Long Week Links

Insert random cute picture of Peanut? Why yes, I will.

As you all know, I’m once again up to my eyeballs in school, my school club, homework, keeping my house clean, and blah blah blah. Let alone being pregnant and having a toddler. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking deciding to take so much onto my plate. Regardless, I decided that while I may not be the best at writing my own attachment parenting related blog posts lately, I certainly can do some good by posting ones I’ve read (while I should have been doing other things) here for you all to get your fill of wondrous information (thanks Hobo Mama, from whom I got this idea). So here we go!

Myths about Circumcision You Likely Believe: This is the first part of a wonderful series at Psychology Today. I was happy enough to stumble upon this on a friend’s Facebook page (e.g. mindlessly looking at Facebook when I should have been writing a lab report or something) at the perfect timing. Since we’re not finding out the sex of our baby, I am trying to make a decision about circumcision (and get my husband on board) before the baby comes so it’s not a decision made in haste when I have 2 hours of sleep. This particular section of the series goes over surgical myths and includes my number 1 reason why I’m not planning on circumcising our maybe-boy: 100 deaths per year in the United States alone because of circumcision.

6 Reasons to Think Twice Before Circumcising Your Baby Boy: I actually found this one via Hobo Mama’s (see link above) Sunday Surf. I found the second reason particularly interesting because it has circumcision rate by state. My husband was mildly concerned that a boy may be teased in school if he weren’t circumcised, but from this I found out the circumcision rate in my state is only 39%, which is obviously a minority. Maybe the teasing will go the other way? Or hopefully the teasing will just be non-existent.

How to Prepare Young Children for Childbirth: I absolutely loved this post from Code Name: Mama about how she’s preparing her son for her birth. I’d really like Peanut to be at this birth (of course with the option to leave if she wants to) and since I’m soon to enter the last trimester, I figured I should start going on this. We luckily have already been doing most of the things on this list (like reading books about babies and pregnancy), but I hadn’t even though to share her birth story. We’re also starting to watch videos on birth. Peanut told me the other day “I was a baby. I cried. I came out your gina. Now I’m big sister!” So cute!

Speaking of birth videos, here’s one that I thought was particularly awesome. Love the music and love the overall peacefulness of the birth. Almost makes me want to have a videographer at my birth.

Pregnancy Exercise

24 Weeks 5 Days

I won’t lie, I’m not good at exercising. I’ve been to the gym (Which I pay a monthly fee for and cannot cancel. See: Bad with money.) twice since learning I was pregnant. The first time was to continue my regular Pilates class, which I left because I was horribly dizzy halfway through. Second time was about a month ago when I thought yoga would be a great exercise while I’m pregnant, but sadly also made me horribly dizzy.

Regardless of my obvious lack of “real” exercise, I do try to keep myself moving while I’m pregnant. Not that it’s horribly difficult to do that with a toddler and school. This week though, we started our Bradley Method class and I’ve been trying to keep up with the exercises, which I think is a good idea for any woman to do. The Bradley Method’s exercises focus on keeping your muscles that support you during pregnancy and birth strong. Here’s a brief explanation of them:

  1. Walking: Yeah, it’s good for anyone to walk regularly. Just making sure to walk for a solid 5-10 minutes a day is great exercise though. I’m not talking about the walk and stop of the grocery store or anything like that, but just make a trek around the block. For me, this is easy to get done with just walking from Peanut’s preschool to my building, which also happens to be all uphill. I often stop and rest for a minute when I’m halfway up. :-P
  2. Pelvic Rocks: I wrote more detail about these here and as I said in that post, they’re great for easing pregnancy pain. Just the act of being on all fours is nice for getting pressure off of my organs.
  3. Butterfly: Sit in a “butterfly” position (soles of your feet against each other and pull them in as close to you as comfortable) against the wall. Have someone put pressure (NOT push, just pressure) on the insides of your knees as you bring them together, then the outsides of your knees as you bring them back apart. Doing this one just a few times a day is great for your legs, which do a surprising amount of work in labor.
  4. Kegels: These are the ones that are always made fun of on TV. Here’s a better detail of how to do a kegel. These things are great because they’re easy to do and strengthen your pelvic floor, which obviously goes through a lot during labor. Doing these regularly can help with urinary incontinence. Personally, I try to do one every time I sneeze so I don’t have a Pregnant Woman Pee When You Sneeze episode.

All these things are super easy to do and can help your pregnancy and birth immensely. Exercise during pregnancy is very important indeed, but it doesn’t have to be the pain that everyone seems to think.

I am now 24 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I feel huge, but then again I think I’ve felt huge the whole time. I looked at my belly pictures from just a few weeks ago and I was amazed at how much smaller I was, but at that time I felt enormous. It’s amazing how perspective changes.

Twig is a happy little bouncer and loves to kick me straight in the stomach when I’m eating. This means I’m generally consuming less at once because of the sudden need for it to all come back up. I very much hope that Twig loses this habit before his/her kicks get super powerful in the third trimester.

One thing that’s really getting to me lately is heartburn. Wow, it’s been bad. If I eat anything more interesting than a plain piece of bread beyond maybe 6PM, I can’t sleep because of the pain. I’ve been working on sitting up for long periods before trying to go to bed and it helps a bit, but there are still nights where I have to get so punch-drunk tired that I can’t function before I can fall asleep through the pain. The other night I woke up at 3AM and the heartburn was still there.

Even with that said, I’m not taking any medication for it. I continue to not buy it (or accept it from people who are trying to give it to me) because I know that when it gets bad, I’ll take it if it’s there and I really want to avoid taking medication unless absolutely necessary. It’s not consistently bad, so if the medication isn’t there I can still avoid it, but I’m sure it’ll just get worse as the pregnancy progresses. Can anyone suggest some natural remedies for heartburn?

Freezing Shredded Zucchini

Last year at the farmers market I bought a very large zucchini for $1 with the intent to freeze it. The man at the booth told me that I could just shred it and freeze it and it would be perfect for zucchini bread all year round. Sadly, that zucchini sat in my fridge for probably months before finally getting thrown out. (I often have similar high ambitions that go to waste, but I’m working on that.) This year I decided would be different. I, again, bought a $1 huge zucchini with the intent to freeze it and this year, it has been done!

I don’t like doing things without sets of instructions, so I went online and started looking for how to preserve zucchini. I didn’t find any particular instructions I liked because they either wanted to use the zucchini for other purposes or wanted me to put way too much effort into it (Blanching? Bleh. Who has time for that?). I did, however, take tips from various places and get general ideas as I was searching. I also disliked that no one posts pictures of doing such things, so I am taking it upon myself to post an instructional pictorial on how to preserve your zucchini for next year.

Prep Time: 30 minutes or so, maybe more if you hand grate it

Total Time: Up to a day, but most of that is spent waiting for it to be frozen

You’ll need:

  1. Zucchini (however many you want to do)
  2. A knife
  3. A spoon
  4. A peeler (or you can use the knife if you don’t have one)
  5. Something to shred with (food processor, cheese grater, etc)
  6. Measuring cup
  7. Wax paper or plastic wrap
  8. Cookie sheet
  9. Freezer-worthy large ziplock bag

Cut off the ends of your zucchini(s) and cut it in half.

Scoop out the guts and peel off the outside (don't worry about getting all the green, just the tough stuff).

Shred! (In my case, this took about 2 minutes total in my food processor, a device I would highly suggest owning).

Make a strip of wax paper (you could also use plastic wrap) that's a foot long (give or take) and measure out about a cup (usually what you'll need for a recipe) of zucchini.

Put the zucchini right in the middle and try to make a nice compact square with it (or as much as possible).

Fold it up as compact as possible, but don't worry about it being air tight because that's not really possible with wax paper.

Put all your little squares on a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer.

Leave it in the freezer for long enough for the zucchini to get nice and frozen, but not much longer than that. I’d say anywhere between a few hours and a day. After they’re no longer pliable, put them all into a large freezer-worthy ziplock and mark it with what it is (Zucchini) and the date you made it (Sept.’11) for future reference. Pop that back in the freezer and you’re done! When you’re feeling like some zucchini bread (or some other thing that calls for shredded zucchini), just pull out a square and you’re good to go! I’m going to let it stay frozen for a little while and then I’ll break some out and make bread with it and edit this post to let you know how it goes. Hope that was helpful!

Rekindled Friendships and Breastfeeding Baskets

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine had a baby shower. I doubt any of you read back this long and honestly I don’t want to even re-read it myself, but I once wrote a post about this friend and a big argument we had about breastfeeding. She thought I was being brash about a private subject. I thought she was being oppressive about an important part of being a mother. After not speaking for many months, we decided to put it all behind us. I’m very happy that we did and I was happily invited to her baby shower. Peanut went with me and we had a ball (even though we had to leave early because it was way past Little Miss’s nap time). I, of course, made a her a breastfeeding basket.

Since I was silly enough to forget to take a picture (it was a very long week, so I ended up actually putting the basket together the day before in a rush, thanking the world that I already had most of the supplies ready from my previous breastfeeding-basket-stock-up trips). Luckily, she took a picture and posted it to her blog, so I’m borrowing it, hopefully without offending her.

This basket included breast pads (disposables), lanolin, Mother’s Milk tea, a bottle of water, granola bars, La Leche League meeting schedule and brochure for our area, and of course info packets from La Leche League about breastfeeding in general and a bunch of possible scenarios that need extra help (e.g. breastfeeding after cesarean, producing enough milk, nipple pain, etc.) that I deemed possible enough to include (which is, as I’ve found out making these baskets, really hard to decide).

By the by, this mom-to-be also has a fantastic little blog that I’d like to point you all to. It’s worth it to follow her blog just for the cute belly pictures, but she’s also crafty and a great writer. Happy reading everyone!

Toddler Scarf Time!

It seems as though my posts as of late are lacking. My brain can function to write an eight page lab report, but sadly can’t come out with coherent thoughts for my blog. Guess I can blame it on pregnancy brain? Regardless, I’m obviously not posting a lot lately. I’m still writing a lot, but I have about 10 drafts over the last few weeks that I refuse to publish until I can make them make more sense. So I’ve decided to fill you guys in on some of the projects we’ve done lately. Peanut and I were crafty little things over the summer and I’d like to share some of it with you all. So get ready to have quite a lot of to-do’s and look-what-I-made’s coming over the next few weeks.

So here we go! I made Peanut a scarf!

I know, it’s not horribly impressive to make a scarf, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. I’ve tried to take up knitting in the past, but never really gotten anywhere. I actually started this scarf about 6 months ago and got about 4 inches in before setting it aside. I tend to do that when it comes to crafts (e.g. Peanut’s quilt that I got all the way to actually quilting it and adding the boarder before Peanut was born and have yet to finish).

My recent attempt to knitting actually came from my re-reading of the Harry Potter books. I was thinking of how neat it would be to make a Gryffindor scarf and realized “Well then why don’t I do it?” So I bought all the required materials and started on it (using YouTube videos to remind myself how to do things like cast-on). I decided I wanted a big, billowy scarf, so I made it very wide. So wide that I was feeling kind of frustrated that I had decided to do 60 stitches across. I don’t know how wide that ends up being for you, but for me it ended up being about 15 inches (which I ended up unraveling right before the first color switch and re-doing at 40 stitches).

When I bought the new materials for my scarf, I also bought a new pair of 6 needles for Peanut’s scarf as I had misplaced one of the other ones (my excuse for stopping). I figured I’d do my Gryffindor scarf and then finish hers, hopefully in time for the cold weather. Since I was feeling frustrated with my Gryffindor scarf and wanted to do something quicker, I figured I’d make Peanut’s scarf (which included unraveling the inches I had already done because I didn’t like them).

I started it last Sunday at around 4PM and finished it Tuesday at around noon. It looks far from perfect, but I’m impressed with myself at the fact that it definitely looks like a scarf. The whole time I was doing it (less than 48 hours to an adult is A. Whole. 48. Hours?!?! to a toddler), Peanut was bothering me about when it was going to be finished. She was so excited that it was going to be hers. Actually excited enough that she almost unraveled it for me a few times. When I finished it, she had to wear it that second even though it was 80 degrees outside.

All in all, it was amazingly easy to do. I’m amazed at how great of a hobby knitting is for someone with a toddler. She can play mostly independently, so I just need to keep an eye on her and pay attention. Knitting allows me to do both! Then when she wants me to come play, I can just set it down where it’s at and go play with her (as opposed to reading, where I have to at least get to a stopping point and even then I don’t want to stop). I did 20 stitches across and the same height as her (around 36 inches) and it didn’t even take a full thing of yarn. I’m actually already planning the next scarf I want to make for her and possibly a hat for Twig (of course, after I finish my Gryffindor scarf).

Picture time!

Actual scarf, inperfections and all.

A very snotty-nosed (and for once, open-eyed) Peanut wearing said scarf.

No Glucose Soda For Me, Thanks

22 Weeks 6 Days

If I were going to a regular OB, I would be doing a glucose tolerance test at my next appointment. The basic idea is that you don’t eat anything in the morning, then you go in and drink a soda-type drink that’s full of glucose, then they test your blood at whatever intervals your doctor deems necessary. I did it with Peanut and it was no fun (seriously, you expect a woman nearly in her 3rd trimester to not eat anything for 12 hours?). This time, I decided to look into whether or not it was necessary (or possibly dangerous according to some).

Yes, anyone can develop gestational diabetes, but there are risk groups. You’re at higher risk if you have problems with blood sugar before you get pregnant, a family history of diabetes, you’re overweight before you get pregnant (at least 20% above your highest healthy BMI), etc. I don’t fit into any of the risk categories.

I also looked at what happens if it turns out you have gestational diabetes, which is just sticking to a diet. This diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, drinking lots of water, and overall just basically eating healthy. For the most part, this is my regular diet. Yes, I like to have a cookie sometimes. Yes, you would have to force-feed me to get me to eat a wheat or corn tortilla. Overall though, I’m pretty good. I love my veggies. I eat whole grain bread and pasta. I carry around a big jug of water. So what would be the point of knowing that I need to stick with what I’m doing?

So at my midwife appointment Friday, I asked her what her thoughts were about the glucose tolerance test. Turns out she doesn’t even do them! At my next appointment I’ll be getting blood work done, which includes a screening that basically tells her my levels for the last 3 months (no fasting involved). She said that she may decide to do an oral test if my levels don’t look right. She also said that even if I do have gestational diabetes, it’s not the death-trap that everyone makes it out to be. She told me about a patient she had that had it and she never exhibited any symptoms (nor did the baby), likely because the placenta is an insulin-inhibitor.

Along with this test, they’ll also do a CDC (Complete Blood Count) test on my blood, which tests for anemia. She said that if this were my first pregnancy or my first with this partner (are we sure it’s not the milkman’s?), she’s have some other things tested too like my blood type. She said that if any of those things come up, she’ll just get my medical records from my previous doctor. I love how my midwife minimalizes the unnecessary tests without me even needing to ask. :-D

I am now 23 weeks and 2 days. Things are doing pretty awesome around here. Round 2 has started of round ligament pain, but it isn’t as bad as earlier in my pregnancy. Hopefully it’ll go away again rather than get worse throughout the pregnancy. There are days when I forget that I’m pregnant (until I ceremoniously smack my belly into a table in lab) and there are days that I feel So. Frickin’. Pregnant. by the end of the day.

Twig is an absolute mover and shaker. Seriously, I have about 10 times a day when I feel him/her move for at least a few minutes consistently. Some of the kicks even hurt! And I’m at that lovely stage where I’m sitting there minding my own business, then the baby kicks me straight in the bladder and I have to run to the bathroom because of the sudden urge to wet myself. My husband is also 100% sure that he’s felt the baby kick (multiple times actually) and I’ve been trying to get Peanut to feel, but she moves her hand away after about 2 seconds saying she can’t feel anything. I’m also witnessing the creepy Jurassic Park thing where you see the kick and your belly ripples with motion. Maybe Twig is less of a twig and more of a T-rex. Guess only time will tell.