Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pregnancy annoyances...

There were a few things I prepared to be annoyed by during this pregnancy but so far, I'm not annoyed.

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

Jones Births

Andreas comment on my birthing class blog got me thinking.. I don't know anything about how 'Jones' women give birth. I know about my mothers, her sisters and mothers and of course my sisters, but being in the east coast contingent I don't know anything about how the women on my fathers side give birth. So Jones women if you are reading this I would love to hear your stories. Thanks!

What it feels like to be me 29 wks pregnant

I almost titled this what it feels like to be 29wks pregnant but then I remembered that no two pregnancies are alike so with I feel like 29wks pregnant may not be a great representation of what others feel like. Once again, the short answer to "How are you feeling" is great. Aside from the fact that I've had a cold the last few days the pregnancy isn't too much trouble these days. However, 'Great' isn't the answer you are really looking for if you're reading this (if it is stop reading!), so I'll try to outline some of the symptoms I'm currently experiencing.
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

Birthing Class

Sean and I had our birthing classes this past weekend. We elected to take them in one weekend (Sat and Sun 10-2) instead of going one night a week for 2 hours, for 5 consecutive weeks. I will be honest in telling you I wasn't looking forward to it. I didn't know really what to expect but I knew there would be birth videos involved and I would get an up close and personal look at what was actually going to happen when the baby decides to be born. Simply walking into the room with all the diagrams and pictures I turned to Sean and said "I've changed my mind I don't want to give birth". Obviously I was kidding but it was definitely intimidating. However, in the end, the classes were really very helpful and I feel a whole lot better about what is going to happen and how we are going to deal with it.
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

Being Pregnant in Grad School

Being pregnant in grad school wasn't really in my 5-yr plan, in that I figured by the time we actually got pregnant I would be so close to finishing it wouldn't really matter. Fate had other plans and here I am 7 months pregnant and not within 3 months of finishing. That said it is working out pretty well, all things considered. The male faculty in my department specifically have been really supportive and excited, my supervisor included (although I'm sure this is not an ideal situation for him either). For the most part it is the female faculty that I get the majority of the sideways glaces from and they generally don't acknowledge it at all. There are a few exceptions to this but overwhelmingly the case. Many of the women in my department are from the generation where in order to succeed as a woman in science you had to give up being a woman. My generation of women scientists insists on more than that and I really think I can have my family and my career. I'll let you know how it goes. For now I'm still a grad student. I plan on being in the lab through June when it becomes too uncomfortable to travel everyday and then I'll be here once a week when I come in for drs appointments. I'll be working from home until classes start again in September at which point I plan on being at school two days a week. And what will I do with the blueberry you ask? As of right now he will be watched by my upstairs neighbor. She offered a while ago and I haven't seen her since so I'm assuming the offer still stands. We bought our apartment from them and they moved upstairs to a three bedroom. She has four children total, but only the youngest three live with her full time, the oldest of which is a boy who I would guess to be about 12/13 maybe a little younger. Then she has two girls around 6 and 3 ish. She wanted to get a job outside the home but didn't really want to leave her youngest in day care, so she thought she might start babysitting! Works out great for me, plus shes bi-lingual and her kids are all bi-lingual (Spanish) so hopefully the nugget will pick that up.
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

Full disclosure

After realizing that I link to a lot I decided to look into it and see if there was a way to get commission from the links. Lo and behold there is!! So I'm now earning money if you happen to click through my link to Amazons page, put an item in your cart and purchase it within 24hrs. I think I've done it correctly but I have no idea. Don't feel obligated to buy something so I make the 4% I just figured since I'm posting the links anyway I might as well get a little payback if someone actually takes my recommendation and buys something. I'm not told anything about the purchaser just that someone followed a link and bought an item I recommended.
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.

Lovin' this book

I purchased Growing Up Green: Baby and Child Care: Volume 2 in the Bestselling Green This! Series (Green This!) by Deirdre Imus as I told you last week. It arrived at my front door this morning as I was leaving for work so I read the first 25ish pages on my way to work. If you are considering making changes to 'detox' your life in preparation for a baby or because you have children, you should seriously buy this book. Her opening letter to parents says everything I've been trying to say only its actually well written and poignant and has more facts to back up the claims that its because of all the crap we are eating, breathing and living in that our childhood diseases are on the rise. Like everything I've been saying, the point isn't to scare you it is to educate you. You can't fix something you don't realize is broken. This book covers pre-pregnancy to college and I can see myself looking back at it for years to come. It even covers the ever popular vaccine issue, I'm interested to hear her take on it since its a hot topic right now. Anyway, as of this moment, 25 pgs in I am seriously impressed and I think this is a must have for anyone trying to make the switch to a healthier life and home environment. So go buy it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baby Bump 28wks

Another two weeks have gone by so here is the latest photo. Sorry I was just too tired to think about changing my clothes for this picture so this will have to do. This is not a maternity shirt so it doesn't have the extra fabric in front making it look a little short (today was laundry day so I didn't have as many options as I normally do)

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.

Happy Earth Day!!

So what are you doing for earth day?!?! This was a question I pondered for a bit over the last few weeks. I knew I should do something, take a step to make a small change. So a considered a few things. While I would love to plant a tree, I don't' have a yard so that's not really an option. So I did some 'looking' at the areas of my life where I fail to live 'greenly', and I came up with two big ones that are really 'everyday' things. 1) I don't use re-usable shopping bags 2) I carry bottled water to the office everyday (yes of course I recycle the bottles but that's just not enough anymore). Both of these things are basically because I've put off the purchases of re-usable shopping bags and re-usable (and safe) water bottles because I've been doing 'research'. So that was my goal for today, purchase at least one of the two aforementioned items. This wasn't an easy task, I spent a lot of time looking at different varieties of each and deciding what would work best for me. I've decided to postpone the purchase of re-usable bags, for reasons I won't go into but it includes the fact that they would make great 'green' wrapping paper. However thanks to greenmomfinds I found some really cute ones that I will probably eventually purchase. and Both have fun and stylish bags that don't say things about how "I'm better than you because I re-use my shopping bag." I try to maintain a non-judgmental stance on the issue and don't want a bag that is pretentious. I do what I do because I want to and it works for me, you have to figure out what works for you.
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

Horray Horray!!

Three new things have happened with BPA.
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

Chemicals in Cosmetics follow up.

As I sit at my computer allowing MATLAB to chug through some of my data (resetting occasionally to give it a new file) I've been reading through some of my favorite green blogs. I added a few to the side bar if you are interested.. But I found this article

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.

BPA in the news again

The more they look the more they realize this chemical is bad for babys.

Monday, April 14, 2008

27 Week Check Up.

Not much to say about this mornings visit to the doctor. I met the second doctor in the practice and she was very nice. The baby's heartbeat was good, my blood pressure was good and I'm measuring correctly.. the problem... I've gained 36lbs and I'm only 27 weeks along. Before I even said anything she told me I have to cut out the ice cream, apparently it is the downfall of all pregnant women. The current problem now is what do I do with the mega box of Klondike bars in the freezer. I would be okay I think if it just wasn't in the house, but come on. On top of that I made cupcakes for the lab today to celebrate a birthday so I have another 10 or so cupcakes in the house that I'm not supposed to eat. I honestly don't feel like I'm eating that much more than I used to but the scale doesn't lie and I've put on 5 lbs in TWO weeks. That is a bit crazy. If I can limit the weight gain to 1.5 lbs a week from here on out I will still have gained 51 lbs by the end. So much for my 35lb goal!!

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

Lets talk Cosmetics, Creams and Fragrances.

I came across this website while doing baby research but it actually applies much more globally than babies. Lets face it our current government is quite flawed, and many government agencies that are supposed to be acting in accordance with our (the people's) best interest are being 'bought' by lobbyists and big businesses to make sure that we (the people) don't find out that they are using the cheapest (insert anything here) instead of the safest. Now I'm not going to go crazy and get all 'conspiracy theory' on you but we have to acknowledge that the system is flawed if we are going to do anything about it. You are now thinking 'what the heck does this have to do with cosmetics and/or baby's?'

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

My kids won't be deprived!!

I just found a great product, but I won't be using it for years yet. I have an unusual hatred for the smell of play-doh and have always insisted that I would not have it in my house, no matter how many times Kristeen buys it for my kids. I just found a website that sells organic play-doh that they say smells GOOD! It is way more expensive than the regular kind but at least my kids won't miss out on play-doh.

The cutest kid ever

My sister is slow to post (or not planning on it) so I'm showing off my nephew. I currently have this picture as my desktop background and it makes me smile everytime it pops into view. I thought I would share a smile with you. Oh I just love my lil punkin.

Thanks for the pics Mom!! Nice catch! I love the litte finger point .. 'yeah man!'

Monday, April 7, 2008

26 week baby bump

Here I am 26 weeks pregnant, and wearing new clothes. The top is h&m mama ($7.90) and the bottoms are motherhood maternity ($19.99). I was wearing a different top but the stripes did funny things to the camera so I changed. The bump is definitely getting a lot of attention lately, although I get equal parts of "you aren't making it to July" and "you're not very big for 6mos.".

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

Maternity Wear

I just went shopping today for new maternity pants (round 2, yep I grew out of some already) and tops (mostly round 1), so I thought this would be a good time to answer Elaine's question about maternity clothes. I will tell you what has worked for me, but since I am a bit of an unusal fit (aren't we all?!) I won't make any claims that what has worked for me will work for anyone else. I had to buy all new pants right around 10weeks, very early according to the books I have but I wasted no time packin on the pounds. After squeezing into ill fitting pants for a few weeks, I found the elastic wasteband to be VERY confortable. The whole lack of a button pressing on your belly was a God-send.
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

More on Furniture.

While at Barnes and Noble today I looked at "The Complete Organic Pregnancy", and found a small snippet on Ikea. I've been trying to find information out about Ikea's cribs since I started searching but couldn't seem to find anything on their website about what glues they used. In this book it states that Ikea refrains from using all formaldehyde based glues and thus the cribs and furniture are safe(er) for baby. If anyone can find this on their website I would appreciate it if you could let me know. What I did find was that they abide by the strictest chemical laws of whatever countries they sell furniture in and apply those laws to all their products regardless of what country it is ultimately sold in. Unfortunately I know nothing about international law, but I do know that California has started banning the use of formaldehyde in some products and Ikea has stores their. I would also guess that many European countries have tighter regulations than the US does. So there you have it... Ikea cribs are available for bargain prices and are probably formaldehyde free (solid wood plus formaldehyde free glue)... now if only they didn't make such silly looking changing tables!

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

The Great Diaper Debate

As a soon to be mom, and an eco-concerned adult a great big question mark in my future has been 'What diapers am I supposed to use?' You have the convenience of disposables ('sposies) vs the "eco-friendly" cloth diaper. So I turn to Dr. Greene (his real name as I understand it) and "Raising Baby Green" to help me decide what is best. Well the research is in, they tested all kinds of traditional 'sposies as well as cloth to see which were the more environmentally friendly option...the results... they both SUCK, they just suck for different reasons.
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

Social Commentary

Quick post because I should be analyzing data, but this struck me as funny this morning so I have to share.
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.