Tuesday, October 26, 2010


  • It's my birthday! Turned "dirty poo" today - how appropriate! :) On a related note, looks like I'm probably not going to be sharing my birthday with our little one. I'm getting a "divisible by 5" vibe around the date - perhaps Nov 5, 10 or 15?
  • Group B strep results - negatory!
  • Blood pressure up to 118 / 80. Nothing to be concerned with yet but something to monitor. In the meantime, going to try cutting down on sodium. No more TV dinners!!!
  • Awesome "alien foot" action earlier today, but then when I grabbed my camera to make a video she got all coy.
  • Getting super-big and just about ready to pop - up almost 30 pounds now.
  • Also getting quite tired. It's becoming increasing difficult to work a full 8-hour day. Taking 1 vacation day per week recently has definitely been the way to go!! Can't believe I have a mere 3 days of work left - last couple months have whizzed by!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Milestone & Exercise

By all estimates, I have reached full term (37+ weeks) today! I am mostly elated but also a wee bit daunted by this fact. On the one hand, a month and a half ago I felt it might be challenging to make it to 34 weeks, let alone full term. On the other, despite the fact that we WERE granted this time, it still feels like there are remaining baby items to buy/prep, more books to read and labour preparation exercises to go through! Guess one never feels 100% prepared - but I'd like to get to about 99.3% *nods*.

In terms of labour prep, one of the challenges is that I wasn't really able to exercise for a good 3-4+ weeks back when preterm labour was a real possibility. Once I got to about the 35 week mark, however, my OB had become quite optimistic and reassuring and I decided that the benefits of getting back into exercise outweighed any remaining risks at that point. On that note, Chris and I bought a "birth ball" and I've started doing some strengthening exercises on it. There are lots of good youtube vids demonstrating the different techniques, so I've been following some of these. I'm also working my way through Active Birth and it's terrific - very practical information on which exercises & positions are beneficial during pregnancy and each stage of labour, and why. The more I read, the further I'm convinced that a) (assuming we reach our goal of an unmedicated birth) I'm not about to be strapped down on my back to deliver our child and b) (related to the previous point) I would very much wish to forego the standard pitocin drip administered to help deliver the placenta. A quote from AB on the latter point:

"Administering pitocin to induce contractions of the uterus is rarely necessary if the mother has given birth in an upright position and her baby has not been separated from her. Pitocin may be needed to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage when the morther has been lying down during labor, when she has had an anesthetic or other drug that reduces the ability of the uerus to contract spontaneously, or when she and the baby are separated at birth and the normal hormonal secretion is thus disturbed. When postpartum hemorrhage occurs, Pitocin is very useful in stopping it, but giving birth actively diminishes the chance of such an occurrence." 1

When I brought up this item on my birth plan several weeks back, my OB was quite adament about adhering to this particular standard (due to the risk of postpartum hemorhage), so I'm going to revisit it with her next week in conjunction with the above information to see if she's willing to reconsider.

1. Balaskas, Janet. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally. Boston: Harvard Common Press, 1992.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New haircut and updated belly pic!

Just over 36 weeks - taken the other day:

Hospital tour & goodies!!!

Yesterday we had our tour of the birthing wing at Grand River Hospital along with about 6 other couples. It was a relatively uneventful evening - heard a couple babies crying but no mamas screaming their way through active labour (fine by me - we had our fill of that several weeks back during our Triage visit.) The birthing rooms aren't bad, but I'm definitely not a fan of the position they generally require women to deliver in. Seriously, who came up with the idea of laying a woman on her back with her feet raised UP in stirrups for the delivery? The last time I checked, gravity causes things to fall downward, not parallel to the earth. I'm in the middle of Active Birth right now, and it's really convincing me that there are much better birthing positions. I just hope the medical staff are receptive to some of these alternatives, as I believe this choice should be made by the labouring woman and her birth partner(s) based on what is working best for her (as long as it isn't dangerous and doesn't prevent access to receive the baby) as opposed to what is the most convenient for the staff. But I digress.

Here are a few things we learned during the tour:
- Every birthing room is equipped with a shower and a nice, deep bath tub. Cool!
- Yes, you can wear your own clothes during labour & delivery though gowns are available if desired. (Not sure who would prefer a gown, but anyway.)
- Bringing other stuff to help with labour such as your own birthing ball, extra pillows, etc. is supported and encouraged.
- Grand River's Caesarean rate is 25%. Yikes. Apparently that's up from 16% several years back since more and more women are choosing to schedule c-sections now. (Apparently they will support VBACs, but it's not the standard or the preferred approach.)
- The labouring woman is only allowed to have clear fluids. Eff that. Chris is gonna sneak me in some tasty stuff ;) (shhhhhh)
- On a related note, that's NOT an ice *cream* machine in the kitchenette. Dammit.

All in all, we're feeling pretty good about having our little one at Grand River. Generally speaking, the staff are super nice, our experiences have been positive there so far and it seems we won't have trouble with the vast majority of items on our birth plan. Just a couple sticklers left to work through. :)

In other news, two packages were waiting for us when we got back home last night! First of all, our Bummis cloth diapering kit! Yay! Check out all the goodies and look how cute the covers are!

(Note - the diapers on the left are the AMP duo pockets I bought previously, but everything else here came in the kit!)

Also received our NoseFrida! Found this sucker (pun very much intended) a few weeks back when I was looking for a good aspirator to add to our registry. Evidently so many people have issues with the bulb aspirators either not working or being uncomfortable for their babies that I looked for an alternative. This thing has rave reviews (despite its grossness) and appears to work like a charm, so I thought we'd give it a whirl! Is it wrong to say I'm looking forward to our little one getting a bit snotty so we can try it out? :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shower weekend & nest-tivities

This past weekend was both fun & productive! We were lucky enough to be thrown two showers - the first with work folks on Friday and the second with friends and family on Saturday. Chris was involved in the planning for the work shower but it was a complete surprise for me. He managed to pull the wool over my eyes by setting the pretext that we were going to the local police station to get the car seat inspected and then meeting his mom for brunch at The Waterlot. Prior to the inspection, however, he wanted to drop in and "check out the brunch menu". Thinking nothing of it, I trudged in there after him and the hostess led us to a private room where everyone was waiting - surprise!! It took me a moment to process everything and then I got all teary - ahhhh, hormones :) Lunch was delicious, and Pat was awesome enough to not only make the drive from Toronto but create a beautiful and delectable baby-themed cake for us! We got some great gifts, including the hamper and other items we registered for, and a plethora of cute outfits. Pics here.

Saturday was shower #2 hosted by my bestest gal Maryana! Lots of folks made it from both my side and Chris' side of the family as well as close friends. 7 li'l kiddies as well - our generation is becoming quite prolific! :) As usual, Maryana outdid herself with a cornucopia of tasty food and amusing shower games, from "guess the baby food" to "pin the soother on 'baby' Chris"! Mom contributed some delicious nibbles too. Following the shower, I joined Yang, Rajib and Logan for dinner and catching up at the Lotus Tea House, and then spent more time shootin' the crap with the rest of my girls (Maryana, Ange and Kelly) . Didn't get back home until after 1 AM.

On Sunday I began to go through the wonderful array of gifts and nesting kicked in full force! Unpackaging, sorting, laundry, assembling, organizing - oh my! :) Last night I put together an inventory of the main things we still needed and today I made a trip to Babies R Us and picked up some of these remaining "essentials" - change pad cover, ultimate crib sheet, Halo sleep sack, nursing pads and bassinet fitted sheet. Following some more nesting-esque preparation, the nursery is now just about ready from a functional standpoint; next comes the fun part where we give it some personality! Chris found a funky baby art project idea online that is cheap (in terms of materials), results in some great decorative pieces for the nursery and is something young children can help out with. We're going to "recruit" Hailey and Avery to take part if we decide to do the project :)

In other news, my sleeping patterns continue to be wonky. Take right now - it's 1:25 AM and I'm just starting to get tired (though blogging has helped). On the flip side, I go through periods of sleepiness during the day - usually in the late afternoon. The bod's definitely getting ready!

Finally, my "fundal height" has now increased to the point where my belly is literally chafing against my boobs, and the area in between has gotten kinda itchy and irritated. Any other moms out there experience this?? Methinks it's just about time to ditch the underwire and switch to my new nursing bra. *nods*

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cloth diapering - Part 2!

Alrighty, so following my last post on the topic, I did a crap load (no pun intended) more research, plugged in some costs and ended up deciding on a thriftier alternative to a complete set of one-sizers in the form of the Bummis Organic Cotton Diaper Kit (infant size).

Bummis is a popular, reputable cloth diapering company based in the Montreal area, and their products get good to great reviews. The organic diaper kit is one of their newer products and is based on a prefold diapering system. For those unfamiliar with types of cloth diapering, this is a two-part system consisting of a thick, absorbent inner layer (the prefold) and a water-proof outer layer (the cover). There are many benefits to prefolds including the following:
  • They are versatile; you can fold them in different ways to accommodate the size, shape and elimination patterns of your baby and also depending on day or night use.
  • Covers can generally be reused a few times (unless they're pooped on, which is fairly unlikely if the prefold is used effectively). This means you need to buy fewer of these than the prefolds (about 1 cover for every 3 to 4 prefolds) and you don't need to do as much laundry!
  • Speaking of laundry, prefolds are easier to launder and dry more quickly than all-in-ones and other styles.
  • In terms of covers, there are so many combinations of cute patterns and material types to choose from which makes things fun!
  • Finally, prefolds are the most economical option, costing less than half of what you'd pay for a full all-in-one or pocket diapering system.
So what's the catch? Well, there's a bit more of a learning curve to get the hang of this system in the first place, they're not as convenient as pockets and all-in-ones (and in fact, some daycare facilities may refuse to use them) and the diapers tend to be a bit bulkier on baby's bum which may make some clothes fit awkwardly. The first of these points doesn't really concern me, and there's a solution to the 2nd and 3rd points - supplementing prefolds with a smaller number of pockets and/or AIOs which are basically just as convenient as disposables. So that's what I decided to do! (More on that in a bit.)

I feel the need to rave about the Bummis kit a bit more. It contains so many goodies! :) In addition to the 24 prefolds, it contains 6 covers in a selection of great colours/patterns, disposable and reusable liners (to help with heavier pooptuations), a great big "fabulous wet bag" (which is supposed to be AWESOME) and a couple extras - a snappi (an easy-to-use alternative to pins for fastening various fold types) and a sample of bum bum balm, a diaper cream made from organic ingredients that is compatible with cloth diapering. I ended up ordering the kit from bynature.ca since EBS didn't have any in stock.

In the interest of supplementing with some more convenient diapers, I bought a couple AMP one-size duo pockets along with some hemp and bamboo inserts from EBS. I was originally leaning toward Bum Genius as it's a great brand that CDing parents love, however ended up grabbing the AMPs as reviews appear to be equally glowing (if not more so) and it's a Canadian company. I'll try out the two for now but probably grab a few more to round out the collection once little one is here. I also may buy a couple more covers if baby turns out to be a heavy wetter - wool and fleece are good options here.

In terms of storage and laundering, I bought some Country Save detergent and decided on the dry pail method of storage since we have a front load washer (it sounds like a messy PITA to deal with transporting wet diapers into a front loader). The fabulous wet bag which comes with the Bummis kit will either work well on its own for storage, or as a liner in a diaper pail (need to decide on this part still.) I'll probably grab a second big bag and one or two smaller bags for outings as well. The biggest challenge will likely be getting the dipes cleaned properly in the washer, because as awesome as front loaders are for "regular" laundry, they're not generally as effective as top loaders for CD laundry due to the fact that they use less water (ironic, isn't it?) That said, there are grillions of blog entries and forum posts out there detailing what has worked well for others w/ front load washers, so I'm confident we'll get this whole thing ironed out.

Holy crap (again, no pun intended) I've gone on about diapers for awhile! :) Time to join Chris for an episode or two of Ally McBeal!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Been having some weird/bad dreams recently. Themes have been baby-related (e.g. a few days ago I had one where baby came early and was super-small, then didn't want to be close to me at all, preferring her Dad instead), work-related and general rejection-related. They're reminiscent of dreams I've had during "dark" periods in the past when I've in all likelihood been suffering from a mild to moderate depression. My skin has also been breaking out a bit more over the last little while and I've been bitchier than normal, so I suspect that hormonal fluctuations may be playing a role here as my body gets ready to inject baby into the world. I'd felt so emotionally strong and even during the vast majority of my pregnancy and it was GREAT, however now I'm starting to wonder how I'll feel during the postpartum period. No use worrying about it per se at this point - all I can do is treat my body well, think positive thoughts and do positive things - which is what I'm doing! :)

Time to make a turkey soup from all the wonderful leftovers from two delicious Thanksgiving dinners. LOOOOVE soup days!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cloth diapering

I've been learning about cloth diapering now for over a month. I think that historically, I always assumed we'd just use the "standard" disposable diaper approach, however upon doing some research my opinion has swayed. The top two reasons I'm seriously considering this option are the reduced environmental footprint (which can be significant if the clean & care process is managed effectively and if the diapers are reused for another child) and the health of baby's skin. Additional benefits include saving some $$ (again, depending mainly on the factors cited above) and the likelihood of potty-training earlier (though evidence for this admittedly appears to be anecdotal).

So what's next?

The first thing I'm going to do is buy some baby and cloth diaper-friendly laundry detergent. Even if we don't end up cloth diapering long-term, we'll still want to wash the rest of baby's clothes in detergent that is free of harsh elements such as fragrances, dyes and brighteners. This site contains an awesome detergent comparison chart. I'm currently leaning toward the Country Save powdered detergent as a first go because it received the highest rating on the chart, is cheaper than most/all of the others with this rating and gets terrific reviews.

Secondly, I'd like to at the very least buy a small number of trial diapers if not go all the way and purchase 2+ days worth (at least 24 diapers). I've essentially decided that one-size is the best option for us. Although they are more expensive upfront, they grow with baby and (generally speaking) are very easy to use - similar to disposables. I'm currently researching various brands that are sold at the Extraordinary Baby Shop including BumGenius, Fuzzi Bunz and GroVia. They all appear to be high-quality products and well-reviewed. I'm not yet sure whether we'll stick to a single brand or try at least a couple of them.

Third, we need to decide on our cleaning approach. I'm currently inclined toward laundering at home due mainly to the cost of cleaning services, though there are many considerations to iron out including storage approach (wet vs. dry pail), whether or not we install a mini-bidet (I like the idea of this and my co-worker who cloth diapers is enthusiastic about hers, however hubby is less than thrilled at the prospect of "spraying poo water all over the bathroom" :) ), how many and what type of wash cycles, drying options, etc. That said, we could always start with one approach and make adjustments based on hands on learning coupled with more research. I don't think home care necessarily needs to be a huge PITA - just a matter of figuring out a system that works efficiently for your household & lifestyle.

Finally, there's the issue that some child care facilities do not embrace cloth diapering so we'd need to keep this in mind as well (either choosing an option that does, or being willing to do a combination of cloth & disposable diapering).

So that's about where we're at now. More to come on this!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Belly pics

Since every mom-to-be loves looking at dozens and dozens of these. (Right?) :)

16 weeks - starting to show a tad (or else I just ate a lot that day!)

19 weeks - a li'l bump happening!

20 weeks - I popped overnight!

26 weeks - "no question" territory - strangers beginning to ask me when I'm due & such :)

29 weeks - Baby must've been in a weird position as my belly looks very pointy here!

31 weeks - This dress makes me look HUGE! (And Chris appears to agree with this!)

31 weeks - First-person belly view! Toes slowly but surely disappearing :)

(Just under) 33 weeks - Continuing to expand...

More to come...

Nursery prep, registry changes and more research...

This past Sunday, I reached a milestone - 34 weeks! By this point, baby's lungs are pretty much fully developed, so if she were to make her arrival now, in all likelihood she'd be just fine! Next milestone - 37 weeks when she'll be considered full term! That's just 2 1/2 weeks away - wow!!

Since we've managed to reach this point and things have been so stable recently, I felt like it would be OK to do some nursery prep this weekend. Sharyn (Chris' mom) helped me do a whackload of laundry on Friday - baby clothes, blankets, covers from various baby paraphernalia, etc. On Sunday, I put the items back together and started organizing the clothes into Baby's dresser. Then I spent quite a while researching more gear, and ended up making substantial changes to the registry. I can get a tad obsessive about this stuff ;) One of these days I'd like to blog on the choices we made for key baby gear - let's see if I can drum up the motivation for this one!

I also perused natural childbirth and baby-related books on Amazon for quite awhile this past Saturday. I've already learned a fair amount about natural childbirth through our prenatal classes and various books. The best book I've read on this topic (by far) is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It convinced me via detailed descriptions & compelling statistics that natural is the way to go (if possible), and that a woman's body is truly designed to give birth! As I read, I felt any fear I'd previously had about childbirth melt away and be replaced with a sense of calm and direction. The book also contains dozens of inspiring birth stories. Highly recommended reading for any woman considering a natural childbirth (or simply wanting to learn more about it!)

That said, although I found the tips from class helpful and thoroughly enjoyed Ina May's book, I thought I would benefit from learning more comprehensive labour management preparation techniques. I decided on the following two books:

Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally - focuses on physical labour management - effective positions, massage, etc. - and teaches women how to follow their own instincts and take control of their birthing experience.

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method - focuses on inward aspects of labour management - relaxation, imagery and meditation. Also includes a birth exercise CD. For awhile I was undecided on hypnobirthing vs. the Bradley method (as support on discussion forums appeared to be pretty equally divided) but opted for hypnobirthing thanks to YouTube's plethora of videos showing women coping extremely well during transition while employing this method.

I also grabbed the following three books on baby care & development:

The Mother of All Baby Books: An All-Canadian Guide to Baby's First Year - I've already read through most of this (borrowed from library) and it's a great reference for baby care fundamentals - breast feeding, bathing, medical information, solids, etc. I'd imagine most of this will quickly become second nature once Baby is here, however it should prove helpful during the early days when we're fumbling through everything. :) That said, the medical chapter and a few others should have more longevity, plus the fact that it's geared to Canadians is a bonus!

Bright from the Start - Information on nurturing little one's intellectual potential, including scientific data and age-appropriate games and activities to play with her. (I've said at least a couple times in the past that if/when I had kids I looked forward to "doing experiments" on them - while that specific phrasing now sounds cold and clinical, I'm definitely excited to observe our child learning and discovering new skills, both as a result of engaging with people and self-exploration.)

I attempted to order Baby Hearts as well (which discusses emotional development in babies and toddlers and has great reviews), however it was listed with a much later shipping date so I'll pick it up later.

I love immersing myself in this whole new world of learning and knowledge! In an odd way, I'm actually looking forward to the experience of labour, and I get super excited and emotional thinking about the moment when we get to meet our little one for the first time. :D :D What an exciting journey!!