Thursday, December 14, 2006

Epidurals aren't for wimps

Epidurals aren't for wimps – labour can be different for every mother:
In everyday life, we respond in instinctive ways to pain. If you drop something on your foot, you automatically rub yourself because rubbing causes your body to make endorphins which are natural pain-killing substances. If you have a bad stomach ache, you would probably lie down and curl up in a ball with a heatpad because warmth and being in a particular position are very comforting. It would seem that pain tells us how to help ourselves recover from injury. In labour, there is no injury taking place, but the pain teaches the woman how to give birth. She is led by it to try a variety of positions to increase her comfort and by moving around and using different positions, she is also helping her baby's head to press down firmly all around the cervix so that it opens up evenly. Later in labour, her changes of position cause the baby to be shifted one way and then the other, helping him to find the easiest way down through the pelvis.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Epidurals May Negatively Affect Breast-Feeding

Researchers found that 93 percent of the women in the study breast-fed their baby in the first week after birth. However, women who had an epidural were significantly more likely to have difficulty breast-feeding during the first few days after delivery and to breast-feed less often than other women.

At 24 weeks, 72 percent of women who did not have an epidural were breast-feeding, compared with 53 percent who received pethidine or epidurals containing bupivacaine and fentanyl (an opioid).

Pat O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said it was possible that fentanyl had an effect on the baby.

But he added: "There are other factors which may explain this link, including that if a woman chooses not to have an epidural, she may also be more motivated to persevere with breastfeeding.

"Also, a lot of those women who had epidurals also went on to have Caesarean sections which - unless you have a lot of support - make it difficult to breastfeed because it's harder for women to pick their babies up."


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Miscarriage Risks

A new study points to factors that increase (and some that do not increase) the risk of early miscarriage. In addition to the risks to very underweight women, the study says:

Although the reasons behind miscarriage are still vague, the researchers did establish some other common risk factors. The study found that single women were at an increased risk of miscarriage, as were women who had had a previous abortion (60% higher risk) and those who had had IVF (40% higher risk). Those who took more than a year to conceive were twice as likely to miscarry as women who had conceived within the first three months.

The researchers also revealed factors in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Two-thirds of the women they studied who took vitamin supplements during early pregnancy reduced their risk of miscarriage by around 50%. The effect was most pronounced among those taking folic acid or iron and multivitamins containing these. Eating fresh fruit, vegetables and chocolate daily was also found to halve the odds of a miscarriage.

The study also showed that
Women who suffered from nausea and sickness in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy were almost 70% less likely to miscarry, especially those with severe sickness.
Which is small comfort to those who are severely hyperemetic.

Interestingly, and somewhat reassuringly:
Supposed risk factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking and caffeine intake were unconfirmed in the study.
HT: Perfect Work who has these comments.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Safety of Homebirth

I'm going back through some old things...

Selkie and Expectant Waiting had some great pieces on the safety of homebirth.

Friday, November 17, 2006

ADA Advises No Fluoride For Babies

The American Dental Association has done a 180 and now warns that infants under one year of age should not be given fluoridated water, such as that mixed with concentrated or powdered baby formula, according to the Organic Consumers Association.

ADA page on Infants, Formula and Fluoride.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A different take on tandem nursing

A Canadian woman is breastfeeding conjoined twins:

Although Simms breastfed her two older kids, it’s a whole new beginning with her twins.

"What’s the most challenging part of breast feeding them?" Simms said. "Positioning!"

"It’s very complicated because when one is on the breast the other has to be tilted and has to be slanted downwards.

"You’re feeding one and the other will suck on its tongue and you have to give it a soother or something because it wants food.

"We’re trying to figure out how to feed both of them at the same time," Simms said, bursting out laughing.

Simply amazing.

Blogger Beta

I've switched over to the beta version of Blogger. The good news: tags are enabled. Bad news: it will take some time before I get everything tagged and the blog reformatted. Sorry if it's a mess in the meantime.

Breastfeeding Carnival

Five blogs - Mama Knows Breast, The Lactivist, Motherwear, Breastfeeding123, and Breastfeeding Mums are starting
a monthly blog carnival focused on the topic of breastfeeding. Each month we'll pick a particular topic, write up our own posts around that topic and help you find your way to each of the five postings. We'll be starting off by blogging about breastfeeding and the holidays, be it with family, traveling or maybe even great gifts for nursing moms.
Look for their first edition on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nausea Symptoms Undertreated

The New York Times reports "[a]lthough there are now safe and effective ways to prevent and to treat predictable cases [of nausea and vomiting], like those involving pregnant women and cancer patients, many people who could benefit fail to receive adequate treatment, if any treatment at all."(Nausea? There’s No Need to Suffer in Silence). Even worse,

In a clinical guidance bulletin for obstetrician-gynecologists, the [American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] wrote that an investigator found that among women who called a help line for those with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and who subsequently terminated pregnancy because of these afflictions, fewer than 50 percent were offered anti-emetic therapy.

“Of those offered treatment, 90 percent were offered regimens that were not likely to be effective,” the bulletin says.
Related link: Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation

Thursday, October 19, 2006


An Austin company has developed Milkscreen, a kit which allows women to test their milk for the presence of alcohol.

What will they think of next?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mini-blind Cord Safety

October is National Window Covering Safety Month. One child a month is killed from accidentally strangling in window cords.

If you still have the old looped miniblind cords, you can order a free repair kit from the Window Covering Safety Council.

Do it now! Let's keep our babies safe.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Caring for Your Fuzzi Bunz

Doodlebuckets has the best cloth diaper information I have come across yet, including washing instructions (with photos), and article on how to stop "wicking", and "Help! My Diapers Are Stinky!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fuzzi Bunz Update

We like the Fuzzi Bunz. My major complaint is - get this - I have a hard time determining if they are wet. That's right. Sometimes I have to take off the diaper and pull out the insert before I know if they are wet or not. Or at least stick my hand all the way into the pocket. I also think that it will work to replace the insert and only change the whole diaper every other time. That will cut down on laundry and wear & tear on the diapers. I do find that I need to change the wee one a bit more often with the cloth diapers.

Cloth dipes do seem a bit warm, too. Maybe that is because they are made of synthetic fabric, and because of the bulk. Since we are heading into winter (we don't get fall here in Texas), not a problem but on warm afternoons a disposable would seem to be more comfortable.

It seems ironic, doesn't it, that the most popular cloth diapers rely heavily on synthetic fabrics? I mean, isn't that what cloth diapering is all about, being more natural? That thought struck me today.

I bought three new Fuzzi Bunz and then three used ones on eBay. Although I saved a bit of money on the used ones (particularly since the seller mispelled "fuzzi" as "fuzi"), I am now convinced it is worth it to spend the extra few dollars and get new. Something about used diapers is just... icky.

The eBay dipes came with Hemparoo inserts whereas my new ones came with the Microterry soaker. The popular consensus is that the microterry is much more absorbent, while the hemparoos are thinner and less bulky. Maybe one of each at night, if I go to full time CD'ing.

Blog Roundup

I've come across a number of baby/birth/breastfeeding blogs today, some new discoveries and some great posts from old friends...

Injennuous (a mom/doula named Jenn) writes about Going Overdue and Prodromal Labor. Also check out her Views on Birth blog.

Millner's Dream makes the case for Doula certification.

Cooler*doula is a doula-in-training.

From The Lactivist (who's planning a waterbirth, or at least a water labor) , I found Mama Knows Breast, the blog of Andi Silverman, a non-practicing* lawyer , former journalist, and soon-to-be author.

While you're at it, check out The Lactivist's great BF advocacy products.

* In the Mommy Blawger's world, you can't be a "former lawyer". You can stop practicing, but you can't un-lawyer yourself. It's not what we do, it's what we are.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Orgasmic Birth

Via the Birth Ecology Journal, it's the Orgasmic Birth video:
Orgasmic Birth is a documentary that examines the sexual and intimate nature of birth and the powerful role it plays in women's lives when they are permitted to experience it. This documentary asks viewers to reexamine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds.
Yeah, I know many of you are skeptical about this whole birth-can-be-pleasurable thing. But this is about being open to possibilities. If you are convinced that childbirth can be nothing other than excruciatingly painful, well then, you are likely to have an excruciatingly painful childbirth. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that might be painful, but it could be just hard work but not especially painful, and it might even be pleasurable, at least you have options.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fuzzi Bunz

I'm taking a tentative step toward cloth diapering. I ordered three Fuzzi Bunz and they arrived in the mail today. We will see how we like them. They are expensive, but they have great resale value on eBay, so it's not much of a risk. I think I will like them, though. More importantly, will Andrew like them?

Chief Executive Mom got hers in the mail today, too, and posted photos.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pre-term birth drug

Here's one to watch:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff questioned the effectiveness of Adeza Biomedical Corp.'s Gestiva drug because new findings were at odds with an earlier government-funded trial, according to documents released on Monday.

Data for the drug, which aims to prevent pre-term births, also showed a possible increase in miscarriages and stillbirths in women who used it, the agency staff said ahead of an FDA advisory panel scheduled to discuss the drug on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Andrew at Six Months, Seven Months

At six months, Andrew:
  • Sits well by himself.
  • Tries to get all the way up on his hands & knees; rocks back and forth. Sometimes he gets on one knee and pushes himself up with the opposite leg.
  • Plays peek-a-boo (at least he "gets" the joke now).
  • Has started solids. Just a little rice cereal and a small jar a fruit, once a day. Plus some Cheerios or a teething biscuit.
  • Cut his first tooth.
  • Can drink water or milk out of a cup.
At seven months, Andrew:
  • Learned how to get into a sitting position from his hands and knees.
  • Two days later, started crawling. Just a little.
  • Will crawl a couple inches in the "proper" hands-and-knees position, then goes down and army crawl the rest of the way.
  • Cut tooth #2 at 6 1/2 months, then #3 at 7 months.
  • Likes to be tickled. Laughs at his brothers jumping on the bed.
  • Has been known to eat a whole jar of baby food at one sitting. Usually just eats half a jar, though.
At seven and 1/2 months, Andrew:
  • Tried his first vegetables (sweet potatoes).
  • Crawls for real.
  • Will crawl from room to room, and seems delighted with himself for figuring out this little trick.
  • Tries to pull up on everything. He can pull up on the fireplace hearth, but not on the coffee table yet.
  • When he sees that mommy has left the safety gate down in the kitchen, he makes a beeline for the cat food bowl. When she tells him "no", he stops, sits up, looks at her, and smiles. And then continues on.
  • Thinks his big brothers are really, really funny.

It's good to suffer pain?

In the Netherlands, you can buy "soft" drugs in a coffee shop, but good luck getting drugs in a hospital if you are in labor and see a midwife.

(irritating discussion follows)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Things I Fished Out of Andrew's Mouth Today

Some carpet fluff.
A small piece of paper.

He made it all the way to the cat food bowl today, but I was distracted and didn't get a chance to look in his mouth to see if he was eating the cat food. He may have.

Now, where did I put that safety gate?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things I Fished Out of Andrew's Mouth Today

Another puzzle piece from a Christmas Tree-shaped puzzle.
Another sticker that said "I've been Krogering".

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things I Fished Out of Andrew's Mouth Today

A 1 x 4 Lego brick.
A puzzle piece from a Christmas tree-shaped puzzle.
A small piece of plastic of indeterminate origin.

(actually, my husband caught the first two)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Natural "Birth Control"

Doctors need more training in natural birth control.

Well, duh. Didn't need a study to tell me that one.

Point 1: Most people refer to "natural family planning" or "natural family spacing" (or even "fertility awareness") rather than "natural birth control". That is not a term that you hear often.

Point 2: I think it's hillarious when people say "you can get pregnant while breastfeeding, you know". Well yes, but if your baby is under six months old and you are exculsively breastfeeding (and not sleep-training) you are about as likely to get pregnant as if you are on the pill. But you don't hear people warning each other "you can get pregnant on the pill, you know".

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Things I Fished Out of Andrew's Mouth Today

A chess piece (the white queen).
A backgammon piece.
A brass door stopper which he managed to pull out of the baseboard.
A sticker that said "I've been Krogering".

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Allergies & Exclusive Breastfeeding Past Six Months

Here's more infomation on studies that have shown that delaying the introduction of solid foods might be connected to an increased risk of allergies.

Breastfeeding and HIV-Positive Moms

South African health officials say HIV Positive Moms Can Breastfeed Too:
According to a study done by University of KwaZulu-Natal paediatrics professor, Anna Coutsoudis, it is safe for HIV positive mothers to breastfeed their children for up to six months, as long as they don't combine this with infant formula.

Mixed feeding introduces allergens and contaminants into the baby's gut, which could cause inflammation and thus make it easier for the HI virus to pass from mother to child, she explains.
An estimated 3.83 million South Aficans are HIV+; 55 percent of those infected are women. Prevalence is highest among women aged 15 to 49 (i.e. women of childbearing age) with an overall rate of 20 percent. (link)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Incidence of Epidural Hematoma, Infection, and Neurologic Injury in Obstetric Patients

From Waking Up Costs, a study in the journal Anesthesiology attempts "to quantify some of the less common risks of having an epidural during labor: epidural hematoma, infection, and neurologic injury." He writes:
It contains an interesting tidbit others might find interesting, too. There are 4 million births in the United States each year and 2.4 million involve epidural analgesia. Wow. That's three fifth of all live birth get an epidural! (And some call nights, it seems every single one does...)

Birthing study backs kneeling position

MSNBC, of all things, reports on a Swedish study, Birthing study backs kneeling position:
First-time pregnant women who give birth in a kneeling position experience less pain than those who deliver in a seated position, researchers in Sweden report.

However, the duration of the active phase of labor (the time spent pushing) is similar with the two approaches, according to the study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
That was the position I chose for Andrew's birth, by the way. Intense, but effective.

Solid Foods and Allergies

Feeding solid foods to infants before 6 months of age can increase the risk of allergies

Monday, July 24, 2006

Waterbirth Photo

I'm just sticking this photo up on my blog because I want to get it online somewhere for reasons that do not concern you.

And it's a great photo. Someday I will write Andrew's birth story, with photos to go along with it. Someday

You may think that the boys are looking at their baby brother, but actually DS5 is reading the writting on the side of the tub to DS3.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Is Breastfeeding Safe With Pierced Nipples?

Apparently there is some debate.

Can't they just remove the jewelry while breastfeeding? I am completely ignorant of such matters.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pump Mom

Pump Mom, a blog devoted to moms who pump. With sidebar links to other pumping bloggers.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Yahoo! Answers

This is really, really awful.

Like I didn't have enough to do already besides sit in front of the computer and answer the world's problems questions.

The Shape of a Mother

This is interesting:
Becoming a mother changes everything in your world - including your body. Here we share images of our bodies during and after pregnancy so we can see what real women look like.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Benefits of Breastfeeding Apparently Extend to Bed-wetting

Even I, who think that Breastmilk is the wonderdrug, think that this one is a little bizarre:
"There is biological plausibility in inferring that breast-feeding protects against bed-wetting and our results show a strong statistical association" although not enough to prove a direct cause-effect, the study said.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Breastfeeding a Baby with Cancer

The flip side, I guess, to being pregnant and having cancer, is Breastfeeding a Baby with Cancer, from the mother of a 13-month old girl who was diagnosed at 7 months. Very touching, and informative:
At the hospital, which is a Children's Hospital, I tried to find someone who could talk to me about it, specifically, were there certain things I could eat that would help, or certain things I should avoid? The sum total of advice I received can be summarized in this quote from one doctor:

"Sure, you can go ahead and breastfeed."
Found this link from BlogHer which linked to me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pleasure in Childbirth

From the UK Times Online, Delightful Deliveries:
More women, it seems, get turned on by birth than you’d think. When Ina May Gaskin, a US midwife, conducted a poll of 151 women, 32 reported having at least one orgasmic birth.

It almost sounds too good to be true: a touchy-feely labour followed by an earth-shattering orgasm at the moment of birth. Unfortunately, this is very far removed from most women’s description of childbirth.

One big hitch is that, as with any sexual activity, the amount of pleasure gained is closely related to the degree of relaxation, trust and safety that a woman feels. Most women anticipate with dread the “birth ordeal”, a state of mind that will make muscles contract and adrenalin levels rise before labour even begins. And then, most women can feel sexy only in intimate surroundings, in front of people they know well. Hospitals and doctors don’t really do the trick.

“Adrenalin inhibits sex drive and labour contractions,” Prescott says. “You become tense and are more prone to feeling pain. It’s why women can have trouble with labour and birth at hospital.” Part of the problem it seems is the way that sexuality in childbirth has been denied.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Breastfeeding Icon Contest

Mothering Magazine is sponsoring a contest to create an international symbol for breastfeeding.

(Hat Tip - Giving Birth With Confidence)

Whatever it ends up being, I'm sure LiveJournal won't like it.

Mom's Age At Birth

Key to long life may be mom's age at birth
The chances of living to the ripe old age of 100 -- and beyond -- nearly double for a child born to a woman before her 25th birthday, Drs. Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova reported. The father's age is less important to longevity, according to their research.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Five Months Old

What you see here is the first ever published photo of The Mommy Blawger. The wee boy is being worn in my new sling.

The big new thing is that Andrew has learned that rattles make noise when you shake them up and down. And hands and feet make noise when you bang them against a flat surface. So this last week has been all about shaking things.

Also grabbing things. I can't hold him in my lap when I blog, because he will pull papers off the desk with his vise-like grip and proceed to "taste" them (at this age, everything goes directly into the mouth, which is why I have established a moratorium on legos on the living room floor). At Friday's chiropractic appointment, my husband was holding the wee one in the waiting room when he reached out for a plant that was on top of the water cooler. The pot hit the ground, leaving Andrew holding the plant. Sitting him on your lap while eating is dangerous because he will reach for you plate. But not the food yet. Which brings me to...

Starting solids. A little bit of a dilemma. For a while, the AAP recommended starting solids between 4 and 6 months (not that I necessarily rely on their advice anyway) . But a year or two ago, the AAP and several other organizations began recommending that solids be delayed until six months, since studies have show it reduces the risk of developing allergies and allergy-related conditions such as eczema. Some even suggest exclusive breastfeeding for a year or more. However, the authors of a recent study say that not introducing wheat into the baby's diet before six months actually increases the risk of wheat allergies. I think the jury's still out on this one, and it may be years before we have the whole picture. I started both the older boys on rice cereal at 5 months; DS5 was ready for it then; DS3 was not, so we put it away for a while longer. I think that they will get interested in food when they are developmentally ready for it. We start foods very slowly, and with two, three, or more kids you don't have time to sit there for an hour and feed them cereal. You pretty much just wait until they can eat finger foods and let them feed themselves. So DH thinks we should wait a bit, and I'm pretty much in agreement. The only rub is, while our grocery store has a wide variety of jarred organic baby food, it has no organic whole-grain cereal. Which will necessitate a trip to Central Market. Or Walmart (gulp!).

Last week I put away the bassinet and got out the pack 'n play. He's over in the corner of the bedroom now, instead of right by the bed. Sometimes it feels like too far away. I can't wake up in the middle of the night and check to see if he's breathing without getting out of bed. You would think that after three babies, that feeling would go away, but it doesn't. I'm quite a bit more laid back now that when I had the first baby. But not entirely. He sleeps next to me for the second half of the night, though. I sleep better if I can fall asleep by myself with plenty of room. Plus, with his pre-crawling behavior (rolling over and scootching around) it's not so safe for him to be in our bed by himself. At least until he learns not to fall off, which is a good six to eight months away, as I recall. And he's going to be crawling before we know it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy Baby Blawg-o-versary!

It has been one year since I first announced the expectation of the wee one. I hope that having his own blog will make up for the fact that we didn't send out birth announcements :) Third child, what can I say?

My actual first post to this blog - an "under construction" message - was, ironically, posted within 48 hours or so of the wee one's actual date of conception, as far as such things can be determined.

Mom Solicits Doula Services On Ebay

Hmm... Might be a good marketing technique for a Doula wanting to make a name for herself?

eBay: I'm pregnant! Would You Like To Be My Labor Coach?

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Routine Epidural Turns Deadly

A very touching story about a woman who died from and epidural-related hospital-acquired infection. Lawsuit pending.

A related link: Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths

Many Approaches Taken to Childbirth

From the (Ohio) Tribune Chronicle, a neat story on choices in childbirth, with this quote:
Diane Simcox, a long-time labor and delivery nurse at St. Elizabeth and a self-described advocate of epidurals, said pain management options have improved over the years.

"You don’t get a gold star for going through the pain," Simcox said.

Martin, whose three children were born with the help of a midwife, and all without pain medication, disagrees.

"I have my own gold star," she said. "I am so proud of myself."

Her husband, Tim Martin, is proud, too.

"I'm a sissy — if I were a woman, I'd probably never have kids," he said. "But whenever you tell someone you just had a baby, one of the first questions they ask is, did she get the epidural? If you say no, the next question is, didn't that hurt? And when I say no, there’s a look of respect."

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Mother Magazine

Hey, I didn't realize that The Mother Magazine was online. It's pretty radical, but quite interesting.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Breech Birth

Link to photos and a description of "A planned homebirth of a footling breech baby with a midwife", for those who are interested in such things.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Four Months Old

Andrew is four months old ... and I still haven't written his birth story.

He grows and grows. He wears size 3 diapers. He can roll easily from back to front and, on more than one occasion, from front to back (we even caught it on tape the 1st time he did it!). He can almost - but not quite - sit up. Needs a bit of proping and falls over, but he loves to play upright. When he is on his tummy, he tries to kick his legs back and forth, as if he wants to crawl. He is getting rough skin on his elbows, and wearing little blisters on his toes.

Craddle cap is all gone. So is most of the hair. Not only did he loose hair in the front, like his brothers, but, unlike his brothers, lost it on the sides and in the back. So he has a swirl of hair on top and a fringe at the back of his neck, and the rest is peach fuzz. It feels funny against my lips when I kiss his head. He looks a bit like Yul Brenner in "The Ten Commandments".

He smiles a lot. He laughs a little bit, mostly silently, not outloud so much. He chews on his hands and has started to "discover" his feet. He will have a "conversation" and will coo back and forth with Mommy. He is lots of fun.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Preeclampsia Study

From Yahoo! News, Vitamins Disappoint in Preeclampsia Study:
A disappointing new study found that vitamin C and E supplements given to healthy pregnant women do not reduce their risk of developing preeclampsia, a complication that can be lethal to both mother and child.
That's not too surprising. Someday "they" are going to discover the importance of protein in pregnancy, and that real food is better than supplements.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Maria Lactans

The Fish Eaters website has a page dedicated to artwork depicting Mary breastfeeding the infant Jesus (Maria Lactans). Very cool.

What strikes me about this image (a 1496 Michelangelo) is that apparently the holy family was praciting elimination communication as well.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Three Months Old

Andrew turned three months old this week. Definitely not a newborn anymore. He is much more interactive, loves to make eye contact, and is much more aware of his surroundings. When he is being held by a stranger (that is, pretty much anyone other than his parents and possibly his grandmothers) or when in a strange place, he tends to get upset easily. The new thing this week is that he will be startled by loud, sudden noises and burst into tears.

He can also hold a rattle, brings both hands together, and brings his hands up to his mouth. He is starting to reach out for things. Andrew has been drooling and chewing on his hands, so we suspect he is teething, though it seems a bit early. I don't recall exactly when the other two got their first teeth, but I believe it was earlier rather than later.

Andrew can roll quite easily from his back to his side, and can turn over without much trouble, although he's not sure what to do once he is there. We are giving him more tummy time and he is starting to push himself up with a little encouragement.

We tried him in size 3 diapers last week, but they were just too big, so we are sticking with the 2s for a while longer. He has lost some hair on the sides and the back, although it has already grown back in on the top, so it's like reverse pattern baldness. Has a bit of cradle cap, which I don't remember his brothers having at this age. He looks so much like them, although he is his own person.

He is still exceedingly calm. Daytime naps are getting to be more predictable, though often shorter than one would like. At night he sleeps like a champ. Now if only I would stop staying up until 2am blogging and just go to bed, I could take advantage of my uninterrupted 6 hours.

Respecting Birth

Giving Birth With Confidence posts Respecting Birth, a fascinating bit about cows.

That reminds me, I wrote about bovine lactation once but never posted it. Maybe I will dig it out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mommy Bloggers: Sometimes it's like this

Mommy Bloggers has a neat piece about being a mom called Sometimes it's like this:
On these nights you know that you could do this forever. You know that this moment was made for you to drink in, embrace and cherish. You know that if this is truly what life was, you could sit in this space for the rest of your life and never want for anything.
And then again, sometimes it's not.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Woman Gives Birth In Bathroom

Seems like every week or two there is a news item about an unplanned homebirth. But this one about a Kansas couple caught my attention because of the last part of the article:
"The baby didn't cry when she came out. She just kind of made some cooing noises and was just looking up at all the paramedics and her mother and me. It was the best day of my life," Shifflet said.
"I'm so proud of her. I feel like we did it together. I'm going to tell her she's my little mission accomplished," Schulte said.

Schulte said that deep down, she wanted to have a home birth.
Funny how birth works that way, isn't it?

Friday, March 31, 2006

11 Weeks Old

This is a photo of Andrew at about 8 or 9 weeks.

The big news ... Andrew rolled over yesterday! Of course, he didn't get very far, his arm gets trapped under him and he squawks a bit until you roll him onto his back, whereupon he proceeds to roll over again. It's great fun. He doesn't like tummy time yet, but he holds his head up just fine when held upright.

He is getting better at batting things with his hands. He's started sucking on his hands, even when he's not hungry, so I guess you could say he's "discovered" them. Either that or he's teething (!). He smiles readily at people, and I even caught him the other day smiling at the toys over his bouncy seat. They don't smile back, though. Andrew can also follow moving objects across the room, and will occasionally get distracted by his surroundings while nursing.

Don't know exactly how much he weighs, but he is big. Not fat, just long. What a punkin.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006

9 Weeks Old

We all have colds this week, even Andrew. His first illness. We are all only a little bit sick, but 5 people being only a little bit sick still adds up to a lot of work for me. Mostly in the form of laundry, as Andrew has thrown up a couple times from congestion.

He is still cute as a bug. Starting to swipe at toys and things. Can roll from his side to his back to his other side. Sleeps good at night and wakes up on a predictible schedule. His daytime nap schedule is still a bit irregular, but I am starting to see a pattern.

I am in baby carrier heaven. My husband won me a pre-owned Baby Bjorn on eBay last week, which was very helpful on our 2- hour plane trip. I'll blog about that later. Then someone sent me a very gently used Maya Wrap in the most gorgeous pattern and my favorite color (blue). Andrew took a big long nap in it yesterday, so I guess he likes it.

Other than that, I feel great and am getting some things done around the house - decluttering, mostly. I think I can handle this 3 boys thing.

Monday, March 06, 2006

7 1/2 Weeks Old

I've added more photos here.

Do you ever feel like yelling at your babies, "stop growing!"? I put away Andrew's newborn clothes yesterday. It was kind of sad.

Last night, Andrew slept a whole 6-hours at once. Not only that, but I went to sleep pretty soon after he did, so I took full advantage of the sleeping. I feel great!

His new developments this week: he can roll from his side to his back to his other side. He is really fascinated by ceiling fans, anything black-and-white or high-contrast, and people's faces. If you put a small rattle in his grip, he will hold onto it for several minutes. He has also started to bat at toys and things.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Raising Boys

This made the email rounds a while back, but I just came across it again. It is purportedly written by a mom in Austin, Texas:

Things I've learned from my Boys (honest and not kidding):

1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9. A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.

10. Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.

11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12. Super glue is forever.

13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15. VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20. The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time.

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24. 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

25. Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

Friday, February 24, 2006

6 Weeks Old

Generally speaking, children get easier to care for the older they get. However, newborns are the exception - they eat and sleep for a couple weeks while you are recovering from the birth and trying to figure it all out. Then they get to be a little more work.

At Wednesday's appointment with our midwife, Andrew weighed in at a good sized 12 lbs. 1 oz. The even bigger news is that mommy weighed in at 125 lbs. - 20 pounds less than my maximum pregnancy weight. Yeah haw! Only challenge now is to keep it off, a feat I have not been able to accomplish in the past. Now, I am far from svelte - my hips are huge and I still look several months pregnant. But there is hope for my wardrobe. Enough about me, back to the baby.

Details... Andrew's acne is clearing up, but he's sprouted a bit of cradle cap. My husband bought Size 2 diapers tonight, though he is at the bottom of the weight range. He is smiling, not a whole lot but occasionally when you smile or make a funny face at him. He smiled at his big brother Christopher yesterday, which just about made C's day.

While he does fuss occasionally, we haven't had more than one or two instances of really colicky behavior. He falls asleep about the same time every night and wakes up about the same time every morning, though his daytime nap schedule is amazingly inconsistent. We suspect he is having a growth spurt, too.

The block nursing technique seems to have helped a lot with my forceful let-down problem. One piece of advice to anyone trying this: ease into it slowly so as to avoid engorgement and the perils that sometimes follow (plugged ducts, mastitis, etc.). From your breast's perspective, it is like suddenly skipping every other feeding. Not good.

Last weekend's night out went fine. He took a couple ounces from the bottle without much problem. I showed my mom our "secret" for getting him calmed down and asleep: turn on the kitchen exhaust fan and hold him, bouncing up and down a little bit. Before we left the house to go to the event, my mom was cooking dinner, I had just painted my nails, and Andrew was fussing in his basinette, so I asked my step-dad to pick him up. He turns out to be a super baby calmer; when we returned home Paw Paw was sitting on the couch holding a sleeping baby.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I Told You So

Hathor the Cow Goddess has a new cartoon series titled "I told you so!" Pretty sharp stuff.


Over the past week or two, I've come to suspect that Andrew and I are having a problem with forceful let-down and oversupply. I read what kmom has to say on the topic, and we are hitting 5 of the 7 criteria listed (no clicking or biting). So, I have been "block nursing" - that is, nursing from one side at a time and switching sides every few hours, instead of in the middle of a single feeding. Also, if I know I am having a strong let-down, I take him off before he starts choking, instead of waiting for him to unlatch himself. He seems to get less angry that way.

Anyhow, I know some of my readers are professionals and/or experienced breastfeeders. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

One Month Old

...and a couple days.

Sometimes I look at him and am amazed at how big he is. Other times he seems so tiny. He is definitley getting heavier. Yesterday my husband and I got out the 3-6 month clothes from the closet, and I washed some of them. Not that he's outgrown his newborn clothes just yet, but they do fit just right.

Andrew can track a moving object from side to side. He will turn his head toward a familiar voice. We do get little smiles from time to time.

I mentioned baby acne? Now even his pimples have pimples. He's still cute, though.

We're going out and leaving the boys - all three of them - with my parents this weekend. Just for a few hours, but my project this week is to get Andrew used to a bottle - or devise some other way to get milk into him - and a pacifier. I've also pumped a total of 9 oz. so far, which I think is pretty good. Helpful hint: if you can manage it, pump on one side while nursing the baby on the other. I heard this week that your body thinks it's making milk for twins, and boosts production accordingly. Anyway, it seems to be working. Although, for the most part, I don't like to do the bottle thing, even if it is filled with my milk.

Friday, February 10, 2006

4 Weeks

Little Andrew has a raging case of baby acne all over his cheeks. And a receeding hairline (it will grow back in blond, based on past experience, then gradually darken as he grows up). He is still exceedingly cute, though.

DS5 has learned that Andrew will open his hands by rubbing the backs of his fingers. So the big entertainment around here consists of getting Andrew to grasp your finger - or toe. Andrew also has reached up and grabbed hold of my necklace often enough to convince me he's doing it on purpose. And we have gotten a smile or two, although most of the time he looks at us like "who are these strange people and why are they staring at me?".

I'm starting to get the hang of things. Before it was, "do I do the dishes now, or later?" Now it's, "Andrew's asleep, if I want to get the dishes done, I'd better do them right now." Just a slight shift in thinking. He is an extremely patient baby, however. A couple times I've had a semi-emergency situation in the house and have laid him down, awake and even somewhat fussy, in his bassinette. He might peep a little but does not scream. I guess he knows I'll be back to get him soon.

Friday, February 03, 2006

3 Weeks Old

Wow, how time flies. Andrew is just eating and sleeping and growing and, more and more, will stop and look around a bit. He often makes cute little cooing noises when he sleeps or nurses. He sometimes smiles in his sleep, and even smiled once or twice when awake. He's moved up from Newborn diapers to Size 1. I've trimmed his fingernails three times already.

DH went back to work this week. I'm doing o.k. with that, except that I have to re-learn how to get things done with a baby in the house. When he asked me if I would be all right alone with the boys, I told him yeah, I might not do anything but sit on the couch all evening, but I could manage. Actually, though, I have be able to fix dinner (though I often leave a pile of dirty dishes in the sink for him), do a load or two of laundry, and get the kids ready for bed on a consistent basis. There are still parts of my house that are a complete disaster, but I am gradually reclaiming them. Baby steps, you know.

Andrew has one "fussy" period a day, but he hasn't quite decided when that will be. Last two nights, it's been between about 10 pm and midnight, which is fine, because then he drops off to sleep for a while, and rarely is anyone in this household asleep before midnight anyway, least of all me. The "not fun" nights were when he decided to be fussy between roughly 1 am and 4 am which, since I hadn't gone to bed yet, meant I didn't get to sleep at all until nearly 5 am except for a few 5 or 10 minute stretches when DH was on baby duty. Hopefully we've gotten everything all straightened out. The rest of the time, though, he is exceedingly calm.

The older brothers are doing great. When Andrew cries, they make "shhh" noises at him like Harvey Karp, and Christopher pats him gently. They've not tried to pick him up or feed him peanut butter or anything scary like that, although I do worry about toy footballs landing in the bassinet. Timothy is doing well with the potty training, not completely trained but making progress, despite the fact that his parents have often not had the energy to work with him on it over the past few weeks. He just turned three and his brother will be 5 next week.

I've never had postpartum depression, but I do get the "baby blues" pretty predictably. My tears usually are associated with the changing relationship with my older children - I have a "new" baby, but I am loosing my older "baby". My husband and I are always amazed at how much our other children "grow" on the day we have a new baby. We also look at each other and say things like "Can you believe we made another human being" (at which point my husband reminds me that we only helped), and "Can you believe God actually trusts us enough to give us children?". And with the last one, "Two of us - three of them. Oh no, we're outnumbered!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2 Week Check-Up

Andrew is 12 days old today, and we went for his 2-week check-up with our midwife (Note: In Texas, CPMs are trained & licensed to provide newborn care to both mom & baby through 6 weeks). The highlight (not!) of the visit was his second heel stick for the metabolic disorders screening. At least Andrew is a pretty good bleeder. He also weighs 9 lbs. 8 oz. Way to go, champ! I forgot to weigh myself, not that I am at all concerned about my weight at this point, but I thought it might be a bit of a boost to see how many pounds I dropped without even trying, especially since I can fit into only one pair of pants in which I am willing to appear in public.

I'll try to get some new photos of the boy up soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More Photos

Here is Andrew at 1 week old. Sorry about the shadow.

Here is Andrew with his brothers. Christopher is about to turn 5 and Timothy just turned 3.

Friday, January 20, 2006

One Week Old

Andrew is one week old today. Hard to believe! He is so precious. He is cute and perfect and smells good and I am just in love with him.

The boys are adjusting well to their new little brother. There has been a slight increase in fussing, partially attributable to having been spoiled by grandparents for the last two weeks. DS2 (oh, let's call him "Timothy") has only asked me twice to "put him down" in the bassinette or bouncy seat, and yesterday wanted to know what Andrew's favorite color was. DS4 (we'll call him "Christopher") will pat him and give him a kiss, and explains things to Timothy. They are both very helpful.

My recovery is going pretty well. I'll post a birth story here, of course, when I have time to write it. But I'll just say that while most of labor was a piece of cake, the actual birth part was extremely intense. Everyone tells me I had great control and didn't make a whole lot of noise, but all I remember is groaning and roaring and saying things like, "get him out!". But other than being tired and my gimpy hips which are taking their sweet time returning to normal, no major complaints. I had a small tear which I elected not to have repaired and boy, am I happy with that decision, at least so far. I guess I hadn't realized the extent to which the pain and swelling I experienced with the first two was not a normal result of childbirth, but was due to the trauma of the suturing. I wish more of an attempt was made to prevent perineal tears in childbirth. It would make a big difference for a lot of women.

His second night out, Andrew blessed us with 5 hours of sleep, then after a quick snack another 3 or 4 hours. By the third day, however, my milk had started to come in and sleep was hard to come by. I'm thinking, I don't care if he does eat every 2 hours, as long as he actually falls asleep in between feedings. By the fifth night we were back to a normal sleeping and waking pattern.

More when I get a chance.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


It's a Boy!

Announcing the arrival of

Andrew Josiah

Date: Jaunary 13th

Time: 8:50 pm CST

Weight: 8 lbs. 10 oz.

Height: 21.25 in.

Details: not long after Mom sat in the "La Bassine" birthing tub her water broke. Total labor time in the tub was appx. 1.5 hours. Contractions progressed rapidly (and consequestly were strong). The "La Bassine" is very sturdy - so you can really lean on the side without fear of a tidal wave. Once Andrew's head was lifted out of the water he cried a little (so we knew his respiratory system worked) and then he quickly became quiet and calm - even after Dad took him out of the water (so Mom could deliver the placenta).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Labor Part II

After a lot of close (2-4 min.) but short (<30 seconds) and not very strong contractions, they actually moved farther apart to more like every 5 minutes, but 45-60 seconds and pretty intense. Finally I laid down for a while and got a break, even slept a little. Within the last hour, the midwives (2), apprentice, and my mother arrived. The midwives actually just came for a birth this morning, and that following another one yesterday. My mother-in-law has been here since last Saturday, so she helps keep the kids entertained and they have shown very little interest in what mommy is doing. The birth pool is all set up. I just don't feel like I need it yet.

Little boy is being helpful. He kicks me in the ribs right before I have a contraction (like right now) ... (deep breath) because apparently he feels it before I do.

So I'm going to get up, walk around a bit, and try to get things going.


Unlike last night's contractions, which were low, irregular, and painless, this morning's are bigger and 6-7 minutes apart. And I definitely feel the need to use some active relaxation techniques. I think they started around 5:30 a.m. - at least, that's when they woke me up - but I started timing around 6:40 and decided at 7:15 to get out of bed. Then, a bathroom surprise! The always-anticipated blood-tinged mucous.

Can you imagine, actually having a baby on his due date? What are the chances?

I think I'll have some breakfast and let everyone get a few more minutes of sleep before I start waking people up. May or may not blog again, depends on how it goes.

Announcing the Arrival Of...

A new blog: The Book Blawg

What, did you think I was going to say a baby?

Thursday, January 12, 2006


So, I'm having some irregular contractions. I know they are contractions becauase they feel just like the ones I had at the beginning of labor with #2. Very low and painless. I'll have two or three, maybe 7 or 9 minutes apart, then nothing for half an hour, then another couple. We'll see if this keeps up. I'm not calling anybody yet.

39+6 Week Update

I was quite disappointed not to wake up this morning in labor. DH and I had decided that this was the day. Apparently, baby feels differently. Both his brothers were born on Thursdays, and tommorow is both my due date and a full moon. So it would be a good day.

On the other hand, babies #1 & #2 made me wait, so why should this one be any different? Why on earth did I think he would come early? Oh, I have a whole piece to write about due dates and how they are wrong and don't mean anything. Maybe I should write it, then read it to myself over and over and over. Sigh...

Well, the day's not over yet!

Anyway, the last several days I have felt a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen, back & pelvic floor, mostly in the evenings. It comes and goes. I've never quite figured out what a Braxton-Hicks contraction is, so maybe this is it. Feels completely different from pre-labor with the first two.

I've completely lost all motivation. Last week I had that nesting instinct, but this week I don't really want to do anything but sit around. I am bored and discouraged.

Not much else to report. My prenatal visit was fine, nothing new.

Hopefully will post an update later.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Blogging Birth

Found this new blog : Babes in Blogland - actually, a portal to blogs written by expectant parents, categorized monthly by due date, birth announcments, and birth stories. If you love reading pregnancy blogs and birth stories, this could very well become your "go-to" blog.

Secret Agent Josephine and I are due just about the same time, and check out her cool animation. That's about how I feel right now.

39 Week Update

Yes, I am getting tired of my mom, my stepmom, my mother-in-law, my sister, and my best friend calling me to ask "if anything's going on". And I know most of them read this blog, so please take no offense. But we will call you. I promise.

Questions I get:
Do you think the baby will come soon? Yes, I do, but what I think means diddly-squat. I thought the last two would be early, and they were 41-weekers.

When does your midwife say about when the baby will come? She, very wisely, says nothing. She knows better. In fact, I am the one with the calendar, so my due date is based on the dates I give her, not the other way around. And we don't do weekly cervical checks, because that too tells you nothing. One woman could be one or two centimeters dialated for a month before she goes into labor, or have prodromal labor for weeks before going into active labor. Another woman could be tight and "unripe" in the morning and have the baby later that same day. Doctors or midwives who try to predict when the baby will be born are foolish, in my opinion.

About the only thing I can tell you is that, apart from a slight backache and a rather sporadic nesting urge, I am not having any pre-labor signs.

What I did learn at the midwife's this week: Baby is ROT and about 7 lbs. Fundal height 38 1/2 - 39 cm. I gained just one pound this week (completely normal to loose weight or have slow gain at this point, and my appetite is way decreased). My urine stick looks great, no glucose, leukocytes, or protein (very good, since my feet are still swollen). Blood pressure great as usual.

My dear sweet husband salvaged our waterbirth plans today. The distributor of the first tub we ordered was out-of-stock, and we had pretty much given up all hope since we had waited so late to order. But today he got on the phone with the owner of and arranged to have a La Bassine overnighted. So we are getting the tub tomorrow and I'm so excited! All I have to do is try not to go into labor in the next 12 hours or so.

Your baby's ready to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) Your baby's organs are fully developed and in place, and the outer layers of skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rethinking the Big Push

Finally, after reading article after irritating article about this study, the NY Times gets the story right: Childbirth: Rethinking the Big Push During Contractions

38+4 Week Update

Ok, I have a confession to make. I usually do the "X Week Update" at X+6 days, sometimes later. Don't want to get too specific about my due date. So even though I haven't done the "official" 38-week update yet, I think I'll do some blogging every day or two until the baby comes, since we're getting close now.

Tonight I had a contraction. Just one, but it was definitley a contraction and not the baby moving around or gas or something. I had one or two a night for a week before Baby #1 was born, so don't get too excited. Also had some back pain yesterday which was different from my usual been-standing-up-too-long-need-to-sit-down soreness.

Does cleaning the inside top of the microwave count as nesting? What about staying up half the night cleaning the bathroom? Which looks gorgeous, by the way.

My husband is nesting, too. Right now he's cleaning out the closet in the office, which is a mess and needs to be done, but not exactly on the top of my priority list. When he's in this kind of mood, however, I just let him be and stay out of his way.

My mother reminds me that there is a full moon on my due date, but we're supposed to get a cold front tomorrow which means a rise in the barometric pressure, as I understand. Besides, I really don't want to wait until my due date.

I have a list entitled "To Do Before Baby Comes". It has 21 items on it. I've checked off 8 items. Some of them are not essential, like "update boys' baby books". What I have done is: washed all baby clothes, blankets, towels, and linens; assembled all birth supplies; finished our birth plan, and actually discussed it with my husband. Etc. Except for vacuuming the livingroom and bedroom, I am feeling mentally prepared.

The birth tub didn't get ordered in time. It's out of stock. Haven't ordered from anywhere else. Wouldn't get here in time, unless I go late. Looks like plans for waterbirth will be scrapped. However, I did do a ton of research which I plan to bless you all with as soon as I can blog it.