Pregnancy

You know you are 39 weeks pregnant when….

….you can’t maneuver yourself about the house unless there are wide margins.  Here is me.

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Amazing how much lower my belly seems to hang in that last shot, because of my posture I guess, compared with a very similar pic just two shots before, where I look like I’m carrying up higher.

 

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Thinking about my boobs….

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Lefty hurts!

I didn’t realize a breast infection could strike before you start breastfeeding.  I’m 3-6 weeks away from nursing anyone but I woke up this morning with a sore, red area next to my left areola !  Bummer!  This has me thinking about breastfeeding a lot.  On Mothering discussion forums there is a conversation about what we wished we would have known about childbirth beforehand.  One woman commented:

 I wish the breastfeeding community would just admit that some women don’t produce enough milk and that’s it’s OK to supplement!

Here’s what I have to say to that, as I sit with a hot compress on lefty.

The problem with this wish is that formula companies and all their money were so successful for decades in reducing women’s (and more importantly, society’s support for women’s) confidence in the fact that most women can indeed provide enough milk for their child with enough knowledge and support.  Not 100%, but certainly the vast majority.  All sorts of practices became mainstream in the twentieth century that sabotage the likelihood that breastfeeding will be successful, and the formula companies got rich from mother’s who believed that they “didn’t produce enough milk” and “had to supplement”, when really it was “modern” practices/elements in the environment which failed the mother and baby pair, and led to premature weaning.

 Nowadays, amongst the mothers I’ve talked to about breastfeeding, since becoming a mother myself more than a decade ago, I’d say a crazy high percentage of them talk about ‘not having had enough milk’  and needing to supplement and wean early as if it’s a totally everyday thing, like diaper rash.  In my experience, it’s about half of the moms I’ve ever talked to.  That’s so sad, because that means that most of those were simply failed by society who did not provide enough support and assistance in order to make a success of breastfeeding.

 Based on my anecdotal perceptions, the breastfeeding community still has a lot of work to do to undo the effects of a crazy successful cultural shift towards formula via an overt campaign and subtler practices introduced in the 20th century that were consciously waged to undermine breastfeeding by the big formula companies.

 Even ardent lactivists (such as myself) admit that not quite 100% of mothers will be able to produce enough milk (and of course will need to supplement).  But, as important as it is not to hurt the feelings of the small percentage of moms who really will need to supplement (and I don’t see why their feelings need to be hurt, no one in the breastfeeding community says that 100% of woman will be able to EBF for 6 months and that there should be any shame in those few seeking out supplementation) ,  it’s most important not to perpetuate misinformation about how likely that is to happen to any given woman, by implying in any way shape or form that it is at all a common occurence, or anything other than the exception to the norm.  That will result in less babies enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding.  That’s more important than the tiny percentage of moms who can’t EBF feeling marginalized.

It’s not that mother’s feelings don’t matter,  it’s just  that more babies getting breastmilk (as a result of better support around the moms that need it)  is even more important.

 There should be no shame or judgment to the small percentage of mothers who really can’t breastfeed.  There should be no shame or judgment to the mothers who don’t get enough support from the society around her in order to be successful and don’t successfully breastfeed for that reason.  There should be no shame or judgment on mothers, period.

 It’s society’s job to undo the damage so thoroughly done over decades by big corp making tons of money off of pushing formula, and a shift in attitudes from ‘yeah, tons of moms can’t make enough milk,’ to ‘actually, with enough support, most  (but not quite all) women will be able to EBF the first six months’.   We owe it to girls coming into maturity, to provide this accurate message to them, and fight the misinformation that it’s common for women not to make enough milk.  It’s a really, really dominant theme that I hear again and again both in the US and in Europe, and it makes me so sad that we are failing women as a society by not providing enough knowledge and lactation support, and perpetuating ideas and practices that sabotage the breastfeeding relationship.

Is it awful to not feel any love for the baby inside you?

Thoughts at 31 weeks…..

Shouldn’t I start to love her?  I feel her hiccups against my left hip bone, almost two times per each day.  It’s cute.  She flutters her arms around, in my lower left abdomen area, and kicks her feet up below my right boob.  Lovely.  But….  I feel only love for my fiance and sons.  I don’t feel any connection to this person, and I don’t even feel at all sure that this is such a great idea, this third child plan.  This move that makes me even more entrenched in living  in a country I don’t particularly care for.

I love that it ties and bonds me closer to my fiance, and that he becomes a father, and I’m happy for the little baby girl and the loving daddy and the lovely bond they are sure to have.  But I just can’t get my head around ever feeling anything about her, myself.  I have been planning a homebirth,  researching diaper bags,

baby carriers,

buying up adorable name brand clothes on the secondary market and saving a ton, and we have a fabulous-o stroller that I got for 95% off retail by buying 6 years used:

2013-07-15 13.29.20

But as for having a person to go in it?  I’m not that interested.  I’m into the shopping and birth preparation, not so much quite emotionally attaching to the idea of this little girl.  She’s four pounds now and it’s about time I start getting more excited about meeting her!

I definitely better eat that placenta and get over this.  At least I need to find someone to encapsulate it for me!  Or freeze half-palm sized chunks individually and throw the frozen chunks in a freezer bag, and have my dear fiance make me a smoothie every morning with lots of berries, yogurt, placenta and maple syrup.

 

The 17th corner of Hell, or “Choosing a Diaper Bag”

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I’m trying to find a baby bag that both a mom and a dad can live with using, but it’s hard. Honestly, the “diaper bag” prints just aren’t me, for almost any of the brands. If I happen love the print, I know my fiance would never want to carry it, i.e. this very pretty JJ Cole diaper bag

JJ Cole Diaper Bag

Which, unfortunately is useless if you’d like the option of wearing it on your back.  The pretty yellow coordinates well with my stroller, though.

I love the skip hop studio tote

Skip Hop Studio Tote

for all it’s bells&whistles and stylish look, but it doesn’t even have a long crossbody strap to wear it messenger style –which is an absolute  minimum requirement for babywearing, for me. I can’t keep fixing slipping-off straps on my shoulder when babywearing about, the bag either needs to be backpack style on my back (if baby is on front) or worn messenger style and resting on my hip even if baby is on my back.

Strict backpacks aren’t as useful if you are wearing your larger baby on your back a lot, and don’t hang as handily on a stroller handle bar, so I don’t think I want a backpack-only bag. Strict messengers that can never be put on your back/distribute weight over both shoulders seem uncomfy for longer wearing periods (i.e. day out without a car or stroller). And, finally, strict totes/shoulder bags seem truly impractical because you can’t always be stiffening up your right shoulder to keep your bag from slipping off while carrying a baby. Ugh. So, basically, the convertible bag is what I need.

This Babymel Ruby rucksack looks nice and has padded straps and is actually kinda cute and stylish, for a solid black backpack (i.e. I might not mind using it as a cute looking gym bag, daytime-with-laptop bag, or travel/airport bag, after kids are out of diapers):

BabyMel Ruby convertible diaper bag, worn in messenger mode with adjustable long strap option

Babymel Ruby diaper backpack actually looks cute & urban in backpack mode, not like you should be wearing hiking boots or heading off to go camping!

Of course, now we are back at Ju Ju Be BFF price range territory…and the clear advantage of the jujube is the fact that the compartments zip down open so far so you can see everything you need to find, with your two little eyes, and don’t ever need to dig blindly. That is handy. I wonder if this print would traumatize daddy  (IF I could even find one used, since the print isn’t made anymore and I really don’t like any of the prints available currently)

BFF diaper bag in discontinued Pretty Tweet print

or if I could live with how blah the black looks:

Black/silver Ju ju be BFF convertible diaper bag in plain old black with silver accents and lining.

But, at half the price, there’s the Ameribag Healthy Back bag (that I think can be twisted a bit and worn messenger style on the hip if baby is on your back) that I love in lilac, daddy-be-damned:

Ameribag healthy back baby bags

He would never ever want to carry it in lilac and I would be so bummed out at the blah-factor of the black…..

But will he indeed ever be out and about -on foot- (i.e. no car, no stroller) with the baby and need to carry it on his person? He is really a drive-there kinda guy, not into taking the bus …and if he wears her to the park, that’s only 5 minutes from home so he could come back, in case of poop. I can’t think of anywhere besides an airport/overseas trip where we would be without car or stroller for hours and actually need to wear a baby-gear bag on his person. And we have black backpacks aplenty for those rare events.

At least with the Jujube, even if I don’t have any desire to touch it after diapering days are behind us, I can resell it for a pretty darned good resale value on eBay! I have a feeling my Dior, LV, and Gucci bags (or even some non-designer but really pretty handmade etsy leather bags I’ve had custom ordered over the years) will be calling my name at that point and all these features about padded straps, and compartments/ insulated drink holders, etc will seem a bit superfluous. It’s not like we don’t have any weekender bags, duffel bags, or backpacks for occasional trips.

But, I do far prefer the style of the Melbaby Ruby backpack, just not loving the price and not as convinced of resale value, and I wonder if I’d really wish for the wide gaping mouth factor of the BFF when scounging around in the bottom of it…. I really like it though and I’m sure I’d use it a LOT in the coming 5-6 years until I’m truly retired from diapers and babywearing for good, so who cares if I won’t use it or sell it for much after that.

I love the price and color of the lilac Ameribag -and it’s my #2 choice in terms of looks, for my taste. I wish it was a convertible style, though, I’m not sure it would suit for when I want to wear baby in a SSC on my back, or be very useful hanging on the stroller handlebar.

So, to sum up, I’d buy a BFF in black/silver but I can’t stand the thought of paying over 150 dollars for a bag that I think is almost ugly….at that price I want to love the look of it.

I’d buy the Melbaby Ruby convertible bag but it’s so expensive for a bag without as much resale value, I haven’t heard as many raves about it, it doesn’t open up as wide, and ….did I mention it’s expensive? I do think the Babymel Ruby wins on style without sacrificing on features, though, especially in the all jet-black nylon unisex version….if I were willing to pay that much for a nylon black bag.

I’d buy the Ameribag healthy back diaper bag backpack but I am not sure about a bag that may or may not be ideal for wearing a baby on my back, plus how sloppy would it look slung over my stroller handlebar?

I’d buy the Skip Hop Studio tote if it weren’t, well, a tote and offered other strap options.
Then there are pretty etsy options in colors/prints that daddy would largely hate, but oh well:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/127878040/custom-diaper-bag-handmade-boxy?ref=shop_home_active

Boxy convertible diaper bag with waterproof lining and many organizational pockets, by Etsy seller WhistleBritchesBoutiq

(this has vinyl lining for easy spill cleanup and she could custom make it with backpack straps)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/151383347/large-shoulder-bag-diaper-bag-in-navy?ref=col_view

Extra large messenger (16″x13″ and pretty deep) by Etsy seller ChicBazar

(this seller said she could add an outside back large pocket with a zipper and lined in wetbag material for all wetbag-able items to be kept separate there!, plus she could add side pockets for sippies and water bottles in a waterproof lining, all for just 25 dollars more than that 98 dollar price)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/129215573/convertible-quilted-diaper-bag?ref=shop_home_active

Convertible backpack diaper bag similar to PPB Boxy Backpack, right down to the built in changing station, By Etsy Seller GJR Designs

(This is a lot like a PPB boxy backpack)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/99892096/wylder-weekender-in-filigree-empire?ref=col_view

Weekender Diaper Bag Duffel by WylderJane on etsy, located in South Africa

(awesome and glazed/water repellant outer… but a bit too big, and no backpack option; however she does sell backpacks too, just none that appeal to me)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/93769842/canvasleather-backpack-messenger-extra?ref=shop_home_active

Mandy in Canada under store name Versabella on Etsy, sells some pretty phenomenal looking bags, I am sorely tempted

(THIS is insanely beautiful, that’s my kind of print—but….. it’s very pricey and very huge and not sure how organized the stuff inside would be, if you are trying to quickly change a crying infant who is impatient to nurse, it seems like kind of a humongous black hole)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/62278570/sun-daisy-classic-quilted-bushka-bag?ref=v1_other_2

Very unique concept diaper bag by Bushkabag on Etsy, based in Misouri

(she gets points for design originality! The whole bag opens up flat and the inside base is a changing pad)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/155638348/last-one-okinawa-bag-in-sun-yellow?ref=col_view

Okinawa bag by Vallhallabrooklyn on Etsy

(This is expensive, not sure if it would be big enough, not any diaper bag features, but I have the same bag in dark brown and the quality is TDF and this color matches the main color of my stroller and hey, the small size would help me to not overpack)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/96640081/leather-handbagpurseleather-purselarge?ref=col_view

Bag by Ghighiarelli on Etsy, based out of Nevada

(I LOVE the style, the color matches my stroller, and it seems like great dimensions for a diaper bag, even though it’s not one. However, it’s very expensive and no backpack option unless I want to just wear the hand straps as backpack straps which I have done before with duffels)

In case the yellow theme doesn’t make sense yet, here’s my stroller in dark navy and bright yellow, and the stroller will live on the handlebar most of the time, so it looks nice if the bag and carriage don’t clash and even somehow coordinate (obviously black would be fine, too).

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Hmmmm….. I think I’m going insane, and I’ve been researching diaper bags for days now with no clear winner!!!

Edited to add:  just hours after I posted this, I discovered a bag with ALL the features of the Ju Ju Be BFF, at exactly a third of the price!

The Okiedog Sumo diaper bag backpack/messenger convertible!

It’s a messenger, it’s a backpack, it has all the bells and whistles, and it doesn’t break the bank! Yahtzee!!!!!!

The Okiedog Sumo can be worn as a normal messenger style diaper bag

But also, can be worn backpack style!

I ordered the navy, which goes with my stroller and is gender neutral enough for daddy to throw on his back, without being camping-gear rough and masculine.  I actually think it’s cute.  And it matches my Storchenwiege in Leo Marine, quite perfectly (which is the same color).

I saw it for 69.99 on Amazon and on the okiedog.us website, then I googled ‘Okiedog sumo promo code’ to see if anyone had blogged a review about the bag and was offering their readers a promo code.  Turns out there was!  I have absolutely no affiliation with the bag or this Nurse Mommy Blog, but I am glad I stumbled upon this post through my google search. http://www.thenursemommy.com/2013/06/win-fabulous-sumo-diaper-bag-from.html

Because she offers the promo code NM20 to get 20% off!  I tried it out on the http://www.okiedog.us website and it worked!  So the bag becomes 56 dollars, exactly one third of the Jujube BFF, and with every single feature, plus a couple of extras (insulated bottle holder included in the price, stroller clips included in the price, and an accessory bag for diapers or clothes, also included in that price!  All of these things are sold separately with the BFF, and you’ll be spending 200 dollars at LEAST by the end of the purchase to get the same set of stuff…no, thank you, I’ll stick with 56 dollars!!).

I can’t believe I found the answer to every one of my diaper bag wishlist dreams, AND it was the cheapest option, AND through a simple google search I found 20% off!

I actually think the three days of bag obsessing paid off.

Finally…!!!

Finally...!!!

I was feeling like the old lady in red. My boobs have grown and started to merge with my pregnant belly. All my bras were too small, my former small C cup ta tas went from a large C to a D and then to almost a DD during these last months and my C cup bras were pathetic. Horrible shaping and horrible support. Actually, painful!
Then, I ordered some proper foam support maternity/nursing bras from ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181129194325?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2648 which I remembered from my last go-rounds with breastfeeding, were my absolute favorite. The company, Fancee Free, has gone under, so the leftover stock is now being pawned off on the cheap on ebay. I paid 40 each for these suckers, years ago, so 12.99 seems like a fabulous bargain. I have now bought 7. Two in size F for the weeks post partum when my milk comes in and I am actually that big, and the rest in size E, for after the initial craziness settles down (and the size that fits right now pretty well).
I cannot tell you the difference in the quality of life to have a comfy but extremely supportive bra on right now! I feel like a new woman. It’s so silly to make such a fuss about a darned bra, but honestly I feel like a shapely, fabulous lady, whereas before I felt like a blob. Now my boobs are way up high, separated and perky, looking very feminine. It literally stops me in my tracks when I walk by a mirror. My belly still is a giant blob, but at least the boobs are up and away from the madness, and an attractive place for the eyes to rest when avoiding the mid-section massiveness.

Third Trimester…

…and I’m so over this.

The problem with trying to muster up excitement for a little person entering my life, who will require such a massive amount of energy from me, is that I am so exhausted.  Even thinking about taking care of a baby makes me want to take my third nap of the day.  I haven’t had even begun losing sleep in the wee hours of the morning due to this little lady needing to be tended to, and already I feel burnt out on the concept.  I haven’t dealt with a baby in 7 years and I feel like it was a lifetime ago, that all my skills in that arena are beyond rusty and I can’t quite grasp what it will really be like, now that I am not in my early twenties anymore and I have two other kids who still demand quite a lot from me, despite them being halfway through elementary school.

Pregnancy has me wanting to sleep ten hours or so per night, and add a long nap in the afternoons, out on the back terrace in my uber comfy lounge chair.  When my kids are with me I find I’m begging or negotiating with them to do small fetching favors around the house to help prevent my huge self from hauling up off the couch or out of the chair.  They, in turn, forget that I’m not slavemommy to their every whim these days and beg or make deals for exactly the same type of treatment to prevent inconveniencing whatever they are doing and enjoy the full-service mom treatment they have grown accustomed to.  I have to remind them that mommy is growing a little mini-sister these days and running around making them snacks and fetching them water or desired toys is not my forte anymore.

Did I mention I am so tired these days?  I’m averaging one novel every two days and if that implies to you I’m a beached whale flopped on a comfy chair or sofa most of the time, you guessed right.  Because that’s all the energy I have.  Plus the energy to shop online. But back to my wondering how I will survive a baby.  I just don’t know.  It seems like a huge mistake most of the time, at least all the carrying and nursing and waking up in the night…. listening to crying in the car seat when I just gotta drive my kids to school and she needs to come with…..   but especially the nighttimes.  I do not miss that.

Parenting. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures   has a great comic strip on this concept which I remember, but yet it feels like it was eons ago, or maybe a dream:

I’ve always been jealous of my husband’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It isn’t his fault that he is a deep sleeper.  But I can’t help it.  It totally pisses me off.

We climb in bed at 9:00PM…

Sleep1

By 9:03 my husband is completely asleep.

I’m nursing my youngest and haven’t even begun to think about sleeping yet.  I lay there motionless, pretending to be calm and relaxed so he’ll fall asleep. Anyway, I’m cold since the blankets aren’t on my top half.

Sleep2

So I pretend to be sleeping but really I’m going over the “to do” list or re-winding conversations from earlier.  Or having pretend conversations that might happen in the future.  On a good night the baby settles pretty fast.

Sleep3

Finally, around 10:00PM he is asleep.  Success!  He rolls over and my body is my own for the first time all day.  I can pull up the blankets a little.  I close my eyes for real.  Start to relax and let go…

Sleep4

Until I hear a noise.

Becoming a mama has given me heightened spidey senses.  A tiny noise a mile away wakes me up like a mama bear, ready to protect her young.

My husband did not inherit this quality with parenthood.

Wide-eyed, I strain my ears to hear.  This particular noise is one I’m all too familiar with.

Sleep5

Enter 4.5 year old.  I thought he was asleep by now.  He has no concept of being quiet while people are sleeping, so he barges in loudly asking for random shit.  I have to jump out of bed and rush him out of the room so he doesn’t wake the baby.  This attempt is successful about 50% of the time.  Lets assume it was successful tonight.

Sleep6

So now I’m in the hallway, hearing my 4.5 year old’s demands and bargaining with him.  Water, bathroom or covers on or off, etc.  I have no real power here, I’ll agree to anything to get him back in bed quietly.  When he has exhausted all the standard stuff, he finishes by needing to tell me something very important, like “I saw a rock today on the ground and it had dirt on it and I forgot to tell you! ” and I steer him back to his room.

Sleep7

By the time I head back to my bed, the baby has turned into a starfish.  Legs and arms stretched out, taking up my whole side of the bed.

Sleep8

I slide next to and under him being careful not to wake him.  I can’t move.  I’m scared to breathe.  This is a very delicate situation.  I have to move him.  I have to risk it.

Sleep8alt

The first attempt to move him just makes it worse.  He swings both arms and legs on top of me.  He is stirring now so I can’t move a muscle.  I’m like a statue while I listen to his breathing to hear when he is in a deep sleep again to move him.

Sleep9

Finally, it is midnight and I’ve successfully moved him.  I haven’t heard my 4.5 year old in a while so he must be asleep too.  I fall asleep for the first time!

Sleep10

Until I’m woken by a foot in my eye.  I try to ignore it.  A foot in the eye is a sign that he is starting to move into a lighter sleep.  This means he’ll wake up completly to nurse soon.

Sleep11

So we’re nursing again.  I’m half asleep but not mostly just feel like a zombie. My mind wanders to weird stuff.  I close my eyes and see flashes of people and places like a dream except I’m awake.

Sleep12

Finally he settles again and rolls away.  It is 2:30AM and I can finally get some realsleep!  It is very unlikely that either kid is going to wake me up again. Sweet sleeping bliss.

Sleep13

Until the two cats come in at 5:00AM and announce that they are hungry.  They continue make this announcement every 15 minutes or so.  I ignore them.  But theyknow.  They know I’m their target. They know I’m awake no matter how hard I pretend.  They finally settle on my feet so that they will be alerted the moment I stir.  I get a few more minutes of sleep.

Sleep14

Only to be woken at 7:00AM for a new day.  My 4.5 year old skips into our room and gleefully sings, “Morning!  It’s morning time!”  Which wakes up the baby who replies with “Mownin!”  Then they start jumping on our bed.

Even this doesn’t wake up my husband.  He is sound asleep. Sometimes I look at his chest rising and falling with his breath to confirm that he is alive before unleashing the kids on him.

“Go see Papa” I grumble.

Sleep15

They have to poke his head and repeat “Papa!” over and over and he finally wakes up.

And what is the first thing out of his mouth?  The one and only thing I DON’T want him to say?

Sleep16

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr