13 weeks today – pregnancy talk

This (my pregnancy ticker I have in my signature on some of the msg boards I visit) made me smile when I saw it today. Baby is practicing smiling, grimacing, frowning and squinting. Awww. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m 13 weeks today so I’m not sure if I’m officially in the second trimester this week or next, but either way, I’m close! I’ve been continuing to feel good, just feeling tired at times and the need to eat more frequently. I know I lost a few pounds after my stint with food poisoning (or whatever that was), but I think I probably have made up for it now. I haven’t gotten on the scale lately so I can’t say for sure.

I think I felt the baby moving last night as I sat at the computer proofing pictures from a recent session, but I’m not 100% sure. I know after your first pregnancy you are more likely to feel it earlier, but this might still be too early. I didn’t feel Ava move until around 17 weeks, but what I felt last night (a few times) was down low and wasn’t gas so….???

I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week (5/16) with the old practice. I decided to keep it even though I’m switching practices because I really want to hear the baby’s heartbeat before we go on vacation to CA. We leave on 5/17. So I’m excited about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the presents Jody got me for my birthday was a gift certificate to Kohl’s so I could buy myself some new maternity clothes. (I got rid of 99% of my maternity clothes from my pregnancy with Ava because I lost so much weight after she was born, they all would be huge on me.) So yesterday Ava and I went up there and I got three new shirts (two cute summery ones and one sweater on clearance for $2) and a pair of jeans (and Ava got some socks). I also went to a consignment store over the weekend and picked up three maternity shirts and a pair of khaki mat. capris. So I think I’m set for a little while – at least for our trip. I haven’t been wearing any maternity clothes yet and I still feel funny about it because I’m not *that* big, but yet, some of my regular clothes aren’t roomy enough. I am borrowing a pair of jeans from a friend (ones she wore when she was pregnant but not needing maternity clothes yet) and so far those have been working well, but that’s only 1 pair of pants! I guess I will look more pregnant if I start dressing the part. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In related pregnancy news, my friend Julie had her baby girl – “Lily” – on Monday. She had a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and both mommy and baby are doing great and nursing is going well! Congrats to Julie and fam. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s the first of my three friends due in May to give birth. May is such a great month for babies and new life! ๐Ÿ™‚

NY Times article about Hypnobirthing

You may or may not know that Jody and I took five weeks of Hypnobirthing classes in preparation for Ava’s birth. The techniques learned in the class, along with the relaxation cd and book, helped me tremendously during my labor with Ava. I have several friends who have taken the classes as well and have gone on to have wonderful birth experiences.

The Hypnobirthing method does not promise you your birth will be without discomfort, but it does help you learn how to relax your body which “can help bring about a shorter, easier, and more joyful birthing, free of harmful drugs for you and your baby.” “The method teaches you that in the absence of fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor.”

We plan to take a refresher course as it gets closer to baby’s guess date and use Hypnobirthing once again. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s exciting to see a paper such as the NY Times recognize Hypnobirthing, and in a positive light too! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Fox News did a story about Hypnobirthing while I was pregnant with Ava [Jody and I were in the segment] and they made it sound like we were all a bunch of quacks for pursuing it. )

I’ve copied the entire article below (sorry it’s so long) because it is no longer available on the NY Times’ website without registering and logging in.

You’re in Labor, and Getting Sleeeeepy

Published: April 27, 2006


My parents definitely thought I was a bit crazy when I mentioned a hypnobirth,” Adrienne Pratt said. Ms. Pratt, eight months pregnant, and her husband, Armando Guato, gathered with two other expectant couples on Easter Sunday afternoon to learn a newly popular technique for helping women remain serene during childbirth.

For many, the word “hypnosis” conjures up an image of a swinging pendant lulling a hapless woman into a trance. But hypnobirth is not about inducing a trance; it is a combination of relaxation, breathing and visualization techniques to control labor and birthing pain, said Linette Landa, the hypnobirth teacher.

Slow, smooth breathing counteracts what Ms. Landa called “the fear-tension-pain syndrome,” the notion that women fear birth, so their muscles tense up, resulting in pain.

“We’re all about the subconscious mind,” said Ms. Landa, a tall, tranquil woman who teaches yoga. “The conscious mind is out of the picture.”

Move over, Lamaze. Today, many women are reaching out to a variety of other drug-free childbirth alternatives, including aromatherapy and birthing pools, according to experts on gynecology and obstetrics.

They are inspired by Web sites like Urbanbaby.com, reality birth television shows like “House of Babies” on the Discovery Health Channel and celebrities like Angelina Jolie, whose sojourn with Brad Pitt in Namibia spurred speculation that they would have their baby using water birthing. Tom Cruise caused a stir when he said Katie Holmes would give birth in silence. (He later explained that she could make noise, but that others had to be quiet for a calm delivery of their baby, a girl, born on April 18.)

While “silent birth” raised eyebrows, even the more widely practiced hypnobirth, with more than 2,000 instructors nationwide, still draws its share of skepticism.

“When you hear ‘hypno,’ you think weird, hippy, earthy type stuff,” said Kelly Yeiser, 31, of Ashville, N.C., who had her first baby last August using the technique. “But it’s really more about meditation and getting yourself into a calm, relaxed state.”

Byron Bailey, a government worker in Washington who attended the hypnobirth class with his wife, Jaylin, said, “The idea of someone swinging a pendant รขโ‚ฌโ€ that’s the sideshow aspect.” The couple are expecting their first child in May.

The women attending the class said a big appeal of hypnobirth is that it builds confidence. Mothers-to-be complain that people are quick to share their worst childbirth stories, in excruciating detail, at the first sight of someone else’s pregnancy, feeding worries about labor and delivery.

Ms. Pratt, 36, a project specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank, in Washington, said hypnobirth helps banish such fears because it focuses on the positive.

She was practicing its deep, distinctive breathing รขโ‚ฌโ€ no Lamaze-style panting. The mother “breathes the baby down” and out instead of pushing, according to the tenets of HypnoBirthing. (The name was trademarked in 2000.) During sessions over several weeks, and daily home exercises, the mother also practices visualizing the baby easily descending and leaving her body so often that the image becomes imprinted in her mind; a CD is available for practice and for last-minute guidance. A birthing companion รขโ‚ฌโ€ husband or midwife รขโ‚ฌโ€ tries to keep the mother in a positive, totally relaxed state of mind.

HypnoBirthing mothers even use a different vocabulary. For example, a contraction is a uterine surge or wave, pushing is birth breathing, and false labor is practice labor.

Getting used to all this takes practice, admitted Jennifer Stanton-Brand, 38, who was attending the class with her husband, Stephan, a sales manager in Baltimore. They are expecting their first child next month.

Ms. Stanton-Brand has not yet developed a routine that is second nature, as the method recommends, but said the exercises “have helped me become more inward.”

“When something gets tense, I breathe and go inward to a place I can control,” she said.

Obstetricians interviewed said that expectant mothers are more focused on finding new ways to reduce, or even eliminate, labor and birth pain.

At one end of the spectrum, women are opting for Caesareans in record numbers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the combined percentage of women who had C-sections or used drugs to induce labor was about half of the 4.1 million childbirths in 2004.

Of the remaining women, many fear that drugs will hurt their newborns and want a way to avoid them as well as to control the pain.

Some of the alternatives they are selecting include water birthing, in which the woman immerses herself in a tub or pool to reduce labor discomfort, and sometimes for the birth. Another technique is for the woman to change positions so she is not always lying down, but is sitting on a giant ball, for example. Some women have acupuncture, and others use aromatherapy to create a soothing environment.

The trend is toward nonmedical methods, said Dr. William Camann, associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and co-author of the recently released “Easy Labor, Every Woman’s Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth” (Random House).

Once, he said, “there was no overlap, and there tended to be animosity and distrust” between those who espoused natural childbirth and advocates of medical procedures. But that has changed, he added, because women are researching alternatives and finding them on the Internet.

Hospitals today are also more accepting of a woman’s desire to be in control during labor and delivery, Dr. Camann said. “There’s been a gradual trend toward acceptance of alternative methods, even though five years ago, asking for a hypnobirth was almost unheard of. Now it’s much more common.”

SO, does it work? In 2004, The British Journal of Anesthesia said studies involving 8,000 women found that those who used hypnosis techniques during childbirth rated their pain as less severe than those who did not.

Jennifer Macris, 38, of Annapolis, Md., said that during the three-hour labor for her baby, born on March 26, she listened to a HypnoBirthing CD through headphones. She was so calm that nurses asked her husband, Jeff, if she was sleeping.

“There was no pain,” she said. “I felt a bit of pressure, and the baby was out. There was only a little tear that required one stitch.”

Still, Dr. Camann and other doctors warned mothers against rigidly adhering to any single alternative.

Ideally HypnoBirthing allows a woman to remain so relaxed through contractions that there is no screaming to tire the mother or alarm the baby, and labor is shorter.

It doesn’t work for everyone: Jennifer Richards, 29, said she gained self-confidence from hypnobirth methods, but had an epidural because of the intense back pain during her 30-hour labor.

“I used some of the things I learned,” she said, “but not as many as I would have liked.”

In contrast, Ms. Yeiser of Asheville, whose baby was born after only two and a half hours of labor, said, “I was so relaxed that I slept through the first stage of labor.”

That’s what Marie F. Mongan was seeking when she set up HypnoBirthing after her first two deliveries, the first in 1954, when women were routinely strapped down and given ether, and their legs tied to stirrups.

The first birth using her program, which is based on her training in hypnosis, was that of her grandson, Kyle, in 1990.

The number of those taking HypnoBirthing’s four-day instructors’ course has doubled in recent years and has increasingly included nurses, she said. Her 1992 book, “HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method” (Health Communications) is in its third printing.

Her HypnoBirthing Institute, outside Concord, N.H., is just starting to keep statistics on how many women deliver using her techniques, something hard to measure because women who take the classes may later find that a medical necessity calls for drugs. The course is usually a series of five classes, which in Bethesda cost $200.

Ms. Mongan said natural childbirth has been derailed by medical intervention. When Queen Victoria insisted on chloroform during the deliveries of her nine children, she set the precedent for ceding control of birthing to doctors, Ms. Mongan writes in her book.

While many hospitals now permit hypnobirth, doctors are wary because they fear litigation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists leaves it up to the individual doctor’s judgment.

Such techniques are not a surefire way to avoid pain, but rather “adjuncts and not the end-all to birth,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Segil, an obstetrician who offers the HypnoBirthing option to every patient in his practice in Dover, N.H.

“Women should not be set up to feel that they’ve failed if they can’t follow through to a totally natural delivery,” he said.

Let them eat cake

Here are a few pics from my birthday yesterday.

I made this super yummy carrot cake from scratch, using my friend’s mom’s recipe. (It has pineapple between the layers.) It turned out sooooo tasty! The recipe made a lot of cream cheese frosting, but I decided not to put it all on the cake, since it was already so decadent, and tossed a fair amount.

Excuse my no make-up face. I had a headache for much of the day and didn’t even shower until about 5 p.m. Thankfully my headache cleared up and I was able to enjoy our takeout dinner from Old Chicago and the cake that I made. Also, I’m not sure what’s up with the weird shadowy things on my chest in these pics. I guess they were a reflection from the candles?

And yes, Ava is poking her finger fingerS into the cake and licking them off while the pics are being taken and Jody is singing “happy birthday” to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ She usually loves to sing happy birthday, but apparently not when there’s a cake in front of her. LOL She and I split a piece of cake and she ate as much as I did. It’s amazing she slept last night.

Other than the headache, it was a nice birthday. Jody made breakfast and lunch, changed all of the diapers all day (woohoo!), I got to take a nap alone in the morning, Jody and I got some alone time in the afternoon while Ava napped, and I even got some presents. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t complain.

Thanks for all the birthday greetings. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nearly 4,000 women set breast-feeding record

Very cool!! Way to go, mamas! ๐Ÿ™‚

3,738 Mothers Set Breast-Feeding Record

By The Associated Press Sat May 6, 9:16 AM ET

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 4,000 mothers set a world record this week for the largest number of women simultaneously breast-feeding their babies in the same place, organizers said.

Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, whose city is one of the event’s organizers, said 3,738 mothers simultaneously breast-fed their babies for at least one minute, breaking the Guinness World Record.

The result will be submitted to Guinness for evaluation.

The United Nations Children’s Fund said the previous record was held by the City of Berkeley, California, where 1,135 mothers simultaneous breast-fed babies for a minute on Aug. 3, 2002.

The event was also held to raise awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding, organizers said.

Dr. Nicholas Alipui, UNICEF representative to the Philippines, said breast-feeding can help curb malnutrition in children under two years old, provide children with antibodies to fight diseases and boost the country’s economy because families save on infant formula.

And here’s a link to a video that has even more info about it:
Breast-feeding video

Happy weekend!

First of all, Happy Cinco de Mayo today. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know that I’d ever heard of Cinco de Mayo until I moved to Oklahoma and then Colorado, and not being Hispanic, I can’t say I really celebrate it for the true meaning. But every year, Jody and I always have a Mexican dinner full of yummy foods for our own celebration. I need to figure out what I’m going to make tonight.

On a semi-related note (only in that this is a Mexican song), I’ve had “La Cucaracha” stuck in my head for a while now so I’ve been singing it (*”La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha, la la la la la la la. La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha, la la la la la la la!”) every now and then. Anyway, Ava picked it up and started singing it in bed in the middle of the night the other night! Cracked me up when I realized what she was doing!

*I don’t really know the words, though I did just look them up and it turns out it’s about marijuana. LOL I had no idea. This is all that I sing.


After having a break from photoshoots for the past three weeks, I have a maternity session tomorrow with one of my many pregnant friends. It should be fun. ๐Ÿ™‚


And on Sunday, I will celebrate my 31st birthday! Hard to believe I’m turning 31. I think the time definitely seems to go by faster once you’ve had a child. I don’t know if we are doing anything special to celebrate. I suppose we might go out to eat, but then, we’ll see. Jody and I are still pretty gun shy about food these days.


And now (to enlighten you) I will leave you with a couple verses and the chorus (English translation) to La Cucaracha. ๐Ÿ™‚

1 When a fellow loves a maiden
And that maiden doesn’t love him,
It’s the same as when a bald man
Finds a comb upon the highway.

The cucaracha, the cucaracha,
Doesn’t want to travel on
Because she hasn’t,
Oh no, she hasn’t
Marihuana for to smoke.

2 All the maidens are of pure gold;
All the married girls are silver;
All the widows are of copper,
And old women merely tin.

Vacation all I ever wanted

We’re planning a little vacation to California to coincide with one of Jody’s business trips, two weeks hence! We’ll spend a couple days in the San Jose/Mountain View area while Jody works at Google, then we’re heading to San Francisco to spend a few more days of actual vacation time seeing the sights. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve never been to San Francisco or California at all, so I’m really looking forward to it.

I just booked our hotel in the heart of downtown San Francisco. It’s definitely not cheap, but then, I figure this is the last vacation we will be taking for a while and we might as well have nice digs. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a four-star hotel, but I did get a discount using Expedia.

The great thing about going along with a business trip is we don’t have to pay for Jody’s airfare, just mine, since Ava still flies free for another month and a half! And the first few nights of our stay will be free since Jody will be working.

I know there are tons and tons of things to do in the area, but if you have been there (or live there) and have any suggestions for us, let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think our hotel is right by the Yerba Buena Gardens so that might be fun for Ava. And of course we’ll have to go down to the Fishermen’s Wharf and do the touristy thing of riding the trolley cars.

I’m hoping I’ll be over the first trimester tireds by then. I’ll be 14 weeks. But since we’ll probably have to take a break half-way through our days so Ava can nap, I should be fine either way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do so enjoy my afternoon naps these days.

Off to an interview

Not a job interview, but an OB interview. I scheduled a “meet and greet” appointment with a doctor a friend recommended for this afternoon. My friend loves her and I hope I will as well. She works for the same medical center as the family practice doctor Ava and I see so I hope that’s a good sign. Oh, and that FP doctor recommended her to me as well. I’ll try to report back later.

In other news, Jody is back to work today and doing fine and I’m feeling a lot better too. Whether it was food poisoning or some nasty variation of the “bug” Ava had earlier, I don’t think we’ll ever know for certain. But I am sooooooo glad to be done with it!! I wouldn’t wish that kind of sickness on anyone – pregnant or not – but I think it was particularly worse on me because I am. I’m feeling particularly thankful for the good health we enjoy MOST of the time.

UPDATED at 5:50 p.m.:
The interview went really well. Dr. T had a good personality, listened well, and answered my questions to my satisfaction. I like her philosophy on birth (sees it as a natural process, not a medical condition), inductions (prefers not to do them unless medically necessary), c-sections (only done in an emergency or a real medical need) and episiotomies (doesn’t do them unless there’s a risk of tearing in front or the baby NEEDS to come out right now for medical reasons). She basically said it’s much more fun to sit back and let labor and birth happen and see how it all turns out, rather than get in there and micromanage it all. She sounds like my kinda doc.

There are currently two other doctors in the practice who also attend births, but she said they both share the same medical views as she does, though the male doctor is more scientific and test-oriented than she and the other female doctor. In addition, there will be two more female doctors joining the practice in the summer, but they will be on the same page as the rest as well. While I would see Dr. T for most of my appointments (until towards the end, when I’d meet the other docs), any one of them could end up actually attending my birth, so it’s important to me that they all have similar attitudes and thoughts about anything birth-related.

We talked a fair amount about my history with HELLP syndrome and she feels my chances are good of not developing it again this time around. (One of these days I’ll get around to explaining exactly what went on with me and HELLP and Ava’s birth. It wasn’t the birth experience I’d expected in the least and I hope to avoid it this time around. Though the end result was a healthy baby and mama and that was what mattered the most.)

So, all in all, it went very well. I still plan to interview a midwife just so that I can weigh all of my options, but at this point I’m leaning towards transferring to Dr. T’s practice. She seems like a good fit for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fondue Pot = Food Poisoning?

For Pete’s sake! All I seem to write about here lately is getting sick and food poisoning. We just can’t seem to catch a break.

So here’s my weekend story – sad, but true. Please be warned that this post contains references to bodily functions that happen when one has food poisoning.

On Friday night, we dropped Ava off with friends so that Jody and I could enjoy an evening out to ourselves to celebrate our anniversary. We went to The Melting Pot – a fondue restaurant that I’ve heard great things about over the years and have been wanting to go to for quite some time. The ambiance was great, the food was delicious, the company was wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a great evening. And, possibly best of all, Ava had no problems at all while we were gone. She was very happy to stay with our friends. Who could’ve asked for more, right?

Jody woke up first Saturday morning to diarrhea and vomiting. He NEVER, EVER throws up and hasn’t since he was in high school, so he knew something was up.

I woke up about an hour and a half later to the same thing. First the diarrhea, then, about 30 minutes later, I ran to the toilet to throw up. My first thought (since I didn’t know Jody had been sick yet) was that I had consumed too much of the chocolate fondue the night before (because I did indulge quite a bit) and my body was just getting it out of my system. But then I threw up again and a few times after that and, after finding out Jody was in the same predicament, I was certain we had food poisoning.

I called my OB’s office a little while later to make sure the baby wouldn’t be affected by my illness. The doctor reassured me that food poisoning is contained in the gut and would not cause the baby any harm. She did caution me to keep myself hydrated and I did my best, though it was really hard for a few hours to keep anything in my system.

It was a miserable day. I stayed in bed most of the day. Jody felt slightly better than I did, so he did his best to take care of Ava, who was still not eating very much after her recent bout w/ tummy sickness a few days before. She wanted to nurse and, while I let her a few times, I didn’t feel it was in my best interest for her to since I was not keeping down any fluids and what I did have needed to go to the baby. So we let her drink milk with Ovaltine and Gatorade – not things she’d typically have, but we pretty much felt that whatever kept *her* hydrated and happy was good for us too.

We all took a nap together that afternoon, which was very much needed. I didn’t eat anything, except for a few Saltines (which I threw up) all day long, but my stomach did NOT want food in it. I ate small amounts of food on Sunday, but it still felt funky. And even this morning, after having some scrambled eggs and toast, I feel blah, though definitely not nauseous (which is a relief!).

The conclusion we’ve come to is that the restaurant had to have had bad meat. Yes, I said the “m” word. I ate meat. Might as well come clean now that I’ve been having some meat every now and then for the past few weeks. I’ve decided to follow my body’s lead for this pregnancy and, since I need in excess of 75 to 100 grams of protein per day to ward off pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome (which I had with Ava), I am allowing myself to eat meat if my body craves it. (No stone throwing, please?)

Anyway, we think it was bad meat because we were very sure to cook the meat for at least the amount of time recommended, but I did all of mine for even longer than that because I am wary about undercooked meat and because I’m pregnant and did NOT want to deal with food poisoning.

I am going to write The Melting Pot a letter to explain what happened. I think they need to be aware of it, especially if others got sick from that evening as well. And it’s even more frustrating that we got so sick after we paid more money that evening than I think we’ve ever paid for a meal. You’d think that for the price (over $100), they’d have really good quality food, meats, etc. Heck, just the fact that they serve raw meat, you’d think their quality standards would have to be pretty high or they’d be dealing with cases of food poisoning all the time.

So, here it is, Monday and we are both feeling better, but still not 100%. Jody stayed home from work today and I’m sure I would have as well if I were in his shoes. I will admit that I’m doing TONS better than I was on Saturday though. I spent 95% of Saturday either laying in bed or on the couch and the other 5% was spent in the bathroom. I think it may take a few more days before we are back to our old selves.

It sure does make you question all food (meat or not) though. I’m finding myself being skiddish of anything I put in my mouth now.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a much better weekend than we did.