Nov 28, 2006

Cool stuff for kids and parents

Robin gave me this great calendar last year by the artist Nikki McClure. So as I looked for another one today, I found this cool first 1000 days baby journal she created. oooohhh ahhhh....

Check out this lovely family tree at Mahar Dry goods... And then there are the adorable Farm Friends Finger Puppets which are really too cute for words...

Oh Joy is a great blog on all kinds of cool papers and artsy stuff.

Nov 23, 2006

Thanks and Appreciation

This Thanksgiving morning, I (Karin) am particularly thankful for having a year and life full of amazing opportunities and good friends, for having a partner who loves me and supports me and cooks yummy meals for me, for having a healthy pregnancy and an actively kicking baby growing in my belly, for having such amazing love and support from both of our families, and, most of all, for having the very difficult life experiences that have taught me to cherish every single day as if its your very last.

But this Thanksgiving Holiday also has a sad and bitterweet feel to it -- on one hand, I am thrilled and excited to gain a child and become a mother. On the other hand, as I gain a person in my life, it appears I must lose one as well. My college roommate and good friend, April, was diagnosed with Stage III Pancreatic Cancer almost a full year ago. She's been fighting it like a stormtrooper but unfortunately the cancer is winning out. She's now getting hospice care, at home, to help her stay comfortable and to manage the pain. And while her strong willed and positive spirit is intact and certainly hanging in there, her body really seems to be slowly shutting down -- she is really having a very tough and painful time of things. April is just 33 years old, and today, she is at home, with her family gathered, for what is likely to be her last Thanksgiving holiday in this body and spirit.
In 1991, April and I met at Freshman orientation and decided to become roomates right away. We began our very first days of college at Ohio State together, and we had a blast. I will never forget our first OSU football game, where we had to sit in the famous "Block O" (the pep rally section) and how both of us hated it and left to go find other seats at halftime because they were making us do too much work (telling us to jingle our keys for a "key play", telling us to put on and take off different colored shirts to spell things to the rest of the stadium, etc...) The next week, we traded tickets with some kids from our dorm, and while we never again sat in Block O, we still became rabid OSU Football fans. In many ways my friendship with her was one of the most important and consistent female friendships I have had in my life thus far. Throughout the 5 years we were at OSU, our friendship saw us through difficult times, changing boyfriends, different friends, and difficult family situations but we always remained bonded in a special way. And though our lives took different paths and took us to different places over the years, she was, until now, really always there for me when I needed her... just a phone call away. Today she is still a phone call away, but its not really quite the same...and my heart is just aching that she is suffering so much today.
Even prayers and thoughts seem so inadequate...Cancer is just a miserable miserly mean awful invention, and no one should ever have to endure such pain and difficulty in their young life.

Needless to say, I am not in a cheery holiday mood... and because we havent seen much of one another due to a lot of travel (his and mine), Mike and I thought we needed a day together where we didnt have to interact with others and pretend to be happy. So we cancelled the tenative dinner plans we had, and instead, today we're staying home, making dinner by ourselves, watching some movies...rubbing my belly and watching the baby kick, and just spending some good quality time hanging out together....a day of rest, appreciation and contemplation.

Have a good Thanksgiving! Posted by Picasa

Nov 19, 2006

27 Weeks

Here is what the baby is doing at 27 weeks...
This week he weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14.4 inches long with his legs extended. He can now open and close his eyes, and he sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. He may suck his fingers, and although his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with assistance — if he were to be born prematurely. Chalk up any rhythmic movement you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments and isn't bothersome to him, so enjoy the tickle. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now.

Holy crap! 27 weeks? Oh my gosh. Where did the time go? Its hard to believe that we're almost into the 3rd trimester, but then, no it isn't...because I definintely feel more pregnant these days....
  1. There is just no more hiding the belly. It is big and getting bigger and more active by the day. I am feeling little feet and legs moving around in there, and it is very starnge and cool at the same time.
  2. My whole left side feels the stress of the extra 15 pounds I have gained so far. My back and my hips are rebelling....they keep saying "no! no!" every morning as I creak out of bed like a 90 year old. I am committed to buying a new mattress set this week and sure that will help (I am probably folling myself).
  3. I am now sleeping in a complete nest of pillows (including one of those crazy body pillows and one tempur-pedic pillow, which is becoming a good friend to me). Mike may as well be sleeping in East Berlin given the massive pillow wall I build around my body each night.
  4. I am now starting some kind of nesting thing. I feel the great need for massive cabinet re-organizations and house projects to get done. (Oh wait, that's not pregnancy nesting, that's just me every week)
The Stroller: In other news, Mike has decided (I think) on the stroller. I think I told you that my criteria was 1) that it be easy to fold and not too heavy and, 2) that it not have bear or bunny prints anywhere on it, but be a practical city mama black or grey. So my thing about not wanting to have to "learn" how to fold it or have a hard time folding it seemingly got trumped by Mike's desire to have the ability to turn the baby around facing the pusher, which apparently has some learning advantage for the kid (and which seems to cost about $400 extra). Is it worth paying $400 more than every other one to have a unit which goes from bassinette to stroller, and is that bassinette feature really worth it? If so, the whole field of strollers gets easily narrowed it the one overly yuppiefied, super techie, wildly expensive thing that seems to be every Manhattan parent's dream, the Bugaboo.
Mike says "yes. the Bugaboo is going to be worth it. trust me"
He claims it is an excellent design. He claims that we can also use the basinette that comes with it like a portable moses basket, thereby saving ourselves from even more clutter. He claims that we can also use the stroller as a grocery cart and it will grow with our kid. He claims that it isn't a super fancy overpriced stroller because it offers so many advantages for city living that the others do not. I guess we shall see...
....Oh, and now that its been decided, which model of Bugaboo you might ask? The Frog, The Gecko or the Chameleon? I have not a stay tuned friends.

Nov 5, 2006

Pregnancy & Birth Plans: FAQ

As it gets closer to the 3rd trimester, I thought I would take some time to spell out some of our birth plans and reasoning right this list is based on some of the most often asked questions we've heard from family and friends.

Q: Who is your doctor/Where will you be having the baby?
A: We're primarily using midwives. Christy Santoro and Karen Webster of WomanWise, along with their apprentice midwife Susi Delaney, are our midwives and we'll be having our baby at home with them.
In addition to the midwives, we've also lined up a wonderful and highly regarded obstetrician at that same local hospital here in the city. Right now she's serving as a sort of "pregnancy consultant" to us, monitoring my pregnancy from a medical standpoint. In the unlikely event that I or the baby would need medical intervention in a hospital setting, she's going to be our go-to-physician. She's supportive of our choice to homebirth and as confident as we are that the baby being born at home with midwives will be a much safer and intimate family experience. We'll see her a few more times over the course of the pregnancy, and, hopefully won't see her at all after about 36 weeks! The primary function of our 3 midwives is to keep me and the baby safe; if we need more extensive medical care, they will be the first to suggest it, and we are just minutes from the Hospital we've chosen as a "backup"...and, should we need to go to the hospital for any reason, this "consulting" doctor will help to facilitate our entry.

Q: Why are you choosing homebirth? Isnt it dangerous?
A: Actually, home birth is statistically MUCH safer than hospital birth for healthy, low-risk women - which I am. Remember that pregnancy is not a disease, and birth is not a medical emergency -- it is a natural physiological process.
  • To review the latest british medical journal study about homebirth, click here.
  • If you are interested in reviewing some information on the safety of homebirth, click here for a fact sheet.
  • To see a list of books and web resources on homebirth, click here.

Q: Why on earth would you want to give birth at home?
A: To us, labor care is a totally personal and individual choice. There are many women, including me, who hope for a child-birth in which they, not the doctors, are in control. We want to have the information that will enable us to make our own decisions, to prepare ourselves for an experience in which we participate fully, and we do not wish labour and birth to be taken over by "managers". While Hospitals exist where all members of staff share this attitude, they are few and far between here in Philadelphia. Therefore, we have chosen the setting where we think we will be able to achieve the most focused concentration, positive labor support and in general create a situation which will foster the kind of inner confidence that is needed for a good birth.
Every single woman's birth experience is totally different - and while we can't predict what will actually happen, we are trying to "stack the odds" in our favor as much as possible.
This is not something we have decided to do without much research -- We are not being "brave" -- We are very well informed and lucky to be able to make this choice. We know that homebirth is not for everyone, but we do feel it is the right choice for us.

Q: Can you pick the room you have the baby in?
A: Yes, with a hombirth, any room I happen to be in is where the baby will be born. There are no restrictions on where or how or what position when you birth at home.

Q: So, do they bring the epidural into the house?
A: No. Homebirth means having a natural, intervention-free childbirth in the care of wise, women who are experts at delivering babies. Choosing homebirth means that I will not have an induction, epidural or episiotomy. I am happy and comfortable with that decision...I do realize that not everyone can choose or even wants to have a natural, drug free childbirth, and I have nothing against anyone who labors differently.

Q: Are you having an Ultrasound? If not, why not?
We aren't having an ultrasound unless we need one for some medical reason.
There are specific reasons to have an ultrasound (checking problems, confirming defects that have been detected through other tests, confirming the possibility of twins, etc...) and none of those reasons have applied to us. Sure we could just have one because its cool, but that didnt seem like the right reason to do it. The effectiveness of ultrasound as a routine procedure has never been proven. In fact, a number of studies have shown definitively that there is no better outcome for women who have had one or more routine ultrasound examinations during their pregnancies, as compared to those who have had none. Some folks undoubtedly find our decision bizarre. I don't know, there is just something that I like about not knowing... millions of other women never see their babe before it's born, including our moms, (and look, we turned out just fine!)
  • If you want to read about the recommended use and evidence on ultrasounds, click here.

Nov 3, 2006

Sayanora Tokyo!


So here we are at our last supper -- the New York Grill overlooking Tokyo. We had a delicious meal and the atmosphere was an amazing way to say goodbye to Tokyo. I had salmon and mom had a pork chop...both were amazing! Tomorrow morning we leave (early!) for Narita. We'll be stateside by lunchtime on Saturday. I cant wait to have some fresh organic milk and american cereal and I know mom's looking forward to a glass of chardonnay with my dad. We're both missing our guys! Posted by Picasa

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto was a different but equally interesting city. The buildings are much lower, but there seemed to be many more tourists.
Much less English spoken. Much less English on any signs. Much harder to get around (for us...) And, many more shrines.Kyoto has over 1600 Shrines and 600 Temples or something like that. We saw tons of shrines, a castle, a golden pavilions, some really neat little streets and gardens. We saw a lot more women wearing the traditional Kimonos. This is where "Memoirs of a Geisha" was filmed.
At night, it is really magical in the small back alleys where you can see Geisha going to their evening appointments, you can wonder down small alleys and "take your chances" at a Japanese restaurant. We took our chances and weren't disappointed, but by the time we left today, I was REALLY getting sick of Japanese food. Tonight we are having dinner at the "New York Grill" - the restaurant/bar made famous in Lost in Translation...I am planning to have some chicken or something normal without seaweed!!! Too much seaweed!!!
We've had a lovely trip. We're exhausted from all the walking, touring and trying to figure things out. What you don't remember is that traveling in Asia really requires a whole separate level of energy for "figuring things out" and navigating the strange idiosyncrasies... for example, you are not allowed to touch cab doors...they automatically open and close them for you. They prefer you DO NOT touch the doors at all.... And then there were the bathrooms....these clean obsessed people do not seem to provide and hand drying in bathrooms, or at the table. we almost never received napkins when we sat down to eat. and then there is the thing that you are not allowed to eat in public (while walking) because it is considered really bad manners. And NO nose blowing in public. People just sniffle or wear masks...but they DO NOT blow their nose in public. So that's the wrap up. We leave tomorrow morning and arrive in NY on Saturday morning around 10am. We're ready to come home! Posted by Picasa