From the monthly archives:

January 2010

The baby’s foot maybe?

by Milton on Fri, Jan 29th, 2010

in Week 25

Every night I have the pleasure of rubbing down Esther’s belly with some oils and I use the opportunity to probe for signs of our son in there.  Which way is he facing?  How deep in there is he?  The midwives showed me how to go about this investigation, but I have to admit that I didn’t really catch on to what exactly is the baby and what’s Ester’s guts and organs.  I try to push her belly from side to side, trying to sort of bounce the baby around in there to get a sense of where resistance is met and where it gives.  Her belly seems to be pretty balanced from side to side for the most part.  But then how do kicks sometimes appear on all different sides of her belly?  Does he have 8 legs?  Is he part cephalopod (my spirit animal kingdom)?

Well, all of this prefaces the fact that last night , right next to Esther’s belly button, I felt a definite limb!  And he kicked with it!  And it was definitely a foot.  Esther felt it too and she squealed with delight.  I think that was the first time she had felt him from the outside as well.

It was pretty awesome.

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My father has been appearing in my dreams a lot lately.  Probably because I feel myself overlapping with my father at this particular part of my life.  When he was my age, I was 8 years old.  Which, in hindsight, is halfway through my life with him, as he passed away when I was 17.  But in many ways I see my parents as wise beyond their years in their parenting of me, and I only hope I can meet the bar that they’ve set.  I’m gonna try real hard.

In the meantime, I am discovering that I’m also highly sensitive to the thought of “changing” when I become a father.  I don’t like changing in predictable ways, and the more people say things like “oh, you’re going to think completely differently about things once you’re a parent” the more I resist those changes.  I want my changes to come from inside me, and not to be guided by expectations or stereotypes or the occasional cynical remark.

That said, I’ve already become much more of a home-body, just as the stereotypes dictate.  Ahead of time, even.  Half because I don’t want to leave my lovely pregnant wife at home by herself and half because I feel like I’m in some kind of cocoon state that is requiring all of my subconscious resources to build new subconscious structures to help transition me into the new responsibilities and opportunities of fatherhood.  That, and I’ve also become somewhat of a workaholic, at least in terms of hours.  I feel like this is my last couple months to really devote myself 100% to the foundation of my self-employment, and even though I’ll be as loyal to work and career after I become a father, it will no longer be the primary recreational activity that occupies my brain.  Also, I’m loving work right now and that’s pretty awesome to have.  Of course, even though people don’t actually say this to me, I feel like the male stereotype of PROVIDING that complements the female stereotype of NESTING is one I should resist.  Yeah, it’s all a little neurotic but that’s just the way my brain’s wired.  I will do everything I can to help the family, but I will never claim to having sole responsibility for the providing, nor exclusion from the nesting.  Enough about that.

Today Esther and I purchased some art supplies that we’ll be putting to use in the next week as our first joint art project.  In a way, other than our genes and bodies and minds, this will be the first physical gift that we give to our future son.  It’s quite fun to be able to celebrate and meditate on him through creative art projects.


Ingrid & Isabel Leggings

by Esther on Wed, Jan 20th, 2010

in Challenges,Maternity Clothes,Money

I was so excited to order these leggings online last week.  Leggings have been a mainstay since my first trimester.  They are maximum comfort to a pregnant belly.  I love the photos of the Ingrid and Isabel leggings.  I love the supportive stretch over the belly, and how you can tuck it down under everything when you get really big.

I got them last week and loved them at first sight.  The fabric is soft, though thinner than I had expected.  No matter.  I’ve worn them to two yoga classes, and once to work.

I put them on under a tunic today and sighed.  It seems that there are already a few small fuzzy pulls on my calf.  Also, my favorite and lovely over the knee boots have ruined the fabric where they hit over the knee.  How disappointing!  So much for a $50 pair of leggings that reports to have been tested for wear and tear.  I was hoping that if I shelled out a little extra, I could just wear them everyday if I hand washed them every night.  These leggings won’t last another month at this rate.

I think that my next order will go for these $20 micro-fiber leggings on Amazon, which look exactly the same.  I won’t feel as bad ruining $20 leggings as I feel having already ruined these.


Week 24

by Esther on Wed, Jan 20th, 2010

in Pregnancy by week,Week 24

I have suddenly begun to swell, something I was hoping wouldn’t happen until the very end of pregnancy, if ever.  My wedding ring is on a chain around my neck.  I am chugging water like a crazy person, as that does seem to help quite a bit.

The problem with the water chugging is that I keep needing to leave my clients in the chair at work to head off the the bathroom.  I’m a hairstylist, and every second with them counts towards keeping my schedule on time.  A few days ago, I left a client 3 times during the space of one haircut.  They are very patient with me, but I can’t help but feel guilty.  Their time in my chair is THEIR time, not mine.

The other new pregnancy symptom is FATIGUE.  Where did it suddenly come from?  My third trimester isn’t supposed to start for a few more weeks.  I wasn’t expecting to be so knackered so soon.  This results in less patience at work, less patience at home.  All I want to do is sit around, bake cookies, and read Sookie Stackhouse novels… OH, and plan an nursery for a room that we don’t even have.

As for baby specifics, I really can’t decide where he is sitting.  One day I feel him kicking on my right, then my left, then really really high at the top of his home, and then he’s wiggling his butt in the center of it all.  He’s really working hard to figure out just where to settle in, which is a relief to me.  Every kick and flutter I feel is reassuring.  This is happening.  He’ll get here.  That’s exciting!


Belly Happy Family – 24ish weeks!

by Esther on Fri, Jan 15th, 2010

in Pregnancy by week,Week 24

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24 weeks!

by Esther on Thu, Jan 14th, 2010

in Pregnancy by week,Week 24

More and more, I feel as if I’m playing with my baby. We have a push and pull of playful communication going on that cracks me up. Baby boy B loves being rubbed, pat, and playfully poked. He doesn’t mind being woken up here and there to fool around, either. I’m pretty convinced that he already knows my touch above others, too, because mine is the one he best responds to.

I guess this is the part where I bask in the glow of this baby having his first truly private relationship with me. Of course, I do let Milton have his moment. I think that Baby B has a pretty good grasp of Milton’s voice, and I can help Milton out with the right presses and rubs when it’s time to play “Feel the Pregnant Belly Up.”

Tomorrow we have our 24 week midwife appointment! I’m pretty excited, and am still completely convinced that this pregnancy is low risk and on the right track. I have had a few new experiences in the past few weeks to share, too.

First, I had my first Braxton Hicks contractions the other day. They went on for most of the day, with no rhyme or reason, and then they went away. I realize they are a bit early, but they were triggered by some healthy adult activity, which proceeded a yoga class, so I figured a day of odd uterine tightening was steady for the course.

I also felt my first Baby B hiccups a few days ago! At first I thought that the baby had suddenly developed a magical sense of rhythm and was tapping me with a finger’s touch. On second thought, I realized that my mother’s pride was well meaning but unfounded, because the tapping was obviously hiccups.

Other than that, my nipples have already gone a little rogue. I have proof in spots on my bras at night. This further illustrates my belief that breast feeding will not be a problem for me. It’s really the one thing I am blindly optimistic about. I could prove myself wrong, of course, and that’s fine. I reserve the right to be wrong about anything I predict.

Outside of the whole gratuitous changing of underwear every time I sneeze annoyance, this whole second trimester has been awesome. I wish it could always be this easy! Probably, I’d have 12 babies if that were the case.

This is all I have to report from pregnant land until later.

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We found a doula!

by Esther on Sat, Jan 9th, 2010

in Doctors, midwives, and doulas,Week 22

Walking through the doors of pregnancy and all of it’s unknown factors, Milton and I have had lots of questions and lots of aha moments to answer them.  At first, we weren’t even totally comfortable talking about a home birth.  At first glance, it didn’t seem like the safe option.  One book in the right direction and suddenly we found ourselves on the path of home birth research.  This has led to us meeting some pretty amazing people in the Seattle Midwifery community.  We feel very cosy at our monthly midwife appointments and like we can call their office with any questions or concerns that we have.

It was at Rainy City Midwifery that we were approached about possibly hiring a doula.  At first, it really didn’t feel necessary.  Between the 20 books we’ve already read, the 40 books we’re bound to read, the class we’re going to take with The Mother of all Doulas, and the 1,394 people we talk to who give us advice (unsolicited or otherwise), it seems like we could lasso in this whole laboring experience and take it to the moon, right?

Well.  Sort of.

The more we started to visualize our birthing experience, and the more we talked to the midwifes at Rainy City, the more we started to think that we should look for someone else to help us on our journey.  It’s not that we don’t trust ourselves.  It’s certainly not that I don’t trust my body.  It’s not that I don’t trust my midwifes to act in my favor and do everything they can to support and protect my family.  I have trust in all of these things!  It’s more that I am fairly certain that much of what my husband and I learn about pregnancy and labor will fly out the window without a good mediator who has a whole lot of experience with the process of saying hello to babies.  I could be in labor for 3 days, after all!  No matter how much my husband and I adore each other, he is going to need a break.  I am going to need a break.  We are going to need encouragement and knowledge to help us along so that fear doesn’t take over the experience of  bringing life.  There is potentially a long stretch of time between when labor begins and when my midwife arrives when I am going to need a woman who knows what she’s doing to help me out with crazy things that I have never really thought about… like calming to heck down when I feel as if I’m about to break in two, or like breast feeding after the labor is all said and done and the actual taking care of a newborn begins.

I met Cheryl Murfin while I was working at my salon.  I was tending to another lady when Cheryl marched right up to my chair and asked which one of us was pregnant.  Since both my client and I are pregnant, all we could do was laugh and say “Me!”  Turns out, Cheryl is a doula who had heard through salon scuttlebutt that I was a pregnant lady and decided to come around with her card.  I immediately took to her direct approach!  I love Seattle, but am not native to the Pacific NorthWest and am often a little turned off by the typical north-westerner’s politely standoffish way.  This woman came over and told me what she did in 20 words or less!  She was practically New York in my book.   I made a mental note to ask my midwife if she had any more information on this lady.  As it turns out, Lynn at Rainy City knew Cheryl very well.  Cheryl was the director of the Seattle Midwifery School and is very tied in to the community here.  I decided to call her for an appointment…

We met today and it all felt so comfortable!  I feel like she’s the other hand on deck we need for this delivery, which will make the total of people in the house during the birthing a whopping 6 (Milton, me, 1 midwife, 2 midwife students, and our doula)!  7 if you count our baby!  Practically a party for our small loft (if it doesn’t sell by the end of February, we’re staying right here, folks).  I can’t imagine that this baby will feel anything but love and support when he gets here.

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A Letter to Baby B

by Esther on Sat, Jan 9th, 2010

in Letters to baby

Dear Baby B,

I’ve been laying about during my down time during the last few weeks thinking about how lucky we are to be having you, right now, during this year, in this city, with these friends, and (most of all) with each other.

Your father and I knew shortly after we were married that we wanted our family to grow.  We immediately started making the emotional and intellectual preparations so that you could be our reality.  We are so ready to have you be a part of our little family.  We don’t have all the things you need yet.  In fact, we’ve barely started collecting stuff.  Luckily, you will be very small when you get here, so you won’t be needing very much.  The thing you need most is something we already have in abundance, anyhow.

We have a whole lot of love in this family already.  Sometimes I wonder how I will be able to love a person more than I love your father already, and then you kick to let me know that you’re here already, and I feel a sense of protective love for you that trumps the greatest feelings I believed I could have.  We are each so fortunate to have this bond.  Not every family feels this way, and we work every day to ensure that we don’t take it for granted.

I look forward to the day when you can read this for yourself, understand how much we want each other, and how much we want you to be a part of every moment we’ll share as a family in the future.


Your Mom


Alone on this internet?

by Esther on Mon, Jan 4th, 2010

in Week 22

What is with the ridiculous world of parent blogging?  Every time I turn to my computer to research questions I have on child rearing, I’m agitated to the point of f-bombs.

1) Why is everything in acronym form?  There are tons of reviews online for cloth diapers, but most of the reviewers refer to the cloth diapers they speak of through acronym.  How is a new mom-to-be to understand this special language?  And then there’s the baby boards!  WAHM, TTC, DH, FTM, DF. DB, SO, MIL, EDD, DD, AF, CS, DPO, BFP…. all of it means something, and we are left alone to figure out just what.  Can’t these people type?  I feel as if I’m reading a high school slam book.

2) Why does every baby product review just assume that they are talking to MOMS?  What about DADS?  Don’t dads change diapers?  Take their baby for walks in a stroller?  Wear their baby?  Feed their baby?  I’m pretty certain that my husband will do all of these things just as much as I do.  I can’t be the only down-with-equality-in-the-home woman on the whole internet.

3) Complain complain complain!  I’ve never heard so much complaining about husbands and boyfriends as I have on the baby boards.  Ladies: if he’s a jerk that you want to complain about all of the time, why are you procreating with him?  I can’t imagine how all of these babies are going to turn out after listening to all of that household kvetching.


EDIT: Cloth Diapering 101.  Finally, useful information.


A weird thought

by Milton on Mon, Jan 4th, 2010

in Psychological,Week 22

Today, I had this strange thought and it gave me shivers: our future son isn’t born yet!

Yeah, sort of obvious, but really. Can you imagine being not born yet? None of us remember it, and none of us will experience not being born yet again.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be born in May of this year? And then that process of slowly getting used to having arms, and legs, and eyes, and this weird sensation of hunger and this overwhelming struggle to control a big head without neck muscles? And.. the first realization that sleep happens, and that dreams happen, and that you have pee and poop.

It’s all so alien, and our future son has no idea what is in store for him. Hell, even I don’t know what’s in store for him and I’ve been here 33 years. How much have I really learned in those 33 years, and how much of it is really unknowable, or temporarily knowable and then eventually forgotten again?

This crazy process of being born, and growing up, and then watching others get born, it’s something that we’ve been experiencing over and over again for millions of years, and yet it still seems new to each of us. It makes me feel like a part of the universe in a weird way. Both alien and deeply familiar. Like something I forgot about a long time ago.

This baby is gonna be a trip, I can already tell.