Hello and welcome to my blog! This blog is as much of an experiment for me as attempting a natural childbirth is. I'll be posting reviews on books I read, experiences I have while attempting to green our lives a bit more, and sometimes, general nonsense I come up with! Please feel free to comment and share information!

I look forward to hopefully making it through this experience with my own interesting story about giving birth naturally!


Stella's First Photo Album

Having only just finally published my post about my natural childbirth experience, I don't have much else to add today. But, here is Stella's First Photo Album... 

I know I am her mother and all, but I have to say, she is one beautiful little girl. Her brother is in love with her as well, which is very nice. No real jealousy issues have cropped up... yet. But, Silas is a pretty chill kid, I don't think anything but normal sibling rivalry will ever crop up between them. 

Anyway, for anyone who is interested, here is a link to Stella's first photo album!

Stella Francesca 8.17.10

A Natural Birth Story

What a long strange trip its been. That is for sure. When I started this journey back in December, I had no idea what to expect, what it would be like. But I was determined to give it my best, to stay in shape and be fit for me and baby. 

My due date came and went and no baby. I went to the gym, took walks everyday, kept myself as active as possible trying to encourage baby to enter the world. 

Finally, at my 41 week appointment, my doctor and I decided it was finally time to induce and get the show on the road. I had so wanted to avoid an induction. I didn't want the pitocin, the contractions or the higher risk of a c-section that comes with it. 
I finally got to work in the afternoon... to everyone's shock and dismay...and told everyone I'd be out as of the next day. 

When I got home from work, Jake, my mother and I discussed our plan for the next day. My friend Jen was going to come over to watch Silas because our nanny had a doctor appointment.  We sat down and had dinner and then got all our stuff ready for the hospital. 

As I was wiping down the counters, I thought I felt a contraction. Hmmm... well, I had been feeling contractions and ligament pain for weeks and wasn't about to get excited now. 
My mom came into the kitchen and asked if I was OK... I looked at her and said, "I don't think we have to wait until tomorrow...". There was just something about this time that felt different, felt real.

By 11:00 I was sure. I was in labor. I finished washing my face, told Jake I was in labor, called my friend Jen to see if she would be able to come over in the middle of the night instead of the morning and got into bed to watch the North Shore (which was randomly on HBO and I was totally psyched to be distracted by a classic 80's surfing movie) for the long ride. 

Jake came to bed at 11:30 and I asked him to start timing my contractions. I felt like they were fairly close together, but if you have ever been in labor, even when they are 15 minutes apart, it feels like they are 5 minutes apart. 

But... they really were 5 minutes apart. At 12:30, I called my doctor. She told me I should head to the hospital right away since labor started at such an intense level.  
I called Jen, woke my mom, got up and got dressed. 

My husband, love him, ran a few red lights to try to make our trip a little faster. We didn't go flying through them or anything though, don't worry, we weren't a menace on the road:) The trip through the city was fun, as always. Maybe they leave potholes there just to make trips like mine more fun and interesting. I was in the back seat with my mom, holding onto the seat in front of me for dear life and to help my concentration in order to breathe through contractions. 

I was actually doing very well with that. I wasn't exactly what you would call calm... I kept saying again and again that I didn't think I could do it. But, when a contraction started, I was doing a fairly decent job on concentrating on breathing through the pain and moaning my exhale. 

1:15 am, we arrive at the hospital and head straight up to the triage. Well, my mom and I do, Jake has to go park the car. 

Now, you know what I don't understand, why, when you are in pain, about to have a baby, do they feel the need to ask you the same 80 questions again and again. I know they need to do their job and they need to ask certain questions, but is it necessary to ask the same questions again and again and again. I mean seriously people, I already told you 3 times that there is no history of cancer in my family... and what exactly does this have to do with birthing a child?

Finally we get to the room. It is now probably about 2:00 am.

I was trying to find a comfortable position and just couldn't. I wanted to do this the all natural way, so there wasn't really much comfort to be found because you know, contractions, but still. 

I tried sitting on the edge of the bed, with my head resting against Jake's chest while holding his hands through contractions. That wasn't too bad. But, my mother kept saying, "why don't you lay down, why don't you lean back. Don't yell, don't make those noises, you need to breathe." I know she thought she was helping, but it was difficult to not yell at her to shut the hell up. I feel like I spent a lot of time yelling at her, and then apologizing for it because  I was breathing. That was how I was breathing through the pain. On the exhale, I was moaning out the contractions, kind of like in tennis. It was easy to lose my concentration and just start wimpering through the worst contractions. But Jake was really great. He'd gently rub my back with the hand I wasn't breaking and remind me to breathe out, when I breathed out, I was less tense. and if I was less tense, riding the contraction wave was much easier and a tad less painful. But of course, all of that is easier said than done when you are in the middle of the most difficult thing you have ever done in your life. 

I lay back finally... that didn't help. It made contractions worse and since my butt was sitting right on the metal bar where they can cut the bed in half if you use stir-ups, my butt was going numb. 

Come on hospital. Is there no way at all to make these beds a teensy bit more comfortable for us? Is it necessary to make things MORE painful during childbirth?

Finally, after much moving around and complaining, I found that if I sat up, towards the back of the bed, and leaned forward a bit during contractions, that was "best". I held onto my husband's hand and squeezed with each contraction as I tried to concentrate on breathing through the pain. I had to hold myself up on the other side with one hand. It tended to make my hand numb, but the relief between contractions was sometimes enough to shake out the tingly feeling. Unfortunately, it was never enough to stop the tingling sensation in my face that I had been feeling since about 12:30. I felt a bit like I was tripping or had just done a balloon at a Phish show...I wasn't quite sure what to make of the sensation. I kept telling people, my face is tingling, my face is tingling and they just said it was OK. I don't know if maybe I was tripping on the pain or if the baby was on a nerve or something, but it was a crazy sensation and didn't go away until the baby was born. 
It felt like hours that I was there, breathing through the contractions, but my doctor pretty much did not leave my side the whole time... which meant it wasn't hours since she was the on call doctor for her practice that day and there had to be other people there in labor. It was a very busy night on L&D. She knew I was going to go soon, and her calm presence and ability to bring me back to my focus was a huge help. 

Finally, I looked up, and told my doctor I couldn't do it anymore. I needed that baby out NOW!

But, I wasn't really ready to push, and at last check, was 9cm. I had been 5cm when I was admitted, and was dilating at a rate of 2cm every 20 min. Pretty damn fast and probably why the contractions were so intense.

The wonderful and fabulous Dr. Wong said, "OK, let me check you again. You were 9cm, if I break your water for you, you'll probably dilate that last centimeter and be able to push." 
She checked and said, "you're at 10. Do you want me to break your water?"

I could only nod. Hmm... that was a pleasant experience. There really are no words for what it feels like to have your center pulling in on you and then having someone basically shove a knitting needle into you and twist it around a bit... along with a couple of fingers. Awesome! Again please?

I felt a small trickle of water, and screamed. Having my water broken literally released the baby! It was like "whammy!" baby was all of a sudden pushing up against me ready to be born NOW! Which was good because I was really at the end of my pain tolerance rope. I was quickly losing any and all compsure--not that I had a lot going on at that point anyway.
I totally forgot how to push. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't pull myself forward, I couldn't hold my legs up. Luckily, my husband and mom were there to help me out. They held my legs while I held myself up. 

One, two...and a half. With several screams and declarations of not being able to do it in between... I felt the head come out. The burning sensation I had felt was finally gone. Even though the baby technically wasn't born yet, just have the head out was such a relief, I literally fell backwards and sighed. Careful now because the shoulders were next. Small push...and baby came into the world. 

Congratulations, its a SCREECH from my mother. Which could only mean...
Its a GIRL!

3:25am, after 5 hours of labor and a mere 3 pushes. After experiencing the strangest sensations and pains and focus and love and fear and surety and doubt and confidence...my baby girl came into the world. Just as I had hoped. Drug and Intervention free. 

6lbs. 13 oz. and 20 in.

We discussed names. I asked him what he thought. What did he want to name her. He asked me what I wanted and I said simply, "You know what name I want, but you don't like it. Which name do you want?"

He looked at me with so much love and said, "Its really what you want? Then lets do it."

World, say hello to Stella Francesca. Francesca is in honor of my mother, who is not only an amazing mother who does so much for us, but is the best Nonna in the world. I had an amazing Nonna myself, so that is saying a lot.

It's been a little over a week now and I am still in amazement. Not only of my beautiful daughter, but of what I experienced. I just re-read what I wrote above about the experience, and it doesn't even come close to really describing it. Was I in pain? Hell yeah. Was it torture? Hell yeah. But, at the same time is was amazing. No pain. Surreal. Despite what I was screaming and saying at the time, if we ever decide to have a third child, I will definitely go all natural again. Next time, hopefully I'll be able to make it into the birthing center... Stella arrived one day too late for that, but it was ok. Labor was so quick, I wouldn't have had a chance to really appreciate all the perks of a birthing center room anyway!


Ergobaby Carrier Give-a-way!!!

Hey all you baby wearing Mama's out there! This Mama Rocks is giving away a FREE ErgoBaby Carrier!

Easily the BEST baby carrier on the market, it holds babies and toddlers of all sizes, from birth up to 40 lbs! Toddlers can be worn on your chest facing you, on your back and even on your hip!

Hop on over to This Mama Rocks to read her review of the ErgoBaby and to find out how to enter the give-a-way. Here is a link to the blog post, or click the button on the right of my page!

Good luck!


Non-stress Test and Ultrasound

Now that I am officially past due, I went to the hospital today to take a non-stress test and have an ultrasound. 

I thought last night perhaps I was in labor, but it turned out to not be true. I woke up at 2am (my normal wake up time this week), definitely NOT in labor, just needing to go to the bathroom. And naturally, struggled to get back to sleep... I am still not convinced I ever did. and if I did, it wasn't good sleep because I tossed and turned and woke up a lot between going to the bathroom and my alarm going off at 6:20.

Anyway, the baby wasn't being super cooperative in allowing us to hear his or her heartbeat. It took some maneuvering, but we finally found a position for the monitor and me that allowed us to hear the heartbeat clearly. 

Since I had just walked several blocks to get to the hospital, the baby was also basically napping, so not much movement. It worried the nurse until I explained that usually, after I exercise or exert effort, it takes the baby awhile to wake up. So, she came over and zapped my belly (hence the baby) to wake it up. After that, it was the normal party going on. 

All was well with the baby's Heartbeat and movement. 

Next, to the ultrasound to make sure the baby's current home was copacetic. The ultrasound tech took some measurements and pictures. She assured me baby's head was average size and that the baby was 7 lbs give or take a few ounces. That was very reassuring to me because I was worried about the baby's size. Not only am I now past due, but everyone keeps telling me the second baby is usually bigger than the first... and Silas was 8 lbs 4 oz. So, hearing that the baby was 7lbs made me feel MUCH better! That knowledge will give me a little confidence when it comes to delivery knowing he or she isn't super large. 

I'll tell ya though, I am really getting uncomfortable now. I don't know how women allow themselves to go more than a week past due date (because they don't want to induce). I don't want to induce, but I will be screaming for it if I make it to my 41 wk appointments! The baby is so low, I can't stand up without having to urinate, and is putting a ton of pressure on my ligaments in my groin, causing lots of sudden painful spasms in the groin area. Of course, each time I feel one and bend over in breath sucking pain, someone looks at me all hopeful like, "was that a contraction?"

Hopefully, I don't make it to my 41 week appointments and don't end up having to take the second non-stress test. The baby may not be stressed, but Mama certainly is. Daily headaches, lack of sleep, aches and pains, non-labor contractions... and other things in life right now, are all colliding to create one miserable woman.  Holding a little baby in my arms would certainly make a lot of that go away... at least for a little while.


GroVia vs. GroBaby

I know every cloth diapering Mama has her favorites, and is rarely swayed to a different type of thinking. Still, after using the new GroVia shells and soaker pads for only a couple of weeks, I felt the need to post a review/comparison on the difference between GroBaby and GroVia. 

I have posted several blogs about how much I love GroBaby diapers, both the biosoakers and the cloth inserts. They are great, and remain great! Of course, it is nearly impossible to buy them anymore, but if you want to try cloth diapers and want a deal, go to Bumrite Diapers, where they still have some GroBaby in stock, having bought out the last of Natural Baby Co.'s supply. 

I have not tried a huge variety of cloth diapers. I tried gDiapers, mostly using the flushie inserts, but also using some microfiber cloth inserts. They were a failed experiment. We gave it almost 2 full years and even I finally ceased to believe they were awesome. I used a Bumgenius 3.0 AIO pocket for awhile... not a fan. It HAS to be washed after each use! I also tried a multitude of other covers. Some were OK, some stank. 

I had pretty much given up being environmentally friendly in the diaper department until I stumbled upon GroBaby. Then they became GroVia. Now, I have gone from a "sometimes I throw a cloth insert in the mix overnight for extra absorbency", to a full-on cloth diapering mama. But, I am the only one in the house who uses the cloth inserts, so it is mostly on the weekends only, but the biosoakers are more environmentally friendly than even the most eco-friendly sposie... so I still feel better about my diapering habits than say, the person who uses pampers. 

I digress. 

I received my new stash of GroVia shells and soaker pads from Bumrite Diapers (I ordered their "True Hybrid Package" which contained 6 shells, 18 soaker pads and 3 packages of biosoakers at an awesome price). I washed and washed and washed, trying to get those soaker pads ready for use as soon as possible. I washed and dried them 2x a day for 4 days. After 8 full cycles, I decided I could start using them...since they would only get better the more I used and washed them!

I thought GroBaby was awesome. Seriously, compared with the new GroVia soakers, GroBaby stinks! The first diaper I changed, I had to stop myself from automatically throwing the shell into the cloth diaper pail. I said, "wait... check it first, it may not be wet." Thanks to the new waterproof back on the GroVia soaker pads, you don't need to wash the shells after each and every use! 8 times out of 10, the shell isn't even remotely moist when I change the diaper. 1 out of the remaining 2, it is so mildly moist, I spray some odor remover and hang it in the sun... then it is ready for another use a couple of hours later! It is so great to cut down on laundry. Especially since I don't have and can't afford a stash of 30 shells! And now with our second's arrival imminent, being able to reuse shells is going to be key!

Have the biosoakers changed? Yes, they have. Again, for the better!!! The sticky tabs aren't impossible to remove from the shells anymore. They actually don't stick too great when you just lay them in, but once you take the diaper off, they are nice and stuck, but it doesn't require all your patience to get them off without leaving behind half the sticky residue! Plus, still awesomely absorbent. I admit to sometimes being a bad mother who totally forgets to change her 2 yr old's diaper. It is not on purpose. I say, "Silas, we need to change your diaper!", he, of course, screams, "No!" and runs away. Before I have a chance to get him, I turn to "do something else real quick", next thing I know, another hour has passed and it has now been almost four hours. eek! Leaks leaks leaks! Nope. Full diaper, no leaks. They really are super absorbent. My only complaint is that they are still pretty much impossible to open in order to flush the inner contents...so I don't bother. Since I can to compost (which we don't do because we don't have a place for a compost bin) or trash the outer portion, we just trash the whole thing. BUT, we put them in biodegradable Diaper Dekor diaper pail bags... so the whole thing is less likely to be chillin' in a landfill when my 10x great-grandchildren are having kids. 

And what about the shells? They are barely different. 1/2 higher rise, which for people like me who have really tall kids, is awesome! I have always had a rise problem with Silas, he is in the 90% percentile for height. The 1/2" goes a long way. And the Tuck-in Laundry tabs... awesome! Now I don't need to constantly detach all the shells from each other in the wash. They were difficult to figure out at first, but thanks to Angela at Bumrite diapers, who posted a little step-by-step "how to use the laundry tabs" on her website and facebook, including pictures, it is really easy. At first the Aplix was really really strong, making it actually difficult to pull apart with one hand when trying to change a diaper, but that has loosened up as well--in a good way. 

All in all, I can't believe they were able to take such an awesome product as GroBaby and make it 20x more awesome, but they did! I still love my GroBaby, and I use the soakers at night, on top of a biosoaker for my little wetter. It is the ONLY way I can avoid a leaky diaper at night. Of course, if I stopped letting Silas guzzle water right before bedtime, that would probably help too. 

Anyway, for anyone who is wondering if GroVia is worth the cost, worth reinvesting $$ into your cloth diaper stash, it totally is. The system is crazy easy to use, on the go, out of the house, or in it. The diapers are also nice and slim compared to most, so pants and stuff pull up easily over them and baby doesn't get that HUGE tushy look that many CD's offer. To offset the cost of buying all these diapers... I sold all my old gDiapers! Sure, I didn't make back all I had spent on the g's originally, but I made enough to cover the costs for my new GroBaby and GroVia stash...


D-Day and no B A B Y...yet

Well, today is my due date. And yet, I am sitting here on my stability ball in my office, definitely not in labor. 

I know I know. You can't rush these things. But, the heat is oppressive, exercise is beginning to get uncomfortable and each day seems to take a week at this point. I really want to meet this baby. I want to know if it is a boy or a girl. I want to hold the little one in my arms and marvel at his or her beauty. I want to know if I can convince my husband to use the name I want for a girl... if it is indeed a girl:) OK... the last one is totally selfish... but Stella is such a beautiful Italian name...and they are so far and few at this point. Plus, it is a name from nature. 

Anyway, went to the doc today for my 40 wk appt. She said it was, "looking good". I was 2cm dilated, still about 50% effaced, but softer and more "pliable". The baby was really easy to reach, so very low. She "swept" a little to try and encourage some opening movement... but we'll see. It didn't hurt nearly as much as when she did the same thing when I had Silas. Either I have gotten tougher (doubtful) or she didn't do it as much. With Silas, I was in labor like 3 hours later... but every baby, every pregnancy, every delivery is different... 

I scheduled my non-stress test for Wednesday... maybe baby will take that as a hint. I know so many people who scheduled inductions and then went into labor hours or days before it. Maybe the baby won't know the difference between a NST and an induction? 

I scheduled my 41 weeks appt for next Monday... but the doctor was hopeful that I wouldn't need it. 

My mother came up last night, so she can try and either be there for delivery if possible, or be here to watch Silas if not. I really would like her to be there, so I have called a few friends asking favors--to see if they wouldn't mind coming over if we have to leave for the hospital at night, since our nanny would be there during the day. I have fabulous friends, we have people lined up through Wednesday night. After that, my mom will have to stay home with Silas... those are the only friends we have who don't currently work:)

My lovely colleagues just threw me an impromptu baby shower--which was very nice. Crumbs cupcakes... if you have never had one they are delicious treats, and a gift card to Baby Gap which will definitely NOT com amiss. That was a very nice way to spend part of the afternoon. 

So, I may not be able to post before baby comes... keeping my fingers crossed that indeed I will not be able to. But, who knows!!!

Either way, once this little one does arrive, I will be leaving a long descriptive post with pictures, and we'll find out if the experiment was successful. If indeed, I am able to follow through with all my training and hard work and succeed in having a drug and intervention free childbirth!


Operation Get Baby Born Already!

39 weeks and 3 days. My due date is Monday, this Monday, August 9th. I am big, bulky, starting to waddle, tired and ready for this baby!!!

Technically, we are totally not ready for this baby. Silas is still in the nursery because we only just finished removing all the basement stuff from his room last weekend. It was a very long weekend, but with my parents help, we got everything done. The back bedroom is now ready to be readied for Silas. What do I mean? I mean it is in its pre-basement construction state! Actually, better than that since we removed all the boxes and clothing bins from under the bed as well. 

It is definitely the best I could hope for before this baby is born seeing as I could go into labor any day now. Which is not happening which is very disappointing!!!

But, rooms not being ready doesn't worry me. Seriously. It'll take a couple of days to sort through all the clothes that belong to my husband and myself and either move them or get them out of Si's room-to-be. But, right now, my closet and drawers are still filled with maternity clothes, so technically, I don't have space for those clothes. Once baby is born and I can wear real clothes again, I'll be able to put the maternity clothes away thereby making space for my real clothes. Painting, one day, max. I know this because we did a LOT of painting when we bought the house. At most, we'll have to paint 1.5 rooms: if this baby is a girl, we will have to repaint the top half of the nursery which is currently blue, but since the bottom is brown, we can leave it. If the baby is a boy, we only have to paint Silas' new room which is currently just beige since it was only a guest room. Will it be annoying to have to do work on the house, again, while on leave? Yes, definitely, but it isn't nearly as much work as we had to do when I was on leave after Silas was born... so not too big a deal. 

But seriously, me, myself. I am so ready to not only not be pregnant, but to meet this baby! I want to know if it is a boy or a girl! I want to hold this little baby in my arms already! As the due date approaches, I get more and more nervous about my idea of natural childbirth, but deep down, I know I am ready and capable of it... I will just have to keep reminding myself of that when contractions start!

This week, I put into action Operation: Get baby born! It consists of several steps to try and "bring on labor" most of which only work part of the time and usually because you were probably ready to go into labor anyway, but still, I think it is worth the effort!

At my 39 week appt on Monday, doc said I was still only 1cm dilated but that baby was MUCH easier to reach, probably at -2 as opposed to +2 and I was probably about 50% effaced. Dilation can happen quickly once labor actually starts... so my job is to get labor to start. 

Operation: Get baby born consists of several lesser Operations. One of which is easy and I have no issues putting into action. One of which, while is strategically difficult, it at least (in general) is enjoyable to put into action. The last two... well... lets just say they aren't operations I want to put into action, but will if I have to. They are:
1. Operation Walk and Exercise a LOT: I have recommenced walking the mile home from the subway. At the gym on Tuesday, I ran for 2 miles, walked for 1 and did my strength training. I head back to the gym tonight for my weekly trainer appt. 
2. Operation Get it On: My husband is a big fan of this operation as he has at least 6 weeks of celibacy to look forward to after baby is born... might as well get it in now. Finding a comfortable way to enact this operation is usually challenging, but once accomplished... well... the rest of the operation is much more enjoyable. 
3. Operation Castor Oil: Not something I want to put into action. Knowing my luck, I will end up with 7 hours of awful diarrhea and no labor!
4. The last resort... which if I make it to my 40 week appt on Monday may just need to be done is Operation Strip the Membranes. I remember quite clearly how painful this was when my doctor did it when Silas was born. I do not want to have to go through it again if at all possible, so I am hoping my first two operations are successful sometime this weekend. 

All told, it would be awesome if I could go into labor tonight or by tomorrow morning. Jacob has off tomorrow but will have to go into work tomorrow night. Going into labor while he is home and not sleeping for his shift would be ideal...getting him up and alert is always a challenge and getting him home from work because I am in labor could be as well depending on the mood his boss is in. 

If anyone else out there in blogger land has any tips on how one might bring labor about naturally without drugs, I am all ears!

In the meantime, Operation Get Baby Born continues...