Sunday, May 29, 2011

Teaching Your Dog Manners

When we lived in an apartment with an elevator, I felt I was forever yanking Roy's head out of some poor neighbor's grocery bags they were carrying. The rascal was a stray, I would explain apologetically. We were still trying to teach him some manners.

Apparently he never learned that its rude to do a nose dive into other people's groceries, as he still does it when we come home carrying a bag.  But last night he did something that made me do a double take.

He usually knows he's not allowed to eat anything I drop while cooking unless I give the OK by saying "Clean Up!" We've been pretty strict on this as I don't want him gobbling up onions, garlic, eggs, grapes, chocolate, or anything else that might not sit well with a dog. I really hate cleaning up dog barf.

Usually if I'm standing there and drop something I give a firm "Leave it!" and he does...while staring at it intently. Sometimes he's a stinker and gobbles it up anyways. And if I drop something without noticing and walk away...its probably gone before I knew I dropped it.

Last night, though, I was trying to cut up some stale bread left out to put in the food processor for bread crumbs (waste not, want not). In my pregnancy clumsiness (which is increasing daily), the serrated knife slipped on cutting my second slice and skidded across the stale crust and onto my fingers. I dropped the knife and walked into the bathroom to start running some water on it and clean out any crumbs that may have gotten in the cut.

A second later I look in the hall and Roy is approaching with his head down, with the slice of bread I must have flung on the floor in his mouth. 

"Oh well, go ahead and have it," I sighed.

Roy put the piece of bread on the ground and looked at me.

"Go on!" I said encouragingly.

He picked it up, took a few more steps toward me, put it on the ground and looked up at me again with perked ears.

What is he waiting for? Is he seriously asking permission? I thought. 

"Go ahead," I said again and he just half lowered his head, his ears still up.

"Clean up!" I relented, and that dog gobbled the bread down.

Now how did we manage to teach our dog such manners?

And can I apply those manners to making him not look like a drunken slob when he naps?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

30/31 Weeks

I've been slacking a bit on the pictures, but here is one from the tail end of 30 weeks:

And one from yesterday, at the tail end of 31 weeks:

We were given a beautiful bassinet from a friend who had her baby in February, and with that and the clothes we've been given I decided it was time to carve out a space in our bedroom for Miss Tatum.  So here is Tatum's corner:

Poor Roy has lost his bed corner. For now the legs are off the bassinet and its wedged into the corner so Roy at least gets some room for his giant bed.

That's all the time I've got for today, happy Thursday everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

That Cinderella Moment

Last night we watched the Disney version of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. When Cinderella appears in the ballroom at the top of the grand staircase, and the music stops and all eyes go to her, I whispered to Matt, “Every girl wants her Cinderella moment.” After watching for a few more moments I added, “Usually she gets it on her wedding day.”

All cynicism, explication and modern day feminist implications of the fairy tale aside, most girls do want that moment.

Where they enter a room and for that second they are the most beautiful creature in the world. The whirl of dancers stops and everyone is hushed and staring, and directly in front of her is someone looking back who thinks she is the most wonderful being he’s ever known.

In the arms of my love I’m flying, over mountains and meadow and glen…

That’s one of the 5,000 reasons I love weddings. I love getting to see women have their Cinderella moment. Love making sure the flowers and table cards and favors are all as perfect as can be, and love joining in the holy hush that comes over people when the bride appears. And for that time, she is the most beautiful creature in the world.

There are between 340 and 3,000 versions of Cinderella, crossing cultures from Asia to Africa to Europe to North America. Obviously there’s something about this rags to riches tale that makes it endearing no matter if the character is helped by an elderly spirit and magic fish, black oxen or a fairy godmother.

I read John Elderidge’s The Sacred Romance a number of years ago, and I think he hit it pretty spot on when he explained why little girls (and grown up little girls) are so entranced with fairy tales. We do crave a hero, and we all want to be beautiful. We want a prince to come and rescue us even if we think we’re perfectly capable of rescuing ourselves. Because on a deeper, spiritual level, we are incapable of saving ourselves. Our souls are not the glittering pure things we wish them to be and there’s nothing royal about our base nature. Only the Prince of Peace is able to slay the dragon and rescue us, wash us clean of our filth and clothe us in His robes of righteousness, making us worthy to be the Bride of Christ.

On a more literal level, having parents or a husband or someone who is willing to do anything to be your hero is a mortal, imperfect but still wonderful glimpse of the kind of God we serve.

Last November, three days after we found out we were pregnant I was stuck at work during a snowstorm and waiting for Matt to come get me so we could try to make it to the airport. Even though we missed our flight, I never wondered if he would turn around and head home for the night because it would be easier and more comfortable. I knew he would get to me as soon as humanly possible, even if it meant leaving his car on the freeway and walking through the storm.

Anyways, those were the thoughts floating through my head last night as I watched Whitney Houston transform Brandy from a house maid into a princess. Maybe not every woman will get her Cinderella moment like she hopes. Life has not been kind to many women, and heroes are hard to come by these days. At least (or maybe I should say at most), we have a Savior who desires our love, who made us as the pinnacle of his beautiful creation and who wants to be our Hero and King.

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he [is] thy Lord; and worship thou him.
Psalms 45:11

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Please Pass the Placenta

Has anyone else heart about this new trend going around? Women who save their placenta and either fry it up and eat it with onions or mixed into a stew or have it freeze dried and encapsulated to take later? Or they just freeze it until they figure out what to do with it? Can you imagine having someone over to help you prep for a party? “Hey, could you grab the bag of ice? Its in the freezer, to the right of the ice cream and behind the placenta.”

Its called placentophagy, and while its common in mammals, its not the natural instinct for humans.

I may be pro-organic and the all-natural granola-type, but that is one step too far even for me.

I first read about this in an article in Time magazine before I was pregnant.  Matt often has to put up with hearing me read whatever I find too fascinating to keep to myself, so I proceeded to read him the entire article during which his face passed through six shades of green.

If you haven’t heard of this new trend, allow me to summarize. It is believed that the placenta has a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to a woman’s health, and may allow her to go through menopause with an easier time than most. It also, supposedly, helps with the post-baby-blues, although no studies have been done in regards to either claim.

I think I’ll take my chances with a nice glass of Pinot Noir to help me through those two stages of life. Wait, make that an icy margarita during menopausal hot flashes.

Personally, I feel eating one of my own organs is a bit Silence-of-the-Lambsish. Still, its quite amazing how much information comes up on it once you start Googling it. Just don't click on the images section of Google. Trust me on this one.

Have you ever heard or known anyone that's done this? Does it freak you out as much as it freaks me out, or do you see it as something totally natural to do (for goats)?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Birth Stories

First off, thank you EVERYONE who responded! I have loved reading your stories and getting a peek into that incredibly important time in your lives. Each one is so different and unique. Thank you for sharing your regrets, what you wish you had known and what you are so glad you did do.

Pam England wrote in Birthing from Within in her philosophy and principles of her birth classes:
Parents deserve support for any birth option which might be right for them (whether it be drugs, technology, home birth, or bottle-feeding)

I feel like this is the best approach to birthing. As you can see from reading these excerpts, what for one woman was a must not do was what another woman never regretted. 

Here's a few excerpts from those stories:

"After having 4 children, every pregnancy and birth was different. The only consistent thing was God always had a very important lesson for me to learn with each pregnancy. I was very vulnerable and very sensitive during that time and I listened to what God wanted to teach me. I kept a journal of scriptures and they are still my favorite ones."

 "It is so natural to work with your body. I loved giving birth to my two babies. [My husband] was supportive and involved through every step of my pregnancies. I also felt close to and related to Mary giving birth to our Savior in such humble circumstances. I wish we could have had more children, but since both pregnancies were high risk the doctor advised us to be happy with our boy and our girl. [My husband] cried at the arrival of both our babies as he cut the cord and welcomed them into the world. It was all a huge blessing!"

"Question #1 - My husband, no doubt! He rubbed my legs, feet arms and hands until he was going numb. Any sensation on the extremities helps distract from the pain at your center.

I was also very relieved after the fact that he had been the only person with me. I don't know how other people have the rest of the family or any friends in the room at any point because when all is said and done, between the emotional, and physical strain the event seems much more intimate than sex itself."

"We have done everything from a planned c-section to a home birth with every birth imaginable in between. [...] My heartfelt advice to you is PRAY and LET THE LORD LEAD! Trust HIM and your hubby. You will do great!"
(this birth story can be found in full in the comments of Mama 2 Mama)

"I was 17 when I married, and gave birth at 19 years of age. I called my Mom, one morning and told her she should come over and check me out. I did not feel well and had thrown up for three mornings in a row. She giggled, and said I was pregnant [...] At about 6 months along I started craving pomegranates. I had to eat one every day nearly until the baby was born. What's up with that? I had never eaten one before then and none since [...] I cannot ever explain the total joy and excitement of having that precious little boy laid on my tummy. I was so filled with adrenaline they could not shut me up ! I knew my life was truly changed forever. I looked up at the clock on the wall above me and it was 6:12 AM January [...] 1960. I can tell you it was the greatest experience.and I was so happy and excited I never felt better in my life. Birth is a MIRACLE, no doubt about it and you never feel closer to God."

Also from the same woman who adopted a few years later...

"After I gave birth to [our first], it seemed that I was busy non stop however, I knew for certain I wanted my second child.  [My husband] and I had started the process of adoption about 1963. We went through being put under a magnifying glass. [...] Well, God intervened for us. We were invited to one of our neighbors home for a dinner party sometime in April of 1964. I was seated next to an OB Doctor and his wife. Before the evening was finished, my friend who was hosting the party mentioned that [my husband] and I had gone through all hoops and paper work for adoption for at least a year with no luck.

The Doctor told me he had a patient who was a 27 year old woman who was giving up her child and she was about 7 months along [...] The very next day we had a call and spoke to the attorney. He said the mother wants to meet us and that was the only legal way to do this. She wanted to choose the parents. [...] The next day we had a call from the secretary and she said the Mother wanted to meet us the next day at noon time. 

We polished our selves up as best we could and arrived right on time. It was kind of a tiny little apartment house. When we knocked on the door a very pretty sixteen year old who was very pregnant opened the door. She was barefooted as her feet were so swollen from her pregnancy. We knew we were at the wrong address but we sat down and visited with her Mother and  the young woman. [...] They were working with the same attorney we were. The paperwork somehow sent us there.[...] 

We went home filled with excitement [...] When the young Mom was starting in labor we were notified, and were able to go to the hospital and wait. They brought the baby out wrapped in a blanket and placed in my arms.
It was love at first sight. She was so precious, and tiny she weighed 5 lbs & 7 oz. We were told we could come and get her to bring her home the next day. [My husband] and I went shopping and bought everything we could find in pink.[...]
When we picked [our baby] up the next morning, I walked out of the hospital in high heels, holding my baby all dressed in pink. I would not have missed the experience for anything.

Ten days after we brought her home I took a warm shower, and my milk came in. Now that was something I had never heard of are thought about before. 
That is definitely a Miracle."

"When my children were first born, I remember thinking that it was all so surreal. [My husband] says I cried a little but I don't remember that. What I DO remember is feeling ashamed that I didn't feel like sobbing or laughing or anything. I didn't hear the Hallelujah chorus or anything either. I didn't know until afterward that it's perfectly ok to not have one of those moments. A couple days after giving birth, it really hit me that this small thing in my arms was a gift directly from God, so I did have THAT moment, but I really wish that someone had told me that it was ok if I didn't have it."

"On the way there my husband and I kept a video journal of everything that was happening. What time of day it was what emotions we were experiencing and we did it as if we were talking to our son (hoping that one day he'll watch this video himself). [...]

I started pushing at about 12:00am and delivered [my baby] at 12:50am. It was the most incredible moment when they put him on my chest. The reward of working so hard to bring that baby into the world and then having him here finally is like nothing you have ever experienced. 
Here's the lowdown on what I REGRET and what I WILL NEVER REGRET:

I regret that I did not walk, workout more with my first pregnancy. I was so concerned that I would hurt the baby by working out, that I was very out of shape when I delivered, and BELIEVE ME, this is something you need to be training for. You're like an athlete and this is your one chance to get it right. I'm positive it would have made my delivery a lot easier.

I will never regret that I NEVER considered getting a cesarean. I wanted to have that baby naturally and was determined that unless the baby was in distress, I wouldn't get one. I really wanted to experience bringing my baby into the world the old fashioned way, and in a way, I almost welcomed the pain and difficulty that came with it.

Here's what I wish someone would have told me prior to having [my baby]. The pain is TOTALLY tolerable. It's the unknown so there is always that concern but I promise you, you will be 100% fine. Giving birth was the most amazing thing I ever did and I LOVED every moment of it! :-)"
(this birth story can be found in full in the comments of Mama 2 Mama)

"[My husband] and the Doctor were watching Blade Runner when I was in Labor, all alone in the bed while they stood over by the flat screen in the room, I finally called the doc over and and [My husband] hung back, I believe he sank into the chair with the ottoman, it was a fancy room...Anyway, I wanted to spare him the gore of it all, why should he have to see that?! 

As a matter of fact I told them I didn't want the mirror above me either. It not a pretty picture. No drugs, nada, nothing all the way, it is the way to go and I asked the nurse to wipe the baby off before she laid the baby on me. She looked at me like I was Hanibal Lector, she said it was "to bond." I told her I would have 21 years to bond and to wipe the baby off a bit please. She did, and I bonded just fine with all my kids, they are all here this weekend, and they are most of the time. You know how old they are....Look around, there are millions of millions of people in the world, so obviously it can be done and just keep it simple. Spare your husband the view of it. He has enough to take care of now that there is a kid in the picture. It is a lot of work, but be a little stud and 'git her done'."

"I met [friends] in the afternoon of Oct 18th with the intention of walking the baby out. We walked and walked and walked some more, finally ending our walk around dusk. We were starving by this time and Taco Time was the fastest food we thought to grab for dinner.
After we inhaled our dinner it was getting late and I was tired from our long walk. I couldn’t wait to get home and get a good nights sleep!
My little baby had other ideas.
I woke up once while [my husband] was at work with a “stomach ache”. I remember thinking, maybe Taco Time wasn’t such a good idea. When [my husband] got home around 3am I was awake asking for cereal. This was pretty common, so [my husband] got my cereal, kissed me good night and hopped in the shower. After working a 10+ hour shift he was tired and couldn’t wait to get a good nights either. He hadn't been in bed more than 5 minutes when my “stomach ache” was getting worse. I told him not to worry about it, I was sure it was just dinner. “I’ll just go out to the couch so you can sleep.”
Now I have to mention when I took my birthing class my biggest question and fear was “will I be able to tell when I’m really in labor” Yes!! There is nothing like the pain of a true contraction.
I went bounding back in the bedroom and said “get up, there is no way I’m doing this by myself.” [my husband] jumped out of bed and started to time my contractions.
I did all the usual activities, pace the house, time the contractions, take a warm shower. At first I remember thinking, this hurts, but it’s not that bad. About an hour in [my husband] called the hospital to tell them we would be in soon.
In between contractions [my husband] had so much nervous energy he was vacuuming. Baby had to come home to a clean house, right??
He had the timing down to the seconds. I knew when I heard the vacuum go off to prepare for another wave of pain. I was like clock work right from the start, no build up, just full blown labor. First, 5 minutes apart lasting for a minute then quickly moving to 3 minutes apart. 
We loaded into the car and off we went... That 30 min car ride was the longest car ride of my life! There is nothing worse than having to sit confined by a seat belt when we are having a contraction. I remember thinking I wanted to climb the side of the door to try and get away from the pain. That’s when I changed my view on “it’s not that bad”.
When we finally arrived at the hospital we had to drive all the way to the top of the parking garage and [my husband] was leisurely looking for a spot. I think this is the one time I really considered killing him! 
Once we got back to the bed I naturally wanted to stand, well more a stand and lean, but not lay down! Every time the nurse came back to the room she would ask me to lay down, you can imagine what I wanted to tell her. Finally the nurse checked me and said with a bit of surprise “if you want an epidural I suggest you do it soon, your at a 6 cm." I remember feeling so much relief; I can get my pain meds and not feel guilty.  Our original birth plan was to try and wait until I was a 6 to get the epidural. 
Finally the time came to push and everyone, but my mom and [my husband] left the room. My nurse Mary was great. She explained everything before we did it and was very confident and reassuring. I pushed for a total of 35 minutes before my baby made his debue. I’m such an efficient pusher the nurse had to yell for me to stop and frantically run for a doctor to “catch”  the baby.  
The feeling of holding your child for the first time is an unexplainable amazing feeling. I physically felt a warm wave cover from me from head to toe the first time I had my baby in my arms. It was almost as though I could feel Gods grace on us. For the first time you know the meaning of love at first sight.
Since my baby was born early in the day on a Sunday we had people in and out all day. My poor husband couldn’t wait to get some sleep, but I was too enamored with my baby to take my eyes off him. I literally sat in bed with him cuddled in my gown all night and just watched him sleep. To this day that night is still one of my most treasured memories.
All in all I had amazing births with both my babies. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing and am glad I did what was right for [my husband] and I. Birth is such a special and personal time. Do what works for you!"

And lastly, here is an excerpt from what my mom wrote about my birth:

"I LOVED BEING PREGNANT! I felt beautiful and somehow holy because I had been chosen to carry life. My due date was July 2, 1984 and because I had never been on time for anything before in my life I choose to plan a bonfire party at the beach the night of June 30.
The day of the beach party June 30, I had noticed a little lower back pain but assumed it was due to all the packing and lifting I was doing for the party.  So I ignored it.

We had a great time roasting marshmallows and singing John Denver songs with David at the beach along with about 20 or so of our closest friends and family, minus Ammah of course who was boycotting this lunacy.

4:00 am – HELLO! Okay – what is this? Not exactly pain but a really weird dull ache in my lower back that comes and goes – hmmm. I try to doze … no go… I just can’t get comfortable; I toss and turn and finally get up around 6:30am. Whatever this is on July 1 – it’s getting worse…. Can’t be labor … can it? We decide it’s not real labor and David goes to work.

Around 11:00 am I head over to Mom’s (soon to be Ammah’s) house because she is only 10 minutes from St. Joseph’s hospital rather than a thirty minute drive from our house in Westminster. Okay now I’m sure it’s getting worse but the waves only come every ten minutes or so. They feel pretty intense and my whole body tenses up when they hit. It seems they peek and then a few seconds later they peak again but that can’t be right --- it’s just too early. 

Finally around 9:00pm we call the hospital because they are finally five to seven minutes apart and they tell us even though the contractions are not 3-5 minutes a part to come in and get checked. We had an HMO which means we got whatever doctor wasn’t on the golf course that day – which also meant  I mostly likely would not know the doctor who would be delivering our precious bundle of joy or putting his hand up my woohoo!  

David and I were ANYTHING BUT CALM. We jumped in the car to go to the hospital because the contractions are coming fast and furious by now and we think the baby is going to be born any second. Okay – we panic – I truly think I’m going to give birth in the car and David is so scattered he gets lost. The hospital is literally only minutes away and just off the freeway but it takes us about 30 minutes! We must have looked like a bad cartoon! 

We finally get to the hospital and enter through the ER where I am half afraid of being sent home and half afraid of what is to come; bottom line – I’m afraid and I tense up every time a contraction hits because it feel like a vise grip being unwound inside me that is slowly cutting me in two and just when I think it’s over it raises to a new height of pain. 

 Just like my Lamaze Birth class instructed me to do I walk in with my “LIST OF PREFERENCES.”  This list apparently really ticks off the Charge Nurse because the old Battleax literally puts me in a room hooks me up to an IV and a baby monitor and leaves me there to pant and breath. David chases her down for ice chips and to please come check me.

 Sometime in the middle of the night I am in such pain and am beyond exhausted because I am experiencing double and triple contractions without making much progress. The nurse does not ask permission but rather gives me a shot of Demerol in my hip – DURING A CONTRACTION! The witch could have given it to me through my IV but like I said she was pretty ticked off over our little list of requests.  I LOVE DEMEROL- Demerol is my friend! Within seconds I became the happiest woman on the planet.

WHAM! The Demerol wears off and we’re back to double and triple peak contractions. David has not left my side for a second to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom – the man is a saint!
Around this time the Dr. starts coming in about every hour to half hour to tell me it won’t be long.  I get a little hopeful and of course David completely believes him.  
Around 5:00 am, July 2, I start to get out of bed and David asks where I’m going. I tell him I’ve decided to come back tomorrow and have the baby and that I’d like to go home now and get some sleep. He tells me I can’t and I start to cry and beg. He begins to describe how it’s going to be to see the baby and how good I’ve done and it can’t be too long and we’re going to hold our little sweet pea very, very soon. I say okay and decide to stay.
Two hours ( 7:00 am), I am experiencing an exhaustion that is completely beyond my comprehension when the Dr. comes in for what seems like the 1000th time to tell me it won’t be long- that’s when I remember grabbing his lab coat by the lapels and telling him in my most possessed voice to “Cut me – YOU CUT ME NOW!” He wretches my hands from his coat, smiles and slips out the door – COWARD! 
I’m wheeled into delivery where Brume Hilda the nurse from hell comes in and tells me to push. I have absolutely NO URGE to push - but  I am afraid of Brume Hilda so I begin pushing. I never remember my water breaking and I don’t remember any kind of overwhelming uncontrollable urge to push like I did with Jeremy. I just did what I was told.
 8:30 am – I’m still pushing – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Blood vessels are popping in my arms, chest and face.  My arms are shaking and at this point I am pretty much delirious. Now I know the nurse told me to start pushing too early which caused by cervix to bruise and swell. At some point a nurse without warning reaches up inside me and manually dilates me with her hand to bring me to ten.  That was THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE!

The joy is life-changing! David cuts her cord and they lay her on my chest and I barely have the strength in my arms to hold her. But she is mine and she is beautiful and she is crying so she must be healthy!! David is beaming a smile ear to ear!

(after a lot of post-birth complications on my end--sorry mom--I was finally able to go home after 3 days)

Finally, when you were 3 days old we brought you home from the hospital and laid you in your hand-made (by Ammah) white eyelet and yellow satin ribbon bassinet on July 5. The next day on July 6 we had a huge surprise birthday party for your Dad that I had pre-organized and so your life began with a party ---- celebrating YOU and your DAD!!!
You were the best pain in the butt I’ve ever had! "

Thank you all again SO MUCH for sharing these stories! If you still would like to share I would love to hear it! And don't worry, I've heard enough horror stories that you don't have to worry about scaring me ;-)

Finally, I wanted to acknowledge my mom for being such a wonderful, supportive, funny, understanding and wise friend not only my whole life but especially during my pregnancy. Love you, Mom!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My 29 Week Old Boss

I found out yesterday that Tater Tot has flip flopped (a few times, I think) and is now breach. At this point the midwife isn't worried at all since its still pretty early and she's so active.  I actually thought I felt her spin all the way around a couple of times since the feeling was so much different than a normal kick and my belly morphed like a lava lamp. 

A few weeks ago I was wearing some jeans with a low, thick waistband. At this point she was head down, and something about that particular pair of jeans she couldn't stand so she would punch and head butt the waistband until I used one arm to physically lift my belly off the waistband and only then was she happy!

The downside to this breach business is that her head is a much larger, more solid part of her body than her legs and rump, and when I slouch at all she lets me know she does not like her style cramped! I can almost see those old Batman graphics--Ka-POW!!!  My lower abs seemed much more stretched out, but now she's pushing on those tighter upper abs they are sore from the inside out!

All this to say I knew it would happen eventually, but I didn't expect my kid to start bossing me around quite this early! She's still super active (I thought babies were supposed to sleep at some point in the womb), so I'm not concerned she'll work her way head down again, but I just hope its sooner than later! 

I was trying to physically massage her to spin around, and wherever I would try to gently give her a push she would just kick right back.  She's a feisty one!