Music to my ears

I had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat (or as Ava says “heartbeep”) for the first time! :) It sounded wonderful and strong and was 170 beats per minute which is normal for this stage in the pregnancy.
We took along a tape recorder and recorded it, and, if I ever figure out how to transfer it from the tape to the computer, I will upload it. :)

All of the labwork they did at the first visit came back normal and my blood pressure today was good, so that was all nice to hear. I am up about 10 lbs. (gulp) from my pre-pregnancy weight, but nobody said anything to me about it and I’m sure it’s fine, especially since I started off at the low end of the chart this time around. I was just kind of surprised to see what I’d gained. That’s all to report from my appointment.

We leave for CA tomorrow so I will be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off tonight getting ready and packing. Thankfully our flight isn’t until the evening so I can still get last minute stuff done tomorrow if I need to (and knowing me, I will need to!).

I’ll probably blog once or twice while we’re gone since Jody will have his laptop, but we’ll see how it goes. Hope you all have a nice week. :) We’ll be back to CO on Monday, May 22.

What a great day!

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday. :)

It started off with Jody having breakfast ready when Ava and I woke up in the morning. Then I got some cards from Jody, Ava and my parents. And Jody and Ava got me some nice oven mitts (which I was desperately in need of since mine had holes in it and has been caught on fire, etc.) and a lazy susan (which I really wanted) for all of my spices. Jody said he also wants to get me a gift certificate for a pregnant massage, but he didn’t have time to track down someone who specializes in that.

After that we went for a walk around the block to a lilac tree near the park (lilacs are one of my favorite smelling flowers) and Jody took some pictures of me and Ava (and belly baby) and then I cut some lilacs to take home and put in a vase.




Then we stopped at Starbucks for some frosty beverages (that blackberry green tea frapaccino they have is so tasty – Ava agrees too) and went to Vitamin Cottage to pick up some things for our trip and for a recipe I have for banana muffins (which I plan to make today).

In the afternoon we headed into Boulder for some lunch, which we ordered “to go” and then had a picnic by the Boulder Creek. Ava ran around in the grass while Jody and I ate, stopping by every now and then for a bite herself.



After that we went for a walk on Pearl Street Mall (a great outdoor pedestrian “mall”) and shared a brownie. Then Jody took some pictures of me and Ava in front of the tulips which we also did last year. :)


After walking around for a bit, we headed back to the car and came home. I thought Ava would go down for a nap since it was quite past her naptime, but she was content to stay up. So we went to the grocery store and picked up some food for dinner (stuffed salmon and potatoes which we had accompanied by broccoli) and some other things we needed. Jody grilled the food and we had a nice dinner.

It was a very full, very nice day. It’s amazing to me to think that next year at this time I will be a mommy of two. I’m a lucky woman. :)

By the way, Ava’s outfit (dress and matching diaper cover) is something Grandma just made and sent to her. It’s pretty darn cute.

P.S. These pictures were taken with our old P&S (point and shoot) camera. I decided not to take my Olympus on the trip to CA since it’s really primarily for my business and I’d be up a creek if something happened to it while I don’t have a good back-up camera yet. So I dusted off the old P&S to play with yesterday. It’s not nearly as fun (nor are the pictures anywhere near the quality) as my Olympus. ::whine:: I’m such a camera snob now. ;oP

Happy Mother’s Day

I’ve seen variations of this floating around the Internet lately and thought it was particularly appropriate for Mother’s day. It’s quite touching and made me tear up when I read it.

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FOR ALL THE MOMS…

This is for all the mothers who DIDN’T win Mother of the Year in 2005. All the runners-up and all the wannabes. The mothers too tired to enter or too busy to care.

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf, laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s okay honey, Mommy’s here.”

This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at football games Friday night instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see my tackle?” they could say, “Of course, wouldn’t have missed it for the world”…and mean it.

This is for all the mothers of Sudan who fled in the night and can’t find their children.

This is for all the mothers of the victims of the latest school shooting and the mother of the shooter. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON’T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see.
And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for reading “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then reading it again…”Just one more time.”

This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired 2-year-old who wants ice cream before dinner.
And for all the mothers who count to 10 instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies.
And for all the (grand) mothers who wanted to, but just couldn’t find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

For all the mothers who bite their lips–sometimes until they bleed–when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green.

Who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won’t stop.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children’s graves.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers who sent their sons to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying?

I think so.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us.

Today’s Thought:

A mother can touch a whole generation just by loving her own child well.
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I love that thought and truly believe in it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

And happy Mother’s Day to you, Mom. :) I love you.

TV talk

And now for a light-hearted entry. ;)

SPOILER AHEAD!!! Consider yourself warned.

Anyone watch the season finale of “The Office” last night??

Were you shocked that Jim revealed his feelings to Pam? And that they kissed? I think what was more shocking was the fact that Pam acted like she was so surprised that Jim is in love with her. DUH!!!

Just discovered you can read Dwight’s blog here. LOL.

Anyway, that’s one of the three shows I really enjoy – the others being “Smallville” (which Jody got me hooked on – of course it doesn’t hurt that Tom Welling [Clark] is so unbelievably easy on the eyes) and “My Name is Earl” (which also both had season finales last night). Although I do watch “LOST” once in a while too. (Such craziness on that show, but that’s another topic for another day.)

Smallville sure was a cliffhanger as well. Not sure how Clark’s going to get out of this latest mess! The world is going to hell in a handbasket as Zod has returned and inhabited Lex’s body, while Clark is locked up in one of those prism(?) things in space.
Oh my!

13 weeks today – pregnancy talk

This (my pregnancy ticker I have in my signature on some of the msg boards I visit) made me smile when I saw it today. Baby is practicing smiling, grimacing, frowning and squinting. Awww. :)

I’m 13 weeks today so I’m not sure if I’m officially in the second trimester this week or next, but either way, I’m close! I’ve been continuing to feel good, just feeling tired at times and the need to eat more frequently. I know I lost a few pounds after my stint with food poisoning (or whatever that was), but I think I probably have made up for it now. I haven’t gotten on the scale lately so I can’t say for sure.

I think I felt the baby moving last night as I sat at the computer proofing pictures from a recent session, but I’m not 100% sure. I know after your first pregnancy you are more likely to feel it earlier, but this might still be too early. I didn’t feel Ava move until around 17 weeks, but what I felt last night (a few times) was down low and wasn’t gas so….???

I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week (5/16) with the old practice. I decided to keep it even though I’m switching practices because I really want to hear the baby’s heartbeat before we go on vacation to CA. We leave on 5/17. So I’m excited about that. :)

One of the presents Jody got me for my birthday was a gift certificate to Kohl’s so I could buy myself some new maternity clothes. (I got rid of 99% of my maternity clothes from my pregnancy with Ava because I lost so much weight after she was born, they all would be huge on me.) So yesterday Ava and I went up there and I got three new shirts (two cute summery ones and one sweater on clearance for $2) and a pair of jeans (and Ava got some socks). I also went to a consignment store over the weekend and picked up three maternity shirts and a pair of khaki mat. capris. So I think I’m set for a little while – at least for our trip. I haven’t been wearing any maternity clothes yet and I still feel funny about it because I’m not *that* big, but yet, some of my regular clothes aren’t roomy enough. I am borrowing a pair of jeans from a friend (ones she wore when she was pregnant but not needing maternity clothes yet) and so far those have been working well, but that’s only 1 pair of pants! I guess I will look more pregnant if I start dressing the part. ;)

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In related pregnancy news, my friend Julie had her baby girl – “Lily” – on Monday. She had a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and both mommy and baby are doing great and nursing is going well! Congrats to Julie and fam. :) She’s the first of my three friends due in May to give birth. May is such a great month for babies and new life! :)

NY Times article about Hypnobirthing


You may or may not know that Jody and I took five weeks of Hypnobirthing classes in preparation for Ava’s birth. The techniques learned in the class, along with the relaxation cd and book, helped me tremendously during my labor with Ava. I have several friends who have taken the classes as well and have gone on to have wonderful birth experiences.

The Hypnobirthing method does not promise you your birth will be without discomfort, but it does help you learn how to relax your body which “can help bring about a shorter, easier, and more joyful birthing, free of harmful drugs for you and your baby.” “The method teaches you that in the absence of fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor.”

We plan to take a refresher course as it gets closer to baby’s guess date and use Hypnobirthing once again. :)

It’s exciting to see a paper such as the NY Times recognize Hypnobirthing, and in a positive light too! :) (Fox News did a story about Hypnobirthing while I was pregnant with Ava [Jody and I were in the segment] and they made it sound like we were all a bunch of quacks for pursuing it. )

I’ve copied the entire article below (sorry it’s so long) because it is no longer available on the NY Times’ website without registering and logging in.


__________________________________________________
You’re in Labor, and Getting Sleeeeepy

By ELIZABETH OLSON
Published: April 27, 2006

BETHESDA, Md.

My parents definitely thought I was a bit crazy when I mentioned a hypnobirth,” Adrienne Pratt said. Ms. Pratt, eight months pregnant, and her husband, Armando Guato, gathered with two other expectant couples on Easter Sunday afternoon to learn a newly popular technique for helping women remain serene during childbirth.

For many, the word “hypnosis” conjures up an image of a swinging pendant lulling a hapless woman into a trance. But hypnobirth is not about inducing a trance; it is a combination of relaxation, breathing and visualization techniques to control labor and birthing pain, said Linette Landa, the hypnobirth teacher.

Slow, smooth breathing counteracts what Ms. Landa called “the fear-tension-pain syndrome,” the notion that women fear birth, so their muscles tense up, resulting in pain.

“We’re all about the subconscious mind,” said Ms. Landa, a tall, tranquil woman who teaches yoga. “The conscious mind is out of the picture.”

Move over, Lamaze. Today, many women are reaching out to a variety of other drug-free childbirth alternatives, including aromatherapy and birthing pools, according to experts on gynecology and obstetrics.

They are inspired by Web sites like Urbanbaby.com, reality birth television shows like “House of Babies” on the Discovery Health Channel and celebrities like Angelina Jolie, whose sojourn with Brad Pitt in Namibia spurred speculation that they would have their baby using water birthing. Tom Cruise caused a stir when he said Katie Holmes would give birth in silence. (He later explained that she could make noise, but that others had to be quiet for a calm delivery of their baby, a girl, born on April 18.)

While “silent birth” raised eyebrows, even the more widely practiced hypnobirth, with more than 2,000 instructors nationwide, still draws its share of skepticism.

“When you hear ‘hypno,’ you think weird, hippy, earthy type stuff,” said Kelly Yeiser, 31, of Ashville, N.C., who had her first baby last August using the technique. “But it’s really more about meditation and getting yourself into a calm, relaxed state.”

Byron Bailey, a government worker in Washington who attended the hypnobirth class with his wife, Jaylin, said, “The idea of someone swinging a pendant — that’s the sideshow aspect.” The couple are expecting their first child in May.

The women attending the class said a big appeal of hypnobirth is that it builds confidence. Mothers-to-be complain that people are quick to share their worst childbirth stories, in excruciating detail, at the first sight of someone else’s pregnancy, feeding worries about labor and delivery.

Ms. Pratt, 36, a project specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank, in Washington, said hypnobirth helps banish such fears because it focuses on the positive.

She was practicing its deep, distinctive breathing — no Lamaze-style panting. The mother “breathes the baby down” and out instead of pushing, according to the tenets of HypnoBirthing. (The name was trademarked in 2000.) During sessions over several weeks, and daily home exercises, the mother also practices visualizing the baby easily descending and leaving her body so often that the image becomes imprinted in her mind; a CD is available for practice and for last-minute guidance. A birthing companion — husband or midwife — tries to keep the mother in a positive, totally relaxed state of mind.

HypnoBirthing mothers even use a different vocabulary. For example, a contraction is a uterine surge or wave, pushing is birth breathing, and false labor is practice labor.

Getting used to all this takes practice, admitted Jennifer Stanton-Brand, 38, who was attending the class with her husband, Stephan, a sales manager in Baltimore. They are expecting their first child next month.

Ms. Stanton-Brand has not yet developed a routine that is second nature, as the method recommends, but said the exercises “have helped me become more inward.”

“When something gets tense, I breathe and go inward to a place I can control,” she said.

Obstetricians interviewed said that expectant mothers are more focused on finding new ways to reduce, or even eliminate, labor and birth pain.

At one end of the spectrum, women are opting for Caesareans in record numbers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the combined percentage of women who had C-sections or used drugs to induce labor was about half of the 4.1 million childbirths in 2004.

Of the remaining women, many fear that drugs will hurt their newborns and want a way to avoid them as well as to control the pain.

Some of the alternatives they are selecting include water birthing, in which the woman immerses herself in a tub or pool to reduce labor discomfort, and sometimes for the birth. Another technique is for the woman to change positions so she is not always lying down, but is sitting on a giant ball, for example. Some women have acupuncture, and others use aromatherapy to create a soothing environment.

The trend is toward nonmedical methods, said Dr. William Camann, associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and co-author of the recently released “Easy Labor, Every Woman’s Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth” (Random House).

Once, he said, “there was no overlap, and there tended to be animosity and distrust” between those who espoused natural childbirth and advocates of medical procedures. But that has changed, he added, because women are researching alternatives and finding them on the Internet.

Hospitals today are also more accepting of a woman’s desire to be in control during labor and delivery, Dr. Camann said. “There’s been a gradual trend toward acceptance of alternative methods, even though five years ago, asking for a hypnobirth was almost unheard of. Now it’s much more common.”

SO, does it work? In 2004, The British Journal of Anesthesia said studies involving 8,000 women found that those who used hypnosis techniques during childbirth rated their pain as less severe than those who did not.

Jennifer Macris, 38, of Annapolis, Md., said that during the three-hour labor for her baby, born on March 26, she listened to a HypnoBirthing CD through headphones. She was so calm that nurses asked her husband, Jeff, if she was sleeping.

“There was no pain,” she said. “I felt a bit of pressure, and the baby was out. There was only a little tear that required one stitch.”

Still, Dr. Camann and other doctors warned mothers against rigidly adhering to any single alternative.

Ideally HypnoBirthing allows a woman to remain so relaxed through contractions that there is no screaming to tire the mother or alarm the baby, and labor is shorter.

It doesn’t work for everyone: Jennifer Richards, 29, said she gained self-confidence from hypnobirth methods, but had an epidural because of the intense back pain during her 30-hour labor.

“I used some of the things I learned,” she said, “but not as many as I would have liked.”

In contrast, Ms. Yeiser of Asheville, whose baby was born after only two and a half hours of labor, said, “I was so relaxed that I slept through the first stage of labor.”

That’s what Marie F. Mongan was seeking when she set up HypnoBirthing after her first two deliveries, the first in 1954, when women were routinely strapped down and given ether, and their legs tied to stirrups.

The first birth using her program, which is based on her training in hypnosis, was that of her grandson, Kyle, in 1990.

The number of those taking HypnoBirthing’s four-day instructors’ course has doubled in recent years and has increasingly included nurses, she said. Her 1992 book, “HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method” (Health Communications) is in its third printing.

Her HypnoBirthing Institute, outside Concord, N.H., is just starting to keep statistics on how many women deliver using her techniques, something hard to measure because women who take the classes may later find that a medical necessity calls for drugs. The course is usually a series of five classes, which in Bethesda cost $200.

Ms. Mongan said natural childbirth has been derailed by medical intervention. When Queen Victoria insisted on chloroform during the deliveries of her nine children, she set the precedent for ceding control of birthing to doctors, Ms. Mongan writes in her book.

While many hospitals now permit hypnobirth, doctors are wary because they fear litigation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists leaves it up to the individual doctor’s judgment.

Such techniques are not a surefire way to avoid pain, but rather “adjuncts and not the end-all to birth,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Segil, an obstetrician who offers the HypnoBirthing option to every patient in his practice in Dover, N.H.

“Women should not be set up to feel that they’ve failed if they can’t follow through to a totally natural delivery,” he said.