Friday, October 31, 2008

As big as a squash

That's right, DomerBaby is now "as big as a spaghetti squash". Ha! They say that baby weighs about a pound now, but I think it must be more, since I'm up 20! Haha. I'm gonna be the biggest pregnant lady of all time, but so far I'm feeling pretty good about it. The baby has been kind about not making my face fat yet, for which I am very thankful. Not that I believe it isn't far off at this rate!

DomerBaby has been kicking furiously today, after a lull for a couple days. I guess it was just relaxing and growing, and now it's ready to get down again! Hopefully T.J. will be able to feel it some more. He loves to feel it, but doesn't like to wait patiently for it to happen!

In other baby news, one of my best friends, Missy, had her baby Helen Elizabeth on Sunday! Gongrats to her and Erick! It's so cool that we're having babies close together this time around (she has a two year old daughter, Siri, too). I'm hoping that the babies will get to meet sooner than later, but neither of us make it easy by moving all over the place. Of course, *I* didn't move to American Samoa (stupid me).

No trick or treaters, so far. I hope I don't have to eat all 3 bags of candy by myself. I don't think it'd be good for the baby.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coolest new book!

I've been reading "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Merideth Small, and it's so darn cool! The beginning got off to a slow start (it is an academic book) but the last few chapters I've read (about sleeping, eating, and crying) have been so interesting. Like all of the books I love, this one is based on research and scientific thought, not on being a "guru baby whisperer" and making millions on the best-seller list.


  • Babies in countries where they are worn or held for the majority of the day and night have as many crying instances, but their episodes are much much shorter
  • Babies who are put on a "schedule" nursing get more "foremilk" and less "hindmilk". Foremilk is the leftover from the prior feeding, and much of the fat content has been reabsorbed into the mother's body. When the baby isn't allowed to feed long enough, the foremilk gets left behind and the baby receives low-caloric content milk the next time, creating a vicious cycle of hungry underfed baby and a mom who think she can't produce enough. [caveat - this is a general statement - many nursing issues go deeper than this one scientific fact].
  • Temperament - which in America is considered inborn, is not quite as obviously inborn as we tend to think. Parenting style and perception has a lot to do with whether a baby is called "easy" or "difficult". One study showed that "difficult" babies did not cry any more often than babies who were not labeled as such in other cultures!
OK, that's all off the top of my head. But you should read this book! And then you should tell me what you thought of it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Months, weeks, trimesters... Huh?

Generally, when people ask me how far along, I tell them in weeks. I usually am greeted with a blank stare, as people are clearly unable to do the math (I don't blame them, months don't fit neatly into 4 week increments). So, for your knowledge, I've created a chart that (I think) gets all the months/weeks/tri's correct.

For example, I'm currently 21w2d pregnant, so I'm in the 2nd trimester, and I'm in my 6th month of pregnancy.

Holy cow! I'm in my 6th month of pregnancy! That is insanity. We better get our act together, eh?

In other news, I tried again to get the sewing machine up and running. The sewing specialty store that we bought the machine from sold me the wrong bobbins. After a mini-tantrum, T.J. calmed me down and ordered the correct bobbins online. I will be returning all the overpriced stuff I bought there when I return the bobbins. I'm still grouchy over it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More bad baby stuff

I've heard about this for a while on some message boards that I'm on, but it's mainstream now (ever-vigilant Aunt Debbie tipped me off), so I thought I'd post it:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is warning parents about Carter's Inc. baby garments with tag-less labels after about 400 babies who wore the clothing developed rashes on their backs.

The warning applies to the fall 2007 line, which includes about 110 million garments, said Mary Drayna, a manager for the Atlanta, Georgia, company. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday that children should stop using these garments if they develop a rash, but the agency did not announce a recall of the product line.

Drayna said the affected clothing includes knit items such as body suits, shirts and pajamas. She said the items have prompted about 400 reports of baby rashes, but she could not comment on how serious any of the rashes were or if any required hospital visits.

The garments were made in various foreign countries, and they were sold at Carter's retail stores and at department and national chain stores, according to CPSC. The clothing appeared on the market in fall 2007 and could still be on retail shelves, although Carter's has released other products since then, Drayna said.

The company's online announcement said it had received reports that some babies with sensitive skin could be allergic to the heat-transferred, or tag-less, labels used in baby clothing.

"It appears that a very small percentage of children can be allergic to one or more ingredients in the labels. The solid, rather than stenciled, background on the fall 2007 labels appears to have produced a more pronounced and noticeable reaction among those children who are most allergic to the ink," the announcement said.

Also, the company's internal review of the product found "no indication that the labels contain any known skin irritants or abrasive chemicals, or that such a rash is anything beyond a rare allergic reaction to an otherwise safe product."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Belly comparison: 4w1d vs. 20w5d

Is it weird that I think my big belly is prettier? hehe

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Toy Safety

Today there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about plastic toys that contain chemicals called pthalates. They have been found to be harmful to children, and are being banned in the U.S. as of February 2009. If you are planning to buy toys for babies (including DomerBaby!) PLEASE take this into account during the next few months. Retailers are marking down prices on these toys, making them even more tempting to buy. THEY ARE NOT SAFE.

If you are looking for safe toys for babies and children, look for wooden, natural fabric, and metal toys. Think retro! Some great online stores are:


I'm sure you can find local stores that sell good quality toys as well... even large retailers carry them! So, consider this your PSA of the day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

20 week 5 day pregnant

Lunch with boss man

Yes, I live in Georgia, and they have me calling the partner "boss man" here. tee hee!

Anyway, today I had lunch with Kent, the purpose of which was to go over my performance and figure out my plans for pre- and post-baby. Luckily, T.J. and I had come to a definitive conclusion just last Thursday when he was home!

So, I'm officially finished with work when I go into labor (or before if there are complications or it gets too hard for me). I do not plan to return to work until DomerBaby and any future sibling is in school, but we'll see how that plays out.

It was very nerve wracking, but Kent was *really* kind about it. In fact, he said even if I had wanted to plan on coming back right away he would have encouraged me to keep an open mind since I wouldn't know what to expect till then!

I think he'll miss having me around, I do some excellent work. Haha! Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baby likes to rock out

The other day I was driving to the farmer's market, and had my favorite station on (classic rock). It was so funny, because the baby was thumping around a lot more than normal! I think it digs the music.

I've been feeling really good, just missing T.J. terribly. I am definitely getting more hormonal and weepy!

Here is a synopsis of what's going on lately (copied from a baby website - so I didn't put in the "he"):

Your baby weighs about 10.5 ounces (300g) and measures about 7.2 inches (18cm) from crown to rump. He still moves about freely in amniotic fluid. [edit: the ultrasound tech thinks the baby is closer to 13oz]

Your baby may respond to external sounds, such as the music you are listening to or your voice.

Your baby has developed some red blood cells already. The white blood cells that your baby needs to fight infections are being manufactured.

He is developing taste buds on his tongue.

His digestive system is sufficiently advanced to absorb water and sugar from the amniotic fluid that he swallows and pass it to his large bowel.

Your baby has lanugo hair on his forehead and upper lip and his eyebrows are thickening.

Vernix (the waxy substance that covers and protects your baby's skin) accumulates on your baby's eyebrows.

Your baby's eyes are still sealed shut.

Your baby continues to grow and develop and his kicking is getting stronger now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday T.J.

Happy birthday, darling!

In honor of T.J.'s birthday, we have "flashback II"

Joe and Patty at 8mo pregnant

Baby T.J. - yes, he still sleeps all the time.
Close up... still sleepy!

OK, who's more tired?

Big brown eyes

Mama and Baby

They let me leave with you people???
7 weeks - and 8lbs! Tiny T.J.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Mom sent me these pictures the other day... It was so fun to see them!

First Photo - Feb 8, 1980

It's Jen's Birthday... Nice belly - Ooh La La!
Look who just became the favorite!

Big Foot! Holy heck!

Still adorable!

At home with Mama

First Christmas - we love the sleep sack!

Hopefully we'll have similar photos to share of T.J. soon! (hint hint, Grandma Curran!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

What is a Doula?

"Doula" is a Greek word that means literally "a woman who serves".

A doula is a woman who is trained in helping other women through childbirth. They are there to be the emotional support for both mom and dad. Typically they spend more time with you than your doctor or midwife through your labor - especially if you are in a hospital.

For a hospital birth, they would help you through early labor, help advocate on your behalf with nurses at the hospital, and help you cope with labor pain. Most doulas are involved to help you through a drug-free childbirth, and their success rates are quite impressive! From

"Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals"
All of these things are true for a home birth, though typically the midwife is on the same page as you, so the advocating part isn't needed as much. In addition to all the things listed above, they help you get ready and set up, get you food and drink if you need it, support your spouse in supporting you, give you encouragement, and helps clean up after birth.

They are basically there to meet your emotional and physical needs and comfort, while the midwife's primary responsibility is to care for your health. I love the idea that a doula will support T.J. as well. I think it'll be well worth it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This was a red-letter day!

The dam has broken on my writer's block!

1. The ultrasound and appointments. We met with the other hospital midwife today, Margaret. She is really great. I like her a lot. Very informative. Everything is going well with me, my blood pressure is low and everything they test for is normal! I don't think I mentioned below that the baby is transverse (lying sideways). That's probably why my belly is so big right now! ---> 19w5d picture

2. We went baby shopping. It was just fun to look. We examined strollers, carseats, and rocking chairs. This will come as no surprise to our mothers, but of course we liked the most expensive rocking chair in the whole store! Haha!

3. T.J. felt the baby! The look on his face was so great, he was so pleased! Apparently pineapple really gets DomerBaby going! Every time I ate a piece I'd get a big thump, so I had T.J. sit still with me and we didn't have to wait long for the party. It was just so great. He got to hear the heartbeat and feel the baby kick all in one day.

4. I just got kicked so hard that it sort of freaked me out! It was very alien-like. For a sec I was like, dang, I wish T.J. was still here - this is scary! But then I came to my senses.

T.J. flew back out today for Philadelphia (he flew in last night for the ultrasound). He'll be spending the weekend up there with his brother Jake, and is planning to come back home next Thursday. I told him I might be unrecognizable by then!

PS. A little note about the weight post. I'm not overly worried about my overall weight gain, just the exponential shape of the chart. 4lbs in 2 weeks isn't healthy *when it's because you eat donuts and pizza*. But now that I can control my time better, I'm not worried that we can turn it around and do the best for DomerBaby. We need to introduce the little one to fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats!

Ultrasound Pictures!

Today we had our 20 week "anatomy scan". No, we did not find out the anatomy you all care about! hehe. The baby has all digits and organs accounted for, and was very good for the technician. DomerBaby was not a big fan of all the prodding though - both midwives got some swift kicks while listening with their fetoscopes! T.J. got to hear the heartbeat when we were at Charlotte's, which was very nice for him, I think, since he can't feel the baby.

This is a profile shot. The head is the big ball on the right side. The nose and mouth are the bumps at the top. Looks like a good Irish mini-chin. Hehe.

DomerBaby is waving hello! The baby is facing us, head on the right. There is an arm above and one curled up below. The black spot on the body is either the stomach or kidney, I can't remember which.

"Thumbs Up" - this one is harder to see at first. Don't pay any attention to the blob on the right side. just next to the blob and below that little weird circle, there is a whole hand. You can see each finger, complete with the thumb sticking up. I think DomerBaby was sucking it!

This is not exactly a profile, and not exactly the baby looking at us, it's sort of in between facing towards around 10 o'clock. The white line going down the head is the profile - you can see the bridge of the nose, the lip, and the eyes (dark spots). If you look at the right side of the abdomen, you can see the umbilical cord - it's the long knobby thing. I assume the black dot on the abdomen is one of the organs, not sure though.

This is a foot print! well, part of one foot (on the left - the heel) and a full print of the other on the right side. The white part is bone. You can see all the toes!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I think I'm in love

With a yoga instructor. Today I was browsing online at yoga classes in Atlanta (I love being done with taxes) and saw that a particular studio was hosting a free intro class tonight! So I went and had a lovely time. As soon as the women leading opened her mouth, I thought, WOW - this lady should be a doula. Her voice is so soothing!

After the class, I told her that, and she got all excited and said "I AM a doula!" So I told her about our planned home birth, and we talked about that for about 10 min. I love her. I want her at my birth. I hope she isn't booked!

So I'll be starting prenatal yoga next week, and I'm SUPER excited! Cross your fingers that she can be our doula!

PS. More on what a doula is later. I have LOTS to tell you all now that busy season is over!

Oh My.

Thank goodness that tax season is over. Healthy eating is the name of the game from here on out.

PS. It is no longer OK for anyone to make fun of my weight. I have crossed the threshold where it's funny to where it just makes me want to cry.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just checking in

Everything is going great - DomerBaby is getting bigger! I've been feeling wonderful, and I get to feel kicks daily. T.J. is pretty bummed that he can't feel yet, but at least our ultrasound is this Thursday (!) so he'll get to see the baby up close and personal then.

T.J. started traveling for work again. He went to Philadelphia last week and will be going the next couple of weeks, but he's coming home for the day for our appointment. Yey! Then his plan is to stay up there and hang out with his brother, Jake, for the weekend. So he'll be gone for quite a while this time. We are really not used to it anymore - not big fans of the travel!

If you needed another reason to love cloth diapers, here it is - a ruffle butt diaper! If DomerBaby is a girl, we are so getting one!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Homebirth is Thrifty

Debbie sent me this article today, which is sparking another rant. This baby is making me feisty!

It's nothing new or obvious, but hospital births are expensive. But frankly, it's much more expensive for TJ and I to have this home birth, since my insurance won't cover it. We're paying $2,350 for the midwife versus $20 if we had the baby in the hospital (which includes all of my maternity visits and a hospital stay). In general, a "normal" vaginal hospital delivery costs insurance companies and the uninsured over $7,000, with C-sections running around $16,000. And that doesn't include the cost of the baby's stay and any "necessary" procedures done to them.

So, since times are tough, and insurance premiums are rising, it seems like it'd be a great national effort to bring birth back home - or at least back to natural - with less inductions, less drugs, less use of expensive (yet ineffective) monitoring and procedures. Outcomes are NOT better with all of these things! This has been proven over and over with real, statistical, peer-reviewed research. But doctors make a lot of money off of intervention, and so do hospitals. Who is hurt? Consumers when insurance companies up their premiums, or women who can't get individual insurance because they are of childbearing age - not to speak of the countless women subjected to unnecessary and unwanted procedures or worse, major surgery.

See, even if you aren't into my natural home birth, maybe you can at least be into me reducing your healthcare premiums by taking my business elsewhere!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Important Baby Update!

I can feel the baby!

I got 2 good kicks yesterday, and a whole little party tonight! It's still like giant bubbles, but too different to be mistaken for anything else.

Born in the USA

Teresa and I were chatting tonight, and got off on a tangent that made me mad and sad at the same time. It's the problem with U.S. maternity leave. Our system sucks, to put it mildly. If you work, your benefits depend entirely upon your job. What about FMLA, you ask? It doesn't apply to women who work in a place with less than 50 (I think) employees, like me. They can't even be guaranteed the 12 weeks off, much less with any sort of compensation, which FMLA doesn't provide. Many women go back to work before 12 weeks - I saw today that you can send your kid to daycare at 6 weeks!

So instead of new mom's staying with their babies, getting to know them and letting them set the pace, there is an immediate push to get the baby on a schedule, get your milk flowing at top speed so you can start freezing breast milk, and certainly no time to let other things in your life go - you have to make the most of those few weeks at home!

Inevitably, you end up with an even-more-exhausted-than-normal mom who feels like she's failing at everything she tries. The baby won't stick to the schedule - it just wants to be fed and held all the time (shocker!). All the stress and lack of sleep contribute to making breast feeding harder, not easier, the woman starts to doubt her ability to care for her child, just when our corporate system tells her TIMES UP - Back to work! So she goes, cries for a day, then realizes that it's not so bad to go back that early. She gets time to "be herself" again, everyone around her admires her for her strength and dedication, and heck, the baby is doing fine! It must have just been that being home just wasn't for her. She is meant to work, not nurture. Rinse and repeat a million times, and you've got our system.

Don't get me wrong, I do NOT think that women should stay home permanently after they have a baby if they don't want to. My point is that they should be able to stay home for much longer than our system currently allows - emotionally and financially - so they can heal themselves and nurture their child. Instead they are forced by corporate greed and government complacence to head directly back to work, lest they be deemed a "slacker" or "unmotivated".

All this, and women still get paid less for the same work. Something just doesn't add up.

Incidentally, there are better ways of doing it. Canada gives 12 months of leave at something like 66% of your pay - you can split it any way you want between the two parents. Some European countries are even more liberal. In France, the government sends you a mother's helper for a few months. I like the French.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Do you know what this is?

Reminds me of a Thanksgiving turkey, personally.

Friday, October 3, 2008

18w update!

Since I'm totally frustrated with work, I thought I'd check in.

DomerBaby is doing well... I think I felt it kick this morning! But, my digestive system has, to put it delicately, begun to slow down, so I guess it could be some weird rumblings? Very frustrating that it's not more obvious yet.

I'm experiencing more pregnancy symptoms now. I jump out of bed sometime during each night due to painful leg cramping, only to get back in and realize that I have to use the bathroom. Out I go again. The other night I woke up every hour and a half trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in! Don't worry though, T.J. sleeps right through it all! Ha.

I'm getting quite large. I may be the biggest pregnant lady ever by the end of all this! I'm up about 12 lbs now. As T.J. said when I told him my latest weight: HOLY COW!

Um, bad choice of words, dear. For his part, he has lost some weight and now weighs 16+ lbs LESS than me. I'm pretty sure that's grounds for buying me flowers. Feel free to email him to let him know. Hehe.

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