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Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Name Game: Guilty Pleasure Girl Names

Now that we’ve got our list of finalists all buckled down, I thought I would go through some of the names that I briefly considered but immediately shot down in my mind.

These are what some call guilty pleasure names: names that you couldn’t use yourself for one reason or another but still love nonetheless.

Here we go, in no particular order:

  • Penelope: I just like the way it sounds! And a nickname of Penny is super cute. But, names that require nicknames are a no-go. Plus I’d have to think about the spelling every time I wrote her name out.
    • Along the same line are Poppy, Piper and Pippa.
  • Charlotte: Because I’m a Sex and the City fan and my favorite character was Charlotte. It’s a feminine name but too long for us. It doesn’t have a nickname, really, but I don’t know… I just can’t use it.
  • Adele: And not because of the artist Adele, but because I like the name. It’s short, pretty simple, feminine but not “too girly.” But the artist/singer kind of ruined it for me. Not because she’s a bad artist but because she’s so popular!
  • Clementine: So southern! So cute! But again, too long.
  • Mabel: I love old lady names! Unfortunately OLNs are a major trend in baby-naming right now. And a friend of Mr. Handsome’s just named their dog Mabel so that kind of squashed it for me.
  • Hazel: My eyes are hazel, which may be the primary reason why this name appeals to me.
  • Daisy: So adorable! But too girly for me. I just can’t see a Judge or Dr. Daisy.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I can currently think of.

It’s funny, I remember way back when Kiddo1 was on the way I thought girl names were so much easier than boy names. Now that we have to choose a girl name I’m thinking boy names are so much easier! The grass is always greener, right?

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Friday Update: Week 38

Holy shit, week 38. That means, in approximately two weeks time, our little family of three will be four. We’ll have a little baby to hold and feed and love (and clean up after!). We’ll have evened out the girl-boy ratio in our house! Well, as long as you don’t count our boy dog (who am I kidding, the boys are totally counting him so they can continue to have the majority).

At 38 weeks, baby is said to be about 19-1/2 inches long (although Kiddo1 was 19-1/2 inches at birth so we’ll see what Baby2 ends up being!). 19-1/2 inches is the approximate height of my 5-gallon glass carboy, in which I brew beer. Mmmm, beer. I haven’t brewed in about a year but I really need to get on it now. I’d love to have a delicious home brew as one of the first back-to-alcohol drinks I allow myself!

But before the drinks can flow, the baby needs to arrive. Why am I starting to get nervous about when that will be? I’m not very nervous about the event itself, but OMG WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN? I’m looking at my calendar and realizing I not only have work things tightly scheduled for the next week but my personal calendar is full of events as well. What if she’s more than a week early? I hate missing things.

After the due date I have a wedding I’d really like to attend. Then my parents show up on the 18th. What if she’s late? I would really like a few days to myself (and my immediately family, of course!) to relax and bond and, most importantly, recover. The best time for her to arrive would be the evening of Tuesday, July 10th (are you listening baby?!).

I know it’s pointless to worry about this and it’s something that I just can’t schedule (honestly, I know I wouldn’t want to). I have to relax, go with the flow, and know that whatever happens, I’ll drop anything, anything at all, and focus on this birth when the time comes. Stressing is pointless (and I’ll keep telling myself that!).

Here are some things I’m not stressing about, though:

  • Total weight gain: 32 pounds. Still on track! I’m very proud of my body for keeping the third tri gain to a pound a week (on average). I haven’t done much to help out, what with my ice cream habit and dropping my exercise goal, so thanks, body. I heart you.
  • Cravings: Perhaps I’ve had my fill of ice cream? I’m not ravenous for it this week (although I still indulged a couple times). I’m loving my daily breakfast sandwich and daily spinach salad for lunch, plus I’m crazy thirsty lately.
  • Coolest symptom: The “contractions” continue, although not at all consistent (definitely some Braxton-Hicks action going on). “Cervix pinches” also continue. I’m dying to know if I’ve made any progress but, with the Group B Strep positive test I fear the risk of potential infection so I won’t ask to be checked at Tuesday’s midwife appointment. All in all I feel pretty damn fantastic still!
  • Lamest symptom: Still fighting the waddle (and, come evening, giving in most of the time) and still peeing a whole lot.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes 180 minutes): 120 minutes of water aerobics (yeah, I went twice!), 75 minutes of yoga for a total of 195 minutes. Woot! I’ve found the yoga feels more “productive” lately, like with each lunge and squat baby settles down into position a little more.

Here’s what’s new with Baby2, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby has really plumped up. He or she weighs about 6.8 pounds and is over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). Your baby has a firm grasp, which you’ll soon be able to test when you hold his or her hand for the first time! His or her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color your baby’s eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If your baby is born with brown eyes, they’ll likely stay brown. If he or she is born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time your baby is 9 months old. That’s because a child’s irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after birth, but they usually won’t get “lighter” or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

Top 10 Things I’ll Miss About Pregnancy

As this pregnancy draws to a close (I’m sure it’s almost over, right?!), I’ve started to think about all the things I’ll miss about being pregnant. As I’ve mentioned, I really like being this way! Sure, I do miss my beer and I don’t like spending so much time peeing, but all-in-all this is a pretty great state of being. I especially like the last month or so, when having a babe in arms is so close to being a reality but pregnancy is also in full-bloom, in all its glory.

Here are the top 10 things I think I’ll miss most about being pregnant (with some memories of just-after-pregnancy from the last time, too):

10. Learning about birth. Last time I was pregnant, I chose the “ignorance is bliss” route to childbirth. I read a couple baby-care books, but the amount of reading I did doesn’t compare to this pregnancy’s course load. I suppose that’s because I’m older now and a bit more inquisitive than I was nine years ago. Of course I could continue my studies but I don’t really see the point. If I had aspirations to be a midwife or doula then maybe that’d make sense, but I don’t. I just want to make it through this birth with a little more knowledge than last time!

9. Planning a nursery and doing all the projects. It has kept me busy and gives me a good creative outlet. I used to spend a lot of time on home-improvement projects, but since we’ve been renting for the past five years or so, I don’t get to do that stuff to often (and I’m pretty sure Mr. Handsome is grateful for that!). Luckily for us both (haha!) I’m sure we have some little girl’s room projects in our future!

8. Having her all to myself, knowing she’s safe and protected. I only have to worry about one child right now; the other one is safely attached to me and, as long as I’m taking care of myself, she generates a minimal amount of worry. After she’s born, though, all that changes. Suddenly I’ll wonder: is she getting enough to eat, is she to hot/cold, is she meeting developmental benchmarks, is this a growth spurt or did I mess up the feeding rhythm, and on and on and on. Right now, she’s pretty darn easy.

7. The Best Excuse Ever for being tired. Although, The Maternity Breastfeeding Plan loves to tell me how tired I’ll be while working and breastfeeding. Totally pumped up for that now (hehe funny pun).

6. Also good excuses for forgetting things and eating more than what my be appropriate (like ice cream). My poor friends have taken the brunt of my forgetfulness I’m afraid: I forget to return their emails/calls, I forget to ask them about recent events, I forget to thank them for things… My head is a mess. I’ve been able to (mostly) keep it together for my work tasks, but I have a big ol’ notebook AND a computer for writing that stuff down. I should really think about organizing my personal life in some fashion…

5. The anticipation, the planning, the excitement. Wondering what she’ll look like, how big she’ll be, what her temperament is. She’ll be here soon enough and I’ll know all these things, but for now it’s kind of like a kid on Christmas Eve: I just don’t know what we’ll get and that is pretty darn exciting.

4. Dressing the bump. Regular dressing just isn’t as much fun! I think about what I’m going to wear and how I’ll accessorize a bit more now than I used to. I’ve also learned that taking a couple extra minutes in the morning makes me feel so much better about myself all day long. I’ve made it a goal to put on actual clothes throughout my maternity leave (I’m giving myself the first week off though!) so that I’ll be more motivated to leave the house and I’ll feel better about myself overall. It may be a little vain, but anything that improves my outlook on life is acceptable to me!

3. Adoring smiles and compliments (again, a little vain, I know). The truth is, I was afraid of people’s comments but people have turned out to be surprisingly sweet and awesome! I haven’t gotten one nasty delivery or recovery story and no one has (yet) asked why I haven’t “popped” yet. I’ve got to give major credit to the people at work for being so dang nice. My faith in humanity is somewhat renewed.

2. Shinny, fast-growing hair and nails. I’m still telling myself that I’m not growing my hair out (I’m just not cutting it!) but I’ve noticed it growing pretty fast. My nails need to be trimmed twice a week rather than once. My skin (currently) seems healthier than normal and is quickly recovering from the many sunburns I have forced it to endure. I just can’t miss out on some sun time lately. It has been so rare this year!

1. Baby Movement! Always, always baby movement. I know I’ll miss this the most because when Kiddo1 was born, the instant he came out, before I actually saw him, I remember mourning the loss of those kicks-from-the-inside. I thought, “Aw, I won’t be able to feel his kicks anymore.” But then I saw him and a TON of other amazing thoughts flooded my brain, so many good things coupled with a brand-new set of fears.

I’m super, duper, can’t-even-begin-to-tell-you-how excited for this new addition of our family. At the same time, though, I will miss how amazing growing a new life feels. As the days close in and, maybe, my patience wears thin, I hope to remember all that I have listed here and to remind myself to savor every last minute of this experience.

Book Review: The Maternity Leave Breastfeeding Plan

PhotobucketTo be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to the title of this book before I started reading it. I kind of thought it had more to do with transitioning from maternity leave back to work and continuing to breastfeed, but supposedly the point of this book is exactly the opposite: enjoy three blissful months of breastfeeding then wean when you return to work.

That isn’t my plan but for some reason I stuck with the book anyway. The thesis of the book pretty much seems to be: give breastfeeding your all while you’re on leave, then don’t feel so bad about yourself if you have to stop when you go back to work. Dr. Wilkoff reminds the reader over and over again that weaning at three months is in no way failing. He believes that taking the pressure off to breastfeed for the recommended year will result in a more relaxed and productive career of breastfeeding during leave.

I’m torn between appreciating his desire to make the reader feel successful, no matter how long her breastfeeding career lasts, and feeling really talked down to and patronized. Like I’m not strong enough to come to grips with my situation of not being able to breastfeed past a certain point. With Kiddo1 I only made it five months but I, like the vast majority of mothers who have to stop short of their goal, realized that my situation couldn’t be changed and my breastfeeding termination was inevitable. Maybe I’m just too/more stubborn than some women and refuse to feel bad about myself.

Needless to say, there are some things I didn’t pay much attention to, like the whole stopping after three months thing. Luckily, Dr. Wilkoff does give a short chapter about continuing to breastfeed after returning to work (he is quick to point out that pumping and working and the energy drain that ensues is a challenge). It’s funny that he’s so intent on not making the reader feel like a failure if she decides to wean upon her return to work, yet he isn’t so encouraging if the reader decides she’d like to continue.

An additional tid-bit I didn’t really like is that Dr. Wilkoff doesn’t give much credit to collostrum (the pre-milk of the first few postpartum days). The Everything Breastfeeding Book and the book I just started, Nursing Mother, Working Mother, seem to think more highly of this substance.

These dislikes aside, the middle of this book contains fantastic tips on getting started and confronting challenges with breastfeeding from the start. Dr. Wilkoff walks through the first few hours, days and weeks of breastfeeding with so much detail that I’ve never received before! Even when I was breastfeeding the last time!

I wanted to jot down a few of my favorite tips. These are more notes for myself to look back on and remember because I’m sure I will forget most of the valuable information from this book over the next few weeks!

  • Accept the uncertainty of nursing.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Try a variety of positions (this not only enables you to find a few that work but helps empty your breasts and increase production from all ducts).
  • It’s okay if baby wants to sleep a bit more than eat for those first few days (but make sure it isn’t a sign of infection). Wake baby up every few hours to attempt a feeding.
  • If you have to supplement with sugar water until your milk comes in, always offer it after a feeding and offer with a syringe/tube combo rather than an artificial nipple.
  • Nurse on demand for the first couple weeks, don’t worry about any sort of schedule (I was totally obsessed with establishing a schedule ASAP with Kiddo1). The more often you nurse, the sooner your milk will come in and your baby will start gaining weight.
  • Don’t become a pacifier. In other words, don’t let baby associate nursing with sleeping time, otherwise she’ll believe that the only way to fall asleep is to nurse. Allow baby to learn to fall asleep on her own. (This is one of my main baby strategies. I used it with Kiddo1 and he learned to fall asleep on his own very quickly and slept “through the night” ie skipped one night feeding by five weeks old. He’s always been an awesome sleeper.)
  • Growth spurts will shake up the feeding schedule. Go with it.
  • Introduce the bottle at around one month, after breastfeeding has been firmly establish but before baby is so used to the breast that she may stubbornly refuse to take the bottle. Introduce it gradually; eventually she will take it.

Some good stuff in there – so much to remember! Who’d have thought such a natural act could be so complicated?!

Bottom line, the middle of this book is great! But the other parts, eh, I could do without someone telling me how I should feel about myself.

Next review: Nursing Mother, Working Mother: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby Before and After You Return to Work by Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins

Tie Tuesday

Welcome to Tie Tuesday! For background, check out the prologue post.

PhotobucketMonday

We have had the weirdest weather up here in the Pacific Northwest this week. A couple days it was 80, a couple days were 60 and rainy. Summer just keeps flirting with us. What a tease.

Over the weekend, the weather was quite pleasant so I sported a big of a sunburn on my arms and nose come Monday. Luckily the red nose doesn’t stand out too much in this picture but at the office I was slightly self-conscious about it.

Does black minimize the intensity of a sunburn? If white intensifies it than maybe black does the opposite. Either way, I went for black on Monday – this tunic, doubling as a maternity shirt, is from (say it with me) Forever 21. The bronzish snaps reminded me of this bronze necklace from Target so I coupled them up. Don’t they make a cute couple?

Of course I needed more Forever 21 gear so these maternity jeans are also a Forever (Love 21) find – yes, they are the $6 pair and yes I will say that every time. Because I’m so damn proud of the find.

PhotobucketTuesday

Tie Tuesday day! I purchased this pencil/straight skirt from the Gap a month (or so?) ago. I’m probably crazy to buy more maternity clothes so late in the game, so I’m trying to get my money’s worth. It’s getting snug at the waist so I’d better get use of it while I can! Any skirt with pockets is worth even one wear to me, though. Designers need to put pockets in more dresses and skirts!

To cover up any ill-fitting bits of this skirt, this purple maternity tank does the job. It’s from Old Navy and still fits really well, thank goodness. Plus it’s purple and I seem to be on a purple kick lately! Oh and it’s soft too. I like Old Navy’s tanks.

These purple heels from Madden Girl are one of my favorite pair of heels. The color is fun and they have a little ruffle all along the foot opening part (I have no idea what to call that part of the shoe!). They’re fairly comfy, too, and not too hard to walk in because they’re only about three inches tall, or less.

I believe this necklace is Forever 21, most likely!

PhotobucketWednesday

This black maxi (Old Navy) is starting to become my favorite long dress. It’s a really good maternity dress because it has ruching on the side that draws the below-the-belly part of the dress back in. This way the dress doesn’t just hang from the widest part of my body. Much better than the other Old Navy dress I have (it’s a grey one with hot pink and fuchsia and is becoming not-so-flattering).

Because this is a tank-style dress, I wore it with my jean jacket, my go-to shoulder cover for summer in the office! It’s a Gap jean jacket and I’ve had it for so long I can’t remember when I got it. High school? Early college? Beats me, it’s pointless to guess.

Anyway, I wore it all with these Kenneth Cole sandals whose cuteness you cannot see because of this long dress. It isn’t the dress’s fault, I should have taken a better picture! At least my purple toenails get to make an appearance! I hardly ever wear sandals to work anymore!

Also pictured is another Forever 21 necklace (of course!).

PhotobucketThursday

This is a nursing dress from Old Navy. I like it well enough because it has all the goodness of my other Old Navy garments – softness, good color, decent fit, good price. This one is also great because it’s long enough to be office-appropriate at this point!

I bought this dress because of it’s nice purple color (see, totally a purple week!) but it has this weird bow-like twist thing that I don’t like. I always work cover the weird part with a belt of some sort. This time, this white scarf fulfilled the belt role. It’s nice to have a belt there anyway (as long as it isn’t some super cheesy bow-twist thing!). It gives the dress more shape and definition.

We’ll see what I end up doing with it when it’s time to use it as an actual nursing dress. It will certainly come in handy this summer when it’s hot and the boob has to be accessible.

I also wore my best neutral shoes, these wedges by Report.

PhotobucketFriday

Max would just not leave me alone so I made him sit down to be my picture buddy. It always takes a couple tries to get him to pose facing the camera, though. Good puppy!

Anyway, it was back to cold on Friday so I bundled up in my Doc Martin boots. Nice and cozy!

Another Old Navy find was this striped shirt – $5 on clearance! I think I bought this one almost exactly a year ago, when I was cruising the maternity section for dirt-cheap finds (and stuffing them in the back of my closet and trying not to forget about them). Also from Old Navy are these maternity jeans.

I don’t often bust out my “teacher necklace” but it seemed to be a good fit for Friday. It’s from Forever 21! Shocking, I know!

There you have it, dressing myself in my 37th week of pregnancy!

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

This quote is over-dramatizing my thoughts of today, as I don’t feel quite the heartache Robert Burns conveyed in To A Mouse, but it was the first thing I thought of upon receiving some test results today. The midwife says I’ve tested positive for Group B Strep – no big deal, really, but it does add a small wrinkle to my lovely birth plan.

I’ll step back a bit. What is Group B Strep? The midwife has brought it up a few times in our group appointments, but of course I scoffed at it completely because I’m always thinking that kind of stuff doesn’t apply to me. “No, no; my labor and delivery will be smooth and perfect with no complications whatsoever,” I say inside my head. Sigh. I am a naive one sometimes! Here’s what I remember, with a little help from the American Pregnancy Association:

  • Group B Strep is a bacterial infection found in the vagina or rectum (it was a fun test to find it, let me tell you). It affects about 25% of healthy adult women.
  • It isn’t an STD or a hygiene thing or anything; apparently the bacteria can come and go (it just happened to be present in me on the day of my test!). There are no symptoms – anyone can be a carrier.
  • As a precaution, to combat the chance that Baby2 could develop an infection as a result of being exposed to Group B Strep, antibiotics are delivered during labor every four hours.

So no big deal, really, as long as precautions are taken to prevent Baby2 from getting sick (those precautions are the antibiotics).

What does this mean for my lovely birth plan? Not much, thank goodness.

  • First, things first, I can still labor and deliver in the water, if I so choose.
  • Second, I have to come in to the hospital a little earlier than I may have wanted to (as soon as my water breaks, if that happens; otherwise, call the midwives when I think early labor has been established so they can direct me from there).
  • I’ll have to be hooked up to an IV every four hours for the duration of my labor. Luckily my hospital is cool and I can have a hep-lock device so the IV tube can be taken in and out without me 1) having a constant drip in my arm or 2) having to get stabbed and re-stabbed to establish the IV line.
  • Most likely I’ll be able to move about while the IV is in and it shouldn’t take too long to administer the antibiotics, so I can still have an active labor.
  • Baby2 should only need monitoring for 12-24 hours post-delivery (assuming no other risk factors, like fever, are present) so we shouldn’t have to be prisoners guests in the hospital for too long.

Again, not so bad. (Does it sound like I’m trying to convince myself that this is No Big Deal? Because I think I am.)

All in all, this small set-back is kind of nice, in a way. It’s good to find these things out now while I can get over them rather than during the throws of labor when my emotional state is… compromised. Also, this small setback is helping to prepare me mentally that things *might not* go completely my way. There could be other things that happen to derail my lovely birth plan. And guess what? I’m not going to know what the hell those things are until they happen!

This stanza will most likely not “leave us nothing but grief and pain for promised joy.” It is but a wrinkle in my “best laid plan,” and nothing more.

Friday Update: Week 37

37 weeks! That’s term time! I’m feeling pretty darn good about that. As of today, I can have my waterbirth, I won’t have any restrictions if I go into labor now and the “preterm” risk factor for baby has been eliminated. Super sweet.

Speaking of baby, she’s supposedly about 19 inches long this week. Apparently a lot of things are 19 inches long but they’re all like TVs and car tires: boring. In keeping with the spirit of the (now concluded) NBA finals, I discovered this foam finger we obtained at a Phoenix Suns game is exactly 19 inches long! (We moved to the PacNW from Phoenix four years ago. We’re so lucky to live here now!)

Speaking of luck, this week I’m reflecting on how incredibly lucky I am. A year ago at this time I was frustrated with myself for not being pregnant yet. Now, I’m wrapping up my second super awesome pregnancy and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m lucky because pregnancy is fairly easy for me. I don’t intend to brag with this at all,┬áI merley want to list all this lucky stuff for myself so when I look back I can thoroughly┬áremember that I did have it good and I should not complain! Why complain about something we tried so hard to achieve? I mean, here I am, 37 weeks, and I’m still riding my bike around the neighborhood (not too far from home, just in case!), touching my toes during yoga, doing the downward dog, literally running across the street, getting myself out of bed on my own and driving myself to work every day. My wedding rings still fit and I can still wear some non-maternity clothes. I haven’t been sick, I haven’t felt gross, in fact I’ve felt pretty darn amazing this whole time. I sleep using only one pillow, for my head, and I sleep very well (almost too well becMy weight gain has been great, my tests have come back normal, my midwife is happy with my progress and I’ve only gone to see her once a month (next visit is in two weeks, but that should be the last one!). Overall, nothing to complain about.

Some more lucky stuff:

  • Total weight gain: 31 pounds. Three weeks to go. I totally got this.
  • Cravings: Still sweet things. Every day for lunch I eat a spinach salad (I crave those a little bit now!) but I’ve started to add a couple chocolate chip cookies to my lunch, too. Since I haven’t been eating my daily dose of Dove dark chocolates, I have to get my chocolate fix somehow. I only had one snickers blizzard this week! Major accomplishment in my self-control there.
  • Coolest symptom: This week I suddenly realized I’m having contractions (probably Braxton-Hicks, but whatever). On Tuesday I was driving in to work and noticed what I still think is baby’s head rotating a bit – it’s very low. Then my whole belly got super duper hard. I noticed it happening all day Tuesday and each day since. They don’t hurt at all, I barely notice them. I told the midwife at Tuesday’s appointment – I actually had one while we were talking. She touched my belly and said, “Yep, that’s a contraction.” Of course I didn’t have the sense to ask if she thought they were Braxton-Hicks or not, but sometimes they are accompanied by the “cervix pinches” I mentioned last week. Only thing to do is wait and see I suppose!
  • Lamest symptom: I fight the waddle so hard right now. Other than that, I’m not noticing anything in particular that is too lame this week.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes 180 minutes): 60 minutes of water aerobics, 120 of yoga. Just barely made it! I’m going to start doing water aerobics twice a week next week. I’d like to think that will increase my exercise time but we’ll see…

Here’s what’s new with Baby2, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby is now considered full term, even though your due date is three weeks away. If you go into labor now, your baby’s lungs will likely be mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb. (Some babies need a bit more time, though. So if you’re planning to have a repeat c-section, for example, your practitioner will schedule it for no earlier than 39 weeks unless there’s a medical reason to intervene earlier.) Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don’t be surprised if your baby’s hair isn’t the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by an Elvis look-alike. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.