Birth

The Time I Cried To Get Into A Pool

Since I’m at the peak of my reproductive years, I always have about nine friends who are pregnant at any given time. No matter where I am, one of them is there. With her swollen belly, she insists she is the biggest pregnant woman to walk the earth. I smile. I promise her I was bigger…MUCH bigger. She smiles—sure I’m just trying to make her feel better.

Then, I pull up this picture on my phone.

Baby Products: Fantasy v. Reality

Baby Products: Fantasy v. Reality

I recently found some old imported Google Notebooks. When I was pregnant with Griffin, I used one of these notebooks to organize the baby products I wanted for my baby registry.

Wait, that’s a lie.

I used one of these notebooks to organize my desired baby products before I was pregnant with Griffin. That’s right. I had everything picked out for my registry before I was even pregnant. Yes, it is very, very sad. Yes, my obsession with baby products knows no end. Yes, I’m the person you go to if you are setting up your own registry. 

However, did I actually use any of these products? Heck, no!

In defense of the fat baby

 Fat Felix. 

Fat Felix. 

"You poor thing!"

That's the response I get most often when I tell people how much my babies weighed.

Felix was 9lbs 6 oz. Amos was 9 lbs 11.5 oz. Griffin was 9lbs 7 oz.

That's over 28 pounds of baby!

People assume my boys were difficult births. I've even had a few people make references to tearing. But guess what? Don't feel sorry for me and my chunky monkeys. I'm hear to clear some things up, especially for all you preggos living in fear of anything over 8 lbs.

Fat babies are where it's at.

First of all, my births were not difficult. (Well, I wouldn't describe Amos's birth as easy but I don't ascribe that to his weight.) I progressed naturally, was able to manage the pain, and had minimal tearing. Now, I won't say their birth weights had anything to do with my easy births. However, I will argue that a high birth weight doesn't mean you will automatically have a difficult birth.

I'm not an Amazon. I'm only 5'5" and while I do have some pretty major birthing hips, you wouldn't look at me and assume I have huge babies. I simply don't think we give our bodies enough credit for what they can do. We would be a weak link in the evolutionary chain  if we regularly grew babies that we couldn't give birth to. Sure, we have better access to prenatal care (and McDonald's) but I know plenty of petite mommas who gave birth to anything but petite babies.

So, if you're pregnant, breathe easy. Big babies come out just like little babies. And believe me when you're pushing those little buggers out  you're not exactly thinking, "I bet this would feel SO much better if this baby weighed a few pounds less!" Giving birth hurts. Period. No matter the weight.

Second, in my experience, big babies are easier once they get here. My mother-in-law (and mother of five) has famously said that once a baby reaches 10 lbs they should be able to sleep through the night. And I have to say that has been my experience. Griffin was sleeping from 10pm to 7am at about one month old with one night time feeding about 3am. Now, you can't ask for much more when it comes to newborns. I thought maybe he was a fluke but Amos and Felix - although a very different babies - have  followed suit. 

And let me just state the obvious - when they come out weighing nine pounds, you get to ten pounds A LOT quicker.

I can't begin to imagine how often a five pound baby eats or as a result how little they sleep, but I'm pretty sure if I had one I would strap that little sucker (no pun intended of course) directly to my bare chest and leave them there.

Now, I have nothing against tiny babies...except the self-control it takes me not to gobble up their teeny little fingers and toes. In fact, I think I would really enjoy a newborn that actually cuddles as opposed to my boys who come out holding their heads up and ready for pre-school.

Alas, I think I am destined for giants. Although they DO SAY that girls are smaller...

Top 5 Pregnancy Must Haves

Top 5 Pregnancy Must Haves

We've spent a lot of time recently talking about baby products (the good and the bad) but I have a TON of pregnant friends right now so I thought I'd take a step back and talk about the products that helped me survive pregnancy.

A Perfect Pair Baby Shower

Not only am I pregnant, but two of my closest friends from college are also due within weeks of me – one with twins! In an effort to save our friends multiple car trips, we scheduled both Aimee’s and Erin’s baby showers last weekend. It was a party planning bonanza and I thought I’d share some of the adorable details.

First up on Saturday was Aimee’s shower celebrating the arrival of twin boys – Noah and Charlie. Our theme was “A Perfect Pair.”

Brown and green were also the colors in her nursery and we tried to use baby items she could take and use in their room – blankets,  onesies, and a name banner. The adorable invitations above were from Paperlicious. We played a Twin Baby Babble Word Game that I designed to match the invitations. We also had a “Pear Tree” where everyone could write their hopes for the babies on little paper pears to hang on the tree. The momma-to-be took them all home in a little book at the end of the shower.

Everything went beautifully and we passed out Doublemint gum as party favors as everyone was leaving.

Just in case you have a twin shower around the corner – I’m sharing a free printable version of the Twin Baby Babble game with all of you!

Enjoy!

To Freeze or Not to Freeze

  Photo Credit:   CarbonNYC [in SF!]   via   Compfight     cc

Photo Credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] via Compfight cc

Over the Holidays my mom decided she wanted something extra special for Christmas. After watching an episode of Today Show, she shares with me the process of freezing eggs. Having received cartons full of her homegrown chicken eggs on a weekly basis for over 3 years now, I assumed she was telling how to freeze chicken eggs so they last longer. As someone who occasionally worries that I’ve had the eggs in my fridge too long, I thought she was on to something. I intently listened as she described the process of taking the eggs, storing and freezing them, until she got to this part in her story… “then you throw a party, like a baby shower, but for frozen eggs”.Then, I realized that she wasn’t talking about her chicken’s eggs, she was talking about MY eggs!  

I admit. I’m a junkie for ambition. I want to accomplish a great number of things. I’m 32, recently married and working to build a software company from the ground up. I have aspirations to get a doctorate degree, run for political office and continue to be active in my community. Many books have been written to help people like me realize that having children doesn’t mean you lose the opportunity to be an ambitious person. While I believe this in theory, I wonder how true it will really be for me and my husband. I’m grateful for the friends and mentors who have paved the way and continue to remind us that having children doesn’t really indicate “the end of your life”. 

And the classic “have fun while you can” advice isn’t always the case. You can have adventure and be ambitious while having children. But how does all of this really shake out? Are these frozen eggs the solution to following your dreams THEN having kids? 

Turns out the frozen egg cocktail party (what my mom describe as a baby shower) is either an informational gathering bringing together fertility doctors, egg storage companies, and women who are interested or who have experienced the process OR an event where you announce to your friends and family “don’t worry about my ambition, take the pressure off me, I’ve frozen my eggs”.  

Instead of the pressure to hurry up and have kids, I now have the pressure to freeze my eggs. But I’m only 32. Isn’t the 30’s the new 20’s when it comes to having children?  Can’t I just be 32without the pressure of having a kid or planning the future of having a kid by freezing it in a box until “I’m ready”. After all, most people, when giving life advice, also say, “You’ll never be ready”.  So who’s to say I won’t freeze my eggs then wake up when I’m 55 without children but with a container of my 32-year-old eggs that can’t be used?  

Can I not be ambitious while having children? Is this not possible? The assumption is that I will be the one to do the heavy lifting in our family when it comes to raising a child. What if my husband is willing to pick up that load so I can be ambitious and accomplish all of my goals without having to give them up? What if he is ok with being the one our kid runs to every time he/she gets hurt? This blurb from a Guardian article in response to Sheryl Sandburg’s approach in “Lean In” hits the nail on the head. 

It’s a normal assumption that women will have kids, and that mothers will become the primary caretaker over the father. It’s also normal these days to modify “mother” into “working mother”. But “father” is also a “working father,” yet we don’t seem to use that term very often. It’s normal to see the well-worn media image of a tired, hard-working father loosening his tie as he walks through the door to greet his wife and kids late in the evening, but a woman coming home late from the office is more often a punchline. It’s normal to call a woman neglectful for hiring a nanny, or lazy for taking maternity leave. It’s normal to make wild assumptions about women as a whole, regardless of the wide variety of individuals that the female gender encompasses.

The assumptions must be absent from the beginning. It must be accepted that a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be. The final frontier of gender equality is individualism. Just as a man is allowed to decide where his happy balance of home and work life is, so should women. Women’s place is no longer in the home. We all need to stop assuming it is.
— Sheryl Sandberg

I don’t have a profound solution on this topic. I’m still wading through the advice and options and deciding if I go with the “kids won’t ruin your life and ambition” or the “I better freeze my eggs in case they do” version. I welcome your thoughts.

My Postpartum Paradise (or why you should always accept help after giving birth)

After Griffin was born, we stayed at my mom’s house for two weeks. At the time, it was a matter of necessity. We had been living with my parents for several months upon moving back to Paducah and had not yet moved in to our new home.

My mom is a public school librarian and she was off for the summer. So, I basically had around-the-clock care even after Nicholas went back to work. My mom brought me water while I breastfed, did the laundry, cooked our meals, and held the baby while we slept.

It was glorious.