Posts Tagged ‘pregnant’

My Mother Blessing: Feeling Supported to VBAC

Even though I was pretty into birthy things while I was pregnant with Miles, I feel like there’s a whole universe of information I discovered only after I became a mother. One aspect of the birth-junky universe is the Mother Blessing (sometimes calls a Blessingway).

Our ICAN chapter holds Mother Blessings-of-sort when we know a member is coming to her last meeting before birthing, where other members write up a “blessing” or wish for her during birthing time and string a symbolic bead onto a necklace for her to take with her and remind her we are all right there with her. This was the first I’d heard of such a ritual.

Then, a friend of mine had a Blessingway before the birth of her second child and I was invited! I felt so honored and loved her celebration so much I just knew I had to have one when I got pregnant again.

And so, my friend Emily helped me organize a Mother Blessing.

It was so magical! I wanted mine to be relatively simple (some women choose to include lots of ritual or even prayer, belly casting…there are entire books about Blessingways and Mother Blessings!). I invited about 10 women who are close to me and have been really supportive of my VBAC journey (mainly women I met through ICAN). Emily helped me organize and acted as facilitator for the day.

We sent out invitations explaining that a Mother Blessing is not the same thing as a baby shower. Instead of showering a mama with material gifts, I asked them to bring something nutritious, some wisdom, an affirmation, and a bead/trinket.

At this point, you might be thinking it sounds very intense and crunchy/woo-woo-ey, and you’d be right! But it was beautiful and solemn and it just made me feel so good inside.

me, 36 weeks pregnant with Octagon Flamingos

I asked everyone to share wisdom in terms of positive memories from their birth experience(s) to  fortify my confidence.

Then, I had written out my fears for this birthing (which I’m proud to say wasn’t too terrible since I’ve been doing a lot of fear clearing with my Hypnobabies program). I read the fears aloud, which will never get easier. Initially, I planned to burn the fears in the back yard, but it was raining. So I read them in the living room, ripped them up, and we all blew bubbles to fill that space vacated by the heavy fears with something light and beautiful.

I had bought touchable bubbles, so my living room was FILLED with bubbles for a very long time. (One mama suggested I could stomp the fear-bubbles away like bubble wrap! I chose to leave the bubbles to burst on their own because I liked how they looked and felt all around me–they didn’t feel like fears anymore.)

Next, everyone shared an affirmation or a blessing for me to read as I prepare for this birthing time. My mother and aunts had sent in birth stories and affirmations, which Emily read aloud, too. I liked, for example, how my Aunt Judy reminded me I am strong because I come from strong women.

Each guest had brought a meaningful bead for me (Mom and my aunts mailed beads, too). Lots of times, women string these onto necklaces to wear or look at during birthing, as a focal point. I had decided to knit a womb doll and will most likely pin the beads to my womb to fortify this symbolic body part, hoping to restore my confidence in my body to function in birthing. I might remember to bring it with me to the hospital, but even leading up to the big day I have all these wonderful remembrances of the people supporting me. I am both humbled and strengthened by this support every time I look at it.

Finally, Emily had brought lavender scented henna and painted a tree of life on my belly! Miles finds this tree to be fascinating. I love walking around with it under my shirt, like a secret. Only it’s not terribly secret because I’ve been showing people a lot. In public.

We sent each guest home with a candle to burn during my birthing time, so they can all be with me in that moment, together (which reminds me that I need to get Emily the list of contact info for the people who will need to light candles!). I’ve been burning similar candles for friends lately, and I love the idea that in some small way, I am there with that friend, supporting her. It gives me a lot of peace to know there will be people out there lighting similar candles for me and Octagon.

So that’s my big, sappy overview of my really special ceremony. I wish every woman would get to experience such a thing. I sure hope I get called upon in the future to organize one for someone I love!

PS–all these photos were taken by Shannon of Perceptivity Photography, one of my partners listed on my sidebar!

Posted by on April 17th, 2012 4 Comments

Planning Ahead

We’re driving to NJ+Brooklyn for a wedding, after which Corey and I will return to the ‘burgh and Miles will stay with his grandparents, to be delivered home April 5.

I have so many feelings about this! For starters, I’m fantasizing about all the sleep I’m going to attempt (let’s face it–nobody sleeps well this pregnant). I’m also fantasizing about real dates with my husband, dates that aren’t tainted by concerns about the sitter or worries we’ll get held up or bedtime won’t go well. I mean, our kid will be hundreds of miles away. If bedtime doesn’t go well, there’s nothing I can do but eat more mussels.

I’m going to go to work as early as I want. I might even get to my office at 5am to grade papers. I can do that! I won’t have to drop anybody off at the sitter. Then, I can leave work at 2pm and get my haircut on the way home. Or just sit on a bench. I freaking love starting work early in the day and finishing early in the afternoon. I’d totally work 7-3 if I had a regular job and that were an option.

I plan to not cook a single meal while Miles is gone, which is odd because I love cooking and crave uninterrupted time in the kitchen. But the thought of 3 dinner dates in one week? I mean, we haven’t done that since our honeymoon. And breakfast doesn’t count as cooking, plus I’m going to buy PEANUT BUTTER to eat while my allergic son is away, so PB&J for lunch is about as sexy as my imagination can get.

So yeah, there’s the part of me fantasizing about the luxurious days with nobody chanting, “Mommy! Mommy? Mom? Mom! Mom! MOMMY! MOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!” or needing me to wipe his ass. That part sounds so nice.

But I love the heck out of that little squirrel. Who will wake me up at 6am with delicious non-sequiturs like, “Hey, Mom? There’s a turd in my bottom.” Or maybe, “Can I have the baking powder? I really need it.”

Who will kiss me and lick my arm? Who will applaud when I walk in the door from work? Who will help me grease up my belly so it doesn’t itch? Share my cereal with me? Put my deodorant on me while I floss? Watch me poop and narrate for me? I’m just going to miss him so much.

When we went to Colorado for our college roommate’s wedding in September, Miles stayed with my parents. I would say we spent equal amounts of time enjoying ourselves and missing Miles. Corey and I woke up each morning to look at pictures and videos of him on our phones, imitating his silly sayings, and talking about how much we wanted to hug him.

Perhaps because I was newly pregnant and really couldn’t do much in Crested Butte (everything from high-altitude hiking to hot tubbing to microbrew imbibing was out of the question), I missed Miles more because I was also missing out on the activity around me? Who knows. But pretty much the happiest moment of my life was our reunion at 3am.

He was still awake! And singing “Puff the Magic Dragon!” And all three of us slept and snuggled in one bed and it was just the very bestest of best moments.

That wedding trip and my conference when he was 8 months old (during which I was away from him for exactly 72 hours) are the only overnights I’ve done without my son. Four consecutive nights away from him and 3 entire 24-hr periods of not seeing him = a very big deal for this mama.

If we lived closer to our families and an overnight with Ninny or Mom-mom just meant an overnight, I’d be over the moon about some adult time. It’s the long periods of time away from my bairn that get me all worked up.

I know he’ll have a great time and be in great hands. There are, after all, penguins at Mom-mom and Peppy’s zoo. Plus grandparents are more lenient about things like television and iPhone usage. But he’s my baby! And I only have about 7 more weeks to be the parent of just one child.

I feel bittersweet about this adventure.

Posted by on March 24th, 2012 2 Comments

Let the Practice Waves Begin!

I had a totally scary moment last evening where I began having contractions. Normally, I work really hard to use language from my Hypnobabies tracks to remember that I don’t need to associate negativity and pain with birthing. But these took me totally by surprise and felt like nothing short of contractions.

I had just put Miles to bed after a really intense 6 hours of solo parenting sans nap (for either of us). The moment I sat down on the couch, my body started to freak out. I felt pressure in my pelvis and then the whole front of my baby belly seized up, painfully. Yikes!

I consulted the 3rd-trimester packet from the midwives and proceeded to drink 4 cups of water. Things finally began to calm down just as I was about to make a panicked phone call.

32 weeks seems a little early for my practice waves to begin, and this felt really different from the Braxton Hicks I remember from last time. Those were just a tightening, where this pretty much felt like go-time. My assessment is dehydration.

For some reason, I really struggle to hydrate this pregnancy. Which is so odd for me, because before I had my son I used to be the champion of drinking enough water. My whole pregnancy with Miles, I drank 80+ ounces of water every day as prescribed and really ramped that up in the summer when I continued working out through my third trimester and the humidity of a Pittsburgh July.

This time? Sometimes it’s 10am and I’ve been parenting for a hard 4 hours before I remember to sip some liquids. I guess the milk at the bottom of my cereal would count if I got to sit down and eat the cereal quickly enough that the flakes didn’t sop up all the milk. So yeah…my body is sending me a stern reminder to be better about self-care.

I’m not sure if I need to resort to setting an alarm every hour (or if that’s even practical). I am going to bring my favored water bottle to and from work and put wine glass markers on the handle each time I drain it. I figure if I get down 3 bottles before bed I should be meeting and exceeding slightly my hydration goals.

This will mean, of course, more night wakings to waddle to the bathroom. I’m considering using Miles’ potty chair, although lowering myself onto that might be harder than just making my way to the bathroom. Hmmm…

Posted by on March 19th, 2012 No Comments

Wherein I am Complimented on My Pants

Today was such an odd day for many reasons. Our work schedules were wonky, the weather was wonky, we got wonky stuff in the mail…just a wonky day!

But by far the oddest thing to happen occurred during my wait for the 71A home from campus.

I must preface this story by informing you that I am not hip. My wardrobe is PARTICULARLY unhip. Most of the time, I wear either rugby shorts or jeans with either a t-shirt or long-sleeved t-shirt. These t-shirts generally feature logos from various rugby teams.

So when I’m pregnant, my wardrobe gets exponentially more hip, because they don’t make ratty maternity clothes and I’m forced to dress like a real adult human, especially on days I work. Today, I was wearing cropped pants, a long tank-top, and a maternity t-shirt. Nothing special.

There I was waiting for the bus, minding my business (which means giving the stink-eye to people smoking near me at the bus stop), when an undergraduate said, “Oh my gosh! I love your pants! Where did you get them?”

I thought she was fucking with me to be mean. This reaction is probably due to the time nobody told me my maternity dress was tucked in my backpack and I walked several blocks along 5th ave with my ass hanging out. So anyway, I didn’t answer her right away.

She persisted. “Are they from around here?”

I told her they were maternity pants. From Motherhood Maternity 3 years ago, on clearance. (I know about the clearance part because they still had the tag on, as I discovered during one of my bathroom trips today. Whoops!)

Her face grew wide and she gasped. “You mean they make special PANTS for PREGNANT WOMEN???”

Just then, my bus pulled up. I was so taken aback I couldn’t begin to explain it all to her, so I just showed her the waist as it rose up above my belly and said, “Yep. No buttons or zippers for me!” And vanished into the setting sun…or something like that.


Posted by on March 13th, 2012 1 Comment

Potty in my Purse: Adventures in the Real World

Miles is getting really close to toilet independence, if you count diapers for nap/bedtime and requested diapers for poop as close. Which I do!

But we were having a hard time when we were out and about because regular toilet seats are huge, gross, and public bathroom flushes are super loud (which terrifies the poor lad).

Enter: a potty in my purse. My friend gave me a really neat, collapsable, padded potty seat that fits over public (or, I guess, household) toilet seats so his little bottom is cushioned and properly supported. This seat has transformed our outings.

I keep it in my “purse” in a plastic grocery store bag, where I also stash his pants and undies if he has an accident. By purse, obviously I mean my Adidas press correspondent backpack from the 2006 Rugby World Cup.

I find it hilarious that this bag used to haul around my writerly supplies and now contains snacks, an epi-pen, Spiderman underpants, and a collapsable potty. I digress.

Before I actually had a potty-learning child, I never thought about how small people use public toilets so obviously ill-designed for them. Who thinks about small people and toilets? Since we’ve begun this initiative, I think about little else. I actually patronize businesses based on their bathroom facilities (accessible bathrooms for pregnant ladies are also essential in my daily routine).

If anyone was curious, the best bathrooms in Pittsburgh for toddlers and for pregnant ladies thus far include:

My Little Outback–actual Miles-sized toilets! (along with big ones)
The Toy Lending Library–step stools and mini seats that flip down from the lid for small bottoms, but fold up for big ones

So far, I haven’t found anywhere else with specifically awesome toilets, but I do appreciate the family bathrooms at Phipps, the Children’s Museum (which at least has step-stools, though why a children’s museum wouldn’t have small toilets boggles me a bit) and the Zoo, since all three of us can go in there together during family outings and I don’t have to worry about finagling a stroller in the handicap stall.

We were also pretty jazzed about the bathrooms when we visited Miles’ school, although we were hard-pressed to find adult-sized toilets there and it was challenging for my pregnant self to rise from the low toilets in the elementary school bathroom.

Corey has sort of been attempting to teach Miles the wonders of the urinal and standing-up-peeing. This has not been going well. Miles was really interested in touching the urinal cakes and without a stepstool, it’s just not practical for him to stand at one of these jobbies. I figure some solid time spent out of doors with older male friends will take care of this learning stage for me.

Lucky for us, this collapsable potty makes every bathroom stall appropriate for Miles (though there’s little we can do about the loud flushing sounds).

Where do you all find the best public bathrooms for potty learning??

Posted by on March 12th, 2012 3 Comments