Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby dreamin'

So the other night I had what I assume will be the first of several dreams about being in labor and giving birth. I’ve always had vivid dreams, and they often strongly reflect what’s going on in my life, for better or worse. By worse, I mean that any time I am the driver on a long road trip, I dream about driving all night long the following night. Which, as you can imagine, is not the most restful thing. But I digress.

As I was saying, I dreamt the other night that I was in labor, and frankly it was fabulous. It didn’t hurt at all, and it was actually quite sensual. I remember feeling warm and giggly, and very powerful in a crunchy-hippie-earth-mother sort of way. I woke up before actually giving birth, but the whole thing felt very happy and warm. I think what struck me most about it was that none of it hurt.

All of this sort of makes sense given what I have been reading lately – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May is a goddess of midwifery, and this book is fabulous. Actually I read the whole thing before getting pregnant, but am re-reading it again now. The section I’m reading is about the process of childbirth, and discussed briefly the expectation vs the perception of pain during the process. One study which compared women in the US to women in Sweden found that the proportion of women who expected unbearable pain during childbirth was the same as the proportion of women who needed an epidural or other similar pain relief during childbirth. And this percentage of women was much much higher in the US than in Sweden. So the expectation of pain was directly related to the experience of pain. Interesting, eh? I mean it makes sense – if you think something is going to really hurt, and you get tense in expectation of the pain, then you will really feel it. The Swedish women, who entered childbirth expecting it to be challenging but not unbearably painful, were more relaxed and better able to manage the experience.

So what does this mean to me? Mostly that it’s really important to be relaxed and confident in your ability to handle childbirth. Fear of the pain will only exacerbate the pain. Go with the flow. Ommmmmmmmmmmmm. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Burnin' it up!

Dad here again -
I finally got all of the artwork transferred to the front of the toy chest and have started the woodburning. Certain spots are a real struggle against the wood grain (the little grooves of the grain want to grab the tip of the burner). It's interesting how some parts of the wood are less dense and the burner moves through it very easily and burns a nice, wide line, while other parts are harder and the burner just moves across the surface, not making much of a line. I'm getting better as I go though, so by the time I finish this whole thing maybe I can claim to be semi-skilled. Anyway, here are the recent shots of the box, and one shot of me hard at work (thanks to mom/my photog).

Um, still 24 weeks.

So the midwife totally shot down the ultrasound tech's pushed-up due date. So I'm back to my original May 12th estimate. She told me that studies have found that after the first trimester, ultrasounds are actually quite inaccurate when it comes to evaluating fetal age. Apparently a mother's instinct about her due date (ie., will it be early or late) is actually more accurate than an ultrasound. Wild, eh?

And my evaluation of our little Bubba's physical activities as 'constant' and 'energetic' were confirmed when she went to listen to his heartbeat. Little tadpole wouldn't stay in one place for more than 5 seconds. She was chasing him all over my belly with the Doplar, moving that thing like a little kid playing with Match cars. Happily, his heartbeat is good, my blood pressure is staying perfect, and I've now gained a total of 9 pounds. So we're doing well on all fronts! If only this kid hadn't learned to punch me in the ribs and kick me in the bladder at the same exact time.

I think we're hitting a big growth spurt right now, because I'm starting to get hungry again a few hours after eating. Speaking of which, that Passion Fruit ice cream I made last night (yeah that's right, I made ice cream, and it is damn good) is calling my name...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

24 Weeks!

Here I am in all my getting-larger glory. Depending on the accuracy of that ultrasound, I am now either 23 or 24 weeks. I'm going with 24 weeks, because it makes me feel better. As you can see, I'm rounding out nicely. I told Byron I was on my way to looking like as house, and he assured me that I still look like a brick house. Yeah. What a good husband. :)

We headed back to Babies R Us today and did some more registry work. Kinda felt like we knew what we were doing there this time! I mean kinda. Not really. But it was still productive.

In other fun developments, I'm starting to enjoy those lovely Braxton-Hicks contractions. For the uninitiated, they're like training contractions, normal at this stage. So every once in a while it feels like my ab muscles are doing sit-ups without telling me. Then my belly feels like a rock. That's right, rock hard abs. Yeah, not really. But that's what I tell myself anyway. Other than that, the world keeps on turning, and my little Scooter keeps on kicking. Alot.....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yes, there is a father, too...

Okay, so dad's first post! I can go ahead and say right off the bat that my posts won't be as funny and entertaining as Elise's... I'll try not to put anyone to sleep though!

So this big thing up above is going to be the munchkin's 0th(?) birthday gift from me. It's a bare wood toy chest that I'm going to woodburn and then stain with pigmented stains to make it into what hopefully will be an heirloom piece for him. It's ambitious, to be sure, but I'm really happy with how it's progressing so far, and if there's a better way to stay on task than doing something for your unborn son I don't know it! The banner at the bottom will have his name, but I'm not ruining that surprise here!

I'm planning to document the process here (I'm guessing it's going to be a long one!). I made the design for the front of the box in Adobe Illustrator and printed it out (on 8 sheets of paper), then tiled it together and taped it to the box. In the first photo the box is laying on its back, so the wood you can see is actually the bottom of the chest. Step two is the 2nd photo - I'm transferring the design to the chest by using carbon transfer paper and tracing over the printed design. If it ends up looking half as good as it does in my mind it'll be a great final product!

In other baby news, I stumbled upon a group that does modern bands' music as instrumental lullabies -
Most are decent, but the Radiohead one is truly amazing - I bought it on iTunes and have been listening to it myself! ...Have to make sure the baby likes good music from the start!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Correlation, Causation, and Babies R Us

First of all, here is a pic I took on Christmas day (in pajamas, of course) to show how I see this whole situation. It's my literal view of the growing mound on my midsection. Notice, you can still actually see my legs below the belly. Won't last too much longer I suppose.

But back to the subject line. Our little Bubba's kicks and aerobics have been quite constant and noticeable. The analyst in my head got to wondering: does the kid kick because he knows it makes me move/jump/rub my belly, or are the two factors (him kicking, me reacting) just independent? Meaning is my moving reaction an example of causation or correlation? Whether I am in fact encouraging my unborn child to kick me by rewarding him with movement or noise isn't going to stop me. The real point of this musing is not to find the answer, but to demonstrably prove to you, my loyal reader, that I am in fact a nerd.

In other fun developments, after I experienced a quasi-desperate moment of panic over the fact that we have done zero planning for little Scooter's arrival, we spent about two hours at a Babies R Us last Friday starting a registry. Which, as other new parents can attest to, is an overwhelming experience. At least when you register for your wedding, it's just about your taste. Now, there's the added elements of safety and complete inexperience with 90% of the product offerings. I mean, when you're looking at toasters, you know what it's supposed to do and yeah you might look at reviews, but basically you just need to choose one based on how much toast you make and whether you plan on, say, baking a turkey in this toaster or just reheating day-old pizza. But car seats and strollers.... that's a different story. Your ability to predict just how many thousands of times you'll take that puppy in and out of your car, and just how necessary that cup holder for Momma's coffee actually is, not to mention the likelihood of you venturing into Bad Parent land by picking the "wrong" one... all these factors conspire to make every choice a challenge. Sure, you know that everything they sell is basically safe. Or they wouldn't sell it, right? But if you choose the one, right, perfect item, it may prove to be just helpful or easy enough to keep you from snapping in the middle of a Target parking lot some day. Not that I see the value in buying the $700 Perego stroller. I mean really, I'd rather be able to afford a house. But do the cool features in the $250 stroller/car seat "travel system" not only keep your kid safe but make your life that much easier? Obviously a calculated choice. So we picked a bunch of stuff, and will continue to pick some more, and surely not all of it will turn out to be god's gift to parenthood. But I'm pretty sure all three of us will live through it regardless. Cross your fingers.