Friday, March 28, 2008

pregnancy journal entry 6

...and it's a girl. yes! you see, my scientific calculations were correct (ovulation time + time of "encounter" = sex of child). but i must admit, it was still a lot more of a shock than i thought it would be! hahahaha! sigh. i suppose that the pressure to have male offspring is just very tangible to me. i am still getting used to the idea that i will be THAT person: the mom with 2 daughters. and i KNOW it will be best for sparrow to have a sister, and that i LOVE girl babies--so sweet--and this is why i feel guilty that i am a bit in shock. hah. really, it's not like we are planning on stopping, either, i have NEVER thought i would stop at 2 kids, never! 3 is my bare minimum. i think, though, since i was planning to lay off the childbearing for a few years to take a break--provided this one was a boy--i now feel the weight of just--being pregnant. that i will be doing this again soon: it's such a process; you have to invest the time, the energy, the money to be pregnant and have babies. i just pray every day that our financial situation will get better; i long for a home of our own; it just feels like a lot of stresses became more acute with this announcement, and that doesn't even make a lot of sense, does it? nor is it fair to little segundo (segunda!) in here, but i really feel it at the moment.

but that aside, isn't she adorable!? i am so excited to see how she will turn out--will she be a little blondie, like me, again? or have a shock of black hair like thomas? eyes? features? will she be a roly poly one or long and lean like sparrow? and how will she act and sleep and eat and laugh, etc.? it is almost unbelievable that we have a whole other child in there at all, as our days have been filled to the brim with our 1st baby: eating, drinking sparrowness from morning til next morning and memorizing her every nuance. wow, and now: baby. you should have seen that heart beating yesterday, so strong and loud, it was pulsating with purpose, one of the most poetically gorgeous things i have ever seen. i also got to see her lift her hand up to her face, she was moving, really moving! and she moves a lot! i feel her all the time. note, too, that she is "supposed" to weigh about 9 ounces, according to my pregnancy site, but based on the ultrasound, she weighs 14! alright! go segunda! (i have been referring to baby as "segundo" for a few weeks now, tired of continually calling it a he/she, and not until after i employed this apt name, did i realize that sparrow rhymes with primero! hahahaha observe my latent genius...)

"i guess we can't name her youngblood," i said to thomas as we walked up the stairs to our car after the appointment. no, our youngblood will have to wait. which i sense is just how it's supposed to be, pressure of male offspring or not! on top of that, i was myself the second girl, and if my parents wished me to be a boy, i never felt it, i never thought about it...until just a few weeks ago. so they did a great job of loving me. or else i was just so absorbed in ME that i had no time to think about whether they would have preferred a manchild, haha! this baby is also exactly the same amount younger than sparrow (2 years, 3 months) as i am than my sister, which is quite the special thing to endear her to me: little doris... and i pray every day that they will be best friends.

but this girl, i am sure she will surprise us in so many ways! i will smell her newborn hair and revel in the mystery that God has given me love, knowing that i am chosen to squeeze and love and want her. when the nurse asked me at my last appointment if this had been an unplanned pregnancy, i was taken aback: "no!" then realizing we had just been talking about our less than ideal financial situation, i said again, "no, ...i guess we're just optimistic."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

pregnancy journal entry 5

This is day number 140 and you're 20 weeks pregnant!
You have 140 days or 20 weeks left, and are 50.0% of the way there.
Baby's age since conception is 126 days or 18 weeks. You are due on 8/10/2008.

Fetal Development
Your baby is now about 5.6 to 6.4 inches and weighs approximately 9 ounces. Your baby is now big enough that you may be able to tell when he or she is awake or asleep based on the level of activity. You can also see a lot of movement in the ultrasound image. Looking at ultrasound images of other babies can help you figure out what you're looking at when you see your baby's image.

half way there exactly, apparently!! the second time goes so much faster, i tell you... i have had a couple of appointments since i last wrote. no ultrasound yet, though. one was a nutrition appointment which was... a bit hilarious. they make you write down everything you ate the day before, and the quantities. "dang, i KNEW i shouldn't have eaten that croissant!!" but it turned out that i was kicking arse on the whole rest of it so much that the nutritionist didn't even mention the croissant to me! yessss. first she asked me if i was a vegetarian; i said no, i just don't eat very much meat as it's expensive. after she reviewed my sheet, she asked me where i thought i might do better, and i said probably i could eat more fruits, but they are pricey, too. she said i was doing really well in the fruit and veggie dept. actually. then i said i could probably eat more protein, and she agreed, though i had been eating eggs, quinoa, yogurt, nuts, etc. all day, and yes, we do sometimes eat chicken too. so she told me on the fruit issue, that i could eat canned fruits and veggies too, which were cheaper. "i know, i eat frozen sometimes, but i try to stay away from canned food more because of the biosphenol-a in the lining." (and--hello! have you ever looked at the ingredients in, say, a can of peaches? not just peaches, no: massive amounts of CORN SYRUP. gross. you're better off not eating anything.)

the whole idea of the county setting up a nutrition review is laughable, as they of course default to the fda's "standard" which is WAY off on its nutritional information. (much like hospitals which tend to want to "run" your labor based on a chart that some man wrote up in a science journal in the '70s stating that a woman should dilate one centimeter every hour. hah!) for example, you walk into the nutritionist's office, and there are a bunch of food posters on the wall intended as helpful guides. one deals with portion control. instead of this much, you should eat this much. yet the poster child for this advertisement is a hamburger with french fries!!! why? instead of eating a whole burger and a good portion of fries, you should eat half a burger and only 10 fries??!! 'scuse me, but if i'm eating a hamburger and french fries i am not considering the 'health' of it in any respect; i've pretty much said to hell with that for this meal! so i'm gonna darn well eat the whole burger (tho i usu. prefer the lettuce wrap--that crappy bread absorbs the juicy flavor of the meat too much for me) and the whole box of french fries, thank you! it is good for the soul, anyways. plus, they have the usual in their food categories: white pasta, lowfat cow's milk, no mention of the benefits of eating organic... things concerning which independent minds have already done their own research...

haha, sparrow was amazing, though. i took her on this appointment with me, and she was sitting there on my lap looking at the pictures on the wall, saying excitedly, "broccoli! ...beans!" thank you, sparrow. she's a star child.

anyways, for the appointment i had 3 days ago, the lady who took my blood pressure said, "you're not feeling the baby move yet, are you?" huh? yeah! lots! "oh! a tenacious one!" she said. but i was on the tail end of 19 weeks by that point! i think you can usually feel moving at 16 weeks, if i remember correctly. i guess everyone's different.

the nurse also confirmed that i have a pretty big diastisis separation... dang. that means i have to give up the ab work section of my pilates routine for now! i have been doing the inner-ab exercises pretty faithfully ever since, but as you don't get sore from that, it doesn't really count as "exercise" for me. grrrr. the horizons on available cheap exercises i can do are shrinking once again. i really need to get a couple more of the preggy exercise videos. when our tax return comes in...

here is how you do inner ab exercises: pull the belly button to the spine and do little squeezes further in, not moving your back. you can only take shapplow breaths during these, but then breathe deeply when your're done! one website said to do five sets of a hundred every day, and you would see improvement. i mean, they're not that hard, but hahahahahahaaa! (that's like the doctor i read who recommended 300 kegels per day! obviously a man. sure, you can *technically* do them anywhere, but they still require concentration! it's not like you can command your body to independently keep doing kegels all day as if it were breathing. i even find it hard to do them while i'm driving. i get to about seven, and then i just...forget. because i'm keeping my mind on the road, apparently!! hello!) anyways, back to the abs: most women who have babies get the disatisis separation, so it's good to know how to exercise the inner supporting muscle, and apparently doing crunches and "regular" ab work is detrimental. but i found out that if you don't get the separation back to a minimum, you could end up looking a preggy for life, as your guts push out on the weakened muscle. it dawned on me that this is also why my belly button blew up like a raisin in the oven and never got little and cute again! also why i look so much more pregnant at night, when i've eaten the day's meals... huh! so bummed on the diastisis. i've managed to do at least 3 sets of a hundred each day due to pure bumming.

another fun issue during pregnancy and beyond is the peeing. not only do you have to go 30 times per day, but if you wait even a little bit, it's often... a little bit too late. and the great part is that you pretty much constantly feel like you have to pee, even if you've just gone! evidently there is some back pocket of your bladder that gets blocked by your uterus, and therefore once you think you're done and are about to get up, more comes out! then finally you are sure you are done, and you get up and start another project. four minutes later you AGAIN have to pee so badly! then you get to go hop around once again while trying to undo the multiple buckles and latches that are for SOME reason a part of your MATERNITY pants!!!

i swear, the people that design maternity clothes are evil, evil beings. i picture them having planted little spy cameras on every pregnant woman in the western world, a small oligarchy of maternity clothing designers sitting up in remote towers in the clouds as they sip martinis and cackle as they observe the hideousness that they have inflicted upon the unsuspecting motherly masses.

first of all. in a time of your life when you don't need to be looking bulkier around the butt and hips, they add, yes, GATHERS to the waistlines of pants, so they billow out just so! (note to self: don't wear gathered pants after 1987!) then they usually add extra bulky pockets right on the sides of the upper thigh so it looks especially bulged. and i swear, you can't find pants that flare at the bottom; it's all tapered! ok, so pants that hug the ankles are popular. SO!? common sense tells me that when my hips are blowing up in the middle, i need flare at my feet to keep things balanced, no? sure, you can spend $180 on a pair of nice-looking jeans, but why would i EVER do that when i wouldn't even spend that for a pair of jeans for my "normal" body, that i would wear for five years plus? not to mention that even designer pants usually have these enormous pouches and tents that you are supposed to pull all the way over your belly! hahahaha! picture their stifling polyester bags over your bun and oven all hot summer long. the bands are always so gross-looking, too, some off color like bright blue or dirty beige. ugh. you can keep wearing your old favorite pants, in fact, if you use this accessory: a tube top. i wore a black tunic tube top with everything when i was preggy with sparrow. if you already have kids, you know wearing a tube top is risky, as you are always shifting to pick them up, and your top rearranges as they sit on your hip--not to mention you never know when your kid might decide to pull at your shirt. the real joy of a tube top, though, is that it can work as a "belly band" (which maternity clothing stores sell at exorbitant prices). just get a big, stretchy tube top somewhere cheap, cut out the shelf bra if you have to, and pull it down so it covers your hips, and you can wear your regular pants under this (unbuttoned) for a very long time! with another shirt layered on the top. it's a beautiful thing.

here is what else i learned during the last pregnancy on how to make it through the body change without spending a fortune:

pants- go search out workable non-preggy pants at cheap-ish stores like urban (sale rack) or angl (sale rack) or my favorite: H&M. look for linen-style pants that don't taper, and either have drawstrings at the top, or a nice, wide stretchy waistband. i found my favorite pants at forever 21 on the sales rack for 10 bucks, wore them thru my whole pregnancy, and am still getting compliments on them. gaucho pants are also an awesome choice, as they all come with that nice stretchy waistband and usually don't hug the hips. (kim reeve wears tight little yoga pants her whole pregnancy and still looks great, but...she's the only one i know that can get away with that.)

as for shirts, the things they try to pan off on expectant mothers are all muumuu- or tent-like affairs with usually garish, bright prints, or too many ruffles and details to come out looking sleek. ditch these. if they are made for pregnant women, they automatically come with at least a 30% price increase, as if the tiny bit of extra material has cost them that much! so rude. you can find bigger tops at regular stores for cheap. i personally feel soooo blessed to live in an age where tunic tops are "in" and easily available! really, all you need in a preggy shirt is length. you don't need to "hide" your belly--your belly, i think is the one part of your body to accentuate, since that's where the baby is, and the roundness is all the baby's fault, therefore beautiful! you can get long shirts or tanks for super cheap--$7 at wet seal, $12 or less at angl or nordstrom (with shelf bra!), and under $20 at victoria's secret online. i love that store. if you do want to "mask" the tummy shape a bit by wearing muumuu or tent, at least go for an attractive one--VS online sells really cute embellished babydoll tops, which are perfect--anything with an empire waist and some length to it, and you are all set to accommodate a growing belly. (always shop clearance first!) one of my favorite outfits is capri leggings (stretch!) paired with short but roomy summer dresses. they cover the butt, and leave space for the baby. and this combo looks cute with boots, flats, flip flops, mules, anything! a good place to get leggings, by the way, is forever 21. i think they are about 8 dollars. (um, according to my lawyer friend silas, that place uses sweatshops, though, so leave me a comment if you know of anywhere else...)

a word on thrift stores: these places are great, if you have hours on hand to browse to find what you want. i can never take sparrow into a thrift store for more than 3 minutes, before i get too frustrated at having to wade thru millions of ugly clothes before finding something that is ok-looking, not to mention in my size, style, and to suit my specific need. i have had pretty bad luck in santa barbara thrift stores. i don't usually end up wearing what i bought, in other words. i only bought it because it was cheap, and it usually wasn't even what i went in there to find. it is a much better investment, in my opinion, to shop clearance racks at stores you love, and know you will wear your purchase for years to come!

moral: don't let the wicked maternity stores--or anyone else--pull the wool over your eyes during your already vulnerable pregnancy!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

only one religion would do this...

i check out the news every now and again. the muslim world is so agitated, it is getting more cataclysmic, more restless out there every day. contrary to popular belief, i do NOT hate muslims, and i KNOW that there are those out there who have been raised in "moderate" muslim homes, and do not rejoice at the violence done in their name. but two points: 1) where is their voice in protesting the evil? and 2) "moderation" is not the true heart of islam, not the example set by muhammad. in reading the quran and the hadith, you find that everything the "radicals" are doing is true to their scripture, incited by the holy writings and by the life of the prophet. "moderates" have changed the meanings of the scriptures to fit what they think life should be like (they may be more humane, but they are wrong to think they are still following the quran.) much like "moderate" christians who like to read the Bible in context of their life in the world, rather than live life in the world in the context of God's word.

read this about a muslim PROTEST IN LOS ANGELES, a protest to mourning children's lives who were lost in a "religious" shooting at their seminary in israel. no, infidels may not even mourn the deaths of their children!

Monday, March 3, 2008

pregnancy journal entry 4

This is day number 120 and you're 17 weeks pregnant!
You have 160 days or 22 weeks left, and are 42.9% of the way there.
Baby's age since conception is 106 days or 15 weeks. You are due on 8/10/2008.

Fetal Development
Your baby is approximately 4.8 inches long and weighs about 3.5 ounces, and he or she should weigh more than the placenta from this point on. Since your baby's hearing has become more finely tuned, he or she may respond to loud noises and you may feel movement at the sound of large trucks passing or a slamming door. Epidermal (skin) and fatty tissue are developing all over your baby's body to protect it after it is born and a substance called vernix is beginning to form on the skin tissue to protect it from the long exposure to amniotic fluid.

awesome. wow, and i am sorry i have taken THIS one for granted: my nausea is ALL GONE. actually i haven't been taking it for granted, but i realized i hadn't written it down as a praise report yet! as soon as i'd hit 12 weeks, it totally disappeared, and my energy came back too! i still get a bit weak when i don't eat for a few hours, but luckily i don't feel like i have to eat all the time.

AND i have been working out every day (except sat.) for a whole week! it is still challenging in that sparrow usually notices when i get up, so it is a toss-up whether it will be worth it for me to wake up at 5 am or not. i admit i get crazy frustrated when i've planned to wake up at 5 and then she wakes up too, and cries at me! luckily she's been going back to sleep... usually. sunday she didn't, but i insisted on doing an hour of exercise after breakfast, and she just played happily and quietly without whining the whole time! that is seriously a miracle for her. i was so pleased.

i have still been doing melissa's pilates dvd mostly; i really really enjoy doing that in the quiet of the peaceful morning living room when the sky is just beginning to lighten outside. it is the "10-minute solution pilates" dvd and i LOVE it. it is challenging and moves fast enough so you don't get bored. plus, the 10-min. segments really make it more interesting.

i also got a "15 minutes to fit" dvd for pregnant mothers--it was like $3 on amazon! the only one on my long wishlist that i could afford. when i did that one for the first time, i thought the exercises were sooo easy, and i was a bit disappointed. best stick with regular pilates! BUT today i am SO sore--pecs, arms, legs, butt--that i guess it was working after all! hahaha. this is good. i thought i was going to have to try to scrape together money from somewhere for a gym membership--ideally, a gym with a pool and with childcare. i wanted it so bad! when i was pregnant with sparrow i went swimming 3x per week or more during my last trimester, and i really feel it helped me to be more fit afterward, lose the weight faster, etc. but i've found out i am quite happy doing pilates videos! (but you've gotta find the right tapes. the one i was using during my 1st pregnancy before the pool membership was soooo easy and sooo boring, i now realize!) also, maybe it is a blessing in disguise that i can't pay for the pool this time. i realized later how much chlorine they put into that water, and how bad for you it really is! it absorbs into your skin and into the bloodstream, and is not even filtered out by kidneys or liver, as when you eat or drink! see more on that here:
and here:

but back to exercise: some books will tell you ('girlfriend's guide to pregnancy') that there is no point in exercising during pregnancy since you can't go all out. the idea is that "moderate" exercise doesn't do much anyways, and besides, the only exercising that will help you in labor is something that will tone your uterus, and there are no exercises for that, so just do your kegels and don't bother with the rest. however, the logic of that is way off. what about all the other benefits of exercise? even if it isn't the kind that will burn a lot of fat, it will help improve posture, circulation, digestion, muscle tone, and--VERY important for pregnancy--energy, and endurance. the endurance was a big thing for me to work toward the first time around. you have no idea how long your labor will be, and what if you are not used to any physical strain; you have just let yourself get lazy and comfortable for 9 months? sure, the birthing hormones will kick in to help--IF your birth is unmedicated--but say your labor is 24 hours? or 44? or 72? or--as in barbie's case--13 days!???!!? hm. methinks it would be better to have built up good endurance, at least!

this time around i am really stoked on the energy/renewing qualities of exercise. rod (the boss) has said with great ardor, that exercise "improves quality of life IMMENSELY!" and i was feeling schlumpy, tired, and guilty when he said it, so tuned him out a bit, but i guess it stuck with me, and now i fully agree! i have found that my naps are shorter and i get up out of them easier, i don't feel like i need caffeine in the afternoons, and i have reduced my morning cup of tea from 2 teabags to 1. (yes, i had started on the caffeine again...of course!) i also hear that exercising can help reduce the back pain that kicks in during pregnancy, and i think i have noticed that too, although i am still a bit under the shadow if sciatica. ah, and tracy schmidt (one of my top real-life heroes) says that a good birth experience is a 3 legged stool, the 3 legs being good personal support, good nutrition, and good exercise.

oh and not to speak of the perceived benefits! as soon as i start exercising, i look in the mirror the next day and already think i notice my hips have shrunk. or i feel my bum and think it is tighter. etc. etc. obviously it could not work that fast. but it does make you think so! hahaha, and here's one more benefit: it improves your resolve to eat well! i was seriously eating so much cake and bread and cookies and ice cream for the 1st 3 plus months that it became a vicious cycle: oh well, one more piece of cake won't matter. i had one yesterday, i might as well eat another. really! then i finally told myself, ok, i won't stop making myself eat cake every day, but i at LEAST have to exercise! no more desserts until i start exercising! but then naturally, what happens when you start exercising? you want to fuel your body with good things like quinoa and bananas in the morning, and not ruin your hard work by eating chocolate ganache! i still let myself eat it sometimes, but mostly i just don't want to! yaaaaaaaay.

so i encourage all you preggies out there to exercise. even if you have to get up at 5 and stealthily slip out so your other kids don't notice you are leaving them. pilates at home is a great, free, and time efficient way of exercising, faster than walking and can still get your heart rate up, and certainly more time efficient than the gym. if you CAN afford a gym count yourself blessed.

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