Thursday, December 16, 2010

How I Failed at Playgroup (and you can, too!)

So, in between writing a book and caring for a baby, I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately. But luckily, an event occurred on Monday that I promised my friend Chad Thomas Johnston that I would chronicle, so here goes.

After Bug was about two months old I had decided that I was done with being a social hermit and I went in quest of friends, and eventually I came across Meetup.com. So I started looking into Mommy groups, thinking, "This will be great! I will find a bunch of moms and we will immediately be bosom pals!"

Well, not exactly. The first group I tried out was full of moms who had all known each other for YEARS and they were all BFFs and I couldn't really seem to get anyone to talk to me. Then the next group that I signed up for booted me out before I even had a chance to make it to a meetup because they required that you attend at least two per month and I hadn't even made it to one. I was starting to get desperate and tearful when, two months later whilst perusing the internet during my vacation in Florida with my family, I came across a group entitled "Young Moms of Centreville and Fairfax."

Hey, I thought. I'm a (relatively) young mom. I live in the stipulated area. The people seem okay. So I signed up for a storytime the week after I got back from my trip and prayed that I would at least be able to find the people.

And I did! And they were nice! So, thankfully, I met some great women and our kids are all in the same age range, so I got to work being, well, friendly.

But then...

So, I was very busy during November, especially since Bug and I went to Ft. Myers to visit his aunt, uncle, and cousin. So I missed a lot of meetups. But then there were a whole bunch of Christmas meetups, and I signed up to do one where you made your own handprint ornament to commemorate baby's first Christmas. I know, adorable, right? I was slightly nervous because nine people were coming and I only knew two of them, as the group had gotten a bunch more new members. But, I persevered and got Bug dressed in his adorable overalls and off we went.

So, there were all of these women--a lot of them older than me--there, and my baby was also the oldest, so it was a little hard for me to join in the conversation because Bug started solids when he was four months and so the baby food debate didn't really apply to me. So I concentrated hard on making my ornament, but unfortunately I couldn't get my clay to congeal so instead of having a nice, smooth, and pretty surface for Bug to put his sweet little hand in, I had what looked like a dog turd while all of the other moms (who were apparently more competent at arts and crafts than I) had all of these beautiful ornaments in which their babies made perfect hand and footprints in on the first try. Eventually one of the moms took pity on me and gave me some of her extra clay and I managed to make an ornament.

But Bug wasn't having any fun at all. He was in a new environment with a million people and (unbeknownst to me at the time) had somehow managed to eat a piece of tinfoil. So his poor tummy was hurting and he started spitting up a little. Now, my child has always been a spitter, so I wasn't too concerned, but I figured that all the people were bothering him so I took him to the other room to change his diaper.

Well, after I changed his diaper and I had just fastened his adorable overalls back up, he gets this look of absolute panic on his sweet little face and then he VOMITS. Now, like I said, he's spat up before, plenty, but I'd never seen him vomit before. And it was all over everything. He literally put the chick from the exorcist to shame with his copious amounts of spew. And then, to top it all off, with his last gasping vomit, out comes the tinfoil that was probably on the floor and he had helped himself to.

Great. There I am, with my vomit soaked child who had also managed to puke on my pants (and while I had a spare outfit for him, the case was not the same for myself), in front of all these women that I don't know, having to reassure them that my child won't get their kids sick, he's not ill, he just ate tinfoil! I blushed a million shades of red and after I got him into a clean, dry, outfit, we made a break for it, muttering apologies to the woman whose floor my child had thrown up all over as I yanked on our coats.

We couldn't get home fast enough.

Anyway, I can laugh about the foil incident now, but it is a sign I'm going to have to watch him more carefully. I still don't know how he got it, but I guess, as all of us moms know, kids will get into things that you don't want them to, no matter how hard you try.

On a lighter note, he's much happier today. It's snowing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baby Food Part II

Sorry it's been a bit since I've blogged! I guess you can't blame me, though. I do have a seven month old:)

This is one of those weird days where I actually woke up before Bug. I woke up a lot this past night, I'm not really sure what's going on with me. He's still asleep--he's been down since about six thirty last night. I highly suspect this is because the previous night, he kept me awake from 11:30 pm until 5:30 am the next day. Yup.

Which isn't to say he's not a good sleeper, because normally he is. But sometimes we get these weird random days...

Anyway! Baby food!

I use the Beaba Babycook to make Bug's food, which is super easy because I just chop up the unsuspecting fruit or vegetable, let it steam it, and then I puree it IN THE SAME MACHINE and then I store it. It's ridiculous.

The only downside to my Babycook is it sometimes doesn't make a whole lot at once. Like, I can usually get seven portions of carrots out of it, but if I make something that has a lot more water (like, say, the acorn squash I made yesterday), I only get three portions. So sometimes I feel like I did a whole lot of work for not a lot of effort. But on the other hand, if I make a small amount of something and he doesn't like it, then at least I wasn't wasteful:)

Unfortunately, thanks to the formula recall, I had to pitch a bunch of my homemade baby food due to the fact that I usually thin it out with formula. I was pretty annoyed about that, let me tell you. But this weekend I made him carrots, and acorn and butternut squash. I also have some sweet potatoes to make.

Bug is a pretty good eater. Thus far, he's tried green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, pears, apples, bananas peaches, and carrots. The only thing he's balked at (to my surprise!) have been the peaches.

Speaking of my beautiful boy, he's making noise so I guess we should begin our day:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventures in Baby Food

The Semi-Organic Mom is having a rough day.

So, I make my own baby food for my little Bug. This is partially because I am cheap, but also because it's something I really enjoy and I think it helps ease the Mommy guilt from having so much trouble with breastfeeding. (I will post about my horrible breastfeeding experience and my subsequent battle with thrush later--but I am still an avid advocate of breastfeeding and think that every baby deserves to get as much breastmilk as possible!) And normally, this works out just fine. I have made my little man carrots and sweet potatoes and yams and he has loved all of my creations thus far.

Well, today I decided to make zucchini. First off, zucchini has all those stupid seeds in it, so I had to cut those out. Secondly, after I cooked it all up I added some formula. Well, I added too much formula, so I had zucchini soup, which looked absolutely disgusting and I promptly dumped it. Sigh.

Anyway, at some point I will go back and do a detailed tutorial of how I make baby food and what the best products are, but today I just wanted to whine a little. Whine, whine, whine.

Next time will be better:)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Labor and Delivery


So right away, I want to share with you about how my beautiful baby boy was born. He is absolutely amazing and I wouldn't trade him for the world--but we had a rocky start, I'm not going to lie.

It should first be noted that in order to prepare for childbirth, I made my husband attend 12 weeks of Bradley classes with me. I'm not going to go too into detail about the Bradley Method (they aren't paying me to advertise for them), but here is a link to their information http://www.bradleybirth.com/. I am a huge fan of Bradley and I totally wanted a completely natural childbirth for my Bug, for many reasons. First, the epidural can have a lot of effects on the fetus, i.e. slowing the heart rate, prolonging labor, etc. Secondly, I am completely and utterly scared of needles. So the thought of having a needle in my back? Not appealing.

Anyway, my precious baby boy was due on March 9, but I was insistent that he would be born earlier than that. Nobody believed me. My mother, my husband, and all of my friends kept trying to remind me that first babies are normally late, rather than early, but I was totally convinced that he would be born well before his due date. I held my breath as I made it to 37 weeks, and once he was full term, I stopped worrying about it.

So, on Sunday, February 21, my husband Jon and I were in Wegman's and I commented to him that the upcoming week was going to be a busy one. "So, on Monday I'll finish cleaning the house, Tuesday we'll get our taxes done, and then on Wednesday we can have the baby," I said to my husband as we got on the elevator.

A woman in the elevator looked at us and said, "Wednesday?" and gaped at my gargantuan stomach.

I grinned. "Quite possibly. He's due any time."

Perhaps that's why my labor was so long--he was trying to make it to Wednesday!

So, that night was my baby shower that the church ladies were doing for me, and I came home around 10 pm and got into bed. Then I slept for an unprecedented 4 or so hours--until 2 am when I woke up feeling like I was leaking. "Oh no, am I peeing myself?" I wondered aloud as I yanked myself out of bed and frantically tried to contract my Kegel muscles that I had been toning in preparation for birth for many months. That was when I realized that it was NOT urine leaking, but rather amniotic fluid. Which I leaked all over our lovely carpet and then all over the bathroom floor and then FINALLY into the toilet. I then peered into the toilet and to my relief it was clear (no meconium staining, which is a sign of fetal distress), and so I tried to pull myself together.

I was clearly going to have the baby soon. Crap. I wasn't ready. I mean, I was thrilled about my little boy coming but I had thought I had more time. Ever the pragmatist, however, I decided that I was wide awake and I was going to make Jon be wide awake with me so we could figure this out together.

So I woke him up with, "Hey, sooooo my water broke."

He was incredibly groggy, but quickly realized the gravity of the situation. "Wow. So what do you want to do?"

"I'm going to call Dr M," I said with determination. I had already called her once that weekend due to some vision and swelling problems (I think I was starting to develop pre-eclampsia), so I figured that if both Jon and I were awake at this ungodly hour of 2 am, she should be too.

So I called her. "Hey! It's Amanda, I seem to have broken my water and it's clear, and I'm not really having any contractions....so....let me know what you think."

She thought I should go to the hospital, so off we went.

So I was kind of giddy at this point, figuring that contractions would start sooner or later and I would have my baby by the end of the day and all would be hunky dory.

Boy, was I deluded.

So, when we got to the hospital the nurses determined that yes indeed, my water HAD broken, but my uterus didn't really feel the need to push the baby out. This wasn't surprising, given the fact that I was only 37 weeks. Your body really isn't designed to give birth at 37 weeks; that's a practice reserved for weeks 38-40. My doctor wanted to start me on pitocin and I really didn't want to do that, so I was given 12 hours to try and get things going before the drugs were administered. So Jon and I spent a great deal of time walking around, doing all sorts of things to try and get me to contract. For those unfamiliar with pitocin, it's a synthetic hormone that makes your body contract--but it's also extremely painful, especially if your water has broken, and they are unsure of the long term effects of pitocin on babies. Another reason why I had wanted a completely natural birth. So, I tried really, really hard to get that labor going.

And that just wasn't happening. I went through periods where I would contract and contract and they would get harder--and then they would just stop.

So around 2 pm they started me on pitocin and after that I was stuck in bed, which sort of sucked. I cried a little bit about this, but I knew that the fact of the matter was, the baby did need to come out and that was kind of that. So I got more and more pitocin...and I wasn't really contracting according to their printout. I mean, I was feeling the contractions, but the monitor wasn't picking up on them. So THEN they stuck this awful catheter thingie into my uterus to measure my contractions which made it difficult to go to the bathroom--but at least they determined I was contracting and they eventually took it out.

And then, the back labor started.

Back labor is generally caused by your baby facing the wrong way. And I had actually suspected that he was posterior because of the way he moved around. So basically, back labor amounts to your child's head grinding against your spine. And it was by far the worst thing I had ever experienced. But, stubborn little girl that I was, I didn't want an epidural. I didn't want my baby exposed to any more drugs than I had to. Besides, like I mentioned, I have this pretty intense fear of needles and the thought of one in my spine was enough to make me grit my teeth and bear the back labor.

But then the contractions got closer together.

And then they were one on top of the other. So I started vomiting. "This is good!" The nurse proclaimed. "That means he's getting closer to coming." I was not impressed.

And I couldn't stand it any longer. I was only 5 centimeters dilated and it was about 2 in the morning the next day when I told the nurse I wanted to see the anesthesiologist.

So he came in and said, "I understand you have some serious concerns about epidurals."

I looked him square in the eye and said, "At this point I just don't want you to paralyze me."

I think he thought I was insane. I mean, I am, but still. So I got the epidural and I waited for it to start helping my back labor. WHICH IT DIDN'T. So then I shot accusatory glares at my husband and the nurses. "YOU SAID IT WOULD HELP! NOW I COULD POSSIBLY BE PARALYZED AND I DON"T EVEN GET ANY PAIN RELIEF!"

None of them could believe it wasn't doing a thing for me, but such is life. I swore a lot, needless to say. At least at that point things started to move very quickly--I went from five to seven to ten centimeters dilated in the next couple hours and then it was time to push. Pushing was actually a godsend; I found that it made the pain from my back labor easier to bear and so I was pushing five times for each contraction. When Bug was crowning I heard comments like, "Look at all that hair!" and one of the nurses asked me if I wanted to touch his head.

"NO!" I screamed. "I want to get him out!!"

So I pushed and pushed some more and then the next thing I knew my little boy was screaming and I could hardly believe it. I had a baby, and he was absolutely the cutest thing I'd ever seen. When they put him on my stomach, however, my first reaction was, "How heavy is this kid?"

"7 pounds, 13 ounces!" The nurse proclaimed.

I looked at Jon. "Thank God he didn't go to 40 weeks," I said. "Now. Breakfast?"


Hello! I'm Amanda. The adorable boy with me is my son, who I refer to as Bug, although his father hates that moniker:). We have decided to share our adventures with you as we go through our daily lives, attempting to be organic:)

Why do I refer to myself as Semi-Organic? Because as much as I try, it doesn't always work out. Take the picture, for instance. Nicholas is wearing a disposable diaper (we cloth diaper now). I was only able to nurse him until he was three months old, and then we had to start using formula (mercifully, I was able to pump and get him breast milk part of the time until he was five months old, but then I dried up from exclusively pumping so we're just a formula feeding family now). My little Bug is almost six months old now, so I've started making my own baby food--and that's all organic. As for me and his dad? Well, we do organic some of the time...but the fact of the matter is, sometimes you just need a pizza:)

Anyway, so my goal is to share what works for me and our family with you, and hopefully you will find some ideas that are helpful! I will share how I clean with natural cleaning products, my adventures in cloth diapering, and making homemade baby food--all while trying to keep my sanity as my little boy grows up:)