Friday, August 31, 2007

Essential Baby Gear

This one's for Ali. Feel free to add what you find to be essential in the comments!

I'll try to group them in a logical fashion:

Bath: Safer bather (or bathtub insert thingie), wash cloths, towels (really soft ones, go for all cotton), organic/natural cleansers and lotions (Burt's Bees, etc.), a little tiny scrubber brush to handle "cradle cap". They may give you one at the hospital, if not, look for something that looks like it was meant to remove corn silk from corn - very very soft bristle brush.

Illness: nose suckers/bulbs (yucky but necessary), drops for gas, baby pain killer for fevers/illnesses. You may never need them, but better to have them on hand than not. Baby diaper ointment - we liked Weleda. Q-tips for umbilical cord care. Thermometer - we never could get a proper reading from the ear thermometer, so we went with a regular digital and used it under her arm. Tiny nail clippers, if you don't want to tear them off manually.

Bedroom:
cotton fitted sheets - several sets for diaper "blowouts" or illness (4 or so. How often you do laundry determines the number needed.), a mattress wrap if you're paranoid like me, water proof mattress pads (2) also for "blowouts". If you have a baby that likes to be bundled you'll need a few receiving blankets (4-6). Receiving blankets are also great as burp cloths. A crib set is fine if you're going for a theme, if not, no biggie. Crib bumpers are good until the kid starts ripping them down. A good crib with sides you can lift up or set down with one hand. Important! You won't have two to do this with. A good brightly colored, multi-dimensional movement, musical mobile. Useful for distracting grumpy babies.

Diapers and wipes: choose whichever type you like best - cloth or disposable. The jury is still out as to the long term environmental impact of one over the other (Professional cleaning = water + chemicals + drive time to and from your house. Disposables = sitting around in a landfill.). Cloth may be best if you are doing all the laundering on your own, but as an exhausted parent, the concept of having to wash messy diapers was too much for us. We had a service for a pair of months and then turned to disposables. I'm hoping that my eco-karma out weighs our share of diapers. The size you will need may change quickly - will you need newborn or the next size up at birth? all depends on how big Little You is.

Changing station: You don't need a dedicated changing table. That's a waste of money (to me). Instead, get a good dresser that is at a good height for you and your honey to change the baby on and get a changing pad and affix it to the top. Then you'll need about 2-3 changing pad covers. All cotton and soft is best. If you have something on the ceiling or the wall over hanging your changing spot, Little You will be less frustrating to change. This way, as your kid gets bigger, it's just his dresser and you don't need to buy an extra piece of furniture.

Diaper disposal: The "need" for a diaper genie is a toss up. You waste a LOT of plastic "sealing" each diaper in. The alternative is just a regular trashcan and toss diapers on a frequent basis to keep the smell down. In case no one has told you, breastfed babies poop really has very little smell to it, unlike formula. Once they go on solids, phew!

Diaper bag: Get one with a changing pad, pockets and zippered plastic bag for soaked clothes that neither you nor your husband will feel humiliated carrying around. We liked the one we got from Land's End, 6 years ago.

Seating: A rocker/glider to soothe/nurse/play. A foot rest is good, too. A small table next to it to hold snacks and liquids for you. Space for a phone, maybe even a book or the TV remote once you get the hang of one handed nursing/bottle feeding, is ideal.

Lighting: A night light or dimmer switch on your main room light. You will need to see to put the baby into the crib or get him for a night feeding, but you don't want to turn all of the lights on.

Clothing: Again, size is dependent on birth weight. Style is dependent on time of year. You won't go wrong with 0-3 month sizes, but he may "swim" in them for a bit if he's little at birth. Or grow out of them instantly if he's huge at birth like Oliver (0-3mo = up to 11lbs). Onesies are your friend, as are baby sleep sacks. Anything that lets you get to the diapering area ASAP is a good thing. Anything that needs special cleaning: forget it! Cotton. Cotton, cotton, cotton. Nothing with too many snaps, buttons take too much time, velcro can be either scratchy or startlingly loud to small fry. Depending on the weather when he's born, you may want a snowsuit. Generally babies take lots of layers rather than heavier clothes.

Little tiny mitten thingies to keep him from scratching his face off after birth. Or else socks, but they keep falling off. Trust me on this. Caitlin shredded her face the day she was born with her tiny fingernails after they air dried and hardened.

Car seat/baby carrier. Required by law before you can leave the hospital. Now is not the time to go cheap, either, as your baby will live in this for months. We did our research with Consumer Reports before purchasing ours. By the way, whatever outfit you take him home from the hospital in needs to have legs so that he gets strapped into the car seat/carrier safely.

Baby containment devices: all optional, but some have been life-savers for us. Vibrating bouncy chair, swing (when they're a little older 2-3 months?), immobile exer-saucer (3-4 months), Boppy pillow, sling to carry on your chest (tons of options here from giant pieces of cloth to Baby Bjorns - test drive some in the store with a stuffed animal), carriage or carriage frame that you snap your carrier into (very light weight), portable play pen "pack 'n' play" for traveling crib action (can also wait, not an immediate need). I've heard good things about the Baby Bumbo chair, but again that's for after the baby has head control and before they can sit up on their own (3 mo?). Much later on, a good high chair. We liked the Chicco Mamma which was expensive but excellent. They last, too. Val got a pair for her twins and is loaning one to me, so they're pretty tough.

Video camera.

If you're planning on breastfeeding: you will need washable breast-pads to stop leaking all over the place. Disposables don't breathe well enough, I found. Nursing bras you can undo with one hand, no underwire, very comfy. Lanolin for chapped nipples. Clothing that lets you access your breasts ASAP. A sleep bra (or 2) that you can also pop pads into. Trust me, you'll leak in your sleep and wake up in a puddle. Le sigh. Ask me how I know that.

Toys and books: Optional. Your baby won't care about much other than nursing for a few months. However, soft is best with black, white and red being colors/contrasts newborns see best. Keep an eye out for recall listed items. Don't let anyone give you anything that makes too much noise. You'll want to kill it after its song/noise plays for the nth time! Remember that whatever the toy is, eventually it will wind up in your son's mouth, so caveat emptor!

If it seems like a lot of stuff, it is. You can break it down to the short list of must haves, leaving out lots of baby containment devices, but you must have a video camera. You'll be amazed at how fast they change and how much you will forget, just from month to month.

Anyone else have anything to add? Toss in your 2 cents in the comments.



Disclaimer: I kept referring to he since that's what Ali is having. So if you are having a girl, don't feel left out that I didn't switch sexes and refer to she.

Nursery Work

We're almost done! Hurrah!

Here is the overall shot of the room.
Note that the squat cage has been removed! Yay! In its place is the comfy chair. I slept in it again last night and had not one companion, but two. Endearing, but made it a bit tougher to get out of said chair for the usual nightly run hobble to the bathroom. No, the dog rug wasn't one of those companions.
The crib has switched walls since I noticed there was an air return vent on the right-hand wall.
Obviously, the dresser couldn't go there, since it would block the vent. Instead, it is on the opposite wall.
Let's brag about that dresser for a wee bit, shall we?

Eric worked extremely hard on it and deserves many kudos. We picked it up from Unpainted Furniture in Boulder a couple of weeks back. It's made of pine, so it's pretty light weight, but had plenty of drawers for both kids stuff. Or so I thought! Five of those six drawers are full and the only reason the last one isn't full is because we haven't picked up all of the diaper changing accoutrements yet. We have a pile of tiny newborn diapers from Jenni (Thanks!), but we still need to pick up wipes and the like.

Eric slaved over staining that dresser for a week and a half. Unfortunately, I added a level of difficulty by changing my mind over the main color (the lighter color) after he'd already applied one coat. It's easy to "forget" color depth and intensity when you're in the store choosing stains, and that's what happened. Fortunately, he was a trooper and picked up the slightly darker stain and laid on 3 coats of that to get the hue you see now. I like the drawers in their contrasting cherry stain. He then sealed it with several coats of polyurethane following the time honored method: Stain, sand, stain, sand, stain, sand, curse, seal, sand, seal, curse, sand, seal. The top? Smooth as glass!

I spent that week washing baby clothing, sheets, blankets and the like and sorting by size. After the mighty donations we received from Ed & Val and Jenni (Thanks again, you three!), and all of the new clothing from the baby shower (Thanks everyone else!), plus Caitlin's old clothes, we have filled those three drawers on the right. The left bottom two drawers are filled with sheets, towels, washcloths and spit up cloths. The top drawer is reserved for diapering gear, since that's where it will all take place.

Now we need to pick up a simple end table for me to put my liquids and snacks on, Eric just needs to finish the threshold and remove all of the tools from the closet and we will be done, done, done! Hurrah!

The plan is, of course, growing:
  1. Remove carpeting and pad. Done!
  2. Remove staples in floor. Done!
  3. Remove baseboards. Done!
  4. Vacuum floor. Done!
  5. Paint with Kilz to seal in anything...unpleasant. Done!
  6. Paint ceiling in fabulous dark blue (Called Deep Space). Done!
  7. Begin painting walls. Done!
  8. Add stars, moon, sun, spaceship and rocketship using glow in the dark paint. Done!
  9. Apply stencils/stamps. Done!
  10. Once the walls are done, remove fan. Done!
  11. Install new fan. Done!
  12. Install new flooring. Done!
  13. Purchase, stain and cut new baseboards to size. Done!
  14. Install new baseboards. Done!
  15. Pass out from fumes. Narrowly avoided.
  16. Replace all 1980's almond outlets, switches and covers with white ones. Done!
  17. Install dimmer switch. Done!
  18. Install bookcases, crib, rocking chair and sundry other nursery items. Done!
  19. Install threshold strips between rooms and hallway.
  20. Sink baseboard nails.
  21. Install closet door guides on floor (Putting holes in my new floor already?!).
  22. Stain, sand, stain, curse, sand, and stain the new dresser. Done!
  23. Beg and bribe friends to help husband carry new dresser and chair upstairs and install into nursery. (Thanks Patrick!) Done!
  24. Fill dresser with new, old and borrowed clothing. Done!
  25. Install changing pad on top of dresser. Done!
  26. Photograph everything for posterity because the room will never be this organized and clean, ever again.
  27. Drinks for everyone! Except the Preggosaurus, who will grumble into her lemonade while being uninhibitedly thrilled that the nursery is done and she didn't have to inhale more fumes than necessary.
Ooh, did I mention we finally picked up the new freezer? It's in the garage, freezing. Many thanks to Grammy and Grampy for the freezer and dresser!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hah!

Woman Overjoyed By Giant Uterine Parasite, screams the headline at The Onion.

"...Symptoms of potential uterine blight are wide-ranging and can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, irritability, emotional instability, swollen or tender breasts, massive weight gain, severe loss of bone density, fatigue, insomnia, excessive flatulence, hemorrhoids, vaginal tearing, and involuntary defecation.

...

In what will likely be the most painful experience of her life, Crowley will eventually require hospitalization in order to remove the giant entity. There is at least a 15 percent chance doctors will be forced to cut the parasite directly from her abdomen, a procedure that would result in severe trauma and scarring. If Crowley survives the operation, she will have to cope with the minimum 18 additional years of emotional and financial drain that is typically associated with this parasite, as well as irrevocable harm to her toned and relatively youthful body, This includes scarring to her breasts and stomach, and a series of visibly pronounced veins along her thighs and groin.

...

[My favorite line] Though Crowley is otherwise healthy, the fact that she is in her late 30s makes it much more likely that the parasite has already split and multiplied within her womb."
The Onion - it's what's for dinner!

The Cure for SIDS?

SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Terrifying to any parent, the concept that you can put your baby down to sleep and return to find them dead. Apparently without cause. Why does this happen? Why does it seem to happen to some people and not others? What variables are involved? And, the most important question, what can we do to prevent it?

A chemist from New Zealand believes he has found the answer and has been trying to get the word out over the course of the last 10 years. My neighbor had sent me a note about it and today, a video link. I was curious and started having a look through his material on his website. I have to tell you, even if the industry is not willing to accept his theory, his research or the outcome of his testing, I think that I am. At the very least, mattress wrapping (his suggestion) can do no harm. If the chemistry he has suggested is correct, then it is worth the nominal amount of money to wrap the mattress and ensure - even if it's just a tiny bit - a small amount of relief in the mind of a parent.

Here is the note:
The standard counsel is that we put infants to bed on their backs, a strategy that has reduced the number of SIDS deaths by 50 %, but beyond this point, this is more or less all we as parents can do. We just have to hope that our child makes it through to their first birthday when we can stop worrying about SIDS. However, I have come across the very convincing work of a scientist in New Zealand who claims to understand what exactly causes SIDS, and therefore can prevent it.

Dr. TJ Sprott is a forensic chemist in New Zealand. His basic theory (along with that of a British scientist Barry Richardson) is that the mixture of a fungus found in the fluids from a baby, i.e. drool, spit-up (very likely Scopulariopsis brevicaulis) plus the elements arsenic, antimony, and phosphorous (commonly found in baby mattresses and synthetic materials), creates toxic gases that subsequently poisons the baby. He recommends a strict but simple protocol to eliminate the possibility of this happening. Part one is to wrap the baby's mattress in a special barrier mattress cover free of these elements, and part two is to eliminate all bedding that isn't 100% cotton. (There are more specifics than this, but that's the basic idea).

Now, I found this information on the web, and like most seemingly sensational claims on the web, I expected it to not be true and that a google search would turn up hits from people explaining why this guy was wrong. But I have yet to find anything that counters his arguments. As I dug deeper, it became more and more convincing.

Dr. Sprott runs a non-profit organization in New Zealand dedicated to raising awareness about this issue and to distribute these mattress covers. The website is www.cotlife2000.com. The organization started a push to wrap all baby mattresses in New Zealand starting in 1995. I've attached a file with the (official NZ government) statistics that he sent me and you can see for yourself. NZ has seen a 70 - 85% reduction in SIDS cases (depending on native vs. non-native peoples) since this campaign began, with no other nation-wide change of habits explaining the reduction. But here's the kicker--not one SIDS death has been reported on a properly wrapped mattress. (That's a heckuva lot better than 50 % reduction from the Back to Sleep campaign).

I showed this information to my father-in-law, a physical organic chemist, who I expected to eagerly jump on any holes in this guy's chemistry (there are lots of supporting journal articles at the website). He had questions, and emailed Dr. Sprott, who subsequently wrote him back with satisfactory explanations. Now my father-in-law seems to be as amazed as I am that Dr. Sprott's work isn't more widely publicized. Parents deserve to at least be aware of this.

Now what about money? This guy must be making a mint selling all these mattress covers, right? I wrote him an email, asking about the financial compensation he gets. He said he declined any royalty on the mattress covers in order to make them as economical as possible. He has written a book about his work, but again declined a royalty on it. Furthermore, this guy told me he has sunk $400,000 of his own
money into this cause.

There is much more information of interest to this topic--I am glossing over many of the details. The website mentioned above has all the specifics including the exact protocol to follow, lots of evidence to support Dr. Sprott's theory including scientific articles, statistics, commonly asked questions, how to purchase a mattress cover, etc. The mattress covers cost $30, btw, including shipping from New Zealand.

Why haven't we heard more about this? The medical establishment and other forces in New Zealand as well as here in the USA have fought him tooth and nail. My guess is no one wants to stake a claim on something having to do with a child's life lest they be sued if something goes wrong. Especially if we eventually agree that all the synthetic materials and fire-retardant treatments we've been using for baby bedding is what causes SIDS.

I'm not saying this is definitely the answer. [snip] In my mind, worst case is that i'm out $60 [for a playpen and a crib]. Best case is that I may have avoided SIDS.

At any rate, I feel this theory deserves much greater awareness, so I would encourage you to visit the website and read up on the topic.
Still with me? I know that was a lot to take in.

There are no certainties in this life, we are told, other than Death and Taxes. However, considering the increases in things like cancers, asthma, allergies and Alzheimer's, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that by steeping the mattresses our children sleep on in fire retardant chemicals it is probably not the safest thing we could do. (Not to mention pesticides coating the foods we eat - but that's a rant for another day.)

I guess I'll be ordering a pair of those mattress covers myself.

For those of you that are thinking that we've done just fine without such things previously, you are correct. Caitlin's mattress wasn't wrapped and she survived her infancy. That is no guarantee that the twins will. It's also the same logic that is all over those emails that scoff at how paranoid parents are these days: We didn't have car seats and we survived!

While this is true (the lack of car seats in the 70s and yet I and all my siblings survived driving with my parents who never wore their seat belts), I would suggest that we were lucky. There is no lack of data on number of childhood fatalities prior to the introduction of car seats or the requirement for seat belt use. This is a fascinating read.

Remember: people also used to think that smoking was good for your health. Look at how that turned out!

I can hear my house getting cleaner by the moment

Two of our baby shower gifts were the gift of professional cleaning. We've turned one in and there's a crew working their way from the top floor down.

I feel so bad for them - my house is a wreck. The bathrooms are embarrassing. The dust is thick.

But!

I can hear them cleaning the wooden blinds. I can hear the bathtubs being scrubbed out.

It smells like...Victory!

Victory over the mess, that is, with a hint of lemony freshness. Oh yeaaaaaah!

Many, many thanks to Herb and Sue for the gift of cleanliness.

Doctor! Doctor!

Here I am, sitting on top of 34 weeks. From this point on, if I go into labor, the docs won't stop me [Insert maniacal laughter here.].

But, am I in labor? Nope.

Do I look like I'm going to be in labor anytime soon? Nope.

Cervix of Steel, baby.
Cervix Of Steel!


Or as my doctor put it, "Closed tight like Tupperware!". Why yes, she did just compare my cervix (my over achieving cervix) to plasticware. Doctors are wacky!

I had a funny moment in the hall on the way to the appointment, when I shared a commiserating smile and nod with another very pregnant women. She suddenly looked me up and down and exclaimed, "You have ankles!".

Why yes, yes I do. Hers, unfortunately, were gone. Straight to Cankleville. We compared notes: she's pregnant with a singleton and is at 35 weeks. I couldn't help but notice that she only had an itty bitty water bottle, while I'm schlepping around the liter sized container the hospital gives out. Hmm! Her belly was tiny compared to mine. OK, well not tiny, perhaps more like me...two months ago! I think my current slacker lifestyle and constant water drinking is what has left me with ankles.

Hey, the doctors all said, "Take it easy!" so I'm taking it easy. As easy as I can stand to, at any rate. Of course, my body is in full agreement with the docs and doesn't want to walk anywhere without complaint, so I give in a lot. Then again, I've got two people to watch out for, so I'm taking it a lot easier than I would have otherwise.

Now it's time for...

Vital Statistics!
  • Weight: +58 lbs
  • Waist size: 50" +/- .5" depending on water intake
  • Heart rates: ~160s for Logan and ~150s for Emma
  • Fundal measurement: 44 cm. Four weeks "past due".
  • Cervical dilation: None. "Tight as Tupperware."
  • Still snorky due to my allergy, but no where near as bad as it was on Monday. I'm no longer thinking about removing my head longingly. Determined that only 1 Benadryl pill isn't enough to put me in a coma and barely touches my congestion. Looks like I'll try two tonight.
  • Energy: Not too bad. My first night in my new chair went pretty well. I had company, too. Domino wanted to help break it in with me, so I moved him out of the middle, reclined it, popped out the footrest and he slept on the footrest all night. Aww! I only had to get up twice last night. It's a miracle! (Of course, I didn't go to sleep until 1 am.) And the shortened distance to the bathroom? Awesome!
Time to drink more water.

Up to four (4) weeks left!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If you need me...

I'll be in the twins' room here:
Sleeping. Smiling. Comfy!

Only mine is made with mushroom colored micro-fiber and feels just as soft as many of the baby blankets we were given. And it reclines, oh so nicely. Not in my bed (there aren't enough pillows in the world), not on the sofa (thousands of miles away from the bathroom), but here in my comfy new rocking, swiveling, reclining chair which is large enough to nurse the twins in and comfy enough to sleep in and should be big enough to read books to Caitlin in, with Caitlin squished beside me.

Thanks to mom and dad for making this possible. See? It's not camera equipment! Instead, it's a bed/nursing chair for the next year or so. Ahhh!

You know, I bet I could even blog there.

A win for the little people!

That's us, the little people. Turns out that the FTC has told Monsanto to stuff it regarding their whining about companies labeling their foods as being Bovine Growth Hormone Free.

You know you want to hear more! Follow the link.

Here is a case where the market actually is forcing a producer to change their ways and the producer (Monsanto: maker of "recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, a hormone that boosts milk production in cows.") has been furiously trying to push back.

"Who cares what those foolish consumers want! We are Monsanto! If we say rBST is safe, by golly it is!"

Nevermind the fact that rBST is banned in Canada and Europe already, but heaven forfend that we attempt to stop using it in the good ole USA! Nuh-uh!

St. Louis based-Monsanto, which markets the hormone under the brand name Posilac, had asked the FTC to investigate more than a half dozen companies that advertise milk products.

The company claims the ads mislead consumers into thinking that milk from cows not treated with rBST are healthier or safer than dairy products from cows treated with the hormone.

The hormone is banned in Canada and Europe, mainly due to concerns that it leaves cows more prone to illness. But the Food and Drug Administration and the company insist the hormone is safe and the FDA approved rBST to boost production in dairy cows in 1993.

Still, many dairy farmers concerned about possible safety risks refuse to use the product and a growing number of retailers, including grocery chains Safeway and Kroger Co., have switched to milk free of synthetic hormones.

The national milk brand Borden, for example, advertises that "we work exclusively with farmers that supply 100 percent of our milk from cows that haven't been treated with artificial hormones. So, who do you trust when it comes to your family's milk?"

The FTC declined to launch a formal investigation or take enforcement action against any company. But FTC associate director Mary Engle said a few small businesses were warned about making unfounded claims about rBST on their Web sites and told to revise those claims.

--FTC: Milk Ads not Misleading

Incredible! I don't know about you, but I like my food in as natural a state as I can get it, which is getting harder and harder to do every year. Not to mention the increased expense.

Considering that we don't know what the long term effects are of exposure to rBST, do we really need to experiment on ourselves or our children? The sheer number of chemicals that show up in our blood and breastmilk from all of the dust and off-gassing of products around us
and in the foods we eat is already mind-numbing.

I'd be happy to drink milk that is just milk and eat fish that just has fish in it.

Call me crazy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One Year Later...

A lot can happen in a year.

Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births, deaths (him, too), birthdays (too many to link!), first days of school, first lost teeth, first dances, massive gardening challenges, hummingbirds, pregnancies (Misty, me, and my kid sister), losing friends to far away states, making new friends, a little travel, starting a new business and putting it on hold.

Failures. Triumphs. Anger. Contentment.

Every year contains so many different experiences, not all are fun or nice, but all appear to be meaningful in some fashion. This, I believe, is why I don't regret a single year of my age: I'm 38 and I'm damned proud of it. Every year has gotten better and better, so how can you regret your age when the alternative is death? Besides, the whole concept of my life peaking in my twenties and going downhill from there? Total bummer for someone that plans on living until well into her nineties! I mean, can you really imagine spending the next 70 years of your life as a let down after 25? Come on!

This year, though, has been a little different. Blogging is a funny thing. It's rather like writing letters to your nearest and dearest and not being surprised, shocked or offended if random strangers also get that letter. Strangely enough, that part's kinda cool. (Hi, random strangers! Nice ta meetcha!) This tiny piece of the internet has allowed me to stay in better/constant contact with my friends that have moved in a way that I never would have otherwise. I'm terrible about calling anyone and forget about receiving letters or cards. Besides, if you could only see my handwriting, you'd understand! Sometimes even I don't know what I've written.

I has also noticed that one of my biggest fans (many of whom are silent) is my mother-in-law. The funny side effect of letting the family in on the existence of the blog is that those that choose to read it have gotten to know me better. The ties that bind, indeed! I think it's also helped me to reconnect with my sisters. This is a big deal to me and I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was to spend an hour on the phone with my big sister and chatter away without feeling like we were both tiptoeing around one another. That's a big change in the last year.

It has also allowed me to put all of those pictures in one location and stop bombarding the inboxes of assorted friends and family members.

So, yeah.

One year. 327 posts. A whole whacking lot of pictures, realizations, observations, memories, laughter and tears. Hell, I cried just finding the posts to link above (The Dance and Goodbye Pixel are too much for me, even now).

Welcome to my world. Stick around, it's gonna get better and better.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Misery, I has it!

This is me with an allergy attack.


Whimper!

Mai node! Mai node!

Oooh! My hed!

No, itz not bad enuf dat Ize massive pregnant, now I gots allergy attack.

(Sorry, can't type like that for too long without feeling like I'm losing brain cells.)

I am descending into yet another Circle of Pregnancy Hell. Let me list them for you!
  1. Exhaustion.
  2. Nausea (Although my version was more like Pregnancy Purgatory, Hell would have been for 6 months or more and involved lots of vomiting).
  3. Starvation.
  4. Swelling.
  5. Constant peeing.
  6. Hemorrhoids.
  7. Overheating.
  8. Sleeplessness.
  9. Joint pain.
  10. Contractions.
  11. Allergies.

You know, I didn't used to have allergic reactions other than to citrus fruit and then, only if I gorged on it. I find that it's very hard to not inhale mangoes when they are in season. However, that would only result in the swollen mouth feeling, nothing worse than that. Now? As I get older I find that I am having allergic reactions to pollens in the spring and the fall. The first time I noticed anything awful was last year.

I almost scratched my eyes out. I went crying to Eric, thinking I needed to get to the doctor right away because something terrible was happening to my eyes! He took one look at me, patted me on the back and welcomed me to Suffering From Allergies. Then he handed me some Claritin and told me to calm down.

Whaaaat?! This is what allergies feel like? A cold you can't shake, a swollen head, eyes that tear constantly and need to be ripped from your skull? That's an allergic reaction? WTF?! Where is the evolutionary advantage in this?! Man, I'd have crawled into a sabertooth tiger's mouth last night, just to get my head removed so I could sleep!

Argh!

So I called the nurse this morning and explained that the Preggosaurus requires relief or I will shove my head into a blender for relief. OK, maybe just the oven. I don't know, but something! She recommended Benadryl or Claritin as being safe, but that Benadryl would make me sleepy. I scoffed and said that I'm not sleeping anyway, so that wouldn't bother me any! She empathized with my exhausted-stuffy-headed pregnantness and sent me on my way. I had Eric hunt up a bottle and sucked down 3.5 tsp.

BLEARGH!

Cherry flavored cough syrupy stuff makes me want to hurl! Always has. As a kid, it was almost more than I could bear. I dearly wished they'd had more chewable pills when I was young because that Robitussin cherry oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-hurl flavor? I'd almost rather remain ill than to taste that.

Almost.



Updated to add: Holy moly! I understood it would make me "drowsy". I had no idea that they meant "Put you into a coma for four hours!". Or that I could slide back into said coma as easily as I do. Whew! Tomorrow: Claritin. I feel rather like Denis Leary. Heh!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dawn!

Hey, my big sister is

FORTY!

I had to ask her how she was doing (Did she have a sudden overwhelming urge for prune juice?) and whether AARP had contacted her yet. She laughed and admitted that they had!

Aieee!

You'd think they'd have the decency to wait until a person was at least 50!

Hang in there Dawn!

Wow!

I've absolutely no idea what this show is (some "Reality TV" or the other?) but this couple is amazing! Through the intricacies of internet linking (Dante's Inferno with Children to She's in Transition's sidebar), check out this dance routine.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Sick of Recalls?

Here's another one: baby carrots.
An undisclosed amount of carrots that may be contaminated with bacteria could cause diarrhea, nausea, fever and vomiting.

The Los Angeles Salad Co. said it was voluntarily recalling its “Genuine Sweet Baby Carrots” because the carrots might be contaminated with the bacteria called shigella.

The product was sold under two labels. One is “Los Angeles Salad Genuine Sweet Baby Carrots” with a sell-by date up to and including Aug. 16, 2007, sold in 7-ounce and 8-ounce bags and distributed in California, Colorado, Florida and Georgia.

The other is “Trader Joe’s Genuine Sweet Baby Carrots” with a sell-by date up to and including Aug. 8, 2007, sold in 7-ounce bags and distributed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Consumers with questions can call the company at 1-626-322-9017.

I don't know about you, but I thought we lived in a First World Country. You know, where there are laws and good business practices and food safety controls built into the system. Apparently not so much anymore.

Domino

Domino is teaching me to play fetch. It's very endearing. Maybe he just does it because he's bored, or because he knows that MomCat ain't gettin' up offa that sofa any time soon. Either way, he brings me small-fuzzy-soft-hardcenter-thing (aka a "pipe cleaner") and drops it onto the sofa next to me, or drops it onto the bed with me (sometimes in the middle of the night - poor timing!), or drops it at my feet when I'm in the bathroom (where I spend much of my day).

He's also very good at noticing that I'm awake a lot at night and takes advantage of this quiet time by curling up next to me and getting within petting range. He's discovered that The Belly means no lap space, but at night the sideways Belly becomes a good place to lay down on, putting him well within petting range.
Macro lens shots!

He purrs and purrs and purrs at me. I suspect he's writing his Cat Thesis on:

Living With Humans: Can Humans Learn to Speak Cat?
  • Entertainment. Brought MomCat small-fuzzy-soft-hardcenter-thing. Dropped it within paw range.
    Observed behavior:
    picks up small-fuzzy-soft-hardcenter-thing with front paw, makes hard-sharp noise, displays teeth and throws small-fuzzy-soft-hardcenter-thing. Retrieval of small-fuzzy-soft-hardcenter-thing results in repeat of hard-sharp noise and tooth display. Repeated testing shows same behavior.
  • Hunger. Will attempt to obtain food pellets from MomCat using Body Language. Rub myself in an obvious manner against food storage box. Look at MomCat. Rub body against corner opposite from food storage box. Look at MomCat. Rub self against MomCat and return to food storage box.
    Observed behavior:
    MomCat makes growly noises with higher pitched end, then opens food storage box and retrieves food. We
    can communicate! Now if only we can get her or ShortCat to move faster and more frequently. DadCat appears clueless to the food requests and stays in sleep mode longer than MomCat or ShortCat. Repeated testing is frustrating. Food pellets are only released twice daily. Will have to seek out alternative food source.
  • Outside Cave. There are creatures outside the cave that we would like to investigate further, however, Big Cats do not appear able to understand Cat Language related to Opening Portals. We sit next to Portal and observe fast-fliers, wondering how they feel to sense of touch/taste/smell.
    Observed behavior:
    Looking at MomCat (or other Big Cats) does not result in Portal opening. Making loud, obvious complaint noise does not have positive result. Quiet commentary noise gets growly noise with higher pitched end, clearly Big Cats are watching, but do not open Portal. Some small fast-fliers come right up to soft smell-through enabled Portal and observe
    us, but then leave. Large fast non-fliers get within striking distance and then flee. Very large non-fliers appear aggressive, wearing night camoflage and are considered potentially dangerous. Very, very small fast-fliers sometimes make it through opening in soft smell-through enabled Portal and can be investigated via touch/taste/smell. Have successfully waited for ShortCat to open soft smell-through enabled Portal and moved outside cave briskly, however MomCat interrupts investigations too soon. Must consider having Agent Sleeps-Under-Bed, "Kaboom", provide distraction during next opportunity.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Riddle me this

Why is it that if I don't check email for three days (normally unheard of for me!), when I do check it, it's filled with all kinds of nasty spam. Who are these people that think I want penis enhancement?!

I've got spam filters galore, but it doesn't seem to slow them down any. So if you've sent me a note in the last 3 days and are wondering why I haven't gotten back to you, it's because I'm slogging through my inbox.

Want some prescription drugs cheap! from Canada? Got lots of offers about those, too.

Am totally considering siccing my ex-computer hacker honey on them. Maybe he could send them a virus? Oh the temptation!

Doctor! Doctor!

Where have you been all week?! I can hear you asking plaintively.

Well, the short answer is laying down. A lot. Yes indeed. Those contractions are so much fun that I've tried to subdue them by remaining prone for much of the day. That'll teach 'em! However, I've been wondering what kind of effect they've been having on my cervix and today was the appointment where they'd tell me the answer to that burning question.

I know, you're all dying to know about my cervix!

As it turns out, not a whole lot! I have the toughest cervix in the land! Bet you didn't know that, did ya?

Vital Statistics:
  • Weight: +56 lbs
  • Waist size: 50"
  • Heart rates: ~139 for Logan and ~156 for Emma
  • Fundal measurement: 42 cm. Now I know what happens when you slide past 40 cm. You just keep on getting bigger and bigger! Look at me! My body says I'm two weeks past due!
  • Cervical measurement: 36.3 mm. Why is this number higher than last time? I have no idea!
  • Cervical dilation: None, but ~50% effaced according to "touch" (Ow!). However, the U/S showed that I was still at 36.3 mm, which means that I'm not effaced at all. Makes me wonder if they think I'm effaced because I'm so huge, as if they feel what they expect to feel. Hmm
  • Weights: Logan - 4 lb 13 oz (+/- 11 oz). Emma - 5 lb 6 oz (+/- 13 oz). I am now carrying ~10 lb 3 oz of baby. I'm still wondering if I will make it to Oliver Level baby weights. Not two 11 lb 9 oz babies, but both of them equalling 1 Oliver. I'm thinking that it may be time to start using Oliver as a measurement standard: ex. Not quite 1 Oliver worth of babies yet!. According to this, they are 1-2 weeks ahead of the average singleton pregnancy. Yay us!
  • Energy: Exhausted! I wake up 3x per night in order to pee since I have to drink 4 liters a day. I sleep for about 1.5 hours, then wake up to an incredibly tight belly, aching hips and a desperate need to pee. Le sigh!
Now here's the fun part: Sally, the ultrasound tech is betting that I'm likely to have them around 9/7 - 9/10. Oh and she said that they both appear to have a head-full of hair, according to what she can see on the U/S! This I'm not so surprised by. Caitlin had lots of hair and so did I when I was born, but Eric was as bald as an egg. I think my hair genes are beating his out.

The doc, on hearing what Sally had to say laughed and then filled me in on a couple of things.
  1. If I make it to 34 weeks (I'm currently at 33 weeks.), they won't stop me from giving birth. Everything looks good to her, so she won't put me on bed rest.
  2. However, she'd like to see me make it to 36 weeks, which they would consider full term for twins.
So I could have anywhere from 1, 3 or 5 weeks left. I was told to keep drinking and lay down as much as possible during the day and to nap frequently to make up for the nighttime waking. No bed rest for me! Although I am voluntarily no longer doing any sort of shopping or browsing. I'll have to send Eric to the library for me to pick out some good books.

Now I think it's time to place your bets in the comments section! How far do you think I'll make it?
Possibly five (5) weeks left!

Must nap now. So tired!

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day of School!

Caitlin's second First Day of School. (Her first day of Kindergarten is here. Hey! She's wearing the same outfit!)

That is to say, she's a First Grader now!

How long do we celebrate "First Day of School" days, anyway? Do we do this every year or do we just start calling it by grade? Somehow "First Day of Second Grade!" just doesn't have that zing!, if you know what I mean.

Anyway!

I was up at 5 am, because this bladder never sleeps anymore. Four liters of water, twins and aching hips ensure that no sleeping action continues for more than an hour and a half. Le Sigh! So I waddled downstairs, did a little reading and made Caitlin's lunch. I was planning on going up to the school with her, even though I wasn't going to walk it (I would have needed an hour head start and I'm not joking!). Caitlin got up, roughly when her alarm went off and got ready for the day.

We made it out of the house basically on time but not quite early enough to get a close in parking spot, so Eric dropped the two of us off. Children were everywhere! At that very moment, I realized something important:

I had forgotten my camera!

I was so busy trying to make sure we had all of Caitlin's gear and school supplies that I'd completely forgotten about my camera. But I had my water bottle, by golly! So there are no pictures of drop off, but several of pick up.

Caitlin suddenly went shy. There was a small huddle of the girls from her kindergarten class and that she was friends with, but she suddenly couldn't make herself walk over to them and say "Hi.". I've no idea what was going on, I'll just chalk it up to First Day nerves. I walked over, with her attached to my leg, and said "Hi!" in a voice loud enough to be heard over the cacophony. Her friends turned around and welcomed her, but she still wouldn't let go of my leg. Poor kitten! After a few minutes, Eric showed up and then the bell rang. Everyone scrambled for their position in line and then trudged in, weighed down by bags of school supplies.

Kisses and hugs were exchanged and then she filed into her new classroom, along with the other first graders. They had to locate their desks, put their new gear into it and get settled in. Desks! Suddenly the reality of being a big kid was visible via school furniture. Funny, that!

Eric and I turned to leave and were mobbed by all of the moms of Caitlin's school friends who were all stunned that I was either a) still alive or b) still pregnant or c) surviving the heat. OK, maybe not so much on the "a" selection....It was fun to chat with them and have my ego stroked over hanging in there and some even marveled over the fact that I still have ankles. My feet may be swollen, but apparently my ankles aren't ready to give in yet. Resting throughout the day is probably helping.

After school, we encountered Little Miss Dejected. Check out that body language!

Look at that little sad face! Clearly, something had to be done, and fast! Eric was just the man for the job. He picked her up and applied the famous Ninja Daddy Technique of Shaking the Grumps Out.

Works like a charm, every time. Here she is clinging to his leg in a much different manner than she had been to mine 6 hours earlier. Much better!

We snuck inside to check out her desk. There it was, in all its glory!

There she'll sit for the rest of the year.

We grilled her on her first day adventures and she mentioned that she made 3 new friends that day, as Eric had exhorted her to just before she walked into the classroom. She can't remember all 3 of their names, but at least she didn't just immediately cling to the girls that she already knew. Tomorrow and every day after should go a lot more smoothly. I won't be up for walking her to school, but at least I made it to the very First Day.

Hurrah!

The Belly & The Guitar

Didn't think it was possible? Well, it is!
Of course this means I have no excuse for not practicing now, doesn't it? Eek! I think I've forgotten everything!

Better get started.

Hmm...I'm now noticing that I am more and more shaped like that guitar.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thirty-two weeks

Not two, not three, but four! Four liters of water. That's what my doctor told me I have to drink, on a daily basis, in order to keep these contractions under control. That's just water - not including milk, juice or any other liquid I imbibe over the course of the day.

What's that, you say? Contractions?

Oh, yeah! Hmmm...well, it went like this: I woke up contracting this morning - still Braxton-Hicks, don't panic - and then went down to breakfast. While I was eating, quietly sitting there and not moving about, I had 6 contractions in the course of the hour. Trying not to panic, I decided that I really should call these in, so I did. I woke Eric up first, just in case they wanted us to come in. Well, the doc read me the riot act about the fact that while I may have been downing 2 liters a day last month, that's no longer good enough (Oof! Contraction.). So she told me to suck down a liter within the next half hour, stay laying down and then see how many I had then. If they slowed down, good for me and keep drinking. If they didn't, then I was to come in to the hospital to get checked.

Fortunately for me they slowed down to 4 per hour.

So I took it easy the rest of the day and tried not to go up and down the stairs too many times. If they put me on bedrest after this next appointment on Thursday I'll need to find lots of things to do in bed. Boooooooring!

But you didn't come here for that! You came for belly shots. I know you! I bet you thought four weeks since the last belly shots seemed like a long time ago, didn't you? Now imagine what it feels like inside my body!

The profile shot.
The incredible shrinking hand shot. Oh wait, no, the belly is just getting that much bigger!The 24, 28 and 32 week triptych. Can I continue to get much bigger? Eek!
Hi mom! Look, I still have a head attached to that belly!

Oof! Contraction.

Vital Statistics
:
  • Weight: +54lbs
  • Waist size: 50"
  • Babies: 2. I think Emma flipped over 2 nights ago. Why? Because there was a big move that hurt! These two are so grounded!
  • Breathing: Still labored
  • Thirst: Four liters! Four! Argh!
  • Exhaustion: No more shopping trips for me. The contractions get to be too much, too quickly.
  • Contractions: Oof!
  • Trips to the bathroom: Endless.
Six (6) weeks left!

Oof! Contraction.

The Circumcision Decision

For those of you that will find this to be too much information, look over here!

For the rest of you, I've been thinking about how to write about this topic without going crazy or having to research every point I wanted to make. As it turns out, Amy of Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess has done all of the work already. She's clearly done a lot of research and spent a good deal of time building this very thoughtful post. Since it seems pointless to me to reinvent the wheel, I've decided to link to her post and post a copy of it here.
It’s amazing the number of things you never have to consider before becoming a parent - breastfeed or formula feed; cloth diapers or disposables; vaccinations; when to start solids; organic vs. conventional foods; public school, private school or homeschool; and, of course, if you are having a boy - whether or not to circumcise.

I hope to write about my feelings, opinions and choices regarding circumcision and my son, knowing full well that everyone who reads this blog will not agree with me. I think that anyone who has a son will have their list of reasons for why they decided for or against circumcision. I simply wish to share my reasons here (and some of the information I came across along the way) for deciding against it.

I hope that by including some links below to reputable sources, other parents who are trying to decide what is best for their son can make an informed decision - whether it be to circumcise or not.

I am not here to judge and it is my hope that any discussion that happens below in the comments remain civil and respectful, despite how strongly you may feel about this topic. I also ask that any “anonymous” posters please sign their posts with a name. Thank you.

===========================================

The short and sweet answer as to why Jody and I are not having our son circumcised is that we can’t find a single reason to indicate that it is a necessary procedure.

I believe that the body we are born with, in its entirety, is that way for a reason. I think that each different part has a unique purpose for existing. If we didn’t need a certain part, I believe that over time we would evolve so that it no longer existed. [Hatchet Note: while interesting in theory, this idea is refuted by the existence of the appendix.]

In doing my research on circumcision, I came across a lot of interesting information. Some of it has to do with the origins of circumcision in the United States, some about the actual procedure, some about the effects of circumcision and about the current rates of circumcision in the U.S. I read a lot more than I will blog about here, but these are some things I thought were worth mentioning.

“Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity. In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision. As late as the 1970s, leading American medical textbooks still advocated routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation.” — Paul M. Fleiss, MD The Case Against Circumcision

Uh, I’m not a guy and no expert, but I am pretty sure that circumcision does NOT prevent masturbation.

“Today the reasons given for circumcision have been updated to play on contemporary fears and anxieties; but one day they, too, will be considered irrational. Now that such current excuses as the claim that this procedure prevents cancer and sexually transmitted diseases have been thoroughly discredited, circumcisers will undoubtedly invent new ones. But if circumcisers were really motivated by purely medical considerations, the procedure would have died out long ago, along with leeching, skull-drilling, and castration. The fact that it has not suggests that the compulsion to circumcise came first, the “reasons,” later.” — Fleiss

The fact that new reasons to continue the circumcision practice are being invented is rather disturbing if you ask me.

One website I came across in my research shows step-by-step (graphic) pictures of an actual circumcision of a newborn boy. What Happens During Circumcision There is also a video there, but the pictures alone were more than enough for me. I don’t think I could’ve stomached the video. I had never thought much about the actual procedure itself. I figured that the foreskin was clamped and removed without much effort and the baby was left to heal over the next week or whatever. I didn’t think about the baby needing to be restrained, whether or not any type of anesthesia is used, the foreskin needing to be pried apart from the penis, the amount of bleeding involved, the raw exposed penis, etc. Not to mention the child crying in pain. :( It was not easy to look at.

There’s a laundry list of “things” that are lost forever when a circumcision takes place. While all of these things in the list are noteworthy, I thought I would mention a few here that stood out to me:

“When a baby boy’s natural and intact penis is “circumcised,” this is what is lost forever:
** An estimated 240 feet of microscopic nerves, including branches of the dorsal nerve.
** Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this dense vascularity interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, obviously damaging its natural function and possibly stunting its complete and healthy development.
** The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa, which may produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme, also found in mothers milk, and plasma cells, which secrete immunoglobulin antibodies.
** The essential “gliding” mechanism. If unfolded and spread out flat, the average adult foreskin measures about 15 square inches, the size of a postcard. This abundance of specialized, self-lubricating mobile skin gives the natural penis its unique hallmark ability to smoothly “glide” in and out within itself—permitting natural non-abrasive masturbation and intercourse, without drying out the vagina or requiring artificial lubricants.” — Gary L. Harryman - What is Lost to Circumcision

I know some parents may be concerned about whether or not an intact penis requires special care. Personally, having no experience with an uncircumcised penis in the past, I had no idea what the answer was before asking friends of mine who’s sons were left intact. FYI:

“The natural penis requires no special care. A child’s foreskin, like his eyelids, is self-cleansing. For the same reason it is inadvisable to lift the eyelids and wash the eyeballs, it is inadvisable to retract a child’s foreskin and wash the glans. Immersion in plain water during the bath is all that is needed to keep the intact penis clean.” — Fleiss [Hatchet Note: Bolding for emphasis is mine.]

Also worth noting that the foreskin should never be forced to retract before it is ready.

“As noted, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. Separation will evolve over time. It should not be forced. When will separation occur? Each child is different. Separation may occur before birth; this is rare. It may take a few days, weeks, months, or even years. This is normal. Although many foreskins will retract by age 5, there is no need for concern even after a longer period. Some boys do not attain full retractability of the foreskin until adolescence.” — Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis

Regarding the rate of circumcision in the world and U.S.:

“Circumcision is almost unheard of in Europe, South America, and non-Muslim Asia. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. The neonatal circumcision rate in the western U.S. has now fallen to 34.2 percent.” — Fleiss

“The nationwide circumcision rate had been fluctuating in the low 60 percent range for some years, but a decline in the percentage of boys circumcised started in 2002 and continued into 2003. From 2002 to 2003 declines occured in all four census regions. Non-circumcision has been the norm in the Western Region for more than a decade.” — U.S. Circumcision Incidence

I think it’s important to note that the circumcision rate is dropping in the United States because the old parental concern of not wanting a child to be teased because they look differently from the other boys will no longer be an issue if the ratio of circ’d boys to uncirc’d boys is approaching 50-50. I know in my own circle of friends, the ratio of circ’d boys to uncirc’d boys (babies and toddlers I mean) is probably more like 20 (circ’d) to 80 (uncirc’d) or even slightly higher in favor of the uncircumcised boys. Some parents I know (both in “real life” and on message boards) had their first son circumcised before they had done much research on the topic, and then, after learning more about the procedure, chose not to circumcise their second son.

(And now at the risk of sharing TMI…) Having never been with an uncircumcised man (yes, you can infer from that that Jody is circumcised), I was very interested to learn that not only is the pleasure of the male affected by circumcision, but also the pleasure of the female. (I mentioned a bit about this above as well.)

“One of the foreskin’s functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male’s foreskin is missing.” — Fleiss

Like I said above, I couldn’t find a reason to convince me that circumcision is necessary for our son. I don’t feel the need to provide a list of all of the reasons against it. They are easy enough to find online. By reading through some of the links I provided below, you can read more information for yourself if you so desire.

[Snip!]

In conclusion, I don’t feel that it is my right to make the decision to remove a part of my son’s anatomy without his consent. I believe that circumcision is a personal choice - one that should be made by the person who owns the penis. By leaving my son intact, he can always decide when he gets older that he wants to have a circumcision. If I were to circumcise him as a baby, he wouldn’t have the option of taking that back. I feel it is his body, his penis, and his choice.

Resources:

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers

Circumcision Resource Center

The Case Against Circumcision - an eye-opening, very informative (IMO) article By Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH (interesting to note that Fleiss is Jewish)

My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin - By Stacey Greenberg

The Case Against Circumcision Discussion Forum on Mothering.com

What Happens During Circumcision? - Graphic photos/video of the circumcision process on a newborn

NEW AAP CIRCUMCISION POLICY RELEASED

Protect Your Uncircumcised Son: Expert Medical Advice for Parents

Circumcision Information and Resource Pages

Doctors Opposing Circumcision

-- AmyGeekGrl from Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess


Strangely enough, Eric and I had made this decision long ago, right after we were married, thanks in part to a traumatizing video that his cousin had sent us on circumcisions. We then went on to not have a child for 5 years, but that didn't change our opinion any. This is something that we are both in agreement about, in case you're wondering if I pummeled Eric into submission about this topic. I didn't. Realistically, if I'm not OK with putting holes in my infant girl's ears for earrings*, why would I do something much more traumatic like circumcise? The answer is simple: I wouldn't.

It's not up to me to make that decision for another person and their body. If my children decide when they are old enough that they'd like to get their ears pierced, that's fine. If my son, when he's old enough, decides that he'd like to be circumcised, that's entirely up to him.

I'm well aware that some of you reading are circumcised or have made the decision to have your sons circumcised and I respect your decision. Now, it is our turn.




*In case you're wondering about the comparison of ear piercing to circs, I'm not trying to trivialize the circumcision. I'm being consistent in my lack of desire to modify my newborn's body.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nursery work

Almost done, done, done! (Those of you that worked with me know what that means!)

We've finally reached the point where babies (EEK!) could actually live in the new nursery, but it's not completely finished yet. While family and friends were out this past weekend, all of them got to take a gander at it and ooh'd, aah'd and squee'd appreciatively. Eric and Jim even bonded over the baseboard work. Now we're in the final stages of done-ness. The "punchlist" as it were.

Save for one important addition: the dresser came today. We were wondering what we'd do for a dresser for this pair of children and did some quick shopping at the same place that we got Caitlin's dresser and big girl bed: Unfinished Furniture. This means, of course, that Eric now has to stain the entire dresser all by himself, just like last time since I am not allowed to inhale fumes. The difference is that this time, Caitlin is here and is big enough and willing to help stain it with him.

Definitely a father/daughter bonding moment. Yes, there will be photographs.

The plan is, of course, growing:
  1. Remove carpeting and pad. Done!
  2. Remove staples in floor. Done!
  3. Remove baseboards. Done!
  4. Vacuum floor. Done!
  5. Paint with Kilz to seal in anything...unpleasant. Done!
  6. Paint ceiling in fabulous dark blue (Called Deep Space). Done!
  7. Begin painting walls. Done!
  8. Add stars, moon, sun, spaceship and rocketship using glow in the dark paint. Done!
  9. Apply stencils/stamps. Done!
  10. Once the walls are done, remove fan. Done!
  11. Install new fan. Done!
  12. Install new flooring. Done!
  13. Purchase, stain and cut new baseboards to size. Done!
  14. Install new baseboards. Done!
  15. Pass out from fumes. Narrowly avoided.
  16. Replace all 1980's almond outlets, switches and covers with white ones. Done!
  17. Install dimmer switch. Done!
  18. Install bookcases, crib, rocking chair and sundry other nursery items. Done!
  19. Install threshold strips between rooms and hallway.
  20. Sink baseboard nails.
  21. Install closet door guides on floor (Putting holes in my new floor already?!).
  22. Stain, sand, stain, curse, sand, and stain the new dresser.
  23. Beg and bribe friends to help husband carry new dresser upstairs and install into nursery.
  24. Fill dresser with new, old and borrowed clothing.
  25. Install changing pad on top of dresser.
  26. Photograph everything for posterity because the room will never be this organized and clean, ever again.
  27. Drinks for everyone! Except the Preggosaurus, who will grumble into her lemonade while being uninhibitedly thrilled that the nursery is done and she didn't have to inhale more fumes than necessary.
Six completed items since my last update and now I've gone and added 7 more. Isn't that just like a project manager?

Well, that's OK. I am a project manager. Some days I feel like the deadline is a lot closer than 6 weeks away. The customer is, as always, impatient.
The Book Nook. Caitlin helped to put together the shelves.
The crib and the never used second bed set that I'd bought when Caitlin was born. Look! Reuse! And that thing hanging down from the cage? That's a dog skin rug. No dogs were harmed in the making.
That cage has got to go, huh? In the background you can see bags and boxes of gear from the shower and the bouncy chair that Oliver got to test drive. He liked it! What you can't see is the closet full of all the stuff we'd saved, stuff from Jenni and from Ed and Val. Whew!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's a girl!

My younger sister is pregnant (and due around X-mas time) with a baby girl!

Yay for a niece!

Caitlin is currently surrounded by 3 boy cousins and I had been wondering if she and Emma would be the only girls in the family. Not any more!

Congratulations to Cindy! One of each! Hurrah!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Caitlin and the Allergist

Question: What goes Sniff! Snerk! Sniff! and drives the human brain to the edge of insanity?

Answer: The sound of your child's unconscious sniffling at any rate over one Sniff! per 30 seconds.

Caitlin is ordinarily incredibly healthy, so when she started sniffling at the end of school/early summer, I thought it might have just been a small cold. She wasn't sneezing her head off or acting ill, but I thought it was a little something that would pass in a few days.

No such luck.

The Sniff! Snerk! Sniff! continued. We offered her copious numbers of tissues. Nothing came out. We asked her to stop sniffling like that (We thought she was doing it consciously in the beginning.). Fat chance of that working! We applied Children's Claritin. No change. We contacted her pediatrician and brought her in. They prescribed Nasonex and Claritin. The sniffling got worse. Then they gave us samples of Allergan to try instead of Claritin and the sniffling got even worse than befofre. Three snerky sniffs very close together. Maddening!

Note: Being stuck in the car with someone habitually snerking in the back of their throat on a constant basis induces insanity in some subjects.

Called the doctor again and they recommended we go to the Allergy & Asthma clinic. Assured panic stricken grandparents everywhere that a) it was not a brain tumor and that b) we really were on top of the situation. Getting an appointment quickly is never really an option, so we had another couple of weeks to get through with snerking before a potential diagnosis and (hopefully) a cure would be available. We took her off the (very expensive) Nasonex and Claritin. Apparently the anti-histamine would mask her responses to the tests, which is not what we'd want. Watched in amazement over the course of the 2 weeks leading up to the appointment, sans drugs, that her snerking slowed down.

Doesn't that just figure?! Just like when you have the mechanic take a look at your car because of that sound, the sound goes away right before they get a chance to see it. Phooey. However, in our case, the sound didn't go away entirely it just seemed to calm down a bunch.

The doc looked her over, listened to her snerking, peered up her schnoz (He commented on the fact that we used the term schnoz and quizzed us on who The Schnozzola was. We responded with Jimmy Durante, Ha-cha-cha-chaaaaa!, and he was impressed that kids "as young as you" would know who Jimmy Durante was. Hee!) and determined that yup, she was still inflamed in the deep, dark recesses of her nose. Then it was off to have assorted concentrated liquids applied to her back to zero in on her potential allergies.

Things have changed since they did it to me as a kid. No needles! Much nicer. The nurse/receptionist was very funny and sweet and Caitlin was well behaved.
  1. Bad news for Grammy: Caitlin is not allergic to cats. Sorry! We're keeping our furry children.
  2. Good news for Grammy: Caitlin is not allergic to dogs, either.
Watching as her back began sporting red dots that turned into large, angry, red, quarter-sized dots was fascinating and scary all at the same time. We learned many different things from this visit, including the fact that while we had been very good at avoiding "food accidents", we had no way of knowing if her peanut allergy is small, medium or large and had no business walking around without an epi-pen, just in case. Finding out the hard way would involve watching her gasp for breath and a trip to the emergency room, so he prescribed epi-pens for us right away. Eep! He also told us that the skin test tells us possible allergies, not probable and that we'd need blood tests for that level of knowledge. Her massive response to Cottonwood pollen blew her response to peanuts out of the water, but that doesn't mean that she's more or less likely to go into anaphylactic shock over tree vs food.

Huh.

Also, when I mentioned something about families of nuts, he completely shut me down by saying that that is botany, this is allergies and the twain do not necessarily intersect. Oh! He blew up all kinds of misconceptions that I'd had about allergies and said to ignore any advice you're given about allergies unless they're paid to give them. Apparently what John Q. Public doesn't know about allergies is something he deals with on such a volume and such a regular basis that he doesn't waste any time at all with mollycoddling you into accepting his point of view. Brusque. But boy did he sound like he knew what he was doing! and has clearly been doing this for years.

What now? Now, we turn into neat freaks regarding Caitlin's bedroom, teach her how to give herself a shower every night, congratulate ourselves on removing her carpeting serendipitously, track any and all "food accidents", give her a saline nasal wash and start her on two new meds to see if the snerking goes away. Then we do some blood draws, because I really want to know just how allergic she is to her list (Cottonwood, short ragweed, grasses, one kind of mold, walnuts, but apparently not almonds maybe and a whole host of other things.). Depending on the results of the serum tests, he may try her on a series of "food challenges". Not something to leave up to us lay people. He made that very clear.

I am looking forward to removing the Snerk! from my child.

Are you allergic to anything?
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