26 weeks

So this is the last week of my 2nd trimester. I can’t believe how fast it seems to be going by. I’ve had several people comment recently that my belly has grown a lot on the last couple of weeks, and I guess it kind of feels bigger, if that is possible.
I have still sort of been rounding out the registry lists, and sometime soon Manny and I are going to go to Babies “r” Us and add things in the store. I try to go by lists of recommendations and what other people tell me, but the fact is it is hard to know exactly what we will want and need when he is actually here. Looking at all the stuff can be fun, but I think there is a lot of commercial hype about baby stuff and they market to neurotic new parents- really babies’ needs are pretty simple and I’m not too worried about not having everything.
I have been doing lots of reading and research on cloth diapers and I’m really convinced that I can handle it and that it is better than disposables in many ways. People tend to look at me like I’m crazy if I tell them that’s what we’re planning to do, but I think they are mostly unaware of the new cloth diapers that make it really easy and basically as clean as disposables. This blog by a mom I found online explains why they are so great, and she wrote this one about the process she uses with them and which kinds she likes, which I found super helpful. We’re going to start out by renting a newborn size package from sunshinediapers.com, so all we will really need to by right away is covers for those. When he is big enough (about 10lbs) I want to try the all-in-one kind, which are really easy because they go on just like a disposable and expand to fit from 10lbs to potty training.
Anyway… it is time to get ready for a nice long 10 hour workday now. Possibly another 26 week picture coming later- one that includes my face :)

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Lots to Learn

25 week belly picture:

This weekend I went to my childbirth class Friday night and all day Saturday. Manny and my mom came too, though on Saturday it was just me and mom because Manny had to work. It was a really great class- I feel much better about giving birth now, and actually I’m really excited to be having a home birth. It was good to meet other pregnant ladies and their husbands- there were two other couples whose due dates are very close to mine, and it was really fun to talk to them. There was such a huge amount of information to absorb that it was a tad overwhelming, and I hope I remember it when I actually need it. I think it will come back to me though. There is so much to know, especially about taking care of a newborn, but I think that when the time comes instinct will play an important role as well.
I have been so emotional over the last few days- much more so than usual. And I’m having some super weird dreams, and lots of cramps… I’ve been totally stressed out. School is really tough, and I have a paper that has kind of been freaking me out. As soon as I’m done with it I’m taking a day to relax and regroup. Working and taking two classes while pregnant is challenging. I’ll be relieved when the semester is over and I don’t have to feel guilty about reading parenting books anymore. Just a few more weeks.
Seth is super active as usual- I amazed at how often he kicks. Yesterday I felt him really high up- near my ribs- which was a very strange feeling. Manny and I both talk to him, and I play music loud enough for him to hear- it’s really cool to feel so connected to him already, I love it and can’t wait to meet him.

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Toward a Better Pregnancy

I will start this blog with some of the ways I have attempted to have a more natural and balanced pregnancy over the last several months.
One of the first books I purchased back in June when I found I was going to be a mother was The Complete Organic Pregnancy. I knew that I wanted to give my baby the best start possible in life, and that I could start by making sure my own lifestyle was safe and natural. While we couldn’t afford to replace everything toxic in our home right away, once I learned about the dangers of PVC and other common substances (especially plastics!), I started to phase them out as much as possible. I did replace my PVC yoga mat with this mat, since I was doing yoga several times a week, stopped using water bottles containing BPA, and avoided putting any type of plastic in the microwave.
For the last several years, I have been sort of an “on-and-off” vegetarian- sometimes not eating any meat for over a year, and never eating it on a very regular basis. I feel better when my diet is plant-based, but moreover, it can have a huge impact on the earth in general. I wanted to maintain a vegetarian diet throughout my pregnancy, but found that I was struggling to get even close to the recommended amount of protein, so I have begun eating small amounts of hormone-free chicken on occasion. As much as our budget will allow, I eat organic foods, and try to include a lot of fresh produce. Eating well is probably the most important step a woman can take to ensure a healthy baby.
Another big area I have gone earth-friendly in is personal care products. I have been using at least some natural products for years, but since I’ve been pregnant I have pretty much cut out all “drugstore” type items. There are countless harmful or potentially harmful chemicals in everything from skin care to shampoo, lotion to hand soap. Many of these ingredients have not been properly tested to ensure that they are safe for human use, and yet there they are on the shelves in the stores we shop in. Some excellent all-natural brands I’ve found are Avalon, Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Nature’s Gate, Tom’s of Maine and Desert Essence. If you’re lucky enough to have a Whole Foods or other well-stocked natural foods store nearby, they carry many wonderful products that work beautifully. I love Burt’s Bee’s Mama Bee Belly Butter and Leg and Foot Cream. My skin care is currently from Weleda, and my toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine. I’m always looking for new products to try, so I’ll attempt to review what I use on this blog in the future.
I could keep going on and on, but for now I’ll end with a word on cleaning products. Many people do not realize how very important this issue is. Traditional cleaners may seem to make things clean, but what we don’t see are the dangerous toxins they leave behind in our homes. They are not safe for the person cleaning, or those who will come in cantact with the “cleaned” surfaces. Marketing from large companies has fostered the mindset that you need all these chemicals to kill germs and make everything sanitary, but these products are doing much more harn than good. Thanks to green being so popular, there are now tons of alternative options from brands such as Seventh Generation, and they really do work! I have used many different natural cleaners, but have recently started with Shaklee products sold by a friend of mine who is a stay at home mom. Shaklee has been around for a lot longer than I have, and their products are absultely wonderful and completely safe and eco-friendly. I use them for all my cleaning, including laundry and dishes, and I’m anything but disappointed. They are also extremely cost-effective.
Well, this became a post about green living, not just pregnancy, but I guess the point is that just about anything eco-friendly and natural is better when you’re pregnant. The less exposure you have to toxins, the less your baby is being exposed to them.
A few more quick natural pregnancy tips: yoga is amazing and I believe it has really made a difference in how I’ve felt physically and mentally; herbal pregnancy teas are nice alternatives to coffee and can have tremendous benefits; relaxation is so very important- take time for yourself no matter what because your mental state effects your baby, and it is so important to take the time to enjoy pregnancy.

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Six Random Facts About Me

First, a new picture:

24 weeks- Seth just keeps growing and growing!

Now, my 6 Facts:
(I was tagged to do this by the lovely Adrienne)
1. I have a very early memory of walking on a dirt or gravel road with my father- I must have been about 2 years old, maybe 3. That is the earliest memory I have.
2. I changed my mind about my major many times in college- I went through pre-veterinary, marine biology, education, graphic design, humanities, dance, cross-cultural studies, biblical studies, and finally, communication studies. I’m interested in everything, which I guess is why I ended up doing library science for grad school.
3. I want to travel, but I have also always wanted to live overseas too. There probably isn’t a single country in the world I wouldn’t want to at least visit someday. When I travel, I prefer to really experience the culture of a place and immerse myself in it.
4. I may very likely have read more books in the last year than I did the entire three years I spent at Palm Beach Atlantic. (Especially since I’ve started my master’s degree.) And I really love to read.
5. I would like to adopt a baby from China someday, maybe when our own children are teenagers. I have wanted to do this since I was about 12.
6. I love music, and have learned at least the basics of piano, tenor & baritone sax, clarinet, trumpet, flute, violin and guitar… but I have never gotten very far with any of them. I wish I was more musically talented then I am, and I really respect people who have mastered an instrument.

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What an amazing day!

This morning Manny and I went to B&N/Starbuck’s for my birthday breakfast, and at 1pm I had a midwife appointment. Everything looked good with the baby, and Connie gave us the information to schedule our ultrasound. I called, and was able to get an appointment for today!! And…..

It’s a boy!!!

Manny and I are so over the moon about little Seth Alexander- it all seems so much more real now that we have seen him and can call him by his name! He wasn’t shy at all, and even yawned and stuck his tongue out for us :) He’s beautiful, and appears to have my nose, hehe. Everything looks perfect and healthy- we are so, so happy. The tech said he is measuring 25 weeks 1 day, instead of 24 weeks, so we will see if Connie wants to officially change my due date or continue going by the original calculations. If it does change I will be due February 9th. We couldn’t get a printed picture, which was a little sad- they don’t have the equipment to print them out at the place we went. We’ll be taking lots of pictures of Seth once he’s here though :)
This evening we went to my favorite Thai restaurant for dinner. Overall, it was a pretty amazing and memorable birthday!

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Baby Likes Music

Today in the car I was playing the Red Hot Chili Peppers pretty loud, and the baby started kicking really hard. I think he or she was dancing in there. Naturally, of course, our kid is going to love to rock out. Last night I had a really vivid dream that the baby was a boy. Manny says he dreamed it was a girl. I don’t think we’ll have to wait much longer to find out!

Manny is done with the first phase of his training at work, and now he is actually on the radio dispatching. He loves it.
I just did some engagement portraits for a couple and they came out pretty good. It looks like I might line up a few jobs in December too- I’m pretty excited that it’s picking up a bit, and all from people finding my website online! After the little one comes I’ll just do that and grad school while being a stay at home mom. It’s hard to believe that I’ll only be at the library for a few more months- it’s a little sad but I am of course completely elated that I will have the opportunity to stay at home with the baby.

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Resting today

I started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions yesterday- they are harmless tightenings of the uterus as it prepares and strengthens itself for labor. They don’t hurt, but they are uncomfortable, and I have also been cramping more than usual so my midwife told me to really take it easy today and drink lots of fluids. Luckily I have today and tomorrow off from work anyway, so I’ll stay home and get a lot done for school while I rest. I do wish I could go out and get a blueberry muffin though- I am definitely craving them… :)

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23 Weeks

This morning we could finally hear the baby’s heartbeat with Manny’s stethoscope- it’s so cool. I am taking antibiotics for a throat infection, and this morning I am finally feeling well enough to function again. Later this week I am going for a glucose tolerance test, and hopefully next week we’ll get our ultrasound and find out if this kid is a boy or a girl!

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Oh well

It seems there will not be a 22 week belly picture. I have been sick for most of the week, and for the last few days have barely gotten out of pajamas- and now in a few days I’ll be 23 weeks anyway so I’ll just post a picture then.
What a horribly miserable time I have been having. I can’t stop coughing, and it hurts my belly every time. There are no cold/cough medicines that are safe for the baby, so I’m just eating cough drops and drinking tea and trying to wait this out.
Sad. I’m going to sleep now…

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21 weeks

I can’t believe how active our little one is! It makes my day every time he or she starts moving :) I’ve been feeling great lately- they say the second trimester is the honeymoon stage of pregnancy, and I’m finding that to be true now.

21 week belly:
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