May 23, 2007

3 months old!


Recent happenings: Charlotte went on her first plane trip and had her first visit to a swimming pool and beach in Sanibel Island, Florida. She attended her first street festival this past weekend in the Italian Market.
Posted by Picasa

May 6, 2007

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Apr 13, 2007

Two months old!

Here is our smiling, cooing, happy, bath loving little sweetie at two months old!
Posted by Picasa

Mar 25, 2007

Rockin baby gear

So you know, I hate clutter - especially the extraneous plastic kind that seem to dominate the homes of people with kids. but yesterday, our new friend and the owner of our local coffee shop, Andrew, gave us his son Emerson's papasan baby swing. Two words: It rocks. Charlotte slept in it this morning and it may just replace the co-sleeper as her napping spot!

Some other things that we like and use regularly:
The Graco travel bouncy seat. It's quiet but effective, and best of all, it folds up into a bag so you arent tripping over a big seat when you aren't using it.

The Moby Wrap -- Charlotte doesnt like the sling yet(she doesn't like to lie down at all, maybe due to a bit of reflux...) and the moby wrap has been a godsend. I take her everyhere in it.

The Soothie Pacifier: awesome. nipple like pacifier. essential for calm car rides.

Gerber Organic Onesies:
Soft, big enough for cloth diapered butts!

My Brest Friend: Awesome support!

more to come...

Mar 23, 2007

Posted by Picasa

Mar 21, 2007

March 2007: Charlotte is growing like a weed!

Today, Charlotte is One month and One week old. I can hardly believe how fast the first month went. We're really having fun with our new "toy". Charlotte is a super laid back baby, and she is an excellent eater... She has grown from 7 lbs 10oz ( at birth) to 9 lbs 13 oz (yesterday).

She's currently experiencing a bit of baby acne, but otherwise, she is doing absolutely great.
Its funny, everyone I encounter seems to ask -- "is she sleeping through the night?" -- and the asnwer is always, No. Is she supposed to sleep through the nght at 5 weeks old? No! Do I mind? No! She wakes up 2-3 times a night to nurse and then goes right back to sleep. I have no complaints...I get up at least that much to go to the bathroom anyhow!

She is starting to smile a bit, and interact with us more and more. She loves to look at the mobile over her co-sleeper, and she hates to have her diaper changed on the changing table (she prefers the soft bed). We are in love!

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker
Posted by Picasa

Feb 21, 2007

One Week Old!

Charlotte is a week old today and I cant believe how the time has flown. She has opened up and stretched out a lot in a week and she is pretty darn cute and soft.
We had lots of guests (family) in the first few days, but it became a little too exhausting to have people coming around while trying to learn baby's cues and get enough sleep, this week, we really aren't taking visitors at all so that we can really get the rest we need. A few close friends and our family members have been dropping off yummy foods and picking up groceries and that's been wonderfully helpful.
I am still lying-in with Charlotte, and will not be using the stairs (at the direction of my midwives) for yet another week. Its very hard for a type-a person like me to be confined to one floor (our house is three stories), but I know that its an investment in my body and health to remain upstairs as long as I can, and to properly heal after that pretty intense and traumatic birth. Plus, I know that once I venture downstairs, the babymoon is over and life begins again, and I am not quite ready for that anyhow. So, Charlotte, Mike and I are spending lots of time getting to know one another and we're all three developing a bit of a rhythm. Tomorrow Charlotte gets her newborn screenings done by the midwives, and we see the pediatrician next week.

The challenges:
Breastfeeding was off to a tough start, but it is going MUCH better since Peggy Stedman, a lactation consultant (and my Sister in law's mom) came by on Monday to give me pointers. In fact, last night I was even able to nurse her lying down which was good because I was feeling really spent and could barely sit up. Sleeping has been a challenge of course, but the most surprising thing for me has been how bad my body is feeling....still.
My jaw, pelvis, tailbone, butt, back, legs and feet are all aching like I was hit by a car. I am super sore and achy. In Labor, I pushed for a loooong time (reviewing he photos it appears I was in labor for 22 hours, but actively pushing for at least 4-5 hours), with very little energy (I threw up alot after contractions) and so I htink my bod is still in reaction to that event...Next week I hope to see the chiropractor, but for now, I have to live with it....So that's the biggest hurdle today...being tired is nothing compared to the body achiness. And then, today I think I may be developing an infection (mastitis) in my right breast, which tells me I have probably been doing too much, so I am trying to take it easy, keep nursing, and keep positive...and will it away. Oh, and the mothering hormones kicked in a few days ago and I find myself very weepy at night, especially when I am feeling sore and I sound like a mess, and it sounds like a lot of griping, but truthfully I am keeping it in perspective...I know that this too shall pass, and I love little Charlotte with all my heart and I wouldnt hesitate to go through it all again for her.

Mike has been wonderful throughout this --At the labor, he was so engaged and a wonderful coach. I was so impressed -- most men I know would never have handled that experience as well as Mike did. He didnt avid anything, and he was totally and 100% there for me. And all this week, he has been so thoughtful, so helpful and so sweet with Charlotte. He has to go back to work tomorrow and I am dreading it. We will miss him.

My mom has also been stellar -- She was an amazing help at the birth, and ever since, she's been showing up here each morning at 7 and bringing me breakfast, giving me time to take a shower and letting DH sleep in in the other room....and then she goes off to start her day. Its been wonderful and special for me and Charlotte to see her each morning...and that's something that no one except my mom could really do for me. I dont know what I would do without her. When I was feeling horrible and weepy and we needed a "traffic cop" the other day to answer the door, phone and tell cleaning lady what to do, she was here. She has been throwing our laundry in, emptying trash and just doing a million little things to help us out.

So that's the quick update. We're good!
Posted by Picasa

Feb 18, 2007

oh Baby!!!

Welcome Charlotte Anne Dunn!Born at Home on February 14, 2007 at about 10 p.m.
Posted by Picasa

Feb 17, 2007

Charlotte's Birth Day

The Natural (unmedicated) home birth was an intense but amazing experience. I had Charlotte right in our bedroom and we really couldn't be happier that we did it at home - especially because I certainly would have been C-section bound if I had been at hospital...the way things unfolded would have been way too slow for the hospital staff but the midwives (all three of them) were super supportive and they really helped keep our spirits up. One of the midwives has been back each day to check on us and will be checking on us for the next six weeks. The first day was (expectably) a bit rough because of lack of energy, lack of sleep and all 3 of us adjusting and of course, lots of family visitors. But it was so nice to wake up here at home and to be able to stay out of the freezing weather...and so we're living in a bubble right now, enjoying a babymoon. I am not using the stairs for a week to promote faster healing so Charlotte and I have been hanging out in bed, Mike has been helping with everything he can, and my mom has really been helping out a ton with just kind of keeping things going (making and bringing me food, handling laundry, trash and kitchen duty,etc) and I think we're off to a great start.

More photos to come...

Feb 10, 2007

39 weeks...and counting

So no baby yet. Actually, I did some research and most first time mothers go at least 5 -7 days past their estimated due date. My estimated due date is somewhere between Feb 17 - Feb 20 (depending on which method you use to calculate) so I am trying to be patient and realistic...based on statistics, the baby very well might not come for another 3 weeks. And since we are planning a natural homebirth, we won't even discuss induction or worry me about being "over term" until we hit 42 weeks. So it may be a long month!

So here is a rundown of the baby gear I think we will really need for the baby's arrival and first few months. Most of what we have amassed is due to the generosity of others and came as a hand me down or gift.
  1. Car Seat: Got the Primo Viaggio Infant seat as a free hand-me-down from friends, so we will be using that and then investing in the Britax convertible seat we planned to get as soon as the baby outgrows the free seat.
  2. Crib: We got the Arm's Reach Mini-Co-sleeper as a shower gift, and we intend to use that as a sidecar option for our bed until the baby gets bigger. Many friends of mine never needed a larger crib, they just co-sleep, but we are going to just see what works best for us -- We do happen to have a fancy crib as a backup, but I dont know if we will end up using it or not. We'll see. The super-fancy ultra cool Black Bugaboo Gecko Stroller that my parents gave us came with a detachable baby bassinet, which I plan to use as a crib/ Moses Basket when I need one downstairs.
  3. Slings/Wraps: Maya Wrap was a gift from my sister-in-law -- and I know it will be handy right away; We also borrowed a Moby Wrap on loan from my friend Virginia, because apparently they are great for newborns, but a bit too stretchy for when the kid gets bigger. We got other carriers for later on, but basedon testimonials from friends, those are the ones I suspect we will most use in the first few months.
  4. Clothes: We were lucky to get lots of hand-me-down infant clothes, but I bought a few gowns at Target (to make nightime changes much easier), a few little hats and some socks just to fill in the gaps. I still want to get some of these Zutano Booties, which my friends swear by. I also have a great red (hand-me-down) Lands End Snowsuit, so I have a feeling the baby will be wearing that a good deal in the beginning...Oh, and my friend Virginia gave us some Rainbow Baby Legs, which are absolutely adorable.
  5. Diaper Bag/ Changing Stuff: We converted an old kitchen cart into a changing table by securing a pad to the top of it. As for a bag, I did buy a Little Tripper from Land's End, but I also got a large plastic changing pad and waterproof bag and I plan to use these interchangeably with my messenger bag or hiking daypack when I need a larger diaper bag... I just don't see the point of buying a fluffy looking diaper bag. Lord knows we have enough bags as it is!
  6. Diapers: Since the volume of waste to landfills is significantly lowered when using cloth diapers, and we know so many people who successfully use cloth diapers, we're going with cloth diapers. So, we secured a diaper service (about $15 /week) for the first six weeks... (we have gotten our first delivery already and boy are the cute little diapers!). We also have some Seventh Generation Disposables on hand for travel and night time but I hope not to use disposables too much. Eventually we may move away from the service to washing-our-own diapers after the first 6 weeks (which seems much much cheaper than buying disposables or paying for the service), but we'll see....
  7. Nursing bras/gear: We were lucky enough to get the Medela Pump in Style as a gift which will be terrificly helpful as I do plan to go back to work and wold like MIke to have the ption of feeding the baby too. We also got a My Brest Friend which my cousin Lisa gave us, and swears by (over the Boppy). I also got recruited for a nursing feedback group at Motherswork, which is going to supply me with several free nursing bras and tops to try...All I have to do is go to their feedback sessions once a month and report on how I like the products!
  8. Books: After the Baby's Birth: A Woman's Way to Wellness: A Complete Guide for Postpartum Women by Robin Lim, and The Baby Book by Dr. Sears are the two books that I got that I think will be most helpful in our first few weeks.
For now, that's our basic list of the stuff we think we will actually use right away. I look forward to seeing how right or wrong I am!

Feb 3, 2007

38 Weeks and counting


Here is a glimpse of the ever growing belly. Just a couple more weeks to go!
Posted by Picasa

Jan 28, 2007

Weekend wrap up

The best news of the week is that on Friday the plumbing work began, and Saturday, our plumbing was finally fixed completely. It was a fiasco but we're happy to report that its over. Mike's parents had a lovely baby shower for us on Saturday and we spent Saturday night recovering from the week and putting together the Bugaboo Gecko Stroller that we got at the last baby shower...what a cool stroller...but what a lot of pieces! Yikes! I don't think I will ever figure out how to fold it up!

So now we are 37 weeks along and only a few short weeks from the baby's due date and its interesting to look back on this blog/journal at some of the things I said we were thinking about and to see how my perspective has already changed...For example, I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things we have been thinking about is a "lying-in period" of two weeks with no visitors. Its still an intriguing idea, but now that we are getting closer to the baby's birth I feel nervous about committing to something that might potentially feel very isolating for a social person like me. So, while I think we will try to use the first two weeks (while Mike is home from work) as family bonding time (no household chores or entertaining only baby and eachother care) and will limit visitors in that first week to our immediate family (parents and siblings) members, I am also becoming more open to changing my mind about it all if I need or want to. I know we will need and want help but I also feel nervous that I might get overwhelmed by people trying to help, so its hard to know what the right balance is and how to plan for it...I guess I wont know really til the baby arrives! Perhaps we will take our parents and siblings up on their offers to come over for brief visits to help us with meal preparation, chores and extra laundry during that time, then hire a post-partum doula to come help me one or two days a week after Mike goes back to work...who knows!

Jan 25, 2007

I guess we have been nesting...the plumbing fiasco finally got me going I guess and I snapped and madly started purging and organizing. I touch-up painted the third floor steps and made a huge goodwill/giveaway pile, then I listed a ton of stuff on craigslist and cleaned up the house and organized the birth kit gear and the starter baby clothes. Last night with the help of Mike's brothers we got a new "loaner" couch from a designer friend who needs to store a leather sofa for about 6 months. Its a nice piece and it gives us some time to get rid of the uncomfortable daybed (selling it on craigs list) and really look around for a new couch without having to live with a huge empty space. We also visited the old loft we used to live in, and got a cart that we are trying to make into a changing table. This morning we interviewed a pediatrician and at noon the cloth diaper guy comes to deliver the first load of diapers and show me what to do. Tonight me and baby mcdunn are going to the orchestra with my mom while Mike gets some down time to putter at the house (he isnt feeling good or sleeping well poor guy). Tomorrow is (hopefully the beginnning of the plumbing work project, and Saturday is the 2nd baby shower (Mike's side) so I am sure I will be organizing all that stuff on Sunday. Next week I have a cleaning woman coming to help get the house cleaned up...Whew! reviewing that list makes me tired... yes... I would say that I am nesting!!!

I am trying to get this stuff done now so that next week I can begin to turn inwards and calm myself in preparation for the birth and baby....I can already feel that I am ready to pull in and be a little more reclusive which is exactly what is supposed to happen at this stage in the game.

One of my midwives was in Morocco last week to do a birth and she is keeping a blog -- and reading about her experience there has also made me realize that once this week is over and the plumbing thing is handled, I do indeed need to calm down and get a bit more centered, and so does Mike.
So, next week in addition to having someone else clean the house, I am getting a prenatal massage and getting my hair done...having lunch with a girlfriend I havent seen in a while...and mostly I will try to relish in not being sick anymore and in being grateful and appreciative for this magical time of my life when I am on the brink of this passage into motherhood. Next week is all about easy girly treaty stuff that will make me feel pretty and calmer and a bit quieter.

Jan 22, 2007

Less than a month to D-Day!

Baby & Pregnancy update:
So, I am 36 weeks along...our baby is around 20.7 long and weighs about six pounds and according to my Obstetrician, the baby is now considered full term. My estimated due date is February 18th...but since most first babies are born later than the due date, I am trying not to get too anxious just yet, because it could be more than a month away still...I mean I might go to 42 weeks...who knows! But if I am anything like my mom, I may go into labor earlier than my due date...She went about 10 days early with both my brother and I...

Had a prenatal appt. with the "backup OB" this morning, and she was very very pleased. She measured my belly, listened to the heartbeat, looked at my protein and blood pressure, and said I was right on track. The baby is exactly the size that they should be at this point in the pregnancy, and the heartbeat is strong and normal. The baby is in a great position (head down, back and bottom easily felt at the top of my uterus). Hooray! I confess that I was somewhat worried about having a breech baby (which would mean a hospital birth would be mandated) so I have been doing a lot to try and help the baby stay well positioned -- I used the Spinning Babies theory of proper pregnancy posture, and since week 29 I have been getting chiropractic care from Jeanne Ohm, who specializes in pregnancy chiropractic care and the Webster technique....and it seems its all helped!

We also discussed postpartum care, my flu, and last minute emergency what-if's, and then she gave me the thumbs up for the home birth...Hooray! I am excited! And, tomorrow the midwives come for the 36 week home visit. They will check out the house, make sure I have all the supplies ready and we'll review everything for the birth. Since I also asked my mother to attend the birth, she will also attend the home visit so that she has more of a chance to get to know the midwives and to talk with Mike about how to provide support and divide the work during labor and delivery.

Other Life-Events Update
Well, the best of the BEST happened last week when our Sewer Curb trap broke, spewing raw sewage all over our basement floor. Fun Fun Fun. We are now waiting for the curb trap to be repaired, which is a very expensive (thousands of dollars) and in-depth job (involves waiting on the power company, sure-ing up a telephone pole, digging out the sidewalk eight feet down, etc..). Apparently this only happens about once every hundred years, and it happened on our watch. While we feel thankful that at least it happened last week and not three weeks from now, it is A BIT inconvenient to have no plumbing when you are 8 months pregnant. Until the trap is replaced, we have no plumbing in our this week we are shacked up at my parents' condo while we await the utility company and plumbers. Ah how I LOVE old houses...Just LOVE them.

Otherwise, we are doing okay. I have had a nasty cold for the last three weeks but my doctor insists it is something I will eventually get over and its nothing to worry about. Mike had a great ski weekend out in Colorado last week with his buddies Bret and Steve, and I am looking forward to the second baby shower which is this coming weekend - I admit that while I find myself very uncomfortable at the thought of showers, especially when its time to open gifts, it is really neat to get to see all the women in your community and family and have them gathered to help mark the passage into motherhood. And that is the part that I am looking most forward to for this weekend.

And, as for stuff, we really are pretty set, and I cant imagine how we could even be potentially getting more at this upcoming shower -- just last week, in fact, we got a free infant car seat (the best rated one) from our friends whose son just outgrew his, and we've got all the cloth diapers and newborn clothing needed for the first few weeks.

Jan 11, 2007

Mummers madness and why I will not be using Puffs Plus with Lotion or anything else with wierd chemicals on my baby

That's Mike with our adorable niece Maggie. They were jamming out to the mummers last Saturday, and enjoying the 70 degree weather! We had a great day.

And then like everyone who enjoyed too much mummering and unseasonably hot weather in January I got really really sick with a horrid cold. For three days I was down and out and barely coherent. And that brings me to the so-called miracle tissue...Puffs Plus with Lotion...turns out its not such a miracle tissue...its a nasty chemical laced piece of paper. After three or four boxes of puffs Plus with Lotion, and three days of constant nose blowing, I noticed that my face was unusually red and rashy. And then, on Wednesday night, I noticed that I was getting hives all around my face to the point where I had a red beard and mustache! Now when you are 8 months pregnant and feeling like a bloated cow, the last thing you really want is to be even more unattractive with a rashy red mustache. I was not happy. Ostensibly the rash was from something embedded in the tissues, because they were the only thing constantly touching my face for three days straight...I mean, I knew I was allergic to things with fragrance, but gee whiz, this was unreal. Thankfully a bit of aloe vera cooled down the rash and by this morning it wasn't quite a severe looking.

My tissue run-in was a good reminder that this new baby might also have sensitive any lotions, shampoos, disposable wipes or travel disposable diapers we use on the new baby are just going to have to be of a fragrance free nature.
Since we're planning on cloth diapering the new kid - for both environmental and budgetary reasons - I am not too worried about diaper chemicals, but as for the other stuff, I guess we'll probably have to look into everything and make sure that all of our washes/soaps/etc are fragrance free. Ah, a new challenge...just when I thought I was done worrying about the "stuff"...
Posted by Picasa

Jan 8, 2007

Some pregnancy favorites

Freshbaby is a great resource that supports healthy eating habits for kids. They even have a new podcast and blog

- I love these podcasts they are funny and it is fun to listen to a bunch of pregnant women talk about the issues of immediate concern to them.

Mothering Magazine
: This website has it all. I often check out the forums (which are very active) for good info and shared stories from moms who are into natural childbirth and other crunchy things like cloth diapering and whatnot.

Green Mountain Diapers: The ultimate resource for cloth diapering

Babble: An online magazine for parents by the editors of

Labour of Love: Another interesting online parenting magazine

Families for Natural Living Philadelphia: A great online community of local folks and families interested in environmental issues and who support attachment parenting principles.

Baby Body Birth: The awesome birth class we took.

Jan 6, 2007


Who is this adorable little man? This is our new friend Jay Heiny-Robbie, who came to visit this week with his parents, Matt & Jen. We met them when we all lived in Charlottesville - they still live there, but will probably be relocating to Northern parts before too long. We miss them dearly but had a wonderful visit! And Baby Jay is just awesome. What a cutie pie! He's just 12 weeks old and already a good traveler and houseguest.
Posted by Picasa

The pregnant crew


So we spent LAST New Year's Eve (ringing in 2006) with two couples -- Laurie & Drew and Emily & Christopher -- and guess what...this New Year's, all three of us are pregnant and expecting babies! I am expecting in February and Emily and Laurie are both expecting in May. Must have been something in that creme brulee last year...
That's Laurie to the far left, then me, then Emily.
Posted by Picasa

Jan 2, 2007

Happy New Year!

So the New Year's was lovely but exhausting. We had a small open house where some friends and some family stopped in to say hello, and then we went to a lovely five course dinner at friends' of my parents who had a terrific roof deck view of the fireworks! The Jan 1 Philadelphia Mummers Parade was postponed due to rain, and is now happening next Saturday. Thank goodness because I was pooped from NY Eve and now I can actually look forward t it.

So, the coming highlights of this/next week:
1) Our friends, Matt & Jen, from Charlottesville are coming through town today with their new baby Jay.
2) mike has off today thanks to Gerald Ford
3) Mummers Parade on Saturday
4) Eagles playoff game on Sunday
5) Ohio State in National Championship Game on Monday

January 2007 baby and pregnancy update:
At 33 weeks and a few days, I am getting very big. Last night, we unpacked inventoried and put away some of the tiny baby clothes and watched as the baby did a Riverdance of sorts on the side of my belly when I got in bed. As we were watching the performance, Mike said "I know they will be stinky and smelly at times, but gee, won't it be so fun to have this tiny little baby in our bed with us?". We both smiled and I agreed. It will be neat to actually get to know this child after all this time speculating about him or her.

As for the basic stuff, we are really doing fine and have a surprising amount of stuff already. We have lots of infant clothes, and we already got the bugaboo stroller and this cool highchair called the TrippTrapp, thanks to our generous parents. We even have an exersaucer and baby bouncy seat thanks to my friend Cindy who keeps handing me the brand new stuff from her last baby, Conor. But we still need to get a few basic things:
1) The carseat
2) The changing table and pad (we'll probably go to Ikea)
3) The crib mattress and some sheets
4) The little stuff -- washcloths, diaper pins, stuff like that
5) A breast pump (since I plan to go back to work part-time, I want to be sure we're set up to continue breastfeeding during that time, I also want others to be able to watch and feed the baby if need be)

We are trying to get lots done in the house and in life so that we can really turn our attention to Baby McD when he or she arrives. Mike is taking a ski trip to Colorado, I am booking myself for lots of concerts and dinners with friends so that we maximize the last few weeks pre-baby.