Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Intermoda Expo Time

Little Boy visited the Intermoda Expo (a very large fashion expo) for the third time this year! (The first was in-utero, the second as a bitty baby). This time though, he came equipped with his buyers tag, schmoozed with the vendors, came away with a cookie, and quite enjoyed the fashion show- or at least the music from the show to which he was dancing. It was another one of those crazy activities I never though we would partake in, but Little Boy is growing up to have quite the inter-cultural experience.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Preparing for Birth: Making Peace

As I've gone throughout the motions of this pregnancy, some things have been very much the same as the first time, and others have been extremely different. Nevertheless, my main preoccupation with the impending birth has been that things will be "the same as last time". That makes it seem like "last time" was bad or traumatic when in reality I never really felt much negativity about it until I was forced to look at things in a really detailed manner and describe exactly what I disliked and how I would change it. I am still very much of the mindset that at the time we made the right decisions for the best outcome, but obviously there are things I would change, otherwise I wouldn't be worried about repeating the experience.

So as an exercise in letting go, here's what I didn't like/had difficulty with "last time": 
  • Baby had IUGR- this was out of my control and still a fear of mine going forward since it was only diagnosed at 36 weeks. But again, if it happens it will be out of my control.
  • I had an emergency c-section- although we knew ahead of time that this was highly likely, it was still difficult and the recovery was long and uncomfortable. I fear this outcome more because I know how much it would hinder my time with Little Boy after the birth. 
  • I felt uninformed/ignored at the hospital- We were told things de facto rather than having our opinion taken into consideration (i.e. the baby is warming in an incubator for 4 hours; we fed the baby glucose water). This time we know: a) about some of the hospital policies, b) that we need to clarify to the staff that we would like to be involved in making those decisions.
  • I was separated from the baby for a long time- this was because of the whole incubator situation, so we will be clarifying that barring an emergency I would like to wam the baby skin to skin. 
  • I wasn't able to breastfeed immediately- resulting from the above separation. This only made things harder with an already small/sleepy baby.
Apart from the things that were totally out of my control, the remedy will involve evaluating my care provider and reminding myself that this pregnancy is different in so many ways: a different time, a different baby with a different placenta. From the get-go I had difficulty lying on my back; now I am feeling more and more stretched out with every passing day. It IS a different experience already.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Percussion Obsession

It all started last week when we went to the Children's Museum and snuck into the unmanned music room. Normally reserved for kids over the age of seven, we let Little Boy try his hand at a drum set. It was love at first bang and the kid was hooked. Later that week, we were looking for a short afternoon activity, when we found out that an African drumming group was giving a free show at the local mall. The earlier enthusiasm convinced us to head over, and Little Boy sat mesmerized for the entire hour-long show. It was to the point where he was fake hitting drums and getting annoyed when the guys were talking and not playing! By some crazy coincidence, the following day we went into a different mall to order our glider and outside of Sears we encounter a xylophone show. Since then Little Boy plays with his drums (real and improvised alike) on a daily basis. He likes them nice and orderly and makes sure to tell us ba-ba-ba-pa-pa-pa when he need some help getting his set together.

 at the children's museum

African drumming group

at the mall, xylophone show

his set-up, it's daily drumming around here

Monday, January 21, 2013

Preparing a Birth Plan: Details & Discussion

When we last left of, I had seen my doctor and we had discussed a VBAC. This time we wanted to go through some details and see both our options and the doctor's reaction to my preferred plan. I used the Baby Center birth plan worksheet to mark my general preferences and used that as a jumping off point for our discussion. Approximate answers in italics.

  • As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I'd like to have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring. Does the hospital here have wireless telemetry? No
  • I'd also like to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits, to avoid an IV and artificial enhancement of labor. Of course
  • During labor, I'd like to try varying positions: Sure
  • Is there an option of using a birthing pool/tub? This is supposedly unsanitary? Doc says no.
  • Please don't offer me pain medication. Um, ok
  • When it's time to push, I'd like to do so instinctively and be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits as long as my baby and I are doing fine: We'll see
  • During delivery, I'd like to give birth without an episiotomy. (didn't to mention this one)
  • After birth, I'd like to hold my baby right away, putting off any procedures that aren't urgent, to breastfeed as soon as possible. No problem
  • I'd prefer not to get oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the placenta unless it's necessary, to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it's clamped and cut and my partner to cut the umbilical cord. (didn't get into these either really)
  • If I have a c-section, I'd like to warm baby skin to skin (no incubator), if not by me than by my partner, and to breastfeed my baby in the recovery room. We'll see.
  • What do you think about if we hired a doula? They don't do much but whatever floats your boat.

All in all the discussion made the doctor quite uncomfortable and slightly defensive. I am probably not the best judge as the whole discussion was very emotional for me but we definitely came to the realization that I should probably look into another care provider. While he may be able to attend my natural birth, we are probably looking at an uphill battle if we stick with him. It was time to explore our options.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rocker/Recliner/Glider: The Search

Having lived in Mexico for almost three years now, I knew that our search for a comfortable chair for me would not be an easy one. For some reason, furniture selection is extremely limited and can generally be divided into two categories: rustic furniture that is cheap and uncomfortable (made locally usually of pine wood and synthetic upholstery) or modern furniture that is expensive and either imported or made locally of the same cheap materials but stylized to look like it is imported.

With that in mind, we tried a third option first: going to a carpenter and getting a quote for a rocking/gliding chair and ottoman. I brought him a couple pictures of some cheapish gliders from amazon, we took some measurements and waited. When the quote arrived we realized we might be better off upping our budget and heading to scour the furniture stores for a rocking recliner. Here are some contenders:

A- Kind of ugly but soft and comfortable, back a little short, 6k

 B- Not a recliner, but a rocker with ottoman, 3k :)

 C- Very comfortable, real leather, something we might keep long term, 10k (eek)

 D- Great size, tall back but the seat a little bit narrow for sitting cross-legged, 5k

 E- Comfortable, real leather, a little too bulky, 7k

F- Good size, soft upholstery, back a little short, 5k

There was no perfect chair, of course, but we did come up with several options. The first question was if this was something we would keep long-term (maybe but probably not), and if we were going to be selling it in a year or so how much did we want to spend (not more than 6k..bye bye E & C). So then it was down to the chairs that either weren't quite wide enough (B&D) or weren't quite tall enough (A&F); in other words is it more important to be able to sit cross-legged or to tilt our head back?

We have yet to order a chair, but since the primary use will be breastfeeding, we (I) am leaning towards one of the shorter options so I have plenty of room with baby in my lap. Update to follow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Little More Family Fun

Before M returned to his full time hospital schedule, we spent a busy weekend enjoying the city and sunshine of these slightly chilly days. Our first activity was the zoo! This time we decided to try out the safari tour and it was a huge success! In addition to walking around, a safari truck took us to see the big animals up close and personal. Little N loved everything about the zoo experience: the people, the animals, the movement. There were some tears when we left. It occurs to me what a huge difference a few months makes at this age. The last time he went to the zoo was great, but this was a whole other level of awesome.

 entering the Safari section

 first look

 Zebra, with baby born earlier that same day!

Our second big activity was a carriage ride in the historic center! We decided to head downtown for the shear fact that there is ALWAYS something going on there during the weekends. Even though we didn't know what we would find, we knew it was a holiday, and somehow it always ends up being an adventure. This time was no different! We found an ice skating rink set up in one of the main plazas, and free Rosca de Reyes being handed out in front of the Cathedral! Of course the kiddo loved some cake, but then we decided to do something we've always wanted to do: take a carriage ride. After the big success from the day before, Little Boy loved riding behind a horse, and we actually found out about a couple little places in town we hadn't yet discovered. It was fun to be "hometown tourists"!


 taking in the carriage ride

Little N's preferred view

 like this

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Birth Partner

I cannot say enough good things about The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. In everything that I've read, both online and in print, this book is the most complete preparation for birth I have encountered. The first parts of the book describe the end of pregnancy and a detailed account of all parts of labor. The book then goes into coping methods for a natural birth, options for a medicated birth, and complications that can arise (and subsequent procedures). It ends with a little about post-birth, newborns and breastfeeding (although those are really topics for a whole different book).

The book very much focuses on how the birth partner (husband, family member, doula, etc) can help the mother during each stage of labor. Nevertheless, I found the detailed descriptions quite informative for myself. When contemplating my own birth plan, having all this knowledge made me focus on choices for various scenarios (i.e. what to put in the birth plan), but also the priorities of my directives (the must-haves vs. the would likes), and present those to my care provider.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Second Time Around: The Third Trimester- Part 1

Week 28- We get another look at Baby Brother on the ultrasound. Things look good and baby is estimated at a healthy 1.8 kilos.

Week 29- We decide to take a last minute trip to Chile! Crazy packing, lots of family time, taking things nice and slow. Annoyingly, I have a recurring bloody nose- oh pregnancy!

Week 30- Family time keeps me distracted from my ever-growing, very heavy stomach. Sciatica on and off as usual, we get home and it's back to reality.

Week 31- Belly officially resting on thighs. Also I think my thighs got bigger. The kiddo is sitting so low (up to the bone) that I can't really use a support belt without squishing him.

Week 32- Insomnia! Along with middle of the night bathroom breaks, I've acquired an inability to fall back asleep. Baby Brother looks good on the ultrasound and is still flipping around like crazy!

Week 33- Feeling heavy. Lots of nesting: organizing in the house, preparing for a new housekeeper and the changes of the next few weeks.

just about 33 weeks

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In 2013 I will...

Here are my goals for 2013, loosely ordered by month:
  1. Successful training of housekeeper (Jan)
  2. Delivery of a healthy baby brother (Feb)
  3. Learn to balance two boys (Feb onwards)
  4. Take lots of pictures of Baby Brother (Feb onwards)
  5. Special activities with Little Boy- 1x a month? (March onwards)
  6. Find a daycare for Little Boy (June)
  7. Prepare for our move (Nov)
  8. Meet more Mommy friends (continuous)
  9. Devote time to my own hobbies (continuous)
  10. Read for fun (6 books?)
Happy trails ahead...

Monday, January 7, 2013

One more look at 2012

Every year for the last few years, I have made myself a small list of goals/major life events that I will be going through. When I find myself restless, I take a look at the list and try to make progress on it. This year was probably one of my least successful in terms of actual completion of my 2012 list, but at least I can say that I made some progress.

2012 in Review:

1. Refresh my travel blog- PASS (BARELY)- I did do some refreshing of sidebars, and kept blogging a little more often, but overall it's been hard to keep motivated with it. I much prefer this space which is private (from people I know in real life) and is all mine.

2. Learn to play one song on the guitar- FAIL- I was planning on lessons or at the very least using an app to learn some basics but it never materialized. 

3. Cook Friday night dinner every week- PASS- For a while I was even keeping track of what I was cooking, but that fell to the wayside when I got pregnant. I did not manage every single week but definitely the vast majority. 

4. Host an event- PASS- I hosted a few small events but nothing big came up besides perhaps Little Boy's first birthday.

5. Make fondant from scratch- PASS (KIND OF)- I did try to make it, but it was a complete failure! A for effort?

6. Learn how to photograph on manual- FAIL- I made some progress with my photography skills, and I'm pretty much a pro at AV mode, but manual is still beyond my reaches unless I have lots and lots of time for trial and error. 

7. Finish my trip photo albums- FAIL- I did make a few little albums, but still haven't finished our big one!

8. Continue improving my Spanish- PASS- While I didn't make a concerted effort to make this happen, I think it has naturally improved over time because Little Boy requires that I interact with all sorts of people on a fairly regular basis. 

9. Devote time to crafting- FAIL- I made very very few things this year, mostly for holidays and birthdays, and nothing really for the house or for fun!

10. Read non-baby books (12)- FAIL- I did read some non-baby related books, but I still mostly read parenting and pregnancy related books! I blame getting pregnant again, and hopefully I will do better next year because I really did enjoy the leisure books I read this year!

Up next, goals for 2013!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year 2013

 Here's a joke for you: how do a medical student, a 7+ month pregnant woman and a toddler celebrate New Year's Eve? If it's not obvious, our celebration was VERY low key. Little Boy went to bed as usual. Actually it was not too hard to put him down even though lately he has been procrastinating bed time. M was studying and I made appetizers for dinner. Then we settled on the couch to watch streaming episodes and waiting for CNN coverage of the ball to drop! Then I did some laundry and read a book until midnight our time and went to bed at 12:15. At least we made it to midnight... :)

top center clockwise: fruit plate, virgin sparkling sangria, home-made sushi (veggie & cooked salmon), 5 layer dip (beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole), crostini (brie & blackberry jam, olive tapenade, tomato, parsley, olive oil), olives

In some weird twist of fate, in our Mexican it-doesn't-rain-here City, where every.single.thing is outdoors, it was raining! New Year's Day we tried to go to the children's museum, but it was closed! (Even though it said it would be open on both their website and their phone recording!) We subsequently drove around to every restaurant with a play space that we could think of...and everything was closed! We ended up in a deserted mall, where Little Boy enjoyed the decorations and walking around unhindered. He mounted the empty non-functioning train, and managed to grab a balloon that was taped outside a store. Ah well, at least one of us thought that was a great time!

We ended the day with a blockbuster run and popcorn for dinner. The little guy thought it was divine!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Happiest Toddler on the Block

I picked up this book shortly after Little Boy turned a year old and officially became a toddler. It turned out that the bratty behavior he was exhibiting back then was just a manifestation of over-tiredness, but now at 18 months I decided to revisit the book, and wouldn't you know? The advice is working!

Harvey Karp spends about half the book on positive-reinforement behaviors, most of which we were already doing. His advice to curb negative behaviors is based on two key points: the Fast Food Rule, which is repeating back the toddler's wishes so they feel like they're are being listened to, and Toddlerease, essentially talking in simple phrases. Ever since I started using this method, Little Boy stops crying within seconds and definitely less than a minute, then I can diffuse the situation and we can be on our way! Needless to say, even though it is slightly more wordy than necessary, I highly recommend the book!