Granola Head’s Guide to Natural Pregnancy

4 Weeks 2 Days

No, I don’t really think I’m a granola head. Actually, there was a whole discussion on this the other day. Squeed’s mama finds it very amusing to call me a granola head because I like to do things like hang my laundry outside in the summer and recycle and buy used things. My lovely husband says I’m not a true granola head because I don’t take it to the extreme. He prefers the term hippie.

Nevertheless, here we are. I’ve decided to do a {hopefully} weekly segment on my blog devoted to my crazy choices regarding pregnancy and birth. Last time around with Peanut, I wasn’t fully there yet. I was sure I’d have a natural childbirth and breastfeed and babywear, but that was about it. I didn’t question the decisions of the doctor (which I was with until my third trimester when I switched to a midwife). I had all tests and ultrasounds done. I took the heartburn medicine for relief rather than trying to find something more natural to cure it. I continued drinking soda and eating yucky foods (though I did make sure to get all the protein that The Bradley Method tells you to). All in all, I just wasn’t the same person I am now.

I’m already the crazy one to many people. I know that most my friends and family see our parenting decisions as a bit wacky and I’m okay with that. I think that I’m going to be pressing that even further during this pregnancy though, so that’s where you come in. I’m probably going to make decisions that are out of the norm. I’m probably going to do some things that will piss people off (like not find out the sex of the baby). And I’m going to use this blog to document all the things I did and why.

So let’s start.

I’m 4 weeks and 2 days along. Due January. Not giving you a specific date (though you could easily figure it out if you are a creepy stalker). I’m actually not giving anyone a specific date. I tried really hard last time not to get upset when my due date came and went, but that was make immensely more difficult by the fact that people kept asking me over and over “when are you due?” “you’re still pregnant?!?” etc. So I’m not giving anyone a specific date to mark off on their calendar like an expiration date for my pregnancy. Guess what? Babies can come anytime during the month surrounding their “due date”, so any time I give birth in January will be fine by me.

I’m feeling pretty alright so far. I don’t have a good record of my last pregnancy (sadly), but I don’t think symptoms hit me so hard so early last time. I’ve been highly irritable, bloated, gassy, super tired, some nausea (bleh, that shouldn’t start this early!), emotional, and food has never tasted so good. My theory on the last one is that pregnancy hormones must make food taste exceptional because I’d never eat if all I had to deal with was the aftermath of number 2 and 3 on the list. Luckily, I’m getting the irritability in check. I keep reminding myself that while January feels forever away, this is the end of my baby being an only child. It’s the end of having mama’s undivided attention. This will be a big change for her too, not just me.

She’s actually been great about it so far though. She seems thoroughly excited. I know some people wait to tell their children until it’s beyond the possibility of miscarriage (which I’m terrified of for some reason), but I wanted to help her get used to the idea as soon as possible. She keeps telling me about the baby in my belly. She drew a picture of the baby in my belly (which, of course for a 2 year old, was just a bunch of scribbles). She wanted to buy some shoes for the baby in my belly at the store today. She even tries to tell me she has a baby in her belly too. What can I say, she’s just awesome.

My biggest thing right now is reforming my diet. It’s been pretty bad lately with me being super stressed about school, but I’m getting better now. I’ve cut out soda for the most part (I’ve had it a few times for “special occasions” like going out to eat), but I really want to get rid of it all together. I hate feeling like I have to have one. I don’t like depending on caffeine. I’m also working on eating more healthy things in general. I’ve been drinking green smoothies from my Vitamix daily and they are great. It actually makes me wonder if I even need a prenatal because all the folic acid I get from shoving handfuls of leafy greens into the mixer. Guess that would be a good think to look into.

So what topics are you interested in pertaining to natural pregnancy and child birth? Anything in particular I should try to cover?

Pumps For Preemies

This is my second year raising funds for the March of Dimes March for Babies. Sadly, last year we were not able to actually walk because we were ill the week of the walk, but I am very excited to this year. I am also excited to beat my goal last year and I count on all of you faithful readers to help me do so.

Peanut was not born premature. Honestly, I only know one person who was born prematurely. Even at that, I never actually witnessed it because we were the same age. Last year when I started raising funds, people were amazed that I was doing so when I didn’t have a personal story.

Do you know why I care? Because I’ve heard stories. I’ve heard of women who have their babies long before they were planning to and the struggles they go through in the aftermath. Of course there are many hardships with having a preemie, but I always focus on breastfeeding. That’s why I have this blog, right?

I’ve heard of moms struggling throughout their entire breastfeeding relationships with pumping and feeding, nipple shields, and even ending their breastfeeding relationships much too soon. Sadly, these babies are the ones who need it the most. These babies not only need breast milk to heal the damage of being born before they’re ready, but they need the kind that comes from their moms. Yes, moms to babies who are born prematurely produce a different kind of milk. The actual composition of the milk is meant for these babies. Here’s a quote from La Leche League

The milk produced by the mother of a pre-term infant is higher in protein and other nutrients than the milk produced by the mother of a term infant. Human milk also contains lipase, an enzyme that allows the baby to digest fat more efficiently. Your breastfed premie is less likely to develop infections that are common to babies fed breastmilk substitutes. He will be protected by the immunities in your milk while his own immature immune system is developing.

That is amazing. Babies born prematurely are at an increased risk to infection and disease, both while growing in the NICU and for the next year or so of life. They need the immunity properties of breast milk even more than babies born full term. They also need that protein and fat to help them grow. It’s amazing how our bodies work to make milk that’s perfect for each of our babies at a specific point in time.

Many hospitals are realizing this and at least offering pumped donor milk to premature infants in the NICU, but this needs to go a step further. As the La Leche League article explains, the milk needs to be as fresh as possible. It needs to come from mom as much as possible. And while this may not be possible for weeks or even months, it needs to come directly from the breast as soon as possible. Moms need extra support to breastfeed their baby in these circumstances, but often we give them even less support than other moms.

This system needs to stop. We need to realize our priorities and get mothers of preemies the support they need to breastfeed. We need to help these tiny babies born too soon so that they can live longer, healthier lives. Whether or not a mom succeeds at breastfeeding should not be determined by protocol or routine. We should give them the absolute best chance to succeed, and then give a little more.

So here’s how you can help. If you can donate anything at all, please do so. Even if it’s a dollar. Anything helps. Here’s the link to our team page. If you’re reading this and you’re in the area, come join our team and walk. Proudly hold our banner saying that preemies need breast milk and we need to work our hardest to get it to them.

I’m Back

Hello world, I’m back from my unofficial hiatus.

Yeah, I never really decided to take a break, but it seems I have taken one anyway. My blog posts have been few and far between lately and I apologize for that.

I think it all started with my school semester. I was very good at doing other things like cleaning house and updating the blog during the semester because I was so burnt out from school that I would do anything to avoid even thinking about it. It worked for a while, until my finals were coming up and I sorely needed to study. Of course, since I jammed my head in a book for a week I neglected everything else. Then when the finals were over and I had pulled a very mediocre grade out of a very easy class that I had an A in earlier in the semester, I was burnt out with life. Of course, the whole peanut allergy thing has compounded it.

I’ve failed at my budget. I’ve gone out the window with spending. My new minimalism philosophy is being tested at the moment. When stressed/upset I like to spend. This includes my new Vitamix, which I do not regret buying at all especially in light of Peanut’s allergy (yes, I plan on continuing to call her Peanut, however ironic it is). The Vitamix is another post for another day. Beyond that though, I’ve really spent a ton and I don’t even know where. My budget has also gone out the window in the fact that I haven’t done a thing about categorizing spending and comparing to budgeted amounts for the whole month of April.

I’ve failed at eating. Any sort of awesome feeling I was getting from food has gone away. I was drinking green smoothies every morning for a few weeks and feeling great, but lately I’ve been going out to lunch nearly every day. Of course, this doesn’t help with the budget. I’m back on the green smoothies and starting to feel better. Also vowing not to go out for quite some time. I need to spend more time at home in general rather than trying to accomplish everything I missed during school over the course of a week. Doing that will certainly help me not eat out so much.

I’ve failed at housework. My house is a mess. This may be normal life for some, but it adds to all of my other stresses. As I talked about in this post, I need order to live happily. My house being a wreck just makes me more stressed out. The worse it gets the less I want to deal with it. I am one of those people who needs to clean every day or else it just won’t happen. So I just (well, last night since I have a compulsive need to schedule my posts for 12:00 noon if you didn’t notice) cleaned my kitchen thoroughly and I feel great. The kitchen was especially bad because it was the site of The Great De-peanut-ing.

Luckily, one thing I’m thoroughly happy about right now is my relationship with Peanut. I’m loving being able to spend 24-7 with her now. She’s become a bit clingy and I think it’s because she thinks I’m going to leave her and go to school again. She had to go with me to the dentist today to get a filling done and sit with Mema in the waiting room because she couldn’t stay at home with Mema. I’m perfectly okay with it though. She’s also having tons of fun doing things we haven’t had time for in a while like going to the park and La Leche League. I’m sure she’ll be just as happy to sit at home with Mama and cuddle, watch Disney movies, play with her letters, sing songs, and so much more. I’m really cherishing this time that I have to just be with her. If it were my choice, I’d stay home with her all the time.

So, here’s to things starting back up. Here’s to going on with life. Here’s to giving up on this whole stress thing and just living.