Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bill's dad is so cute!!!

Billy's sister, Kseniya, and their Dad, Bruce

First of all, this melts my heart.  Second, the design on those sheets is fantastic.  Third, I love that all babies have this mashed-up, pug nose that makes it super easy for them to breastfeed.  Finally, Bruce and Billy share so many of the same features (duh, right?)

Donna, doesn't this make you fall in love with Bruce all over again?

What it feels like...

to carry around a 3-4 lb parasitic being in my abdominal cavity:

 Not these kinds...

This kind.  Seriously, even though the uterus is outside of the woman's body and there's blood and pink organs split open, the fact that Nacho has a teeny tiny little arm just like that just blows my mind. 

It's weird.  Like, really weird.  I think I was OK when the baby movements felt like gas, but now this is a whole different game.  Sometimes, Nacho pushes/kicks/rolls so hard that it makes my breasts bounce.  Honestly.

Nacho likes it when I'm up and moving around.  It makes him very uncomfortable (I'm guessing) when I sit down, possibly because my abdominal area isn't as stretched out as it is when I'm standing.  My uterus is currently (when I sit) almost all the way up to my breastbone.  I'm not joking.  So, when Nacho starts moving around and kicking (since his feet are up towards my head), he's kicking right underneath my boobs and into my ribs.

At night, he also likes to roll around a lot.  I sleep mostly on my left side (sometimes on my right, even though they say not to because the weight of the baby on the vena cava restricts blood flow to him).  I can't even lie down for 15 seconds on my back or I start to get dizzy. Anyhow, at night, he likes to roll around and I could feel him rub up against my ribs.  It's the weirdest sensation ever.  Imagine (everyone except Jennifer should imagine this) rubbing your wet hand on the underside of a rack of ribs.  That's the only way I can explain how it feels.

I can't do shoes with laces anymore or shoes that I have to manually put on.  This is me the last time trying to put them on in the morning:

Yes, my head is on the bed to give me balance and some leverage while I put those suckers on.  I've been living in flip flops, easy-slide on sandals, and my toms. 

I'm growing more and more hair on my stomach and, lucky me, because of my darker complexion, they're black.  They also grow up from my stomach and have been making their way to my cleavage.  It's really quite lovely :(  I sincerely hope this is only temporary.  I don't want to be the kind of girl who has to shave her stomach. 

My hips have grown a total of 4 inches so far, which means that if I even wanted to try to put on some of my old underpants or a skirt that used to be a bit-too-big on me, they won't even go over my thighs.  My butt has grown, too, although I think this may be more of a case of the addition of fat instead of the (somewhat wishful) thinking that my hips literally grew sans fat so that i could prepare to give birth and provide Nacho with enough access to the outside.  The upside?  I've got a substantial butt now...something that I've never ever really had before. 

When I sit down too much, my feet and ankles swell, but not as much as on other pregnant women I've seen.  It hardly ever happens to me (knock on wood).  Maybe I'm dehydrated. 

I'm not as boogery as I was before and I haven't had anymore bloody noses.  I am peeing a lot more often, but I feel that this time, unlike before, my bladder actually holds more urine!  So, when I go to the bathroom, I actually feel a sense of accomplishment when I pee instead of a sense of impending doom because I fear that I didn't void my bladder completely.

I've felt Nacho having the hiccups only twice so far, but it's the cutest thing.  It's a very rhythmic movement and it's quite subtle compared to everything else he does.  It makes me wonder how in the world he can even hiccup.  I mean, don't you need air for that?  I guess a diaphragm spasm doesn't necessitate air...

Everybody who sees me tells me that they feel so sorry that I'm pregnant right now (during the summer months).  At first (all through June) I was like, what the eff is the big deal?  But now I am finally understanding the hellhole that is being pregnant in July in the desert.  Last night, I couldn't sleep because the heat augmented the uncomfortably pregnant factor by 5 times.  I am starting to understand why some pregnant women are so anxious to have their baby (and some who actually break down in tears when they're days past their due date).

Sorry for the Debbie Downer of a post.  The next post will be something wonderfully uplifting.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Belated Dad's day post

I meant to do a father's day post a while ago but got caught up with getting ready for my trip to Seattle for a conference.  Since I kind of guilt-tripped Billy into making me breakfast for mother's day, I thought I'd surprise him with a "Happy Father's Day" post that would convey how important he is to me and what an amazing father I think he's going to be.

I think it's really easy once you're pregnant and then when you have kids to push the "dad" aside and focus totally on yourself and your kids (which I am completely guilty of doing).  So, I promised myself that I would make sure that I make him a priority no matter how pregnant I am or how many kids I have, since, without him, I wouldn't be having precious little Nachos and Grouchos (that's what we've decided to call our next fetus-to-be...that is, if we decide to have another one :)) and without him, I wouldn't be living this amazing, fulfilled life.

So, I'm sure every girl has seen this picture somewhere out there:

I remember seeing it as a teenager and recognizing a whole slew of other pictures of half-naked men holding little babies.  Immediately, I thought about how cheesy this whole thing was: do women really find this attractive?  I vowed that my future husband would never take pictures like this, lest he wants to be ridiculed, by me, for the rest of his life. 

However, the vision that I have of Billy holding little Nacho just melts my heart.  And you're damn right I want tons of pictures of a shirtless Billy holding Nacho.  I know Billy will balk at the whole idea, but I'm going to try my best to sneak some pictures of him and Nacho having skin-to-skin contact (or, as Billy refers to it, skin-to-fur, because he has hair on chest). 

I had my first "meeting" with my doula yesterday.  She nicely took me out to lunch and we just sat and talked and got to know each other a little bit more.  She asked me several questions, like "are you planning to have your mother at the birth?" (yes), "Do you want to be able to labor at home as long as possible?" (yes), "Who do you want to tell you what the sex is?" (ummm...I don't know...I've never thought about it.)  I guess I had always thought that the doctor or midwife told you the news; I never gave a second thought to having anyone else do it.  The second that my doula suggested Billy, my eyes started tearing up and my throat caught a little.  I nodded my head yes and smiled.  Of course he would tell me!  Nothing could be more perfect!  I wouldn't want to hear "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" from anybody else.

My doula also commented on the fact that she has rarely interacted with a couple where the boyfriend/husband has been so involved in the whole pregnancy/labor process.  You should see Billy at our doula meetings and prenatal appointments: he's the one who's always asking questions and interacting with the doula or midwife.  He feels the same way I do about natural birthing and the way I envision raising Nacho.  He is as much of a participant in all the choices that are made regarding my body and the way I give birth.  He is so amazingly supportive of me and my sometimes crazy-sounding ideas.

I can't wait to see Billy interacting with Nacho.  I hope that if I can't get a shirtless shot of him holding little Nacho, I could at least get something like this:

 Awwww...courtesy of the peaceful parenting blog: real men wear babies.

Just this morning, Billy hugged me as I made my way back to the bed from my 3rd trip to the bathroom that night and said: "I know that Nacho will never appreciate it, but I wanted to thank you for carrying him this whole time. I love you." 

I have the best boyfriend in the entire world.  Happy belated/early Father's Day, Billy.  I can't wait to celebrate Father's Day every year with you for the rest of my life.  :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Food porn

I love cooking.  That is, I love cooking when I don't have to.  I really don't like coming home after a long day of whatever, hangry (if I'm too hungry, I get hangry) as all get out, and having to figure out what we have stocked in the kitchen or don't have and if I have to go to the grocery store and if I can finish it all before Billy gets home from work.  Sometimes, I just opt for the bowl of cereal or scrambled eggs. 

However, those really good days, when I can put on the pandora radio station online and listen to 90s music or French cafe music and chop vegetables and smell garlic cooking, are like little blessings in my life.  Cooking is so therapeutic for me! 

I stumbled upon this website last year: www.foodgawker.com.  Like one of my dear friends Michele, I prefer visual food stimulation, meaning, when I go to a restaurant, I normally gravitate towards the menu items that have pictures on them, if at all.  This website is amazing.   It stockpiles all of these pictures of dishes from blogs all over the internet.  You click on a picture you like and it takes you straight to that website. 

For example, today, as Billy and I were sitting on our couch looking at each other with hunger in our eyes (for food), we found this:

This recipe can be found on http://ellysaysopa.com/2009/03/05/quicker-and-lighter-red-beans-and-rice/

We also saw this:
recipe found at http://aibakecake.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/ice-cream-cupcakes/

If you're interested in a certain type of ingredient or dish, just type it into foodgawker's search bar and up comes all of these amazingly delicious pictures of food with your ingredient in it.  The site also has a "popular" tab, where you can look at the pictures of food that everyone's been gawking at the past week:

I died and went to sugar heaven...http://foodgawker.com/popular/gawked/7-days/

So, go there and have a foodgasm for me and thank me later.

I'm a generator!

Lactogenerator, that is.  (Bruce or any other male member of my family that wouldn't like to think of me making milk, please don't read this post :))

I had always heard about postpartum women "leaking" milk when they heard a newborn cry in the grocery store or something.  But I never knew that you could leak milk BEFORE you had a baby.  When you're pregnant, your mammary glands start growing and growing and become fully developed sometime during your second trimester. 

All of those ducts right underneath the nipple act as straws for the baby.  At this point, I'm only leaking colostrum, sometimes referred to as "liquid gold."  According to La Leche League, colostrum contains little fat and lots of carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to keep Little Nacho healthy.  It is also highly digestible, so it will help Nacho get rid of some of his excess billirubin and helps to prevent jaundice.  Breasts don't begin to produce milk until after the 3rd or 4th day postpartum.  Another interesting fact: A newborn's stomach is the size of a small marble. It can only hold 5-7 mL of fluid at a time, which means that if you feed the baby anything more than that, it will spit it up, since newborn stomachs are rather rigid and don't have the ability to stretch.  The colostrum you produce is small enough that the baby will get the 5-7 mL per feeding.  Cool, eh?

Ok, so now you guys are going to view me in a totally different light.  It's sort of like being pregnant...everyone KNOWS exactly what you have been up to get that way.  Now you know that I'm walking around and leaking boob juice, maybe even when you see me face-to-face. 

But you have no idea how thrilled I am about this.  For a while, I was scared that I wasn't going to be able to breastfeed adequately because of my breast reduction.  The first time I leaked was in Copenhagen; I woke up one morning and found what looked like a dry, flaky spot on my left breast. I woke up Billy immediately and showed him and we celebrated for a bit and then went back to sleep.

Ever since then, I've had what I call "booby dandruff" in my bras.  I take them off and, in the area where the nipple is supposed to be, there are what looks like white flakes of skin.  I told Christy of my concerns and she says that it's perfectly normal and a good sign that there's some lactogenesis going on.  Sometimes, I squeeze them just to make sure I'm still lactogenerating.  It's this weird obsession I have: if I squeeze them and nothing comes out, I sit and fret about it all day.  If something comes out (usually looks like water at first, and then it comes out milky), like it did today, I give a hoot and holler and tell Billy the good news. 

I would have never, in a million years, thought that I would get this excited about making breastmilk.  I'm so pumped (no pun intended :))!  Christy even gave me some of her breastpads (yes, they serve the same purpose as the other type of pads).  They're washable and reusable and go right inside your bra so you don't accidentally start leaking out of your bra and into your shirt in front of your professors and colleagues at research roundtable.

I'm also terribly excited to try out a breast pump.  I can't even begin to imagine what that would feel like: would it hurt?  would it tickle?  would it sort of be too stimulating to sit through?  As always, I'll keep you folks updated.

Family, dear and far: Billy's Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ray

Billy's mom (Grandma Donna) has one sister, Barbara, and one brother, Ray, who both live in a little town called Rockland in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Midwest and have no idea where Michigan even is (don't scoff...up until my friend Kaip came out to visit me last year, she had no idea where Utah even was), here is a map:

Outline of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula (or "da UP," as the locals call it) is the part that looks like the jack rabbit right above the hand mitten part.

Grandma Donna, Aunt Barb, and Uncle Ray all come from Ontonagon County, right by where the "eye" of this "jackrabbit" would be.  

I've seen pictures of Rockland and it looks a lot like a place near and dear to my heart, my alma mater, Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio:

Anyhow, Grandma Donna is really close to her sister.  She talks to her almost everyday.  She usually goes up to visit about once a year and has "crabby juice," made out of whiskey and Pepsi, with Barb and Siggie.  Siggie is almost 80 years old and reportedly makes the best omelets and homemade roasts ever.  They can also speak Finnish (Suomi). 

 Aunt Barb, Grandma Donna, and Aunt Siggie.

Uncle Ray

Barb loves cats: she's got tons of cat tattoos and even built a shelter for homeless town cats behind her grandmother's old house.  She's also never been on a plane, which, to me, who's been flying for 28.5 years of my 29 years of life, is really unheard of.  She loves her town, though, and she sees no point in leaving it.  I'm starting to feel that way about my house: it sometimes pains me to get up, get ready, and leave it even if it is to go to the grocery store.

We're so excited for Aunt Barb, Aunt Siggie, and Uncle Ray to meet little Nacho.  Since they probably won't be doing any flying anytime soon, we're going to have to make the trek up to Rockland with Nacho so (s)he could see her/his roots, especially the house that his great grandparents, Raymond and Georgetta, used to live in, which, we're told at one time had no running water and an outhouse! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Want some letterpress stationery? Just ask my super-talented future sister-in-law!

Billy comes from a really smart and talented family: His mother's the director of the Emergency Department and Rapid Treatment Unit at Primary Children's Hospital here in SLC, his dad is one of the smartest people I know (and he builds stuff!), his brother's in med school, he (Billy) owns his own business and plans to attend business school in the fall, and his sister, Kseniya, owns her own letterpress company.  The entrepreneurial gene is alive in the Thomas family: Billy's grandfather, William, owned his own nursery, Thomas Florists, in Wisconsin.

Billy forwarded me an article that was written about Kseniya and a group that she started: Ladies of Letterpress.  She owns Thomas Printers.  Go there and check her letterpress designs.  This one is my favorite:

This is from a text that Billy had written to her years ago.  I guess he used to make fun of Kseniya for listening to the Smiths but then he grew up and realized that they were far cooler than anything else he'd been listening to, so he apologized.

Anyhow, she co-started a group dedicated to women printers around the world: ladies of letterpress.  She works out of Carlisle, PA and has her own letterpress printers and pretty much does all of the work herself.   She was trained in Germany and got involved with and learned how to do letterpress there.  She designed some really cute stationery that I gave to my friends as gifts that I had ordered a while ago. 

She also has some gorgeous wedding invitation designs on the Yonder Yest website.  She will work with you to print your own design or you can choose some of the designs she has on her website, like this beauty:


Here is a brief interview (and picture!) that she did about Ladies of Letterpress (original can be found here)

Ladies of Letterpress, an online community dedicated to women printers, began with just two women who strive to promote the art and craft of letterpress printing. Kseniya and Jessica have worked hard to build this fantastic online community where members discuss process, advice, and share resources. The Ladies are growing more and more each day and have recently awarded their first annual scholarship to one of their members to help develop printing skills and also attended the 2010 National Stationery Show in New York as a joint exhibit with some of the members.
How did Ladies of Letterpress start?
Kseniya: Jessica and I met a few years ago at an Oak Knoll Fest, which I was attending as a book fan, and where she was exhibiting with the University of Iowa. Her fabulous badges caught my eye, and they got us talking about starting a nation-wide organization of the same name (which started as a loose association at the University of Iowa). We found Ning, and went live with it in late 2008. Now we have almost 600 members, and big plans!

Jessica: Ditto what Kseniya said. We met in the fall of 2006 at the Oak Knoll Fest, a conference for book arts and fine press, where she told me about her ideas for creating this type of community. She already had a website ‘dedicated to the proposition that a woman’s place is in the printshop’, but wasn’t seeing any real results, while I had made those patches just for fun, without envisioning much more until we started talking. We decided on the spot that we should work together to form this community, and create a forum where women printers could come together, have discussions, share skills, and keep in touch. We live in different parts of the country, so we’ve kept in touch and made it happen all through emails and occasional phone calls.
How did each of you first get into letterpress?
Kseniya: I had a six-month-long internship at the printshop of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany after I graduated college; the internship was a part of a year-long fellowship. When I applied for the position, I really had no idea what they did there, and less of an idea about how they did it–I actually thought they made books! But I was quickly disabused of that notion when, on my first day, a retired type-compositor handed me a set of reglets and started teaching me all sorts of German letterpress vocabulary. I spent the next six months setting type from their fabulous, 1000-case collection, printing small jobs–once for a princess–and pursuing my own projects. It was absolutely wonderful; little did I know where it would lead!

Jessica: I remember seeing some letterpress printed posters and broadsides while I was an undergrad at East Carolina University, but at the time I was completely focused on sculpture, especially metal work and casting bronze and iron. It wasn’t until grad school, when a friend of mine showed me how to set type late one night, that I was hooked. By that point, my work had already shifted to printmaking and book art, and I think the tactile qualities of setting type and printing on a Vandercook brought the sculptor and printmaker sides of me together.
Besides Ladies of Letterpress, what else do you do?
Kseniya: I’m the owner of Thomas-Printers (new site coming soon!), a commercial letterpress shop in Carlisle, PA. We debuted a new wedding line, YonderYest, at this year’s Stationery Show.

Jessica: I have a print shop and bindery, Heroes & Criminals Press, where I make books and prints, and occasional commission work. I also teach printmaking and bookbinding workshops at Asheville BookWorks, and will be teaching papermaking and book art this fall at Warren Wilson College.
What was your very first press, and are you still using it?
Kseniya: My first press was a 12×18 C+P NS, and we still use it for big things (posters, broadsides, etc.), and die-cutting.

Jessica: Well, the secret-midnight-printing-session at school was on an SP15, which I continued to use while in school. I’ll always consider it my ‘first’. I just graduated last year, moved to Asheville, NC, and purchased a Kelsey 5×8 and a Showcard press. The Kelsey is my on-the-road press, the one that I take to differences places when I give demos. Most of my printing these days is done on the Showcard or on one of the Vandercooks at Asheville BookWorks, where I often volunteer and teach workshops.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Kseniya: I’m inspired by music, my home state of Utah, non-fiction in the New Yorker, and the wonderful work produced by the other Ladies of Letterpress! Also, of course, the desire to stay in business is very inspiring. In the same vein, I find the number of new people starting letterpress shops/studios completely inspiring. It means that people are still wanting to try the scariness of managing your own business, making things by hand–and it shows that the demand for letterpress-printing is still high.

Jessica: I’m completely obsessed with books, especially book illustrations. Some of my favorites now are the same favorites from when I was a kid: E.H. Shepard, Edward Gory, Max Ernst (especially his collage stories), and Kate Greenaway. As you can tell, I’m a little stuck in the past, but I also love contemporary comics and graphic novels, and some of my favorites right now are Anders Nilsen, Chris Ware, and Marjane Satrapi.
What’s your favorite thing about working with Boxcar Press?
Kseniya: The people who work there! The fabulous pics on boxcarpress.com! Also, the Boxcar Base, without which I might not be here today.

Jessica: A few years ago, I saved up for a 13 x 19 Boxcar Base and still use it regularly. It felt like such a splurge at the time, but now I can’t imagine getting anything done without it.
What was the experience like for you at the National Stationery Show?
Kseniya: It was unspeakably great. The best part was meeting all the wonderful people we did, including the other Ladies in the booth. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or for better people to work with. This isn’t to say that the planning, purchasing, organizing, arranging, etc., weren’t stressful and a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. We’ll be back next year!
Do you have any suggestions for people hoping to exhibit next year or how to promote their new product lines?
Kseniya: Having only exhibited once, I don’t have much advice, except to start early! Start the fall of the previous year–earlier than you think you should. The last few weeks will be consumed with all the details, so it’s good to have as much squared away as soon as possible.
What are you looking forward to?
Kseniya: I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Ladies of Letterpress (it’s going to be great!), and next year’s NSS, seeing all our old friends again, and making new ones!

Jessica: I hope I can make it to this year’s Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair, The Book (R)evolution. I’m also excited about some special events for Ladies of Letterpress that are now in the works!
Anyone is welcome to join Ladies of Letterpress, even the guys. Membership is free.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kids from same-sex parent households are pretty well adjusted.


I'm definitely not.  I don't understand the uproar about "lack of traditional family values" and the "degradation of the institution of marriage" in regards to gay relationships, marriage, and child rearing.  Especially child rearing.

When I read about the UCLA study in the Journal of Pediatrics where researchers followed lesbian couples with children since 1986, I was thrilled!  The verdict of the researchers: children raised in lesbian households were more socially and academically well-adjusted than children from traditional families.  Shocking, right? 

Not really.  Although there is so much uproar over gay couples adopting/having kids, the fact of the matter is that any planned pregnancy, any wanted child, would be better taken care of and looked after, regardless whether it's two moms, two dads, or a heterosexual couple.   I would much rather see a child in the hands of two loving lesbians than in the hands of a dysfunctional man and woman.

Overall, the study had a bit of some selection bias, since women who chose to participate did so through the use of fliers handed out at lesbian events, bookstores, and through the newspaper.  Are these women who participated any different than other lesbian mothers?  Also, I do believe that a traditional couple can very well be actively involved in the raising of their children and that some children raised by a heterosexual couple are indeed more well-adjusted than the children from lesbian families.  However, this study shows that lesbian mothers shouldn't be denied the option to raise a family (either by adoption, surrogacy, or insemination) strictly based on their sexual orientation.  If so, then maybe we should start limiting the procreative and adoption choices of certain heterosexual couples that don't fit the traditional family mold (unmarried couples, cohabitating couples, divorced unmarried couples, older couples, etc). 

Keep things in perspective.  A child needs only love, support, kindness, and respect in order to grow up to be an emotionally stable and socially responsible individual.  Lesbian women do not lack this capacity, so why would anyone think their children would grow up to be social deviants or maladjusted teenagers?  Hooray to all the moms and dads out there who are loving their children and responsibly raising their kids according to what they think is right no matter what public opinion says!

Read the CNN coverage of this here

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

33 weeks. 7 weeks left as a childless couple :)

Belly shots.

This one is for Lisa Mitchell.  She has pleaded and pleaded with me to wear a bikini when I'm far enough along.  This one's also for my friend Michele who is obsessed with seeing me wear a bathing suit when I'm at my "fattest" (we do call ourselves the Luscious Heifers).

Warning: these may be offensive to some people...The only obscenity is my large belly, but still, people may be offended and many will have recurring nightmares.  If this sounds like it may happen to you, scroll quickly down to the next blog post.  Sorry in advance.

In the comfort (AND PRIVACY) of our backyard.

I have one maternity bathing suit that Christy's given me (it's cute and covers much more than this one) that I intend to wear when we invite people over to our house for our kiddie pool barbecue party.

This looks more like the maternity bathing suit Christy gave me.  Cute, eh?

A do-what?

A Doula.  It's the term for women who are trained as a type of "labor coach."  They provide physical and emotional support, primarily during labor, but do not provide any medically-based services. There have been several researchers (most notably Marshall Klaus and John Kennel) who have performed randomized clinical trials assessing the labor and birth outcomes for women who go through the laboring process with and without a doula.  (OK, here comes the student geek in me!!!)  Birthing with a doula has been shown to reduce C-section rates and reduced the need of epidural analgesics (McGrath S and Kennel J, Birth 2008); a doula, especially those that have breastfeeding training, increases the rates of breastfeeding immediately or within an hour after birth (Motti-Santiago J, et al., Matern Child Health J 2008); having a doula helps to reduce the amount of time spent in labor (particularly great since average length of labor for a primigravida (a woman with no prior pregnancies) is longer than for a multigravida) (Campbell D, et al., J Obstet Gynecol Neonatol Nurs 2006); and having a doula present during labor reduces the need for a forceps or vacuum extraction and augmentation with pitocin, as well as improving a woman's sense of wellbeing during and after the labor process (Scott K, et al., J Womens Health Gend Based Med 1999).

OK.  Now that I've geeked out on PubMed, I'll get on with the story.  Initially, Billy and I thought that we weren't going to need a doula.  We were leery of the thought of a total stranger sort of "coaching" us into doing something that I thought would come very naturally to any woman.  However, as I read more and more about how beneficial it was to have a doula support you at birth, I started looking into it.  I asked a few friends for recommendations and I was advised to call up several doulas and make an appointment to interview them, since they tend to book up pretty quickly. 

We looked at a very comprehensive list of doulas in Utah (http://www.utahdoulas.org/saltlake.html).  We contacted about 7 of them and heard back from 5.  We ended up interviewing 3 doulas (we narrowed down our list based on friends' recommendations, services offered, and prices).  The first one we interviewed (we will NOT name any names...I'm sure she's super nice and very compatible with other women) was a total dud.  She lacked any sort of confidence in what she was saying and was out of shape and looked incredibly tired (she told us she had 9 kids under the age of 22).  Not that looks have anything to do with being a competent doula, but the fact that it seemed that I could probably outlast her during my labor isn't very heartening. 

The second doula we interviewed was Tiffany Hickenlooper.  She met us at the Tea Grotto (AMAZING place in Sugarhouse, by the way) and she bought us our drinks.  She was very much an extrovert and looked like she loved being outdoors.  I loved her philosophy on birthing and she's attended over 200 births, so she inspired a lot of confidence in me and Billy.  (Christy, she says hi and that she's seen you on TV and is happy that you're doing well.  She'd love to hear from you!) 

We also met with April Gillespie.  From the beginning, she showed such devotion and a lot of enthusiasm for being considered as our doula.  She provided us with a lot of doula-related information and the services she offered were more comprehensive than any other doula we researched.  She was also very budget friendly ($360 for the total package!).  We hit it off right away.  We have some of the same values and she's had 3 children: 1 was C-section, 1 was induced, and the last was a natural birth, so she has firsthand knowledge about medical and natural births. 

Although we really liked Tiffany, we ended up contracting with April.  She will provide us with prenatal classes, 2 general prenatal visits close to my due date, on-call status from 2 weeks before Nacho's born, labor support for as long as labor lasts, help with initiating breastfeeding after labor, and then 2 postpartum visits to see how the baby and I are doing.  She has already provided us with articles and papers about birthing, medical interventions, and doulas in general.  She also has offered to let us use her "fake" baby.  You know the ones that some high schools use for those "at risk" girls?  The "fake" babies that cry and log how many times and for how long they cried so that the instructor can see if you're going to be a neglectful parent?  That one.  I thought it may be a good idea for Billy to hang out with since he's never once changed a baby diaper in his life. 

I also briefly thought about buying Billy this, until I saw the $649 price tag:

So, I'm excited to start the prenatal classes with April.  We'll start doing all of the relaxation/birthing exercises that I'll use during labor.  I'll have to keep you updated about the stuff I'm doing during my sessions (the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly). 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Future Nacho Portraits

Have you ever been to www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com?  You should. It's fantastic.  My family only took 1 set of professional family photos back in 1994.  I was wearing knee highs with a skirt...Oh, the 90s :)

When we think of family photos, we think "How cheesy!" but those are the best types of family photos.  They're the ones you can look back on with your significant other and, if you have thick skin, your kids and grandkids, who will laugh themselves silly at how stupid everyone looked.

Examples of great family photos include:

Billy and I plan to rival Brangelina and have 9 or 10 kids.  We also plan to cut Billy's hair like this guy's.

We are definitely going to steal this idea from these guys once Nacho is born.  Timeless!

Utah is the only place that I've ever seen where families all dress up alike in family photos.  What gives?  I mean,  the 2 grandparents, the 8 kids and the 50 grandchildren all in matching jean shirts (yes, Sherrie, I'm talking about you :))  

 We're definitely going to enroll Nacho in the "Chippendales Training Program," just like his dad did when he was younger.

Why, oh WHY did we not think of this first?  Although this couple chose the swamp for their pregnancy shot, we've got a much better locale: the marshes out by the airport.

If we would've waited 3 more months to get knocked up, we totally could've done this for our pregnancy posh photo shoot.  We'll save this for next time!  

Finally, what is a great family picture without Jesus in it?  Once Nacho is little older, we could take him to Kay Paintings here in Salt Lake City and they will paint him chillin' with a very frat-boy-looking-bro-ish Jesus:

I can't wait until Nacho graduates from high school:  Off to Olan Mills Glamour Studios we'll go!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thinking about wrinkled cleavage already?

I have a love/hate relationship with my breasts.  I love them because I think they're fascinating (I am an autotroph!  Kind of.)  I hate them because the last 14 years of my life, I've been coming to terms with the fact that I'm a "top-heavy" girl.  Growing up as a ballet dancer didn't help my breast self-esteem either.  Anyhow, I'm kind of excited to see what they'll look like after all is said and done regarding feeding and nurturing Nacho (and any way-in-the-future other kids).  If they look like this after I'm done breastfeeding:

then I'll plead with Billy to come down to Colombia with me and let me get another breast life/reduction.

If they start to look like this:

Wrinkled cleavage

then I would ask Billy to buy me one of these:

In all honesty, when this popped up on my google reader, I laughed and thought "really?!?!"  But the more I think about it, the more I want it!  I can't stand the way it feels when my breasts touch each other, when they touch my belly, and when my gut rests on my thighs when I sit.  I always have to tuck my shirt under or in between my boobs and underneath my belly.  Since I have to sleep on my side at night, my poor boobies are always pretty smashed:

Needless to say, it is very uncomfortable.  I usually use Monster Pillow to separate my boobs at night when I cuddle up next to it.  But maybe post-pregnancy, I'd have to invest in one of these or, better yet, make one!

Om....Om...Omygod, it hurts!

I have been taking prenatal yoga classes here around town (at Avenues Yoga and at Centered City Yoga).

I've been doing yoga pretty regularly for about 5 years now.  I was taking 2-3 classes a week, I felt great, I had gained some of the flexibility that I lost immediately after graduating college, and I was strong.  I could seriously do this pose without even thinking about it:

Crow Pose

Last fall semester was tough for me to keep up with my exercising: I went to my first public health conference, I finished my master's thesis, I was taking a buttload of classes, and we moved into a new house.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I made it a point to try to exercise a lot, but I didn't.  I was still "too busy."  It wasn't until March that I started taking the prenatal yoga class at Avenues Yoga.  It was wonderful!  Relaxing but sort of strenuous!  I definitely built up a sweat in class.  

Prenatal yoga isn't easy.  It's a modified form of regular yoga that focuses on stretching your back, strengthening your legs (we do lots of squats and lunge poses), and hip-opening exercises (like pigeon pose, my favorite!).  Any position on all fours helps to "push" the baby into the ideal position: head down, facing backwards.  It also helps you get "centered," a fancy way of saying that you focus on one thing at one time, usually your breathing, and let that flow through the poses (during labor, maintaining control of your breath and feeling relaxed is of the utmost importance!  You don't want to cut off oxygen to your baby by being too tense!)

Anyhow, I'm not the yogini I used to be.  The last prenatal class I took had me sweating bullets 15 minutes into the "modified-for-big-bellies" sun salutations.  I swear I was the only one struggling in class.  Nobody was sweating like I was.  I felt so gross.  I seriously dripped sweat onto my mat in downward dog :(  Furthermore, my range of motion is limited and any small, wrong movement can bring upon the most intense twinges of pain in my back.

Warrior pose: Faking it like I would in class.

What it feels like right after I fake it.

Regardless, after every class, I feel a little stronger and a little more capable.  I can't wait until this baby is born strictly so I can sleep on my stomach again and so that I can do any yoga move that requires time on my belly or any scrunching of my abdomen. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Green Baby: Skip if you could care less about green living

My friend Jennifer, a life-long vegetarian and animal rights advocate, just started her own company: Mission Savvy (check it out at www.missionsavvy.com). She sells beautiful clothes that raise awareness about animal rights issues.


The clothes are also eco-friendly (and expensive for financially strapped people like me...but I'm hoping my 10 year friendship with Jennifer will somehow materialize into this for my birthday next year (when I could actually fit into it). Please, Jen?)

I never knew that she was into the whole "green" movement, but it seems like a perfect fit for her.

Anyhow, it got me thinking about what I can do to make Little Nacho a "green" baby. We want to be committed to making Nacho's home environment as natural and as healthy as possible. There is so much in food (pesticides), toys (lead, cadmium), cleaning products (hormone disruptors), and furniture (formaldehyde) that we don't notice. Now, don't get me wrong, I've grown up around Windex my whole entire life (my mother is a lifelong fan) and she used all the latest and greatest products and it didn't seem to affect me. I'm alright, right? Right??? But, you never know. I could've been 5'5" tall instead of a 5'3" and maybe increased my ACT score by a few points. Who knows.

I've been reading lots of crunchy books and magazines and have come to the realization that there is a whole world of eco-friendly products out there beyond my local Whole Foods store. But guess what. They're expensive. Ridiculously, beyond-the-budget-of-a-full-time-grad-student-living-on-the-good-graces-of-her-boyfriend's-much-larger-salary, atrociously expensive. I mean, sometimes organic stuff costs almost twice as much as regular stuff (regular gerber onesies pack ranges from $6.99 to $9.99 while gerber organic onesies pack ranges from $8.99 to $12.99. Imagine what the price difference on bigger purchase items will be!).

However, not all hope is lost. Living green can certainly be cheaper (and quite possibly easier) than not doing so! For example, Billy and I have made the decision to cloth diaper our babies. What drove us to do that was our finances. We looked at the cost of buying diapers over the course of a baby's infancy and toddlerhood and were appalled. My friend Christy was the first person I'd ever met who cloth diapers her kids. I never knew there were so many families out there who did this. I thought disposables were the only thing out there. I had always grown up picturing myself as a baby in Pampers. However, when I told my mom were going to use cloth diapers (and as I waited for her to question why I decided to do so), she said, Great! I'm a pro. You used to wear cloth diapers. Imagine that.

Anyhow, cloth diapers are expensive to buy. And there's a whole slew of different types of cloth diapers:

Pocket Diapers: Have a waterproof outerlayer and a stay-dry inner layer with a pocket to put in extra stuffing (absorbent inner). Downside, you have to wash the whole thing after each use.

These are a type of all-in-one diapers: they have a waterproof outer, a one-piece inner, and an absorbent insert. Upside: Unless baby has a poop/major blowout, can reuse the outer part and just put in a new inner absorbent layer.

We're considering BumGenius and FuzziBunz diapers.  So, for a pack of 6 BumGenius organic diapers, it costs about $135.00. I know. Heart attack. However, we plan to buy 12 of these (along with extra inserts which are much cheaper) to start off with (along with just a few of the organic newborn disposables). If we love them, we'll augment our stash with gently used diapers from www.myuseddiapers.com, www.diaperswappers.com, and the used section of http://diaperdaisy.com. That's about $400 or so in diapering stuff. But consider that on Amazon right now, Seventh Generation diapers cost $0.22 a diaper. If you change a baby's diaper 7 times a day, that's $43.12 a month, which is $517 a year! So, in less than one year, you've recouped your money's worth in disposables. Plus, if you wanna have another kid, you can reuse them without any of the startup costs! Also, cloth diapering your baby reduces the chances of getting diaper rash and reduces the amount of time Little Nacho's private parts are touching plastic and dioxins (a carcinogen).

But Scarlett, what about WASHING them and all the poop and pee! It's not that bad. We're going to buy a little spray that attaches to the toilet to spray off any solids into the toiletbowl. Then we throw them into a pail and do the laundry. Easy Peasy. And the covers are all brightly colored and adorable. You can even get some with patterns on it.

Anyhow, we're currently transitioning to using all natural products for cleaning in our house. For some things, like dishwashing and laundry, we will have to buy eco-friendly products. But, for such things like window or kitchen cleaners, we'll make our own! My mother always said using vinegar water and newspaper was the best way to clean windows and mirrors. Things such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon are great to use while cleaning. There are several websites out there that give you recipes for making your own cleaner at home.

Our house is also really, really old. We just put in the swamp cooler (for those of you non-desert folk, it's like an air conditioning unit, but instead, it passes the air over water and cools it and humidifies and cools your house) that's maybe 30 years old. Billy cleaned it and put in natural aspen cooler pads. I still worry about the air quality of the house, so part of our "greening-up" is buying plants that help detoxify the air.

English Ivy

Spider Plant

Dwarf Date Palm

I've been using Aveda products for my hair and some of their makeup products and I really like them. However, Aubrey organics (www.aubrey-organics.com) make fabulous products and their website is fantastic! For baby, we plan to purchase body products from www.californiababy.com and www.usa.weleda.com.

After all of the scare of lead in the paint being used on some child toys, we decided to go back to the basics and buy Little Nacho quality, long-lasting toys that can be cherished for several years. These generally do not include lots of plastic and are probably not battery-operated. I'm not against buying Nacho anything with batteries or made out of plastic (God knows my most favorite toys when I were little were the glow worm and cabbage patch), but we'd like for him to use his imagination and learn from his toys instead of being fixated on a computer screen or the TV for the majority of the day. Websites I've loved so far are www.peacetoys.com, www.babybunz.com, and www.naturalplay.com.

Finally, we've been VERY lucky to have been given lots of lovingly used baby clothing and gear (thanks, Christy and Heather!). I just picked up 4 garbage bags full of infant clothing, a bath sling for Nacho, a Boppy cover, and tons of other stuff. I mean, that's hundreds of dollars saved in baby clothing alone! Most of my maternity clothes was passed down to me from wonderful women that I know and I plan to do the same. It makes me feel great knowing that I don't have to contribute to the baby industry any more than I HAVE to.

Melanie, let's talk about some sort of baby hand-me-down/share system, since Nacho and Little Nico will be twinning it up for the rest of their lives (for those of you who don't know, Melanie is my sister-in-law who is almost 27 weeks pregnant...5 weeks behind me).