She’s Lump

Remember that song from the ’90s? “She’s lump, she’s lump – she’s in my head.” That song has been stuck in my head lately and a few days ago I told my sister that it was my new theme song.

Long story, short: I’ve had a couple of lumps – one in my neck, one in my lower back – for a while (months or even years). The one in my lower back started bothering me recently, causing back pain whenever I’d bend to pick up a kid or toys or anything. I decided I should get it checked out and, while I was at it, should have the one in my neck checked out as well.

I went to the doctor (family practitioner) on Monday and found out that the lump in my neck is actually a normal-sized lymph node. Huh. I thought it felt large to me or in an odd place for a lymph node, but the doctor assured me it was normal. She said I could have a blood test to make sure everything was fine, but since I’m going back for my yearly physical and pap (whee) in February, I told her I’d just have blood drawn then. FWIW, I had two inflamed lymph nodes in my neck (that never went back down to normal size after I had an illness) removed about 10 years ago. They were benign.

As for the lump in my back (“It’s not a too-mah.” – Kindergarten Cop) – it’s actually a ligament that won’t relax. It’s wound up tight and is inflamed, etc. She recommends I start doing some stretches, more walking, and/or yoga or pilates to strengthen my core. And of course, bend at the knees when I pick up the kids or anything else (oops – hadn’t been doing that), and be more aware of my posture (which quite frankly is shit most of the time these days). She said while the pain is just an annoyance now, it could definitely get worse if I don’t start doing something about it. *Sigh*

So all in all the news was good in that I don’t have any tumors or anything (which definitely was a worry in the back of my mind). But I do need to take better care of my back and work on getting that ligament back to normal. Anybody have any suggested yoga poses to help with that?

The one good thing about this ligament issue is it’s giving me an excuse to hire someone to pick up all of the frozen dog poop in the backyard (that’s been accumulating and stuck in the snow for the past two months). Woot.

The fun (for me) news from my doctor’s appointment was that the doctor I saw (not my usual doctor) was 8 months pregnant. I hadn’t known she was expecting, so I made a comment along those lines and congratulated her. While she was updating my chart (I hadn’t been to the doctor since well before Julian was born), she noticed that it said I had HELLP syndrome with Ava. She asked me if I had it with my son and I replied no. She said she was just asking that for personal reasons because she has HELLP with her first and is, of course, hoping to avoid it this time around. I went on to tell her that not only did I not have HELLP, but that I had an amazing home birth and a surprise footling breech baby as well. She got quite excited over that news and commented that my midwife must have been very skilled. So I told her a bit more about the birth. I could’ve sat there and talked pregnancy and birth all day, but I knew we had to get on with my appointment, so I bit my tongue. I have to admit though that I enjoy telling doctors, especially those who attend births like she does as a family practitioner, that I had a breech birth. I think it’s good for them to know that breech births CAN and DO happen vaginally and that just because a baby is breech shouldn’t mean an automatic c-section.

OK. Off to go Google “pooper-scooper” now. 😉

Waterbirth International needs help to stay afloat

I’m writing over at BlogHer today about the financial crisis Waterbirth International is facing and what all of us can do to help. I hope you’ll take a look, do what you can, and consider spreading the word on your blogs, message boards, etc. The fact that this organization, that’s done so much over the past 20 years in the United States to make water birth a more accessible and acceptable option for women, is facing the very real possibility of closing it’s doors is truly heart breaking. There’s so much more they can accomplish if given the opportunity. Please check out the article. Thank you. 🙂

Also, more coming later today about my health. I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday to have some things checked out that had been bothering/worrying me. I got mostly good news, but I’ll explain more later.

Best Shot Monday – 1/14/08 – First haircut

On Saturday we took the kids for haircuts. It was Julian’s first “real” haircut other than the time I haphazardly trimmed his bangs a couple of weeks ago. He did a lot better than I thought he would (no tears, no need to be held) and was content the whole time. It’s amazing what a difference a haircut makes. He looks like a little boy now for sure. (Sniff, sniff) No more crazy fly-away baby hair. 😉

Here’s my pick (a storyboard) for Best Shot Monday this week:
Julian’s first haircut - 1/12/08

Here is what was left behind in the chair after Julian was done:

Julian’s first haircut - the aftermath

And here are the two kiddos Saturday night, just being sweet on each other:

Things that make you say awwww - 1/12/08

Our weekend was a good one. Besides the haircuts on Saturday, we hit up Target for some great deals on kids’ clothes on clearance (for next winter) and got a Baby Trend Sit and Stand LX double stroller also on clearance. It is the first NEW stroller we’ve ever purchased. The other ones we’ve accumulated over the past 3 1/2 years have come from consignment stores/sales and, invariably, ended up having something wrong with them. I’m looking forward to getting some good use out of this one. After Target we went to Costco where the kids enjoyed samples of yogurt and fresh fruit (lots of it), then picked up some lunch and had a picnic on our living room floor.

Saturday evening I met some friends for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was also a surprise baby shower of sorts for one friend who is due with baby #3 due in March. It was great to see everyone and had been too long since we’d all gone out together. I think it’s safe to say a good time was had by all. I know I really enjoyed catching up with them and just sharing stories about life, husbands, kids, etc. We hope to try to get together like that more often. The adult company is definitely needed and enjoyed.

On Sunday, I slept in while Jody got up with the kids. Then I spent some time cleaning and working on the computer while Julian napped and Jody and Ava went out to run errands. My sister came over in the late afternoon and we went out for a walk with the new stroller. Then I made dinner and we all ate together. It was a nice relaxing day.

How was your weekend?

You can see more of Best Shot Monday over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Green Tip of the Week #8 – Styrofoam

This great green tip comes from Nature Deva (not to be confused with Nature Diva). 🙂

The UPS store (all locations, I believe) will accept any size Styrofoam – packing peanuts, small or large chunks, large sheets, etc. – and will reuse it for packaging. The next time find yourself with a box full of packing peanuts or buy something that has been packaged in Styrofoam, consider dropping if off at UPS where it can be reused and kept out of the landfills.

Thank you, Nature Deva!

And if you missed my post last week about a great new GREEN review site, head on over to Green Mom Finds to check it out.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Just a rambling update

Yesterday was Ava’s first day back to school after a loooooooooooooooong holiday break. She was more than ready to get back to see her teacher and all of her friends, and I admit I was more than ready to have her return. 😉

As much as I’d like to say I had a fabulously productive day of accomplishing tons of things around the house while entertaining my little buddy Jules, that just didn’t happen. Instead I spent the morning at the dentist (with Dr. Hottie) having my teeth cleaned (I was 4 month overdue for that), three teeth (that I’d ground the enamel down to nothing) filled with composite – no drilling involved though – yay!, and having impressions done to have a nighttime bite guard made because I have a history of grinding my teeth – woot. Can you stand the excitement? The filled teeth are rather aggravating me today because they have changed my bite. I might have to ask Dr. Hottie to grind down one of them a little bit more so I don’t feel like I have a piece of cardboard in my teeth every time I bite down. I go pick up the bite guard in about two weeks. Whee.

Speaking of teeth, Julian got one of his molars in. He’s up to 8 front teeth and 1 molar now, and he’s finally getting over the nasty cough he had for the past month.

After the dentist, Julian and I had lunch with Jody at work for the second day in the row. The previous day Ava was with us as well since we went to an API meeting near J’s work and stopped in for a visit (and free food) on our way home. Let me tell you Google sure knows how to feed their employees. Every day they have a salad bar, sandwich bar, soups, hot meals (meat and vegetarian) and dessert (cheesecake, chocolate mousse…), in addition to all of the snacks, fruits and drinks that are available all of the time. I need to talk to Jody about bringing home leftovers on a semi-regular basis. There are some good eats there.

After the dentist and lunch, Julian fell asleep on the way home. So I parked the car in the driveway, went inside for a book (Mr. Darcy’s Diary that I won from This Momma’s Cafe) and joined him in the car until it was time to pick Ava up from school. It’s amazing how fast our day went.

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I need to make an appointment to get both of the kids’ hair cut this weekend. Julian is sporting a lovely mullet these days, which is especially apparent since I cut his bangs and nothing else. And Ava’s bangs are in her eyes. D’oh!

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Tomorrow night I’m going out with the girls (woohoo!) for Mexican food and drinks. I’m so looking forward to it. I can’t remember the last time we all got together for a night out and I think all of the moms would agree that this is very much needed and well-deserved. 🙂

Hope you all enjoy the weekend.

It’s easy to be green

There’s a new review site for the eco-conscious among us called Green Mom Finds. The site was created by Cristina and Izzy, and has four other moms (including myself) who contribute reviews on all of the great green things we’ve come across on our mothering journeys. I’m honored and excited to be apart of this site and wonderful group of women.

With all of the uncertainty about whether this or that product is safe, it’s nice to know there’s a place you can go to and find green items, tips and resources that other moms have tested and recommend. Check it out. I think you’ll like it. 🙂 Did I mention there are great green giveaways too? Oh yeah, there are. Thought you might like that. 😉

Learn from my mistake

I took the kids grocery shopping at Vitamin Cottage this afternoon. Julian found a tub of yogurt to be particularly fascinating, so I let him play with it while we moved about the store. He dropped it on the floor one time – no big deal. I gave it back to him. (Hindsight: What was I thinking??) A few minutes later he dropped it on the floor again and this happened:

Mmmm, Yogurt jeans

A word to the wise: Mothers, don’t let your children play with tubs of yogurt while in the shopping cart.

Note: This picture (albeit a not very good one because I took it myself) is of the dried mess after we got home from the store. (If only I’d had my camera with me at Vitamin Cottage. I can see it now. “No, sir, wait! I don’t want a towel and don’t clean up the mess yet! I need a picture for my blog. Can you take it for me?”) I was quite the sight when it had just happened. I swear 90% of the yogurt went on my jeans, shoes and coat, the other 10% hit the floor. Thank God for the kind woman nearby who saw it all happen and immediately went to get an employee to help with the disaster area mess. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how I was going to clean all of that yogurt off of myself with the three tissues I had in my coat pocket. 😉

The VC employee who came to offer me a towel and brought one to clean up the floor as well looked at Julian sitting happily in the cart and said, “Did you do this?” And Ava, being the helpful big sister that she is and knowing that Julian can’t talk said, “Yes, he did.” And ratted her brother out, just like that. 😉

Next time, I’m giving him a can to play with. Of course then he’ll probably drop it on his sister’s head. Oy.

High hopes for The Business of Being Born

Cross-posted at BlogHer: BlogHers Act.

It’s just over a month now until the release of The Business of Being Born to DVD a la Netflix* on Feb. 12, and I, for one, am counting the days. There are 36.

As a self-confessed “birth junkie,” I’ve been excited about this movie since I first learned about it back in May of 2007.

For anyone unfamiliar with the premise of the film and how it came about, here’s a little background. Actor Ricki Lake had two very different birth experiences (one in the hospital and one at home), and over the past several years considered becoming a midwife to help make a difference. However, after learning about the years of schooling and training involved, she felt that she could bring about more change by using her time, celebrity status (and her money) to make a documentary about birth. Lake recruited filmmaker Abby Epstein for the project.

The Business of Being Born explores the business aspect of birth and the way that American women have babies. The film includes a history of obstetrics, the history and function of midwives, footage of several natural births (including Ricki Lake’s home birth), interviews with people “on the street,” doctors, as well as birth advocates like Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin, and Robbie Davis-Floyd, and more.

The film is about empowering women to know what their choices are when it comes to birth. As Ricki said in her interview with The Huffington Post, “I hope this film educates people and empowers them to really know their choices in childbirth. We do not want to make any woman feel bad about the outcome of her birth, or the choices she made (or will make).”

It is my hope that because this movie has the potential to appeal to all women and anyone who is concerned with women’s rights, it will reach the masses, not just the midwives and birth activists out there. I believe that having a choice when it comes to birth is a woman’s right. It is also a woman’s right to know what her options are, as well as have access to all of the information about what is healthiest for her AND for her baby.

While the media would often have us believe otherwise, birth is a normal, natural process, and in most cases women require minimal assistance and no intervention to give birth to a healthy baby. Of course there is always the exception, but I believe birth should be treated as normal until proven otherwise, not as a potential emergency waiting to happen.

While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see the film even though it’s been shown a handful of times around me locally (always at my kids’ bedtime it seems), I have been enjoying reading reviews and observing the different perspectives the reviewers have based on their personal (and professional) backgrounds. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what they wish was or was not included in the film, but the overall consensus is that this is a wonderful film.

The Navelgazing Midwife had a unique perspective on the movie since she’s been a midwife for the past 15 years and a doula for 23 years and thus is much more observant of the intricacies of birth than a lay person may be. I enjoyed her “insider’s” point of view and critique. Despite disagreeing with some aspects of the film, overall, she was very pleased and concluded that “she (Ricki Lake) did a beautiful job and I am proud to call her our own. She knows her stuff.”

Another midwife, newer to the profession, from Belly Tales wrote “overall I thought the film was truly amazing; it brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Rather than being far out on the left fringe as I had feared, I was actually blown away by how mainstream and accessible it was. It begins with the assumption that the audience knows absolutely nothing about birth and the business of birth in this country, and then moves on from there, using a simple and easy-to-understand, yet powerful and engrossing format and narrative.”

Tanya Lieberman, host of the Motherwear blog, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and breastfeeding advocate, came away from the film believing change in the current birth system is definitely needed and said, “the only people who can change this trend is us.” She makes the point that to bring about change we need to vote with our feet, which is why she believes it’s so important that the masses see this movie – to realize that they have choices.

Despite the fact that I’ve read several articles and reviews about the film and consider myself fairly well-versed in the history of obstetrics and midwifery, I am still so excited to see it, especially for the beautiful footage of normal birth. I watched a lot of birth videos in preparation for my son’s home birth and got emotional just about every time a baby was born. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of my time watching The Business of Being Born with a tissue in hand as well.

Birth is such an amazing, beautiful, raw and emotional event, and I truly hope that this movie will be seen not only by the “birth junkies” such as myself out there, but by the mainstream population – the couple who is newly expecting, the woman who is dissatisfied with a previous birth experience, the medical community, and anyone who is interested in learning about birth – as well. I think it has the potential to bring about change for the better. Change, that I believe, is so desperately needed.

Rest assured I will be writing about this film again once I’ve had the pleasure of viewing it. And I will add my own review, as a woman and birth junkie who has experienced both a hospital birth and a home birth, to the list. Until then, the countdown continues…

*While the film is not going to be released on DVD until Feb. 12, you may add it to your Netflix queue at any time.

Best Shot Monday – 1/7/08 – Colorful fun

This weekend we went to a birthday party at an indoor children’s amusement park. There was a carousel, ferris wheel, train, bouncer, ball pit, slides, and much more. The kids had a blast, and I dare say the parents enjoyed themselves as well. 🙂

Who do you think had the most fun in the ball pit?

Ava?
Ava in the balls 1/5/08

Julian?
Julian in the balls - 1/5/08

Or daddy? 😉
Jody in the balls - 1/5/08

Lastly, here’s my pick for BSM – Julian in a sea of balls:

Julian in a sea of balls 1/5/08

You can see more of Best Shot Monday over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday