Saturday, March 27, 2010

Two of My Favorite Colors

Scarlett (regarding our choice not to find out the sex of the baby):

"Everyone is always like 'I sure hope you like yellow and green...'

And I'm like, 'two of my favorite colors, beeeeitch!' "

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3 more weeks until I'm in the 3rd trimester (Can't believe it!)

This has gone by way too fast.  Everybody says that the second trimester is supposed to be the best one: you get "the glow", you look great, and most importantly, you FEEL great.  Gone are the days of extreme fatigue (on a side note, when Billy's mom got pregnant with Kseniya, his older sister, she had no clue until she was about 4 months pregnant!  She was always so tired; she thought she had leukemia!), facial breakouts, etc.  However, I've only experienced about 2 weeks of energy, clear skin, and looking pregnancy cute. But alas, my time is almost up.  Now comes the time of swollen ankles, hemorrhoids, and heartburn.  Pregnancy's no fun. 

I wish that I could say I look and feel like this:

But alas, I don't.  (But Billy does look like this, except Billy doesn't have cankles and Jon Bon kinda does:)
On the bright side, Pirate loves, loves, loves laying his head on my stomach, which makes me so, so, so happy.  Hopefully he'll still like doing it when Nacho's outside of my belly and terrorizing poor Pirate and doing stuff like biting him and pulling on his curly tail.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alternative baby-soothing methods

Billy and I are starting to get in the thick of looking at parenting advice.  We've already made up our minds that we are going to exclusively breastfeed if at all possible, use NON-disposable diapers (kind of gross at first, but when compared to spending all that extra money on disposables versus washing dirty diapers in the washing machine and dealing with breastmilky poop that doesn't stink and not harming the environment any more than we have to, we'll gladly do so and use the extra money for more chipotle), "wear" our baby as much as possible, not be overprotective snots when it comes to our kid's immune system, and let Pirate lick and play with Nacho (we're going to test run it first, of course :)).

However, there are things that I'm still learning about (did you know that many parents use sign language with their baby to help communicate with them?).  Here are two of the things that I thought were really great, unique baby-soothing methods:

We've definitely got to teach Pirate how to howl.  At this moment, he's only capable of yipping, which, I believe, is probably not soothing to any man, woman, or child.

There's this awesome, awesome thing called the "Zaky."  It's kinda creepy looking but I saw a clip from the Rachel Ray show (not a regular viewer, I promise) and it showed this mother whose infant was not sleeping through night for the last 8 months or so.  She tried the Zaky and by the 3rd night, the baby slept throughout the whole night.  I guess when you're incredibly tired and fatigued and at your wit's end, you'll try anything. 

They're also marketed for premie babies; it helps them feel protected and they can smell the scent of their mother, so if you ever have to leave your baby, use these to stay with them when you're not there.  I think it's a fabulous idea even if they do look like weirdo muppet hands.  We're going to use these as our babysitter (Just keeeding!)

Does anyone have any weird baby-soothing tips they'd like to pass along?

The Good, the Bad, and the Other

Pregnancy has meant some changes for me, too. Here are a couple:

The Good:

Oh yeah. Sometimes we eat the 'pote twice per week.

The Bad:

This is 1/3 of a bed, where I sleep. With the addition of the "monster pillow," there is no more rolling around and flailing my arms while I sleep.

The "Shouldn't be Surprising, But Actually is Surprising":

Any girl that hears news about the pregnancy is waaaaaay more excited than any guy I tell.

Forming my own Dance Krew

Billy and I (well, me more so than Bill) are fans of the MTV show ABDC (America's Best Dance Crew).  I love watching all of these super amazing and talented people come on the show and do some of the craziest dance moves ever.  My favorites this season are:

Jungle Boogie:  The chick kills it.

Poreotix: They are so much fun to watch!

Heavy Impact: I love the fact that all these guys are quite large.  They get off the floor faster than I can get out of my seat!  Definitely gives me the push I need to say, "So, I can't see my feet because my boobs and belly get in the way and my lower back kills every day, but if they can dance that hard and make it look easy, I can definitely take my 30 minute walk each day."

I've decided that when Nacho is born, I'm going to teach him (or possibly her) how to hip-hop dance.  My kid's gonna be the shit: popping and locking, krumping, b-boying, and turfing.  As one of my coworkers says, "he's gonna ROCK IT."  Just like this kid:

And I know Billy doesn't approve (yet), but I'd totally love to put little Nacho in some ballet classes, even if it does turn out to be a boy.  You can never go wrong with a little bit of classical training, I mean, I turned out alright.

So, anybody got suggestions for names for my "crew" consisting of me, Billy, Little Nacho, and Pirate (if he passes the audition, that is)? 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Baby registries: tacky or expected?

Billy's friends have wanted to throw a little get-together in celebration of Little Nacho's impending debut into the world (euphemism for "celebration for the fact that Billy knocked up Scarlett").  While they were trying to coordinate with us what days worked and didn't work, we got a text message from Lisa, one of the coordinators and a close friend of Bill's.

"Does Scarlett have a registry anywhere?"

Bill asked me and I looked at him and said, "of course not!"

The reason I didn't want to have a baby registry is because it just seemed really weird to me to come up with a list of things we want that we expect other people to buy.  It was our decision to get pregnant and people shouldn't have to pay for that decision.  I don't registries are one thing (they're meant to help the poor newlyweds stock their new home) but baby registries just seemed odd to me.

I'm only 5 months along and I have been putting off researching baby stuff because 1) it freaks me out and I think it's way too soon, and 2) let's get honest: shopping for baby gear is incredibly boring.  There were so many times when I started looking for cribs that I just sidetracked and started checking on flights to here and there or started looking at prenatal yoga dvds.  However, after discussing this issue with my mother and Little Nacho's sage godmother Jen, I was convinced that getting a registry started was the best thing to do.  Their reasoning was that people are going to want to buy Little Nacho things and if they don't know what we need, they're going to buy us a shit ton of clothes.  And everybody will get "sick" of buying yellow and green clothes that the baby will grow out of in a month or two anyway.  Furthermore, baby shit is expensive, yo.  And I don't know who I was kidding, but I thought that Billy and I could COMFORTABLY afford everything we need.  Ha!  The baby industry is sickeningly expensive.

Just a few of the baby "must-haves."  No wonder the baby industry is a multi-million dollar industry.  Does a baby really need this much MATCHING stuff?  I'd rather spend the money on delicious food.

So, I spent an ungodly amount of hours last night and, equipped with my preggo magazines, baby product book (on loan from a dear friend of mine who just had her baby), and the internet, finally made a baby registry.  We used Wishpot, so that we weren't stuck with just one registry (like Babies R us, and other crazy places like that).

We really appreciate any gifts we receive (we've already been given a cute little hooded towel from Grandma Donna and a squishy little jungle animal book from godmother Jen...thanks!) from the bottom of our hearts.  However, we also LOVE hand-me-downs!  We are not going to spend a trillion bucks on cute baby outfits that won't fit in a few weeks and are super happy to accept used baby gear like playpens, toys, clothes, etc.  So, if you have something that you're looking to get rid of, don't Craigslist it!  Think of us first!

Ok, all that being said, I provide the link to the registry on this blog.  Please, please, please don't feel pressured to get us anything from here.  If you're feeling generous and would like to be rewarded for your generosity with a heartfelt "Thank You" and a funny-looking picture of our kid, send us something from the list or something that you picked out (we're excited to see personal choice picks!)

We love you all!

 Wishpot registry:**

Saturday, March 20, 2010

She should know better...

As most of you know, Billy and I live together, very happily; we are the proud owners of 1 great dog and part-time owners of another; we love spending time with each other (when we have free time, which is never); and are 100% committed to each other in every possible way.  He is my best friend and I love nothing more than being with him.  We are also not married (oh, the horror!). 

Seriously, there were (are) several people who don't understand why we chose to have a baby before we got married.  All I can say is that we didn't want kids before we knew each other and, all of a sudden, I felt it deep, deep within me that I wanted to create a life with this amazing person.  The timing was right for us; getting pregnant now just fit into our life plan. 

We don't have anything against marriage; we completely intend to marry each other.  But having a baby was to us the best thing we could do.  And we're OK with it and all the jokes that come along: my uncle Angel affectionately refers to our Little Nacho as the Little Bastard, which is technically true :)  We genially put up with the questions of "Are you gonna get married eventually?" (asked in that sort of, "not that the fact that you're not married is a big deal or anything") and smile and answer as nicely as possible.  But what we don't understand is others' insistence on us getting married as quickly as possible or their state of discomfort about it all.  We are NOT embarrassed and we will not run to the altar in shame to try to hurry and get married before I start showing.  We are 100% committed to each other and, despite not having the signed certificate saying so, are pretty much married. 

Most people don't ask us at all about our current marital status (or lack thereof).  Maybe they don't feel like they should or maybe something about propriety keeps holding them, when I heard this story I couldn't do anything to hold back my laughter about how tactless some people are. 

Billy's mother was at a get-together and she announced that she was going to be a grandmother.  Well, one of the other attendees asks her when her kids ended up getting married.  And she responded that he never did, that "he and his girlfriend plan to, but it's not one of their priorities right now."  After saying that, the woman goes on to say, "That girl's an idiot!  She should know better than to get pregnant before getting married!  What will she do if he leaves her?  She'll be jobless and penniless and have to take care of an infant all by herself!  All these young kids having babies and not getting married is worrisome" (or something to that effect).  To which my raging future mother-in-law responded, "That idiot happens to be a PhD student with a job.  And the baby's father, the one you say will leave her, happens to be my son!  He will never leave her...he's responsible, a business owner, a college graduate.  And they're almost 30!"

I couldn't believe it!  I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.  Well, who are we kidding, I probably did.   It makes me realize that I am so happy that this baby was made out of deep, deep love for each other and that we didn't get married just so that I could have financial security and an elevated social status. 

Just do what feels right

Scarlett: "We're going to have to start buying, like, parenting books..."

Me: "Well...maybe we can just do what feels right to us?"

Scarlett: "Yeah right! What if it feels right to me to smack the shit outta the kid?!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today we had our first ultrasound.  It was pretty neat.  I had to drink 32 ounces of water right before.  I hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so I felt kind of sick, the kind of sick you feel when you drink a bunch of water on an empty stomach.  Anyhow, we informed the lady doing the ultrasound that we didn't want to know the sex of the baby so she told us to look away when she was doing the measurements in the in-betweens area. 

Here's a secret: Billy's been so bummed that he hasn't been feeling the baby move that we've made it a point every night for Billy to press on my lower belly to get the baby to react.  The first night after I felt the baby poke me, we spent like 20 minutes just pushing on my lower belly until we realized that we may be poking too hard.  We freaked out for a few minutes wondering if we had hurt Nacho.  I was waiting eagerly for the ultrasound so that I could rest assured that we hadn't broken any of the baby's bones.

We came in and they squirted warm (yay!) jelly stuff on my stomach and started the ultrasound.  It was really difficult to get oriented.  It seemed that the US technician would not move the little wand that much and the image of the baby on the screen flipped over.  It was unreal!  But the lady told me that the baby was oriented with its head towards the right side of my body with its back facing my stomach and its legs pointing to the left side of my body. 

There are 5 videos.  I don't know which one shows the most (I'm equally partial to all of them) but they're all really short...about 45 seconds.

So, who do YOU think it takes after?  We're saying it has Billy's mom's feet, Billy's dad's nose, and my distended belly and a damn good spine.  In one of the videos, you can see the baby hiccuping.  You can also make out the umbilical cord in some of them as well.  By the way, if any of you have a keener eye than me (that includes you, Melanie :)), please don't let us know what the sex of the baby is if you know.  However, if you have no clue, we'd love to hear what sex you think it is :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pirate the pee fiend

I'm sure everyone knows by now that Billy and I have a little pug named Pirate.  We found him on and the picture of him was really blurry, so we didn't really get to "see" him until we went in to buy him.  The description for him said they couldn't get a good picture because he wouldn't sit still.  We got him from a doggie shelter that was barely getting by: they had a million cats running around and the same amount of small dogs (maybe they kept the big dogs in the back) and everyone smells like dog and cat pee. 

Everybody that worked there were really sad to see him go.  They said he was the best cuddler in the whole place.  Did I also mention that he has only one eye?  We don't know what happened to his missing eye; the people who had him before us took him to the pound with his one eye almost falling out and said it happened in a car accident.  However, we don't believe it because he had no other injuries.  Having had him for about 5 months now, however, we know that he's a little rascal and has no appreciation of things that can cause bodily harm, so maybe it was his own little curiosity and "go get 'em, tiger!" attitude that caused his eye to become damaged.

Ok, so we love The Pirate.  We really do.  We love cuddling with him and he loves taking naps with his head on my stomach.  But man, oh, man...there are times when I can't even look at him I get so angry.  When we got Pirate, they said that he was housetrained.  He's NOT.  Now, there have been weeks where he'd have no accidents, but for the most part, he thinks that our things are his own private outhouse. 

He does have separation anxiety and that may contribute to his peeing and pooping in the house,  but I swear that he does it out of spite because we're leaving him alone.  His usual spots are the floor in the entryway and the floor by the couch.  The other day he peed right smack in the middle of the kitchen.  And, to make things worse, our house slants (because it's really old) and the pee ran down the middle of the floor toward the other wall.

Yesterday, he climbed on top of our glass coffee table (which he NEVER does if we're around) and peed ALL over my paychecks and my coffee table books, which included photo albums.  I couldn't believe it.  As we were cleaning, we commented on the lunacy of his actions and debated steps to take.  As we were talking, I mumbled about wishing that Pirate wouldn't be so spiteful when we left and Billy says, "I can't wait until we have a baby because it'll be so much easier to care for than Pirate."  This reminded me of what Jennifer had said to me a few weeks ago as I walked in the house while on the phone with her to find myself almost stepping in a big puddle of pee, "God, Scarlett, you're going to have your kid potty-trained before Pirate is."  True, true.

Today, he decided that the coffee table was a good place to pee...again.  I couldn't believe it!  The little rascal has no remorse :)  So, I spent my lunch hour cleaning up his bright yellow stinky pee.  

Pirate's on the right and Hanzo's on the left.  

I never thought having a dog would make me excited to have a baby.  After Pirate, I'll welcome changing my kid's diapers and dealing with vomit and pee in my face (if it's a boy).    Thanks, Pirate.  :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sage advice from someone near and dear...

I received this email in my inbox this morning and it brought a smile to my weary, tired face.  I copy it below for your enjoyment :)

  I read this in a book yesterday and I don't think they can publish it if it isn't true.  I know you're a scientist and you've got that milk league and all but one can't be too careful.  And I sure don't mean to stick my nose where it doesn't belong, especially there, but I feel obligated to pass this along.  It's from a story set in 1818 but I think babies are still babies and not all that much has changed.  So here 'tis;

  "She has to tell them how you must put a little salt in the baby's first milk, just place a few grains on your finger and squeeze a drop or two of milk onto it and let the child swallow that before you put it to the breast.  Without this precaution there is a good chance that it will grow up half-witted."
  None of us want any more half wits, either in the family or out.  No need to thank me, I'm just glad I found the information in time to prevent another "special" child.  Have a nice day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Introducing Nacho the ninja!!!

So, I've been feeling Nacho move for a while now...just little zingers here and there.  However, last night was the first time that I have ever felt him react to my pokings and proddings. 

So here's what went down:

Since a few weeks ago, I've been sleeping with what Bill and I lovingly refer to as "The Monster Pillow."  It is a Leachco body pillow perfect for sleeping on your back and side.

 As you can probably tell, this monster is huge and takes up more than half of our queen-sized bed.

Since sleeping with the monster pillow effectively makes it like Bill and I sleep in separate beds, I decided to set it aside for a while and cuddle.  I was lying on my side when all of a sudden, I feel a discomfort on my right side.  I roll on my back, thinking it may be gas, and I can't toot and the feeling doesn't go away.  I reach down to press on my side thinking that will move the gas bubble along its way, when, all of a sudden, I felt a bump.  Before I could process that there was an unnatural bump in my right lower quadrant, it punched me back!!!  We like to say he karate chopped me...ask Billy to show you what he thinks Nacho's doing.

It was surreal.  I've never felt any movement in my body that I didn't cause.  It was totally like that scene from Alien.

I swear to God the bump felt like that.  Anyhow, Billy was sad that he couldn't get to feel it.  We poked and prodded for a while but got frustrated because Nacho was giving us the finger and staying still.   However, I felt it and I love just lying still, trying to feel those minute movements inside of me and I hope that he gets into the weirdo position again so that I could feel him react.  This is probably in the top 20 best things in my life that has ever happened to me (number 1 is eating that delicious baked sweet potato with all the cinnamon and butter from Lone Star...remember, Annie?  That guy used to work there and bring us leftovers all the time?)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yay for Cousins!

Sooooo...big news!  My sister-in-law Melanie (who's married to my brother Sergio and who lives here in Salt Lake City) is pregnant!  She's about 5 weeks behind me (so she'll be 15 weeks soon!)  But the best thing is that there will be two little baby cousins running around and spending the first year of their life together. 

It's also really nice to have another person to share all the trials and tribulations of pregnancy with.  We have been attending a prenatal yoga class together and it's so much fun (and kicked my ass so so so much).  So, Congratulations, Melanie and Sergio!  I'm so excited for you guys! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alcohol During Pregnancy: Is there an acceptable limit?

I'm really, really interested in this particular topic for several reasons.  As a budding reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist, I'm very interested in exposures that can affect a woman's reproductive capacity and her ability to bring a pregnancy to full term (which is approximately 42 weeks).  Now that I'm pregnant, I've been doing PubMed searches to look at any epidemiological studies that have been done on the effects of different exposures during pregnancy and birth outcomes (low birthweight, pre-term birth, etc).

I am particularly interested in alcohol consumption during pregnancy because 1: I love me some wine (and scotch...with just 2 or 3 rocks...Perfect!), 2: differences in alcohol consumption among pregnant women in the US, Europe, and other parts of the world, and 3: the fact that Americans have very strong views about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I was a regular customer at Billy's parents house, where we'd talk late into the evening over several glasses of wine and delicious Scotch.  However, I'm not sure if it's the American in me or if it's due to the effect of the growing embryo inside of me, I did not crave that delicious glass of red wine with dinner and the smell of scotch made me feel queasy.  I've heard that several pregnant women experienced this and it's the body's way of making sure that you don't have a craving for it.  Which is good!  However, there are some nights when a glass of red wine just fits the bill!

I've talked to several people about their opinions on the matter.  Annie, one of Little Nacho's godmothers, gave birth in England, where she was told that one alcoholic drink per day was OK during pregnancy.  An MD/PhD reproductive epidemiologist from Ireland laughed at one of the alcohol-use questions in the questionnaire I had helped to develop for this large study I'm working on: we had a range of 0, less than 1, 1-3, or 4-6 drinks per day (during pregnancy) and he said in Ireland, the range would be up to 12 drinks per day!  Not that that's what he would allow, but what he's seen in his practice.  I almost fell out of my chair!

  A pediatrician who does research in Tibet told me that the women there would drink this home-fermented beer made out of barley.  His organization came into their town and tried to educate and encourage everyone to NOT drink the homemade beer because of the possible effects.  Guess what happened as a result?  The incidence of spina bifida increased something like two fold in the area where women stopped drinking the beer (this was over a 5 year period).  They then realized that the beer gave them their only source of folic acid.  So, instead of prohibiting alcohol, the group asked them to make sure to boil off a good amount of the alcohol if at all possible and then drink the beer.

So, why are so many Americans averse to the idea that a woman may be able to drink alcohol (in moderation, of course)?  I believe that it's because of the litigation-happy culture we all live in.  No nurses or doctors will go on the record and tell you that a glass of wine here and there is OK because, god forbid, anything happened to your baby, you can blame it on the doctor's advice.  However, there are several doctors who tell their patients (off the record, of course) that a glass of wine or beer now and then, especially beyond the first trimester, wouldn't hurt the growing fetus.  Of course, since doing trials on pregnant women to see what is an acceptable dose of alcohol re: birth outcomes is NOT ethical (right, Ann?), we don't really know what is an acceptable limit.  Several studies have been done that have retrospectively assessed alcohol intake during pregnancy and have tried to associate that with the babies' cognitive development, but they can't definitively say that so-and-so MODERATE amounts of alcohol during pregnancy causes a kid to do worse at cognitive functioning things than a kid whose mother abstained.

I understand that the best policy is always abstinence (as in sex education): it's foolproof!  However, I don't believe that when you see a woman who is pregnant drinking a glass of wine you should automatically be some sort of preggo-police and come over to her to lecture her about the risks of fetal alcohol syndrome (this happened to the wife of a fellow grad student).  I did read about this one pub owner kicking a lady out of the pub when she got belligerent when he wouldn't refill her 3rd pint of beer.  In that case, I'd totally support the owner!  But to come up to a woman, not knowing her or her beliefs or customs, and accusing her of putting her baby at risk is rude and uncalled for.

What do you guys think?  Do you think that America's no tolerance policy is keeping women from knowing all of the facts?  Do you think we should err on the side of caution or let women make the choice themselves after they've been given all of the known facts?

P.S. Don't worry.  In the almost 20 weeks of pregnancy, I've fully abstained from alcohol.  Not through my own choice, but because the smell makes me feel queasy, unfortunate as that is :)

Not a glass of champagne.  This was some sparkling grape juice my aunt Christine had so lovingly gotten just for me (and the kids) at the family Christmas party.  Billy, on the other hand, was forced to drink Vodka all night with my uncles.  He had no good excuse not to.

In with the new (clothes) out with the old???

So, even though with our combined income we make enough to live comfortably, if it were just me, I'd probably qualify for Medicaid and WIC and food stamps.  Seriously.  Everyone knows that the words "poor" and "grad student" synonymous.  Just because Billy's my sugar daddy doesn't mean that I can go off shopping for designer maternity jeans at Pea in the Pod (which are ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN dollars, by the way).  Christy, one of my professors and mentors, sent me this link for an Old Navy maternity sale.  I think I mentioned it before, but Billy bought me like 11 items for a little over 100 bucks!  Take that, PEE in the pod! 

Anyhow, I've gotten used to the fact that clothes just aren't going to fit me anymore.  I can't deny it.  my hips are widening, my thighs are getting a bit thicker (This belly needs some stable support, y'all!), and my boobs are outgrowing every shirt and bra that I used to wear.  This means, also, that all of the cutesy little underpants I've bought the last few years don't fit.  I wear them and it's ridiculous!  They roll down and up on the sides so it looks like I'm wearing a g-string (when they're supposed to be boy shorts) and thongs or anything up my bum no longer feels as comfortable as they used to.  I refuse to throw all those lovely, fun underpants out but have had to "upgrade" to maternity grade underpants.  They're not that bad, honestly.

One of a pregnant girl's best friend is the stretchy pant (also known as leggings to some).  Many of you who know me know that I love leggings.  They're great for dancing, lounging, working out, and wearing with boots.  They are NOT very forgiving, but I think if you're pregnant, people won't be criticizing your "curves" as much because they'll feel bad for you.  So, I had this really great pair of leggings from Target that I bought like 3 or 4 years ago.  They're gray and go with everything and are so, so comfortable.  They used to fit perfectly: they had the elastic band waist that stayed up when you were running, dancing, or working out and didn't get all baggy in the butt when you'd been sitting all day like some other leggings do.  So, one day, it was kind of warm out, I decided to wear them with a long t-shirt (this was about 3 weeks ago).  I started putting them on and had a little trouble getting them over my hips and my lower belly bump.  But they still fit!  YES! 

Then, my exuberance deflated when I saw the exaggerated muffin top it created.  I put a shirt on to see if that would hide the muffin top, but it only accentuated it.  I sighed and started taking them off to put in the "HOPEFULLY these will fit me after I give birth" pile.  But then I stopped.  My level of indignation rose.  I wanted to wear these TODAY!  This was the day for the gray leggings and nothing else would do, dammit!  So, with my eyes ablaze and the blood rushing in my ears, I picked up the scissors and cut down the side through the elastic waistband. stomach let out just a bit.  I put the shirt on and, although the extra room I had given myself was delicious, it still looked like it was a bit too tight.  I thought, what the hell, and cut the other side. 

Soooo comfortable!  BTW, I'm at about 19.5 weeks as I'm writing this.

I just saved myself an extra 20 bucks!!!  I felt as if I cheated the system somehow!  Then the realization hit me that I had just butchered my most favorite pair of leggings!  They could never be thrown in the "HOPEFULLY these will fit me after I give birth" pile.  I was sad for a while, but then thought...what the hell.  After I give birth, I'll make Billy buy me another pair, once I reach my feel-good weight again.  

See?  The cuts are almost imperceptible!

Anybody else have any stories where they modified their clothing to fit their expanding waistline/buttline/boobline?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Breastmilk porn

Yep.  It's out there, ladies and gentlemen.  There are men (and maybe some women, who knows) who get turned on by lactating women. 

Don't get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things in the world.  I mean, what else can't women do?  We can make and sustain human life.  I think it's amazing.  But to squeeze milk out of your boobies for the pleasure of hundreds of random people?  Weird.

Anyhow, on my search for pictures of darkened and enlargened breasts and nipples, I, understandably, encountered a lot of porn sites.  "Big jugs and guys who love 'em" proclaimed the URL of one of them.  I rolled my eyes and scrolled down the screen until I saw the title "Large Areolas."  I thought it was a safe bet, but ooooooh no.  It wasn't.  It was a blog devoted to women who lactate.  I've heard of all sorts of fetishes before: foot fetishes, back-of-knee fetishes, even zit-popping fetishes.  But never a lactation fetish. 

I don't know, I guess I can't judge what people like doing behind closed doors, but it just shocked me to see something that I consider to be so necessary and important and beautiful degraded to being just some shocking porn material for whoever enjoys that sort of thing.  What effing weirdos.

Since I can't possibly end a blog on people who watch lactating porn (because I'm several hours away from my nightly shower), I'll end it with what I think is so great about breastfeeding.

I'll be the first to admit that I used to look away whenever a woman would start breastfeeding her child in public.  However, partly because I learned a lot about breastfeeding in my public health program and partly because I have a really great mentor in the program (an epidemiologist) who is one of the leaders of the La Leche League, I've come to realize that breastfeeding your baby is just as natural as anything else you could do and arguably more important since your breastmilk is what gives the infant much-needed antibiotics and calories.  Babies' systems are not made to process any other kind of milk.  Formula, although useful when needed, doesn't provide the same amount of protection and benefits as breastmilk does.  It's nature's most perfect food.  And I get to make it soon!  So, below, for your own knowledge and entertainment, are some interesting facts (and opinions) about breastmilk and breastfeeding.

  1. The number one component of breastmilk is fat.  Not the kind of fat that we as adults love and crave ( and chips....), but the good kind of fat that may help to stave off cholesterol problems when your baby is an adult.
  2. Babies that are exclusively breastfed for 6 months or longer exhibited higher IQ than those fed formula (not sure how good the study was that gave this statistic, but....)
  3. Mammary glands are just modified sweat glands.
  4. There are 400 nutrients found in breastmilk that are not found in formula.  400!
  5. Breastfed babies' poops don't smell bad; formula-fed babies' poops do.  Same goes for their throw-up.
  6. This is kinda cool: mothers can make antibodies on demand for the babies.  If the baby has a germ, it can pass it to the mom via breastfeeding, the mother makes the antibody in the breast, and the antibody is passed back to the baby through breastfeeding.
  7. Breastfeeding releases feel-good hormones (endorphins) in the mother which makes her happy.
  8. A woman's breastmilk does not become "sour" if the baby hasn't breastfed in a few days.  
  9. One of my friend's baby preferred her mom's breastmilk after she drank some white wine but not after she drank red wine.
  10. Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories...up to 500 a day!  It helps you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight a lot faster.
  11. Women who fear breastfeeding in public make me laugh. I've seen these horrendous cape-like things online and in pregger magazines that women can buy that are loudly patterned and that you could wear to cover up your entire body while you're breastfeeding.  Do people who have to feed a crying infant really care what other people think?  Honestly, if people in public can't get over the fact that a baby is being fed what it's supposed to be fed, they could look the other way and grow up.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Changes in Pregnancy (both real and imagined)

Disclaimer: This post is going to be about things you always wondered about but were too shy to ask a pregnant woman.  This MAY be a little too explicit for you...although some of us are into that sort of thing :)

Of course pregnancy is one of the few times in your life when your body just goes absolutely nuts and changes to a distorted, lumpy version of your former self.  Most people wonder what's going on underneath the maternity pants and those billowy shirts.  Well, for those of you who wonder, I will bravely hold your hand and walk you through each and every gross, weird, and uncomfortable change I've been going through so far.  Don't say I didn't warn you :)

1.  Nipples:
Yes, they get bigger.  Yes, they get darker.  I've always been "blessed" by larger boobs (thanks, mom).  It wasn't until I was around 25 when I thought, man, lugging these around sucks.  I had groove marks in my shoulders from my bra straps and at the end of the day, when I looked at myself in front of the mirror, no 18-year-old perky boobies looked back at me.  So I decided to get a breast reduction.  And it was fantastic!  I went from a 34 D to a large 34 B.  I loved it!  And then I got pregnant.  And now I'm a very large 34 D.  Who knew that your nipples could stretch out like that?  I have never in my life had melanin that made that dark of a color anywhere on my body.  I mean, my nipples are darker than some of my moles!  I'm getting used to them...I know they'll serve a higher purpose, but as soon as I think I'm done having kids, it's back to Colombia I go to get them back to the size they're supposed to be.

What my boobs feel like now...
2.  Gas
Ladies, we all know we don't fart as much as guys do.  We just don't.  Our toots are imperceptible and smell like cinnamon buns and rainbows.  However, that changes when you're gestating.  I have never in my life had gas like I had during the first and beginning of my second trimester.  You may even look like your "showing" at 11 weeks, but you're not.  It's GAS.  It makes your stomach hard to the touch and makes your insides hurt when you try to hold it in.  And it's stinky.  I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  I couldn't even blame my toots on our PUG (who's got some pretty rank farts) because mine smelled worse than his.  For one whole night, Billy had to sit on the other couch on the other side of the room while I got it all out of my system.  So, boyfriends, husbands, partners: plan to be assaulted.  It's natural and don't think any less of the beautiful woman who is growing a life inside of her.

3. Poops
I know many of you won't believe me, but those of you who know me well know that the frequency of my bowel movements is low.  I mean, normal for me was about 3 times a week.  And I liked it that way.  I felt efficient and powerful.  My body processed and eliminated waste so efficiently, it only took a few trips to the bathroom a week!  I've read in all of the pregnancy books that lots of pregnant women suffer from constipation due to the intestine slowing down in order for it to absorb more nutrients for the baby.  Well, I have not had that problem.  I'm pooping every single day.  So, if you're constipated, lucky you. 

4.  Hirsutism
One of the main benefits of being pregnant is that you're locks look absolutely luxurious and thick, especially during the second and third trimesters.  That's good news if you had thin, lackluster hair before then; not good news for us girls who have been Nairing since we were 13.  I'm not hairy as some girls out there, but I've had my fair share of a few stray facial hairs that needed to be taken care of here and there.  Now that my hormones are going haywire, I'm growing way more hair on my face, legs, underarms, head, and yes, belly.  I used to only have to shave my legs once or twice a month.  Now I'm on an every-other-day underarm regimen, weekly leg shaving, and bimonthly nairing (for face).  I haven't taken the Nair to my belly...yet.  I'm not sure if these hairs have always been on my stomach and now that it's stretched out they poke out a bit more or if it's really that I'm turning into a circus freak and growing absurd amounts of hair on my body.  I'll keep you updated.

This is NOT my belly.  I tried to take a picture of my own to post, but the hairs don't stand out as much with the flash, but you get the picture.

5. Belly button
I have the weirdest innie belly button ever.  It's pretty deep (Billy guesses about 1 inch deep) and at the very end, there's a little tiny nipple-like thing that kind of wiggles back and forth (gross, I know).  I've always been kind of embarrassed about it and will rarely ever let Billy get close enough to touch it.  There's an old wives tale that says that you know a woman's about to "pop" when her belly button pops out during pregnancy.  The idea of a popped out belly button always mortified me since I couldn't imagine that my belly would ever stretch out far enough for my ultra-innie to pop out.  But, as I put my shirt on this morning, I saw the indentation of my ever-widening belly button through my shirt.  I almost passed out.  Although my belly button still looks like a kind of normal innie, when I put my clothes on, the belly button indentation kind of looks like this:

6. The "linea nigra"
Many pregnant women develop a dark, vertical line that runs from the top of their belly to the bottom.  This is called the "linea nigra."  I've currently gotten a half of one.  It's quite fascinating because this whole time I just thought it was another crazy pregnant hair pattern.  I guess it has something to do with the excess amount of estrogen you're producing that increases the production of melanin (hence, the darkening of your areolas).  Why it's right smack down the middle of your belly, I'll never know.

 This one is my belly.  Don't laugh.

7. Mucus plug
Yes.  Mucus plug.  A very useful thing, it sits right in the opening of your cervix and prevents bacteria from entering into your uterus.  OK, this next part is not for the squeamish.  The mucus plug is normally cloudy (it can be clear) and thick and sticky.  However, towards the end of the pregnancy when the cervix starts thinning, some blood may be released into the cervix and get caught up in the cervical mucus.  When your cervix begins to dilate (open up), the plug is let go and you may see it come out as a lump, plug, or heavy vaginal discharge.  And it's tinged with blood, hence the name "the bloody show."  (honestly, where do people come up with these names?  It sounds AWFUL!)  I'm kind of curious to see what a cervical mucus plug looks like but I fear I may pass out if I do see it.  I won't be sadistic enough to post a picture...

8. Vaginal discharge
I do believe that the previous discussion on mucus plugs would segue nicely into our discussion of vaginal discharge.  Women don't need to hear this, I'm sure, but for those few males out there reading this, vaginal discharge is PERFECTLY NORMAL and your body's way of making sure your chi-chi is clean and bacteria free (which is why women should never douche!  doesn't do a damn thing except mess with your natural vaginal bacteria and may lead to increased infections).  When you're pregnant, you produce a lot more vaginal discharge than you did when you weren't.  But don't worry.  There is an upside: it really helps with any sexy-time you may want to have :)
9.  Sex
Yes, we still have sex.  No, it doesn't hurt the baby.  Yes, it still feels great.

10. Increased blood flow
One day, I was showing Billy my belly and trying to show him how cool it was that you could feel the muscles right underneath the skin and as I pressed against my tummy, the impression of my fingertips appeared, bright yellow, for a second or two and then disappeared.  Billy and I spent the next five minutes making shapes with our hands and imprinting them on my stomach...yes, this was on a Saturday night.  Also, one time, I was picking my cuticles in class and picked too far and started bleeding.  Pretty normal, I do it all the time.  So, I stick my finger in my mouth (gross, right?  you'd think I'd know better being in public health and all, but bloody finger in my mouth versus getting blood all over my clothes...I chose my mouth).  When I pull it out, it's still gushing uncontrollably.  I had to leave class and run to the bathroom and grab some toilet paper.  And one time, during one of Billy's business events, I had just come in from the cold and my nose was running and I was sucking it back in, until, all of a sudden, it wasn't sucking back in.  I wiped what I thought was snot away from my face until i looked down and noticed that it was blood.  I ran to the kitchen (the closest place) and stuffed coarse paper towels in my nostrils.  I panicked because I couldn't remember what the bloody nose protocol was.  Should I pinch it and lean back or lean forward and let it all come out?  i remember something about leaning back so I did...and instantly regretted it.  I felt the blood run down the back of my throat.  I immediately leaned forward and drenched the paper towels.  I hated it.

11. "Oh, you must LOVE being pregnant and growing a little life inside of you."
Um, no.  I don't LOVE being pregnant.  It's more like bordering on dislike.  I don't feel like myself, I can't sleep well at night, I don't feel any better than I did pre-pregnancy, and I am horrified everyday at the rate my breasts and abdomen is growing.  Furthermore, the little life inside of me hasn't materialized into reality yet: I haven't really felt a "real" movement.  All I know is that I am sharing a very small space with another living being.  It's a total invasion of my personal space.  And it kind of weirds me out that, whether it's a boy or girl, I'm growing a little vagina or penis inside of me. Hopefully, I'll be able to settle into my role as a pregnant lady and adore it all.  It better happen within the next few weeks since I'm almost halfway done :)