Monday, March 31, 2008

25 week Check-Up

The blueberry and I had a doctors appointment this morning. All is well, my belly is measuring perfectly, whatever that means. My blood pressure was normal for me (which means its slightly lower than normal) so no worries there. My doctor says I have a very cute bump (she probably says that to all the girls!)! As far as the weight pool, I think I'm going to blow you guys all away. (Does that mean I win?) As of this morning I have gained a whopping 31 LBS! This projects me to gain over 50 by the end of all this. I'm really hoping that doesn't happen but I don't seem to have much control over it. So yeah, I'll probably start knocking people out of the running in the next month or so.. Sorry, my bad!
Some of the weight gain at this stage is probably due to water weight. It is starting to seem as if I'm following in my sisters footsteps here because as of this week I've already had to stop wearing my wedding ring, and my feet are starting to 'puff' out of dress shoes (joy of joys!).
I have another doctors appointment in two weeks to do a glucose tolerance test, which means I get to drink some nasty sugar solution and they take blood to make sure I'm not diabetic, or hypoglycemic or anything like that. This will also be the first appointment where I meet a different doctor in the practice. Dr. Gade says I will most likely deliver with her but in the event she isn't available this will make me more comfortable with the other doctors who would fill in for her. I think there are a total of four of them in the practice, all women (although that's really not that important to me). So from now until my due date I'll have every other appointment with her and the other appointments with one of the other doctors.
That's all for now. I added a coming soon section, so you'll have an idea about what topics might be coming up in the near future. Mostly, it is to help me remember what I want to blog about since the brain is a bit like a colander right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baby bump 24 weeks

Here it is, the 24 week baby bump. I even went and changed my shirt so as not to confuse anyone. Although if you see how stretched (aka see through) this shirt is you'll understand why I couldn't possibly wear the same shirt in every photo. This shirt is the same as the purple one I was wearing in the very first photo. Sean says my butt looks smaller today, but I think that is just because my bump is bigger.

We had a cute moment with the lil nugget tonight. Sean had his hand on my belly and the baby started kicking a little. I kept saying "come on baby, is that the best you can do? Show me your stuff!" and oddly enough he complied by kicking harder and harder until Sean's hand was literally jumping off my stomach. At which point I started laughing really hard and the baby stopped kicking entirely. It was fun while it lasted.

New Feature

I was spending some time on other 'green' baby blogs and I realized how nice blog labels are for sorting through posts to find the ones you are interested in. Since I blog on a variety of topics I thought my readers might like to be able to sort through the posts as well. So I just went back through my posts and labeled all of them so you would be able to sort. Now when I put up new baby bump photos you can easily click on the baby bump label to filter back through and see all the older photos (that's for Elaine, since she said she likes to do that). And yes I know I'm due to post a photo, I hope to get to it tonight. Last night was marathon grocery shopping at BJ's and Target. Which is surprising exhausting!! Sean and I unloaded (which is an ordeal when you don't have a driveway) and passed out. Tonight we are visiting Norman our tax guy so if I do get to it, it will be late.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cribs and Crib mattresses

Cribs and crib mattresses are the current focus in the baby game. I've been discussing them a lot with my family so I thought I would share my opinions on these items with the rest of the world. I have been hesitating to do so because I don't want to offend or alarm people who did not buy/use organic cribs or crib mattresses. I will be the first to tell you most of the research on these topics are VASTLY incomplete, and a lot of the information I've been finding are just people thoughts and feeling on the issues. These items, in my opinion, are not nearly has dangerous as BPA. That said, I'll tell you what we've decided to do.

The main problem, anything organic is typically 2X the price of the ordinary version. This is a real concern, since it would be financially irresponsible of us to purchase a $600-$800 crib. The problem with plain old cribs is that you simply don't know what is in them. In my searching I've come across too many recalls involving lead paint ( a serious problem), but the more subtle issue is formaldehyde. Any crib made out of particle board or other pressed wood, almost definately has formaldehyde in it, and even some solid wood cribs use it in the glue. This chemical is entirely harmless to healthy adults in the concentrations that you typically find it. However, the effect on children who are having rapid lung development is unclear. If it were not possible to find a crib without this I wouldn't worry too much about it. However, DAXstores.com is a website devoted entirely to organic products and lists the Da Vinci line among them. These cribs are also manufactured under the Million Dollar baby line. Da Vinci cribs can be purchased on Babysrus.com for about $100 less than on the Daxstores website making them a reasonably priced organic option. The problem is I haven't been able to locate a store that carries this line so I can actually go look at it. A crib is a big purchase to make sight unseen. So since I have found a reasonably priced organic crib I think I will go with this option.
I would say that the crib mattress is probably of greater importance than the crib but that is just my opinion. There are theories going around that the reason SIDS went down when baby's started sleeping on their backs was because we stopped putting their faces so close to all the dangerous chemicals that can be found in crib mattresses (not a proven idea). Many chemical flame retardants are used (for good reason) in crib mattresses and these chemicals aren't always good for developing lungs. Another idea relates the age of your crib mattress to dangerous chemical fumes that could be created by mold and mites. Obviously the older the mattress the more dangerous it could be. Again, for adults these chemicals are generally no problem, but for developing and weak lungs it could create a problem.
The problem: $$$$! Regular crib mattresses retail for under $200 (mostly under $150), organic mattresses can cost upwards of $600. Again. NO WAY I'm spending $600 when the research doesn't support it. But once again I did a little hunting and I found a website where the Amish make organic crib mattresses that still meet the federal requirements for flame resistance without all the harmful chemicals (no I don't know how)! They sell them for $220 plus shipping. This is a price I find more reasonable and this is probably the option we will go with if the mattress is the correct size (an ill fitting mattress would be way way more dangerous than chemical flame retardants).

So now you know what I think. Hopeful I haven't put anyone in a panic, that isn't my intention.

My references include Dr. Alan Greene and his book Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care. Other websites also contributed to my understanding but I don't remember them all.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cool trick to remove ink from furniture.

This post is a little off theme but I'm so impressed I had to share.
While sitting on the couch I accidentally wrote on the seat with red pen. I thought for sure I ruined it since I wrote on the matching chair with a black pen about 6 months ago and couldn't get that ink stain out. I did a quick Internet search and since I don't own hairspray I tried rubbing alcohol on an q-tip. Much to my surprise the ink just lifted off like magic. It worked so well I tried it on the old stain and if greatly reduced the appearance of the black ink too!!
I think the moral of the story is I shouldn't be allowed to use pens while seated on the furniture but its nice to know how to fix it if I do! I'm a disaster.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Name Game

So the number one question I get asked when people find out the sex of the baby is..."So what are you going to name him?". The answer, I have no idea! My plan has been to take three name options into the delivery room with me and choose the name after I get a good look at him. Since the sex isn't going to be a surprise I want the name at least to be a surprise... plus I like to make game-time decisions. Besides, if I picked a name too early my mother would have it engraved and stitched or printed, (oh and don't forget the monogram) into/onto whatever she can find (don't try to deny it Mom, its your m.o. =)).
However, the current problem is that Sean and I do not agree on names. We had a couple picked out before we knew the sex, but those have become wishy washy and are mostly off the table (although John/Jack may be back on the table as of yesterday). Sean has a tendency to like strong, sharp names, (like Declan) while I favor the sweeter, romantic names (like Elliot or Seth). For the most part the name game gets played like this... Sean suggests a name and more often than not I just don't like it... I suggest a name and there either is already someone by that name in his family, he grew up with someone by that name, or he associates that name with an racial/ethnic group that isn't Irish and therefore says no. For example, Jake is out because he once knew a guy named Jacob and his cousins name is Jacob, Nicolas is out because it sounds too Russian (even though I think Cole is an adorable nickname). He favors Irish names but his family has sort of cornered the market on Irish names and I feel like we should try something else or at least not restrict ourselves to that single category.
We have worn the boy pages of our name book thin and now have to get a new one. So if you have suggestions I'm happy to hear them.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Here they are...

The pictures I told you I would take. Well I took them I just didn't post them! Here is the picture from the front. The facial differences are more apparent in the frontal view. I'm a little 'swollen' in the jaw area. It reminds me of when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Its more obvious closer up. You can really see how defined my lower belly is in its 'pop'. It isn't a gentle slope at all, its pretty much no belly...belly! The top and sides are more gentle in their angles.


And from the back... Without anything to compare it to, I don't look that different. I am a bit thicker, and if your memory is good, you'll notice my arms are bigger, but I'm not unhappy with the changes so far. I'm a little disappointed you don't really get a good impression of my new and improved butt. Its actually the one thing beside my belly that people actually comment on. Along the lines of 'oh look you have a butt'!


So that's that. Hope the pictures lived up to your expectation. This coming week is an odd week (at 23) so there will be no pictures this week.. just more of me blabbing about things.

Friday, March 14, 2008

How do you feel today?

I've heard that pregnant women get sick of answering this question, but I must like to talk about myself because so far it hasn't bothered me at all. I feel like my answer is always pretty mundane but I'm going to attempt to elaborate a little bit here for those people who are dying to know what it feels like to be 22 weeks pregnant. I'll start out by saying for the most part I feel great, as I get specific into the things that ail me you may no longer think that's the case but its true. So.. here we go
Sleeping is becoming more and more difficult as I get bigger and bigger. I don't stay comfortable for long in any one position, but the act of moving wakes me up so I'm up many many times during the night. In general I've always been a light sleeper so I'm fairly used to being up 2x a night but now its more like 8 or 9. On Tuesday night I slept straight from 11 to 4 which is the longest stretch I've had in a few weeks. The act of moving when you've been in one position for a few hours is difficult. It feels as if the baby is resisting my attempts to get comfortable because it almost feels like I'm detaching Velcro inside my belly, uncomfortable enough to make a little grunting noise but not enough to gasp or anything like that.
If you've been around me at all you'll know that my coccyx (or tail bone as most people call it, but coccyx is fun to say) bothers me when I try to stand up from a sitting position or bend at the waist while holding something heavy. It is related to the baby's position so it comes and goes but it's there and it's uncomfortable.
My nose has felt stuffed since about week 12. There is a scientific term for this but I don't remember what it is, but the lining of your nose swells up a little because of the increased blood flow. So not only do I feel stuffed but I also get nose bleeds 2-3 times a week. This probably also has to do with the fact that my apartment is drier than the dessert in summer, but the pregnancy blood flow doesn't help.
The water retention has started! Oh so fun. Mostly it's only noticeable on days that I teach so I'm spending a couple hours standing and by the time I get back to my desk I'm a little swollen about the ankles. This, I'm sure, will get worse.
My feet hurt when I get home. My feet generally only hurt if we've had people visiting and have done the walking tour of Manhattan. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with the extra 25+lbs I'm carrying so this will probably also get worse!
Getting up and walking around happens slower these days than it used to and walking up stairs to the subway definitely makes me winded. (Subway rides are for another blog).

But I swear I'm not really complaining I actually feel pretty good about the whole thing. I won't tell you I 'love' being pregnant, but I like it. Its cool to feel the baby move (again that will be another blog)

Upcoming Bloggin topics: Names and why we don't have any picked out. Cribs and Crib mattresses, is organic worth the money?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

For those who don't believe...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23617301/
Just in case there are a few people who simply think I'm being an alarmist about BPA. Here is an article from today showing this is national news. If your pregnant or have a young baby, you should be concerned about this issue.

Thanks Sean for pointing it out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Everyone is a critic ;-)

I've gotten some feedback (through Sean) from the folks over at MSKCC. Apparently they would appreciate it if I wore the same shirt every time we took a picture. Well, I wont. I don't need people thinking we can't afford to buy me clothes and I keep wearing the same outfit everyday. The other request is that I put up pictures of me facing forward. Uh ok.. I suppose I can twist Sean's arm into taking a couple of frontal views. I just always prefer to see side shots of pregnant women so you can actually see the belly. I guess I can't blame people for wanting to get a better view of what I look like heavier! ;-) A few people at school have told me I still look the same from the back, my response to this is that they don't have a very good memory! My butt is twice the size it used to be and frankly I'm loving the extra padding.. it doesn't hurt my sit bones to sit on hard chairs anymore! I will try to take some front and back shots tonight. H&M was having a sale so I got a new shirt and I'm wearing it today so that makes more amenable to taking pictures. Its amazing what new clothes do for my psyche, now if I could just find a GOOD stylist to cut my hair I would be all set!

If you have suggestions about what you would like to see in my blog, feel free to tell me. You can even leave a comment instead of just complaining to my husband! =) Although that works too.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Baby bump 22 weeks

Its picture time again! This is getting less fun for me, as I see more and more disturbing changes to my features. I'm cool with most of the weight gain but the facial plumpness is a bit distressing. Also I look tired all the time, which I guess is why everyone keeps asking me how a feel. Oh well, just another four months, I'll make it.

People seemed to really get excited about the BPA blog! I was a little nervous people wouldn't want to hear it but that post got more comments than anything else to date. I've been recently looking into cribs, this organic thing is a bit of a slippery slope, but I'll write about that later.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Baby Bottles. Watch out I'm on my soapbox!!

For my baby I'm choosing Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalate free baby bottles. Both of these chemicals are endocrine disruptor's that the body confuses for estrogen.
Over 95% of the baby bottles on the market are made from plastics that contain BPA which can leach out of the bottle particularly when heated. There is a large body of evidence showing that BPA exposure even in tiny amounts has harmful effects in lab animals. Effects include (but are not limited to) early puberty, hyperactivity, obesity, diabetes and lower sperm counts. Many environmental health organizations in the US and Canada are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of BPA in food and beverage containers while the FDA reviews the safety of these products.
Many people are falling back on the idea that these products have been used for years and if they were good enough for me why aren't they good enough for my baby. I find this argument extremely short sighted. There was a time we didn't think cigarettes were that bad for us, and we obviously know the ending of that story. We have no idea what the long term effects are of these types of chemicals, but if there is one isn't better to take the 'ounce of prevention' route now while we wait and see?
There are more and more BPA free options becoming available so it is not impossbile to choose BPA free products. I've currently placed Evenflo glass bottles on my registry, since glass products do not have the same potentially harmful chemicals in them. There are plastic bottles made by Born Free that do not contain any BPA although they tend to be a little more expensive (but not outrageous).
In terms of breast milk pumping and storage the Medela Breastmilk storage and feeding set is made from polyproplyene and therefore is also BPA free (polycarbonate is the plastic that is potentially hazardous). I also registered for this type of pump even though they are very expensive. I feel strongly enough about this to pay the extra money myself and while some people may find it presumptive to register for such expensive gifts I don't actually expect anyone to purchase it for me. However, it is the kind of gift a group of people could go in together on if they wanted so it makes sense to me to leave it on there.
Generally products labeled with recycling symbols of 1,2,4,5 are thought to be safe while 3, 6,and 7 may contain harmful chemicals.
Also clear silicone nipples are free of all BPA as are the drop-in type liners (at least the playtex ones for sure I didn't look into all of them) used in many feeding systems (although obviously less environmentally friendly).
Both the Playtex and Avent company's have letters on the websites saying that the dangers of BPA are unproven and the FDA currently approves of all products they sell (They are the only ones I looked up at this point). These company's obviously have a lot to loose if their products get pulled from the market and therefore will certainly do everything they can to prevent the FDA from doing so.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Good News for Chocloate Fans!

This afternoon, I was discussing cravings with a co-worker and I confessed that I am currently obsessed with chocolate milk and have been since about week 14. She said that when she was pregnant someone showed her a paper about chocolate consumption during pregnancy being correlated with happier babies. So I went and looked it up and it's true!! There was a study done in Finland that was published in 2004 in Early Human Development Vol 76 (pg 139-145), showing that mothers who reported higher chocolate consumption during pregnancy had infants who scored higher on positive reactivity (less fearful), activity and smiling and laughter at 6 months. Now I should mention that these measures were gathered from mothers filling out surveys about their own children and reporting their own chocolate consumption, so this is not the perfect experimental design but still very interesting. They also showed that among mothers who ate chocolate never or rarely, those that were the most stressed during pregnancy had infants with higher fear responses than those who reported less stress. Weekly or daily chocolate consumption seemed to eliminate this trend. COOL HUH? This is no licence to consume crazy amounts of chocolate but it sure makes me feel like getting a bag of M&M's! (The paper does go into why they think chocolate has this effect when another candy like licorice doesn't, but it gets technical I'll leave it up to you to read it if your interested).

Some pictures.

Here is the picture I talked about from Erin's Baby shower. Ignore the huge wet spot, pregnancy makes me clumsy.. actually that's not true, I was already clumsy.




And next is a picture of Griffin in the bassinet I just brought home from my sisters. Its still on the ground and not put together (hence the parts all around it), and Griffin has claimed it as his home. On the positive side Sadie (our other cat) doesn't go in there, but that's only because Griffin beats her up if she does (which is odd because shes normally the boss). I'm really hoping that once its put together the rocking motion will freak Griffin out and he won't want to be in it anymore. However, I will be taking further measures of prevention by constructing a tent out of cheesecloth so they simply can't get in there when the baby is in there.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

21 Week Check-up.

I was at the doctor yesterday and all is going very well. She signed off on the ultrasound saying that all was very normal. The official weight gain is now 23lbs, so I have slowed a bit from the last visit (phewf!). I was at my friend Erin's baby shower this past weekend and it was very good to see her. Aside from the fact that she is adorable, seeing how large her belly was (shes having twins) made me feel like mine wasn't as huge as I thought it was, although it also made me realize I've got a long way to go! As I read that back it makes it sound like her belly is HUGE, its not but she is 8 months pregnant with twins. I'll have to get her permission before I post a pic of the two of us showing off our bellies.

Good news! The doctor said my book is a LIAR and that under wire bra's do not cause milk duct clogs so I am free to go back to wearing them. WOO HOO! She also said the pain I've been feeling in my tail bone and pelvis is from the baby's position and that is why it comes and goes. Being small framed means the baby is right up next to everything and as he bounces around hes going to cause some pain. Oh and its going to get worse! A less enthusiastic and totally sarcastic woo hoo to that.

The baby has gotten more active over the last few days, so Sean finally got to feel him kicking last night! I think he was a little surprised by the force of it. He asked if I minded having a human inside me kicking and poking at me. Obviously I don't mind.