Dec 26, 2006

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Lying-in: Postpartum planning

After reading this great article on the practice of lying-in,
At rest in the arms of the mother: The postpartum practice of lying-in allows a mom to deeply bond with her newborn babes

by Katherine Gyles (see her blog here) we are beginning to consider a lying-in period of our own.

What is lying-in?
Lying-in is basically a time, immediately postpartum, where the mother and baby and dad are sequestered together and cared for by the father or other community members. The intention is to allow the mother to deeply bond with her newborn baby, to learn their cues and to learn how to breastfeed without any external pressure or visitors.

We found out early that our midwives prescribe two weeks of lying-in (and no stairs) for postpartum moms -- partly as a way to encourage them to stay in bed and bond with baby and also to heal. At first, I didn't think I could abide by this. But lately, as I get bigger and more tired, I understand why this prescription is a good idea... after all, you only have that first two weeks once in your and their lives. why not close in and try to make it a special family bonding time? How could that NOT be beneficial? I have watched many a friend brag about how soon she was up and outta bed and 'back to normal', only to be really exhausting herself completely in the first six weeks postpartum. ...which brings us to a larger question: Why are women trying to pretend nothing happened when they have a baby? Why isn't it okay in our society to take some time to learn how to breastfeed, to sleep, and to bond with the new baby, keeping visitors at bay, until you have more rest and energy and a bit more of a hang for things?

Carol Gray, a grandmother and Doula in the Portland area, wrote a lovely blog entry about adequate postpartum care:
"Have we missed something by proclaiming that as women we can do it all - and do it well? What would it be like if each mother, surrounded by a cocoon of loving helpers, could rest and recover from birth at her own rate? Would it change the way we parent our babies? Would it change the way we think of ourselves as mothers? Would it change the bonds we form with our babies? Would the babies change? Who would those babies be as adults? Would they change the world?"

I just ordered this book about postpartum wellness. Can't wait to get it!

Dec 24, 2006

Disney Princesses and Baby Projectionists

Disney's rampant marketing to girls just plain offends me lately... this article in the Sunday New York Times What's wrong with Cinderella? really sums my feelings up well.

With the recent baby shower, the growing pile of new and hand-me-down baby gear and stuff that is accumulating in our home is growing into a daunting mass. People are asking things like "so is the nursery done?" and it seems to be causing some of my relatives great confusion when I say we aren't doing a reasons for no nursery until baby comes:
  1. Due to an odd house layout, we don't know which room to pick yet, and can't agree.
  2. We have a huge bedroom and plan to have the baby share our room/bed for at least the first few months
  3. We are superstitious.
  4. We know that the baby won't know/care that he/she is sharing our massive bedroom versus getting their own.
Great blog entry that kind of sums up some of my feelings about the baby industrial complex scheme that everyone perpetuates: Resisting the Pull of Fabulous Baby Furniture

The Projectionists
One funny thing about having a baby is how many people project their own feelings onto you and tell you what you will do when the baby comes or how "you will see and change your ways". When I hear this, I think to myself is that they either
1) dont know me that well, or,
2) dont realize how well I know myself.

An example: When I was a kid, I would watch my mom make the thanksgiving turkey and every year I would be totally grossed out. I would say "Mom, I will never make a turkey.Its too gross". And my Aunts and grandmother would say "oh, just wait til you are married, you will change!" and laugh as I insisted I would not change on the topic of turkey. Well, I have been married five years and I haven't changed about turkey.... I not only do not make turkey, on the very first thanksgiving we cooked, I actually made my very sweet loving husband take the freshly killed turkey to my mothers house to prepare it so I did not have to watch the ordeal or have the grossness touch my kitchen. I still do not do turkey. My Grandmom was wrong. I knew myself better than she thought I did.

And so back to the baby projectionists... some of our friends would have us believe that life is over and everything will be wrecked when the kids arrive.... they constantly rave about "getting the baby on a schedule" and babyproofing the house. They are also the ones who seemed to have every single possible baby gadget and toy sitting in their living room, to the point where their home seemed to be inhabited by no one but a roving band of little kids. They keep saying "you'll try to go without the coffee table bumper pads, but you'll see how it really is, and give up like we did..." But I still refuse to believe that we will be like that...just giving over the house to the kids...will we really?

Will I get defeated and give up? Will I become a control freak who is obsessed with getting the baby on a schedule, like they insist I will? Or do I know myself and my capabilities better than they think I do? At this point, I feel pretty confident that if I stick to my intuition and use my nanny experiences, and stop listening to others, I will be just fine. I plan to adapt to what the baby needs versus trying to fit the baby into my life, and I think we'll all encounter less stress with that approach. Life will change, surely. And my house probably wont be as neat, but if Mike and I have anything to do with it, it wont become a Toys-R-US either.

I admire my friend Molly who is the eternal optimist on the topic of pretty tablecloths. She always has pretty tablecloths on her table when I go there. The kids always spill stuff on them, but she just washes it and puts a fresh one on. She never replaces them with a plastic tablecloth or something 'more practical'. She never just gets rid of them all together. Her table always looks nice, and I love that about her.

Does Christmas have to change with kids?

This is our first Christmas at home in five years. It was Mexico in 2001, San Francisco in 2002, Mexico again in 2003, and again in 2004, then Miami last year....

...So it feels interesting and different to be here at Christmas, and maybe it's the coming baby, but we both seem to be seeing Christmas this year through the eyes of parents -- we're suddenly noticing that our laid back friends who have kids all seem to have these very high expectations of what Christmas should be (including how the grandparents should act, etc...) and they seemed to be getting their kids so many gifts. It is as if they see this as THE time to create absolutely picture-perfect family magical memories... and I guess in hearing their stories, I find myself questioning what Christmas will be like for me when I am the parent of one or more small children. Will I change?

At the moment, we don't really do holiday gifts for anybody...we really never have. It may sound 'grinchy' but it is actually incredibly freeing. Between our families, we usually exchange one gift pollyanna-style within each immediate family. And of course, we buy some small gifts for our two-year old niece...usually books or music. But that is about it.

I feel that we're fortunate that our families agree that Christmas is special when we spend time together, not when we get and give gifts. But will kids change all that? Will we get caught up in the rampant consumerism that Christmas becomes for so many families with young kids? Will our Christmas traditions suddenly grow to enormous proportions where I feel compelled to make lots of cookies and get them tons of presents for the kids so their memories can compete with the movies and books and their friends?

The New York Times had some great articles on Christmas and the gift giving frenzy -- one I liked in particular was How do you Outgrow a 13 foot tree? ...Now I can't ever see myself taking the trouble to leave gifts on our roof but it illustrates the absurd levels some people will go to in order to make Christmas this really magical time for their kids. To me, the magic can be simpler than that...but to each their own.

Dec 18, 2006


The most awful and tragic news is that my long time friend and college roommate, April Rodeheffer (now April Burbach), died on Friday morning, December 15, 2006. April was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last December and spent 2006 fighting that awful disease. She was 33 years old.

The weekend sadness and melancholy was broken up by a lovely morning visit with my friend Molly, followed by a baby shower party that my mom threw for me yesterday. It was so amazing to have so many women who have been there for the pivotal life moments in one room channeling their energy and joy towards this coming baby. The baby made out really well too -- got lots of delightful clothes, toys and goodies. And of course, the grandmothers went a little crazy and bought some of the big ticket we got the stroller, and the high chair we'd been hoping for.

Speaking of the baby, this little one has been kicking up a storm! I am 31 weeks along. According to a weekly pregnancy calendar, the baby weighs about 4 pounds and is about 15 to 17 inches tall and the skin is becoming less translucent and bones are finally hardening at this point.

Also, I had my OB and midwife appointments this past week, and all looks great. My OB said (in the whole 10 minutes I got with her) "this baby is following the textbook" and "I am very happy with how this pregnancy is going", and the midwives, took a bit more time (1.5 hours on average) to review my diet and check the baby's size, position and fluid levels as well as explain how the baby is positioned. We also talked about pediatricians and started talking about the birth plans. Only 4 more weeks to go until I am 36 weeks and can get the absolute go ahead from the OB and midwives for a homebirth!

No real decisions on names for us yet. We like the same old ones we've liked for a while, but the truth is we will wait to decide on anything until after we meet this little one!!

Dec 5, 2006

The Pre-Baby Vacation

...I encourage everyone to do it. Here we are in lovely Sanibel Island, Florida for a week of R&R. What have we been doing? Stocking up on sleep, visiting the hot tub (well Mike has bee visiting the hot tub, I just watch), swimming, walking, reading lots of good books and just hanging out together. Its been lovely so far -- a nice way for us to relax before the holidays, and to reconnect a bit as a couple before the baby comes. We've had time to discuss names (nope! not saying!) and the house projects we have to finish, all the other future changes we're about to encounter (known and unknown).

Many people think we are strange for having waited so long to have kids...but really, we are, this week, feeling so fortunate to have been married five whole years and to have had all that time to work through marital and life challenges together, to have spent a lovely amount of time together as a couple, to have traveled, to have had so much fun by ourselves before we welcome a new member of the family into our lives. And while it will certainly be an adjustment to become a 'three some', we are really feeling like we are ready for this baby to make his or her entrance into our lives. We just feel so excited to know who they are and what they will be like, to show them the wonders of the world and take them on great adventures.

At this point, we're in Week 30 of the pregnancy, so we have about 10 weeks left. The baby is moving and grooving at night in my belly, and I am getting bigger by the minute. So far, I have gained about 20 pounds. Posted by Picasa