Thursday, January 22, 2009

I thank you, and my daughter thanks you

"On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere."

- President Barack Obama


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Secret Agent

Let's just say the kids weren't exactly stoked when they learned the TV was tuned to something boring yesterday morning instead of that thrill-a-minute show also known as the Backyardigans - and would remain that way for the entire day.

I had to explain, at least to the five year-old, that this was a day he probably wouldn't remember but was very, very important.


"Because we have a new president."

"Barack Obama is our new president?"

"That's right. It's very exciting."

"But who's going to be president after him?"

Let's just see how Obama does - hopefully for the next eight years. I then said that it was also a big moment because Obama is our first Black president, and that when Mommy was born, no one thought this would ever be possible.

"But Mommy, he's not black. He's brown."

"Well, yes. People come in all different colors. Barack's Mommy was white and his Daddy was black. Just like you and Daddy are part Asian and Mommy is white."

Now, as these words were coming out, I realized I was about to careen down a very slippery slope. The fact is I have mixed-race kids (throw in that they're also technically Jewish, and my children have a lot going on!). It's part of who he is. Out here in The OC, kids who are half or a quarter Asian are not unusual at all.

But maybe five is too young to talk about it.

I'm sure Sawyer has never for a second thought about this. Which is the way it should be. He doesn't think it's odd at all that his grandmother has an accent. Or that she sometimes speaks another language on her cell phone. He probably thinks every grandmother cooks bulgogi, right?

I guess I was trying (not very successfully) to explain 1) why Obama's presidency is such a big deal and 2) point out that it doesn't matter what color you are.

I think I entirely succeeded in confusing him. Because a couple hours after our discussion, he said "Mommy? What am I? Action? I'm part Action?"

"What? No, part Asian."

"Oooh. Like Secret Agent."


Monday, January 19, 2009

And I thought I was slow before

I was starting to forget what life was like on the outside. You know, where you don't have a sick child with a very high fever wanting to lie on top of you on the couch, under a blanket, despite it being in the 80s and sunny outside and not much cooler inside.

This went on for an entire week.

She was finally better by Thursday, so Saturday, when David said he was taking the kids to his mother's for the morning, I felt, well, free. I set up a play-date of my own, at Nordstrom Rack, for later in the morning. I figured I had plenty of time to get in a nice walk.

I stuffed myself into a sportsbra and tank, found a pair of shorts, laced up my running shoes and set off. It was just about 80 degrees with a slight breeze. A little hot, but I wouldn't be out there that long. I wanted to do my regular route, which is just about 3 miles.

That's when I remembered running is a LOT faster than waddling.

What usually takes me under 30 minutes took me 45. And later in the day, I was hurting. Guess I thought I could pick up where I left off - where running eight miles was a short jaunt, so surely walking a few miles would be no problem, right?

Perhaps I should have taken into account that I'm now the size of a small truck. To say nothing that I'm carrying a not-so-smallish creature in my belly that completely changes my stride.

Aside from that, though, I was reminded how great it is to be out and about, moving in the fresh air. It's definitely something I've missed. People who don't run distance wonder how a 10-mile run could be fun. But with the right conversation and a beautiful day, it's awesome. Trust me.

Now that I have (hopefully) less (or is it fewer?) than seven weeks to go, I'm starting to think about getting myself back out there. I've already started my personal training fund (donations accepted!) and am looking forward to being cleared to start really exercising again.

And now a HUGE shout-out to Torrey and Cindy, who kicked ass at the Rock 'N Roll Marathon on Sunday in Phoenix, and I think crossed the finish line without peeing on themselves once over the 26.2 miles. WOOHOO!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ah yes, I remember you!

My old friend, Braxton-Hicks. How ya doing? I was wondering when you might come around. It's not enough that this baby is kicking me in every vital organ he can reach. Now I have you, BH, tightening my stomach into a steel band. SOOOO comfortable, you know?

I'm thinking I don't REALLY need any "practice contractions." This is my third child, I know how to do it already. Seriously. So no worries. Just, you know, GO AWAY.


The problem is that having them early has no bearing on when the baby will actually be born. I mean, if you knew you'd only have 6 weeks of these, than no big deal. But it could be 8. Or 10.

I know, I know. Look on the bright side: at least my body is doing what it's supposed to.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's SO relaxing!

For some of us, anyway.

The thing about being pregnant is there does come a time when it hits you that you do, in fact, have to push the baby out. And sooner than later.

I finally remembered this little detail earlier this week, when David and I went to our doula's house for our hypnobabies refresher course. It is our childbirth method of choice, mainly because they somehow make the idea of a drug-free, pain-free birth so appealing. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, the idea is you go into a deep state of relaxation so that your body produces its own natural endorphins (trust me, people, this DOES work). But it takes time to learn how to do this.

To practice, your doula or husband or whoever is there for the birth reads scripts that help you get into this relaxed state. And you have to go through these scripts a few times each, over the course of a few weeks, to get yourself to become REALLY relaxed at the drop of a finger for the Big Event.

Now, if you're anything like me, whose mind begins to race with the Backyardigans theme song the second you close your eyes, it's tough.

So I'm lying on the couch. David is sitting in a chair. My doula turns on the music (oh yes, total new age-ish waaaa sounding stuff) and starts reading the script. We're about two minutes in and I'm finally shutting off my internal noise when I hear this familiar sound, kind of like a clicking/breathing sound.

I'm trying to ignore it, because I'm getting SO relaxed and comfy. But I've been hearing that particular sound for almost 10 years. It can only be one thing.

And then it happened.


My darling husband let loose one of those snorky snores that startles the hell out anyone in the immediate vicinity - including me, who jumped about two feet. I then broke out in hysterical giggles.

Clearly, he is the one who should be giving birth, considering how quicky and easily he can become completely oblivious. Seriously. He's the one who can quietly snore away while a child is climbing on top of him. He can fall asleep anytime, anywhere, while I toss and turn and toss vile epithets into the air over his head.

Meanwhile, when the doula continued on, it was tough to relax aaaall the muscles in my boooody when I was clenching my jaws to keep from laughing.

David had moved to a less comfortable chair and began playing with his phone to keep him entertained. And awake.

Which is kinda how I felt. Totally not conducive to the whole relaxation thing. Our doula gave us CDs to listen to and practice at home. We have to get through six weeks of the course in about five. I have no clue where we'll find the time. But I know I will regret it if I don't put forth the effort.

Hopefully, when the time comes when I really need it, I'll be fine. Quiet, too. Wouldn't want to wake my husband!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Appreciating the Hiccups

My midwife swears that every mom says each baby is WAY more active than the baby they carried before.

Maybe it's because they are. At least, in my case. This baby is crazed. He kicks and pokes me simultaneously in places I can't believe he can reach. Some days, I swear he's going to stick his hand right out Down Below and wave to me.

I'm far more uncomfortable at 31 weeks than I was with my first two.

I was rubbing my belly a bit the other day while hanging with my friend at Starbucks. The baby was swinging from my ribs after I downed a large ice tea and a cranberry-orange scone. I asked her if she wanted to feel him kick.

I probably mentioned something about how he's KILLING me.

She felt him doing the mambo. Smiled. Then sat back down.

"I really am sad that I'll never be able to know what it's like, to be pregnant," she said.


She and her husband tried unsuccessfully for years to get pregnant. They have an adopted son, whom they adore, and she is grateful she's a Mommy. But, you know, to want to give birth and not be able to - I can't imagine.

Pregnancy is something many of us take for granted. Or see as almost a necessary evil to get to the goal: a chid.

We complain about the nausea and the weight-gain, the heartburn and the hemorrhoids, the elbow shots to the ribs that make us double over. We bemoan the mind-numbing exhaustion and the insatiable appetite, the aching breasts, the stretch marks and cankles.

Then we talk to someone like my friend and we get a slap-in-the-head reminder of how extremely blessed we are to grow a life inside us.

I have no idea why I can have healthy pregnancies and why other women can't. I'm humbled by my luck, incredibly saddened by those not as fortunate, women who receive the diagnosis of "unexplained infertility," meaning even the specialists have no idea.

Conception, pregnancy, birth - basic human functions, right? Definitely something we never consider won't happen for us. Until it doesn't.

Of course there are options available now. Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization, adoption, surrogacy, sperm donors, egg donors, embryo donors. But each comes with a price, whether financial, emotional, physical, or all of the above. And they're not right for everyone.

So I will try to savor these last weeks of pregnancy. I will remember mornings like this one, where I was awakened at 5:15 by tiny hiccups vibrating my left side like an eensy tennis ball bouncing off my abdominal wall.

I only groaned for a second once I saw the time on the clock. Then I put my hand on my belly and enjoyed the show.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I Just Won't Crunch!

The thing about choosing a midwife for a home birth, as opposed to an OB for a hospital birth, is it throws you into the category of being granola. As in, a tree hugger. Crunchy.

And really, I'm so not. Okay, yes, I'm looking into cloth diapering, and getting BPA-free bottles, and doing hypnobabies again, and, if you must know, I'm hoping to have a water birth.

But still.

My poor midwife. Bless her heart.

She came over Friday for a 30-week checkup (and yes, one of the best parts of having a midwife is they come to your house for your appointments. You don't have to get in the car, drive to the office, sit there for who-knows-how-long as your OB is called away for an emergency C-section, etc, AND you get to pee in your own plastic cup whenever you actually have to go!).

The conversation went something like this:

Her: "So, are you drinking pregnancy tea?"
Me: "Why? I'm already pregnant!"

Her: "Are you taking Red Raspberry?"
Me: "No, but I eat raspberries." (apparently, this counts)

Her: "Are you taking your calcium magnesium?"
Me: "No, but I have a big unopened bottle sitting right over there!"

Her: "Let me give you the name of a chiropractor."
Me: "HELL no!" Okay, maybe I didn't quite say that, but that's what I was thinking.

I don't do herbal stuff. Especially tea. It makes me feel like I'm drinking a big cuppa pot pouri. I'm TRYING to eat more fruit and veggies. Doesn't that count for something?

I have no use for chiropractors. I'm sure they're lovely people, but I never get why they MUST see you EVERY TWO DAYS for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE or else your back will become horribly misshapen and you'll pop out a third eyeball.

Really, just because I'm choosing a non-traditional birth doesn't mean I'm going to start wearing Birkenstocks and stop shaving my armpits. On second thought, this late in pregnancy, both have a certain appeal.

I like the medical establishment. Love my OB. I just don't like the whole hospital birth thing, Internet, as I'm sure you know by now.

So I'm guessing my midwife has no clue what to make of me, the woman who wants the home birth but not all the accoutrement.

Can she get me in touch with my inner crunch? We've got less than 10 weeks to find out.
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