Monday, April 26, 2010

Holy crap, it happened! Part 1

Our days are long.  Like 12-14 hours long.  Monday-Friday.  Granted, I have more flexibility than Billy does because I could come home  instead of working at school and take a nap.  Regardless, I'm still pretty busy, with homework and all.  So, since we're a 1 car family for right now (which we just finished paying off!  Yes!),

Billy and I have to coordinate who picks whom up from school or work.  Usually, I get to take the car because Billy is at work from 8ish-7pm every day and my school schedule varies depending on the day.  Yesterday, he woke up and told me he needed the car to go to a few schools that afternoon for some work stuff.  

Billy's Company: Higher Ground Learning...Check it out!

I agreed but asked if he could pick me up at school at 3 or 3:30, 1 hour before my class ended (it was my last ethics class, so I couldn't wait to get out!).  He said he would try.  So, I went along with my day and went to class.  I didn't want to call Bill when 3 or 3:30 rolled around since I knew he was going to be really, really busy, so I waited for his text telling me that he was going to come and pick me up.

He ended up calling at around 4:30pm and told me that he was on his way to come get me.  I chatted incessantly and told him about every little part of my day, as I usually.  After I had finished my 20 minute update, he told me that he himself had had a rough day; he had to run home before he went to the schools because he accidentally dropped a frosted cookie on his pants and the frosting wouldn't come out, so he had to change his pants into the only "clean" pants he had: slacks.  Then he told me that he wasn't feeling well, that he was freezing and had a headache.

I felt horribly for him; Billy NEVER gets sick.  Ever since he bought Higher Ground last August, he hasn't taken one day off.  So, I come outside to meet him with a cup of hot chocolate that I had made for him and told him to get out of the driver's seat and let me drive.  I noticed that in the 65 degree weather (it was nice and sunny outside), he was wearing his winter jacket zipped up all the way to his chin.  My poor baby!

On the way home, I was furiously thinking about what I could do to help Billy get better.  I told him that I would drop him off at home and I would run to the supermarket to buy some stuff for chicken soup.  I told him to go inside, get comfortable, pull out the futon in the living room and just relax and that I'd be back in about an hour.  When we pulled up to our house, and as he was getting out of the car, he turned to me and pathetically asked "Can you please tuck me in?" and as a response, I look at him like he's crazy.  "Please, you know I'll do it for you!  Please tuck me in..."  I didn't want to because the minute I get home, I don't want to leave again. But I love him so much and grudgingly acquiesced to coming inside to tuck him in.

I take my keys and unlock the deadbolt.  I turned the handle wouldn't turn.  I try again and realize that the handle itself is locked.  I look over at Billy quizzically (because we never, ever lock the handle) and he said, "Hmmm...I guess I must have locked it on accident."  I shake my head, unlock the handle, and walk in.  I hear him rush through behind me and go into the bedroom (which is directly to the left) and close the door.  I thought, wow, now he's closing the door when he changes?  I put my backpack down and notice some polaroids scattered on the floor.  I didn't recognize what the first one was that I looked at and thought, weird, but oh well.  As I bent down to pick up the polaroid something else caught my eye.  I look up and immediately notice lots and lots of candles lit on my coffee tables.  Behind them were several (7, to be exact) vases of beautiful flowers, all different varieties.

Flowers and candles in our living room.

My mouth drops and I turn around to take it in.  As I do that, I notice a new addition to our blank wall behind the TV.  Ever since we moved into our house, this space has been something that we've wanted to use but didn't want to buy all the frames necessary to put lots of pictures on it.  We decided to paint something ourselves and had always talked about finding a song we both liked and writing the lyrics down on a large board and then hanging it up.  Since Billy and I don't have a particular "song," we had a hard time coming up with something.  Throughout the months, I would badger him to find something so that we could put it up.  So, when I turned around, I noticed this:

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the lyrics are from the English version of La Vie En Rose.

It was a piece of plywood that Billy had painted gray and had written the lyrics to La Vie en Rose in green (matches the decor of our living room).  It was at that moment that I realized that this wasn't just a simple anniversary may be something more substantial.  I started tearing up when I thought, "oh my god, this is it.  He's really going to ask me!  Oh my god!"  and I hear the door open behind me.  I turned around and saw him walk through, dressed in his calvin klein suit, and he proceeded to kneel in front of me.  I started crying even more, and my heart was pounding, and I was laughing because he did NOT look in any way like the sick and ailing boyfriend that had gotten out of the car 4 minutes ago.  

He said, "Baby, I love you so much and want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?"  Nothing came out of my wouldn't stop trembling.  I nodded yes and finally got the word out..."YES!"  He stood up and I swiped the little black box from his hands and he snatched the ring from me and put it on me.  It was the most beautiful ring ever.  I guess I had been dropping hints about the kinds of rings I like and Billy had been searching for one since the beginning of the year (poor guy!).  He found this ring from a retailer in New York who specializes in antique jewelry.  

No, that's not a dirty spot on my finger; it's an actual cluster of small birthmarks.

It is a ring from the 1920s in the art deco style.  it's got filigree around the band, which is made of white gold.  The diamond is from the 1920s and mined in Canada (meaning that the person who bought this ring was aware of the money being funneled into corrupt governments in Africa for diamonds mined there).  It is cut in the Old European Style (which allows it to capture low lighting, like candles, better than modern diamonds) and is 1 carat (big? long? in weight?)  I can't stop staring at it.  I'm absolutely in love with it and I'm so excited that this is going to be a permanent part of my wardrobe.

Holy crap, it happened! Part 2

Immediately thereafter, I called my mom to tell her and she says: "I never got 7 things of flowers," "man! that gringo's romantic," and "Make sure to give him lots of kisses and hugs know what."  After that, we walk into the bedroom so that I could figure out what to wear for our dinner date (that he kept a secret).  As I walk in, I see this on the bed:

Billy had bought a black Gap maternity dress for me to wear that evening.  It was short and tight in all the right places and was probably the most comfortable dress I've ever worn.  I was shocked!  Not only did he orchestrate this surprise the whole day, he actually picked a dress out that I really, really liked. 

I LOVE that the bigger my belly gets, the smaller my boobs look...yes!

I loved the dress so much, he's going to buy me one (I hope!) for my birthday!
He then took me to the Log Haven, which was voted most romantic restaurant in SLC.  We had a wonderful time and ate the most delicious dinner.  I still haven't stopped looking at my ring and can't wait to grow old(er) with this amazing, beautiful, perfect man.  I'm so lucky to be this much in love and this happy.  

Ok, I promised myself I wouldn't spend more than 5 lines gushing, so I'll stop there.

To sum it all up, Billy lied very convincingly to me all day to make this happen: he had been staying late some nights last week to paint the wall hanging; he never went to the schools that day (he was riding around town taking polaroids of some of the places where we had our first dates); he changed his pants because he wanted to wear a suit when he proposed; he did not have a cold...he was wearing the jacket because he didn't want me to see his shirt and tie; he was sweating profusely in the jacket but still drank the hot chocolate in order to convince me; he wanted me to tuck him in so that I could see his handiwork; he ran into our bedroom right away so that he could put his suit jacket on; and he had bought my ring 3 weeks beforehand, so when I was dropping all the hints, he had already had it hidden in his office.  He's an amazing liar and I forgive him for it, but I hope he doesn't do make a habit of lying like this :)
Polaroid that Billy took of me after he proposed.  You can't really see in the picture, but my mascara is running down my face and my nose is running from all the crying.  

So, this may not be a surprise to all of you, but it kind of was to me.  Billy and I already knew we were going to get married eventually, but we had never really discussed at length about making it "official" so I was completely taken aback.  As far as setting a date, we've got more pressing things on our mind, but are thinking in about 2 years, which allows for me to give birth, us to move next summer, Billy to complete 1 year of school, and, most importantly, me getting back to my pre-pregnancy shape :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The fetus whisperer

I totally think that once Little Nacho is born, he's going to prefer being held and taken care of by Billy.  I really do.

Here's the proof:

Every single time I feel Nacho move, like big, undulating, you-could've-sworn-he-grazed-your-kidneys move, I hurriedly run to Billy to have him put his hand on my ever-expanding gut to feel his kid being rambunctious. 

And then...nothing happens.  We stay there, locked in bated breath, and wait for Nacho to move.  I, frustrated, push his hand away.  Nothing ever happens when Billy touches my belly.  And we hypothesize that Nacho could somehow sense it and either Billy puts off a vibe that terrorizes the poor kid ("please dad, don't hit me!") or he truly is the fetus whisperer. 

What Nacho does when Bill touches my stomach.

TOMS shoes

So, I've seen the commercials on TV and we even talked about TOMS shoes in our ethics class when we discussed Private Organization Philanthropy. For those of you who don't know, TOMS shoes is a company that sells funny looking shoes (they're based on the Argentine alpargata shoe) and for each shoe you buy, they give one to a child in a developing country.

 Argentine shoes.
TOMS shoes.

When John and Katie came out to visit, I took them to the trendy chic shopping district, 9th and 9th.  We went into this store which was totally hipster and had shirts that cost 10% of what I make in 2 weeks, so I immediately started heading out when, all of a sudden, I spotted these weirdo looking shoes.  What caught my eye was the very tip of them: they were flat, like pointe shoes!  I ventured further into hipster-ville to look at these shoes.  "hmmm...definitely not my style," I thought to myself.   I started walking away and I yelled to Billy, as he was walking out the door, "WAIT!...I kinda want these."  He looked at me and smiled.  I ran to the corner of the store where they were displayed and tried a pair on.  

And I fell in love.

My feet had never felt such comfort.  It was better than walking barefoot on a memory-foam mattress.  I bought them.  $44 bucks for the canvas grey slip-ons.  Pretty spendy for a pair of shoes, but I rationalized it by thinking that I REALLY only paid 22 bucks for it and then donated 22 bucks to a little kid out there running around barefoot and getting foot fungi.  It made me feel better.  I whipped out my debit card and paid for it.

I think I've worn them 6 out of the 7 days every week.  They are the best pregnancy shoes ever!  AND, the inner sole is made out of a material that doesn't make your feet stink!!!  Hooray for TOMS!  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Old breastfeeding study with the cutest video ever (but, funny enough, NSFW!!!)

In 1990, the Lancet (a very well-respected and highly-regarded medical journal...most recently known for its retraction of an article that linked vaccines to autism) published a study performed by a doctor and a midwife in England that ultimately showed that babies born from an unmedicated birth were better equipped to perform the "breast crawl," that is, sort of boogying-crawling up the mother's abdomen towards her breasts to breastfeed.

It is seriously the cutest thing ever.  These little babies are only a few hours old and they look like wrinkled old men (or similar to my favorite animal, the African naked mole rat)

Although I do strongly believe that breastfeeding is one of the best things you could do for your baby, I know that not everyone holds my belief and that not everyone is able to breastfeed (fyi, I'm actually kind of nervous about what my experience will be since I've had a breast reduction.  So, I may be one of the women in the "can't-breastfeed-but-tried" category.)  I also believe that an unmedicated, natural birth is important, but there is no way that I will deny myself the use of medication if I scream out for it.  However, it's videos like these that give me the drive I need to try to commit to an unmedicated birth, if at all possible.

The first and last baby experiences are the absolute cutest!

Locks of Love

I think I've had short hair only twice in my life:

Once, for a while when I was very young, I rocked the bowl cut.

Then, the summer of my sophomore year, I chopped all of my hair off to right below my chin.  I think it could've been a better look for me had I not gained the freshman/sophomore 15.

Now, my hair is probably the longest it's ever been; it's way past the bra strap in my back.  I'm sick of it and want a change.  I tell my hairdresser what I'm thinking about and she cautions me that she's cut several pregnant women's hair after they give birth when they're frazzled, tired, and sick of unwrapping hair out of their little baby's chubby fingers.  So, they chop it off and instantly regret it.

 I just got it trimmed today, so it looks a bit shorter, but hopefully, by August, I'll be able to cut 10 inches off without having to rock a pixie cut.  I don't have the face to pull it off.

However, I grew up with a mother who has very little head hair (something that used to embarrass the hell out of me but something, when I look now, that makes me understand just how beautiful she is and how other people view her as this striking, tall, powerful woman).  So, to me, chopping it off doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

Until I start thinking about my outward appearance and identity as a woman and realize that there is a reason why I spend hundreds of dollars a year on boar's head bristles brushes, hair rollers, aveda shampoo and conditioner, and silicone-based anti-frizz shine serum.  I have always been somewhat proud of my hair (it's virgin hair, having only ever been dyed once when I was visiting my friend Rachael in Canada and we decided to dye my hair a dark auburn...didn't look too bad): I love the color and I've got a lot of it.  Even though it's a relatively renewable resource, I wonder if I'll chop it off and look in the mirror and instantly start crying about the monumental mistake I've made.  But, I look at this picture and realize that I'm being silly and that it would be worth it to make someone like this little girl smile:

Therefore, I'm praying and hoping that I could grow out the 10 inches necessary to donate to Locks of Love.  Even though it'd be a sad day to part with that much hair, it'd make me very happy to know that somewhere out there, a little girl who had been teased or ostracized because she had no hair will now have a hair prosthetic piece to wear and allow a bit of "normalcy" back into her life.

 I really like this style, but there is no way in hell that I could ever get my hair this straight.

This is more of what my hair may look like if I chopped it off into a bob and actually styled it (which only happens maybe once every two months.  I have no idea how to blow dry and style my hair...)

Does anybody think this is a horrible, horrible idea?  I don't want regret my decision and end up ultimately realizing that it was just a mixture of the thought of a very long, hot, and pregnant summer and dealing with long hair along with some pregnancy hormones thrown in that made me lob off 10 inches.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

PhD: Pregnancy Halts Dissertation?

As most of you know, I'm in the middle (well, beginning, actually) of getting my PhD at the U.  I spent two very enjoyable, albeit slightly stressful, years getting my masters in science of public health (therefore, I'm technically Scarlett Reeves, MSPH.  Looks pretty good, eh?)  I just finished taking two semesters of doctoral level classes and they've been kicking my ass.  Since Bill gave up his admission to Tulane University's Business School (he was accepted as part of the MBA program) this past summer, we had made an agreement that we would stay here in Salt Lake for 2 more years to allow me to finish all the necessary classwork I would need for the PhD.  Then we would move to wherever Billy gets accepted for business school. 

It has been hard to cram the majority of 74 credit hours into two years.  Already, I've logged about 30 hours in coursework in just two semesters.  Considering that every 3 credit hours equals roughly 180 hours of classroom time, homework, and reading, that amounts to approximately 45 hours of school/week on top of working 20 hours a week part time as a research assistant and approximately 5-10 hours a week doing some (basic) statistical consulting = 70-75 hours a week doing public health stuff.

It's taxing.  It really is.  And the fact that I can't come home and take a nap everyday really makes my life difficult, but I have to keep telling myself: I chose this, I decided to make this a big part of my life, and I'm lucky enough that I have the time and money to do so.

Now that I'm pregnant, I've had to rethink how I'm going to make up a lot of the credits I was going take in the fall and next spring.  In order to finish my doctorate, I will have to take 6 credit hours in the fall, 9 credit hours in the spring, and 3 credit hours in the summer.  Is this ideal?  No.  Is it necessary? No.

Believe me when I say that the best short-term thing for me would be to quit school, take it easy, do a little consulting on the side, and stay at home to take care of Little Nacho.  There have been several well-meaning friends who have hinted some disdain at my decision to 1) get pregnant while I'm pursuing a PhD and 2) finishing a PhD while I'm pregnant.  I understand their concern, but their comments pushes me to prove to them that I'm not just one or the other: I could be pregnant, give birth, and help to raise a family while finishing my education.  Millions of women have harder lives and I'm not going to whine about how hard it is (well, not more than I've done so already) when there are women out there who have to go back to the shitty job they have that won't give them decent maternity benefits and who have to work for less than I do to make ends meet.  I am very lucky to work with an advisor and in a program that is supportive of mothers and families.  My advisor, a family med doc and reproductive epi researcher, is very willing to work with me through the pregnancy and the birth of the baby.

I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that I would finish school; I haven't done this much and gotten this far for nothing!  Additionally, I would love to impart to our kids how important education is to us and to show them that they could achieve anything and that they should strive to find something to focus on that will fulfill them and make them really happy.

Finishing is something that is important to me and will hopefully engender the respect from my children (when they're old enough to know better).  I hope that I'm not being overly optimistic in fulfilling my goals and that I'm not neglecting to spend much needed time with my child. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First love...

Until just recently, I've never given a second thought to experiencing your son or daughter going through their first major heartbreak. 

In preschool, I was in love with this beautiful boy named Chris Kabeydi (I think that's how you spell it.  In my head, I remember saying it all at once: chriskabeydi.)  I didn't speak any English at the time and I never uttered a word to him.  I was so, so sad the day I "graduated" from preschool and left with my parents for a long and lonely summer without Chris Kabeydi.

I wonder how my mom dealt with me and my emotions that summer.  Did she think it was ridiculous?  a 4 year old desperately, quietly in love with another 4 year old?  I'm sure she got used to is as, every other month, it seemed like, I would come home declaring my love for a new boy.  I was a bit boy crazy when I was younger (and older) and my mother just took it all in stride.  I don't think she ever took any relationship I had ever been in seriously until this one, partly because I'm tethered to Bill for the rest of my life.

So, when I saw this video, I instantly smiled and teared up a little bit while I viewed the very first time a mother is confronted with her daughter's first broken heart.  Although I hope Little Nacho is spared the pain and despair that sometimes love brings, I am eager to be the quiet support that he/she will need and hope that I can provide some guidance and solace.

Dharma Mama

That's what my friend (and awesome professor) Christy called me while I was wearing this:

Billy got me this shirt from  It's the awesomest thing I own, except Nacho, of course. 

For those of you who are (sadly) clueless, the symbol on the shirt is that of the Dharma Initiative from Lost:

We're huge Lost fans, so, this shirt makes me very happy.  It's like the equivalent of wearing your favorite (basketball, football, soccer) player's jersey on game day.  Just 5 more episodes, so, so sad...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Breastfeeding saves lives!

Great, great article from TheFeministBreeder:

Every single time a new study is published proving that formula feeding costs the lives of mothers and babies, people come from the farthest corners of the internet, flame throwers in tow, to argue with the research.  But no amount of denial is going to change the truth.  This week the Journal of Pediatrics published some very serious new findings indicating that 911 babies in America die every year from not being breastfed.  Usually when we talk about infant deaths related to formula feeding, people assume it’s in other, impoverished countries where there’s no running water and rampant disease.  But this time, we’re talking about the deaths of American babies.
So what’s going on right here on our own soil?  We have clean water.  We have a welfare program.  We have free vaccinations.  It is clear now that the formula itself, and the lack of breastfeeding, is what’s killing these 911 babies.  Okay, so how are they dying?  As CNN reports,
“Nearly all, 95 percent of these deaths, are attributed to three causes: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); necrotizing enterocolitis, seen primarily in preterm babies and in which the lining of the intestinal wall dies; and lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.  Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of all of these and seven other illnesses studied by the study authors.”
And for those Americans only interested in the bottom line, it should be noted that the same study found that if we can get 90% of mothers breastfeeding for the minimum amount of time recommended, then we’d save 13 billion dollars a year in medical costs.  (that’s BILLION, with a B, people.)
So what the hell is the problem, then?  Why can’t we get on board with this research?  The problem is that people don’t want to hear it.  But I’ll say it anyway.

Breastfeeding. Saves. Lives.

You know what else saves lives?  Car seats.  So, why aren’t people spitting mad at the NHTSA for saying that?  Why aren’t they leaving thousands of comments on car seat articles saying “But I just couldn’t afford a car seat, why are you trying to make me feel guilty?!?!” Well, maybe it’s because our society will admit that car seats save lives, and we’re willing to give them out free at fire stations and hospitals if we have to because it is that important.

So why aren’t we doing the same for breastfeeding? Why won’t they hand out free breast pumps and visits to a lactation consultant when we know it would save lives and money?  Well, I think the obvious answer is that there are breasts involved, and people just lose their minds when female anatomy comes up in conversation.

Of course then people say “It’s her CHOICE to formula-feed — leave her alone!” But I don’t believe that most women are making this “choice.”  The CDC shows that 3/4 of women are initiating breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 13.6% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months.  What this tells me is that somewhere along the way, they gave up on themselves, and the reason I hear most often is, “But, I tried! I just couldn’t make any milk!” 

Here is the cold hard truth ladies:  You have been lied to. 

If only 13.6% of us could make enough milk, the human race would never have survived.  And it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of this system that completely fails mothers and babies, and sabotages a mother’s good intentions.  Somewhere along the line, some one told you that you couldn’t make milk, and you believed them because we’ve all grown up in a culture that tells women their bodies aren’t good enough for much of anything except being toys for men.  Is it easy to make this milk?  No, not always — but neither was bringing that baby into the world and your body did a fine job of that.  Think about that.  Think hard. Your body created an entire human being inside from nothing more than the joining of two single cells.  Your body is a miracle worker. So what leads you to believe that, after creating a whole person with organs and tissue and a beating heart, that your body would call it quits when it came time to feeding this thing?  The major problem here is that someone in your life probably put their own ignorance ahead of the short and long term health of you and your baby, and you believed them because women are used to feeling shamed.
At this point, if you are arguing with solid, consistent research, you are on the wrong side of the issue.  Your anger over these breastfeeding studies is completely misdirected and juvenile.  Get mad that we have no paid leave to help support the breastfeeding relationship.  Get mad that moms aren’t being given free breastpumps, lactation consultants, and healthier food.  Get mad at a system that puts Girls Gone Wild tits on the cover of every magazine, but bans breastfeeding pictures on Facebook.  These are the issues that need our attention as mothers, or as feminists, or simply as women with brains.  But perpetuating the myth that women are incapable of utilizing their own biological functions won’t get you any respect from me.  I believe women are capable. Give them the tools.  Give them the time.  Give them the respect they need.  Women are creators and sustainors of LIFE, and there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about saying so.
End. Of. Story.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Billy's new addiction

So, now that we're proper homebodies, we spend our Friday nights catching up on the week's American Idol show.  I almost had to bend billy's arm backward to get him to watch the show, although I will admit, I haven't watched it since the first season, but he's sooooo into it right now.  He'll sometimes get vociferously upset at what Simon or Randy are saying (he's got a crush on Ellen, so he doesn't ever get upset about what she says) and he'll give his own comments during and directly after a performance.  We've really enjoyed watching this season because there are some great, organic, different performers than what's been the norm.  I mean, Crystal Bowersox is amazing. 

Anyhow, tonight was the Lennon-McCartney night and Simon has been particularly nice about the people's performance.  After Casey James's gorgeous rendition of "Jealous Guy,"  and after he received his feedback from Simon, Bill turns to me and says:

"God.  What's Simon taking?  Ecstasy?" 

I love my American-Idol-loving boyfriend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lower Back Pain Hell

I'm a petite girl; at my best in the morning I'm a solid 5'3" and hover between 120-125 lbs.  I don't carry around a lot of weight (especially not since I got my boobs reduced) and have never had lower back problems.  In all of the pregnancy books I've been reading, they make it seem like you should EXPECT lower back pain.  So, I wasn't that shocked when, by week 13 or 14 I started getting these horrible pains in my pelvis and sacrum (butt bone area).  It would hurt when I sit and getting up from a seated position was absolutely awful.  This past weekend, my brother, who was visiting from Florida with his girlfriend, would remark (make fun of is more accurate) about my lopsided, straight-armed, grimaced gait.  I felt like I was 80 years old.  I mean, it's seriously so bad that when I lay down in Shavasana (corpse the easiest pose of all) at the end of my oh-so-strenuous prenatal yoga class, I can barely breathe it hurts so badly.

 I don't smile during prenatal yoga.  I'm in pain. 

I told my midwife about the problem and she automatically called and made me an appointment that day for a physical therapist.  Physical therapists are great.  One of Billy's friends is studying to be one and the training is rigorous, but I just wasn't impressed when I saw my physical therapist.  They focus primarily on retraining your muscles (neuromuscular training) to allow you better freedom of movement and health.  The PT I went to was really lacking in the bedside manner department.  She barely made any eye contact with me and conversed with the PT student pretty much the whole time.  I felt like she didn't have any idea what to do with a woman with my delicate condition and just started spouting off a whole laundry list of what could be done in the "lower back pain" situation.  Furthermore, during the evaluation, she asked me to bend over and then, as I effortlessly touched beyond my toes, had the gall to tell me that I was TOO flexible and that's why I had back problems.  I thought, LADY, I have back problems because I'm GESTATING a 1lb human being inside of my relatively small pelvis!  I was furious.  So, I left with a list of exercises to do at home and didn't call back for a second appointment.  I bought an exercise ball to use at work and honestly, that's provided more relief than those exercises.
Sometimes I have to be very careful with it because I'll cross my right leg over my left and if I lift my hands from the desk or keyboard, I quickly fall over.

So, after doing some digging, I found a chiropractic practice that focuses primarily on pregnant women and children.  I read lots of really great reviews about them and really liked their emphasis on holistic healing.  Chiropractors are viewed by many as quacks.  I'll admit: I was one of them.  However, I will say that if you're in pain there's not much that you won't try doing to get rid of it.  I did a quick PubMed search for any articles published about chiropractic stuff and pregnancy.  The data, although scarce, show that spinal manipulation was safe and effective for lower back pain in most of the groups studied.  So, I met with a chiropractor (Dr. Rebecca Lake, who, incidentally, had lived in Colombia) and she was awesome.  She gave me an hour of her time and did an extensive workup on me.  She had me do all these things and said that my pelvis was a bit off center, which, in turn, pulled on the nerves on the left side of my spine and caused me to have lower back and sacral pain.  

I went into my first adjustment hobbling and came out walking!  It's only been 2 days, but already I feel the tightness and pain creeping back in.  I go in again tomorrow to get adjusted and can't wait!  This is definitely going to become my crutch (like my monster pillow, which, by the way, I'm definitely going to be taking to Denmark with me, regardless of what I have to pay for an extra bag).  I'm not sure how I'm going to make it a whole month full of transcontinental travel and sleeping in god knows what kinds of beds...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reconnecting with an old friend

Facebook is a funny thing.  Probably spend more time on it than I should, but it's fantastic to be able to see how people I used to know when I was 13 are doing.  I love looking through people's pictures and seeing how much they've changed throughout the years.  So, one day, I decided to post a comment about how Billy and I are excited that we are going to have a kid since LOST is going off the air and we were really wondering what was going to take up a big chunk of our time like LOST has (btw, I totally lose sleep at night about the fact that LOST is going to go off the air.)  I received a gazillion messages after I posted that from people who had no idea I was pregnant.  I forget that the FB universe is something else entirely and that people on facebook don't just KNOW that I'm pregnant just by looking at how fat I'm getting in my pictures.

So, one of these people wrote me a sweet little message.  It was shocking because we hadn't talked in a while, but I was so happy to hear from her.  She has just had her baby (5 months ago) and we started sharing our experiences from our pregnancies.  She cracks me up and every time I read her messages, I end up literally laughing out loud to myself.  With her permission, I have posted some excerpts of our conversation below:

Regarding the dreaded weight gain:
how much have you gained so far? i gained 50 pounds total. i was huge! and i had a pretty hard time with the weight gain. i mean, you know you have to gain weight for the baby, but it's still hard to see the numbers on the scale go up and up and up. have you had to switch to maternity pants yet? that was another bummer. pregnancy clothes are expensive and not very cute.

Regarding keeping the sex a secret:
have people been guessing? do you have a feeling? have people said that you're carrying high or low yet? i think it's all horseshit. i had people telling me that i was carrying high one day and the next someone would tell me that i was carrying low. there is something about the heartbeat too, but i don't know how that one works. has anyone done the needle and thread over your wrist. that's the first thing my grandma did to me.

Regarding weight loss after birth:
within a week, i had lost 30 pounds. now i have this flabby hanging pouch of skin. it's really sexy...

Regarding midwives and how awesome they are:
our health care system in canada rocks! i was able to have midwives for no additional fees. and it was the best experience ever. i'm so happy we decided to go that route. i still delivered in hospital. and went home the next day. and they came to our house for the first 5 appointments. they were wonderful.

Regarding the use of an epidural:
what kind of birth plan do you have? are you opposed to an epidural? i was never opposed to it, but i wanted to try to do it without. no such luck. i was induced b/c i was 11 days past and went to hospital at 8 a.m., they broke my water at 9:30 and the contractions were immediate. at first, it was no big deal. i was like 'this is easy...i can do this'. then they became intense. we tried a lot of different things to ease the pain. sitting on a ball, the toilet, leaning on my husband (like a slow dance), squatting, jet bath, nothing worked and i couldn't relax my body. i ended up making it until 6 p.m. when i was 4 cm dilated and had the epidural. it was great. at first. i got the shakes like crazy and then i started vomiting. and i was sick up until i delivered her.

Regarding her daughter's birth:
i would have a contraction, and throw up. by 10 p.m., i was fully dilated, but i didn't have the pressure to start pushing so i just rested (and puked) until it came an hour later. pushing started at 11 and it was the same thing. push, puke, push, puke. it was terrible. after pushing for an hour and a half, my midwives were getting worried about me b/c of all the vomiting and suggested that we use the vacuum. i wanted to try some more before we intervened so, i continued to push and puke. started to crown and they asked if i wanted to touch her head. i said no for some reason and my husband was like 'you need to see this....touch her head. it's right there' so i did and it was the push i needed. that moment was incredible. after being able to FEEL her, i was terrified that she was going to go back inside (lol), and i pushed and pushed and she was delivered at 1:26 a.m.!

Regarding some private business:
i tore. basically from one end to the other :( it hurt like nobody's business. she is 4.5 months old now and i'm STILL not healed. can you believe that? i have to go see a gyno on april 1st, b/c i have star tissue that has developed where my stitches were. no fun!

Regarding maternity thong underpants:
damn! i still hardly ever wear a thong. you're good! i should have tried the maternity thongs, but i'm too cheap. i know exactly what you're talking about how the thongs ride up the front. it started happening to me ALL. THE. TIME. i was constantly picking them out of my ass and crotch. so i gave up and i haven't really gone back. haha!

Regarding stretch marks:
i'm going to take you up on that offer for cheap cosmetic surgery! i'm so going to need it. not only do i have the poouch, but i'm COVERED in stretch marks. i was doing great. rubbing belly cream all over my boobs, tummy, hips and thighs twice a day and i STILL got them. they didn't show up until the end. like around month 8 and seemed to get worse every single day. they're disgusting. My husband said i look like a tiger. or that i got attacked by one.

Regarding breakouts and pregnancy:
breakouts and pregnancy! holy shit! they must go hand in hand. not only did i look like i was going through puberty on my face, i had them on my neck, my back AND my ass. it cleared up towards the middle/end of pregnancy, but now it's back. it's not as bad as it was when i was pregnant, but it's still bad. and i laughed out loud a little when you said you had to cut bangs to cover up your acne.

Regarding the pregnancy glow:
all that nonsense about a pregnancy glow is's makeup!

Regarding constipation:
have you suffered from constipation at all? i had it really bad. and i finally made peace with shitting at work, and even plugged the toilet! LOL.

Regarding hemorrhoids:
. hemorrhoids. you'll probably get them. i didn't get them until delivery, but i've heard of alot of people getting them throughout their pregnancies

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baby Shower-Get-Together Type Thing

Billy's friends wanted to show their love for us and Little Nacho by throwing us a baby shower.  This wasn't meant to be one of those formal baby showers (which I like going to and would like to have); instead, it was just meant to be a gathering of people eating and having a good time.  Another way this shower differed from regular showers is that there was drinking involved.  Having alcohol at a place where more than 3 people are getting together is always a good idea.

Not what our shower-get-together was like.

We had a really good time and I was lucky enough to have Sergio, John, and Katie come join us.  

There was a lot of talking and plenty of dancing  (to Ludacris's "hit" song "How Low"). 

Here are a few of the great gifts we've received from that night:

Tony "The Fireman" Harris gave us a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black.  When he gave it to Billy, he said "With babies comes age, with age comes wisdom, with wisdom comes Scotch...Here you go.  You're gonna need it.  Not for you, for the baby."  

Casey Londer gave us this fine bottle of wine that we're supposed to save for the first drink after Nacho's born.  Casey got matched for an Emergency Medicine residency in Minneapolis :(  We're very happy for him but are sad that he's not going to be able to witness the birth and cut the cord :)

Tony Newman gave us Nacho's first Wolf Exercise Ball!  We're going to have the fittest baby in town.  Thanks, Tony, for caring about Little Nacho's health!

Unisex diaper bags are becoming more popular now and we found one that Billy could proudly wear.  It's made from recycled plastic bottles and comes with a container for baby wipes and a changing mat.  This was generously given to us by Lisa Mitchell (mastermind of the shower-get-together), Danny Josephson (host of the shower-get-together), and Anji Nilsson.  Thanks so much, you guys!

Ty and Kellie Nilsson gave us a baby starter kit!  They got us little beanie caps, receiving blankets (Billy had no clue what receiving blankets were), cute little onesies, and toys that dangle from the car seat or stroller.  
They also got us a medicine kit for the baby that includes one of those booger aspirators and mini fingernail clippers!  Thanks for the really cute and useful gifts, Ty and Kellie!

This lovely card was given to us by our friends Jack, Heather, and their son Taven.  Taven is a little over a year old and they have indispensable advice about baby-rearing.  We're looking forward on leaning on them for help during the first few months :)

Our friend Jordan Meine gave us a gift card to Barbacoa (YES!!!)  Barbacoa = Chipotle in my book and my stomach has loooooooved Chipotle throughout the entire pregnancy, so we're very happy to have this.  Thanks, Jordan!

Finally, our dear friend Ryan Bird gave us a gift certificate for a one-night stay at the Monaco Hotel in town.  This is gonna be great because 1) I love vacations, 2) I love fancy hotels, and 3) it's so nice to come home when to dogs are at Billy's parents and everything's quiet...that's how it will be at the hotel: no claws on the floor, no crying, no snorting...  Thanks so much, Ryan, for the very thoughtful gift!

We have also received several gifts from people both near and far:

Nacho's godmother Annie and Scarlett's goddaughter Iris (Annie's daughter) sent him this beautiful little outfit (outfit?  what's this thing called?  Pajama?  Jumper?).  Thanks, roomie and goddaughter!

Nacho's other godmother, Jennifer, sent me a little pouch/case that says: "Great.  I get to give birth AND change dirty diapers."  Makes me chuckle.  She also sent little Nacho a cloth book about jungle animals that I'm sure he'll love to gnaw on (we've been keeping it at the top of one of our bookshelves lest the dogs get it.)  Thanks, Jen!

Finally, our very first Nacho gift was this little hooded towel from Billy's mom, Grandma Donna.