatting – if I don’t do them slowly and with good form I really hurt my lower back. I used to think that the tough part of being pregnant was just having a basketball on your front, but I’ve realized how much the structures of the body change as a result of the basketball. Rolling over at night isn’t hard because of my stomach but because of my hips, back, rib muscles and abs always hurt. Standing up isn’t hard because of the weight or balance redistribution but because of my hips, back and ab pain. Everything is just loose and shifting around in there and there’s a pain somewhere all the time. I look at the other women in Body Pump and wonder how I ever had the stability to do planks and lift heavy bars! I sure hope I can get that back.

34 weeks (6)

[How was this ever my stomach!?]

11-weeks-(bare-normal)

The baby is really hard in there – meaning I feel his body so firm against my skin all the time! My favorite moments are still those when his knee or foot or leg pokes out – always on my upper right side. He loves to poke them out when I walk! Or when I lie on my left side. We still do lots of playin’ together : ) You’ll find me with my right hand on my stomach all the time.

34 weeks (8)

Ribs and back aside, I’m feeling really good. Still sleeping well, but a bit more tired in general, which I hear is normal around this time. I have little desire to do much more than walk, yoga and lift weights, although I have gotten a few cravings to burst out into a run! Not sure how that would go – lol. I’m finally starting to feel “huge,” like a turtle shell is strapped to my front. I can still see my toes and shave my legs no problem though, so we’ll see how big I get!

34 weeks (9)

 

PREVIOUS 34 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

Breastfeeding Class

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 Weeks: Dads Don’t Sit

If you’ve ever been in the room when someone says “my husband is going to babysit” then you might have experienced some ruffled fathers feathers. Using the word dad and “babysit” in the same sentence wasn’t something that I might have known not to say before becoming pregnant, but I’ve heard women respond with a number of times: “Dads don’t babysit; they parent!”

IMG_1625

I totally get this. “Babysit” implies that they are only a temporary supervisor of their own child and perhaps not very involved in caring for the baby either emotionally or time wise. And it also implies that we women are somehow primary and the dads secondary in importance. Obviously this is not so! Dads are 50% of the parenting team, even if their jobs or lack of breasts keep them from spending 50% of the baby’s time with them.

I do understand why this phrase slips out of people’s mouths though. Based on the fact that women have breasts and the way our society evolved (which is thankfully changing – go women!), women are more often the full-time caretakers while stay-at-home dads are less common. But we all know this is just a stereotype and many families do things in whatever way works for them. It’s all about personal situations and what works in your household. Sometimes there are two dads or two moms!

So my question is this: if you are the stay-at-home mom OR dad talking, then anytime anyone else cares for your baby, the word “babysit” makes sense. But if this word now has a negative connotation, what can we use instead?

Matt is going to parent the baby this afternoon while I go for a run?

Matt is going to watch the baby this morning while I go to the grocery store?

Matt is going to father the baby tonight when I go out with my girlfriends?

Matt is going to care for the baby tomorrow when I go to the dentist.

Care seems the most appropriate to me, but is it all that different from “babysit”? I would expect that anytime only one of us is available we would use singular language like watch or care for.

Since I’m the author of this blog, I’ll be writing from my perspective. And I will be the primary caretaker time-wise due to our jobs. So if I say that Matt is going to watch the baby, I don’t want to be politically incorrect when I talk about our tag-team roles in parenting. And it seems significant to me to note that Matt will be the one watching the baby rather than someone else, so I don’t want to never write this at all. I want people to understand that if I say “Matt is going to watch the baby” it just means because I am going to do something else and not because he isn’t a good dad.

So my question for you all is – what would you say!? What’s the proper thing to say? Any more suggestions in best language practice?

 

PREVIOUS 34 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

Breastfeeding Class

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 Weeks: Breastfeeding Class

Last week Matt and I attended a breastfeeding class put on by our hospital.

2012-07-17 20.04.39

Breastfeeding is probably the part of motherhood I am the most excited about. I think because it’s the epitome of bonding between mother and baby. And I say this a lot, but I’m ready to put my breasts to use!* Heck, I even loved “nursing” the doll. Just holding a doll makes my hormones surge, and I nearly cried a few times during the class. *I realize I don’t know yet if nursing will work out for us, but I am being optimistic and am completely determined!

The class was very helpful and led by an enthusiastic lactation consultant. We had an intro, watched a movie on the basics (including lots of examples of real women nursing) and then ended with tons of Q+A.

The following are tips our consultant shared with us. Many of them were fascinating and new to me. I’m not trying to say the above are golden rules – they’re just tips from our particular consultant.

If you’re in a household with sick people, mom will create an antibody for the sickness in her breast milk within SIX HOURS of exposure – even if she is yet to come down with the sickness herself. This is an evolutionary protection for the baby. (Amazing!)

Pacifiers and bottles aren’t recommended in the first month while the baby adjusts to the breast, but dad’s finger makes an excellent soother that actually helps the baby learn proper nursing technique even better (because it is long and hard…lol)

Changing positions from feed to feed is recommended so different areas of the breast empty since different positions often put emphasis on different areas

When a baby latches correctly, reward him with “GOOD BABY!” and a happy voice. If he latches incorrectly, respond with a firm “No” and remove him from the breast. Our consultant said she swears babies learn faster this way.

A glass of wine or beer is totally fine – and even recommended to help mom relax in those witching hours before dinner. Definitely do not booze it up though (not that one would want to with a tiny baby to care for..)

The macrophages in breast milk cured terrible eye infections in patients with HIV within 3 days

Babies like to mimic their parents’ faces, so to encourage the yawn shape you want for a good latch, make eye contact with your baby and open your mouth wide.

A bad latch nursing session can leave you sore for 3 days. Work hard to get the latch right and don’t settle for a poor one if you can help it – you might regret it if it makes all subsequent feeds more painful.

Give breastfeeding 4 weeks before you introduce pumping and do it first thing in the AM after baby’s first feeding when you’re likely to have more milk left. A hand pump should be fine if you’re staying home.

Twisting your nipple to make it harder right before a feed can help the baby find it easier

Putting milk on your nipples and letting them air dry is one of the best ways to heal them if you do experience cracking/bleeding

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is her favorite book to recommend for more info

Don’t assume if your baby just ate “he can’t be hungry again.” Trust his cues. Sometimes a 5 minute top-off feed is all he needs to then zonk out for 3 hours.

Don’t have too many rules! Listen to your gut, trust yourself and your baby rather than what the books or advice from strangers says.

I’ve heard so many mixed things about nursing – I’d love to hear some of your best nursing advice!

PREVIOUS 34 week posts

Snapshots

Previous WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 Weeks: Saturday Snapshots

Not a snapshot of my life, but have you seen this live birth video seen by MRI? It’s totally cool!!!

Happy Weekend : )

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks