Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Pregnancy Hospital Bag

Advice to pregnant ladies: First of all, relax. Your labor isn't going to be ruined because you forgot a robe. It also isn't a huge deal if you over pack--I know I did.

I was lucky enough to have a hospital bag packed up and ready to go when I went into labor. If something happens and you go into labor without a bag, the only thing you'll truly miss is your digital camera. I used a small duffel for myself and the diaper bag for Mo-mo.

That being said, here's my list of the good, the bad, and the unnecessary.

The Good
  • digital camera and charger
  • chapstick
  • going home outfit for me. I packed something comfortable enough that I could sleep in, if I wanted to nap. The nursing tank and sweatpants were not the most glamorous, but nice and comfortable.
  • gum for dry mouth
  • cellphone and charger
  • list of phone numbers of family to call, including work numbers
  • laptop and charger
  • basic toiletries- shampoo, body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant
  • Snacks for husband
  • Going home outfit and receiving blanket for baby
  • baby nail clippers. Baby nails are sharp and for some reason, they won't clip them for you at the hospital.

The "I used it because it was there"
  • my ipod. I didn't make a special playlist or anything. I played Counting Crows in the time after my epidural/before pushing.
  • my robe. I only used it when I walked into the hospital hallways, trying to get reception on my cell.
  • champagne
  • Make-up. I used under-eye concealer the day after giving birth. The rest was just a joke.
  • My pillow. But then, I'm not overly attached to my pillow like some people are.

The Unnecessary
  • Stopwatch for the contractions. I used when I was at home. Then at the hospital I was hooked up to a machine that counted them for me.
  • Nightgown, slippers. I really thought I was going to use my own nightgown the evening after giving birth. I promise that you will be so disgusting that it's just better to wear the damn hospital robe.
  • Written birthplan. No one looks at it--just make sure that your husband or coach knows what you want so that they can be your advocate.
  • Massage stuff. But I had an odd labor with my water breaking--if my contractions had slowly built up, I would have wanted them.
  • My baby book. I actually forgot this, but they put Mo-mo's footprints on cards so I can just glue them in. Much easier than hauling around the actual book.
  • The boppy. I didn't even bring mine and didn't miss it.
The Hospital Provided (And don't be shy about asking for more!)
Hospitals are all different, be sure to ask on your hospital tour what yours provides.
  • perineum bottle
  • nipple shield
  • pacifier
  • mesh underwear (believe me you DON'T want to wear your own)
  • pads
  • diapers
  • disposable towelettes for "blotting" after using the bathroom
  • Either a small hand pump or new tubing for an electric pump

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Many Faces of Mo-mo

Mo-mo is a lady of many expressions.

She's concentrating hard on figuring on the quadratic equation in her head.

This is her skeptical face. "I don't think you really have my nose. That's just the tip of your thumb. Do you think I'm stupid or something?"

Her artistic pose. She's thinking deep, philosophical thoughts while staring off into the distance. Perhaps she will start going to coffee shops, wearing black, and majoring in English or film studies.

Grumpy old man. "You kids get off my lawn!"

Jim calls this one her "Puss N Boots" face, like from Shrek. I prefer to think of it as an Oliver Twist face. Please sir, may I have some more?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baked Salmon

I've been attempting to introduce more fish into our diet....but I hate "fishy" tasting fish. This recipe is great!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time (with marinade): 1 hr 35 min Servings: 2

  • 2 Salmon fillets. I buy a bag of individually packaged ones from Walmart.
  • 6 tablespoons light olive oil
  • about 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • about 1 fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper--up to you how much
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (or in my ever so scientific way, "a couple of squirts"
1. Mix up the marinade in a large ziploc bag. Mix together the garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon into ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator about 1 hour, turning occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3. Place fillets in aluminum foil, cover with marinade, and seal. Place sealed salmon in the glass dish, and bake 35 to 45 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lactation Activation

I could talk for hours about the benefits of breastfeeding. I'm planning on breastfeeding Mo-mo for a year. I consider myself a "Lactivist". I get pissed off when I read stories such as these. (Really? Lactation is NOT a condition linked to pregnancy?) Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural and blah blah blah, you get the point.

And yet I am completely creeped out by this.

I think it's in part because of the reason he's doing it. "Anything that doesn't do any harm is worth trying out." Hmmm. That's pretty sketchy reasoning. I bet he used the same line to talk his girlfriend into a threesome.

It's not that he's committed to the idea of being a nurturer or wants to bond with his child better, he just can't think of a reason NOT to do it. The benefit to future fathers seems almost like an afterthought.

And he clearly is in it for the shock value. He has to pull out the pump during class? Breastfeeding women don't even do that. They do their best to find a quiet, private location and pump there. Women who adopt and want to breastfeed go through the same routine of constant pumping--but I bet none of them find it necessary to do it in class.

Oh, and I love how the quoted endocrinologist makes all dads sound like bumbling idiots who can't deal with a crying baby if there is no pacifier nearby. I know my husband's first reaction when Mo-mo's crying is to pull a Peter Griffin. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Besides, would you really want to see this guy breastfeeding a baby?

Don't you want to suckle from my teat?

I shall leave you with that image. Happy nightmares.

Crockpot Chicken Burrito Mess

This is a work in progress--someone on a message board I frequent suggested it without giving any specifics. I'd love any suggestions for extra/different ingredients.

Serves 6-8. I'm attempting to freeze half, not sure how that's going to turn out.
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 6 hours.

  • 1 pack of chicken breast tenders
  • 1 can of medium salsa
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • large burrito flour tortillas
  • other Mexican fixings: shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.
  1. Put chicken in crock pot.
  2. Add in salsa, corn, and beans. Be sure to drain the water from the corn and beans before adding it.
  3. Stir.
  4. Cook on low for six hours.
  5. The chicken is now very tender and will shred simply by stirring it vigorously.
  6. Serve as burritos on flour tortillas
The verdict? A teensy bit bland but still pretty tasty. Next time, I think I'm going to consider adding lime, chicken taco seasoning (you can buy the packets at Wal-mart, I use it for quesadillas), and perhaps canned diced tomatos and onions (the type you put in chili).

My three bajillion dollar ideas

I basically have three ideas that I think could make a bajillion dollars. At least.

1. A Jean Store
A woman's jean store that sells ONLY jeans, all with length and waist measurements. Have a couple of different styles, a couple different shades of denim, and you're in business. Sell them for 40 dollars a pair. You know how many women have problems finding jeans that fit them? A million. So there's at least 40 million dollars right there.

2. Something like Tupperware but cooler
It should a) be able to stack b) should include a lid storage system and c) should be able to use a special marker to write on the outside it but the marker comes off in the disherwasher.

3. A cell phone/land-line
I'm envisioning a docking device that you plug your cell phone into and it hooks it up to the regular phones in your house. So you don't actually have a real land-line, it's just your cellphone can convert to use regular phones. Why do we need this? Because I can't hear my cellphone ringing in my purse when I'm in another room.

Yes. That is culmination of my brilliance. This is the sort of thing I think about when I'm driving.

EDIT: Apparently my 3rd idea already exists. I think that the company who created it was secretly listening in on my brain. And they need to publicize better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

I'm always looking for something new to cook in my crockpot and I came across this recipe. Here's my scaled down version of it.

Serves 4-6. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 7 hours.

  • Half a jar (7.5 oz) of alfredo sauce. Classico brand is very good.
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of pesto
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, or one clove of minced garlic. I'm lazy and buy the pre-minced stuff from a jar.
  • 1 pack of frozen chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • 1/2 cup of Italian blend cheese
  1. Pour the alfredo sauce into the crockpot.
  2. Add milk and stir well.
  3. Drop in garlic, butter, and pesto, and do not stir. I have no idea why not, but it worked for me.
  4. Place frozen chicken on top of alfredo sauce.
  5. Cook on low for six hours.
  6. After six hours, remove lid, stir, and add cheese on top. Cook for one more hour.
  7. Serve with pasta!

The Diaper Dilemma

Tiny baby, big diaper

Cloth diapers are confusing. There's prefolds, contours, fitted, pocket diapers, and all-in-ones...

If I was a better consumer, I would have done this: Changing Diapers, Changing Minds

You can try a bunch of different types of cloth diapers for only $10. You have to pay an initial deposit for all of them.

Instead of doing my homework like a good mommy, I just went with the recommendation of two different friends and bought Bum Genius 3.0 diapers. These are definitely NOT what comes to your mind when you think cloth diapers: no folding or diaper pins required. They're great.

  • One size fits all, or at least 7-35 pounds.
  • Not a single blowout yet. We had one at least once a week when we used disposable diapers.
  • WAY cheaper than disposables. You save about $1,500 all together by using cloth diapers


  • Washing is a bit of a pain. It takes 1 cycle on cold, 1 on hot, then 1 rinse. We do it every other day.
  • You get the baby fluffy butt. While cute, it also means that they go up a half size or so in clothes.
  • It's a large initial investment. If your not skeeved out by the idea of buying previously used diapers, this is a great website: Diaper Swappers. You can also check out your local Craigslist.

Other things to consider:
  • We have 20 diapers and we seem to run perilously close to running out every other day. I wish I had bought about 4 more. EDIT: now that she's a bit older, 20 diapers are the perfect amount.
  • The liner inserts do get stained occasionally, but I have it on good authority that you just put them to dry in the sun and the stains disappear.
  • We still use disposables on trips where its not feasible to wash the cloth diapers.

If I was richer, I'd use these: gDiapers

They're diapers with an cloth outer liner and flushable inserts. Wet inserts are even compostable. How cool is that?

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Birth Story

I suppose I should begin at the beginning, right? I have an awesome husband.

We've been married for three years.

We decided to start our family--but we had only three ovulation cycles to get it right, otherwise we'd have to wait another year. We're both in professional/grad school right now and we wanted our baby to be born in the summer.
Everything worked out perfectly. After a fairly uneventful pregnancy, we had this pumpkin:

Mo-mo was born on Thursday June 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 21 inches long at birth. I gave birth to her when I was 40 weeks, 3 days.
Wednesday night I was having some contractions—about four an hour and they weren’t increasing in intensity yet. I tried to go to sleep around 2 a.m. and woke up to use the bathroom and maybe relax with a shower. In the bathroom I saw a bit of red spotting and the next thing I knew I was leaking, and it wasn’t stopping. I was fairly sure that my water had broken, but the bright red color kind of scared me. I woke my husband and we were checked into the hospital by 3 a.m.
I was taken into an exam room to be checked. The nurses didn’t seem to think it was very urgent—they thought that because I was a first time mother, I must be overreacting. They ushered me into a bathroom and told me to put on a gown. I told them that there was no way I could leave that bathroom unless they wanted me to drip amniotic fluid and blood all over their floor.
That made the nurses decide that yes, perhaps I was ready to be escorted to a birthing room.
This was not the labor I had in mind. I was envisioning a slow progression of contractions. I wanted to wait for the epidural and see how necessary it truly was. My husband armed with massage tools, positions to suggest, and ready to be supportive.
Sounds lovely, right? Yeah...none of that happened. Because my water had broken, I had to have an IV for the first hour. That meant no moving out of bed, no trying different positions. By 4:30 a.m., my contractions were 1-3 minutes apart, very painful, and I was only dilated to a one centimeter.
I had an amazing first nurse. The invisible doctor on call did not want to give me drugs. I call him invisible because I never saw him--the nurse just talked to him over the phone. This lovely lady convinced him because the contractions were coming SO fast that I didn’t have time to rest between them and thus rightly needed the drugs. I got the first round at 6 a.m.
The Stadol made me loopy. I could still feel the pain but it was then easy to ignore it. Between contractions I was very relaxed, almost to the point of falling asleep. The Stadol also made my mind jump from one thing to the next very fast, but I kept most of my thoughts to myself.
At one point I did apologize to my husband for waking him up. He very kindly told me not to worry about it--I did have a rather good reason to do so.
I got a second dose of Stadol after an hour and then the nurses switched. The next nurse was not very nice. I was told that the anesthesiologist would be able to see me until 7:30 a.m. This was about a half hour after the Stadol would be wearing off—not a big deal, I thought, because the second dose had almost come too fast and made me a little too out of it. Well, 7:30 came and went. When I gave in and asked for Stadol and I was told I couldn’t have it because the epidural was coming soon.
This was the WORST time of my entire labor—I kept saying “I can’t do this” and almost crying with each contraction--they were one minute apart.
After refusing to give me Stadol for awhile, I told the nurse twice that I didn’t care if the epidural was delayed, it had been delayed so long that I needed SOMETHING. She finally gave me the Stadol—and the epidural arrived five minutes later (8:30 a.m). The anesthesiologist didn’t care whatsoever that I had just received Stadol—so I have no idea why the nurse kept telling me no. I suspect secret sadism on her part. At this point I was 4 centimeters dilated.
The epidural = heaven. The numbing shot pricked a bit but I was so full of Stadol it didn’t matter, especially compared to my contractions. I had some feeling in my legs but was in no pain at all. I was able to nap for an hour, visit with the family who had come, and generally feel okay.
This was taken after the epidural. You can tell because I'm smiling, and not ripping the arm off the person who is taking the picture and using it to beat them because they are not getting me drugs.
My crappy nurse had to assist with a c-section, and my new one was AMAZING! She checked on me regularly and talked to me like I was a human. My baby had passed her meconium so the nurse hooked something into me to flush out the water and keep it moving, along with a catheter and an internal contraction monitor. It wasn’t comfortable to get any of those, but it wasn't too bad.
Around noon, I mentioned to my nurse that I was a bit uncomfortable—not bad, just had some feeling on one side of my body. The on-call doctor came in and ordered some Pitocin for me, because according to the internal contraction monitor, my contractions were not very strong. She then did an internal exam and to everyone’s surprise, I was dilated 9.5 centimeters! I’d be ready to have the baby by one! My epidural was so strong that I didn’t even feel it coming.
One o'clock came and went and the doctor was busy with another patient. The nurses were a bit worried because my baby’s heartbeat was dropping every third contraction when I was on my side. They were considering a c-section but it turned out not be necessary. The doctor came in and told me I could start pushing at 2:30. I felt kind of dumb—I didn’t have the pressure and it was difficult for me to tell when to push, but Mo-mo was out within an hour! She had a bit of help via an episiotomy and a vacuum extractor. Labor itself was surprisingly not very painful, I couldn’t feel the episiotomy or the stitches afterward. Mo-mo had to be cleaned up for a half hour after birth because of the meconium and because her umbilical cord was wrapped (very loosely) around her neck. It was so hard to wait those 30 minutes to hold her.
Mo-mo and I checked out of the hospital 23 hours later. And our lives were never again the same...