Thursday, October 29, 2009

Udderly Fascinating

Last Tuesday the XY chromosome and myself went to the last of our baby-prep classes: "Breastfeeding for Couples." The class didn't focus too much on the "couple" aspect of breastfeeding. I guess the point of bringing the significant other was more to emphasize the importance of supporting the Lactator during emission and refueling.

Using baby dolls, we learned how to hold, latch, and dismount. We also got a demo of the different types of breast pumps available. The industrial strength machines, available for rent, looked intimidating. (I had a Soviet Russian fantasy of women diligently lining up and getting pumped in order to nourish the masses). The friendly hand held pump looked more my style, and I was pleased that I chose this little helper for my registry.

Our plan is to exclusively breastfeed for the first month and then I will start pumping so that Alex can have some one-on-one feeding time with Audrey. Apparently, giving a bottle or a pacifier too early can cause the baby to have "nipple confusion." Too many nipples and a baby gets overwhelmed, I guess. Who knew?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Yesterday afternoon Alex and I had another Ob-Gyn appointment. I thought I might take this opportunity to describe our Ob-Gyn situation. Our practice is really more of a collective of midwives and doctors than the traditional Ob-Gyn doctor/patient relationship. I'm very pleased with our decision to use midwives. Its wonderful to work with a group of women. Our midwives are all nurses with master's degrees in midwifery. They are very experienced and educated, but what we like most of all is they encourage questions and they try to alleviate our first-time pregnancy anxieties without dismissing our concerns. Alex even felt comfortable enough to ask the burning question, "What do you call a male midwife?" and we were surprised to learn that a male midwife is also called a midwife. Our midwife had actually gone to school with a (male) midwife. She said he was in the army, so apparently he felt comfortable enough with his masculinity to pursue a typically gendered career.

In general, I ask lots of questions and I have tons of anxieties. One of my midwives made me throw out my pregnancy books after I was sure I was experiencing early contractions (according to the book's description), but it turns out I had gas. Oops. I mean, what good is a book if it doesn't even help me tell the difference between labor and gas? (To be fair, Alex was also sure I just had gas). She told me to always just call the office with any question or concern, which I do now, and they are always helpful and kind.

Now that we've moved into the 36 week mark, we'll start having weekly appointments. Here we go!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Labor Movements

Last night was our last birthing class. It was a five-week, two-hour course designed to teach labor and birth techniques, as well as the fundamentals behind the processes. The class was very pro drug-free birth, so every week we learned pain management skills and practiced labor positioning. Most of these skills I had already learned in my earlier pre-pregnancy yoga life, so I was very happy to adjust my yoga skills to labor/birth skills. Among the many positions we learned, I feel most comfortable in the yoga-esque cat/cow position and squatting on a exercise ball. (In fact, I've started using my exercise ball for all my sitting activities. It allows my belly to hang out and my back to straighten).

Alex has been a willing and funny birth partner through all the practices. Since I plan on laboring at home as long as possible, I'm looking forward to this labor time we will be spending together, just the two of us. Our teacher has repeatedly stressed the fun of dancing through early contractions, and yesterday our class practiced dancing through contractions while listening to Steve Wonder's "Superstition." Dancing did feel great, and it is pretty wonderful to see a class full of advanced pregnancy ladies shaking their thang.

We spent one of the classes touring the maternity unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I couldn't be happier with the hospital. It seems to be very family-focused, and they seem to respect and encourage the mother's birth plan. The rooms have a shower large enough to labor in, but unfortunately, no bath tub. Post-labor, the hospital offers all sorts of classes to take. (This is Yale, after all). I will also have a private breast feeding consultant. And most importantly, we won't have to worry about parking because birthing moms get free valet and we won't have to worry about updating our Facebook page because the birthing rooms have free wireless! It's like the Hilton!

We did just recently learn that Connecticut law requires new mothers/babies to be in the hospital for three days. I was hoping to be in and out in one day. This is one of the main reasons I wanted a drug-free birth because drug-free births usually have less recovery time. Now that I know that I will be in the hospital for three days no matter what, I'm starting to rethink my drug-free position. I definitely plan on laboring at home as long as possible and I hope to make it as long as possible in the hospital without an epidural, but I'm keeping my options more open now.

In more Audrey-specific news, I'm pretty sure she "dropped" two nights ago. I can no longer see my belly button and just when I thought I couldn't pee more often than I already was . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sailor's Birthday!!

Today Sailor is three!! We will be celebrating tonight with a visit to her favorite dog park, where she spends most of her time smelling other dogs instead of playing with them. We also have a delicious meat-based, or at least, meat-shaped treat waiting for her.

We are a little concerned about how she will handle her upcoming role as Big sister. She loves kids, but I think just because they smell like food and, usually, have some sort of food product stuck to their hands that can be easily licked off. Unfortunately, she also loves undivided attention, which we will be short on soon. I think we'll just end up buying her lots of treats out of guilt, a trade-off I'm sure she'll be fine with.

In honor of our Favorite Annoyance's birthday, I've put together some pictures from throughout the years.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Audrey at 8 Months in Utero

Two weeks ago I was up all night with menstrual-like cramps. Since this can be a sign of labor, I gave my midwife a call and she had me come in to check everything out. Clearly, as Audrey is still safely lodged in my ever-expanding midsection, everything is fine.

The unscheduled appointment was quite long. It included an exam, an ultrasound, and a hook-up to a fetal heart monitor/contraction contraption. Audrey seemed to enjoy the heart / contraction contraption the most, as it involved two belts with attached cell phone-sized machines on my tummy, which she spent most of the time taking well-aimed kicks at. I, however, most enjoyed getting another ultrasound view of Audrey. At right are the latest pics!

Since all of the machines showed absolutely no sign of contractions, my midwife concluded that I was suffering from "tired uterus" (you're telling me!) and she mandated I drink more water and spend more time with my legs elevated. While I believe that I was drinking and resting to my heart's content before, I have made an effort to be even more hydrated and lazy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Birth Plan

Check out the cute birthing skirt I just bought!

Alex and I saw this skirt in a birthing video we watched for our labor class. The mom wore this skirt during her entire labor. (She also still rocked her belly ring. Mine, alas, came out after I entered the second trimester.) All the women in our class were instantly enamored of the skirt. Last night, thanks to the magic of google, I finally found it!

During my mom's visit, we put together the rest of my hospital wardrobe. (Is that weird?) We stockpiled some nighties, including a leopard print number sure to dazzle. And don't worry, even though Audrey's hospital wardrobe hasn't officially been packed yet, I do have a rough mental plan.

Once all the essential fashion decisions were out of the way, Alex and I were able to put together our Birth Plan. The following is a copy of what we'll hand out to our hospital nurse and midwife.

Birth Plan

Danica and Alex Miller

151 Eagle Street New Haven, CT 06511 860.329.1744

Due Date: November 23, 2009

Listed below are several choices I have considered for this birth. I have considered each option carefully and discussed them with my partner and provider. I know it’s important to be flexible. The following best describes my preferences. Thank you for taking the time to read this plan, and I look forward to your assistance.


Upon arrival at hospital, I want to fill out all paperwork with the anesthesiologist in case I later decide I want an epidural.

Labor drug-free with intermittent fetal monitoring and the use of the Doppler.

Labor using the following methods: shower, walking, exercise ball, massage, hands and knees.

Please tell me when is the latest I can receive an epidural.


During pushing I would like to use a variety of positions, including: squatting, side-lying, hands and knees.

I would like to avoid an episiotomy; please use perineal massage.

Immediately after birth:

I want the baby placed on my abdomen.

I want to breastfeed as soon as possible.

Baby is to remain with parent/s while newborn care is performed.

Please delay all medications for at least one hour.

I plan on breastfeeding my baby.

I have chosen the above options to best describe my preferences regarding my upcoming labor and birth. I recognize that situations may arise that would might necessitate a change in these options. Please advice us of these situations so we can make informed choices. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Danica and Alex Miller

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mom's Visit

This last week my mom came for a nice long visit. We had such a great time! Monday we went to Connecticut's famous outlet malls where my mother picked out a few irresistible clothing items for Audrey. We spent Tuesday at Bishop's Orchard picking apples. We rode a tractor out into the fields and picked more apples than we could possibly ever eat. Later that day I baked a few choice specimens, which we ate over scones and topped with vanilla ice cream. (I'm stewing up the rest of the apples tonight). Wednesday we went to Target to put my hospital bag together. I was rather appalled at the breastfeeding items my mom insisted I will need. I'm pretty sure I scared Alex with the breast-shaped cooling gel pads. Thursday we topped off a terrific week with spa pedicures. From what I can still see of my feet, they look wonderful! Later that night we introduced my mom to Turkish food, which she seemed to enjoy a whole lot (and not just the baklava). All in all, we had a very special week together.

I can't believe the next time I see my mom Audrey will be here!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall is definitely in the top ten reasons to live in New England. Besides apple-pickin' and pumpkin patchin', the farmers' markets offer up all sorts of other outdoor delights. We recently began doing a farm share, which has added all sorts of yummy culinary experiences to our daily routine. (This week's share pictured at left.)

I know this will distress the Grandparent Millers, but Audrey's favorite in utero meal seems to be beets. Thankfully, we got lots of enormous beets in our share, which tonight we will mix up with some goat cheese and arugula. (I love the word 'arugula.' Whenever I say it, I feel like I'm trying to talk through a burp). In honor of Grandma Sterud's visit this week, I'll also be serving up some swiss chard (like her people of yore ate) and an enormous beef stew.

Friday, October 2, 2009

52 days . . .

52 days! That is, 52 days until Audrey's projected arrival date.

In honor of this milestone, I've decided to start a blog dedicated to all things Audrey. I thought this might be a fun way for family and friends to keep updated on all of Audrey's fascinating day-to-day activities. This is where I'll be posting Audrey's most cutest pictures and most engaging mannerisms.

Any blog ideas are most welcome, as are all comments and questions.