Monday

Speed it up!

As I hit that glorious milestone of the long-awaited ninth month, I feel like a marathon runner with the finish line finally in sight. Only instead of being able to sprint toward that finish line, I'm first saddled with a backpack full of bricks, ankle weights and a wheelbarrow piled high with concrete blocks.

It is the home stretch, and stretching is certainly what this time period is doing. Just like the first cut is the deepest, the last month of pregnancy is the longest. And much like many pregnant women before me, I've succumbed to the curiosity, flipped to that chapter in the child-bearing bible of "What to Expect" and read up on my options for inducing labor at home. Trust me, if Mary had this book and access to some castor oil and spicy food, Christmas would be in November.

I have decided to hold off for a few more weeks, but it's still good to be informed as to what tricks are out there. School House Rockin' baby, knowledge is power.

It's not surprising that just like everything else in pregnancy, trying to induce your own labor is not glamorous. There is, as mentioned, the castor oil and spicy food. Apparently wreaking havoc on your intestines can jump start labor by tricking your body into having contractions. Of course the massive diarrhea that must come first won't be so fun, but if you're willing to put your colon through its own personal Hiroshima, then go for it.

Sex is another option for inducing labor, and what a cute way to bookend your pregnancy. The deed is what got you in this mess in the first place, so why not get busy to start the big show? Of course, you are nine months pregnant and probably feel like you are the size of a small hippo. So good luck finding a comfortable position to have wobbly, weird sex in just so you can be absolutely exhausted afterward.

Walking is probably the simplest method for inducing labor and one any mama can try with ease. In fact, any exercise can help, especially if it lets gravity do the work and helps baby slide on down. If you see a pregnant woman on the verge of popping doing laps around your neighborhood, chances are she is trying to get things moving along.

Herbal remedies- they're not just for hippies! Some people may swear by the power of plants, but I'm pretty skeptical that some root mashed into tea will start my labor. And doctors generally disapprove of venturing outside of Western medicine when it comes to something as important as your baby's health. So before heading over to your local hemp-clad medicine woman, I'd call the OB and avoid the smell of patchouli unless desperate.

Frustrations are surely to get worse before anything gets better this month, but I'm realistic in knowing that these are simply possible tricks and not foolproof methods for causing labor. The baby will come when she is good and ready, no matter how long I've been good and ready and waiting. Of course, that is my opinion now. By next week who knows, I might be ready to give Mother Nature a good kick in the butt. Castor oil cocktails all around!

Tuesday

An X-rated meal

If you've wandered into a maternity store lately, you've probably noticed all the racks featuring those super-nifty tops with clips on the straps that fold down and bare all. And while many women only know this style as associated with lingerie and sexy time, the growing supply of nursing bra's, nursing tank tops and nursing night gowns is a sign of the times- Breast feeding is totally in.

Many new moms (such as myself) find the option of breast feeding to be a no-brainer. Seriously ladies, why do you think they are even there? Decoration for your sternum?

It's shocking to me that once upon a time, breast feeding was not considered the best option for babies. My grandmother recalled how doctor's offered an injection at the hospital to “dry you up” because breast feeding was so outdated. We had formula now, and newer is always better. Right?

False. But even though the medical world is now pushing breast feeding, there is still some apprehension about the practice and I can understand it. We have been raised to think that breasts are a private part of our body (at least I was.) And suddenly, they are no longer an piece of your sex appeal, but a critical part of motherhood.

The challenge of getting it right, the fear of it being painful, the hassle of timing feedings and/or pumping- none of those scare me too much. I'm more uncomfortable with the idea of how many people are going to see my boobs by the time my child has stopped nursing. I've never been one to reveal cleavage. I think Snookie's mother should have locked her in the house for dressing like she does.

Being exposed at the hospital is one thing. They're medical professionals, the human body is nothing they don't see every day. So a nurse helping my baby latch on might be ok. But what about when you come home? Everytime a visitor comes during meal time, will they get the hint to take a hike and call first next time? Or will I get to enjoy the awkward dance of “I need to lift my shirt up now, what are you going to do?”

I'm guessing I'll just exile myself to the nursery for feedings when others are around, but eventually I will want to leave my house and need to bring the baby in tow. Then we get to see how the rest of the world will react to a public display of breast feeding.

Many moms say after a certain amount of time, you just stop caring who sees you and what they think. After being pooped on and having your boobs leak through your shirt so many times, I'm guessing you stop sweating the small stuff. 

So when baby's tummy starts growling, you stop mid-stroll through the park, or on a bench at the mall, or even out at a restaurant and then what? Whip out one of your girls and let the little one chug away? Throw a stylish nursing shawl over your shoulder first and think no one will notice? Or do we hide away in a bathroom stall until our babies are full?

I think no matter what we do, there will always be people who stare or are uncomfortable by the practice. We can go to whatever lengths possible to be discreet but it won't matter to some. I think the proper approach to breast feeding in public is whatever we as mothers are comfortable with. After all, they are our boobs. If you don't want to see them, don't look.

Monday

The Genetic Code

Growing up, how often did you hear "You look just like your mother!"?

For me, I couldn't walk into our local Wal-mart without being pegged as my father's daughter. My family portrait has been accused of being a cloning experiment though, we all tend to share a face. And now that I'm adding a member to that portrait I am stuck pondering the concept of genetics and how they will apply to my baby.

Jot down a quick list of what you don't like about your appearance. Not the best exercise for self-esteem, but stay with me here, I promise I can be more uplifting.

Then make a list of the traits you possess that people associate with your parents. (Your mother's eyes, your father's smile, etc;)

Finally, make a list of things you like about your appearance.

Now take those points and make a list of how you want your baby to look. Oh, don't pretend you haven't done this already. Because just like other people pick apart our faces and attribute them to one parent or the other, it is natural to wonder what our children will inherit from us, good or bad.

Genetics are a wild concept. Our offspring resemble our own faces forging an instinctual affection. Seeing bits of yourself reflected in that baby reinforces the desire to nurture and protect them.

But what about when that child grows up? When they are able to evaluate and critique their own appearance, will they be as appreciative for those resemblances are we were? Or will they turn into sullen teenagers who resent you for passing on poor vision and freckled skin?

Just a quick google search will reveal endless programs that promise to morph photos of you and your partner to reveal what your child will look like. And they usually end up looking like a bug-eyed alien with a skin disorder.

It's the same approach as cutting out individual facial characteristics from a photo of the family and pasting them ransom-note style to a surface. Cut out dad's eyes and stick them on top of mom's nose, put grandma's smile below and auntie's hair as the cherry on top. Now that you've compiled your ideal combination of genetic traits, how cute is that baby? Yeah, didn't think so.

 I hope my daughter can accept the best of her inherited traits with the bad as well. And I hope I can let go of this preoccupation with genetics since I can't control a darn thing about it. Will she have her dad's nose? My bad teeth? His fair skin? My curly hair?

All I know is that she will have a nose in general. And teeth and skin. And hair, unless she goes through a Sinead O'Connor phase, which is her choice. Whoever she may resemble is up to nature, but I am sure that no matter what she looks like, I'll find a piece of myself in there somewhere.

Friday

Shameless Plug

A new post to follow soon- I'm currently stressing about the concept of genetics.

But before I get to writing I wanted to let you all know that my blog updates can be found on the Lexington Family Magazine website, along with articles and local resources for all the pregnant ladies in Central Kentucky. Enjoy!

Tuesday

A deranged diet

"Waiter- I'd like a tuna salad sandwich with some ketchup, fried pickles, a side of mashed potatoes with salsa and cover everything in hot sauce. Thanks."

 If you're ever uttered something akin to this order, you probably have been pregnant. Or you have something seriously wrong with your taste buds and should go see a doctor.

Pregnancy cravings are a myth for some women, and a daily routine for others. Lately I have fallen into the latter. My new favorite meal is to make some chicken-flavored Ramen noodles, cover them in soy sauce, add curry and garlic powder, then top it off with cheese. I could eat five bowls of this salty, spicy noodle-soup a day and then some.

Eating out when experiencing cravings can be difficult. Wanting to combine flavors and textures that would make the chef gag can be an awkward request, but I think if I'm willing to pay the extra 75 cents for a side of guacamole with my fried chicken then I should get it without the look of disgust from the server.

Cravings don't always have to mean the weird combos of Frosted Flakes crushed up in chili. Sometimes it can just be an intense desire for one completely normal food in particular, just in extreme quantities. For example, I spent $7 on Kit-Kat bars yesterday and only have one left as of this moment. Half of one actually. By the end of this post I will have no Kit-Kats and one chocolate-smeared computer keyboard.

I went on a potato kick in my second trimester that would have made an Irishman say "Damn girl."  Potato soup, scalloped potatoes, chicken covered in potato chips- it was my Hobbit Diet. And like most things, it passed.

As long as your cravings don't involve food or drink that is harmful for the baby, don't be embarrassed by what your belly is growling for. Indulge. From what experienced moms tell me, often times the very foods you craved while pregnant will be repulsive to you once baby is born. And according to the baby books, your child can actually taste the things you eat during pregnancy past a certain point. So eat strategically Mama- maybe you should be loading up on brussel sprouts while you can still tell your child what to eat.