Wednesday, April 30, 2008
1) People asking me how I feel.
So far this question doesn't annoy me at all. Maybe it is because more often than not the question gets phrased as "How are you?" which is a question I get asked a few times a day normally as I see different people throughout the day. Maybe I'm too simple to realize that people are asking me because I'm pregnant and want to know how I am, and they aren't just being polite. Or maybe people just don't ask me that often!! Either way, so far I don't mind answering the question.
2) Belly rubs.
I've been told that random strangers in the grocery store will approach me and rub my stomach like I'm a good luck charm. So far I think I could count on one hand the number of non-family members who have touched my stomach and even those are people I know and have no problem having them touch me. Not one single stranger has even tried to touch my stomach.. I almost feel left out.
3)People doing things for me.
For the most part people are accommodating and helpful but it's not like every time I turn around people are doing things for me. Sean doesn't like me to climb on things, but I'm still expected to do my normal chores like putting away the clean dishes and folding the laundry. That isn't to say he doesn't offer to carry the laundry down to the laundry room for me, but most of the time I push it in a cart so I don't need help. I genuinely appreciate that, so far, people aren't pampering me or treating me like I have a disability. I ask for help when I need it and no one complains when I do.
There is one thing that does annoy me more than anything else. People on the 7 train do not readily give up their seat for pregnant women. Not just me, I've been watching this since we moved and people will appallingly look the other way when a pregnant woman gets on the train! I will fully admit that this train line is one of the longest and giving up your seat means you'll be standing for a while. However, people should not feel entitled to their seat. No matter what your age or condition, there is always someone on this packed train that needs your seat more than you do. GET UP! Okay I feel better now.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
1) I'm retaining water like you wouldn't believe. Something like 75% of pregnant women will retain water during their 3rd trimester. I seem to be very very good at this. To the point where I came home from work and took my shoes off and Sean said "Oh my, whats wrong with your ankles?!?" He was truly concerned that something was wrong with me even though it did come across as a bit insensitive. My new trick is pressing on my ankle for a bit and then letting go and leaving a pretty indent that stays for about 3-4 mins. I'm supposed to try eating asparagus (yeah right!) and grapefruit which are natural diuretics to try to minimize the problem. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I've had to buy some new crocs (crocs Mary Jane and Crocs Malindi - Black) because none of my shoes fit.
2) While the pain in my tail bone isn't as bad as it has been previously, I am having more pain across the front of my pelvis. Apparently there is a piece of cartilage that is stretching at this stage of the game (in some women it actually snaps! Joy!). Mostly this hurts when I stand up after I've been sitting for a while. On a pain scale of 1-10 its like a 1.5 so its not really that bad, but I notice it.
3) My feet still hurt, but in a different way. Now it is the area just behind the ball of my foot that hurts, mostly when I first start walking. This is apparently very common in pregnant women. Again it's only about a 2 but it's there.
4) Lastly, the baby has started sitting 'on the bay window' as I like to call it. If that doesn't make sense to you the baby is positioning himself as far forward as he can go. In this position he is pretty far off my center of gravity which makes the weight distribution a little nutty. I really have to slow the pace if I'm walking when he does this because it is really awkward. Generally I have to reach down and 'pick up' my stomach to add a little extra support. Moving around is getting a little harder. My momentum is totally different so I'm known to bend over to get something and have to catch myself from toppling over. Or if I squat I sometimes fall over backwards from overcompensating for the belly. I'm no longer supposed to climb on anything higher than a foot off the ground.
I'm feeling the baby move all the time now, in fact teaching is becoming a little harder as I get kicked while talking and loose my train of thought. Luckily, I only have two more lectures to give and the rest is just exams and review. For the most part, this pregnancy has been pretty 'boring' which is obviously a very good thing. I haven't had anything to really complain about, but still I can't say that I 'love' it. I feel a little guilty about that but if I'm being honest it's the truth. I certainly don't hate it, but I do prefer 'me' not-pregnant.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I've decided I really don't want an epidural if I can do without it. I think this is probably what everyone says,I know, but I hate having my mouth numbed during dental work I can't imagine how I'll take to not feeling my legs. The potential side effects are a bit much for me to feel comfortable with. The classes really made me feel empowered to think that I'll be able to manage the pain without drugs. Obviously this is very easy to say sitting here perfectly pain free, and it will depend a lot on how quickly labor progresses. I've been reflecting on how I deal with pain and while I haven't really experienced extremely painful events, but I do choose to undergo some dental procedures without Novocain, and I wax my legs, both of which take a little bit of mind over pain to tackle. So (naively, I realize) I feel like I have at least a shot at this. Although, my normal trick to dealing with pain is doing long division in my head (stuff like 14/387) I'm not sure if that will work when the pain is really intense. Anybody want to start a betting pool on how long I'll go before begging for an epidural? A little competition might increase my chances. (Of course if I end up having to have an emergency c-section I won't have a choice but to get an epidural)
Aside from learning about how to give birth, we found out that our hospital is applying for their 'baby-friendly hospital' certificate. Which basically means that they are committed to doing everything possible to encourage breastfeeding and baby and mom bonding. For example, after a natural delivery (non-c section) the baby is placed directly on moms stomach and is encouraged to nurse within the first hour after birth. This is all before the baby is removed for cleaning. They also won't give pacifiers to breastfeeding infants to encourage successful breastfeeding. That doesn't mean breastfed babies should never use pacifiers but not using them in the first few days of life prevents nipple confusion. There are currently only 63 hospitals and birth centers in the US that have this certification and none in NYC so I was encouraged that this was something they were working towards. One thing I didn't like is that hospital policy does not 'allow' husbands/partners to stay overnight with mom in the semi-private rooms. If you want a private room its $350 a night. There is a chance, if they aren't busy, that you'll get one of the shared rooms without actually having a someone else in the room so you can do what you want. Also if your room-mate also wants their husband to stay then the staff doesn't tend to kick anyone out, but I found this disappointing. I'm not sure how I'll be feeling after delivering but I'm pretty sure I won't be emotionally stable enough to handle Sean leaving. We are obviously going take a 'wait and see' approach but we might end up springing for the private room, at least the first night, if the hospital is very busy.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I will still be funded by teaching although I may cut back and only teach half of what I'm doing now. I make it sound like this is my choice but its really the department telling me they can't fund my 6th year (not unusual for PhD programs).
I am hopeful that I'll be able to defend in January. What happens after that I don't really know yet. I'll be looking for a post-doc eventually but I don't think I'll be mounting a full on job search while prepping to defend so there will probably be a gap in my work schedule (which I am OH SO ready for).
I think I covered everything. Let me know if you have other questions.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
That's all I just thought you should know. However, if you can find the products locally (or for a better price) by ALL MEANS purchase them that way.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I'm a little late with the picture this week because our schedule got a bit off. I had my two favorite worker bees (aka my parents) visiting Sunday and Monday to help us prepare the apartment for the arrival of the 'blueberry'. We spent Sunday at Ikea and were almost completely successful in purchasing everything we needed. A few things were not in stock and we had a bit of a set back with the baby's dresser/changing table, but we did buy the crib and mattress (not the organic mattress, unfortunately the Ikea crib didn't fit the organic mattress but the dangerous flame retardants are not supposed to be in this mattress). Our living room will soon look more like a library with the amount of shelves that are in it. Dad was kind enough to put together four shelving units, plus a new kitchen buffet (doubling our storage space in there), plus build shelves into blueberry's closet to add more much needed storage space. Speaking of closets, my mom and I spent the day cleaning and re-organizing mine (and getting rid of lots of shoes) so we could get some of the boxes out of baby's. I tried to tackle this project a few weeks ago but got very overwhelmed and decided that 'I just need my mom for this.' Boy did she come through for me. Her ideas and organizational eye really got things under control. Seriously, I think I could rent my parents out and make some pretty big bucks, they are very useful and I'm very grateful. They even hauled away some of our remaining excess furniture!! Sean and I now need to secure the LR bookshelves to the wall (after cutting out holes for outlets to pop through), and fill them and that will really help toward emptying the nursery.
So that means I'm buying a re-usable water bottle today.
The water bottle search has been going on for quite sometime, basically since I've been pregnant. Being pregnant means drinking 2L of water a day and I knew that wasn't going to be easy. It also means I am more concerned about finding a safe water bottle without BPA and many of the ones I saw locally were made of the wrong types of plastic. So I took the search up online. A couple places helped in my search none of which I can remember off hand (Update: I found one of my sources) but here is my pick: Sigg Traveler Classic Water Bottle (1.0-Liters). Its metal, so the plastic isn't an issue, it's a 1L bottle which is important to me because that's the size I carry to work. While they are dishwasher safe they recommend hand washing with a brush because of the narrow neck (I don't have a dishwasher I have a Sean.) Additionally, this bottle consistently got high reviews among bloggers. I could get it through Amazon so I bought two and got free shipping (you are thinking one for me and one for Sean, nope both for me! He is welcome to use them if he wants to but since he has access to filtered water at work he doesn't really need it).
On to filling the bottle: NYC water is rated among the cleanest but the chemical smell and taste of chlorine is way too much for my sensitive taste buds (especially if it's sitting for any length of time). We have Pur water filter on our tap that we purchased around the time I found out I was pregnant and I love it, no nasty smell or taste.
So that's what I did for earth day. We will not have to buy multipacks of 1L bottled Poland Spring water from BJ's anymore. Sorry BJ's, but you deserve less money for not efficently organizing your check-out lines in my store!!
Readers: follow Elaines example and tell me about something you do to live more 'greenly', or something you would like to start doing. Maybe we can all learn from each other!!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
1) Canada has banned all baby bottles containing BPA.
2) Wal-Mart has said they will stop selling baby bottles that contain BPA by 2009
3) Nalgene is recalling their water bottles and manufacturing new ones that do not contain BPA!
All without the freaking FDA telling them they had to. (Well I guess the FDA has no jurisdiction in Cananda, but you get the point) I'm super excited about this new development and I'm hoping it will lead to a cascade of changes. Because Wal-Mart is such a huge company I'm really hoping it will impact the bottle makers like Avent, Gerber, Evenflo, etc. Now if we can get Target Kmart and Baby's R Us to follow Wal-Marts example we'll be all set! Hooray for change.
Thanks to everyone for sending me links to the information. I know I only have a small handful of readers but to know you're hearing me and taking this information to heart really makes me happy. I'll try not to lead you to astray.
In other news: I ordered a new book "Growing up Green, Baby and Child Care." I'll let you know how it is.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The green guide is a new publication by National Geographic.. so now you don't have to simply take my word for it that these chemicals are dangerous. This article outlines the 12 most dangerous things currently found in cosmetics. They even provide a link to a wallet card so you can carry this info with you and make smart decisions in the store.
I also want to comment on a critique I got through email. A friend of mine commented that cancer rates increasing can be due to the fact that we are living longer and longer these day. I agree whole heartedly with this and will add to that the fact that we have more and better ways to diagnose cancer now which causes the rate to appear to increase when it may not be. I am not trying to imply that cosmetics are the sole cause of increased cancer rates. My point is simply that they could be playing a role. Cancer is not the only thing we have to worry about, it just happens to be more understandable than some of the other concerns. If I wrote down everything I had to say on this topic the post would be 10 pages long.
That's all for today, I'm still at school and its 8:00, I only have a few more files then I'm going to finally go home and put my swollen feet up. Ahh the life of a pregnant graduate student. I promise Jen I'll elaborate on this soon. I know you want more 'in science' than 'in grad school' but I'll do the best I can.
Monday, April 14, 2008
In related events, I still have yet to find a stretch mark. I'm not naive enough to think I'll make it the entire 40 weeks without seeing any (especially considering the weight gain) but the later they show up the better.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Here's the deal. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a not for profit group of 'scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers' that make it their mission to understand and uncover potential threats to our health and the environment. They compile published scientific studies with their own lab testing in order to "bring to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know." One of their projects is the cosmetic safety database. Among other things they are very keen on putting pressure on the government to fix the flaws in the system that hide hazards from the public.
Currently the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to test the safety of their products before placing them on the market (you are surprised aren't you? I certainly was!) Therefore, the EWG is compiling information to educate the people about some possible concerns we should have regarding products you put on your body, in your mouth, or on your children. For example, it is perfectly legal for a company to use known carcinogens in these types of products and its actually a pretty common practice (they are often cheap apparently). I certainly don't have a running list of all known carcinogens with which to compare to ingredients on the back of bottles, so this website does the dirty work. Prepare to be very surprised by some of the ratings. They rate things on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the most hazardous and 0 being the least. I can pretty much guarantee most of the products you use are somewhere around a 6.
Here is where you tell me "I (my parents, my grandparents) have been using these products for years and haven't had any problems, why should I be concerned?" (that is probably a nicer version than I've actually heard from some people). My response. Don't be so ignorant. I know, I know that isn't really a nice thing to say to someone but it's sort of true. Look at these graphs (I stole them from this website and yes I realize it's Canadian data but it is simply to prove a point)
This should make the point that something isn't correct. I will NOT say that there is higher rates of cancer because of cosmetics but there is a chance (and I think it's a good one) that this is a part of the issue. And here is the kicker, your small sample size of you and your family using a product for years and not having it effect you is not proof that it is safe. So take a few minutes and look up your favorite brands, educate yourself in a small way about the potential hazards to you and your family. Isn't it worth knowing that product A contains less known hazards than product B and therefore you should buy product A? This constitutes a very small change but who knows what years of exposure to product B might have caused, maybe nothing, maybe not. Didn't mom always say "It is better to be safe than sorry?"
Further, buying organic products is not a sure bet to having a lower hazard rating. Just because a product is all natural doesn't make it safe (e.g. poison ivy, nicotine and alcohol are all natural).
Before placing any baby products on my registry I cross checked them against this database to make sure they had a 2 or lower hazard rating. That is my (personal and arbitrarily made up) criteria for anything I plan to use on a baby on a regular basis. For myself and other adults my criteria shifts a bit higher and I try to avoid regular use of anything above about a 5. The problem with a lot of products is that they list 'fragrance' as an ingredient. Fragrance can basically mean anything. It appears to me that any product with that on the ingredient list gets a higher hazard rating because of how little that is known about it.
I don't want to scare anyone, nor is it my intent to piss you off, I only wish to educate. You can't protect yourself from potential dangers unless you know about them so even if you only make one small change and stop using a product with a 10 hazard rating, I will consider this post time well spent. If you believe in what I'm saying, don't forget to tell your friends and family too. Someday the world will be a safer place, until then knowledge is power. I look forward to your questions and comments.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Thanks for the pics Mom!! Nice catch! I love the litte finger point .. 'yeah man!'
Monday, April 7, 2008
My boss today expressed some concern over what happens if I go into labor in the lab. So I put a quick list together with all the phone numbers, addresses and information that could be needed, but I'm really really hoping that doesn't happen. I don't know where a good place is to break water but I feel like the lab would be a little embarrassing, especially if someone has to clean up after me! Although as it turns out one of the undergrads is an EMT, but honestly, no thanks!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The problem is that quickly growing out of your clothes is very expensive, many of the books suggest borrowing your husband clothes or getting one neutral pair of pants and wearing them all the time. I would not consider myself a clothes horse, or high maintenance when it comes to clothes but those are two things I just won't do.. another is shop at second hand stores (I have issues, I don't even like library books because strangers have handled them). Living in NYC makes going anywhere in sweatpants or moo moo's a no-no, this is practically the fashion capital of world, and while I do not buy into designer fashion I do have a little bit of pride. Walking to work and seeing all the beautifully clothed people you can't help but want to put in a little extra effort.
So that really left me with no other option than to attempt to re-outfit myself as cheaply as possible. I actually got really lucky in that maternity style tops were in last season so I actually have been able to transition with tops really well. I'm just now growing out of my pre-pregnancy tops. Okay... Here is where the confession comes in. For starters, I shop the maternity sections at Old Navy and Gap, I know these company's are not known for their fair-treatment of workers, but I can afford Old Navy, and the Gap Maternity clearance rack can have some great buys. Buying clothes at these stores means I can afford NYC priced organic produce, so I am being a little selfish here and ignoring the social/global impact of my decision, although I do feel guilty about it.
H&M also started carrying maternity wear in a line called H&M Mama. I really like their clothes but the pants are definitely more expensive than Old Navy ($30-$60 instead of $15-$30). The tops are quite reasonable, I made out pretty well their today.
Motherhood Maternity is also a great place to hit the clearance rack. Their retail prices aren't that bad but things go on clearance with wild abandon ($9.99 for nice pants!) so there are always deals to be found. This store does require a little more selectivity since much of their stock belongs on pregnant women of a different generation,but there are some trendy finds if you look hard enough. Plus they have some really cute dresses (you'll find them next to the moo-moos) for around $30, for the off chance you have to get dressed up while pregnant.
Finally, the one place I've been the most disappointed with is Target. I used to get stuff there all the time, but the maternity section has not been my friend. I purchased a couple of tops their and they shrunk so now I have to pretend the arms are 3/4 sleeve, and the one pair of jeans I got from them are pretty frumpy, hanging off the belly instead of coming back in to meet my legs again.
All things considered I've done pretty well with clothes. Shoes are about to become problematic, but luckily it is getting warmer so I might be able to get away with crocks and cheap slip ons during the swollen/water retention phase of the pregnancy.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
UPDATE: I found this on another blog " while IKEA furniture is not completely free of formaldehyde, they are using the strictest standards that exist on the planet to limit its presence in their products. Not perfect perhaps, but a smart shopper can definitely avoid it completely if they want. I suppose if it can’t be avoided completely, the levels of formaldehyde are “safe” and can be further managed with indoor plants."
Friday, April 4, 2008
Aside from the fact that 'sposies sit in landfills for 500+years, the manufacturing of them is a very non-eco friendly process involving lots of chlorine, nasty chemicals and plastic, not to mention shipping them all over in planes, trains and automobiles. Cloth diapers on the other hand have the problem of actually having to be washed on a very regular basis and thus wasting gallons upon gallons of fresh water. I should also mention that neither one is a great option for baby's sensitive skin. Cloth diapers often have problems with diaper rash because the absorbency isn't as good as 'sposies, but 'sposies are made with tons of chemicals that are yucky to put next to baby's skin and rumored to have negative side effects on male reproductive health (although I can't find any solid evidence of this).
So what is an eco-mom to do? Well, there is always elimination communication which essentially means I potty train a 3 month old and thus eliminate the whole need for diapers, but I'm a little skeptical of this process. What happens when your at the grocery store and you notice that lil nugget has to use the potty but you can't communicate with him to hold it? So I'm not sure that's a viable option right now. Although I'm willing to hear what people think of it.
For me cloth would be a nightmare, I already have to battle the smell of a litter box. I really don't want to battle the smell of dirty cloth diapers sitting around until I can either wash them or have a service to pick them up.
So whats the plan? A new little diaper is on the move folks! It's a hybrid, so to speak, of cloth and disposable. They are called gDiapers and they are like cloth on the outside, but on the inside they have snap in liners and flushable inserts. When baby soils, you just flush the insert, and put in a new one or for major soilage remove and wash the liner. The outside needs only be washed occasionally (as often as babies normal clothes) and therefore reduces laundry. So I'm very enthusiastic about the whole thing and can't wait to try them out. As an added bonus they are super cute! Way cuter than either cloth or disposable.
For occasions when a 'spoise would be much more convenient (i.e. childcare, and travel) Seventh Generation makes a low chemical, more enviro-friendly 'spoise (as well as great chlorine-free wipes) that I plan to have on hand as well.
So that's the plan!! Now you know!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I am now obviously pregnant in almost everything I wear, and people notice quite frequently. Walking the halls people tend to look to the belly first, then up to the face, then smile. Wait, when I said people I really mean women, men don't tend to notice as much for whatever reason. So I've gotten used to this and try to smile back instead of just looking simple and confused. Normally I have to monitor the surface in front of me so as not to trip (years of dance lessons but still no grace) but in the halls I'm able to look up at people.
That said, this morning I gave in to the decaff iced coffee cravings I've been having and picked one up on my walk to school. This time of year as the weather gets nice (we have a high of 68 today!!!) iced coffee is a typical staple for me I just love it, but its more the cream and sugar than the caffeine apparently because switching to decaff works just as well. Anyway, I'm walking up the sidewalk with my decaff iced coffee and I notice the smiles I usually get have been replaced by looks of horror. Holy judgmental people (oops again just women)!!! Now they spot the belly and on their way up to the face spot the iced coffee and eyes go wide with fright. Wow, I guess I will have to enjoy my little indulgence in the safety of my own home and not in view of the judgmental public. Whoa baby!
Side note: Someone asked me how I knew it was decaff and I was very surprised by this. Decaff tastes totally different (and not as good, but slightly masked by copious amounts of cream). Please tell me normal tasters are able to tell the difference too and this isn't just my crazy taste buds.