Tag Archives: baby

Seeing a midwife does not mean I’m giving birth in a hut in the woods

One of the funniest things I’ve noticed throughout my pregnancy is how little people know about midwives — especially young people who haven’t yet considered having children and older people who gave birth during a time when hospital births and obstetricians were pretty much the only option in the United States.

Midwives are still much less common than obstetricians in the United States — in 2003 only 8% of births were attended by midwives. That’s likely gone up in the past 7 years as natural birth has become increasingly popular, but the majority of births are still attended by obstetricians. This leads to a lot of misconceptions about midwives.

I don’t know if it’s because the word sounds New Agey or what, but when I tell people I’m seeing a midwife, they often make the following assumptions:

  • I am planning a homebirth.
  • I am somehow opposed to modern medicine.
  • I’m taking a great risk with my health and the health of a baby by refusing the care of a doctor.
  • I’m a crazy hippie lady who wants to give birth in a hut in the woods.

None of the above assumptions is true.

I’m sure most of you reading this are quite familiar with midwives and what they do, because I have smart readers. But I just want to clarify for my own sanity.

Midwives are modern care providers. They are highly educated nurse practitioners who happen to specialize in child birth and female reproductive health. Instead of medical school, they attend a graduate program in midwifery — a form of medical school condensed to include specialized education in caring for pregnant women and female reproductive health. Because they’re not learning a variety of specialties, their education is shorter, but still comprehensive.

Midwives typically have a different style than obstetricians. Because they are nurses and birth attendants, they often stay with patients throughout the labor rather than showing up to catch the baby at the end. (I’m sure there are obstetricians that also do this, but it’s less common.)

Midwives are also more likely to encourage natural birth practices such as unmedicated birth, but that doesn’t mean they’re not qualified or capable of administering pain medication during birth if you choose to have it. Choosing a midwife does not limit you to a natural birth, but if you want a natural birth, choosing a midwife can make it easier for you to achieve it.

Choosing a midwife also doesn’t mean you’ll be giving birth outside of the hospital. Most midwives have hospital privileges.

Midwives also deliver at freestanding birth centers and some do home births. Freestanding birth centers are sterile, modern medical facilities that are often dressed up to provide a more homey atmosphere than a hospital. They are not huts in the woods. Women who choose freestanding birth centers always have an emergency back-up plan in place to transfer them to a hospital in a hurry in the event of complications. However, complications are rare, because midwives generally only care for women with low-risk pregnancies.

Midwives cannot perform surgery, so if an emergency c-section is required, a surgeon will need to perform it. The good news is, all midwives are affiliated with obstetricians, which means there is likely a doctor on call within their practice who can take over if you become high risk or a c-section becomes necessary. Because they’re unable to perform the surgery themselves, midwives are less likely to push for unnecessary c-sections.

I don’t think home birth is for me, but I would have liked to use the birth center affiliated with my midwives’ practice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t covered by my insurance, so I’ll be giving birth in the hospital.

So you see, midwives aren’t just for crazy hippie ladies who want to birth in a hut. It’s just another option for prenatal care and delivery.

If you’re considering getting pregnant in the near future, and you’re not familiar with midwifery, definitely look into it as an option for you! I have been so happy with the care I’ve received from my midwives. It’s possible that you’ll decide to stick with an obstetrician for your prenatal care, but you should be aware of all of your options in case it turns out that a midwife would better suit your needs.

If you suffered complications during your birth and you’re facing a medical negligence claim, be sure to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Photo by jonlarge

What not to say to a pregnant lady (or any lady for that matter)

I’m going to try really hard not to rant. We’ll see how it goes.

I will be 34 weeks pregnant tomorrow. THIRTY FOUR. My mom gave birth to my two older sisters — both perfectly healthy with no preemie complications — around 36 weeks. When I think about that, it kind of blows my mind.

As uncomfortable and huge as I feel, the possibility that I could have this baby in 2-3 weeks sort of makes me panic. I’d be happy if he came in about a month. I’m sure I won’t be any more prepared in an extra two weeks, but right now, that sounds reasonable.

That said, I’m not looking forward to another month or two of pregnancy.

It seems the baby and my belly have undergone a pretty extreme growth spurt in the past few weeks. Suddenly, everyone feels compelled to comment on my size. And can I tell you? NOT COOL.

I’m already lumbering around feeling like I have a 20-pound medicine ball under my shirt. I’m uncomfortable. My mid-section and lower back ache constantly from the strain on my muscles. I’m crabby, and I’m not getting any sleep because I toss and turn trying to find a comfortable position for the aforementioned medicine ball strapped to my stomach.

The number on the scale is way higher than it’s ever been in my life, and my body image is at an all-time low. I think every pregnant woman goes through a period where she sees pictures of herself pre-pregnancy and feels compelled to weep in mourning of her formerly fabulous body (no matter how unhappy she was with her body before pregnancy).

So guess what I DON’T need to hear right now? The following comments:

“Wow. SEVEN weeks left? I don’t believe it. Please tell me there’s more than one baby in there.”

“I don’t think it’s possible for you to get any bigger.”

“You look like you’re ready to pop.”

“THAT looks uncomfortable.”

I have actually heard every single one of those comments in the past few weeks from strangers and even well meaning friends and family.

Depending on my mood, who the commenter is, and my level of crabbiness, I’m usually able to muster a reasonably polite response. The CVS cashier who insisted I must be having twins because I’m WAY too huge to be carrying one baby received a bit of a sassy retort. (“No. So nice of you to say that, though.” *death stare*)

Honestly, though. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but what in the world makes people think it’s okay to comment on a pregnant woman’s size? When is it EVER polite to comment on someone’s size? Answer: never. Never ever ever.

While I’m on the topic, guess what else is not okay? Groping a person’s stomach. Unless you’ve been given direct permission, keep your hands off. It may look like a beach ball, but it is a part of my anatomy, and I’d rather you didn’t man handle me.

The bigger I get, the more personal space I require. Unfortunately, there is an inverse relationship between my size and the amount of personal space the general public is willing to allot to me.

I guess I couldn’t resist the urge to rant a little after all. But seriously. Keep your hands off my belly, and shut your trap about how enormous I look. Thank you.

Photo by cglatz

This is where he’ll sleep

Last week, the crib and nursery furniture finally arrived. Over the weekend, my mom was kind enough to come for a visit to help Tony and me FINALLY set up the nursery. The baby could be here as soon as a month from now, so I was anxious to get his space set up.

And now, a tour.

This is the dresser where we’ll keep the metric TON of clothing we have for him. The items on top of the dresser are favorite stuffed animals from when Tony and I were kids. I carried that teddy bear around with me for YEARS, and unfortunately, he’s in need of some repair after several run-ins with my family’s Great Dane. Tony’s elephant, however, is in pristine condition. I imagine he lovingly spot cleaned it each night before tucking it into bed. As for the airplane, it was built and painted for Tony by his grandfather, and I am in love with it.

To the left of the dresser is the manly diaper bag we chose so Tony won’t be emasculated while carrying it for me. To the right, the Boppy pillow I can’t wait to use. There’s also a giant photo collage frame behind the dresser that I’ll eventually do something with.

To the right of the dresser is the crib. It’s incredibly simple, which I love. No drop sides, of course, and no frills. The bumpers will be removed before the baby actually sleeps in the crib, but I’m enjoying them now while I can.

His bedding (affiliate link) is absolutely adorable, even though I know he won’t really be able to use the fluffy comforter.

To the right of the crib is the changing table, which I’m using predominantly for diaper storage. Right now the changing pad is holding a bunch of miscellaneous toys and bath things that don’t have a place yet. The middle shelf is currently holding cloth diapers, diaper covers, and small items like nail clippers and teething rings and things. The canvas storage bins came from Walmart, and they’re so cute and functional. The bottom shelf has our stash of disposable diapers (about a month’s worth), which he’ll wear for the first few weeks until he’s big enough to fit into his cloth diapers.

You can’t really see it, but the view from the window is a pretty little creek where several deer live (one of whom has only three legs). I can’t wait to see how pretty it is when it’s covered in freshly fallen snow.

We moved an old bookshelf into the closet for extra shelving. It’s currently holding blankets, extra crib bedding, towels, pajamas, and new clothing that need to be washed before he can wear them. Not pictured: three giant boxes of clothing sorted by size from 0-3 months to 12 months from Tony’s garage sale-ing grandmother. It’s organized so I’ll easily be able to find what I need as he grows into new sizes.

Since our apartment is pretty small, we have nowhere else to keep our giant bookshelf. So the baby will be sharing his room with books. This makes his English professor father endlessly happy.

And now my favorite part of the nursery. Tony has always been a huge fan of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip by Bill Watterson. He has several best-of compilation books that he kept from his childhood. I asked him to choose four or five of his favorite Sunday strips (since they’re bigger and in full color) to frame for the baby’s room. We cut them out of the books, and Tony carefully matted and framed them using $5 frames. The fourth one is the final comic strip in the series. I absolutely love how they turned out.

It’s such a relief to have everything ready for him. I can’t wait to bring him home!

What kind of detergent do you use for cloth diapers?

I’m not sure how many of my readers are active cloth diapers (or were in the past). But I’m struggling with a dilemma here, and I’m hoping you can help me out.

We’ve always used the cheapest detergent I could find, but we’re going to have to switch to something cloth diaper-friendly now.

Here are the brands I’ve read/heard about that I’m considering:

  • Country Save
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • Rockin’ Green Detergent
  • Original Tide (Most expert sites do not recommend this, but many of the cloth diapering moms in online forums swear that it works well for cloth.)

I liked the idea of Country Save because it’s the cheapest, so I could go ahead and use it for all of our laundry. The problem with Country Save is that I can only find it in unreasonably huge bulk amounts. I’m not sure if it’s going to work for me or the baby, so I’m hesitant to drop $60 on a year’s supply without testing it. I haven’t been able to find it locally.

The other huge problem: hard water. The water in my city has the highest lime content in the state. I’m worried that some of the cheaper detergents (like Country Save and Charlie’s Soap) won’t work as well for us because of our hard water.

I’m strongly considering Rockin’ Green Detergent. It has excellent reviews, it’s particularly environmentally friendly, and Rockin’ Green offers a special formula for hard water. The downside? It’s going to cost about 35 cents a load. Ouch.

To save money, I’m thinking about using the Rockin’ Green for diapers only. I’ve read that using ordinary detergents for the rest of your laundry can cause buildup to accumulate in the washer and affect diaper absorbency. So I’m thinking I might get a cheaper, relatively diaper-friendly detergent like Original Tide to use for the rest of our clothes.

Some commenters have suggested adding Calgon to the wash to combat the hard water. I’m definitely considering this as an option, but I’d like to keep things as simple as possible in the beginning as we adjust to the baby and cloth diapers. I really don’t want to fiddle too much with our washing system right away, so I’m hoping if I choose a high-rated, hard water detergent it will simplify our washing process.

Once I’m used to caring for the baby and washing all those diapers, I will experiment with less expensive brands to find something cost-effective and diaper-friendly. But in the beginning, I want to keep it simple.

So tell me: what detergent do you use for cloth diapers? Do you use the same detergent on all of your clothing? I’m especially interested in your system if you have hard water.

Photo by rickyromero

Break for gratitude

Now more than ever I need to remind myself that as challenging as my days can be lately, I am very very lucky. Instead of complaining today, I’m affirming all of the reasons that I have to feel thankful on the day after my 26th birthday.

  • A medically uncomplicated pregnancy, and the healthy baby boy who will result from it (eventually).
  • My wonderful husband, who is working so hard to provide for us and take care of me on the days when I’m feeling particularly ill.
  • The incredible kindness and generosity of the friends and family who attended our baby shower this weekend, and the bounty of much needed baby items they brought for us.
  • Central air conditioning to keep me cool despite the 85-degree heatwave we’re experiencing in Indiana. (If I wasn’t pregnant, I would tough it out with fans and open windows. Sorry, electric bill. You’re just going to have to deal with a couple days of air conditioner use in October.)
  • The imminent and much anticipated arrival of fall and winter in the Midwest. I’ve missed it so much for the past three years, and I’m so glad I’ll finally be here to enjoy fall foliage, crisp air, and snow.
  • My parents, my sisters, Tony’s family, and our friends for providing us with the support network we missed so much when we were living 800 miles away.
  • Howie, the best dog in the world.
  • My blog readers, who have been so incredibly helpful with tips, encouragement, and inspiration over the past 2 years.
  • Generic Zantac, the midwife-approved medication that is keeping my reflux (somewhat) bearable in the final weeks of this pregnancy. I don’t like taking medication while pregnant, but the Zantac is much more effective and much preferred over 20 Tums a day.
  • Plentiful freelance work that will help us replenish our emergency fund.
  • Pumpkin-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups.
  • Mid-day naps.
  • Thanksgiving, which is rapidly approaching.
  • Only 58 days until my estimated due date. I don’t know for sure that he’ll be here by then, but it feels good to know the end is getting so close.

I’m trying really hard to focus on the positive today. Why are you grateful?

Photo by wenzday01

Tick tock

This week has been … challenging.

After several weeks of feeling relatively okay (compared to the first 6 months of my pregnancy), I was suddenly stricken with nausea the likes I haven’t experienced since early in my first trimester. My midwife says it’s perfectly normal for some women to experience a resurgence of “morning” sickness in the final stages of pregnancy. And of course after my 6 months of nausea in the beginning, I’m one of the lucky women who gets more nausea at the end. Yay me!

All I wanted was to lie around listening to sad music and feeling sorry for myself. But unfortunately, I was up against a deadline for a huge freelance project. So this week has been full of stress and sickness and working anyway. Boo.

This week also marked the beginning of our hospital childbirth class. Since I’m planning an unmedicated birth, I was really nervous about the hospital class. Several natural birth resources advised me to skip it, saying it would only pump my head full of fear with talk of pain and pain medication and C-sections. We decided to take the class anyway, because I wanted to know what I’m up against. If my hospital wasn’t going to be natural birth friendly, I wanted to prepare myself.

I was so relieved to discover that everything I heard about hospital birth classes couldn’t be further from the reality of this class. The hospital I’ve chosen is incredibly natural-birth friendly. One of the few in my state certified baby-friendly based on guidelines set forth by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, the hospital I chose has an astonishingly low epidural rate (under 40%!). So far the class has focused on natural pain management techniques. I’m sure we’ll discuss medicinal approaches at some point, but they don’t seem to assume that every woman will show up looking for the drugs.

Because they’re baby friendly, most of the hospital’s standard policies are also very natural-birth friendly. Their policies combined with my midwife’s low-intervention approach makes me very optimistic about my birth.

My friend Kacie, who’s due with her second baby in December, posted her to-do-before-baby list on her blog today, and it reminded me just how little time I have left. My due date is in roughly two months. I still have diapers to buy, freezer cooking to do (thanks for your suggestions, by the way! I’ll be writing more on that later), deep cleaning in my apartment to tackle, and a baby quilt to finish.

Oh! And then there’s the tiny little task of setting up the nursery, which we haven’t even begun. It’s going to be a busy couple of months, for sure. Once I finish a major writing project that I’m working on, I’m thinking I’ll take some time off from freelancing to prepare for baby and rest up. I just hope my body cooperates, and I don’t lose too many days to nausea.

Despite the long, grueling week that’s almost behind me, there’s a light at the end of it. This weekend we’re headed to my parents’ house to celebrate my baby shower and my birthday on Sunday. I’ll be 26 years old. Eep. The second half of my 20s! Where has the time gone?

Photo by faerie-dust

Gifts from a yard sale master

When we first announced that I’m pregnant, Tony’s incredibly sweet grandmother asked hesitantly how I felt about used items. Apparently, she didn’t want to offend me by giving us used baby stuff if we weren’t into the idea. Pfft. Of course, I told her we LOVE to buy used things and that we’d be incredibly grateful for any gift she bestowed upon us. If it’s used and she can get it for a good price then all the better.

Tony’s grandmother spends a lot of her weekends in the summer hopping from yard sale to yard sale. She finds used items in good condition and haggles the seller down to an even better price. If it’s an item she needs or she knows someone who needs it, she keeps it or gives it away. Otherwise she resells it at her own yearly yard sale for a profit. She’s a smart lady!

Last weekend when we visited Tony’s family, she told us she’d be bringing over all of the baby stuff she scored at yard sales for us this summer. I told her we’d love to see her, but if she’d like to wait until the baby shower to bring the items that would be fine. She said no, she’d rather bring it before the baby shower because she wasn’t sure we’d have room to take everything back home with us in addition to any baby shower gifts.

I assumed she’d picked up a few outfits here and there. Imagine my surprise when Tony and his dad carted in three enormous boxes packed full from his grandparents’ car.


Included in the stash:

  • A metric ton of baby boy clothing in various sizes from newborn to 12 months, including sweaters, onesies, jeans, and pajamas. (The clothing is stacked by size in the photo, so each visible outfit is covering up a ton of other outfits.)
  • A bag full of baby socks in various sizes.
  • Several bibs.
  • Two snowsuits.
  • At least 25-30 cozy blankets and receiving blankets (Maybe more. I didn’t count.)
  • A set of crib bedding with a cute jungle theme.
  • A jungle-themed musical mobile for the crib.
  • Some cute stuffed animals.
  • Not pictured: A bouncer seat, walker, and three strollers.

All of it is in excellent condition (some items even still have store tags on them!) She even pre-washed all of it for me, so the newborn and 3-6 month stuff is ready to be folded and put into his dresser for his arrival home. The rest has been organized by size and stored for future use.

I am absolutely blown away by her generosity and incredible thrift. I’m definitely going to need to get some yard sale-ing tips from her!

We still have TWO baby showers coming up (one for each of our families since they live several hours apart). I almost feel like we’re set for baby clothes, but I know there will likely be more clothing from our friends and family members who attend the baby showers. I have a feeling I’m going to be writing a post about creative storage solutions for small apartments in the near future.

Our cloth diapering game plan

Since we’ll be using cloth diapers, and cloth diapers aren’t particularly easy to add to a registry, I’ve already started to stock up.

Here’s what I’ve collected so far:

I’ve spent about $100 on diapers so far. All of them are brand new.

I think I’m done buying covers and fancy diapers. I may get a couple of Thirsties covers since they’re highly recommended and I’d like to try them, but we’ll see.

Since the Flips, Econobums, and Bummis are all waterproof and easy to wipe clean, they don’t need to be washed after every change. I’ll be able to reuse them a few times a day and just change the prefold diaper. I got the pockets and all-in-one to try them out, but I’m hesitant to stock up since they’re more complicated to wash and take longer to dry. I may buy more later if I really like them, but I’m hoping to mostly use the covers and prefolds method since it’s more economical, and they’re easier to wash and more durable.

Here’s what I still need to buy:

I’m estimating that it will cost another $200 for me to complete my stash. That puts our cloth diapering supplies total at about $300. Not too bad considering these should last us until our baby is potty-trained and perhaps even last until baby #2.

My mom is very skilled with a sewing machine, and when she visited a couple weeks ago, we looked at some patterns for cloth diaper covers together. I know how to sew, but I’m terrible at following the diagrams in patterns. She promised to make me a few diaper covers and diapers and then show me how to do it. I’m excited at the possibility of making cloth diapers for myself at a fraction of the cost, so we’ll see how that goes.

You may have noticed that all of my diapers are “one-size.” According to the manufacturers, all of these diapers should fit babies that weigh 8 pounds and up. If you’re experienced with cloth diapers, though, you probably know that long, skinny babies usually don’t fit into standard one-size diapers until they’re 10-12 pounds. And what if my newborn is only 6 or 7 pounds?

Tony and I both have a family history of big babies, and since we’re having a boy, I’m pretty confident that our little guy will be at least 8 pounds at birth. But who knows? I could go into labor a couple weeks before my “due date” and end up with a tiny 6-pounder.

My point is, we won’t be using cloth diapers from day one. There are “newborn-sized” cloth diapers on the market. However, these diapers are just as expensive as the one-size diapers, and depending on how big my baby is at birth, he may only fit in them for a few weeks. Not a good deal compared to the one-size diapers that will presumably fit him for 2-3 years.

Instead of investing in newborn-sized cloth diapers, I’ll be using newborn and size 1 disposable diapers for the first few weeks until our baby is big enough for his one-size diapers. This will give me a chance to get used to caring for a newborn before I need to learn to care for his cloth diapers.

I want to bargain shop for a few packs of disposable diapers, but it’s so hard to know how many and what size to buy. If he’s at least 8 pounds at birth as I suspect he will be, then he’ll skip the newborn size entirely and immediately fit into size 1s. And he’ll only wear size 1s for about 2-4 weeks. If we end up having a small newborn, he might need a few packs of newborns and more packs of size 1s.

Rather than stressing about it, I’ve decided to keep an eye out for really great diaper deals. If I can get them for cheap, I will, and I’ll save the receipt so I can exchange sizes or return them if necessary. If I don’t have enough disposables to last until he fits into cloth, I’ll suck it up and pay a higher price for a few packs. No biggie. He’ll be in cloth for 2-3 years. Buying a few packs of disposables at regular price won’t kill me.

Do you use cloth diapers? What’s your stash like? Did you use them right away with your newborn?

Photo by vincentmartinez