Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tyler's visit to the dentist

Poor guy is scared to death of going. So we went in for a sedation appointment this morning. They gave him some drugs, and he started getting all loopy. Still didn't help much, he screamed through most of the appointment. The drugs are supposed to have an amnesiac effect, though I'm not sure it really worked. I'm guessing getting him in for his next regular check-up in February is going to be fun. Not... :o(

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Erster Advent

Well, I guess today officially marks the end of Thanksgiving. It's the "Erste Advent". In Germany, this is when you light the first candle on the advent wreath (out of four). Unfortunately, our apartment policies don't allow candles. :o( Christmas time just isn't the same without candles. Oh well... Anyway, Thanksgiving was lots of fun. We had our first Thanksgiving dinner at our house, the first Thanksgiving for my parents, too. The turkey was really good, as were the mashed potatoes and gravy. Overall quite sucessful. :o) Friday we got a visit from Dave's sister Beth and her family and Dave's brother Keith and his wife Nicci. It was so much fun to see them. The cousins all had a great time playing together, and the adults enjoyed a nice visit. We went out for dinner at the "Blue Bird" restaurant, where Dave's grandparents had their wedding luncheon in 1941. To top off a great day, ASU (our Alma Mater) won the football game against UofA. Woohoo! :p Saturday was a good day for shopping. We got 20 Kohl's bucks, so now we have to go again this week. They sure know how to keep their customers coming back. :p Today was a busy day, too. Church was good. Several people talked about things they are thankful for, and it was so interesting to listen to. I feel like I learned a lot. Well, Kaylee is getting fussy, so I best be going again. She thinks she needs her nursies. :p

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hehe, shopping is fun!

Especially when you don't have to pay for it! My mom and I hit the stores today, and it was great fun! We both got stuff for ourselves (of course!), and I also got my Christmas shopping done. Woohoo! Of course, I did pay for some of my stuff, but my mom definitely paid for most of it. We got some awesome deals, too. :o)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let the teething begin...

...that's right, Kaylee is getting her first two teeth! Such a big girl...

Wow, time flies...

...it's been a week since I last wrote. And a crazy week it's been, too. On Thursday, we had a chorus performance at an Interfaith Service. We sounded awful, lol. :p At least for the first song. Seeing as we'd had two days' notice, and hadn't really had much time to rehearse. Yeah, the first song was embarrassing. But the second and third turned out really well. Overall, it was a fun time. Then Friday was spent cleaning the house. Dave had decided to come home early from school to help out. So while I took Kaylee to the dr (her clogged tearducts had gotten really bad again, and I finally gave in and went for some antibiotic eyedrops), Dave decided to clean up the bedroom. I was gone almost an hour, and thought good, Dave should be just about done when I get home. Got home, and almost fell over when I saw the bedroom. Apparently, cleaning wasn't enough, and Dave decided to rearrange the whole room. Not such a bad idea, except Kaylee was more than ready for a nap, and she sleeps in our bed... So, I gave him another half hour and went to pick up Tyler and his friend from school. By the time I got back, Kaylee was losing it, but the bedroom was fortunately done. Of course, it had taken much longer than planned, so all of a sudden we were behind on our cleaning schedule. Saturday was crazy, too. We spent the morning cleaning some more, and then Dave and the boys went to the football game. I was planning on putting Kaylee for a nap so I could do more cleaning (yes, our apartment had been neglected for a while...). And you guessed it, the one day she only slept for half an hour... And nothing got done. Oh well. Around dinner time we left for SLC to go pick up my parents from the airport (see now why we had to clean so much???). We got there just as they had arrived, waited for the luggage, and went right home. How nice of them to be half an hour early! Made for not quite such a late night. Sunday morning was like Christmas morning for the boys. They got to help my parents unpack the suitcases, and found all kinds of treasures. Fun! Monday and Tuesday just kind of flew by, too. It's been fun to have some visitors. Especially the boys have been enjoying their Oma and Opa. Kaylee isn't quite sure what to think. She's a very attached baby, to say the least. :p But she's warming up to them, too. Hey, anyone with a pair of hands to hold on to and walk around with must be a great person, right?! :o) So, here we are, Wednesday, and still lots to do in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. This is going to be our first time doing the whole meal by ourselves, and I'm trying to figure out the logistics of getting all the food made with only a half-size oven available. A whole different rant altogether. Whoever thought of putting a half-size oven/stove into a 3 bdr. apartment, anyway? Um, yeah, large families tend to live here... Anyway, my week in a nutshell...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

8 months ago today...

...we welcomed Kaylee into the world. It sure seems like it was yesterday. Yet here she is, smiling, laughing, "talking", "walking" - being her own little person. Time sure goes by quickly. Kaylee's latest hobby is walking around while holding on to mommy's or daddy's fingers. She could go and go all day, and is becoming so strong. I sure wish I would have made note of how long it took to go from "finger walking" to real walking with the boys, just so I could have an idea of how much longer my poor back is going to have to suffer. In fact, I think I pulled a muscle or something just below my shoulder blade, as my back has a really sore spot right there. :o(

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Want some cheese with that whine?

A question I could ask Bryan a hundred times a day. What is it with 2yo's and whining???

Why go through the pain if you don't have to?

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I hear it quite often from women who choose to have an epidural. In fact, I used to ask the same question just a couple of years ago. Who in their right mind would go through childbirth without readily-available pain medication? And why on earth would anyone choose to do that? Or even birth outside the hospital setting? There are probably just as many reasons as there are women choosing to birth in a different setting than mainstream America. Some don't want to expose their babies to unecessary drugs (and yes, epidural medication does reach your baby). Some feel that it's "pain with a purpose". And some feel that birth isn't inherently painful. That it is possible to have a pain-free birth. Mind over body. I have come to firmly believe this, based on my own experience. I think one of the reasons why women experience pain beyond what they feel they can handle is socialization. What do you hear when you go to a baby shower? Horror stories of women giving birth in excruciating pain. Women exclaiming how much they loved their epidurals, and how they were madly in love with their anesthesiologist for "saving" them. So women approach birth with the mindset that it's going to hurt, and that they had better ask for the epidural the second they arrive at the hospital. They faithfully read "What to Expect...", and are well informed about all of their pain relief options. They attend a hospital childbirth class, where they are taught how to "hee hee hee" and "haa haa haa" until the anesthesiologist has a minute to put the needle in their spine. Heaven forbid you should experience any more discomfort than you absolutely have to. For my first birth, I went into it with the "we'll see how it goes" attitude. When the dr broke my water at 5 cm, and I went straight into transition, I literally thought I was going to die. Looking back, I think my reaction was typical for someone going through transition. But instead of trying to get me back into a relaxed state and helping me refocus, the nurse ran out to get the anesthesiologist. Who, of course, saved me. And I was determined never to be so silly as to try natural childbirth again. No, with my next baby, I demanded an epidural just as soon as I reached the magical 3 cm. Got the needle in my back, and then hung out on the bed for a few more hours until I felt pressure and knew it was time to push the baby out. Really not so bad, but, something is missing I thought. So with my third baby, I chose to go for natural childbirth. Dave thought I was crazy, of course. But I went on my merry way, reading about NCB, asking questions, talking to others who had chosen NCB. I decided that I wanted to use hypnobirthing, and did the Hypnobabies homestudy course. Best thing I could have ever done. Dave was very skeptical at first, and thought some of the things in the book were a bit "out there". I just went with it, though, and it was wonderful to learn how to completely relax every part of my body. In fact, after the first couple of weeks of practicing, I would usually fall asleep while listening to my hypnosis scripts. Came in handy those last few weeks of pregnancy when it's difficult to get comfortable anymore. :o) Anyway, long story short, learning how to completely relax my body, learning about different techniques I could use during my birthing time, and also knowing what I wanted/didn't want during labor helped me have a wonderful experience. Kaylee's birth was so peaceful and special. It was intense, but never really painful. I felt in control the whole time, and catching her as she was being born was the most amazing thing I've ever done. Never mind the endorphin/adrenaline high I was on after the birth. My birthing time had lasted almost 24 hours, about half of that active labor. I hadn't slept hardly at all during that time. Yet I felt so refreshed and energetic, I literally felt like I could go run a marathon. :p I had a hard time sleeping the night after she was born. That "high" lasted for another 2 or 3 weeks. It was almost like I couldn't stop smiling, and it wasn't until the sleep deprivation started catching up with me that I started coming off the "oh, I want to do that again" feeling. :o) It was simply wonderful, and quite different from my first two experiences. So, after my own experience with NCB, and reading lots of good books, I've come up with a list of things that I feel influence whether a natural childbirth will be a good or a "I don't ever want to do THAT again" experience. Not a complete list at all, but maybe the Top 10 things I think women should consider before deciding to just plan on the epidural.
1. Read good books, such as Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn - The Complete Guide
2. Carefully consider the risks involved in using pain medication. Consenting to an epidural brings with it a host of other interventions, such as IV fluids, a catheter, and continuous fetal monitoring. It can also slow down labor, requiring pitocin augmentation (and all the added risks of pitocin). Furthermore, it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, leading to decreased oxygen supply to the baby while the mother's bp is brought back under control. And the list goes on...
3. Take a childbirth preparation class. Often, the ones offered by the hospital will be insufficient. I personally suggest hypnobirthing or hypnobabies, or Bradley. There are others, such as Birthing from Within, but I haven't done enough research about them to be able to recommend them.
4. Hire a doula. Having a professional labor assistant can be invaluable, especially since dads are not usually all that helpful. ;o)
5. When your birthing time has come, stay out of bed!!! Move around, walk, sway, slow dance, sit on a birthing ball, sit on the toilet, get in the tub or shower. These are all methods that can be used to help a mother relax, and ease the discomfort of contractions.
6. Choose a care provider with a low c-section, induction, and episiotomy rate.
7. Believe in your body's ability to give birth. Birth was NOT meant to be so painful as to be unbearable. Having a positive attitude about birth makes a huge difference. Break the "Fear, Tension, Pain" cycle. The less you fear birth, the less tense your body is, the less pain you experience. Being able to relax is invaluable.
8. Refuse induction unless there is a compelling medical need for it. Remember, 37-42 weeks is all considered "full-term". Some women gestate longer than others. Pregnancies can safely go beyond 42 weeks, as long as they are monitored closely and the baby is doing well.
9. Refuse AROM (artificial rupture of membranes, "water breaking"). Contractions are much easier on you and the baby with the amniotic fluid providing a cushion.
10. Be informed, be informed, be informed. I can't say it enough. Don't listen to horror stories, but surround yourself with positive birth stories. Do your research!

While natural childbirth may not be for everyone, I firmly believe that if more women were more educated, we would hear many more positive birth stories rather than "I was in excruciating pain" and "the epidural saved me." Why go through the pain if you don't have to? Because there doesn't have to be pain, or if there is, then it can be manageable. Not something to "go through", but something to experience, leading to a wonderful and amazing experience of bringing a baby into the world. Not to mention a crazy "after birth" high. :p

Monday, November 14, 2005

What a weekend...

...with a bunch of sickies in the house. Bryan, the one who eats no fruits and vegetables, actually seems to be the least sick of the crew... Kaylee's got a stuffy nose, but it's getting better. Now her cough is getting worse, though. We were pretty much up from 3:30 till 5:00 or so last night, cause the coughing kept waking her up. We both slept in till 8 though, so that was nice. Tyler started with a headache and fever Friday night, had a pretty high fever and headache on Saturday, and still a low grade fever yesterday. He seems to have no other symptoms, though, other than the occasional cough. He also seems back to normal today, so I let him go to school. Speaking of Tyler, he also had a dentist appointment this morning. Turns out he made a fuss, so they had to reschedule the appointment and he's going to get some drugs (anesthesia) next time.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Woohoo!!!!

Dave passed his test, which means we now have about two more years of school until the PhD!!! Yay!!!

And so it begins...

...cold season, that is. Bryan started with a cough on Tuesday, then Kaylee had a fever Wednesday night and Thursday. Now she has a cough and runny nose. Ah, the joy of fall/winter season.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's Test Day!

Well, the day for Dave's re-take has finally come. He took his PhD quals back in March, a week after Kaylee was born. He passed two of the exams, but failed one. So today is the day he's re-taking the one he failed in March. If he passes, we'll have about 2 years of school left (give or take a semester). If he fails again, we're likely going to be done here. The test starts in an hour. I hope he does well.

ETA: Dave just called me. The first thing they told him when he went to take the exam was "Do you have a graphing calculator? You can't use that." So, they gave him some other calculator that he didn't even know how to turn on. :o What's up with that??? Shouldn't they tell people that kind of thing ahead of time? I know Dave would have prepared differently for the exam had he known he wasn't allowed to use his graphing calculator. He would have probably also found a different calculator and learned how to do certain calculations on it. As it was, he had to figure that out on top of trying to take the test... Frustrating. Needless to say, the next couple of days (or however long it takes them to grade the test) will be nervewrecking...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why do women think their bodies are somehow not functioning right???

Somehow not made for birthing? Or breastfeeding? A friend of mine had a baby earlier this year. She started dilating at around 36 weeks, and then stayed at 3-4 cm without progress for a couple of weeks. So somehow, she felt that her body must not know how to go into labor, and ended up being induced. Not past her due date, no, a week BEFORE her due date. Whatever happened to waiting for the baby to be ready? Newsflash: Just because a woman's cervix starts to dilate does NOT mean her baby is ready to be born. It's normal for some women to walk around dilated 3 cm or even more for several weeks before actually going into labor. That does not mean their bodies somehow don't function right. It simply means the baby may not be quite ready. Just think about it. Some women start to dilate very early, like 30 weeks. Does that mean their babies are ready to be born then? No, of course not. Most likely, the women will be put on bedrest for a few weeks. But all of a sudden, if a woman is 36 or 37 weeks, and has started dilating, the need to "do something" arises. Why??? Because the woman is tired of being pregnant? Because the dr is out of town? Because there are other things going on that would make birth more convenient at a scheduled time? Because, hey, 37 weeks is considered full term, so of course the baby's ready and obviously the body is just not doing what it's supposed to? I really don't get it. Do women research all the risks associated with induction before agreeing to it? Or do they just trust that their doctor knows best, and wouldn't ever do anything to harm them or their baby? Do women realize that induced labor is harder on not only them, but the baby? Sure, mom can get an epidural, but what about the baby? Do women know that the incidence of fetal distress is higher in induced labors than in natural labors? That c/s rates for fetal distress rise? That the risk of uterine rupture rises? That the risk for post partum hemorrhage rises? What is it with our need to schedule things? Are babies "things" that should be scheduled? I think not. I tend to think that in the majority of cases, babies know when they should be born, and women's bodies know how to birth. Yes, there are times where medical intervention is helpful and necessary, but should it be used routinely just because? I think not...

On another "scheduling" note, what is it with putting babies on schedules? Feeding schedules, especially for breastfed babies? When Kaylee was just 3 weeks old, the dr asked how breastfeeding was going. I told him that she feeds anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Promptly, he tells me that she shouldn't be nursing more than every 2 hours. WTH??? BS, I say. When my baby is hungry, I nurse her. When my baby is tired, I nurse her. When my baby needs comfort, I nurse her. I'm the mom, that's what I'm there for. What exactly does 2 or 3 hours mean to a baby? Jack diddly squad. "Sorry sweetie, it hasn't been 2 hours, it's not time for nursies yet." Huh? I don't get it. Worse yet, women are told that they're not making enough milk if their baby is nursing more often than every 2 or 3 hours. Even more BS, and worse, too. They are then told that they need to start supplementing with formula. Do doctors not realize that bf'ing works on a demand/supply basis? The more the baby nurses, the more milk mommy makes. Likewise, if a bottle is introduced, baby will suckle less, and mommy will produce less milk. So there, again, somehow her body is broken? I think not. Very very rarely does a woman have a medical condition that truly does limit her supply (or sometimes on medication that reduces milk supply). I say forget about the clock. Nurse the baby when (s)he's hungry, tired, cranky, whatever. The more you nurse, the more you make. In my own case, Tyler only nursed every 3 hours. But Bryan and Kaylee nursed much more frequently during the first 4-5 months. Rarely did they go more than 2.5 hours between feedings. The norm for them was 1.5 to 2 hours. So what's with the idea of feeding schedules for babies? My question is, do adults all eat on the same schedule? "Sorry, it's only been 1.5 hours since you had breakfast, no snack for you!" Duh. Some people eat more, some less. Some eat frequently throughout the day, some have bigger meals less often. So why shouldn't babies do the same? No, really, it's generally not a supply issue, it's messing with a natural process and introducing bottles, and sometimes even just pacifiers too early, that interferes with breastfeeding...

The Birth Story

Crazy it is, too. So my friend's water broke Friday afternoon. She was 41w1d. When her water broke, she noticed that there was some meconium staining, so they dropped off the kids and headed over to the hospital. After an initial half hour monitoring, the baby checked out okay, and my friend started walking the halls in hopes of encouraging contractions to begin. After a while, she went to the bathroom and noticed that the meconium was getting thicker. So she went back on the monitors, and sure enough the baby's heart showed decels. So the dr decided to do an amnioinfusion (put a saline solution back into the uterus to flush out some of the meconium and provide an artificial "cushion" for the baby). This really helped the baby stabilize, but also meant that my friend was stuck in bed. Her contractions started slowing down, and after about 1.5 hours the baby's heartrate started dropping again. At this point, she was only 3 cm dilated, and the dr was getting worried. He basically told her that if her labor wasn't picking up anytime soon, he'd have to do a c/s because the baby wasn't doing very well. So my friend asked to try some pitocin to make her contractions stronger. They started her on the lowest possible dose, and it kicked right in. Her contractions went to 2 minutes apart, and were definitely stronger. After a while, she got checked again and was found to be at 5.5 cm. At her request, the pitocin was turned off, and sure enough, the contractions kept on coming. Within half an hour, she was complete and ready to push. Since she had had two previous 4th degree lacerations (episiotomies that extended into tears into the rectal tissue), she wanted to push lying on her side to reduce stress on her perineum. So, it was time to push, and the real fun began. Everyone kept telling her to get on her back and push push push. She felt irritated, as that was not what she had wanted. Then even her doula (who's also a lay midwife) helped move her to her back, and encouraged her to push. Even pushing while holding her breath, and between contractions. My friend hadn't had any pain medication, so she felt the pushing urge full force. She didn't really notice anything going on around her, but was just so turned into herself and NOT wanting to be on her back and holding her breath etc., she really felt irritated. Anyway, the baby came out really quickly, and she was then informed that while she was pushing on her side, the baby's heartrate dropped down to the 30's and wasn't coming back up. That's why the dr and doula wanted her on her back and pushing hard even between contractions. It obviously worked, and the baby was quickly born. The dr also apologized to her for doing a little episiotomy, since she had been really adament about not wanting one (based on her previous experience...). But seeing as the baby needed to be born fast, it was truly necessary. It ended up only being a 1st degree, just a couple of stitches. When the placenta was born, they found out why the baby had had problems. Apparently, the cord was attached on the side of the placenta instead of the middle where it's supposed to come out (like a candle on a b-day cake), and the cord was also very very thin. Everything was also quite badly stained, indicating that the meconium had been there for a while. The baby had swallowed a lot of mecomium, but thankfully didn't inhale any during birth. Unfortunately, he had problems with his blood sugar, though, and had to be in NICU for a couple of days on a glucose IV. But all is well now, and my friend was able to bring him home when she checked out of the hospital last night. She also says she feels much better than she did after her other two babies were born (epidural/episiotomy/4th degree tear births). Laboring with the water broken, and some pitocin at one time, was intense for her, but she says she's glad she chose to have the baby naturally. She feels very empowered, and I think also has renewed faith in her body's ability to birth and push out a baby without tearing all the way to the rectum. We all are greatful to an awesome doctor, who was patient and respected a birthing mother's wishes. Most other doctors would most likely have done a c/s much earlier, when the baby's heart rate started dropping into 70's even after the amnioinfusion, even between contractions, and was slow to recover. In fact, my friend's doula commented that she had never seen a baby birthed vaginally after decels like her baby had. They usually end in c/s. So yay for a healthy baby and no abdominal surgery! :o)

Friday, November 04, 2005

My friend's going to have her baby!

And I'm so excited for her! She's 41w1d today. We were sure she was going to have the baby Wednesday night, as she was contracting all day, and getting closer together, stronger and everything. But then the contrax stopped, and no baby. We were bummed. This afternoon, she was just getting ready to go to her NST when her water broke. They wanted her to go right to the hospital. I just talked to my friend's husband right before they left, and told him they should take their time dropping off the kids, then go out for dinner, and walk around to see if she can start into a good contraction pattern on her own. She's hoping for a natural childbirth, and I just know that they're gonna wanna push pitocin on her at the hospital if she's not already in good labor. @@ Pitocin and natural childbirth just don't really go together very well, as it makes contractions much stronger than natural contractions would be. Furthermore, it'll require her to have an IV, which she's wanting to avoid. And it'll require continuous monitoring, for which they'll likely make her stay in bed. Not the best place to be for someone not wanting pain medication. Really, the worst place... I just hope she's able to get some good contractions going on her own before checking in. I hope it all works out for her. Ahh, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight... :p We pretty much spent all summer sitting outside in our lawn chairs, talking about pregnancy and birth, drawing up a birth preference plan, etc. etc. etc. I can't believe the day has finally arrived for her to have her baby, I think I'm probably just about as nervous and excited as she is.... :p

I just found out...

...that if you forget to feed your 7.5 month old solids for a day, her poop goes right back to the consistency, smell, and color of an exclusively breastfed baby's. As does the explosiveness of the poop.... :p

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Getting a ride...

...on mommy's back. :o)

A Basketball Poop!!!

Bryan: "Mom, I play a basketball poop!"
Mom: "You mean you're playing with the basketball hoop?"
Bryan: "Yes, I play a basketball poop!"