Thursday, July 25, 2013

A day late, but 27 weeks!


Guess who's hit her third trimester? This girl!
This week Asher is the size of a rutabaga. He's roughly 13.6-14.8in long and 1.5-2.5lbs. He's showing brain activity and he's still practicing breathing his amniotic fluid - and pee. Yum! He's still supposedly slowly rotating out of breech and into head-down position, but I'm pretty sure he's still sideways and content with that. I'm also pretty sure he has like, eight limbs... There's so much activity in there!
I'm more tired and I don't have to do much to want to sit down, but I'm still staying pretty active. Regular meals, 3-4 walks every day, yoga, stretching, leg/butt workouts (don't worry - they're pregnancy safe!), along with chasing my two year old around. And a three year old, too, three days a week! I'm only 2lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, but I always lose a lot in the beginning and struggle to gain it back, even though I eat everything in sight. It's got it's good sides and bad sides, haha.
I have to stop to catch my breath sometimes now that Asher is taking up so much room, and my belly button is sticking out more and more every day. Wah. That's one thing I hate! And the cankles. I hate my cankles! But like I always say, they're well worth it for the baby to be happy and healthy.
As you can probably tell by the bathroom in the picture, we're back home. It was a nice three and a half weeks in New York but it's good to be home and see everybody! We do miss everyone in NY, though. It won't be too long before we see them again.
Our baby shower is three weeks away! I'll be 30 weeks and a few days. We're having a cloth diaper raffle since we're not going to be using disposables and there will be games, food, fun and lots of catching up!
Yesterday I gave in and bought something for the new bubs (and for Bug and something for me, too!)


I'm wearing the shirt I bought myself in the top picture :)
Noah got 6 pairs of socks, Chuggington and Cars! He got 7 pairs of Star Wars underwear for being such a big boy and peeing on the potty, and the yellow and white striped "Mr. Mischief" shirt. Very fitting for a rambunctious two year old! Asher got two onesies and a pair of pants, the gray onesie says "Mommy's Little Monster". I'm thinking of buying a green monster hat and making that his coming home outfit :)
All of this normally would have cost close to $50 at Sears, but I managed to find all of it on clearance and it only cost us $23 - which is even better because my dad gave us a $25 gift card to Sears! Yay! Noah loves all his stuff and he picked out Asher's monster outfit.
Yesterday was a great day overall, we got all that stuff and it was just me and Bug, we had a baby/mommy day. We went to the dollar store and picked out our baby shower invitations and stopped in the food court before we went home to share some cheese fries and talk about our day. He's a pretty good conversationalist now that he can talk!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

We went to the zoo!


Today was Bugman's first trip to the zoo! His daddy is in another town right now working so we just took lots and lots of pictures for him.
Bugga had a blast at the zoo. He couldn't get enough of the animals! We walked past the bald eagle cage and it was making some pretty terrible noises because it wanted the fish that just got put in. Noah was a bit taken aback, hence his stance in the first picture. Man, bald eagles are huge, though! Up until now I've never seen one in real life. I was expecting a big bird, but not that big!
And then we saw my buddy, the bear. He was pretty awesome. He just napped away up in the corner behind a rock, and there's lots of turkey vultures in his spot (all those big birds in that middle picture). He was just doin' his thing and two of them were watching him, and one pecked him awake and honestly it kind of made my heart hurt. I wish they'd keep those pesky birds out of there, I don't think the bear cares much for them, either. When he got up and walked to the other side, Noah stepped back, pointed with both hands and pulled a Fonzi "ayyyyyy!" and giggled and ran to me. It was so cute! I can't remember for the life of me what he was looking at in that third picture, though.


He spent lots of quality time with grandpa, too. I think his favorite exhibit was, by far, the reptile house. I can't wait to take him to an even bigger zoo one day, with more animals, bigger reptile houses and maybe even a butterfly house!
He kept running up to grandpa and asking him for "uppy" so he could see the snakes and the frogs and the turtles. There was an employee adding more food and fresh water to one of the turtle tanks and my dad goes, "Look! A wild hand!" and Bugman gasped and goes "Mama a hand!" like it was a real animal or something. I love this kid. He really liked the snakes most of all. He couldn't get enough of them! He ran from tank to tank, standing on his tippy toes and excitedly calling my name to help him see them better and to tell me what they were.
He didn't like the duck/bird house as much. It was a bunch of taxidermied ducks and birds and herrons and the like, and I'm entirely convinced they were stuffed and arranged the way they were to give people nightmares. They were just put into the most awkward positions with these weird, white, blank eyes that would give anyone the chills. Ugh. He looked at them for a bit, then ran from them and told me he didn't like them. It's okay, Bug, I thought they were creepy, too.


We got lots of mama/Bug time, and that was super nice. It was like 96 degrees and I was sweaty and uncomfortable, but he had a blast! He was lovin' all of it. Halfway through the animals I definitely had cankles and was starting to get pretty tired, but I don't think he even noticed the heat. At least, not until his mohawk started to fall down, and then he started complaining that his hair was messed up and he needed more hair gel. He's got great taste in hair styles so I'm not complaining. That middle picture he was smiling for, but got distracted by a bug, and as soon as I took the picture he excitedly lifted his head to show me his bug and headbutted me in the face. Ah, well. Still cute. We had so much fun, but it was so hot and I was pretty uncomfortable so we unfortunately did pass on an excellent learning opportunity. It was weird to walk through a place where it was possible for him to learn so much and just not teach him about everything thoroughly, but honestly he probably enjoyed the break from learning. And hey, there's always next time!
We've had an awesome vacation so far, and it's bittersweet to see it coming to a close. Tomorrow is our last day here, and we'll be home by 7:30-8:00 in the morning on Tuesday to jump back into babysitting and our home routine. It's been nice, but we gotta go back sometime, right?



Comparison pictures


I found a bunch of my pregnancy pictures from when I was pregnant with Noah, and I put them together in a collage with the corresponding week from this pregnancy for comparison.
(Our zoo blog comes next)
Enjoy!


15 weeks and 5 days along with Noahbug vs. 16 weeks along with Asher.
Some of these aren't the best comparison shots, but I have my face in 98% of the photos from my current pregnancy, and surprisingly not in a whole lot of the ones from Noah.


19 weeks with Noah vs. 19 weeks with Ash. I was 17 when I was pregnant with Noah and still stuck on the "Myspace angle" for taking pictures, haha.


A semi better comparison picture. 21 weeks with Bug vs 21 weeks with Asher. I should have straightened the second picture, but you can already tell I'm bigger this time around.


22 weeks with Bug vs 22 weeks with Ash. Huuuge difference already.


The first one's pretty close up compared to the second, but still a whole lot bigger this time around. I feel like my belly is significantly bigger but didn't realize how much until I was looking through old pregnancy pictures!


Not much difference in Noah's 24 and 25 week pictures, but still growing in Asher's haha.


And the last one... for now. 26 weeks with Bug vs 26 weeks with Ash. There's a whole lot more belly this time around! I think it's the 31 week belly that finally almost catches up to the 26 week belly. Ridiculous! Haha.





Friday, July 19, 2013

Guess who got a haircut!


This guy! He absolutely hates them, too. We got up early, got dressed, brushed our teeth and hair and went out to the car. Bug knew where we were going, we've been telling him since yesterday and we reminded him this morning as well. He said it was okay we were getting his hair cut. So we get in the car and he wants donuts, so we got donuts (and coffee because we knew what was coming) and we were on our way. We asked him the whole way there, "are you excited to get your hair cut?" and every time got "yes!" And then we got there, I expected everything to change the second we set foot in the shop. Surprisingly it didn't - he pointed at all the old chairs and told me "cool, mommy!" They are pretty cool old chairs. Then he told me to get in the chair so he could cut my hair and I figured why not, maybe it'll help if I play along. I climbed into the chair and let him "cut" my hair with his finger scissors. He was very proud of himself. He told me he did a good job and my hair was beautiful (he must have a good imagination because my hair could really use a cut and dye). I told him thank you very much and he ran to go sit in the chairs that you wait in and asked me for a magazine. So we sat in the chairs and read magazines and showed each other pictures, and he showed me video games he wants - which was a bit odd because he doesn't play video games and doesn't know how, either. There were two people in line before us and he watched them get their hair cut. One was an elderly man who could talk your ear off, but in a good way. He was super sweet and he thought Noah was absolutely adorable. The second man was probably mid-late thirties, he was also nice but Noah didn't really want to talk to or look at him. Ah, you win some, you lose some, haha. He watched both of them get their hair cut and told me "no hurt mommy, it's okay." and I was glad he understood that it wasn't painful. By now I had really high hopes for this haircut, I thought there was even a chance that he wouldn't cry or scream or flail around. Finally it was his turn. We went to put him in the chair and he started screeching, crying, yelling, flailing, arching his back and trying to rip off the cover. My poor bubs :( I sat on the chair and put him on my lap, and the barber covered both of us up. Noah was still very upset about it and crying and I told him I promise this can be the last haircut for a long time. I did mean it, it's just too hot this summer for him to be growing it out right now. If he starts growing it out in August/September, by next summer it'll be long enough to pull back so he doesn't sweat so much and it doesn't stick to his face and make him crabby. Anyway, he kept crying and freaking out and I was trying to hold him still and combat my feelings of being a mean mommy. There was no intention to be mean, I want him to be more comfortable in this heat. We're about halfway through the haircut and I remember what I do to distract him on long car rides - count. I figure it's a long shot because he's upset, not bored, but it's worth I try. I asked if he wanted to count and he said yes, so I started counting,
"One..."
"One!"
"Two..."
"Two!"
"Three..."
"Three!"
Back and forth between us until we get to ten. It worked! It was the perfect distraction. We got to ten and he yells "Yay! Again!" So we counted again. And again, and again, and again, until the haircut was over. Not a single tear, cry, whine, yell, nothing after we started counting. I was so glad for his sake and my own that we'd found something to distract him and calm him down during his haircut. After he was done, the barber brushed him off and gave him a lollipop.

Guess who likes haircuts now?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's potty time!


This is my Bug. He's my beautiful little two year old. He's super smart and very kind, he's my flower child.


This is Bug's potty chart! A sticker for every time he pees on the potty. These are from today and yesterday.
The other day he was running around naked, like he always does, and he came up to me and said "mama, I go pee pee." I told him "go pee in the potty," as a feeble attempt at getting him to actually go. I figured he'd ask for a diaper anyway though, so I started to get up. To my surprise, he spins and toddles his naked little butt to the bathroom, flips on the lights and walks on in. I knew this usually meant one of two things: He was either getting into something he wasn't supposed to, or he was going to pee on the floor. I tip-toed over so he wouldn't hear me and peeked my head around, and he was standing on the stool holding his penis over the potty. Seconds later he starts peeing! He even aimed! I quietly waited for him to finish and walked back down the hallway before he saw me. Sure enough he comes out, grinning ear to ear, and yells "Mommy! I went pee pee!" He grabbed my hand and brought me to the bathroom to show me and said "Wait, I flush," and he flushed. I'm still in shock that he did this on his own, without me trying to push him into it like we're taught to as parents. There was no yelling, no punishment for accidents (I've thrown away poopy undies that weren't salvageable but I replaced them), no time-outs or spankings for not using the potty. There was no forcing him to sit on the potty every thirty minutes or ten minutes after drink. No making him sit there til he went. He's just always followed me into the bathroom so he sees and knows what to do but wasn't quite ready yet. 
And then he did it. On his own. Got up and walked right in and peed, and even lifted the seat.
I don't think it will always be easy, but now I know that the best potty training advice I ever got was this: Leave them be. Show them but don't force them. They'll get it in their own time.
It worked. I left him alone about it. I continued showing him, I let him wear his undies, I let him pick out undies, but I didn't try to make him go. We did it! We've gone three days with no pee accidents! We had two #2 accidents (in his bathing suit and when he thought he was done pooping in his diaper so I cleaned him and put him in undies) but there haven't been any pee accidents. He just wears a diaper to sleep in because he still brings a cuppy to bed and a diaper to poop in because he's scared to sit on the potty. I'm not pushing the poop thing. I'm just glad he's confident to pee in the potty.
I can't tell you how much praise I've given him. Non stop hugs and high fives, today we got him some toy airplanes and more stickers for his chart. We've been telling him over and over what a big boy he is and how proud we are of him. My sweet baby boy is growing up! He's gonna be a big brother, he wears big boy undies, he's learning to swim and ride a two wheeler, he can tell me some of his colors, he knows where babies come from, he can tell you what noises certain animals make, ah, it's so bittersweet. I love watching him learn and grow but I still hold the memories of his infancy close to my heart.
I'm so proud of you my baby big boy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

26 weeks!


Hello 26 weeks! I can't believe I'm only a week away from my third trimester. This pregnancy is flying by!
Asher can see now - not that there's a whole lot to see in utero, but his eyes are no longer fused shut. I wonder what it looks like in there? 
He's also the size of a head of lettuce, but he's a lot cuter. He's growing hair, his eyelashes are grown, he's packin' on the pounds of cute, chunky baby fat - if a head of lettuce did all that, I'd be really concerned. His brain tissue and neurons are still developing rapidly, and they'll continue to do so until he's around eight years old. Also, my little dude's recently gained control of his head! So if he knew how, he could now nod, or shake his head, or being that he's MY spawn - headbang. Sometimes it feels like he is, though. Maybe I just have a super smart, rock 'n' roll lovin' fetus. I'm okay with this. He's also practicing breathing with his amniotic fluid, which he's also peeing in. So he's "breathing" amniotic fluid and pee... but it's alright, it's sterile and normal and he'll be just fine.
Until he's 14 and I tell him he breathed his own pee for a few months. ;)
I still can't sleep between Asher and Noah. When I fall asleep, Noah wakes up and wants a drink, so I get up and get him a drink and we go back to sleep. Of course as soon as I fall asleep, Asher wants to test his skills and see if he can become an acrobat once he makes his great escape from the womb. This wakes me up, and I wait for him to finish and go back to sleep. By this time Noah wakes up and wants another drink. I get up, get him another drink, and we snuggle and watch some TV and fall asleep. Then Asher decides it's workout time and uses my bladder as a punching bag, effectively waking me up and making me run to the bathroom so I don't pee my pants. I get a glass of water and lay down again, and then "what's up? it's me, acid reflux. I wanted to join the party too!" So I get up and try to find tums or baking soda or apple cider vinegar or something to make it stop so I can lay down. Then I go back to bed, finally fall asleep, and it's morning, and I have a smiley, giggly baby hugging my face and telling me "morning mama, wake up!" and a super active fetus who also wants to play and I know I have zero chance at a normal sleep cycle.
The life of a mama, haha.
My feet and ankles swell easily, not to a worrisome size and not sudden so it's nothing to worry about. We like to be outside so being on my feet too much makes them swell and it's just annoying, and I hate looking at them. Sometimes I feel like I don't have ankles anymore because I can barely see them!
I'm also surprised at the amount of movement I'm feeling. I feel like there are way too many limbs in there, but my scans definitely only showed one baby. Noah's movements never woke me out of a dead sleep like Asher's do, and Asher is a lot more active in general than Noah was. I wonder if it's a sign of how he'll be when he's actually here... oh man!
I have my OB appointment on the 22nd and I get to find out all the results of my blood tests and all that good stuff, and schedule a glucose test that I'm probably going to skip because I'm not at risk and my OB even said I don't need it, but he just likes to have all his patients do it. I've cleaned up my eating enough to where drinking/eating something HALF as sweet as that makes me nauseous, and every time you puke the drink up you need to drink it again. And the whole fasting for 8 hours beforehand makes me 10x more likely to puke. Yuck, no thanks. No point in overloading my body with sugar if I don't need to!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's the little things...


It's moments like this that make me pretty confident that Bug will be a good big brother. The doll in the picture is Rella (how he pronounces "Cinderella" - his favorite movie but he can't say her name, so he shortened it). Before they went to bed, he picked her up and carried her to the couch and laid her down gently. He walked over to the box of diapers, put one on her and told her not to "pee pee" on the couch. Then he put her head on the pillow, climbed up behind her and slipped one arm under her head and pulled the covers up, making sure not to cover her face, gave her "boo" (breastfeeding) and then wrapped his arm around her and went to sleep.
This is his baby, he's very careful with her and wants to bring her everywhere with him. He changes her butt, he nurses her, he rocks her, he takes her for walks, he checks on her while she naps and he doesn't let anyone touch her. He loves her! This picture is from last night, but he's sleeping next to me now snuggled up with her again. It's the cutest thing in the world the way he takes care of her.
I know he'll probably get jealous that he has to share mommy and daddy, but he likes to be so involved with little babies and never wants to give them up. I think as long as we include him as much as possible with Asher, everything will work out alright. I'm either buying or making him a little sling or carrier because he wants to wear his babies while I wear Asher. I'm so glad that babywearing and breastfeeding are so natural to him, I wouldn't have it any other way.
This is a short post, but my 26 week update is tomorrow so I think this is sufficient. It's time to go do more schoolwork and some research, and relax a bit before bed. Or maybe just relax, nothing wrong with taking a day off, right?

Combating low iron with iron rich foods!

Amaranth Pudding

So low iron is nothing new to me. I've been on iron supplements since I was 14 or 15, and I know better than to go off of them because I hate feeling draggy and tired and weak. As one might guess, it's worse during pregnancy. I got a small amount of blood taken at my last prenatal appointment and had to sit for ten minutes because it made me so dizzy. The first thing the nurse said was "well it looks like we're definitely gonna have to check those iron levels!" Expected, it was worse when I was pregnant with Noahbug too. The current issue is finding an iron supplement that doesn't upset my stomach, because all the iron supplements I've ever been on make me nauseous lately. So I've been trying to eat more iron rich foods, and it's helped a bit. Not a great deal, but I'm feeling better than before. It takes time.
I had an opportunity the other day to catch up on some school work and I dove on it. I'm on the health and diet section in my books, so I picked up where I'd left off last - which was the section on iron. In that section it talks a lot about food, and a lot about foods that I eat almost daily, like: tea, coffee, chocolate, and chili powder (on food of course).
What do all of these have in common? They block the absorption of iron! I never knew this. Coffee and tea are part of my daily routine. I have a coffee problem, and an even worse tea problem. To me, tea is pretty much the definition of happiness. I've tried almost every tea, I love all tea, I love trying new teas, I love experimenting with teas. I love the process of finding the single greatest tea there is (currently cinnamon apple spice tea by Celestial Seasonings, FYI). I like tea with honey, tea with lemon, tea with honey and lemon, tea that wakes you up, tea that calms you down, tea that makes you sleepy, tea that boosts your mood, tea that tastes like fruit, tea that tastes like... well, tea. I just love tea with a passion that's probably slightly abnormal. If you ever want to get me a present, get me a variety pack of teas. I'll love you always.
And what pregnant woman doesn't like chocolate? I try to keep it limited to 3 or 4 chocolate bars a week, but sometimes you can't really control the craving. I have to work on my will power with food... but hey, it could always be worse, right?
Anyway, black tea reduces the amount of iron your body is able to absorb by up to 94%. Peppermint blocks it up to 84% and chamomile tea blocks it by up to 47%. So my Lipton tea's really been killing my iron absorption. Big time. My morning sickness tea has been killing it almost as badly as the Lipton! And the chamomile tea I take to calm down on rough nights helps my mood but hurts my iron supply. I'm still trying to figure out the lesser of those evils. On top of this, when I ran out of vitamin C I didn't stock back up, and vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron. So not only have I not been helping my body to absorb as much iron as I can by continually forgetting to get more vitamin C, I've also been blocking the iron I do consume by drinking coffee and tea and eating chocolate.
Working against yourself at it's finest.
On the bright side, this section also lists many foods that are rich in iron that I didn't even know about.
A cup of wheatgerm provides 7.2mg of iron, 4oz of ground beef provides 3.2mg of iron, 2oz of chicken liver provides 7.2mg of iron, and the winner is amaranth - just one cup provides 14.8mg of iron!
The recommended intake of iron for a pregnant woman is 27mg. Two cups of amaranth and you're good to go! I found some good recipes containing amaranth online:
These are definitely going to make my life easier. Iron rich, good for you, and they look pretty tasty to boot!

Amaranth Tabouli

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gloomy weather sucks


"It's pouring, it's raining, it's snoring, it's raining!"
That's what this afternoon consists of - my two year old singing his rendition of "It's raining, it's pouring".
I hate crappy weather, but his singing makes it pretty cute.
So far today there have been lots and lots of snuggles, tickles, and monster kisses. Oh, and Bug's been trying to convince me that things are hiding in the trees outside and giggling at me when he gets me to look.
There's not a whole lot to update about today... Nothing too new, and I can't decide what controversial topic I want to blog about.
Oh! I did try Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea, that was pretty sweet. It tastes awesome, but I prefer Earth Mama Angel Baby. I'm partial to them, though, so I don't know if it counts.
I think we're gonna spend the day making homemade french bread pizza, playing in the rain and playing Just Dance on the Kinect. Right now Bug is outside with his grandpa playing, because he can't get enough of him. Everywhere he goes, Bug's two steps behind him yelling "wait! I'm coming!" It's super adorable, especially because it takes him ages to warm up to people.
I remembered something I do love to the moon and back about pregnancy: hair growth. On my head anyway... -- makes fun of my new "belly fur" that's appeared. Oh well, I had it with Bug too, it falls out after you give birth haha. But my hair has grown significantly since getting pregnant, which is awesome. Last summer I chopped it all off, I'm still not sure why I thought that was a good idea, but it's taken forever and three days to start to grow back some. I can actually put it in a ponytail, or half up/half down, or braid it, or even curl it. Progress! My nails are growing pretty quickly too. I'm not too big on nails, but I pick at them a lot and I bite them, and it's nice that they don't ALWAYS look ratty because of me anymore.
I'll try to pick something real to blog about later and then come back, but no guarantees.
And if you're interested, that picture is 25w3d. Less than 15 weeks to go!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

25 weeks :)


I know, today's blog is a little (a lot, it's 11:14PM) late, but it's here!
I'm twenty five weeks along today. That means around 15-17 weeks left to go! Asher's hearing has gotten much more sensitive and he's beginning to recognize voices. Mine's a given, he lives inside me.
Anyway, Asher is about the size of a cauliflower now! So roughly 13.6-14.8 inches long and 1.5-2.5lbs. He now knows up from down and is packing on the baby fat, and with this heartburn he's hopefully growing some hair too! I'm only two weeks away from my third trimester, and that's pretty exciting. It's weird to think of how close I really am to meeting the bubs. When I was pregnant with Noah, it dragged and dragged and dragged for what felt like centuries. It felt like days took weeks, weeks took months and months took years. I still can't get over how wonderful pregnant swimming is. It's incredible, the weightlessness and relaxation and just fun. It's tiresome but it feels so nice, and it takes all the pressure off your back.
Absolutely wonderful.
I also can't get over how much I dislike swollen ankles (I fondly call mine cankles) and I don't like to think of how much worse it will get in the coming months. A summer pregnancy isn't as bad, so far anyway, as everyone says it is, but it's far from a walk in the park. I never got dehydrated so easily when I was pregnant with Noah, my limbs/appendages didn't swell, standing wasn't so tiring, I didn't get overheated... I legitimately broke a sweat today - sitting on my couch. With the AC going. And barely any clothing.
Is a summer pregnancy better than a winter one? Yes and no.

Yes:
*Easier to show off my bump
*Swimming
*Cute maternity wear
*Flip flops (I can't get enough of them when I'm pregnant)
*Pretty summer skirts
*Camis (why are they so comfy during pregnancy?)
*Cuter maternity pictures (personal opinion)
*Good reason to let my belly hang out and not stretch my shirts
*Pregnant people get free ice cream

No:
*I'll be blunt - it's fucking hot
*Easily dehydrated
*Swollen feet/ankles/cankles
*I can't reach to paint my toe nails
*I'm always hot
*The heat makes me tire easily
*Sitting outside gets pretty uncomfortable
*No roller coasters
*No trampoline
*No diving board

It's worth it no matter what season you're pregnant in, though. It's always worth it to create human life!
I consider that my super power - I make people, and I make milk. Men can't say that. Take that, Superman!



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Placenta Encapsulation

*Photo from NaturalArrivals.com*

So, let's talk about something "taboo" that's becoming more and more commonplace - placenta encapsulation. Basically, placenta encapsulation is just that - encapsulating your placenta to take like a vitamin. You can do it yourself, or you can hire someone to do it for you. My doula will be encapsulating my placenta and allowing me to help, and hopefully I can do it on my own with my next bubs after Ash.
Pretty much every other mammal eats it's placenta after birth. It's said to have healing properties and frankly, we're the odd ones out for being one of the few species who don't eat it. If you would have asked me two and a half years ago if I would ever consume my placenta, I probably would have looked at you like you had eight heads, said, "that's gross," and walked away. I've become much more open minded and more educated about pregnancy, labor, birth, the PP period and all it's surrounding areas since then, however, and I'm actually pretty... excited? is that the word? to have my placenta encapsulated.
I know women literally eat their placentas, or make them into smoothies. I applaud these women, but I don't have the stomach for it and I prefer my more "tame" method of consuming my placenta - in capsule form.
Eating your placenta has shown to lessen baby blues and to help relieve fatigue post-partum. Placenta capsules can increase your milk supply (added bonus!), help balance your hormones, give you more energy, boost your mood and are said to even speed your post-partum recovery. What reason do you have NOT to consume it? Even if you're a bit squeamish you can encapsulate it rather than cooking it up, turning it into a smoothie or eating it raw! From what I can tell, they don't look much different than the echinacea capsules I take every day, either, and because they're in those little capsules I'm willing to bet you can't even taste them.  I'm not sure how much truth there is to this one (I can tell you in October) but it's also said that consuming your placenta in any of these various ways also helps to manage the pain you encounter while healing. On top of that, it's supposed to be great immune support! Since Ash is due in October, I could use a little extra immune support. I'm always sick in the winter, boo. 
Some (breastfeeding) women claim that a newb they took placenta capsules with slept more peacefully and had a more calm, pleased demeanor than previous babies that they had not consumed their placentas with. That's another one I can get back to you on in October, but honestly, seeing all of these benefits and potential benefits, who wouldn't want to give it a try? 
Eighteen year old me. Eighteen year old me would not want to ever, ever give it a try. Why? Because that came out of my vagina, because it was created inside me, because I hadn't studied anything about it and it was so foreign to me, so strange. I hadn't know anyone who had ever even thought of eating their placenta. If I'd even known about it then I would have brushed it off and forgotten about it.
It's a shame, really. I think Noah and I both could have benefited greatly from it. But you can't change the past, and now that I know better, I'm going to do better. I'm very excited to see the differences in my post-partum recovery with Asher vs. with Noah. I know I struggled a bit combating the "baby blues" - never full out PPD, but the "baby blues" were a bit difficult for me. I really wonder if taking my placenta would have helped with that, and if it would have, I wish I could go back in time and DO that. 

You know what else would be super nifty? A placenta print:

*Image from BambinoBrands.com.au*

They make sort of a Tree of Life thing - and fittingly so, they provided your bubs with life for many, many weeks! I wonder if I can make my own? Well, off to talk to my doula and midwife about it. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pregnant baby-wearing


Yesterday I went to Walmart with my brother to get a sleeping bag for his camping trip, and knowing I was bringing along a crabby, nap avoiding toddler, I grabbed up my ring sling to bring with us.
We got to Walmart, got out of the car, and immediately - "Mama, it's too hot. I no walk. You wear me?" Of course. I don't think I've ever told this kid no to wearing him, aside from when I was on what was basically light bedrest. So I picked him up and wrapped him up on his back and we went into the store. Good thing, too, because he hates sitting in shopping carts and it was packed. He easily could have been picked up or gotten lost in the crowd because there were so many people. Up on my back, he can see everything and everyone and he can talk to me without me having to stop and bend down every few seconds to hear him over everything else.
Anyway, I guess baby-wearing is less popular in this part of NY than in my part of CT because I didn't see one other baby-wearing mama there - no Baby Bjorns, no Infantinos, no ring slings, no wraps, nothing! 
I don't know how some mamas get by without baby-wearing. It's a lifesaver for me!
So, back to what I was saying. I got a lot of confused and curious looks, and I thought it would stay just that - looks, maybe a few hushed comments as people walked by like I'm used to. It's a strange sight where I live in CT to see a mama wearing her baby, it's all about strollers there. Surprisingly, though many people here aren't used to seeing it, many people were interested in how it worked and where they could get one. So I got to tell everyone about my ring sling and where I got it, and how it's saved me in many situations. It was really nice!
There was one lady who stopped me while I was walking out of the restroom and told me how great it was to see a mama so caring toward her child, and who kept her child so close and how happy he was in "that cool thing". Then she told me a story about a baby in an infant seat on a shopping cart - I thought she was going to tell me how the seat fell off the cart, like I hear all too often, but it was actually far worse. I guess she was in a store once and saw a mama shopping with her baby in his infant seat on the cart, and while she was grabbing something off the shelf, someone came up behind her and snatched the seat off of the cart and ran with it. Unfortunately she never found out if the baby was okay or if he ever got back to his mama. It was such a heart breaking story, I can't even imagine something like that happening to me. It did make me that much more grateful for my sling though, and for the fact that I love me some research and learned long ago that it's not safe to keep an infant seat on a shopping cart.
After that, she smiled and told me I'm a great mama with a happy baby, and it made my day. As I left the restroom I was stopped again outside by an older woman who wanted to know all about my ring sling. "How old is he? How much will that hold? He sure looks happy. Did you make it? Where did you buy it? I love that pocket on it! Do you get much use out of it? Are they expensive? It's such a beautiful material. Does it get hot? Is it comfortable? He looks comfortable, but are you?" 
I answered her questions and she was smiling from ear to ear. I think she likes friendly people as much as I do! She told me how she wished she'd had one when her kids were little and couldn't stop telling me how happy my bubs looked. He loves this thing more than I do!
It was a great trip to Walmart, though. No more cranky toddler, this sling makes him go from cranky to the happiest kid in the world in about two minutes flat! And I even got to tell people what it was, how it worked, where I got it - and some of the people I talked to now want to buy them to wear their own babies!
I love baby-wearing :)

Here's a bonus picture of what my Bug and his auntie Kassidy drew on my belly when we got home:

They're great little artists, aren't they? Asher loved it, well, maybe he hated it, it's hard to decipher what kicks mean what. He kicked away through the whole drawing! The kids were super happy to have a canvas to draw on ;)

Pool time :)


This mama spent most of her time behind the camera the other day... and in the pool. Swimming while pregnant is probably the best thing ever!
Anyway, I had a blast taking pictures of my midget before I got brave enough to walk into the pool. It's a lot harder to get in and get used to the water when you can't jump in, and unfortunately, this belly full of fetus won't fare well if I start jumping and doing flips off the diving board.
Bug's favorite thing to do all day was push his daddy, uncles and aunt into the pool. He had so much fun! His favorite person to push in though was --, by far. I finally got pictures of him pushing -- in after what seemed like the hundredth time!
He didn't want to hang out with his mama all day long though. It made it easier for me to swim because I wasn't chasing a two year old around the pool so I guess we both won - -- got quality time with his bubba and I got the awesome feeling of weightlessness a pregnant mama gets to enjoy when she's in the water!
And oh man, swimming has never been so tiring before. I used to be able to do laps for what felt like hours, now swimming to the deep end and back I need to catch my breath... and I'm not even out of shape! I dance, do yoga, go for walks and chase a toddler around all day every day. I've been sleeping pretty well after swim sessions, though, thanks to the water sucking away all my energy. 


After we were done swimming we tried to hang out by the pool and have some pizza, but the mosquitoes were terrible. My poor swollen ankles are now covered in mosquito bites on top of looking like cankles. 
Oh, the joys of creating a tiny human. Swollen feet and ankles, being a feast for mosquitoes (I never bothered looking into why pregnant women are so delicious to them, either), the fatigue, ahhh. It's all well worth it in the end. And I only have 109 days (roughly) until I get to meet my little bubs. Yay! I have a feeling he's going to come after his due date like his big brother, even with that contraction scare at 21 weeks. I don't mind though. Bake as long as you need to, bubba! We want a happy, healthy, chunky little baby!

Oh, and swimming made Bug sleep well too:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ERF - Extended Rear Facing

*My only recent ERF picture*

Now, let me start this by saying I am not bashing mamas who FF at 1 year and 20lbs. I am all for ERF with my kids and I don't think anyone will change that. My 2.5 year old, who is 26lbs and 32in tall, is still RFing - and he loves it. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips mamas, use it! Do your research! What I hope to do with this post is dispel some ERF myths.

For instance, "FF at 1 and 20lbs is just as safe as RF past that."
Quite frankly, no, it's not. Even the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends RFing until 2 years old and 30lbs. Why, though?
In most accidents, a RFing baby/toddler is 5 times safer than a FF baby/toddler. The seat takes the bulk of the impact and helps to distribute it over the whole body, thus protecting your child moreso than if the seat was FF and didn't take most of the damage. When a child is facing forward, their head and neck move forward abruptly and it can cause neck/spinal damage. 

"My child won't be comfortable RFing. He's too tall."
If he's not exceeding the seat's requirements, he's not too tall. My son is 32 inches tall, his feet reach the back of the seat, and he's comfortable even on long car rides. There are many positions for a baby/toddler to put his legs when RFing. My son likes to sit cross legged... or with his knees bent, or resting on the top of the back seat, or out to the sides of the car seat. He never complains that he's uncomfortable, but honestly, I think that a small bit of discomfort is worth his safety.

"I don't want to keep her in an infant seat."
I'm not sure where parents get the notion that to ERF they need to keep their child in an infant, or "bucket" seat. That's absurd. A convertible seat works (generally) from 5lbs to that specific seat's weight/height requirements. There's absolutely no need to keep her in an infant seat, which she'll likely quickly outgrow anyway.

"I'm on a budget, I can't afford to ERF."
Budget? Welcome to my life! We have a convertible Cosco seat, nifty design, double cup holders, 5lbs all the way to 40lbs and 40 inches. Side impact protection, all that great stuff. And it didn't burn a hole in our bank account. This awesome seat cost us a grand total of $60, and it wasn't even on sale. We paid full price, brand new, and only $60. Pretty nifty, I think. And it gets better - if you get a seat like this and plan to ERF it could actually be cheaper for you in the long run. Instead of shelling out $60-$250 for an infant seat and $60-$350 for the convertible car seat you're going to buy just to FF in when your little one outgrows her infant seat, you could buy the convertible and be done with it. Just buy one seat! Nicer to your wallet, and safer for that little bundle of joy you brought into the world. 

"My son gets bored, he needs to face forward or he'll cry."
If he's never FF, he doesn't even know what he's "missing". All you've gotta do is pack some toys for the ride! A car ride will bore any toddler/child, anyway. Another thing that may help is installing a shatter-proof baby mirror on the backseat - so you can see your kiddo, and he can see you, too. Bring a CD of some fun songs he likes, or a picture book for him to read. His safety is more important than him being bored, mama!


*And please, please keep these things in mind:
- A chest clip is a chest clip for a reason. It should be placed on the chest, NOT the belly. Placing a chest clip over the belly could result in severe internal damage in the even of an accident.
-Straps should be snug. You should not be able to pinch them. They also should not be twisted (or washed for that matter). All of these things affect the quality of the straps and their ability to help in an accident.
-Winter jackets should NOT be worn in a carseat. These jackets are puffy and will compress in a car accident, therefore compromising your child's safety and increasing the risk of your child being expelled from the car seat.
-Make sure your baby/toddler has not exceeded the height/weight requirements of the car seat. The seats only test safely to those requirements.
-Don't buy a used car seat! A seat should be replaced after every crash, as damage is done to the seat in a crash and will be significantly less effective. Many people selling their old car seats neglect to mention whether the seat was in a crash, and sometimes even lie about it to get rid of the seat.
-Check your seat's expiration dates. Yup, car seats expire! Typically 4-7 years after the manufacture date. You can normally find the date imprinted somewhere on your seat. It's important to toss an expired car seat because the plastic shell can become brittle and not protect well in an accident, and the straps can wear down (even if they're not being used) and give in an accident, expelling the child from the seat.

Remember mamas (and dads!) do your research! A couple of hours of research could save your child's life. A fair trade if you ask me! :)


A letter to my (temporarily) only child...


You are the sweetest two year old ever. You are the first person to have ever taught me what true love really is. You've helped me grow, not only as a mama, but as a person. You're my world. You have the most beautiful blue eyes and the cutest smile, and your bedhead is even the most adorable mess I have ever seen. There's nothing I love more than being there and watching and helping you grow day after day. I don't know who I would be, or where I would be without you. You've been my only baby for two and a half years, and come October it won't just be you anymore. It'll be you and Asher. I'll never love you less, and I'll love Asher just as much. I hope it doesn't stress you out to share your mama with your brother. 
You'll have been an only child for nearly three years when he arrives, so I expect it to come as a shock to you when you realize he's here to stay - that we're not babysitting, no one is going to come to the house to pick him up and take him home, because our home is his home as well. 
It's so very important to me that you know once Ash arrives you will not be any less special. You will not be any less loved. I don't know how to explain it to you because you're so little, but mama loves you just as much now as in October, and every month, year, and decade afterward. There's nothing you or I could do to make me love you any less than I do right this instant. 
I'm not even quite sure yet how I'm going to adjust to the new baby. I'll admit that some days I cry because I get sad thinking about how you won't have our 100% focus anymore - but you'll still have our 100% love. You're my whole world and soon Asher will be too. 
Last night when we were going to sleep and you were laying in my arm, with your head on my shoulder like you've slept since day one, it was the most bittersweet moment. I remember you when you were just a few hours old, sleeping the same way, and now it's two and a half years later and I know these days will soon come to an end. You're turning into a big boy and you like to sleep in your big boy bed, and it's bittersweet because I'll miss those snuggles, but I'm so proud of you for being so independent. 
To see what you can do now compared to when you came home makes my heart swell with pride. You're such a well mannered and (usually) well behaved little boy. It's going to be strange to bring home a little baby that can't do anything but sleep, poop and nurse like you did when you came home.
Anyway, I'm rambling. I want you to know that you are perfect to me, and I'll love you forever. I hope you never feel second to your baby brother, I hope you never feel left out or forgotten, and I hope that if you do feel any of these things, you tell me so I can fix it. It's gonna be tough, bub, I won't lie. There's going to be tears, there will be feelings of jealousy... but always remember that I love you, and I love Asher just the same as I love you. No more, no less. 
I love you, baby boy, forever and ever. Don't you ever forget it.

24 weeks!


Hello viability!
This week Ash is about 10.5 inches long, and the size of a cantaloupe. His skin is less see-through and more of a glowy, opaque pink color. His movements increase in strength and frequency every day! I love feeling my bubs move around.
I have heartburn bad enough that I've been sleeping sitting up - thank god we have a comfortable couch! It's not too difficult to stay hydrated during the summer when it's just you, but apparently it's next to impossible for me to stay hydrated with Asher as a womb-mate. I try, though! Nearly every day I've ended up in the house, laying down for an hour or two and chugging glass after glass of water to re-hydrate myself. Who's bladder DOESN'T love a water overload? Asher thinks it makes a nice punching bag when it's full.
Anyway, we're visiting my dad for a week or two. It's nice to be away from everything. Noah's having a blast with his aunt and his uncles and his "bampah" (grandpa). He even got a wiffle ball and bat and some new flip flops!


He's been having tons of fun, and lots of it happens on the trampoline. The top left is his uncle Johnny helping him off the trampoline, top right is him and his aunt Kassidy playing on the trampoline, bottom left is snuggles for uncle Anthony and bottom right is getting ready for a walk with uncle Vinny. He loves his big, Italian family hahaha. There's little more that makes him happier than playing with them.

Except maybe playing with the chickens:

I love the chickens because they're cute, eat ticks and ensure a fresh breakfast for everyone ;) Having chickens is pretty awesome I think, I can't wait to have my own when we own a house!