Saturday, March 30, 2013

Compression Socks Update


When I went to my Midwives at my 26 week appointment, I mentioned that my legs were aching a bit and that I was planning on getting another pair of Compression Socks. I told her how I had used my Grand-father's knee-high socks during my first pregnancy.

Nora advised me against wearing a pair of knee-high Compression Socks and said that I should get a pair of thigh-highs instead.

She explained that knee-highs were more likely to actually CAUSE blot-clots because they ended at the part of the leg where pregnant women have the most issues with blot clots.

Whoops. (I had mentioned that I was wearing Compression Socks to one of my Midwives during my first pregnancy, but she didn't say anything about the importance of wearing thigh-high ones).

Nora gave me a prescription for thigh-highs that were 20-30 mmHg and the name of a pharmacy in DC who specialize in Compression Socks.

The folks at family-owned Foer's Pharmacy were terrific (they have two locations in D.C. and two locations in Bethesda).

They even have a Compression Specialist who measured my legs to get a correct fit. My husband flipped out at the hefty price-tag of $110. But as someone who has already acquired several spider-veins, I was concerned about how serious and painful vein disease can be, especially as I age.

One of the main factors contributing to vein disease is pregnancy and even though varicose veins may disappear after you give birth, permanent damage to your veins has already been done.

I figured $110 was worth it, if it meant preventing all that jazz. Plus, I wanted to minimize any ankle or foot swelling.

Good Compression Socks last for 8 months, so they can be worn several months Post-Partum. You wash them every night with Baby Shampoo and they are ready to wear in the morning. (Great for people like me who hate socks and am always scrambling to find a matching pair).

Some nights I'm too tired to wash them and I will wear them again and they are fine. But, I have found that if I haven't washed them in 2 or 3 days, they itch like mad when I wear them. So, be warned.

It's funny because you are given a special pair of gloves to wear while put your Compression Socks on and off. The gloves look like heavy-duty gloves you wear to wash dishes, but they're important because they prevent any snagging. Foer's has a warranty that lasts for the first month, if you do end up with any snags.

I was a little concerned about how they would feel. I have been wearing them now for almost 10 weeks. Honestly, they are NOT super comfortable, especially when they start to creep down my thighs. I find I have to adjust them once or twice a day to keep them very high on my thighs. I am always aware that they are on my legs. They also aren't easy to put on (especially when your belly is getting bigger and bigger every week).

But, I notice a really big difference between the days I wear them and those days I'm too lazy to put them on. My legs don't feel tired and I have no swelling when I wear them. And no more leg pain! I am very happy with my pair.

I was surprised to learn that EVERYONE at Foer's were wearing a pair, even though none of them were pregnant or over the age of 65. Everyone agreed that their legs felt so much better at the end of the day (especially on days they were on their feet constantly). I'll see if I'm motivated enough to buy another pair after this one wears out.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on my Compression Sock Saga and re-iterate how important I think it is to wear a pair while you are pregnant. Especially, if you have a family history of vein disease, am starting to have issues with swelling, are beginning to experience leg cramps, and/or am on your feet constantly or inversely sitting down all day long at a desk. I think they are worth every penny. That's my two cents. Hope this helps!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Toddler Art: A Bunny Craft

My daughter took a class called "Little Stars" at our local Rec Center this semester. I'll be honest, I was very disappointed. I thought the class would have a bit more pizazz. And, truthfully, I could have taught the class way better than the teacher. She was nice enough, but she didn't think every step through...which is essential if you have a room full of toddlers! Plus, if you have a group of 2-3 years old, you better expect that some of them are going to wander around the room, while you are reading a book.

But, I'll shut my mouth because my kid liked seeing all the other "big kids" in the "class" and it got us out of the house.

The first activity that we did was centered around Bunnies. Since, Easter is right around the corner, I thought I'd share.

We started out the class by singing the very PC song "Little Bunny Foo-Foo." Then, we did the Bunny Hokey-Pokey, picked out our own Bunny Ears to wear, painted a Bunny and read the book "Runaway Bunny" (which I've never liked).

The craft is pretty self-explanatory. I was very hands-off during this process, so my daughter's Bunny does not look as...ummm....polished as some of the other children's in the class. The nose isn't exactly where a nose is suppose to be...but, she had fun and that's the whole point. She didn't put much glue on the Googly Eyes, so they had fallen off by the time we got home.

So, here it 6 Simple Steps...

1. Cut out a plate in half.

2. Let your child paint it.

3. Give them ears (that you have cut out) to glue on.

4. Give them a little round nose to glue on.

5. Give them Googly Eyes to glue on.

6. Give them a cotton ball tail to glue on.

It took less than 10  minutes to complete and is a very easy Easter and/or Spring Time Craft to do with 2-year-olds. Just, please, skip singing "Little Bunny Foo-Foo" and reading "Runaway Bunny." There are so many more wonderful Bunny Books out there!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

If There Was a Fire...

It there was a fire and I could only save a handful of possessions - my Belly Cast would be one of them. I look at it every day and it makes me smile.

My husband and I will be doing one for this pregnancy next week at 36 weeks (the same time we did our first one). He put up a minor fuss during the beginning of the process (using plaster is very messy, if you didn't know) and kept saying "I'm not the artist, you're the artist. I don't want to do this." But, by the time we finished, he had gotten into it and was very glad that we did it.

Some people paint their Belly Cast. I happen to love the stark white of the plaster, so I'm not going to paint either of mine. I'm contemplating making another one a little later (if this baby decides to hang around for a while) and experiment with painting that one.

Make sure you cover EVERYTHING while working plaster (with newspaper, an old plastic table-cloth, whatever you want to use as your drop-cloth). We accidentally got some plaster in the cracks of the wooden stool I was sitting on and they are still there. We used our Bathroom as our work-space, which was nice because I could then immediately jump into the shower.

It's a nice bonding experience with your partner and I definitely recommend celebrating your pregnancy by making one. It's a fun Date Night!

We were happy with the kit we used, which was this one (if you are interested)...

Depending on how large your belly is, there might even be enough of the plaster strips to make a second Cast. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

10 Strategies to Possibly Prevent Pre-Term Labor

Polar bear
Polar bear (Photo credit: tjuel)
I had a scare Monday night. My Braxton-Hicks contractions had really revved up over the Weekend and by Monday night, I was having contractions every 6-8 minutes. My lower-back was aching. Both are signs of Pre-Term Labor.

I immediately began drinking tons of water, made myself a Hot Toddy to relax and drew a warm bath. I read this excellent article from and this terrific post on natural ways to stop and prevent Pre-term Labor.

I drank some Nettle Tea and took a dropper full of a Wild Yam Tincture, I had made a few years ago. Things started settling down, so I chose to hold off and call the Midwives first thing in the morning.

When I woke up, I was still having more than 4 contractions every hour, so I wanted to get an internal exam. My Mother-in-law came over to pick up Nye-Nye, while Papa Bear and I headed to see the Midwife on call.

I was 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant, so we decided to do the 36 week exam, which includes several tests. Everything looked great. The baby is head down and is facing my spine (so it's highly unlikely that I will have to deal with any Back Labor).

I am currently 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced, which is totally normal for this stage of the game. I left feeling very, very happy. My kiddo has more than a week to keep on cooking until she is Full-Term.

My Midwife recommended lots of rest (although she said it was more for psychological reasons than to prevent me from going into Labor before 37 weeks).

Over the next week, I plan on using most of these strategies. Who knows if they will help? But, some of these things will definitely help me relax.

1. Lots and lots of baths.

2. Lots and lots of water (at least 12 glasses a day).

3. emergen-C (1,000 mg of vitamin C)

4. Nettle Tea

5. Resting on my left-side

6. Magnesium and Calcium supplements

7. One Hot Toddy per day

8. Resting in Polar Bear Position

9. Listening to Relaxing Music

10. Wild Yam Tincture

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Do I Know If I Am In Labor?

Sometimes it can be really tricky to figure out when you are a Pregnant Mama, if this is REALLY IT. This is especially true, if you are a first-time Mama.

One little gem that stayed with me from my Bradley Class was the...

5 Things to Try and See If You are Truly in Labor
1. Eat
2. Drink
3. Walk
4. Shower
5. Nap
Pretty easy to remember, right? If you try all 5 of these things and your contractions are still going strong....Guess what? It's Go-time, Mama. Wishing you a Peaceful and Joyful Birth!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Second Birthday Party Present: Sandpaper Letters

Did the Sandpaper Letters I made turn out perfectly? Nope. But, I think they are good enough. And, the best part? They didn't cost a cent. They ended up being one of my favorite presents to her this year.

My daughter has been showing some signs of being ready to learn her sound/letter combinations. She has demonstrating an interest in singing the alphabet since she was about 19 months old. One of her favorite things to do (over the last 2 months or so) is "write" in her journal (especially when she sees Mommy writing). She adores writing on her chalk-board. So, I decided to finally break down and start formally introducing her sound/letters.

I am trained as an Orton-Gillingham Tutor and worked for a bit in an AMI Montessori Pre-school as a Teacher Assistant. That's why I am doing the seemingly crazy thing of teaching my 2-year-old CURSIVE letters. More on all that jazz, later. A post will be coming (as well as a Letter of the Week Craft Series).

Right now, I just wanted to show you how my first batch of Sandpaper Letters turned out.

My Step-father cut out the 14 rectangles from a scrap of wood (I'll make the rest of the letters later). I sanded the edges and then glued on the letters I had cut (free-hand) from some belt-sander paper, he had in his shop. It's a lot harder than it looks and they are all pretty imperfect. It took about 5 hours from start to finish make these. But, I feel like it was time well spent.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Second Birthday, Nye-Nye!

Our Daffodil Queen,

From the moment you were born, two years ago, today, you demonstrated to us your fierceness and your tremendous strength of will. You are no one's are a Queen (or maybe an Empress). It has been a privilege to sit back and watch your personality develop all of it's beautiful intricacies. Here is a partial list...

You have Dadi's uncanny memory and attention to detail.

You have Dada's love of ice-cream, background noise and technology.

You have Ra-Ra's talent of telling a long story with lots and lots of details.

You have Ra-Ra's appreciation of a fine piece of chocolate.

You have Papa's deep love of felines and tractors.

You have Aunt Mimi's intense fascination with pens.

You have Daddy's long, long legs and his long, long eye-lashes.

You have Mommy's mischievous grin and her long, long toes.

You have your Daddy's Patience and your Mommy's ability to cry at the drop of a hat.

You have your Mommy and Daddy's dancing ability, as well as our Adventurous taste-buds.

You have Mommy's Imagination and Curiosity.

You have your Ba's Spiritual Nature and your Great-Grandma Caroline's Compassion.

All of this in one small, amazing bundle of energy. We are so very, very lucky.

Your favorite phrase right now is, "I got it. I got it." This can refer to the phone ringing at Ra-Ra and Papa's house or to something that fell to the floor. A few weeks ago, Mommy was in the bathroom when she heard something crash in your bedroom. She was pretty sure she knew what it was, but she came in your room and asked if you needed any help. You put your hand up as though to stop her and said, "Bracelet fell. I got it, Mommy. I got it." Yes, Ma'am.

Another phrase heard frequently at our house is "Me, help. Me, help." If anyone even looks like they are about to cook in the kitchen, you quickly drag a chair into the room and offer your services. You LOVE helping.

You and Daddy have been spending lots of time throwing and catching balls together. You seem to prefer throwing the football and this makes Daddy particularly pleased.

Every time you make up a song and sing it loudly to us, Mommy thinks of your Aunt Mimi. She remembers Mimi doing the same thing when she was very young. You love to sing about cats, cows, tractor and Curious George.

You love mimicking other people's body positions. If someone is gesturing loudly, you do the same thing. Today, we celebrated your Birthday by going to a Lebanese Restaurant. You were fascinated by the man who sat at the table next to ours. And spent most of the meal mimicking his motions and trying to get your still slightly bowed legs to fold the way his did.

You have really gotten into using white glue and stickers. Sometimes you purposefully pour on a ton of glue onto your hands, just so you can pick off each tiny piece. Now, that takes some focus!

You continue to be excited about the arrival of your Sissy. And, now you frequently like to "pound it" to Mommy's belly after Mommy said your Sissy was trying to give you a High-Five. Mommy giggles every time.

Your favorite book is about making good choices and getting along with other people. When Aunt Mimi gave you the book, Mommy had to read it 8 times in a row. Now, Mommy only has to read it 4-6 times a day. You enjoy analyzing everyone's emotions in the book. We are happy how you are making so many good choices about using gentle hands with others. We can't wait to see you hold your Sissy for the 1st time.

Thank you for being You. Happy Birthday, Our Darling, Darling Girl. It's a glorious, glorious thing being your parents. We are very, very Blessed.

Know you are very, very loved.
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What if My Baby is Transverse or Breech Before 37 weeks?

When I was pregnant with Nye-Nye, I found out at 33 weeks that she was transverse. She had to be head-down by 36 weeks or then my Midwives would attempt to do an "External Cephalic Version" or ECV, which is an attempt to physically turn the baby head-down. Here is an interesting video on what happens during an ECV.

My Midwives' policy was that if the baby was still not in the optimal position after the ECV, then I would have had to transfer out of the practice.

I threw myself into helping my daughter turn. I tried acupuncture. I swam a lot. I went to a Chiropractor who was trained in the Webster Technique. I bought some moxibustion and did it daily on myself. And, I visited Spinning Babies and got numerous ideas for exercises that encourage your baby to spin into the optimal position.***

It was a lot of work but I was committed to having a Home Birth. Who knows what helped and what didn't. She may have decided to turn on her own. But, eventually, she turned and that's all that matter to me.

I wanted to share some different "strategies for encouraging a breech or transverse baby to turn" for any Pregnant Mamas out there. I know it can be stressful, especially when you don't have very much time to help encourage your baby to turn. Hope this is useful!

***(The link for moxibustion has some cool photos at the bottom of the page on how to do moxibustion on yourself...wish I had had those photos before. Spinning Babies also has some great ideas on how to prevent the dreaded back labor and what to do when labor stalls out at 6 cm. If you are pregnant, it is definitely worth checking out their website, even if your baby isn't breech).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Goddess, A Cow and A Cat

Until I was pregnant with my first child, I had never given any thought to my Pelvic Floor and how to keep it nice and strong. What...kegels? Don't older women only do them? Then, I took a Bradley Class.

Part of our weekly homework was to incorporate kegels into our daily routine. I believe we started out doing 25 kegels a day and then worked our way up to 200 by the end of our class. The idea is that by strengthening your Pelvic Floor, all that pushing during Labor will be easier and tearing is less likely to occur.

My Bradley teacher recommended incorporating kegels with some daily activity. For example, doing kegels every time you stop at a red light or when you are on the phone.

This time around, I was doing my kegels faithfully until I read this interesting post about a Biomechanical Scientist who recommends strengthening your glutes rather than doing tons of kegels. Now, I've been squatting every time I think about it. As well as doing lots and lots of the Goddess Pose.

Squatting is an easy exercise to incorporate into your daily routine. When I talk to my child, I get down on my haunches and squat. When I am on the computer, I put my laptop on a chair and squat. When I do dishes, I do squats. It's a simple thing to add to your routine and really helps build up your strength.

If you work at an office (where they might look at you funny...if you spent tons of time squatting in front of your computer), why not spent a minute or two doing the Goddess Pose or doing squats every time you go into the bathroom stall? Goodness knows, if you are pregnant you'll already spending a lot of time in there. Why not throw in a little strengthening exercise?

The other two yoga poses I do daily are the Cat and the Cow...both of which help with back pain. Whenever I start feeling a little achy in my back, I try and do both the Cat and the Cow. I immediately feel better. The only issue I have is that when my daughter sees me doing my Cat and Cows, she thinks it's an invitation to climb on my back. It means I just have to do some sneaky yoga!

Hope this helps getting your wheels turning on incorporating some simple exercises into your daily routine, whether or not you are pregnant. Good-luck!

**** Here is a photo of me with one of our numerous Barn Cats. My love of cats began very young, can't you tell?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Books That Helped During My Pregnancy and Labor

Preparing for Child-birth and Motherhood is over-whelming (in many, many different ways). People prepare differently. I like classes. So, I took several classes during my first pregnancy.

I am a reader. So, I read. Lots and lots of books.

These are the books that were the most helpful for me, during my first pregnancy. I am slowly re-reading some of them (it's amazing how much you forget, especially about newborn care and the specifics of breastfeeding). I just started unpacking some baby, are those newborns itty-bitty. How soon you forget!

by Susun S. Weed

(The book is clunky and obviously self-published many moons ago. But, if you can get past the formatting issues, etc.., this is THE BOOK on herbs and women during Pre-conception, Pregnancy and Post-partum. Susun Weed is kinda out-there, but she knows her stuff).

by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu

(A terrific resource. I will definitely be re-reading this book. It's so easy to focus on getting STUFF ready for the baby and preparing for Child-birth that sometimes you forget that you will be developing a new skill set...changing diapers, burping. putting to sleep, etc...).

by Ina May Gaskin

(A classic. Ina May is THE most famous Midwife in the country. She and The Farm Midwives are amazing inspirations, from the mid-70s until the early 2000's...when the book was updated...their practice had a 2-3% C-Section).

by Ina May Gaskin

(Another classic. This book was originally written in the 1970's and you can definitely tell. The words "heavy" and "psychedelic" are thrown around a lot. It's a collection of Birth Stories told by women who had their babies at the Farm. The last section has some interesting information for Midwives and folks interested in learning more about Child-birth. The photos and drawing are a hoot).

by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

(This book was highly recommended to me by one of the Lactation Consultants at the phenomenal Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington. It is my favorite book on breastfeeding and will be one of the books that I re-read).

by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

(I don't think I understood how much I had absorbed of this book until I began re-reading it. Pam England is a Certified Nurse Midwife and began a teaching a series of classes with her husband back in the 1990's. The book is a little on the hippy side but I think it does a fantastic job of helping mentally prepare for Childbirth. I also adore the Art Therapy element of Birthing From Within, which I think it's particularly helpful for second-time Mamas).

by Leslie Kirk Campbell

(This book is a wonderful resource for women who love to write and are about to become Mothers for the first-time. There are tons of writing prompts in the book for every stage of your pregnancy and the first few months after. It is a terrific book for helping a woman deal with the emotional and mental shift that occurs when you have a baby.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Galactogogue Cookies (aka Milk Makin' Cookies)

English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines ...
English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines de Lin cultivé (Linum usitatissimum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a recipe I was given by the lovely Midwives at GW Hospital. They appear easy to make and easy to freeze, so you can have them when you need them.

It also might be a nice activity to do during the beginning stages of labor (especially if you are a first-time Mama and you need some distraction).

***Whole Wheat Flour, Oats, Flax, Walnuts, and Nutritional Yeast are all foods that help make abundant milk. 


2 cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (regular Whole Wheat is okay too)
1 cup Oats
½ cup ground Flax Seeds
½ cup Nutritional Yeast (not Baker’s Yeast but the yellow flakes)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt

1 cup Butter softened
1 cup Raw Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Organic Eggs
2 cups Dark Chocolate Chips
1 cup Walnuts


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix up the dry ingredients

3. Cream the Butter, Sugar, Vanilla and Eggs

4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed and then add the remaining ingredients.

5. Bake at 350 until golden (10-12 minutes). 
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Good Soups to Freeze. Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrots of many colors.
Carrots of many colors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whoops. I made this WAY too spicy for me. My husband LOVED it and commented that it tasted very Indian.

The next batch I make, I am going to tone down the Cayenne Pepper (I didn't measure it out and that was my mistake). This soup is chocked full of warming goodness - perfect for those few first weeks after having a baby.


2 Tbsp Olive Oil (I used one that was infused with Chilies)

2 Onions chopped

6 Garlic Cloves finely chopped

6 tsp Ground Cumin

2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

3 Carrots

2 Parsnips cut into 1 inch chunks

1 large Sweet Potato, thinly sliced

4 cups of Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

3 cups of Water

Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Heat the Olive Oil in a heavy stockpot (I used an infused Olive Oil that had chilies in it...this might have also added to the heat issue).

2. Add the Onion and a pinch of Salt, cook over medium heat for about three minutes.

3. Add the Garlic, Cumin, Ginger and Cayenne (this was the point where I sprinkled in way too much of the Pepper).

4. Cook for 6 minutes, until Onions are very soft. Add a little water.

5. Add the Carrots, Parsnips and Sweet Potato, 1 tsp Salt, the Stock and the Water.
6. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a medium simmer until the Carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

7. Puree the soup in a Blender or use an Immersion Stick until smooth (this is one of the times, I really want to have an Immersion Stick).

8. If using a blender, return to pot and season to taste with Salt, Pepper, & Cayenne.


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Monday, March 11, 2013

Meal Train for New Parents. Organizing Post-Partum Meals.

Train crossing
Train crossing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My husband and I were lucky (in a way) and didn't have to worry about cooking during the first few weeks of our daughter's life (she was in the NICU for 16 days and we stayed at a Ronald MacDonald House where lovely volunteers fed us).

But, if she hadn't had a bumpy beginning and we weren't doing the whole traditional-Indian-thing-of-living-with-your-parents, I would have loved Meal Train. I read about the site in a parenting magazine and had to share.

Meal Train is a quick and simple way to organize meals for friends who have just had a new baby. It's a portal where folks can see all the info needed to make dinner for the New Mama (food preferences, allergies, who is bringing what goodies on what day, etc...).

The site sends you an email reminding your family and friends to get cooking! Best of all it's free. You can pay $10 to up-grade to Meal Train Plus which helps you organize things like child-care, car-rides, appointments, house-work/lawn-care, etc...

If you know someone about to have a new baby or maybe even someone who is dealing with an illness, let them pass on the info about this site.

Friends and family are usually very eager to help out and this is a wonderful way of getting everyone organized. We are planning on using "Meal Train" this time around. I'll write an update and let you know how it worked!
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Birthing From Within...Birth Art Exercise

I've gradually begun the process of getting out all the books, I read during my last pregnancy. Last week, I started re-reading the book, Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation
Of all the different ways to "prepare" for Child-birth, I love this one the most. Maybe it's the Art Therapy part of the preparation. Maybe it's the emphasis on preparing for the "hard work" of Labor. Looking back, I definitely felt like a warrior during my Labor. So much of this book resonates with me and my own Birth experience.
I didn't do any Birth Art (besides my Belly Cast) last time, but I am definitely feeling it now.
Here is my painting of "how does this pregnancy feel?" I'll be sharing some more Birthing From Within exercises over the next two weeks or so.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dealing with Heartburn During Pregnancy

Raw Almonds
Raw Almonds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most common issues women have during pregnancy is dealing with heartburn. I've been super lucky and didn't experience any heartburn during my first pregnancy.

This time, I've had the most mild sensations that I really should even call heartburn. I've felt real heartburn before and it's no party.

Here are some remedies from the well-known herbalist, Susun B. Weed.

1. Eat frequently. Avoid giant 6-8 small meals. Stash some raw almonds in your purse or at work and nibble on them throughout the day.

2. Don't drink while eating. Gulp down all that lovely water BETWEEN meals. If you need to sip on water while you eat, add some lemon to your drink to aid digestion.

3. Notice what aggravates your heartburn. Some women can't handle greasy or spicy food during pregnancy.

4. Drink Anise or Fennel Seed Tea between meals.

5. Eat some dried papaya after meals (papaya contains some helpful digestive enzymes).

6. Slippery Elm lozenges (most Health Food Stores carry them to help with sore throats but they help heartburn as well).
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Perineal Massage

Note: This post is NOT for everyone. I will be talking about the perineum and preventing perineal tears during Childbirth. If this is not interesting or relevant for you, check on the left side of my blog and I'm sure you will find a topic that is more your speed.

Okay, lets get down and dirty. Honestly, I didn't give much thought to "perineal massage" during my first pregnancy. I heard about it in my Bradley Class and was even given a worksheet with directions on how to do it. But, I never tried it.

In retrospect, it wouldn't have helped my situation anyway. My Midwife had to get my baby out FAST. We realized that after almost 2 1/2 hours of pushing my daughter had her hand tucked next to her chin AND that there was a ton of meconium in my waters.

My Midwife performed a procedure which she had only done twice in 25 years of catching babies. I was purposely torn to get my baby out quickly. No amount of perineal massage could have helped with that situation.

But, luckily that is a rare case.

There has been a small amount of research done on how effective perineal massage is on preventing tears and episiotomies. You can find more information about one study here.

It appears that first-time Mamas, over the age of 30, benefit the most from perineal massage.

Once you've had an episiotomy or torn, the scar tissue is weaker and more likely to tear again. But, there is some hope for us, second-time Mamas...I'll be trying these exercises starting out at 34 weeks. 

I have begun spending as much time as possible squatting. Whenever I am on the computer, I put my laptop on a chair and squat while I'm writing. Yup, I'm squatting right now. Besides building up my leg strength, this helps stretch out my scar-tissue.

Let me tell you, healing from a 3 1/2 degree tear was HARD. I used a wheel-chair to get around for the first 5 days, popped Percocet for 2 weeks, had to use a donut pillow to sit down for the first 6 weeks and it HURT to squat for about 3 months. I was completely unprepared for the pain I experienced during my Post-partum Recovery.

So, my point everything you can to avoid an episiotomy or a bad tear!!! If you are a first-time Mama, over the age of 30, I would definitely recommend trying perineal massage beginning at 34 weeks. Here is how to do it.

Hope this helps...Best of luck!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bradley Classes

Heart Belly Henna Design - for Valentine's Day!
Heart Belly Henna Design - for Valentine's Day! (Photo credit: Henna by Heather - Mehndi in Boston / Providence M)
When you are in the throes of unmedicated childbirth, it can take a lot of Courage to have faith in yourself and your body. 

Spending 20 hours in labor and pushing out a 9 lb baby with no drugs was the hardest physical thing I've ever done. One thing that truly helped prepare me was my Bradley Class.

If you're interested in a natural childbirth, I highly recommend signing up for a Bradley Class. You take classes for 12 weeks, so generally you begin a class when you are 5 months or so. A terrific investment ($350) and a great bonding experience. It's like a built-in Date Night every night, except you talk about things you usually don't talk about on Date-Night. Plus, you met other couple who are due at the same time. Built-in future play-dates!

Our Midwives required us to take the class and my husband initially kicked his feet at having to attend. But, we learned so much and gained a tremendous amount of confidence that helped BOTH of us during labor. It always makes me smile to hear my husband rave about our class.

The illustrations in the book are really out-dated and I wasn't comfortable with the whole heterosexist language used (the official title of the class is "The Bradley Method of Husband Coached Natural Childbirth), but the basic information taught in the class is invaluable.

You learn so much about the different stages of labor and what to expect. Variations, complications and what to expect postpartum are all covered extensively. Way more than that ever be squeezed into the 2 hour birthing class offered at your local hospital.

One of my favorite parts was learning about nutrition during pregnancy. The Bradley Method recommends following the Brewer's Pregnancy Diet. Each week you have homework, including doing daily Kegels, as well as other daily exercises including the yoga poses (Cat and Cow).

Can you tell I'm a big fan? If you are wavering about whether to spend the money, do it...I think it was worth every penny and more.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Progress on the New Baby's Bedroom

I started working on the New Baby's Bedroom this weekend. Because we live in a rental house, the blue paint on the wall is staying. I found some pretty fabric called "Midnight Twig" that has several shades of blue in it and looks decent with the wall paint. Theme of the room...trees or more specifically, branches.
I am FINALLY getting to try out the whole "painting a fabric chair" thing. I'm using a $3 chair, I bought at an auction. If it's a failure, no loss...I'll just get a slip-cover. Almost finished with the first coat of paint...I'm guessing I will need to do at least 3, probably 4 coats of paint.
The first Collaborative Painting I did with my child has been getting some more love. I am starting to like it more (maybe I'll even it get to the point of liking it as much as the Second Collaborative Painting with My Toddler). I think it's almost finished.
What kind of mobile am I putting above the cradle? take a wild guess? guessed it, one made of a branch. I just have to find the perfect branch. On Saturday, I drew, cut out and painted the butterflies that will be fluttering below the branch. Hopefully, I won't need to make anymore. They were very time-consuming (especially the cutting out part). Very sweet, but very tedious.
On Sunday, Papa Bear took our kiddo over to see her Dada and Dadi, so I could have some time to myself and get some work done.
I spent two glorious hours walking along the Potomac River. All I could hear was the sound of the tiny waves lapping up on the very tiny beach. I sat on a log in the sunshine. I searched for interesting rocks and shells. I picked up some amazing driftwood. It was the best therapy, ever.
And, now I have a perfect piece of driftwood to turn into a shelf in the New Baby's Bedroom. Can't wait to see how it turns out!




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Month of Love Round-up. 2013.


Bye-Bye, February. It's been a roller-coaster Month of my family.  Physically, I've been doing pretty well this Month (except for when I started to feel sick ). Emotionally, this pregnancy has had it's rough moments. But, there have been numerous moments of Joy this past Month.

Nye-Nye and I had a blast working on Valentine's Day Cards this year (even more fun than last year ). Lots and lots of Valentines were made. I can't wait until she is old enough to make this Valentine. I was so happy to hear my friend, Erin, made a Spicy Valentine for her husband.

 Our Valentine's Day was a success. We loved our Ancient Ale Date.

I had a lovely day being Queen for the Day. Several friends and family members gathered together and worked on decorating my daughter's room. The room was inspired by the book, Can You See a Little Bear? - it's close to being finished.

My daughter turned 23 Months and I wrote her a letter.

The Nesting Instinct has kicked in and I've started gathering ideas of everything I want to make before the baby comes. These are on my list. I shared the program the Cocoon Time Method and a very tasty vegetarian soup that's perfect to freeze for our Cocoon Time.

I talked about my love of Paperless PostPort Discovery, the Neti-Pot and our a Collaborative Painting.

My Month of Love ended on a high-note with me sharing my Husband's Wedding Vow.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Soups to Freeze. Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley

English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter...
English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter farmers' market in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'll be honest. I haven't eaten that many parsnips in my life. I was surprised how sweet this soup ending up being, actually a little too sweet for my taste! Next, time I'm going to add a little more parsley and lemon juice.

I really loved the creaminess of this soup....creaminess without dairy. Very nice for those who have difficulty digesting dairy products. And, also very nice for freezing. I will be making some more soon to freeze before the arrival of our second child. I got the recipe from Simply Recipes.

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced lengthwise, cleaned, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 strips lemon zest, 1 x 2 inches each (not sure if I did this part correctly)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley (reserve a little for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pepper to taste
    1. Heat butter in a 4 to 6 quart pot on medium heat. Add the chopped leeks, toss to coat with the butter. When the leeks are heated enough so they begin to sizzle in the pan, lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until soft, but don't let the leeks brown.

    2. Add the parsnips and olive oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the salt. Add the stock and water. Add the strips of lemon zest. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the parsnips are completely tender, at least 30 minutes.

    3. Remove and discard the lemon zest. Add the parsley. Purée the soup until smooth, either by using an immersion blender or by working in batches with a stand-up blender. If using a standing blender, fill the bowl no more than halfway, hold the cover on the blender bowl, and start blending at the lowest speed. Return the puréed soup to the pot.

    4. Stir in lemon juice and add more salt to taste, if needed. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, a little olive oil, and chopped parsley or chives. Enjoy!

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    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Picking Out an Indian Name


    I was named for my Grand-mothers and have carried their names proudly over the last 34 years. We named our daughter after two of her amazing Great-Grand-mothers. Now, we have to come up with two new names for our second daughter.

    I was very, very confident that I was pregnant with another girl. So confident that I entered into a little wager with my husband. (If you don't know him, he comes from a family who loves to bet). If the baby turned out to be a girl, I would name her. If it turned out to be a boy, he would name him. We shook on it. And, according to our 20 week Ultra-Sound, I won.

    I want to wait to see our little girl before deciding on a name. But, I've been collecting several ideas. Right now, I am on the look out for an Indian middle name.

    My requirements are...

    1. Easy for non-Indians to read and pronounce properly.

    2. Short.

    3. A beautiful or at least non-offensive meaning.

    I asked Papa Bear to start complying some Indian names he liked and fit my requirements. He came up with this beginning list.

    Anala- Fiery

    Zara- Little

    Xena- Brave

    Sahila- Guide

    Riya- Graceful or Singer

    Mena- Wife of the Himalayas

    Iyla- Moonlight

    I think we have a good start. Please add any more suggestions, if you have any!

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    The Importance of Having a Doula

    If there was only piece of advice I could give Pregnant Mamas about childbirth, it would be hire a Doula. It doesn't matter what kind of birth you are planning, every woman should have a Doula.

    You may have the most supportive partner in the World, but they can only do so much. A Doula has been there and done that and seen so much (my Doula had attended over 400 births by the time she had attended mine). A Doula's only job is to support you!

    A Doula is particularly important in the hospital because they can be your advocate when you are at your most vulnerable. A Doula is worth their weight in goal!

    Here is an interesting piece on understanding statistically how having a Doula at your birth can positively affect your out-come.

    During my first pregnancy, I interviewed several Doulas/Birth Assistants; it was one of our Midwives' requirements. It's essential that you meet with several and find someone whose personality fits your own. Listen to your it a good fit? If not, keep interviewing...

    I ended up going with a Doula I thought I felt comfortable with but then I started have a little doubt at the very end. The Universe works in mysterious ways because she ended up having to call in her substitute.

    I met Gwen for the first time when I was completely naked and had been in active labor for 8 hours. She had a motherly presence, an awesome white streak in your black hair and didn't mind when I kept calling her "Glen" instead of "Gwen."

    For the next 12 hours, she was my Rock, my Anchor, my Savior. I don't think I could have spent 2 1/2 hours pushing out a malpositioned 9 lb baby with no drugs, if she hadn't been by my side.

    My husband was great, my Midwife was great, but Gwen was my life-line. She showed my husband how to do a hip-press and took over when he needed a break. She was with me through every contraction, every breath...using a myriad of visualizations and mantras. She made sure I was constantly sipping enough water. She held my hand and got me through the most intense pain I have ever felt. She was just what I needed.

    And, I am absolutely thrilled that she will be by my side for my second birth.

    Buy your baby clothes second-hand, don't go on that expensive Baby-moon, scrimp on other things...but do yourself a huge favor and hire a Doula. That's my two cents!

    Welcome to the Birthing Month, here at Catoctin Mountain Mama. Enjoy!

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