Friday, February 19, 2010

The Size of Things

Lets kick this off with a bang: I've gained 31 pounds in my pregnancy thus far.

I'm totally OK with that number. And with the fact that I'll gain even more before the Bean is ready to come out. I actually REALLY like my pregnant body. I've never been a huge fan of my stomach and now, suddenly, I LOVE IT! It is my Bean House. The bigger it gets, the bigger and stronger and healthier I know my little man is. Plus it moves when Bean moves, which is just plain awesome.

What I'm not so OK with is the way people feel totally at liberty to comment on my size.

I realize I tend to wear tight fitting things over my belly (see above re: how I LIKE MY BELLY). I don't feel any need to hide it behind flowy tops or dresses and I know that might make women who are a generation or two older than I am either a) uncomfortable or, you know, b) JEALOUS, since they had to wear mumus and I don't.

But really?

When someone says "You look like you're due even sooner!" or "You're HUGE!" or "Really? Only 7 months along?", that shit is just plain rude. It is the equivalent of someone saying "You look tired" when they mean "You look like dog ass".

Fortunately, I'm so completely in love with my belly that the comments have been bouncing off of me without leaving any marks. I do NOTICE them however, in the context of: "Wow. People are fucking idiots."

If anyone has any handy, scathing replies please feel free to leave them for me in the comments section!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nursing Covers

I plan to nurse the Bean for as close to a year as possible. I also like to leave the house on occasion, so I knew I'd need to have a nursing cover or two in order to feed him discreetly in public. I'm all for public breastfeeding in any form . . . but, for myself, I'd rather stay mostly covered.

I noticed a woman at Disneyland wearing what appeared to be the Bebe Au Lait and I thought "Totally cute!" but that she must have made it herself because I could tell where one bottom corner was turned up that it wasn't lined. Just a square of hemmed fabric with a strap. I figured I'd make a few for myself, but line them. So imagine my surprise when I saw the Bebe Au Lait at a store and realized that, for all its $35 (AND UP) price tag, it WASN'T EVEN LINED. That's right, folks, RAW FABRIC on the back. Which I suppose isn't that huge of a deal . . . I'm assuming Bean wouldn't judge. But for $35 and being factory made I REALLY think a liner would be warranted, and, since one isn't included, all the more reason to make my own.

I found this free tutorial online, which gave me the basic dimensions and taught me to use boning to stiffen the neckline, then went from there. For starters, since the whole raw fabric backing thing horrified me so much I planned to line my covers. HOWEVER, I realized that things would be much simpler if I just chose a fabric that looks the same on the front as it does on the back. Many plaid flannels and buffalo check flannels do . . . and there's nothing I love more than a good plaid, so that was convenient. Another option for a lighter cover would be seersucker, which also looks the same front and back.

I followed the basic instructions on the tutorial, making a few tweaks I've picked up from purse sewing to make things more durable. I did iron my hems; I sewed the whole panel with a 1/4 inch hem then made a second, 1 inch hem on three sides and at the top where I inserted the boning and attached the straps. I made the straps by sewing tubes then turning them right side out with safety pins, just like purse straps. I also "locked" the boning into place by sewing squares over the strap attachment points (which will also make the straps more secure).

I'm thrilled with how the final cover came out. I love the plaid, the soft flannel and the fact that it looks the same front to back. I also love that it didn't cost me $35. I used stash fabric for this cover and when I went back to Joann's to pick up more fabric and D rings I was able to get enough materials to make 3 more covers for under twenty dollars. This is a super quick, super cheap and super useful project. I'm going to make a slew of them so I'll have options to go with different outfits . . . I think they'd make a great shower gift too!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shower Favors

For my baby shower in March, I really wanted to handle making the favors and the gifts for game winners myself. I figure if people are going to buy the Bean presents, the least I can do is make sure I send them home with something nice! Have I mentioned that we invited 68 people to my shower? Not that everyone will come . . . not by a long shot, but for the favors I knew I'd need something I could make a TON of, make them quickly and make them without breaking the bank.

Several months ago, I found a fantastic antique-looking fabric flower tutorial on Refabulous' blog and have used it dozens of times since. The flowers are really inexpensive, quick to make and look wayyyyyy more complicated and costly than they actually are. So? Perfect shower favors!

I made the first batch of 10 over the weekend. My mom helped me cut the circles (which went really quickly because we folded the fabric over about a zillion times before making each cut) and I singed the edges in batches of 5 or so, then sewed in sweet little mother of pearl button centers and pin backs. I chose blue fabric, of course, since Beanage is a boy :)

I think the ones I've finished so far have come out really cute! I'm thinking we can put them all in a basket and have them double as a centerpiece for the food table.

In other, Bean related news: He's kicky! Very kicky! I'm pretty sure he spends most of his time head down now, because I only ever feel his (incessant!) hiccuping in the lowest part of my belly anymore. I think I'm having some Braxton Hicks contractions . . . totally painless but I'll occasionally get a tight spot in my belly that will dissapate after a minute or so. I'd been attributing those feelings to Bean flipping over, but I'm not so sure anymore that they aren't Braxton Hicks. I've got an ultrasound scheduled for 6 weeks from now, in my 35th week to take a guess at Bean's size. Methinks he's going to be a bit of a bruiser.

We started our childbirth classes . . . We've only taken one so far but I really like the instructor and I feel like we're going to learn a LOT. The classes are going to be especially helpful for Boy since I've been reading childbirth education books more or less nonstop since we had our positive test and he hasn't really. Having him prepared, calm and knowing whats up during the delivery is going to be hugely helpful to us both. We've got three other classes lined up over the next two months: infant cpr, infant care and breastfeeding. Good thing the room is mostly done, right? Since we'll be spending the next few months in classrooms!

About that room: The bedding I really wanted from DwellStudio for Target SOLD OUT so I panicked and bought the other DwellStudio set I also loved instead of waiting for the shower. The set we wound up getting I actually like MORE than the set we originally had picked out . . . I just think the original set might have gone better in his room. We'll see soon!! I also picked up a crib mattress for the Bean (and a cradle so he can sleep in our room for the first two months or so) and the bedding should arrive tomorrow, so by Saturday we very well could have a 99.9% completed Bean's room to show off!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beanages Likes Pirates

So my third trimester is REALLY stressing my poor husband out. First there's how Bean kicks me SO! HARD! sometimes that I gasp and double over. Then there's how I've been getting leg cramps in the middle of the night that send me hurling out of bed shrieking. And both types of incident, naturally, cause my poor, nervy husband to think I've gone into premature labor.

I'm not going to lie: it is kind of cute.

All is still more or less well in pregnancy land. I've had a few aches and pains . . . in my rib cage, notably, where the pressure from having Bean crammed up in there makes me feel like I've been socked. My hips get pretty uncomfortable when I sleep on my side now that I've got 30-some-odd extra pounds all in their general vicinity. It hasn't been anything that yoga and a fortress of pillows can't help though.

I've developed the disturbing habit of puking a little almost every time I bend over at the waist which is . . . well, it kind of sucks to be honest. My heartburn, however, seems to have calmed down considerably and if a little gagging is the trade off I think that's reasonably fair.

My bellybutton looks like a cat butt. Also, disturbing, but nothing I can't cope with for a few more months. (It'll go back, right? PLEASE TELL ME IT WILL GO BACK!)

As lists of complaints go I'd say mine is fairly short and manageable. Especially when you consider all of the AWESOME things that go along with pregnancy such as: Not having to suck my stomach in! Being offered cuts in bathroom lines! And, the ever popular, getting a BABY in just 12 short weeks (or so)!

Seriously, guys? There is going to be a BABY. Our own personal baby. We totally can't wait.

Boy and I went up to Disneyland this weekend and stayed over at the Howard Johnson again. We had a great coupon for Pirates' Dinner Adventure so we went for it on Saturday night, despite the show having less than stellar reviews. It turned out to be a fantastically fun night . . . don't go expecting fine dining or anything but the show and set were awesome and we had a great time. We finished up the night with drinks (chocolates for me) at the Grand Californian hotel with Boy's sister and her boyfriend, who also happened to be staying over in Anaheim for the weekend, then spent Sunday at Disneyland.

For those of you keeping count, that was the TENTH trip I've taken on my free annual pass. AM DISNEY MACHINE!

Monday, February 1, 2010

You might want to sharpen your pitchforks

I've already written about the fact that I'm going to give natural childbirth a shot, and I've gone into the WHY but not so much the HOW.

First things first: as soon as I made the decision that this was something I really wanted to go for I started doing prenatal yoga several times a week. The yoga has been super helpful with keeping my strength up, helping me relax and easing the aches and pains I've felt due schlepping Bean around in my belly all day long. If I skip my yoga for a few nights, I FEEL THE DIFFERENCE. Big time. My lower back aches, my upper back feels tweaked and my ribcage pain goes from simply annoying to full on SEARING. I use this DVD, usually on the 30 minute program and sometimes on the 15 if I'm feeling pressed for time or the 45 if I'm feeling kicky.

The benefits of having a DVD are that I can do the routines at any time, in any state of dress or disarray and without having to wear yoga tights in public. The obvious drawback is that I'm not getting any feedback as to whether I'm doing the poses correctly, which is where our new friend the Wii Fit comes in. Boy and I bought one for ourselves for Xmas and, while I intended not to even bother with it until after Bean is born, once I realized it had a yoga program I couldn't resist trying it out. Happily, I can soundly kick Boy's butt in downward facing dog stability and in most of the balance poses. That fact coupled with the fact that I took yoga in class format for several years during college has me fairly convinced that I'm doing things properly.

So many natural childbirth philosophies are based around the idea of specific breathing patterns, and I think all the practice I've had with yoga breathing is really helping to prepare me for the challenges of labor.

Phase two of my "Prepare for Natural Childbirth" campaign involved reading. LOTS of reading. I started with "Your Best Birth" (and the companion documentary, "The Business of Being Born") which gave me a ton of ammo on the WHY front but not so much on the HOW.

I then read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" which was just spectacular, informative and inspiring. The first half of the book is made up of personal accounts of natural childbirth; not all accounts of easy labors either. While I'm excited to try it and looking forward to the challenge, I don't think birth is going to be "easy" and I really appreciated that Ina May's book didn't claim it would be. I picked up a ton of inspiration as well as a heaping handful of rational, time tested techniques. I put this book down feeling calm, prepared and looking forward to Bean's delivery.

And now, it's about to get all snarky up in here.

The next book I read, on the recommendation of several women, was "Hypnobirthing". While I felt there was a good dose of useful information about breathing and whatnot, I didn't feel any of that information would be more helpful to me than my yoga practice has been. And then there was my "issue" . . . being the REPEATED claim this book made that the only reason a mother would experience pain in childbirth is due to her own fear. I have lots of feelings about Bean's upcoming birth, but fear? Not one of them. I can genuinely, 100% with certainty say I am NOT "afraid" of labor. So when it hurts, BECAUSE IT WILL, I refuse to subscribe to a philosophy that tells me that pain is my own fault.

And it only gets worse.

On several other recommendations I also bought "Husband Coached Childbirth", the Bradley Method book. I'm going to have to list my issues with this book in bullet point form. THERE ARE TOO MANY TO ENUMERATE IN PARAGRAPH FORM.

* The entire, several hundred page book is an advertisement for the 12 week Bradley Class series. I lost count of the number of times I read "You'll see this on page so-and-so of your Bradley class workbook" or "Ask your Bradley class instructor for further information". I bought the book to help determine if I wanted to take the classes, not as a companion for them.

* I also lost track of how many times Bradley refers to "god" or "the creator". While religion totally may be a motivator for some people, it isn't for me. When you claim to be a doctor and a scientist and still attribute matters of science to "god" and "creation", I can't take you seriously.

* The text is geared sometimes towards mothers, but very often towards fathers. Useful, I'd imagine, if Boy were the one doing the reading; but obviously here, he wasn't, and it grew tiresome for me to be incessantly reminded of how I should be rubbing "my wife's" back at night.

* Also, in the course of reading as my own husband, I've been admonished to buy "my wife" her own car. Like it's all 1957 or something.

* Bradley does that really annoying thing that Michael Moore does where he's ALREADY RIGHT about something, and yet feels the need to extrapolate it further and further to the point where you finish a sentence thinking he's a hack. It is sort of a "What if?" syndrome . . . where the author starts with a good, solid, founded idea and then takes it light years too far in the pursuit of a better point even though the original point was pretty good in itself. If you end a sentence pondering what science may or may not reveal over the next thousand years, everyone reading will be left head scratching and having forgotten the decent nugget of an idea you started out with.

* Apparently, per the all-wise Dr. Bradley, I should stop wearing panties.

* And I should squat while I'm snapping green beans. CAUSE I DO THAT OFTEN. Practicing squatting is one thing but I think if I did it ONLY while snapping beans I'd have done it a grand total of ONCE my entire pregnancy.

* I read a passage from the book out loud to Boy last night about "Electronic Computers" and "translating Dolphinese". I shit you not.

* Bradley claims my baby is telepathic! I COULD NOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP. Apparently there have been "very scientific studies" done that indicate when I'm having a bad dream, my Bean, like, TOTALLY IS TOO! How they collected detailed descriptions of his dreams from my Bean is a mystery to me. I mean, all human emotions have chemical elements and when I'm experiencing fear or anger or whatnot my Bean must be too to some extent, seeing as we've got one bloodstream at the moment. But to claim TELEPATHY? Dr. Bradley: here's a cart, and here's a horse. Put them in their proper order please.

In other words: Crock. Of. Shit.

Pretty much.

And I'm sorry if you're reading this and Bradley TOTALLY worked for you. If you pulled off a natural, comfortable birth YOU RULE.

This craziness though? Just not working for me.

I'm SO INFINITELY GLAD that I read Ina May's book FIRST and that I've still got her other book, "Spiritual Midwifery" on my "to read" list. I'm thrilled that Boy and I have chosen to take birth classes with a midwife (starting this weekend!) rather than a series of Bradley or Hypnobirthing classes. And, honestly, I'm glad I've read the Bradley and Hypnobirthing books on top of the books that I actually find useful . . . if nothing else for comparative purposes and for a sense that I've done all I can to help myself prepare for birth. And, you know, as snarky blog fodder.