Thursday, February 28, 2008

Still Pregnant: 39 weeks

I am still pregnant! Feeling fine, despite that nasty flu-like thing I got last week. YUCKY! Saw the midwives again yesterday, 39 week visit, and I hadn't gained any weight, despite the fact that it's GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON. I can really feel this baby now all the time...why, you ask, well this week they are guessing 7.5-8 pounds of baby swims in my uterus. Dang little fella keeps getting bigger and boy does s/he like to wedge his/herself into my pelvis, which they tell me is a good thing...

In other news, we had our last Bradley class last night and heard two birth stories... one home birth one hospital birth. Sarah's home birth story went a little like this: Friday night went into labor, Saturday LABORED ALL DAY, Sunday all morning still 3-4 cm... finally Sunday afternoon/evening delivered happy healthy Macy. So all you folks out there-- I gots the feeling that this labor is going to be a long 'un. Most first time mom's have an extended labor process. Probably because your body is thinking, "what the hell is going on here?" I just keep thinking good thing I'm athletic.

Most important is to stay relaxed and calm, which I am. Taking most afternoons slowly and getting as much sleep as possible. I am looking forward to the birth and the challenge that it presents. I can't wait to have my own birth story.

Tomorrow I'm taking some more photos in the studio-- this time the full monte...
Wait until you see how big this belly is... it's hilarious!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

37 Weeks... still working

My friend Katrina Wallace shot this of me at an 80th birthday party we shot in Sedona on Saturday Feb. 16th at the Enchantment Resort. I also went on a PINK JEEP tour the next day with the same folks. Don't worry, all was fine, despite a tad uncomfortable. I toured with the 80 and 85 year old couple (Soooo cute... photos will post on my business blog). This whole family came together from all over the US to share a birthday party on the red rocks for their beloved "Omi" -- ('grandma' in German).

I love that I'm willing to post the most unflattering images of myself on this blog. YUK. Should have some more great whale shots from the last wedding I shot on Feb. 22nd.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

38 week visit

Ah, so somehow since last week, I've gained 2 more pounds. I'm up to 40 pounds now. That's right, 180 lbs (SADLY, I was 5-8 lbs overweight when I got pregnant). Funny thing is when I get on the scale I keep forgetting to move the 100 pound weight to 150. They say it all going to the baby now... which is scary. I saw a 13 day old newborn just yesterday which was 6.5 pounds and it looked HUGE (and cute).... so the new estimate after yesterday's visit to the midwives is 7 pounds now... perhaps 8 pounds at the birth. My mom was in town visiting and came with me to the visit and remarked how much time the midwives spent with me: approx. 45 minutes, just chatting and answering questions. She remembered her doctor never spent 45 minutes with her at any visit. This is a huge benefit of a small Midwifery Clinic, PERSONAL attention. I can't say enough how much I've enjoyed my experience with these ladies. Dawn Kish, my friend and photographer will come with me next week to photograph my **LAST** visit... HA! I'm sure I'll go late. Due date is approaching. March 7th here we come. I can't wait to meet the new baby, lose 20 pounds and get this show on the road.

37 WEEKS Photos

Somehow I don't look HUGE to myself in these photos, but I assure you, I am approaching beached whale status with this belly. I still feel great but sleeping is now starting to be "an issue" (sadly, since I'm trying to cram in as much sleep as one can get before the sleeping doesn't exist anymore). Kristen Iwai from KDI photography took these images for me because she was trying to get a "big belly" stock shot, so I get some more yummy photos. Next week, I am going into the studio for a artistic shot by John Running. I can't wait, actually I can't believe I waiting until my thighs were this big, but alas, one needs some fat for breastfeeding, right?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bradley Method Classes | premature review

Okay, so after 10 Bradley classes, I feel qualified to comment on them. If you hope to accomplish natural childbirth, I do recommend the Bradley Method; however, be prepared to consume some protein, keep a food journal weekly, attend a THREE HOUR class for TWELVE WEEKS, watch birth movies, and practice your labor relaxation techniques. I do believe we are very well educated at this point and most importantly Matt, my husband, is prepared. He has NOT read the baby books (previous post)--actually he's been consuming an unhealthy amount of Harry Potter (AKA all 7 since late Oct). Most comforting to me is that Matt will NOT look like a deer caught in headlights with any stage of my labor and he's fully prepared to be my loving coach and spokesperson throughout my labor. He's even planning to "catch the baby," as they say. He's educated and he knows what to expect thanks to our great Bradley teacher, Heidi. This confidence is truly important if you want success with natural childbirth! I know it's going to involve pain and it's HOW you both react to that pain which will be key (or so I think now). Bradley Method teaches and emphasizes RELAXING during contractions and allowing your body to do the work it needs to do to move that baby out into the world. It's truly a miracle of life, one which Matt and I are prepared for, one way or the other. We are pre-registered at the hospital but we are truly OVERJOYED to have the opportunity to give birth at home. If we have to go to the hospital it will be a necessity and I welcome their medical expertise in that case. Being at home will allow us to truly be ourselves in our own environment, relaxing and taking our time without the hustle and bustle of when to get in the car, a busy hospital floor with strangers. Additionally, we won't have to "fight" the system to have the type of non-intervention birth we desire (that having been said, we are flexible and know that it might not go perfectly as little does in real life). I will love to read this post after I deliver this child. It will be interesting. Next up is cloth diapers: my personal journey towards less landfill trash...

P.S. I'm 36 weeks and have gained 39 pounds. The midwives came for a home visit and estimated the baby to be at 6.5 pounds. She thinks we could have a 7 or 8 pounder!! She said everything looks great, feels great and my blood pressure is spectacular. It was a glowing review, which I'm happy about. She said to lay off the ice cream if I didn't want an 8 pounder.

The New Well Pregnancy Book | My review

Okay folks, I've read a lot of pregnancy/baby literature, including What to Expect When you are Expecting (dry, confusing, not well organized), Husband Coached Childbirth (informative but biased heavily on the Bradley Method), Natural Childbirth- The Bradley Way (very informative, good images, also biased toward Bradley Method), The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League nazis, informative yet attachment parent-biased), The No Cry Sleep Solution (written by a mom, good info, attachment parenting biased -- good for GENTLE and sensitive sleep method) and On Becoming Baby Wise (I like many ideas in this book: take with a grain of salt, they can be harsh as well) but my FAVORITE "pregnancy bible" book is called
The New Well Pregnancy Book (revised edition). This book has a wealth of knowledge from cultural views, to anatomy to labor and postpartum. Plus it's BALANCED writing: meaning they don't bash midwives and they don't bash hospitals. They present the information factually and honestly in an easy-to-read format that I refer to ALL THE TIME. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a bible of pregnancy. I encourage you to read the biased books as well (even the attachment parenting Sears one, if you dare) but it's nice to read something that doesn't BASH other methods. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't bother with the What to Expect book. I hear their baby book is good, but the pregnancy book is just riddled with bad news, and random things that could go wrong, and I don't like the organization of it all.

P.S. in defense of Sears, I do have his baby book, which I hear is a good reference tool. More on that later. I haven't read for pleasure since I got pregnant. Currently reading a reference guide of vaccines... more on that.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I remember it very clearly: my doula stretched out at the foot of my bed with her notebook, writing down recipes and homeopathic dosages to help heal me as I nursed my son, about a week after he was born.

She told me I could call her anytime, except that upcoming weekend; she'd be out of town at a conference in the mountains for women who were doulas or held similar nurturing jobs. Alone. No husband, no kids, just her.

"It's so important to do things like that," she said. "Make time for yourself. You'll learn that."

I looked down at Tommy and could barely believe ever wanting to be away from him more than five minutes. But my doula - she's a wise woman, and I've come to agree with her wholeheartedly.

Before Tommy was born, I was an aerial dancer, specifically working with trapeze and occasionally silks. I taught dance trapeze and performed at Canopy Studio in Athens, Ga. It did this for many years, and it meant so much to me. My last performance was in my second trimester - a big pregnant lady swinging around. Yes.

Even in those final weeks of pregnancy, when I felt like my body was in fact two whales having a slumber party, I couldn't stop myself from choreographing in my head every time I heard trapeze-conducive music. Later, I literally dreamed of returning to the air, swinging effortlessly from the rafters, only to wake up in a postpartum body in all of its lumpy and leaky glory.

(Not to knock pregnant or postpartum bodies, because both hold beauty and wonder...but neither are particularly conducive to feeling weightless and unbound by earthly tethers, etc.)

A few weeks ago, I started back up with trapeze - not in the repertory company, where I left off, but taking an advanced beginner's class, where I need to be. I felt a little thrill as I held the bar. And a little fear. Could I do this again?

Well, it turns out that the "simple stuff" is really hard when you've been away for almost two years. In a knee hang position, I refused to let go with my hands, not trusting my legs to keep myself from falling. I'm glad that the trapezes are height-adjustable; before standing on the bar, I lowered it to approximately one foot from the ground.

Baby steps.

But I'm getting there. I relish my once a week class, my special time away from everything but my body in the air. I recommend this, and it doesn't have to be trapeze - anything that gives you time and space to do something entirely for yourself.

In other news, Cameron and I both saw Juno, and we both liked it - although I think I was wearing my pair of extra crabby pants when I wrote my review. One thing I forgot to mention there is that when Juno is in early labor at the hospital, I couldn't help but think, "Oh great. Here it is, Hollywood Labor: a few mild grunts and boo hoos and out the baby comes, lickity split." I was pleasantly surprised when the scene cut to active pushing - I have to say that it's probably the most representative scene of pushing I've seen in film, but then again, I haven't seen very many active pushing scenes in film, y'know? Ah, just go see it. It's good.