Monday, August 25, 2008

Quick updates

1. Our bacterial fauna is doing well! I avoided sugar, dairy and most wheat for the past 10 days and think we've dodged thrush during this antibiotics round. I even think I lost a pound or two... getting really close to wearing some pre-pregnancy jeans.

2. Bean and I had a 3-day adventure at a rural women's gathering, staying in a tent, etc. It was wonderful; he takes well to tents. We enjoyed the time together with fewer distractions and time with other women and kids. Why can't life be like that all the time?

3. We had FROST last night! Fall is coming... we've had a some summer adventures, but I feel a bit desperate to have a few more before the cold temps come in!

4. Bawk! We still have 18 happy young chickens, 5 still with their momma hen, 13 "teens" on their own. Picture someday?

5. I napped this weekend and am now suffering from the Monday evening sleepies... need to get moving to bed. Zzzzzz.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New stuff

Breaking news: Local Baby discovers the thrill of "airplane rides"...

And investigates the amazing world of fingers!

(There's some serious study going on there...)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Baby Year

Note: I still want to write up and post a standard “birth story” about Bean’s arrival, but time flies. This post summarizes the adventure; it should probably be edited and posted in parts, but here goes. Maybe more later, if you’ll indulge me by reading. It’s a big topic!

Today could be considered my last official “pregnancy milestone"... one year since the day we found out that Bean was on the way! I want to mark the day with a posting, because it wraps up a great year of learning and growing for both me and the Bean. This was a rather conscious pregnancy. Earlier in my life, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be pregnant (by choice, not a health issue) and always felt a bit sad to think I might never know what it felt like to grow another human and feel that new person (!) kicking inside me.

Then, when I found myself happily and quickly pregnant as an older introspective person, I dove in wholeheartedly. We’re still not sure if we’ll try for more kids (we’re old, y’know), so I knew this might be my one chance to revel in pregnancy.

I was blessed to become part of a “birth community” in my town, a group of wise women who celebrate and teach about this amazing process. I read books, took natural birth classes, attended meetings and benefited from the services of great midwives and doulas. I kept a pregnancy journal, took belly pictures and even made a belly cast. I did specific stretches and generally trained for the big event of birth, trusting that my body knew what to do and could do it well. I felt good, if a bit tired and gigantic at the end!

When the big day (or days, in our case) came, it was indeed a grand adventure. Sure, it took over 40 hours and ended with a very much unwanted C-section, but I still had a great sense of accomplishment in what we did.

No pain meds during labor, just lots of chanting and breathing and moving. Not a quiet birth at a home, but a still a conscious birth, with good bonding time for WF and Bean while I was in surgery. Not immediate, naked nursing for a newborn Bean, but no pacifiers or formula, either, and no time spent in the nursery alone. We weren’t attended in labor mostly by my doula, but by a nurse who was surprised to be a part of “natural” labor and who was eventually won over by the effectiveness of the chanting; she could see positive effects on the monitors. (We all thought that the pitocin, tried after the first day of labor at my doula's home, would get us to the final, natural push). No rushed pressure from doctors: I was literally still standing (on the bed) when it came time to decide on surgery. Bean wasn’t “caught” by my midwife, but brought into the world by a respectful woman OB.

So, when people tell me they are sorry to hear about my “ordeal,” I find myself trying to explain that it wasn’t so bad! It’s like running a marathon, I think; ideally lots of training and anticipation before hand, then the actual marathon of labor. It may have some painful times and some exhilarating times, but a good result/accomplishment at the end. I chose to run this marathon; it just happened to take longer and ended differently than we expected. People don’t usually express sympathy to those who choose to run marathons, do they?

We did, of course, end up with a healthy, happy Bean from this whole process. He is the most important piece, but I’m grateful for the experience, as well. I still don’t really understand why my body did have some health issues and needed “modern” help in the end to get Bean out. My midwives say that perhaps I am one of the 5% who truly need a C-section (as opposed to the 35% of so who currently get them). Does that mean that we be dead if this was 100 years ago? Maybe. But we also suspect that I pushed myself a bit too hard during pregnancy, working through symptoms of pre-eclampsia, which eventually came on full-blown during labor.

Who knows. But the hospital ending was certainly NOT caused by our natural choices, and instead my preparation made me better able to handle the process of pitocin and eventual surgery. I still believe in natural birth. I would try for another home birth, given the chance. Pregnancy and birth are amazing, and opportunities to know your body’s power. It’s been a wild, wonderful year!

Friday, August 15, 2008


So, I've heard tell of this legendary beast, and I've finally met it: the baby-poop that reaches the armpits! Yeehaw! The damage wasn't too great, but it was still impressive. We are still using cloth diapers with basic but effective Dappi covers; I like them quite alot and they usually contain most messes; just not today.

That is even before we've added some artifical factors; I'm headed into town right now to finally cave in and take antibiotics for my "maxillary sinusitis subsequent to an odontogenic infection". Yeah, mmmm. Basically an infected root from a cranky old tooth that I've been keeping at bay for years, but it finally broke through to my sinus and has been causing some rather unpleasant symptoms for the past couple weeks. Not terribly painful, and I've been trying to see if I can deal with it in other ways, but I think it's time to use modern medicine. Uck. And then in a few weeks, a spendy root canal; ack. I do suspect that the stress of nursing while not getting enough sleep due to my work schedule finally pushed us over the edge to the infection. Blah.

Fingers crossed that this little round of antibiotics (our first since Bean was born) won't lead to thrush, which I have been paranoid about. Overgrowth of yeast in baby's mouth and on mom caused by killing good bacteria with the drugs. Bacteria are usually our friends, and I am a firm believer in natural remedies whenever possible.

I usually overthink and analyze and research these things, though, which it gets tiresome. But now I have TWO people directly affected when I make decisions about my health; Bean IS an extension of my body right now, as he's exclusively breastfed. But it's time to get serious with some sinus/tooth interlopers. Wish us luck. Onward!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blue Eyed Boy

So, how did I (Hazel eyes) and WF (brown-gold eyes) produce a blue-eyed child? We're not entirely sure if his eyes will stay this color, but it's possible- they are quite blue/grey in the right light. We're remembering relatives (my grandfather, WF's aunt) who had blue eyes. The power of a lurking recessive gene!

We're also seeing what 3 months can do... behold the handy quilt-square size comparison! (I can't figure out how to make it one big image, so I'll repost from 3 months ago...)


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Top of Mind

Wow, those weekend adventures DO wear us out. I'm finally through my shortened work week, and zzzzzz. I think I have a sinus infection, and milk production is down (at least when pumping -?!?) The house is a mess; life gets too busy. Back home now for a few days, but for an upcoming journey in time this weekend.

I finally got my hair cut yesterday, with the person who actually did a good job about 2 cuts ago, which was 2 years ago. Not sure if it was an off day for her, but the cut is rather odd and very short; it got past my cardinal "long enough for a ponytail" rule while she was trying to fix it up. Ah, well... as I've learned from many bad cuts over my life: it'll grow back.

It was quite a production to get in to get a haircut; where would Bean be? WF walked him around the neighboorhood while the stylist took a looong time trying to figure out my odd hair (neither of us could really remember what she did last time). I was happy to be done with some of the length and had been planning to get it cut for a long time; top priority was not getting in my way at night or during diaper changes, etc.

It wasn't until leaving that I remembered that I am due to peform in 1912 garb this coming weekend, and this haircut will NOT work very well for that. Phooey! I used to consider my infrequent but much-enjoyed living history appearances when choosing glasses or haircuts, or at least the timing. If only I'd waited till next week!

But I'm not too upset; we'll make it work. Just another example of the new baby-mind taking over former priorities, I guess!

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Berry Nice Weekend

Another weekend of firsts (and seconds) for the baby bean! We headed over the Bayfield on Saturday with plans to attend a Chautauqua show, the Wailin' Jennies this time. We try to get there about once a year, even in this year of new baby adventure.

We are lucky in that we had some willing babysitters living nearby, friends from my long-ago Park Service days. So, it was a date for WF and I! I even drank some beer... after feeding and after the Bean was asleep. Bean did OK; apparently had a bit of unhappy time right after we left, but my friend has 3 kids and knew what to do.

The show was fun, and we ran into a few people we knew (a very small world up here, really). We then returned and slept in our tent in their backyard... Bean's first time in a tent! He's such a champion sleeper that he never noticed, I'm sure. Here's a morning picture... looking very well groomed, aren't we? Ug.

Then we ventured out to the local organic berry farm, Blue Vista. Bean snoozed away in his carseat in the rows while we picked and picked. Blueberries and raspberries; such fertile abundance, and we didn't even have to plant them! I love pick-your-own places. It was not Bean's first trip to a berry field, however; we went strawberry picking a couple weeks ago; the snoozing in the seat amidst the rows worked well there, too.

(We forgot our hats, hence the odd headgear. But we remembered baby's hat!)

We're pretty much just eating the berries (ie no jam making), but I'm trying to squeeze a few containers into the freezer among the mommy-milk. Local fruit for at least a little while longer. Mmmmm!