Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Slinging around the house

Tye is loving taking a nap in the sling right now. I think we'll be living in this over the next year. All the benefits of holding her, plus two hands free! Time to fold that laundry...
EDIT: I realized quickly that I was wearing the sling too low in this picture- but this was our first time wearing it. I learned later a good rule of thumb is to keep your baby "close enough to kiss." I was able to see her face and head the whole time, even though it doesn't look like it in this picture. Look for other photos of Tyler and me wearing Tye more appropriately under the label "baby wearing."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kangaroo Man

I love the way Tye is looking up at Tyler. What do you suppose she's thinking?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Not the greatest photo of Tye, but as babies do, she pooped through the outfit as soon as we arrived at my parents' house...
Happy Thanksgiving!
Tyler and I have so much to be thankful for this year- a new baby, our health, our loving family and friends. We have always had so much for which we are thankful, but this year, we can actually hug and hold much of it. We've spent much of this year reflecting on how much has changed for us since last year, when I was recovering from surgery after an ectopic pregnancy. While we had a new sense of appreciation and thankfulness for each other, our health, and our family, the sense of loss was still heavy in our hearts. I broke down in tears during our family dinner, choking back sobs over my vegan mashed potatoes and stuffing. This year, the pure joy we're able to celebrate is a stark contrast, and all the more appreciated. The scars from last year's surgery have stretched to contain new life, and while they'll always be there, they are miniscule, almost invisible, in comparison to the bundle of joy in our arms.
I am so thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Growing!

Tye had her first doctor's appointment and everything looks perfect
(no news to us!!!). She's still regaining the weight she lost after
she was born, which is normal. She has, however, grown an inch and a
half in length! She's now 19.5 inches. Tye is such a tiny baby!

Check out Tye's Baby Vans! I gave them to Tyler when I told him I was
pregnant many months ago. That feels like a lifetime ago, and yet it's
hard to believe we now have a daughter whose feet now (almost) fill
them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bath Time!

We gave Tye her first real bath tonight. After reading so many European articles on how the umbilical cord stump isn't reason to deny babies the experience of a real bath, I was looking forward to bathing Tye and hoping she would enjoy it.
Sure enough, Tye loved the water! She was a bit fussy as we undressed her (not her favorite thing to be dressed and undressed), but the second we put her in the tub, she calmed down completely, tucked her legs up into fetal position, and looked around with wide eyes. Her reaction was absolutely amazing, as if she belonged in the water. The whole time she was in the bath, she was content. It brought back so many sweet memories from her water birth, holding her slippery body and looking into her deep blue eyes. Compared to the sponge bath we tried (per hospital suggestion to protect the cord stump), during which Tye cried the whole time, this bath was a beautiful experience. I can't wait to try a family bath in the big tub! (Don't expect pictures of that.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our first week

We've been home for a week now, and it's been a busy- but wonderful!- week. Both of our moms were here Monday and Tuesday to help take care of us. It felt very natural to have our moms mothering us, like it was the way it was supposed to be. We appreciated having them here so much, and I think they both enjoyed the time with Tye just as much.
Wednesday was the hardest day of the week for us because my milk still hadn't come in, and Tye seemed to be hungry already. We had been sleeping skin to skin because it calmed Tye so much, and Wednesday, in an effort to increase oxytocin production and bring in my milk, we spent the whole day skin to skin with me in an open cardigan and Tye loosely covered in a blanket to stay warm. She spent most of the day on my breast, but with only the colostrum coming out, she didn't seem to be getting enough to be satisfied, and she acted hungry as soon as she stopped nursing. During the day, I downed 6 cups of herbal tea intended to help aid milk production and drank a beer with lots of hops, another method for helping milk come in. Some time overnight (again, skin to skin), everything kicked in, because as Tye cried while Tyler and I changed her the next morning, I was pouring out milk. All day Thursday, Tyler and I watched in amazement as Tye slept soundly for hours between feedings, drastically different than the day before. Nursing has gone beautifully since then.
We are loving our time together as a family on what Tyler has taken to calling our "winter break." We're able to follow Tye's schedule, staying up a bit late when she's fussy and sleeping in each morning. When we wake each morning, the three of us lay in bed together, parents just lovingly, adoringly admiring their daughter. I think we could stay there all day just watching her facial expressions change and listening to her coos. It's the best part of every day. Tyler received the okay to use his personal time off following his paternity leave, so he'll be home through the New Year. Lots and lots of mornings together.

Can my baby be British?

We reached one of our first milestones with Tye last night- her umbilical cord stump fell off. It had been loose for at least a full day, and it was making me extremely nervous because I had only ever read that the stump should fall off between 2 and 6 weeks after birth, and here was Tye loosing hers at 1 week. Someone told me once that children have outie bellybuttons because their umbilical cords weren't cared for properly as infants, and all I could think about was Tye having an outie and people thinking that I didn't take care of her as a newborn.
I was so upset that last night I spent a long time googling "umbilical cord stump fall off" and variations of the phrase. I found a good deal more sites that listed 2-6 weeks as an appropriate time frame for loosing the stump. Most sites included information on swabbing the stump with alcohol daily or with every changing and sticking to sponge baths to keep it dry.
Eventually, I stumbled upon a page by naturalchildbirth.com that had several accounts of infants' stumps falling off naturally much earlier than 2 weeks. It also mentioned that the stump falls off faster if it is allowed to dry out thoroughly, which Tye's was- she even spent several days without clothing covering it, just skin to skin with me, in an attempt to encourage the milk to come in.
Then I found information on babycentre.co.uk that threw me for a loop. BabyCentre is the same site as BabyCenter, only the UK version- except that the information available is completely different! BabyCentre states:
The cord may be clamped and cut immediately after birth or when the cord has stopped pulsating; as part of a natural or physiological third stage of labour, this allows time for blood in the placenta to transfuse to the baby. It must be kept clean and dry to prevent infection. Some time between five and 15 days after birth, the stump will dry up, turn black, and drop off; leaving a small wound that may take a few days to heal. While waiting for the cord to fall off and heal, it is safe to bath your newborn if you want to. Many families enjoy giving their newborn a bath but your baby doesn't need a daily bath to keep clean; provided you wash off any obvious muck, babies at this age stay clean enough. In the past, cord stumps have been cleaned with antiseptic tissues or sprinkled with an antiseptic powder. The use of antiseptics or antibiotics may still be relevant in less industrialised societies, where umbilical cord infections continue to cause many deaths, but in most Western countries where standards of cleanliness are high this is not necessary. Studies of the healing process have found no advantage to using antiseptics over simply keeping the cord clean; unless the baby is premature or in intensive care. Antiseptics also cause the cord to take longer to fall off, which causes anxiety to mothers and increases the number of post natal visits from midwives.
Needless to say, I felt a huge sense of relief knowing that my baby's bellybutton development is considered within normal range somewhere in the world. The difference in information on how to treat an infant's cord stump stunned me, and I spent a long time investigating BabyCentre, reading about "nappies" (diapers) and "dummies" (pacifiers) and "signs you should call your midwife" (not your physician or your pediatrician). Not only did I learn a lot about cultural differences in medicine, but I also learned how much I love BabyCentre. I'm a huge fan! Why can't the American version be so good?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birth Day

Saturday morning, I woke between 6 and 6:30 with contractions strong enough that I couldn't sleep through them, so I got up and showered and started prepping to leave for the hospital. By 8:30, the contractions were strong enough that I had to stop what I was doing, so I woke Tyler- who did everything he possibly could to stay calm, even if he did want to act like a kid on Christmas morning. We timed the contractions and at about 12:30 pm, called the midwife to let her know we were on our way to the hospital. Amy was the midwife on call, and I couldn't have been happier since she was the midwife I had grown to know best and love for her calm manner (and for being a fellow vegan!).
When we arrived at West Suburban, I had to be hooked up to the monitors for 20 minutes to be sure Baby Girl was handling the contractions well and had to be examined to be sure I was actually dilating and entering labor. Tyler and I were hopeful that I was dilating, but had pretty low expectations after hearing all the stories of women in labor being sent home at less than 4 cm. When Amy said I was 6 to 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced, we were ecstatic! Baby Girl's heartbeat was strong and the contractions were nice and close together, so we moved our huge load of stuff into one of the Alternative Birthing Rooms. Amy was helping another woman who was in the pushing stage and the nurses came in every 30 minutes to check my blood pressure and Baby Girl's heart beat (using a transportable dopplar, not the belt connected to the huge monitoring machine).
Other than the nurse every 30 minutes, Tyler and I were on our own, which was just what we wanted. I was able to concentrate on the contractions with help from Tyler, who provided whatever I needed- shoulders to hang off of, pressure to my knees to open my pelvis, lots of back rubs, water, a toothbrush and toothpaste after I threw up (which happened throughout the day), distractions between contractions, and most importantly, the sense of protection and security that let me continue to progress. I moved around the room a lot, alternating between standing and rocking, standing supported by Tyler, rocking on the birthing ball, and rocking on the edge of the bed. With each contraction, I focused on the pressure opening my cervix and visualized Baby Girl's head pushing through my cervix. As long as I was able to concentrate, the contractions felt like a good pain that I focused on relating to a deep tissue massage- that "good pain." It wasn't until a male housekeeping staff member came in with a dinner tray mid-contraction, breaking my concentration, that I realized how truly painful the contractions could be- and that was excruciating.
At about 7:30 pm, the contractions became significantly stronger and the relaxation of the water suddenly started calling me.
The tub where Baby Girl was born
While we filled the tub, Amy checked me one more time to find that I was dilated to over 9 cm, so she manually helped me along to 10 cm. At this point, my water still hadn't broken (which is actually normal; most women's water breaks naturally during pushing if left intact by the doctor- only a small percentage have Premature Rupture Of Membranes, say, at the grocery store). I got in the tub and continued to concentrate through the contractions, thankful for the buoyancy of the water.
When the nurse came for Baby Girl's 8:30 heart rate check, I asked her to get Amy, who came in right away and didn't seem surprised when I told her I wanted to start pushing. She told me later that she was surprised I felt ready, but thankfully, she trusted me and let me go with it. I gradually started pushing but felt like I wasn't making much progress, which I was attributing to the bag of waters still being intact, so I asked Amy to break it. She tried during a contraction, but the bag was so strong that she couldn't break it- a sign that I was extremely well-nourished during pregnancy and received plenty of protein (to which I remember replying between contractions, "Go vegans!..."). I could feel Baby Girl's head through the bag, which was beginning to come out with the pushes, and I was so ready to move along with the process that I reached down and, with Amy's permission, popped the bag myself with my finger nails- a first for all of us in the room! Just a couple contractions later, Baby Girl began to make her appearance and finally arrived at 9:35, pink and squirming, in one push-- arm first-- to be caught and swept out of the water by Tyler. She coughed slightly, took a deep breath, and whimpered just a bit as Tyler placed her on my chest. Like many water babies, she was completely calm and alert when she came out and didn't cry in response to the transition. As she opened her eyes and began to take in the new world, Tyler and I tried in amazement to take in what had just happened. Words just don't explain the utter joy and awe I felt as I held the child who had been inside of me just moments before.
Baby Girl and I rested in the tub as we waited for the cord to finish pulsing (bringing all of the blood in the placenta to Baby Girl's body), and then Tyler cut the cord. Baby Girl (still unnamed) was dried and suctioned as I moved to the bed to deliver the placenta and be stitched up (that whole arm first arrival did a little external damage), but she was placed on my chest again and started her first breast feeding with little coaxing.
Tyler and the nurse took Baby Girl to be weighed (6 pounds, 13 ounces)
and when they returned, everyone left us to rest in our big queen-sized bed.
By this point, it was past midnight; I had been laboring since 6:30 am, neither of us had eaten anything all day, and we had just welcomed a new baby into our family. As we spent time with Baby Girl, we tried to connect a name with her personality, but all discussions were limited to about 10 minutes, after which one of us inevitably fell asleep. It was a magical night of cuddling together, skin to skin, in the same bed as the three of us bonded ourselves together as a family.
By the next morning, we had seen enough of Baby Girl's personality to know which names were potentially fitting. We already knew her middle name would be Tiana after Tyler's sister, whose strength and independence we hope become traits shared by our daughter. Soon, it became clear to us that her first name was meant to be Tye. Tye Tiana.
Happy Birth Day to you, Tye. You'll always be my Baby Girl.
Tye on the way home from the hospital

Day 2

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Photos!


Mom and baby bonding in the birth tub

Having vitals checked briefly...
before rejoining mom for more skin-to-skin bonding (and recovery) time.
Open eyes!
Dad's first hold post-catch.
Sunday, waiting to go home.


Tye Tiana

Tye Tiana

Baby Girl has arrived! After 15 hours of natural labor and a
successful water birth, Tye arrived weighing 6 lbs 13 oz at 9:35 last
night, 11/14/09. She arrived pink, strong, and healthy. More details
and photos to come!
Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baby Food

I won't be needing this for a few months, but check out this Beaba Babycook I came across at Williams Sonoma.
It steams, blends, and warms foods all in one appliance. I watched the instructional video at Williams Sonoma, which was well done. Even though the Babycook doesn't do anything that can't be done easily stovetop, it looks like a nice kitchen tool for anyone making a good amount of baby food. I could see it being an easy way to prepare the same vegetables I'm stir frying, adding to soups, or otherwise cooking for Tyler and myself- always with a good dose of seasoning.

Happy Friday!

We slept in a bit, then took a nice, long family walk- Tyler, Mico, and myself, and the huge bump that is Baby Girl. I caught my reflection in the window of a store as we passed and laughed out loud at the way the zipper on my fleece, stretched to its limits down the front of the bump, swayed from side to side with each step. The weather is gorgeous in Chicago for November- mostly sunny and already in the 50s. We walked to Gallery Cafe for coffee and tea, then stopped at the Wicker Park dog park for a while, and then added another 1.5 miles to our walk through the neighborhood. From the dog park, Tyler sent an email to his coworker explaining that he was trying to walk the baby out. Here's hoping!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look at how cute...

Just look! How adorable!!! And yes, that is my belly in the bottom of the picture. Really. I thought I was out of the way, but apparently not. While I was tempted to crop it out, I thought you'd all get a good laugh out of it- and perhaps a taste of how in-the-way it is now that it's so big! The clothes are just oldnavy.com, but I adore the sweater dresses, especially on sale. I also ordered these organic cotton teething toys from gap.com. The green one is supposed to be green beans, and the other is a flower. Both looked easy for a young one to grasp and keep in hand, and any cotton items like this can be dipped partially in water and frozen for gum relief.
Also in the order from the Gap family of stores: my boots from Piperlime! These are the boots I decided on, in case you're wondering. I'm hoping they survive a couple Chicago winters in stylishly. I'm sure you'll see photos of me wearing them soon (unless this baby makes her debut- but I'm not even planning on it any time soon at this point...).
Boots by Wanted
I love shopping online and then getting packages!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week 39 Photo Update

Here I am at 39 weeks- huge! I'm having a hard time finding tops that cover my ever-expanding belly... good thing I won't be this big for too much longer!
Mark and Sara found "Tyler in a Tshirt" and had one made for Tyler, one for Baby Girl. They truly do capture Tyler. How great are these? Now that Tyler's working from home until paternity leave, he started growing a beard. I think it looks great right now, and I'm hoping he keeps it short. Honestly, there are moments when I think he looks like a less-gray version of Dr.McSteamy (Eric Dane) on Grey's Anatomy. I'm a lucky lady! I did pause, though, when I realized that all our first baby pictures will include Tyler's beard...

Monday, November 9, 2009

39 Weeks!

39 Weeks! I can hardly believe it. As Tyler said, this little girl really played the role of drama queen, getting everyone all riled up so long ago, with no real results. My trip with Tiana to the ER with contractions at 24 weeks seems like a lifetime ago. I couldn't be happier that she is now full term and taking her time making her grand entrance (and if she really is the drama queen Tyler expects, the entrance could be very grand... though I'm hoping for quick and low-key!). Every day that she stays in is more weight gained, increased head control, improved nursing skills, and a better developed immune system. Way to go, Baby Girl!
That said, the waiting is hard!!! Tyler compared it to seeing me walk around carrying a wrapped Christmas present with his name on it. Multiply Christmas times a million and take into account that we've been waiting with Christmas Eve levels of anticipation for over a month now, and that seems like a fair comparison.
Yesterday was the last day of our Childbirth Preparation classes (nothing like cutting it close, I know...). We spent a good portion of the afternoon with our instructor, Jacque, practicing partner relaxation techniques, massage techniques, and labor and birth positions. Jacque is a doula, which is a trained labor assistant. Unlike a midwife, who takes care of the medical aspects of the deliver, the doula specializes in making labor comfortable for the couple. As the husband of another mom put it, Jacque is "the MacGyver of pain relief techniques." Who better to have teaching us than MacGyver? I know Tyler is going to be great at taking care of me, and everything we learned about working through the pain together from someone with so much experience will be helpful. Tyler has now seen more birth and breastfeeding videos and learned more about labor and delivery than any other man I've ever met, both from classes and self-initiated. When another new parent asked yesterday what merconium is, Tyler smiled and responded, "Google Image that." I was so proud.

Friday, November 6, 2009

HUGENESS

I TOLD you I got big...
38 weeks, 5 days. But who's counting? (HA!!!)

The Waiting Game

Tyler is working from home until I have the baby.  Everything at home is as prepared as it can be for such a huge change.  Bags are packed, the car seat installed, the gas tank full.  It's truly just a waiting game at this point.  
We've taken to telling Baby Girl multiple times a day, "It's okay to come out now," hoping that we can convince her to transition out.  On the other hand, she is obviously putting on some good weight while she's in there, judging by my ever expanding belly.  I'm amazed by the change in size of my belly over the past week.  I didn't think it could grow so much so fast at this point!  Baby Girl must be pretty cramped in there.  The right side of my belly is all elbows and knees and feet, and at any given moment, we can feel the sharp points of her limbs on that side.  We learned at our Childbirth Prep class that Baby Girl's current position, with her backside on my left side and her limbs on my right side, is the optimal position for beginning labor.  She's ready to begin the rotation that occurs during her decent.  Until then, she just aims all her jabs at that one side.  Won't it be amazing to see and hold those limbs?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Illinois C-Section Rates Released

Illinois C-Section Rates Released

By Julie Deardorff in Julie's Health Club, Chicago Tribune, November 03, 2009

Belly

Three of every 10 women have C-sections

Cesarean sections are more common than ever in the U.S. But the rate of C-sections varies dramatically between hospitals—and can be as high as 35 percent--according to the 2008 Illinois Department of Public Health hospital statistics.

It’s estimated that only about 5 percent of C-sections are true emergencies. Another 3 percent are elective, meaning there’s no medical reason to have one. The rest fall into a murky area: the mother plans a vaginal birth but is past her due date, labor isn't progressing as quickly as everyone would like and the baby is growing larger, Cara Birnbaum wrote in "What Doctors don't Tell you About C-Sections."

Factors contributing to the increased number of C-sections include older moms-to-be (C-sections increase with maternal age), heavier pregnant women (overweight women are more likely to require C-sections), and a rise in induced labor, which increases the chance a woman will need a C-section.

Technology, such as recording the fetal heart rate, also plays a role: Skittish doctors are more likely to play it safe and perform major abdominal surgery if there’s any hint of trouble.

C-sections can be lifesaving, but research suggests they’re associated with extra risks in comparison with vaginal birth. New moms experience more physical problems, longer recovery (since they’ve had major surgery) and more emotional issues. Babies are born by cesarean are less likely to be breastfed and more likely to experience breathing problems at birth and asthma as they get older.

Healthy People 2010, the Centers for Disease Control’s national health campaign, is working to lower the C-section rate to 15 percent among low-risk women giving birth for the first time.

Here’s how some local hospitals compare:  

                  Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington—35 percent (1,724 births 601 C-sections)

                  Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn—35 percent (4,233 births 1520 C-sections)

                  Resurrection Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago—34 percent (1895 births 647 C-sections)

                  Advocate Condell Medical Center Libertyville, 30 percent (545 births 165 C-sections)

                  University of Chicago Medical Center, 29 percent (2,013 births 585 C-sections)

                  Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, 29 percent (2,931 births 866 C-sections)

                  Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, 28 percent (11,958 births 3,418 C-sections)

                  Elmhurst Hospital, 26 percent (1,426 births 374 C-sections)

                  Evanston Hospital, 26 percent (3,590 births 966 C-sections)

                  Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, 26 percent (2,252 births 588 C-sections)

                  Swedish Covenant Hospital, Chicago, 25 percent, (2,464 births 618 C-sections)

                  West Suburban Hospital, Oak Park, 20 percent (2,175 births 453 C-sections)

                  University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, 14 percent (2,893 births 433 C-sections)

Upgraded

I made the most delicious black bean soup variation today!  I wanted to add some extra nutritional variety, and I had some pumpkin left over from baking low fat brownies this weekend.  I think the changes were fantastic- and so easy!  Here's the basic recipe.

Upgraded Black Bean Soup, serves 2-4 (don't you hate that?  does it serve 2 or 4???  well, I'd say 2 as a meal, 4 if served with a salad...)

1 can black bean soup

1-1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

1 cup smoky salsa, like Frontera's Double Roasted Tomato salsa or a chipotle flavored salsa

1 tablespoon chili seasoning/ chili powder 

about 1 cup vegetable broth or water (or any broth)

garnish with fresh cilantro and (vegan) sour cream

Combine black bean soup, pumpkin, salsa, and chili seasoning. Add broth to desired consistency.  Garnish.  Eat and enjoy the healthy deliciousness!

Mico's new favorite toy

Should we tell him it's a cat toy, or is that as traumatizing as
telling a 5 year old boy he's wearing girl clothes?

Monday, November 2, 2009

38 Weeks!!!

We've made it to 38 weeks!!!  I really thought that this weekend would send me into labor, between our date night Thursday night, the Bob Dylan concert Friday night, and a long night dressed up and in high heels on Saturday night.  And yet, here we are!  
From here on out, it is a waiting game.  I went to my midwife appointment today, and my blood pressure is still great and I'm measuring a perfect 38 cm (pubic bone to top of my uterus- a measurement that is supposed to relate exactly to the number of weeks pregnant I am).  Baby Girl's heart beat still sounds great.  I made my appointment for next week and went on my way.  
My midwife did say that she has several women past their due dates, dilated to 3-4 cm, just waiting to go into labor. She said they are wondering what it is that will send everyone into labor, which got me wondering... When is the next full moon?  Well, it's tonight!  I've also heard Labor & Delivery nurses say that a sudden increase in barometric pressure will also put women into labor, and today's beautiful weather seems like it would have qualified.  Although I don't think either the moon or the barometric pressure will be enough to push me over the edge tonight, I wonder how full the Labor & Delivery departments will be tonight.  I'm thinking I won't find out first hand.
 

Boo!

Since we made it to Halloween, we decided to have some fun with it!  We went to a couple friends' parties... dressed as a white trash shotgun wedding party!  It was fun to do something relating to the bump.  Here are pictures.
Tyler lifting me plus 30 pounds!

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