Thursday, August 31, 2006
Please do not take this as alarmist, but this is coming from a mom who lost her perfectly healthy baby seven weeks ago to a cord accident and has just discovered there is something easy and free she could have done that MIGHT have saved him in time. That mom is me...
Practice kick counting!!! (link to instructions below) Even if your OB acts like it's not a big deal or doesn't mention it at all (I've delivered two babies now and no doctor ever mentioned it to me at all!). even if you are low risk and your baby moves a lot. it's free and easy and could save your baby.
Every pregnant woman should be counting her baby's kicks in a methodical way, not just generally counting kicks. it's knowing your baby's pattern that will help alert you to any problems.
here are great instructions on how to do it at what stage...
http://www.babykickalliance.org/kickCountChart.asp the main page of that site http://www.babykickalliance.org/index.asp is also a great resource.
70 babies die in the US each day stillborn (compared to 7 SIDS deaths daily -stillbirth is MUCH more common than SIDS)...many, many of those stillborns (perhaps half) could potentially be saved if the moms are aware of their babies' activities and pushed for medical investigation/intervention.
Please, for me, for my little baby who should be seven weeks old, please tell this to every pregnant woman you know.
It's a lot like the Back To Sleep thing with SIDS...most moms think long and hard before ignoring that advice and understand when they do they are accepting some risk. think long and hard about ignoring the advice to count and chart fetal movement. if you know about it and choose not to do it for whatever reason, you are accepting the risk of losing your baby needlessly.
If you need more convincing, download the photo essay of my son's stillbirth here http://www.blairblanks.com/jameshudson/james.exe it is very hard to watch and even harder when it is your life...
I found out when I went in to have him via scheduled c-section. I'd felt him kick at 2a.m. the night before (I was SO excited I couldn;'t get to sleep) He must have died just hours before I went to the hospital to have him. So, just because you feel your baby kick, don't think you are safe. He was still kicking to the very end, but much less. Had I been kick counting, I would have picked up on that. I thought it was because he was big (8lbs 12 oz at birth). But babies still should move as often at the end, it's just that they movements are not as sharp because they have less room to draw back to whack you! Also, epsiodes of hiccups lasting 15 mins or more can be a cause for concern, esp. if it happens four or more times in a 24 hr peroid.
If just 50 of you take this info to heart and do kick counts for this and all subesquent pregnancies, we can probably save at least one baby. I say 50 because it's about 1/100 deliveries that are stillborn, and most women have at least two babies.
And if all of you tell just ten friends who are pregnant,and impress upon them how important it is, we can save more.
A huge ripple started by one tiny pebble...
Zuzu also has shown me how much she takes after me. When she is really tired she starts to cry with a pathetic look that says, "help me please mama, please!" After I calm her down and rock her a bit she goes right to sleep. Sometimes all you need is love :)
I noticed a lot of people are curious about the Ergo carriers so I thought I would review it:
Of course I first talked to other parents first. I found out that the Baby Boujorn is great up until the child is 20 lbs then it starts to hurt you back. As I dug deeper I started hearing a lot of people mention the Ergo carrier and how they used it on their child from 6 months to 3 or 4 years. I even started taking to people that had gone through 4 and 5 carriers. They all wished they would have just bought the Ergo first.
Finally I went to their website. I found out that you could safely carry an infant in the carrier by buying the "infant insert." Still not sure about the whole thing, not to mention the price, $92, I decided to wait and check the website for a sale. First the denim one was on sale, then they did a sale on mother’s day for the cranberry set, then they did another sale during father’s day. I was also watching them on e-bay but they kept selling for the same price as a new one when you added shipping. Finally, there was a lady that had been a wholesaler on Craigslist who was clearing them out for $75 new in package. For that price I had to try...and if all else failed I knew I could resale it on eBay and even make a little money.
We never bought the infant insert. For the first month Zuzu sat inside the carrier in the fetal position. Now she side saddles it like the website shows to do with an infant and we just use a blanket. Zuzu and I both love the Ergo. She sleeps and I can do stuff with both hands free. We did try it out on my 3.5 year old nephew with him on baba's back and my nephew really liked it. I can't wait until next spring, maybe we will go hiking at
Update July 2008
I noticed this is getting a lot of hits so....
They recently raised the price of the Ergo $105. They now fixed the chest straps which is silly in my opinion because when I wear my children front facing I like then higher than when I wear my child on my back.
I was hearing great things about the 4th Generation Beco baby carriers, but those were discontinued. Another option is too look on Etsy.com and have someone make you one. Next week I will be testing one by Cashmere Cuddles. So check back around August 1st for a review.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I feel like such an idiot. Today was supposed to be Zuzu's first shots. For some reason I was thinking they were tomorrow at 10 and not today at 9:30. OPS! Luckily they were forgiving and we rescheduled.
There is good news though.....
Zuzu slept like a big girl last night. She slept from 11pm-5am and then 5:30-8:15am. I am so proud of her. She currently co-sleeps, but I think it may be time for mama and baba to take back their bed soon.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The last two nights she has been sleeping one 5 hour block. I hope this continues. Baba doesn't even notice when we wake up anymore he just sleeps right threw her feedings.
This afternoon Zuzu ate for 2 hours straight...I am scared the next growth spurt is just around the corner, but excited that she is growing so well.
Last night baba noticed that she can now grab hanging toys on purpose. Today on her gym she grabbed the monkey then let go and watches it move a little and then she grabbed it again. We are pretty sure she is going to be right handed.
Many mom's wonder which is the best stroller? The answer is .....
there is no such thing. The perfect stroller does not exsist.
First step in finding the best stroller for you. Think about the things that will be the most important in a stroller and rate them in order.
parent drink holder
handle height (will I or whoever uses it normally be kicking the wheels while walking?)
what surfaces the stroller will typically be used on (smooth sidewalks or outdoors in the dirt?)
what infant seats will work with it (do I like the infant seats?)
color (to me this is not at all important but to some it may be.)
For baba and I having a light weight compact stroller were the most important features (we are in an upstairs apartment and both of us have compact cars) ...everything else was just icing on the cake.
I had pretty much made up my mind that I wanted a universal stroller frame a nice light weight infant seat. We changed our mind after looking at everything because the Combi Cosmo folded up smaller than the snap n go stroller frame. Why am I not recomending it as the perfect stroller: it has a very small basket, the handle is low (designed for shorter people) and it has no snack tray or parent cup holder.
Once we had our stroller picked out the infant seat was easy...we just picked our favorite color out of coordinating infant seats. We liked mango we tested the seat out by carring it, comparing weight to others, comparing height and weight limits, snaping it in and out of the base and adjusting the straps. When it comes to infant seat as long as there is not a recall on it, it is just as safe as the next infant seat.
Why not a convertible seat:
The obvious answer is because you don't want to wake a sleeping baby every time you get in and out of the car. The less obvious answer is....
because it does not fit the baby correctly when they are so small....it is like wearing a bicycle helmet that is too big; better than nothing but it is not going to protect as well in the event of a serious crash. Is it worth the chance....you be the judge.
In most cases I think the best stroller/seat combo is a stroller frame and the infant seat of your choice. (No need to lug around a 15-20 lbs stroller and buy a new SUV to carry it.)
My first thoughts....child birth un-medicated is a lot easier than breast feeding. At least with child birth you know it will be over soon and you can physically see the reward. Breast feeding you know you will have to suffer all over again in 2-3 hours, sure the rewards are fantastic but it takes time to wreap the rewards. Needless to say, in those first two weeks home, life couldn't get much harder everyone is adjusting. The good news is......it does get better, a lot better.
The first few days I tried to look at my cute daughter and relax when nursing hurt, but after that with all the hormones I had left over from the birth I was a wreak and I seriously wanted to give up. For 2-3 days Zuzu ate mostly from the bottle, but when I went to breast feed her, it hurt even worse because her latch had got worse.
So at my wits end, I went to the lactation consultant. I got some advice and got a nipple shield. That nipple shield saved my life. Nursing became enjoyable again. We stayed clear of the bottle for about 3-4 weeks (until she was 6 weeks old.)
Now at 8 weeks I started weaning her from the nipple shield 2 days ago and then last night when I tried to use it to give my girls a break she would not take it. So now I have to be tough again and hopefully this time we will be successful.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Now I really can't complain too much because I did not buy it but....
I really don't like bouncers. Zuzu doesn't care for the vibration and I still have to do all the work if I want her clam and quiet.
Everyone says how great they are....I don't know how they can even help aside from whatever they have hanging from them to entertain the child, but that is why you have the playmat.
Had I known then what I do now I just would have returned it for a portable swing.
(Not to mention the one I have has issues of its own.)
Now I really can't complain too much because I did not buy it but....
I really don't like bouncers. Zuzu doesn't care for the vibration and I still have to do all the work if I want her clam and quiet.
Zuzu, Baba and I live in a 840 square foot one bedroom apartment. Some of you may wonder why, I can give you close to a million reasons why (x $1).
Must have equipment for first few months:
dresser/changing table combo with changing pad
infant car seat
stroller or stroller frame (that works with infant car seat)
soft baby carrier
portable/travel baby swing
To me everything else is a bonus and just takes up extra room.
If you want to save room and plan to move soon you could use a pack and play instead of a crib and changing table for the first 2-3 months.
Other must haves for baby's first months:
6 side snap shirts in 0-3m
6-8 sleep and play outfits (with or without feet)
6 seasonal outfits for pictures and outings
3-6 pairs of socks
2-4 crib sheets
4-8 swaddling blankets at least 2 should be 40 inches square or larger (or miracle blanket)
3-12 lap pads (water proof pieces of material good at keeping baby fluids off of things)
nail clippers or scissors for baby's nails
baby soap/shampoo (they usually send some home from the hospital too)
3-4 towels (don't have to be baby towels with the hood)
2-4 wash clothes or a sponge
1 thermometer (hospital may send you home with one)
60-80 diapers a week
160 wipes a week
diaper bag (most hospitals will give you one with the free formula samples)
infant Tylenol (drops)
nursing pillow(boppy, mybreast friend, etc.)-not necessary but nice to have for multiple uses.
Mom's must haves:
"Happiest Baby on the Block"
Femine pads (hospitals supply them for your stay and you can take a few home usually)
nursing pads (some hospitals supply a few)
hot/warm compress (if nursing)
breast pump (if nursing)
ice pack (for that area)
stool softener, or water sprayer to relax the area
lots of help from dad (or baba)
lots of water
Sunday (yesterday) I hosted a surprise baby shower for a friend. I told everyone to be there at 11am so the guest of honor could be dropped off by her husband at 11:30. Well as you may know in a lot of cultures being late is MUCH better than being on time. Needless to say, despite my reminders about the start time...no one was here till 11:30.
We decorated oneies for the mother to be. That was a hit, but I learned if you use fabric paint it takes way to long to dry. Better to just use fabric markers. We matched animals to the name of their baby. (Cow-calf) We also read a story about Mrs. and Mr. Wright and then timed each other cloth diapering a teddy bear....using a Snappi so no one gets hurt.
On the way home from the hospital with my beautiful new baby girl, I cried. I was so happy that we had left as a couple and were returning home as a family. I was excited to introduce Zuzu the world (outside the hospital.) Baba (Zuzu's daddy) drove real slow and careful on the way home. A couple of times he looked back to check on her and almost ran into a curb. (I made him buy a mirror for his car 2 days later.)
Our first day home was very exciting even though we were all exhausted. I got to relieve myself for the first time on my own toilet. Ahhhh....
My milk came in, in the middle of the night and Zuzu was happy to have her food. The first few days my hemorrhoids were the cause of all of my pain.
At 4 days old Zuzu had her first doctor’s appointment. She was weighed, measured, and given the once over. The doctor was very pleased with her weight and demeanor.
After 9 days of being home we hosted a little get together so that our friends could meet Zuzu. That evening I wore myself out. The next morning I woke up feeling horrible with a nice fever.
Baba ended up taking me to the ER. Turned out after the ideal birth I had managed to dehydrate myself (it took 2 IVs), get a urinary tract inflection and mastitis. I was put on a level C antibiotic for a week. Good news is...I felt better but it caused Zuzu's bowel movements to change to the consistency of spit...bubbles and all. I also found out that buy not eating and drinking enough I had caused my supply to dwindle so that my poor Zuzu was always hungry for 2-3 days until my body caught back up.
My biggest lesson over those two weeks was: while nursing you have to eat like you are still pregnant even when you don't feel like it. (No one ever told me...I thought I could just eat when hungry and get skinny quick.)
Friday, August 25, 2006
Started having contractions 3am on the 28th (of June.) By 7am they started getting farther apart. By 3pm I noticed they were getting closer together again and a little more painful.
My husband and I went out and got some stuff for the hospital (food to take) and some pizza for dinner expecting to have another 8-24 hours before we would go. While we were out contractions were 8-10 minutes apart and then started getting closer and stronger.
We checked in around 12:30am on the 29th. I was 4-5 cm dilated. I had contractions and suffered miserably. By 2:30am I could not take it anymore. I wanted the epidural. My husband stalled around (I was busy trying to get through the contractions to notice.) Finally at 3am I was firmly insisting husband to get the nurse NOW. I told him he needs to at least check and see if I am almost there and if not I was doing the epidural despite my original plans. Nurse checked me I was 9 3/4 cm dilated. I remember saying over and over again "thank God thank God." I was almost in tears knowing that all my suffering was coming to an end.
Nurse left the room to go call the doctor. While she was gone my water broke. At this point I was laboring standing up (in a slow dance position with husband). The water breaking was like such a physical relief even though that feeling only lasted a few seconds.
After that some of the contractions gave me the urge to push, so I did. The baby was crowing before the Dr. could even get there. I had to “breathe through the contractions” and resist the urge to push until the Dr. got there. (That is the stupidest rule ever.)
Once the Dr. got there they wanted me to push the baby out in one push. Needless to say she was crazy (no one needs a new permanent hole the size of a basketball.) I pushed when I felt the urge and only as much as I felt comfortable doing.
Within about 4 pushes my little girl was out. (4:05 am) A lot of physical and mental relief. (Once you get the head out the doctor can just pull out the body.) Zeinab was 7 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. She looked almost exactly like her mommy at birth which was almost scary.
Dr. wanted to give me pictocin to deliver the placenta quickly. (Again...that is dumb...just did a drug free birth why would I want to have drugs at the end???) Took about 30 minutes to deliver the placenta...cramps/contractions for that were super mild, but once it was out more physical relief.
I got a 2nd degree tear so I got a shot to numb the area and stitched right up. That seemed like the longest and most boring part of the night.
If I had it to do all over again I would. The hardest part for me was not knowing when it would all be over (especially after hearing all the horror stories of long medicated births in my family.)
My milk came in 48 hours after birth so she never really had a chance to get jaundice. Right now my little girl is getting in a nice schedule and sleeping in 4 hour segments. This is a dream come true for every parent of a 5 day old.
My advice for moms to be:
Zone out and shut off your brain as often as possible once you start labor. (I took Hypnobrithing and it seemed to work well with the help of my husband.) If you can relax some your body will do most of the work.
Don't let anyone rush you or try to convince you that you need something you know you don'
Buy a good electric breast pump if you plan to breastfeed as well as breast pads, and some type of heat compress.
Make sure your husband can take the week off, otherwise find him a new home and get help from someone else.
Have a nice pillow to sit on and something to treat hemorrhoids. (Chances are you will get them.)
Have enough sanitary napkins to last a heavy pre-pregnancy flow.
Zuzu was made around the time our first wedding anniversary. I bought the test and baba could not wait. We were both pretty sure I was pregnant. Baba stood guard over the test awaiting the results while I finished some things in the kitchen. Within about 2 minutes baba was hollering, "baby?? baby?" Baby was right!!! The stick said, "PREGNANT"
My first trimester was horrible. Heartburn, morning sickness, and spotting. Yes spotting, every woman's fear. Obviously everything turned out fine.
Second trimester was pretty much a breeze and time flew buy so fast. I told my second graders at about 20 weeks. They were so excited.
At the beginning of the third trimester I decided to bow out gracefully. There were not enough breaks in the day to keep my bladder happy. My students and their parents threw me a going away party were about 3/4 of my class brought me a baby gift. I spent the rest of the pregnancy home doing little things everyday to prepare and keep myself busy.
After almost two years of friendship two of the friends decided to be more than friends in January of 2003. Those two people are now mama and baba to Zuzu. Mama and baba were married in October of 2004. A trip to Egypt (baba's home) followed in June of 2005. It was at that time when baba first said, "Let's make a baby."
My little Zuzu is growing up fast already 8 weeks old. Since you missed the first 8 weeks I am going to go back and start from the beginning. Before I do...
Zuzu is 11lbs 9 oz and 25 inches of cuteness :) She spent the first couple of hours this morning in her Ergo carrier sleeping while I made some decorations for a baby shower I am throwing this weekend. (Got to love those soft carriers...the ONE thing I could never live without.)
Of course we spent most of the day eating and sleeping. But in between I also looked online for the best price on a Canon SD700 digital camera. (We need a new one...our old Nikon has a dead pixel.) Hopefully, I can order it this weekend.
While Zuzu and I were home "busy" all day, baba was busy working. His current company got bought out so now he has to spend the evening getting all the servers from point A to B. I am praying he comes home soon as I could use a break from Zuzu and some good food in my tummy :)