Thursday, June 28, 2007



It's been nearly 5 weeks since Eve last nursed. And about 3 since she last asked to.

The last time she nursed was early morning when she crawled into bed with us.

Eve: "Where's my binky?"

Me: "I don't know."

Eve: "I want nummy nums [her term for breastfeeding]"

I let her nurse and she fell back to sleep quickly. I popped her off before she was done, but after she was satisfied and she drifted off, as did I.

I didn't know it would be the very last time, but for each time before that for weeks I tried hard to enjoy and remember our time together, because I knew it could be the last, and I wanted to be able to remember it.

After that night, I began stashing a spare binky on the windowsill at the head of the bed. That way I would always know where one was, if she asked.

The photo at the top of this post was taken by Tom. I was somewhat frantic to get a few shots of Eve nursing before it was over, for her sake and for mine. I remember one time on a Sunday when she nursed to sleep in my lap, and I thought, This could be it, this could be the last time. I don't know where the camera is!!!.

The next time, I prepared, and out of a dozen shots, I actually got her face in about 4 photos, the best of which are below.


Until you've tried it, you simply can't imagine how hard it is to do a "self portrait" of you feeding your baby.


Prior to these shots, the only photo that exists of me nursing Eve was taken about 15 minutes after she was born, in the hospital, with me looking like...well, like I just gave birth with an IV of fluids in my arm (dumb hospital policy). That's kind of a bad record given the number of photos we have of Eve, and the number of hours she spent in her little life nursing.

Assuming I can get my act together, I'll be more careful to get pictures of Eve's little brother nursing earlier and more often. Of course, there is this rumor that you don't take anywhere near as many pictures of your second as you do your first. I am not going to say that won't be true for us, but I do hope there's a higher ratio of breastfeeding photos than in Eve's vast portfolio of photos.

Eve has asked to nurse once since that night. It was early in the morning, and I was downstairs exercising. She wasn't getting enough attention from me, was still tired, and hadn't yet had breakfast or even a drink. I picked her up off the couch and she asked for "nummy nums"

Me: "Sure honey. But would you rather have a snack instead?"

She nodded solemnly, with little perfect tears brimming in her eyes. and said, "uh huh."

So I took her upstairs, got her a bowl of cereal, and she never looked back.

We've spoken about it some. She misses it a little, and she's still interested in my "nummy nums" and talks about how Peanut will have them. She's committed to helping Peanut learn how to nurse.

Her weaning is not quite the perfect weaning I might have hoped for. Due to the need for me to work part time away from home from the time she was about 4 months old, she's always had a certain tolerance for bottles and binkies. Until I became pregnant, the binky was really a second-rate replacement. Since pregnancy, and the subsequent drying-up of what little milk remained, there was a slow but steady shift in preference for the binky.

The upside to this, is she never really had to go through a time when she didn't get to find comfort in sucking. There's was never a need for me to put my foot down and say, "no more" or "only for a moment." There were no tears to this weaning, despite the fact that she has not quite outgrown her need to suck.

The downside, of course, is that I will now have to wean her from the binky, which will be harder, since I have control over my body, but quite a bit less control over little plastic plugs that seem to turn up magically, as if growing right out of the carpet.

Just this week I have really seen the challenges involved in losing a valuable mothering tool like breastfeeding. Eve has her first post-nursing cold, and I cannot comfort her as I once did through the fitful nights. Her behavior has been quite awful, excusable because of her illness, but not the norm. Nursing helped her through discomfort and tough feelings in a way that a binky simply can not do.

In addition, my germaphobe nature is rearing its ugly head. I can no longer provide her with additional nutrients to augment her diet, consisting of almost nothing because of a decreased appetite. I can no longer provide her with my immunities through my breast milk. She's not protected as she once was, and I find myself feeling a bit nervous that we never went to her 2-year well-baby appointment to get another round of vaccines, which before never seemed to be much of a priority.

God knows how frantic I'll feel when she gets the stomach flu. Nursing has been the way to comfort, nourish, and hydrate through such an illness in the past. What will I do if she won't drink? Will a binky and stroking my hair as she rests in my lap be comfort enough? How will we get through it without nursing?

But the biggest challenge I thought I would face hasn't materialized. She falls asleep just as easily (which is not very easily, quite honestly) as she ever did. She still cuddles and strokes my hair, and it's just a little bit harder for me to tell when she is truly asleep, as the binky provides no signals as to how her sucking pattern has changed. I look forward to the day when she won't need the binky, and when it takes a bit less time to get her down for the night, but for now, I don't mind the arrangement (most of the time).

And then there's simply the wistfulness.

I'm sure that if I were not pregnant, and a mere 6 weeks from the due date of this new baby, I would feel a great deal more grief than I do. As it is, I know that another nursing relationship is right around the corner, with all its frustrations and joys. So I can look pragmatically at this weaning as a good and necessary change, inevitable and bitter-sweet.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Eve update

Well... it's been at least 6 months since I uploaded any new pictures of Eve.

Since that time, we upgraded our software to the latest and greatest iPhoto...and I had to learn a whole new way of creating a photo site. Just as well, the others were getting crowded.

Eve's Winter

And Eve's Spring. Can hardly believe Spring is over, actually. Less than 7 weeks until Eve becomes a big sister (assuming the due date isn't way off.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Stands for Optimal Fetal Positioning...

Last night, I read a little book written for midwives (no friendly layman's terms here--thanks to, I learned what multigravida means) about the best position for a baby to be in in order to have the least painful, quickest, and safest (i.e. least likely to result in a medical intervention) birth possible. The nice thing about the book was it's very small size. I'll spare you the technical terms (since I certainly don't have them memorized) and just tell you that it's head down (duh) and baby's back against mom's front left side (centered between bellybutton and left hip)

A professional can tell by palpitation of your uterus what position your baby is in, but if you want a clue, you're hoping for the heartbeat to be heard on the lower left of your bump, so if your doc (or other care provider) puts the little Doppler microphone up high or on the right (and finds the heartbeat he or she is looking for), you may wish to try changing your baby's position. Also, If you feel a lot of movement up front, (or, I would assume, on your left) your baby is probably not optimally positioned. There was also some detailed information about the shape of your bump, and I get the feeling the cute, basketball-under-your-shirt look is what you're going for. Flat on top or in front indicates a less than ideal position.

When do you need to worry about this? Around the time your baby "engages" (which means lowers himself (or herself) into your pelvis in preparation for being born) This can happen as early as 6 weeks before birth, especially for first-timers. It can happen as late as when labor begins for those who have been there, done that. However, since the positions and activities for achieving OFP aren't all that difficult, it seems like a good idea to begin thinking about this around the 34 week mark, especially if your goal is a natural, intervention-free birth at a hospital, as much of the time, you are on your own as how to actually accomplish such an anomaly.

The bad news: A lot of what you may be doing each day could be contributing to poor positioning. lounging (leaning back past 90 degrees) on the cough or in the Lazy boy while you nourish your baby with high-calcium, high-protein snacks such as Haagandaz bars and bowls of ice cream (oh wait, that's just me?), abdominal exercises, and even squatting pre-labor can contribute to poor positioning. There's also lying and sleeping on your back--but most mainstream pregnancy guides advise against this already. As a good rule-follower, I'm sure you aren't doing this, but I am. Every morning (and every time I wake in the night) I find myself on my back, despite having diligently positioned myself on my left side the last time I fell asleep.

I've been lounging...well, whenever I relax, since childhood, and I find myself wishing to relax more and more as pregnancy progresses. Just a few weeks ago, I patted myself on the back for borrowing (and exercising to) a prenatal exercise DVD that includes quite a lot of squatting and abdominal contractions (basically pulling in your abs, since sit-ups aren't advised during pregnancy).

Lounging (and lying or sleeping on your back) is bad because gravity works to swing your baby's back against yours. If your baby remains in this position, you will have painful back labor at the very least, and the babe may get stuck when trying to exit through your pelvis. Differing angles cause sizes and shapes of baby's head and your pelvis to not match up in this position.

Ab work (or previously well-toned abs that have retained their tautness) is (are) a no-no because they tend to narrow the lower part of the uterus (the uterus itself is not exercised or changed by ab work, but rather the area the uterus resides in shrinks) which will discourage a baby from placing his head down...since his feet fit much better there.

I'm not quite so clear on why squats are a bad idea--and I know for sure they're a good idea during labor. But, it has something to do with the angle of the spine to the pelvis. Modified squats (wall squats, that keep your back straight and at a 90 degree angle to your pelvis) are okay. Did I mention this book, though blessedly short, was rather hard to read? Hence, my lack of full understanding regarding the "why" of this particular point.

All of this might explain why Peanut was head-down 2 weeks ago, and at my appointment this past Monday had decided to be head-up instead. Of course, even though he was head down last time, his heart beat was still on the right... so that's better than breach, but not great.


Sit leaning forward, or at the very least, straight up and down. Easier to do if you scoot all the way to the edge of the couch or chair and place your feet at least hip-distance apart. Or, kneel, lean forward, and support yourself with something (like a Pilates ball) above waist-height.

Don't do ab work. :( I guess I'll just have to wait until postpartum to firm up.

Do wall squats or climb stairs to keep those thigh muscles strong enough for upright positions in labor. Don't do regular deep squatting (squats that keep your rear higher than your knees are okay). you've heard time and again, don't lay or sleep on your back. Instead, choose your left side, legs comfortably bent, with your top knee crossed over the bottom one and resting on the mattress. Or, if you can afford the luxury, and desperately miss sleeping on your stomach, as I do, buy a Baby Wink pillow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bait and switch

I know, last time I promised I would post something funny, or crafty or give updated pictures. Sorry!

I'm just gonna catch you all up on the latest.

God's been providing in amazing ways for us financially (and otherwise) during my husband's surgery recovery. Tom's back to work now, and I'm struggling to curb my reaction to buy everything I couldn't buy on the "No discretionary spending, period." Budget. You know the one, where if it costs money, you can't have it, even if it's almost, nearly free? or name-brand and 95% off? Not even if it's an emergency? (define emergency? can you LIVE without it? Yes? Not an emergency.) Yeah, that one. Keeping myself from wild spending is especially difficult considering I have 7 weeks to my due date, and maternity leave that may or may not end. If it does end, it will merely be to get us onto the "so little discretionary income that you might as well not do any discretionary spending." Budget. (under which, you can get the emergency items, like when Eve doesn't have any pants that fit, or when I run out of prenatal vitamins. Or when I really, really need ice cream--but hopefully after the baby arrives, I'll stop having those kind of cravings) The baby still needs a bed, and my wists, bookmarks, and Amazon wish list are filled with items for Peanut, Eve, and myself that seem like rather reasonable wants, if not outright needs. I'd also love to upgrade our Netflix from 2 a month to 1-at-a-time unlimited, oh! The luxury. And what I wouldn't give for a cute, comfortable pair of black boot-cut yoga pants for postpartum lounging, instead of the oh-so-lovely sweats I'm sure I'll be in.

I'm not sure I was genetically designed for frugal living, but I've been doing it now to one degree or another since my first pregnancy. And actually, I find myself no less happy (if not more so) than when I could go shopping for myself(!!!) at the drop of a hat. I'll even go so far as to say I've noticed no real increase in unfulfilled purchasing desires--my unfulfilled purchasing desires have changed drastically, so much of what was on the list 4 years ago wouldn't even make my "large amounts of discretionary income" Budget these days. Because, really, who has time or energy to go shoe shopping at Nordstrom every few months? Shopping for myself has become torture, so I just don't want to do it.

Speaking of shoe shopping, I bought new shoes! I really wanted a fun red pair that would "spice up" my boring maternity wardrobe and make me feel a little more cheerful when I'm still wearing this stuff at too-many-weeks postpartum. I ended up with a nice light-ish brown pair of fashion sneakers. They didn't have the pink and brown ones in my size, and I couldn't just not buy anything, since I was using a gift certificate, and Tom had come along to keep Eve happy. It would have been a terrible slap in his face for me to go home empty handed after he worked so hard to keep Eve out of my way for the forever it took me to find something even reasonably cute and comfy.

And speaking of Tom, after his knee surgeon released him for work, the surgeon's assistant who's been working with Tom on his hip and back (diagnosing if there's an indication for surgery or not) told him he needs another MRI on his hip with likely surgery there as well, if they find what they think they will on the MRI. I just hope that he's either fully recovered from this second surgery by the time I go into labor, or he doesn't have surgery until a few weeks after the baby arrives. All the more reason, I suppose, for me to save instead of spend. This working stint of Tom's may be short-lived. Just imagine the cool stuff God will have to do to continue to provide for us if both Tom and I are off work at the same time! Exciting times, I tell you.

Eve. She's swung a bit from the bratty and clingy to the sweet and sassy. She's frequently told me that she loves me, with no prompting and without my having it said it first. That just melts my heart. That, coupled with spontaneous hugs and kisses, and how can I complain about a few instances of defiance or tantrums when my little girl loves me? I can't. And, having only spent a few days trying to puzzle things out, I have discovered that Eve is much more likely to be grumpy, clingy and disobedient when tired (duh) or hungry (hmmm). One would think that an hour after breakfast, there would be no immediate, emergent need for sustenance, but when one recalls that someone has only consumed the thin layer of cream cheese from the top of half a bagel, complimented by two small bites of said bagel, it becomes a bit more clear that a snack is required.

Eve Got to take a small zip-lock bag filled with raisins, Cheerios, and Honey Bee Grahams in the car on the way to church this past Sunday, and then into Nursery with her, and reportedly (since I gave Tom the ultimatum that if he could descend and climb the stairs at home, he could descend and climb the nursery stairs at church just as well, and that, as such, I would no longer take Eve to nursery. Ever.) she went easily and without complaint. And several times over the weekend, food solved whatever ills were causing her to whine and cling desperately. I've decided that's one important key to keeping her compliant and cheerful, or at least making those behaviors somewhat more likely.

Potty training is basically dead with us. She hasn't willingly gone except right before bedtime to prolong her right to remain out of bed for as long as possible. We have, though, wasted several hours waiting for her to go when Tom is sure she will go as soon as we put a diaper back on her. This usually follows us hearing Eve shut her bedroom door, only to check on her and find her hiding at the far end of her bunk bed and yelling at us to go out--a sure sign she's about to fill her diaper with an odiferous surprise. It's just as well, as the imminent arrival of Peanut will no doubt reverse any progress we make in the next 7 weeks.

Sleeping is going fairly well. For Eve that is. I won't even start on how torturous both Tom and I are finding night time these days (I, due to Peanut, and he due to the re-institution of Vicodin as a night-cap, since working is much more painful for Tom than simply watching Eve during the day). Eve sleeps until 5 or 6 in the morning very consistently these days (and sometimes much later), and joins us in our bed until 7 or 8, depending on the day. She is also going to sleep more easily and quickly. This may be due to the horrid make-shift light-blocking sheets and table clothes we've hung up (I will take a picture, but it may be years before I upload it), or it may be due to the fact that we've been putting her to bed later because of social obligations or mere absentmindedness (on my part). Or it may be a combo. I definitely credit her sleeping in the morning to the light-blocking, but since the days continue to grow longer, and it's light until 10 or so each night now, her room is still fairly bright at bedtime (8:00 PM if we get it done on time). My spending impulse is rearing its ugly head every time I look at what I've done to those windows. Oh for the ease and appearance of some actual curtains.

Despite the improvement in discipline, and my commitment not to go hog-wild with my husband's bigger paychecks (which admittedly haven't yet started rolling in) I did take the opportunity today to buy a few discipline books off Amazon when I made my required prenatal vitamin purchase. Combining shipping, you know. If any of you have read Grace-Based Parenting or Heartfelt Discipline please let me know what you think of them. I should be getting them in the mail just in time to read a few chapters before Peanut arrives. ;)

Ooh, and speaking of reading, from the library (which is stocked in a rather friendly manner toward natural childbirth, at least when compared to Christian parenting) I've been enjoying Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Creating your Birth Plan. Both are very informative, although I'm definitely getting more out of the Birth Plan book at the moment, as I'm still in the mother-written birth stories section of Ina May's book. I don't mind the birth stories, but I am rather particular about writing style, and have never enjoyed birth stories more than those written by Peggy Vincent in Baby Catcher. If you are at all interested in birth stories, or natural birth, I highly recommend this book.

So there you go, all caught up.

Oh! I almost forgot. My latest online addiction (must get in as much as I can before I'm tied to a chair and a breastfeeding baby for hours and hours and... hours and....) is Sk*rt! a new Digg-esque social news site for women. I find endless ways to distract and entertain myself, and I've added at least a dozen new and interesting blogs to my Bloglines account, so if there's ever a slow news day on sk*rt, I can catch up on my ever-increasing RSS feeds. Anyway, this post is being submitted there in a late attempt to enter a contest their running with fun prizes that would be perfect for Peanut and I (and that just might reduce my list of unfulfilled purchasing desires to boot!) so if you're reading this, please go join sk*rt (if you haven't already) and vote for my link!

Monday, June 11, 2007


I have a feeling this post won't interest all of you. I promise that my next post will be entertaining, or full of crafty goodness, or at the very least, I'll post some more recent pictures of everyone's favorite 2.5 year old.

So...Eve's been going through a bit of a difficult time lately. I think a lot of it is age. I know some of it is the recent and temporary change of being cared for by daddy while mom's away at work and not by Grandma. I know some of it is that fact that she weaned a bit over 2 weeks ago, and had been on the fast track to weaning for several months prior to that. Some of it might be due to my pregnancy and change in my level of energy and patience. And of course, it has much to do with her age.

Disobedient and willful seem like pretty good descriptions of her behavior right now. Coupled with very recent bouts of extreme clinginess, and general whininess and emotional bouts of tears for no apparent reason. I'm sure there's a reason, I'm just not sure what it is.

This has brought discipline and my approach and philosophy regarding her behavior to the forefront of my mind as well as Eve's dad's. He's always been one for swift negative discipline and chastisement. I've swung more toward the positive reinforcement of good behavior and gentle discouragement of bad behavior. Of course, my natural inclination when sorely tested is often negative discipline, and so time-outs are used rather liberally in our house. Tom spanks Eve's hand for more severe infractions. None of what we've done recently has changed her behavior any, at least not an hour or so after the previous incident. I, of course, wonder if we're making things worse. It's hard to tell though, since living in time as we do, we can't go back and try a different approach and see how the rest of the ride goes had we done y instead of x two days ago. Too bad, really, as it would make for a much more scientific approach.

What brought me to posting on this today is a book that's making its rounds at our church called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Now, I've never read the book, and only one of the couples studying the book do I *know* to share my beliefs about nurturing children, so I really can't say much about it first hand. However, in various conversations with other ladies in the church, I've gotten the impression that the message is: when we punish our children for misbehavior, we need to reinforce our wishes with scripture to show how they are not only disobeying and making *us* unhappy, but that they are disobeying and making God unhappy as well. From my conversations, there's also some self-discipline, heart-examining stuff for the parents (to try to be calm rather than reacting in anger) and the advice to pray for our children (which I wholeheartedly agree with).

So, here's the conundrum. I do want to teach Eve about God, the bible, and that obedience to her parents and the bible, biblical. However, I don't want to make God into the bad guy. "Don't do that because it makes God upset." "God says to do X, not Y" "Is that a Godly way of...?" Using scripture is great, but scripture is meaningless and downright foolishness to someone without the Holy Spirit of God in their heart.

So that brings up that question, I guess. Does my 2.5 year old have the Holy Spirit? I come from a "Conversion" background and one that emphasises the idea that we choose Christ. I'm moving toward the idea that Christ chooses us and we then respond, but I'm still not sure how that works with young hearts that I would previously have labeled as being below the age of accountability--as in, can't be held accountable for their Sin because they are too young to understand "Sin" and the separateness from God due to sin, and our need for forgiveness, and can't "convert" because of this lack of understanding.

I do believe that apart from Christ, we can't please God, and that all our behaviors could have some scripture applied to show us how we are displeasing God. Only the Holy Spirit living in and through us allows us to please God in any way. In the same way, we understand sin and can turn from specific sinful behaviors as those behaviors are revealed to us through scripture and the Holy Spirit, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Grace and Forgiveness of Christ which allows us to get to this place.

I feel like this book instead teaches our children that they must try harder to meet the expectations of their parents and of God, and that they must do it under their own power, which will simply lead to failure and frustration, and a belief that we have to work to earn God's approval. I think it's this kind of message that leads so many children of Christian parents to rebellion and to turn from God and their parents. Because the God their parents taught them about is not the God of the bible, of the Gospel of Grace and Love, but a distortion that shows God to be concerned with what we do rather than our hearts, and makes him out to be a big meanie who has impossible expectations and metes out punishment when we fail to attain perfection on our own.

So, I'm left with the knowledge that I want to communicate to Eve that God is a God of forgiveness. I've known that all along. But I still don't know what that means practically speaking. I don't know how to teach her of God's goodness. I don't know how to encourage her toward good behavior while having God in the picture in any way--honestly, I don't even, at this point, want to use God in the positive reinforcement. For instance, I can tell her that it makes me and her daddy (and any number of other loved ones) very happy when she sets her cup down instead of dumping out the "excess" water when she's no longer thirsty, but I can't honestly say that makes God happy, because is God ever happy with our measly "righteousness" when the bible refers to such as filthy (bloody) rags?

Honestly, I'm really frustrated with the situation. I feel like our attempts at discipline aren't working. I feel like we're not doing much to teach Eve about God in any fashion. And I simply don't know what to do about it. And if the best our church can give us is a method for guilting our child into better behavior whilst slowly turning her heart against God, then where do we turn for a more Gracious way of going about all this?