Birth photographer

I forgot to mention that last Friday I found a photographer to come and photograph baby boy’s birth! I’m very excited about her and feel she will be perfect for what I’m looking for.

She’s had two homebirths of her own (her youngest child is 6 months younger than Ava), has been doing photography for 20 years and has experience photographing other births. She said one of the highest compliments she can be paid (while shooting weddings, etc.) is being told “we didn’t even know you were there,” which I think will be perfect for a birth. She shoots with available light whenever possible (so there won’t be an annoying flash going off all the time), has long lenses so she can stand back and still capture everything, and does beautiful work. :) And, she’s agreed to give me a high resolution CD of the images (after she edits them) so I will be able to have my own prints made, make the images into a slideshow, or whatever I wish. I’m VERY happy about that. :)

I think she will do a wonderful job of capturing the emotion and overall documenting the event. Yay!! My only concern is knowing when the right time in my labor is to call her and have her come over. I guess it’d be better to call her too early than too late!

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Our big plans for the weekend include cleaning the house for our midwife home visit on Monday. And maybe we’ll try to sneak something fun in as well. :) Oh, and I really want to try to get some maternity pictures taken of myself, as well as with Jody and Ava, so I’ll be working on that too.

Vote for an International Breastfeeding Symbol

From Mothering.com:

The image of a baby bottle announcing the location of a “parents lounge” in an airport got us thinking: Is there an international symbol for breastfeeding? Similar to the familiar icons we’ve all seen indicating a handicapped parking spot or the women’s restroom, this image would be a recognizable symbol indicating that a place is breastfeeding friendly. Ideally, the space would be private, quiet, with a comfortable chair and an electrical outlet for pumping.

We called around and spoke to lactivists and breastfeeding organizations all over the world. We heard of a symbol in Canada and one in Singapore, but there doesn’t seem to be one international symbol for breastfeeding.

So we put out a call. We received an overwhelming response, over 500 entries from both the design and breastfeeding communities. While the images are currently copyrighted by the artists, we plan to make the winning image available worldwide (copyright-free, as a public domain image) with recommendations that it be used in workplaces, airports, malls, restaurants, conferences/expos, libraries, parks, or any public place.We’ve already heard from an airport and a university interested in using the winning symbol.

Vote for your favorite breastfeeding symbol here.

By the way, my friend’s husband entered the contest and his design made it into the finals! His is #4 in case ya want to show him some love. ;)

Free Hugs Campaign – inspirational video

This video on YouTube is definitely worth watching. It’s short and inspirational (and brought a tear to my eye). :)

Free Hugs Campaign

About the video:

Sometimes, a hug is all we need. Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man who’s sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their life.

In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

As this symbol of human hope spread accross the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED. What we then witness is the true spirit of humanity come together in what can only be described as awe-inspiring.

In the spirit of the free hugs campaign, PASS THIS TO A FRIEND and HUG A STRANGER! After all, if you can reach just one person…

Weekend recap, pics and pumpkins

I recently bought a new basket/hamper for storing the oodles of babies and stuffed animals Ava has in our livingroom. She decided on Saturday that it would be a good place for her to play as well and asked dada to put her in it with her animals. :) She then asked for him to close the lid on her too. Silly girlie.


Later in the day on Saturday, after running some errands, we went to a pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkin. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and it started raining on us after we’d only been there for about 15 minutes. We did pick out a good pumpkin though and I managed to snap a few pics before the rain kicked in.


On Saturday night, Aunt Carrie came over to watch Ava so Jody and I could have a night (well, a few hours) out alone. We went out to dinner and had a nice time being together and enjoyed being able to talk without interruptions from the peanut gallery. ;)

Sunday has been pretty uneventful, though productive. Jody and Ava went out to run some errands while I worked on a photo order. Jody carved our pumpkin (and then I added ears to it). We bagged some more leaves. (Will they ever be done falling??) And I made two casseroles of lasagna for dinner so I had extra to freeze. I’m trying to freeze a bit of extras from meals here and there so we have some food stashed, especially for those first few days after the birth. The problem is we don’t have an extra freezer so there’s just not much room for them. The nice thing is I can count on a handful of meals to be donated from members of our AP group (through the ‘meals for new families program’) and we also will have a food allowance (courtesy of J’s work) where we can expense up to a certain amount of take-out meals after a new baby. Sweeeeet. :) Not to mention the fact that my mom will be coming to help out after the birth and, I’m sure, will be more than happy to cook for us. So I think we’ll be all right, even without a big freezer.

Take this and call me in the morning

I got my first batch of Chinese herbs from the acupuncture clinic this week. The instructor told me she didn’t see a crucial need for me to take them (because I’m appearing quite healthy – yay!), but it certainly wouldn’t hurt if I did. So she gave me the option to try them if I wanted. She put in some herbs for keeping my blood pressure down and boosting my liver function, and said she has another herb to add the next time around that’s for my uterus (I think?), but it may start causing contractions so she wanted to wait until I’m at least 36 weeks. My instructions were to cook them up in 4 cups of water, then divide into 6 parts – drinking 1/6 in the morning and at night for 3 days.

They honestly didn’t smell that bad while still in the brown paper bag – sort of “new agey,” but not nasty. HOWEVER, when I finally got around to cooking them up this morning – LOOK OUT! – oh my, did they ever stink (as did my whole house)! The smell sort of resembled dirt and pot (but not in a good way).

I was disappointed by how much liquid was left after boiling them for 45 minutes too. I figured a lot more would burn off, thus leaving me less to drink. But no. There was still quite a bit remaining that I was supposed to gag down consume.

I decided to get it over with and take the first swig (while Jody stood by with the camera to capture my reaction – before and after). As you can see by the look on my face, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be (though I think I look like I was going to cry or bust out laughing). I didn’t run to the toilet and hurl and I didn’t spit it back into the glass. ;) I mean, it was not a good-tasting drink by any means, but it wasn’t *that* foul. I think the smell was worse than the taste. So I successfully drank down my first 1/2 cup of Chinese herbal tea today and have lived to tell the tale. :)

Added 10/15/06 8:37 p.m.: Just found this interesting info about wolfberries (which are the red berries in the pic) on Wikipedia: “Wolfberries and Lycium bark have long played important roles in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), where they are believed to enhance immune system function, improve eyesight, protect the liver, boost sperm production, and improve circulation, among other effects. In TCM terms, wolfberries are sweet in taste and neutral in nature; they act on the liver, lung, and kidney channels and enrich yin. They can be eaten raw, consumed as juice or wine, brewed into a tea, or prepared as a tincture.”

A bit overwhelmed and out of sorts

I haven’t blogged the past few days because I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts. I’ve been having a lot of apprehension about the thought of having two kids in a short amount of time and wondering how in the world I’m going to have enough of myself to go around. How will I be able to take care of everybody and still care for myself?

I know mothers have been doing it for centuries and I will get through it, but I still have anxiety about it all. I worry that Ava will feel neglected after being the center of my world for the past two-plus years. I worry that baby boy won’t get the attention that Ava got while she was a baby. I worry that nobody will get any sleep and that I will be a walking zombie for months on end.

And, rationally, I know all of these fears are perfectly normal. I know that Ava won’t get the amount of attention that she’s used to. I know that baby boy won’t get the same attention that Ava got as a baby. And I know that sleep will certainly suffer for a while. But I know that we will all live through it, even though there will be hard times.

I also know that Ava and baby boy will have the attention and affection of each other throughout the years and that they will share a special bond unlike the bond they share with me or Jody – and that makes me smile. :)

Part of all of this worry comes from the fact that I have had the role of primary caregiver at night for all of Ava’s life. When she wakes up at night even now, mommy is who she wants. Even though she night-weaned 6 months or so ago, she still wants only mommy to rub her back or cuddle her back to sleep. (Don’t get me wrong. Jody is a great daddy and helps out a lot, but in the middle of the night, only mommy will do.) I don’t know that I will be able to continue with this role once baby boy is here since I feel like he will have the greater need for me (nursing) in the middle of the night. I anticipate this meaning a lot of tears for a few nights while Ava adjusts to daddy having to comfort her back to sleep and that is hard for me, but I know we will all get through it.

I know that I need to accept help when it is offered or even *gasp* ask for it. Today was actually a good example of me realizing I needed a break and asking for help. Because I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed the past few days, I decided to call my sister and see if she could take Ava out to the park for a while so I could have some time just to myself. She was more than happy to help out and I got some practice some relaxation, watch “LOST” (which Jody taped for me last night since I was out at an acupuncture appointment) and get dinner started. It was wonderful and very much needed. :)

I’m also realizing that there’s no way to predict how the first few weeks/months after baby boy joins us are going to go, so there’s no sense wasting time worrying about it now. I have to remember to live for today, and that’s it. Much easier for me to say than to put into practice, but maybe if I make it my mantra, I can do it.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble as I attempted to sort out my thoughts. ;)